Wednesday, May 2, 2012

a real blogger

Am I the only one who regularly experiences that awkward moment? You know, like when someone approaches you in the store and embraces you like you're an old friend, only you totally can't remember how you know them?

Or when you're sitting at church listening to a sermon and your four year old pulls your spare nursing pad out of your purse and waves it around asking "Can I have this??" ....for 15 seconds or so until you realize what he's waving? (not that I would know...)

This happens to me often as a blogger. Because honestly...confession time...I'm not a real blogger. I am a really good faker though, and sometimes I almost think I'm a real blogger. But then I read something online- like a really good article on "Why Header Design Matters" - and I realize maybe I'm not doing as great a job of faking it as I think I am.

Because my blog header has been bugging me for a loooong time, and I hope I was the only who who noticed it was always a little too square, always hanging-off-to-the-left instead of centered, and usually broke the (apparently) #1 rule of "don't blow all your above the fold (the area before you scroll) real estate on it."   Oops.

And then yesterday, right after reading about how much my blog header stinks, I received the sweetest email from someone asking for blogging advice. (Kate, if you're reading this post, ignore the next few sentences). And I sort of cringed and thought: oh no. she thinks I'm a REAL blogger.

So I decided to enlist some help yesterday, and go to someone whom I consider a real blogger, to fix my header. Because whenever I go to read Krista Ewert's One Beautiful Life, I stop for at least a full minute before reading, just coveting my neighbor's property...her header is perfectly aligned, her layout is clean and organized, her photography is flawless. And her posts read like a well-written novel. And that's when I remember- ooooh that's right- Krista is a real blogger.

So yesterday, when I asked her what I was doing wrong with my header, and why it wouldn't stretch right, and how to make it stop hanging off to the side, Krista graciously agreed to help. And when I whined that I was trying to implement her sage advice, but nothing was working, she just politely asked me to send her my photo. And then she waved her magic real-blogger-fairy-wand over it, and voila. Header Heaven. (and yes, when I inserted the photo and hit "view blog" I did hear angels singing. Pinky promise.)

And in the three minutes that it took Krista to adjust my photo (and how she managed to duplicate my title font and exact color without me telling her, I do not know), I perused her blog. I admit that I've been a bit of a slacker lately when it comes to reading my favorite blogs. April really threw me for a loop, and I've been doing good just to keep my own blog up, but obviously I missed some really good posts. One of these posts really grabbed me- because Krista's thoughts and experiences so mirrored my own, only she articulated them so much better than I could. So rather than linking to her blog....because once you go there, you might forget to come back to fake-blogger's blog...I asked Krista if I could re-post her words here.

So here you go...a real blogger.

by Krista Ewert


Mothering a Child with a Disability: The Secret Thoughts on Speech

As a mother of a child with a disability one of my greatest goals is to raise awareness. With 94% of women aborting pregnancies diagnosed with Down Syndrome I believe that if women only knew what a joy raising a child with Down Syndrome is, then maybe they would see in their womb, not just a life full of challenges and hardship but instead, a life worth living.The risk in this however, is that I write less for those who have chosen life, and while sharing the beauty of everyday with an extra chromosome, I fail to bring light to the inevitable frustrations and fears that are also part of life...every life. So last night when I spilled to my DS momma friends that  I was frustrated with Ella's progress in the language department, I was called out on my fear to blog about such things. What if there are other mothers out there feeling the same way I do but are afraid to say anything? And like me, they just need a little validation and encouragement. So here it is....

Lately, every time a momma posts about their child's new word or how they call "Momma" from their crib or make animal sounds, basically anything speech related, my celebration with them is overshadowed by sadness. Not a tearful sadness but more like a grey cloud that lingers blocking the sunshine because I wish I could post the same about my Ella. I wish I could share a video on Bragbook displaying her latest and greatest language skills and prove to the world that she is defying statistics and is developing "normally" despite her diagnosis. When in reality, the gap is widening and development is so slow and I am becoming frustrated. Ella will be three in June, but if anyone asks, I say she is two and a half because I am afraid. I think that they think that she is younger because she doesn't talk and for some reason, I actually believe that people might not think that she has Down Syndrome.


And when I say she doesn't talk, what I mean is that she doesn't say words. She babbles and has her own variations on phrases but probably unrecognizable to anyone but Momma, who, in reality, doesn't have a name. Mothers! never complain that your child says "momma" too much and if I ever do, slap me and then remind me of today, when my heart is sad that my baby girl doesn't call me by name or anything else for that matter. Jakob is the only one that she has a sound for and it takes the form of "Ob".

But here's the kicker. She can make the sounds. She says "ma" often in her babble but when asked to say "mama" she blows a kiss and when asked what sound a cow makes, she gives a glottal roar....the same for every other animal.

In other areas Ella is doing well. Her receptive language is moderate and physically, I can't keep up. But speech, to me, is huge. I feel like it is a key to acceptance. Perhaps it is because, for myself, when I speak to a person with Down Syndrome and they respond with articulation and clarity, whether it be true or not, I feel that somehow it is a reflection of before you go and slam me for saying that, realize I am just admitting to my own stereotypes which, guess what, don't completely vanish the day you have a child with DS. So naturally, I feel that if she can speak well then she will not be judged as much, and will not have to work so hard to earn the respect of her peers and society as a whole.

But here is what I have to keep reminding myself and what so many wonderful ladies have reminded me of: these frustrations, these hardships, these hurdles only make the victories sweeter. It will come. It may not happen the way I want it to. We may have to work our butts off every day for YEARS but it will come....In His time.

One thing is for certain: the girl has sass.


Okay I lied. I'll send you to Krista's blog so you can become a follower - just don't forget to come back to my fake blog when you're done !

To visit Krista and her beautiful family.....

...hop on over to One Beautiful Life. And tell her I sent you ! :)


Education: Exploring Online Learning said...

Oh I love her blog and her photos! I came across Krista's blog in some random, fun, not-at-all-about-Down-syndrome way. She's pretty cool.

my family said...

what a beautiful blog and photos to boot, she does write so well...and yes I actually went to her blog and came back here to post.
We love ya Patti and Rice family and I think you are a "real" blogger with perfect headers.. who cares if they are not perfect according someone else, when you have such sweet pictures displayed not a eye notices

Lisa said...

exactly what the previous comment said - I'm so fixated on the adorable sweetness of Lily I couldn't tell you if your header isn't perfect because she is!

nicole said...

I joined Krista's blog, but I just can't shake my penchant for fake bloggers. I think you do an awesome job!

Anna Theurer said...

Patti, you are a REAL blogger. Thank you for sharing Krista's blog. I could identify with so much that she has written in the post that you shared.

cara said...

Patti!!!! You are definitely a REAL blogger. I have never wanted to stop following your blog since the day I read it for the very first time.

I will go check out One Beautiful Life. Ella is adorable!!. I am glad she wrote on this. All my kiddos talked really early, especially my girls. I think Mary said her first sentence at like 15 months. And I was always glad they could communicate SO good. It just made me feel good to know that they could communicate. When I had Benji and was told about the fact he could have speech delays, I think I just thought he wouldn't. Maybe denial?? I thought for sure he would be talking at two like my other kiddos. But he is two now, and I am thankful for what he can do. But I have had concerns about his speech and wondered if he will talk. I also have found myself comparing him to other kids with down syndrome. And then I feel guilty that I am not doing enough. I am suppose to be practicing these mouth exercises with him as much as possible. He hates them, and I get so busy and forget at times. Then I feel horrible. And then I feel guilty at times for wanting to take a break with therapy, etc., etc., etc. Thank you for sharing!!

Krista said...

Patti, nonesense! You ARE a real blogger and a wonderful one at that. Your words are true and inspiring! Your life is a testimony and we are so thankful that you let us have a glimpse into it. You give me far too much credit. I am just a mom finding a creative outlet which I hope, in turn will bless many people. Hugs and kisses.

Jessica said...

Whatever! You are a real blogger. Those awkward hugs? Yes, they prove you are real and blog with the best.

If you'd like I could start a local chapter for HonkIfYouLoveJesusWaveIfYouReadPattiRice fan club. ?? =D

And speaking of, I have something for you but am not sure how to get it to you. fan mail, you know... No really I do.

JC said...

Krista has long been one of my all time favorite bloggers...She writes beautifully and her post always have depth and meaning, and something to them...Not to mention she takes the most gorgeous photos ever! You are so right...She is a "true" blogger and just a lovely person :)

But so are you Patti :)

Patti said...

oh, you all are too nice, now just keep teasing me in the comment section and some day I'll grow up to be a REAL blogger !

Jennifer said...

I agree with everyone - you are definitely a real blogger!

crystalkupper said...

Don't worry, Patti, I'm not a real blogger either! And I'm 27. But I'm taking a course this summer at the Oregon Christian Writers' conference in August to learn all these things and cross over into real blogging land!

P.S. If making a difference in this world counts as "real", then your blog is as real as they get.

Kelly Marin said...

Um Patti if you're not a real blogger than I'm a .... squashed raisin. Very funny post though:)

Mrs. K said...

Do not know how you could possibly improve on your header....the subject is perfect. Believe me when I say "we are our own worst critics." As a Quilter I know this because I have been encouraged (AKA forced) to join in our guild's Show and Tell. I can see the flaws and no one else can. I will start to point the mistakes, and will be immediately shut down with protests from fellow quilters that they didn't even see that the points did not match by 2or3 threads, etc. You certainly have proven yourself a great blogger...just look at all the families and orpans you have raised money for!! (Oh I don't like ending a sentence with a prepostion.)Do not point out what you think are flaws i.e. placement of your header. We come to your blog to see pictures of Lils and to read what is in your heart and on your mind. Now, tell me that is spoken like a true mother!!! Love ya, xoxoxox Mom

Elissa said...

I am so glad I came to read this today. To say that I REALLY needed to read this today is an understatement. Thanks for sharing today.

Runningmama said...

I have been reading Krista's blog for a while, it's one of my favorites :-) And are a REAL blogger so where the badge with honor and even bigger than that you are making a difference in people's lives and I think that's what really matters :-)

Unknown said...

Beautiful! you are and so is she! thanks for sharin and BTW your header ROCKS! I was thinkin that before I even read this post! OXOXO! Katie

Jenny Dawn said...

It's been said above, but you are definitely a very REAL and very AWESOME blogger!!!!! Thank you for introducing me to Krista's blogger! Much like yours it is insightful, inspiring and also beautiful!

Unknown said...

im already a big fan of krista but i would never desert beautiful Patti! xxxxx

Meriah said...

"a real blogger" - that always cracks me up.

If one types, hits "publish", they are "real blogging", I think. The only difference is how tech savvy one is (or isn't) and how wide an audience is reached.

But you know all that.

"real blogger" - LOL!!!