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self pity and self evaluation

Monday, February 23, 2009

If I look at another help wanted listing I'm going to throw up

Okay...I'm taking myself back to my happy place now.
Not really, but lets play pretend, shall we?
Besides, I'm not really up to rehashing the 'discussion' Shad and I just had about our yucky health insurance and about how I'm tired of evaluating each of our kids on whether they're sick enough to make it worth our while to take them to the doctor...
And how crummy it is for an employer to lure us all the way out here to Grab-Your-Lasso with the promise of 'health insurance for the whole family' only to find out their idea of paying for 'insurance' means get it as cheap as you can and don't worry about whether it does the family any good...
And how it would save the employer a WHOLE lot of money if they would just pay us and forget about this crap...
And how I feel like I'm paddling upstream, without a paddle...or a raft...a life vest...or even a swimming suit...every time I start looking at the bills.
Or how sick I am about leaving our house in Kansas empty...and every time I think about the four bedrooms and huge yard we had there I get weepy...
And how I really just feel like crawling in a hole with my resume and never coming out again after the job fiasco of last week...
And how if I look at another help wanted listing I'm going to throw up. Literally.
I just don't want to talk about it.
Besides...I'm sure its just PMS.
ARGH!!!
Anyway...
By now I'm sure you've noticed all the changes I've been making to Sunflower Seeds.
There was no real reason for it, honestly. I was just bored and wanted to change the look.
Okay...that's only half true. After last week's job farce, I seriously considered taking ads on this blog because I need to make money somehow. Even if its just a few bucks.
But I'm starting to have some second thoughts about it...and I need your honest opinions. So I have a million questions for you...and I need a million and one answers.
First...
I've put an opinion poll up on the look of the blog. Do you like the new look or does it make it less personal? Does it make it more appealing...or more confusing? Check out the sidebar to cast your ballot. PLEASE vote...even if you don't comment. Although I'd really like to have your more specific comments.
Secondly...
What do you think about reinstating my blog log? I have some new blogs that I have found on the sidebar that I think are really interesting...but they're not adoption related. I'd love to have an adoption blog log as well. It would be really cute if I could get buttons from everyone...although I know that's not realistic (although I'd be more than happy to make a button for you! :) But I could add a list to the sidebar again.
What do you think?
Next...
What are your honest opinions on the whole advertising thing? My writing wouldn't be changing (for better or worse). I won't be writing reviews for pay or anything like that. This would be strictly ads along the rails...and hopefully some people would click through for me. What do you think?
And lastly...
Are you getting anything out of my blog at all? I mean, is it serving a purpose...really? I fell like I've been disconnected from the international adoption world. And not by choice. For some reason I don't feel like my blog is connecting with people who are in the adoption process...probably because we're not there ourselves right now.
Well, that and I lost three Sunflower Seeds followers, one DIYer and another Sage Brush reader this morning and I'm feeling like I've been dumped.
I haven't felt like this since high school.
I don't know...
I'm feeling a bit discombobulated lately (I love that word) about my blogging and I'm needing some feedback.
So have at it.
The comment lines are open.
I want your blogging critique.
As always, I ask that you be honest...but nice.
I could really use nice right now.

27 salty messages:

Anonymous,  February 23, 2009 at 4:20 PM  

I love your blog. I don't look at the ads along the sides. If it helps you pay your bills, keep it up. I don't comment very often (maybe this is my first comment), but I do check your blog, EVERYDAY, and love your writing. I appreciate your style, sense of humor and faith. Keep it coming Sunflower planting mama!
Cath in MN

Diana February 23, 2009 at 4:54 PM  

As for the content of your blog, I'm a loyal fan and will continue to be. My favorite blogs are the ones who just keep it real and write about all the ups and downs of life. That's what I really love about your sage brush diaries, by the way. It's just real. Not that sunflower seeds isn't, but it doesn't hurt my feelings if you combine the two :-) I love reading about the antics of other people's kids and seeing how the grow and change over time. If nothing else, it gives me hope that someday my kids will be that normal as well! And I do miss your blog roll. I really want to add one to my blog, but just haven't had time.

Who cares if your blog is only about IA anymore? Personally, I would think it's a GOOD thing that you feel like the connection to the IA world is slipping. That means you're just an ordinary family now who's kids happened to join them in a sensational way.

I'm not a big fan of ads on blogs, simply because almost without fail, the blog changes and becomes more "commercial" in nature - or they become more sarcastic or over the top or something. But almost always they end up drifing away from their intended purpose.

But, like many others, I also don't really pay all that much attention to them either, so I won't stop reading just because of the ads. However, if people just ignore them, it also kind of defeats the purpose of putting them on there because you only get paid when people click on them. I know one of our other bloggies buddies (also from Kansas - I'm sure you know who I'm referring to) tried ads for awhile and didn't find them terribly effective.

Have you tried e-bay or craig's list or other types of on-line sales? I've got a basement full of junk I'd be willing to donate and drop ship if you've got the time to list it and administer the sales. Perhaps others would be willing to do the same. I did ebay for a while and was able to make some ok money doing it. E-mail me offline if that is something that interests you. There's a link to my email address on the sidebar of my blog.
I'd be happy to kick around the idea with you and see if we could find a way to make it work for both of us. I bet we could!

Lucky Mom February 23, 2009 at 5:59 PM  

I also read your blog daily. I a an IA mom and started following during your trip to get Maddie but I also love to hear about your adventures. I am sorry you didn't get the job you must be so disappointed. keep you chin up. hopefully there is a better opportunity around the corner...

Lucky Mom February 23, 2009 at 6:00 PM  

I also am a faithful reader. I started when you were on your trip to Maddie. I also am an IA mom but I like all of the other real family issues you deal with too. Don't really look at ads since I am really trying to practice frugality right now...so I don't look cuz i don't want to be tempted.

Drew, Michelle, Luke and Tetyana February 23, 2009 at 6:33 PM  

I so get the feeling of wondering if anyone is still reading...I haven't blogged since Thanksgiving...not because nothing is going on..I compose posts in my head nearly every hour but I wondered if anyone was still reading since we weren't in the middle of the process.

But, I know I am interested in reading about other peoples lives and how their children are adjusting. I wish I could figure out how to google UA adoption blogs so I could read more.

I am considering starting a blog similar to this one because I need to vent about what is happening in my life before I go off the deep end. I always feel better writing it all down. But I don't want the nosey people around us to know our business. They already are too judgemental!

Keep blogging...I don't care about the ads. I don't even notice them.

Ashley February 23, 2009 at 6:49 PM  

I will read your blog no matter what is on it. I like what you write and I like reading about your family. :)

Loren February 23, 2009 at 7:12 PM  

I started reading your blog when you were going through the adoption process and read regularly, but have never commented. I enjoy your writing style and your allowing us a little peek into your lives. We're about to begin the foster/adopt process. Your blog has been a great resource for adopton and after, creating a new family.

The blog list you had was great. I especially liked the feature that showed time past since the last post. As for the ads, go for it!

Loren in TN

Courtney February 23, 2009 at 7:13 PM  

I would miss you if you stopped blogging. I feel like I know you after all the time we've spent together. You know, that one dinner and all... ;)

Annie February 23, 2009 at 7:29 PM  

I am a frequent, but not daily reader. I must say that what confuses me are the different blogs... I never really got the hang of the difference between Sunflower Seeds and Sagebrush Diaries.

But I can guess why you started a new one.. I think that as a blogger you have to have a "voice" a point of view...and if your point of view is too broad you feel you are letting people down in some way.

But I've settled into a more "this is my life" blog without the goal of a huge number of readers. In fact, my "blog world" is sort of like my "real world" with some really good friends, some well-liked acquaintances, some people I really like, but don't think they have much time for me, etc. I only put up the "followers" application because a couple of people requested it, and I figured that it will be a good Lenten Penance to see daily how unpopular I am. BTW, i have a post I think I'll write tomorrow just for you. (About being unpopular.)

About the blog - well, I immediately noticed the little "call-out quote" feature, which I LOVE. I didn't even notice the ads. I couldn't vote because none of the options fit. I'd vote for:

It's nice! I love the quote feature and the header! The side bars are sort of busy so I just sort-of don't look at them.

Anonymous,  February 23, 2009 at 8:13 PM  

I am a faithful reader almost every night. It's just part of my nightly routine to check up on you guys. I feel like I know so much about your family. I think your blog is great the way it is, the little add ons make it a bit more exciting. You do what you need to do as far as the ads go. Money is money! I'm sorry you're in this prediciment but I know you will land a good and decent job soon. You keep up the faith -- God will not leave you.

Barb in WI.

Sheryl February 23, 2009 at 8:40 PM  

Tami! I love reading your blog. You are a great writer and I can always count on you to have soemthing to read.I feel so privelegded to be able to watch Ellie grow and have a great life. It is a real booster for me to see good things happening for children. Also, I pray for you when you blog about other aspects of your life. Also, the ads are up to you. It would not bother me at all and who knows maybe I could find something useful there. And if you get a chance, I'd like to know how it works and if I could use them on my blog to raise money for orphans. Email- sherylots@yahoo.com

Anonymous,  February 23, 2009 at 9:37 PM  

Wow, it sounds as if life has been so frustrating recently. I am sorry for the disappointment, homesickness for your old house, and all the other issues that have had you down lately. Hang in there - spring has to come someday, and warmer weather and sunshine have to help! (so I tell myself...)

It's your blog - I just enjoy reading it, since two kids who are originally from Ukraine are part of my extended family, and I learned more than I had ever expected to about the Ukrainian orphanage system and adoption - and got hooked on the high of reading about children connect with their forever families, and have made that one of my causes. So do what feels right and best for you - I'll keep on reading.

I hope things get better soon...

Susan in Ky

Stephanie February 24, 2009 at 1:18 AM  

I understand how hard it is to move to Wyoming. The job market here is hard especially for women and even more so if you are educated and/or have a lot of experience. I have been here almost 6 years now and have spent about 1/2 of it unemployed and only about 1/2 of the time I have been employed has been in my area.

If the ads make you money then leave them there. Money is money.

One blog or two, well it really is up to you. Do you have the time and desire to make both the blogs that you desire them to be? Is there a blurred line between the content of the two? Do what feels right to you.

Hang in there and try to remember that even though money is tight and emotions are high that your husband and children are really what matters and that you like most wonderful mothers will do what it takes to make ends meet.

Elaine February 24, 2009 at 6:28 AM  

I'll click through the ads every day if it helps! Oh, wait, do I actually have to buy something after clicking through for you to make money? Because I can't buy something every day, but maybe sometimes . . . :) I like the blog look, and I love the scrolling buttons along the side. How do you DO that? And I'd love a button for my blog, but I haven't the faintest clue how to make one. What would you charge for that?????

Rachael February 24, 2009 at 7:25 AM  

The new layout is nice.

I say if you want to try ads, try it. I don't think it will change your readership. But, what I've heard from most is that it doesn't make much money unless your blog is very commercial.

By the way: what comment system are you using? Is this the JS-Kit one, or something else? I'm still trying to figure out what to do with that.

Anonymous,  February 24, 2009 at 8:39 AM  

I read your blog often (usually 2x weekly). I am a fan! :)

I like the new look...it's clean and pretty.

Ads don't bother me...I look at the ones that interest me and ignore the ones that don't.

As for content, I love to read about adoption as I am praying regarding that for our family. But I also love to just read blogs. Daily life, thoughts, etc. It's your blog...blog about what you like! :)

Amblin
(http://ramblinamblins.wordpress.com

Tina in CT February 24, 2009 at 9:20 AM  

I miss having the little pictures associated with each person that comments so I can put a "face" to a comment.

Tami February 24, 2009 at 10:32 AM  

Hmmm...I didn't even think about the photos until you mentioned it, but you're right. Its nice having the pictures with the posts. I'll try to do some research and see if I can find some code that will put the pictures back in here. I like the format of the comment section better than the old way, but we've got to get the pictures back! :)

Katie (Mixed Nuts) February 24, 2009 at 11:40 AM  

At the risk of offending someone somewhere, I must say that I think that people with the whole "you're a sell-out if you put up adds" just need to get a life. You put a lot of time and effort into this blog, and you have every right to try and compensate yourself for it. I admire people who write well enough to keep a readership and manage to make an income off of it, too. There are people who go over the top and are obviously just trying to make money, but they end up not keeping readers. I'm sure that you will still be who you are, so I say go for it!

mrsbroccoliguy February 24, 2009 at 1:32 PM  

Oh Tami, I don't know exactly how you're feeling, but I can imagine. A big move is hard enough without having all this extra stress thrown on top! I'm sorry Shad's employer misled you about the insurance, and I hate that you are feeling so much pressure to get a job, especially now when jobs are hard to find. I'm praying for you!

About the blog... I have that same conflict, wondering if I'm letting down readers who came looking for adoption-related posts because it just doesn't come up all that often anymore. I've even thought about shutting down my blog and starting fresh with one that has no adoption-baggage on it. I mean, I know that adoption is a fact of our family's life, but it isn't the dominating topic of discussion, y'know? Anyway, I like everything you write and I say it's your blog, post whatever blogroll you want and write about what is on your mind and in your heart. There's no way to please everyone, so do what you feel led to do and don't worry about the rest! (and comments? You get like twice as many on a bad day as I get on my best days!! I'm only a little jealous...)

Mike & Tara February 24, 2009 at 3:36 PM  

ads don't bother me at all - and if it brings in a few bucks - that's great! Sending you a hug for all you're going thru right now. Things will get better. I just saw on the news the other night a library is opening in Fort Collins and they need to hire a bunch of people. I know it's not writing - but maybe there's something interesting to do?

Blue Castle February 24, 2009 at 8:05 PM  

I like your blog, too. I have Blogher ads on my blog, and they're pretty easy to work with. I usually don't pay much attention to blogs ads, and as long as it's not over-board, I don't mind them. Hope this helps you a little. :)

Annette February 24, 2009 at 8:29 PM  

I love the new look of your blog! I don't mind the idea of ads. But don't be upset about lost viewers....I love your blog now and check daily! It's nice that you keep it real and talk about the ups and downs of life. That's why I keep a blog too, so I can vent my feelings and frustrations....with not a single person I know having any idea about my blog....it's like a diary that nobody can find the key to!

kate February 25, 2009 at 10:31 AM  

I like the new look, don't like ads but can overlook them, and...what else? Oh--would like a blogroll again and don't read to "get something" from your blog. I just read to check in on you! I started reading Maddie's blog. Now, I'm Anya's biggest fan. ;>

Tanya February 26, 2009 at 1:56 PM  

I hear you, I go through the same stuff day in and day out, once I went to the ER with the two of them, when the bills came, the insurance refused to pay for the baby, because the ER dr didn't diagnose her with anything. I have so much dr bills now you wouldn't believe. We lost health insurance a month ago, but that's a whole other story.
I love your blog and I'm glad to have found you.

MoscowMom February 27, 2009 at 4:08 PM  

Hi, Tami -- I don't read every day, but I really do enjoy your blog and your writing. I like how you're so honest. I don't stick with blogs that paint a glossy "life is always so grand" tone b/c I inevitably end up feeling blue in comparison. Your layout is nice, really easy to read. I wouldn't mind the ads and I don't think anyone would stop reading b/c o them... Might be worth a try! I'm toying with the idea, too...

kitzkazventure March 2, 2009 at 1:01 PM  

I love your blog no matter what you are talking about. We lost several of our readers after we returned also. We also don't get new adoptive family traffic either which is sad to me especially because I think we had great info in the beginning that would help. I even did a follow up on tips and suggestions, etc after a year. Most people want to be in the action and don't take the effort to look back to the beginning (in our case) or find the months related to the actual adoption. Kind of sad but I guess just the way it goes. I like your blog though so don't change a thing! :)

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