The Best Kind of Announcement: We’ve Grown and It is Extraordinary

Shortly after we relaunched back in January, a moment that felt akin to giving birth to a business-baby ( I was proud, overwhelmed, losing sleep and staring at it constantly), I announced that we were ready to take a huge step: we were going to hire Contributing Writers.

If I’m honest, I was hoping, fingers and toes crossed, for 75-80 applications. What I received instead floored me – more than 480 amazing, extraordinary people shared their voices with me. I visited every single site. I read what everyone loved and shared and was beyond grateful for the gift that so many of you offered.

The more I read, the more people I wanted to add to the site, but it would be impossible to for to hire as many as I loved.

Please know how much this process has meant to me and how much I hope to work with so many more of you in the future.

And, please let me share with you the truly extraordinary women I am PROUD to have contributing here on ExtraordinaryMommy.

EXMContributors2

I could go on and on and on about the amazing they are bringing with them – their expertise in the categories of style, food, travel, family and home…..not to mention how I love their hearts and their writing gifts, but I will instead leave you to explore their sites and visit them here as they sparkle. You will begin to see their writing this month, March.

Alexis Croft

Alexis Croft – Joyful Momma’s Kitchen

Lauren Dix

Lauren Dix – Fizz and Frosting

Jessica.McFadden

Jessica McFadden – A Parent in America

KaseySchwartz

Kasey Schwartz – All Things Mamma

NataliaSimmons

Natalia Simmons – Ma Nouvelle Mode

KelliStuart

Kelli Stuart – Kelli Stuart

Join me, will you, in welcoming them to the site? And watch for the amazing they will be creating. I’m so very excited they are here.

How to go from Curly to Straight Hair with the Remington Wet to Straight Flat Iron

When I was at BlogHer in New York City, I went to the Getting Gorgeous Event hosted by the lovely Audrey McClelland and Vera Sweeney .  Naturally, I had a wonderful time.  There were friends to hug, products to try and gorgeous for the getting :)

When we left, they handed us these bags FULL of amazing items.  One of them, the Remington Wet to Straight Flat Iron both fascinated me and left me feeling, I’ll admit it, skeptical.  I have big hair.  Thick, curly, hard-to-manage-I-only-wash-it-every-5-or-6-days-kind-of-hair.  Because it is just such a huge pain to do.  (Audrey says I need a Brazilian blow-out…and I mean I want one, but again – with all the hair?  It is like a bazillion dollars to get it done. I digress.)  So, I wondered if it was even possible if this (amazingly priced) flat iron could POSSIBLY tackle my hair. (Hint: yes)

Here’s the video. (And I apologize in advance for the lack of makeup-ness.  Try not to be frightened.)

And here’s where you can buy it online if you so choose.  (P.S. – this isn’t an affiliate link….and no one asked me to write about this :)

Running for her Life – Why Moms Matter

jefftrinaNine years ago, Trina Pockett at the doctor for a routine pregnancy check up.  She was 4 months pregnant with her second child, a daughter, Kate.

She had noticed a small lump in her neck and simply decided to ask about it.

The answer was not what she expected.  She had cancer.

At the young age of 23.  With a toddler at home.  With a baby in her belly. 

Trina had cancer.

At the time of her diagnosis, this young mother did not consider herself to be a fighter, but she claims her ‘inner fighter emerged’ as she began the process of beating the cancer.

momkateShe had 2 months of treatment while she was pregnant.  After she gave birth to Kate, she settled in for chemo and radiation.

How is it possible to be a mom, especially to very young children, while undergoing something that is so physically draining?

momboys“The kids were an absolute blessing to me because they gave me a sense of purpose. On the days when I was most tired and discouraged, the kids gave me a sense of purpose. Even though I was sick, they still needed a mom.”

Moms matter – they still give everything they have, even when they are taking on the fight of their life – literally.

Trina says the kids routine kept her going through the tough days and the kid’s hugs gave her the push she needed to make it through.

kidsThis difficult journey changed Trina as a parent, “. There are days that I watch my children and in awe that I get to be their mom. It is a true joy.  I have tried to instill into them the importance of making the most of each day. I want them to pursue their goals and dreams. ”

And now, cancer free – Trina and her husband, Jeff,  have added another little one to their family and she is now tackling a dream of her very own.  Find out what that dream is on Why Moms Matter Blog Talk Radio at 12:30PDT/2:30CDT

Trina is also being featured on Lifetime TV as part of their Clean Start Challenge 2009.

If you would like to nominate an ordinary, extraordinary Mom, we would love to hear from you!

Why Moms Matter – Adopting a Positive Outlook

Sandi Brown feels like her family of 6  is ‘ordinary’.  She calls them a family made of love.

Friend Meg DeZutti thinks Sandi and her family are anything but ordinary.  So, Meg nominated Sandi to be a Mom Who Matters, giving the rest of us a chance to know this extraordinary woman.

sandiandgirls2Meg describes Sandi as a “fantastic wife to a loving husband and an amazing play-down-on-the-floor-after-reading-the-same-book-for-the-15th-time mom”.

But the road to having their current family has been a long one.

About 6 years ago, while undergoing fertility treatments that, for some time, had been unsuccessful, Sandi and her husband began the process of domestic adoption.  It was at this time that Sandi’s fertility and adoption journeys fit together like puzzle pieces.  Sandi’s very last cycle of fertility treatments were successful – she was pregnant.  A mere 3 months later, they were given the name of a woman who was looking to give her baby up for adoption.  Knowing Sandi’s past pregnancies had been volatile, they decided to try both.

On October 17, 2003, Sandi and her husband were in the delivery room as Kimberly was born.  They adopted her and were allowed to take her home within 24 hours. A mere 12 days later, on October 29th, Sandi went in to labor and gave birth to Annie.  Two beautiful baby girls – both healthy – both theirs. 

Sandi believed at the time that Kimberly and Annie were the only children she would ever have.  But more miracles were in the works – Sandi got pregnant again and even carried Madeline to term.  She is now almost 4 years old.

sandianddavid11The newest edition to their family – Paul – was adopted from Ethiopia.  Sandi believes with all her heart that they were all meant to be a family.  She says adoption has been the most amazing thing in her life. She even has a series of quotes that remind her of the special bond she shares with her children:

“Natural Child: Any child who is not artificial.  Real Parent: Any parent who is not imaginary. Your Own Child: Any child who is not someone else’s child. Adopted Child: A natural child, with a real parent, who is all my own.” ~Rita Law

In addition to making her family her number one priority, Sandi has a blog and an Etsy store where she sells quilts.  She is also, clearly, a wonderful friend.  In her nomination letter, Meg said, “She finds time for those around her. She always seems to know when I’m feeling defeated by the adoption process and calls or texts to cheer me up. Sandi is extraordinary just by being herself.”

brownfamily

When asked how she balances it all, Sandi explains, ” I enjoy every moment.  I don’t have a sparkling clean home and it is full of clutter, but my children are cared for and valued.  I live by the saying, ‘Do something you love each day.'”

Clearly, Sandi loves being a Mom.  And that matters.

If you would like to nominate someone for the WhyMomsMatter project, we would love to hear from you!

Also, be sure to listen to WhyMomsMatter on Blog Talk Radio, thaq is Friday at 12:30PST/2:30CST as we talk to both Sandi and Meg.

A Mother’s Hands – Why Moms Matter

Think about your hands and all they do for your family – the holding, the guiding, the craft making, the toy fixing, the meal making, the cleaning.

Now just what would you do with those hands for your family if you knew your time was limited? Would you hold their hands every chance you got?  Would you make the very best meals you could to nurture their bodies?  Would you sit down and write a letter with all of your hopes and dreams for them?

It is hard to imagine.

Let’s take a trip back to 1981.  A young mother, Becky, is diagnosed with breast cancer.  Her sweet son, Josh, is only 4 years old.  She knows she will never see his first day of kindergarten.  She will miss his first jump shot and his first home run.  She will never know his first girlfriend or be there to discipline him for missing curfew.  She won’t see him get his driver’s license and she can’t be there to take pictures as he leaves for Prom.

She won’t ever know his wife, wear a mother of the groom dress or dance with him to a sappy song on his wedding day.  She won’t know her grandchildren. 

But, maybe, because of Becky’s love for her son, Josh, her future grandchildren will know her.

It is now 2009.  Josh is married.  He and his wife Sharon are expecting their first child.  The baby shower is this weekend.  Josh’s Aunt Marsha calls him this past week.  This is a conversation she has waited 25 years to have. She has a gift, from Josh’s motherone that she made, for the new baby.  Can she bring it to the shower this weekend?

Josh now knows what the gift is. His wife Sharon doesn’t, but she can see an extra spring in her husband’s step. She knows Becky must have been one extraordinary mother.

All those years ago, Becky used her hands to care for her family in one final way. 

What is the gift?

To be continued……

Know a Mom Who Matters? Nominate her now at www.WhyMomsMatter.com.