Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dear 2010

Dear 2010,

You were some kind of year. I have to say that I liked you better than 2009, but let's face it. 2009 set the bar so low that you didn't have to do much to exceed expectations.

These were the things that made this year spectacular. Chris and I completed a half marathon. My son turned one, went from speech delayed to talking in sentences and discovered Thomas the Train. My daughter started preschool, made and kept awesome friends, got two loose teeth and learned to swim.

We welcomed a new member to our family this year... our new house. It's a great, big, warm hug! This is definitely a highlight of 2010. launched in 2010. We had such a year of ups and downs when it came to finally launching our business, but it was worth every bit of worrying, agonizing, praying, texting, blood, sweat and tears to finally see our hard work live and in living color. I couldn't be more proud of than if it was one of my own children. I guess in a lot of ways, it is! I am so excited about what 2011 has in store for

Okay 2011, here are the areas that I see that need improvement. I would really like to get this whole "Chronic Asthma" figured out with my son. It's been very hard to limit where and who he has contact with. I just want him to get to be a little boy again. Also, it would be nice if my daughter's kindergarten experience is a very positive one. I know that it's eight months away, but I have already begun to worry.

If I have to ask for something for myself, it would be awesome if we could add one extra hour to the day. I am convinced that if I had one extra child free hour a day, I could cure cancer, broker world peace and get a hot meal on the dinner table. Not too much to ask, right?

In all seriousness 2011, I ask that your bring healthy babies to all my expecting friends, bless my family with good health and give my children enough struggles to build character, but not enough to cripple them. I hope that one year from now that I will write this letter and say 2011 brought us more love, laughter and life than we ever thought possible.


Monday, December 27, 2010

If I had only known... I would have told myself goodbye!

Wow! This is a hard blog post to write. See, here's the deal. I don't like to think that having kids has changed me. This holiday season has thrown the ugly truth in my face time and time again. The Carolanne pre-children no longer exists. I'm really sad to see her go. I wish I had known that she was leaving. I would have had a going away party. Some say that my baby shower was my time to bid farewell, but looking back, I still was clinging to the old me. No! I have to say that starting was when I realized just how much having children has changed me.

Before I had children, some would say, I was a workaholic. Yes! I checked my work e-mail on Christmas. Yes! I was on work e-mail while I was in labor with my daughter. Yes! I made my employees work Christmas Eve (I did let them off at noon). I worked seven-days-a-week. I prided myself on being dependable, hard working and always available.

So.... Here I sit two days past Christmas. My old self is warring against the mom self. I've taken a week off from In that week, I've discovered two sort of competitors that have entered the market place. I can't stand it. I want to do nothing but sit at my computer and gather research. I feel like someone is getting ahead of me. I want to launch a PR blitz, advertising campaign and Web site update NOW! I want to do nothing but talk about how we can gain more market share.

Then, there is my mom side. My daughter wants me to play neighborhood (imagine seven different boxes with doll house furniture lined up to look like a street). My son wants me to push a train around the track for the 8000th time. Then, there is my house that looks like Toys R Us vomited in it. My husband wants me to play PlayStation, go to lunch and watch movies.

I want to split myself in two!

Don't get me wrong. I want to play with my kids and husband. I know that in the not too distant future, my kids would rather shove hot pokers in their eyes then spend time with me. I just am struggling with finding the ability to be present in their lives and my work life. How do full time working stay-at-home moms do it?

I don't have the answer. I'm hoping that through this journey of building into a multimillion dollar business that I'll figure it out. When I do, you, my loyal blog readers, will be the first to know. In the meantime, I'll keep sharing my struggles.


P.S. You can create an account and try for free. See! I can't help myself. The marketer in me just can't take a minute off :-)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tall Boots to Fill

 If you are ever visiting here in Texas, or if you live here, you might hear someone say, “Those are mighty tall boots to fill”. Doing all the duties of a stay-at-home Mom of two young children, running AND getting ready for Christmas with all the family coming to stay at my home for holiday weekend, I have some mighty tall boots to fill! The holidays come with a lot of expectations of us women who keep everything going (or at least try to)(or at least think we keep it all going) during this hectic and over-scheduled time of year.  I think that I create a lot of extra stress by the expectations that I put on myself. Why do I always do that?  Well, here is how I try to explain it. When you can see in your mind how great an occasion could be, how much fun everyone would have, if you had time to bring to fruition all of the ideas and extra details that you can see in your mind, then it is really hard to NOT do them: especially when you know you have the ability to do them. The problem all comes down to time. There just isn’t enough time to do it all. Sooooooo, what you end up doing is using the time you should be sleeping to do more to try to fill those darn tall boots. And then you end up a cranky sleep deprived hostess wondering why it doesn’t feel like Christmas to you. Enough!

Me? This year, I’m going to let some of the fun ideas and creative details slide. I’m just not going to do them all. I’m going to let go of the big picture idea I have in my mind about how great and fun and cool the Christmas experience could be for everyone who is coming to my house this year. I’ve decorated the house so it looks festive, cozy, and merry. I’m going to pull out plenty of lap blankets so everyone can sit around and relax or nap or wrap up in to enjoy the season. I bought a big 1,500 piece puzzle that will be brought out and put on the dining table once all the Christmas dishes are cleared so that people can sit around and work the puzzle as they come and go over the long weekend. And lastly, I bought festive paper plates so I don’t have to constantly be doing the dishes after every meal. All the other great extra ideas I had are going to be saved for next year, or the year after, or whenever if ever.  I’m going to fill my tall boots with the magical moments and memories that Christmas brings… because that is what Santa would want (and my husband, children, family and friends too.) Enjoy the season!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Big Day

(Read this post second if you haven't already read this one.)

Let's see! Where I last left off was the big run. It's half marathon run day. Let me set the scene. It was cold like below freezing cold. It was wet like pouring rain wet. It was early like before dawn early. Not really, but that's how I felt. It was in the low 40's. I'm a Texas girl. When it's 55 degrees its too cold to play outside. It was really damp, but it wasn't raining. I got the early part dead right.

Chris and I got up at 4:30 to get dressed and eat something. We went downstairs and stared at the food and at each other. At one point, we both started laughing because the scene was ridiculous. The lobby was filled with runners. They were pumped to be there and excited to "get going." We made death look healthy. Who wants to eat DURING THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT? Not me. I had a Diet Coke (drink of champions) and a banana. But, You weren't getting this girl to smile.

Melissa met us at our hotel and walked to the starting line about a 1.5 mile walk. It really seems pointless to drive when you're about to run 13.1 miles (Yes! the .1 is very important). We lined up by time that we thought it was take us to complete it. Oops! Guess what! I have to go to the bathroom. The line was long and the port-a-potty's were cold and gross. I just decided to hold it. I mean seriously. We are about to run 13.1 miles. My bladder was the least of my worries.

They fired the starting gun. Then, we just started walking to the start line. It's really quite counter intuitive to the whole starting gun sound. Finally, it was our turn. We hit the timing mat and off we started running. The course starts off up hill. Yes! The first three miles are up hill. This Texas girl trained on flat ground. It never occurred to me that the hills of Austin might be an issue. At mile marker one, I ran by a girl that had fallen and bloodied her knee. This is how desperate I was to quit this half marathon. I ENVIED HER! She had an excuse for not finishing. I so hoped that I would fall into a pot hole and have to be carried away on a stretcher.

At mile two, I stopped running at the water table. My legs ached. New muscles (yet to be developed) were screaming. It was very clear that I was not prepared to run hills. I took five minutes to sip a glass of water, go to the bathroom and have a "coming to Jesus" with myself. I hadn't trained for four months for this to quit now. I am not a quitter. Who cares if the hills are hard and my legs hurt. It's two hours of my life. I survived a serious car accident when I was 16. I birthed two children, one of them naturally. I just ran 10 miles after a year of very serious setbacks. I can do this.

So I did! I just started running. I fell in with a running group from Austin. They were kind enough to accept me into their pack. They taught me (talk about on the job training) how to run the hills of Austin. I learned that you wipe your snotty nose on your sleeve or your gloves (yucky!). I learned that if someone offers you a piece of sugary candy along the way that you accept it and suck on it. I also learned that the people that line the roads that hold signs and cheer for you can be very motivating.

I think we look pretty darn good
for just running 13.1 miles!
At about mile 11, we turned the corner and saw the State of Texas Capital Dome. It was the most beautiful thing that I have seen. Not the building, but the gentle slope downward toward it. I was almost finished.

I ran around the capital building and eyed the finish line. I had done it! My legs hurt so badly. My hips ached from running the hills. I had to go to the restroom like crazy. When I started the race a couple of hours before, I thought that I was running for my kids to show them I could accomplish my goal. I thought that I was running to prove that I could. In the end, I realized that I was running to escape the last two years of trauma to my body. In two hours and 36 minutes (includes my five minute stop to have a "comin' to Jesus" with myself), I had proven to myself that I could do anything that I put my mind to. I did this for me. The years of being pregnant and breastfeeding might have changed how I looked phyiscally but mentally, I was still tough as nails.

Almost a year later, I still get emotional as I write this. With time to reflect on my accomplishment, my half marathon was a big turning point in my life. I now run because I really enjoy it. I try to run about 20 miles a week. My next goal is a full marathon but not until my baby is in kindergarten. It takes so much time to train. Less than 1% of the world's population can say they've done one. I'm just adding it to the bucket list. I'm also mulling over a triathlon (the swimming part scares me).

When asked what piece of advice that I have for beginning runners, this is what I say. Make sure that you're doing it for the right reasons. If you're trying to lose weight or want a hobby to do with your friend or spouse, it's probably not enough motivation. Here's the practical advice. Run a few 5K and 10K's before the big race. If I had done that, I would have learned a whole about running in a group, maintaining a pace and most importantly, what to do with a drippy nose.

As we runners say, "just one more mailbox..."

This is now the reason that I run!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


I stated running this time last year. I chose running because it was something that I could do that did not require a gym membership. I also chose it because it was something that I never felt that I was very good at. In third grade, we played soccer during PE class. I remember quite vividly running up and down the field and being more winded than the the other kids. I needed a challenge (apparently, starting a business and being a full time mom with a sub one-year-old wasn't challenging enough).

I signed up and paid my money to run the Austin, Texas Marathon which was held on February 14, 2010. At the time that I paid my money (October 2009), I couldn't run a full mile. I had spent the first part of 2009 on bed rest with my son. At 29 weeks, it wasn't clear if my body could continue the pregnancy. By shear determination, we made it 37 weeks, and I had a healthy baby boy. Three weeks after he was born, I fell (just call me "grace") and broke my foot. When he was three-months-old (June 2009), I had emergency surgery. By the time October 2009 rolled around, I still didn't feel like myself. All the stress my body has been put under during the previous year and a half had taken its toll on me mentally and physically. I had to do something to reclaim the old Carolanne.

An e-mail appeared in my inbox asking me to donate money to the Lance Armstrong Foundation LiveStrong. I thought, instead of donating money I'll do it. I'll run the half marathon. My husband decided to run it with me as a show of support for my very difficult year. I also recruited a friend, Melissa, to run it with me.

I found an awesome running program online that detailed out how a novice should train for a half marathon. I did everything that the program asked me to do. People have asked me if it was easy. The answer is sort of. It's amazing how your body responds to exercise. For a year and a half, I had been pregnant or immobile. Once I reintroduced my body to exercise, muscle memory kicked in. I got better and better with each run. Also, a very experienced runner told me that if you can physically run three miles, the rest is mental. I agree with this. It's hard! You have to push yourself to continue on even when your legs are screaming at you. Most importantly, you have to make it a priority. I had to say, "Yes! The baby just woke up from his nap, and he's crying. However, I have five minutes of cool down that I must do so that I don't injure myself." The running is very hard on your legs and feet. About two weeks before the half marathon, I lost feeling in both sets of toes. My doctor advised me to quit running. Are you kidding? I didn't do all of this training for nothing. That's when we had a frank discussion of "is this going to kill me or permanently injure me?" The answer was no so I kept training.

The weekend before the half marathon on a very cold, wet morning Chris, Melissa and I completed our final run before the big day - 10 MILES. I, Carolanne Norris, who couldn't run a full mile in October ran (not walked) 10 miles at the beginning of February.

Stay Tuned... Next Post I'll tell you about the half marathon. Let's just say, that it was much more of a challenge than I thought.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

If I had a dollar...

A common saying around my house is, "if I had a dollar..." It's usually, "If I had a dollar for every time that I told you to pick up your shoes or hang up your clothes or stay out of the pantry (you get the idea), I would be rich." I think that it's a funny way to get my "Barking" across to my family without sounding like a real nag. Of course, it would also be nice if my family just did what they were supposed to do so I didn't have to constantly remind them. However, this is not a dream world, and let's face the facts. I am always going to find something that they haven't done because I am the mom and they have to live with me.

So...... that's why we created Holly and I listened to so many of our friends talk about how they are constantly reminding their families of things. Our service does the reminding for you. Brilliant!

We get a lot of stories of how people have used the service. Some deserve their own blog post. Trust me! You will not believe how creative some people are. Hear are a few of our favorite uses...
  1. Used our homework reminder to get her son to actually bring home his homework. Apparently, this is a form of early dementia that affects 10-18 year olds. Everyday, she has our service call her son on his cell phone to remind him that his books need to leave his locker. He doesn't always answer the phone, but when he sees her number on caller ID, he knows what the call is all about. 
  2. A group of girl friends used our Personalized Reminder service to keep them on task for during the Black Friday madness. Seriously! They set up their phones to ring and remind them of what they were wanting at each store, what time the store opened and what the special deal was. BRILLIANT! I guarantee you that we never envisioned that use.
  3. Here's a very serious use. A customer uses our service to remind her mom everyday when and what pills she should take. The phone rings, and her mom listens to the message with a description of what she should be taking. The daughter then logs on to her account and views her Call History. She can see that her mom answered the phone or if the call went to voice mail. She is assured that her mom is getting properly reminded. The daughter says that our service has really given her piece of mind. That's priceless to us!
Please keep sending us your stories! We think they're awesome!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010


What am I thankful for? Isn't that the question of the week! I actually decided to reflect on this question this year and not give my usual "family and healthy children" answer. Don't get me wrong. I'm very thankful for my family and healthy children, but I wanted to not just say my answer but to feel my answer.

This year has been a really stressful year. Holly and I worked nonstop to launch and experienced some extreme highs and very low lows. My family and I moved. My little boy was diagnosed with chronic asthma and speech delayed. My daughter tried two new activities that ended in spectacular disasters. We went through the struggles of  a very sluggish housing market. I've had my own health issues to deal with. My husband has been very busy at work (good thing when you're in sales. Bad thing when you want to be home with your family).

2010 has taught me to always look for the silver lining. Here's how I made lemonade out of lemons...
  • I have an awesome business partner. We work very well together. Some have said that it's a marriage made in heaven. We got through our tough times by trusting our gut and being each others rock. A good glass of wine also helps!
  • Yes! My family and I moved. We love our new home. It is perfect for us, and it is where we want to raise our family. It was stressful (and still is), but it helps when you see how your family is using the new house with such love. It also helps when your daughter lists her new room as one of the things that she is thankful for.
  • As for my little guys health, unfortunately no change in his asthma. We are living with it. The great news is that his language has picked up. Just this morning, I was rewarded with "Tank Uo Mommy!" His first sentence, I would like to believe, it's his way of saying thank you for all the long hours that I put in reading to him, carrying him around and showing him pictures.  It was worth every second to hear those beautiful words!
  • Eventually, my daughter did learn to swim this year. In fact, she is pretty good. Gymnastics is just not her thing, but she is trying dance. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. All I want in the world is for her to find a physical activity that she loves.
  • Our house did not sell, but we have the best renters in the whole world. God works in mysterious ways.
  • Finally, after multiple doctors, I think that I might see the light at the end of the tunnel. Lesson learned. If you think that there is something wrong, don't take "no" for an answer.
  • Well, my husband being busy at work is just not going to change. I'm not complaining. We are learning to work around his schedule, and we value the time that we do have together much more.
  • Also, I'm thankful for the support of all the people that read this blog and have signed up for a account. Thank you! You'll never know what your support has meant to me.
At Thanksgiving dinner this year, when I'm asked what I'm thankful for, I'm still going to say "my family and healthy children," but this year is will mean so much more to me!


Friday, November 19, 2010

The Crazy Time!

Yesterday, I had the privilege to attend my daughters Thanksgiving program. She sang four songs. Then, she (the Indian) served me (the Pilgrim) the food that I had gotten up 30 minutes early that morning to prepare. I found this to be a bit ironic, but I do have to say that it was nice to be honored.

Before the program started, I was visiting with some other moms. The number one topic of discussion was how busy we all are during this time of year. Everyone agreed that the problem is that Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are just too close together. You don't get to enjoy one holiday because you are too busy preparing for the next one.

So far, hasn't found a way to space out the holidays, but we can make communicating with your family a little easier. Look! You know that your sister-in-law is going to inevitably call and ask what she signed up to bring. You know that at least one family member is going to need a reminder as to when to be at your house. This is why we invented this service. It's so easy to set up a Personalized Reminder Group Call to go to everyone on the guest list. You just type out the message that you want sent. Then, you choose whether or not you want a complimentary e-mail to also go the guest list (let's face it! They all need it). You can even choose to have the message go to the guest list multiple times over the course of the next week. Here's the best part, you can check your History and see that they all received it. There goes their excuses...

For a limited time, we are giving away 10 FREE messages. You don't even have to put in your credit card. Just type in VIP11 in the gift certificate field. Skip the credit card step and just hit submit. Seriously, you'll be amazed at how much less hectic your holiday will be. Hurry! We are only giving this great deal to the first 100 customers.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Let’s Break a Window

(Written November 2009... Also, we have some great pictures coming. Really! Just have to see who's iPhone they're on.)
So we are actually sitting here in Carolanne's car writing this blog post on the back of a random envelope because we are locked out of her house. Some days just don't go as planned. After failing to break two different windows we finally gave up and called a locksmith to come and save the day. (So, the window tinting/anti break film installed on ALL the windows does actually work!) We tried smashing two different windows with large rock, a screw driver and a hammer. Cracked glass gave us hope and fueled that dormant inner desire to do something just down right wrong and break a window on purpose.

I can hear you asking, “What could be so important inside her house that two rational (most of the time) women would try breaking, not one, but two windows in an attempt to get inside?” No, there wasn’t a child locked inside. Flames were not bellowing out of the oven.  Before I can tell you, I have to set this up so that we don’t actually come across as crazy.

We each have two kids. Each of us has one child who is old enough for pre-school and one who is too young. My pre-school kiddo goes for a few hours on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays. Carolanne’s  pre-school angel goes for a few hours on Tuesday and Thursdays. So, there is not one day of the week where we can work on BarkingWife without children at our feet. Child free work time is more rare and more precious than yellow diamonds! When she and I have time to 100% concentrate on BarkingWife, we feel like we can work miracles. And nothing gets in our way… well except being locked out the house where all our computers and files are.  The short break to pick up some sandwiches didn’t go as planned.

So now, we are way off schedule on a very rare child free work day. But, looking on the bright side, we now have a fun blog post and have laughed more trying to break into Carolanne’s home with a rock, hammer and screw driver. We are wondering if the police will get here before the locksmith does.

Great news, here comes the locksmith. Well, he doesn’t quite look like the Knight in shining armor that saves the damsels in distress. No, not so much. And well, it looks like he might have just rolled out of bed and is sporting a rather grumpy disposition too. But hey, the door is now open and we still have three more hours to work without having to stop to wipe little noses or the hundreds of other mommy tasks.  Now, back to work! Well, back to work after Carolanne calls the window company about the cracked windows.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The People Have Spoken!

When Holly and I came up with this idea 16 long months ago, we simply wanted our husbands to remember to take out the garbage. However, as we shared our idea with families and friends, they came up with more and different uses. Then, we asked the magic question. What about if we let everyone send out their own Reminder Message. We could have our users either choose between our fun, clever, prerecorded messages, or they could type their own. A computerized voice (which sounds darn good) would then call and deliver the message. Here's the best part. Users could send a copy of the message in an email. Guess what! just eliminated the excuse "Oh! Ummm.... I didn't get the message."  BTW, we're looking into how we get nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize!

So we've only been launched for four days, but we are already getting such nice messages. Here are some of our favorite quotes. As my mom says, "if you're not going to toot your own horn, nobody else will."

o   What a fabulous idea!! 
o   I love the site!! My hubby and I are cracking up at the sample "reminders" we just heard. What a great idea! I'll be sure to tell all my girls out here in Pearland! 
o   I am proud of you ladies. Your site looks great After 16 years of marriage, I may have to use ya'll.
o   Could you start a "Nagging Boss Site" as well :-)  I have some employees phone numbers that need calls to get up and come to work in the morning, or to remember to get their billings done ...LoL.... Great site and very cool idea.
o   This is FANTASTIC!!  
o   I just recommended your page to all my friends!

Please keep sending us your quotes. We love to read how you'll use If you don't already have an account, we invite you to try For a limited time, it's free of charge. Why wouldn't you?


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Today is the Day... is ready for prime time! For the past 16 months we have been committed to the idea of this Web site. This business was created out of a need: a need to liberate women from reminding their families of mundane tasks. With all of this free time, we think that women will finally break through the glass ceiling, have enough time to run the country, broker world peace and bake homemade cookies for the soccer team. Know someone who can use this service (let’s face it, we all can)? Please tell them about our service!

Here are some fun uses for 
  • We’ll call your children and remind them to clean their room, mow the yard and bring home their homework.
  •  We’ll call your husband/boyfriend and remind them to take out the garbage, that it’s your birthday, Mother’s Day, anniversary and all the other important dates that he CAN’T forget. We’ll even give him a seven day courtesy call before the speci al day.
  • We haven’t forgotten you! You can schedule Reminder Calls to help you keep your calendar up-to-date. Just think of us as your personal assistant.
  • With our customized message service, you can send a Personal Reminder Call of your choosing. Type in the message one time and you’re done. We’ll make all the phone calls and even send e-mails for you. Room moms, Sport coaches, large families and teachers find this service particularly useful.  
  • Here are a few of the ways that our friends have said that they will use They’ll remind an elderly parent when to take their medication, like a phone tree to remind members of a meeting or commitment, personal reminder that their child has something special going on at school, organizing a party or special event, and a wake up service. We’re sure that you will come up with many more (don’t forget to tell us).
We would be honored if you tried out For a limited time, we are offering three free Reminder Calls. Just click on the red ticket to the right of this post and in the Reminder Call Plan box choose 3 Free Reminder Calls. You’re ready to start experiencing what can do for you.

There are so many exciting things going on Stay tuned!

Holly and Carolanne

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What I've learned...

Launching BarkingWife has been a real journey for us. These are a few things that I have learned along the way...

1. Just having a great idea is not enough. You have to love it, breathe it, live it. It has to wake you up at night. It has to haunt you at 6:00 AM when all you thought you wanted was liquid energy. There are so many bumps along the road that if you don't feel this strongly about what you're doing, you'll be tempted to just chalk it up to a great idea to discuss over a glass of wine.

2.  You have to have a good team of people in your corner that want nothing more than for you to be successful. Fortunately, for BarkingWife, we found a great Web Development company called 4 Guys in Houston, Texas ( They met with us. They listened to who we wanted to be when we grew up. Most importantly, they were as excited about our idea as we were.

3. You have to believe in yourself. This is such an overused statement that I almost hesitate writing it. However, it's the truth. In the bottom of your soul and in the deepest darkest parts of your brain, you have to believe that you can make your business a success.

We'll continue to share with you our life lessons.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bleeding Edge of Technology...

One day, over a hay ride through my neighborhood, I was telling a friend's husband about He is in charge of new technologies for El Paso Energy. I was always a little intimidated to talk about my business. I thought he would find it silly. To my surprise, he kept asking questions. Then he said it. The most beautiful words that I ever heard besides "I do!" and "It's a healthy girl/boy." He said.....

Are you ready????

He said...


You may be wondering why this is so cool. It's simply because we have found a new way to use existing technology. Our system that makes phone calls is the same system that is used for emergency notification (example: a phone call goes out to every college student saying that God forbid there is a gun man on campus). We found a new and exciting way to use existing technology. There is no company that is using the technology as we are using it.

I have a marketing technology background and am married to an extreme technology nerd. He says, "and the geeks shall inherit the earth."

It's so cool because we have become .com geeks! We wear this badge with honor. Thanks for inviting us into your club.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Alpha Moms (and proud of it!)

I first heard the word used by a friend of mine. She called me an alpha mom. Ummmm? What exactly is that? She explained that it's what happens when an 'A' type personality has toddlers.Anyway, I guess I must admit it.

Just call us The Norris Justice League.
Hi! My name is Carolanne, and I am an alpha mom. I am the room mom for my daughter's four-year-old class, I am a volunteer with the Junior League of Houston, I drive my children to two activities a week, I still manage to cook dinner five nights a week, I manage the contractor who is remodeling our home, I take care of all of the finances for the house, I fill in on my husband's HR conference calls (that's a whole post waiting to happen) and I am owner of a .com. 
Holly as Cowgirl. Isn't this how every .com does a launch party?
As any alpha mom can tell you, Halloween is like our worst nightmare. Children have to be adequately costumed. There are parties to be had. Special spooky treats must be made. To top it off, this Halloween we had a launch party to celebrate (finally) going live. We also wanted to thank all of our wonderful friends who have supported us in this journey. As a way to say thank you, we gave their children lots of sugar, a bounce house and plenty of wine for the special alpha moms that we are proud to call friends. Here's to you ladies! We couldn't have made it this far without you.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

True Friends are Always There

When Carolanne and I were at the very beginning of this business, back when we were just talking about the idea, a friend of mine from the past named Todd Mayfield kept coming to mind time and again. It had been seventeen or eighteen years since I had talked to Todd, who I had worked with in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was an incredibly talented graphic designer at the same firm where I was an Intern Architect. He had this funny quirky sense of humor, a great laugh, bright smile, and was quick to pull a prank.

Thanks to Facebook, I found him in Florida; still doing graphic design. And within a week, Carolanne and I were talking with him about our BarkingWife idea.
With Todd, it was like the years had never gone by, and I had just seen him yesterday at the office. True friendship never dies and is always there no matter how much time passes. Todd saw our vision and sent us as a present, a BarkingWife logo idea. When Carolanne and I saw what he designed we were ecstatic and knew it was close to perfect. We LOVED the logo. We were in awe. It was like seeing the first ultrasound of your baby. I kept staring at the picture; wondering what the future held, and how it was going to change my life.

By the way, Todd still has his funny quirky sense of humor, a great laugh and bright smile. As to the quick to pull a prank, well, just get to know him and find out for yourself. Here is his info: Todd Mayfield, Mayfield Creative, (Thanks Todd for our logo. We still LOVE it!)


Friday, October 1, 2010

Can’t I Just Talk On The Phone in Peace for 60 Seconds?

Ring Ring…. Ring Ring…. (no anwer, voice mail message starting). “Please leave your message at the beep for Mr. So-in-So, President of highly recommended website company.” BEEEEP. Me, “Hi, this is Holly Donnelly and I am interested in talking with you about developing a web… [1 year old child finds me in my telephone talking hiding spot] [LOUD SCREAMING/CRYING] MA MAMAMA, BOOOO AHHHH, EEEEHHH,WAAHHH… [talking much louder now, I try to continue my sentence] UM, I GUESS YOU CAN TELL THAT I’M A STAY-AT-HOME MOM, AND I’M SORRY THAT MY 1 YEAR OLD IS SCREAMING SO LOUDLY, BUT I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE YOU CALLING MY BACK…”I hang up, feeling embarrassed, panicky, frustrated. I have never sounded so unprofessional. I can’t imagine what will go through his mind when he hears that message. Why can’t I just talk on the phone for 60 seconds in peace?

It wasn’t that many years ago that I was single, no children working in a high rise, in an office with a door and a downtown view. It was quiet. My messages sounded like I was a professional. I had NO appreciation for that quiet environment.

But now, I have to come to grips with the fact that I’m a stay-at-home mom trying to build a business and that is what it is going to sound like when I’m on the phone. I can’t hide it. It doesn’t mean I’m any less professional, in fact it means I’m super human! I should be considered a super hero. Because, believe me, building a business while being a full time mom is one challenging and adventurous feat that requires super hero powers.
No call back. Ever. From that President of that highly recommended website development company. In hind sight, it’s no big deal, rather laughable; his loss because he missed out on developing a website for two stay-at-home Super Hero Moms.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Voice for

(Originally written in January 2010) We just finished a recording studio session recording with Jim and Peggy. We recorded the first set of Reminder Calls for To say that we had fun and laughed really hard would be minimizing how much fun we had.  Jim, who can make his voice sound like anyone you want, is one of the best in the industry. He had us laughing so hard we were doubled over with tears in our eyes. The problem was, we had to be super quiet so as to not interrupt him while he was recording. I felt like we were two girls in church trying to not laugh out loud; a near impossibility. I think my favorite was listening to him record the Drill Sargent character for the BarkingWife All Stars, Take out The Trash campaign. He was shouting, and spitting and caring on! Carolanne and I felt like we should drop and give him 50 pushups!

And then Peggy, Jim’s wife, started recording the oh so sexy and suggestive characters of the Flirtatiously Persuasive Ladies for the Take Out the Trash campaign. It sounded to us like things were getting a little hot and steamy over in the Kipping’s recording studio! In one of the Reminder Call scripts,  Peggy had to growl  – like a sexy growl. Jim, who was directing her, must have had her growl twenty different times just to get The Perfect Growl! Who knew there were so many different ways to do a sexy growl? Me? I would have been way too embarrassed to do that.

Hearing the messages that Carolanne and I wrote come to life by Jim and Peggy was beyond cool. It has taken Carolanne and me a couple of months to write almost 200 Reminder Call scripts. We have had many late nights writing and re-writing so that all the messages were as good and funny and entertaining as we could possible make them. Now, Jim and Peggy have literally breathed life into them. Our crazy business idea now has a voice and a sound. I can’t believe is starting to become a reality.

Chances are, you have heard Jim’s voice before. He has done voice work for Netflix, Sonny Delight, NBC, BMW, Geraldo At Large, Gold’s Gym, MMI, OuiFM Paris, Promenade Software Tokyo, and literally thousands of commercials. You can hear lots of his demos on his website Jim and Peggy are not only talented, but they are just down right wonderful people as well. They are very active in Cocker Spaniel Rescue of Austin/San Antonio, saving many adorable cocker spaniel dogs from terrible circumstances. Talented, wonderful, funny… what else can I say about them? They Rock!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Getting Ready for School...

In one week all of our babies begin school. Our four-year-olds have been in mother's day out since they were one. It was okay to let them enter the world of singing songs, sharing, nap mats and lunchs sitting down at a table. They needed the time spent learning to socialize and fun Bible stories. It was only two days a week. We were able to get grocery shopping done and doctors visits made without having to drag the babies along. Also, in the back of our minds we knew (hoped) that there would be another baby some day.
Wow! It's time for those babies (our one-year-olds) to begin mothers-day-out. All the anxiety of letting your children grow up has reared its ugly head. Will the teachers like them? Will they make friends? Will the teachers watch them like we do? Will they nap? I guess the biggest anxiety of all is that one that hurts every mom's heart. This is the first step in letting our babies grow up. This is the first step in them not needing us anymore. That's enough to make a BarkingWife shed a few tears...