Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Surviving Christmas

Hello all.

Sorry this post is a day late. We were all recovering from Christmas overload.

We came home from our holiday travels on Sunday afternoon. It was a LONG 5 days.

We loaded up and left on Wednesday morning. We intended to be on the road by 7am, and on our way to the Panhandle to spend Christmas Eve with Dear Hubby's family. But the night before we left, hubby started throwing up, too.

He thought he was okay the next morning, but an hour into the trip, he began to get chilled, started shaking, and feeling light-headed. While he was driving!

We made it another 45 minutes, and pulled into a town where his aunt lives to get gas. I convinced him to stop at her house to rest, and he decided he couldn't make the rest of the trip (another 2 1/2 hours in the car).

So we visited for a few minutes, dropped off gifts, and drove back to my mom's house. I thought hubby would want to just go back home, but he was convinced he would be well in a day or two, and wanted to move ahead with the travel agenda.

And the rest of the weekend wore on with lots of presents (the kids were positively swamped with gifts), lots of food, and more travel.

But, we did have a great time. I loved seeing our families, though I'm sad we didn't get to see part of hubby's relatives. They are an intriguing bunch, to be sure, his grandpa is downright ornery, and Christmas dinner at his house is always an adventure (last year it was roast yak).

Tomorrow we will be off to Tulsa to visit his parents over New Year's weekend, and I will be celebrating my birthday on Jan. 2.

Happy Birthday to ME! (And, NO, I'm not telling how old I am. And the first person who rats me out will get a great big banner in their front yard on their birthday with an incriminating number if they do.)

And also, Happy Birthday to my dear friend, Tina. It was good to talk to her on Christmas morning, and I hope she has a great birthday!!

Have a Happy New Year, and I hope everyone gets a great start to 2009. See you on Monday.

Later.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Aw, Gross - Part 2

Hello, all.

Sorry I'm so late with this post. I've been up all night with the twins. They were both puking their guts up all night.

ALL NIGHT LONG!

I've had, maybe, two hours of sleep.

And the vomit on the floor . . . too many times to count, seriously. And as sad as it is to say, luckily this time they hit mostly the hardwoods or tile.

But the weird thing (besides me talking about puke two posts in a row) is that they act fine. No fever, aches, pains, stomach cramps, nothing. They were up playing one minute, and puking the next.

Well, I'm done. I've gotta keep an eye on the kids and get some rest, if possible.

I probably won't post again until next Monday, so I hope you all have a Merry Christmas. Eat lots of food, give your family lots of hugs, torment the people you love (in a good way!), and give thanks for the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Later.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Aw, Gross!

Good morning, everyone.

Okay, if you have a weak stomach, I suggest you skip the post today, and browse another time.

Yesterday, my sons had their Christmas parties at school. Hubby and I both got to go, and we spent our time bouncing back and forth between their classrooms.

They both came home with a ton of treats (candy, cookies, chips, crackers, etc.), and asked if it would be alright to have some.

I agreed, and we separated everything into piles. They started eating, I changed the baby and put her down for a nap.

The afternoon wore on, and the boys grazed on their buffet of junk food while I worked on the bills.

In the early evening I put a stop to the candy fest, and told them they could have another piece after supper that night. About thirty minutes later Twin B crawled up in my lap, and told me his stomach hurt. I checked him for a fever, asked if he thought he was gonna throw up, and he said no.

A few minutes later I couldn't find him, and realized he had gone to his bedroom, crawled into bed, and fallen asleep.

I was instantly worried. This is a kid who NEVER, EVER voluntarily takes a nap.

While he slept, his brother and I started dinner, and then Dear Hubby came home. We both checked on him, ate dinner, and waited for him to wake up.

I slipped off into our bedroom later to get some work done, and suddenly I hear my husband calling for me.

I rush into the hallway just in time to see Twin B puke all over the carpet two inches before he made it into the tiled bathroom.

I dodge husband and child, hurry toward the kitchen to grab some paper towels, and come to a screeching halt.

The vomiting incident I witnessed wasn't the first round, apparently. The hardwood living room floor was covered in puke. Covered!

I'll bet that kid hit a ten square foot radius. It was everywhere.

And of course, this is the time the baby decides to investigate that wet, smelly stuff.

SO after getting her clean, I got to start on the floors, and spent two hours cleaning, scrubbing, and disinfecting.

Not my idea of spending a relaxing evening at home with the family.

But Twin B was fine after that, he slept through the night with no more incidents, and is at school today. Hopefully we won't get any phone calls telling us to come get him because he's sick again.

Everyone have a great weekend, and DON'T over-do it on the sweets. Your momma was right. You WILL get a belly ache.

Later.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Energy Fix

Hello, all.

Wow. We have had a rough morning.

This cold, trapped indoors weather is making our family nuts.

Seriously crazy.

For three days, the twins have been unable to play outside at school, and I haven't been letting them go out to play in the evening either. It's been 15 degrees outside! No way am I letting them out there to freeze.

But I'm beginning to think I should just let them run wild in the frigid air for a little while, just to take the edge off some of that energy.

Because OH, MY GOSH! they are FULL of energy. Pent-up, caged-in, trapped-like-rats, suppressed energy.

This morning, they were up at 6:30am, chattering away. And they would not shut up. I don't know if they paused to take a breath.

And of course, the morning wouldn't have been complete without the two of them fighting constantly. Also from the time they got up until they left for school.

As much as I love them, I was ready for them to GO! Get out of this house, and take their uncontrollable energy with them.

But they are supposed to have P.E. today, and I pray they have the chance to run wild for an hour, just to help take the edge off.

Or the weather is gonna have to warm up slightly. Just enough to get them out of the house and running around the yard all bundled up in coats, hats, and gloves.

I don't know if I can take another three days of the fighting, yelling, screaming, fighting, jumping up and down on the furniture, fighting . . .

We'll see how it goes.

Later.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Typical Monday

And a good Monday morning to you all.

We are coming off a crazy weekend of Christmas shopping, cleaning, getting the clean house dirty again, and movie watching (just reruns, nothing new).

Whew!

Today, I am just catching up on my blog reading, preparing an article to send out, and tackling the mountain of laundry that I got washed, but never managed to fold.

Darling Daughter is playing, and decided over the weekend that she is the Princess of the World. If her Daddy ignored her for longer than 10 seconds, she melted down into a screaming hissy-fit. She could have cared less if Mommy was in the room or not, and when I did come in to calm her down (poor Hubby was about to pull all his hair out: she wouldn't even let him go to the bathroom alone), the "Pretty, Pretty Princess" routine died down real quick.

And that's it for us.

I'm going back to work on my proposal, and I'll talk to you again on Wednesday.

Later!

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Blue Christmas

Good morning, all.

TGIF!

I am happy to be through this week, and am looking forward to a party tonight with my OKC writer's group. We're bringing our significant others to this gathering, so they can finally meet all these people we talk about, and commiserate together on how difficult it is to be married to those "writers".

This weekend I plan to work around the house, and hopefully finish up my Christmas shopping. I've picked up a few things here and there over the last couple of weeks, which is really helping to knock items off the list, but I still have lots to do, and don't really enjoy it all that much.

Mostly, I'm just ready to get the holidays over with.

How sad is that?

I really need to get into the Christmas spirit. Cheer up. Put on a happy face. Whatever cliche I can think of to get excited about the next three weeks.

I want to be excited. I want to be thrilled about Christmas. I want to celebrate the New Year. But I just don't have it in me right now.

Maybe once the gifts are bought, wrapped, and under the tree I'll feel better.

Who knows.

I hope you all are having a fantastic holiday season. If you have any tips or hints for getting revved up about Christmas, let me know.

I need to get jolly, by golly.

Later.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sad Day

Hey, guys.

I'm so sad today. This is the two year anniversary of my dad's death.

I honestly don't know what to write about this. I miss him, obviously. So many things have happened since he passed away.

His first granddaughter was born.

His grandsons started Kindergarten.

There have been trips to Las Vegas, Colorado, and the biggest trip of all; Disneyland.

We moved into our new house.

My brother has done amazing improvements at the ranch. And they may be building a house soon (still not too sure about that, don't know details, so don't quote me).

I don't know what else to say. I miss him every day. He was gruff. He was loud (very loud). Opinionated. Stubborn. Loyal. Hilarious. Loud. Embarrassing (aren't all parents to their kids?). Loved his family. Fun. Did I mention loud? A good portion of the adventures I had as a kid can be laid at his feet.
Then there's the music. Dad and I had this musical connection. We could call each other and ask, "Who sang this or that song? What year? What else did they sing?" And most of the time one of us knew the answer.

Too many times I'm driving down the road, and one of "Dad's Songs" comes on the radio. Some of them make me smile. Some just make me cry.

The Kentucky Derby isn't the same without him. We'd call each other and ask, "Who do you want in the Derby?" I always wanted the gray horse. Didn't even know or care what its record was, the name, its spot in the gate, or anything. Just the gray. Dad knew exactly which horse he wanted, and usually won, or at least placed or showed.

I miss going to the races with him. He always wanted to go to the Derby, but we never made it.

Football isn't the same. I miss giving him a hard time about the Dallas Cowboys. Cheering for the OSU Cowboys, and him giving my hubby a hard time about the OU Sooners. Dad had a personal vendetta against Barry Switzer, and tormented hubby about it.

And I think that's all I can say about this today. I miss you, Dad.

Later.

Dad and my brother at the twins 1st Birthday Party. Dad did not

like having his picutre taken.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Random Update

Hello to you all.

We had a good weekend. I went to Tulsa to the WIN-ACFW writer's Christmas Party. I got a couple of gifts for my sons' teachers at our silent auction, got to eat some good food, and supported my friend who was this month's speaker.

My hubby was way excited that OU won the Big 12 Championship, and will be going to the BCS National Championship game against Florida.

We are all healthy at the moment, and things are going pretty good so far.

I am coming up on my self-imposed deadline to send out my adult romantic comedy, and I have to say, I am SUPER nervous!

This story is my first attempt at an adult book, and with the current economy, and the current state of the publishing industry (everyone is cutting back), I have no idea how my book will fair. I hope well.

We'll see. Have a great week. If you've already finished all your Christmas shopping . . . don't brag to me. I haven't yet, and don't want to hear about it! But a grudging congratulations on getting out there early and getting it done.

Later!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Enjoy the Weekend

Well, good morning everyone. I'm a bit late with my post this morning.

We have been taking Darling Daughter off bottles and moving to a cereal and milk-in-sippy-cups only breakfast.

Boy, has that been fun (please note the sarcasm in my typing). We have one particular cup that is meant to help with the transition by using typical sippy cup lids, but they are made of squishy silicone to simulate the feel of a regular bottle in the baby's mouth.

Great concept.

Except Darling Daughter sucks on the squishy top, gets her mouth completely full of milk, and then lets it all dump down her chin, and dribble from her chest to her belly buuton.

And she only does it with the squishy top. Not the hard plastic sippy cup lids. So I've been standing over her with a wet towel, letting her drink only so much, and then swiping the cup when the milk starts to flow, and soaking it up with the towel.

But I have been off to a really slow start today, and I don't think it will get much better. So much to do, and so little time.

I hope you all have a happy, productive weekend.

Later.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

All The Good Ones Are Gone

I know this is my second post in the same day, shocking to say the least, but I just had to blog about my frustration.

Like the entire cyber-world (or at least the few of you who read my blog) wanted to hear about this.

I am so annoyed that one of my favorite shows on TV is being cancelled, Eli Stone.

My sister-in-law warned me over Thanksgiving that she thought it was a goner, but I didn't take heed, and now I am so disappointed to find out it's true.

Basic premise: a high powered attorney starts having "visions", goes to see his doctor (who is also his brother) and finds out he has a brain aneurysm. So he has visions about cases he is working on, and questions whether a higher power is leading him on a prophetic journey to help people, or is the aneurysm just making him wacko. And if it is God, just what does He want from Eli anyway.

This show has a stellar cast: Jonny Lee Miller (who happens to be Angelina Jolie's first ex-husband), Natasha Henstridge, Victor Garber, Loretta Devine, and more. There are musical numbers (some of them VERY well done, some of them corny, but cute), great dialogue, funny scenes, dramatic scenes, conflict out the wahzoo . . . I love this show.

And therein lies the problem. I love this show. When "I" love a show, and really get into it, it is the official kiss of death for said endeavor.

If I get in on a new show right from the beginning, and faithfully watch every episode, that show will go belly up within the first two seasons.

If I come in late on a series and have to catch-up, it lasts for years. Seriously.

And yes, I know I am placing way too much importance on my ability to make or break the fate of a television show in Hollywood, but still. After the third or fourth time this has happened, I'm beginning to wonder what the deal is.

I would love to start a "Save Eli Stone" petition, but the truth is, I have other things to do. I just hate to see a good show die when I know it will be replaced by junk later. And I'm sure there are those who would argue that Eli Stone is the "junk", but it was clean, good-humored, and wasn't afraid to touch on God and His sovereignty in our lives.

I liked that.

Later.

Christmas Decorating

Good morning, all. I hope you are having a great week.

I think our household is finishing off the last round of a cold bug. Dear Hubby came home early from work yesterday with a cough, stuffy nose, and achy. He went straight to bed, and didn't get up again until this morning. But he seems to be doing great today. I guess 14 hours of sleep is just what he needed.

Oh, Christmas is rushing at me, a head-on collision in the making, and I am SOOOOO unprepared. We've managed to get our tree down, and set up, but no decorations, lights, tinsel, etc. adorn the branches yet. We probably won't do lights on the house, and we'll be lucky to get more than just the tree to decorate the inside as well.

I'm not entirely sure why.

I know my family decorated when we were kids, not all out department-store window decorating, but lights, wreaths, bows, candy canes, etc.

In college, I was never at my apartment during the holidays, so it seemed like a waste to put up decorations for a week, and then we'd be well into the new year before I got back.

After I got married, and Hubby went to grad school, it was kind of the same thing. We decorated some, but we never spent the two weeks surrounding Christmas at home. Plus we had two cats, and couldn't keep them out of the tree.

Then we moved to Arkansas, and it was the same scenario. We weren't home, we rented tiny houses for the first few years and didn't have much room for a tree or the decorations, and I never saw the point of doing all that work if we weren't going to be there to enjoy any of it.

Our first year back in Oklahoma we were in an apartment while our house was being built, and the same old story; no space, small children who wanted to play with all those pretty, shiny glass ornaments, and we spent most of the time at our family's houses anyway.

But now it's different. We have our own house, we won't be gone for weeks at a time during December, and the kids are totally psyched about having decorations for Christmas.

The only problem is me. I just haven't found that "Decorating Spirit" yet. The one that says get going, decorate that tree, get those other decorations out and put Christmas bling everywhere. Maybe over the weekend the spirit will take me, but until then, I'll be struggling just to get the tree done.

I know I don't want to disappoint my boys, so we'll probably be adding more and more as the month goes by. And that doesn't even include all the shopping left to do.

But we will persevere and get it done!

I hope you all have yours finished already.

Later.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Good Weekend

Good morning, all. I hope everyone enjoyed the Thanksgiving weekend.


I know we had a great time. We started the weekend with my hubby's family, though that trip got off to a rocky start. Darling daughter was sick the night before and the morning of Thanksgiving day, so she didn't get much sleep. Which means Mommy didn't get ANY sleep.


We got to hubby's aunt's house, where the boys immediately took off with their cousins to play on the trampoline and swing set, and I didn't see them again for a few hours.


But the roughest part was the baby girl. She wanted NO ONE but momma. Which meant I carried her on my hip or sat with her in my lap most of the day.


And my poor, poor sister-in-law, Al. She is the sweetest girl, just love her, and she is always so nice to us and our kids, but she couldn't even look at Darling Daughter because the baby would burst into tears. Howling, screaming, clinging to me for dear life. Any eye contact whatsoever sent the child into freak-out mode, and my poor sister-in-law did nothing to warrant such harsh treatment.


I felt so terrible about it, and I hope Christmas goes better.


But my hubby got to hang with his brothers, they watched football, the food was good, we got to enjoy lots of time with his family, and had a wonderful time.


Then we went to my mom's house, and I spent another sleepless night with the baby, who was still recovering from her cold.


We did a little shopping, did a lot of cooking, and enjoyed another great holiday meal. I made my first ever homemade pie . . . from scratch. Made the crust, rolled it out, made the filling, crimped the edges, all of it.



Of course, my mom was standing right there with me the whole time, talking me through the process.


And I can honestly say that if I never make another pie again, it won't hurt my feelings one bit. I'm glad I made one from scratch. It was a good experience to say, "Yeah, I can make a homemade pie." But it's not something I would enjoy doing frequently.


I have an incredibly renewed respect for the homemakers of previous generations. Because that is some hot, sweaty, strenuous, and thankless work. My mom and I spent almost all day Saturday cooking and cleaning the house to get ready for our meal on Sunday.


So Sunday night rolls around, and after everyone has eaten and gone home, my brother struts into the den where mom and I are sitting down for a break and says, "Isn't anyone gonna clean up in the kitchen? You guys need to put that food away before it goes bad."

It took all my self-control not to leap over the ottoman and strangle him with my bare hands.


But . . . there's always Christmas.

Later.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Realizations

Okay, so when did I become a grown-up?

And how did that little fact of life sneak up on me without my knowledge? You'd think that a woman approaching thirty . . . something . . . ish, who is married with three kids, would know by now that she is a grown-up.

But I have this amazing ability to ignore things I don't like, and maturing is one of them.

You might be asking yourself, "So what exactly brought this delusional woman out of her coma, and made her recognize herself as a functioning adult?"

Well, I'll tell you.

The Holidays.

Yes, that's right . . . the Holidays.

You see, I come from a pretty big family, my husband's family is even bigger, and as a kid, I never had any responsibilities regarding the cooking of the holiday meal. My brother, my cousins, and I would play, play, play!

We weren't allowed in the kitchen to bother my mom, grandma, or aunts. Same rules for my hubby.

A couple of years ago, I made the mistake of volunteering to cook what was then one of my secret signature dishes (thank you, Rachael Ray) for my family for Thanksgiving. And it was a HUGE hit.

So then they asked if I wouldn't mind making it for Christmas.

And how about Easter?

The next Thanksgiving?

You see the pattern.

And this year I am bringing dishes for hubby's family Thanksgiving, and helping my mom with our family's meal. But last night while talking to my husband about the food we're bringing/cooking, it hit me that this is what the grown-ups do.

They bring the food, or cook the food. I was just the go-getter . . . go get the milk out of the fridge, go get the butter, go put ice in the glasses, etc. Occasionally I stirred a boiling pot of something while someone took a break.

But over the last few years I have become responsible for actual side dishes. This is an amazing development for me. And it makes me realize I have become a grown-up. I will be the one in the kitchen working, trying to keep the kids out of the way, maybe letting them grab the milk or butter to lend a hand.

Seriously weird.

Later!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Holidays Are Coming

Good morning.

Boy, I'm beat. Darling Daughter and I have both had a short bout with a virus, but we're both feeling better today. Which is great. Having three kids in the house, I always expect once the cooties roll around to me, I'm gonna be knocked on my rear for several days, but this time I escaped with only mild symptoms.

Well, I've been working on the rewrites, and am pleased with the progress, so far. I'm a little nervous about sending it out once I'm finished, but I have a line of people who will knock my block off if I don't.

Then I have to get busy on the next book. Yay!

So that's kind of it. I don't really have any exciting stories to tell. I haven't been anywhere in a week, except my sons' school and the grocery store.

The holidays are coming up, which I always enjoy, but it's also approaching two years since my Dad passed away.

We'll be doing lots of traveling, and I'm looking forward to seeing family and friends.

But then there's shopping.

Only once in a blue moon do I enjoy the shopping process, and the crazy Christmas crush does not qualify as one of those times.

Plus, I am a nervous person anyway, and I worry (seriously worry) about getting gifts that I know people want or need. I don't like buying people fuzzy kitty-cat house shoes just because they're the right price and easy to get.

I really want people to have gifts they can use, or if nothing else, give them a gift card or cash to put toward something they've been saving up for.

So I worry. But this year I am going to make some phone calls, ask some questions, and do my best to make this holiday season as stress-free as possible.

Have a good one.

Later!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Making Plans

Good morning. It's a sunny Monday here in Oklahoma. A bit chilly, but after the gorgeous day we had yesterday, it's hard to complain about the cold this morning.

We had a good weekend, mostly spent cleaning for me, but my dear husband was so sweet, and helped so much. He kept the kids busy, we made dozens of muffins, everybody got to play outside, and overall had a great time.

And today I am back to work on my book. This would be the adult romantic comedy. My big plan, now that I have sent the second children's book to my editor, is to work on the rewrites for the rom-com.

I have to say, this is difficult for me. I've started questioning whether this is the type of book I am meant to write. Should I be working in two different genres? Which is my true joy to write?

And the answer is: both, of course!

If I may be so bold, I think, hope, I can write in both areas, and write well. I plan to finish these rewrites, send this manuscript to the agent who requested it at the ACFW conference, and get to work on the third children's book, and on a new rom-com.

The writer's mind never rests, and I always have a story idea percolating in the back of my mind.

So, I hope everyone has a great week, and I'll see you Wednesday.

Later!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Making of a Great Weekend

Hello, all.

I gotta tell ya, I'm beat. It's been a whirlwind this week, and after a busy morning, I'm ready to crawl into bed for the entire weekend, and only climb out on Monday morning.

Does anybody really do that? I mean, when you're not sick. Does anyone snuggle up in bed with a pile of DVD's, a stack of books, and only leave the bed for necessary bodily functions (bathroom and food)?

Cause I gotta say, one of my favorite things in the world during the B.C. years (Before Children) was to cuddle with my hubby and watch movies on a cold autumn or winter day. Or, if hubby was busy, I loved taking a whole day to myself to just read and watch and eat and rest.

Good times.

Now, it's all about the kiddos.

Which isn't a bad thing. I'm thinking maybe snuggling up with the kids and watching movies or cartoons, making popcorn, baking cookies, ordering a pizza, and just hanging out.

But first I have to tackle the mountain of laundry, and do a little cleaning, but I hope we are looking at the makings of a great family weekend.

I'll let you know how things turn out on Monday.

Later!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Morning Routine

Good morning. It's Wednesday again. Only two more days 'til the weekend. YAY!

Well, I said "good morning", but it's not really good. In my constant struggle to get organized, my husband and I have been putting in extra effort to make the mornings run more smoothly.

Our hopes were less arguing, fussing, and fighting during the morning routine. We wanted to get us up and ready, get the kids up and fed, get their lunches and school papers ready to go, get them dressed and groomed, and everyone off to school and work with minimal hassle.

HA!

I'm beginning to think "organized" is just another way to say, "Hiding the Crazy."

Seriously.

I hear bits and pieces of conversation at my kids' school, and on the outside, it appears they ALL seem to have this organizing beast nailed down tight.

But I must ask, is it possible? Is it really possible to have it that together?

Children who wake up like cherubic angels, smiling, happy, and ready to start the day. Kids who float into the kitchen for their breakfast with nary a peep from their lips. They get dressed the first time you tell them, brush their hair and teeth when you tell them, and NO FIGHTING of any kind.

I just don't see it. Children like that don't exist. And if they do, don't tell me about it. I don't want to hear it. If you have three kids and they all behave and do exactly what you tell them all the time, just count your blessings and don't feel like you have to share with the rest of us.

I'd settle for kids who didn't scream at me or each other from the moment they climb out of bed until they get out of the car at school.

I'd be happy with boys who got dressed the second or third time they were told, not the tenth.

I'd love for my sons to comb their hair and brush their teeth without splashing water all over the bathroom (counter, floor, mirror, all of it!), and all over each other. And this would eliminate the new round of fighting because, "He splashed me!" "Well, he splashed me first!"

But I'm not giving up. I don't believe we'll ever reach morning routine utopia, but I think there has to be a happy middle ground somewhere.

And I will find it. Even if it kills me, or them.

Later!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rainy Day Blues

Hey, folks.

Good Monday morning.

Sorry about not clarifying in Friday's post that Veteran's Day is actually TOMORROW, and wasn't on Friday. After I read it again, I realized I hadn't been specific. Sorry about that.

I was all caught up in the proud moment of watching my son singing, and wondering about grandpa, and I didn't specify.

But you should still shake hands with a veteran, or hug one.

I don't know what it is about today; maybe it's the weather (cold, cloudy, rainy), maybe it's the news (crashing economy, hurt children, more lost jobs and lay offs), but I am finding it difficult to see the funny, whimsical, or absurd.

I'm finding it difficult to laugh, and I really like to laugh. It makes the world better. And when I'm looking for a reason to laugh, and find it, I feel guilty for having a good chuckle when it seems like so much heartache and devastation are happening.

Weird, huh?

But seriously, this is one of those "Give it to God" moments. I have to trust in His greater power and strength in all this, or it will consume my simple human mind.

I don't have the answers to all the world's problems. (And I know I've disappointed many of you by admitting that. I know you read my blog for my keen intellect and diabolical genius!) But I do believe God has His hand over all of us, and is working beyond our comprehension to manage the catastrophe we've created.

This is where the test of faith is greatest. When you're in a situation where everything you once found comforting and stable suddenly crumbles around you. This is where the rubber meets the road. Trusting God to meet your emotional, spiritual, and physical needs is . . . well, painful.

It is for me. I struggle. I struggle to let God be God, and me be me, and trust that IN HIS TIME, He will make things right for His children.

There is the central problem I face. In His Time. Ouch. We're an instant society. We want it now. Waiting does not sit well with us. But if we give it time, we can make it through. Just hold on.

Now, I will get down from my pulpit, and hope you all have a good day.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Veteran's Day

TGIF!

I am DEFINITELY feeling better! YAY!

Seriously, I'm not a good patient. Ask my doctor. She'll tell ya. Cranky, whiny, and stubborn. She had to call the house one time and threaten to drag me into her office by force if I didn't get back in there for a follow-up visit.
My blog post is late this morning because Twin B was singing "God Bless the U.S.A." for the school's Veteran's Day assembly.



He was soooo cute!





And of course, Mommy teared up to see her little man on the stage, singing his heart out, and doing the cutest little dance moves to the song. I managed to control myself, and not bawl all over him.




But I also teared up thinking about my grandfather, Park Conklin. I never knew him. He died about a year and a half before I was born.
But he served as a Staff Sergeant in the Army during WWII. He trained troops going to the Pacific Front for the first few years of the war (he taught Judo, too, which I always thought was so cool), he went to the European Front in 1944 and was one of the liberators at the Dachau Concentration Camp, and he won the Bronze Star. However, no one in our family knows why. I don't even know if my grandmother knew what he did.

Mom told me once that a very good Army buddy of his came for a visit once and only told them this, "He defied an order to send his men into harms' way, and took it upon himself to carry that order out. He saved all their lives." And was awarded the Bronze Star.

Wow.

Curious thing that I am, I want to know more than I can say what he did to save their lives. What order did he defy? It must be the writer in me. I can't help myself.

But I am blessed beyond words to be able to call myself his granddaughter. He was probably the bravest man I never knew.

Shake the hand of, or hug, a veteran today!

Later!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Still Sick

Good morning, again. It's a very windy Wednesday morning.

And I still have a cold. I thought I was getting better yesterday, and felt a little stuffy, but mostly fine when I went to vote, but as the day wore on, I wore out.

This morning I woke up to fussy children, hubby and I were both tired from watching the election results, and Mr. Cold is making his last stand in my sinuses.

So now I plan to do my best to get some work done, without making myself worse.

Later

Monday, November 3, 2008

Not Feeling Well

Good morning.

As I posted last week, I usually enjoy Monday's because it means the boys are out of the house (this includes my hubby), and it's just the girls hanging out and having fun.

But this morning I feel horrible. I have a cold, and I am NOT a good patient. My throat is raw and scratchy, my head is stuffy, the nose is dripping, and I ache all over.

So the silence and peace I usually take advantage of to get my work done will have to be spent on the couch wrapped in a blanket, with a tissue in one hand and a cup of hot tea in the other.

But tis the season: of holidays, and of the cold and flu. And honestly, if this is the worst I get this year, as far as colds go, then I should be okay.

I hope everyone else has a great day.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween, everyone!

AARGHHHHH!!

The twins don't have school today, and all three kids are going nuts! It must be something in the air. Something that says mischief. Something that says trouble. Something that says steal your brother's crayons, make him scream bloody murder, then fling toy spiders into the baby's play yard, but get your hair pulled by the baby when you go to retrieve them.

Yes, this has been my morning.

I've been trying to pick up around the house (should have rented a bulldozer for the job), and with each pass through, it becomes worse and worse.

I ask the boys to help pick up their paper, coloring books, and crayons, but the pile gets bigger and more scattered. I ask them to help pick up their dirty clothes from the bathroom, the hall, their room, but they've managed to make it as far as the kitchen on the way to the laundry room before someone pushes, shoves, or otherwise harasses the other one, a fight breaks out, and the clothes are abandoned in a heap on the kitchen floor.

AND WE'VE ONLY BEEN OUT OF BED FOR TWO HOURS!!

Now, I am not a morning person. Never have been. Maybe someday my behavioral pattern will change. I kind of hope so. I would love to be able to wake up early, pop out of bed bright, fresh, and ready to go, and conquer the world before most people have lunch.

But in my current state, I am grouchy, short-tempered, and don't like dealing with all the hysteria when the boys are home. They have way too much energy, and I don't start to function properly until ten or eleven in the morning.

Hopefully as the day wears on, my energy level will increase a little, the kids will wind down, and we will find a happy balance until it's time to go Trick-or-Treating tonight.

Then we'll be heading for Mom's house in the morning, and they can get all hopped up on candy at her place and spend the day running around outside to detox.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Later.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ramblings for the Day

Hey, guys and gals.

Today I have a guest blog post on www.seekerville.blogspot.com. I talk about getting my first sale, and the messy aftershock.

Drop by and check it out.

I am so happy for my OSU Cowboys. (I know, sudden change of subject)

I wanted to write about it on Monday, but honestly, I forgot. But with dear hubby's sports knowledge filtering through the house on a regular basis, I was reminded last night.

Though my Boys dropped in the rankings, I'm really not that upset. I'm proud of my guys. They played No. 1 Texas down to the wire! It even looked at one point like they were gonna blow right past 'em.

OSU hasn't always had the strongest record with their football program. But the thing I constantly remind my husband of, and he laughs at me, is that OSU excels in other athletic venues: basketball, wrestling, baseball, golf. I love that they are a diverse school who strives for and achieves success in many areas, not just football.

Now, having said that, I hope they continue to rock the house in football this year, and head straight for a top ranking Bowl Game.

Go Pokes!

Later.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday, Monday (La-La)

Good morning, all. Happy Monday.

Well, honestly, is there anything really happy about Monday? Probably not for most people. It's just the start of another work day. Hopping back on the crazy merry-go-round of traffic, work, kids (if you have them), school (if you go), deadlines, hectic schedules, and racing the clock to get your goals accomplished for the week.

But for me, it's a little different. As my dad used to say, "I'm not bragging here," and then he would laugh, a really big, loud, booming laugh because he actually was bragging, but Monday's for me mean the twins are in school during the day, dear husband is off to work being the excellent provider that he is, the baby is content to play the day away, and I get to focus on what I love to do: writing!
So maybe I'm bragging a little.

Hubby and I discussed his job and my writing over the weekend, and he told me he's perfectly content to let me work on my manuscripts and improve my craft. He fully expects me to be published, establish a career, and start earning "the big bucks" so I can be his "sugar-mama" and he can retire.

(Insert eye-rolling here.)

I don't know about his master plan, but I do love the fact that he believes in me, and is willing to let me pursue my dream in the hope of fulfilling his own dreams, as well. We see it as a win-win situation.

On a different note, the twins got glasses last week. They are still getting used to them, and my husband, who also wears glasses, is still explaining proper glasses care to them.

But don't they look cute?!

We'll see you Wednesday!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ready for the Weekend

TGIF! It's Friday! Yay!

We have a busy weekend planned (don't we always?), but this morning I am being thoroughly entertained by my daughter.

At the moment, she is on her belly in her play yard, face plastered into the mesh on the side, making her nose and mouth contort into various positions.

She has an assortment of dolls and dinosaurs (yes, dinosaurs) in there with her. The dolls have been flung to the side, after being bitten by dear daughter, and she is surrounded by the dinosaurs (trophies she has stolen with glee from her brothers). She chews on the tails, examines the teeth in their mouths with particular interest, and growls at them (which actually sounds more like an asthmatic wheeze, but it's the same principle) before slamming them down on the floor.

And then there's the police helmet. She's been wearing a plastic police helmet, which was originally purchased by her aunt for her brothers, but it found it's way into the play yard, and she loves it. Pulls it on, and tries to peek out the bottom of it, or looks through the clear visor on the front. It also makes an excellent drum, and the chin strap is a great chew toy. I don't know that she would be so interested in it if Mommy didn't crack up every time she put it on, and get her all excited because Mommy's excited.

I still have people telling me what a little princess she'll be as she grows up, but I just don't know. Maybe they're right. Maybe her interest in the animals, cars, trains, and dinos will end, but in the mean time, I'm going to stick with the tom-boy-in-the-making theory and see how it plays out.

The weekend will be filled with Halloween shopping, my writer's meeting, the next BIG game: OSU vs. Texas, rewriting, and MASSIVE house cleaning. So I'd better get started.

Hope ya'll have a good one!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ouchie!

Howdy, ya'll!

That sounds so much cheerier than I actually feel. I woke up yesterday morning with shooting pain down my neck and across my right shoulder. And it still isn't completely gone.

So I spent yesterday on the couch, with the exception of the times I was feeding the baby, changing her diaper, and crying because it hurt so bad to feed and change her. But, for the most part, she is easily entertained on the floor or in her play yard, surrounded by toys and having a great time.

Today I just hope to get some work done, keep the kiddos out of trouble, and get rid of this biting pain in my shoulder.

Later.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I'm back. It's Monday again, and we have all returned home from the Fall Break weekend.

The children went to Mimi and Papa Max's house in Tulsa from Thursday afternoon until yesterday afternoon. THANK YOU Mimi and Papa Max!!!!

They had a great time at their grandparents' and were a little disappointed to have to come home with boring old Mommy and Daddy.

But Dear Hubby and I had a fabulous time on our 10 year anniversary weekend getaway in Dallas. It felt so strange to go to restaurants, sit down, and eat in peace and quiet.

We could hear each other speaking in the car.

We actually finished sentences.

We weren't shouting above the screaming for everyone to calm down and be quiet!

We didn't have to worry about what was being touched that shouldn't be, valuables being broken, or out-of-control kids running where they shouldn't . . . like into traffic.

All in all, we had a great time.

And now it's back to business as usual.

Catch ya, Wednesday!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Busy Day

Hey, folks!

As a person who is supposedly an adult, you would think I would have learned by now to be prepared for stressful days.

I knew today was going to be busy. I've known it for a week. I've had most of the activities for the day written down on my calendar, and knew I should be ready for the hectic pace.

But I started out the day with a pounding headache and oversleeping by twenty minutes because the alarm clock did not go off. Most likely due to operator error.

This meant throwing the boys into the bath tub for a quick rinse while hubby sped through a shower. Luckily I took mine last night before bed.

At first, the boys wanted out because they were cold. But by the time their bodies adjusted and they wanted to play with bath toys, it was time to get out. So I had to drag them kicking and screaming, literally, from the tub and got soaked in the process.

The baby delighted in their misery, of course, but became furious when her own bath time fun got cancelled due to a lack of time. She had to settle for a sponge bath, and did not appreciate it. And felt compelled to inform me of her irritation with loud screaming.

So hubby is done with his shower and trying to get himself and the boys dressed at warp speed, but none of them move that fast. They have two speeds: slow and slower. Today they chose slower.

Now all the men in the family are dressed and ready to go. The baby is drinking a bottle before I dress her. The backpacks are ready, lunch for Twin B is ready to go . . . but, wait a minute, paperwork to fill out for school, and they need money for something or other, reading quickly, fundraiser for whosy-what. Okay, fine. Throw everything into the bag. Get dear hubby out the door with the kids and a mountain of paperwork of his own that MUST be filled out before we leave for our anniversary trip tomorrow.

Take a deep breath.

Rush to the baby's room and get her dress. Rush to my room and get me dressed. Watch the baby eat one of hubby's old leather belts and refuse to contemplate the number of germs she's ingesting. Clear out the diaper bag and a month's worth of yuck from inside, restock with all new supplies, and we are off to meet Twin A at the Pumpkin Patch for a school field trip.

And pull out of the garage to pouring rain. Great.

Drive to the Pumpkin Patch anyway, and sure enough, despite the drizzle, wind, and cold, they are having the field trip. Get out with the bundled up baby, and hold her out of the weather for an hour while the kids do the pumpkin experience.

Then I drive Twin A to a doctor's appointment that could not be rescheduled, and my perfectly calm and collected child from the field trip turns into a squirming nightmare the entire time we are at the hospital. Even the receptionist had to tell him to please sit still in his chair so he wouldn't fall while I held the baby with one arm and filled out paperwork with the other.

He wiggled while we waited. He wiggled in the office. He wiggled during his exam, and as we left, and in the car, all the way to McDonalds for his lunch.

Then we rushed back to the school, and I have a two hour break for laundry and other home tasks before I have to pick up the boys from school, and we have to go to eye appointments for both of them.

I'm tellin' ya, I might not make it through the day. Moms who do this on a regular basis and hold down a full time job outside the home should be given a medal and a week at a plush spa resort.

So the moral of the story is be prepared so you aren't rushing, rushing, rushing and dropping dead from exhaustion.

Later.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Football Free-For-All

Hello! It's Monday again. Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend.

I know our household was not so fab. In fact, there was great wailing and gnashing of teeth in the land of Stewart.

OU lost to Texas.

My husband was quite distraught by the whole game. Many colorful phrases erupted from his mouth during those three hours. I believe he even sent a sympathy text to his brother, who was even more upset than dear hubby.

But I am DELIGHTED to announce that my OSU Cowboys pummelled the Missouri Tigers! YAY!! And my husband also acknowledged they played a good game, so it was a great win for me.

And to top it off, the Colts won and the Dallas Cowboys lost! I just couldn't be happier!

But I need to reign in my enthusiasm. There are no guarantees this phenomenal winning streak for OSU will continue, and the Colts got off to a VERY rocky start this year. They may not be able to keep this momentum going. But we shall see.

I'm off to edit, edit, edit. And avoid the growing pile of laundry on my couch.

Later!

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Sacred Ritual Every Year

Good morning to you all! It's Friday, yay!

And I have to work this weekend . . . BOO!!
Well, not work technically. I got a call from my brother this week (and I'm going to pick on him because he's my younger brother, and that's what big sister's do), and he asked if we were coming out to the ranch this weekend to help fix fence.

I told him it was a possibility. Tonight we have the Fall Festival at the boys school, but Saturday and Sunday we didn't have big plans that I was aware of.

Oh, but wait. I forgot the most sacred day of the year in Oklahoma. At least according to my husband.

The Red River Shootout. OU vs. Texas.

The one day of the year where a state divided by OU and OSU fans are able to unite against a common enemy, the despised Texas Longhorns. The game is played every year in Dallas, and if you are not one of the fortunate few able to attend the game, you must watch at home or at least be near a radio if you have to be at work somewhere out in the field, in an office, or at a store.

If you pass a pedestrian on the street, all you have to do is ask, "What's the score?" and even little old ladies with walkers can tell you, "Well, OU was up in the second quarter, 17 to 10, with about 3 minutes until halftime."

Well, when my brother found out about the game, that changed everything.

For starters, there was no way he was gonna be able to get my husband away from the TV between 11am and 2:30pm tomorrow. Not gonna happen.

Number two, my brother didn't realize this auspicious occasion was upon us, and he really wanted to watch the game, too.

And number three, when the goofy clod started making plans, he forgot to consult one particularly important person . . . the queen of the ranching scene . . . my mom. She already had plans for the weekend, and goofball never asked what her schedule was like.

Sooooo, the whole weekend has been rearranged to make special consideration for Mom's plans and the football game. And since I am part of Mom's weekend extravaganza, I won't be watching the game, either. However, I will have my cell phone, and will be getting regular updates throughout the afternoon.

We'll see how much work winds up getting done at the ranch.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What's Happening Now

Hello, all!
I'm sorry, but the pictures of the twins haircuts will have to wait. In fact, pretty much everything is going to have to wait. Twin A is sick, probably with the same virus that felled his father over the weekend. He's had a fever since he came home from school yesterday, and we are awaiting the results of some tests from the doctor's office.

So the three of us are home today, and I am functioning on three hours of sleep. I always have the weirdest dreams and say the strangest things when I'm sleep deprived, so you'll have to bear with me.

My big plan for the morning was to blog about the presidential debate last night, breaking my own rule of NO politics in our household, but I just don't think I can form the coherent thoughts required to discuss my views intelligently. As if I could have done that anyway, but that's beside the point.

The point is, I like watching the debates. I've already made up my mind about who I'm voting for, and NO, I'm not telling! But I like to see what both candidates have to say, and I gotta tell ya, the one thing I noticed about both of them is that nobody likes to give a direct answer to a question.

I know, I know, that's the nature of politicians; only say enough to satisfy the voter, without really committing to anything specific.

But probably like everyone else in the country, I wanted to hear what they had to say about their plan for the economy. I am not placing blame here! I am not pointing fingers and saying, "This problem is blah, blah, blah's fault!" I am just acknowledging that there is a problem with the economy, and I wanted to hear about the future president's (whoever that may be) plan to deal with this major issue.

And neither one of them had a focused answer.

Come on! Throw us a bone here. These men supposedly have the top minds in the country at their disposal, and neither of them could come up with a three-point plan to start working on the problem. Puh-leeze!

Make a disclaimer at the beginning of the statement: "There are no guarantees this plan to save the universe will work. We'll go back to the drawing board to rescue the galaxy if we see no changes, but here are the first three things the new administration is going to do to solve this cosmic crisis."

If you can't show us the light at the end of the tunnel, at least show us you have a flashlight in your pocket, or a candle, or a match even. Sheesh.

But we'll see. I have no idea who the best candidate is. And I don't want to hear from the three or four of you who actually read this blog yelling at me, and leaving nasty posts in the comments section about how you know who the best person is, and why aren't I voting for them.

NO hate mail!

But do enjoy the rest of your week. See ya Friday!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Monday Again

And it's Monday morning again. Aahhhh!

Let me just say, this weekend did not go well. Dear Hubby got sooo sick, with a sore throat and fever for most of the weekend. The poor thing sent me off to a writer's meeting an hour and a half away without telling me how truly horrible he felt. And when he called to tell me how bad it was, I still had to get back to OKC and stop by the grocery store to get supplies for him (soup, juice, aspirin, etc.).

But he seems to be doing better. Not 100%, but better. If he starts feeling bad again, he's coming home early.

The kiddo's are fine, for now, which is a great relief.

I actually took matters into my own hands last night, and gave the boys a home-haircut. I'll post pictures tomorrow, and you can tell me what you think.

This is not something I normally do, but I decided they needed a trim, and just for the record, I am a cheapskate. I just don't believe in paying $15.00 per kid to trim around the neck and the ears. Plus a tip. To me, it's just not worth the money.

On the other hand, if I am going in for a cut, color, and style then sure, I should be charged a fair price for it. That takes time and effort.

But not a trim on 5 year olds. Nope, not gonna pay it. SO I did it myself.

And all this family talk leads up to the fact that I did not get to work on revisions this weekend. But if all goes well, I should be trucking right through the latest version of book two, and the fabulous misadventures of Brad, Charlie, and Zoey will be refined and polished.

See ya Wednesday!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Revisions and the Weekend

And a glorious Friday to everyone! Yay, the weekend is here!

And that's all I have to say about that. No big plans, no major excitement, just me and the kids for a couple of days. Hubby is off to a wedding in Texas.

But revisions . . . oh, goodness. Revisions, revisions, revisions. I have two books I am trying to get polished and ready to send out. And I don't do revisions well. I just don't. Probably because I am too close to the story. Even when I have let it simmer and stew for awhile, stepped back to give myself some distance, and then approach it again with "fresh eyes," I still have trouble with revising.

I am not one of those writers who thinks every word they've typed on paper is gold. Usually I think my words are equal to the stuff coming out of the south end of a north bound cow, and need to be scooped off the page with a shovel.

I know the story needs to be fixed, and I have to find the best way to do that, without driving myself nuts. Because I will. I'll rip and slash and shred the story until I create a jumbled mess, if I'm not careful.

So this weekend will be all about keeping my children from killing each other, and working on my revisions. I hope everyone else will be having a wonderful time and enjoying this fabulous weather we've been having.

Toodles!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

At The Conference

Happy Wednesday to you all!

I will not post that everything is calm and serene in our household today because every time I do, chaos breaks out and it takes me a week to recover.

I'm kind of sad to report that the lovely home from three days ago is no more. The children (and adults) managed to trash the place by the time the last guest pulled out of the driveway.

Oh, well.

This will also be my last post on my bumbling antics at the ACFW Conference two weeks ago. I'm sure you're sick of reading about it, and I have bored you long enough.

SOOOO . . . we are now on Friday morning at the conference. I went to classes. Prayed a lot for my appointments that afternoon. Modest little prayers . . . "Lord, please don't let me cry in front of the agents. Please, please, please! Let something semi-comprehensible come out of my mouth."

And I am not jesting about the crying thing. I did that to an editor at the 2006 conference in Dallas. Sat down at her table and bawled like a baby.

So now it's appointment time. I have the first fifteen-minute meeting downstairs at 2:15pm, and the second upstairs at 2:30pm. You can see the problem coming already.

The first appointment went well. Lovely agent-lady talked with me, I managed to explain the essence of my book in a semi-coherent manner (Thank you, Lord), and then we got into a discussion about Toby Keith. She loves Toby. Adores him. I'm from Oklahoma. I wish with all my heart at this point that I have even the teeniest, tiniest connection to the man to trot out and dazzle her with, but alas, no such luck.

We finished our meeting with her taking my sample chapter, and I realized I was already two minutes late for my next appointment.

I sprint down the hall, up the escalator to the second floor, and down the hall again. All this in heels, mind you!

And find the agent I'm supposed to meet waiting for me in the hallway outside the door. Not good.

I'm breathing heavily, she's looking at me like I'm a crazy person, and I follow her into a large room filled with little tables, two chairs at each, and dozens of authors pitching their books to the editors and agents across from them.

We sit down, and I still haven't gotten my breathing to return to normal. I'm concerned about hyperventilating now, and she is trying to get me to take calming breaths. I was finally able to explain the back-to-back appointment problem, and the distance issue, and she understood a little better the near passing-out-from-lack-of-oxygen thing.

This meeting also goes well. She is notorious for making authors cry during their pitching appointments, and I managed to hold it together for our fifteen minutes. I have no earthly idea what I said to her. None. But it must have been good enough. She requested the manuscript, but with a warning, "It needs to be PERFECT!"

Yikes! I thank her, and go on my way . . . straight to the prayer room, where I flop down on the floor, flat on my back, and dig into a deep theological debate with my Creator about what is going on with my life and this conference.

The afternoon carries on, classes are a blur by this point, and I am off to dinner with two published authors at a pizza party they are having for people who signed up on their blog. Dinner goes well, one more late night class with the same two authors, and then I have a critique appointment with one of previously mentioned authors.

We find a shady spot to go over the details of what I need to fix in the manuscript, and we are only interrupted four or five times in what is supposed to be a thirty minute meeting. Then she gets a phone call and needs to go rescue a friend. I am to follow. Yay! Okay, she can lead me wherever she wants. She's multi-published and I love her books. Lead on, Yoda!

We find her friend in the lounge downstairs, trapped in a conversation she wants no part of. The author and I say our goodbyes, and I hustle upstairs to drop into bed, exhausted by the dizzying day.

Until the phone in our room rings.

It's the author. Why don't I come back down and hang out with them?

I stare with longing at my bed, then mentally slap myself. What am I thinking? She wants me to hang out. Yoda is calling me! Yes, yes you idiot (meaning me) get down there now, and hope she doesn't change her mind before you get there.

I rush back downstairs, and come to a screeching halt. This table is filled with the rock stars of the publishing world, and there beside my Yoda-Author is an empty chair.

On trembling legs, I approached the table. "Uh, hi."

"Hey! There you are! Everybody, this is Denice! She's gonna hang out with us. Have a seat."

I sit, praying I don't do anything completely embarrassing, and spend the next hour and a half listening to them talking about everything from business, to dinner, to in-laws, to their appointments of the day. Totally amazing.

The next day was my last appointment, and just when I thought I had an ounce of cool working for me, I look past the editor I am supposed to be meeting with, who is standing in front of me and ask if anyone has seen her. Not my most brilliant moment.

But the goofball thing worked, because she also asked to see the manuscript. Yay! I floated through the rest of the conference, and got to be completely excited that evening at the Awards Banquet. My mother-in-law won the YA category of the Genesis Contest. Yay, Carla!

And that pretty much rounded out my misadventures at the ACFW Conference. Now I am in revision mode, working to polish that manuscript to a high shine, and make it as perfect as possible.

Later!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Party On

We had a great birthday weekend.

Precious daughter got more toys than she'll ever be able to play with (THANK YOU everyone!), and some of the cutest little outfits I've ever seen.

She loved her birthday cake, and opening her presents. The cards were especially yummy!


And now, I will continue my breakdown of the 2008 ACFW conference experience.

The first morning (Thursday) I took the books I wanted to consign to the bookstore and met a young lady named Janna Ryan. Her sister is Cara Putnam, the ACFW Publicity Officer, book signing coordinator, published author, attorney, mother of three, and all around superwoman. And Janna is following in her sister's footsteps: her own dance instruction business, possibly aspiring author (not sure about that, so don't quote me), the mother of six, and she home schools too! Gotta respect that.

I take my books to the store, tell her my name, she starts looking for my paperwork, then stops.

"Oh, you wrote that book. The cow one."

I got hot and twitchy. "Yes, I did." I expect head shaking and tongue clucking, "What were you thinking, trying to write a book? And how much did you have to pay off that publisher to print it?"
She smiles and places a hand to her chest. "I loved your book. It was so good." (And I am paraphrasing here. I don't want to put words in Janna's mouth, but she was complimentary.)

I teared up and laughed at the same time. "Thank you so much. I think you're the first person outside my hometown, or not related to me, to say that."

She laughed, and I said, "Oh, you did a review on Amazon, didn't you? The one about 'How old am I?'" And she laughs again. "You memorized your Amazon reviews?"

Hot and twitchy again. "Well, I have no life, and those reviews are all I've got."

We finished up the paperwork, and I floated out of the bookstore, and downstairs to the hotel restaurant for breakfast.

Then I met up with a few writers from Tulsa, and got to spend the morning hanging out at the Mall of America with them and Mary Connealy again! Yay!
And I breezed through the rest of that day with my head in the clouds, just waiting for the bubble to burst.

See ya Wednesday!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Random Thoughts and the Conference

Hello, all.

Sorry this post is late today. We had a doctor's appointment for precious daughter (shots, ouch!), and I forgot that as I was picking up the twins at school yesterday, my gas light came on. So I had to leave the house extra early this morning to stop by the gas station before driving to the clinic.

And now I have a rant: When did bottles of coke become so expensive? And this is not directed at a specific soda company (Coca-Cola or Pepsi or Dr. Pepper), but at ALL of them. I ran out of my second vice in the world, Diet Coke, yesterday, and decided to stop by the dollar store to pick up a two-liter before getting my sons from school. It cost me $1.25 for the bottle.

This morning, while getting gas, I ran in to grab a 20 oz. bottle of Diet Coke . . . $1.51! What gives? That just seems nuts to me. I will pick up the two-liters from now on because I just can't see the point of paying more money for less product. Ridiculous.

Okay, rant over.

Now on to the weekend. We are having a party for Precious Daughter on Sunday afternoon, so I will spend the day tomorrow cleaning the house. And the truly sad part is that even if I clean from sun up to sun down, it still won't be that much better because I have let this place get into an atrocious state. Oh, well. We'll see how it goes.

And now to rewind a bit (and I will post more next week as well) the ACFW conference in Minneapolis. Oh my gosh! Fabulous.

I went to the conference with low expectations. I knew I would have an agent appointment, and an editor appointment at some point. I knew I would have a critique from an author I had submitted sample pages to. I tried to keep my hopes to a minimum because when you get yourself too psyched up before a conference like this, and place too much pressure on the outcome of these meetings, you'll inevitably be crushed. Keeping it in perspective is the main goal.

So the first night MIL and I get to our hotel, and the first people we see in the lobby are a well-known author named James Scott Bell, my mother-in-law's agent, and the owner of that agency. If you're not a writer, this is like, "Yeah, so . . . big deal." As a writer, this meeting in the lobby is the equivalent of seeing celebrities, musicians, or star athletes.

After a brief introduction, we hurry upstairs to drop off our stuff and get back downstairs to eat because we are both starving. We order and wait for the food as more and more people are arriving. MIL sees some people she knows, waves them over, and they join us at our microscopic excuse for a table. Then one of the new arrivals motions for another woman to join us. She sits down, and I am trying to figure out why she seems so familiar.

Then I recognize her . . . Mary Conneally.

Who?

Mary Conneally. She is one of my absolute favorite authors.

Her books are hilarious historical romances, and I am trying not to slobber all over myself because she is sitting at MY table!

I tried not to be so obvious in my worship of her, but alas, I not known for my subtlety. So I oohed and aahed her for the rest of the night, until we all retired to our rooms.

And on Monday, I will continue my tales of bumbling my way to a great conference.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby

Happy Birthday to my dear, sweet baby girl!!!

Precious Daughter turns 1 year old today, and I am all in a flutter. I'm so happy she's growing up and watching her discover her surroundings is priceless. She is getting so big, and stirring up trouble with each new move.

She crawls at super-speed; she can pull up on the furniture and take shaky steps while holding onto those objects; she stands independently, but has yet to take those first unaided steps across the room.

She has two bottom teeth, and two more on the top trying to break through, which means lots of drool and chewing on hard, plastic items. Kind of like a dog, but less growling.

I think she is going to have her daddy's ability to eat anything that doesn't eat her first, but she also has her mother's insatiable craving for chocolate. It's a genetic thing.

She loves to destroy all structures (castles, animal kingdoms, pirate ships, garages for cars, railroad tracks, etc.) that her brothers have labored to create, and delights in their cries of outrage. She usually joins in, so all three are screaming at once, and I can't figure out who is upset about what.

She is a joy, a trial (aren't all children?), and a treasure. I am blessed by all three of my children.



Monday, September 22, 2008

Home Again

I have returned from the wilds of Minnesota to the . . . well, to the wilds of Oklahoma. Functioning on four hours of sleep, I have been trying to manage my unruly children, who are somewhat interested in my return.

"What did you bring me?" was the battle cry this morning. But at least I got a hug out of the deal.

The conference was too fabulous! I will post more on that in the next few days, but I wanted to put out the good word for my friend, Christy Barritt.

I posted a review of her books Hazardous Duty and Suspicious Minds a few weeks ago. I don't usually do reviews of books, mostly because I don't know what I'm doing, but also because I have to REALLY enjoy a book to say anything about it. I have my favorite authors, who you've probably seen me mention a time or two in my posts, and even they don't always get a mention.

I read all the time (probably less since I've had kids, but still, several books a month), and I have to say, Christy's books are two of the best I've read in a while. I love Janet Evanovich's sense of humor, and Christy captures that same hilarious quality in her stories, without the language or sexual references.

The main character, Gabby St. Claire is feisty and fun. The secondary characters are wonderfully weird, and add superb spice to her mystery/humor recipe for a great book. I cannot say again how amazing these books are, and if you haven't read them, go out and get a copy RIGHT NOW! If you like books, you'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Off to the Conference

Today is the day. In a few hours I will be on a plane and flying off into the great blue yonder, destination: Minneapolis!

The twins crawled into bed with me this morning to discuss my impending absence, and one twin kept asking why I was going to "Mini-apples". And would I bring some tiny fruit back for him.

They wanted me to walk them into the school this morning so they could give me great-big good-bye hugs. We got though the doors, and I was bending down for the much anticipated embrace, when a friend from Twin A's class called to him. Bam! Gone like a bolt of lightning. I barely got a good-bye and a wave over the shoulder. Twin B, torn between Mommy waiting for her hug, and his brother escaping down the hall, voted for an air kiss in my direction as he hurried after his sibling.

I'm standing there calling, "But, what about my hug?!" when a teacher monitoring the hallway gives my a sympathetic smile.

"I think they'll be okay. They look like they're adjusting fine." Obviously she was convinced I just couldn't let go of them now that they are growing up.

I tried not to roll my eyes. "I know they're fine. I'm leaving for a trip today, and the whole point of my coming inside was for hugs before I leave."

Then she became sympathetic for a whole new reason. "Oh. Isn't it sad how fast they grow up and leave us behind?"

Yeah. Just terrible.

So, anyway, I'm off to finish up the last minute details, and then I am gone! Keep hubby and children in your thoughts.

Monday, September 15, 2008

And a happy Monday morning to you all.

I am SO tired! I spent the last two days pounding away at the keyboard, and I am still not finished with my book. But yippy-skippy I am on the LAST chapter, and hope to type the magic words "The End" today!

However, I ask that you keep my poor, over-worked, under-appreciated husband in your thoughts. He had all three kids under his watch the entire weekend, and I think he was glad to be going to work this morning, just to get a break. Usually you hear, "Aww, Monday. I gotta go to work." Dear Hubby said, "Ohh, Monday! I get to go to work!"

And beginning mid-morning on Wednesday, he will have them all again until Sunday evening. Bless my dear, sweet mother (Hi, Mom! waving!) she will be coming out Thursday night and helping most of the weekend.

And bless my dear, sweet mother-in-law (Hi, Carla! waving!) because she will have to put up with ME for five days! We are off to the ACFW Conference together, and let me tell ya'll, when it comes to traveling and conferences I am the most neurotic, whiny, pathetic thing you ever saw. And that poor woman is going to have to drag me around two airports, a hotel, and then pick me up off the floor of our room when I have to pitch my story to an editor and an agent (or she'll at least have to drag me out of the bathroom from the floor if she wants any privacy in there!).

So wish her luck, too.

And now it's back to work. Later!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Here We Go Again

You'd think I would learn my lesson one of these days, and stop posting about "Things are fine."

Since the last post, we have hit Chaos City in our house. We have a leaky roof that needs to be fixed. Called the home warranty people, and they sent someone out. "Sure, we can fix that. Fix the roof around the chimney (cause that's where the leak is), fix that drywall, repaint, we'll have you fixed up good as new. Send someone out tomorrow." That was last week. No one has been here to repair the roof, and I am only gone for one hour during the day when I pick up my sons, so I have no idea what the hold up is.

The baby is spitting up again, though not much, as we have started the process of switching her over from formula to whole milk. Although this morning I got to clean up a huge pile of puke that she decided to slap her hands and feet in. Major fun . . . NOT!

Twin A has a urinary tract infection, and the poor little guy is just miserable. We were on our way home from school on Wednesday when he informed me he had been going to the bathroom a lot today, and needed to go again. We were halfway home when he started wiggling in the seat, practically crying, telling me he couldn't hold it until we got home. Since we are out in the country, I pulled off on the first road I came to, which happened to be a muddy mess of a dirt road, and he hopped out, trying not to land in a mud hole.

And nothing. He strained for a few minutes trying to go, but couldn't. RED FLAG!

After we got home, he went 50 times during the evening, with results less than ten percent of the time.

The next morning we called the school to tell them he was staying home (which he was upset about, he really likes Kindergarten, YAY!), and called the doctor's office to get him into the first available appointment. So at 8:30am I am loading the boy and the baby into the car. We didn't even get the seat belt buckled, and he had to go to the bathroom. And again. And again.

I finally had to strap him in and go so we wouldn't miss our appointment, and we had to stop twice on the way, still with no results. So the last half of the ten minute drive I had to make him hold it, even though there was nothing left to hold, and my poor baby screamed and cried the whole time, afraid he was going to have an accident in his pants.

I still get teary-eyed thinking about him crying so hard over something neither of us could control. So I was treated to a healthy dose of being a helpless parent while your child is losing it. Not a pretty picture, never want to go through that again, although I'm sure I will.

I understand now why my dad threatened to throw a computer, and a nurse, through a plate-glass window after my brother broke his arm. The instinct to protect your child is STRONG, whether the danger is real or perceived.

But I am happy to report that the sudden urges and frequency of the bathroom visits have started to diminish with just one day of antibiotics, but we will be finishing out an entire round to make sure this infection is gone. He is at school today after talking to the teacher to make sure it was okay for him to be there, even though he will have to get up and go many, many, many times. But she seemed fine with him being there today, so we'll see if I get a call later or not.

I hope we have an uneventful weekend, and I hope you all have a great one. See you Monday!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Regular Old Wednesday

Hello, all.

Not a whole lotta shakin' goin' on around here. I am filled with maternal pride as I watch my daughter sitting in her play-yard, flipping through baby books, engrossed in the pictures. She talks to the picture, turns the page, then tries to take a bite. But at least she's interested in books, if only because they are so tasty.

I am still striving to finish the book by the weekend, but I have a feeling it's going to be more like over the weekend. I want to type those magic little words "The End" by Friday night, but it looks like it will be closer to Sunday night. But it still gives me a warm, gooey feeling to think how close I am to finishing. Very excited.

Conference prep is well underway. I still have packing to do, although I do have all my clothes picked out (thank you, Mom for the fabulous outfits on loan). I have to get my Conference Notebook put together, but I have a list of what needs to go where. I need to get my appointment materials printed and organized, but again, I have a list of everything that will go into each folder. So it's all coming along. WooHoo!

Different topic: pray for the hurricane victims, both at home, and on the islands.

See you Friday.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Eating Crow

Eating crow is not a pleasant thing. It’s a bitter, tough, stringy morsel to choke down. I placed my great faith in the belief that the Colts would emerge victorious over the Bears, but sadly, my faith was misplaced. My beloved Colts lost, and I was forced to eat the despicable crow by my husband, whose beloved Dallas Cowboys defeated the Cleveland Browns.

I am comforted by the fact that my other favorite teams, the Giants, won, and in college football the OSU Cowboys won.

Other items of interest that happened over the weekend:

I do, in fact, get to participate in the book signing. The book ordering glitch will not matter, and I will be able to consign the books through the book store, and therefore, sign at the Mall. YAY!!

One of my sons sat up late with me watching cartoons Saturday night, and we discovered we LOVE Bugs Bunny.

“That rabbit’s funny,” he kept telling me.

“Yes, he is, baby.” I told him, doing my best not to laugh.

The ACFW Conference is less than two weeks away. I am SOOOOO excited. I went to the WIN-ACFW meeting in Tulsa on Saturday, and actually practiced my one-sentence pitch for the first time to another person.

For the last couple of weeks I've been sitting in my car waiting to pick up the boys from school, and practicing, but of course, I look like an idiot talking to myself. I've considered just taking out my cell phone and pretending to be on a call, but I talk so much with my hands, I'm finding it difficult to hold the phone. Plus I'd hate to get into the appointment, and have to hold the phone up to my ear to be comfortable talking to the editor/agent.

Well, I am off to write a few thousand more words on the manuscript. My goal is to be finished by the weekend. We'll see how that goes.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Some Days are Just a Bummer

I can't believe I almost forgot about posting on my blog this morning.

Well, actually, I can believe it because I have been distracted all morning by Miss Merry Sunshine (aka The Baby Princess of the World) screaming happily in my ear since she woke up this morning. We have found our voice, and we're not afraid to use it! She most definitely gets this from my dad's side of the family, as they were all robust, loud Danish/German hybrids. The men and the women.

The other reason I am distracted is because I found out last night that, unfortunately, it doesn't look like I will be able to participate in the MAJOR book signing event at the Mall of America in Minneapolis two weeks from now. I'll still be going to my conference, and can still sell books at the conference bookstore, but some kind of glitch is going to prevent the MOA signing. So I've been pretty bummed (the empty bag of chocolate chip cookies beside my bed can testify to that). But I know these things happen, and still look forward to seeing all those authors and getting some of the books I buy from them signed.

This weekend will be filled with writing, cleaning out the boys' toys, writing, cooking a huge pot of chili, writing, watching Peyton Manning (waving at Jan again!) tromp all over the Bears on Sunday, writing . . . just a busy weekend all around.

Hope you all have a great one! See ya Monday!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A House Divided

Here's the skinny.
I'm about to violate the sacred vows of marriage, and air our dirty, domestic laundry to the whole world.
I am annoyed with my husband.
Over the silliest argument in the world. Fantasy football. Yes, you read that right. Fantasy Football.
And I will explain. My dear hubby loves sports. L-O-V-E-S them! Football is, by far, his favorite. I also happen to enjoy football, and can blame my dad for that one. By the time I was five I could name every NFL team. We ran drills and everything. I was the only girl in my kindergarten class who knew how to run down and out patterns.

Anyway, over the years my husband and I have discovered some interesting (aka horrifying) quirks about our mutual appreciation of football. Like it's not so mutual. I like OSU (Oklahoma State University for all non-Okies reading this post). My husband, and his entire family (waving at the in-laws) love OU (anybody who doesn't know OU, well you've just been living under a rock, and need to crawl out of there).
I will cheer for OU in every game of the year, except one. Bedlam. OU vs. OSU. Then it's every man for himself, and most of the time, to my disappointment, OU wins. But I do get the rare victory, and it keeps me going.
Then we have the NFL. (And again waving at all my in-laws, please don't hurt me later) I cannot stand the Dallas Cowboys. This is another incident in my football education that can be laid at my dad's feet. I heard nothing but the wonderful, glorious, amazing (gag me) attributes of the Cowboys my entire childhood. All other teams existed solely for the purpose of being crushed by the Cowboys on Sunday afternoons from September thru November. And thus I came to loathe the team.
Now my husband has two Fantasy Football teams this year. One with his brother, and some of his in-laws, and one at work. We discussed his picks all the way to my mother's house, all weekend long, and all the way home. I had two requests: get Peyton Manning, and get Michael Crayton. Crayton is a wide receiver for the Cowboys and yes, this seems contradictory, BUT he played for the teeny, tiny college I went to: NWOSU. So I like him.
And they are both good players, obviously Manning is AWESOME, but they're both good, and would be good additions to the team. Now, here is the annoying part. My dear hubby had the chance to get Manning and PASSED HIM UP!
He picked some clown-shoes receiver from the Rams (the Rams! people. I mean, come on!), and my new sister-in-law's father got Manning instead. (Waving at Jan!) And he got Eli, too!
So I have decided to cheer for Jan's fantasy team! My hubby did get Crayton on one team, and after being drilled by me, managed to get Manning for his work fantasy team. But still, it's the principle of the thing.
This is just another example of our mutual, yet totally opposite, love of football. I'll keep you posted on how the teams are doing.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Quick Post

Sorry. Short post today.

We just got back from Mom's. Dear Hubby is off picking his fantasy football team, and the kids are coming down off a weekend of fun, sun, and junk food (although we did sneak a few healthy foods into their diet).

It's going to be crazy for the next few weeks, and hopefully I will stay sane in the process.

Later!

Friday, August 29, 2008

This Is My Story

I have lots of blogs that I read every morning before I get started on my daily word count. Every single one of them are in some way, shape, or form, writing related.

Two of the blogs are about screenwriting - no, I'm not working on a movie or anything, but they have great insight about character development, theme, action beats, pacing, etc.

Two of the blogs are agents who offer valuable insight into the world of publishing, not to mention they answer questions we lowly author wanna-be's ask.

One blog is from the CEO of a major publishing company. Anything he has to say is absorbed by thousands, and therefore worthy of my short attention span.

One blog is about marketing, and the rest are by other writers who are offering a variety of information . . . book reviews, help with the writing craft and technique, things they have learned along the road to publishing, and an infinite number of other topics (one even showed her readers how to knit a toilet seat cover - not the lid, but the actual seat!).

A comment today on one of the blogs got me to thinking. This reader posted that they come to this person's blog to get a specific type of information (in this case, insight into the publishing industry). The blogger happened to be tired (we know because she told us), and wrote about nothing work related.

The reader wasn't happy. They told her they were tired of reading blog posts about:
Cute pets (no pets, don't need a pet, couldn't even handle a goldfish at this point),
What the blogger ate for breakfast (in my case, a Diet Coke, bbq chips, and a grape, if anyone is interested),
What their kids were doing (I do this, like, EVERY DAY),
The funny thing that happened while doing their laundry (nothing funny about laundry, don't like laundry, piles of laundry as far as the eye can see),
and that the blogger should really consider getting back to what people came to their blog for in the first place, to read about the publishing industry.

So here's my thing. I'm a stay-at-home mother of three. A wife. A daughter. A sister. A friend. I'm trying to write tween adventure stories, AND adult romantic comedies. My world revolves around my kids, my husband, our home, our families, my writing, and if I have the time, reading.

And I am always looking for something light and funny to share so that some day my readers (both book and blog), will feel that personal connection to me. I look for the funny and ridiculous every day.

So I will probably keep writing about the goofy things that happen in our lives. I don't have great wisdom (or even tiny tips) to give other writers, I don't have insight into publishing, I'm not a CEO (unless you count CEO of Stewart Household, Inc.), and I don't know how to knit so you'll get no toilet seat covers from me.

This is my life. This is what I write about, and I hope you'll come back for more. See ya Monday!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another Day in the Life

Well, there's really nothing new to report on the home front.

I guess that's good. Thus far (crossing my fingers and knocking on wood) we have no mini or major disasters to deal with. I pray it stays that way.

The boys have toys scattered from one end of the house to the other, literally; laundry is going, and we are praying the machines hold out for just another month before we need to replace them; the baby is in her play-yard lifting her leg in the air, a move worthy of a ballerina, and inspecting it up close and personal; and I am a few minutes away from getting started on my manuscript, and hopefully will meet my word count for the day.

I appreciate the relaxing days. I should probably learn to appreciate them even more. And again, I pray it stays this way.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Conference Coming Soon

I am now moving past the "Get the Boys Ready for School" phase to the "Let's Panic Because I am Going to an IMPORTANT Writer's Conference in a Few Weeks" phase.

Saturday I had a meeting with our local writer's group OCFW, which is a local chapter of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). ACFW annual conference will be in Minneapolis this year, and I am desperately trying to get my manuscript finished before I go. I signed up for an appointment with an editor and an agent who are looking for COMPLETED MANUSCRIPTS. See the problem?

So at our local meeting, the topic was "Getting Ready for Conference". A wonderful lady named Myra Johnson (who happens to be a friend of my mother-in-law, who happened to catch a ride with her from Tulsa to the meeting) gave a very informative talk about things you can do to prepare for the conference.

And there was a LOT of stuff. Some of her tips I knew. Some of her tips were new to me. All of her tips were excellent. I even joked to my mom about how organized this woman is, right on par with her level of organization.

But mostly I'm just freaking out (so what's new about that?). The advice I hear about most conferences is, "Try to relax. Don't be nervous. Editors and agents are people, too"

And I agree. They are people. People who have the power to accept or reject your work. People who have the power to make a life-long dream come true. People who have the power to make or break a potential writing career. So yeah, they are people, but people with a lot of influence over a writer's life.

So I want to be prepared for these people. I need to hide the crazy as best as I can. I need to be as professional as possible (says the girl in a ponytail in her cut-off sweats, flip-flops, and a t-shirt). I need to get organized and have all my ducks in a row before I leave.

And now I have to go, and get started on all this organization. See ya Wednesday.