Monday, December 31, 2012

Good Riddance 2012!

Me... falling on ice
2012 has really been a bad year for me for a lot of reasons. It's been a year where I had to cut people out of my life, a year where I started having panic attacks, and just not a lot good happened this year.

2013 is shaping up to be a great year. I'm gainfully employed from home. We are going to Disney World in October. Todd found a horror con in Charlotte that is taking place the weekend after my birthday that has Bruce Campbell as a guest that we are going to go to. I'm also planning on going to ConCarolinas and of course Dragon*Con.

I think that 2012 might be out to get me though. Right before Christmas, I was carrying Emily to the car. I tripped and fell hard on our carport, which is made of cement. I managed to protect Emily so I took the brunt of the fall. I was very sore for a few days and my left arm was still a little bit tender.

Yesterday I went to see The Hobbit and I was walking through the covered parking garage when I slipped and fell on a tiny patch of ice. I think someone dumped their drink and it froze. I fell again on cement and now both my knees hurt as well as my left arm again.

I hope I don't fall again soon and I'm so glad that 2012 is almost done!

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Preschool Christmas Program

It's been a super busy holiday season this year, especially since this is the first year I've been back to work. So I'm a little behind on my posts.

Emily started preschool this year and she had her first preschool Christmas program. Since she goes to preschool at our church, the program was about the birth of Jesus.

I had to work in the morning so Todd and I got there right before the program was going to start. The church was packed but we managed to snag a seat on the end in the back.

Each class paraded into the church and sat down. The oldest class, which was the kindergarten class, got speaking parts and acted out the nativity. Each of the other classes got a song to sing and were dressed up as different parts of the nativity scene.

The youngest classes went first so Emily's class was in the middle of the program. They played the part of shepherds and sang "Away in the Manger" which was very adorable. Emily had been singing the song all the time at home, but I think she got a little stage fright and didn't sing much.
The whole program lasted less than a half hour but it was super cute. After it was done, the kids went back to their classrooms where we could pick them up (since we have to sign them out). Then there was a cookie reception in the fellowship hall with a special guest.

Since we had been sitting in the back, we were one of the first to get out of the church and pick up our kid. So she was one of the first kids to see Santa.

I know some Christians don't do Santa but we do and it was refreshing to see him at the reception. The kids were really excited and lined up to see him. This is the first year that Emily actually sat on Santa's lap without having either Todd or I be right next to her.

Once she saw Santa and got her candy cane, we had some cookies. Every family brought cookies (including us - I had made chocolate chip cookies the night before) so there was a ton. Emily had a really good time, especially when one of her friends came and sat with us.

She's been experiencing a lot of firsts this year and this one was great. She was adorable and so were the other kids. The local news station even came and did a story on it. You can see the video at their website if you want - Emily is shown a couple of times.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

I'm Going To Disney World

I'm going to Disney World! In October 2013 :)

Disney World is my favorite place in the whole world. I love it so much. When Todd gave me the option of Vegas or Disney World for our honeymoon, it took me about five minutes to decide.

Three months after we returned from our wonderful Disney honeymoon, I became pregnant. This was when I started dreaming about taking Miss  Emily to Disney World.

Now when we were on our honeymoon, we saw what a pain in the butt hauling around strollers was. So we decided that we would wait until any child we had was out of strollers. We also decided that 6 would be the magical age for a first trip to Disney.

Emily is currently four, and her birthday is in October. Because of the cutoff for kindergarten in NC, she will still be in preschool next year. So I talked Todd into doing Disney next year because it would be easier to take her out of school.

Last month we booked our trip and we will be driving down to Disney World on October 11th. We are staying in the newest Disney resort, Art of Animation, in a Finding Nemo family suite.

I'm very excited, though I keep crying at Disney commercials  The one on the big screen when I went to the movies last week made me sob. Todd thinks I'm crazy, but this is Emily's first trip so it's super special.

Don't be surprised at a large amount of Disney posts in 2013. I'm really looking forward to this trip!

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Day at the Zoo

My in-laws came to visit from Michigan for Emily's birthday and one of the things they wanted to do was take her to the zoo. I did a search and the closest zoo was in Greenville, so that is were we went Monday morning.

Emily loves animals so we knew that the zoo would be fun for her. The Greenville zoo isn't super big so we were able to see it all in a couple of hours. The first animal and the last animal we saw was the elephant. The elephant was not facing us so we got a good view of his butt. Emily kept making stinky elephant butt jokes the whole day. We got a little better view on the way out, but didn't get to see her straight on.

They had a lot of neat animals from snakes to lizards to birds to monkeys to the very pregnant giraffe. Emily liked the monkeys the best because she thought they were funny!

Here are some pictures from our day at the zoo!


Daddy and Emily looking at fishies

The zoo had a bunch of Halloween decorations up

Emily with her grandparents

Emily loves the zoo!

Pregnant giraffe!

She loved the playground they had!

Monkey! Emily said he was in time out
because he was facing away from the other monkeys.

Big cheetahs!

Mommy gets a picture with the birthday girl

"Look mom, a goat!"


One last pose before we left
Elephant butt!

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Costume Party

I love Halloween so I was thrilled when my daughter was born in October. For the last few years, we had been doing park playdates, but that didn't turn out so well last year. So when I asked Emily what kind of party she wanted this year, I was so excited when she requested a costume/Halloween themed party.

Since we live in NC, the weather is usually okay for an outdoor party. We got Emily a big swingset over the summer and our yard is plenty big, so the party was going to be at our house.

Emily started preschool this year so we invited the kids in her class as well as a few other people. My in-laws drove down from Michigan to make the party complete. As the day dawn, it looked like rain and actually did rain a little so we set up the food table in our carport. I also brought out some toys for the kids to play with in case of rain.

The party started at 2 pm and it wasn't too long before the first kids starting arriving. It was sprinkling so they started playing in the carport. But once most of the guests had arrived, Emily wanted to show her friend her swing set so off to the backyard they went.

Emily was dressed as Snow White and one of her friends also came as Snow White. I also was Snow but we didn't get any pictures of me. All the kids were in costume which was very adorable. We let the kids play for a while and then we had food.

I have several Halloween themed cookie cutters, one that is in the shape of a bat. So Todd used the cookie cutter to make hamburger patties in the shape of bats. He called them bat sliders. We also had veggies, fruit and lemonade and even ice cubes in the shape of pumpkins and skulls.

Emily loved the Halloween pinatas at Walmart so we got her one for her birthday. She picked out the ghost and we gave each of the kids the change to break open the pinata. The kids didn't make a dent into it, so my husband tried. He overestimated his strength and cracked it open with one swing. Thankfully it didn't hit anyone when it fell and the kids had fun filling their bags up with candy.

Once everyone ate and we cracked open the pinata, we got the cake out and sang 'Happy Birthday'. The cake had one of Emily's favorite princesses, Tiana, on it. It was very colorful and pretty yummy.

It was then time for presents and Emily got some help unwrapping them. She got lots of lovely things but her favorite was the Disney Princess Little People Castle from her aunt and uncle.

The party broke up at the point but Emily played a while with the kids that could stick around. She declared it was the best birthday party ever and I think it turned out pretty well!

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dragon*Con 2012 - Friday

Usually my husband and I head down to Atlanta early on the Thursday before Dragon*Con so we can get our badges. Usually the badge line takes several hours to go through and that way we weren't missing any of the con.

But this year, I had just started a new job a few weeks before so I had to work until 5:30 that Thursday. Thankfully, I now work from home so we could leave as soon as I got off work. It was about 5 pm when my boss let me go and we were able to get on the road to Atlanta.

Thursday was just the drive down to my aunt and uncle's house. We got to their house around 9 pm which didn't leave us any time to get downtown. So it was early to bed since my husband and I wanted to get down to the con early.

Now I had heard many things that badge pickup was streamlined, but my husband was pretty pessimistic about it. He still thought we were going to be in line for hours. We managed to get down to the con around 9 am and then we waited for a whole five minutes to get our badges. It took us longer to walk through the queues than it did to actually get our badges.

This gave us quite a bit of time before my panel. We headed to the Hilton to see if there was any autographs. The Celebrity Authentics line was long but we got in it so Todd could get a ticket to get Sebastian Roche's autograph.

From there, we met up with my friend Nicole. We went to the food court to have some breakfast. We chatted and people watched until it was about a half hour before the "Are You A Geek Parent" Panel.

I had worked with th Kaleidoscope track folks for months to put together this panel with some of my fellow GeekMom authors. Author and geeky dad Bryan Young also sat on the panel. When we got to the Kaleidoscope track room, the room was about half full. We actually started the panel a little early because the room was full.

My lovely husband took video of the panel until my memory was totally filled up. He left at that point to head back to the Walk of Fame. He told me later that there were about 10 people outside, waiting to see if they could get into the pane.

The big highlight of the panel was being able to meet GeekMom Ruth and GeekMom Patricia in person. And it was just a really fun panel to be involved with. Afterwards, we got a picture of the three GeekMoms, then I had a rush off.

I walked as fast as I could to the Sheraton to get in line for The Guild panel. The line was out of the hotel and wrapped around the building. It was very hot but thankfully I had stuck my Kaylee parasol in my bag. It was my original parasol that I painted and it is starting to fall apart. Thankfully it still opened and make it a little cooler while standing in line.

Even though the line was long, I made it into the panel. It was the first time the entire cast of The Guild  had come to Dragon*Con. It was a really great panel, but I left earlier so I could meet Todd at the walk of fame.

I didn't get as many autographs as I did in years past. But I got the entire cast of the Guild, Adam Baldwn (finally!!) and Katee Sackoff. Todd got several others, like John Rhys-Davies, so we have lots of new additions for our wall of fame.

I thought that the dealer'r room closed at 5, but my dear husband told me that it was open until 7 and that he also knew were the BPAL booth was.

Slight tangent here. I've been a fan of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab or BPAL since 2004. The owners of the Lab, Beth and her husband Ted, have been active on the fan forum so I've known them online for 8 years. But since they are located in CA, I never got to meet them in person. So I was really excited to finally meet them.

Todd showed me right were the booth was then headed back to the walk of fame. I geeked out at the BPAL, introduced myself to Beth, got a hug and got to smell the Halloween scents which were so lovely. It was great!

By the time I was done at the BPAL booth, I had missed the start of the next panel I was going to so I went to the food court for some food. Todd had been at wrestling but he wasn't too into it so we headed back to my aunt and uncle's house.

Next up, Dragon*Con 2012 - Saturday!

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

September 30th - In Pictures

7 years ago today, Serenity was released in theaters. 

6 years ago today, I married my wonderful husband, Todd.

5 years ago today, I celebrated my first anniversary in Epcot.

4 years ago today, I was extremely pregnant with Miss Emily.
(picture from a few weeks before the 30th)

3 years ago today, I was SAHM to an 11 month old.

2 years ago today, I was a college student/SAHM

1 year ago today, I spent my 5th wedding anniversary away from my husband.
Emily and I flew to Texas to attend my cousin Sarah's wedding.

As you can see, September 30 has become an important day in my life. Though there were a few years that we didn't do much of anything.

Today is the first anniversary that Todd and I have had that we've both had the day off since our 1st anniversary / honeymoon. We aren't doing anything very exciting though Todd is going to make a turkey dinner which I'm really looking forward to.

It's been a great 6 years of being married to the love of my life. Here's to many years more!

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Day of Preschool!

Yesterday, my baby started school. Yes, it's only preschool but  it makes me a little melancholy that she is growing up.

Even though she could have started preschool last year, things were just too crazy for us with me still being in college. Plus she'll have another year of preschool since her birthday is in October, so she doesn't make the cut-off for kindergarten.

Her preschool is at our church, which is great because it's a place she is already familiar with. She is enjoying it so far, at least she keeps wanting to go back.

She goes for three days a week for a couple of hours. It's a great start to get her used to going to school.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

How To Find Me At Dragon*Con!

I'm getting ready for Dragon*Con! This year I'll be on a panel as well as live tweeting for GeekMom. You can follow me at @ChaosMandy at Twitter.

On Friday, August 31, I'll be on the GeekMom panel.

It will be at 1 pm in the Kaleidoscope track room (Marriott Lobby: Marriott L405 - L406). The title of the panel is "Are you a Geek Parent?" It should be a lot of fun!

On Saturday, September 1, I'll be in the parade.

I'll have Emily with me and both of us will be cosplaying as Snow White. We will be marching in the Kaleidoscope section!

On Sunday, September 2, I'll be a judge for the Whedonverse costume contest. 

It will be at 4 pm in Westin International DE. I can't wait to see all the shiny costumes!

I'll also have the GeekMom Pony with me - I'll be taking a lot of pictures of her around the con. I hope to see some of you at the con!

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I Miss You, Mom

Me and my mom
10 years ago today my mom lost her two year battle with cancer. I woke up around this time on that day and I just knew she was gone. My dad and her dad were at her side when she passed away.

I miss my mom everyday. Even though I was 25 years old when she passed away, I wasn't really grown up. I had graduated from college less than a week before she died - an event that she managed to attend. She was very proud of me.

But my mom never met my husband - though she was in the same room with him once. My college best friend married his best friend and we were both in the wedding. That was how we met. But we didn't start dating until after my mom had passed.

And of course my mom never got to meet Emily. That probably makes me more sad than anything because my mom was so looking forward to having grandkids. She would have adored Miss Emily.

I am a Christian so I believe that my mom is in Heaven. She does come to visit every once in a while - I feel her presence sometimes which gives me some peace. And I will see her again someday. But for  now, I miss my mommy and wish she was still her.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Phineas and Ferb Jello!

I have been neglecting this blog, and I'm sorry about that. I'm really hoping that I'll be able to update it more regularly. I will warn you all that there will be an extra amount of Disney related posts since we are going to be going to Disney World next October.

We watch the various Disney channels quite a bit. One of my favorite shows that Emily really likes is Phineas and Ferb. It's one of the best shows on TV.

This weekend, we were doing some shopping in Walmart. I was getting jello to make some for Emily when I spotted a Phineas and Ferb jello mold. It was only a dollar so I bought it. Tonight I made up some jello.
Phineas, Ferb, Perry and Candace
Dr. Doofenshmirtz and Agent P

It turned out great and I know that Emily is going to be so excited to eat some of the jello for snack time tomorrow.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Best Present My Husband Ever Got Me

My husband has bought me a variety of things over our nearly six year marriage. But the best thing he ever bought me was one of the first things.

It was fairly early into our relationship and we were still living in Michigan. And we were still living apart at that point. But we would try and get together as much as possible.

We were in Midland, MI and looking in a store that sold used DVD's and video games. I was really into anime at the time and my husband (then boyfriend) pointed out the first season of Sailor Moon that was uncut.

I had always been interested in watching Sailor Moon. I had seen some of the wretched dub when I was much younger and didn't know what anime was. But by this time I knew that the dubbed version had been really butchered from the original. So when he offered to buy it, I jumped at the chance.

I think my birthday was close and this DVD set became my birthday present. And I watched the heck out of it as the months went on. This was because soon after, my daily chronic headaches started.

I've talked about my headaches before, but I'll recap a little. I got very sick with an ear infection that my doctor misdiagnosed for a month. I ended up in the hospital and permanent damage to the hearing in my right ear. I also had a bad headache. All my other symptoms cleared up except for the headache. I've had that same headache for almost ten years now.

After my headaches started, it was the worst time in my life. I was in constant pain and didn't know how to deal with it. But I would spend many of my sleepless night watching Sailor Moon. It helped me through that really hard time in my life.

We didn't know it at the time, but Todd had bought me something very rare and valuable. ADV, which know longer exists, only released the first two seasons of Sailor Moon uncut. And stopped making them soon after that they were released. So they are hard to find and expensive to buy.

When I went to look on Amazon for the picture above, the prices were starting at $559.95 for new, $210 for used and one collector's edition for $1,500.00! When money has been tight in the past, Todd and I discussed selling it, but I don't think I'd be able to bear to part with it.

So while Todd has bought me many shiny things in the past, including my wedding ring, the best present is my Sailor Moon DVD's.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Getting Back In The Swing Of Things

Three months ago, I went back to work after being a stay at home mom / college student for three years. I knew that there would take some time to get used to working again, but I never thought it would take this long.

Granted, these three months have been really unpleasant for me thanks to issues in my personal life. But finally I think I'm starting to get back in the swing of things.

I exercised for the first time tonight since I went back to work. I've written eleven GeekMom articles so far this month, which is more like the number I wrote when I was still a stay at home mom.

There is still some things that I need to work on, like my novel which I have barely edited. This blog has been neglected as well. And I do need to find more time to just relax and decompress. It's an ongoing adjustment as I find that groove again.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Belated Father's Day Post

Making a cake for Daddy!
Sorry about the silence on this blog, things have been a little crazy for me lately. I'm hoping to do a lot better with blogging here, though you can always check out my posts over at Wired's GeekMom too.

Father's Day was yesterday and we had a pretty lowkey celebration. Emily made Todd a card and we got him a present of Magic cards. She had wanted to get him flowers, but I nixed that idea.

We also made him a cake, which Emily was so excited to help with. And I made french toast and bacon Sunday morning as a special treat. Emily also got to talk with her Pop-Pop (my dad) and her Papa (Todd's dad) on Sunday too. She was happy about that, but she is always talking about wanting to go to Pop-Pop and Papa's houses. Alas, we won't be getting to Michigan until (probably) Christmas again this year.

So Happy Belated Father's Day to all the great dads out there! I hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Why We Are Ill Prepared For The Zombie Apocalypse

It was a pretty typical Sunday night as my husband and I watched Castle on our DVR. But all of a sudden, there was a whine as all of our electricity turned off.

Todd stumbled to get flashlights while I opened the computer to give off a little light. I got the power bill to get the number to call in that our power was out while Todd went to Emily's room to try our breakers.

We weren't very organized about this and weren't sure what to do afterwards. Emily was a little freaked out so we put her in our bed. I laid down with her but I wasn't tired. Todd headed off to the movies.

The lights came on about an hour or so after they went out. I was very relived since it's been so hot lately. But it also got me thinking about the fact that we, as a family, are so reliant on    power.

If a zombie apocalypse (or any type of apocalypse) were to happen, I think we would be toast. We flailed around with just a power outage. I think it would be worse if the undead were trying to eat us.

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Chaos Mandy's Foolproof Potty Training Method

Well, it might not be foolproof, but I'm happy to say that our potty training method has paid off since Emily is now completely potty trained.

We started out slow by getting her one of those training potty's. She used it sometimes, but potty training didn't really start clicking until she was big enough to use the regular potty.

Because of this, I would recommend not getting a training potty. I know think they are a big waste of money. It would probably be a better idea to get the child seat for the actual potty.

Once Emily was big enough to sit on the actual potty, we would sit her on the potty once an hour. This worked pretty well, especially I was a stay at home mom at the time. But this will only take you so far as well.

My big girl!
What really worked for us, was asking her when she had to potty. From there, she started knowing when and telling us that she had to go. At first, she wanted either me or my husband in the bathroom with her, but once she got the hang of getting on the potty (we used a step stool for a while) and getting her pants down, she was able to go on her own.

We also took potty training in stages. First stage was going to the potty at home. Once she mastered that, we worked on going potty in public restrooms. The loud flushing in public potties scares her a little even now, but she'll go, jump off the potty and put her hands over her ears.

Once she had mastered going on the potty during the daytime, we didn't push nighttime potty training. I've heard there are kids who are four or five years old who still don't go to the potty during the night. But it turned out that we didn't have to do any training since Emily nighttime potty trained herself.

It started with naptime, which I wasn't there for because I had started working. But finally we started just letting her wear her undies for bedtime. She only has had one accident so far and will come out to the bathroom in the middle of the night. She does want one of us to come with her, partly because she is afraid of the dark. We have a nightlight in the hall, but can't have one in the bathroom. This is because the lights have to be on for the electrical plugs in the bathroom to work. But that is a minor issue.

So, Miss Emily has been completely potty trained for a little while now. It's pretty awesome to not have the expense of diapers anymore and she's happy to be such a big girl.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

The Mommy Wars and Extended Breastfeeding

Being a parent is hard, especially in this day and age. Thanks the the internet, you can express your opinions about everything. But it also can make it easier to butt heads with parents who don’t agree with your parenting style. This is one of the reasons, I think, for the rise of what the media likes to call The Mommy Wars.

The Mommy Wars were flamed this past week with conversational cover of Time magazine. The magazine cover featured a mom, Jamie Lynne Grumet, breastfeeding her almost four year old son. The pose along with the tagline, “Are You Mom Enough?” seemed designed to stir people up. Extended breastfeeding tends to be a highly debated topic that people, including non-parents, have strong opinions about.

I was an extended breastfeeder, but I didn’t intend to be. It just happened. When I got pregnant, I really wanted to breastfeed, for monetary reasons, since nursing is free! Nursing my daughter was a bit difficult in the beginning thanks to a bad latch in the beginning. But once we got used to it, it was just so easy.

My daughter’s first birthday came and went, and she still liked to nurse so there seemed no reason to stop. Same with her second birthday. Now, we did start her on food at six months, so as she got older she nursed less and less. But it was still great at bedtime and when she needed comfort. Our nursing relationship had a big bump when I ended up in the hospital a few months after she turned two. Nursing was very uncomfortable after I came home and I started to wean her. I still feel a little sad about how our nursing relationship ended but I was glad I was able to nurse her so long.

I was lucky because I had a good supply and besides a few latch issues in the beginning, we had no problems. But I watched other women struggle so hard to nurse and then feel so guilty when they had to use formula. I wish there was less of an attitude of guilt for those moms who don’t want to or can’t breastfeed.

But on the other hand, I also wish people wouldn’t demonize extended breastfeeders so much, because that is what works for their family. In fact, I wish that people would not criticize other’s parenting decisions. The Mommy Wars would die out if we could just have mutual respect for other parents and the decisions that they make for their children. Because honestly, we are all Mom enough for our kids.
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Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Amazing Journey with GeekMom

Over a year and a half ago, I found a blog called GeekMom. I started reading during one of their theme weeks and I was hooked. One day I saw a little button on their sidebar that said they were looking for writers.

I filled out the information and didn't really think much of it afterwards. But on April 11, 2011, my life was changed forever. On that day, I got the email that welcomed me as one of the new writers for

I was so excited and I jumped right in. I got a thrill seeing my posts go live and as I grew as a writer. It was also so great to be part of such a great group of moms. In my life, I only had one geeky mom to hang out with - my best friend, Dolli. But just having the GeekMoms to talk to via email about a variety of subjects, it is a great support system.

We all worked hard to grow our blog. I was really surprised when I realized that GeekMom was less than a year old when I became a writer. As the time went by, we got our name out there more and more. And I was made a core contributor which made me so, so happy.

All of the hard work paid off this week as GeekMom became a blog. This is a huge deal and I am thrilled. Writing for GeekMom is the best job I've ever had and I'm hoping of years to come of growing this blog and the friendships I've made with my fellow GeekMoms.

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