2012 in Review- The Year of the Elf

Despite being the slowest year of my blog’s existence thanks to a LOT going on around the homefront 2012 was also the best year yet for DDL!  The blog has steadily grown since it started back in April 2009.  In fact readership has increaded 65% in 2012 compared to 2011!  That is with blogging a lot less than I did last year too.  Plus I had a little help from an Elf.


January was in insane month and thanks to the generosity of a lot of sponsors we raised enough money for the non-profit organization Giving Diapers, Giving Hope to help them apply for their non-profit status!  In case you haven’t heard of them yet GDGH provides cloth diapers for families in need who qualify.  In January something else pretty big happened- we bid on a home in Tampa FL and planned to move from our home in Syracuse.  At the time we had no idea what we would be entering into…

February was when I made an announcement here on the blog that we were moving.  I was unsure of how moving would impact the work I was doing here but I figured I would be around less during the transition.  I didn’t know then that the transition would take 6 months.  That month I also re-designed the look of the blog and did away with the old blue header in favor of what is still up today.

By March the boys and I had moved out to Charlotte NC.  Because the home we bid on was a short sale there was no timeline saying it would take 30, 60, or even 90 days until closing.  It was a stressful roller coaster ride of emotions as we waited for word.  We were in limbo– not in our old home where Everett was born and not yet to what we hoped would be a perfect home for our family.  March is also when I started taking a serious interest in learning how to use my DSLR so that was keeping me busy and giving me a hobby to focus on while living with my in-laws and impatiently waiting for news about our home.

April was a VERY big month.  Life had to go on and with no end in sight about our home I decided to find a NC screenprinter for a design I had made while still in Syracuse.  Then DDL Apparel was born and my dream of providing stylish cloth diaper advocacy shirts came to life!   I started printing in March but blogged about the new venture in April. April was a big month for cloth diaper advocacy as well thanks to the 2nd Annual Great Cloth Diaper Change.  I participated in the Charlotte location hosted by Jack Be Natural and even sold a few of my shirts there too.  To go with the vibe that month I also published one of my favorite posts of the year- “How to be a better cloth diaper advocate.”  This month I also hit my breaking point and vented about the frustrations of living 10 hours away from my husband and not receiving any word about the status of our short sale.

May.  The 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge came and went even though I was living with family.  They looked at me like I had a third eye while I used a camp style washer and handwashed diapers.  They have always been a little wary of my regular cloth diapers so this was a real treat for them.  Once again we had a lot of participation and helped spread the message that cloth diapering CAN be done no matter what if you really need to.

June was the month I started working on another dream project of mine that I’ve wanted to do for years.  I set out to record a video interview with my grandparents about cloth diapering.  It was such an amazing experience.  It took me almost 6 months to actually publish the video after wanting to make sure it was perfect.  That month I also asked the question “Are Cloth Diapers Too Advanced?” and discussed why sometimes the simplest diapers are the best.

July 4th 2012 was the day my family was reunited.  We closed on the home at the end of June and packed into our car for the 10 hour drive to Tampa.  It was a very long 6 months; and even though I can’t say we didn’t enjoy the chance to reconnect with our families in Charlotte that we lived apart from for 5 years it was nice to be in our new home.  The waiting was the hardest part but what was to come was hard in another way.  Unpacking, and remodeling a home that was sold “as is” and needed a lot of TLC.  Still, it was so nice to have a place to call home.   That month I fit in very little blogging but did make time to make another video I really loved- “Washing Cloth Diapers is the Easy Part.”  Oh, and July 24 marked my 5 Year Wedding Anniversary.  I’m just glad we were together for that because it didn’t seem like that would happen the month before.

In August I left my family for a quick trip to BlogHer in NYC.  I had the time of my LIFE getting the chance to be with my other blogging friends and learning more about this craft I’ve been perfecting for almost 4 years.  It was difficult to move and then leave for a work trip because all I really wanted to do was conitnue beautifying the home.  August also became the month DDL started morphing into a “DIY” blog while I began documenting the work on our home.   ALready I had painted the entryway, the front livingroom, and the guest bedroom (which is designed to be a Golden Girls Room).  My husband and I also started working on remodeling the second bathroom and launched a 4 month long project that took that room down to the studs and back.  Lets just say it was difficult with 2 kids constantly at home.  

September was a month dedicated to Cloth Diapers in Daycare.  I was able to showcase the cloth diapers that work best for care providers and picked several that I loved.  I also had many guest articles that month from readers willing to share their experiences.  I continued sharing progress posts about our work in the house, this time about our entryway and my amazing thrift store chairs.  

In October my youngest baby turned 2.  I still can’t believe that.  When my babies have birthdays I’m usually busy making their epic yearly video and October was no exeption.  It was a great one!  We took a drive back up to NC for my Sister-in-law’s wedding and got to play around with my new camera- the Nikon D90.  We were still in love with our new house and getting close to the finish line with our big projects.

November was insane.  Steven and I were literally scurrying around like crazy people getting things wrapped up in time for visitors.  We had to complete the bathroom so that people had a place to use the restroom other than the one in our bedroom.  I painted the kitchen, the front door, and refinished 2 doors that month.  Plus we finished our huge bathroom remodel.    Then there was Thanksgiving AND my son’s 4th birthday and these fell on the same day!  That was fun.  So was working for 8 hours straight until 5 am on Fletcher’s birthday video.  It is my best one yet.

December has been a really amazing month.  Mostly because we are finally feeling settled in our new home after working tirelessly on it for 6 months.  We celebrated Christmas here as a family for the first time, and even though we didn’t have our extended family with us it was still really wonderful.  I did work extra hard to bring cheer to our home for the holidays since it is weird to wear a tank top in December.  This was also the month I finally got my butt in gear and completed the video interview with my grandparents.  I’m so proud of that video and consider it the best film I’ve done yet.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my Elf on the Shelf hack.  December was the biggest month for my blog thanks to a post from last year about hacking your Elf on the Shelf.  Thank you Wyatt and Pinterest for bringing gobs of new visitors to DDL.  The Elf also brought a lot of strife too after a photo of mine was stolen and went viral.  I was mad.  


With 2013 around the corner I’m ready to face it head on.  I’ve decided to devote more time to creating more videos beyond just cloth diaper reviews.  Video editing is something I very much enjoy and the most fun (and hardest) thing about this blog.  I’ll never be a huge blog like so many of my friends who began at the same time as me.  As much as I get down on myself about this fact as I watch others become household blog names I know that as a cloth diaper blog that will never be the case.   And I don’t think I want that either.  Blogging takes a lot of work and a lot of time away from my children.  By slowing down this year I’ve realized how much time away I spent when I was at a break neck blogging speed.  These days we spend most of our time playing outside and that is better than the headaches of running a huge blog any day.  I only have 2 more rooms to paint in our new home, a few doors to refinish, and some door trims to re-paint then it is done.  I’m really excited to eventually post a Before/After showing the entire house and how different it looks.

I have lots of video ideas and I really can’t wait to get started.  2013 will hopefully be the year I have no babies in diapers.  Then what?  I’m not sure.  Will I let others review diapers for me?  Will I continue filming diapers but not publish reviews?  Will I start focusing more on my life and less on cloth diapering?  I really just don’t know and I’m not a good planner.  It is a miracle when you see an event here because that means I planned ahead!

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