Category Archives: Laverne

Welcome to AbbyGabs! (Again!)

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Abby, who had the gift of Gab.

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And so she took that gift and shared it with the world, via her blog. Days and nights she slaved away at her computer, manipulating turns of phrase, exhausting her mental bank of adjectives, and punctuating to her heart’s content. She was proud of that which she had worked so hard to create, and she reveled in the delight it brought her readers.

As time passed, the girl grew weary of issues with her blog’s platform. Frequent outages, crummy comment forms, and the inability to make her blog look exactly like she wanted led that gabby Abby to search the internet, far and wide, until she found the perfect platform for the blog that was her pride and joy.

The process was a daunting one: transferring RSS feeds, securing self-hosting, learning the ins-and-outs of HTML code. It took 5 days, and as many nights, for all of the components to fall into place.

Finally, she had complete creative control over her blog. Finally, she had reliable service from a provider she knew she could count on. And finally, she had her own personal account supervisor, who could come in at a moment’s notice and answer any questions she had about her host.

And so, the girl with the gift of gab officially became Queen of the Internet (for the day.)

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It soon became apparent to her, as she toyed with the new platform, that she had lots to learn. There were widgets to master, and menus to create, and coding to learn. But as she settled into the new space, she knew two things for certain.

One: WordPress already, so quickly, felt like home.

And two: no Queen of the Internet (for the day) can have a successful rule without one of these:

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Welcome to the brand new AbbyGabs!! If you haven’t already, click around and get to know the place a little. And feel free to follow me on the many social media sites that I use on a regular basis simply by clicking on the thought bubble buttons that took me three days to make!

Special thanks go out to:
Brian, for keeping me calm during the moving process, and talking me down from the ledge when things didn’t go just so.
Carrie at akaLaverne, for always being willing to answer panicked questions, give me advice on design, or send me her top 10 favorite themes just to get me started.
Alex at Late Enough, for giving me the courage, and the information, I needed to make the move in the first place.
Walt at Lucky Puppy, for giving me new ideas for the site, as well as cheering me on from the sidelines while the move was made.
Jordan, author of MamaBlogga, and the creator of the 10-step process that safely (and easily!) moved my blog from Blogger to Word Press.
And finally, to Cole, my account manager at Blue Host, for answering all my silly noob questions with grace, kindness, and complete accuracy.

The Gift of Godchildren–Summer Series with My Pal Laverne, Part II

This blog came to me in fits and bursts over the past month, and I’ve been itching to publish it. But it was never quite complete. I’d poured my heart onto the empty white space, and yet I felt like something was missing. When Laverne and I decided to do a 3-part series this summer, this idea resurfaced while we were brainstorming blog ideas. There was never a moment of hesitation as I pitched my idea: I had the words, could she provide the artwork? There are few people in the world I would trust with such a precious subject matter, and Laverne is at the top of the list. And so, with a full heart, here is part two of our summer series.

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Excitement jitters just beneath my skin as we turn onto the curvy country road. The sun peeks through the tree limbs, and the horses in the pastures graze in the summer heat. Brian guides our car past farm houses and patches of forest, instantly knowing when to turn into the driveway. As many times as we’ve been here, I still don’t know which house is Jenna’s until we arrive.

Anxious for our day to begin, I leave bags and presents in the back seat and drag my husband to the back door. As soon as I step up onto the stoop, I see that she’s been waiting, and is as eager for our arrival as we are.


She wraps me into a one-armed hug, and it’s like no time has passed at all.

Bub peeks shyly from behind Jenna’s leg, and I know he’ll need a few minutes to adjust to new visitors. I crouch down to his level, keeping my distance, and reach out to ruffle his dark hair. “Hey, buddy,” I say quietly. Noting the graphic on his t-shirt and hoping to draw him out, I say, “Is that a puppy dog on your shirt?” He glances down, long lashes brushing round cheeks, then looks back up, a big grin on his face. “NO!” he says with authority. “Flower!” And he bounds into the kitchen with the excitement only a 2 year old can possess. 

Brian and Jenna are sharing small talk about the weather, the drive, his schooling. I stand by quietly for a moment, fingers itching to hold Baby Girl. Jenna, sensing I’m there, hands me the baby without breaking the conversation. I welcome her weight with surprise. “Who’s a big girl?” I croon. I look at Jenna, eyebrows raised. “It’s only been 4 months! How can she already be this big??”

We settle in at Jenna’s big dining room table, making plans for the day, talking about all we’ve missed in the last few months. 



In what feels like minutes, Bub gallops into the room and announces that he’s hungry. Jenna checks the clock and, just like that, it’s lunch time.

PBJ’s, fresh fruit, and strawberry daiquiri pie are served with a quiet efficiency. Bub eats enthusiastically, occasionally breaking into baby babble, and even serenading his grapes with a rousing rendition of “Old MacDonald.” 



After lunch time comes nap time, and we decide to load the kiddies into the car and let them sleep while we take a quick road trip a few towns over to visit with another family member. No sooner are we out of the driveway than Bub and Baby Girl are snoozing away. Conversation turns to more adult topics: work and life, future plans, bills, mortgages. 

And Buffy. Of course.

We arrive at our play date destination. 



I disappear to grab my camera and as I walk back into the laughter-filled room, my eyes land on Brian. He’s holding Baby Girl, whispering something into her ear. 



Inside, I weep from the pain of being unable to provide him with this in his own life. I push it down, swallow the lump in my throat, and paste a smile on my face. There is time for tears later.

Our two hour play date comes quickly to a close, and it’s time to load back into the car and head to dinner with Jenna’s mom and step-dad. Bub is talkative this time, and so we sing, and we count, and we make animal noises. I glance up into my visor mirror to see Jenna plant a kiss on a squirming, giggling Bub. I laugh.

Dinner feels like a party. We drink margaritas, we share salsa and stories. 



I am simultaneously in the moment, and distracted by the beautiful baby sleeping in her car seat next to me. Bub sits across from me, eating his beans and rice with gusto. Jenna’s husband, Reid, is finally able to join in the fun after a long day at work. 

Conversation turns to Brian, and questions are flying about his upcoming graduation, job prospects, what his future holds. I let their words fall away and turn my focus onto Baby Girl. Thinking no one is watching, I run my finger lightly over her little foot. I straighten her hair bow, and tuck a stray corner of blanket back into it’s rightful place. Just a moment. I wanted just a moment with her. And when it’s over, I rejoin the conversation. 



And the evening rolls on.

As we emerge from the restaurant, the sun and moon are struggling for possession of the sky. It’s a three hour drive back to our house,



We drive Jenna and the kids back home. Gifts are exchanged, a few more pictures are taken, and it’s time to take our leave. I hug and kiss each child soundly, knowing they’ll have grown even more by the next time I get to visit. Brian and I fight over who hugs Jenna last. More waving, hugging, promises of future visits. And then it’s just the two of us again, heading back toward home.

Our headlights pierce the darkness and the tears I’ve fought all day finally come. I cry because my best friend lives so far away. I cry because I’m so happy that we got this time together, however brief. 





It is nearing midnight when we get home. And still, I pull out the memory card from my camera, loading the pictures onto my computer screen. And Brian and I relive our day–all smiles and giggles and songs and love–before heading to bed.

 

Summer Series with My Pal Laverne–Part 1

There are fewer things more awesome, more epic, more FUN than doing a guest-post on one of my favorite blogs. My pal, Laverne, invited me to take part in a 3-part series with her. And in a stroke of genius, I accepted. (I am no fool.) (Usually.) (Unless there’s wine involved. Or beer. OOH…or TEQUILA…)


Ever wondered what it was like to travel without kids? Laverne and I swap stories in this post, written by Laverne, and illustrated by moi with badly drawn pictures like THIS one:





Visit me on akaLaverne.com to read more!

Meet Laverne

Actually, you’ll be meeting Laverne again. You see, once upon a time, in the fairyland known as Abby Gabs, Laverne attended a very special Princess Party with me. Let me refresh your memory. This is Princess Laverne:

Isn’t she lovely?


I know, I know…it’s hard to really see her surrounded by all the ruffles and frills. So here’s a shot of Laverne “in real life.”


Again, I say…isn’t she lovely?



I met Laverne through the magic of the internet. She is co-author of the always charming Kindred Adventures with her best friend, Shirley. It all started as comment love, and quickly blossomed into a full-blown Twitter friendship. Laverne is one of those special people I’ve met since I started blogging who takes kindness to another level. She’s always willing to jump in with both feet when it comes to supporting bloggers she loves, and she’s been a devoted reader of Abby Gabs since we first met.


When I say she’s one of the nicest people on the entire internet, I do not exaggerate.


In the not-too-distant past, Laverne reached out to me on Twitter, letting me know she was taking the plunge and creating a blog all her own. By writing under a pen name, Laverne has found her voice, and she’s eager to finally share it with the world. And so, I’m pleased as punch to introduce you to akaLaverne–a blog that, I think, could take the world by storm.

Just visit her at www.akaLaverne.com!



Let’s break it down here for a second. I’ve read a lot of blogs. I’ve also written my fair share of blogs. Most “first posts” are all about the author. What I mean is that more often than not, that first post is all about the introduction. Just read my first post. Often, you’ll learn their name, their style, their likes and dislikes. Occasionally, you’ll learn a little about their life. Those first few words published by a shiny new author can tell you a lot about the person behind the keyboard. 


That’s what makes Laverne’s first post so special. Because what you learn about her isn’t her real name, or that her favorite color is aqua, or that she’s a tiny bit obsessed with Ryan Gosling. But you do get an honest peek into the beautiful person that is Laverne. Why? Because she started her blog by starting a Karma Revolutionby reaching out and thanking those who inspired her to start writing, and by calling to the rest of the blogosphere to spread around some gratitude. That spirit, that kindness, that unequivocal appreciation of those who inspire her—-that is Laverne.


And so I raise my glass to her. I’m all on board to christen her brand new blog with the biggest bottle of proverbial champagne that I can find. And I wish her all the luck in the world in her new endeavor. 


Although I know she won’t need it. Because she’s ready to spread her wings and fly.

Bon Voyage, my friend! Can’t wait to see what your new adventure will bring!

…And Many More…

What happens when the Best of the Blogosphere turns up to wish me a Happy Birthday? Well…you get the kindest Tweet of the day from Alex of Late Enough fame…



A silly (and slightly revealing) blog from my father-in-law, Walt, over on The Lucky Puppy, including an homage to my Photoshop/Paint mash-ups of late.


And three of the BEST digital birthday cards EVER CREATED from Laverne, co-author of Kindred Adventures. (Seriously, if you’ve never seen the “Hey Girl by Ryan Gosling” series popping up all over the internet, you might live under a rock. If you’re in the dark, just google it. Then you’ll see why the graphics below are SO MUCH COOLER.)

 

Card #1–in reference to the Kindle Fire my hubby got me for my bday.


Card #2–in reference to my current hair crises.
And my favorite of them all, Card #3–in reference to Donnie’s famous birthday tweet of 2011.



To all those who tweeted, Facebooked, texted, called, emailed, and sent up smoke-signals, thank you for all the birthday salutations. They were–each and every one–greatly appreciated. 


And now, on to the 31st year of my life. I have a feeling it’s going to be the best one yet!

A Princess Party for Two

Reason number eleventy hundred and twenty one why I adore Twitter—it gives me the opportunity to talk to other bloggers. Case in point: about a week ago, I was perusing my Twitter feed when I noticed friend and fellow blogger, Laverne, from Kindred Adventures, was tweeting about a somewhat boring experience at a child’s birthday party. I jumped in, hoping to give her a reason to giggle. 


And our conversation led to this blog post.


And so, without further ado, I’m thrilled to give you my very first co-blog, written by Laverne and illustrated by yours truly. Please enjoy!

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White mock-vintage mirrors hung on the purple walls. A table in the middle of the room held china place settings, ready for a tea party. A small stage in the back of the room waited to be filled with 5-year-olds dressed as princesses. Rock-n-roll musical chairs, Justin Bieber, hip-hop-hokey-pokey and Taylor Swift pulsated continuously. Smiles painted their faces and rosy cheeks, glitter and giggles and screeches showed their happiness. A room holding racks of princess dresses, rows and rows of bedazzled shoes, pails of crowns and containers of wands waited to transport the girls from a birthday party to the world of princesses.
 
I sunk into the yellow paisley embroidered couch. My daughter didn’t want me to leave. (I had planned on dropping her off and then heading over to a coffee shop for some “me” time.) I was here at the Princess Party for the duration…two long hours. Sigh. The smell of bubble gum perfume, children’s lip gloss and nail polish saturated the room. The music intertwined with the eardrum-piercing screeching left me of thoughts of my own. I took out my phone and began to tweet. 
 
I tweeted some more…and still, nothing.
 
Then, there she was…Abby.
 
Now it was my turn to smile.
 
“How are you? What are you up to?” I was happy to find a friendly face that might help make the time fly by.
 
“Just finished a great run. All good here! How are you?” she happily replied.
 
“I’m at a princess party right now and hopefully soon, a few beverages, some dinner, and bed!” I shared.
 
“Aw, man!,” Abby tweeted giddily. “I wanna have a princess party!” 
 
My imagination began to drift. Suddenly I felt like I was with Abby in one of her drawings. Just what would it be like if our life was like a Princess Party?
 
Of course, the hardest thing we’d have to do in the morning would be just to get out of bed. Our hair, nails, and makeup would be done for us.
 
 
Too much glitter and enough sequins–enough to blind a person–would be all the rage. The second hardest thing we would do would be to decide which of the rows and rows of sequins, puffy, fluffy layered dressed we wanted to wear that day.
 

Our day would be spent twirling in our dresses and hanging out with other princesses, doing what princesses do best.

 
 
“Mommy….Mooommmyyy……MOMMY!”
 
My daydream crashed around me. “Yes sweetie?”
 
“I have to go potty.”
 
Sigh.
 
It was glittery and sparkly and wonderful…..while it lasted!
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Princess dresses, tiaras, and Jose Cuervo…you guys KNOW I had a blast working on this project with Laverne!!! I hope you’ll check out her awesome blog, co-written with best pal, Shirley. And I hope that one day soon, Laverne and I will be able to have a real life Princess Party…without Justin Bieber. (Just sayin’.)

Today we’re linking up with Yeah Write.
Because we have a feeling that there are some
other closeted princesses out there in the
blogosphere that might like to join us for
a royal margarita…or two…