Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Day in the Life...

I have to say, I have the deepest admiration and respect for stay-at-home and homeschooling mothers. Ladies, YOU GO!

While I love my children with all my heart and every fiber of my being...they are driving me CRAZY! The twins have only been out of Pre-K for four days (and truthfully they only went to school for three hours anyway), but I really came to rely on that three hours of peace and quiet during the day to keep me sane. We are going to have to establish a daily routine to keep the boys out of trouble, to let me get some housework and writing done, and make sure the baby is taken care of.

The first step has been to hire a babysitter to come to the house three hours in the afternoon and watch the boys. They all go outside to play, the baby naps, and I have been able to work on my manuscript. LOVE IT! (Waving and smiling and hugging Beth!) She is such a sweet girl, the boys already love her, and I know I am right here in the house if she needs help with anything.

Now we need to figure out what to do during the mornings. Today they are content to watch cartoons on TV and build train tracks during commercials. Yesterday, we were not so easily entertained. The fighting over EVERY SINGLE TOY in the toy box started after breakfast, and didn't stop until they went to bed last night.

The baby is easy. She plays with toys in her play-yard and watches her brothers fight. This keeps her entertained for HOURS! Destroying their building projects by running over them in her walker is also a highlight of her day. She surveys the damage as the boys scream and cry to me.

Just another day in the Stewart household.

So again, I admire and respect all the women out there who take pride and pleasure in caring for their children, keeping their homes in tip-top shape, and taking care of any other details around the house. Keep up the great work, and please feel free to share your secrets with the rest of us because I could use all the help I can get.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tired of Tornadoes

Can I just say, I am tired of tornadoes?

I feel terrible for those people in Iowa and in Colorado who had their towns destroyed, and lost loved ones, by the raging storms within the last few days. My heart and prayers go out to ALL who have dealt with the aftermath of a tornado this year. I heard on the news this morning that this is the worst tornado season in almost a decade, and we have just arrived at the peak of the season.

I have lived all my life in Oklahoma and would think I would be used to stormy weather and tornadic activity by now. But NO!

I don't know how it happened, but twice over Memorial Day weekend, we were in Tornado Warnings. We went to my mom's house for a visit, and she does not do severe weather. Her precautionary measures make the Boy Scouts look like amateurs. She is prepared to ride out Armageddon in her storm shelter.

Last night her weather radio went off every five minutes for a new storm alert from 9:30pm until 3:00am. By midnight, she is waking me up to come watch the weather with her, and to be prepared to get the kids to go to the storm shelter.

I lay across the armrest on her couch, and try to keep my eyes open. She tells me never mind, go to bed, she'll keep watch for awhile but she doesn't really think anything is going to happen. At 12:45am she is waking me up again because there is another area of rotation nearby (translation=30 miles south of us and heading away from us), and she is worried something might develop near us soon.

I tried to be equally concerned about the remote possibility of being blown away by a tornado with this particular super-cell, but by that point, unless the thing was right on top of us, my only interest was sleep.

Now my husband is absolutely fascinated by thunderstorms, so I woke him up from a lovely, deep sleep, and sent him into the living room to ride out the storm with my mom. I went back to sleep, the storms passed, and we returned home this morning.

The bad thing about this storm is that it happened at night, more accurately in the middle of the night, when everyone had already gone to bed to get some decent rest before work the next morning. The weatherman even told viewers, "If you know people in these areas, please call them and warn them about these storms. Lots of people are in bed by now, and don't know there is a tornado coming."

As of this blog, I have not heard of any fatalities related to last night's tornado outbreak; I have heard a few damage reports, but I think most people would agree that stuff can be replaced or repaired, lost lives cannot.

So even though I might sound flippant about my mother's tornado precautions, she is way ahead of the game, and I thank her for the great example she sets for me. I should be more like her, and not many daughters WANT to be more like their mother.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Not the Best Way to Spend the Weekend

Sadly enough, I still haven't had the opportunity to go over my conference materials.

Wednesday afternoon, one of the twins woke up from his nap, walked into the living room, and laid his head on my lap.

Uh, oh. Not a good sign. When the twins wake up, whether from a nap or a solid night's sleep, I usually get surly, grouchy answers to questions, and shrugged off attempts at hugs. A child willingly walking into the room and cuddling with me is foreshadowing to danger ahead.

He felt warm, but I rationalized he had just woke up from a nap, snuggled under the covers, and that was the reason he was warm. Then he told me his mouth hurt.

"Where?" I asked.

"Back here," he whispered, and pointed to the back of his throat.

Oh, no.

He sat with me a few more minutes, but after his brother got up, they went off to play, and I never heard another word from him until later that night. I went to my bedroom to work on a manuscript, and 30 seconds later, my son followed me into the room.

"Mommy, I want to lay with you."

"Are you ready to go to bed?"

"Yes, I want to lay with you."

Another bad sign. At 8 o'clock at night, the boys are playing in the bath for half an hour, begging for just one more chapter from a book, basically fighting bedtime tooth and nail. They DO NOT volunteer to go to bed.

He tossed and turned beside me for two and a half hours, and when my husband came to check on us (and remove the wayward child from his side of the bed to the child's own room), I asked him to get a thermometer. Temperature was 100.3. Within two more hours, he was throwing up.

All over my sheets. All over my blanket. All over the clothes I had folded on a chest at the end of the bed. All over the bathroom floor. Everywhere but the toilet.

We called the doctor first thing in the morning, after a VERY long night, and got an appointment for later in the afternoon. He spent the day in bed, and missed his last day of school, the fun party day. I had to keep the baby and the other twin separated from the sick child, and managed to get them all loaded and to the doctor's office, where my husband met me...and my child threw up again in the parking lot.

The doctor took one look at him, checked his throat, and made his diagnosis. Strep throat.


I have horrible, awful, terrible memories from my own childhood of strep throat. I catch strep throat by saying the words. And now I am treating a child for the infection. We even took precautionary measures, and filled a prescription for antibiotics for the other twin, just in case he comes down with the same symptoms.

So we will see how the next few days go. I pray I manage to skip the disease this time around, and no one else in the house gets it either.

See you Monday, and have a great Memorial Day weekend.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Information Overload

Hello again.

I am having trouble adjusting to a normal routine again after my wonderful four days in the mountains. The YMCA of the Rockies was SO beautiful, and if I have the opportunity to return next year, I hope I can bring my whole family to enjoy the facility.

While at the conference, we packed an incredible amount of information and activity into a few really LONG days, and honestly, I have been unable to go through my notes from the trip since I got home. Every time I pull out a handout I received from a faculty member, a child runs or crawls (YES! my baby girl is starting to crawl!) into the room, and immediately makes a grab for the paper. I wrestle it away from the child, get them interested in another activity or toy, and try to go over the notes again, but more distractions pop up (the construction going on next door, the phone ringing, the kids fighting), and I don't finish going over the materials.

After meeting so many wonderful people, and receiving such great advice and learning techniques, I hate the feeling of waste I have right now. Some people may take days, weeks, months, or even longer to go over materials from a conference. Some may never look over the information they received at a conference once they return home.

I like to jump right on it. I like to ride the "high" of being around so many publishing professionals, and start incorporating their knowledge into my writing. Having the opportunity to learn from the pros, and soak up their enthusiasm for the written word, has been an honor and I want to continue to take full advantage of the situation.

Maybe this afternoon I can get all the kids down for a nap at once, and spend an hour or so diving back into all that juicy writing information.

See you Friday!

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Wanted Woman

I returned VERY late on Saturday night from the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, CO.

Getting through the airport for this trip was an interesting experience. I have only traveled by plane with my husband, who bless his sweet heart, usually handles everything for the trip. He gets us to the airport and in the correct parking garage; he gets us to the correct airline counter to check our luggage and get our tickets. I am the trip planner; he is the doer. Well, this trip, I was the doer, and not sure at all what to do.

My friend Erin and I had to be at the airport by 5:30am to catch our 7:00am flight to Denver. We get to the check-in for our airline, and try to e-check-in. We get halfway through the process, when the computer stops and tells us we must see an agent of the airline before we can proceed. We go to the counter, wait fifteen minutes for a girl who is trying to check-in and well on her way to missing her flight, and finally get to the agent.

I am on the Watch List.

I know my jaw almost hit the floor. Little country-bumpkin like me (wife, stay-at-home mother of three, shy to the point of breaking out in a cold sweat when I have to meet a new group of people) am on the Watch List.

I started to stammer, "What? How could this happen? Are we going to make our flight? Will I be able to get though security? Are they going to pull me aside and do a search? What will I do on the way home?"

The agent held up a hand to stop my constant stream of babbling and said, "I just need to see your ID."

"Oh. Okay." That was simple enough. I gave him my driver's license, but couldn't help asking again, "How could this happen? I haven't flown in over four years."

"Oh, it's probably just someone trying to use your name," the agent tossed out oh-so-casually.

"What?! Someone stole my identity?! What am I going to do? Am I going to have to go through some long and tedious process to correct this horrifying travesty?"

"Ma'am, no one has stolen your identity. They just tried to purchase a ticket at some point using this name, but probably couldn't produce positive identification."


Now through all this, Erin is trying to decide whether to laugh at me or slowly back away from the crazy terrorist lady. We get our tickets and go to security. I expect a huge hassle because I am a wanted woman, but we get through no problem. We go down the concourse to find our gate, and sit down to wait.

Then Erin asks, "So, how did you plan to take over the plane? Were you going to beat the flight crew into submission with a book, or what?"

And so our adventure began. More on Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Going Away

I am off to the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference for the next four days. I won't be posting again until next Monday, and I will tell everyone how the conference went.

See you later!

D.C. Stewart

Monday, May 12, 2008

Family Get Together

Another wild and crazy weekend!

This past weekend, my youngest brother-in-law graduated from college. Since we live very close to the town where he went to college, we had relatives staying with us at our house. Wow!

Five children from ages 11 years to 7 months tearing through the house (and yes, even the 7 month old tore through the house because she likes to sit in her walker, kick those chubby little legs, and go, Go, GO!), eating junk food, and drinking caffeine by the gallon!

Now, in my opinion...That's a GREAT weekend. We didn't have to be "on", and by "on", I mean breaking out the fancy china, serving complicated meals, and trying to be a mecca of hospitality. Hospitality ain't my thang! Although I will say there is something to be said for the occasional fancy dinner party. Those can be lots of fun, too. But anyway...

We threw burgers and 'dogs on the grill, ate off paper plates, drank soda from cans, and watched kids run wild in the backyard having a good time. Those are my favorite kind of days: seeing family and friends, hanging out, and everyone enjoys themselves. The house is still messy with toys scattered around the living room and bedrooms, there are soda cans on most of the clean surfaces in the living room, dining room, and kitchen, and I love it! I can't wait to have everyone over again.

We'll fire up the grill, break out the paper plates, and have a blast!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Last Summer Vacation Answers

These are the last answers to my question for the fifth grade class at Little Rock Christian: What do you like to do during summer vacation?

Hannah said: Go to my grandparent's farm. Go to the lake house. Go to camp. Stay home and play with my family. Sleep over with friends. Go to the beach. Go to the pool. Ride horses.

Laura said: Water ski. Ride my horse. Go to the beach. Brookhill Camp. Water parks. Innertubing. Lake house. My birthday. Hang with friends. Having shaved ice. Write. Not think about school.

Meg said: The pool. Brookhill. Wild River Country. Friends. No school. Florida. Play outside. Purple Penguin. Snow cones. Ice Cream. Trips.

Daniel said: My favorite things to do on summer vacation are 1.) Going to VR, 2.) Meeting friends, 3.) Going to Florida, 4.) Watching TV, 5.) Playing video games.

Jacob said: Roller coaster parks. Play video games all summer. Visit Arkansas State Parks.

Hayden said: Sometimes I go to camp. Most of the time I'm in an AAU Tournament.

Lillie said: My favorite things to do over summer vacation are; going to Brookhill, seeing my cousins in Texas, going to Florida, and swimming in my grandparent's pool in their backyard.

Brooks said: 1.) Go to the beach
2.) Swim
3.) Sleep late
4.) Go to friend's house
5.) Go to grandmother's house
6.) See family

I just want to say again how much fun I had visiting with all these kids. They asked great questions; I hope I gave decent answers. You guys have a GREAT summer!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

More Summer Vacation Answers

Here are more answers from my class visit at Little Rock Christian.

QUESTION: What do you like to do during summer vacation?

Will said: 1.) Play with friends.
2.) Sleep Late.
4.) Sleep in.

Taylor said: 1.) Go to the beach.
2.) Play with my friends.
4.) Stay up late.
5.) Spend the night
6.) No School.

Aaron said: Sleep. Go to Branson. See my grandparents. Swim. Play football with my Dad and brother.

Corbin said: My favorite thing I like to do during the summer is having my friends over to my house.

Grant said: 1.) Go to my friend's house every day.
2.) See my cousins.
3.) Go swimming.
4.) Play air soft (?)
(Someone is going to have to explain that one to me because I don't get it.)
5.) Have my birthday.

Gene said: Go to DisneyWorld. Have my birthday. Water ski. No school. And wake up late.

Elizabeth said: Go to the pool. Go shopping. Go to the beach. And sleepovers. Outdoor activities. Sell lemonade. Go to camp.

I'll have the last answers up on Friday.

I am beginning to see a pattern here with the kids. They like to hang out with their friends and SLEEP! Not a bad way to spend the summer. I can totally relate.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Summer Vacation Answers

These are some of the responses I got when I asked the fifth graders from my class visit last Friday, "What do you like to do during summer vacation?"

Sarah said: In my summer vacation I like to play outside with my sister and dog. I like to go on vacation with my family, usually to Colorado. I also like spending the night with my grandparents, and play with friends, go swimming, and last of all sleep in.

Austin said: Going to Florida. Going to Branson. Sleep in. Swim. Go to the lake. Play tennis. Go to Brookhill. Play video games. Play golf. Visit grandparents.

Cameron said: Fish. Camp on islands in our boat. Swim. Shoot guns at our farm. Dive with my dad. Catch snakes and spear fish.
(Okay Cameron, I was with you until you brought up catching snakes. Ewwwww!)

Blake said: Go see St. Louis Cardinals game in St. Louis. And see grandparents.

AnaLaura said: Go to the beach with the Crains'. Hang out with friends.

D.C. here: On Wednesday, I will post more answers, but I am already starting to see a pattern forming about what fifth graders like to do during summer vacation.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Crazy Day

Oh, my! That was one exciting trip to Arkansas. Tornadoes, torential rains, and questionable driving all led to a great time talking with the fifth grade class at Little Rock Christian.

I don't know how the kids felt, but I had a wonderful time! It was a long drive out, and a long drive back, but TOTALLY worth it.

Thanks, guys and girls, for letting me hang out with you for part of the day.

On Monday, I will be posting answers to a writing exercise we had during the visit.