I Need A Word...

…And we’re back after a very long break. A lot has happened since I last posted, but I’ll ease in slowly. Blogging can’t be my main concentration since I need to devote my energy at both my writing and homeschooling my newly-minted middle schooler.

But I will be blogging. The goal (limit??) is three times a week, which seems a lot easier to handle than trying to post daily like I used to. We shall see how that one goes.

I’ve been meaning to start blogging again for a month or so, and almost posted what has turned into the ending for this blog post as a Facebook status update, because that’s what I’ve been doing for so long. Tonight I deleted the FB status before posting, so here I am on Aspiring Mama to ask you for a word.

I need a word for the 2018 snowman holiday card I just finished. 

We will have three options this year on my Etsy Shop - two of the 2018 Pauline Campos Studios Holiday cards are by Eliana. She wants to encourage kids to give cards to each other (and I love that)! Stay tuned. I’ll be sharing her originals this weekend and getting the preorder process going. Mine will go on preorder in about week. I need the extra time for your feedback and which word or emotion this image brings out in you, and then a day or two to play with it digitally before calling it good for sale.

Hers will remain as she created it because she wants it that way. But mine needs a word. Every year, my snowman has a message. What will 2018’s be? 

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Fidget & Dot: The Beginning

Eliana and I were out to dinner after her evening eye check up and she started looking at me funny. Turns out I was staring at my food with a stupid grin on my face and a glazed look in my eyes. Oh. And I was nodding occasionally, like I was listening to an invisible conversation in my head.

"Mom?" Eliana had her head cocked to one side, examining me. I'm figuring she was trying to determine if it was polite to ask me if I'd taken my meds this afternoon.

"What?" I looked up her, my eyes clearing a bit. She was annoying me. She had just interrupted the book writing itself in my head.

"So... have you taken your adderall?" She was still eyeing me. Amused, but probably glad she's chosen the back booth while I'd ordered our food. No one else could see me.

"Yes. I mean, no." I dismissed her with an impatient hand of my hand. "I'm writing a book. Well, actually, it's writing itself in my head. I've been working on it for a while now, but I only had the main character and her best friend in my head. I don't know why, but I can literally see the book in my head now."

She smiled, relieved. Mama hasn't lost it, after all. Then she asked me to tell her what I was seeing in my head. This is how you know she's being raised by a writer.

"The main character is named Kateri Ramirez. She's 10 and her nickname is Fidget. She had high functioning autism/asperspers. And her..."

"Oh my god, mom! Eliana interrupted me. Her eyes were dancing with excitement. "Are you serious?"

"Yep! And her best friend is Dorothy and her nickname is Dot. I don't know her last name yet. I think Dot might have ADHD."

"OMGMOM! LIKEYOUANDME."

I grinned. This felt good.

"Yep!" I nodded. "We don't get that a lot, do we? Anyway, you know those Dork Diaries books you love? How they are written like it's a diary? Well, Figdet and Dot start a blog, with their moms' help, and alternate writing blog posts. So, instead of chapters, the book is a series of blog posts." 

Eliana had a stupid grin on her face. I beamed.

"Is Fidget homeschooled? And Dot could go to public school?" Eliana asked me. She looked hopeful.

I shrugged. "Not sure yet. That could be a good thing in the story. Anyway, now you know why Iooked like I was having a conversation in my head. Because I was."

"Can I be your beta reader?" Eliana asked me.

Yep. She's a writer's kid, alright.

"No. I'm kidding. Like I wouldn't ask you? Now finish up. We gotta get home. I've got a book to make happen." 

I blinked.

"Well, after I do the laundry. The dishes. Pack up Etsy orders for shipping tomorrow. Finish that essay I started today. Pitch the essay. Walk the dogs. Pay bills online. Not get lost on Facebook with stupid quizzes. And make daddy's lunch for tomorrow."

Eliana burst out laughing. "Yeah. Okay. You got this, mom." 

Check out Little Frida Muerte on My Redbubble Shop!

I've got a sale update for you on my Redbubble shop. One of my favorite pieces, Little Frida Muerte, is now available on a few items, And if you order like RIGHT NOW, you can get 20 percent off your order with code MANICMON. The code expires at midnight, 12/4, eastern time. 

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Check out the notebook!

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And don't tell Eliana, but I already have this cute tote bag hidden in the secret Christmas stash to wrap for her for Santa's stop at our house. Because yes, if she asks, Santa Claus himself has some of Mama's art on display at the North Pole, natch.

If Dia de Los Muertos isn't your thing, you might like something like this!

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My newest addition to the Redbubble shop, Sleepy Luna, is available on a few items, including a throw pillow...

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and this sweet iPhone 6 plus case I have on the way for my own iPhone! I can't wait. 

Stay tuned...I'll be adding more to the shop as I get prints and images uploaded and sorted. For now, click and buy now while the coupon code is still good! Oh, and if you're interested in a physical print, click the link to the name of each piece. That one takes you straight to the etsy shop. 

Happy shopping! 

The Blossom, the Camera, & the Bonnet

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I'm looking at a page in a book. It's one of those prompted journals with sections devoted to writing and drawing. I've had it for more than two years and I've only filled out three pages. It's time to let it go.

Before I do, though, I flip through the book to see if the pages I did do are worth keeping. One, a prompted story, makes me think I need to tear our the page and save it in a journal somewhere. For safe keeping. I might want to look back on it one day, I think. 

Almost as quickly as I had dreamt up the idea of saving the physical page, it is discarded. If I'm being entirely honest with myself, I won't remember I saved the page until I am in the middle of my next book purge and ridding the shelves of the book holding the page I might not save now because I'll just end up throwing it away later. The smarter choice is to save my story here, where my physical words do not take up physical space. One day, I'll remember I wrote this. And here, in my digital world, I will find it.

The prompt asked me to create a story using drawings of a tiny flower, a camera, and a little girl wearing a bonnet. And so I wrote these words:

The bonnet's job is to make her look like Laura from Little House in the Big Woods. It was her portal to the past; her Tardis, only with less room and a much more accurate GPS system. With the too-big floppy bonnet on her head, her blue jeans, 1 Direction tee, and Converse had become a homemade dress and the only boots she would own until she grew. That's when they'd be given to Baby Carrie, the sister she hoped she'd have in real life. Maybe one day, she thought, if Mama and Daddy would do more than just nod their heads and smile whenever she brought up adoption centers and babies nobody wanted. 

The falling leaves crunched beneath her feet as she bent to pick up a small fallen branch from the apple tree under which she stood. The branch, which reminded her of a wishbone from a Thanksgiving turkey, still laid claim to a tiny blossom on one branch of the "V" and a shiny red apple on the other. The girl who was Laura because the bonnet made her so didn't hear the "click click" from her mother's 35 mm camera as she took a bite of the apple, the tiny blossom already tucked behind one ear. 

BabyFat 2.0 (I'm Here)

Once upon a time, I used to log in on this little ol' blog of mine just to share something funny or blow off some steam or remind you (me) why you're (I'm) beautiful. And then Facebook happened and I started sharing my little bits there which eventually led to a lotta bits not being shared over here and then, eventually, I stopped showing up. Here. In my own space. I need to work on changing that. 

That's why I'm here right now. To share something I almost shared on Facebook. I totally get a cookie after I hit publish because I'm here right now. I'm here to tell you some of the biggest news of my literary career to date. I'm here to tell you that my publisher is closing. My book, along with every other book by every other author, will be pulled from circulation on May 31. 

But it's okay. The news broke a few weeks ago. I don't have time to speculate what went wrong or how things could have been different. Things just are, and that's that. I spent the better part of May freaking the hell out and pretty much convinced that the world was over. Dealing with this during one of my worst depressive phases really didn't help matters at all. And then I got my head out of my ass (sort of) and teamed up with a few incredible people to make sure the book I poured six years of myself into doesn't just quietly disappear. 

Sneak peek of the back cover! 

Sneak peek of the back cover! 

 

I'm here to tell you that BabyFat will be back. I'm here to tell you that BabyFat is being self-published and I am so fucking thrilled at all the possibilities and opportunities now available to me because I'm the one driving this boat. The Bloggess and her incredible blurb are still on that incredible front cover by Michelle Fairbanks of Fresh Design BC. I'm here to tell you that I'm calling the shots now and I'm getting BabyFat into bookstores and busting my ass for bookclubs and working on press releases for the media. I'm here to tell you that I'll be approaching hospitals and OB offices and honoring my efforts put into this book with equal efforts in promoting it and that the cover is new and improved and that it turns out Scary Mommy blurbed BabyFat twice and that the blurb in my email from 2010 is the one being used on the new cover because it's fucking perfect and I love it oh so very much and I hope that you do, too. 

I'm here.

 

Climbing Out of the Darkness

I used to feel shame. Now, I just know that I am being brave.

Just like the thousands of other mothers across the country who are participating in this year's PostPartum Progress Climb Out of the Darkness walk on June 18. I'll be climbing with my dear friend, Susan Petcher, in Boston. Eliana will be coming with me. I couldn't be more excited.

Only recently, and thanks to Susan's gentle prodding, I shared my own experience with postpartum depression. Not on my blog, I think, because I needed to share it elsewhere first, but I did share. Baby steps. Shaky, tentative baby steps. This is a big thing, this self-identifying as a survivor of postpartum depression. In a world where so many shy away from labels not already attached to jam jars, stepping up and saying I EXPERIENCED THIS...it's a big thing. It's a brave thing. 

I'm being brave. I know that now. So many mothers before me are leading the way. Postpartum Progress founder, Kathryn Stone, is leading the way. I'm grateful for this.

The thing about mental illness is that so many of us say that there is no shame...but there is. There shouldn't be...but there is. I'm no less a mother now than I was before sharing my experience. But it's almost easier for me to say these words now than it was for me to push for help when Eliana was a tiny baby and I sat up nights crying, convinced that the only safe place to break down was in the dark. I wish I had been braver, stronger...but it is what it is and I focus on today and the power of a community of warrior moms advocating for awareness, education, and services. 

I'm working with a therapist. Things aren't exactly roses right now inside of my head. ADHD, depression, anxiety...it's all still a very real part of my reality. So much so, in fact, that I'm now on crunch time to raise funds for the climb! I'll be back tomorrow with an update and a few items in my etsy shop that I am posting specifically to raise funds for my team, but for now, here's the link to my crowdrise page.  

How will your donation help? 

  • $10 helps Postpartum Progress keep current (and continue to grow) our referral list of more than 400 specialist providers in maternal mental health.
  • $20 Provides one set of free patient education materials, including Hugs Cards and our New Mom Checklist for Maternal Mental Health Help, to a clinician or other provider who serves pregnant and new moms.
  • http://postpartumprogress.org/tools/awareness-materials-order-form/
  • $30 Provides an entire year of support via the Postpartum Progress Private Forum to a mother who otherwise has no access to support groups
  • $50 Provides one mother with Daily Hope. Postpartum Progress’ daily email service created to provide messages of support and encouragement for moms with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, for a full year. 
  • $150 Provides a culturally relevant, medically correct translation of our patient education and support materials into another language. 
  • $200 Provides for one week of our award-winning educational website PostpartumProgress.com, reaching a minimum of 30,00 page views.

A little goes a long way and more goes even farther. Every step of the way, you are making a difference for a mother in need of services.

My name is Pauline Campos, and I am a survivor or postpartum depression. 

No shame in that. Not anymore. 

 

Rush Shipping for the Christmas Save with Collage.com

Fine Print: You're about to read a sponsored post, which means I was compensated in exchange for sharing about my experience. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. But I figure you already knew that. 

Okay so if you're the devoutly religious type, maybe you'll think I'm off my rocker and Jesus trumps rush shipping at this time of year on the Level of Importance scale, but let's just pretend that I'm on to something for a minute here.

I used to be the chick who bragged about finishing my Christmas shopping by Halloween and having every gift wrapped and placed under the Christmas tree while the Turkey was roasting on thanksgiving day. I know...I know...I kind of hate Past Pauline right now, too. What a bitch, right? 

Don't worry, Karma evened things out in the end. I'm older now. I've got a kid and too many things to do on my to do list and I'm sitting here finishing my Christmas shopping on December 14 because Life. That's where rush shipping is my new favorite phrase and collage.com is my new Happy Place. 

Living so far from family means that they miss out on a lot when it comes to seeing Eliana grow up. Photo gifts are always a win in this case, and that's exactly what my mom, in-laws, and a few close aunts and uncles are getting: a beautiful 16x20 wrapped canvas print featuring one of my award-winning photographs of my favorite little muse.

It's easy enough to create the perfect gift on Collage.com, and your not limited to canvas wraps. You've got options like photo books and fleece blankets to choose from, too! And just so you know, you've even got plenty of flexibility with the canvas wraps themselves. I may have opted to go with a single image here, but you can upload more than one image for a wonderful collage someone on your gift list is sure to love. 

Just keep in mind that Rush Shipping isn't going to make Christmas happen if you wait too much longer. As of right now, this is what you're looking at if you get your order in tonight...

I know I am not the only one on the internet running around in circles screaming that the sky is falling because I am so unorganized when it comes to holiday gift-giving this year. There's no shame in scrambling at the last minute. I would even venture to say that the grandparents wouldn't mind if something special made just for them showed up a day or two late if you'd like to stick to the regular shipping rates. Whichever route you take, I'm pretty sure you're on the right one with collage.com. 

Happy Last Minute Christmas Shopping! 

I received free products in exchange for my post. All opinions are - and always will be - my own. Thank you to Collage.com for sponsoring this post. 

BabyFat: Vote for the Cover Design!

For the new kids in class, let  me simply say I am the most indecisive woman in the world. New restaurants and menus are potential marriage wreckers, second guessing always means I made the wrong choice the second time, and asking the waitess to take back the meal I hated and bring me the one I said I wanted to try first instead mean that desiging the BabyFat: Adventures in Motherhood, Muffin Tops, & Trying to Stay Sane cover is like watching a tennis match between two crazed squirels.

I love my designer, Michelle from Fresh Design, and I think we need to be friends In Real Life. But before I ask for her address to exchange Christmas cards, I figure I'd better get her a final answer on the bool cover.

That's where YOU come in, Internet. Let's not pretend here. I suck at making decisions and you know it. The easisest way to resolve this situation is for you to help me make the final decision because narrowing down to the baby tush concept was hard enough and I can't make any more decisions this month or my brain may implode.

So you get to choose, Internet. 

Which cover do you think says New York Times Best Seller? 

Here's the deal, Internet: I will choose the cover that YOU choose. Each one shown here has its own appeal, ands while I do have a favorite or two, I'm not at all set on one over the rest. Considering my publisher's desire to get BabyFat actually published and in your hands -- a desire I fully support, by the way -- I figured I needed to own up to my lack of ability to make Actual Decisions to keep this train on track.

So vote! And if your're interested in joining my #BabyFat Street Team to help get the word out about my book, send me an email to aspiringmama@gmail.com (subject line: #BabyFat Street Team), friend me on Facebook, or tweet me with the hashtag so we can make All the Noise together! (Speaking of All Things BabyFat, did you submit your tweet to appear in the book yet???) 

I can't wait to see which you choose, y'all. Also? I'd been wondering when one stands on their probverbial mountain top to share with the world how she nearly fell down dead when Jenny Lawson agreed to blurb my book, but I guess that cat's outta the bag now. File this one under: It Never Hurts to Ask and Anybody Who Says Social Media Friends Aren't Real is An Asshole with No Friends on Social Media. 

From Her: Mexican in Maine goes to Hollywood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, I know it's Saturday and there was no #ChingonaFest Fridays post.

Again. 

Life's been kind of crazy lately and I promise that I tried. All I know is that I'm still figuring out this whole Squarespace business and I gave up after writing the entire post five times only to have it default to the original and unfinished draft each and every time. In the interest of Me and Not Killing Anyone, I opted for Not Going to Prison by drinking wine and saving the headache for next week.

It's all good. Cuz I've got news to share, anyway.

I'm honored to announce my inclusion in the juried 2015 From Her Art Exhibit in Los Angeles! My photograph, Mexican in Maine, will be included in this year's show, running from March 5th through March 22, in honor of Women's History Month -- and I couldn't be prouder. 

Mexican in Maine by Pauline Campos. Pinata by  Mainly Pinatas . 

Mexican in Maine by Pauline Campos. Pinata by Mainly Pinatas

Unfortunately, I can't be at the opening to celebrate because I don't own a Tardis and plane tickets don't grow on trees, but a few LA-based friends have promised to attend the event and take a ton of pictures because they love me. 

So, why this piece? For every item submitted, artists were asked for a statement to explain why we felt it was reflective of the for the Women's History Month focus. My artist statement for Mexican in Maine reads as follows: 

As a mother, I strive to teach my daughter that she can go anywhere...do anything. I want her to know that it's more important to create her own space rather than try to fit in. 
We moved to Maine two years ago and do not blend; our olive tones made more obvious by the white snow covering the ground for most of the year. But we are creating our space. In this photo, my daughter, 7, stands in a barn beneath the princess pinata made by a local woman, also Mexican, for her birthday party. 
She is fierce, focused, and stands tall, daring anyone to question her presence, her choices, her right to wear that crown or the cape she says makes her royalty. In this moment, she has claimed her space.

I think this is where I drop the proverbial mic and saunter off the figurative stage.