December 29, 2014

Many unwrapped gifts are still under the tree, waiting their turns for attention. We sit close on the couch, in the first morning light and eat my sister’s banana bread while making yum sounds. We sit together and even if we don’t talk for a long time, we’re here. With the kiddos on break, we are lazing around, finally, after all the holiday running. Piles of Legos are like minefields across two rooms. I look around at the Christmas decorations and consider putting them away, but then I don’t. We like having strings of lights inside the house. We have had all the winter germs inside our bodies. Strep and Influenza, infections, and plain old nasty colds. Please let us be done. That’s a lofty goal, to be done, but please. We are coughing and coughing, sometimes in unison, shaking up the quiet house. In the mornings, I look at Facebook for a […]


I am not being paid by the Voxer App people to explain what it is. So, if you’re asking What is this Voxer App everyone is mentioning? you might not get the most technical description here, but I do explain, in simple terms, what it means to vox.. I just want to tell you because I love voxing: That’s right, I’m now an avid voxer. I have been voxing. I will be doing all the voxing… logo from voxer.com GRANDMA, I KNOW. IT SOUNDS NAUGHTY, BUT IT’S NOT. I PROMISE. The Voxer App was introduced to me by some friends who have been using it for quite some time. I told them on Facebook that I finally looked it up in the app store and read the description. Before that, I had been staring through them as they talked about voxing each other. I didn’t ask, because…huh? am I supposed to know this? How […]


Just Write {119}

January 20, 2014

Elsie leaned into my legs, heavy with sleepiness and trust. Put mine boots on, Mama. She puts one foot in the air, ready. I say, Wrong foot, and she switches quickly, her right foot up. I slide on the boot, trying not to get it stuck partway. Elsie lets out a little giggle behind her pacifier. She loves her cowgirl boots. I show LeeLee, she says, because I’m about to walk her next door, where LeeLee will help her take off her cowgirl boots and she’ll put her pacifier in her cubby and offer her something to eat. I walk back home after a hug and kiss and sit down to work, trying hard to focus, to make the most of the work time. I set up calls, take a call, type out email responses and fill my water glass over and over. I edit something that has been sitting in drafts for […]

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Sometimes I quickly jam out some ramblings about being a mom on The Extraordinary Ordinary facebook page and then people say OH I love it when you say this stuff. Because I still don’t have much of a filter and I love honesty like a best friend. Then I remembered that I used to write whole entire blog posts like that when I had more time to write whole entire blog posts like that. What are you doing with your time, Heather? Good question… This school year, life has been so different than the past eight years. Okay, Heather, but that doesn’t really answer the question… SEE? This is how it goes with my thoughts, my writing, my life…and apparently, answering questions I pose to myself to pretend to be you, on a blog. And I’m typing really fast because I have a lot of Other Things. Good Things. They gots to gets […]


One Day, Elsie Jane

October 24, 2013

The closing keynote at BlogHer Pro was a singer/songwriter named Daria Musk. I had read a brief bio, but didn’t know much about Daria. So I sat back in my chair and learned…no, more than that, I soaked in the interview Elisa had with her. Daria is someone who has a beacon-like energy that I was drawn to for its light. She is joy embodied and said this is a decision for her–to have fierce joy, to live fierce joy. When asked about her perspectives on life and creating and building her empire (truly, an empire born on Google plus!), Daria frequently returned the compliments and insights back to her mother. She said that her mom taught her this:     Daria added (and I paraphrase) that if you pick a dream bigger than a lifetime, you have something to do for your whole life. With setbacks and fighting your way up and […]


So then there was that ABC Nightly News with Diane Sawyer show. It’s weird to see yourself on TV, friends. I’m starting to get middle-aged lady jowls. (Just to keep it real around here, I want you to know that I just tried to make jowls, “jowels”, for a really long time and I could not for the life of me remember how to spell it right.) (Ahem.) Anyway, after the nightly news gig, people came over here from abc.com, and then they sent me emails or they clicked over to Shining Strong, a non-profit for people struggling with addiction. That’s why I let people see my jowls on national TV. All joking aside, this really is what matters. It’s terribly common for a woman to find herself overly dependent on wine. I hear from a lot of people who share their stories with me and every single one (even if I can’t […]


Never has this little old corner of the worldwide interweb been so busy. After a post I wrote about my boys LOVING Minecraft, I received more feedback than pretty much ever before, that I can recall. It’s like suddenly the human masses were walking the streets of New York and I was the corner Starbucks. Everyone came in! Skinny hazelnut latte! Extra foam! Extra hot! No whip!  There was so much yelling! And everyone wanted my view of Minecraft to be just like theirs, and many didn’t seem to notice that I was joking around.  Strangely, after all of the shouting faded away, I learned to appreciate how much my boys love Minecraft. I mean, I have to admit, I still don’t want to play it and I will probably never fully understand it, but I’m certainly more educated and I dig its educational value. The gamers and even the teenagers and the […]


Just Write {95}

July 29, 2013

At O’Hare I got confused about where to find a cab. Then I found one with a driver that smiled big and took my bag and we had a very long talk about faith and life. He is openly Muslim and I am openly Christian. We both have our reasons for hiding from our labels. Javid, his name, and he laughed when I told him mine. Heather is apparently (with a little different spelling) a male name where he comes from, almost thirty years ago, Pakistan. He said it means brave and strong and then teased that I don’t look all that physically strong. He explained why it’s good to be near a friend or family member’s grave so every time you drive by, you can pray for them. He said it’s best for the parents to pray because God is more sure to listen. You can’t get away with doing whatever you […]


from here

July 24, 2013

It’s been over 4 years and I still remember clearly. I walked back from a party by myself, leaving my friends behind and heading for the hotel. I was in Chicago, alone and walking and I didn’t care. The whole night was a blur except for that walk because even though I was drunk, I knew this was stupid, being lost in a city I don’t know. Thank God I found the hotel. I had thought I couldn’t find my friends at the party, but they called to ask where I had gone. They said I was standing right next to them one moment and then I was gone. I thought I had walked around looking for them. I thought they had left. Or maybe I just wasn’t thinking. It was BlogHer ’09, the last conference I went to before I quit drinking. I went up however many floors and into the room […]


Every year, the BlogHer Serenity Suite is run by volunteer hosts. As busy as conference-goers are, these people take the time to host the Serenity Suite, and their welcoming faces are what make the Serenity Suite the calming force that it is. This year we’re honored to have even more volunteers since we have TWO Serenity Suite locations. Please take a moment to get to know the 2013 BlogHer Serentiy Suite hosts! Thank you, each and every beautiful one of you! Galit Breen – These Little Waves (bottom left corner)Stacy Calvert – Geek ‘Til You Drop (2nd to bottom right)Brook Easton – Redhead Reverie (2nd from right, bottom)Jen Gaskell– Tranquila Mama (3rd from bottom, right)Jane Gassner– Midlife Bloggers (2nd from bottom right)Maggie – Violence UnSilenced (with Ellie and yours truly, middle)Jennie – A Lady in France (bottom right corner)Ann Imig – Ann’s Rants and Listen To Your Mother (top left, in the middle)Jen […]


  What is it?  The Serenity Suite is a low-key, comfortable and welcoming space to unwind: Do you need to sit down and literally and figuratively recharge your batteries? Come on in. Need to hide from big crowds but don’t want to be alone in your room? Come on in. Need a simple break from the action and some coffee? Come on in. Feeling a little overwhelmed? We get it, come on in! The Serenity Suite began as a safe haven for those of us who need to be able to attend an amazing, fun and educational conference while also staying sober. Today, it continues as an alcohol-free zone, but serves a much wider purpose. Maggie and I could not have imagined the possibilities, and we’re so grateful that BlogHer attendees love and use this space. Where is it? When is it open?  This year, the Serenity Suite will be located at BOTH the […]


(photo credit: BlogHer.com)   It isn’t wrong to feel disappointed if things don’t go the way you hoped when you’ve taken a courageous step and submitted your writing, or art of any kind. Our words or photos, graphic designs, drawings, paintings, etc are born of us. Having someone turn away from our art to choose another’s work feels very personal. We’re only humans, with fragile egos even if we’re as emotionally and mentally healthy as we can be. Maybe you’re mostly confident and strong, but you still feel pangs of disappointment that feel like rejection. That doesn’t mean you’re weak and insecure. You’re just normal. It’s not silly. But let’s talk about negative reactions that go beyond disappointment… In the social media world, it’s the time of year when we hear The Big News about writing that’s been nominated and submitted. The BlogHer’s Voices of the Year were announced just yesterday and then […]


Kristen Howerton is one of my first friends through blogging and therefore she will not mind that I am lazily linking to her instead of helping you all by myself. In her post, Kristen mentions denial over Google Reader going away. Oh yes, uh huh, me too. I just pretend changes like this are not happening until the very last second. For those of you that don’t know, Google Reader is the way that most people have subscribed to blogs. It’s the RSS feed (Grandma, neither of us really need to know how this works, it just does, quite smoothly, and now it’s leaving.) So anyway, Google Reader is going away. TODAY. So if you subscribed to the things you love to read via a Google Reader, Kristen has written up an excellent tutorial on what you need to do TODAY to NOT LOSE ALL THE REALLY FANTASTIC THINGS YOU LOVE TO READ. […]


If you’ve never been to a BlogHer conference, you can do your best to get all your ducks in a row, to research, to prepare, and still…. you don’t really know what to expect. I mean, FOR REAL. All the tips and recommendations in the world cannot FULLY prepare you, but that does not have to be a bad thing. IMHO (Grandma, that means “in my humble opinion”) what you need to do is something that goes along with the whole philosophical poetic and touchy feely vibe of this website of mine here on the worldwide interweb…. BE YOU. No. Really. YOU. You are good stuff. Be the good stuff you are. Believe that you are you for a reason and carry on with your bad self. Please don’t look around and think there are cliques and people ignoring you. They are just people who have made friends and they are hanging together […]


Mama’s Comfort Camp

March 8, 2013

My friend Yael Saar (who I had the honor of meeting last year at BlogHer) is a mama on a mission to remove guilt and shame from parenting in order to make room for joy and love. She is the Founder and Keeper of the Mama’s Comfort Camp, a Facebook community that functions as a safe haven and refueling station for hundreds of moms from around the world. This community is free and open to moms of kids of any age, and we share our laughter, tears, and triumphs, all the while normalizing motherhood struggles and bridging the gap between expectations and reality in a uniquely nurturing environment. I’m honored to be one of the Campers, and I would love for you to join us. The Mama’s Comfort Campers will be having our first Twitter Party to celebrate the group’s first anniversary on Sunday March 10 at 8:30pm. You can join us using the hashtag #mamascomfort I’m sharing some […]


I love a book I can’t put down. The kind that has me sneaking away to read it because I’m expecting the unexpected and curious and excited and practically licking the pages. (What?) I recently had no such books waiting on my nightstand, so I asked my facebook friends to suggest page-turners and, as they so faithfully do, they came through in spades! (What does that really mean? In spades? Is it a saying about cards? Just checking.) (Don’t mind me, I’m a little delirious. My dear husband is working out of town this week and then this week decided to be extra weird to me and now Elsie Jane has the sickness and wow that’s a lot of vomiting and I am so tired you’re welcome for the run-on sentence.) Maybe we should both just go read stuff that we can’t stop reading… Have you read any of these? What page-turners aren’t […]


Update: We have decided to not move forward with The 26Valentines Project. While this well-intentioned effort will be no more, we know we’ll all continue to honor these adults and children in our own ways.  Starting on February 1st and lasting 26 days, a chain of words will begin in an effort to tell stories. Each of the writers in the spaces along this chain will write one post each, to give the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy 26 more places to be remembered. This is a simple act of telling, to share a little more about each person, in an attempt to help those of us reading along to remember. It began with a conversation between myself and my friend Ellen of Love That Max—Can we do something, share some words…something?-— and that became this project, shared among many bloggers from many places, all across the web. We haven’t forgotten and […]



January 28, 2013

Most of us don’t want to be viewed as fragile, but here we are. Show me the human spirit that hasn’t been broken in some way. How do parts of us break if not fragile? Be fragile. It’s fine. We were all born fragile. You know, that floppy head attached to a weak little neck, a wide open space in our skulls, vulnerable to poking toddler sibling fingers. There are people who don’t break down easily. The ones we commend for appearing to be made of steel; so strong, so positive, just carrying on. Part of me used to strive for that because I guess it seemed like it went along with wisdom and strength, valor and heroism or something. No more. I’m fragile and I know it. Without this fragility, I’m not as empathetic as I’d like to be and no matter how much it hurts to hurt so often, I’d rather […]


Do you wonder sometimes if the next generations are going to live in the movie Wall-E? Everyone will just float around in their isolated little transporters sipping Big Gulps and staring at screens? And everyone will be unhealthy from never standing up or going outside to walk around and we’ll just make beeping sounds to communicate, but only when we have to and we’ll open everything everywhere by having a little thingy read our fingerprints. People won’t even procreate anymore, but the human race will only continue because babies will be made in labs and then they’ll be raised by robots cause we’ll be too busy with our screens… okay no really. I really really have to believe it won’t be that bad, but if I’m being totally honest, I get sad when I think about the future and community and connection. I wrote about this at Owning Pink and you can go […]

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I made a #JustWrite book

November 21, 2012

As you may know, I haven’t been terribly good at promoting my own wares or tooting my horn or whathaveyou. I just don’t want to come across as all ego driven or somesuchthing.  It’s only taken me five years of blogging and meeting smart and savvy women writers/creators online to learn it’s not BAD to share what you do with the world. It’s actually quite good! So, here I am, telling you that I made my favorite Just Write posts from this past year (YES! It’s been over a year!) into an ebook. When I was in Chicago at BBC, I had the pleasure of meeting Samantha from Blurb, and listening to her speak. I got (overly) excited hearing about all the ways a person can utilize Blurb, and when I got home, I got right to working on this book and another Instagram one: This #JustWrite ebook is currently available for $9.99 and […]


Last Friday began with snow. I kid you not. Snow. This is not shocking for Minnesota, but it is anyway, when Halloween has not yet happened. NOOOO, we say out loud and to God. It’s too early, we shout! Because we know we’re in for a loooong winter. Thankfully, it wasn’t a snow storm that caused any kind of rugged road conditions, because I was up and ready for the trip to Allison’s house and the snow needed to not stop me. After all, we had big plans; to give away 14 just released Graco SnugRide Click Connect-40 car seats to our blogging friends!  The roads turned out to be just fine and the snow stopped midway through the afternoon. Now all we needed was for the big truck to pull up outside the O Family home with a pallet of car seats inside. But alas, no truck. NO CAR SEATS!!! You see […]


When Ryan is out of town for work, we sometimes get time to talk on the phone at some point during the day, but mostly we don’t get that time. He’s super busy with teaching some sort of software thingys to people and I’m busy…yeah, busy. Three kids + one of them being a very demanding and quite feisty little lovely creature + the start of school + working + All THE THINGS = a very tired and forgetful mommy. I was talking to Ellie yesterday and she knows how much I love Elsie Jane, how grateful I am for her. So I can vent and say that sometimes, when Elsie is especially…spirited…I feel like I might explode or like my insides are just going to turn to mush and then I’ll fold over and be stuck like that for a few days. Which doesn’t sound so bad, actually. As long as I […]



August 15, 2012

I guzzle my first (and never last) cup of coffee. I don’t mean to, it’s just that it’s one of my last vices. I want to be a person who sips a fantastic cup of coffee, just one, and then goes on with a day drenched in 8 glasses of water and only whole foods. I drink a lot of water and I work hard to eat well, but I also love sugar as much as I love coffee. We addicts are far too aware of our compulsive behavior, at least in sobriety, so I bend and tip forward, pulling my eyes to my navel to dissect this behavior. Then I remember, I’m a human being. Flawed and a work in progress and imperfect and all that. One day I will sit and sip tea, decaf of course, maybe by the ocean and I’ll be wearing something white and flowy and the breeze […]


Just Write {47}

August 6, 2012

The house is growing dark around me. I just got the small people to bed after a busy day of re-entry, all of us home from time away. Ryan and the kids went Up North to stay with Auntie Janie and I was in NYC for BlogHer ’12. Ryan left this morning for a short work trip. He gets back on Wednesday and I leave Thursday for Kentucky. Life is normally not like this. We are not jet-setters. Well, I’m not while he is, but only because he works all over the place sometimes. Something about software. BlogHer ’12 was so beautifully exhausting. I roomed with Ellie and Maggie and I saw so many people I love like crazy and on Saturday night one of my favorites of them wrote on my skin with a big fat marker, “Go to the love.” I had heard this the night before from a new friend. […]


Dear BlogHer Attendees,

July 30, 2012

Have you been applying your wrinkle cream? Are your teeth white enough? What color polish did you choose while you had that mani-pedi? Or are you waiting until the day before to make sure it’s as fresh as possible? Have you been shopping and packing, packing and shopping? Did you get your hair freshly coiffed on just the right day so that it doesn’t look like you just had it done while it also looks totally fresh and healthy? No, I haven’t been watching you. But I have been applying my wrinkle cream and looking more closely at my teeth. I’ve been thinking of when to fit in a pedicure and wondering how many people will notice that I bite my nails. I didn’t go BlogHer shopping, but I’ve been standing in front of my closet wondering what fits and what doesn’t and then holding things up with other things, asking myself which […]


I thought it would be a good idea to sit down and tackle some things. Just for this moment, while Ryan takes the constantly (not exaggerating) crying and sick Elsie Jane for a walk to distract her. (Thank the good Lord he came home to rescue us.) (Yes, I had her ears checked. They’re fine. She just has a big nasty green slime producing cold. She’s really mad about it.) It wasn’t that good of an idea to sit down for the tackling of the things after all because they are growing around me, as I speak-type. Do you know that feeling like your eyes won’t ever stop reading over lists and lists and lists of things to do and so you just kind of freeze? That’s when a lot of bloggers blog. Just so you know. I realize it makes no sense but it does something in which all the growing of […]


{This is sponsored content by outmywindow and BlogHer.} This is a story about how I left Elsie for the first time and was Phoebe instead of Heather, for a moment. If one can randomly fly to California that’s exactly what I did. I wrote snippits of the journey for Just Write this week and I don’t really know why but it’s one of my favorite posts ever. Maybe because snippets of life is where it’s at, you know? It was a whirlwind trip, just an arrival in the afternoon, an overnight, a full day at Warner Brothers studios and back home again that same day. Or night, really, since I pulled in the driveway at about 3a.m. This was my first time away from Elsie and even though it was super short, I missed her and her brothers super much. But I had a great time and it was so good for both […]


Every year Maggie and I are humbled by the outpouring of volunteers willing to spend some time as hosts in The Serenity Suite. This year is no exception. So with no further ado, I give you the 2012 Serenity Suite hosts! (Oh wait, here’s more ado–imagine a line of beauties entering stage right while waving above their heads and grinning.) (Anissa’s wheelchair,which is the new black, is being pushed by Smacksy, who is wearing Bob on her shoulder (that’s the new trend in bigboywearing). He is waving for both of them. Anissa is not waving. It appears she is flipping off the crowd for singing You’re The Inspiration.) Can’t you just picture it all… Kim Tracy Prince (@kimtracyprince) Suniverse (@thesuniverse) Alexandra (@GDRPempress) Maggie Dammit (@maggiedammit) Emily Elling (@designhermomma) Anissa Mayhew (@AnissaMayhew) Kristin Kaufmann Wilkinson (@kristinnw) Jennifer Williams (@mommadeitlookez) Jennifer Denning (@redheadedjen) Annette Kiesow (@annettek) Andrea Bates (@goodgirlgonered) Alexandra Rosas (@gdrpempress) Varda Steinhardt (@squashedmom) Greis […]


2 truths and a lie

July 5, 2012

I love that game. I mean, you get to share two unique things about yourself and also make something up just for fun while coming clean within minutes. Then you get to hear interesting facts and silly made-up things about your friends and family while trying to guess which one isn’t real. It makes people rightfully angry and sad when bloggers play this game (or something more like 3 Lies And No Truths) without letting anyone else know the game is on. We feel duped, stunned, confused and pissed off when the truth inevitably comes out. Of course we do. Drama void of truth and bearing no common sense brings on strong feelings. Online, people have famously hidden behind screens and typed themselves into characters living something Other–the faked death of a baby that never was, too many pretend cancer stories to count and a million other Lies big and small, from letters […]


I’ve been a mother (if you count pregnancy, which you do, of course) for about eight years. I’ve been a blogger for over half that time, and I’ve been active on Twitter and Facebook since about a year after I started blogging. That said, this question was posed: How has the technological age changed parenting for you? I love this question. It fascinates me. I mean, pretty much every parent I know is involved online in one way or another. We’re tweeting or updating facebook or writing and/or reading blogs. We’re talking about this bumpy road of bringing up humans and we’re gaining avenues to different perspectives every day. We have answers at our fingertips every second of every day. We have smart phones and smart notebooks and smart computers and smart laptops…(For real, they’re all smarter than I am.) We are taking in a lot of information about parenting, especially if we’re […]