I am a mother to four - two boys and two girls, ranging in age from 13 years to 15 months. My husband is a supportive, albeit sports-obsessed, P.E. teacher. Together we are raising our noisy brood in Annandale, VA. After my second child was born in 2006, I decided to leave my job in public relations/communications and stay home, but I still needed to earn an income. This is when I opened my home-based daycare and discovered that there is an amazing secret society that forms when you put a few toddlers and preschoolers together. I love what I do, even though it isn’t always easy balancing everything.
How did you first become involved in with blogging?
I started my blog Tiny Steps Mommy in March 2012 as an outlet to express my thoughts and keep my writing skills fresh. I have always loved writing. It is my passion. Yet for many years I put it on the back burner because I didn’t think I had the time. I'm so happy I took that leap and made the time. I don't even miss the sleep or daily TV time.
Tell us about some of the people you’ve met while working on your blog?
Along the way I discovered an amazing community of women and mothers living in the Washington, DC area who either have blogs or small businesses. I am in awe of these people who work so hard to balance their families with their passion and commitment to building a community and giving back. I have learned many lessons from the entrepreneurial spirit and positive uplifting attitudes of these women. It keeps me wanting to grow and build on what I started.
What do you do when you aren’t working on your blog?
Five days a week I run a home-based daycare for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Sometimes I forget what it's like to have real adult conversations, but I love the energy the children bring to my home. Weekends are usually filled with my kids' sports and social calendars, which is why my husband and I try to carve out occasional nights out without the kids. And about twice a year we go on weekend trips away without the children (so important). In my downtime, I like watching cheesy movies, reading, and shopping at Target by myself late at night (yes, I am so lame that I count this as a past-time).
What websites do you visit every day?
I am a Facebook junkie, so that is usually first. Then I visit CNN.com and WashingtonPost.com for my news fix. I obsessively visit WJLA for weather updates. BlogHer.com is a must to read the latest discussions from real people on hot topics. I am also always checking out my favorite local sites for community events, deals, and just for fun. Here are my favorites, other than NovaHousewives.com of course, www.SuperNOVAMommy.com, www.DCMetroMom.com, www.BeltwayBargainMom.com, www.WiredMomma.com, www.aparentinamerica.com, and www.WashingtonFamily.com.
What is your favorite drink – and where can you find it in Northern Virginia?
Alcoholic- I love the White Cosmo served at Cava Mezze Restaurant in Arlington
Non-Alcoholic - I can drink a Chai Latte anytime. I like to get mine from Caribou Coffee in the Kings Park shopping center in Springfield.
What book do you casually put out on your coffee table to impress visitors?
I don't usually have coffee table books (or anything really) out because of the children, but I do enjoy creating old school photo albums/scrapbooks and have been known to leave them out to reminisce with family or friends.
What are your top 3 favorite people/places/things in Northern Virginia?
In no particular order:
1 - My family loves the seasonal events/traditions like visiting Cox Farm during their Fall Festival, Bull Run for their Festival of Lights during Christmas time, and the City of Fairfax Parade on the Fourth of July.
2- Visiting Great Falls Park always feels like an adventure for us. We like to climb the rocks, hike down the path, and just gaze in awe at the rushing water and scenic views.
3 - For date night my husband and I enjoy going to Shirlington Village to eat dinner (we love just about all the restaurants there - especially Aladdin's Eatery) and then watch an indie flick at the theater.
What is your goal for retirement?
I often feel like I'm living moment to moment, so that is hard to answer right now, but my husband and I love the beach, so as long as we get to spend as much time as possible there I'll be happy.
Do you have any advice for women who would like to start their own blog?
Just do it. Pick up your proverbial pen and start writing. Put yourself out there and do not be afraid to let people know what you are doing. You can work out your blog design as you go. You can worry about SEO later. Nothing has to happen overnight. Take your time, be true to your own voice, and make connections.
I discovered that most bloggers (and there are tons out there) are extremely supportive and welcoming. If you reach out and make a connection, you will be surprised to see how far it can take you.