Streamlining

Hello Smithocrats

I am here to announce A Change.  It is a Change that I have been thinking about for a while and The Time has finally come. I need to streamline my life a bit and that means consolidating a few things.  Up till now I have managed two separate websites and two separate blogs.  The Smithocracy and my own website tanniesmith.com.  Well, as in most things in life, you can either do many things mediocre or a few things excellently. I prefer to strive for excellence.

I recently did a complete overhaul and rebrand of my artist site and that is where I will now be spending my time.  The Smithocracy will live on, but in its new home on the tanniesmith website.  I will still talk about home updates as they happen and share amazing dance videos to bless our lives.  I will also continue to share about my art and illustration and other creative things, as I have done on that other blog.  I can no longer live a double life and it is time to be whole once more!

So I invite you to switch your loyalties and follow me there.  You can subscribe via RSS or email.  You can also follow me on my official  Facebook page.  The Smithocracy Facebook page will also begin to phase out.  In an ideal world I could just take all you wonderful subscribers and followers over there with me and no one would know the difference.  The reality is, I am sure, I will lose some of you.  That is ok. Its a Smithocracy not a Smithtatorship. So you are free to follow or not.  However to those who do make the switch with me…Thank you so so much!!  Your effort in our online friendship is appreciated.

So here is the official plan.  For the next few weeks I will leave this post for people to ginf and read. After that time period (prolly like a month-ish) I will begin having The Smithocracy auto forward straight to the new blog.  I am maintaining the domain name, because it’s mine and I feel attached to it. But all things Tannie and Smith and Tannie Smith and Smithocracy will be pointing to the same spot on the interwebs.

So pack your bags and come along with me!  See you in the new home!

ProfileLogo

Independence

I’ve been thinking about the word Independent a lot lately. I hear people say “well I’ve really learned how to be independent!” I am starting to think that independent is really just another word for being alone all the time. Except, of course, if you have kids, then your alone, without ever actually being alone.

Unfortunately being alone makes you feel lonely, so then you call your husband (or other random person) periodically throughout the day.  Telling him really meaningless things that are suddenly very important. Like some late breaking news on how the dog saw a lizard.  Or “guess what! I just opened a door! Isn’t that exciting?”

I think the next time someone tells me that “it’s a good thing I have learned to be so independent” or “I am happier with my independence.” I’m just going to give them a hug and ask if they want to go to a movie, the mall, or just look at rocks together. Because – hey…me too.

Oldness

This is actually a repost, pre-smithocracy.  But it still feels true today. So I needed to share my thoughts again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Alright, I have heard the moaning and groaning. I will start posting again to this blog. Let the cheering commence. I actually almost deleted it, but I finally took pity on the three people that follow me and decided to be a better person than that. Therefore as your reward you get to hear my latest rant…Oldness. 

What the heck! Why do we have to get old. And fat, what is up with that? And why do they combine it the way they do. Old and Fat. I am really bugged about the whole situation. If you live to be 80, you get about 25,(29 if you take care of yourself) years to look fabulous. Than you get 55 years of ugly? What kind of deal is that? Your not even a grown up for 18 of those 25 years. So really, you only get like 7 years to enjoy it. But your self-esteem is so shot from being a teenager that you don’t even realize that you are fabulous until your turn 30. THEN you look back and think, wow, wish I could look like that again. But it’s too late, you are 30 and you now have some crows feet coming in, and there is some flubby jiggle on your thighs, and what is that?? A hair? A hair growing out of your chin!?!?! So you work out, you pluck the hair, you eat healthy, try not to smile or frown too much, and look again. What? You look exhausted. You stayed up till 9:10 and now look like a zombie. You used to be able to stay up till 4am, and wake up looking refreshed and ready to go. Now if you don’t get a full 18 hours of sleep, you look like you’ve been up for a year. 

And your voice, there is something different about your voice, it has a nag to it. A “stop doing that, don’t break that, leave it alone, don’t forget this, trash is not a toy, are you listening, don’t hit your brother, look out for the wall, I don’t know where your shoe is, why are you naked, water stays in the tub, we don’t eat bugs, not right now” sort of nag. What happened? You used to be fun and pleasant and energetic. You used to walk out the door and not care if you had makeup on, because you looked good either way. Now there are looks, looks from younger people that tell you “you really should have put some makeup on.”

I know someone older than me is going to say, “you are still young and you should appreciate it while it lasts.” Well guess what? I am not appreciating it, because the bad news is that it just keeps getting worse! I see my future and it involves 4 hour workouts on 600 calories a day, with a two hour makeup session, two hours more of meditation and than 18 hours of full sleep. All in the name of beauty. Just thinking about it makes me feel exhausted. And of course it is nearly midnight so I am adding to the wonderful bags below my eyes. I think I will just go eat a pizza, yes a whole pizza, stay up all night, and skip my workout. There is no use fighting it any more. This is who I am.

Enjoy The Moment

Good Morning!

It is time for a look at my third New Year’s Goal.

3. Enjoy the moment. Stop looking for the end of things.

You can read about my second goal here.

Recently a leader in our church, Dieter F. Uchdorf, spoke on Regrets and Resolutions. You can read the whole amazing talk here.

In his talk he shared the following:

“So often we get caught up in the illusion that there is something just beyond our reach that would bring us happiness: a better family situation, a better financial situation, or the end of a challenging trial.

You and I are ultimately in charge of our own happiness.

My wife, Harriet, and I love riding our bicycles. It is wonderful to get out and enjoy the beauties of nature. We have certain routes we like to bike, but we don’t pay too much attention to how far we go or how fast we travel in comparison with other riders.

However, occasionally I think we should be a bit more competitive. I even think we could get a better time or ride at a higher speed if only we pushed ourselves a little more. And then sometimes I even make the big mistake of mentioning this idea to my wonderful wife.

Her typical reaction to my suggestions of this nature is always very kind, very clear, and very direct. She smiles and says, “Dieter, it’s not a race; it’s a journey. Enjoy the moment.”

How right she is!

Sometimes in life we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to find joy in the journey. I don’t go cycling with my wife because I’m excited about finishing. I go because the experience of being with her is sweet and enjoyable.

Doesn’t it seem foolish to spoil sweet and joyful experiences because we are constantly anticipating the moment when they will end?

Do we listen to beautiful music waiting for the final note to fade before we allow ourselves to truly enjoy it? No. We listen and connect to the variations of melody, rhythm, and harmony throughout the composition.

We shouldn’t wait to be happy until we reach some future point, only to discover that happiness was already available—all the time! Life is not meant to be appreciated only in retrospect. “This is the day which the Lord hath made … ,” the Psalmist wrote. “Rejoice and be glad in it.””

This talk really struck a cord in me. I find myself, quite frequently, looking towards the end of things. I look to the next vacation, or the next Friday. I look for the end of a tough situation, or the end of the long day. I look towards the next paycheck or the next project. When I heard his words, I realized that there was a lot I was missing in between all that. I was missing the Importance of the Moment.

How silly is it to impatiently wait for the next Friday, when we still have Monday – Thursday ahead of us? By my doing this, I realized that I have unintentionally reduced the joy in my life. I was forgetting to enjoy the moment, while always looking towards the next. The main problem with that is, I created a life that was only full of endings. The rest had become “stuff to get through.” Here is one good example that I think most moms could relate too.

Each evening, once I start dinner going, I start to feel a little anxious and excited. Because it is the mark or the beginning of Getting the Kids to Bed. Especially if it is the end to a long day. So I find that I start to rush everything. “Hurry and eat. Run brush your teeth. Go faster! What is taking so long! Hurry, Hurry, Hurry!” soon become the motto of the evening. I am so looking forward to that moment when all my “toys” are put away. I can’t wait to just sit and have that moment to relax.  However, once I get there, I start to think of what is coming for the next day. All too soon that moment is over and it is time for me to go to bed and start all over again. Many times I go to bed feeling tired and discouraged that I have to “start again” so soon.

After hearing that talk, I realized that by my spending so much time looking towards “what comes next,” I had created a never ending cycle of discouragement and stress. I can’t even enjoy my Relax Moment because I am already thinking about the next day! Even my Relax Moment isn’t relaxing because I bring the guilt of how I Holler and Hustle my kids to bed.

“Yeah, but Tannie, it was a long day, you deserve a break.”

I am realizing that if I take more time to enjoy the moment I can be relaxed, even in the middle of a long day. I can enjoy the rambling endless story about a train that is friends with a banana. There is a distinct difference between listening and enjoying the imagination of your child, then tolerating the telling and just waiting for it to end. When I enjoy the current moment I am in, I see into my families eyes more often. Too see love and happiness there is a Relaxing Moment in itself. When I enjoy the moment, I appreciate what is around me more often. A pretty sunset, a warm dog, a cloudy sky, a yummy smell. When I hurry through it, I miss those small, but important things that are what bring us joy.

I have noticed a very big difference in my life by heeding to the council in that talk. I am really grateful that I was in a time and place to hear it and learn from it. It is something I have to work on everyday. I can’t undo 34 years of being an End Looker in just one day, month or even a year.  I suspect it is something that I will always have to strive for. However I hope it will get easier with practice.

So here is to looking and living in the moment. Taking the time to see the small things and when an end arrives, make it a beginning.

Resistance is Futile

 

tumblr_mcq2isLYnY1qa08z8o1_1280picture source

Yes, it is true. I have been assimilated.

For years I have resisted, but I couldn’t any longer. Yesterday I caved and I am officially on “The Twitter.” As well as Instagram.

I have avoided those two things like the plague. Not for any moral reason, just that I already have enough Time Wasting things in my life. So what changed you ask? Well during a recent conversation it was brought up that if I don’t get on there, someone else could take my Smithocracy name. I laughed it off at first. Then I thought about it. Then it nagged at me. Then I worried. Then I lay awake at night. Then I got anxious. Then I logged on and registered.

So yes, I am now officially Assimilated into the Social Networking realm. So if you couldn’t get enough of me on this blog and on Facebook, feel free to follow elsewhere.

  1. Twitter.
  2. Instagram

I also started a twitter feed of all the silly cuckoo things my hubby says. Yes, Dan is a source of many awkward phrases and it was time to tell the world. You can follow him on twitter at Stuff Dan Says.

I end this post with an awesome quote I read this morning.

“The thing about truth is that it exists beyond belief. It is true even if nobody believes it.”

— President Uchtdorf

 

Calm and Assertive

I know what you have been thinking.

“Hey Tannie, why did you tell us about your New Years Goals and then never explain them like you promised?”

I am sorry, I did make you wait. However the first one, Post At Least Once a Week, was self explanatory. The second one needed a little background and my last post provided that background. Do you need a reminder what my second New Years Goal is?

2. Learn how to remain calm, even in stressful situations.

Why did this goal come about? Why did I need to post about getting a dog before I addressed this goal? Is two plus two four?

Yes, my sweet little Kona, that I love, required me to learn a little something about myself. I am in fact, not so calm as I thought I was. Part of the deal of getting a dog, beside the top two rules I mentioned (and threw out) in the last post, was said dog must be well trained. Lucky for us, Kona came that way. I wanted to make sure she stayed that way. I noticed that while she started out very easy going and a good listener, she was slowly starting to get a little naughty. I asked my vet if he could recommend a good trainer and he surprisingly said no. He recommended that I just watch this guy.

daddy-7jpg-fc78e08f844fbbec_large

Photo from here

Yep, that’s right, the Dog Whisperer himself, Cesar Millan. I am an Obedient sort of person, so naturally I ordered every DVD on Netflix and got to work.  If you have watched even one episode then you know that Cesar Millan puts strong emphasis on the type of energy you give off. When owning a dog you should be Calm and Assertive. There is also a lot of other great stuff on there that I don’t want to go in to, but we are implementing them.

I started noticing a difference right away in the way Kona acted…with Dan.

She became more obedient…with Dan.

She did well on the leash…with Dan.

She was submissive…to Dan.

See the pattern here? I was doing everything the same as he was, but for some reason I was not getting the same results. Don’t get me wrong, Kona wasn’t behaving badly, she just was starting some bad habits of not listening, that I wanted to nip in the bud. I noticed this energy thing that Cesar talks about over and over and I asked Dan if he does that. Does he imagine himself as the king of all that is around? Does he focus on being calm and assertive. I asked him who he imagined he was to help him feel that way. I wanted to get into Dan’s brain. (Good luck with that one.) Here is his response in typical Dan fashion.

“I don’t imagine anything. I am me. I already am that way. So why would I possibly imagine someone else?”

oh.

That is when I realized I needed to Tune in to Tannie a little more.

I was doing everything that Dan was, except for the whole confident, calm assertive energy thing. I THOUGHT I was a calm sort of person. It turns out…not so much.

I took some time to truly look at myself and analyze the way I was feeling. The majority of the time I am pretty hyper. Or frustrated. Or exhausted. Or stressed. Or Stressed. OR STRESSED. I discovered that I spend A LOT of time feeling stressed. When did I get to be that way? It seemed like it was just a habit at this point. Like a secret favorite feeling that I started wrapping myself in. So it was time to let go.

So I did. I started focusing on being calm around Kona and it is working (work in progress). She responds to me so much better now. Enough so that Dan fears that I am taking over his dog. (Kona is really starting to worship me ;-))

At first I did it just so I could become the pack leader to my dog. However, my focusing on being calm with the dog soon became my noticing all the other areas I needed to practice being calm. I had never noticed how much I needed it in the rest of my life. You can’t try to improve in one area, without it effecting other areas.

So it was time to make it a Goal.

Now I not only practice being Calm and Assertive around Kona. But now my kids, Dan, situations, people, cooking, cleaning, and anything else you can think of that perhaps I did not previously act in the most calm and genteel way. But it is more than an act I have to practice. I am sure I will have people tell me, “Oh Tannie, you are always calm and level headed.”

Well it is true. I am pretty good at being that way on the OUTSIDE. The inside is another story. And only a Dog was able to point that out. You can’t fool a dog as to what is going on on the inside. Kona knew I was stressed and less confident inside. So she was not having any of it. No matter how confidently I walked, or spoke to her, she knew the truth.

And now I do too.

So here is to a 2013 Tannie that is Calm, Cool and Collected on the outside AND the inside.

Thanks Cesar Millan, turns out you might be a people whisperer too.

Goals, Not Resolutions.

Wow, I am really finding it hard to get back into the swing of things. Anyone else know what I am talking about? It is funny how easily our schedules can get so easily messed up. A few weeks with the kiddos at home and doing all sorts of things, and suddenly I can’t seem to get back on track with stuff I do consistently my entire life. Maybe that is why we need New Years Resolutions so badly! Something to help up focus and get back to how we should be. Recently I heard someone mention that they prefer making New Years Goals, rather then resolutions. This person said that when they make a resolution they feel as if they should already have mastered the resolution and just start doing it!

I hear that!

When I resolute to eat better, I feel as if the very next day I should be doing exactly that. Eat better NOW!  When I resolute to be kinder, I get mad when I am not kinder instantly. See what I mean? I don’t leave any room for mistake. I unrealistically expect myself to Just Do It! On the other hand, when you make a GOAL, it is something you know you have to work towards. Something you know you have not perfected, but would like to be better at. To me that difference makes a whole lot of sense!

With that in mind…

Here are a few of my New Years Goals.

  1. Blog at least once a week.
  2. Learn how to remain calm, even in stressful situations.
  3. Enjoy the moment. Stop looking towards the ending of things.
  4. Be a better wife.

Why those goals you ask? Well I will break it down…but later. That way I can keep my first goal and have something to write about! ;-)

Anyone else out there feel that way about Resolutions vs. Goals? If so, I challenge you to make your resolutions into goals! Work towards something rather then deciding you should already be doing it.

Good luck for 2013!

Good Days.

My original intention was to sit down and write a fun post on some Christmas crafts I recently did. I find that I am not able. My heart is just not in it. I can’t seem to think of something frivolous and silly like that when we are still rocking from the tragic events on Friday.

Today I had to fight tears taking my kids to school. Walking home was the same thing. Nevertheless I sent them. Dan reminded me that we cannot avoid all the Good Things in life, just because of the possibility of Bad Things.

An important thing to remember.

My gut reaction is Home School. My gut reaction is Lock My Family Up Safely. However, if we hide and protect all the people who can influence the world for the positive, where does that leave the rest of us?

So today I prayed with my kids. I asked that they be protected. Asked that we could each see the good in each other. Asked that we can influence our community for good and kindness. I walked them to class. Gave them hugs and kisses and hoped for a Good Day. Because the truth is, there are more good days than bad. So I will live each good day to the fullest rather than fearing for the possible bad. And if a bad day comes, I will have memories full of Good Days.

May we each live for Good Days._MG_9129 _MG_9189 _MG_9498 _MG_9506 _MG_9572 _MG_9602

A Brief History of Tannie

I guess you could also call this post TMI about Tannie. We have a lot of new readers and I thought it was time for a little back story on why this blog is even here? So sit back, relax, maybe grab some popcorn and have a bathroom break, cuz this is a long one.

Many of you new readers probably don’t know that I recently traded in my Career Pants for Stay at Home Pants. Why did I do this? Well we need to go even further back. Growing up I never really had a strong desire to be “a mom.” I wanted kids, I wanted a family, but I also wanted to have a career. However, I had before me the amazing example of my own mother, who placed her children above her own wants. She is a successful Pianist with amazing talent. Rather then growing it into a concert career she chose to teach Piano from the home. Thereby allowing her to be at home with us. This was a huge blessing in our family and very much contributed to our turning out.

As I went through college and began developing my talent in the Communication Design field (Graphic Design if you’d rather) I always kept the example of my mother in mind. I wanted to have my career and my family. But wanted to keep it all in the home. I wanted to be home at those important cross roads for my future children. So I turned down internships, I skipped apprenticeships and made a lot of my professors angry by choosing to work form home when I graduated. They felt I was wasting my talent by choosing to be a mom. In fact one of my professors to this day still will not answer any emails or other contact from me. He was very upset with my choice to just work from home. In a way I can understand him. He just didn’t see the path I wanted for myself and my family.

So I graduated and I did it! I had Austin and started my own business from home. I called it tann|design and at first it was just little ‘ol me working away. I got my first little client, and that client referred me to someone else, and they referred me to someone else and so on and so forth. I had Logan and still kept plugging along. After about 5 years of doing this on my own, I could not longer do it alone. So I started partnering up with others. I used some contractors, I hired a second designer, I kept a copy writer on staff. Things were going really well. I had some really amazing clients and some awful clients, some really fun projects and some terrible projects. And (for the most part) things were going well. But not everything was comin’ up roses.

Things were getting to a point where Dan and I started discussing moving the business out of the home. It was just growing too much. I wasn’t making a million dollars or anything, but in an economy where business after business was failing, I was growing. It was exciting and I felt super important. People liked me. I got my first large international client.

I had done it!

Actually, I had not. It was at this time that the rose colored glasses were removed. Suddenly I stopped looking at my business and started looking at my family. Things were not good. Dan was not only working at his job, but then having to come home and do my household stuff. We believe all chores are equal, but I wasn’t even doing my fair share. The kids were getting more and more needy and whiny. They missed their Mom! Why did they miss their Mom? Well, the more and more my business grew, the less and less I paid attention to them. I thought I was doing it.

I was wrong.

In my mind, I was taking the kids to school, working, and picking them up. They would never notice that I had a business. In my mind, I thought that I was not taking any time away from my kids; that it was balanced.

The truth was, I was waking up early and working, then taking the kids to school, then working, then picking the kids up, then telling them to be quiet so I could work, or make a call, or do some research. We were not going on Play Dates, we were going on Press Checks. The most frequent words they heard from me were “shhhhhhh, I’m on the phone.” I can’t even count the times I took my kids out to have some one-on-one time, only to spend it on the phone with clients. I had also hired someone to come watch them on the days they weren’t in school. That way they wouldn’t bother me while I worked.

So much for being there at the cross roads!

Another thing I needed to learn about myself is that I totally lack the ability to “turn it off.” I just could not let whatever stress happened that day stay in my office. I would snap at the kids, snap at Dan and stomp around the house until I could resolve whatever it was that was bothering me. I was frequently working all night and through the next day. My happiness level was tanking. And we all know that it’s the Mother who sets the tone.

The Smith’s tone was not good.

Even after realizing this, I just told myself, “that’s ok. I can balance better, I can do better, this can still work.” So I kept pushing through. But the more I pushed, the more unhappy I became. I started resenting my work. I began to hate being a graphic designer. I was losing the “passion.” See, once I realized that my family wasn’t happy, then I wasn’t happy. Nothing is worth the sacrifice of my family. NOTHING. I learned something about myself. Even though I did not grow up wanting to be a Mom, now that I was one, I loved it! And I wanted to be the best Mom my kids could have.

One day, I was sitting in front of the computer. I had just gotten off the phone with one of my least favorite clients. It was a horrible conversation and I was so tired of dealing with this person. I just sat there staring at my screen. I thought to myself, “Why am I doing this? What is the point?”

I didn’t have an answer. *crickets*

There was no point. It was nice having the extra money, but we didn’t need it. It was nice having the prestige of my business, but I didn’t need it. It was nice using graphic design as a creative outlet, but it wasn’t the only way. None of it outweighed the importance to me of my family. Nothing is worth failing my kids. And nothing is worth damaging my marriage.

Then, a stray thought entered my head, “Just shut it down.”

Once that thought came into my head, I knew, with absolute certainty, that this was exactly what I was supposed to do. I truly believe it was the Spirit speaking to me and telling me to be done with it. Not everyone is religious. But I think everyone can relate to that feeling when you suddenly know exactly what you need to do. And that is what I felt.

I did not hesitate for a second. I quickly typed up the following letter.

Hello,

I am taking the time to contact just a few of my larger clients to let them know that tann|design will be closing the doors for an indefinite amount of time.  It has come to my attention that things in my personal life have gone unnoticed because of my busy work schedule.  Those of you who know me, know that family comes first and I can no longer allow my children to come second.  All too soon they will be old enough to not need me anymore, but this is not that time.  With that said, tann|design will be finishing up all current contracts and will not renew any future ones until further notice.  My website and facebook pages will continue to run, as I do hope to open again at a later date, but any new work will not be accepted.  As of now the plan is to take 1 year off to refocus and bring the attention back to where it should have been in the first place.

I understand that this is coming as a shock and is very inconvenient to some of you and also understand that you will not wait for me to re-open my doors.  I will be sending a disc with all your files on it so that you may be able to continue work with another firm or designer.  I apologize for this inconvenience and hope for your understanding.  I value each of you and appreciate the business you have brought me.  This has been a successful time in my design career, but for now success will have to wait. 

Once again if there is an outstanding contract, it will continue to be honored until it’s fulfillment.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Tannie M. Smith

Once the letter was typed I hesitated for a second. My finger hovered over the send key. Suddenly, as if someone were in the room, I heard, “do it!” So I did, I sent the letter out and then the shakes began. I felt so nervous! I was shaking and sweating. What did I just do?! What were they going to say? I was terrified of talking to anyone. I was debating whether or not I should just shut off my phone. Before I could, it rang. I answered. It was one of the “scary” clients. I was not sure what to expect. However what I got was total support! All day I received phone calls from my clients. Each one wished me luck and totally understood and admired my decision. Were they sad to see me go? Yes. Were they upset to have to find a new designer? Yes. Were they mad at me personally? Absolutely not. Not one person said anything to me that was negative or angry. I was so relieved. The most shocked person to call me was Dan. I had BCC’d him on the email. He had no idea that I was even thinking of doing it. I had no idea either, of course! But the first words out of his mouth were, “I am so glad.”

Please understand that Dan has always been supportive of me and still is. He was my best cheerleader (in a manly way, of course) and my accountant. :-) That was literally the first I had heard from him that he was unhappy with my work. I had no idea the stress I was putting on him. He asked me if that was what I really wanted. When I told him yes and the preceding story, he was very relieved. Later when I told the kids, they both started jumping up and down and shouting, “YAY!!! We get Mommy back!” (and all this from me working IN the home!) To this day they still talk about it. In fact a couple weeks ago Logan shared in class for Show and Tell, that his Mom stopped working so she could be with him more. More then a year later and he is still appreciating it.

It is a very surreal feeling to stop something so suddenly. Who shuts down there business right when it’s about to totally take off?! It’s funny, when I tell people I shut down my design firm, they usually say something about how tough the economy is, and everyone was struggling etc., etc.. They are always shocked when I correct them and say, “Actually the problem was that it was doing too well.” However, I know it was the right thing to do.

Even more so today.

Do I regret my business? No! I loved my business. It was a manifestation of myself. I did, in fact have to go through a bit of a mourning period. It felt like a death at times. Some amazing friendships have come from that experience. One of my most wonderful, amazing friends is a former client. (That’s a shout out to you DaRhonda!) I never would have met her otherwise. So no, I do not regret my business. I regret letting it get out of hand. I regret not understanding myself better. I regret missing out on my kids youngest years. But I would not take the experience away, as I gained so much from it.

It has now been more than a year, in fact, it is closer to two years. In my letter I had implied that I might open again in a year. However, that is just not going to happen. See, now that that part of my life is gone, I don’t really want it back. I didn’t realize what a constant stress and drain it was on me. Now I find that I am happier day to day. I have more patience with the kids, not always, but it is more. I have time to invest in my marriage more. Most of all, I get to actually enjoy being a Mom. Something I never expected to do and I do enjoy it! Each day my kids amaze me and every night I thank my Heavenly Father for them. I can’t believe how much I set aside when I was trying to “do it all.”

Is everything perfect? No, absolutely not. See, I am still me. I still want to matter to the world in some way. I still need to get my creativity out. I am a busy type of person. A doer. Almost daily I struggle with not filling my time with something just as time consuming as my business. I have to reset each day to focus on my family. It would be more natural for me to focus on myself and pursue some interest of mine to it’s greatest height. However, that time is not now. My kids are here for maybe 13 more years at most. After that, I have the rest of my life to focus on and pursue what I want. So for now, it is all about them.

Well, not ALL about them. Like I said, I still need to create in some way. So that is why I blog. This is my new outlet. It allows me to feel important in some small way, even if only Dan reads this. It still makes me feel like I matter to the world in a weird way. It makes me work on projects and get things done, that otherwise I might let slip by. It allows me to do and be, without taking away from my family. That is a large reason why I haven’t gotten into the “money making” side of blogging yet. I fear that I won’t be able to control it, if it turns into a business. Would it just be another tann|design? Thus, I’m sticking (for now) to the policy of “as long as it doesn’t cost money, we don’t mind not making any.” Just keep reading and making me feel special. ;-)

So to make a super long story short.

I blog because my family is important to me.