Monday, February 28, 2011

Just Wondering

Here’s a little “Easter Egg” on our home page. If you go to and click on the sign that says “Receive a message on your phone. The proof is in the pudding!” You will get a message from Carolanne and I within 15 minutes. Isn’t technology awesome? I’m always so curious about how technology works. I really wish I understood how all the wireless everythings worked: wireless printers, wireless internet, wireless phones. And I wish I had the time to figure out how electricity is made and how it gets to my home so that all my wireless stuff works. I’m pretty sure that most people don’t wonder about these types of things. Or do they? 

Like do you ever wonder how things got their names, way back when people were naming stuff for the first time? Take the word GRAVY for starters. At what point did someone look at the yummy stuff they had made in the pan they had just cooked their roast in and say, I think I will call that GRAVY? Another word that I wonder about is the word BUBBLE. It’s a cute word. Bubbles are cute. But the first bubbles probably weren’t thought of as cute because they probably happened when some stinky caveman was wading in water up to his waist and made a little tootsie. He and his caveman friends looked at it, laughed, and one of the cavemen with an untapped marketing talent pointed at it and said, “uh…BUBBLE”.  Ok, I admit it; I actually wonder about things like this. 

Just be glad you aren’t my husband. Big 18 wheelers that are carrying huge equipment loads from the Houston ship channel are frequently transporting their oversized loads onthe highway near us. I’m always looking at their massive loads as we pass them on the freeway and almost always ask my husband, “What is that and what’s it used for?” After a few years of always trying to answer this question for me, one day he said, “Why do you think I always know what everything is?” (He seemed just a little miffed.) Well, he usually does know what things are. It’s kind of a compliment to him. I still think the question when we pass by these 18 wheelers, but now I’m so grateful that our 5 year old boy asks Daddy every single time! ;)


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

ADDY Awards Night!

I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is a Cinderella story, that would be a little too dramatic: but it sure felt like one. At 4:00 pm I was holding my crying, runny nose two year old who did NOT want the peanut butter wiped off her sticky hands. My almost 5 year old boy was trying to see how high he could jump in the air off the living room ottoman combined with all the noise and fanfare that that ensues. (And yes, I was telling him to stop, but he couldn’t hear me over the peanut buttered toddler’s screams.) To top it off, our very old dog was doing her rhythmic/drive you insane constant loud bark at the window. BARK BARKBARK (pause one second), BARK BARKBARK (pause one second) and so on and so on. You get the picture. I’m not covered in soot like Cinderella, but you could make an accurate guess of what my children had eaten during the day by looking at my shirt and pants.

I now have t minus 45 minutes and counting to transform my tired mommy look into a glammed up, cocktail attired, dot com owner for the Houston ADDY Awards presentation. was nominated for a design award. Our web designers/developers, 4 Guys Interactive, had kindly invited us to this posh event. Where was my fairy godmother, the horse drawn carriage, the sweet birds with ribbons to fix my tangled hair? More importantly, where was the red wine to calm my nerves???

Somehow, I managed to get my act pulled together despite the M.I.A. fairy godmother and all. I raced off to Carolanne’s  and off we went to the ADDY Awards. So, what are the ADDY Awards? Before I answer, I must say, they are a BIG deal. The ADDY Awards competition, with over 50,000 entries annually, is the industry's largest and most representative competition for creative excellence. Sponsored by the American Advertising Federation (AAF), the awards are designed to honor advertising excellence and to cultivate the highest standards in the industry.The who’s who of the creative world in Houston was there and nominated for awards. After jumping off the corporate career ladder four years ago and diving into a stay-at-home mom world, I felt like I was crashing someone else’s swanky corporate party. But, the vino and friendly folks made me feel right at home in no time.

The lights dimmed in the room, the awards presentation started. As they got closer and closer to the category that was in, my heart started beating harder and faster. And then, there it was, they said it… “A Citation of Excellence is awarded to 4 Guys Interactive” for the design of!

For two stay-at-home moms starting a business on a shoe string budget, striving to have it all, overcoming many obstacles during a year long process of getting from concept to actually launching, this is a Cinderella moment: one that I will remember forever. We have only been live on the World Wide Web for three short months. I feel like a man in an overcoat smoking a cigar should pat me on the back and say out of the side of his mouth, “You’ve come a long way, baby”! (Of course if that actually did happen I would probably spontaneously mace him.)


P.S. Guess what!?! Our award was account in the Houston Chronicle on Sunday, February 20. Isn't that the coolest!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Full Time Working Stay-At-Home Mom

This is what happens when I work!
The media keeps doing stories about the conflict between working moms and stay-at-home moms. Working moms are jealous of the stay-at-home moms. Stay-at-home moms think that working moms are horrible for leaving their children. It really angers me! No! That's not how I feel. It makes me scream at the TV. Why do women do this to each other? Isn't it hard enough being a mom? Why would any responsible news agency put such extreme views out there? Why can't others understand that what's right for one family may not be right for another family?

I am in a very unique position. I had the option to choose to either keep working when we had our daughter or become at stay-at-home mom. Here's my choice. I am a full time working stay-at-home mom. I see both sides of this fabricated debate.

Here's a brief glimpse into my day...  

6:30 a.m. Get out of bed and take 20 minutes for myself before the chaos begins. I try to at least get some clean clothes on, teeth brushed and make a half-hearted attempt at makeup.

6:50 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.  Get the kids out of bed, diaper changed, breathing  treatments for the baby, fix a sippy cup of milk, breakfast on the table, lunch made, snack packed, drink fixed, double check the calendar to see if my daughter needs to bring something to school, toss her homework folder in the bag, feed the dogs and clean hands and faces.

8:00 a.m. - 8:20 a.m. Get two kids dressed, teeth brushed, socks and shoes on, load the car with kids and race to school.

9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.  Home from taking my daughter to school. Now, I get to perform the balancing act of trying to get work done while keeping an almost two-year-old mentally stimulated, out-of-trouble and happy all while not turning on the TV because the media keeps telling me that it will cause ADHD.

11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.  Preparing lunch, eating, wiping hands and face, reading stories and putting the baby down for his nap.

12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Frantically trying to get any phone calls made, work completed and e-mails returned while the house is quiet.

2:30 p.m. Pick my daughter up from school

2:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.  This is my time to focus on being a mom. That means running my daughter to soccer or dance practice, taking the kids for bike rides and long walks, fixing dinner, bathing them, brushing teeth, reading stories, etc.

7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Attempt at some house work (usually, I push it to tomorrow), work on anything for that I didn't get accomplished during the day, spend some time with my hard working husband and try to watch at least one terribly mindless reality show.

Sometime after midnight Get out of bed to put the baby back in bed because he has been caught playing with his trains in the middle of the night.

Trust me! There are days that I wish that I could leave my kids with a nanny and go to a quiet office where no one needs their diaper changed or nose wiped. On the flip side, I feel so blessed that I can be my daughter's room mom, that I don't have to call in "sick" when my daughter is ill and I can take my little boy to the park in the middle of the day. There are no "right" answers. Every mom has to do what's best for her family.

Just be a little more sympathetic of the mom at the grocery store who's kid doesn't have shoes on. Maybe she has put them on the child 100 times and just can't do it again. Or the mom who drops her kids off at child care at 7:00 a.m. and doesn't pick them up until 7:00 p.m. She's working hard to make sure that her kids have food on the table and roof over their heads. Instead of passing judgment on other moms, give her a knowing smile or head nod. You have no idea how much she might need that bit of encouragement at that moment. is developing a new category of messages. They are messages just for this occasion. Here an example of a message that we're playing with. You can use to deliver a phone message to your best gal pal that goes something like this, "I'm sorry that the kids are sick and your husband says that his throat is scratchy and you have lost the luxury of being ill. I understand and would bring you chicken soup, but I don't want to expose my family. I hope this message has brought a smile to your face. I understand! Hugs!" Here's another one... "Thanks for being my friend. I appreciate the shoulder to cry on, the ear that's always willing to listen and your heart for always be so loving. You are an awesome friend." Have any other great ideas for messages to send to your girl friends? Please post them in the comment section. We want your feedback!

Create an free account at We'll let you know when these new messages are available. Use the gift certificate code "FBFan" and you'll get 10 free phone messages (good over the next year) to send to your best girl friends. Who doesn't need a pick me up every now and then?


Monday, February 7, 2011

What's A Girl To Do?

What's a girl to do? Valentine's Day is 7 short days away. You've circled it on the calendar. You've dropped subtle hints about dinner reservations and finding a baby sitter. So far, he hasn't caught on.

Never fear! The ladies are here! We'll do the reminding for you. You can create a FREE account at We'll call him a week before Valentine's Day and remind him to plan something.

This is the actual message that he'll receive, "Hi! This is Holly and Carolanne, the owners of Today, is February 7. That probably doesn’t mean much to you. However, to us girls, it means that Valentine’s Day is one week away. Don’t roll your eyes! We are doing you a big favor by calling and reminding you of this. Obviously this is somewhat of a big deal to your sweetheart because she asked us to call you. Word for the wise, if you are planning on taking her out to dinner, hang up with us and immediately call the restaurant and make reservations. We’ll talk to you later. Bye!"

Then, on Valentine's Day we'll call him at the time that you choose. Here's what we'll tell him, "Hi! This is Holly and Carolanne, the owners of Check your calendar. It’s Valentine’s Day! Let’s go through your check list. Dinner plans. Check. Valentine’s card or sweet note. Check. Stuffed teddy bear holding candy hearts. Holly! Just kidding! You have plans for tonight, right? If not, you better get crackin’. We’ll talk to you later. Bye!"
See! They're fun! They get the point across in an entertaining way, and it's costs you nothing.Send these fun messages today at Click on "Get Started." Choose three free reminder calls. These fun messages are under "Calendar Dates He Can't Forget."

WOW! This might be the best Valentine's Day yet!


Friday, February 4, 2011

Husbands Say "I Love My BarkingWife!"

Yep, that’s my husband, Bryan. No, I didn’t pay a stranger to hold that sign. No, his life wasn’t being threatened in any way. Obviously he didn’t make the sign, because although he isn’t a doctor, he writes like one. But, what spurred all of this on was something he said to me a few days earlier…

Over the last few months, I had decided to give him a break from receiving Reminder Phone Calls from I figured that since he had been getting calls off and on for over a year (all during the development phase of the website) that he was probably tired of getting them but too polite to say anything.  However a few days ago, I hit my limit with him saying, “Remind me later to….(fill in the blank)”. Every time he says this to me, it is like them putting the responsibility on me. Now, if I forget to remind him to do whatever, it’s my fault, not his. What I want to say back to him is “Remind me later to remind you.” There!! Now the responsibility is back on you. The monkey is back on his back (where he is supposed to be anyway) and not mine. Even though, when I have actually said this in the past it feels good, the results are usually not successful. So, what I decided to do was to sit down at my computer and set up some Reminder Calls to Bryan. It was so quick and so easy. It only took about five minutes.

  1. Schedule “Personalized Calls” to remind Bryan every 5 months for the next 2 years to change the air filters in the attic.
  2. Schedule “Personalized Calls” to remind Bryan one time a month (for the next 2 years) when to put out the trash for the heavy trash/oversized trash pick-up time
  3. Schedule another” Reminder Phone Call” to call Bryan’s cell phone on February 7th to remind him that Valentine’s Day is one week away and that he needs to start making some plans.
  4. Schedule a “Reminder Phone Call” to call him on February 14 to remind him that it’s Valentine’s Day.
  5. And I scheduled one more “Personalized Call” that he would get from me while he was sitting in traffic on his way home that told him how much I loved him.
Before you give me grief about the last one and ask why I didn’t just call him myself and tell him how much I love him, it’s because usually when he is sitting in traffic getting to listen to his favorite music in a comfortable car, winding down from a day of work, I am trying to get two rambunctious children fed dinner that they probably don’t want to eat, the dogs fed without them getting into a fight, the children into and out of the bath with the least amount of water everywhere, children into pajamas, prayers said and down to bed , the kitchen cleaned up, and the house picked up so it doesn’t look like a tornado had hit it (Wow! Just writing that sentence made me tired). So when he is sitting peacefully in traffic on his way home, I’m not usually feeling all lovey-dovey at the moment. If I were to call him during this time, the message would be something more along the lines of, “I don’t care if you have to drive in the grass on the side of the freeway to get home, you better do it and make it fast”.

So, when Bryan got home that night he said to me, “Thanks for my reminder calls. I really missed getting them.” At first I didn’t react because I wasn’t sure if he was being sarcastic. But he was totally serious. HE HAD MISSED GETTING THEM!

A few times in the past, when I’ve told women about and all the Reminder Phone Calls that are available, ever so often one of the women will say, “My husband would kill me if I sent him phone calls to remind him to take out the trash each week.” The truth is, he may actually love getting them because they are way better and more fun than being nagged to take the trash out every week! And if you stop the messages, he may actually miss getting them like my husband did. Go figure! It was a good lesson for me to learn and reaffirmed why I love this business and why my husband love’s his BarkingWife too!

You can try  for FREE! Hey! With Valentine's Day 10 short days away, why not! You'll find our fun prerecorded Valentine's Day Reminder messages under the category of "Calendar Dates He Can't Forget." Hurry! You want him to receive his reminder that "Valentine's Day is seven short days away." He'll be saying the he loves his BarkingWife also :-)