Sunday, December 30, 2007

New beginnings at the end of the year

Today we had our son baptized so it's a new beginning for him in his spiritual life.  (Not that he is aware of it quite yet!)  Our priest really involved our other two kids so that was wonderful!  Two of my nieces, along with my sister and parents were able to be there so the day was made even more special.

2008 will bring many changes!  It is amazing to see how much J has changed in two months and this is just the beginning!

Speaking of beginnings, the hubbie and I got a joint Christmas gift the day after Christmas--a new computer!  We were deciding whether to upgrade or get something new and decided on an iMac!  It's wonderful and easy but different enough from my PC that I'll be spending a little time just getting adjusted to a new way of doing things!  (Though I'm excited as some great writing software out there is available for Mac only and now I can try it!)  (If they just had one that could write the perfect ending for me, I'd be set!)

I hope this holiday season has been going well for all of you!  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's that time of year!

It's that time of year when I can't manage to post blog entries, apparently!

The baby is six weeks old and seems to think that he should get more attention than the computer--go figure! I am TRYING to get Christmas cards out and tried to save time by having our names pre-printed on them this year. (Yes, I am that lazy). My name came back misspelled however, so I am picking up a new batch later this week. So if you are expecting snail mail from me, it won't be any earlier this year! (I don't think I've ever gotten them out much before Christmas so why mess with tradition now?)

Today is also my 14th wedding anniversary! The hubbie does not read the blog but I figure 14 years is worth mentioning and celebrating!

I hope you all are doing well and surviving--I mean enjoying--the holiday season! ;)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

One can dream!

Hubbie and the two older kids are at a basketball game; the baby is lying on his playmat, gazing right past the colored lights and music floating above his head and I have just finished putting groceries away. So, I'm pouring a glass of red wine and I'm ready to curl up with a good book.
(Instead, I'm going to sip my wine while I fold laundry but I'm going to think about which book I hope to get to!) ;)

Are you enjoying your weekend?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

'Tis the season

We received our first measurable snow of the season during the night. Every other school in town seems to be on a two-hour delay except for the school my children attend. It doesn't bother me a bit but they were a little sad to get out of the car and gingerly traverse the school parking lot at the normal time this morning.

I think the temps will warm to the 40s tomorrow so it won't stick around too long but I think we'll get more this weekend. I guess I know what our (their) Saturday plans will be!

How's the weather where you are?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's a new day!

I may not finish the novel but I have more hope today. Everything looks brighter today! J slept in his bassinet for almost 5 hours last night! It is amazing how much brighter life seems after a little R.E.M. sleep!

The rest of my family spent the night up at South Bend last night and will return this afternoon. Who knows what the little one and I can accomplish in the meantime? :)

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Nano a no go

I said they were good INTENTIONS, right?
I have given birth to yet another "velcro child." He sleeps during the day--when he's being held!
It's progress. When I first brought him home, he wanted to be held all night but would sleep in a bassinet or pack-n-play during the day. I was hoping we'd get the days and nights worked out so I could sleep at night. We've gotten that far!
However, I was hoping to do some writing during the day and that is very hard to do one-handed! I have some great new ideas but typing one finger at a time is slow going and I don't have the energy to do much now (11:30pm).
SO...stay tuned this time next year...maybe I'll have made more progress by then! (If he hasn't started walking...)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I lost 2 inches

J is now 11 days old and is so well behaved! ;) He accompanied me to the salon this morning and was kind enough to sleep long enough for me to get a few highlights and have 2 inches cut off of my hair!

I'm not quite back into my pre-preggo jeans yet but after going darker last month, it was time to lighten the hair up again and lose some weight there! It's amazing how much lighter I feel already just by making my hair shorter and blonder!

I'm trying to lose a few baby pounds as well by exercising my will power each time I pass the kids' Halloween candy!

Friday, November 09, 2007

We are still here!

We're settling into our new routine--if you can call it a routine already! After a week of not driving, I'm back to taking the kiddos to school successfully without arriving much later than we used to. (Most days we could not afford to, anyway!) So...we have work to do to get the kids there early enough to socialize with their friends before school but otherwise, I'm managing getting out of the house with three kids (so far)!

I've also made the insane choice to attempt Nano again this year. What makes me think I can reach 50,000 words this year if I could not last year? Limited time. Last year was the first year that my son was in school every day. It was half-day kindergarten but I finally had "free time" every morning. With Joshua's arrival, I have lost guaranteed free time again for the next few years but I'm hoping to use some of his naptimes to sit down and speed-write. That's the goal of Nano anyway, right? Just to write without stopping to edit or consider whether what your writing has any redeeming value. So if my fingers can ramble on during some naptimes and I can grab a nap myself during others, I'll be successful! (Shocked but successful!)

How many of my writing pals out there are doing Nano again this year? Good luck!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

He's here!

Our little bean arrived on Thursday! Joshua Thomas was born at 2:03pm, weighing 8lbs, 3oz.
My parents are still here helping out and baby is settling in and doing fine.

Hope you're enjoying November!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! Hope you get some great treats! ;)

(As for us, the doctor tried to help things along but we may not such a big treat today! If not, the doctor will try inducing tomorrow!) So I may be out with my knight-in-shining-armor and Hannah Montana after all!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I'll try!

Anyone aiming for writing a novel in a month this year? I'm still toying with the idea of doing NaNo again...though with a newborn, this is likely more of a dream than publishing a novel at all!
Anyone else?

My parents are here to help but no baby yet! I'll keep you updated on that front, too!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Still hanging in there...

No--I can't blame my lapses in blogging on actually giving birth. The little bean is still hanging in there! Between making sure he has a clean outfit to wear home from the hospital, making sure that I have a clean outfit to wear home, homework and costumes and reports for the other two--I haven't had much creative energy left!

Yes, my children will be wearing store-bought costumes for Halloween once again this year!
How are you? Are you ready for Halloween?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Rock Star

So the hubbie wants to take the kids to the Hannah Montana concert, along with all the other parents trying all means necessary now to acquire tickets!!

Shhhhhh!

I'm sending you off to another blog today but come back! I promise a post of my own, soon!

For now, go read this wise post over at Lessons from the Laundry!

Monday, October 15, 2007

In other words

Bad spellers of the world--untie!

Take a break from your crossword puzzles to check a few other word-related posts today!

Margie has a great post on favorite sayings and Sweetviolet posted a link to an entertaining lecture from Erin McKean. (I used to take issue with words-that-are-not-real-words being in the dictionary--like "muggle." After listening to this talk however, I've decided I should be much more open-minded!)

Respect

As I was finishing the book, preparing to put some new tactics to use, my daughter won the "virtue of the week" last week at school--for respect! My kids are pretty respectful out in the world already--what I really need is a book to help them remember to be more respectful at home! (Of course, the traits that really irk me --like sarcasm and the eye roll--are the ones she has learned here at home.)

Whether your children are the most or least respectful little people on the planet, Ms. Rigby's book offers some helpful, hopeful advice. Ms. Rigby offers suggestions similar to those I found in Sheperding a Child's Heart but her book is much easier to take. Check it out for yourself!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Simple math

I'm trying to teach our daughter that sometimes an answer is not wrong but you have to consider the context for the best answer. For instance, on a math word problem, your reply should be a mathematical answer.

She brought home "money math"--a sheet of money related addition and subtraction problems. However, at the end there was a word problem:
"If you put the money from each money bag into one large money bag, will you be putting in an amount that is greater than or less than $10,000?"

My daughter's answer: "Yes, you would."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Glamour is in the eye of the beholder

The woman who cut my hair yesterday asked if I worked before I had kids. I answered in the affirmative (without moving my head, of course) and went on to describe a few secretarial and administrative positions. I remarked, "nothing glamourous!"

Then I came home. I was actually happy to find that Sno-Bowl, unlike bleach and various other cleansers and toilet bowl cleaners, actually does remove hard-water stains from my toilet bowls! (Sno-Bowl was only 97 cents and actually advertised that it would remove the hard water stains but I thought I was too smart to fall for the hype on the label).

Then I did laundry and found several pairs of soiled underwear, stuck to the bottom of a hamper.

In the afternoon, I picked up the kids and my daughter--who had stayed up too late finishing a book the night before--burst into tears 4 separate times before 4:30pm.

We made it through homework, studying for quizzes, dinner and bedtime. As I sat down to read a children's book last night (to help quiz my daughter, who has been having trouble with reading comprehension quizzes), it occured to me that I was wrong.

I used to wear heels and makeup, drink coffee with adults and no matter how busy my day was, I could usually manage to still squeeze in a game of computer solitaire. My house was fairly neat (we weren't home a lot and we did not have much stuff) and I could go several DAYS without loading my washing machine. Ah, the glamorous life!

**************
I was going to insert a link up there for "Sno-bol" from Amazon.com but felt I should add a warning here! When you pull up the product, it mentions a "high acid level" and adds that it "kills Gems!" (Take off that jewelry before scrubbing the pot!!!) ;)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

What is the what?

Valentino's father tells the story of creation--the beginning for the monyjang people.

--Yes, he continued, God showed man the idea of cattle, and the cattle were magnificent. They were in every way exactly what the monyjang would want. The man and woman thanked God for such a gift, because they knew that the cattle would bring them milk and meat and prosperity of every kind. But God was not finished.
--He never is, Sadiq said, to a wave of laughter.
--God said, "You can either have these cattle, as my gift to you, or you can have
the What." My father waited for the necessary response.
--But...Sadiq said, helping out, --What is the What? he said, with an air of theatrical inquisitiveness.
--Yes, yes. That was the question. "What is the What?" the first man asked. And God
said to the man, "I cannot tell you. Still, you have to choose. You have to choose
between the cattle and the What."
We catch glimpses of what the "What" may be as Valentino's story progresses. Dave Eggers has novelized the story of Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese refugee now living in the United States and working to improve the lives of his family and countrymen back in Sudan. It is an inspiring tale of survival and hope.

Proceeds from the purchase of the book also go to the Valentino Achak Deng foundation, which is working to rebuild Marial Bai, Valentino's birthplace. So simply buying the book helps--and reading it gives you a better understanding of the civil war that raged for so long in southern Sudan and still affects areas such as Darfur.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Invasion of the Webkinz

My son saved enough money to buy a webkinz for himself so now he's hooked, just like his sister.

Although they have a computer for their use in the basement, now they want to borrow the laptop, too so they can invite each other to their "rooms."

When I explain that they each have their own rooms upstairs that they can invite each other too--they just roll their eyes. I should be happy to have quiet, contented kids who are playing "with" each other; I am disturbed however, that I have no computer access while they use TWO to play 10 feet from each other!

(These kids are never getting cell phones! I can already see them sitting at opposite ends of the couch, texting each other!)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Roll over, Pachalbel!

A friend emailed me this link--I'm still laughing and crying! Go check out THE bedtime song!

http://www.readysetmom.com/readysetmom/2007/09/a-bedtime-song-.html

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Step on a crack...

Step on a crack, break your mother's back. It's old, been tried and is tired. It's the 21st century -- a sidewalk crack isn't going to hurt anyone. You need something new--something different.

Look around your garage. If your family moves often, that will help. If you have a dad and grandad that might have built a custom crate for some of the items you've moved a few times--that would be ideal!

Wait until you and dad have opened the crate and removed all the toys you need in your new garage. Go ahead and play with your sister--act like having the scooter and the hula hoops out for the first time in months is enough diversion and your parents will let you two play in the garage unsupervised. After you've played for a few minutes, it is time to put the plan in action. If your sister is old enough to figure out how to pry the nails up from the plywood with the back of the hammer, this will save you much time.

The key is to do this quietly so that mom will wonder what you're up to and will come out to the garage--you need her to come to you for this!

When she wonders how you got the lid open again and extolls the dangers of playing near an open box with sharp nails protruding from the lid, simply explain that you desperately need a tire pump that is clearly not in the box.

When she looks once more to appease you, try to "help" by shifting the lid a little. This looks frightening and if you are 6 years old, it IS frightening so quickly drop the lid! Mom only yells for a second--the blood spurting from her arm surprises everyone!

This is much more effective than trying to find a crack in a brand-new sidewalk.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I am an underachiever

Granted, I'm not functioning at 100% with this head cold. I made it to Mass with the kids today but was looking forward to a nap when I got home! Having just one sick child home all day yesterday tired me out!

Before napping however, I made a bowl of oatmeal and turned on the TODAY show. They were interviewing the Duggar family. The couple brought all of their seventeen children to the show. Not only do they have seventeen children--ranging in age from a few months to 19 years old--but they homeschool all of them as well.

Devastated by a miscarriage many years ago that the couple learned was related to a prior use of some form of birth control, they asked God to please bless them with children. Mrs. Dungar even said that she'd love to have more!

God bless 'em! (I'm still trying to convince the hubbie that we will be able to handle 3 kids! We can. I am not promising that we will also retain any form of sanity but I don't think that is necessarily a requirement for good parenting!)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I'm not going to win the race!

I am still behind...at least on blogging! (...and exercising, and sleeping, and getting the baby's room set up--spent this morning trying to decide on a "theme" for the nursery!)

At least I'm getting caught up on laundry!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Still behind...

I'm still not keeping up but I'm trying! Both Pavarotti and Madeleine L'Engle passed away this weekend. You can find a lovely, albeit brief, tribute here:

http://www.novelspot.net/node/1862

Keeping up!

I guess we have not been keeping up with the latest trends. (Not that I'd advocate it, anyway.)

However, I thought my daughter was turned on to something new when her friend introduced her to Webkinz this weekend! Apparently, they're just new to us!

Up to now, my son has spent hours on video games and the computer and my daughter has just played along for a short while. Until she discovered Webkinz online!

When we moved here, I planned to share the laptop with the hubbie and let the kids use the PC in the basement. However, the PC is faster so I have not completely made the break. I may need to now as I had to quickly squeeze in my turn this weekend so she could get back and "do her jobs" online! If only I could get her to be so prompt with her real-life chores!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I am a bit off-balance!

I've already mentioned the stretching but I thought my expanding torso was less alarming when covered up. Apparently, this is not the case.

This morning I smiled at a perfect stranger.
"When is your baby due?" she asked.
"Halloween."
"You have that long to go?"
I nodded.
"Are you having twins?"
"Nope--just one boy." I'm still smiling.
"Wow!"

Still smiling/gritting teeth...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Just smile and wave, boys!

Last week, we had a great increase in the number of Canada geese in the pond across the street. I realize that they are migrating about this time. I don't know if my daughter's imagination was fueled by hopes that it was cooling dramatically here or if she saw one odd looking bird but she is convinced that among the geese, she saw a penguin at the edge of the water!


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Random information

I saw this at Tracy's blog. Here is how you play!

  • Leave me a comment saying anything random, like [the food you hate most in all the world]. Something random. Whatever you like.
  • I respond by asking you five personal questions so I can get to know you better.
  • You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
  • You will include this explanation and offer to ask someone else in the post.
  • When others comment asking to be asked, you will ask them five questions.

And now...my questions from Tracy!

1 - In what genre would you categorize your novel-in-progress?
Historical Fiction.


2 - What is the best parenting or baby book that you have read?
Hmmm...I need to find and re-read some of the baby books! This 6-year age gap between my youngest and this bean on the way makes me think I might need a review!
I am currently reading Raising Respectful Children in a Disrespectful World. I have not finished it yet so I can't give it a fair rating but it's worth a look.
I don't know that I have ONE favorite but I found Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline very helpful and I loved The Three Martini Playdate!

3 - What is your best advice for getting out and meeting people when you move to a new town?This one is hard but gets a little easier with each move--especially with children! I could sit at home all day and become a hermit but I can't let my children live that way (or have them kill each other when they are each other's sole playmates)!

Go to the playgrounds or even play outside in your front yard! Even if it seems incredibly hot, kids in the neighborhood sense when there are other kids outside--especially new ones! Sooner or later, they bring their parents along to say hello, too! Trying to get your kids involved with things means you meet other moms in the process. They're always my first friends!

My kids go to Catholic school which means they don't attend the same public school as most of the neighbors. My daughter especially is very shy at the beginning of school so I made a concerted effort this summer to track down families attending their school so the kids would recognize a few friendly faces on their first day. (I, in turn, knew a few moms on the first day, too!)

4 - How does Indiana compare to Kansas?
I see more cornfields!! ;)
We have found the people to be so friendly, welcoming and helpful both in Kansas and Indiana. While I've certainly seen "southern hospitality," our neighbors in both Midwestern states have really gone out of their way to welcome us!


5 - Is everything prepped and ready for Little Bean's arrival or do you still have lists of stuff to buy and organize?
I am most certainly not skipping around repeating Spongebob's motto! I am NOT ready! We have been getting other rooms in order so that we appear "moved in." The baby has a room but it's empty! I started shopping for bassinets, cribs, etc. but haven't actually purchased them yet. I will start this week!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Imagine the horror

Who needs horror movies when you have the imagination of a child?

Natalie caught me putting lotion on my expanding waistline yesterday. Understandably, she could not take her eyes off of that area.

"It's not a pretty sight, is it?" I asked her, grinning.

"Why are you putting the lotion on?"

I explained that the baby was growing and stretching my stomach, making the skin itch.

"He's STRETCHING your skin?"

"Well, he is growing so my skin has to stretch to give him room."

I should have stopped there but did not think before adding, "It looks pretty tight already, huh?"

Her eyes widened and she looked up at me, quite concerned. "What if it stretches too much and he rips his way right out of there?"

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tuned in?

OK--between getting two kids to school on time, finishing up various details around the house to make it look like we've settled in and the various errands that are involved with "life"--I do a fair amount of running around. So when I do sit still, the little bean inside decides it is his time to do aerobics. We both have gotten accustomed to the routine.

If I am more active than usual on a given day, he'll go ahead and kick a few times while I'm moving, too but for the most part, he waits for me to sit or lie down. I get a few jabs while I'm driving--sometimes more if the music is loud. ;)

Today I got the kids to school on time and stayed for Mass. A kick here and there but not much. I talked with another mom in the parking lot for a few minutes afterwards but was not interrupted. Once I got in and started the car, Born to be Wild began blaring from the radio. Bean started kicking immediately and danced around for the entirety of the song.

This can't be a good sign!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

Who's the Boss?

"You aren't the boss of me!"

You've heard this before and kids say it to each other all of the time. I was not impressed however, when my son said this to me the other night! I was sorely tempted to reply, "I AM SO the boss of you," but remained calm as I simply stated, "Yes, I am."

"No! My teacher told us today that we are the bosses of ourselves."

Ultimately, I can't argue with that statement. He is responsible for his own actions and the consequences that follow when he doesn't do the right thing. I am assuming that there was some discussion along these lines in class that day, too as I can't imagine a teacher surrendering authority to 25 first-graders!

He still had to pick up his clothes and go to bed.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Housework is a snap!

It is amazing how much housework I accomplish when I've planned to spend the morning writing.

I'm planting myself in the chair now.

As I go--I know my Dad doesn't read the blog but just in case he breaks with tradition today--Happy Birthday, Dad! ;)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What will you be when you grow up?

Your Career Type: Artistic

You are expressive, original, and independent.
Your talents lie in your artistic abilities: creative writing, drama, crafts, music, or art.

You would make an excellent:

Actor - Art Teacher - Book Editor
Clothes Designer - Comedian - Composer
Dancer - DJ - Graphic Designer
Illustrator - Musician - Sculptor

The worst career options for your are conventional careers, like bank teller or secretary.



I haven't published a book yet but note my worst career options. I paid the bills working as a secretary for years!

Keep 'em coming

We should find out more today but doctors now think that my FIL has stomach cancer rather than esophageal cancer. (It may have begun in the stomach and progressed to the esophagus.)
The treatment will be much the same but the prognosis is not as good. If you can keep him and the family in your prayers, we would all much appreciate it.

Thanks!

Monday, August 20, 2007

The big C

My father-in-law, Dr. C, has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer. I've been debating whether or not to mention it here and decided to wait until he had at least completed his tests.

My husband, a physician, feared the worst--knowing that in most cases this disease has progressed quite far by the time it is diagnosed. His father has been lucky--not lucky enough to be at stage one--but lucky enough to be considered a "late two or early three." This means he has treatment options and some time.

He is being treated at a world-class cancer center and it looks like he will be able to be enrolled in a study involving a new, promising drug as well. My FIL and his family are devastated but there are many reasons to have hope. Dr. C does not smoke, rarely drinks and is in otherwise wonderful health for his age. This is actually making it tougher for him mentally as he wants to know "why" but physically he has that advantage. Of course, he can still use all of the prayers he can get!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wah

Rene tagged me with this over a week ago and it has taken me this long to finish it! The kids started school yesterday--I don't have much to moan about! ;)

4 things that should go into Room 101 and be removed from the face of the earth:
1. ”Reality” TV
2. War
3. Hunger (borrowed from Rene but I have to agree)
4. Most Mattel toys, (apparently)


3 things people do that make you want to shake them violently:
1. Preach to others that God hates a particular group of people based on their sexual orientation, race, gender, etc.
2. Believe that God supports one particular political party
3. Let their kids ride bikes/skateboards/scooters, etc. without a helmet (completely plagiarized this one from Rene, too!)


2 things you find yourself moaning about:
1. My feet hurt, are swollen, etc.
2. Hannah Montana’s latest soundtrack is stuck in my head!


1 thing the above answers tell you about yourself:
I’m intolerant, hormonal, not very Christian (if I want to shake other people) and I clearly cannot count. (To TRY to sum all that up in 1 thing—I’m a pregnant blonde).


I tag: Anyone who has something to moan about—let’s hear it!

RULESLink to the original meme at freelancecynic.com so people know what it’s all about!Be as honest as possible, This is about letting people get to know the real you!Try not to insult anyone - unless they really deserve it or are very, very ugly!Post these rules at the end of every meme!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Proud Mama?

You've seen those guys at football games (or maybe you are one). The ones without a shirt--letters painted on their torsos--performing for the television cameras. I've often wondered--especially when it's snowing--who does that? My husband has commented, "their parents must be so proud!"

We may get our chance to find out one day. I had a preview the other afternoon.

Coming home from the pool, I told my son he did not have to put his shirt back on. He sat on his towel and buckled in. By the time we got home, he had not only found the pen in the backseat but had drawn a complete face on his torso. The shapes were mostly triangular--he resembled a walking jack-o-lantern. He bounced out of the car, pushing the sides of his abdomen together and made his belly-button "speak" to me.

Pride was not my initial emotion.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Oh, Baby!

As you can see from the baby ticker above, it won't be too much longer until this little guy arrives! I feel like we're almost starting all over again--partly because there will be a six-year age difference between my youngest and this baby and also because we've given away all of our "baby stuff."

I am sure that there were plenty of options out there 9 years ago when I had my daughter but I did not shop much online then. I tried to search for bassinets and cradles this week and can't believe how many choices there are!

I had a bassinet that I used for my other two. It worked fine but I recall thinking that if I could just rock it a little that I might have been able to get them back to sleep a few times without having to take them out right away, etc. So I'm thinking a cradle might be the way to go this time around. Then again, with two older siblings in school (and I'm sure we'll be into some other activities soon), this kid will likely be toted around so often that he'll get plenty of motion! (With my oldest, I'd come up with excuses to put her in the car--that would always settle her. I'm thinking it won't be tough to come with a reason to get this kid on the road!)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Spirits in New Orleans

Raziela is a smart, strong young woman attending Tulane in the 1920s. She is an advocate for birth control and tries to secretly educate other women in New Orleans--a dangerous ambition at the time. She plans to attend medical school after her graduation but tragically, never gets that far.

The Mercy of Thin Air follows Razi's life or more accurately, her afterlife. Through flashbacks interspersed throughout the book, we learn about her life, her love--Andrew, and her dreams. Planning to become an obstetrician and being deeply in love with Andrew are not enough; when Andrew asks her one day what she really wants--her answer is "to be immortal." She explains that one lifetime is not enough for all of the trouble she is capable of causing!

The novel bounces between generations, time periods and cities in Louisiana--though never very far. As Razi searches for her lost Andrew, she moves in with a couple, Scott and Amy, and becomes concerned with their struggling marriage Amy's issues. As she gets involved, they reunite Razi with people from her own past. She is joined by a few friends who are also in "the between"--souls who have left earth but not yet gone on to what lies beyond.

Traveling between time periods was a little disconcerting at first but it did not take long to become accustomed to the rythym of the book. Of course, I am a sucker for a good story set in New Orleans and this novel did not disappoint! In addition to familiar locations and compelling characters, the novel deals with issues that may not seem as compelling today. By 1929, women had won the vote but did not have access to birth control. Razi, attending one of the few universities that admitted women at that time, leaves literature hidden in the college's library and hosts secret parties to give this information to other women.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

All you need is Love!

For those of you out there writing romance, check this out! I can't wait to read your first chapter!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Don't worry, be happy!

First, red wine and dark chocolate were good for you. That made me happy.

Now, I can have a cup of coffee and go for a run (in the sun)!

It's all about positive attitudes. Coffee makes me happy, getting some sun makes me really happy...I'll just have to make sure I keep moving while I'm outside!

(Of course, I've got another 2 months before I'm drinking wine or coffee but who's counting?)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Georgia on my mind

Joshilyn Jackson has written another gripping tale featuring memorable southern characters, including one more memorable aunt! While Bernese is different than Aunt Flo from Gods in Alabama, both women will remain in your thoughts long after you close the books!

Bernese and her sisters are all members of the Frett family who have raised Nonny, who is biologically a Crabtree. The Crabtrees and the Fretts have had an ongoing feud that began long before the story begins but intensifies after Nonny's birth and rages throughout the novel.

Set in the town of Between, the novel focuses on Nonny who is caught between the two warring families, the two towns of Between and Athens and between her husband and best friend.

Ms. Jackson's books are great for those of us who need that "southern fix" in our reading! (While I still get the argument that Florida is not really part of "The South," the part I grew up in is dern close to southern Georgia!) Having said that, I cannot wait for Ms. Jackson's next novel which is set in Florida!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Old Folks at Home

We returned from Florida on Tuesday. It was great to see everyone and spend some time at my mom and dad's "resort." (I'm not sure my parents see it quite the same way but for my kids--it's a bit better than many other vacations! True, there are no roller coasters but they get breakfast cooked to order, lunch and dinner with no wait--in fact, they're reluctant to get out of the pool to eat--and there is the pool! A pool in the backyard! No car ride, elevator ride, no keys necessary to get to the POOL!) As if all that weren't enough for a summer vacation, they have cousins to play with! So it's a nice break for them (on other vacations, they are each other's only peer). This summer they've met a few kids in our new town but don't have many friends yet so it was wonderful for them to have cousins around to play with all week!

While we did visit my folks at home, they are not yet old. The title of the post is of course, also the title of the Florida state song. The first line of that song, "Way down upon the Swanee river..." put me in mind of the other story while I was home. People boating and fishing on the Suwannee river in Florida are being hit by jumping sturgeon! Talk about some old residents! These ancient fish jump right out of the water--no one knows exactly why. The river is lower this year than it has been, more people are out on the river so the problem has become more noticeable.

We celebrated my mom's birthday a week early while I was there, which was nice. Her actual birthday is tomorrow so Mom: if you read this in time, Happy Birthday!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Never Enough

I am six months pregnant now and the kids are excited but it is not enough. They asked tonight if we could please adopt an eleven or twelve-year-old girl.

(N is tired of having to be the oldest; now she'll have TWO younger BROTHERS. So her life is unfair but the fact that we did not sit down and have a serious discussion--ending in her getting her way--helped her come to the conclusion that we are simply mean).

Friday, July 06, 2007

Whatever gets you through the night

It started with an alarm going off at about midnight. It seemed to coming from my son's room. After the second or third time that it went off, I went to investigate in the dark. It seemed to be coming from the stack of clean clothes in his room but I know I did not plant anything in there. It must be the watch he found today. I guess he had big plans for the middle of the night! I can't find the watch, of course, so I pray that whatever it's set for has passed and we're done. No such luck.

I listen to it go off a few more times before I decide to get back up and hide/destroy the thing. Except when I go back, the noise is not coming from his room--now it's coming from N's.

She has an "organizer" that she won from some contest that has an alarm that has been going off nightly. It has not seemed so loud on past evenings but I have heard it almost every night. Earlier today, I did ask her if she could find the thing and turn it off. She didn't think she'd unpacked that box yet. (So helpful). I asked her kindly to unpack the box, find the thing and turn it off before she went to bed.

Apparently, to a nine-year-old, that means move the box away from the closet at the far end of your room and move it near your door. Just to make sure Mom can hear it tonight.

I wrapped the box in towels and shoved it in a cupboard in the laundry room. But now I'm up.
I went back to bed for an hour, staring at the ceiling, trying to figure out if that is the baby's elbow or foot jabbing my right side and coming up with the new perfect opening for the on-going book. Of course, it's so perfect, you know I'll forget by morning. But I don't want to get up so I try to think of ways to help me remember. Right.

So...here I am. I've typed out that brilliant passage that seemed like it'd take a page. It's a paragraph.

I'm going with the egg sandwich now. When I was a girl and couldn't (or wouldn't) sleep, I'd get up and tell my Dad I was hungry. He'd make us egg sandwiches--scrambled eggs on toast with lettuce and mayo--and we'd watch Charlie's Angels. I've got pita bread rather than Sunbeam white bread but it's worth a shot! (I wonder what re-runs are on...?) ;)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Life in the fast lane

I told my daughter that she really need to work on having more patience.
The words were barely out of my mouth before she answered, "I already did."

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Fourth of July! Enjoy the cookouts and the fireworks and remember how lucky we are to be Americans.

As for me, it's also my birthday so I'm relaxing (though I've obviously been taking a break from blogging for a while now)! I'll have more to say soon!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Summer days

Our new home backs up to a cornfield. (We are in Indiana now!) As the sun sets on summer evenings, the sky is a hazy, purple-pink background for the dark orange orb slowly making its exit. As the sun sets, the backyard and cornfield behind it come alive--twinkling with a thousand fireflies dancing. One lit on the sliding glass window for a moment tonight as I looked out--as if to say goodnight--before it joined the blinking majority.


My kids had their first lemonade stand today. They made $10!

The Learning channel

Some things just don't come in the parenting manual. N is excited about this whole baby thing. She has always loved children younger than herself. (Including, on occasion, her own brother!) She especially loves babies and toddlers. She has discovered "A Baby Story" on TLC. I watched the first part of one episode with her--because the mom was in labor. Though she knows the doctor was "looking at her bottom!" (both kids giggled at that) the camera didn't show the gory details so I let her continue to watch. (She does not yet need TOO much information).

She oohed and aahed at the infant they brought home.

The next episode however, featured a same-sex couple--two women--who had just brought their baby home. N tells me that two girls had a baby and they didn't have any boys. I stated quietly that a man was involved at some point but she shook her head with conviction. "Nope. They have been together for 8 years. NO boys!"

OK.
(She does not yet need too much information.)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The joys of home ownership

Well, my relaxing day of bliss included the delivery of my new washer and dryer--even though I'd inadvertently ordered two appliances that do not quite match. We thought ordering online would be easy but it's hard to tell that some washers have a shiny, mirror-like finish on their door while some dryers have a finish that matches my chrome refrigerator. Oh well, no one will notice but me--and any of my blog readers who come to visit! ;)

That was also the day I first discovered the water stain on our ceiling. It's under our shower. We had the exact same problem in the last house, so we have evidently done something to upset the plumbing gods. It faded the next day (when the plumbers were here) and they sealed things, tested things but could not re-create the problem. It has been fine--until today.

Our radon test has finally come back with an acceptable (low!) number! It was high when they initially tested, so they sealed the sump pump and tried again. When that did not resolve the issue, a radon mitigation system was installed. They retested this week and that has been resolved.

We've unpacked a little more, N will have her new dresser on Wednesday so she can finally stop living out of a box. (She and C had divided a bunk-bed set but C has the whole thing now and she is getting a new, more feminine bedroom set. The rest of her set won't arrive until August but at least she'll have drawers!)

We have found the pool nearby so we've got the important issues covered!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Settling in...

Most of the boxes are unpacked, the furniture is placed and my new washer and dryer should arrive today!

The hubbie and kids are taking a day trip to visit Notre Dame so I have the quiet house all to myself.
(If you look up the definition of bliss, you might find the above sentence quoted--or at least the last five words!)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Toto, we aren't in Kansas anymore!

We have arrived and are in our new home in Indiana! It's empty but we ahve time to figure out exactly where the "big" items will go. Our truck is due to arrive Monday or Tuesday so it'll start feeling more like home soon!

I was a little worried that it might take a while to meet other kids--there are only a few houses on our street. However, the next street over has many more houses and one of the kids my daughter met at the playground told her that there are at least 2 kids in every house!

When we chose N's name, I was trying to find something that wasn't too trendy so she would not have 4 other girls in her class with the same name. Since then, I don't think I've met another child with her name. Until now. There are 3 other girls in this small neighborhood with the same name, though one is visiting! The house at the end of our street has a girl with the same name and her mother's name is the same as mine! I can't decide if that is a good sign or slightly creepy...

Otherwise, everyone has been incredibly friendly so I'm sure that our new town will feel like home in no time!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Winding down?

It's the last week of school--which means it is the busiest--in regards to parties and activities, anyway! Just in case that wasn't enough, we've tacked on a birthday party for N right after school lets out tomorrow and she's having a few girls over for a birthday sleepover tomorrow night!

The packers/movers arrive on Tuesday!

My husband checked the downspouts, etc. before the thunderstorms last night--and found the one he'd fixed was not totally fixed and another was not functioning at all! So he fixed those during the light rain, then kept checking the basement and the downspouts and sides of the house several times during the downpours during the night! (So I got a little more sleep than he did but between the lightning and checking to see if he needed help, I'm ready for a nap, too!)

Maybe I'll just let the movers pack the dirty laundry.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday Soul-searching

I found an intriguing post over at SweetViolet's this morning. I enjoyed her comments and her challenge to take this religion quiz honestly, answering truthfully about what you believe rather than what you have been taught to believe.

I thought I understood her point and took the quiz. However, after I sat back and thought about the answers I'd given, I realized that there were still one or two responses I'd made out of fear or guilt. What if that isn't true?

So I went back and took the quiz a second time, honestly answering each question. Lightning did not strike and the results were interesting!

In college, the Jesuits taught us to always question everything. I think that's a good approach--even if my Belief.net score shows only a 58% rating for Roman Catholic!

1. Orthodox Quaker (100%)
2. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (97%)
3. Liberal Quakers (90%)
4. Unitarian Universalism (85%)
5. Mahayana Buddhism (81%)
6. Theravada Buddhism (77%)
7. Hinduism (75%)
8. Reform Judaism (72%)
9. Seventh Day Adventist (69%)
10. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (68%)
11. Sikhism (67%)
12. Jainism (66%)
13. Orthodox Judaism (64%)
14. Bahá'í Faith (63%)
15. Neo-Pagan (61%)
16. Eastern Orthodox (58%)
17. Roman Catholic (58%)
18. Taoism (58%)
19. Islam (57%)
20. New Age (56%)
21. New Thought (47%)
22. Secular Humanism (46%)
23. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (43%)
24. Scientology (43%)
25. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (34%)
26. Jehovah's Witness (33%)
27. Nontheist (29%)

Take the Belief-O-Matic quiz yourself!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I won't be needing Faith

I thought it would make a good baby name but that just would not be fair to a boy!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Wrong Holiday


Happy Mother's Day!

This story is about an amazing father--but it is too inspiring not to share! (And between the move in a few weeks and my fading memory, I won't remember where to find this again next month!)

I found this on Chosha's site. Take a look!

For my writing friends

Many of you have participated in NaNo in the past, so you have likely already heard about their latest offering: Script Frenzy.

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about NaNo is National Novel Writing Month and takes place in November. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in a month.

Similarly, Script Frenzy is a challenge to write a script during the month of June.
I am not going to try this one this year but I thought I'd share it with you if you're interested! (I'd love to go see your life story played out on the big screen--complete with any aliens, ghosts, pterodactyls or lottery winners that might appear!)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

8 Things You Probably Didn’t Need to Know About Me

[Added 5/11: Eep! I forgot to let you know that it was Rene who tagged me to do this Meme! (Stop by and read hers!)]

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.
Here we go:


1. My lucky number is 8. (That must be why I was tagged with this meme!)

2. I was born on the Fourth of July.

3. I’ve been a blonde all of my life (it was natural when I was a child).

4. I am the oldest of five children.

5. I have a habit of apologizing for things that cannot be helped. (Weather, natural disasters, the fact that you have a cold…)

6. I smoked at the age of 10.

7. I don’t purposefully wear sunscreen. (There may be some hope for me as they’ve gone and put it in my moisturizer and makeup).

8. Many days I don’t wear makeup—so there really is no hope for me.

Okay, now I have to tag 8 people: Kellie, Margaret, my brother-in-law, Laurie, Aaron, Tracy, Angela, Sarah

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I must be doing something right

My daughter thinks I don't love her and just wanted her so she could be my slave.

My son was very upset this morning because I would not let him skip a day of school. (He is in kindergarten).

I'm not the best mom in the world but with sentiments like these, once in a while, I feel like I'm on the right track! ;)

_______________
Disclaimers
I don't enlist my children in slavery. My daughter was cleaning her room and filled her trash can. She asked me to empty it and I asked her to do it. The next day, she had more trash and asked me again to empty her trash can. I explained that I empty all of the other trash cans in the house and she can empty hers. This was met with the constant complaint that she has to do everything and I treat her like a slave.

My son is smart and has lots of friends in school but was very tired this morning. He tried to tell me it's too hard because he always "gets his papers wrong." I reminded him that he comes home with papers with smiley faces and nice comments on the top. Then he explained that they are working on "clocks" this week and he keeps getting them wrong.
My poor children do live in a house full of digital clocks. The one antique pendulum clock is not always wound but when it is, he knows what time it is by how many "gongs" he hears.
It seems we need to practice telling time when he gets home from school today!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The state we live in--Part Two

We live in the state of Kansas. While many people's perceptions of Kansas as a large prairie constantly threatened by tornadoes comes from L. Frank Baum, reality can be more threatening than fiction at times.

Last night, a tornado lifted not just one house but many. The entire town of Greensburg, Kansas was almost lifted after a monster tornado raged through last night.

We are just to the right of the purple covering the middle of Kansas. I am not overly concerned about our safety; we have a basement and a few cases of fresh water down there along with plenty of toys, coloring books and games. In light of recent events however, I have moved some candles down there as well and am paying a little more attention to weather forecasts today.
****************
UPDATE: We're still fine but the rains were heavy again last night. The basement is flooded. No posts today--I'm going to finish bailing water...

The state we live in--Part One

If we pay to much attention to the headlines, we could live in a constant state of fear. More and more random violence seems to be occuring in or around schools, with no specific age groups or types of communities excluded. It is unsettling but so far, has not been too close to home.

This week, my children's school was in "lockdown." No student had presented a threat. Rather, a man in a neighboring town stabbed two people and has not been apprehended. From internet and newspaper reports, and the "reports" that my 3rd grader brings home each day, I have gathered that the alleged perpetrator(an ex-con) is going through a divorce. His wife had a restraining order against him but he broke into her home on Tuesday and stabbed her and the man with her. By all accounts, this seems to be a domestic issue. However, in light of recent events in our nation--combined with the fact that he has a relative that works at my children's school--the school is on heightened security, locking all doors, escorting children to recess and Mass, etc. The school has offered that we may keep our children home but has not canceled school. I went ahead and sent my kids to school but of course, ran through "what if" scenarios a few times in my mind!

In light of events such as Virginia Tech, I realize that they have to take all scenarios into account and they have said that if this man is not apprehended by Monday, the school will be in lockdown again.

Sending my children to a small, Catholic school in a small, midwestern town does not guarantee their safety. I do not believe this particular individual is an immediate threat to my children. In light of events such as Virgina Tech however, perhaps the school--all schools--should follow more of these security measures on regular basis.
**********************
UPDATE: They arrested the man on Sunday morning! The kids are thrilled (and I feel better, too)!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Book "binge" results

book binge

Not much of a binge, I'm afraid!

(Keeping in mind that though I did bring a book with us when we went house hunting, we were stressed, exhausted or discussing merits of various houses so I never cracked the book. So that's almost a week that I did not read a thing. Sad. Very, very sad. I got much more read last month when I was still boycotting television--go figure!)

Finished:
The Last Days of Dogtown, Anita Diamant (Posted a short review here)

The March, E.L. Doctorow. His style is different from anything I've read lately but it was a welcome change. I recommend.

In Progress:
Shepherding a Child's Heart, Tedd Tripp (Actually, I'm on page117/210) This one is tough. Not tough to read or understand, just convicting to read. I'm taking it little by little.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Alexander McCall Smith. I am on page 1.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Staying Up!

I have commented about my daughter's sleepovers before. She had the BF over again last night but my son invited a friend to sleep over for the first time as well.

I am having that cup of tea this morning!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Keep Up!

Throughout the day, I can find inspiration here and there but my latest source is my little green box of Yogi Tea. There is a new message on each teabag. I've had messages about looking for God in unlikely places, thinking positive about each day, etc. They're short and sweet but today's little note was only two words: "Keep Up!"

My tea bag knew it would be a hectic day before I did! I think I've managed to keep up so far--maybe it's because I'm still getting a little caffeine in my one cup of green tea!

How is your day going? Can you keep up?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What will they think of next?

I have no idea what the next revolutionary idea will be but I'm excited about this one! I haven't tried it yet--maybe I'll win a sample from the generous moms at 5 minutes for mom--but this is something I will have to try!

My daughter will take most medicines well. (I didn't say she is always happy about it but she will swallow them dutifully.)

My son, however, can will himself to vomit, choke or simply spit the stuff out. Maybe if it tastes too good to pass up, he will reconsider taking his medicine! FlavorIt could change our lives!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Honorable gesture

Aaron has posted a lovely tribute over at his site today--take a look!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The whole story

Part One:
My daughter glides up the driveway, a disgusted look on her face.

"Mom! C and I were riding our scooters together on the sidewalk and I got this STUFF on my ankle! What IS that?"

She has dark green goo on her ankle. I don't know what it is. I tell her it must be wet grass or mud--though it hasn't rained in days--and tell her to go wash it off.

Part Two:
My son glides up the driveway, wearing a huge smile.

"Mom! I just ran over a caterpillar! Wanna see?"

Friday, April 20, 2007

SOLD!

I was going to write about desperate times, etc. and the Catholic advice we'd received regarding selling our home. My MIL and SIL, as well as a friend, suggested we get a statue of St. Joseph and bury him in our yard to aid the sale of our home.

We put the sign in our yard in February, the house went on the market officially March 1 but I just bought the statue Wednesday evening. We prayed to St. Joseph for a little extra help that night and I spoke with him many times yesterday. By 5pm last night, we had an offer on the house! Even with a counter-offer from us and another from their side--we were all happy and had a signed contract by 7pm!

I'm certain that the prayers helped more than the actual resin statue in my garden but either way, if you are selling your home, you might want to contact the Patron Saint of Real Estate along with a realtor!

(We met the buyers today--they were already having their inspection done--and they've been eyeing our house online for weeks! I kept telling my husband God had a plan and we just had to be patient--but the patience part has been getting tough. Looks like maybe there was a plan involved! This couple was fairly sure ours was the house they wanted before they saw it in person and they are very excited about it now!)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

For your reading list

I told you I'd have book reviews for you but life is moving too fast for a full review of each book!

What Jesus Meant was a thought-provoking book with a fresh perspective. It makes me want to read Wills' book, Why I Am a Catholic, as at times in this book, I was not sure why he is a member of any formal religion. I do recommend this one!



New Orleans Stories is a collection of short stories that take place in New Orleans. There are a few very good ones included in here and I recommend this one as well if you have a chance.



I finished those two in March so they won't make my April reading list for the Book Binge but if you're looking for something different, check them out!

I began The Last Days of Dogtown in March but finished it in April so I'm hoping I can count that one for my April reading list! ;) I highly recommend this one. The first chapter was a little slow for me but that might have been because I was trying to read it in a busy waiting room. The first chapter introduces many characters but we get to know much more about each one of them in a following chapter. Each character gets a turn being the main character in a chapter but the ending of one blends seamlessly into the next chapter--and next life story. Very well done. You'll be thinking of these characters long after you put the book down.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Relocation update

My parents braved the not-so-spring-like weather last week to come and stay with the kids and returned safely to Florida this past weekend to brave yet another storm!

We did find a new home in Indiana! We close on that house in June.
We will have a larger (and more level) backyard so we will finally get the playset for the kids. We have a larger driveway, too, so there is plenty of room for the basketball hoop they desire as well! (Margaret--yes! It even has a window over the kitchen sink! What more could we ask for?)

Now we just need to sell the one we're in!

Word Verification

After interesting comments, interspersed with various pharmaceutical names and links--it is time. I apologize for the inconvenience but word verification and comment moderation have now been added to this blog.
It's a few extra letters after your comment but I would still love to hear from you!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! I hope it has been a wonderful day for you and your families!

I haven't posted in a while--and won't again for a bit! The hubbie and I are going house-hunting tomorrow and my parents are staying with the kids.

I'll let you know if we were successful at the end of the week! (And hopefully by then I can post a few book reviews! I've finished three more but haven't had time to tell you about them!)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

You know you want one!

(And if you don't want one, that's OK--it helps my odds!)

I'm talking about the fabulous opportunity you can find over at 5 Minutes for Mom. They are giving away a Dyson Slim vacuum!

I can already see myself effortlessly cleaning the stairs with this light wonder! However, if you feel that it should be you, hop over to 5 Minutes for Mom and sign up! I'll let you know how well it works, er...I mean, good luck!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Better output than NaNo...

I signed on with a group, headed by Angela to try to write a novel in 3 months. I did not quite manage 50,000 words in November but I was sure I could pull it off with so much more time.

It is dangerous to think that way.

The deadline is 3.5 hours away and I think it is safe to say that I will not reach 50,000 words tonight.

While life always happens (and I will always have excuses), I do have 43,506 words.
I am not proud that I did not make my goal again. Having said that, I am not too unhappy, either. Trying to sell a house, get enough rest during the first trimester of pregnancy and finish a book was too much---but I did get some quality writing done and found my characters in much more interesting conflicts than I had planned.

I did not make my goal but I'm on my way to finishing a better book; I'll take it!

Monday, March 26, 2007

There's no place like home!

We are back home, after traveling across parts of Kansas and Missouri. We saw scenes similar to the one on the left many times from our car windows, though not with such spectacular colors in the sky! This photo was taken shortly after a thunderstorm and we did see a few of those! (In fact, the caption beneath this photo said that only Florida and the Gulf Coast receive more thunderstorms than this area. No wonder it felt like home so quickly!)

I've been visiting other blogs today to catch up and found that Tracy drove from one end of Kansas to the other! I also learned that our very own Flint Hills are featured in April's National Geographic! The photo here is one from that issue. Take a look when you have a chance. It makes me want to take the family on a hike through the prairie on our next day off!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Break's over!

It's back to "normal" tomorrow--at least for a few days!
I hope you enjoyed last week, whether you had time off or not!

We had fun here and here! (Of course, the kids were most concerned with swimming at the hotel!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Spring Break!

See you Saturday!

Monday, March 19, 2007

March

In Little Women, Louisa May Alcott introduced us to Meg, Jo, Amy, Beth and their mother, Marmee. She showed us how a mother and her four girls struggle, survive and love while their husband and father is away—serving with the Union troops during the Civil War.

In March, Geraldine Brooks gives us the other side of the story—mainly from Mr. March’s point of view. The novel opens with Mr. March writing a letter home to his wife and daughters, struggling to write something that they will want to hear. He reminds himself that he promised to write something every day but he never promised to write the truth. Soon after finishing his letter describing glowing sunsets and the location, a skirmish arises. In his haste to save himself and others, he travels across a river, through woods and ends at a house serving as a hospital for injured soldiers. It is not until he arrives at the door that he realizes he has been there before.

That realization takes him back to his youth and we learn how he spent his early adulthood—peddling books and various items to wealthy southern landowners. In this vocation, he meets Mr. Clement and his slave, Grace—the woman who gives Mr. March his first kiss.

Mr. March eventually must leave the Clement plantation, make his way back north and eventually meets his future wife, Marmee. He befriends the Thoreau and Emerson families along the way, especially Henry Thoreau and Waldo Emerson.

The novel makes its way back to the present time, with Mr. March meeting Grace again, briefly. After he has transferred to another unit and spent time on another plantation, Mr. March is both wounded and ill when he finds himself in Blank Hospital, Washington. Here, two-thirds through the novel, Brooks gives us Marmee’s view for the first time as she arrives to tend to her husband. Thus far, Brooks had given Marmee a side other than the “goody-goody” character we see in Little Women but finally, in this last portion of the novel, she allows us to hear from Marmee herself.

What emerges is a clearer picture of a marriage, with all of the misunderstandings and sacrifices that entails. The story continues to unfold further but still remains true to Miss Alcott’s original story.

March is both disheartening and moving. Like all of us, Mr. March is flawed. He wants very much to do the noble thing but fails often. It is as much a story about how war affects one’s behavior and beliefs as it is about love, passions and relationships. Ms. Brooks does an admirable job of staying true to Miss Alcott’s creation—giving us a deeper understanding of her memorable characters and quite an introduction to the one who was left out.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Book Worms

I found this over on Margaret's site and it looked like fun! It's a little distressing that I have more in italics than bold but I did finish two books last week so I'll have reviews of those for you very soon! (Of course, neither book is on this list!)

If you'd like to join in the fun:
Look at the list of books below.
*Bold the ones you’ve read
*Italicize the ones you want to read
*leave alone the ones that you aren’t interested in.

I won't tag anyone specifically but if you post yours, please leave a comment so I can stop by for a look!

1.The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2.Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3.To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10.A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11.Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12.Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13.Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)

16.Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)

26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie(Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible {I've read much of it--so I'll make it bold AND italics as I still have to get to the rest!}
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)

53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)

56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolsoy)

64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)

76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)

80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth(Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100.Ulysses (James Joyce)

A week later

Whew! Since I last posted, we've filled in for grandparents on "Grandparent's Day" at school, greeted the kids' grandparents (my in-laws) the next day, made it through one piano recital (2 performers this time), several house showings and the MIL's birthday.

The in-laws left this morning and we had no appointments to show the house today so I'm finally starting to catch up! Of course, I still have to finish the draft of the book I said I'd have done by the end of March and the hubbie and I are trying to weed through potential houses in Indiana but I never said I'd be all caught up! ;)

How are you?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Answered prayers

Our kids have asked and prayed for another sibling for quite a while now, so they feel that God has finally answered their prayers! It has been very cute. We told the kids Sunday and for the rest of the day, C kept pinching himself--because he thought he was dreaming!

Sunday night, when she should have been reading, N wrote us a letter instead. (This followed a discussion about how you make a baby! While I don't mind giving my daughter accurate facts--I do mind getting into too much detail with an 8-year-old when it's already past bedtime. So I told her it takes a Mommy and Daddy that love each other very much to make a baby.)
To: Mommy: Thank You
Thank you Mommy for loving Daddy so much that we get a new member of
the family! And that you will soon bring a new baby girl or boy into the
World. And that we will have someone else to play tickle and care for.
THANK YOU SO MUCH

Love: N and C, your loving children

I took their full names out but otherwise--that's it, verbatim. I think she meant to play with and tickle--but play tickle works, too! I thanked her for the kind letter and asked her to please go to sleep.

A little later, C called to tell us that "N needed us!" He claimed it was an emergency--knowing that'd be my next question--so up I went. The urgent need was for a performance. N had now written a song that she and C HAD to sing to me. She let me keep her lyrics:

To: Mommy and Daddy: Song
Thank you so much Mommy and Daddy
for giving us a new baby sister or brother!
It is a miricle we have been praying for
for a very long time!
Now we finaly have a baby sister or brother
hopefully it is a girl because we both want it to be a girl
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you so much!
Then End
from: N and C and our new little sister or brother
P.S. hopefully it is a girl sister


I think I will laminate these. I can imagine many occasions when it will be useful to pull them out over the coming years!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

News

The sign is still in the yard. We have had three people come to see the house--one couple visited both yesterday and again today. It's a positive sign but no more news on that front yet.

As for other news, I was going to offer a few possibilities, maybe drag it out just a little...but some of you are just too smart for that! So thank you all for returning for the update...
YES! Becky is our lucky guesser! (I'd say winner but sadly, I have no prize.)

It is early--I shouldn't be telling you yet--but I started the guessing game in the last post! We are expecting baby #3!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Random thoughts

Whew! C turned six on Thursday and had a birthday party with 7 friends (plus his sister) at the bowling alley on Saturday!

Saturday was also my parents' 39th anniversary! Congratulations again, Mom and Dad!

The "for sale" sign went in the yard a few weeks ago but the house officially goes onthe market, MLS, etc. Thursday! So I'm trying to finish cleaning, keep the house clean--while the kids are begging to have friends over.

I did not get enough cleaning today because I kept myself and the kids outside--where it hit SEVENTY degrees!!! It was lovely!

We had to take advantage of spring weather on the last day of February! We are supposed to get snow after midnight tonight.

More surprises and news coming soon--stay tuned!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Little devils

C was worried the other night at bedtime. Apparently, he had learned at school that "devils can suck your spirit out of you" and wanted me to be aware of this. He was worried because he believes devils to be invisible--so how can you watch out for them?

Tonight, my daughter asked us again what we'd all given up for Lent. My husband and I have both given up wine. I made a comment about finishing it on Tuesday so there would not be any in the house--which she thinks is cheating. After dining out tonight, she asked if we could stop by the "wine store" (liquor store)!

I could tell my son a devil might look a little like his sister but the poor kid would never sleep again!

(In my daughter's defense: she has given up gum but she knows there is plenty in the cupboard. Maybe I'll offer to pitch it for her!) ;)

Friday, February 23, 2007

The F word

I've asked many of you when the thrill of saying "poop" wears off. Of course, when you find a word that is a noun, a verb (or even an adjective if you add "y") it is hard to give up!

Unless you can find a better one.

My son brought friends home from school today. One had no idea of the implications when he asked, "who farted?"

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Laissez les bon temps roulet!

I hope you all are enjoying Fat Tuesday, wherever you are! Some of you may be enjoying king cakes or paczki or pancakes. I did not plan ahead (surprise!) so I've got regular coffee. Maybe I'll add sugar today! ;)
However you are celebrating--enjoy Fat Tuesday! (Of course, for those really celebrating and attending the parades--I don't expect reading my blog to be on your list of activities today! With the exception of my sister-in-law in Metairie, we don't have any friends left living in New Orleans but maybe some of you decided to visit for Carnival!)
I let my kids wear beads to school today. I'm sure N is behaving but C's teacher is probably cursing my name right about now. It's only for one day!
Laissez les bon temps roulet!

Monday, February 19, 2007

By the skin of my teeth

My daughter lost another tooth Saturday night. We made a big fuss, of course, but then--the Tooth Fairy got busy.

Sunday morning, I was grateful that my husband got up with my son and was just falling asleep again when it occured to me that the TF had not made the swap.

So I bolted out of bed, found the funds and made it to her room just in time. As I slid my hand under her pillow, she opened her eyes.

"What are you doing here?"

My quick, lame response was that her covers had been covering her head and I wanted to make sure we hadn't lost her!

She nodded like that made perfect sense. (Luckily for me she was still half-asleep!)

I walked out, realizing that I'd left the tooth where it was. (The Tooth Fairy usually absconds with them!) It has been almost a year since she questioned the TF's existence, so I was sure that my latest mistake would bring back the doubt.

Instead, it restored her faith.

"She got it! She read it! She let me keep it!"

"What?" (It was my turn to sound half-awake).

"Look! The Tooth Fairy left my tooth, just like I asked!"

"You left a note?"

"Yep! After you tucked me in last night, before I turned the light off, I wrote a note to the Tooth Fairy, asking if she could leave the tooth--and she did!"

She left a note after we'd said goodnight--knowing I either would not look or would not see it in the dark. She's good!

I am not. (Someone is! I don't know whether to thank my Guardian Angel or hers but someone got me out of bed just in time--but without enough time to steal that tooth!)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Warm heart, cold hands!

I hope you are having a happy, warm day!

How does the saying go? Cold hands, warm heart? My heart must be red hot -- my hands are cold!

We used to live in Fairbanks, Alaska so we've seen two degrees Farenheit before. However, it is currently 2 degrees here and 2 degrees in Fairbanks. With wind chills factored in, it feels like 2 in Alaska but -10 here! That's just wrong.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Snow Day

It's a snow day! I have "helpers!"

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cupid misfired

It's my week to drive carpool so I had another boy and girl in the backseat next to my son, who kept yelling "Hey! I'm Cupid!" *thwap!* (He pretended to shoot arrows at both of them).

"You didn't hit me!"

*thwap*

"Ow! OK, I love you!"

*thwap*

"Actually, I am going to be Cupid's girlfriend," says the girl.

"OK," he says. *thwap*

"I am Cupid's girlfriend," she repeats.

"Yeah, I know," my son replies. *thwap*

"That means I will make YOU love ME," she explains.

"What?! Get away from me, woman!"

Celebrating WMD

Yesterday was World Marriage Day and our priest invited all married couples to stand and renew their vows during Mass.

So we stood; we held hands and looked at the priest while trying to stifle giggles. We looked like two six-year-olds who had been made to hold hands. You'd think, after 13 years of marriage, we could have taken it a bit more seriously. However, when it came time to say "I do," it only took one look into each other's eyes to see that we were both thinking the same thing.

We are really close to the front of church. Don't you dare say "No!"

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Purging

No, it's not my latest diet plan! It's more like spring cleaning--a little early. We may have potential homebuyers coming to see our house this week and we're getting the place in shape.

I should not be surprised and yet, it is always amazing how much stuff one family can accumulate! We bring bags of items to Salvation Army throughout the year, every year -- yet we always have more to donate and large amounts of junk to trash when we start considering what we'll move to the next house.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Fixed for Friday

The vibration in the car's wheel is fixed and tires are rotated. The hatch/back door has to wait for a part so that will be another 2-hour drive to the dealership but I wrote over 1,900 words while I waited there yesterday!

The hubbie has caulked in the bathroom and filled the crack that was causing the stain on our ceiling; the window that would not open has been fixed and the toilets have all been "toggled" correctly. The gas fireplace has been checked and no one can find the miniature leak now!

The hubbie even fixed my cell phone! (Somehow I cracked it and the top was dangling from the bottom when I used it! The piece finally came completely off and we didn't think we could glue plastic but he found a way!)

So the house is getting in shape and the realtor is sitting down with us tomorrow evening to go over paperwork and help us set the price. If the cell phone can just hang in there until we move, I'll be happy!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

It is time for a pet

"If I could be a big brother, I'd clean up the poop."

"You mean you would change the baby's diapers?" I ask.

"Yes! I would wipe the poop off of the baby."

"It's real poop, C!" N adds.

"I know."

"Yeah, I'd change the diapers too if we could have a baby," she agrees.

While I appreciate the team effort, it seems it's time for a puppy--and a shovel.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Required reading

My blood pressure was high during my doctor's visit this week. Higher than we'd like but not astronomical, so the doctor gave me a week to check it at home each day before we get too concerned.

Frankly, being at the doctor's or even looking at the blood pressure cuff usually increases my heart rate a little! So yesterday, before I wrapped the cuff around my arm, my hubbie instructed me to sit still for at least five minutes. I did but my result was no better than Tuesday.

"Are you sure you sat for FIVE minutes?" hubbie asked.

I sighed and reminded my son it was time to sit and read for twenty minutes. He grabbed a "chapter book" (each chapter is just over two pages). We sat and the book took us exactly twenty minutes to read.

I checked my blood pressure once more when we were done. It was normal!

If I followed Rene's idea and set the timer for twenty minutes to write, another twenty for dishes, etc., I would complete much more during the day. C is also supposed to "read" (and/or listen) to a book for 20 minutes as his homework. If we set a timer and stick to that, it looks like it's better for my health as well! (If I could squeeze in another 20 minutes to read a novel, it would help my heart rate and my writing!)

I've read many times that for a writer, reading is not a luxury--it is a requirement. I need to treat it as such!