WordPress Theme Review: Default Theme, Thesis, Headway, Genesis, and Elegant Themes

Gone are the days of web designers starting from scratch when designing a site. With so many themes and frameworks, we now have a good chunk of the coding done for us, and all we have left to do is customize based on the customer needs for functionality and aesthetics.
How do we decide which theme or framework to offer our clients?
WordPress Theme Review

The pros and cons to all themes and frameworks vary depending on the designer and the customer needs. Here are some pros and cons to a few of the most popular themes and frameworks: the default WordPress theme, Thesis, Headway, Genesis, and Elegant Themes.


WordPress theme review Twenty Fourteen Theme Elaine Griffin Designs


As of this writing, Twenty Twelve, Thirteen, and Fourteen are all installed when a new WordPress site is installed, and the Twenty Fourteen theme is activated by default. The default theme is updated annually (hence the name). It is generally in line with current and emerging web design standards; the most recent version highlights images, typography, and use of white space.


Twenty Fourteen Theme Customization Elaine Griffin Designs

Twenty Fourteen Theme Options Panel

The default theme is free and pre-installed when WordPress is installed. The Twenty Fourteen default theme requires no knowledge of CSS for the most popular customizations, such as the header, colors, fonts, and links. For experienced designers, WordPress default themes can be a great blank canvas for professional customizations.


This simple design is just that. It’s one design, which can be a great start for a first-time blogger or budding business, or for a new designer who is interested in learning more about code and how WordPress works. The default theme is not a great choice for a professional site or a branded blog requiring a robust customization. In addition, there is no SEO functionality, and mobile responsiveness isn’t totally up to speed.


The default WordPress themes are free, and free support is offered through WordPress Codex and the support forums.


Thesis Framework Elaine Griffin Designs


Thesis is a drag-and-drop website creator that requires little to no coding knowledge. You can customize in four areas; Site Options, Skins (themes), Packages (CSS), and Boxes (elements)—where experienced designers can create full child themes which can be saved, exported, and installed on other Thesis websites.



Thesis Theme Settings Elaine Griffin Designs

Thesis Theme Settings

Drag-and-drop customization options make it easy to modify a site quickly. In addition, any part of the site can be widgetized. Thesis has built-in SEO, site verification, and analytics tracking, and it is mobile responsive.


Light documentation on updates has made it hard for users to keep up with any new developments. This is unfortunate for beginning and advanced users alike, as the drag-and-drop customization options are not as intuitive as one might think.


The Professional license costs $197 per year, which includes unlimited licensed domains, 3 skins, support for life, and other functionality. You should recommend to clients who wish to use this framework that they purchase their own license for $87, so they can take advantage of the support forums and/or email support if they need to.


Headway Theme Elaine Griffin Designs


Headway Visual Editor Elaine Griffin Designs

Headway Visual Editor

Headway is essentially a drag-and-drop editor that employs a grid-drawing system. This visual designer interface is a time saver—great for designers who have a graphics background, but lack the coding knowledge needed to get a site up and running. Experienced designers can take advantage of advanced customization areas that use CSS and scripts.


Unlike some other drag-and-drop themes, Headway gives designers the ability to create different templates for posts, pages, and categories, and to create child themes. In addition, Headway has built-in SEO functionality and is mobile responsive.


Some of the blocks, or content areas/widgets, have to be purchased separately.


The Headway Professional license costs $199 per year. This includes support and updates for one year on unlimited sites, and access to all of the Headway templates. Recommend to clients who wish to use Headway that they purchase their own license for $59, so they can take advantage of the support forums and/or email support.


Genesis Framework Elaine Griffin Designs


Genesis is a light framework that offers 50 child themes, which are all suited for particular business types and blog niches. Most of the child themes require at least some knowledge of CSS and HTML. You can enhance the functionality with a basic to advanced knowledge of PHP.


Genesis Layout Settings Elaine Griffin Designs

Genesis Layout Settings

Beginner designers with a basic knowledge of CSS will find that the child themes are fairly easy to customize. There is a helpful forum community, as well as email support to assist in the customization process. Designers who would like to increase functionality but do not have an extensive knowledge of PHP will find the Genesis plugins helpful. Various page templates are included with child themes, and you can change layouts on a per-post and per-page basis, eliminating the need for special coding. Genesis also has built-in SEO and Google Authorship.


Genesis child themes offer a lot of functionality, but will need a lot of design time.


The Genesis Framework itself (which can be customized into a child theme) is $59.95. This one-time fee includes unlimited support for unlimited sites and free updates. Child themes are extra, but you can buy them at a discount if you are a returning customer. You can also purchase the Genesis Framework and all child themes bundled for $399. New child themes not included in the bundle can be downloaded for free when they become available. If your client wants to use the Genesis Framework, urge her to purchase her own license for $59.95, to take advantage of the support forums and/or email support.


Elegant Themes Elaine Griffin Designs


As of this writing, Elegant Themes offers 87 themes, with new themes added frequently. Elegant Themes also categorizes themes based on how they should be used. All themes include various page templates, shortcode, and theme options, which can be customized in the ePanel. Elegant Themes also offers four premium plugins that bring their functionality to any WordPress theme.


The number of themes included in the price—many of which are recently and continually updated and mobile responsive—is a huge plus. The ePanel makes customization quick and easy, increasing design turnaround time. Advanced CSS areas are included, as well as SEO options and pre-defined locations for ads.

Elegant Theme Option Panel Elaine Griffin Designs

Elegant Theme Options Panel


The biggest con of Elegant Themes is that they offer no premium support. Although they provide full documentation for their themes, the forum-only support is lacking, and not what you would expect when you’re paying an annual fee.


Designers can expect to pay $89 per year for licensing, or a one-time $249 for lifetime access. Both of these options come with access to any current and future themes and updates, and unlimited site access. This also includes access to the premium plugins, which is a huge plus. In this case, I don’t recommend that clients purchase their own license, since there is no access to email support.

These pros and cons are just the tip of the iceberg to get you started. There are many other pros and cons to each theme and framework—all dependent on who you are as a designer, and what you need to offer your clients.

When considering what to offer, ask yourself the following questions. Who am I as a designer? What are my strengths and weaknesses? Do I expect to learn so my skills and designs can grow and change? What type of functionality do I want to offer my clients? Do I want to design fast and have quick turnaround, or do I want to design well?

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Social Media Has Blurred the Lines Between Personal and Professional

social media gearsIt is no secret that I have been essentially unable to keep up with both a personal and professional blog. I just don’t feel like I have a lot to say on The Laine List. My readers are losing interest, because I am too.

I think about the work I have done to create my brand. I’ve never been totally comfortable with having two online identities, but I wanted to establish trust and credibility in my work. Along the line, though, between cross-posting on blogging networks, and increased presence in social media, the boundary between the personal and professional has become elastic, and it seems unnecessary. Joining Pinterest and Instagram has been the tipping point for me. Everything I do, and everything I like is already out there. Anyone can find out whatever they want to about me.

From a professional standpoint, I want to focus more on creating my personal brand.

From a personal standpoint, I just want to be me. I want people to know *me.*

Another factor here, which when I began blogging, I didn’t think would be an issue, is I finally feel like I know how I want to focus my writing. Or, in bloggy terms, what my niche is. Of course I will continue to write about WordPress, social media, etc. The personal component I would like to add is working at home, and making it work. This is something that I think about and do every day, and I know there are others, readers of the EGD blog included, who are interested in learning about how to make it work for them. So, the personal meets the professional.

I do also want to talk about my Roller Derby adventures, and I think is another area where the personal can meet the professional. I discuss personal strength and confidence when I write those posts, and how is that not business related?

I anticipate wanting to write some of the more deeply personal posts at some point. I think those posts will be posted on blogging networks, but honestly at this point, I’m not sure I have it in me to write the deeply personal anytime soon.

I will not shut down The Laine List. It will remain, and the posts will remain, and maybe I will want to write something deeply personal and post it here. I will always have the option of coming back.

This idea is in its infancy, and this is really kind of a brain dump. I’m not ready to take this risk yet, but I’m seriously considering it.

What do you think? Is this a risk worth taking?


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Keep Your Sanity while Working at Home with Kids

When I started working from home when it was out of necessity. Money was tight and I was pregnant. Our son was starting part-time pre-school and we needed the funds to pay for it. Getting a job out of the home, aside from nights and weekends, was not an option, as we had one car and no affordable daycare.

But I got lucky, and was offered an opportunity to work at home, and working at home with kids became my reality.

And then I got luckier, and started a business that I run out of my home.

It the American Dream, yo! Except it’s HARD!

home office and dining room

Our dining room triples as a home office AND playroom!
Photo Credit: Fabio Bruna via Compfight cc

I have now been working from home for close to four years. In that time I have worked at home with two VERY different kids. My son, when he actually spent more time here with me, was super cool with the work at home deal. As long as I was here, he didn’t care. Now that he is in school full-time, though, he requires a lot more of my attention when he is at home. I mean, that’s kind of a no-brainer.

My daughter has always been a bit more of a challenge. Although when she was an infant I could just nurse her all day while I worked, that was cool. Let’s just say this. She is a great little one. She will play quietly and happily for a long time, but she wants what she wants when she wants it, and she will employ any means to get it. NOW. This is about the time that I have finished the last task she handed me and have finally settled my brain into work.

So I consider myself an expert at working at home with little kids.

Now, I know there is a lot of information on the internet for work at home parents about how they should manage their time and balance their work and their kids. While it’s valuable information for some, a lot of the tips are a fail for me, as they almost always include such tips “work at night,” and, “work during naptime.” We have no nap time here, unfortunately, and I’m totally not a night person. After a long day of work, kids, and house, I do not want to push myself to work. I want to quiet my brain, get some rest. I much prefer working in the pre-dawn and relishing the potential of the new day. It really sets the tone for me, and I know I’m not alone.
So here you have my five tips for working at home with little kids.

Plan Activities

While I’m not a super activity planner, i.e. I’m probably not planning activities that I have to really be involved in, or actually leave the house for, I do begin the day with a sense of what the kid(s) might want to do. I take into account what they have been playing with recently. Do they seem bored? Do they need a change? What can I prepare for them so they will stay happy and busy longer, and I can get the maximum amount of work done? And those out of the house activities? We do those once a week and on the weekends. It’s plenty for us.

Take Breaks

I will be honest and tell you that I would put my nose to the grindstone and not take a break if I didn’t have to. I would not eat an actual meal, and I would probably forget to feed my children if they didn’t ask for food. Part of this is due to my daughter being a grazer. Sitting down to lunch has never really been her thing. While I think grazing is fine, we both need breaks. I’m not talking just taking scheduled breaks for food. We take spontaneous breaks for cuddles, a quick book or puzzle, or for chasing each other around the house. This saves our sanity and really helps us get through our day peacefully.

Stay Flexible

Speaking of unscheduled breaks, it’s really important to be flexible with your schedule. I used to be a panicky mess if I had to take a break, or even worse, if there was something wrong that needed my attention and pulled me away from clients or work. Part of this is understandable when you are building a business or working on freelance projects. You have to get your work done or you don’t get paid. I finally came to understand that this makes working at home so we can be with our kids pointless. To top it off, nine times out of ten, your client, boss, or whoever is going to understand. Everyone takes a sick day once in a while, whether you have kids or not. The work will still be there, and it’s not going to throw it all totally off. The moral? Build in some wiggle room, don’t schedule every single second of every single day, and don’t panic when the unexpected happens.


Most of my business can be conducted through email, but there are times when I really do need to speak or Skype with clients and potential clients, and I need to reduce the interruptions. This is when I break out the special snacks. I give whatever I have that they haven’t had in a while and really want. And I give a lot of it in order to maximize the time I have. Please take note: these special snacks don’t have to be unhealthy! While my daughter has enjoyed her share of chocolate chips so I can get some quiet, she also loves things like dried fruit, which we don’t always have.
Client call time is also when I flip on the TV. Don’t shoot the messenger, this shit is real, and you have to be prepared! Chocolate chips and Max and Ruby in exchange for quiet never killed anyone.

Don’t Be Afraid of Mess

Obviously, the things that are messy are going to keep kids busy the longest. I used to avoid the mess because I felt like it took too long to clean up, but I was really shooting myself in the foot. So, now we go for the gold. Paint, cutting pieces of paper and spreading them everywhere, Play-Doh, it’s all a go. Although I have put my foot down about Moon Sand. That shit’s just a cruel joke.


If you have a school-aged child or children, be ready when they get home! One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn, and honestly one I am still working on, is being ready to just be mom when my son gets home from school. Honestly, I’m still working on it. Some days, I just can’t turn off. Those days are hell, though. A lot of running around screaming, nagging for candy or other treats, and just general lack of respect and humanity! So, my goal is to give myself 15 to 30 minutes before he gets home to shut my brain off, pick up around the house, prepare a snack, and be ready to welcome him home with open heart and arms. Because, isn’t he the reason I decided to stay home in the first place?

Do you have tips for managing work, either inside or outside the home, and family?

I am My Own Dream Catcher

Dreamcatcher Image, by Christina StumphToday I took a risk and it scared the crap out of me.

For the most part, I don’t consider myself much of a risk taker. I’m a methodical planner. I hope for the best, but  prepare for the worst. But the reality is we can be as prepared as possible, and it doesn’t mean a thing. ANYTHING can happen. There are no guarantees. There is no 100%.

I used to let fear of rejection rule my destiny. I was caught in a paralyzing cycle of wanting, dreaming, and preparing, followed by never taking action, and then always wondering “what if.” It’s depressing, and nothing ever happens.

And then I worked my ass off (and I still am) to learn an art and start and grow a business. And then my fear of rejection turned into a fear of rejection with a side of emotional investment. Being rejected when it’s tied to whether or not you can put food on the table is no joke. Add being rejected after you feel like you have built somewhat of a personal relationship with people, and it’s enough to make you want to go fetal.

Now I have learned, albeit the hard way, to have a thick skin. As I said to one of my friends lately, for every 100 people you please, one will never be pleased. Not everyone is meant to get along or see eye to eye. That’s just life, babe, so get out there and chase your dreams! MAKE it happen!

Which is exactly why I took a risk today.

Someone whom I, and many people who will read this, admire greatly posted on Facebook that she is looking for freelance designers. At first I was giddy with excitement. It could be me! And so I started to respond. And the fear took over. What if she thinks my work sucks? I deleted my comment. And then I re-wrote it. And deleted it. And then I thought, what is the worst that could happen? She’ll say “no thank you.” And I’ll survive, knowing that I took a risk. I put myself out there, and that is something to be proud of.

And I’ll never have to worry about “what if.”

So, with shaky hands and a hopeful heart, I responded.

Because I am my own dream catcher.

How would your life be different if you had, or had NOT taken a risk?

Guest Post at Rough and Rede

I was very privileged to be asked to guest post again this week for my friend George at Rough and Rede. I “met” George last November during NaBloPoMo, which was hosted by BlogHer. How very brave of George to imerse himself in a sea of powerful women bloggers! We have been corresponding since last November and I was very pleased when he asked me to take part in his “Voices of August 2.0” series. So please, go read my post, Evolution of Self and also be sure to check out George and the other guest bloggers

Making the Most of BlogHer ’12

BlogHer '12The weeks and days leading up to the BlogHer conference are a crazy time for attendees. There are so many worries and considerations when attending a conference like this, and it is important to make the most of the time, money, and energy spent getting there and while you are there. Some of my considerations were:

  • Are my business cards and other marketing materials printed and looking spectacular?
  • What sessions are most pertinent to my goals?
  • Have I collected all the Twitter handles of the people I would like to connect with?
  • How is my blog looking?

How I Prepared

As you can see, I was not lacking in concern over BlogHer ’12.

I began preparing to network by designing and ordering new business cards. Moo cards are AWESOME by the way. Never hesitate to order from them.

After I received my shiny new cards, I thought about how I would make connections, and aside from the speed dating event and general introductions and discussions with my fellow bloggers, I decided my best bet was to find the best people to network with was to take a look at the session schedule and decide which sessions I wanted to attend, and from there, connect – or prepare to connect – via Twitter.

In choosing what sessions I would attend, I looked back on my monthly and 2012 year goals for both of my blogs in order to be really focused on what I wanted to learn and who I wanted to connect with. For any given session, there were several places a blogger could choose to go, which created a little conflict. Fortunately, knowing that BlogHer will publish the sessions on the site helped a lot, because it freed up any conflicts between what I wanted to learn and who I wanted to meet.

And now comes the Twitter part. I collected the Twitter handles of other bloggers in general, and speakers whose sessions I would attend, along with a little information about them just in case I had the opportunity to chat with them. I then added all of this information to a 3×5 flip book. I color coded this information with my session schedule. That’s just how I roll, ya’ll. Some people I tweeted prior to BlogHer, some I tweeted about during the sessions, and some I met after and am tweeting with right now!

After thinking about how I was going to connect with bloggers and other attendees, I began thinking about how my blogs are looking. I’ve recently started working with the Genesis Framework, and have spent the last several months getting clients set up with Genesis in preparation for the big BlogHer event. Hence, I was a last-minute-Leslie on my own switch over to Genesis, so that caused quite a lot of stress. But, aside from a couple of kinks I still have to work out, I felt good about my blogs, and great about showcasing a Genesis customization.

What I Would Have Done Differently

Believe it or not, there is not a lot I would have done differently. I’m quite organized and know enough about myself to know what will and will not work for me. Although I wasn’t really there to make big connections with big brands, I do think it would have helped if I had been more aware of the brands that were not only at BlogHer, but were holding their own events off-site. At the time, though, I was not sure in which direction I wanted to go with monetizing my blogs. In fact, I’m still working that out. Ultimately, I feel confident that the experience of talking to a few, gathering their information, and just soaking it all up was the best way for me to experience interacting with brands for the first time.

Also, I would have loved to have been able to be there to see President Obama address the BlogHer crowd on Thursday!

Where I Go From Here

After all of this exhausting planning, networking, partying, and traveling, it is hard – but vital – to immediately sit and think where to go from here. What is important to me and to my readers? What is my plan of action? How do I put it in place? As I eluded to in the comments section on paulag01’s post, “What’s Your BlogHer ’12 Follow Up Strategy?” my plan is threefold.

First, I have to do an initial follow-up with my connections. Some of this I have done, mainly via Twitter, and mostly with bloggers. The next step is to start connecting with the brand representatives and marketing representatives I made connections with at the conference.

Second, and in order to really complete the first step, I need to decide where I go from here regarding monetization and brand representation. This needs to happen – and fast – before it becomes too late to be in contact with said brand and marketing reps. This is a sticky wicket, though, because I have a responsibility to my readers – and to myself – to remain true to who I am and what is important to me personally and socially.

Lastly, I’m going to make a plan and put it into action. I cannot tell you enough how glad I am that I was forward-thinking enough to plan monthly and yearly goals for myself, even before I had an idea of what I wanted to do, and before I knew I was going to the conference. I have already checked back on those goals, and really only made minor adjustments. I have made a list of what I would like to represent in my blogs that will not put me at risk of alienating readers or my compromising my ideals. Now comes the actual hard part. The pitch. I need to work on several – maybe five – test them out, narrow them down to about three, and start really making those meaningful connections. See – I learned that at BlogHer!

Reflections and Conclusions

I have felt lately because I have had so little time to blog, I have no idea where I’m going with my blogs and consequently, my business. Every blogger feels the need now and then to move in a new direction, whether it is with content, design, platform, or monetization. Prepping for and attending the conference has really helped me solidify my definition of what I am doing and where I go from here. It has also reminded me of why I started blogging in the first place, which was to share my knowledge, my experiences, my outlook on life, and maybe – just maybe – to help people.

Were there flaws in the conference? Hell yeah! But let’s face it, most of the time it is impossible to please everyone in a group of three let alone 5,000! And just like many things in life, you get out of it what you put in. I hope my fellow bloggers – sisters, friends, and loved-ones, really – are able to take what’s good and make the most of it for themselves and their readers.

How do you find the positive in your experiences? Do you ever find that it is a difficult task?

Gotta Have that Funk?

I’m in a funk.

When did this happen? When I took a vacation. And didn’t work, or blog, or be on the computer at all, really. Which is wonderful, but I got out of a groove, and into a funk, and not of the George Clinton variety. And now I have all of these things to say, but I don’t know how to say them because I have funk-brain.

Aside from having to leave the beach – which is where I belong – and come back to the harsh reality of jobs and home-ownership in a place where I don’t want to be, a couple of things are contributing to my funkiness.

1. I had to leave my parents behind, which never, ever gets easier. In fact, leaving and facing the reality that we are not together more than a couple of times a year gets sadder and sadder with every visit.

2. I lost my steady income due to cutbacks. Without warning, and a day after coming back from vacation and draining the bank account so we could fill our house with groceries. At least we have food, though.

3. My computer is in the shop – again. This time to properly install programs that were not installed properly when it was in the shop the last time, and also to switch out faulty parts. This is fine, except I have projects that have now been neglected since the end of April. Neglected projects = unhappy clients, at a time when I really, really, really need happy clients.

Seeing my way through this stinky, hazy funk is not easy. But, I am perpetually positive, even if only because of my fear that the Universe will punish me further if I am not. So here is the good.

1. I got to take a vacation – at the beach, and see my family for the first time in almost a year!

2. We have a decent home, and my husband has a good job, and that is more than a lot of people have, so I should just be happy where I am for now while we plan what to do with the rest of our lives.

3. I lost a job that I hated. Detested. That made me crabby every morning because I had to do it. So now I get to sleep a little later in the morning. Plus, I’ve been working my butt off marketing my business, so I’m in a good position there. Something good will happen – it’s almost my time!

4. Without my computer, I have allowed myself some time to just be. I have been able to rest, reflect, spend time with and enjoy my children, and organize some things that were badly in need of some attention.

5. I was able to pull myself together enough to podcast! I’m very excited about that one.

So, there you have it. The bad and the good. The reasons why I’m in a funk and fairly silent lately, and how that might not be such a bad thing. Today is the last day I’m going to sit around and wallow. I swear.

How do you deal with being in a funk?

Organization: As Elusive as Balance

I have said it before, and I will say it again.  In many ways, I feel like I’m an organized disaster. I’m organized, but it feels like never all the way. And I really WANT to be organized. All the way. I dream about it. I drool over it. I crave it.

Which is why I’m ALWAYS organizing.

The problem is as soon as I get organized and get into a flow, things change. So my rockin’ planner I got this past summer is no longer doing the job. And I’m moving from upstairs-dining room-playroom-“office” to downstairs-playroom-“office” carrying the following items:

  • my laptop
  • a planner that has so many plans and changes of plans that is is totally unreadable
  • a binder filled with…labeled dividers and paper
  • a sizable stack of papers


Included in the stack of papers are:

  • daily and weekly schedules and to-do lists
  • blog post ideas, research, and notes
  • notes on client projects
  • school calendars
  • I don’t even know what else


How the hell does this happen? I have all the tools to be organized! I mean, come on, office supplies are one of my top inspirations in life!

But shit happened, and I am suddenly not inspired by my tools. Namely, my planner. And frankly, it does not encompass what I need.

I’ve spent many hours pondering. Analyzing how I try to keep myself organized. Identifying the weakest links. Hypothesizing about what I need to improve.

And then I figured that I just needed to design my own organizational tools. Because who knows what I need better than me, right?

printable blog planning tools by Elaine Griffin Designs

Yay for customized planning!

So here they are! A general monthly calendar, a weekly calendar, an editorial calendar, a one-year plan sheet for my business, and a blog post planning tool. These paired with my already-started binder and my other new-ish office supplies and I’m feeling pretty good! Except I actually have to fill them out now, and ruin all of their beauty. Baby steps, people, baby steps!

Now I have to tackle my non-office space. I’m shooting for a nook or a secretary, or something for some sort of a home base! (My “office”) is currently located in our basement laundry room. *sigh*

Elaine Griffin Designs on Pinterest

I found this on Pinterest and I need it!

How do you stay organized? Do you ever feel like you are in an organizational-rut?

Cha Cha Cha Changes!

No, I’m not channeling my inner Bowie. Okay maybe I am.
But I’m also really excited to announce where I’ve been the last couple of weeks.

I’ve been re-working my professional blog, Elaine Griffin Designs, and changing my business and professional goals.
So now Imma gonna blog on two blogs.

Over here you get Crazy Eyeris, Laine the horrible, no good, very bad mommy, bedazzaler of earmuffs, and mocker of Fashion week. (By the way, Crazy Eyeris is making an appearance soon, I promise!)
Over there you get Elaine: WordPress designer, social media and branding someday-consultant.
Head on over and take a look! Or don’t, it won’t hurt my feelings as long as you stay comfy and warm right here!

And I promise, to all of you who are wondering why I’m not reading and commenting on your blogs, that I will be back full force this weekend – I miss you!

The Sucky Last Few Days

Sometimes I feel like the universe conspires against me.

One step forward, two steps back.

I know the universe doesn’t conspire against me, of course. I know I am in control of my fate and my actions. I must learn from the mistakes I make, for they are made in order to teach me a lesson.

Everything happens for a reason.

I had a shitty kind of weekend. I mean, it wasn’t horrible, just annoying. My husband was occupied with some new music software – his break from reality. I was occupied with cleaning, a little work, writing, and trying to relax and get organized. And trying to give attention to the kids, who are bordering on insane after over a week of not feeling good.They did a lot of nagging, crying, and annoying and screaming at each other.

Fast forward to yesterday. I’m trying to balance an insanely busy schedule with having two kids home all week because the boy has another week off from school for winter break. I’m trying to be positive about this, and I think, it is not unreasonable for me to work until noon each day. I can’t take a whole week off of work right now. About twenty times in twenty minutes I had to say to the boy, “please stop nagging me about my iPod. I’m not downloading any more right now. I’m working. Play with it or something else.” And then came the Justin Bieber videos blaring in my ear and him wanting me to watch. Mind you, I’ve been nagged about the damn iPod all weekend. I’m over it. I lose it. I close my laptop a little too hard, and unhappily say, “Okay, fine, Ben, you have my attention, I will not work at ALL the WHOLE WEEK!”

We got over that, and I opened my laptop back up. Long story short, when I slammed it shut I damaged my hard drive. The combination of this and the fact that I have mistakenly not taken it or the baby with me a couple of times when I left the room for thirty seconds and she has managed to drop it, had really done a number on it. I worked on it all day yesterday and I have been working on it all morning today. Oh yeah, and I hadn’t backed up any files for quite some time. Like, a long time. So there’s that. Pictures are what I’m most worried about. I don’t know how I’m holding it together.

Live and learn.

The worst part is the anger I feel toward myself. That I couldn’t control my temper, and I hurt my son’s feelings. That I have potentially lost a lot of important information and memories because I was angry, or too busy, or stupid. Mostly stupid. That I’m probably going to cost myself money to fix the computer. Money I can’t afford and could have been spent elsewhere. I’m trying to stay positive, but some days I just want to throw in the towel.

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.