Summer Plans

Howdy! Now that the snow has sufficiently melted and we’re experiencing an honest-to-goodness springtime, I feel it’s safe to let my mind wander to the wonder that is S-U-M-M-E-R! Last year, I laid out a whole plan of what I hoped to accomplish and a few little “first timer” milestones I hoped to have fun with Hadley with. This year is really no different, although a lot of the stuff we’ll do isn’t a milestone; just “for fun.”

The biggest difference this year is Hadley. He’s so different, guys, it’s crazy. Last year, he was afraid of grass, wasn’t walking (hardly mobile at all, comparatively speaking), and couldn’t communicate. This year, he’s got a couple dozen (probably more) words and several gestures he uses to get his point across, walks/runs/trips/falls down/gets up/runs again, and enjoys dirt and grass and picking flowers (ie picking the heads of flowers off) and generally discovering the world around him with zeal. It’s exhaustingly fun.

So, you’ll notice some repeats from last year’s list. However, I think the actual experiences will be insanely different — for us AND for Hadman. Should be fun!

A touch more streamlined than last year, but still with a bit of an explanation (I’ll try to keep it concise):

1. We’ve all (adults, that is) got a lil’ family winter pudge going on. I need to be less vampirey/anti-social. Hadley loves bugs and dogs and dirt and saying “hi!!!” to big kids and attempting to run into the road. All ideal reasons to walk. A hike or two would be awesome, too.

2. T-2 1/2 months and counting until the monkey turns 2 years old (sniff, sniff). It looks like we’ve landed on a theme, which I’ll share soon. Our ultimate goal is to keep it low-key yet fun (I can’t NOT decorate, and I can’t NOT have a theme…it’s just not me. And he’s just too darn special.) It’s important for me to remember that we’ll have varied ages, and only a couple of little ones, so it’s not like we need much entertainment or giveaways or games. If you’re interested in seeing what I’m thinking, check out my Pinterest board for what I’m thinking. (Some are from last year, too. Speaking of which, here’s a link to how last year’s turned out!)

3. We went last year, and it was a blast. This year, Hadley recognizes animals, can point them out, makes tons of cool noises, and is generally a funner version of Hadley 1.0, so unless a crazy meltdown occurs, this should be awesomesauce.

4. Vague, no? We’re nailing it down, but Mama gets the itch to move every now and again. This could be one place far away. It could be several close-to-home trips. Who knows?

5. I’ve started bringing home some books for Hadley from my school library lately, but I thought it’d be fun to see if there are some family-related library events at our local book haven. If not, it’s cool. I’d just like to get there with him more often so he realizes there’s more than the overstuffed bookshelf in his bedroom. Plus, Mama can do a little more reading, too.

6. The sooner, the better! Maybe two!!

7. To simplify things, we’re not growing from seed this year. I’ve already made a garden plan, so at least I know what we need to go and buy. The Easter Bunny DID get the munchkin a little kit to grow one’s own basil plant, along with a cool little metal watering can and a mini trowel and cultivator, so he’ll hopefully be digging around, too. Yay, wormies! Oh, and I live in upstate NY, so it’s not really advisable to plant much pre-Memorial Day.

8. I’m not making any grandiose “I’m going to finish this monstrous project!!!” statements. Instead, I’m going to take a few of Hadley’s naptimes a week to get outside (or in the basement) to work on some organizing…and cleaning…and maybe painting…and stuff. My grandpa was a putterer, so it’s important to me to try to connect with that and have a hand in the care of the house.

9. Grilling, yes. Setting up and USING the outside table to eat, yes. Getting away from the TV set (regardless of how awesome Dick Van Dyke reruns may be), yes. I’m also hoping that our gate will fit at the top of our deck, so munchkin can eat up there with us and it’ll be a low-stress environment for all involved. Oh, and I’d also love to have a picnic. With pickles. ‘Cuz monkey loves a good pickle.

10. Don’t care where, this just must happen. We may have a picnicking day at a state park with my sis and her little one, so that may be our chance.

11. Last year, I mentioned writing a children’s book. I’ve got the ideas behind several simmering (and even outlined), but getting any of it on paper has remained elusive. This summer, I hope to change that. All I need is the focus…um, and an incredible artist to illustrate it. (I’m also mulling over chapter book. Loves me a good historical fiction.)

What’re you looking forward to most about summertime, summertime, sum sum summertime, summertime? Am I jumping the gun thinking about summer when it’s not even June yet? I think this school year has blown by so quickly (and Hadley has grown so much, so fast) that I’d rather take all the time that we can to hold on!

Blogiversary 4.0

Tomorrow’s Earth Day again, and you know what that means! Well, maybe you don’t, but let’s pretend you already know that it’s my…


Yep! This marks my fourth year blogging. Pretty cool, huh? Also super cool that I share my blogiversary with Earth Day. It’s only appropriate, really, although I realize I haven’t written many “green posts” lately. We’re just livin’ it everyday, is all. This is one of my favorite weeks of the year, though, except for that whole “spring break is over” thing.

My mind was blown and I was wicked humbled when we topped 2,000 views last month — one day being the brunt of the views with 753…yes, in one day! (I still haven’t figured that out…and I MUST KNOW! I’m blaming a computer glitch. ;-)) Overall, we’ve had shy of 35,000 views. Considering last year we had close to 16,000 (and only around 6,000 [or 9,000, depending on who’s doing the math…which would be me…which means they’re probably both off] the year before), I’m floored. And happy. And, again, humbled. It’s just nice to know that I’m not just writing for myself. Well, I AM, but I’m not…y’know what I mean?

I thought today I’d share a story of my love affair.

Um, no. Not that one. Or any of them, for that matter.

This is the story of my long love affair with the world wide web.

When we were kids, “computer class” was all about playing Oregon Trail and maybe even typing a paper up…maybe. That was kinda it. And I loved it. My family had an ancient Mac that my dad used, but my oldest brother got to use it after Dad passed…and I don’t really remember what happened to it after that. So, our weekly computer class was pretty much the peanut butter to my jelly. Yes, I even preferred it to library. (I didn’t always see eye-to-eye with my librarian in elementary school. I am TOO ready to read Little House in the Big Woods!! Forget you, lady.)

Then, one of my best friends (who happened to be better off than my family; the things we didn’t wonder or feel weird about when we were kids) got a computer. It was housed in her parents’ room, and every once in awhile we’d be allowed to use it. I can still remember that god-awful sound of the dial-up internet screeching and crackling making its eventual connection to the outside world. I loved it. I loved it more than my friend did, so I’m sure I irritated her when I’d (almost constantly) ask if we could hop on the computer almost every time I visited. The obsession had begun.

What did we do on this oh-so-new contraption? Why, go into chat rooms, of course! I look back and consider how a) stupid and b) innocent I was about those people we were talking to from, oh, everywhere.

I started to save up for my own computer, but given their extreme expense, I just couldn’t swing it. Cue my mother’s marriage to my stepdad when I was in 8th grade.

Shortly thereafter, he purchased us a laptop. A heavy, square-ish, clunky gray laptop whose fan ran at jet-level propulsion speeds and whose graphics took an hour (or more) to load. Those were the days when we’d turn it on, go let the dog out, pour some cereal, finish our social studies homework, then go back to the computer to click on Internet Explorer. Type in site (Geocities, anyone? Monkees.net? I can’t remember the other chat rooms I used; probably Yahoo), continue doing chores, let dog in, see that half of Peter Tork’s face has appeared on the computer screen, finish eating cereal…and the beat goes on.

Eventually, AIM (for those too young, it was AOL’s Instant Messenger, and it saw me through high school and college before MySpace) made communicating with friends from school insanely convenient and faster than a phone call. I got into writing some Monkees fanfic and started researching other musicians I enjoyed. Heck, I even “met” some fans and for the first time didn’t feel like quite such an outcast for my interests.

I still recall the time we got home; my mother, Jerry and I, from Christmas Eve mass. I jumped online and found (probably from Napster, of all places) an old Bing Crosby Christmas radio show (on our fancy schmancy desktop — movin’ up in the world!) that bellowed throughout the first floor of our house. It was probably one of the first times my mom didn’t despise the computer.

Years later, I’ve logged countless hours, as have many of us, on several computers. I now have a smartphone — a thing that my stepdad predicted in the ’90s would exist someday — and a brand new less-than-$500 laptop that does far more, far faster than any of the $2,000+ models of yore.

Today, I still use social media — namely Facebook, but I’m trying to learn G+, as well as Twitter (on rare occasion), Pinterest, and Instagram — but don’t have to seek out social interaction with strangers as I once did. I’m far more guarded and, hopefully, wiser about my choices on the web. I still over-share (here I am, blogging!) But, I still find my time easily getting sucked up with articles about child-rearing, blogs about how to DIY your own art, and quizzes (things never change there) about which movie character you are.

But, what’s my favorite thing to do with the WWW these days? (You know, ASIDE from taking addictive Buzzfeed quizzes.) Tied with blogging comes…

Ancestry.com.

I swear, I’m 90.

It’s the weird “gotta find stuff out” research-based side of my brain meeting the romantic history-obsessed side in a glorious series of late-nighters. Yeah, the only time I can get much family tree-ing done in when Hadley’s asleep…um, and Dave. Generally next to me in bed. Snoring.

It’s an adrenaline rush when you start to see pre-Civil War (and Revolutionary War) years and names popping up. When you’re given extra reading to really LEARN the story behind the names, or when you realize that your direct ancestor is laid to rest at a famous historical cemetery that you’ve visited several times while touring Boston (or, hell, at a tiny historical cemetery less than 15 miles away at the old homestead…that I’ve never perused), it’s exhilarating. Looking up further web sites for information about historical events those names took part in helps the names to walk and move and even talk a little.

So, that’s what I’m doing thanks to good ol’ technology these days. What about you? How different is your computer experience today than it was, say, 20 years ago? Clearly, you’re reading my blog, so I want to give you a HUGE hug (you know the kind…the full-on happy squeeze one) and say “thanks!!!” with a tear in my eye for using a few minutes of your precious time stopping by.

While you’re responding below about what you’re doing on the Internet these days (um…I should say “keep it clean,” but I really don’t care ;-)), feel free to let me know what you LIKE, LOVE, and think NEEDS IMPROVING here at Meg, Acting Out. Any feedback helps SO much, guys!

Any Idears?

Since we all know what a relatively indecisive person I am (if not, well…now you know), it’s just about time to ask you lovely folks for your opinions again. Yay! This time, it’s with regards to my lap-lap-lappytop.

Ahem. Laptop.

My current model is a Dell Inspiron 1520 that’s over 5 years old. (Um, yep. It’s time.) The caps lock is missing and there’s a big ol’ line down the middle of the screen (video card issue, I assume). Clunky, kinda warmer than I’d like, as slow as a…very slow dinosaur. It’s pretty ghetto, and getting worse every time monkey spots it open.

So, I’ve finally decided that, for cost sake, I won’t be getting a Mac; it’s just not worth it to me right now when we’ve got other things we’re saving for — like a non-scratching post armchair for Mama to nest in every night. 😉 At least I’ve got ONE decision down.

Here are my wishes, oh fairy godmother:

– A good amount of storage and speed
– A slot for a USB port (and a DVD burner, if possible, but it’s not a deal breaker)
– Under $500
– Does it HAFTA have Windows 8??? Windows XP is and always will be my BFF.
– A good size screen (~13″ or more-ish) that’s not TOO heavy
– Photo editing (I love my PicMonkey, but I’m not sure I can live without my Photoshop and Publisher…but maybe I can be persuaded) — so I don’t think any Chromebooks would be viable. Right? (No, really, I’m asking. I’m no expert.) I’ve been searching around and know there are some Chrome apps that might replace this…but I’m apprehensive. I guess this could be another non-deal breaker but it reminds me of the time my husband opted for the pared down version of his car (meaning no car starter and no cruise control…wait, what? Yes. Cruise control. That’s just not safe NOT to have).

Anyhoo. Too unrealistic? I’m not a slave to brand names, necessarily, but a good review is kind of a must. And your opinions would help greatly, too!

A few that I’m stalking ogling researching…

Contestant #1, c’mon down!!! Toshiba Satellite (we’ll leave out the numbers ‘n stuff for anonymity) is a super-cheap date at around $400. While Toshy’s got some of our basic “turn ons” — such as two USB 2.0 ports (do I NEED a 3.0??), a 15.6″ screen without super heft, a DVD drive, good battery power — it’s got 3 GB of ram vs. competitor’s 4 and may be a bit sluggish. Ultimately, she’s what we call okay to look at, but not sure how much substance is lurking beneath. Is she shallow and ditzy? Is she witty and fun, worth taking a deeper look at? No idea! But, isn’t that half the fun of looking?

Toshy the Toshiba Satellite
All images from PCMag.com

Contestant #s 2 and 3 are twins who hale from sunny California (not really, I made that up). Let’s double our pleasure with Acer Aspire #1 and Acer Aspire #2!!! Our first twin is the less expensive of the two (at around $350, although I’m not a Walmart fan, so this may shift if we go with it) and comes with great ratings — an editor’s pick, actually. It’s got a 15.6″ screen with 4 GB of memory, and they have generally great (although sometimes backhanded) compliments for the machine, considering its price. It’s also lacking in a DVD drive (necessary? Probably not) and USB 3.0 (ditto), and I’m not sure if it can handle my kazillion-tabs-open-at-a-time habit. Maybe! It’s not like I’m a gamer.

Acer #1


For Acer #2, coming in at just around $500, seems to have the positive bells and whistles of her sister (along with an awesome review for the price), but with added awesomeness such as a DVD burner, a lighter weight (for the same size sceen), a USB 3.0, and greater storage. Hmm. Certainly enough to put us in a pickle, huh?

Acer #2

Just for fun, let’s meet a newbie in the bunch who’s known for her value (read: cheapness) with a “space, the final frontier” unknown quality about her — we have the Samsung Chromebook ($250). This one’s a challenge to compare since it doesn’t have a traditional operating system and calls for the Internet to get much of anything done, so there’d be a large learning curve, but for that price and adorable package, it needs to be considered.

Samsung Chromebook
Va va voom…
…yet so strange.

Wild card time!!! Since our guest (um, I) will be making QUITE the commitment at the end of today’s Dating Game, we’re going to throw a couple of “nicer options” out on the table just to see if anyone has experience with them or enjoys the brands.

‘Cuz it’s my game and I said so, that’s why. 😉

Here’s the infamously sexy HP (I almost came up with a horrific Dating Game name for that one…) Pavilion. There’s something to be said for looks, considering how much time you spend staring at your computer in a given day. (And let’s just say I’m sick of the view currently.) From an aluminum chassis to the ports to the storage…simply put, this has it all. The only thing I’m iffy on (and this is the thing that has me considering a higher price of $650 in the first place) is that its metal look has a navy blue hint to it. Very unique. And, of course, my current laptop is navy blue…and I’ve generally hated that it wasn’t silver (or black, if it has to be). I might be able to rationalize to myself that it’s become a wicked awesome neutral lately and be done with it.

HP Pavilion
You sexy thing
(You sexy thing you)
The last wildcard in our game is Sony Vaio. I’m 50/50 about this brand name, so if anyone has some super wonderful things to say, speak up or forever hold your peace. The fact that PC Mag can’t rave enough about it (even saying that they had to keep double-checking the price, $629.99, considering all that you get out of the machine) speaks volumes…but I’m still not sold.

Sony Vaio
Really?
Maybe…?
As Monty Hall once said…”Let’s pick Meg a computer!!!” (Clearly never said that.) And I’d love to hear what your favorite brands are in the comments. What do you swear by? Anything I’ve mentioned, or should I check out something I haven’t mentioned? Thanks so much for your help, guys!!!

Which laptop do you choose?
Toshiba Satellite
Acer Aspire #1
Acer Aspire #2
Samsung Chromebook
HP Pavillion
Sony Vaio
  
pollcode.com free polls 

A Valentine’s Day Look Back

Hey, folks! Happy Valentines Day! We’re setting aside our tradition of eating at Beardslee Castle (our go-to romantic locavore meal place, since it was where we had our wedding reception and it’s just so freaking awesome) in favor of a homemade, “adult” meal. Read: Mom’s watching the Hadman so that I can cook food that he doesn’t really eat (or, at least I don’t have to worry about whether he eats it or not); scallops provencal and a nice steak (surf ‘n turf, anyone?), probably with a bit of wine.

So. What’re YOU doing for the day? Nothing? Having a romantic dinner or watching a sappy movie? Watching your annoying daughter’s kid so that she can spend a couple of hours with her husband?

I really have no idea where this post is going to go today. From time to time, I have folks mention that they have a hard time finding their way around MAO (erm, the blog), although the “Archives” tab should help a bit with that. But, I thought it’d be interesting to “walk around” the ol’ joint and share some of my favorite moments. And, according to page views, a few reader favorites, as well.

Come along, won’t you?

Since it’s V-Day, and this is, of course, one of my all-time favorite posts, I thought I’d share my “it’s been 6 months and I finally got around to showing wedding pics” post. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll find reality is a harsh broad when you realize how many of our friend-couples aren’t together anymore. Ahhh, life. And I can’t believe that was 2011…seems like yesterday. 

http://megactsout.blogspot.com/2011/04/six-months.html

While we’re at it, I would be remiss if I didn’t include a post about the Hadman. Because, of course, he’s everything.

Okay, more than one post (such a scary weekend!). Maybe three (such a fun weekend!). And the original post where I talked about breastfeeding issues…and announcing his birth.

And our other boys are also still tops with us, even with a kid in tow. I’ve shared about how we got each of them, but I think a brief kitty post like this fits the bill just fine. Just a blurb about their personalities and what we appreciate about each of their idiosyncrasies.

And, now for some of YOUR favorites (based on what my stats tell me).

BY FAR, my most-viewed post is about Overcoming Facebook Addiction. This is still an uphill battle for an addict like me, but I try to keep it at a minimum. And, not to make excuses, but this becomes a bigger challenge in the winter months when my mind and body go into hibernation mode. (Can’t wait to get outside with the monkey!)

In a case of “ya never know what people will like” lies my mantle-without-a-fireplace post…which should really just be called “hanging a shelf.”

http://megactsout.blogspot.com/2011/08/mantle-with-no-fireplace.html

Similarly random (and voyeuristic) is the showing of how horrific our bathroom started out. I recently found better “before” pictures that I’d like to show when all is said and done, but I really don’t want to call our bathroom “done” until I can get the shower surround completed. It’s about 90% done, in that case. 🙂 (This is what I would call the “in-between” phase where we’d at least switched up the sink and mirror, etc.

http://megactsout.blogspot.com/2011/04/bad-bad-bathroom.html

Sadly, this next post has a ton of views, which makes me proud yet numb to think about. It’s about a few days that changed the way of life in our humble little towns. No pictures, just words. Very true, very broken words.

Aaaaand a trip down memory lane wouldn’t be complete without a breastfeeding post, right? But, this isn’t just ANY breastfeeding post. This is the ever-controversial (in my mind; nobody had anything negative to say — thank goodness) “I lost my baby weight thanks to breastfeeding” post in response to countless comments from folks (women) regarding how much weight I’d lost.

http://megactsout.blogspot.com/2013/10/im-sorry-i-didnt-do-it-on-purpose.html

Last but not least, since our own Dorky Daddy’s birthday just happens to be two days after Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share my favorite gushingly corny post about him. Just for embarrassment’s sake.

http://megactsout.blogspot.com/2013/10/im-sorry-i-didnt-do-it-on-purpose.html

Mind you, some of these old posts are from before I realized that small pictures kinda suck, so please be kind. The heart’s still there, and that’s what matters most.

What about you? Do you have a favorite old post? Are you surprised at how things have changed around here, or do you think they’re pretty much the same (just with three more cats and a kid)? Anything you want to read more (or less) about? I’m always open to suggestions. 🙂

Blog Name Indecision

Since I posted a recipe on Monday, I’m going to skip Foodie Friday for today and address something I mentioned/requested help with on Facebook this week. My blog name.

The original name came courtesy a previous Facebook request (one of the things Facebook is actually good at — ask for opinions and ye shall receive).

I love “Meg Acts Out” (or “Meg, Acting Out”, depending on the day). It’s me. I never would’ve used the name if not. While I have a post just about the meaning behind it, I can concisely describe it in three explanations — a) I enjoy acting with a local theater club (and in general, I suppose), b) I’ve been a little acty-outy (made that up) ever since I was a child (no jail time, but I’m sure I caused plenty of sleepless nights), and c) I’m, at times, outgoing. Bam. Bam. Bam.

But, lately, for a bucketload of reasons, I’m thinking it’s time for a change. Time to retire the old blog name.

Mind you, by no stretch of the imagination does this mean that I’m going to stop blogging. Quite the contrary; I hope to blog just as much, and hopefully in a new-and-improved way.

Some of my favorite bloggers successfully switcheroo-ed their blog names, be it for legal reasons, to take their writing in a new direction, to re-market (cool factor), or just because they’d outgrown the prior name. And I can relate to most of that.

In my case, the name feels stale. I haven’t acted in awhile. (Unless you count a quick stint on our old “radio” remake of “A Christmas Carol”…um, don’t.) I know I will again, but it’s not my life anymore. It’s PART of my life (and an important one), but I’m first and foremost a mama. It’s only fair.


I’ve also somehow become a bit of an introvert. Heck, if I could still be an outgoing, balls-to-the-wall, doesn’t-give-a-damn-what-folks-think, confidence-oozing person, I’d wear that like a hip coat. (Side note: I love a good hip coat.) I’m not sure at what point I lost a lot of that, but it was pre-baby. I’m often anxious, unsteady, and self-conscious around folks. HOWEVER, one place that I’m quite comfortable to say WHATEVERRRR (said in a high-pitched Oprah voice) is here. So, there’s that.

Another reason for wanting “the switch” is that I’m hoping to hop over from the amateur world o’ Blogger over to the slick(er) world o’ WordPress. Since I’m going to change, I figured I might as well grab a cheap domain to accompany it — and megactsout.com just sounds…kinda dirty. A little porn-ish. Is it just me?

I’m also hoping that a change will help me to focus on what my purpose is. I‘d like my blog to be a fun place. I want folks to read with an ultimate goal of having fun or leaving with a smile on their face. Why read anything if it’s not going to be a positive force in your life? That said, if you could walk away having learned a new idea or recipe or, hell, even a good joke…I’m happy.

But, what does that entail?

I’m green, but not super-duper green. I’d grade us on the darker end of the spectrum, but it’s not a race to see who’s the most eco-friendly. One great lesson I’ve learned as a blogger.

I’m a mom, but I’m not sure I’m a “mommy blogger” — many of my readers aren’t moms OR parents, and I’m so happy about that. It’s cool when other parents relate to you (WICKED cool, ‘cuz they’ve hardly got time to pee let alone read a blog), but when you’re writing about poo diapers and STILL can hold a non-parental attention span…that’s the money right there.

I consider myself to be modern in many ways, but Dave and I both associate with a buttload of history. We’re those “if we could live in another era…” people. Our appreciation runs wicked deep, and we like to take lessons from the everyday individuals of the past on how to enhance our lives today.

I lurve me some DIY and decor stuff, but I’m a novice. It’s a passion of mine that I’d like to incorporate into the blog, but obviously don’t want to over-stuff

I’m far from a food blogger (hello, there, iPhone pics!) but enjoy sharing our trials and attempts at keeping up with a REALISTIC real food diet.

I’m a New Yorker, but not one of THOSE New Yorkers.

Yes, I do have a dramatic side. Why else would I watch “Downton Abbey”?

I’m quirky to no end. Unnatural love of old music (40’s…check. Beatles…check. Show tunes…check. EVERY MONKEES SONG EVER WRITTEN AND EVERY RECORDED PERFORMANCE INCLUDING ALTERNATING LEAD SINGERS…um, check. Gregorian chants…not as of late.) Distinct cat voices for each cat, along with highly-evolved personality traits. An appreciation of British and Canadian humor. (Kids in the Hall, what what!)

As with most decisions in life and an ability to self-analyze properly, I suck. It seems that the idea of “Who knows YOU better than YOURSELF?” doesn’t apply here. Seriously. I’m sometimes shocked (and awed, it’s true) at how well another individual can peg me perfectly. How do people do that?

I can generally say the above facts (“I like pizza, how ’bout you?”) but my creative well’s gone dry as far as putting them together into a cohesive blog name. Do I just do a good ol’ lifestyle blog? Should I lean green? Should I hit more parent-friendly notes?

Well, this is where y’all come in. I’ve received some awesome ideas on Facebook regarding the “What should my new blog title be?” question. I’m mulling them over in my head (while my husband suddenly gets caught up Googling old 1930s terms in hopes of using one in my title…only to get sucked into the stupid fact void that is the interwebs), but would like some more ideas.

Now that you know my conundrum, what would YOU rename this place? If you’re new here, click through some of my crappy archive page (scroll down to find the month-by-month) or just click back through the ages by scrolling to the bottom of the home page.

I’m counting on the fact that you guys have been reading and viewing from a different perspective than the writer, and may be able to label this place and what I’ve been doing a little better.

Any ideas are MORE than welcome in the comment section. I’d also like to hear whether you think there’s still life in the current name (porn-ish sounding or not) and WHY! And, as usual, any other suggestions or “I like when you did this…why don’t you do that more?” types of ideas are welcome.

Thanks, in advance! Love you guys!

Our Hero

I know I’ve gushed about what a super awesome husband I have a few dozen times before. It’s not bragging; I’m not in the habit of that. After all, he’s certainly not perfect all of the time (that’s my job…ha…ha…hmm). But, dude. He’s pretty great.

That being said, I thought I’d share a link to a video of his recent trip to a Massachusetts talk show called “Mass Appeal” to talk about tips on surviving your first year as a daddy. He had several talking points (which we discussed in length before he sent them his list) but they ended up discussing just a few of my favorites.
Didn’t he do great?? It’s kind of funny because I received a text from him talking about how he wasn’t feeling great (heavy breathing) when he got there, wondering if it was nerves. This is crazy considering he used to do regular on-air news reporting and anchoring in front of many thousands of people a day, and has performed as an actor to pretty big venues. I totally got it, though; it was a completely different environment, he didn’t know how big his audience was, he hardly knew the hosts (one he had befriended awhile back; the other he was meeting for the first time), and a bunch of other maybe/maybe not irrational reasons.

Knowing that he was nervous, I think he knocked it out of the park. He was relaxed, he sounded relatively intelligent (of course, he is!), and, well, sounded just like our dorky daddy!

Watching this, it was hard not to reminisce about the past 16 months and his growth as a papa. He used to be terrified and held him in an extremely awkward manner. Heck, I left for a few hours several months in and I came back with Dave having slid down the couch, holding Hadley in the exact same position, unable to even reach the remote. (He couldn’t figure out how to get up.)

But, with time came confidence and one of the sweetest relationships I’ve ever seen developed between my two boys. I have only a very little, fuzzy memory or two of my dad, so seeing them play and watching Hadman run into Dave’s arms (and the look of sheer joy on Dave’s face) brings a tear to my eye and a smile to my face…and heart.

Anyhoo, enough gushing. Let me know whatchya think! And be sure to check out Dave’s blog at www.thedorkydaddy.com. It’s good stuff!

Why We Do What We Do

Monday, I posted a quick survey to see what my readers are thinking (and what they like/dislike/want to see more of on the blog). Here’s the link in case you haven’t had a chance to take it yet — and I promise you, I’m not selling your info or any weird thing like that, it just gives me a better idea of who you are and what you’re into!

Anyhoo, so far I’ve heard some wonderful feedback, especially when it comes to what people would like to see/hear more about. One that sticks out to me is hearing more about our change to a more organic lifestyle; the trials, tribulations, cost effectiveness, recipes, farmers market experiences (and what we bought!); also, DIY pieces with the “why” and ideas behind what we’re doing. And recipes. 🙂

(I’m pretty much paraphrasing the comment that I was happy to read!)

That being said, I thought it’d be a good time for a review and check-in about our decisions, our lifestyle, and even a few words about why I have a blog.

Some of this might be explained by a walk down memory lane (or, as I call it, my Archives page), but for those of you who don’t have the time to waste reading my oh-so-wordy accounts of days gone by, I’ll give you a quicker spiel.

I never had a huge goal when I started writing here. I didn’t want to practice writing more. I didn’t want to follow one set path or topic, since life doesn’t generally follow set structure (and I wouldn’t have stuck with it if I’d boxed myself in, anyway; I guess I’m a free spirit and am not a fan of feeling tied down). 

I did think, however, that it would be nice to have a place to share my thoughts and try out some new things, and to be able to look back and say, “Oh, right, we got Beardslee that year! Oh, I forgot about that pumpkin place, what a fun day that was! Right, that was a yummy meal, I need to make that again.” Or, heck, to even be able to go back and remember our wedding a little easier. My memory sucks, by the way.

So, my very first post just so happened to be about something for which I felt uber-passionately in that moment (and still feel passionately about). It also just happened to coincide with Earth Day and related to Food, Inc. (a POWERFUL documentary about the state of the food that we eat…so powerful that we haven’t been able to bring ourselves to watch it since, we cried so hard and were so touched). I guess that laid a foundation for an environmentally-conscious blog!

Which I’m profoundly proud and happy about, please believe me! I love my teensy piece of the blogosphere. And I guess I would consider us to be conscientious greenies, in our own way. But we also live life and eat the occasional ordered-in pizza or doctor with traditional medicines (more-so myself than my hubs) and use traditional diapers (a mix; easier with the sitter). I try not to beat myself up that I’m not baking my own bread and making my own granola and soaking my oats (yes, that’s a thing) and raising my own chickens.

Plus, I have LOTS of interests outside of the green living realm. My favorite blogs to read have always been design/decor-based (namely DIY), and we’re huuuuuuuuge fans of old movies/radio shows and history. I love weird music and books; Dave loves his own weird music and comics. We’re all over the place!

I guess I’m saying that teaching our son (and future kiddies) about environmentally friendly practices, sustainable and healthy eating, and general awareness/kindness towards those around us (animals included) are some of our main priorities in life. If I’m able to build up to being a full-blown homesteader, great. But, odds are that we’re just going to keep working up to being as green as we can be, and be happy with what we can do.

After all, isn’t that really the meaning of life?

So, that being said, I hope to keep blogging about these things. When we get to a farmers market, I’ll remember that a few folks actually like to hear about what we purchased (and what we did with it! Recipes!). When we select a certain meat, I’ll try to remember to explain WHY grassfed is more sustainable and healthy than corn-fed (broken record or not). I’ll explain why we made the choice to eat one thing organic yet another item locally-grown but non-organic. Thanks for jogging my memory — just mentioning something once isn’t always the smartest thing, especially if folks haven’t been reading that long.

But, I hope not to come off sounding like this is what any of you should do. If it gets your wheels turning and considering where your food comes from and how it may give you better health in the long term, WONDERFUL!!!! If you’d just rather read those posts to see how we spent our weekend (and could give two hoots about whether the bacon was treated kindly), that’s great, too! I’m not here to preach. I’m just here to share my thoughts.

I’m proud to be a green blogger and writer, but there’s more (and going to be more) here than an enviro-blog. Since I’m into decor, DIY around the ol’ house and even some crafty stuff, I’ll be doing such. But I’d like to incorporate the Three R’s into as much of it as possible, whenever possible. And, of course, I’m first-and-foremost a mom, so any mommy thoughts will definitely find their way into posts. Again, there’s no right/wrong way to raise a child (unless you’re abusive…that’s unacceptable and I’ll smack you through the computer for that).

This might or might not have explained why the blog looks as it does, or it might just be yet another random-thoughts tangent. (Sorry!) Reading through some of my early, early posts might help describe the journey to where we are, currently, if that helps. And, as always, a HUGE thanks for reading! It makes it way more fun to write when I know folks are reading. Writing for crickets? Not as much fun.

Oh, and I do plan on sharing more of our shopping visits for all the world to see, if I can remember to take more pictures while wrangling a now-active toddler. 😉 Same goes for writing down recipes. I’m just so much of a “eh, throw a handful of this in…then another handful of that…” cook that I need to get better at…um…taking measurements and jotting things down.

Test Time!

Okay, not so much a test as it is a survey. Just wanted to see if anyone started to sweat. No? M’kay, figured.

So, I’m wondering a bit about the lovely folks who read this lil’ ol’ blog. That’s where Survey Monkey comes in. (And I didn’t get paid for saying their name. Although it is fun to say. Anything with “monkey” in the name = gold.)

Just clicky-click this link to answer a handful of questions that’ll help me in the running of Meg, Acting Out:



Fancy! Not.

Pretty easy, no? And while you’re at it, if you’d like to share any of your own suggestions, feel free to leave a comment! I’m open to constructive criticism…and funny GIFs.

Thanks, in advance, for your time and input!

Currently

Since it has been a rollercoaster week full of back-to-school, return-Hadley-to-Grandma’s, husband-starting-awesome-new-job, my brain is FRIED like those old egglicious drug PSAs in the 80s. Seriously, this is your brain on life.

But I still want to write and share and connect and, in essence, blog like usual.

What to do…what to do…

*light bulb*

HK


I tend not to take part in the “new topic every week” (or, God forbid, every DAY) linky parties. Don’t get me wrong. I love me a linky party as much as the next blogger. They’re totally like speed dating for bloggy friends! But, if you’re a regular reader, you know I have a hard time stickin’ with something. Case in point: The never-ending bathroom project. I’ll get there, just don’t put a timeline on it. I’m defiant, especially when defiance gives me an excuse to procrastinate. I’ve always been the “I’ll do it when I’m damn good and ready to do it and not a moment earlier” girl (my poor mother). Then, when I set my mind to it…I do it RIGHT. And in miniscule pieces at a time.

But, ANYhoo, the occasional “here’s a topic, aaaaand GO” post? I’m game. Here are this week’s topics….


(I heart Microsoft Publisher)


I’m growing the heck out of some man-eating tomato plants. I kid you not. The rest of the garden looks like the Land That Time Forgot (namely because *raises hand* I was a bad Garden Mama this summer…I was an awesome Hadley Mama, if that’s any consolation). But, I threw three cherry tomato plants into a little plot next to our front porch instead of flowers…y’know, to make better use. I’m SO one of those folks that would love to convert the front lawn into a garden full of medicinal herbs and heirloom what-nots, but this experiment taught me something about myself: I care a tad too much what the neighbors think. These plants have grown OVER, UNDER, AROUND and THROUGH the porch. Our. Poor. Mail carrier.

Irony? I hate tomatoes. What I hate even more? Picking…you guessed it…tomatoes. Especially when there are squishy ninja ones just waiting to pee tomato juice and guts all over my roaming hand. I want to throw up just thinking about it.

We’re buying shampoo (and have been for a little while now). Yep, I’m no longer ‘poo free, although I’d like to get back to it. I’m a tad more worried about the sheer number of grays popping through lately and whether or not there’s a more “natural” way to handle it. Oh, and especially with the Hadman back at his grandma/sitter, we’re buying the heck outta diapers. And food pouches. Just keepin’ it real. We’re consumers. Guilty ones, but consumers nonetheless.

I’m earning my keep again. READ: School’s back in session. This year, I’m really EARNING it, too. Next to no down-time in a day. But, it’s a job and I’m lucky.

We’re judging our finances. Seriously, we’ve made a Money Date (to take place during one or more baby naps this weekend) to analyze the crab cakes out of what we make and how we use it. I’m thinking of Dave Ramsey-ing our life a bit. And while we’re on the subject of “judging” – I’m judging myself for the fact that I technically do not use a black-and-white, set-in-stone budget. And I really, really need to. *hangs head in shame*

Dave is embracing his new job, and I’m embracing the “new Dave”…which looks a lot like the “old Dave” but with a huge weight off his shoulders. It’s a relief to me to see how well he’s responding to the new gig, and that it’s not a case of “the grass is always greener.” When the grass is half dead and overrun with weeds, anything’s an improvement. In this case, however, it’s truly a luscious field rife with long green grass and fragrant flowers. I don’t use this word much (and we don’t look at life in religious terms), but we are blessed. And you’d better believe we’re grateful. It’s a refreshing change of pace for the whole family. Peace.

And, as always, we’re embracing every single moment of Hadley-ness. As all babies tend to, he’s growing up so fast. The crisp fall air means a change from shorts to pants, and just seeing how long they make his legs appear…and the mini-sneakers he trots around in…holy crow, it’s insane. He’s a little boy. Sure, he’s still a toddler, at least, and isn’t very verbal (if at all), and gets needy here and there, but he’s SO not a baby anymore. Excuse me while I go sob into my pillow. Side note: Frost advisory tonight, but next week it’ll be warming up again. Hooray for toddler shorts again, just for a few more days!! Grasping at something I can’t hold.

So, that’s what I’m up to “currently”. Linkin’ up? You better believe it. Have a slaptastic weekend, folks!

Shout-out to Nekaro, whose blog I enjoy creeping…which is how I found this linky party. (I so invited myself. I’m a party crasher, but only on the interwebs. SO not brave enough for that in reality.)

Handmade Birthday Party

Hey, folks! Things are well under way for a super duper first birthday for our little monkey this Saturday. I’m still working on putting together certain finishing touches and last minute food (going for freshy fresh), but thought I’d share some of the decorations I’ve whipped up for the special day. After all, what says “We love you, buddy!” more than handmade stuff?


First of all, I’m hoping to hang several sizes of poufs around my mom’s carport ceilings, if I can get up that high. Otherwise, I’ve seen them strewn on tables, which will look cool, too. They are currently, however, sitting in plastic bags awaiting their transport to the party place. So, you’ll have to wait to see a picture of the whole set-up, in case you don’t already know what a “pouf” is. Well, there are a couple meanings, but ANYhoo…segue!

Ahem, speaking of hanging, I also cut up some triangles for a few pennant banners to reuse year after year. Eco, baby! And cute, at that! Oh, and the effort in this one might’ve been futile, but I made a felt birthday crown with my expert sewing skills. (snicker) There’s a 50/50 chance the kid’ll wear it, but I can snip the “1” off and put on other numbers or a star for next year. Try, try again! 🙂


Details, details. I’ve done up some little cards with facts about Hadley’s birthday (like what famous people share it) for fun. I also whipped up some “time capsule” forms that folks can fill in for Hadley to read on his 18th birthday. Hopefully I can find room for all this stuff!

We even have a mini “banner” for the smash cake, which I totally eyeballed and am shocked that came out so sweet. Aww. Again, hope to use it next year, and the next, and the next…. Oh, and I yarn-wrapped the “H,” which will probably find its way into Had’s room.


The last non-food homemade goodie we made for the day is THE BEST. And, of course, who made it? The dorky daddy, himself. Yup. He’s my very own personal director, cinematographer, editor, etc., so with plenty of tears, he spliced together a full year’s worth of pictures and videos, boiling it down to just over 14 minutes of bittersweet memories. So. Emotional!

Out little monkey is a big boy! He’s even taken his first few steps over the last week or so. Sigh. These first birthday celebrations are as much about the fact that the parents survived the first year as they are about the baby (not that the day is about us — it’s 100% him).

So, that being said, off to work on the food! Can’t wait to share how it all goes. (Side note: I’m a tad anxious about it as if it was a tiny wedding. Is that weird??)