Dear Diary: Confessions of an Old-School Blogger

In an effort to get this here blog chugging along again, I have decided to post more updates of the behind-the-scenes parts of our lives like I did in the olden days of blogging. I’m ignoring the rules and going back to my roots.

Unskinny Boppy will turn twelve years old this year. TWELVE. That means I have been sharing our lives here for a dozen years, which seems impossible when you consider social media was barely even invented back then.

In the early days this blog was nothing but a “Dear Diary” glimpse into our personal life where I overshared everything and had no filter on my posts.  These days all that has changed, and I am WAYYYY more guarded about what I share online with the world. I have walled off parts of my life that are top secret and not open to the public anymore.

I’ve done this partly because I want to maintain some privacy but mainly because I worry that you’ll be bored to tears and never return to my blog again if I overshare my daily life. 

big cookie cake

Trouble is, being guarded for so long means that my well-established, twelve year old blog is currently dying a slow, painful, silent death.

I feel like I have nothing to say anymore.  I’ve gotten so used to not sharing the little stuff that I don’t share anything at all. Weeks go by without a post and I don’t do anything about it.

I have muzzled myself into oblivion because I’m scared about what you will think of my reality, or that you’ll unsubscribe as a reader because you don’t care what my kids’ latest achievements are. That’s sad.

Over the years, I watched the fun mommy-blogging world morph into this super competitive industry with nothing but magazine-worthy images and styled photo shoots allowed.

I felt like I had to stop sharing pictures of my everyday life and start pumping out perfection in order to keep up with the rest of the blogging business world.  It became all about pageviews and nothing about our personal life.  And that is not fun.

swinging together

But here’s the thing. I truly miss the old days of blogging. I’m tired of only blogging the perfect parts of my life and the clean corners of my house. I want to be real with you because anything else feels like I’m lying to you. Sure, there are still days when I want to dress up my house for the holidays and snap some pictures to share here, but I don’t want it to JUST be that anymore. 

I miss sharing the mundane, humdrum recaps of what’s happening in our lives.  I miss showing what my kids are up to right now, even if it means I’ll be boring you to death as a reader.

There are plenty of factors that make me want to keep my guard up these days, but WOW, do I miss writing those posts where I recapped every little detail of our lives.

Can I have it both ways? Maybe. 

Mainly I miss digging through my archives and seeing exactly what Garrett was doing at any stage of his baby and toddler years because I shared monthly updates of his first two years of life.

Every single milestone is recorded. He has a complete online baby book right here in the pages of this blog.

Those old posts are priceless to me and filled with memories that make me laugh and cry. 

Granny and Caroline reading

Caroline and Great-Granny, May 2017

Caroline, though?  

She is turning two in August and I have barely documented anything she has done in her first years.

Sure, I’ve shown you her pretty nursery decor and her first birthday party decorations, but I have not written about her first pigtails or her first tooth.

I didn’t even post about the major milestones like her first steps or her first words. This makes me so sad. I feel like I’m cheating her out of something more valuable than gold.

For instance, I have not told you about how this finger rarely leaves her mouth.  

pigtails and finger

How she sucks on this left pointer finger until it’s shriveled up like a raisin. I’m already saving up for the orthodontic bills.

Caroline swinging

I never showed you how she would only swing on her stomach with her little legs sticking straight out behind her because she was too short to sit on the swing any other way but determined to do it by herself.

swinging on her stomach

I didn’t show you how, for many months, she would open her mouth wide for every single photo because she was expecting the Snapchat filter with the puppy dog ears and tongue to show up on the iPhone screen in front of her.  We called this her “SNAPCHAT!” face. 

Snapchat face

I have not recorded a video of her saying “It’s yucky!” every time she gets her hands dirty and pulls me over to the sink so I will wash them with soap at the faucet.

I have not shown you how sweet she looks sleeping in her carseat. 

IMG_5566

Will she resent the fact that I posted Garrett’s every move on this blog and not hers?  

Or, on the flip side, will Garrett be mortified as a teenager to see his diaper-clad bottom splashed across the pages of my blog and force me to delete them?

Or will he think it’s awesome that his mom’s blogger friend Photoshopped my hand out of this picture to make him look like tiny bait for a giant bass?

giant bass eating kayaker

Who knows.  

It’s a very fine line to walk as a mother/blogger.

Garrett loves his little sister with a ferocity that I’ve never seen in a nine year old boy.

These two sweet babies right here are my whole world.  Why would I not share moments like this on my personal blog? 

my sweet babies

I never even shared that we lost our sweet Gus to cancer last year. 

Augustus McRae (Gus) Bryan 2006-2016-21
Some of my very first blog posts were about bringing these two crazy dogs into our family and all the hilarious antics that ensued

But, I never posted about Gus’s death here. We had to put him down on the day after Garrett’s birthday last year and it was awful.

It was too hard to type the words when it happened and too sad of a topic to bring up after it was over.  Losing his best friend has been the hardest thing that Garrett has ever gone through, and we still have late-night talks about how much he misses Gus.

Augustus McRae (Gus) Bryan 2006-2016-19

I don’t think there is any right answer for how to handle the reality of life as a blogger.

Everyone has to choose their own path that feels right for their family. Many folks choose not to share a single thing about their kids and others share every potty-training play-by-play. We are all different.

sweet simple life laura ingalls quote

As for me?

I’m going to start sharing again. Not every single skeleton in my closet or poop in the potty, but I’m excited to share the mundane, humdrum daily parts of life right now. For better or for worse, this is us.

I’m excited to share the cupcake-covered mouths and the bunny ears, because it was the only family portrait we could manage to snap at the time.
Family portrait

I hope you don’t mind seeing my real life, and not just the highlight reel of my life. I need to document the real parts of my life.

Because the real parts ARE the most beautiful parts. 

kayaking at sunset

Sunset cruise. Photo by Grandma, June 2017

And like Ferris Bueller says…Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.

I don’t want to miss a thing.

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Comments

  1. Laura Dennison says:

    Welcome back! I am glad you are going to share bits of your real life again. On the other hand, don’t feel too bad that you haven’t documented everything about Caroline’s life. You are following a long standing tradition where the second child never has as many pictures taken of every moment as the first child did. Ask anybody.

    • Thank you Laura! That makes me feel better.

      I was a second child but my mom did a pretty good job of keeping it equal. That may be because it was the early 70’s and she only had 12-24 pictures in a camera roll, though. 😉

  2. Hi Beth,
    My feeling is, share and write what you want, it is your blog and your life right? We are all “friends” and I like hearing about your life. Your children are adorable and so sorry to hear about Gus. So sad when we lose our fur babies. 🙁

  3. Oh goodness Beth! That’s what I love about your blog! It’s the real deal and not just magazine pretty pics! Love seeing your home and family………it makes it real! If someone wants to see only perfect pics………they can go buy a So. Living or Better Homes & Gardens magazine. You give us a glimpse into a real persons projects and life………..just like us! You give us hope that we can tackle projects/crafts/homemaking because you succeeded! Thrilled to see you’re returning to your first love of blogging! So sorry about Gus, but many of us have suffered similar losses so we get it………..and I can’t believe Caroline is almost 2!!! Keep on keepin’ on girl!

  4. Your blog should be just that. YOURS. I love that your said “the real parts ARE the most beautiful parts.” I could not agree more. Life is so completely unreal these days and sadly so many blog posts and social media posts leave us regular people feeling like we will never be enough. This real life post was awesome and I look forward to reading more like it! And so very sorry to hear about your sweet Gus. We have been through that twice in the past 11 months and it was/is incredibly painful. Fur babies are so special and loved.

  5. I actually Sat for half a day reading through your old posts thinking “Hmm. I wonder what changed?” Because I totally loved all of the things and events you wrote about! You do what you need to. You don’t need anyone’s permission to change things up . 😀. But personally I love it! Hopefully this all makes sense because currently I have a 1 year old crawling over me and I keep having to hit the delete button and don’t have time to proof read . Lol!!

  6. This just makes me love you more!

  7. This post makes me SO happy! I think you hit the nail on the head with “Because the real parts ARE the most beautiful parts.”
    So very true and inspiring.

  8. Thank you for keeping it “real”. I think that is what is missing in so many blogs these days, and I feel like I can never measure up. Life is busy and messy, and it’s not perfect all the time. So yes keep doing what you are doing, and share!

  9. Joy Shanor says:

    I’m pretty new to reading your blog but I think you should share what you feel like sharing. I love reading blogs that share the good, the bad and the ugly. It makes us readers feel like a part of the family!. I love watching the kids grow up on the blog. I like the pretty decor stuff too but I prefer the REAL life over the curated life.

  10. Well maybe I will go back to my beginning and redocument because blogs didnt exist in my olden first days. Then i could relive it and have a decent timeline for my offspring. I wonder what people would think? What would they think to see the rustic DIY that took place all those years ago because yes we were still doing projects when my first babies arrived. But then again I don’t give a rats behinder what they would think, and neither should you!

  11. Jackie T says:

    Your blog was one of the first I ever read and I have loved it ever since. I enjoy so much hearing about the mundane parts of life and simple pleasures. I love seeing that other people have piles of laundry, kids that do crazy things, and dogs that leave us far too soon. I was so happy to read your post today. I will look forward to more blog posts with pleasure. Welcome back!!

  12. Judy Howell says:

    I am glad you are going to be sharing more! I am a relatively new subscriber, but I love reading your blog (can’t say that about all the blogs I have read)! Looking forward to where life takes you and your family!

  13. Beth, I’m right there with you!! I say let’s share whatever we want. It doesn’t have to be perfect because imperfect is real life. I want to see kids and families who love their homes. I miss the old blogging days too.

  14. Barbara Cain says:

    4th dang attempt to pour out my heart to your post. It keeps messing up on my last sentence and losing all the gem thoughts I’ve had. Frustrated and have lost the sentimental feeling totally. Lol this one will probably make it through. Just imagine the three others and how perfectly sweet they were. You would have LOVED them. Mom

  15. Deanna@onestepwoman.com says:

    Let’s do this! Share away! Love this post!

  16. i love this more than you can imagine… i have tried to stay this way a bit, but i know i have lost people along the way. but the bloggers i still read and like (few and far between!) share real life, the pretty and the imperfect. and i want more of that. i need more of that to feel like we are all in this together, rather than to feel the inadequacy that stifles me, leaving me with writer’s block. i look forward to more real life from you. let’s do this.

  17. Bravo!!!

  18. I couldn’t agree with you more! It was wonderful to see your family pictures….your life documented in beauty and simplicity. I miss the old school days, too, and am taking them back slowly but surely. Thanks so much for the encouragement and the reminder that I (WE) are not alone! big hugs

  19. Oh Beth – this post literally made me cry. PLEASE share more of YOU! All the bits and pieces and dirty faces because YOU and your beautiful family are your blog. The TRUE part of your blog. And I could not agree more. When did blogging become “un-fun?” 🙁 Good for you! Can’t wait to see you at Haven. <3

  20. Kay Souza says:

    I am a gradamma that thinks you young MoMs are awesome! Do what seems best to you, sweetie, and keep it up!

  21. Welcome back, you’ve been missed. For the record, I wish more bloggers would do the same.
    As an aside, I used to suck that same finger as Caroline. She and Garrett are adorable kids. RIP Gus. :'(
    Rita

  22. I’m glad to have you back! I’ve struggled with these same issues (I’ve been blogging for 7.5 years). I really miss the “old days” where it was a community of friends wanting to boost each other up. Now I feel like if I don’t have a picture-perfect pinterest ready photo no one will visit my blog (and it’s true – my page views are in the toilet. Sigh.) Anyway, I loved reading about your family updates and getting back to your roots. I’ll be reading along for sure. xo

  23. Good for you Beth, this is what I love to hear. Honestly I’m tired of seeing blogs that only show perfection and their lives appear to be from the Stepford Wives walk of fame. I’ve been blogging since 2009 and it has turned into a constant competition that makes most of the rest of us feel like we have nothing of much value to share… not unless it’s a total room “reveal”. gosh I’m sick of that phrase. I’m a real person with real life things going on. I can’t have a project and new decor each and every day, nor do I want to appear that way to the rest of the blogging world. Twelve years? wow! thanks for sharing your real life today! Deb

  24. Love this post. Beth.

    True for me as well as I celebrate 10 years of blogging.

    I look forward to old friends, good times and posts with real life personality. xo

  25. Darn, I think it’s raining again in Missouri. Or why else are my cheeks wet?

  26. Cassandra e says:

    A while back, you shared about your state and revealed a beautiful heart with eyes to see. I’ve always had a soft spot for you. I do love glossy photos. But real life through your eyes will be beautiful. Messy corners and all.

  27. Wow!,
    Please don’t feel like you have to airbrush your life for me. Personally I would prefer to see the real … it makes me feel like I can be crafty / arty & not have to tidy up first, not have to have an immaculate home or ” perfection” in anyway. Real friends are not bothered about the kid with a face full of cake or weeds in your garden. Please be your self. It far more interesting. Love Paula x

  28. Oh, this post touched my heart. I have read your blog for years and love seeing how your family is doing. I have struggled with many of the same thoughts about blogging – especially over the past year. I think the biggest thing I feel has been “lost” are the connections. It’s like everyone is just spinning their own wheels and doesn’t have time to really follow along, support and encourage one another. It’s sad because this was what I loved most about blogging when I started. Maybe you dipping your toe back into sharing more personal tidbits is the first step back to more meaningful connections. Whatever it is – I’m excited to follow along.

  29. I, for one, love everyday mundane…and LOVE the kid stuff! In addition, SO SORRY about your doggy crossing the Rainbow Bridge…sadly, almost all of us can all relate to that. Keep that messy, real life peek into your doings coming!

  30. Oh Beth. I just love this post, your heart and sharing monents that are far more meaningful then projects that take hours,a room that has been staged and all the hundreds of photos just to get that shot.

  31. Beth your blog and your heart are what started my blogging journey off. Share away lovely lady every moment you capture is heartfelt and lovely, your readers will adore that because it’s sincere and real. I’m so sorry for Gus, I feel the pain, when we lost our Polly it almost destroyed me.

  32. Debbie Webster says:

    Thank you for sharing your special moments. I wish we had this when my children were young. There are so many precious memories, like you said, the little things which give savor to life. It’s great to be real with each other. Don’t let the negative people stop you from connecting with the great people you would want to know in heaven.

  33. Your story is so sweet and so inspiring. I’m so happy that you and your talented hand with the camera are making your way back. Keep speaking your heart, sweet friend, and everything else will fall into place.

  34. The old school blogs are what got me interested in reading and blogging. If I want to see only perfection I can read a magazine or check out pinterest. Most of the old bloggers are going to instagram only so all we get are pictures and no stories which I find boring. Maybe old school is the way to go because readers can better connect. A little personalization mixed with pretty is perfection in itself.

  35. I don’t think I’ve ever visited before, but jumped over from another blog. I went through something similar to what you did as a blogger. My kids are grown. But I went through the whole what kinds of posts get the page views thing. Then my readers told me that they really wanted to read about my boring day-to-day life again, and I haven’t looked back. I’ve been a writer for a long time. And I can tell, you’re a wonderful story teller! So get back in the game and write about the day to day happenings that were part of “the good old days.” I think you’ll be happier. And you’ll have a virtual scrapbook of your life again.
    Brenda

  36. How refreshing to stumble across your blog and find you ARE real. I’ve tried blogging on and off (mostly off) through the years and I’d love to get back into it. I totally relate to everything you mentioned in this post. I don’t want to compete with everyone else and I don’t want a blog that’s all about the mighty dollar, which so many blogging guru’s are promoting. I want to be simple and be the kind of blogger that’s real. I love how you’re going back to your roots and why blogging started in the first place. I think I might just have fallen in love with your blog and your style. Here’s to being real 🙂 …Jo

  37. I am so happy to meet another long-time blogger who is keeping it real. When I read most blogs, I think, “They must be using Daddy’s money.” Or the ads cover so much white space that I lose interest in the text! This is year 7 for me and I still take pictures with my phone. I don’t use photoshop but do crop them before publishing. I am also concerned about privacy and that limits what I share. I blog to write and I think everyone relates to the small, everyday things. They are not mundane; they are the stuff of life!

  38. Well I loved this!! Maybe you should think of it like an episode of Seinfeld- not really about anything… that was a huge success! Everyday is where the stories are. I am new to blogging and also struggle with how much to share. I am signing up to follow your blog. Write soon!!!!
    Teresa

  39. lynne Johnson says:

    This is the kind of blog I enjoy! A real story about real people. How refreshing!

  40. Gwen Moses says:

    Your words are beautiful and full of love!! Please continue sharing.

  41. I love, love this post!!! You definitely hit the nail on the head on this one!….Bravo Beth!!

  42. Julie Briones says:

    I LOVED reading this, Beth. I haven’t been following your blog for long, but I will def be back. That pic of your son and his bff brought tears to my eyes. You write what the Lord is calling you to write, girlfriend!

  43. Years ago when we lived in China and the rest of our kids were on 2 other continents, I started to blog as a way to connect with them. You know share some photos, part of our dailies and impart some wisdom too, I hoped. Then I thought it need to to be more and within a few years I was frustrated and not having fun. Your sharing confirms how I have been headed for awhile. Keep sharing your life!

  44. Yes! Share your life! My favorite blogs are the ones I feel like I’m along for the ride, like I know them personally. I understand the conflict, however, because I have a blog of my own. I have a hard time finding the balance as well. I’ve been blogging a few years now — not 12 like you! — and I’m still not sure which posts will be favorited, but many of them are my honest motherhood moments. Can’t wait to read about your personal life as well as your awesomely styled posts. xo Kate | http://www.housemixblog.com

  45. You GO girl!! You have already established your blog anyway. And I believe that anything that doesn’t fill us is just too much work. Keep it real, sister!

  46. So excited to see you back!

  47. Melissa Black says:

    This post is amazing! It made me laugh and cry! I’m brand new to blogging (haven’t written my first post yet for trying to learn everything :P) and this post inspired me to want to write amazing posts just like it! I loved reading about your sweet family! Keep up the great work and keep following your writer’s heart 😀

  48. Beth, while I am a Mom of Teens, and have become a midlife new blogger, I still love your blog. I hope my blog will be real like yours.

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