What Happened Yesterday?

Some folks may have noticed that my blog disappeared yesterday. If I could have figured out a safe way to save Katie’s posts, I probably would have detonated the thing right then. Late last night the tide turned and I feel like I can bring it back online with no serious issues. This is not to say that I’m not going to back the thing up six ways from Sunday and be prepared to pull it, but I suspect I won’t pull it.

Essentially, what happened was this. I am a fan of Peter King, a Sports Illustrated writer who covers the NFL. He’s a good egg, mostly (never enough love for the Bucs, but hey, even I can’t muster that much love usually). He writes a really interesting column every week (Monday Morning Quarterback) and he’s on Twitter. He’s especially unusual on Twitter because he responds frequently to people. He’s also a Hall of Fame voter, which, as you might imagine causes him to catch rashers of shit every year right after the HOF vote. This year? No exception.


Except that two days ago someone called him a racist. A writer for another group thinks that King is the mastermind behind the HOF voters and that he is essentially a puppet master of a good ole boy network. Sigh. He’s from New England. I don’t think he’d know a good ole boy if he met one up close and personal. I’m also convinced that he doesn’t have as much power as people credit him with. He’s just more willing to share what his thinking is and some generalities about the voting process. HOF rules state that they cannot get into specifics about the process or who votes for whom.

A second person confronts King on Twitter about it, specifically calling him out as racist and Mr. King responded sarcastically about being Mr. KKK and pointing out that the selectors group is roughly the same racial make up as the pressbox at any NFL game (to wit, a small percentage of African Americans). A third person comes in and accuses him of yet more racisim. Specifically claiming that he had used the term “honky” in a tweet.

It was this person who tripped my trigger and who I asked for evidence of his claim. And then all hell broke loose. After Iasked for evidence he first suggested I was angry because I’m a King fan, but I wasn’t. I didn’t believe his claim, but wanted to see his evidence, I’m like that. He clearly went to my blog because at that point he said that if I had the time to read the Bible in 90 days, then I surely had enough time to search for his evidence.

Because I had the temerity to ask for evidence, he claimed I was harassing him (identifying me at that point as male). He then suggested that I only wanted evidence because I was interested in Mr. King. All the while, pinging me back and saying I should do the research myself etc., which, of course, anyone who knows me knows I’m going to make you provide your own evidence. You want to argue a claim, fine, give me evidence. And then it stops.

The next morning, he tweets me evidence of his claim. And two minutes later is complaining because I’m not responding quickly enough. He also made a point of saying that I should have learned how to Google. Once I confirmed my basic facts — that Woodhead is white. I asked how that is a racist comment when both parties are white? He then said that I should rethink homeschooling my children if I don’t understand how racist that is.

But in all honesty? I don’t.

He went on to send another couple of tweets about me and about how I’m obsessed with Peter King and that I’m a stalker — I’m sorry: stalkaaaa — whatever the hell difference that makes. At which point I blocked him.

But he wasn’t quite finished. He made a remark about wanting a truce now that he knows that my dog requires daily maintenance medication. And that is the point that I locked down my blog for a while. For the first time in a near decade on the Internet, I didn’t feel safe. I did feel enormous gratitude that I don’t post pictures of my kids online and that this sick individual didn’t decide to get his rocks off talking about my daughter.

Now, the really bizarre part of all of this? The supposed evidence he had? It was fake. He was trying to get attention and get Peter King to retweet him, which Peter did to prove that his claim was bogus. It doesn’t make me feel a lot better. And there’s a real queasy feeling in my stomach as I reset the blog to open and as I get ready to post this, but you know what? Idiots do not get to dictate how I run my life. I let him win yesterday and I feel sick about that.

I stand behind what I write here and what I write on Twitter. I do not make claims without providing evidence and I am not in the wrong here. Thanks for reading!

First Week Back

Imagine me taking a deep breath before writing this. Got that image? Good.

The first week back at work has been way tougher than I ever imagined it would be. I’m not sure how things conspired to make this so tough, but tough it is. Instead of the normal balance of two kids, two dogs, homeschool, and a job. I’m trying to balance all of those with an ongoing eye problem (I haven’t mentioned that yet, have I? More blog fodder, I guess), Peyton’s recurring nasty ear infection, and Sam BURNING herself on the power supply for my laptop. The only excuse for the last one is that she’s old and she sleeps like the dead. It’s the only thing that is shaped correctly, so it has to be how she did it and my only guess is that she laid down on it and then fell asleep. It clearly hurts like heck and we have no idea how many hair follicles were permanently destroyed by this little folly, but it requires twice a day medicine plus a cream in the evenings. So, more meds. Lovely.

School is actually going reasonably well for Ben. He is mostly willing to do his work and mostly willing to try even when he feels a little overwhelmed by the skills he’s learning. His handwriting is a little scary, but you can mostly figure out what he’s saying. We’re focused almost entirely on language arts right now (reading, writing, spelling, language development). We do science twice a week, but even that is stressful if there’s too much writing involved. He is getting better though and I’m proud of how far his handwriting has come since we started working on it.

But trying to balance all of that plus Katie, plus work? It’s getting a little frantic up in here. It never helps that after I’ve put a full day in with the kids, my husband will look at me and say, they seem to want some mom time tonight. Um, yeah. I’ll get right on that. So then I don’t even start work until 9p and work until 1 am to be awakened by my darling son at 7am. And we wonder why my fuse is already short.

Part of it is trying to get back into a rhythm. Now, one could argue (and I surely would) that while they’re engrossed in the movie that they’re watching, I should be doing some work rather than writing a blog post complaining about how overwhelmed I am. But the thing is if I don’t let off a little steam right now, I’m going to explode, so blogging wins in order to help me keep my sanity.

Deep breathing. That’s what I need to do. Deep breathing. How do you cope when it all gets to be too much? I really want to know.

Comments, comments everywhere

and what do we do about them.

It’s interesting to me having observed, from afar, the discussion about someone who had an interesting experience and then mentioned it on her blog. In her twitter stream she commented that she was getting some criticism, but she also commented that she deletes those comments from her blog.

And that’s certainly her right to do as it is her blog, but I have to wonder how she would have reacted if I had the same reaction to negative posts on my blog when it was a blog post of mine that she took exception to and proceeded to rip me a new one about.

So, now I wonder . . . what do people do in the face of overwhelming negativity in the comments section of their blogs. Do you delete? Do let them through? Do you respond? How do you handle it?

Day 2: My Favorite Parenting Blogs

Day 2 of the challenge feeds into my usual Wednesday post as I usually do review/list posts on Wednesday. I think Darren does a nice job of explaining why lists are so popular for blog posts, so make sure you click the link at the bottom and read his thoughts on the subject!

Today, I thought I’d identify my favorite parenting blogs. Some of them are strictly about the act of parenting itself and some are more about the logistics of parenting — as in, what stuff do you need or how do you find materials and so forth. So, my favorites:

Cool Mom Picks. This is an outstanding website that provides a minimum of three reviews a day of new products that could be useful to parents or kids or both. Recent reviews covered things like Chocolate covered Matzo for Passover, an Etsy shop selling cute barrettes, and cool boys clothes. It was through them that I found the Sara Bear basket that I reviewed here a couple of months ago, the camera that my husband used to take my profile picture, and my son’s shoes.

Pioneer Woman. Ree Drummond’s blog. This blog covers a variety of different topics from decorating to cooking to photography to homeschooling. She’s been my inspiration to try homeschooling my children and her recipes are to die for. Not everyone can live on a ranch in the middle of nowhere, but everyone can benefit from her ideas about how to approach life and her sense of humor. She’s a good reality check for me when I think I’m in over my head on just about anything.

Parent Hacks This site has saved my life more times than I can count. Some of the great ideas that I seemingly come up with out of thin air that impress my husband so much? Come from here. I am always amazed at the endless creativity that people exercise and exhibit when it comes to doing things with kids. Some of these are ingenious and clever, some are just plain common sense, and some are really wacky, but all are useful. Features a good google search to help you find out how to do just about anything you can think of.

Motherhood Later . . . Than Sooner. This is a really cool blog for those of us who came to motherhood after the age of 35. Sometimes it can be a bit, um, overwhelming to realize that everyone around you is getting ready to graduate their kids while you’re still changing diapers. These women can relate and they share their experiences and feelings on the subject. There are a range of voices here so one is sure to resonate.

A Little Pregnant. This started as a blog of a woman’s experiences pursuing fertility treatments. It has become both an advocacy blog for infertile women and a parenting blog for a woman with two adorable children. It gives me a lot of hope to read this and realize that everyone has challenges to overcome on their way to becoming parents and it gives lots of interesting ideas about parenting and validation over the voices in our heads that tell us we have to be more permissive because it was harder for us to have children.

Baby Toolkit. This is my other favorite product recommendation blog. The authors combine product recommendations with advocacy for key parenting issues (BPA-free, for one). It is from them that we got the idea for Ben’s tent. We also finally decided to try Relish because of them. The key difference between Baby Toolkit and Cool Mom Picks, I think, is that Baby Tool Kit focuses on a lower price point in most cases. I really appreciate that aspect of their reviews. I also really appreciate the follow through. A product that they really liked had some issues and they pursued it as well as documented it for the reader, so that we all could see how the company in question responded to their concerns. A very honest and upfront blog that is really helpful for readers.

So, that’s it. My favorite parenting blogs. Hope you find something useful and if you have a favorite I didn’t mention, please feel free to leave a link in the comments. I’d love to see some more useful blogs!

Darren’s challenge post

Day 1: Elevator Pitch

The first challenge of the build a better blog challenge is to create an elevator pitch. Basically, this means that you develop a short statement about the content of your blog that can be delivered in 30 seconds — the approximate length of an elevator ride.

I really had to think about what my purpose is and how it’s relevant outside of my own head. What I finally came up with is:

Providing information and inspiration for those working from home while raising children.

I think that really does sum up the purpose of this blog and how I decide what content to include.

Link to Challenge Post

31 Days to Build a Better Blog

So, for those of you reading who don’t know me, I can’t resist a challenge. I really can’t. This one, being a writing challenge, and designed to help improve this blog is truly right up my alley.

The only thing is that the likelihood of me doing 31 days in 31 days is, well, slim. So, over the next several weeks, you’ll be seeing posts labelled with Day #x as I work through the challenge. Should be fun and we’ll see if I can’t make something more purposeful out of the random collection of things that I’m doing.

Edited to add: ProBlogger