Category Archives: Kids

Sentimental Saturday AND Thorns of Decision Cover Reveal

Ah, weekends. Time to spend time with my kiddo and catch up on the whole writing thing. And, of course, tackle the havoc that is my home after a long week. All I really want for my birthday (on the 23rd of this month, if you’re keeping track) is someone to just do one thorough clean-up of my house and fold my laundry for me. Is that too much to ask? 🙂

How do other single mommies with two-plus full-time jobs do it?

I did get a little bit of time to relax and celebrate last night, when I attended a special wedding. The beautiful, smiling and blushing bride was the little sister of one of my best friends from way back when.

My friend Beth and I were in eighth grade when her sister, Little Miss Jessi came into the world, and I remember clearly the night she was born. She was probably the closest thing I ever had to my own little sister, and I have these wonderful memories — when she first learned to talk, and would point to things that were interesting to her, calling out “Bo!” (we never knew what that meant.) The way she used to suck, not on her thumb, but on her first two fingers, until she drifted off to sleep and they fell out. The time we took her to the mall when she was a little over a year old, and all she wanted to do was crawl UP the slanty floor. Resorting to trickery, we called out “Bye, Jessi” and the little stink turned around, waved “bye” at us, and proceeded on her merry way.

Beth and I were co-leaders of her Girl Scout troop when she was a little older, and we had some fun times with those girls.

And now … last night she married the love of her life, and will soon be off to Germany with him, on his first deployment in the Air Force.

I know it shouldn’t be such a surprise to me. I’m all “growed up” now, and I have a little girl of my own, who grows much too quickly and will be five next month. The first two classes of fourth grade students I taught are adults now themselves, graduated and in college. Married, some of them. Even some babies. And I don’t know where it all went, but it reminds me of how precious the time is, how quickly it all goes.

And it’s wonderful at the same time — seeing Jessi so happy, hugging her in her wedding gown, seeing what a fine young woman she’s grown to be, and — even though I don’t know him well — seeing what a sweet, loving young man she’s picked out. Knowing that it’s true, that REAL teenagers and young men and women still exist in the world. That it’s not all as crazy and horrible as the media — and the rest of us, sometimes, would like to make it out to be. Sometimes, it’s magic.


And speaking of magic … thanks to my awesome cover designer, Mallory Rock at Novel Publicity, I can share the big reveal … the new cover for Thorns of Decision, which releases in just under seven weeks! June 1, 2012.


Happy Read Across America Day! :)

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!  Today, kids all across the country will be celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss, who would have been 108 today! (Yeah, I’ll bet he’s glad he’s not!)

So how do we celebrate the birthday of one of the best-loved writers of children’s books in history? BY READING! Yes, my living room today is littered with books (okay … there’s a toddler here who’s obsessed with emptying baskets, it’s possible my living room is littered with books everyday, ’cause there are usually about ten baskets of children’s books spread throughout the room). But still, we’re enjoying it.

We contemplated making green eggs and ham, but we’re kind of into natural foods and avoiding food dyes around here. So, we’re going to do something else green — OOBLEK! 🙂


Ooblek is a fun (messy) substance that is perfect both for sensory fun (for preschoolers) and also makes a great science lesson (is it a solid or a liquid? It has properties of both!)

Here is a fun video about making Ooblek. (The powder is cornstarch, the liquid is plain water. We like to add food coloring to ours — we just don’t EAT much food coloring!)


And … in celebration of reading for those of us a little past the Ooblek stage …


It’s Not All Just Because I’m Getting Old …

It is probably mostly because I’m so often distracted, as so many of us are, between working and writing and marketing, and doing the single-mommy thing. There are so many little things that slip my mind sometimes, or the day just gets away from me.

But sometimes it’s nice to have a little reminder that lots of these things are just part of being human.

And the laugh is nice, too. 🙂

Tonight, my sweet Little Goose was getting herself set up to play in the living room and watch some shows, so she came and got her little bowl of broccoli from me, and I saw her, with the remote to the Roku tucked under her arm. A few minutes later there’s the whine — the kind only a four-year-old can properly muster. “Mom! What did you do with the remote?”


“You had it! What did you do with it?” It was the kind of pout you can see from the other room.

“Little Goose — I just saw you with it.”

No … you put it up somewhere earlier so the babies couldn’t get it!”

“And after that, sweetheart, you had it. You were just carrying it. I saw you.”

“Well then where did I put it?” Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. Back to the kitchen.

I started giggling. Immediately.

What? Oh. It was in my hand the whole time.

Fortunately, she has a great sense of humor.

And her mom’s skills at multi-tasking.



Root Beard

My Little Goose has always had near-perfect grammar and articulation (doubly cursed with a mom who is both a teacher and a writer, I suppose). I’m not complaining, of course, but it did mean that there weren’t a whole lot of cute little toddler-isms in her speech. So, I just have to say … I love that she says “root beard.”

So, um … Santa?


Just sayin’ …

‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving …

All month, the kids and I have been studying and thinking about holiday traditions. We’ve read the Thanksgiving story from Core Knowledge, we’ve colored turkeys, and pilgrims, and Native Americans, and we’ve thought about the things that we are thankful for. In the meantime, I’m trying to forge my way through the process of creating holiday traditions. If you are a single mom, like I am, or have small/limited/far-away family, again like I do, you might understand what I mean. 🙂

Three years ago today, my mom passed away, after a 13-month battle with lung cancer. She was 50. Little Goose was eighteen months old. That’s her in the picture above … with a 2-month-old Little Goose, and 5-year-old Amazing K, my cousin’s fantastic daughter. The awesome guy in the picture is my dad, now known as The World’s Best Papa.

When my mom went Home, any semblance of holiday traditions we might have been holding on to went with her.  There is a large, extended family on my mom’s side, including Amazing K … but they all live far away, and we can’t celebrate the holidays together in the way we all would like to most of the time.

And I … am not so good at coming up with some of this stuff. I want Little Goose to grow up with traditions, and fun, and a sense of belonging and family. Tomorrow, we will celebrate with dear friends, and I love that. I love that sometimes the people we choose to have in our lives become another definition of family.  It’s a theme I strive for in my storytelling, as well.

But … I also want some traditions that are ours, in the tiny, little family that we have. And I need some help. 🙂 What are some of your favorite/unique things you do to celebrate Thanksgiving and the holiday season that we could do — one busy, distracted Mama, and one precious preschool girl?


So last night, as Little Goose and I were going to bed, she asked me, “Mom, how does everyone in the whole town know the word mean?”

A little startled by how profound she seems sometimes, and looking for clarity, I asked, “What do you mean, sweetheart?”

“I mean, how does everyone in the whole universe know what mean is?”

These are the questions that, as a parent, leave me gasping for breath. I don’t know the answer to that question. It’s one of the fundamental questions of being human, and what it means to make choices about what we do, and how we do it, and how we treat people.  Of course, she’s four. She wasn’t looking for an existential discussion. (I dunno, maybe she was. She is my kid.) She may have just been stalling bedtime.

It is a big question, though. I know it’s one she’s been learning about, as she learns to deal with other kids and other people. She’s struggled with doing mean things herself lately, so I can see where the topic might have been on her mind. It was certainly a question I couldn’t just give her an answer to, not even one of the long-winded ones she sets herself up for sometimes. It’s a question/theme I could take an entire series of books to explore (and certainly one that just may make it into my current project).

Anyway, these are the thoughts on my mind this beautiful fall, Friday morning.

How many words did I write yesterday? 1,031 – Not as much as I would have liked, but at least I did break the thousand mark! 🙂

How many words have I written this week? 5,041 Halfway to my goal, anyway. Too bad the week is nearly over. 🙂

Book Two currently sits at 18,774 words. Today’s goal is to at least break 20k!

Calm is Under-Rated

Seriously, I don’t think that there’s ever going to actually be a time that my life is calm. Even accounting for the fact that I am the proud mother of an active four-year-old, and my definition of calm has changed… my life still never matches that description. On Thursday evening, I decided I have to move.

Now, I’ve contemplated moving before, but decided against it, because the place where we live looks completely perfect for us – it’s a nice, two-bedroom townhouse with a full basement, an attached garage, and a small patio.  It’s also located in the middle of a beautiful, enormous courtyard, filled with shady trees, a huge swath of smooth concrete that isn’t a walkway, and a big gazebo.  Lovely. It’s quiet and calm here, and my rent is incredibly reasonable.  I have a great landlord who takes care of any issues promptly.

Perfect. Until Thursday.  On Thursday evening, my landlord brought over three notices he had received of my violating the HOA covenants.  Now, I’ve violated the HOA once before, and that was bad enough.  My crime? “Storing” a milk-delivery cooler outside my back door on my (private, personal) driveway.  I should have known then.

My three violations now?  a.) Watching some kids here during the summer. b.) Using (washable) sidewalk chalk on the concrete. c.) Allowing my child and her friends to ride tricycles and scooters on aforementioned wide swath of concrete (which apparently serves no purpose.)  There are benches and trees scattered about the concrete — it is not a walkway.

My four-year-old basically cannot play at her home.

So, we found a new home today, and we will begin the crazy, long process of moving, which will be completed on or before September 15.  In the meantime, I am distracted and haven’t been able to focus for the last couple of days on the things I really want to.  The new situation should be much better for us in almost every way, except rent-wise, so please pray for provision for us.

Also… any moving help would be greatly appreciated!

Once we’re moved, I’m throwing a big party.  The new place actually has its own little yard, but we’ll  also back up to a fantastic greenbelt AND an enormous lake and park.  We’ll celebrate with a combination housewarming-book release-SUPER late 4th birthday party for Little Goose.

Yes, you’re invited. 🙂

Forward Motion

I have to keep telling myself that “forward motion” is going forward, even on the days when it’s slow going. 🙂  I got almost nothing writing-wise accomplished today because my router died, or at least I’m pretty sure it did. My laptop’s ability to connect with the internet has been spotty at best for the last couple of days, and the Roku has been having problems as well.  I was finally able to make it out of the house to by a new router this evening, once I was down to only the three kiddos who are here for the night (one who lives here, two who needed to be here so early tomorrow morning that tonight counts).  There was zero chance of stepping out for a new one earlier today with those three plus a two-year-old and a baby.

And yes, I know I could have gotten some writing done without the internet connection… but there were those five kids here all day, and I spent way too much of the very limited internet access I was able to manage with the needs-to-be-put-out-of-its-misery desktop researching where I could find an incredibly inexpensive replacement if the internet issue haunting the laptop happened to be worse than just the router.

Thank you, God, that things seem to be working fine with the new router (and thank you double, triple, maybe even quadruple that Dan stopped by with Kacie to say good-night to the girls just as I was having a crazy difficult time getting the new network up and running!) Maybe tomorrow will be a little bit more productive.

On the awesome note of the day, my brother got back to me with a few text messages’ worth of feedback on Dusk Gate, and aside from some good constructiveness on where he would have liked more (the ending, everyone wants more on the ending)… he called it “thought-provoking, entertaining, and detailed” and then called my details “captivating, like Ayn Rand’s style.”  Which I will take as a compliment. 🙂  Especially because, even though he’s my brother (maybe because he’s my brother), if he thought the story was crap or un-enjoyable, or even just not his style, he would have told me that.


Well, no. The momentum on Book Two hasn’t lasted.  I have been doing serious editing on Book One, and I have gotten lots of great feedback so far.  Much, much love to my beta readers! You guys are awesome! I love that Dusk Gate has already brought some fantastic new people into my life, and also helped me to really reconnect with some wonderful people I’ve known for a long time. Have I said it before? I love being a writer.

I am really enjoying figuring out the Twitter thing, and blogging, and … yeesh!  I am tired tonight. So tired that I’m not sure I will finish this post. 🙂 The “schedule” of life around here lately has been so crazy and out of whack. A routine is my new high priority! Because of this, and all of the crazy/great/wonderful/new things going on lately, I think I only slept about three or four hours last night, broken into chunks.  Had a new kiddo start today, a sweet, adorable little guy I already love.  Of course, we’re not in a routine together yet!  And my other semi-new guy was a tad jealous and clingy over the newcomer, of course… before today he never wanted me to pick him up so much!

Of course, all of the changes are most challenging for Little Goose, who is having to learn to share, and deal with kids younger than her who get into things, and snuggle with her mommy, and put things in their mouths, and require diaper changes.  It’s a learning process for all of us, and all new endeavors are marked with fits and starts, progressions, and regressions.  Little Goose, for her part, put a couple of things in her mouth at the store tonight, and wanted baby food for a snack after dinner. The gross ball at the store got ixnayed very quickly, but I did buy her some baby food for a snack.  She loves the apples and plums (it tastes like applesauce!), and ate most of the pureed carrots she picked, too.  I figure it’s a small price to pay to help with the transition.

And it’s made me think of how much people don’t change. How in some ways, we’re all still four years old when it comes to big changes and new challenges and expectations.  Some days, we rejoice and revel and we’re on top of the world. Other days, it would be nice if we could curl up on someone’s lap and “eat baby food.”  I know, without a doubt, if I had fought Goose over the baby food issue that I would have heard about it every night for the next month, and the times I’m feeding the baby would become less and less agreeable. Other behaviors would probably have manifested as well. Instead, I decided to try and be as patient with it as I could, and I went with it. While I imagine she might still ask for some of the flavors she really does enjoy, the baby food issue will probably pass rather quickly just from acknowledging her need and trying to gently meet it. (Don’t for one second believe I’m always that patient or centered about these kinds of things!)

It makes me wonder though, how things might be different if we treated ourselves with that kind of patience and latitude when we need it as we deal with our own progressions and regressions. If we stopped, acknowledged them for what they are, and tried to meet the need. How would we be different?