Are You Excited!? (Re-post)

I am out of town this weekend, and I didn't want my blog to be neglected! This is a post I wrote last year at this same time, and a year later it still rings true (truer than ever, I think). It has been on my mind lately, so I thought I would share it again for those of you who didn't read it the first time! Or even if you did, you can take a walk down memory lane with me!
"Are you excited!?"

I hear this almost everyday at least twice a day, probably more. It usually follows the question "When do you go back to school?" As soon as I answer, it always always follows "Are you excited?"

This is where the dilemma is. I know the answer everyone is expecting. I know I'm supposed to say "yes! I can't wait! I'm so excited!" The truth? I don't know how I feel. Of course I want to see my friends, of course I'm looking forward to seeing them again, but excited? Not really. Not yet, anyway.

When I think about this question, and how I'm supposed to react, it reminds me of an episode of Sex & the City (work with me, it's not what you think!) when Miranda finds out she is pregnant with a boy. She knows what the ultra sound tech is expecting; for her to get all excited! So, in her words, she "fake orgasms". She acts all excited, saying "a boy! oh boy oh boy!" because that's what is expected of her even though she wasn't really feeling that way.

This is how I feel when people ask me if I'm excited to go back to school. I feel like they expect me to shout for joy, maybe jump up & down with excitement. I mean, can you imagine if someone said "are you excited to go back to school?" and my response was "eh... not really."? I realize that most people that ask this are just being polite, and don't actually expect me to go into a long, deeply thought out answer. Which is exactly why I smile and "fake it" so to speak and say "Yes, I'm so excited!"

Don't get me wrong. I love where I go to school. I love my friends. It's just hard for me to go back & forth, and it's hard for me to be excited. It takes me awhile to adjust to a new situation. It's the same coming home from school; when I first get home my parents are all giddy and excited I'm home and I'm thinking getmeoutofhereandbacktoschoolNOW! But pretty soon it starts to feel normal again, and I know that's how it will be once I get to school. It will take a little getting used to at first, but then it will be normal again, and I won't want to come home because I'm so happy there.

So, for now, when I get asked if I'm excited, I'll continue to fake it. I'll smile and nod my head and maybe even jump up and down like an idiot (ok, probably not), but inside hold tight to the knowledge that one day soon I will be excited, and won't be able to imagine a time when I wasn't. Or maybe I'll just answer "read my blog"!

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How We Became the Laughingstock of the Beach

Disclaimer: I was sadly not present for this event due to not feeling well. However, I heard about it in enough detail from my family members that I feel I am educated enough to tell this story, even if it is second-hand. I attempted to check my facts as much as possible, so I blame lack of family cooperation for any incorrect facts.

This past week, my family and I were in Litchfield Beach, SC for a family reunion with my dad's side. This our 21st year in a row going, and it is always a blast. It is truly special that my cousins, sister and I were able to grow up with this tradition of getting together every summer, and getting to see family who we might not be able to see otherwise.

Anyway, after 21 years of meeting at the same place, we have definitely developed some traditions over the years. Some have lasted all 21 years (as far as I know... I was only 9 months old our first year!), some are newer traditions and some have changed as we (my cousins, my sister and I) have gotten older.

One of these traditions is "family day". It is every Wednesday of our beach week, and on this day the dad's and our "Papaw" don't go golfing like they do every other day, and they stay home and spend quality time with all of the family. When we (the kids) were younger, this was the day when the dad's took us out to the water park. We spent the whole day there, just us and our dad's, and it was a blast. However, a few years ago we decided we had all kind of outgrown the water park. As fun as it was, we were not little kids anymore, so we decided to scrap that tradition.

However, in it's place we developed "Beach games" that were to be planned by the dad's and played by the kids on family day. So, the first year was fairly successful; we played our games and we all enjoyed ourselves, and it was a fun family bonding experience. Fast forward to last year, and beach games failed to take place. We blame the dad's, but they claim it's not their fault, so who knows who is to blame. Anyway, this year we decided to bring them back and make them better than ever.

So Friday, our last day at the beach, all the grand kids file out to the beach for beach games to begin. And this is how it started to go downhill. The planners of these games (my mom and my aunt Kara) decided that this should be like "Beach Olympics". We needed an opening ceremony and a closing ceremony. I laughed this off, thinking they were joking. They weren't. As everyone got outside to play or witness the games, the adults began to sing. Not only were they singing loud enough to get other people's attention on the beach, but they were singing The Star Spangled Banner. People around us on the beach started standing up, putting their hands on their heart as if they had to follow what we were doing, and some people just laughed at us. When some of my cousins started to laugh, because clearly this had to be a joke, our grandfather informed them that this song was "the most important song you'll ever hear." So in other words, shut up. 

 (Here are the teams, lined up preparing for battle!)

So, the beach games proceeded and of course there was sibling rivalry, cousin rivalry, and everything else you could expect. We were really a sight to be seen, out on the beach playing field day like games. People who were walking by literally stopped and watched either out of shock like WTF are they doing, or to laugh at us, either way they were staring. It is important to note that 6 out of the 8 cousins are girls, and we all know bikinis or any kind of bathing suit is not the most modest outfit. It is also not really conducive to running around the beach and pouring water into buckets, which is exactly what the game requires.See?

Then, there was the egg toss. Get a group of kids together, and toss eggs, and you are bound to get a mess. Even on the beach. The eggs ended up all over the beach and of course, in peoples hair because someone thought that was a good idea since it's apparently good for your hair.

(Passing the sponge game)
 (Egg tosses are very intense!)
And obviously beach games would not be complete without some silly string to spray all over everyone. So now not only is everyone soaking wet, covered in egg, but also covered in silly string. And suddenly everyone looked like this:

 Well, mostly just the adults looked like that, at least they were good sports! ;)

Then, for the closing ceremony it was decided the kids would shoot off rockets they had made earlier in the week as a craft. This is when disaster really struck. The rockets are not exactly high tech, and were made by kids ranging from 8-14. That being said, these rockets apparently had a mind of their own because when they were lunched, they landed everywhere. Including near other people on the beach, almost hitting people in the head. Some people were angry we were throwing rockets at them, some just laughed at us, obviously thinking we were crazy people.(Sadly, no pictures of this.)

21 years at the beach we have experienced many things, but this was definitely the first time that I can say for sure that we were the laughing stock of the beach. You know when people are pointing and laughing, it's pretty safe to assume they are not laughing with you.Oh well, what's a little embarrassment for family fun right!?

(Note to any and all family members who may be reading this, this post is intended to be a satirical recount of what happened. It is in no way supposed to be offensive to anyone involved in planning or participating in these games. Also, please don't kill me for posting pictures of you in your bathing suit. It had to be done.) 

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31DBBB: 2 Weeks Down!

So, I made it through the first two weeks of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge (see here for more explanation, I am trying not to be redundant.) without too many problems. When I decided to sign up for this thing, I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into, to be honest. All I knew is that A) It would help improve my blog and B) It would connect me to a lot of other bloggers, which is something I love to do. So I signed up and I followed along with the tasks and I posted in the forums and here I am, still just me and my blog, trying to make it through. A few of the things I have learned throughout this journey:

  • I have major Wordpress envy. Every time I see something cool on others blogs and ask "how did you do that?" The answer is always a Wordpress plug in. When I read The Pink Crab's Blogger vs. Wordpress post last week, all the comments voted Wordpress was better. I get it. Wordpress is the bomb. Now who wants to tell me how to afford it? I am just a poor college student after all!

  • Blogging is so much more than just writing down your random thoughts and publishing them for all to read, which is what I thought it was when I decided to start one. It is like a business. You have to market it, improve it, change it, and so on and so on. It's insane. I never realized how much effort blogging takes to be "successful" and how much behind the scenes stuff there is to it.

  • Apparently I'm supposed to know what my blog is about. According to the ProBlogger dude who started this 31 Days challenge "if you don't know what your blog is about, no one else will either." Great. So because I don't limit myself to blogging about one thing no one will know what my blog is about, and therefore not want to read it? Also, I am supposed to have a "niche" and there are supposed to be other bloggers out there who fit into my "niche".  I googled college bloggers, college student bloggers to see what I could find. And the answer was pretty much nothing. Still searching for my "niche". Thoughts are appreciated.

  • Blogging is kind of high school. You either have to be really smart or really funny or something to be recognized by the "cool kids".  If you want your blog post featured on the SITS weekly wrap ups, or Nirvana Mamma's blog or even just tweeted about by one of the leaders of this challenge.. well you better post something brilliant that people absolutely need to know or something so hysterical that people peed their pants. Yeah, I'm not gonna hold my breath for that one. The difference is, the homework for this challenge is way more fun than high school! The other day our assignment was to go to the mall... if that's not the best homework ever, I don't know what is!

  • Sometimes you have to go outside your comfort zone, but it's all for a good cause! A couple of these challenges have made me nervous, like early on when we were supposed to promote one our posts. This is when all my insecurities come out & I am afraid to ask people to read my stuff. But, once I stepped outside my comfort zone I got great feedback and it really paid off in the end!

  • It is pretty much impossible to keep up with all the blogs you read before the challenge, all the blogs you find through the challenge, and keep up with writing stuff on your own blog. Not to mention the daily challenges, and the forum posts. And forget about commenting. Also, if you have 15 minutes or whatever to read blogs, and you chose to peruse twitter for 31DBBB posts, be prepared for bloggy friend guilt. I always feel guilty because I am neglecting my current blog friends in hopes of making some new ones. That's the trade off I guess.

  • When you start dreaming about 31DBBB and all that you still need to accomplish because you are a few days behind, you know you have probably put a little too much pressure on yourself. It is supposed to be fun, after all. Although, it would be nice if you could accomplish things for real in your dreams. Like I had a dream that I got this post done, and voila it's done! If only...!

  • When you explain 31DBBB to one of your IRL friends that follows you on Twitter, their immediate response is "oh, is that what you've been going on and on about on Twitter?" Yes. Yes it is. Because tweeting about it is half the fun! To "outsiders" it seems that's all you tweet about, to 31DBBB people, you're normal.

  • The blogosphere is a small, small world. It is so fun to realize how many of 31DBBB friends know my other blog friends! We travel similar circles, and that is cool! Who can blame them? I know a lot of really awesome people here in the blogosphere!

  • When you get together a group of women (and one man as far as I know!) who are all talented, smart, creative and willing to help one another, great ideas are born!
Those are just a few of the things I have learned so far. I am sure I am forgetting things, and I am sure there are even more things yet to be learned in the next 15 days of the challenge!

Now, if inquiring minds want to know, I will show you my stats from the last 2 weeks. (A big thank you to Hannah at Bubbleboo who has answered all of my questions about how to make my stats look perfect!) The first week, I saw a steady incline in my numbers, but this week they were a lot lower. I'm not too worried about it, though. I was on vacation on not posting much, so why would people be coming over here?! The numbers might be down, but numbers aren't everything. I know my blog is improving and I am learning a lot! Here's my spreadsheet, color coded and everything!
So, there you have it... 14 days down, 15 to go! 31dbbb peers, what do you have to add to the list of what we've learned? Let me know!

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