Last week was my 40th birthday. I turned the big 4-0. I feel like a rebellious teenager, full of dreams and ideas, yet not quite old enough to be responsible for making all these grown-up decisions. How did I get to be 40 so quickly? I had the best time in my 30’s and I don’t mind being 40. The fine lines and wrinkles. All of it, I wear proudly. It’s been an awesome ride and I look forward to another 60 or so years of awesome, no matter how wrinkly I become.
We had a fabulous time with wonderful friends for New Year’s Eve. The six of us adults laughed until we cried. It was so much fun and it was the first time in more than 7 years that we celebrated the new year with other adults. We had a beer tasting. We had good food. We played games. We laughed and laughed some more. I can’t remember a New Year’s Eve celebration where Mr. Bear and I had so much fun in so many years. We are so fortunate to have amazing friends that have endured so many life changes in our lives: marriage, births, job changes, moving further and further away from each other by relocating to Birmingham. We have much in common, have similar interests and have a great time getting together—even if those get-togethers are never often enough. When you find good friends, you hold tight to them. (Thank you, Bennetts for hosting a fabulous party and ringing in the new year with us!)
Unfortunately, despite the amazing start 2013 had, the tide turned a few days later and we three Lohrs fought the wretched flu, sinus infections, fevers, bronchitis, coughing, hacking, sneezing and other dreaded ailments. It has only been a few days since we have found our way back to good health. Here we are, however, I am thrilled to say!
Allison was awarded an Ace Award, which is something of a Student of the Month award, to simplify it. Her teacher has such glowing things to say about our little girl. Mr. Bear and I are beyond proud of her! She works very hard in school and her hard work is certainly paying off. While she was absent, her teacher expressed how much she missed her while she was gone and my heart swelled with pride. She is easy to love. She is such a caring, loving, likable child. She is a good little girl. We could not be happier. She has made us better people with her gentle, kind spirit.
My good friend Tracey and I are planning to do the La Jolla Half Marathon in April. I have to say that I have a lot of work ahead of me, but Tracey is a great motivator! I don’t know if I can keep up with her, but I definitely look forward to celebrating over cocktails with her afterward, like we used to in the good ‘ole days.
Watching the events unfold in the news over the past 24 hours has left me raw with emotion. How in the hell can something so evil be happening so often in our schools? Much like the vivid details of the morning of September 11th that is freshly imprinted my brain, in all likelihood, these images won’t soon leave my consciousness.
I have been volunteering in my second grade daughter’s classroom on Fridays since she was in kindergarten. I will never forget the first time the school practiced their monthly lockdown drill. In all honesty, it horrified me. In order to not process the reality, I pushed out into the far recesses of my mind, wiped my tears away and told myself it couldn’t happen here in our town again. Besides, these horrible things don’t happen in elementary schools. Right?
We live about two miles away from Santana High School, in the east San Diego suburbs, where in 2001, one of TWO high school shootings happened in the school district in a period of two weeks. Santana High School will be my daughter’s high school if we continue to live in the same area when she attends high school. Because I lived in San Diego when the shootings happened and later worked for the high school district where the tragedies took place, the memories of those tragic events prominently loom in the back of my mind each time I drive past the school.
This evil is something you never forget. We have chose not to share the tragic news of Newtown, Connecticut with our seven year old. I cannot bear to strip her of her innocence and belief in the power of good over evil. When it comes right down to it, these acts are not accidents—they are carefully orchestrated acts of pure evil. It is something I cannot make sense of and DAMN IT! No one should have to make sense of this madness. It should never, ever happen.
I tried to stay off of Facebook or watch the news for most of the day. For one, my heart could not take the sadness. I could not process the images or synthesize the fact that evil like this happens every damn day. I was angry. I was frustrated. I was downright pissed off that this is the world that our children are inheriting. It is overwhelming to conceive.
The fact that I have the luxury to tune out to what happened is not lost on me. The parents of Newtown, Connecticut cannot change the channel or shut down Facebook. What has been lost can never be recovered. It cannot ever be undone. I recognize all too well that this could have happened in Anytown, USA. It has happened in my town before and I don’t know what safeguards are in place to assure it won’t happen again. No, there is nothing to restore the sense of security. There is a gaping void where security once occupied. Vulnerability and fear occupy the spaces where security once lived. That´s why it´s important to always have the best security systems in your home, like this crash rated gate installation.
My heart is breaking for the 20 plus families that left their children at school—a place that should be SAFE, that did not get to tuck their little ones in bed last night. I had the luxury of hugging my family members tight, where others will never be able to wrap their arms around their loved ones again. It breaks my heart at the carnage that has been left behind after this senseless attack. I have been praying since I heard about what happened, because frankly, I don’t know what else I can do, but hold these people in my heart. I cannot imagine the ways in which this tragedy will change lives. I am angry. I am so filled with so many emotions, I cannot even begin to express. It is all so terribly wrong. It isn’t fair.
Various media and Internets almost immediately called for gun control and outright bans on guns, hardly before the news was reverberated—before most of the details have been revealed. I am burned out from the politics of November. The fighting. The Great Facebook Debates. It all sucks. It makes me absolutely disgusted.
Not even 24 hours after this event happens, people are spinning the political rhetoric. BAN ALL GUNS! Blah. How about a few moments of grieving, of embracing each other, of honoring the victims and opening our hearts?
Before we get our proverbial panties in a bunch about gun control, let us have a few moments to wrap our brains around the wicked horror that took place yesterday. What happens if we ban guns and strip ourselves of our Second Amendment rights? How are we going to stop bombs, like what happened in Oklahoma City or even more recently—our US Embassies? Remember the hijackers of 911? They didn’t have guns. They had ordinary box cutters. It’s not only guns we have to worry about. It is knives, box cutters, swords, sticks, stones, cars with Fatigued Driving Accidents | Kelly & Soto Law, clubs, batons, and 500 other benign instruments that can be turned into weapons. We need to think about stopping evil in its tracks and not focus on any one aspect.
I can’t help but think about the recent cleaver, hammer and knife attacks in schools that have harmed or killed young children in China over the past few years or the bombing in Norway that killed 77 people last July.
The Second Amendment was adopted in 1791 and yet this barrage of violence in school is a contemporary problem. Even 50 years ago, kids weren’t bringing guns to school, although the Right to Keep and Bear Arms made its prominence in the 18th century. Is it possible the the prevalence of guns has changed little, but clearly our society has changed enough that such evil exists today? Are we that naive to think that guns and not the people that senselessly attack children are the real problem?
I have to wonder—is banning guns really going to stop evil in its tracks? We see it everyday in our news. Wickedness is everywhere and is not settled on one implement to carry out its destructive and vile acts. It is terrifying. Why is this violence happening? What can we do to change it?
The real question we need to ask is, how are we going to disarm evil?
It is the holiday season again already. It is difficult to believe we are already nearly done with 2012. One of my favorite things about the holidays is getting a family photo of the three of us and getting our holiday cards out. In years past, I have designed my own, but I have fallen in love with the designs that Tiny Prints offers, year after year. Of course, I am usually putting everything together at the last minute during the holiday season and I have only drooled over the beautiful cards.
For example, I love, love, love the tri-fold cards, like this one here:
Or, this one here:
In years past, I have enjoyed including highlights of the year in a newsletter. This card would really meet my desire to share annual highlights:
I absolutely love these cards and I may just order them this year—with our own photo that we still haven’t taken yet!
Check out the beautiful selection of holiday cards Tiny Prints has available this year. You are sure to fall in love, like I did. The hardest part is going to be narrowing down my selection!
Disclaimer: I received Tiny Prints credit in exchange for this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. All opinions are my own and based on personal experience and genuine love for the brand.
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Over the past three years, I have been to many conferences. For me, the blogging conferences are my excuse to have a girl’s weekend out in whatever city the conference is being held in. Last year, I went to Bloggy Boot Camp in Denver, Colorado, which meant a few days with my best friend who lives in Denver and lunch with a sorority sister. This weekend, I went to Bloggy Boot Camp in Las Vegas, mostly to spend the weekend with some of my favorite Southern California bloggers, but what I got out of it turned out to be so much more!
I have to say that with all the conferences I have been to in the past couple of years, this year at Bloggy Boot Camp in Vegas was my favorite conference yet! Not only did I get to spend time with some of the smartest women I know, I learned so much!
Friday night, about 10 of us got together for an ice cream social downstairs in the Southpoint Casino we were staying at. We had great conversation about blogging, networking, husbands, working with brands, and being moms. There were not many topics we did not touch. We ended up laughing, talking and hanging out until 3 a.m. We weren’t drinking, gambling, dancing or anything like that. We were enjoying great conversations and everyone was excited about the conference the next day. I did not get a full 8 hours of sleep and it was totally worth it! It is so important to me to connect with other bloggers and to network. The result has been that I have a really fabulous network of friends.
I came back home with so many ideas in my head and so much gratitude in my heart. I am so grateful to have found this community of supportive women that I have had the privilege and honor to know. I have so many plans in my head, I do not know where to start, but I know which direction I want to go. I feel inspired and I am excited to start moving on! It is going to take me a week or so to synthesize all the information I got out of the conference.
I got to see many San Diego bloggers I have met many times, as well as some Southern California bloggers I know from Facebook and Twitter that I have not met before. I loved listening to all the women speakers of the day. I was inspired by the strength and courage of the women in the room, including the Warriors in Pink that were at the conference sharing their stories.
Some important lessons I learned (that I may or may not have applied yet!)
1. Set working hours. I think my working hours are going to be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. I need to make myself wholly available to my family during the hours I am not working.
2. I need to come up with a business plan. No more of this throwing things on the wall and seeing if they stick. I need to focus on where I want to be and work my way backwards.
3. I need to find ways to simplify my life so I can focus on my work during my business hours. I think this means a housekeeper is in order. I need someone to come in and do the deep cleaning so I can focus on my business and get this enterprise feedback management to help me keep track of my client´s reviews.
4. Wednesday nights are for Mr. Bear and I. We are going to have a date night every Wednesday. We need some time together, without interruptions from our little bundle of joy.
5. I do not need to worry about my critics.
“Don’t try to win over the haters. You’re not the jackass whisperer.”
— Scott Stratten, author of Unmarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.
Some of the people I hung out with that I think are AMAZING!
Tiffany of SITS and one of the women behind Bloggy Boot Camp. She is one of the funniest women and I love her! I left the conference so inspired and ready to put the work in to get where I want to be. I found out she is also my friend Tracey’s neighbor. We will have to invite her over at our next get together.
Gigi of Kludgy Mom. I got to bend Gigi’s ear for a while at the conference and she is awesome. She has so much knowledge and I learned so much in such a short conversation.
Melissa of Miz Meliz She is one of a kind! I had so much fun with her! She seriously has one of the most contagious smiles of anyone I have met before. She and her husband joined Mr. Bear, me and a few others at the Hofbräuhaus in Las Vegas. It was a lot of fun and I am so glad she joined us!
Danielle Smith of Extraordinary Mommy She inspired me so much, listening to her speak at the conference. She is one extraordinary woman for sure! She inspired me to pursue my dreams and to make them happen. She also reinforced the working hours rule that I will be soon implementing.
Carolyn West of This Talk Aint Cheap and founder of SoCal Lady Bloggers. We got to chat about a lot of things over the weekend. Carolyn was inspired over the weekend too and I cannot wait to see the incredible things that result! Carolyn joined us for dinner at the Hofbräuhaus after the conference. (We got to see quite a bit of spanking, which was very interesting. Every time someone ordered a shot, the servers would swat the shot-taker.)
Lolo of Crazy About My Baybah. Lolo is one of my good friends and although this is only the second time I have got to hug her in person, I feel like I have known her forever! It was great to see her!
Bibi of Bibi’s Culinary Journey. Bibi is from Canada, but joined the Southern California ladies meet-up on Friday night. She is a lot of fun and I am so glad we got to meet. She and her friend also joined us at the Hofbräuhaus Saturday night. She was kind enough to give us a ride over.
I also got to see Ali, Theresa, Surferwife, Laural, Wendy, and many other bloggers. Unfortunately, one day was not enough time to get to hang out with everyone.