Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sibling Rivalry?

This is not a writing post. It's about my kids, eventually. First off, I lost a follower last week. I guess my posts aren't all that inspiring. Ah well, I still love my followers. :)

It has been said that writing and publishing a book is a lot like having a baby. I'm inclined to agree, especially given my current experiences and how it seems to effect my family.

One, the weight gain. Yep. Still wondering how to get that off, since that's one part that's NOT like having a baby.

Two, when the book came out my hubby and I wanted to show it to everyone. Very much like having a newborn.

And three, now that I've spent most of December on book signings--call this being busy taking care of the newborn--I'm experiencing what I can only call a sibling rivalry from my other kids.

Last week, my son asked me to not do anything that had to do with books or writing for a whole day. "Spend time with us." It's not like I'm neglecting them, honest. I'm here more than I'm not. At home, that is.

Then last night my daughter wanted a date--just her and me--and it had to have NOTHING to do with books.

Any time I talk about going to a signing I'm met with groans of disappointment.

I think the shiny wrapping that comes with a newborn has worn off. They're still proud of the book and all, but they definitely aren't fans of having it take so much of my time to be an author.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Poem

"Jesus Child"

The star shone high and bright,
in the sky above our heads.
We tried to tend our flocks,
but followed it instead.
How far it led us, we know not.
Nor do we really care.
For we'd have trod a thousand steps
to see who we saw there.
He was so small, this Son of God,
an infant child who lay
in a manger, with Mother dear
on a bed of hay.
His eyes, so bright, just like the star
that shone in Heaven above,
looked on us with approval
as we gazed at him in awe.
Others came, but we were first
this sweet child here to see.
And we knew then, deep in our hearts
our Savior he would be.

December 19, 1994

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Simple Christmas

That's what I want. I don't want a complicated, busy, hectic Christmas.

But, here I am signing books like crazy all December--I've barely done any Christmas shopping and I have ten days before the big day.

The girls are easy to shop for. That's the greatest thing about girls. My boys, actually, aren't that complicated. The thing is, as they get older, their wants get bigger and bigger. And more expensive. Except for that $1.41 power cord my son needs for his game boy. That was awesome. :) I should have gotten two or three.

It's the time I lack. As usual. My days are full of craziness. And it's a good crazy, but it takes up all my time. It's too late to order things for the kids to be shipped here without spending tons of money I don't have anyway, so that option's out. And I tried to do some shopping for them Monday on my way home from my signing--and didn't get to bed until 2am. Not smart.

My simple Christmas idea was born partly from necessity, and partly from a desire that my kids will appreciate the true spirit of the season more if they weren't overwhelmed with toys and things they don't really need. I don't like the idea of raising greedy kids. Which is why the Nativity has been up for weeks, while we have yet to put up the tree.

The necessity aspect of it is simply that we have no space to store anything. The kids' rooms are full of stuff. We have needs--like a new washer and dryer, or a new couch, or new mattresses for the kids--but we don't have a budget for that.

So I have to be smart. And savvy. And creative. Good thing God is on my side, or I'd never make it. :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Sunday, a friend of mine said something that absolutely broke my heart. She said she'd gotten a call from her cousin that week saying their 4 year old child had died during the night.

You just never forget those kinds of calls.

When I was fourteen, yes--a millennium ago--my mom got a call like that. It was my oldest brother, who said their second son, 17 month old Mitchel, had died in his sleep. Watching my mom start to cry as she slid down to the floor was something that I'll never forget.

It was so much like the call we got when my dad died I knew what had happened before she told me.

I was seven when my dad died, but that's the kind of thing that brands your memory in a searing, permanent way. My mom sobbing on the phone. My brother holding me while I cried. And it had started out as such a wonderful, fun day.

When Mitchel died, no one was expecting it. His death affected me in so many ways. I'd never met him on this earth. The year before he was born, we'd tried to drive up for a visit and rolled our car after hitting black ice. In my youth, that experience made me incredibly nervous to attempt that trip again, so when my mom went up there when Mitchel was a baby, I was too scared to go. Stupid 13 yr old thing to do. But there you are. I couldn't go to his funeral either, since it was near the end of May and the school told my mom we couldn't miss our final exams. Stupid school. BTW, no school will ever dictate to me what family events my kids experience or miss. Just sayin'.

I'm not trying to lessen the pain felt by Mitchel's parents, or the lasting effects his death had on his current and future siblings. It's a devastating thing to lose a child, no matter how much of the gospel you understand or accept. It's hard to take comfort in the knowledge that they are in a better, safer place and that they are now spared the evils of the world when you are ripped apart inside. When you see their favorite shirt, or toy, or their room, and can't help but think you can't hug or hold them anymore. For now, at least.

I would sneak into my kids' rooms and watch them sleep, and make sure they were breathing, well past their second birthdays. I couldn't help myself. The idea of waking up in the morning to a dead child haunted me for the longest time. In some ways, it still does. We are not in charge of when God calls his children home. That's why, after Jeffrey had his life-saving surgery, I started counting the months and years I had him with me. He could have died before he turned a year old. Having him in my life now means a little more because of that. I don't take any of those moments for granted.

Or at least I try not to.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I missed posting yesterday, but I have a good excuse. Sort of. While I should have prepared my post earlier in the week, we had some sickness issues, and Tuesday was a complete wash. In fact, I was up until 2 am Wed morning just catching up on everything I had to to Tuesday.

Yesterday, I didn't post because I had a book signing. Living in Tooele makes book signings inconvenient, unless they're here in town. That rocks. :) But, I drove into Orem yesterday, which meant I had to leave early enough to get out there, allowing for any weather conditions and traffic back ups that may occur--and arrive early enough to set up. Coming home takes much less time, seeing as I can just pack up and go.

Lately, I've been begging my kids for patience. I don't know how it happened, but I ended up being the most popular person in the house. EVERYONE wants their time with Mommy. My 9 yr old daughter commented recently that, now that I'm a writer, I have no time for them anymore.

Of course, I explained to her that it was my day job that took away the time. If I didn't have to work, then I could write while they were in school and have time for them when they get home, instead of trying to play catch up on my writing every evening.

But she got me thinking. I've never been a great time manager. I set up schedules that make perfect sense on paper, but I can't implement in my life. And December is going to be a mess, with 11 signings in one month. Plus my day job. Plus my family. I know they're really going to feel like they're getting the short end of the stick by New Year's.

I had the brilliant idea to just take one kid with me to each signing, save the one I did yesterday. 5 kids, 10 signings, that's 2 signings per kid. And they'd get one on one time with me. Wouldn't that be great?

But reality set in, and I thought, "What if the stores find it incredibly unprofessional that I bring my kids along to book signings?" Nix that idea. I HAVE to make a good impression--I'm a newbie. And I want to be invited back. A lot. :)

I try to equate it to them like this: the more books I sell, the less I'll have to babysit. As it is, I bring in less than $200/wk. If I can make that up in signing and speaking engagements, then I won't have to work and I'll have more time to write.

Of course, you know that when I say I won't have to work, I mean at another job. The being an author thing is a job. So, when you think about it, I'm working two jobs right now. Kinda stinks. But we all do what we have to do. This writing thing is my dream; it's what fulfills me inside. I love the kids I look after, but it's not where my heart is. If that makes sense.

Life is fun, no? :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I've been fasting and praying for the people in my family who most need it. Sunday was rough, though, as it was a regularly scheduled Fast Sunday--I had Bryan and two of the kids on my fasting team. But, fasting, praying and going to church meant all my emotions were just barely beneath the surface.

I barely made it. Actually, we left church early. But I tell myself it's because I had a sick child at home with only his twin brother for company.

Really, I knew they were okay. But it was either go home early or go up to the pulpit and blurt out things that aren't mine to tell. Secrets are horrible things.

I'm serious. Secrets are deadly to the soul--an inner poison. The things you never tell do some of the worst damage to your spirit. My author blog this week is full of confession in story form. Painful things I don't talk about. Next week will be more of the same.

I've been taken into confidence many times in my life. Always with the idea that if I tell people what I know, especially the people who need to know, I'll do more harm than good. So I try to protect those I love.

Recent events have reminded me of another incident years ago, something that I believe someone specific should know. But I've left it up to the person it happened to to tell him, and I don't know if she ever did. Really, it's not my business. Except I was brought into the secret by someone who felt I needed to understand the gravity of the situation.

Getting outsider feedback can be vitally important, yet we still cling to secrecy. Ever heard "You can't see the forest for the trees?" Possibly you're in too deep to be objective. We are not infallible, none of us.

But all of this makes me a hypocrite. Why? Because, years ago, I asked this question:

"She's adjusted really well so far. Wouldn't it hurt her far more in the long run to find out everything she thought she knew was a lie?"

Don't worry. I'll be okay. I have God on my side. And He's really good to me. :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Well, it Hurts

I'm going to pour my heart out, and if it doesn't make sense, I'm sorry. There's things going on right now that I can't talk about, but the worry and despair is eating at me. And if I don't get to regurgitate some of this mess somewhere, I may explode.

First off, everything's fine at home. Well, fine as it can be. We've got our issues, but Bryan and I are solid, and the kids are great. God knows I love my kids. They are the best kids anywhere. I'm so grateful for them.

As many of you know, Bryan's mom's health continues to decline. We're kind of in the waiting phase. I hate the waiting phase. It feels so macabre to plan what you're going to do in the event of the death of a loved one.

But right now, with my whole heart, I wish it was only her death I was anticipating.

Have you ever lamented keeping your silence? I mean, really. Something will happen, and it seems small at the time, but you know how hindsight is always 20/20 and, looking back, you see how asserting your belief could have made a difference. Why do we keep silent? Is it fear? Probably, most of it. We're human, and we fear being disagreed with, or mocked, because of what be believe.

The worst kind of shocks come when everything seems to be going well. But we all know how that feels. And, it seems like, the better things are the worse the hit is when it comes.

So, right now I'm anticipating my first novel this December, going around and preselling the book, talking to ppl about it, feeling pretty on top of the world in some respects.

You can imagine how hard the hit was, and still is. (Don't worry--everything's still on track with the book as far as I know. This is a personal hit)

I ache for those I love who are affected. I'm fasting and constantly praying for them. I'm scared out of my mind I'll get that phone call. And I hate feeling afraid.

In short, I'm a mess. And only God can fix it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


This post is more for me than any of you reading it. Not that there are a great many of you, but that's cool. Right now I don't need a huge audience. :)

I've spent the last year and a half being really, really lazy. I know I can throw out all those fun excuses like babysitting, having kids at home, spending lots of time in front of the computer. Let's face it: Being an asthmatic writer allergic to most things that grow doesn't exactly make me a prime candidate for physical fitness.

But, see, I went to the doctor a couple weeks ago and got some really disturbing news. Without going into details, here's the thing:

I weigh more now than I ever did while pregnant--and remember I had twins.

I weigh 75 lbs more than I did 20 yrs ago.

I weigh 50 lbs more than I should. Ick.

I'm not a dieter. I watched my mom diet most of my life, and it doesn't really work. This is my plan. I will eat better (not necessarily less because it's not quantity that's my issue) and move more. This is going to take time. It's not one of those commercials where you see this gorgeous woman in a bikini who says she lost 50 lbs in 12 weeks, or whatever. I'm not crash dieting, and I can't suddenly let physical fitness take over my entire schedule, or my life. At this point, I'm not even in charge of what food we have available in the house to eat. And I certainly don't have the money to purchase those meal plans.

This is a slow process. I'm only going to weigh myself when I go to the doctor, so I don't become a slave to the scale. It may be months before I post any kind of progress. I've been doing a lot of sitting and very little moving, so it's going to take some time for my body to get the idea that we're moving more. Again, it's slow going.

But I'm doing it. I'm tired of being tired all the time. I'm tired of being sick all the time. And I know the things that will drastically improve my state of being.

Now I'm committed to doing them. Wish me luck. :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mommy Musings

Have you ever had one of those days where you can't function because your kitchen was a mess? That was me yesterday. Seriously, I can walk over a carpet that needs cleaning, ignore the clean clothes piling up to be put away, but if the kitchen is full of dirty dishes and the counter is a mess--forget it. I can't think of anything else.

But hand washing dishes is therapeutic, in its way. Even if I still hate it.

Kind of reminds me of being a mom. Some days, one issue looms over me and completely obscures my vision. Last week it was my oldest son's grades. This week, so far, it's been the middle daughter's math assignments.

You know, if I was Supermom, I'd totally home school my kids. Because if I was Supermom, I could afford to take them to gymnastics, dance, scouts, and sports so they could relate to other people and forge the necessary social connections that get us by in this world--so I wouldn't be raising a bunch of hermits. I'm probably over thinking that. Honestly, my kids are just social creatures and love to interact with others.

But, in home schooling, I could give them the challenges they need, stand over them so they'd do their work, and give them that individualized attention that teachers with over 20 kids in their classes can't give. But, if I'm standing over them making sure they're doing their work, how do they learn good study habits?

Sorry. School irks me in so many ways. I believe the system is broken, but so many of us don't have options to work to fix it. I have the utmost respect for teachers. I simply have issues with the way things are run. But that's me.

Ok, rant over. Back to your daily lives, people. :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This Time it Should Stick

As part of my renewed blogging agenda, I'm returning every Wednesday to post something new and--hopefully--of interest to you all. If you scroll down to my last post you can see how long it's been, so once a week is a HUGE improvement.

This year, all 5 of my kids are in school all day long. But, don't forget, I have plenty to keep me busy. I babysit during the day, and write when I get the chance. I still love the little mental image of the stay-at-home mom who sits around eating chocolates all day and watching TV. That is SO not what really happens. Just the same, I love having my kids in school without having to make two extra trips there and back every day for a kindergartner.

Hubby is still working. After spending the entire month of August at LAX, he has a new appreciation for our little SLC International Airport. And he's glad to be home. His birthday is next week, and I've planned a few fun surprises. It's a really good thing I got his gift several months ago, though I have to say keeping the secret has been excruciating! Next Wednesday is his actual birthday, so I can spill the beans then.

Have a great week!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kicking and Screaming

But not literally. It wouldn't be dignified. And it sets a bad example for the children. ;)

This week--aside from the birthdays Monday and Friday--is a flurry of last minute wardrobe checks, voice practices and studying. Why? Because the ENTIRE FAMILY is speaking in church this Sunday. And the kids are singing.

Like how I got out of that? Yeah, I'm pretty proud of myself.

Next week will be a different kind of flurry. And not necessarily a happy one. Because on August 1, my husband is flying to LA for a month to work.

And I haven't told the kids yet. I know; I'm a coward. Really I don't want to put a damper on their speaking engagement Sunday, or my daughter's birthday tomorrow. So we'll tell them Sunday night or Monday.

I'm going to miss him. I hate that he's leaving, even though financially it will be very good for us. And it's not like we haven't done this before.

So, you might ask, what's the problem?

Bryan and I function as parents very, very well when we're together. Alone, either of us is about 30 percent effective. I don't know what causes the drop, but honestly, it's true.

Many of you may not know, but I started out my marriage like this. By the time I was pregnant with Brandon, Bryan was gone for sometimes weeks with his job. Then he joined the over the road crew when the twins were babies, and for most of their first year was in Wyoming for 3 weeks of every month--and home for 6 days. No kidding. He quit because the boys hardly recognized him when he'd come home, and it broke his heart.

When we moved to UT, Bryan was still driving. So he was gone a lot. But I love the big lug, and none of this experience has made it any easier to let him go for a month.

And I have to the the grown up, mature one about it. Smile, nod, hug, and let him go.

I hate being mature.

But, you know I'll do it. Because it's what's best. And, hopefully, this will be the last time.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Learning from Simple Moments

Yesterday, on a whim, I took the kids to our city pool. Though some of them have gone there on field trips, and my oldest took his swimming lessons there--I've never gone. This is partly due to the fact that, up until a couple months ago, most of my kids were afraid of the water and couldn't swim.

A little background. I love swimming. I grew up in AZ and, even though we didn't have a pool, I had ready access to other pools. I swam a lot. In fact, I was swimming the day my dad died. But I digress. Seriously, I love the water. I love swimming. And I miss it.

We're going to skip over my pathetically out of shape form and my equally pathetic swimsuit and get right to the fun part. The kids about raised the roof when I told them we were going to the pool. It cost us $10 to get in, but I think I can manage that a couple times a month. It's really worth it.

The pool is actually 3 pools. They have the baby pool, which is at it's deepest about 2 ft. They have the current pool, which is actually where we spent most of our time. At it's deepest it's about 3.5 feet, but has a fun current you can laze away in or a water slide.

And that's where I got stuck. Oh, my goodness. I LOVED the slide!

See, I'm one of those people who learned pretty early on that mortality touches everyone. In short, everyone dies. And it could come at any time. And as part of a financially impaired (like the PC there lol) family growing up, I didn't have a ton of opportunities to do crazy, fun stuff. I did my share, but they didn't involve heights, water slides, or upside down roller coasters.

And I hate heights. Seriously. Hate. Them. I freak out when my husband tries to put me on his shoulders, and he's only 6'2".

But about five years ago, I was faced with a choice. And I realized that, for my kids, I have to take risks. I don't want them to grow up with my silly fears. And I don't want to be the mom who "doesn't do that." More, though, I don't want my fears to influence their thinking.

So I rode the upside down roller coaster. With my eyes shut. Screaming the whole time. And had a blast.

Back to the water slide. I kept my eyes on the steps in front of me going up, and didn't think overly hard about the height. The slide itself curves, so you can't really see how high you are. Easy peasy. And I had my 6 yr old with me. I can't let her see my fear, or she might decide to be afraid. We sat down, and launched ourselves into the slide.

And we had a blast. And went back. Again. And again. And again. :)

If you've ever been to Lagoon Park in Farmington, UT, you know about every year they add a new ride. When I took my son as a reward for reading 10,000 minutes last year, the newest ride was Wicked. If you don't know, they launch you almost straight up, take you over this tiny hump, and then drop you straight down. Then you go around the rest of the track.

My chest gets tight just thinking about it. But, with my son, I did it. I was scared his thin frame might shoot out of the restraints the whole time, but we survived.

At it's most base level, I know why I do these things that scare me. It's noble and all that I want my kids to live uninfluenced by my irrational fears, but it's deeper than that.

I refuse to be ruled by my fears. I will not live a life of fear.

And, in the meantime, I get to have some serious fun with my kids at the pool.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I've Got a Great Man

And he's not even here to defend himself!

I've got a lot of respect for a man who fulfills his commitments. That doesn't make him perfect, but it does make it easier to overlook the little annoying things he may do. And I've got one of those men.

Bryan was divorced just a couple weeks after I met him. That's nearly 15 yrs ago. In May, his daughter, who turned 18 last fall, graduated high school. That heralded the end of his child support obligation. He didn't have a perfect record, especially in those early years, of being current or always on time, but he did catch up on all those payments and has been current ever since.

He called the state offices back in February to see what had to be done to make sure the deductions from his paycheck stopped at the right time, and was told he didn't have to do anything. It was in the computer and would stop on time.

But Bryan works for the Federal Gov't. Sad. They need a specific form from AZ in order to stop deducting the amount from his pay. And guess what? AZ didn't send them the order to desist. Last week, Bryan got a check in the mail for the amount of child support taken from his check.

That's right, people. AZ is receiving money from Bryan's TSA checks and issuing it, in check form, to him. And mailing it to him.

Dollar signs of indignation are going off in my head. Imagine the money wasted by the state of AZ child support enforcement division because of this. I can't imagine this is the only time it's happened. The obligation to pay has ended, but the money keeps being taken from the checks and sent to AZ. They don't send it to the payee, since the obligation has ended, so they issue a check that is mailed back to the payer. Now multiply that by 50 states. Insanity, thy name is gov't.

Okay, so it's a downer for us, too. It's nice when an obligation is done to be able to close the mental file and have it be over. Now we have to wait. And since Bryan is camping this weekend, he's going to have to wait to make his phone calls and try to get the wheels squeaking along next week. Sigh.

Oh, and the only way he can contact his particular caseworker directly is via fax. They won't give out her phone number because of the propensity some paying fathers have to be belligerent.

Rant over. I just had to get that out somewhere. I understand the need for the noncustodial parent to help pay for their child's needs. I may have mentioned it, but my parents divorced when I was 4 and my mom's biggest complaint was my dad never paid or didn't pay it all. And I know there are a ton of deadbeat dads out there, and that we're all lucky to have been in this situation and have it work out so well.

But now I'm ready for it to be over.

And this blog background may need to be changed. I reminds me of chocolate and makes me hungry. ;)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Peek A Boo

I don't make it on to this blog like I know I should. There's something off in the balance, because I'm a mother first and foremost. I could claim that, between my two jobs and Mommy-ing, I don't have time to blog about it--but the truth is I've been kind of dry on topics. Sometimes it's hard to see from the trenches. :)

At the end of May, we took a family trip down to Phoenix to see my stepdaughter graduate high school. AMAZING. Oh, and the ceremony was good too. Seriously, though, that girl just rocks my world. I was not so driven and motivated at her age. I felt lucky just to have survived that long. But she's got a plan, and great grades, and scholarships--the world is literally at her feet. And she's gorgeous to boot. I'm so proud of her, and so happy for her.

On the same trip, we met up with Papa and sent my number 2 son with him to Oklahoma for a visit. This kid is in HEAVEN being spoiled by his grandparents. I'm pretty sure they're having a good time, too. I love all my kids, but this one has a special way about him. He's so gentle and caring and compassionate I know he's not just mooching their attention and not giving anything back. And he was so excited Sunday when we called him and I said we'd call him every Sunday. I like knowing we made the right choice. He was supposed to go last year to visit, but I just don't think he was emotionally ready. This year it's working out great.

My youngest also graduated kindergarten this year. She's now bragging to everyone that she's a first grader. Her teacher didn't have enough room for all the nice things she had to say about her. What a fun way to wrap up my procession of children. (remind of that when she's 12 and driving me crazy lol)

And, even though I get next to nothing done writing-wise, I do love summer. I love having the kids out of school, if only so I can appreciate it that much more when they go back. Kidding. I think. This August, all 5 of them will be in school all day long. Supposedly that will free up time during the day for me to write--but since I still have the day care baby and her terrible two's, maybe not.

My remaining twin is coping well with his brother being in Oklahoma. He sometimes has that lost look about him, like he's missing an arm or half his brain, but most of the time he behaves like himself. I hesitate to say normally--that's such a loaded word.

And my other daughter, of course, is still a challenge to decipher. Today she wants to be a rock star and perform for her new friends, even though yesterday she freaked out when the boy downstairs told her he likes her. I just looked at her and said, "What do you expect? You're adorable. It's going to happen." So she shrugged and decided to be okay with it. Later she told me it's tough being the friend of a boy, because everyone else thinks he's your boyfriend. Sigh. I remember that all too well.

My oldest son is the topic of my Tooele Mommies blog post today. He's all fired up to be an 8th grader, and didn't hesitate to point out when he's a freshman in high school his big sister will be a sophomore in college. Yes, son--I know you're growing up. I still remember you when you were tiny, so don't push it. :)

Oh, and I got to see a movie this week! You probably have no idea how rare that is. My mom took me to see, of all things, Shrek Ever After. Cute, and a nice tie up of the series. Hopefully they won't push their luck and try to do another one.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Creativity and Motherhood

I believe, passionately, that everyone has at least one talent. Discovering that talent should be a priority in all our lives.

Now it's also true that some people seem to have MANY talents. Sometimes I think that I come across that way. But the truth is, I only have the one talent. Creativity. It manifests in different ways--drawing (which I hardly do anymore), writing, baking, sewing, taking pictures--but it is essentially a single talent.

Fortunately, creativity is a talent that serves me well in my role as a mother. But there's difficulty making time to exercise my creativity in healthy outlets. The primary outlet I've chosen, because I can do the most good with it, is writing. Occasionally I will let myself believe what others have said about my skills. Most of the time I deflect compliments because they make me uncomfortable. But the truth is, there are a LOT of talented, creative authors out there. Which is a good thing, since variety is the spice of life.

But having an overabundance of creativity often clashes with my duties as a wife, mother and day care provider. Not that I can really call watching one toddler a day care. But I have enough experience with children to confidently call myself a professional. That's another story.

Here's an example of what happens when I don't exercise my writing demons frequently enough: Yesterday I showed up early to pick up my kids from school. I chose to use the time to relax, and parked under a shade tree at the nearby church, turned on my iPod and played Pyramid Solitaire while listening to music.

After a few minutes, a white car pulled into the parking lot. It drove all the way to the back of the lot and sat there for ten minutes. During those ten minutes, my imagination took me on a wild ride where the occupants of the car fight, one shoots the other and dumps the body, then drives by my van on the way out and fires some shots at me. What would I do if I was suddenly a witness to murder? How would I protect myself and my family if the murderer came after me? It went on from there.

Remember, all that white car did was drive into the parking lot and sit there for a bit before pulling out again. In reality, not much different than what I did. But my mind ran with it.

The other problem I have is turning off my brain long enough to fall asleep. Did you know that insomnia is defined as an inability to fall asleep within 15 minutes of starting to try to sleep more frequently than once or twice a month? Guess what--I'm an insomniac. Why? Because it takes me no less than 45 min to 2 hours to fall asleep EVERY NIGHT. And it doesn't matter if I go to bed at midnight or 9pm. It's the same thing. Lately I turn on my iPod and listen to music and play games until my eyes refuse to stay open. It actually works, though it does mean if I want to go to sleep around 11 I have to start my ritual around 10.

Otherwise I'll just lay there, going over story scenarios and scenes and plots from my existing stories forever.

Here's where I'm lucky. My kids and hubby are universally supportive of my writing. My kids even pray I'll get published, which is what I credit for my current publishing contract. Once I was under contract, my youngest started to pray that I'd be published "all the way," which to her means a book in hand. Gotta love that kid.

It's great to be able to be myself in my little family, and have them love me anyway. I'm blessed, and I'm grateful.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Now I can spell it.

I t. See, I spelled it. K, end of post.


Here's the word I learned to spell: epinephrine. Had to look it up and everything. Why? Well, I figured if something was going to be injected into my body, I should at least know how to spell it.

I know what you're thinking. Why? Why did I have my little brush with epinephrine? As it turns out, I'm allergic to Avelox--the antibiotic. I was on it for an ear infection a month ago, right in the middle of our move. Toward the end of my 10 days on the medication, I broke out in uncomfortable hives all over my body. But I attributed it to stress. I mean, there was tons of stress at the time--it made sense.

So yesterday I went back to the doctor because I was miserable with congestion and sinus pain. I'd tried to ignore it, thought it was allergies, but the pain won out. He asked me, as he always does, what works best. I told him what he gave me last time. So he wrote me a prescription for Avelox and sent it over to the pharmacy to be filled.

I had some running around to do, so I didn't pick up my prescription until lunchtime, and didn't take it until after I took my youngest to school. My hubby woke up and rejoined the world of the living, and I sat down to finish reading a book for a blog review.

The first thing I noticed was that I started getting hot. I asked Bryan to check my skin and see if I felt warm. He told me I did, and that my neck looked red. I went back to my reading. After a while, my discomfort increased so I took some ibuprofin and hoped it would take down my fever. Except I noticed that the creases of my arms were red. And my wrists. And my lips felt funny.

So I got up and took a look at myself in the mirror. Not only was my neck red, but the red stripe went all the way up my face to my forehead, and my lips were swollen. I'd also started to itch. Bryan took a look at me and exclaimed about the redness that was now obviously everywhere.

I called the doctor's office to report that I seemed to be allergic to the antibiotic. I remembered the previous rash that I had attributed to stress and told them about it. The receptionist said she'd let the doctor know, and that she'd call me back. When she called back, we'd already decided I should go in and were halfway there.

The saddest thing was that I had to wake up the baby I was tending from her nap. It took her a solid hour to wake up and start jabbering again.

I took some Benadryl before we hurried out the door, so it had started to work before we got there. By the time I walked into the doctor's office, I looked like a puffy lobster. Redness everywhere. And boy had it started to itch.

The doctor ordered a half dose of epinephrine, which was probably for the best. My heart started to race and pound; my hands started to shake. My teeth started chattering. We sat there for nearly a half hour so they could monitor me, check my pulse rate--basically make sure I wasn't going to have some horrible reaction. The redness started to fade. My heart rate slowed down to passable, and I started to feel the tiredness that always comes when I take Benadryl.

Crisis averted.

Bryan took me home and then went to do my afternoon running around--dropping kids off, picking kids up. I stayed home, got a little cold, and put a blanket over my legs. I kept my feet uncovered--the doctor had warned me not to get too hot or too cold, or I could aggravate the rash and make it come back. He's a smart guy.

By the time Bryan got back with our kids, my feet and lower legs were striped with red. We applied cool towels, until the rash heated them up--then we cooled them again and reapplied. The redness started to fade, so Bryan stopped worrying so much. I scared him. I kinda scared myself.

I drove myself to the pharmacy that night to pick up my new prescription. Ceflex. I've taken it before, but still. I kinda held my breath when I took my first dose this morning.

I did convince him to go to work that night. He called me at 2am to make sure I was taking my next dose of Benadryl. Today, I still kinda feel like I was run over by a truck, but at least I haven't broken out in any rashes. Hopefully, by the time Friday rolls around and I go off to Provo for the Storymakers conference, I'll be able to keep up.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

After a near 2 week hiatus...

I'm back. I hope.

On my AUTHOR BLOG, I'm participating in an A-Z Blog Challenge for the month of April. Coming up with a creative, letter related blog post for every day of the month aside from Sundays leaves me drained.

But I had to share something my kid said today. And I quote, How can I possibly count all my blessings? That's impossible!

Okay, maybe paraphrase. But the point is the same. Cute kid.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hey, this looks like my home

I spent nearly all of Saturday unpacking and organizing my living room. I also did the kitchen and both bathrooms--mainly because I was sick of not knowing where anything was when I needed it. Why did I do this?

I was sick of walking through boxes. I was tired of everything I looked at reminding me of moving. And I really needed the living room put together for Easter and for today, when I started babysitting again. Can you imagine trying to find a 22 month old in a sea of boxes?

But, the good thing is it's starting to look like home. And it helps to bring home the fact that--no matter where we live--we are a family. Pretty soon I'll start hanging pictures.

But first I have to finish unpacking my bedroom. That's kind of a cosmic joke at the moment. :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lost in the Shuffle

My poor little mommy blog. Have I been ignoring you? Aww, sorry.

It's a really good feeling to know we now have a place to move our family. We signed the contract yesterday on a cute upstairs half of a duplex with enough room for everyone, at least in the short term. I can't imagine three teenage boys and two preteen girls fitting in there very well, but for now it will be fine.

I was even thinking this morning about the things I could start moving in and setting up.

Of course, hubby and I both had to get sick this week, so we're about three days behind on our packing. We decided yesterday to wait to move in until the 27th to give ourselves time to get better and get our packing back on track. My poor, sick body just gets tired at the thought.

Tonight is my writers' meeting. That will be a nice diversion. I haven't had time this week to do any writing, what with being miserable and still having home and family to care for. Self imposed deadlines loom in my mind. But, first things first.

Let's get moved.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What doesn't kill us...

...can only make us stronger.

I don't get attached to places. I do, however, get attached to people. And I hate having to tell my friends that we're going to have to move.

The problem is, we've moved so often, I've left what feels like a trail of friends across the nation. Some I'm better at keeping in contact with than others. Some I have to keep in contact with because we're family.

I've done a lot of growing these past 4 years. I've opened up to more people, and let more people in. I've created my persona as an author, and networked with some of the best people I've ever met.

And now that I've firmly entrenched myself in the community of Tooele, UT--we have to leave our house.

This isn't something people advertise. The economy isn't perfect, but truth be told if we'd planned our family finances better we'd have been able to weather the changes. I take my share of responsibility in our turn of personal events. It's only right. Last night my husband apologized to me for letting this happen. I told him to stop it. We got into this mess together and we'll get out of it together.

After all, the only thing constant about life is change.

Having said all that, I want to stay in Tooele. First and foremost the kids have a great school that they're all really responding to--you can't find that just anywhere. Secondly, I've committed to being the Tooele Writers Group Chapter president for two years. I'm not going to form the group and then bail on them. That's not right. Thirdly, this is a great little town. Sure, I'd often love to be closer to a wider variety of shopping options, but it's not like I'm rolling in dough and need to shop all the time. It helps me budget.

I'm not going to pretend there aren't pulls in all worlds of directions. I have family and friends in places like Arizona, Alaska and Oklahoma that pull hard on my heart. And even a short jump over the mountains that separate Tooele from the rest of the Wasatch Front would greatly increase my ability to network as an author. It would make all those author-related workshops, conferences and signings that much easier to budget both financially and time-wise.

What will play the biggest part in our decision, aside from those things mentioned above, are the cost and size of housing we can get and the distance to the airport, where my husband works. After all, the less we have to pay in commuting costs and wear and tear on our vehicle are of primary concern, as is just how many people you can legally cram into a rental--since we aren't exactly a petite family.

Like we told the kids last night, we have two choices. We can choose to look upon this as our next great family adventure, or as the worst thing that's ever happened to us.

I love having options.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I finally got back

Last week sort of vanished from my world. Not entirely, I mean, I remember snatches, but really most of it is a blur. That can happen when your child has surgery, even minor surgery.

We've had our share. When Jeffrey was 10 months old he had the abdominal surgery that saved his life. (for years he said it saved his "wife" lol) He doesn't have an appendix, but otherwise he made a full recovery.

In October of 2006, I had my nose surgery. In Feb of 2007, on Valentine's Day, my twins had their tonsils and adenoids taken out. The next month, it was their sister's turn. After that, the youngest had her turn. Brandon is the only one who hasn't been under the knife.

Daniel took a nasty fall out of his top bunk around Thanksgiving 2006. Aside from the concussion, the blackout and all that great stuff, he also mashed the cartilage inside his nose. They tried to fix it the same time they did his tonsils, but he freaked out post-op so they had to take all the packing out of his nose and the fix didn't take. We knew we'd have to get him in again to get it fixed, but, like everyone else, our finances kinda tanked.

Well, we finally did it. My mom pushed a little to get us to get him in while she was externing with the surgeon's office. Financially we should have put it off a little while longer, but Daniel really needed the procedure. The poor kid couldn't breathe out his nose, which leads to all other kinds of problems. And it had been going on for almost three years. Yeah, I'm a great mom aren't I?

He had the surgery Mon Feb 15th. Gah. The kids had the day off, of course, but I didn't. So last week I took care of Daniel, slept in the living room with him, and still did all the regular mom and work stuff I always do. That's the mom's job. It's what we do.

But, it's kind of exhausting. Tuesday night, he freaked out and pulled out his packing. Wednesday the doctor made a special trip into the office to help us out. By Friday, he was feeling pretty good. No more medicine. He was talking and acting as normal as possible with a bandage across his nose.

Oh, and Thursday night I hosted an author's meeting in my home. Yeah, I know. But it went really well.

Friday I pretty much crashed. Hung out in my jammies until mid-afternoon. Even taking the kids to school that way. Good thing I didn't have to get out of the car. I literally got nothing done. The kids ate leftovers from the fridge for dinner and I slept nearly all night long, but still on the couch.

Things are pretty much back to normal today. Daniel went back to school. His nose is no longer leaking ridiculously. I slept in my own bed last night, finally. And it feels pretty good. In fact, I think I'll head back there when I'm done here.

But I wanted to leave you with one thing. Thursday night, as we bedded down for the night, Daniel in the recliner (that broke Saturday--timing) and me on the couch, he said one simple sentence that made my mommy heart swell.

"Mommy, thank you for taking care of me after surgery."

Anytime, kiddo. Anytime.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Day

This holiday and I have a long, bloody love-hate relationship. I don't see the need for it. I don't need a "special" day to tell my loved ones how I feel. And let's not even get into the pressure put on us to send cards, buy gifts or otherwise bankrupt ourselves so our main squeeze can understand how much we love them. Grr.

Did you know Saint Valentine was martyred? And we're celebrating this? I don't get it.

You can read a little about my feelings for the so-called holiday HERE on Associated Content. I don't post there much anymore, but I put this up last year. Somewhere in my teen journals I wrote about February 13th and 14th, and my observations of myself and my friends at school. This included getting elbowed in the eye when my friend tried frantically to save a dozen falling roses given to her by her boyfriend.

When so much emphasis is put on relationships and love, I feel bad for the people I love who are not in a relationship. I have a single brother, a single brother-in-law who's even currently estranged from his kids, a divorced mom and a several single friends. Imagine how they feel to have their noses rubbed in their singularity every time they turn on the TV or computer. That's got to be tough.

I won't go so far as to schedule a Valentine's Day boycott--let each person celebrate as they see fit. You just won't see me in the pink and red aisles until Feb 15th, when all the candy and paper valentines are 50% off.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ooookay...maybe it can all be Sunshine and Puppy Dogs

I adore this beautiful child of mine. I truly do. After my previous post, admittedly written during extreme frustration and confusion, my adoring daughter has been the picture of wonderfulness. Is that even a word?

Regardless of my dubious vocabulary, she's been a gem. I admit this is mostly based on her own reports of her behavior, but she's done all her class work and all her homework, she's been cheery and pleasant. I rewarded her good behavior with a little personal time today, and even that was fun.

So, other things crept into my head. Is she bipolar? manic depressive? Multiple personalities? (No, wait, that's my son)

This is what happens when an author with a violently overactive imagination has children, by the way.

We had a dark moment, but it doesn't even bother me that much, because after reasoning her through her emotional overreaction (no I didn't call it that, she was crying her eyes out because she wasn't going to the sitter's. I consider that an emotional overreaction) she was just fine. That's improvement. Last week a similar episode would have put her in a dark funk for days.

What happened to cause this change in her, you may ask? Well, we had a talk. Her daddy and I sat her down and told her we've been trying to think of some way to help her be more even tempered, do better in school and not be so hard on herself. One of the options we've considered is sending her to her aunt and uncle's (who happen to live around the corner from Gramma and Papa)for an extended period of time to give her a different perspective of the world around her. She likes this idea. But now that she's being such a gem, I'm rethinking it. For many reasons.

Ah, the life of a parent. Just think--when I'm dead, maybe I'll stop worrying.

Monday, February 1, 2010

It can't all be Sunshine and Puppy Dogs

It does not bode well to me that my 8 yr old daughter and I already have semi-epic clashes. We are two forces of will, but when we are at odds--watch out.

I love my girl. She's dynamic, independent and brilliant. She is also stubborn, intractable and devious. She'll get an idea in her head and nothing will shake it. While that superpower can be used for good, she doesn't always apply it like that.

And the thing that worries me most, sometimes she'll say things like she's stupid, ugly or worthless. And it's difficult to shake her from these funks when they set in.

This isn't about her being obedient. She doesn't have to do everything I say the way I say it. But she is giving her school teacher fits, and both her teacher and I are at our wits' end as to what to do about her.

Kindergarten was great. She loved it. But ever since first grade, she's decided if she doesn't want to do something she shouldn't have to do it. Nothing could be further from the truth, but my stubborn little girl is winning this battle. Now more than half way through third grade, the only reason she's passing anything is a combination of adult tenacity and her superior test scoring.

Girls are a mystery to me. And I am one. This daughter of mine confounds me more than most. She has a younger sister--sweet, loving, enthusiastic about school and success. That's not to say I expect her always to be that way. But I don't want her to follow in her stubborn older sister's footsteps.

It wouldn't upset me so much if I didn't love her to the ends of the earth and back. When raising children, you don't get to give up when it gets hard. You can't let up because you're out of options. So I'm going to keep plugging along. And I never stop looking for ideas on how to get through to her and help her to find her place in this world.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Today, I'm grateful

I love my kids. I really do. But what's more, I like my kids. I appreciate my kids. They're spectacular people. For one, they put up with me. I'm not always the easiest person to get along with. (throw a little appreciation for the hubby in there too) But there's more to it than that.

I have somehow found myself in the middle of raising 5 polite, caring, compassionate human beings. The other day, my 12 yr old spoke of the feelings of others. He was telling me about one of his really good days--playing in the rain at the curb during a summer storm--and mentioned the part where an ambulance drove by. I know, like most males, he likes the large machines--trucks, trains, emergency vehicles that make noises--so I said, "That just would have made it better for you, wouldn't it?" to which he replied, "Maybe, but not so good for the people who needed the ambulance." My heart melted. I'm so easy. Compassion. What a kid.

My second son brought me his report card yesterday. We'd barely hit the road after picking them up from school when he announced his D in independent reading was because he failed to turn in his reading log for December. I'm actually very okay with that. For several reasons, I object to a school system "grading" a child on how much they read. I know he reads, I know he comprehends--I'm not worried about the grade. But that one thing brought low his entire reading grade, and his writing grade because they're connected. The rest of his report card was A's and B's. He gets Honors in citizenship. This is not the kid we worry about in school. But he's going over the report card with me and talking about how he can do better next time. Those C's are NOT okay with him. What a guy. This is the one who's wanted to be a doctor for the last 6 yrs.

I'm a very lucky mom, and I know it. In the interest of blog length, I'm not going to single out each child--but I know I've got good ones. It's been a rough week emotionally, especially on my Mother heart. My husband's friend lost his wife. I grieve for their 9 yr old daughter. A member of my niece's extended family made a heartbreaking choice two days ago, one that I know can't have been easy for her, but still makes me ache with sadness for the losses that resulted. This is the time where I squeeze my kids a little tighter, where I wax nostalgic about their babyhood gone by, and where I bask in gratitude for the people they are becoming.

Now back to work. :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Miss Me, But Let Me Go

This poem was written by Anonymous. Yeah, I know, she gets all the credit.

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want to tears in a gloom-filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little-but not too long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love that we once shared
Miss me-but let me go

For this is a journey that we all must take
And each must go alone.
It's all part of the Master's plan
A step on the road to home

When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds
Miss me but let me go.

Rest in peace, Melissa Shepherd. May God cradle your family in His tender embrace.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tripping down memory lane...

I stumbled upon a chance to share my experiences in motherhood, and popped open my electronic journal to get inspired. Sigh. I had such cute little kids. And they said the darndest things. And did the dangdest things. This is going to be fun. :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Here's to the New Year!

I have never been one for New Year's resolutions. The first time I heard about the process, I was a depressed teenager with no real view of the future. So, let's just say I didn't greet the idea warmly.

This is where I got the idea to try setting goals instead. For those of you who don't know her, Josi Kilpack is an incredibly talented Utah author with an awesome wit. She simply rocks. You can find her at

So, for my 2010 goals:

1. Lose 10-30 lbs. I realize this is ambiguous. I could lose 10 and meet my goal, but honestly I'd be happier with 30. It's difficult to admit how lazy I've been this past year, but I went to the doctor in the fall and found I'd put on almost 20 lbs since my previous visit. Ouch. Time to kick it into gear.

2. Get a publishing contract for my book. I may be excruciatingly close to this as I type. But it's happening in 2010. The book is loads better now than it was back in 2007 when it got its first contract, so it shouldn't be that hard. I mean, from this point. It's been sheer hell so far.

3. Play more with my kids. My lovely, adoring, patient children need their mom back. I've spent a lot of time and energy working on my writing, polishing my books, etc. I need to do that, but I can't neglect my kids for it. Hubby and I are working on a plan for this. His goal is to be in a position so I don't have to work. I would then just write and concentrate on my family. I'd love to help him meet that goal. :)

4. Play more in general. I have a tendency to dive completely into something and forget to recharge with play and fun. It's taken me years to figure this out.

5. Focus on and attend 3-4 writer's conferences in 2010.

6. Read 40-50 books in 2010.

A lot of this post is author related, but in talking personal goals I felt it would be best to put it here. My writing career is intertwined with my home, family and motherhood. They are forever bonded.