Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Blog, Blogger, Blogging???

As most people have realized by now, I sort of became an accidental "blogger."  It all started back in October of 2010 as we started construction on our new house and wanted to share that process with our family.  Things really heated up in April of 2011 as I found myself on hospital bed rest awaiting the birth of Miss Georgia and I used the blog to communicate our daily drama with family, friends, and co-workers.  These days... well... these days the blog seems to be about our daily lives - travel, school, allergies, family/friends, holidays, vacations, life with a toddler, our house projects, visitors, etc.  

I've debated closing down the blog lots of times and for various reasons over the years.  The usual suspects come to mind - privacy issues, time (case in point, I've been planning to write a post about blogging for months now!), etc.  But just when I think about closing down shop, I'm reminded of WHY I started blogging in the first place - to share our life with "family" both near and far.  

Just this week, I was slammed with lots of stuff to do as the school year wraps up and Nick was away on a business trip.  I didn't quite find the time to post anything.  Yet, during that same down time, I heard from three people who all get "something" out of the blog.  One, a close friend, text me to tell me she was currently reading the blog and all the old food allergy posts as she wonders about her youngest son having some of the same allergies that Georgia experiences.  Another, a co-worker I hadn't seen in years, mentioned to me that she checks the blog all the time and loves reading about all our adventures.  And yet another was a "stranger" who emailed me to thank me for documenting our NICU experience with duodenal atresia as her young daughter had just experienced the same diagnosis.  She commented on the general lack of information on duodenal atresia available on the web.  Like me, she was terrified by the diagnosis and just wanted reassurance that her baby girl was going to be okay after a long and scary NICU stay.  I've always promised to keep this blog open for that last reason.  When we received Georgia's duodenal atresia diagnosis, I searched the web for days upon days and came across very few references to the condition, even though we were told it was a "fairly common birth defect."

All three of these people reminded me that this blog does serve a purpose - whether it be entertainment for our friends/family who don't get to see us on a daily basis or information for families experiencing food allergies, life in the NICU or a premature birth.  The blog has grown with us as our family experiences all the ups and downs that life has to offer.  We are your neighbors.  We are your typical American family - two working parents and a child in daycare.  We are home owners.  We have the same worries, wants, and dreams as everyone else.  We commute.  We strive to make our home nice.  We want our child to be healthy and happy.  We try to spend time with each other and the people we love.  We enjoy life.  We love a lazy day on the couch as much as a long and exhausting day walking around Disney.  We try our best - some days are easy and some days are hard.  I think anyone with a child/children can concur with that statement!  Some days we are filled with energy and vigor and other days we are exhausted by this crazy life we lead.  I try to document all of this on the blog - the ups, downs and all arounds of life with our family.

As I don't consider myself a true "blogger" (aka - I don't make profit from this and I have about 10 other "jobs" that come before blogging, including my full-time job as a school based speech language pathologist), I don't check the blog stats all that often.  But, as I was preparing this post, I decided to log in and check out the stats page.  I WAS BLOWN AWAY!!!  A little recap from my research:

**The blog has been visited more than 103,000 times over the years.  Thanks, Mom - I'm sure you are responsible for at least half of those hits.
**The blog averages about 2,000 views per month.
**The blog averages about 70-100 different visitors per day.

**The most viewed post was one I linked to Pinterest about Georgia's 2nd birthday party (who knew Bubble Guppies were that popular?!?!) - it's been viewed close to 2,000 times over the year.
**The second most viewed post was about our kitchen selection choices during the construction process.
**The third most viewed post was several days after Georgia's birth after she had her surgery.
**Interestingly, some other very random posts rank up there in the top ten too, such as Mimi's visit with us last summer after I had surgery, last summer's video heavy post about our nightly dinner conversations with a toddler, our surprise trip to New Orleans to celebrate Nick's 35th birthday last spring, and last June's post about water table fun in the driveway during a heat wave.

Since you can search for the blog through Google, I always find some of the search keywords used to find the blog interesting.  Here are the top search terms used:
**Thomanhouse (well, that's a no brainer!)
**Bubble Guppies party food (people sure do love those cute little mermaids!)
**Disney extra magic hours
**Updating a deck (have we ever updated a deck?!?!)
**Nick and I's full names

Most of our visitors are reading the blog from the United States, but we apparently have fans in other parts of the world too, including:
**Cayman Islands (memo to self - we need to get back here to dive again ASAP!)
**Russia (Is Putin a secret fan?!?!?)
**Latvia (Planning a Disney getaway???)
**France (Those Kardashians are probably googling from Kimye's wedding)

A question I ask myself all the time is... where is this blog going?  I don't think I have a clear answer at this point in time.  So for now, I'll keep documenting our lives one day at a time.  In some ways, this blog has become a historical document for our little family.  I certainly use it all the time to recall events and information (aka - what paint color is the basement?!?!).  Hopefully, Georgia will have this virtual photo album to share with her own family one day -- they can all make fun of our hairstyles and outfits on this outdated thing that used to be called the internet!  And when I'm long gone, Georgia will always have this record of my voice, my tone, and hopefully a sense of how I thought/felt/loved/lived/wrote.  She'll know that she had a kitty who was terrified of her.  She'll know that she used to make doughnuts with her Daddy and he once made her a giant igloo in the front yard.  She'll know that she was "Frozen" obsessed in the winter of 2013/2014.  She'll know her first foods, first loves, and all those other firsts that come with childhood.

So, stay tuned for more posts about life with a drama queen toddler, cooking/food allergy information and products, our upcoming summer adventures and anything else that pops up in our little corner of the world.  And you know life isn't complete without a little husband torture as I find new house projects to conquer along the way.  We're just living our life and sharing our time at the Thoman House.

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