My Current Status: Motherhood v. Sarah

Warning: I wrote this because I want my kids to remember these kinds of days. When they look back one day and wonder why Mom was always seemingly preoccupied with things….too busy to sit down and play a new board game or watch a dumb cartoon… This is why.

My family says I’m “always at my computer.”
My ex-boss (who would load me up with 80hrs worth of work each week) would say, “You really need to get away from the computer.”
John thinks I’m always “wasting time on Slack” and sometimes acts jealous b/c of it.
Friends think I spend too much time on social media.

They don’t really see that I’m working in short bursts.
1 hr here, 2 hrs there. 3 hrs later.
In between: morning routines to get THEM out the door, errands for THEIR benefit, emergency dr visits because THEY hurt themselves, household chores that THEY should be doing, cooking food for THEM….

They don’t see what I do. If you saw what I did yesterday….

  1. Slept 4 hrs
  2. Get up at 7am and drive 6th grader to school- her cello was home from the weekend UIL event.
  3. Let the 4th grader sleep in late b/c she had a rough night. (See #1)
  4. Came home from dropping 6th grader off and crashed on the couch b/c #1.
  5. Woke up just in time to get 9th grader to dentist on time. Took 4th grader w/me and thought I’d drop her off at school on the way to the dentist. Didn’t have time. So just took her with me.
  6. Woke up 11th grader so he could jog along with us on morning errands. He brought his laptop. He tethered it to my phone. We did a Physics lesson.
  7. Got to Ortho. Removed 9th grader’s wire.
  8. Stop at Taco Cabana and grab breakfast taco’s since I know the 9th grader is hungry and won’t be able to eat for a while after his fillings.
  9. Drove to Reg. Dentist. Waited for 9th grader to get his fillings. Continued physics lesson.
  10. 4th grader decided to decorate her face with coffee stirrer straws while waiting for 9th grader.
    claire straws
  11. We laughed and she tried to remove the straws but in doing so she accidentally poked one of the straws INTO her ear, instead of pulling it OUT of her ear. End result: a ruptured ear drum.
  12. Spent the rest of the next hour in the Dentist’s office consoling her. Instead of working via the apps on my iPhone. They think I’m sitting there playing on my phone – I’m actually on Slack, Asana and Google Docs getting work stuff done. It’s the juggle of working from home AND running a family.
  13. Oh – call primary care doctor re: Claire’s ear. Of COURSE they can’t just let me swing by, take a peek, and if it’s an injured ear drum send a referral over to ENT. OF COURSE I hae to schedule an appointment. And of COURSE the only thing open is the 8pm appointment for the after-hours clinic with a resident. Because why would it be any easier?
  14. Deal with some Slack messages and emails re: swag to order for a WordCamp, copy work that I was supposed to do this past weekend, URLs needed for images for a newsletter. It appears as though I’m neglecting my injured daughter for some dumb iPhone game. I’m not. I’m working.
  15. 9th grader finishes his fillings, we come home. He gives me the brackets the dentist had to remove so he doesn’t lose them. For the life of me I can’t remember where I put them…
  16. Kids go to their respective corners of the house. I sit down to actually log into work.
  17. Get a lot of crap done actually. Very productive TWO hours at home.
  18. We leave at 3pm for 4th grader’s counseling appointment that we’ve skipped like 4 weeks in a row now b/c I’ve been busy. But she’s having meltdowns over issues w/her Dad so I’ve committed to this appt. Let the counselor deal with the drama. Mom’s tired of it.
  19. Sit at therapists office and zone out for an hour while she talks to Ms. Linda. 9th grader calls. Intense pain. I tell him to take some Motrin. I call dentist to confirm it’s expected b/c of where cavities were and how many shots they had to give him. Call 9th grader back and tell him to suck it up and deal with it. And maybe think about brushing his dang teeth more often. :/
  20. Deal with some Slack messages re: ads for affiliates, newsletter HTML and bug reports coming in from new site via Twitter posts.
  21. 4th grader finishes up. As promised, we head over to the fabric store to pick out a pattern and fabric for our weekend sewing project. The 4th grader wants to learn to sew. Sweet! I love sewing.
  22. Stop at Sonic for drinks and a snack for Claire. She gets her usual – Watermelon Slush + Nerds, Grilled Cheese. I try the new Sonic Energy drink. Naturally. The “Sugar Free” version. It’s pretty good. I mean it’s still an energy drink but it’s ok.
  23. Head over to the fabric store. Go to the restroom. Notice that I’m really really flushed. My lips are a little tingly feeling and my ears are bright red. My arms are bright red. My legs feel hot. ….OMG… something in the energy drink is causing an allergic reaction. Take half a Benadryl. I’ve been carrying them with me since this has been happening from time to time for the last year or so. I really really need to get my diet cleaned up. I really need to read that book by my nightstand…that I bought 6 months ago… I really need to… whatever….who has time.
  24. Find fabric. Notice my ears aren’t burning anymore. Think – cool. Easy peasy!
  25. While there, carry on a 30m texting conversation with 6th grader who is telling me all about her day. Receive lots of crappy glances from the lady cutting our fabric because I’ve got my head down in my phone and I’m telling Claire to be quite. It appears as though I’m totally ignoring Claire for my phone. I’m not. I’m managing Claire while talking to Hannah. I hate the judgment. But whatever.
  26. Get home around 6pm.
  27. House is a wreck. No one has bothered to do anything. Oh well. Whatever.
  28. Review Hannah’s homework.
  29. Review Adri’s home school work.
  30. Sit down and work for another 1.5 hrs. Wrap up some critical tasks that needed to be knocked out before EOD. Resolve SSL issue. Track down a URL issue. Create a Bug Report project folder in Asana for managing community found glitches on new site. Talk to John briefly. Email jpg files to client for ads needed for affiliates. Required conversations with graphic designer, developer working on newsletter, front end and back end developers working on the site, Dir. of Ops getting ready to order swag for a WordCamp, community member who keeps finding all the bugs. That’s a lot of action in 1.5 hrs.
  31. Put on shoes and head to the Dr’s office. It’s now 730pm. I don’t even know….did I eat today? Oh yeah the Sonic thing…..need to grab food.
  32. Get to Dr. Expect them to say, “No big deal! She’s fine!” but instead they say, “Ruptured ear drum. Needs follow up with ENT and Audiology.” I sink a little lower in the chair.
  33. But – that’s ok – I got this!  “Great, Dr, can you just shoot a referral over to our ENT and I’ll get that taken care of?  And does she need meds? Great! Can you shoot those over to Walgreens and I’ll pick them up tonight?”  20m later he finishes those TWO tasks. We finally leave. After he reads me – literally READS TO ME – his findings from Google re: Ruptured Ear Drums. But he was SO nice. I didn’t want to be rude. I mean but seriously… I can google, Dr. In fact, I basically do that for a living. GOTTA GO DUDE!
  34. Go to Walgreens.
  35. Get her meds.
  36. Get home. Get everyone to bed.
  37. Open laptop. Talk to developer re: newsletter that HAS to be sent out Tuesday morning (today.)
  38. Work for another hour.
  39. Finally get to quit and go to sleep.
  40. Oh yeah – John wanted to talk. I’m too tired to talk. Text him good night.
  41. Wake up on Tuesday and do it all over again.
  42. And people wonder why I don’t blog. Why I can’t seem to keep up with running or any kind of REAL exercise program. I have ZERO time for me.
  43. In fact, I stole time from 2 other tasks this morning so that I could blog this.

When I’m not working at my computer, or paying bills, or managing home schooling Adri, or public school stuff for the kids… I actually LIKE to …. blog, explore new software, edit/organize/print off photo/projects, hang out online with other tech friends, watch a movie, read/research things, etc. I enjoy the internet. I don’t go on girls nights out, I rarely go to the movies, I actually rarely get out of the house unless I’m managing motherhood responsibilities.

Just – you know – I’ve been doing it solo for 18yrs now and today I’m tired. Yes, I was married once but he wasn’t around to help carry the load. And yes, I have John now but he’s not the primary parent and there’s a lot of things he can’t — and shouldn’t — do.

I’m not tired of motherhood, per say. My kids are incredibly happy, well adjusted, responsible and dependable children. Most of the time. I’m tired of being made to feel bad for using resources that help me keep things moving. For creating a life that sustains my creative, inquisitive, curious spirit whilst in the throes of motherhood. I’m tired of people, in my family mostly, throwing stones for the amount of time I spend online … while they’re busy running their latests clash of clans war or xbox game. I’m tired of feeling judged because you know what – I am doing the best I can. Right now. During this season of life. To provide for the children, to manage job, to run a home, to keep all the wheels spinning. And I don’t mean the wheels on my road bike…

Frankly – yesterday – I kicked ass. If my family can’t see that – that’s on them. 

This Is How I Learned WordPress

how i learned wordpress

If you pay too close attention to Twitter (or even your good friend’s blog) you might start to feel rundown and defeated. So many things you should be, could be, outta be doing – so little time to do anything other than … everything you probably do every day.

For example…. one week my week went like this:

  • Kid #3 on day 5 of a 10 day run of upper respiratory flu
  • Kid #1 starting home school courses
  • Kid #2 has an itchy head — and we find lice. And also in the hair for kid 1, 2 and 3. AND OMG … do you know what that means?
  • Kid #4 has emotional meltdown over her absentee dad
  • Client wants to double my retainer (which means double workload, double the time)
  • Friend #1 loses a job and needs emotional support
  • Friend #2 is ready to file for divorce and needs help with the paperwork
  • Friend #3 needs me to cover a ballet class for her
  • Two Etsy orders come in
  • My Mom needs onboarding into Basecamp
  • John leaves for a week of training and I’m flying solo
  • Kid #2 with the lice … he also has an appt for cavities this week
  • And allergy shots
  • Twice
  • Internet provider shows up to collect payment on the wifi…because I forgot to send a check. Because…what are checks again??
  • I had to go to the grocery store. Three times.
  • I had to cook meals.
  • I had to run the household chores and make sure laundry was done.
  • And be a taxi.
  • And – oh yeah – my friend Cindy and I are launching this site:
  • Oh and Trisha and I spent time working on the wireframes for the themes we’re going to start selling online by the end of the year.
  • And Thursday night, at the ballet class I teach, one of the dancers said, “Sarah did you get to run this week?” And I said, “Are you kidding me?”
  • (Truth: This is a normal week for me and I left a lot off.)

She had no idea how busy I was. All she knew was that I probably DID NOT go run as planned. I just turned and said, “Oh… yeah… running. That’s right. I’m supposed to be losing weight, too.”

When you read something online that says what you OUGHT to be doing – but you know that you are giving every single day your 100% best – even if some days that means the most you do is get out of bed… guess what?!

That’s OK!

I am in the THROES of Motherhood. And my life is exactly what my life is. And I’m 100% OK with that. Some days I get it all done. Some days I don’t. That’s life.

But – guess what?? This is how I learned WordPress

By blogging. By writing down my thoughts and publishing them. Do you know my original WordPress blog has over 1000 posts and 3000 comments? I don’t blog there anymore but it’s still online. That’s a lot of content, y’all!  And that’s a lot of time spent looking at the published content as an end user and deciding I didn’t like the way it rendered on the front end. And then figuring it out. By googling issues. By asking friends. By writing a blog post about what I wanted to do and asking for help. By researching. By reading. By doing. By not being afraid to try.

And now I make a living with WordPress

In fact, I even gave a presentation on this at WordCamp Denver in 2013 titled “Grow Your Career With WordPress”. IN FACT… there’s a link to the content – I uploaded this as a .pptx file. I’ve never personally uploaded a PowerPoint file to my WordPress media files and provided a link in a blog post before so there you go – here’s me doing something new for you! If it doesn’t work – I’ll figure it out!

And that’s how I am able to do all those things above AND STILL have time to write this blog at midnight. Even though I’m bone tired and I don’t really want to sit in front of a computer screen ANYMORE — I want Angie Meeker to give me an A+ for my blog writing efforts.


I’m going to blog everyday for 80 days. I’m following Chris Lema’s posts on Blog Prompts for Freelancers and Entrepreneurs. You should join in. It doesn’t have to be an academic thesis. And it doesn’t have to be a therapy session. Just write! If you do – throw it out there on Twitter and hashtag it #80DaysWithLema – I’ll make every effort to swing over and read your post!

Happy Blogging!

Buggy Writing Experience via :/

Here’s What Happened

I typed into my URL and arrived here

I was already logged into, which is where my site is hosted, so I just clicked the “Create New Post” button:

Screenshot 2015-04-08 15.24.59

I was redirected to this page:

I entered the title and wrote copy for a blog using the “Visual” tab in the post editor.

This is a screenshot of what a section of that content looked like in the Visual Editor:

When I previewed the post, I didn’t like the fact that the YouTube link did not auto-embed.

So I closed the “Preview” window and went back to the editor. At the time I didn’t see the “Add Media” option:

I wanted to get back into the WP-Admin to finish up the post. This, in itself, is a clunky process.

I expected a “switch to WP-Admin” option to be available in the options. It was not.

To mosey my way back to wp-admin, I had to click “My Sites”

Which took me to this page:

I then was finally able to click “WP-ADMIN” and a new tab opened up with this URL:

I clicked on Posts > All Posts > Everything is Content! > Edit:

I arrived in the post editor and finished up the blog.

I clicked “Save Draft” and then “Preview”

I saw this:

All the spacing between the paragraphs/headers is wrong. GREAT. Just what I want to do… venture into the TEXT editor and mess with markup tags. GRRR..

So I do just that. I close out the PREVIEW tab and return to the post editor. I click the “TEXT” tab and start looking at the markup….and there are tags everywhere. I do a Command+F for div and 60+ matches are returned.

I’m not amused.

I start cleaning up the div tags. But there are SO MANY of them. They look like this:

They are in the H2 tags. They are at the beginning and end of every line. They are in the href tags. OMG what has happened?

Remember – I haven’t copied/pasted any content with wonky markup. I wrote all this IN the WordPress Core Editor.

In the VISUAL editor my original content looked like this:

But when I hit PREVIEW it looked like this:

And the WP Core Editor TEXT had all these weird DIV Tags in the markup:

Deciding that this wasn’t worth wasting the time to fix, I returned to the Visual Tab for the editor, hit Command+A, opened up a new tab, navigated to Medium, signed into my account and published the following post:

View profile at

It formatted perfectly. I hit publish. And I was done. Literally the only change I made was that the content rendered all my subheadings as H1 sub-headers and I changed them to H2 sub-headers. I spent no more than 1-2 minutes copying and pasting the content into Medium, and publishing.

For the record —

  • this site is hosted on
  • I am using the Confit Theme by Automattic.
  • I haven’t purchased any upgrades except for domain/redirect.
  • Browser: Safari Version 8.0.4 (10600.4.10.7)
  • OS: Yosemite 10.10.2
  • MacBookPro, Retina, 13″ – Late 2013 Edition

I actually think I know what’s going on with the editor in WordPress. I’d be happy to discuss with someone who can fix it. I’ve had several others things happen with the editor that I believe are related and definitely bugs in the software. I should probably detail those things at some point because I don’t think anyone has. There’s definitely a huge bug within the Sela theme re: writing/editing content. I noticed it when I was working with a friend, helping her set up her blog. It was very annoying. When “it” was happening I asked Trisha Salas if I was doing something wrong and she confirmed that it was, in fact, a bug. I just haven’t taken the time to record it … maybe I’ll double check this weekend and see if I can reproduce it again.


I just double checked the markup on THIS post, which I’ve written 100% via WP-Admin/Visual editor, and there are NO

tags anywhere. Ergo – I believe there is an issue with the “better writing experience” experience.



WordPress PodCasts Form – TAKE THREE!

Audio Lift Off by Adam Levine on Flickr

WordPress PodCasts – Fill Out The Form, Save Me From The Bunny Trails

This should be quick and painless. Thanks for helping out!

The Basics, Please – Who, What, When, Where….

Please provide any social media links that you know of.

Defining Titles for Web Builders

Developer v Developer
Photo found at Permission to use requested. Might end up removed if required.


I’ve been thinking about something and I want to run it by you all & I’d LOVE to have a dialogue here in the comments to find out if I’m on the right track or if I’m waaaay off course. I trust you’ll chime in and let me know.

These days there are a dozen different titles for what I’ve deduced to four different professionals who are generally involved in a web / app design. I’m finding that semantics are important when managing projects and getting everyone’s vocabulary on the same page usually eliminates a lot of unnecessary confusion. And THAT is really the impetus behind this post. It is NOT to degrade anyone or start a fight online with those web designers and developers out there who might disagree with my use of terms here. That said – I DO want to know WHY you disagree with this – if, in fact, you do.

So, for example – when I refer to a “Designer” I do not mean someone who works on the front end of web builds. I really do mean the person(s) who literally designed the project we’re working on. And when I refer to a “Developer” I do not mean someone who can manipulate a drag and drop builder or set up a theme based on really awesome documentation. I literally mean someone who can throw open SublimeText and in a matter of minutes compile some pretty snazzy SASS or PHP or C# or whatever flavor of programming they are proficient in.

For a few reasons:

A) I can open Sublime Text and hack out some HTML, CSS and even some SASS. But I could never just sit down and start writing from scratch. Nope. Haven’t done that in 20+ yrs and have NO desire to really ever do it again.

B) I can download a drag and drop builder and learn how to manipulate the shortcodes and page settings to get a WordPress website to look the way I want. But I can’t even begin to compare myself to my friends who literally hand code websites from scratch. Not even gonna fake it on this one. I am not, in anyway, a developer.

C) I really cannot make pretty things. I have no real sense of creative production. I can replicate. And I can assess and critique (not criticize.) But I have never been consistent in producing original creative material aside from writing. I can express myself creatively through writing, nature and learning. I cannot express myself creatively in the Creative Cloud. :)

What I am is a very advanced web user proficient in WordPress, with a wide range of knowledge as it applies to all the fields below. But I cannot produce a design, I cannot build up the back end, I cannot apply front end stylings. I am a very well versed project manager with a solid understanding of motion theory along with a firm understanding of user behaviour. I can QA (quality assurance / debug) a website better than anyone I know and I can quickly tell you, in layman’s terms, what needs to happen – what the user is expecting to happen, what the admin wants to happen, why it needs to be set up a certain way. I can find all the holes in your design/development. I just can’t fix them.

That said – I am not any of the following – and these are the 4 roles I’ve filtered all the many different web tech professionals into — please don’t be offended. Help me sort all this out so I can get an even better understanding of it all:

The Designers

Someone who designs things – to make it simple. They need not know code. They DO need to have a firm understanding, preferably at the expert level, of Content Management, User Permissions, Information Architecture, User Experience Design, User Interface Design, System Architecture, Front End and Back End Engineering. Note: they do not have to know how to do all these things – but they should have a clear understanding of how all these different knowledge areas interact with each other via design.

The Front End Engineers or Web Developers

Someone who takes the designers pretty looking things and turns them into code to be applied to the front end of a web development project. S/he should have the tools necessary for taking the designer’s pretty things and generating the appropriate files needed. Pixel perfect rendition is the end goal. The designs produced are not arbitrarily created – there is purpose behind every design decision and it is the job of the front end engineer to make sure those design decisions are effectively communicated to the end-user via seamless front end experience.

Back End Engineers or Web Developers or Programmers

Someone who takes the designers pretty things and turns them into code to be applied to the back-end of a web development project. S/he should have the tools necessary for taking the designer’s pretty things and generating the appropriate files needed. Pixel perfect rendition is the end goal. Articulating the functionality of the design, through back-end programming, is the responsibility of the programmer. Understanding that the designs were not arbitrarily created – that there was purpose behind every design decision – it is the job of the back-end engineer to ensure the functionality desired is produced in a manner that supports the front end user experience AND in many cases the back-end admin user experience.

Full Stack Engineers

A highly skilled engineer who can manage front and back-end engineering on a wide range of enterprise and application level builds. Comprehensive understanding on the roles of Information Architecture, UI/UX, Design, Front End and Back End Engineering.


Now, I haven’t even started on the different titles for people who run /manage websites. Like SEO experts vs Marketing Strategists. Or the people who sell websites like Account Managers and so on. I don’t think I’m touching those with a 10-foot pole. Yet. :)

So – what say you oh great internet friends?!


With what I have
     who I am
     where I am headed

From worrying about adversaries
     fearing vindictive pettiness
     hiding from bullies

spent with those whom I love
     things I have ignored
     self, which I have neglected

Boundaries matter
     especially when one is
     dealing with those who don't