Friday, January 30, 2009

Cereal and Eggs

Hey, folks.

Man, I am tired. So what's new about that? Well . . . nothing. Hubby came home sick, sick, sick last night, and the twins both woke up in the middle of the night with a hacking cough.

That means I didn't get a lot of sleep, which means my post today will be brief . . . and probably not too coherent, either.

The baby seems to be fine, except she's found a new way to entertain herself this morning . . . dropping fruit loops cereal onto the floor, then looking up at me with big fake, innocent eyes saying, "Uh, Oh!"

So I have a lot of cereal to clean up in a few minutes. But at least it's not eggs.

One of my father-in-law's favorite stories is the time he got up to go to work on the Friday before Easter when my hubby and his twin were around two years old, maybe a little younger.

He entered the kitchen to find his sons, standing on a chair in front of the open refrigerator, dropping two or three dozen eggs one by one onto the floor. I don't know if they were saying, "Uh, oh," or not.

Then my F-I-L cheerfully called to his wife (who recalls this story and was NOT amused!), "Honey, the boys made a mess in the kitchen! I gotta go to work. Bye!"

All I can say is thank goodness the baby can't get the fridge door open yet.

And on that happy note, have a great weekend! Stay warm and have fun!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ice Storm 2009

Hey, y'all!

We are going on our second day of being iced-in.

The freezing started on Monday morning (not long after my post), and by the afternoon, the roads were s-l-i-c-k!!!! And I had the joy and pleasure of getting out with the Princess to go pick up the twins.

Can we say "major stress"?

I went about 10 mph, at the most, and still had trouble at the stop signs.

And the other people on the road? Crazies!

The road was filled with crazies. And I live out in the middle of nowhere, so that's saying something.

The only guess I can make is that most of the people who live out here, with the exception of a few, are city-folk who have transplanted to this more rural setting for the fantastic school district and to get out of the crowding in the city.

But they had no idea how to drive on ice.

Rule No. 1 is: Don't drive on ice! As I have mentioned, repeatedly, it's slick and dangerous! Stay home if at all possible.

Rule No. 2 is: GO SLOW! A lot of people must have missed that memo because they were going much to fast to be able to follow the third rule.

Rule No. 3 is: Leave plenty of space between yourself and the next vehicle. Now, this one is just common sense, people. If you're going too fast, and if you're too close to the vehicle in front of you, if you start to lose control of your car, you're less likely to be in a collision if you are back off the other car.

Stay back, and give yourself plenty of time to get where you're going.

It took my husband two and a half hours to get home Monday night, and he counted over thirty cars off in the ditch or stuck in the median because they slid out of control on the road.

Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer, and the ice should start to melt away. Yay!

So stay safe, and I'll be back on Friday.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Dinosaurs, Heros, and Clutter . . . Oh, My!

Hello, all.

It's an overcast, cold Monday morning here in the Sooner state. We are bracing for snow, and possibly ice. All I can say is I pray we don't get the ice. Snow I can handle, but ice is just sooo dangerous.

And I pray those who do get ice will be careful!

It's dangerous!

Call in to your boss and tell them you can't make it to work. If you have to be there, leave early and drive slow.

And now that my Public Service Announcement is over, I'll get back to the ho-hum tales of writing and parenting and the conflict in between.

So writing . . . I started my next book. This story will follow up with one of the characters in the first novel. One of the great things about this character is I know him pretty well, and have a wealth of funny stories to weave into his book.

But the one thing I'm missing for him is his goal and motivation. I really need to find a goal for him. And actually, I might have the motivation down, but that elusive goal . . . so I am unable to forge ahead because I'm not sure exactly where he's going.

On the home front; my mom, brother and sister-in-law took the twins to see a BIG dinosaur show in OKC on Saturday.

I had a writer's meeting that afternoon, and the baby was sick all weekend (runny nose, coughing, throwing up because of the coughing and drainage), so hubby stayed home with her.

And the boys had a fabulous time! They loved those enormous robotic creatures moving around on the arena floor, and even said one of the dinosaurs looked them right in the eye (and they were on the second level).

It was nice for them to get out without Mommy and Daddy (and we TOTALLY appreciated it), and my family said they didn't act too awful, so I considered it a win-win situation.

We continued to clear out the debris in our house, otherwise known as major clutter and junk, and our bedroom was the target yesterday. Boxes of papers and clothes got shredded or donated, and we'll continue this project until we can get our whole house cleaned up and organized.

For us, it's baby steps, and it seems to be working so far.

Now, I'd better get back to playing with the Princess and working on my hero's goal!


Friday, January 23, 2009

Same Old Post

Good morning, all.

I'm a little slow getting around today. Yesterday the weather here was gorgeous, and the Princess and I went for a little walk.

Okay, a LONG walk.

Longer than I've walked in quite some time. I just couldn't resist. Temperatures in the upper 60's in January?

I couldn't pass that up. So I put a jacket on the baby, and we went for a stroll through our neighborhood. And went. And went.

Then after I picked up the Terrible Twosome from school, they changed into play clothes, the Princess went down for a nap, and the boys and I played in the front yard for a couple of hours.

Twin A has been learning to throw a football, and not to brag or anything, but he's pretty good. For a five year old, he's got a decent arm. Not that he's gonna be up for a Heisman anytime soon, but still, I was quite surprise by his control and the strength of the throw.

Twin B preferred to play with his dinosaurs.

So I spent a lot of time bending down to get the ball, throwing, chasing, etc. and on top of the walk, I'm sore today. Especially in the hips. Not sure why the hips, but they ache.

I wondered this morning if it could be the cold front moving into the area, but I'm not sure. I just know that all the wonderful sunshine from yesterday is gone, and it's back to gloomy, cold cloud-cover.

Anyway, I really don't have anything else to impart to you, so have a great weekend. Stay warm and dry.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rant Alert

Hello, all.

Okay, I'm about to get up on my soapbox, so if no one is in the mood to read a lecture/rant, you should probably stop reading.

I'm a member of a national writer's organization, and a part of their online community. I subscribe to an e-mail loop that is dedicated to the business of writing.

People post questions or comments about all manner of writing related topics. It's one of the reasons I love that group, because of the wealth of information to be gleaned there.

But today another sort of e-mail went through our loop. One I'm pretty sure isn't allowed, and no, it wasn't something distasteful.

Someone was commenting about a movie they had seen, and wanted to "warn" the rest of us about the misleading marketing that led her into the treacherous trap of watching that movie. She just wished someone had warned her about the contents before she watched.

Now, the problem I have with this, and it's petty, so feel free to judge me on this one, but I really resented this woman's "warning."

If it's her opinion that the content is questionable, then she should write about it on her personal blog. She should call her friends in the real world and tell them how disappointed/upset/horrified she was about it.

But don't go on a professional organization's e-mail loop and start spouting off about it. There are other parts of the Internet for that.

Something similar happened right before the election last year. A woman from a professional conference I had attended sent an e-mail article about one of the candidates to everyone in her contacts list, which included me.

The only reason she had my e-mail address to begin with was because you had to provide one when you registered for the conference so you could get updates to schedule changes, etc. She was the director of the conference, and there was no reason she should have been sending her personal opinions about her political views to attendees of that conference.

I just found it irritating and rude.

If you're in a personal setting and these kinds of conversations get started, that's one thing. But I view these types of organizations and conferences as business-related, and you wouldn't go into a board meeting at your office and start sounding off about your personal opinions in front of your co-workers and your boss.

At least I wouldn't. If the conversation were directed that way, and my opinion was asked for then I would give it. But no one on that loop asked for her opinion on the movie, especially since this organization is for books.

So now I will hop down off my soapbox since I am done spouting off in my little corner of the cyber-world, and let you all get on with your day.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Today's the Day

Good morning, all.

I hope you had a great weekend, and are prepared for the week ahead.

All the kids are home today, and so far, so good (although I realize it's only been an hour into our morning, but still . . .).

The boys are playing nicely with their sister, she isn't trying to get into everything, and everyone seems content to play quietly for the moment. I have no illusions this peaceful lull will last longer than the time it takes to write this post, but one can always hope.

Well, today's the day.

I'll be making the final preparations, and sending my manuscript out. My palms are already sweating. But this is a crucial step on the path to becoming a career author.

It definitely won't be easy. However, I know that if I don't send it, I'll never know.

So . . . I guess I need to finish up while I have a moment of silence to work. Wish me luck not to chicken out at the last second.


Friday, January 16, 2009

The Weekend is Here

Hello, all.

It's another fabulous Friday, and I hope you are all planning to have a safe weekend, trying to stay warm.

We will be cleaning, cleaning, and cleaning.

I have a mountain range of clean laundry piled in the living room (the love seat and two chairs have been overrun), not to mention all the damage the twins have done to the spare bedroom where we were storing the toys from Christmas.

It's a disaster, and we'll be tackling it tomorrow morning.

And, on a writing note, it's time.

(Insert spy music . . . dun, dun, dun!)

The rewrites are finished on my book, the proposal is almost ready, and the synopsis needs to be tweaked. That's it.

I am now going to have to bite the bullet and send it out. It should be on its way to an agent by Monday.


But regardless of whether she accepts or rejects the proposal, I'll have taken a huge step (for me) by putting the work out there. It's never easy for a writer send their stories out into the world for exposure to the judgement and criticism of others, and I admire and respect those who have the courage to do so.

But anyway, I hope you all have a great weekend. Stay warm. Read books. Hug your family.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The New Queen of Scream

Good morning.

Oh, I am so tired.

Dear Hubby did not feel well last night, and chose to sleep in our spare bedroom to try and get a solid night of uninterrupted rest. I totally understand and respect his decision, not to mention I really don't want to catch whatever he's got.

But the twins woke up in the middle of the night, and crawled into bed with me. So I woke up about 4:30am with a hand in my face (and a finger precariously close to being up my nose), and a knee jammed into my lower back.

And every time I shifted, or tried to move them, I would get whacked again in a new location, someone would complain in a high-pitched whine, and fall right back to sleep again.

I was not so fortunate in my ability to drift off, and am very tired for it this morning.

And I'm not sure how Her Royal Highness slept last night, but she has been displaying a foul temper this morning.

Her worst tantrum came when her Daddy and brothers left for work and school. She tried to follow them out to the garage, but Daddy scolded her (and I say scolded with tongue in cheek; in reality he sing-songed "No, no sweetie. Daddy has to go bye-bye."), and nudged her back into the laundry room.

You'd have thought he slapped her to the ground, screamed in her face, and kicked her for good measure. Good grief. She is definitely gonna be a drama queen like her momma.



Huge, fat tear-drops rolling down her fluffy cheeks.

Cherry-red nose.

She ran into the dining room. Turned to see the door closed to her. Flung herself to the ground. Let out a blood-curdling wail. Buried her face in her arms. Peeked to see if Daddy had come back yet (he didn't; he and the boys were already in the car backing down the driveway). Screamed again. Repeated the process.

Finally she came to the realization that Daddy wasn't coming back, and decided she needed me to comfort her. She let me hold her for all of ten seconds before squirming to get down.

When I set her on the floor, she looked up at me with more tears streaming down her face and started to cry again like I had abandoned her.

After about five minutes of snuggles and kisses, she calmed down and was ready to play.

Hopefully a good nap this morning will put her in a better mood. And maybe a good nap for me as well.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Early Spring Cleaning

Good Morning, all.

I hope everyone had a great weekend.

I was quite satisfied with the progress we made on cleaning the house. We started in the twins bedroom, and OH, MY GOSH! We hauled out two huge garbage bags full of trash, and a huge plastic storage bin full of toys to give away. All this to manage the influx of toys and other gifts received at Christmas.

But it was SOOOOO worth the day spent working on it. Being able to see the floor . . . knowing there is room in the closet . . . knowing no science experiments are growing in a secluded corner . . . a great start to the long process of cleaning out and organizing the house room by room.

See, I come from a long line of pack-rats.

My grandma, my mom, my aunt . . . they all save everything, because it might be used again someday, it has sentimental value, or it's just too cute to part with. I have these same tendencies, but I don't have their ability to properly display or store these items.

I just don't have the gift. I don't do scrapbooks. I don't do lovely displays of family treasures mixed right into the home decor. I don't have neatly and artfully arranged photo albums for each of my children to pass on to their future generations.

I just have boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff taking up space.

So Dear Hubby and I agreed that for the rest of the month, or year, or as long as it takes, we will work together and go through the house room by room to decide what stays, what goes, and to find proper ways to store and/or display what stays.

But I have a feeling we will have this tackled within a couple of months. The momentum has been building since we moved into the house, and while we managed to get a few things done, we never got a thorough purge of all non-essential items like we wanted.

And we decided as the kids get older and collect more junk, we're gonna need the space and an organizational system already in place if we want to survive. Climbing over or out from under the growing piles of stuff is not my idea of an interesting exercise routine.

And I plan to get started on a new book within the week. So I need a clean house to think. It's just a requirement.

Hope you all have a great week.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Maybe Next Year

Hey folks!

Today is an official day of mourning.

OU lost to the Florida Gators in the BCS Championship last night. There is great wailing and gnashing of teeth in the house of Stewart.

And I don't just mean our house.

I mean the entire Stewart family. Hubby, his brothers, their in-laws . . . all of them.

This morning my husband was the most subdued I've seen in a long time. I'm not sure how long his period of grief will last, maybe forever, but I have a feeling it won't take longer than finding out his beloved Dallas Mavericks are doing well this year, and he will hang his hat on their chance to go to the playoffs. (And I have no idea how the Mavericks are doing this year . . . they could stink for all I know.)

As far as the resolutions go, I haven't been 100%, but I am exercising and reading my Bible. However, the cookie dough I've been inhaling has probably offset any benefit from the exercise!

The twins are at school having a Fun Day today. During the Fall Carnival, the wind was so strong, none of the inflatables would stay up so the company agreed to come back (today), and give all the kids a chance to bounce, slide, run, fall, etc.

They were WAY excited.

The Princess and I are hanging out, as usual. Her Mimi gave her a pretend Blackberry when we visited their house last weekend (it came from my brother-in-law when he worked for a cell phone company . . . it looks just like the real thing), and the Princess loves it! Thinks she's getting away with swiping someones phone and playing with it.

Other than that, we're just heading into the weekend, which I think is still supposed to be nice . . . very unusual for January, but worth taking advantage of before the cold sets in again. We'll be cleaning out all the kids' closets to make room for all the new gifts they received during Christmas.

I hope you all have a great weekend.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Not Your Typical Resolution

Hello, all.

I hope the week is treating everyone well. We are trying to get back into the groove around here, keeping the insanity to a minimum, and pushing for healthier habits this year.

As you can imagine, it's not going well.

I decided this year as my "resolution" not to just make resolutions, but to actually set goals each month, and strive to achieve them.

My two main goals for January are to read my Bible or do a Bible study lesson/devotional every day, and to exercise for 20 minutes every day. And by exercise, I don't mean 20 minutes of all out, push it to the limit, set world records exercise. I mean 20 minutes of intentional movement I would not normally have done: light aerobics (dancing around the living room with the Princess), taking a brisk walk (and since it's so cold outside, that doesn't happen too often), leg lifts, lunges, squats, crunches, etc., walking in place.

I made it one day.

SO . . . today I hope to make up for missing yesterday by reading twice as much of the Bible, and by fitting in 40 minutes of exercise.

We'll see how that goes. Maybe if I realize how hard it is to make up the difference when I get behind, maybe I will work harder to keep up.

Plus, I have a bet going on with my husband: who can lose the most weight by the end of the month. We haven't settled on the terms for the winner, but I think it will have something to do with a day to do whatever we want on our own while the other one takes care of the kids. But who knows. I may decide there is something I want more down the road.

And I am going to win! The stubborn, competitive streak in me won't let it be any other way. I must win.

I'll keep you posted on how we're doing.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Starting the New Year

Good morning, all!

I hope everyone made it through the holidays relatively sane, and are now ready to dig into the new year.

The twins are back in school this morning (thank you, Lord), and the Princess and I are hanging out around the house. Or I should say, disaster zone.

Because we traveled so much over the Christmas break, we did a lot of unloading and dumping of gifts, luggage, and laundry. And I have yet to tackle any of the overflowing piles accumulating throughout the house.

The kids drug out toys from their rooms and the new presents, and they are scattered from one end of the house to the other.

I did most of the laundry before we left, but now those clothes are dirty again and scattered around bedrooms, bathrooms, down the hallway . . . everywhere! So this week, I will be attacking the laundry situation, and tidying up in small increments.

If I try to do it all at once, I get overwhelmed and discouraged. Giving myself permission to clean little bits at a time over an extended period makes the tasks seem much less daunting.

And now it's back to work.

Maybe Wednesday we can talk about resolutions for the new year.