"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Learning Process

Well, it's over. My seventh year of insanity has ended.


Here are a few things I've learned along the road to writing 50,000 words:
  • My husband's noise-canceling headphones are uber awesome for when I need to focus. I dedicate this win to them. Unfortunately, the Man won't let me wear them during the day.
  • I cannot spell "restaurant" correctly the first time through. (Including just now...even when I was thinking about it.) What did writers do before spell check and whiteout?
  • Planning a Christmas party for 300 people is not fun when I've got a word count to meet. Then again, it's not all that fun at any other time, either. I just hope we don't run out of food. Or that I make children cry. Again.
  • My kids are perfectly fine eating cold cereal for three meals a day. But I have to make sure at least one of those is a high-fiber brand.
  • Usually when writing, my muse comes in the form of an iTunes mix and copious amounts of hot chocolate. This year, my only muse was Gerard Butler in Phantom of the Opera. This is possible the only reason I'm sad to see the month end.
Now that I'm not spending most of my day writing or researching so I can write more, maybe now I can get around to doing the laundry, come up with some meaningful blog posts, and reconnect with my neglected kiddos. Or I could just put on the Man's headphones and have Gerry Butler sing to me until the kids are in college.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Gotta Post Something

Have I really disappeared for an entire week?? Geesh. Well, you aren't the only ones who noticed.

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.


The upstairs hallway was nearly impassable from all the various piles of clothes. And Boo was getting rather creative with her outfits at school...hey, when I'm wearing pajama pants and t-shirts daily, I don't make a lot of laundry. Active children and husband? Different story.

The writing is progressing. I don't totally hate my characters yet this year. And I haven't been bursting into tears while simultaneously smashing my head into a wall, trying to figure out what to do next. I'm reading blogs instead of doing that...

Any ideas on how to uncover the previously unknown Big Bad Guy? No? I'm so screwed. *sigh*

Friday, November 19, 2010

Don't Quote Me On That

It's late. I can't sleep. So I'm gonna blog. Lucky you.
(I reserve the right to delete this post once I get some rest.)

Sometimes I have to watch what I say around the kids. It's not like I swear like a drunken sailor but it's the phrases, sometimes the seemingly innocent ones that the kids pick up on. Take this evening for example...

I took the kids out because I was feeling a little cabin fever from getting over a cold. Perhaps staying indoors so long had deluded me into thinking that this was a good idea. We were at a local bookstore. Boo found a joke book (See? Total lapse of judgement) and Baby found a flip-book. The Boy couldn't find anything he liked. There wasn't anything Lego. Or Star Wars. Or Lego Star Wars. So I let him get a bag of chocolate covered pretzels instead. As I swiped my credit card, I noticed that half of the pretzels were dipped in white chocolate. Suppressing a shudder (and perhaps a little bile in my throat), I signed the receipt and we were off.

Once the Boy had a couple of his treats, he was all smiles and beneficence. So he offered me one. A white chocolate pretzel. After I stopped foaming at the mouth, I then had to explain several of the words I'd used, such as "abomination" and "blasphemy." Care to place any bets on how quickly those little gems are going to stop popping up in conversation? Maybe they'll get bonus vocabulary points.

While the Boy acquired his passion for chocolate (however impure it might be) from me, he also got my temper. Just a little.

The Boy, like most boys his age, likes to build forts out of couch cushions and sheets. I usually don't mind as long as he abides by a my rules, like don't attempt to take the cushions I am currently seated on and he has to allow all siblings to enter. Which means Baby gets to come in.

Baby is not exactly gentle. Nor is she careful. And she doesn't pays attention to structural support. The fort fell down. A lot. Finally, the Boy let his frustration get to him.

"Baby!" he shouted. "You are gonna be the death of me!"

Hrmm. I wonder where he got that little quote? Why is it that he can't remember what I asked him to do two minutes ago, but he'll remember what I muttered under my breath last month? Maybe I ought to change my strategy. Starting tomorrow, I'll start mumbling when I want him to do something. Hey, asking nicely doesn't get me anywhere. Maybe my passive-aggressive grumblings will be the thing that gets him to clean his room. It's either that or using the Force.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Question for you...

How many Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches can I eat in an evening before it's no longer considered low fat?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Writer's Block Sucks

So I'm slogging through National Novel Writing Month and I've run smack dab into a brick wall. I think I might have bruised my knee. Got nothing for my novel. I hate Week Two.

In the midst of my agony, I have a little something for you. Here's a video I found while goofing off researching:


And just because YouTube is so much more fun than slamming my head repeatedly against the keyboard...


Then there's the classic NaNoWriMo song from a little while back. But I already posted about that one. I think it's my favorite.

And if anyone has any ideas on how to turn a suspicious, arrogant sheriff into the good guy, I'd be interested in hearing it!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Open Letters Because I'm Feeling The Need to Emote

Dear Local Radio Station,

I am a faithful listener and have been for some time. Your station is currently number two on my car's settings, wedged between a slightly more modern station and talk radio, literally between rock and a hard place.

However, I do have a complaint: the Christmas carols that have taken over the airwaves since last week. I am not emotionally ready for the Christmas music. As much as I love hearing Michael McClean's Forgotten Carols and Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas, I'd rather not just yet. I am still mourning the loss of my beloved Halloween decorations (especially that spider by my front door that drops down and completely freaks out visitors...oh, the joys of seeing them duck and scream upon entry to my home). It's just...too soon.

Please forgive my absence. Know that I will return once we're done with the turkey and I'm in need of spiritual support to face the mall crowds when shopping.

Yours...but not until December,
Jessica G.

----------


Oh, how I love you! You are the reason I look forward to autumn every year. (Well, you and Halloween.) There's nothing more thrilling than watching my word count climb and my characters come to life. It's fun creating new ways to torture and break the hearts of the otherwise innocent figments of my imagination. I've immersed myself in your literary madness for the past six years and have jumped in with keyboard blazing again this year.

But it's Week Two, my precious NaNoWriMo. And Week Two is when the plot holes start to gape, characters fall flat, and I end up feeling like a talentless hack whose time is better spent hiding in my closet, chewing on my hair, then attempting to write a novel.

And? The grocery story is out of Diet Pepsi with Vanilla. How am I supposed to tap into my muse without the proper caffeinated libations? If it weren't for all the leftover Halloween candy, I'd be ready to toss my laptop in the kids' bedroom, where it would be assimilated by the mass of toys, clothes, and lost socks until we start spring cleaning.

Yours but please remind me the difference between "effect" and "affect" before I go mad,
Jessica G.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Silly Obsession

Have you seen Silly Bandz? They're rubber bands in various shapes and colors that the kids are collecting. They come in theme packages and usually include two of each shape, making it easier to trade with friends and get a great collection going. Here are a couple samples from Boo's collection:


Unicorn (fantasy theme), angel (fantasy), cupcake (baking), weiner dog (dogs), and perfume bottle (beauty). I see them everywhere I go now. Boo loves them. In fact, she may love them a little too much...


And she just got even more for her birthday. Oh boy. It's a good thing she's not allergic to rubber!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Happiness Comes in a Box

In a lapse of better judgement, I signed up for three swaps during the month of October, including the one that I hosted. The post office staff got to know Baby pretty well during my many visits. But the upside of that was getting three packages in the mail!

First, Mind Games hosted a Halloween swap for kids. Boo and Boy had a great time planning what we would include for our partners at Family of the Vine. And Uno, Dos, and Tres certainly didn't disappoint us!


Amazing! Most items came in threes, so the kids each got one.
  • Halloween Cut-Outs
  • Pumpkin Carving kits
  • Pumpkin bags
  • Halloween tablecloth
  • Frankenstein's Monster bucket
  • Mini cookie cutters (you know how I love those tiny cutters!)
  • Green Halloween cups
  • Ceramic pumpkins
  • Spider notepad
  • Harvest-themed foam craft supplies
  • Halloween napkins
  • Witch's Brew dishtowel
  • Noisemakers in pumkin and bats shapes (umm...had to hide those after the first day, sorry!)
  • Halloween cupcake liners (woot!)
  • An assortment of plastic bugs, spiders, and skeletons
The kids had a definite favorite: homemade Halloween playdoh.


These are their creations: spooky Halloween rides for the skeletons to enjoy. Thank you, mamagames, for hosting a fun swap. And thanks to Vallimasoos for being such a great swap partner!

Next up, ATLYankeeBelle hosted a Halloween swap and I was partnered with the fabulous Kate from Southern Belle Simple.


First, I have to explain. I took a picture of all the goodies when they first arrived but, while preparing for the kids' costume parade and freeing up space on my memory card, I accidentally deleted it. When I realized my mistake, I rounded up everything I could get my hands on and took another picture. I know I am missing the bag of PB Twix bars (because I ate 'em). There seems to be other items that I can't remember...but I will say this was a cool package and a really fun swap!
  • Candy corn tealight
  • Big bag o' goodies
  • Pumpkin dip bowl with spreader spoon and Italian dip mix
  • Halloween cookie cutters
  • Halloween-themed erasers
  • Gel pens (also not pictured because I was already using them)
To see what I sent Kate, visit her here. Thanks, AtlYankeeBelle, for putting it together and Kate, for being a cool partner (and sharing our dorkiness).

This got me thinking about my next swap. I had a great time getting the kids involved with the Halloween package so I thought I might do a kid-themed swap, where your kids not only have a say in what goes in the box but are also the end recipients. What do you think?

Would you participate in a kid-themed* swap?


* I initially wrote "kid swap" but that has completely different connotations and I ain't never giving Baby up. The other two, however, are open for discussion.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dress Up Time!

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I have almost as many Halloween decorations as I do Christmas decorations. And I always dress up, in theme with my kids, if possible. This year, we planned on going on the cast from The Wizard of Oz. Boo was on-board, as long as I got her a stuffed Toto dog (although there was much discussion about the color of her shoes, since she's read the actual book). Baby would go as a flying monkey (mainly because I thought it was hilarious). The Man would once again resume his role as a stick in the mud. That left the Boy to choose any male character he wanted. But I couldn't talk him into anything. I even showed him the movie, pointing out how the Tin Man looks like robot.

Me: Wouldn't that be cool? Going as the Tin Man and dressing like a robot?
Boy: He acts funny.
Me: Oh.

Okay, so maybe I never realized how effeminate the Tin Man is in the original production. Undaunted, I hauled the kids to the costume store, sure that trying on an actual costume would win him over. They had *nothing* for boys. There were plenty of Dorothys for girls, and her older, less morale sister for adults. So I did what any realistic person would do in that situation and totally caved.


They're still in theme, though. I didn't give in completely. And I never did get a picture of me in costume. Since we were all being heroes (or sticks in the mud), I went as the ToothFairy and Baby is my fairy-in-training. I wore flannel pajamas with matching wings, a glittery tiara, wand, and bag with a big tooth on it. If you're my friend on Facebook, you might catch a glimpse of me in some of the ward party pictures, but I was too busy to stand still for too long.

Unfortunately, it was cold and rainy when we went trick or treating. Baby went home with the Man to hand out candy. Boo made it about eight houses and then headed home. Boy would have stayed out all night but I was cold so we headed home. He didn't get very much candy from the neighbors but we didn't get nearly as many trick-or-treaters, either, so we had plenty leftover.

Arriving back home shivering and wet but before bedtime, the kids jumped into their jammies and cuddled up for a movie.


Awww...makes me want to give them more chocolate.

What did you and your family dress up as for Halloween?

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