Eleven years

Today is the eleventh birthday of this website.

Some of you have been reading since the beginning, since I was single and living alone in Los Angeles working as a web designer, back when I thought that children might not ever be a part of my life. Remember when you could drop someone off at the airport and walk them to their gate? Or meet them eagerly as they walked off of the plane? So does my website.

Some of you started reading after I got married, some when I got pregnant for the first time. Some of you found this website after I gave birth to my little frog baby. And then there was the postpartum depression, the hospital, the years of my child teaching me what it means to be human. That child is now old enough to be baptized in the Mormon Church. But even if you’ve only been reading for a month you can probably guess that baptism, particularly into the Mormon Church, is on a list of things she gets to choose to do when she’s old enough to make decisions that big. You know, like skydiving. Or a forehead tattoo. Or, oh God, thinking it’s a good idea to move to Nevada.

From living in my mother’s basement to the first house, the second house, to the current residence. So much change. More change than you’d find in between your couch cushions and in the junk drawer combined. More change than the shape of Joan Rivers’ face.

More than anything else this website has chronicled all that change. The unbridled spirit of 25-year-old Heather Hamilton still powers the heart of 36-year-old Heather Armstrong, but damn am I ever glad to be eleven years older, wiser, and well, different. Yes, different. I feel so much more settled into my skin and confident in the way I move my body through my life. I’ve got way more wrinkles, a ton of gray hair, and it takes a lot longer to recover from a late night out, but who cares about any of that when I now possess an increased ability to identify and shrug off the things that don’t matter.

A lot of that is age, but most of it is the responsibility of having children and supporting two employees. They are why I am so different.

Two kids and four adults now count on these pages to feed them. I won’t lie, that’s a lot of pressure. Sometimes that pressure doesn’t faze me, and then sometimes the stress of it puts me to bed very early without dinner because it’s killed my appetite. But I always come back to one thing, the one fundamental thing that keeps me from walking away: I love doing this.

I love telling stories.

This is the story of how I’ve changed, how I continue to change. Sure, some of you don’t like where I was, or where I am, or where you assume I’ll be a year from now. And that’s fine. But I can promise you this: every word has come from the deepest part of me, and it always will.

I think of you as the group I’d invite over for dinner on a Friday night, and what I write here are the stories I’d tell you when you asked about my week. It’s always been that way. And no matter where you jumped in and started following along, no matter if you left and came back because something made you furious, I’m going to ask you to stay and have another drink. There’s so much more to share with each other.

Thank you for coming over.

  • Babee_bubu

    you really are just unique…

  • Katie D

    You are wonderful and amazing and deserve all the success in the world. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your life with us all. :)

  • The Dalai Mama

    You’re such a fabulous host. Thanks for having us all over–even though we never help clean up.

    Happy Anniversary.

  • NecessaryIndulg

    Thank you for the laughs & the tears. Happy 11th Heather!

  • gingergerbera

    Thank you for your hard work, dedication and sacrifice for the past 11 years. I’ve been with you from the beginning and I’ll stay until you kick us all out of your house.

    Also, to you and your beautiful family – best wishes for all of you through this new chapter of your lives.

  • Cateyez

    Cheers!
    I’ve been reading your blog for years. You’ve given me lots of laugh-out-loud moments at work. :)

    http://www.ThriftyVintageKitten.com

  • Becky Cochrane

    Thanks for inviting us. Happy blog-iversary.

  • deannamil

    *sigh* I remember you from Los Angeles, pre all of it. Wow Eleven Years! You just just keep on writing and I will keep on reading! Happy Anniversary!

  • Lo The Phoenix

    Thank you! Congratulations on eleven years, and wishes for many more.

  • Katie

    Congratulations Heather! You have so much to be proud of.

  • melnyc

    This makes me feel old. Thanks for the laughs, and the tears. Please, keep writing. Wishing you a happy and peaceful year.

  • abbergail

    Hurray, congratulations on the anniversary, Heather! I’d say I joined in reading about 7 years ago, and I’ve enjoyed every minute. Thanks for sharing with us, keep being awesome.

  • Pandora Has A Box

    Congratulations on eleven years!

    I love you. In a non-creepy way.

    Also, if I come over for a drink, I really like Tanqueray and tonic with a lime wedge. FYI.

  • hybridshadow

    I didn’t start reading 11 years ago, but when I found this blog last spring, I did read all 11 years! (because I have no life… and it was addicting.) I read from most recent to the oldest, which meant no surprises for me!

    Thank you for inviting us into your life. I hope that it has been as rewarding for you as it has been for us. I know you have had your ups and downs with followers (or one-time viewers) but I am glad you haven’t given up on blogging. You are amazing, Heather, and I am honored to be considered a “friday night dinner” crowd. You’re welcome to come to my house for friday night dinner, too, but I don’t see any reason why you’d want to come to Indiana. :)

    We love you, Heather!

  • HooliaAnn

    Yay! Eleven years!!!!!!!!!!! That’s a lot of exclamation points but I think you deserve it. Happy Dooceiversary!

  • ScooterMarie

    I’ve read all your posts, all 11 years’ worth, and I’m so glad you’re still writing! Here’s to 11 more, and beyond that…

    P.S. What time are drinks on Friday? I’ll be there!

  • Laurie13

    Thanks for having me and bringing so much joy, laughter and heartfelt honesty into my life.

  • AndreaMarie

    I’m not a Mom and I haven’t been married, but I love your style of writing and the way you can tell a story. That’s what kept me coming back. You’re funny and real. I’m in it for the long haul. Thank you Heather. =)

  • poopinginpeace

    Congrats on 11 years! I have been here for at least 8 of those years and feel like I’ve been to dinner at your house on a Friday night, had to much wine and stayed in the lovely guest room, sponsored by Ikea on more than one occasion. Keep doing what you do. You even inspired me to start my own blog. http://poopinginpeace.blogspot.com/ Something I LOVE and have been doing for almost three years myself. So after we hang out at your place on Friday night, feel free to come over and listen to my stories on Saturday afternoon with a beer and a hot dog. Because I’ve been reading this blog for 8 years and know how much you love a good hot dog. Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing!

  • Jess518

    Happy Blog Birthday! I started reading around the time Marlo was born. I don’t recall what brought me here, but I’m so glad I found you! Thank you for always being open and honest with your readers.

  • Angeerah

    No, thank you. You have sort of saved me several times with your writing. And pass the bread and butter, you paleo nut you!

  • nikkiana

    It’s funny. I can’t remember when I started reading your blog. Probably sometime after you got fired and it became a thing to say that someone got “dooced” and I figured I ought to go investigate where the hell that term came from before I started using it.

    Hard to believe that was ten years ago yesterday.

  • Miss Wistari

    Pour me a ‘double’ and let’s watch the sunrise …on another 11years.

  • waitimaprincess

    And just like that I’m drunk and needing to stay overnight in the Ikea room.

  • Jeca51601

    I think I started reading this blog after Leta was born… I came here from CNN website, they were talking about you being fired, mental institution, wickedly fun writing and I thought, “Well, let’s check it out…”
    Years later, yours is the only blog I follow. If you ask me why, I have no idea. Plenty of funny people out there.

    But I think it may have something to do with the fact that you always say exactly what I think, but couldn’t find the words.

    When Marlo was born, a little bit after my second daughter (they can be twins, if not in looks then in personality…), you said something (paraphrasing now…) ” Leta thought me what it means to be a parent, and Marlo thought me what it means to be a mother”. Never, ever has anybody said something that so reflected my feelings so truly. Ever. And I always quote that whenever somebody asks me why I read your blog.

    So, here’s to you, Heather B. Amstrong (nee Hamilton). May you be happy and healthy, always have your family and friends close by, and a warm home to come back to.

    Cheers!
    Jelena

  • cgreene

    Congratulations Heather!

  • erwinm

    Wow congrats on 11 years! I started reading your blog about 5 years ago. I love it so much. I just randomly clicked through some old archives that I’ve never read and happened to find some puppy pictures of Chuck from September of 2002. Adorable. Please don’t stop writing!

  • minidiver125

    Cheers, Heather, and here’s to many, many more anniversaries together. You are still one of the best reads on the Internet!

  • kmpinkel

    Thanks for having me. I stumbled upon you when I was looking for a wedding photographer and yours and Jon’s image came up-obviously pre-chrome, I mean how does that happen? Been with you ever since. Feels kind of like I was a hitch hiker you picked up on a honeymoon road trip. I’ll be glad to finally sleep in your guestroom. Marlo is a bitch to sleep with!

  • Caren Lynn Cross

    Aw! So glad you’re still here telling us stories. Don’t ever stop. Congratulations on 11 years.

  • Squeetthang

    I am excited to say that I have been reading 10 out of those 11 years and it has always been a joy to read!

    I have gotten many others to read your blog in those years and even now at least three of us at work (shhh, I am not at work now nor do I ever read your blog on the work dime…ahem) make it a habit to speak of you during our breaks.

    Chuck’s calendar hangs on my wall as I type and The Daily Chuck has been e-mailed around the office on many occasions.

    Thank you for sharing all these years!

  • creator_nat

    Your intense sense of humor, and sheer courage has kept me reading for the last five years. You deserve to feel good, always. I raise a glass to you, Heather! Cheers. Happy Anniversary Dooce.

  • meowlam

    Thanks for inviting us in, Heather.

    Your thoughts over the years have helped me laugh, cry, and heal. I hope they will continue to do the same for you and your family.

    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo and congratulations.

  • Shana in Texas

    OMG, 11 Years! How did that happen?! I started reading you when I was younger and single and doing my own thing and now here I am married with 2 kids, a cat, and a dog. How did all this life happen in just 11 years?? Keep on with the keepin’ on – I’m looking forward to the next 11 years. Leta and my oldest will be in college then… okay, pass me that bottle over there.

  • Catmollins

    I have long been a follower of yours and I don’t think I have ever posted before. Heather, I love your honesty and your humor. Your posts have made me cry and laugh out loud. I will continue to be here, enjoying your words for as long as you keep writing them. Congratulations on 11 years.

  • pdkmdddd

    I adore this post.

    Heather, I love that you write about your life, your family, your difficult times, your home, and even what your friends are wearing. I’ll keep reading it as long as it’s interesting to me- and, because I think you’re funny as shit, I expect that will be quite a while. Keep it up.

  • Schmutzie

    I’m hitting nine years soon, and find the evolution of our lives, us long-term bloggers, fascinating. I’m so happy to have met you and travelled along through all of this.

    Happy eleventh!

  • tokenblogger

    Just keep going.

  • Lauren3

    Hell yes woman. I’m staying for umpteen more drinks. I’ll have what Pandora’s having.

  • Laprewitt1

    Thanks for the invite!!

  • motherhoodontherocks

    I’m so glad I found your site. I love your stories and sense of humor! Congrats on 11 years.

  • lucidlotus

    You.Kick.Ass.

    Here’s to 11 more.

  • whatireallymean

    Well said! But since I went to the trouble of signing into the website and remembering my password, please allow me to embellish:

    1) I love the new-found ROAAAR you’re bringing to YOUR website.

    2) I’m beyond happy that you’ve made a mega breakthrough in therapy.

    3) I wish you and your family the best in 2012. You are all awesome :-)

  • nicholee

    I’ve been reading you for 10 years. That seems absolutely ridiculous, that it’s been that long since I was surreptitiously reading blogs in my not-even-a-cubicle at work. I’m going to go eat some ice cream and quietly sing “Landslide” to myself now.

    Happy birthday, dooce.com!

  • giggloki

    I didn’t start reading 11 years ago, just 8. But I have re-read your entire website at least twice. One time I read it because I was going through a hard time and your words were like a friends, keeping me sane. Thank you for your voice.

  • luv and kiwi

    Happy Anniversary!

  • J. Bo

    If I ever get back to SLC (or you’re ever in Kansas City and/or Chicago), that drink’s on me… Maker’s Mark, yes?

  • LDD

    Congratulations!! What you write challenges me as a mother, a woman with a career, a daughter, a friend, a political moderate and a chick who likes fashion and home decor. Thank you for remaining employed!

  • ThePeanut

    Congrats on 11 years! We’re privileged to have a glimpse into your life everyday. Thank you for being so candid and open with us.

  • kristinkaminski

    Here’s to 11 more!!!!