BloggyCon 13

BloggyCon ‘13

Written By: Andrea Angileri

I only find this typical of me suitable because it is the last day of 2013 and I have not yet blogged about attending my first blogging conference.  I began blogging because my Facebook status updates were leading to notes.  I knew I had things to say that nobody wanted to hear a select audience would appreciate.  At first, blogging was fun.  I had lots of views and stretched my neck out to other bloggers who were gracious enough to let me guest blog.  I planned to attend a blogging conference in Ohio.  Ohio….a 7 hour drive…what optimism!  After a while I fell into an ‘STD’….’Stats Trap Depression’.  How did my views go from hundred to goose eggs?  Why did I care?  Aren’t I blogging for myself?  I found Twitter.  My blogs grew fewer.  Still….when the big conference arrived I was hopeful.  My husband and I packed up for our longest married road trip.  We did well because I absorbed myself in Netflix   we love each other deeply.

Image

Image

Image

From Illinois, I was familiar with Lake Michigan and found Lake Erie equally beautiful.  The line to check in was as long-winded as my earliest blog posts.  But, the Halloween atmosphere was cool and the check-in staff was courteous.   I quickly learned to change the adjective ‘outdated’ with ‘historic’ and we moved on.  It was breezy, but hubby and I walked the shore.   I beamed like a 6 year old at a birthday party when I was  handed my bag o blogging goodies.    Then we ate hot dogs…like 6 year olds at a birthday party.  What shall we do tonight?   We did what every couple without kids does…we went to the hotel’s TGIF’s.   The artichoke spinach cone was not enough to satisfy my appetite original.  My husband took an Instagram…but of his receipt.

Image

The next day I was ready to get my conference room on.  It was like a little hide and seek game, but I found the main room.  I had my expectations realistic.  I would be open to receiving as much information as I can squeeze into my already cluttered mind, while meeting a few people that I would hope to remember to contact again.  My realistic expectations were met.  Lots of really good information about the blogging world.  I learned about monetizing your blog, niche-marketing, photography, making contacts, and how to get a Honda Van for a week.

Image

To be honest…as if I lie…I felt like I was at my Ed.D residency.  A bunch of really cool people with lots of information who knew what the hell they were doing.   Did I mention that I later bowed out gracefully with my Ed.S?  It’s o.k. … I wasn’t the only one.  That said, I appreciate all the efforts going into it to organize and get the conference in motion.  It’s nice to look around and see  other bloggers off-line in person.

My husband and I wandered around CedarPoint equally amazed at all the awesome rides that we wouldn’t wait in line for.  He made eye contact with the cartoonist and I averted my eyes.  It was like I knew BitStrips would be the next best thing.  We admired families with kids, bought souvenirs for our 4 left behind children and silently wondered, “What  would our kids think of all this?”…then we took a nap.  After our 5 p.m. nap we got a little crazy and  went to the mall.  Our waitress was the nicest Snooki impersonator you ever did meet.

Image

Image

The last day, I was ready to pack up and get back to flavored Starbuck’s my kids.   A head full of ideas…a shoe full of sand.   I realized that there would be a place for me as a blogger if I chose to pursue it more seriously…though as a person who forgot how many irons I actually threw in the fire…it would have to wait…for now…

Image

Image

Fair Judgment

Image

Written By: Andrea Angileri

The kids loaded up on the green dragon rollercoaster as they do every summer in every state across the U.S.  Some bravely sit in the front, some timidly anticipating the whip of the tails end.   I pull out my white iPhone to take a picture, but quickly shrink back as the parents on either side of me also take out their white iPhones.  The ‘Look at me while I parent’ social media generation is irritation, yet I am completely absorbed in it.  It was then that I notice two boys, one about 5, but the other looking to be on the shy side of 2.  Instantly, I remember the loads of information about Shaken Baby Syndrome that I’ve stored in my child development mental  database.  “Symptoms might not show until later childhood”…”Can happen during playful moments”…”Skull and brain collide”…  Some part of me shakes my head, the mom doesn’t realize this, she is smiling ear to ear at her boys…about to take off on their brain jiggling adventure.  I’m one of the most laidback parents that I know, yet…in that moment.  I was judgmental.

The children had a fun ride, no crying, just smiles.  They unloaded the rollercoaster and headed off to other fair things.  After each ride, each one of my children would emerge, completely disoriented on which direction I was anxiously awaiting.  It was not more than 10 minutes later that I saw it.  A mother with tears running down her blotchy face running to a small wandering toddler.  It was evident in that moment what had happened.  The child had gotten lost.  For a minute, for a second…seemingly for an eternity.  The mother picked up her son and held him in a close embrace.   My fair judgment had completely subsided. It was the same family.  I went over to her and gave her a hug.  I told her that I saw what had just happened and that my heart goes out to her…it has happened to all of us.   In that moment…compassion.  I realized and continue to realize that intelligent parenting decisions and common sense have not always lined up in my own life…I have made my share of mistakes.  The tipping car seat, the procrastinated light switch plate replacement, the heavy blanket incident, the ‘Daughter Driveway Faceplant’ , the ‘Spacing out watching ‘Lost’ while my son climbs out of the bathtub to retrieve the plug’ incident, the ‘Dodging my daughter who then slammed into the corner of  the end table’ incident and other sometimes ridiculous…other times scary blind eye moments that I store in my parent insecurity knapsack.   Somewhere, a mother mourns a mistake she made.  An accident….a blind eye moment…a life-changing event.  My heart goes out to that mother and what she has to endure.  For the rest of us, we continue on with parenthood…sometimes light-footed…sometimes heavy-hearted…always reminded. 

Goodbye 2013: I’m Still…..but I’m Here

 

As John Lennon so pointedly asks “So..this Christmas…and what have we done?  Another year over and a new one just begun”.   When I hear this lyric I feel slight slacker panic.  What REALLY have I done this year?  My knee jerk reaction would be to say that there have been losses and gains this year.  There has been hurt and there has been healing.  I haven’t blogged much, mostly pictures with captions. There have been blog posts that are hidden in the crevices of my heart and mind.  I’m still….but I’m here.  So why don’t I remember the details of 2013?  At the end of each year I like to dig back into the calendar to see….what has this year brought?

January:  I subbed in special education classrooms, a challenging, but rewarding experience.  I grow new appreciation for my children. My oldest son dances in his school talent show.

February:  I babysat a lot.  I attended my first same-sex civil ceremony and it was beautiful.

March:  A Chicago trip to wrap up the last of my talk show phase.  This time my boys appear . I’m getting more comfortable with my food monitor job, but still learning.

April:  Lots of dance competitions.  I lose a dear Uncle, I gain a precious niece.

May:  Another semester of community college adjunct teaching wraps up.  I buy a car.

June:  Head to the Dells for a successful dance Nationals.  I complete my Ed.S.

July: Summer with the kids in full gear.  I see beautiful fireworks. I replace a busted car mirror.

August: My youngest starts preschool..then she gets her tonsils out.  I become a soccer mom.  The school drop off and pick ups baffle me a bit.

September: I turn 37.  I attend a blogging conference in Ohio. Lake Erie is beautiful. I come home and pull 2 wisdom teeth.  Later celebrate 14th Wedding anniversary.

October:  My oldest makes his Confirmation.  I’m a dance mom again.  Parenting responsibilities are in full gear with appointments, conferences, field trips, and the all the rest.

November:  I have a teenager now.  The process of letting go begins. 

December:  I wrap up a year of working, teaching, learning, growing, loving and parenting.  The holidays come and I am grateful.  My children are young and the Santa spirit is in ¾ of the kids still.  I am aware that many are hurting in a way that I have not truly realized in years past.  I realize that life is precious.

So that is 2013…for me.  I hope yours was also a year of working, teaching, learning, loving and growing.  Wishing you all a wonderful 2014!