I’m the Jessie Spano of Blogging

I feel like a real dweeb. I forgot a very important birthday. Last week, my first-born book, Absolute Mayhem, turned 2. And the only reason I became aware of the milestone was because my Facebook memories reminded me. Boy, I thought to myself, that sure would have been a good marketing opportunity, especially with the holidays right around the corner. As I looked through all the old posts and the excitement that surrounded the book release, I couldn’t help but feel like I have let myself and my passion down this past year.

I’ve done very little promotion or marketing. I’ve barely paid attention to my poor characters, Lulu, Milo, and Hippo. And this blog hasn’t fared much better. Eight. Up until today, I’ve written eight posts the entire year. And that number would have been practically zero had it not been for these events: Continue reading “I’m the Jessie Spano of Blogging”

Goodbye 2015: Closing the Year by Counting it Down

2015 is about to come to a close. You all have been very good to me this year, as you have in the past. Because of this, I want to just quickly wish you joy, peace, fulfillment, and love in the coming new year…all the things I have received from your support, your comments, and the fact that so many of you continually come back to read whatever it is I put down.

Let’s see 2015 out by recapping the blog posts you liked the most this year. It made me happy to revisit each of these and know they resonated with so many people:top blog posts of 2015

#10 Advice for a Double-Digits Daughter
I became the mom of a tween this year, and my words of “wisdom” to my 10 year old seemed to strike a chord. This post even garnered its own hashtag: #deodoranteffect

#9 Be a Beck: Parenting Advice from the Grammys
Remember when Kanye West was a jerkwad to Beck after he won the Grammy for album of the year? For most, that served as pure entertainment. But I saw the ordeal as a lesson for how to raise my children.

#8 When Social Media Doesn’t Feel So Social
Most bloggers can probably sympathize with this post, which is probably why it got a lot of hits. But it relates to anyone in the age of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. What happens when you start to feel like you’re living your life on social media, but not in reality?

#7 The Guilty Conscience: I’m a Working Parent Therefore I’m Neglectful
2015 was the year I became a working parent, adding “author” and “freelance writer” to my resume. Even though I work from home, my daughter had trouble adjusting to the fact that I wasn’t as present as I had been in the past, which was a new dynamic for us to navigate.

#6 Fluid: The Mirage of Beginnings and Endings
My grandmother entering hospice doubled with a visit back to our first home got me thinking philosophically about the passage of time. It makes my heart happy to see this post did so well, especially as I still watch my grandma clinging to this life, becoming less and less of the woman I grew up with. Re-reading this was healing.

#5 “Difficult” Is Not a Synonym for “Traumatic”
This post was a response to a comment I received on a piece that ran on TODAY Parents, where a reader insisted I was traumatizing my son by making him go to kindergarten even though he cried day after day. Her words got me thinking about how we encourage (or don’t encourage) our children to approach difficult situations.

#4 Five Reasons You Should Hug a Preschool Teacher
This post makes me smile, not only because it reminds me of my time subbing in a preschool classroom earlier this year (which inspired the post), but because it celebrates some of my favorite people: preschool teachers. They put up with a lot, y’all…and are still pleasant as peaches.

#3 Suburban Horror Story: The Return of Chuck E. Cheese
I can’t shake this mouse. Once again, one of posts about my long and complicated history with Chuck E. Cheese breaks into the top ten.

#2 Similar Tastes: A Letter to My Daughter on Her Birthday
Search engines apparently love this post…which also means there are a lot of moms out there looking to write letters to their own daughters. And that’s pretty cool.

And…drum roll, please…

Guys, this was probably the most unexpected success on this blog to date…and I have to give most of the credit to my son. The biggest reason I wrote this was for myself and my husband, as a way to make sure we could always come back and read the funny things Michael searched on Google. And I figured a few other people, especially those who know him, would get a kick out of it (hi, Mom!). I had no idea it would become a mini viral sensation, not only on here, but also over on Scary Mommy, who saw the post floating around and asked me if they could republish it. To top it off, a very kind stranger actually took one of Michael’s search terms and brought it to life in a drawing. That is all that and a bag of chips.velociraptor

So that’s a wrap on 2015. Happy New Year!


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Oh My Gosh. I Thought You Were Dead.

Or rather, you thought I was dead. Or maybe you were just uncertain of my fate, much like that of dear-God-he-better-still-be-alive Glenn on The Walking Dead.

glenn walking dead
“Please don’t leave me like Edgar on 24.”
Steven Yeun 2013 by Dudek1337. CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons – 

It has been almost three months since my last post. I don’t remember the last time I abandoned took a break from the blog for that long. There are a lot of reasons I have been absent, most of which are dreadfully boring (like binge-watching period pieces on Netflix where characters use phrases like “dreadfully boring.”) The only one you might likely care about is:

I have been working on a NEW, IMPROVED, FANCY PANTS website for Are You Finished Yet!!!

For those of you who are familiar with web-type jargon and such, I’m basically just moving this blog to a self-hosted site on WordPress.org. For the rest of you who just read that last sentence and found it “dreadfully boring,” all you really need to know is that nothing much will change. Except the infinite awesomeness of Are You Finished Yet? will just get INFINITE + 1 AWESOMER. I’m talking a jazzier look along with bells and whistles that will improve your viewing experience. Oh yeah, and Michael Bolton may pop in every now and again. For reals.

The big question: do you have to do anything? NOPE. I will be transferring all my lovely followers to the new site soon. Those of you who have signed up for email updates should still get posts sent directly to your inbox. Fellow WordPress bloggers will still get posts in your WP readers (though if you’ve elected to receive email notifications there, that won’t transfer. But no worries. You can sign up for email alerts on the new site). The site will still be found at AreYouFinishedYet.com. And of course, you can always catch me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

I’m hoping to get something new out to you all next week. I’m excited to debut the new site then!

In the meantime, HOW HAVE YOU BEEN? It’s been too long, friends. Tell me something fun, and I’ll see you at the fancy pants place next week!



What’s With All the Blogging Rage Over a Diner Owner Yelling at a Toddler?

The internet is exploding about someone yelling at a toddler in a diner. It is the kind of thing that makes me question what it is I do. The blogging, I mean. It makes me feel like I am part of the problem…guilty by association…or maybe just guilty.

Let me explain. I’m not talking about which side I take in the situation. It’s not about whether the diner owner was correct in screaming at someone else’s crying toddler, or if the parents were wrong in letting their child disturb other customers, or if any of the story actually played out in any of the various versions we’ve been told. It’s not even about the larger discussions of whether parents should take small children to restaurants, or if people without kids need to suck it up because everyone has a right to eat in public.

What this IS about is how we pollute the internet arguing about all of the above. Because these things are not worth arguing over. Continue reading “What’s With All the Blogging Rage Over a Diner Owner Yelling at a Toddler?”

I Have Become Dora the Explorer: Help Me Please

There are many people in this world I have tried to emulate, but I never thought Dora the Explorer would be one of them. Yet, that is exactly who I am about to channel, at the risk of sending half of my readers running from their computers (because, duh, kids shows are annoying).

So you know how good old Dora is always asking your kids to help her get someplace like Carnival Town to deliver piñata cookies to the Big Red Chicken? And all along the way she wants your kids to count the hills they need to climb. Or yell “Swiper, no swiping!” to keep that sneaky fox from stealing Dora’s talking backpack, filled with random things that would never be useful on any normal voyage, but somehow get her out of the strangest of pickles? Well, according to Dora, she couldn’t complete any of those adventures without your kids. I usually call her bluff on that. Last time I checked, she still made it past that grumpy old troll even when my kids failed to count to five in Spanish. Continue reading “I Have Become Dora the Explorer: Help Me Please”

Year in Review: Top Ten AYFY Posts of 2014

Only hours remain of 2014. I for one, am sad to see it go. By in large, it treated me well. But it treated my blog even better.

top ten ayfy posts of 2014Here is a quick look at the top ten posts of 2014 on Are You Finished Yet?…the ones that garnered the most views. A few are actually from earlier years. Some would say this means my writing has “staying power.” I say it mostly has to do with tagging them with keywords that land them in frequent and weird Google searches. Either way, it’s nice to see some of my favorites seem to have a pretty nice shelf life.

First, I want to give honorable mention to two posts that just missed the top ten, but rank pretty high on my personal list:

“Bad Catholic” (January 2014): You won’t see me talking about religion very often, so get it while it’s hot. This post really seemed to resonate with a lot of folks. So many in fact, I’m wondering if we should break off and start our own “Bad Catholic” sect. Just kidding. Please don’t brand me a heretic. Continue reading “Year in Review: Top Ten AYFY Posts of 2014”

Let’s All Go On a Blog Crawl!

It’s like a bar crawl, only better. You don’t need to get a sitter. You don’t need to tip a bartender. You can do it in your pajamas. And you won’t end up becoming best friends with the porcelain throne afterwards. At least, you shouldn’t.

It’s the ABSOLUTE MAYHEM BLOG CRAWL!!!Absolute Mayhem by Kelly Suellentrop

Guys, I am beyond excited to have a superstar lineup of bloggers helping me to spread the word about Absolute Mayhem this week. Starting today and going through Saturday, you can hop yourselves on over to a new blog to not only read their thoughts on the book, but also enter to win a FREE COPY! That means there are six copies of Absolute Mayhem up for grabs this week. You know you like free books, especially when there are these giant gift-giving occasions literally around the corner. Continue reading “Let’s All Go On a Blog Crawl!”

I Won’t Blog About You

laptop blog“…and then you’re going to blog about it.”

That phrase, said by a friend of mine, was preceded by a joke about my daughter thinking the entirety of an empty pitcher of beer had been consumed by only me at our church’s Oktoberfest this past weekend. For the record, I did not consume the entire pitcher of beer by myself. I only had one-third of it…and one-third of another…and another. Um, so technically, yeah. I had a whole pitcher of beer. But not THAT SPECIFIC whole pitcher. Hey, it only makes sense. I had a third each to celebrate my German roots, my Irish roots, and my Catholic roots. All my roots like to drink. Continue reading “I Won’t Blog About You”

If You Like “Family,” We Recommend This Blog

You know how sometimes the Universe gives you a gift, but you are too blind to realize it?

Well in this case, the Universe is WordPress (this here blogging platform I use, for those of you non-bloggy peeps), and you can just call me Captain Oblivious.

Last week, I received a message from my blogging sister-wife, Emily of The Waiting. She was basically apologizing for her tardy congratulations, seeing as how she has been on a bit of a blogging hiatus due to lots of super-awesome things happening in her life right now.
Continue reading “If You Like “Family,” We Recommend This Blog”

It’s Time to Close the Internet. Everything Has Already Been Written.

Shut it down, folks. There’s nothing more to see here.

The other day, a friend of mine was asking me how I keep up my blogging pace (which in comparison to many bloggers, two posts a week is pretty measly). She wondered if I had a stockpile of pre-written posts. While I have had grand plans of that for some time, it’s just not how I work. I guess I thrive on pressure in a way. What I DO have is little notes or beginnings of blogs that I write down when ideas pop into my head. But sometimes, Continue reading “It’s Time to Close the Internet. Everything Has Already Been Written.”