Welcome to the future where we newsletter instead of blog. Come with me, let’s marinate in the past for a moment.
I started blogging in 2001 on one of those free blogspot sites. It was before they had banner ads and comments hadn’t been invented yet. At some point, I purchased the Very Mom domain and installed Greymatter.
Please note the gigantic Wacom tablet in the header illustration above. When I started doing web design (Kiwi Designs!) Eric ran out and bought me the biggest Wacom tablet they made. I think it was designed for architects. I only drew on the smallest section, but I love this memory. That was Eric supporting me in a nutshell. ❤️
One of my readers complained because my site did not have an RSS feed; something Greymatter didn’t offer. So I switched to the brand-new baby CMS, WordPress in 2004.
I’m sure the poop tagline in the banner below made sense at one point, but I don’t remember what it might have been. That same banner made another appearance with a syphilis joke, so you know… #stayclassy.
The crying baby below is my now 19 year old, Nate! He had a hard time letting me disappear behind a shower curtain for quite a while:
I only have tiny screenshots of what the websites looked like:
In 2005ish, I decided long and skinny banners were where it was at. I need glasses to read those tiny taglines now:
A motley assortment of screenshots for the websites:
So blurry, sorry!
My pregnant belly pic in the header, titled ‘bean,’ really confused a lot of readers. Oops.
So tiny! But it’s all I could find of the cloud theme:
I got weepy over Eric’s little cartoon; this life feels like it happened a million years ago:
I moved my entire site to Expression Engine for some reason–I don’t remember why. I LOVED this design and am so sad I don’t have a better screenshot of it. I can’t even find the OG graphics! The right side featured an overflowing laundry basket on top of a washing machine. I think my comments section had some little matching graphics too. My readers hated it!
Very Mom had become quite popular and with more pageviews came more critical comments and emails–it was just too heavy for me. I bounced, successfully cutting my traffic in half.
The new design on the kerflop domain had a complicated sidebar and footer that took a lot of CSS wrangling–I was very pleased with myself, though I later simplified it quite a bit. Trying to design around those BlogHer Ad blocks was a bear:
Ugh, horribly blurry and I can’t find the full header anywhere, but I remember thinking my stove-on-fire-while-blogging illustration was so funny:
I still really like this graphic I drew of me and the kids. It got used at some point in the below orange & brown theme:
I had a lot of fun with this design, though readers didn’t like it much. You could click those sticky notes and it had a ‘do not feed the trolls’ sign in the comment section.
Ha! I still think it’s cute:
This was my attempt to simplify and also stuff the ugly BlogHer ad blocks further out of sight. I got in trouble for it and decided I was done and switched to hosting smaller, more personalized ads:
I started Balancing Everything on the side (obviously just reworking the Kerflop theme I had made). This was the first layout there:
Eventually, I turned Kerflop into a landing page and moved to Balancing Everything for “good” (haha).
I redesigned Balancing Everything to match the paper doll theme. Finally a design readers liked!
I’m not entirely sure I ever launched this cleaning-themed design. My friend Heather hated it (we always shared our mockups with each other). She was afraid it meant I was only going to write about scrubbing toilets. 😆
I really loved my elephant balancing on a ball:
Though I eventually calmed down all the color and ditched the ubiquitous Lobster font:
Somewhere along the line I ended up with this tagline for Balancing Everything and still really like it (tell me you have ADHD without knowing you have ADHD):
The move to Balancing Everything was the first big archive cull I made. My brother reallllly missed my old archives, so for a little while, I considered bringing them back. I made these headers and designed a theme but never went through with the project:
If you got through the whole thing, congratulations! I’ve always wanted to do a post like this but never could figure out where to put it. Might as well memorialize all that blogging history as I make the momentous-feeling move to a newsletter format.
Here is a picture of all my blog archives (sans the Blogger/blogspot ones that are stuffed in a folder somewhere) printed out and bound into books:
(The cat is not impressed.)