it’s a party!

At least I’m calling it a party.

(Totally unrelated party photo from a friend’s fabulous recent gathering.)

Today is my blog’s third birthday.

Funny to think back to June 18, 2008. It was the summer that H was sixteen, a month before he went to high school as a junior–so we still had a house of three homeschooled kids. Lulu wasn’t even a teenager yet. And Mr. T was, sniff, a sweet six.

My first post was an explanation of my blog’s name, which became the What’s A Wonder Farm? page over on that there sidebar. It had a little photo of six-year-old Mr. T, drawing and coloring the letters that still sit up there in my header. I cut out his letters and glued them over a page in my journal, took a photo and slapped it on the top of my new blog. After three years, I’ve never considered replacing that header. What could be better than my kid’s writing superimposed over my own? It’s a metaphor, I suppose, for our life as homeschoolers.

I took that photo of T with a cruddy little point-and-shoot camera. Mr. T isn’t even in focus–the background is. Funny how blogging makes you care about photography. I’m still a complete amateur, but I’ve learned. As my camera got fancier, my focus got sharper. Or maybe visa versa.

It was sort of a scary thing to hit that publish button on that June afternoon three years ago. At the time, I worried that blogging would keep me from getting my “real” writing done. Those days, I was writing personal essays about parenting, and barely finding time for that.

And honestly, the blog has taken time from my other writing. Even just a single post a week, which is all I usually manage, takes up a good chunk of my weekly writing time. (Shorter posts might help, but I’m as good at writing short posts as I am at washing dishes while I cook.)

So I just keep chugging out these weekly posts, and occasionally even churn out a second. In three years I’ve only missed maybe one or two weeks. Chug, chug, chug…I’m the Little Engine That Could of Blogland.


Sometimes I wonder. But the answer, I suppose, comes at the end of each post. My first comment came from my dear college friend, Emily, which is darned appropriate. She’s my techiest of friends. The same friend who nagged me to get on e-mail back in 1995, because she was tired of always sending hand-written notes when we briefly lived in Oregon. (Yes, she kept writing them anyway, with her signature floral flourishes. She’s that kind of friend.)

And then I got a few comments from people I didn’t even know. And that was when the cocktail party really got interesting. Imagine it: words I’d written and photos I’d taken connected themselves with like-minded people whose hands I’d never shaken. I met visitors from states I’d never visited. Eventually commenters dropped by from Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and India. Sort of like grown-up pen pals.

And then something else happened along the way. I found myself with what you might call a calling.

See, somehow in all the give-and-take with commenters, I began to recognize that I had a unique perspective when it came to kids and writing. And that some people might actually be interested in this perspective. Which started me on a path I’d never anticipated: writing a book for parents. I have no idea how long it will take me. Or whether it can captivate a publisher. Or anyone else. Still. This book project has given me a purpose in my days that wasn’t there before. And this blog and you readers gave that to me.

Thank you.

You readers are why I do this. I know some bloggers will say that they don’t blog for audience, that they do it for themselves, for the satisfaction they get from simply recording their lives. Not me. I’m here for the connection. My heart still speeds up a little when I get an e-mail that someone has left a comment here. It makes me feel a little pathetic, relying so much on others for that thrill, but the buzz of connection is the point to me.

I admit: sometimes I wish there were more of you readers. I wish those e-mailed comment alerts showed up more often. I wish that when I offered a giveaway here, the line of responders would trail on down the street, but that’s not how it is. Sometimes the voices in my head get a tad whiney about that, but the truth is, I’ll never be a Blogging Superstar. I don’t post enough, my posts are too long, my topics too esoteric. I don’t find time to comment on all the blogs I’d like to, I’m still not on Facebook and I’ve never posted a recipe or a tutorial.

Huh. Why the heck do you people keep showing up here anyway?

No matter. You do show up. My dad is a computer geek, and I’m guessing he’s one of the first to read anything I post. My mom shows up too, and my brother even comes for advice, as “little” brothers are wont to do. My hubby reads all my posts and only skims the rant-y writing ones. My uncle leaves comments on occasion, and my husband’s aunt even told me that she comes by. Who knew?

I’ve met fellow homeschoolers at the park who have surprised me by telling me they read my blog. I met one reader while buying sausages for my family at Whole Foods. An old boyfriend sometimes stops by. As does one of my daughter’s friends, and the wife of a business acquaintance of my husband. Funny.

Many of my closest friends never read this blog. Some have even told me flat out how they don’t like blogs. I get that. It’s not for everyone to spend their online time perusing other people’s spewings. But I can’t help but think that those friends don’t quite know me like the rest of you do–even those of you who live in India, or whom I’ve met once when buying groceries. Because after three years, this blog has become something. I’m not sure what. Sometimes it seems like an actual place–one of those places that you go where everybody knows your name, a place that I miss if I’m away too long. Sometimes this blog simply feels like a part of me, like if you drew a diagram of my brain, Wonder Farm would earn itself some good acreage up in the right corner.

So thank you, all you kind people who have shown up here over the past three years. Thank you to those of you who have left comments, and shared your stories and encouraged me.

Do me a favor, would you? Would you leave me a comment, and wish my blog a happy birthday? Even if you never leave comments, even if you’ve never commented before, might you try? Because it’s my blog’s birthday, and I’m having a party. And it isn’t a party if you don’t have guests, and flies on the wall don’t count.

I’d give you cake and a party hat if I could.

(Edited to add: But I do have a party favor! I extended the deadline for the Alphabet Glue giveaway until this Friday at midnight. Three days just wasn’t enough when I typically post weekly. So swing by my last post and leave a comment to win, if you haven’t already!)

54 comments… add one
  • Wendy Priesnitz Jul 18, 2011 @ 10:38

    Happy to join your party! Happy Birthday Wonder Farm.

    • patricia Jul 18, 2011 @ 10:40

      Thank you, Wendy! I’m always tickled when you come by!

  • Lise Jul 18, 2011 @ 10:46

    Happy blogiversary! I’m always happy to read your thought-provoking posts, long and esoteric though they might be! And I’m looking forward to your book!

    • patricia Jul 18, 2011 @ 11:05

      Hi Lise! You’ve been stopping by for quite a while now! I appreciate it.

  • Rashmie Jul 18, 2011 @ 10:52

    Happy blogiversary, Wonder Farm! Your posts are always a treat for the mind and soul. Many more milestones to celebrate… 🙂

    • patricia Jul 18, 2011 @ 11:11

      There you are, my dear reader from India! The fact that you found my blog never fails to thrill me, Rashmie. Our world seems so wonderfully small these days.

  • Susan Jul 18, 2011 @ 13:24

    Happy Blogiversary! And many happy returns. Seeing a new post from you pop up always brightens my day.

    • patricia Jul 18, 2011 @ 17:37

      Likewise. I’m so glad you’re posting more often again, Susan!

  • Chris Jul 18, 2011 @ 16:45

    Happy Blogiversary Dear! In honor of three years I will be happy to do the dishes next time you cook (see paragraph 6 above).

  • Just Peaches Jul 18, 2011 @ 17:09

    Happy Bloggy birthday! Shall I bring a watermelon to the party for a seed spitting contest?

    • patricia Jul 18, 2011 @ 17:38

      Wouldn’t it be nice if you could? So nice.

  • Ms. Smoochy Jul 18, 2011 @ 19:11

    Congratulations on three years of blogging bliss. I’ve just started visiting, but you were an instant bookmark for me. Here’s to lots more comments and a book deal in your future! 😉

  • Amy Jul 18, 2011 @ 20:19

    Happy birthday to your blog- thank you for all the inspiration you have shared…our family is happier for it.

    • patricia Jul 18, 2011 @ 22:47

      Aw thanks, Amy. I got a picture of your guy on cherry-picking day that I love. I’ll try to remember to get it on to flickr when I have a chance!

  • Barbara Jul 18, 2011 @ 20:24

    Happy Birthday! As I took a break from my own blogging, I mostly stopped commenting on others’ as well, but I’ve been here reading all along. As a homeschooler with younger kids, I love hearing the perspective and wisdom of someone further along the path. It is both inspiring and reassuring. Best to you and you blog!

    • patricia Jul 18, 2011 @ 22:49

      Thanks Barbara! I’ve especially enjoyed keeping up with you on Twitter. Who knew it would be so fun?!

  • Jeanine Jul 18, 2011 @ 21:36

    From a reader who doesn’t always comment…Happy blogging anniversary! I, like you, find that for as much as I LOVE the pouring my thoughts out part of blogging, it’s the connection that absolutely makes my day. Even when I write a post that feels good write, when it’s met with silence I can’t help but wonder those eerie thoughts of “Hmmm, alone on this?”
    Thanks for sharing your life and your family’s happenings here.

  • Jeanine Jul 18, 2011 @ 21:41

    PS I’m glad you mentioned your header…I hadn’t stopped by for reals (as in not through my reader) in a while and just discovered your links to “words used to advertise boys’ toys” and “girls’ toys.” I’ve gotta share those next week. Not surprising and yet still makes you shudder.
    OK, cheers!

    • patricia Jul 18, 2011 @ 22:54

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a greeting, Jeanine. It’s been awhile! It’s fun to know that you’re still out there following along. I’m also a reader who doesn’t comment on many of the blogs I visit. It’s not that I don’t want to; it’s just impossible to find the time!

      Those advertising words are pretty jaw-dropping, aren’t they?

  • Sarah Jul 19, 2011 @ 8:19

    Happy birthday! I’m a little late to this party, but I’m glad to be here.

    • patricia Jul 19, 2011 @ 8:25

      You’re not late–I’m hoping it goes on all week! Thanks for the good wishes, Sarah!

  • Kristin Jul 19, 2011 @ 8:50

    You’re a fantastic writer and I enjoy reading your posts. I don’t always comment, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate your effort or wisdom. (It usually has to do with lack of time–or the fact that you’ve left me speechless because you’ve covered everything so well.)

    Happy Birthday Wonderfarm!

    • patricia Jul 19, 2011 @ 9:08

      You’re quite a regular commenter, and I appreciate it, Kristin! It’s been fun blogging together and being able to commiserate about the whole experience.

  • Ian Jul 19, 2011 @ 12:09

    Happy birthday, Wonder Farm!!! I look forward to all of your posts; they’ve really inspired me and push me to look at things in a different way. Please keep your entries coming!

    • patricia Jul 19, 2011 @ 21:55

      That’s a compliment that means a lot to me. Thanks for the kind words, Ian!

  • Amy Bowers Jul 19, 2011 @ 13:22

    happy, happy birthday! i love your blog and perspective. when i am feeling stuck, i often head over here and read through the posts. thanks!

    • patricia Jul 19, 2011 @ 22:03

      What nice words to hear (especially the reading through the posts part!) Thanks so much, Amy!

  • Julie Jul 21, 2011 @ 5:55

    I found your blog a few months ago but I don’t remember how I found it. I have really enjoyed your insights about homeschooling. I am at the beginning of the journey with a 7, 4 and 1 year old and your thoughts on writing, scheduling creative time and even video games have been helpful to me. I had been having similar thoughts to yours so it was nice to see the ideas echoed by someone further down the homeschool road. For some reason if I find validation in my ideas if I find them written out by someone else! Thanks for sharing your insight with us.

    • patricia Jul 21, 2011 @ 9:49

      So nice to meet you, Julie! Thank you for taking the time to say hello. It’s especially interesting for me to know which types of posts have been useful to you. And I absolutely understand the notion of finding validation in your own ideas written out by someone else! I love those little moments of reading and discovering Oh! It isn’t just me!

  • April Hansen Jul 21, 2011 @ 6:53

    Happy Birthday Wonder Farm!

    Patricia, I am a new reader to Wonder Farm. I have to say that I am so happy to have stumbled upon your fantastic blog! One of the many things that attracted me to your blog is the authentic way you share your passion for writing, homeschooling, and most of all your love of learning. You are truly and inspiration. I’m slowly reading my way through the archives of Wonder Farm and am enjoying catching up on your writings. I’ve enjoyed reading My year of excellent essayists. Your thoughts on the essayists are illuminating and motivate me to embark on my own journey of studying in greater depth some of the essayists in The Art of the Personal Essay.

    So happy to hear you are embarking on writing a book for parents. Best wishes to you on this amazing journey.

    April Hansen

    • patricia Jul 21, 2011 @ 9:53

      I’m always thrilled to meet new readers, April! And ones who say they’re reading through my archives–especially my Year of Excellent Essayists posts–find their way into my affections pretty quickly!

  • Carrie Jul 21, 2011 @ 22:31

    Happy Birthday! Has it really been three years? I disappeared from the comments last Spring when I went back to school, but I still check in regularly to read, and always come away inspired.

    In fact, I have been so inspired that I started my own blog, and just today decided I was ready to go public with it :

    I love that even you, with all your writing talent felt a little scared to push the publish button. I published my first post last month but had to post 4 times before I was ready to share the address with the world.

    • patricia Jul 22, 2011 @ 9:00

      So excited about your blog, Carrie! Next time you leave a comment, you need to put the address in the website field, so your name will light up in bright, clickable green, like all the other bloggers that comment here!

      Readers, click on over to Carrie’s blog and read her second post. Goose bump-inducing stuff!

  • Laura Jul 21, 2011 @ 23:00

    Happy Birthday!! I love the Wonder Farm and I love you! I hear your voice when I read your posts. I love that your wonderful, authentic self shines through in your writing. It makes me feel like you could be a block away and we might just share a cup of tea at Rimsky’s or a veggie burger at Good Dog Bad Dog. Always something there to remind me………

    • patricia Jul 22, 2011 @ 9:03

      …Or a grilled cheese at Nation’s with a waitress with big, shiny cheeks!

      Just heard the song at a pool the other day, and thought of you, instantly.

      Love you too, sweet pea.

  • jess Jul 22, 2011 @ 0:46

    happy birthday! thanks for the first three yrs!

    • patricia Jul 22, 2011 @ 8:45

      Nice to meet you, Jess! I poked around on your blog (’cause I love to meet new folks.) Looks like my third blog anniversary coincided with your third wedding anniversary. Congratulations!

      P.S. Aren’t the Backwards Beekeepers awesome? My uncle is part of that group…

  • Jacinda Jul 24, 2011 @ 20:21

    Hey Patricia, better late to the party than never. Happy blog anniversary. I enjoy your posts, your love of writing and homeschooling. i don’t have a hell of a lot of blogs I follow, I just don’t want to have that much time in other people’s lives if you know what i mean. But you are one on my list. Thanks for that.

    • patricia Jul 27, 2011 @ 20:55

      Hello Jacinda! See, I go mention in my post that I have readers as far-flung as New Zealand, and here you appear! (So funny here in California to see snow on your blog right now!) Thank you for the kind words. The ultimate bloggy compliment!

  • Caroline Jul 25, 2011 @ 19:56

    Happy happy blog birthday, Patricia! I’m one of those who has only met you once in person (I do remember you were wearing a gorgeous sweater!), but you and the Wonderfarm are an active and beloved part of my inner landscape. Just yesterday I found myself talking about your dictation experiments with my own parents–and today, apropos of something else completely, my father brought them up as a example of creative thinking in education. The game is afoot.

    Many thanks and keep up the beautiful work!

    • patricia Jul 27, 2011 @ 21:07

      Hi Caroline! It really does feel like a party here–I just wish I could see you all in person. (I’d even wear another hand-knit sweater!) If you are ever in town meeting with M. we must all get together!

      Your father’s comment made my day. I’d love to take credit for thinking creatively, but honestly, my kids have been the impetus all along. Regardless, I’m always happy to rile up more players in the game.

      Thank you for the kind words!

  • amy Jul 26, 2011 @ 5:33

    Happy (belated) blog birthday! I’m happy to break my personal no-posting rule to let you know that I’ve found your blog entertaining, inspiring and thought-provoking over the past year since I discovered it. Congratulations on three years.

    • patricia Jul 27, 2011 @ 21:09

      Amy, a broken no-posting rule is certainly a gift! Thank you. Happy to meet you and to know you’re reading along.

  • Helen Jul 26, 2011 @ 15:12

    Happy Birthday Wonder Farm! It’s been a while since I’ve checked in — happy to see you still going strong here.. Happy Summer Patricia!

  • Melissa @imaginationsoup Jul 27, 2011 @ 13:19

    Happy Birthday!!

    • patricia Jul 27, 2011 @ 21:15

      Thanks, Melissa! It’s been fun getting to know you via twitter!

  • By Word of Mouth Musings Jul 28, 2011 @ 5:48

    To think I discovered you in Fall 2008 thanks to Mothering Mag in Whole Foods and your wonderful article that gave me such a warm fuzzy feeling on our new homeschooling journey.
    Happy Blogoversary to you – 3 years! YAY you!
    My blog turned a whole ONE recently and is being redesigned right now. The thoughts in my head need to be separated sometimes – my audience is not always on the same screen, so now there will be two 😉

    I finally wised up and signed up to receive you in my InBox, but would love it if you came and found me on Twitter at @ByWordsMusings … and why did I think you were in Oregon?

    Happy Birthday little blog that could ….

    • patricia Jul 28, 2011 @ 7:16

      As exciting as it is to be posting for three years, it’s almost as exciting to have people who have been reading for (almost) three years!

      We lived in Portland, Oregon briefly in the 90s, just before Lulu was born–well, actually she was born there, and we moved back to California when she was a day-and-a-half old, but that’s another story… Anyway, I may have referred to Portland at some point, but other than that year-and-a-half, and college down south, I’ve been in Northern California all my life.

      Happy birthday to your blog too! Thanks for reading for so long. Off to follow you on twitter!

  • Jennifer Briffa Aug 10, 2011 @ 10:00

    Always a pleasant event when I stumble on your blog again through other channels. I wanted to tweet about an event and there it was, a party for a blog! How fun. Always a pleasure to read and digest. Congratulations.

  • wanderingsue Aug 5, 2013 @ 11:40

    How funny is it to think that you might still be getting comments in a hundred years? Your wisdom is out there forever, for Mamas who aren’t even born yet. Thanks again, it’s meaning so very much to me.

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