Thursday, October 27, 2016

That Crazy Time My Blog Disappeared

I'm back!
And for the first time in my seven years of blogging, after pulling its first and hopefully only disappearing act, my blog is back too! It's a happy day!

I don't know if anyone has even noticed, but for the past several weeks if you tried to come to my blog, it wasn't here. You'd get a generic gray screen with business advertisements on it. It stoked the fire of my anger every time I saw it. My dear sweet Doll Sweet Journal was apparently gone forever due to the infuriating unhelpfulness and confusion that is Google, a company that became my enemy in September and after the fortunate events of this morning has now been upgraded to frenemy.   

I can't even explain fully what happened because it's pretty confusing, but basically, I had to pay to renew my domain name (thedollsweetjournal.com), which I pay $10 a year for through Google. No problem. But it was a problem, because no matter what I did, Google wouldn't let me log into a "Google Admin Account" to renew it. I'd never set one up years ago when I bought the domain name and for some extremely frustrating and unknown reason it wouldn't let me start one. I tried so many things and so many times, but nothing worked. So I had no way to pay the ten bucks. It was so dumb, especially coming from this huge company that's supposed to be so smart and high-tech.

Adding to the confusion was the fact that my sister's Gmail address was mixed up with my account somehow (which I'm not sure we'll ever figure out how to fix because Google's not making that one easy either). I couldn't figure out for the life of me how to get this freaking ten bucks paid so that my blog would get renewed. I tried contacting Google for help to no avail. I googled my problem (how I hated having to use it given that Google was the source of my problem) and saw that others have experienced the same thing and weren't able to get it fixed. And then my blog disappeared when payment didn't happen, and I was TICKED. Seven years of writing and pictures, gone. I was so mad. I swore (literally) never to use Google for a blog again and to never use a Gmail account. I even started a new blog on Wordpress to make myself feel better and to spite Google, but I've done hardly anything with it because I was disheartened at losing my seven-year-old blog and having to start all over again.

Maybe this was a message from the universe that it was time to take blogging out of my life for good.
But I guess it wasn't, because I tried one last thing just this morning that Peter found through a more successful google search than mine was (grrrrrr), and miraculously, it worked! I've been procrastinating trying it for the last few weeks because in the likely event that it didn't work, it would have been the final nail in the coffin for The Doll Sweet Journal and I was going to move on to the Wordpress blog or just eliminate blogging from my life altogether. But miracle of miracles, it worked! So I paid the stupid ten dollars (actually I paid $30 just to be safe and as insurance for next fall so that I don't have to go through this again). And my blog got restored! It's back! Wipe away your tears of relief. I am! (Not really.) 

So it's back to business again! Although with the holidays coming up and a rather busy two months ahead, I'm not sure how much I'll actually blog for the rest of 2016. I might just start again in January. Or if I have some things that I feel I really must share with the world, then I might do some posts before then. But in the meantime, we're back (yes, my blog and I are a "we") and I'm very happy about it!

*An added note: I realized after I published this post that it was almost exactly seven years ago to the day that I started this blog, on October 26, 2007. (You can see that post here.) I just happened to have it on my to-do list to try and restore the blog yesterday on October 26th, too. Isn't that weird? I'm taking this as a sign that the blog is something I should keep in my life (no matter what Google has to say or do about it!). Happy birthday, again, dear blog, and thanks for coming back!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Happy Summer!

  I think life is just about perfect in the summer!





Our Cape house is right about where "Hyannis" is on the map below. Right in the middle of the Cape! I love it.

I'm very much looking forward to being seahabilitated for the next two months. 
I hope you have a great summer! I'll be back to blogging again in September!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Five Things for Friday

1. Last weekend we took a quick trip to Nauvoo, Illinois. We hadn't been to the temple in awhile, and we wanted to do some sealings in honor of our anniversary that was coming up a few days later. There was a pretty sunset the evening we got there that I took from the doorway of the little villa we stayed at.


And a few minutes later...

A few other pictures from that evening...

I love the rolling green hills of the Midwest!


We didn't do anything fun in the Historic Nauvoo village area because we didn't have time, but the boys were content to hang out in our villa. And Peter and I were happy to get to go to the temple.

On the drive home, we stopped at a little Chinese place for lunch. In a pleasant coincidence, there was an Anne of Green Gables picture in the women's bathroom there. We went on our honeymoon to Prince Edward Island (home of Anne of Green Gables). Cool! I took this as a sign that we had spent our time wisely in the right place that weekend.


I've gotta pay it proper homage!

2. As I mentioned, we celebrated our 14th anniversary this past Wednesday on the 15th. Rather than write about how much I love being a wife to my wonderful husband (which I really do), I'd like to take this opportunity to focus on how much I enjoyed being a bride 14 years ago. I've always loved weddings and bridal things. I wish I could do it all over again (with Peter, of course!) now that I have more money and slightly more sophisticated taste (though I will always love my wedding gown, which was beautiful if I do say so myself...and I do!).

I read an article recently that featured modest wedding gowns, and this one was my favorite:
The only major change I'd make to this dress would be to switch it from tulle to satin. I love satin! And lace! And a defined waistline! I need to be a bride again.

I also saw this fun article this week about these stunning wedding dresses that these women made entirely from toilet paper! You have to see these; they're amazing! (I'll still take a dress made out of satin and lace, though.)

And related to that, this is another good article I read about an LDS woman who entered that very contest last year and again this year and has done very well in it!

Finally, these are the pretty flowers Peter brought home for me on Wednesday.



3. I mentioned modesty in #2. As a temple-going, fully active Mormon, modesty is important to me and I believe that dressing modestly is a blessing. I overall have no problems with it. But now I will contradict that last part a little bit by saying that my one "problem" with wearing modest clothes (which for Mormon women is clothes that go to the knee and have sleeves with nothing low-cut in the front or back) is that I don't like long shorts. I never have. One of the reasons I decided not to go to BYU was because I detested the strict dress code, which would have required me to wear those dowdy knee-length (or longer!) shorts on my cute 18-21 year-old body. No way Jose! I was a faithful good girl but I couldn't suppress my stubborn and mild rebellious streak when it came to shorts until I went through the temple for the first time before I got married. Then I was cool with it (for the most part).

So I've always liked shorts that hit at right about mid-thigh. I think they're so cute. In my opinion, knee-length shorts will never look as good as shorter shorts do, especially on my legs, where my muscular thighs balance out my slightly beefy calves. So that's been my one objection to dressing modestly, but I'm faithful and try to rock knee-length Bermuda shorts as well as I can (ha!). And there are some cute ones out there. I just got a few new pairs this week that I like.  

But now I have a Bermuda shorts horror story to share with you. Gap, which has been struggling with its sales, is going to continue to struggle with these monstrosities that they're currently selling: 


I appreciate that they're modest, but other than that I think these drapey Bermuda shorts are ugly, unflattering, and silly-looking. 
But that's just me. What do you think?

4. My high school (Hopkinton High in Hopkinton, Massachusetts) honored my aunt Audrey this week by naming the cafeteria "Audrey's Place" after her. This is the newspaper article about it. She worked in the cafeteria at HHS for 38 years before retiring this year. I'm so glad that they did this for her. She totally deserves it! She's always been such a sweet aunt to me, and I liked having her work there when I was in school. It's nice to have your aunt work at your school. She was there for me and for my three younger siblings as well as many of our cousins.

(The newspaper article wouldn't let me copy and paste this picture no matter what I did, so I finally took a picture of it on the computer screen with my phone and emailed it to myself. Ha! I win!)

I'm looking forward to seeing Audrey and my other aunts, uncles, and cousins this summer. Speaking of which...

5. We leave to head East for the summer in about a week. I can't think about it too much or I'll get really stressed. I have so much to do before we go! I can't believe how much busier I've been and how much less time I've had over the last few weeks since school got out. I think I got spoiled this past school year by having eight hours to myself each day while both of the kids were at school. Now I'm having to re-adjust to having them home. It's not nearly as easy to get things done! My productivity, efficiency, and focus have definitely suffered. I often feel like I'm swimming with my head just above water, to use a well-worn but effective cliche. I have more empathy and remembrance for what it's like to live weekday life with your kids at home. It's a rather bemusing wake-up call. 

Anyway, I wanted to blog about our adventures last summer in Massachusetts this week and next week, but I didn't have the time to get that done and I very likely won't have the time to do it next week either. I had to make a concerted effort just to get this one post done for today. So I'm going to have to blog about our summer of '15 adventures in the fall or some other time, which isn't the end of the world, but I would have liked to have gotten it done this month. It would be neater and more orderly that way. But life isn't always neat and orderly when you have kids! Though it is rewarding and very meaningful.

Well, I feel like I'm starting to ramble, so I'll end here. I'll try to do at least one more post before I take the rest of the summer off from the blogosphere.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Five Things For Friday

A quick Five Things today, all of them from pictures I took on my phone over the last week.

1. Last Saturday we had fun at the Iowa Arts Festival downtown. Or, to be more accurate, Sam, my dad, and I had fun. Peter and John aren't into this kind of thing and were bored.

Sam got a snake painted on his face (of course).




2. I saw this handmade picture at one of the vendor tents and I liked the saying on it: "Put it behind you...and leave it there." I need to do that more often in my life! And it was done in shades of my favorite color (green). I would have bought it but the artist wasn't there at the time for me to pay for it so I just took a picture instead.


3. I finished a big copyediting project for someone this week. It was way more intensive and time-consuming than I thought it would be. And then when I got to the final page, I discovered that over 100 pages were missing at the end! And then we further discovered that she'd sent me the wrong draft--it was her rough draft I'd been working on the whole time! Aaaaugh! We both felt bad, and she's still going to pay me for my work (which took me over 30 hours).  Along with her edited, marked-up manuscript, I sent her two typed pages of notes and suggestions for her to work on over the summer, and then we'll probably try again in the fall--with the correct draft!


4. I think this catalog cover is so funny.


5. Sam and my dad built a huge Lego Duplo tower to the ceiling! They were pretty proud of themselves. We'll see how long it stays up. It hasn't tipped over yet and it's been a few days already! I guess the Pre-Engineering Lego Camp Sam's been going to this week really has taught him a few things!


A Few More Fun Things From Virginia

This is my last post about our trip to Virginia. These are some of the other fun things we did there.

Busch Gardens
We spent a very fun day at this awesome amusement park. It's divided into sections by country. England's my favorite, of course!

John and his cute cousin Naomi at lunch.
Naomi gave us a scare later in the day when we couldn't find her for 20 minutes! Needless to say, after we found her she was stroller-bound for the rest of the day!


 Bumper cars!
Peter and Paul enjoyed "bumping" (more like ramming) each other's cars as hard as they could and as much as they could. Look at Lizzie's face!


Paul wins!


Five blond-haired, blue-eyed cuties in a row!






My personal favorite was getting our Victorian-style family pictures done there.
Peter and I did this as a couple when we were here in 2007. It was fun doing it with the kids.
I love this kind of stuff!

 Water Country USA
This waterpark was so much fun that we spent a day-and-a-half there. Part of that was because halfway through our first day there, it rained so hard that they had to shut down the park. 

Let's hear it for the posed photograph!

Peter decided to spring for a private cabana and it was very nice...


...especially when it started pouring later in the day. We had a comfortable place to stay dry.
We even had our own personal pool for awhile!


Downtown Williamsburg is really cute. It's a nice college town full of history, charm, good restaurants, and great shops. I think I would have loved going to school here at the College of William & Mary.







 On the Fourth of July, I got a massage at the spa, then went downtown and did some shopping and had lunch while Peter and Paul and the kids were at Water Country USA. Then I drove back to the resort, got us all packed up (we were leaving the next day), took a nap, and finished my book. It was a good day.

The grounds of the spa were pretty...


 At one of the shops downtown I bought my first pair of Jack Rogers sandals. Jack Rogers are very popular when it comes to New England preppy style so I decided to climb aboard that train and get a pair for my summers on the Cape. They're cute, but I don't really understand what the big deal is. They're just sandals, and they're not particularly comfortable or distinct, in my opinion. I like my Saltwaters better, though the Jack Rogers are a slightly dressier option.

It rained the afternoon of the Fourth, which altered our plans for fireworks. We were going to go back to Yorktown to see the fireworks over the battlefields there, which would have been the coolest, but it got cancelled there. Instead, we went to Colonial Williamsburg and saw them from the Visitors Center parking lot. They started later than scheduled due to the weather, but it was a great show once they started. And in such a patriotic, meaningful place!










We had such a good time on this trip. Virginia really is for lovers--history lovers!
We can't wait to return in the years to come!