Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Big Hair, Big Glasses...Yes. I was an 80's chick. And yes, sometimes I wish big hair would make a comeback. It's a balance thing...big hair makes big hips look smaller. It's true.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm Blissdom Bound! (If I can find a Sponsor!)

Before you start reading this you should know that I write like I talk. Which is a lot. So you might want to grab a drink and get comfy. This could take a few minutes. Ready? Okay...
My mantra for the rest of this year through 2010 is personal growth. At 45 years of age, I have finally started to figure out what makes me happy. It's been a long journey to gain this little bit of knowledge that has resulted in a major paradigm shift for me. And it all came about because of a blog. I seems silly to think that a blog could be the vehicle that would allow some despondent mom sitting at home, typing out her daily comings and goings on her computer, to find the secret to her happiness. But that's what happened. Because as the words rolled out and the pictures were posted, comments and insights came back from people who actually took the time to read and feel my writings. Realizations were made, understanding and bonding took place, inside my home and across the world wide web. Love was rekindled and friendships developed, which helped me feel normal and capable and whole...all because I blog.
I have had really amazing experiences over the past year as I have used my blog to write, to communicate, to vent, to chronicle my family's daily life and to figure out how to find myself as a person while trying to be the best mom, wife and friend I can be. As a result of my blogging, I have had opportunities meet wonderfully positive and supportive people from every walk of life, from all over the world. Along with encouraging my personal development, some of them pushed me to develop my writing and business skills, then invited me to start working with a few companies and products. I have found that I really enjoy the business aspect of blogging as well as the personal rewards that have come from using social media.
To that end, I am going all out in 2010 to learn and grow as a Blogger. I am very motivated to learn how to use my talents to work with the business world to help promote companies/products that support mom-bloggers and improve the lives of families all over the world. I have much to learn.
To help me in my quest for knowledge, I will be attending the BlissDom Conference, which will take place Feb 4-6, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. It is a top-notch event which will allow me to sit at the feet of accomplished and renowned Social Media Mavens who will teach me the ins and outs of successfully navigating the blog world! As such, it is also a wonderful opportunity for forward thinking companies who recognize the power and influence that moms have in their communities (online and at home) to promote their products and ideals! I am looking for a sponsor who will help me attend the conference.
I have broken down the costs involved in attending the conference below:
  • Blissdom Conference Ticket: $249 for early registration
  • Roundtrip flight from Phoenix to Nashville: $224 to $275 if I book ticket within the next couple weeks.
  • Airport Shuttle to and from hotel: $20Hotel costs for 4 nights (discount rates for BlissDom attendees): $576
  • Pre-conference Blissdom Wisdom Workshops for in-depth, small group learning - technical, business & creative: $100

I am seeking a full sponsorship and would prefer to try to work with just one company so I don't have to split my efforts to promote more than one sponsor. But I understand that the economy takes its toll on marketing budgets too, so I will consider splitting the costs of the conference between 2 sponsors if necessary. In return for a sponsorship, I will provide the following services to promote the company/product before, during and after the Blissdom Conference:

  • I will hand out coupons and flyers. I will have to be creative in doing this however, as BlissDom has changed its policy regarding how personal sponsorship swag can be handled, but we can discuss options such as an after hours room party or something of that nature to distribute swag. I'm pretty open to ideas!
  • I will make a t-shirt or a canvas bag with your company logo or slogan to wear and/or carry during the conference.
  • I am willing to wear unique clothing/accessories as advertisement. Keep in mind, I am plus-size, which I am working on as part of my personal growth (meaning losing weight, not growing more!) in 2010.
  • I will do a blog post regarding your sponsorship and products, as well as place sidebar ads on both the home and review pages of my blog for a 12 month period.
  • I will also actively post updates about your company, brand, or product on my blog, Twitter and Facebook before, during and after the BlissDom Conference for a 12 month period.
  • I will post photos, videos and do live blogging and Tweeting to promote your company/product during the BlissDom Conference.
  • I am open to any other ideas you and your marketing department may have about how I can best promote your brand, as long as it's legal and family friendly! Let's brainstorm!

I Am Boymom is evolving everyday and I am confident that the knowledge and tools I gain at this conference will allow me to take my blog to the next level and really establish my brand/identity in the blog world as one that works well with companies who support marketing savvy moms and their families. Additionally, I am really involved in my community, so my influence is farther reaching than just my blog. Between Scouts, school, sports, church activities, local political involvement and neighborhood events, I am in contact with hundreds of parents who are always looking for informed opinions and positive experiences about products/companies from other families with whom they come in contact. And because I love to talk? I am NOT shy about sharing when I find good products, good companies and good deals!

Please feel free to take a look around my blog to find out more about who I am and what I do, as well as who I support. Then email or call if you are interested in helping me attend this conference. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have and we can talk details! I look forward to working your company so we can both experience amazing growth in 2010!

And thanks for considering my request for sponsorship.

P.S. - Years from now? When my kids are on Oprah talking about all the great things our family accomplished and what a great childhood they had 'cause their mom finally got her stuff together and taught them how to be confident, well adjusted, pro-active, self-supporting, successful adults? They'll mention you too, cause I'll pound it into their brains that this conference and the company who sponsored me was the turning point in our lives. can you pass up multi-generational, lifetime promotion?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Is This How I Look to Other People?

I am posting this picture, despite my dislike for pictures of myself, because some of my blog friends don't know what I look like. Who is this Boymom person? Why does she hide from us? Ummm...because I see pictures like this and decide to spare my readers exposure to my arm flab and general roundness? Yeah - your welcome.

So here I am in all my glory, with Darlene, the kick-butt garden lady who takes care of my Grandpa in Idaho. See how that tomato is dwarfed in the presence of my massive girth? Too much flesh for the internet, people. Me...too much flesh on me. Not the tomato. Or Darlene.

I wonder if some search engine will pull this post up as porn because of the flesh references. That would be a crappy surprise for someone who clicked on my blog and thought they were gonna see something sexy...a fat chick, an elderly woman and a tomato. Hope we made your day! Bwuah ha ha ha!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Longest Fall Break EVER!

Back to school today after 2 long weeks for Fall Break!

When we first started at the charter school we are at I loved the thought of the extended calendar year. Longer vacations during the year, less time out at summer and the kids supposedly retain more of what they learn each year. I'm still looking for proof on that one.

The first year we attended the school it worked out great. We took a vacation to California during Fall Break for an entire week and still had another week to recuperate and get ready for school again.

Due to budget contraints (actually there is no budget, because there is nothing to budget with!), we had no trip planned this year.

I am realizing that 2 weeks is a long, LONG time when you have nothing planned. I had good intentions. We were gonna go to one of the local farms to their chili cook off and pumpkin patch. Until I saw that it was $14 per person, and that price did not include food or pumkins! I'm all for supporting the local farmers, but when we our bank account is beyond empty I can't justify spending that much on a hayride and a corn maze. And the fact that the farm is an hour and a half away made the price even harder to swallow. Frankly...I guess I was just not in the mood to spend $100 on chili and pumpkins. There. I said it. It was easier to put a tarp up over the swing set and tell the boys to turn it into a fort. (Read it correctly, people, that is fort with an O, not the other word with an A!) Which they thought was cool for 2 days. The fort, I mean. They also think the other thing is cool and funny too though. But that's a story for another day.

That only left 12 days to fill. We made cupcakes and had friends over another day. Down to 11 days. Church 2 times, we're down to 9 days! Whoo-hoo!

At this point we were still waiting for our neighbor kids to get out for their fall break. They only get one week off. Because they don't like going to school until June 10th, which is the consequence of taking longer breaks during the year. I am starting to see the wisdom in a regular school calendar. But I digress. So we had a few tough days. Because mom's brain could not seem to function to come up with activities and my boys were having a hard time with the thought of actually playing WITH EACH OTHER!

Thank Goodness my nephew's birthday party came around! On Columbus Day we hung out with the cousin at Amazing Jake's all day, which is like Chuck E. Cheese on steroids. Have you seen that place?! It is loud and crowded and crazy and big. Rides, video games, prize games, rock climbing wall, laser tag, bowling, mini golf and a buffet. My kids love it there. I like the fact that I can actually get decent food, not just pizza. I had huge salads for lunch and dinner. Yeah, we stay all day when we go. My body was totally diggin' on the healthy food and I was diggin' on the fact that I didn't have to make ANY of it OR do the dishes. It's a long way from our house, almost as far as the pumpkin farm, but since we weren't paying for anything and I didn't have to cook or clean that whole day, it was worth the drive! Once I got past the feeling that I was swimming in a giant H1N1 petri dish, that is.

So that left 8 days. 8 days of watching my oldest (now 10 yrs old) walk around in circles trying to entertain himself. 8 Days of listening to "I'm bored." Read a book. Let's build your Scout Rocket. Play a video game. Help me pull weeds. Fold the laundry. Let's draw a picture. All met with rolling eyes and annoyed sighs. 8 days of fighting over chores, because "we are on vacation." No, we are on Fall Break, which is different from a vacation, because we are still home and making messes and chores still have to get done. "Whatever. This is the worst vacation ever." Glad he heard me.

In the end, they had a few fun days and I think that even if they weren't occupied every single minute of every day, they at least enjoyed having the break from school. Once the neighbors got out of school, things improved a little bit as they had other kids to play with.

But I wished I was in a better place for my kids. I miss feeling creative and fun and upbeat and willing to try new things. I just couldn't get there for them this time. I was too busy trying to get through the day. I realized that Big Man and I are just worn out. It's been a tough 2 years. We are ready for something different, but struggling to find the energy to create the atmosphere that will allow opportunities to present themselves. We really could have used a vacation ourselves.

I'm starting mine today. The kids are back in school. For at least 4 hours a day this week, I get peace and quiet and time to think and plan and change my attitude. Maybe I'll be ready for the 3 weeks the kids are out for Christmas. That's 7 more days I have to help fill! Yeah...regular school schedule is looking better and better to me everyday.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hot Pockets!

Since my humor seems to have disappeared into the outer regions of some lost galaxy, I thought I would share a quick snippet of one of my favorite comedians. He is mostly clean and pretty hilarious and really, really pale. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Music That I Love

Remember a few posts back how I was talking about the fact that I had kind of quit listening to music for awhile? I have realized what a powerful medium music can be so I am working at incorporating more uplifting and beautiful music into my daily routine. This week, thanks to One2One Network, I'm working my way through a new Five for Fighting album titled Slice that will be officially released on October 12.

I won't go into a full review here, you can read that on the What Would Boymom Buy blog. But I wanted to take a few minutes to share why I like John Ondrasik's work so much. The first song I ever heard by Five for Fighting was Superman (It Ain't Easy), which most of the country and probably half the world heard when it became associated with the heroes of the 9/11 tragedy. I was absolutely touched to the core by John Ondrasik's mesmerizing voice and the powerfully simple, yet heartrending lyrics. Then a while later I heard 100 Years on the radio and again fell in love with the guy who knows how to take everyday life experiences and turn them into melodic stories that stir the soul.

In short? His songs speak to me. Not just the words, but the music too. The high voice with which he sings. The beautiful piano or guitar in the background that gives each song its "texture." It all blends so perfectly and you know when you listen to one of his songs exactly how he feels. The joy of listening to him comes because he takes you to that emotional place with him. You get to live the song too. And THAT, his ability to draw you into the story, is what makes his music so poignant.

And since I'm all about emotion and feelings and stuff? John Ondrasik had me at hello.

Now...if you are a Five for Fighting fan or want to become one - you HAVE HAVE HAVE to read my official review (not this one, this is the teaser!) and leave a comment on the review blog. Because I will be giving away an autographed copy of Five for Fighting's new Slice CD! Hello, I didn't even get one of those! Lucky.

Are you still here? Go read the review! GO!

Help Me Get the Good Mood Gig!

I've talked a lot on this blog about my search for happiness. The last couple of weeks have found me embarking on a new journey. One filled with challenges because the path I am going down requires that I let go of old issues and start being the person I want to be instead of just dreaming about it. I've tried this path before and quickly gotten off of it because it seemed too hard to navigate. This time? I don't care if it's hard. And truthfully, it can't be any harder than battling the demons and issues that have kept me off the path for so long now anyway. Change can be painful. So what the heck...I might as well try some new discomfort, right?

I am actually excited this time! I've actually stayed on the path for a few weeks with some success! I'm so excited about it that I decided to enter a contest to win a job that would pay me to write a blog for 6 months. It's a blog about...wait for it...maintaining a good mood and positive attitude. I KNOW, right? ME! Writing about good moods! The thing is, when I'm happy? I'm all about optimism and positive thinking and using humor to overcome difficult circumstances. And I really do know how to help other people find their happiness too! As "Happy Geri" it's who I am. It's what I do! Some of you know that about me because you knew me before I got stuck in this weird place in which I've been stuck. Well, I'm getting unstuck so this is the perfect time for me to go for such an amazing job.

Why am I sharing this? Well, for one thing, I share almost everything. You know that about me. But the more important reason is that I need your help. I need to get lots of votes to make it to the second round of the competition. So when yoy get a minute, can you stop by my profile at Nature Made Sam-e and vote for me?

I REALLY, REALLY want to win this job. Why? It would mean I have arrived. It would be a tangible manifestation of the fact that I am no longer stuck. That I figured it out and moved forward. That I was able to achieve my goals as a writer AND as a happy person. So can you show me some VOTE love? Thanks. I'll do the same for you when you need it. As long as it's not for this contest...'cuz while I may be in a good mood, I'm not stupid. : )

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wanna Hear a Story?

That's the first line of the story my father-in-law used to tell Big Man when he was a little, little boy. Big Man kept up the tradition and told it to my kids when they were really young. They're too big for it now, but every once in awhile he tries to run it by them. I thought I'd pass it on.

Wanna hear a story?

About Old Pandori?

Want me to begin it?

That's all there is in it!

Ahh haa haa haa haa. Whooo! That gets my husband every time. I'm not kidding. He laughs Every. Single. Time. The boys' response?


Monday, October 5, 2009

Mother's Day in December?

No, I'm not crazy. Okay, maybe I am crazy right now, but it has nothing to do with this post and everything to do with hormones, kids and employment issues.

So what's the deal with the Mother's Day title thing? Aquafresh is sponsoring a contest whereby 50 (or "fitty" for all you hip, urban rap moms out there) Phoenix moms will win a Spa day and a goodie bag from the Hyatt Regency Spa Avania on December 5th. Consider it an early Christmas gift from a company that realizes moms need to be recognized for their efforts.

So here's the deal-ee-o. The contest is for folks ages 6 and older, with different age categories. So I guess you could enter the 18 and older category, but then you have to write about why YOUR mom is amazing. Otherwise you have to get your kids involved and they have to write a short essay on why they think YOU are amazing. So you know that you can't write it and sign their name...right? Or that you can't sit next to them and tell them what to say. Of COURSE you know that! Otherwise your kids would not be writing an essay about what an amazing mom you are in the first place, because they would not have the skills or the confidence to do so if you had not been amazing and taught them so well! So let your teaching do the talking and let the little people scribble from the heart. Or you could help some other kids, like the kids of your best friend or the kids of your favorite blogger (hint, hint) to write a quick note about why THEIR mom, whom you truly adore and want to emulate, is so amazing.

The whole point is that there are so many moms in Phoenix who could use and who have earned a day of relaxation at the Hyatt Regency Spa Avania. I know many of you personally and I know the sacrifices you make on a daily basis to bring health, happiness and stability to your families. Seriously...would this be such a great way to get ready for the holiday season? All relaxed and feelin' good!?!

Here's the link to the Aquafresh Amazing Mom Celebration contest, along with rules and information and details about the fabulous prizes! You could leave it in your child's "Favorites" folder, next to the Star Wars link if you want to be subtle. Or you could print out the form and give it to your husband so he can encourage the kids. Or, like I could alert the neighbor kids and let them know about it so they could do something really cool for their mom. No matter what you do, pat yourself on the back for doing the best job you can to raise your kids. Motherhood is not NOT easy, regardless of how you approach it and it's nice to know there are companies out there like GlaxoSmithKline that recognize our contributions to our families and society in general.

If you want to find out more about Aquafresh toothpaste and have the kids drop off their entries in person, you can stop by Arrowhead Mall on October 17th and 24th. While you're there, check out the various Aquafresh products and pick up a free sample! The Aquafresh Amazing Mom Celebration contest ends November 2nd, 2009, so kids need to get their essays in soon!

**Disclosure: I did not receive compensation for this post from Aquafresh, Hyatt or GlaxoSmithKline. I am doing it out of the goodness of my heart because I think moms need and deserve recognition and I hope some deserving moms win a fantastic Spa Day!!!**