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


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.

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


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!