Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bring On 2012

So, for me, tomorrow is not just the beginning of the new year. It is also my birthday. . .my thirtieth birthday. I will officially be old and uncool. (Not that I was ever cool, but still.)

A lot of people freak out about turning thirty but I'm really not. I'm happy with where I am at this point in my life. Don't get me wrong, I still have a lot of dreams and goals that are still unmet. (This whole, getting a book published thing.) But I think you should always have dreams and goals, it keeps life interesting. And I've accomplished goals I've set for myself, too. I've gotten two national championships and three reserve national championships with my horses. (Have I mentioned that I show Arabian horses?) And I've coached a number of kids to State in speech.

I said goals and dreams though. My biggest dream has also come true. I am happily married to a wonderful man. (Seriously, he's like the quintessential 'good man.') I have four awesome, healthy kids, and that is the best thing I could have wished for. So even if I never reach my other goals, I've still had a pretty great life.

I'm looking forward to the next thirty years.
Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Dealing With Dragons

I had a wonderful Christmas. My kids were thrilled with their gifts and it was a ton of fun watching them get so excited with each one they opened. Then we headed up to my mom's new house and I got to spend time with my brothers and sisters and their families, including my new nephew, Arthur. (He's adorable, by the way.)

One of the gifts I got from my mom was a set of books, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles. I read all four books when I was in six or seventh grade. The first is called Dealing with Dragons, it's about a strong-willed princess who doesn't want to marry a dim-witted prince. She runs away from home to become the princess of a dragon.

The series is filled with wonderful, unique characters and each book is told from a different person's point of view. Book three, for example, is told from the point of view of Morwen, an unconventional witch. She has about a dozen cats, which she talks to throughout all the books but only in the third book do we get to hear their side of the conversation.

It was a favorite series of mine and I am looking forward to reading them to Elizabeth. I highly recommend them to any one with a young girl, or any one who enjoys fun stories filled with magic and mischief.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A World of Books

My oldest daughter has always taken books to bed with her. Even before she could read, she would look at the pictures and make up her own story. So while reading in bed is nothing new, one thing has changed. Before she was reading picture books that we had also read together. Now she is bringing home chapter books from school and reading them to herself.

Which means she is now entering whole new worlds all by herself.

When I read I get completely lost in (good) books. When I get into a good book my husband says he may as well just say good bye to me for a few days because he knows it will be getting any extra time I have.

I love that she's getting to expirience that, curled up in her bed with the lamp on learning about the woes of Junie B. Jones. There are so many books I look forward to passing on to her. There will definitely be books under our tree on Sunday!

Merry Christmas everyone, and happy reading. :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

New Baby!

My younger sister had her first baby early this morning! A beautiful, healthy baby boy. I am very happy for her and I can't wait to meet my new nephew.

I have two younger sisters and they both had their first child this year. (My other nephew is a little over seven months old now.) I had my fourth this year, and it was fun for us all to be pregnant together for a little while.

You can't really imagine what it's like to become a mother until you've been through it. And even then it's still hard to believe! The pain of labor, then the rush of love and relief when you see your baby for the first time. I always think it's hard to believe they looked just the same only hours earlier inside you. It seems like they have a major metamorphasis on their way out, from the baby in your mind to an actual, real live person. A tiny, pink, perfect person.

From that moment your life will never be quite the same. Don't worry, though, it may be harder but it is definitely better, too. I always say worry and guilt will be your constant companions, so get used to it- and know that every mother (or at least every mother I've ever known) feels that way.

Being a mom is hard work, and, to be honest, some times a bit boring.  But it can also be a lot of fun and is ultimately very rewarding. No one can make me laugh harder than my kids, and nothing has made me prouder than my kids. I could brag about any one of them for a considerable amount of time if you were willing to listen to it. They are amazing little people. Each one unique, able to annoy me and amaze me in their own special way. :)

So congratulations Sis, and welcome to the mad house. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


My two-year-old, Catherine,  is what I call mischieveous. (My husband calls her evil, but I prefer mischieveous.) She started walking at eight and a half months and has been on the go ever since. I had a friend tell me I could devote an entire blog just to her antics, and she is probably right. For now I have decided to make a list of ten of the more memorable things she's gotten into this year.

(I do have one honorable mention that didn't quite make the cut. About a week ago she pulled the needle out of the almost-done baby blanket I was knitting for my sister who was due yesterday. Unfortunately, it will not be done when her little boy arrives.)

Doesn't she just look like trouble?

Catherine's Top Ten Misadventures of 2011

10:  Unraveled an entire roll of toilet paper and put it in the toilet, which my poor husband had to scoop out.

9:  Painted her face black with my mascara.

8:  Dumped an entire bottle of laundry detergent all over the laundry room floor. At least the towels used to clean it up were ready to be thrown right into the wash.

7:  Tried to run down the stairs at Grandma's, resulting in a mild panic attack for Grandma and a chipped tooth for Catherine.

6:  Tried to go fishing in the fish tank much to the chagrin of our angel fish, Superhero.

5:  Dove into the bathtub head first in her pjs while I was washing my hair.

4: Poured baby powder all over the bathroom, and herself. I came in to find her naked in the bathtub, completely white.

3:  Came into the living room carrying a raw egg yolk in the palm of her hand. The rest of the egg was in the dining room, and I'm still not sure how she got the yolk out without breaking it.

2:  Put toilet paper into my friend's bathroom sink, then turned the water on and nearly flooded the bathroom. (Her sister caught her before it got that far- just before.) This is high on the list seeing as it was at a friend's house and therefore that much more embarrassing.

1: Fell out the living room window. Okay, this one was on my husband's watch. He says he was right in the room talking to our son, Johnny, when he heard a crash, turned around and saw the screen and the child missing. He freaked out, Johnny, however, apparently didn't miss a beat and kept right on telling his story.

I realize this probably makes it sound like I really don't watch my kids, but I do! Really! Catherine is just always on the go and with the addition of Margaret into the family it is just not possible to keep an eye on her every move. So far she has not had any major injuries. No cracked skulls or broken bones, so I'm calling it a win.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas my Children Gave to Me:

Twelve dirty diapers
Eleven loads of laundry
Ten broken ornaments
Nine dropped gifts
Eight lost mittens
Seven major tantrums
Six wet snow boots
Four wish lists
Three spilled milks
Two new wrinkles
and a hand-made star for the tree.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

I love this time of year. Christmas can always be a bit stressful, but it's so worth it. 

This afternoon we had a Christmas get together with my mom's side of the family. Getting all four kids, and myself, ready this morning had me ready to scream and rip out my hair.  The baby was tired and fussy, but wouldn't take a nap. Catherine was getting into everything, as always. I was trying to frost cookies and get us all ready with one hand, (putting Maggie down resulted in major screaming.)

I finally got them in the car and on the road, although I didn't get everything done that I had hoped to.  Fortunately for me (and the people who would have to deal with me when I got there) I was able to call my best friend from my cell and bitch about it all for a minute. She listened, and laughed at me a bit. She's great that way.

I was ready to go, stop being cranky, and have fun.

It was great to see everyone. Plus there was a ton of wonderful food. I have cousins that I really only get to see at Christmas time. They are an interesting group and I love catching up with them. This year we even had one of my favorite cousins show up.  I hadn't seen her in well over a year so getting to see her and her kids was especially, well, special.

Then when my husband, Luke, came home from work he surprised the kids by showing up with a tree. They helped us set it up and decorate it. While we were working on it my husband got a call from a coworker. He was hoping Luke would switch schedules with him on Christmas.  This was great news as it means Luke will now work evening watch instead of day watch.  Now he can be home Christmas morning.

At bedtime we read Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus to the kids. It is so beautifully written, it makes me choke up a little, (but I'm kind of a sap.) I hope to make reading it a family tradition.

Basically, it was a great day, despite its rocky start. This will undoubtedly be a great Christmas, no matter what kind of stress we all have to deal with to get to it!

Friday, December 9, 2011

An Old-Fashioned Girl

I was thinking last night about some of my favorite books and I remembered An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott. I have read it three or four times, and I've read the last chapter even more than that. It's just so happy, I used to read it some times when I was feeling down.

Thinking about the book made me remember when I got it. One year in high school I was very sick over Christmas break. All my friends were sick, too. We figured since we already had the bug no one needed to worry about catching it and we had a Christmas party anyway. My best friend's mom was nice enough to let all these sick teenage girls come over to her house.

It was at that party that my best friend, Melissa, gave me An Old-Fashioned Girl. I had never read it before, but she thought I would like it.  I loved it. I think she knew I would enjoy it because she and I could both identify with the main character.

I'm not saying we were 'old-fashioned' exactly, but we didn't quite fit in with the cool girls at our school. However, much like Polly, we really didn't care. We weren't concerned with what was 'cool' at the time. We liked what we liked, and if that made us dorks (which it did) then so be it.

I see that same attitude now in my seven-year-old daughter and it thrills me. Her tastes seem young compared to some girls her age, who have already started trying to be older and cooler. While I know it won't last forever, I hope she stays young as long as possible. And I really hope she is always willing to do what she wants whether it's the cool thing or not. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sleepless night

Margaret, my two month old, was up late last night, and many times in the night.  Catherine, who turned two last month, thought she would add to the fun by waking up at 4:00 this morning.  Sometimes I swear my kids conspire to make sure I get as little sleep as possible.  (It makes me more likely to say, "fine" when I may have otherwise said, "no.")

Today I am Christmas shopping with my mother-in-law.  Fortunately for me, I actually like my mother-in-law.  Only the baby is coming along, and with as little as she slept last night she should sleep in her car seat at least through lunch.  (I hope.)

I am still anxiously awaiting a reply on the one act play that I submitted.  Plays aren't mainly what I write, most of my projects are children's lit.  However, I have directed the high school spring play in my home town for the last few years and last year I had a brilliant (I think, anyway) idea. 

Last summer we had the first annual Acting Out Festival.  Four students wrote ten minute plays that we performed.  The profits from the show went back to those four students for them to put toward their college expenses.  I also wrote a play for the festival that the kids performed.  It was a lot of fun.  They are an amazing group of kids and I am looking forward to doing it again next summer.  I have started writing another play for next year's festival, but if we get enough great entries from students then we won't use mine, which is fine by me.

I have been encouraging one of last year's playwrights to submit his play for publication also.  He is a very busy college freshman now, but I'm sure he has figured out that I will be a huge pain in his ass until he submits it.  I'm not normally a pain, (okay, my husband would disagree with that, but really, I'm not) but it was a very funny script and it would be great for him and the future success of the Acting Out Festival if he got it published.

So wish us luck!  Both for the plays and that I don't fall asleep shopping today.  :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Writing on the Walls

The inspiration for the title of this blog came from what's all around me. . .writing on the walls of my house.  They are mainly the artwork of my third child, Catherine, but her older brother and sister have certainly done their share of crayon murals and I'm sure my youngest will add to them some day, too.

I am a mother of four and an aspiring writer, although the former doesn't leave much time for the latter.  I love children's literature and would be reading it even if I didn't have kids.  I have a large collection of picture books that I've been accumulating for many years and I love being able to share them with my children.  I also love having them as an excuse to buy even more (and more and more!)

My oldest, Elizabeth, turned seven this fall so we are now adding early readers, chapter books and middle grade novels to our bookshelves.  We are currently reading The Name of this Book is Secret, and it's wonderful!

I've been told that as an aspiring writer it is wise to have a blog, so I am giving it a try.  I'll be writing here about projects I'm working on, my kids, and trying to find enough time for all of them.