Today I am…Blogging Along with Effy Wild!

Yay, I’m so in!

My favorite art goddess, Effy Wild, is going to be blogging daily in August & I’m going to join her!
I’ll be blogging about anything & everything: books, art, scrapbooking, teaching 8th grade monsters, this crazy baby chase, & who knows what else…(Sharknado, anyone)!


I’m not (that) broken…

097 Infertility sucks.


That’s putting it nicely. When your body refuses to do its job, it is hard to deal with. I’m a woman, I’m supposed to make babies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to throw my gender back to the dark ages, promise! It’s just what I want, more than anything in this world. I want to be a mommy. A Mommy. I was pregnant once, for fourteen beautiful weeks, with sweet baby Hope. It almost happened.

Quite often, I just feel broken. There’s a meme for this…YOU HAD ONE JOB! Sometimes I yell this at myself. Hey, uterus, YOU HAD ONE JOB! You, too, ovaries: ONE JOB! And the kicker is, I can’t fire them and hire parts that work. It is maddening.

We are seeing a specialist. We did IUI. I’ve lost 22 pounds since May. I’m eating healthy. I gave up Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper. Sometimes I have dreams about DDP. They are glorious! I’m down to one cup of coffee a day. I’m taking a fist full of meds several times a day that make me hot and emotional. Now I’m sweaty and I cry a lot at things that are completely ridiculous (like there aren’t any napkins or that the cat won’t sleep with me). Poor Schmoopy! That man is a saint!

My story isn’t unique. It’s actually quite common. That’s why I am sharing. So many people have, as politely as possible, questioned me as to why I’m putting all of my secrets out there so publicly. Actually, I’m quite an Instagram junkie (@ohmandee) and I’ve been recording this struggle under the hashtag #gethealthygetbaby. I’m sharing because I need to. I’m sharing because I keep getting emails from beautiful, amazing, brilliant women who are going through this horrible thing, too. I’m not alone. We’re not alone. So many women tell me they are ashamed that they can’t get pregnant or stay pregnant. I get that. I’m not writing this to complain, either. I’m thankful for these medicines and procedures. I’m thankful that I even have a chance of getting pregnant.

I’m writing this because I’m not broken and neither are you. We’re  just who we’re supposed to be, actually. Psalm 139:14 “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

Whatever your struggle is, know that you are not broken. You are just what you are supposed to be. If you want to change something, change it. Become that beautiful, amazing anything you want to be. It isn’t easy, it doesn’t always work, but you have every reason to go for it.I have beautiful, amazing friends who remind me of this daily. They are true blessings to me. I pray that all of you have such friends.

This was quite rambling, I know. But my heart tells me that it needed to be shared.

Take care of you, please, you are so loved! xo

Making Beautiful Messes!

I am indulging my creative self this summer! It is so beautiful and messy and just AWESOME!
I’m taking some art classes, learning how to bind books, drawing, scrapbooking, creating insane collages, painting, and making friends with colors!

Look what I made! 

Check out my beautiful muses, I know you’ll love them, too! 

So in love with Effy Wild!  She is my artistic hero! I’m doing her Book of Days and Bookbinding 101 classes. Heavenly! I just love the art and therapy and wisdom she gently places in my heart. Also the glitter flinging! It is just…RIGHT!


Christy Tomlinson, oh man! I can’t even describe her kind of awesome! I’m doing her Behind the Art class to learn about supplies, backgrounds, and colors. She makes it look effortless. I am making so many happy mistakes and just going for it!


Tamara Laporte, the force behind Willowing Arts is amazing! I finally signed up for her  Life Book 2013: Late to the party, but jumped in full force! I’m in heaven!

Kristin Tweedale of RuKristin is a rockstar! I took her Fold It In! class and made a million albums that I adore. She is running a wicked cool FREE summer class right now, Find Your Voice. It is all about discovering your storytelling voice. I’m so loving it!

IMG_4087   IMG_4290

I also joined in an art swap hosted by super creative and talented Sandra Kaye. I figured swapping would inspire me and get my booty in creative mode!

Of course, I’m stalking some awesome blogs, too!
Donna Downey…so in love with her Inspiration Wednesday posts. So much technique filled awesomeness!

I’m making stuff, messing up, gluing, painting, experimenting with color, & screaming DO OVER a lot! And I LOVE IT!
And, because I’m a book girl, I’m also reading these awesome books:

Art Journal Freedom by Dina Wakely…she is awesome!

Inner Excavation: Exploring Your Self  Through Photography, Poetry and Mixed Media by Liz Lamoreux. She has a book study on her blog & Effy Wild is doing one in The Glitterhood, too! Awesomeness!

Art is my new happy place! What’s your happy place? 

Today I am…HAPPY!

So, I’ve made blissful some changes in my life lately.




Sometimes dreams change. It is strange to admit that my dreams are different now than they were a few years ago, but it is true. So, I’ve had to change a few things around in my world. Thankfully, there is so much love and support all around me!
This is just the best! The. BEST!
I am eating great, real, fresh food & focusing on getting healthy.   Who would’ve ever thought that I’d drink something with raw spinach or kale! Schmoopy is joining in, too. He wasn’t a big green smoothie fan before, not at all, but he is on board now. He feels great, too. YAY US! I’m hooked on These girls are amazing!
I feel wonderful.
We’ve also decided to get this baby thing going again. We had a devastating second trimester loss in 2010 & it almost destroyed me. We call it The Dark Times. Everything crashed and I was really lost for a really long time.
Feeling much more whole than I have since then, we are moving forward. It is a long, sad, difficult, & super expensive process. We are starting with IUI for now. If we need to, we will move on to IVF, & then adoption.
We will be parents. I will be a Mommy. Schmoopy will be a Daddy.
We will do this! And it will be EPIC!
I’m also focusing on being creative again.  I’ve taken a few art classes at my local scrapbook shop, a few online, started scrapbooking and Project Life-ing again, and it is just good for my soul. Really good.
And the biggest change of all…I’ve taken a leave from my doctoral work. It is a six month leave for now, but it may be a forever leave. Earning my doctorate was something that I wanted for such a long time. It was a dream.  A big dream. I used to get so excited about my research, the writing, the discovery, the papers (what?!).  Lately, the whole idea of it has been a source of so much stress and anxiety. The spark is gone. The thrill. The dream changed. I agonized over it for a long time. Schmoopy and I had several looooong discussions about it. I’m not a quitter and this was the most difficult part. I had several discussions with my wonderful Mama about this, too. I was raised by two amazing people who taught me to finish what I started and to do all that I do with my whole self. To say that there was some internal conflict is an understatement. I finally made the decision to take a leave and I’m so happy I did! The gloomy cloud lifted almost immediately. The stress levels dropped dramatically, and my heart felt hopeful again. I may return. I may not.
Either way, I’m ok with it. I can do hard things!
source: tumblr

source: tumblr

Whew, lots of info there, huh!?!? Maybe even a little TMI, but I’m good with it all.
There are going to be some awesome changes around here & I’m totally super psyched!


Ummm, I promise I still live here

So, yup, ummm…haven’t visited in a while. Let’s just call it an extended vacation.
Have I been reading tons of books? YUP!
Have I been reading tons of blogs?
Have I forgotten about my cool little spot on the www?
Not a one!

So what’s up, whatcha been doing, why’d you leave?
Dissertation writing, 8th grade kiddo teaching, Schmoopy love life living, Instagram loving, scrapbook mess making & all that jazz.
But summer’s coming and I’m feeling the blog love again. So, no promises, but I think I’m ready!

Pic proof of the life that’s been happening:
Yay Books!













My super adorable friend Laura & I set out on an adventure to Charleston, SC for YALL FEST! It was an awesome trip filled with tons of book love! Here are a few of our favorite pics from the weekend. Yay books!


My new YALL FEST shirt


Cassie Clare & Holly Black

My ticket to meet Cassie Clare. Alas, it wasn’t in the cards that day. Sad Panda!

Adam Gidwitz rocks Grimm with tons of sass! Love it!

Trenton Lee Stewart! Love his Mysterious Benedict Society series!!

David Levithan. I love the way he makes the world a better place with every awesome book he writes!


Gayle Forman…OMG! Love her!


Laura & I on a bike taxi! Check out the cool reflection in her glasses! So fun!


Carrie Ryan…then I died! Love her!! Also, LOVE HER!


The coolest YALL FEST volunteer around!


Laura with her fave, Stephanie Perkins


Laura with Carrie Ryan. Did I mention that I love these two?!?!


My new favorite necklace by the amazing Love her work!

Today I am…talking about bullying at Uniquely Moi Books!

I stopped by Uniquely Moi books to give my teacher perspective on bullying.

Check it out and you could win a copy of A.S. King’s epically awesome EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS. ANTS is an awesome book about bullying, the kind of wounds we can see, and the kind scars that we can’t. (And also because I totally love everything she writes and you should too!)

 Read the post here!

Sending ASK THE PASSENGERS my love!

5 Blings for Ask the Passengers

5 Blings! for Ask the Passengers

Wow! I just finished A.S. King’s ASK THE PASSENGERS. Her words live, as they always do, like magic, like the perfect hug, like a tattoo that gets inked onto all that you are and ever were, like the one thing you need to hear at the right time to know that everything really will be ok.

Sending you my love, but not all of it. ♥

Read ASK THE PASSENGERS. Your heart will thank you.

Here’s my thank you to Amy for these amazing words:

I just finished Ask the Passengers. I’m sending you my love. But not all of it. Just enough for you to know that you are so loved and your words are beautiful and there are so many that will hold those words close to their hearts the way I am now. I am smiling just thinking about it.
I’m also kind of upset that I pronounce Socrates wrong in my head, every time, because of Bill & Ted. Maybe I should send them some of my love, too.
Thank you for all of the ♥

Please remember that love is love.

We all have love to give and we are all worthy of being loved. 


Finally! AS King’s New Book!! Ask the Passengers!

Yup, I totally love A.S. King. She rocks my whole face off.

I’ve been waiting for this book for at least a million years (or a few months, whatevs). It arrived on my doorstep Friday. And I devoured it. I love it. I kinda wanna marry it. (just kidding…maybe).

Go read it. Now! 

Ask the Passengers ROCKS! 5 Blings!

I don’t even get mad (just sad) that she isn’t at the book events I go to. Why? Because she keeps writing awesome books…but I do want to meet her someday. Totally say hey, hang, and buy her a round or two. Instant BFF’s-I think so!

Check out what she has in the works (more things for me to love, and pet, and drool on):

Printz Honor author A.S. King’s REALITY BOY, in which an infamous reality TV child star, now a damaged teenage boy, meets a girl who forces him out of his angry shell before they run away and send their dysfunctional families a list of demands that must be met in order for them to come back, to Andrea Spooner at Little, Brown Children’s, for publication in Fall 2013, by Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (World English).

Luke Reynolds, ed.’s BREAK THESE RULES, an anthology of first-person accounts from leading authors for teens (including Sara Zarr, Kathryn Erskine, A.S. King and Gary Schmidt, and many others), from which all royalties will be donated to the Children’s Defense Fund, to Lisa Reardon at Chicago Review Press, by Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency (World).

YALL Fest!! Woot!

So, I totally (finally) decided to go to YALL FEST!!


*tries to calm down & fails*

Yall Fest is an awesome one day author/book loving event in Charleston, SC.


Check it out & join the fun!