July 15, 2010


Seven years ago, I had no children. As a result, seven years ago I actually got to sleep through the night. Beth and I could go take ecstasy and go clubbing (we didn't) or do blow off of each others toned abs (we didn't do that either). Now I have no abs. If there's a six pack, it's buried deep in the cooler. I had no concept of what having children was like. Now, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Seven years ago we moved into a cute little yellow house that we almost immediately outgrew. When we moved in we didn't have much furniture. We improvised, using a couple of outdoor chairs and a sheet-covered vacuum box as our living room furniture. We now live in a house with actual storage rooms and have grown-up furniture.

Seven years ago my hair was wonderfully brown, with no traces of gray Now gray accounts for maybe 35% of the hot follicle action on my head.

Seven years ago, I could see a little better. I now own reading glasses. I don't use them but I own them.

Seven years ago, I'd just entered my thirties. Now I'm marching quickly towards my 40s. There are black balloons and over-the-hill coffee mugs in my near future.

Seven years ago I got this bizarre idea to get online, set up a website and write about my life. Despite the fact that I didn't think it would stick - I'd never before exhibited any will-power when it came to keeping a journal or writing anything - I bought the server space, built the site and started writing. And when the whole site crashed and burned a month later (which is why, if you look at the archives, everything seems to start in August), I rebuilt it and started again. 3,082 entries, 77,937 comments and 2,506,266 hits later I'm still going.

While the design has stayed almost exactly the same, lots of things have obviously changed, not only in my life but in the way I write and how I use the site. I'd be at least partially lying if I said that I'd do it in a vacuum with no readership. The truth is I like writing with an audience and I appreciate the feedback and validation I get. This place lets me be funny, uptight, political, scared, creative and even obnoxious when I can't in real life. It is a true outlet.

I cannot possibly say this with more honesty and conviction - thank you. Thanks to all of you who have read over the years. I've gotten to know quite a lot of you and made some wonderful friendships that might not have otherwise been possible I've appreciated everything all of you have shared with me over the years. The fact that each of you take time out of your busy days is incredible to me. And I am thankful for it...and you.

Posted by Chris at July 15, 2010 7:00 AM

I said in one of my comments the other day that I'd made many friendships online. Some I've been lucky enough to meet which is even more special.

I count you among my earliest friends. I don't quite go back to the beginning (I think Mia was a baby) when my friend Jen told me about you and Beth) but it seems like I've known and loved you and your family forever.

My one regret is that we're on opposite coasts. I'd love to add you to the list of online friends I've actually met.

Happy, happy 7th. You brighten my early mornings.

Posted by: Ann Elizabeth Adams at July 15, 2010 7:10 AM

You are AWESOME! Please don't ever stop writing.


Posted by: Aurelia at July 15, 2010 7:25 AM

Happy Blogiversary! I am pretty sure I've been reading since the beginning and have enjoyed every post. Someday I hope to meet the Cactus-Fish family IRL!

Posted by: Krush at July 15, 2010 7:42 AM

I couldn't even tell you how I found your site, but it's certainly only in the last year or so, I love keeping up with you and Beth and the kids.

I've been doing this blogging thing for six years now, and like you, I've never been able to keep any other kind of journal for that long. Having an audience makes a difference, for sure.

Thanks for having us along for the ride! It's been fun to be part of your world!

Posted by: Deeleea at July 15, 2010 7:42 AM

Happy Anniversary!

I have no idea how long I've been reading your blog but I know that every morning after 7AM I know I can sit down, go to google reader and there will be a post from you (and TWO on Monday!).

I feel like I know you in person and not just in the Blog world - you're one of my younger friends who's going through the family life I've already experienced.

Posted by: NancyJ at July 15, 2010 8:26 AM

Seven years ago, my first marriage tanked. In the midst of that misery I discovered that blogging was indeed a wonderful outlet to express emotions that I couldn't express to even my closest friends and family. It was an odd, but very effective, form of therapy for me during a horrible time in my life.

Seven years ago, you were one of the bloggers I started following. You are one of less than a handful that I still follow from that time. I've enjoyed hearing your thoughts, rants, musings and watching your family of two grow to a lovely family of four. Your blog is as much a part of my morning routine as my beloved cup of coffee. It's the first one I click on, and I plan to keep clicking as long as you want to keep writing.

Thanks, Chris. Blog on.

Posted by: LJ at July 15, 2010 8:32 AM

I look forward to taking time out of my busy day to read your posts. So, thank YOU for entertaining and challenging me for seven years (I didn't start reading until much later, but I have gradually read all the archives, so I feel like I can still claim the entire 7).

Posted by: Julie at July 15, 2010 8:32 AM

you're welcome ;) haha. Also, I think you'd look cute in reading glasses. (You know, in a hot, manly way, obviously.)

Posted by: Heather at July 15, 2010 8:36 AM

I have been reading your blog for years now. Since before Mia was born. I look forward to reading you first thing each morning. You make me laugh and sometimes even stop to think deeply, you don't want to do that too often though as my old brain couldn't stand it. I would miss you greatly if you weren't there to read so please don't go anywhere :) I've often thought you could write a book and I would buy it.
So keep it up Chris!!

Posted by: Trish V at July 15, 2010 8:43 AM

*raises coffee cup* Here's to another 7 years of friendship and blog posts!

Posted by: Emily at July 15, 2010 9:02 AM

Congratulations - and here's to the next seven years!

Posted by: cassie-b at July 15, 2010 9:06 AM

Happy Blogiversary! I think yours was one of the first blogs I started reading, way back when.

Posted by: Fraulein N at July 15, 2010 9:09 AM

Isn't it fun to see how much your life has changed over time. I think that's why I like my blog so much. I've changed dramatically in the last 2 1/2 years that I've been writing. Congrats and keep it up!

Posted by: k8 at July 15, 2010 9:52 AM

I see... after seven years, you run out of material and have to copy mine. (Seriously, I just wrote this last night.)

Happy Blogiversary!

Posted by: stephanie at July 15, 2010 9:56 AM

Your consistency in posting brightens my day. I have wondered, with your strong readership, why don't you make some money with this site? That said, I love that your site doesn't burn my eyes with ads popping out at me.

Posted by: at July 15, 2010 10:13 AM

Congrats, Chris! I, for one, am glad you are here!

Posted by: Arwen at July 15, 2010 10:26 AM

7 years? Pfft. Amateur. O'DonnellWeb was launched 12/31/1995. I kid, I kid....

I did a Facebook post last week that garnered 12-15 comments from people I consider friends. I have not met one of them in real life. I knew them all through my blog, which is now sadly neglected as I update it only 3 or 4 times a month. I thought it was kind of cool though that I have all these imaginary internet friends. And in a couple of weeks I'm off to a weekend of camping and drinking beer around the campfire with two other families that I originally met via my blog, although we've since become friends in real life.

You know, I'm starting to get the feeling that I wouldn't have any friends without the Internet :)

Posted by: COD at July 15, 2010 10:33 AM

I originally started reading Beth's site, which I stumbled on from a search for Spongebob, and was curious about the girl drinking from a straw attached to a massive Spongebob. The rest was history.

Many times over the years you have inspired me to be a better father, and my kids life is richer for it. Thanks for posting, and here's to another 7 years!


Posted by: metawizard at July 15, 2010 10:39 AM

7 years, one wife, two kids, a demanding job, and yet you still take time to consistently provide us with insight and humor. I love it and I'm so glad I found your blog.
Rock on, Chris!

Posted by: bacioni at July 15, 2010 10:59 AM

Happy Anniversary!

Posted by: oakley at July 15, 2010 11:03 AM

I am so glad you stuck around. I've only been here about a year or so, but I ador your politics, views, and random bathroom stories.

Keep up the amazing job! :)

Posted by: debb at July 15, 2010 11:05 AM

Thank YOU for sharing and baring all. Well, maybe not ALL... :)

Posted by: Holly at July 15, 2010 11:16 AM

Ha! Today I'm celebrating five years. It's a good day, indeed. :)

Posted by: Angella at July 15, 2010 11:28 AM

Happy anniversary, Mr. Cactus!

Posted by: Brooke at July 15, 2010 11:59 AM

I'm glad it's such a great outlet for you.

And thank you. My morning coffee Monday-Friday wouldn't be the same without you.

Posted by: Mindy at July 15, 2010 12:08 PM

Look, I'm not gonna lie to you... I read this post and thought, "That's nice. Seven years." I was just about to move along to my big, fat cup of coffee when I stopped to think about how long I've been reading your blog. It was most definitely before Mia and isn't she five and HOLY CRAP, I HAVE BEEN READING ABOUT YOUR LIFE FOR ALMOST SEVEN YEARS. Time sure does fly.

Thanks for sharing your story with us. Even the weird bathroom stories.

Posted by: Erin at July 15, 2010 12:28 PM

Happy Anniversary! I'm not sure how long I've been reading your blog but I'm pretty sure it's pre-Mia. I hope you continue to write for many years.

Posted by: Kelley at July 15, 2010 12:44 PM

I'm impressed at your longevity. If I could go back to the thrice-weekly writings and lots of feedback, I would... however I hit a bump in the road and I think I've lost that lovin' feeling.

I really love checking in with you and your family. It's neat to see someone with so many similar interests, go through life at the same place and pace as me. I hope you keep it up for years to come.

Posted by: Brad at July 15, 2010 1:13 PM

Wow. 7 years? I remember when I somehow found you around the time I decided to start a blog of my own... and thinking back, it must have been just about 7 years ago as well. You've kept up with yours much better than I have (starting at least 3 different ones, none of which are current!). So, great reading you, and Happy Anniversary!

Posted by: Laura at July 15, 2010 1:14 PM

Congratulations! Your blog is one of the few in my "daily must read" list. I don't always comment, but I always read :) So glad you made the decision to start.

Posted by: Kate M. at July 15, 2010 1:30 PM

Happy Bloggy Birthday!! :)

Posted by: jessica at July 15, 2010 1:31 PM

Happy blogday!

I'm at 8 years and 2 days. I spaced my 'versary on Tuesday.

Posted by: Lisa at July 15, 2010 1:49 PM

No, thank YOU.

Happy blogiversary.

Posted by: Katherine at July 15, 2010 3:10 PM

Thank you Chris! You are a joy to read, and as I've said before, a very gifted writer. Happy blogoversary!

Posted by: Heather at July 15, 2010 3:15 PM

Congratulations Chris!
7 years is a long time and those are awesome stats!!
I feel like I just got to the party (It's probably been a year or two now...) and I'm glad to join you as "a blogger" here in this crazy world!!

Happy Anniversary!!

Posted by: Rose @Dozenroses13 at July 15, 2010 5:16 PM

Uh, Chris, this sounds like a farewell letter. You're not quitting on us, are you...???


Posted by: Janice at July 15, 2010 8:40 PM

Thanks for the free entertainment. I've been reading the majority of those 7 years I believe. I began reading pre-Mia. That sounds odd. hmm.. But it's true!

I'm just glad you didn't start charging....everything else in my life has cost more and more in the past 7 years!

Posted by: Kristy at July 15, 2010 10:06 PM

Congratulaions on 7 years, wow! Hope there's another 7 years in you!

Posted by: Dianna at July 15, 2010 10:51 PM

Even if I don't share as much as you do, you and Beth and the Bean and Owen each have special places in my heart. I'm so glad to be reminded nearly daily of such a good, sweet family full of brilliance and kindness that is honest about the work that goes into making it that way.

Thank you, Chris. Lots of love to you all.

Posted by: alektra at July 16, 2010 12:05 AM

Well I've done more "lurking" then "commenting"....but you and Beth seem like a pretty cool couple!...not to mention the fact that you guys have adorable kids! I'm older than you and have more children (one more....and one that's almost graduating)...but definitely enjoy and look forward to both of your blogs.

Posted by: Lujza at July 16, 2010 12:24 AM

Been with you and Beth since just before Mia's birth. Wow! That is a while now, isn't it?
I count you both as friends, and your children I call my cyber-grandkids! Lucky me, lucky us, lucky world!
Glad you and Beth are part of the blogging community. It wouldn't be nearly as much fun without you.
PS: In my reader I have blogs sorted out. European, Australian, Friends, Family and Must Reads. Yes, you and Beth are in the Must Reads, each day!

Posted by: Maribeth at July 16, 2010 7:20 AM

A belated Happy Anniversary to you! I didn't start at the beginning, but I think it's been at least 5 years, maybe 6 that I've been following you... thanks for all that you share!

Posted by: Sue R at July 16, 2010 12:32 PM

hey congrats! my rudecactusiversary is always a few days after owen was born. :)
i'd be bummed if you stopped, so keep up the good work :)

Posted by: kati at July 16, 2010 11:27 PM

Happy Belated Blogiversary! Actually, WE should be thanking YOU for keeping us enlightened and laughing. Seriously. Thanks!

Posted by: ironic1 at July 19, 2010 1:26 PM

I read your blog everyday and have for 4 years now. I have come to rely on your book recommendations. 7.5 years ago I was married, working in Beverly Hills. Now, I'm widowed and living in Reno, NV. Life does change. Appreciate your humor and honesty.

Posted by: Rae at July 19, 2010 4:21 PM