Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's COLD Outside...

First off, I want to give a SHOUT OUT to my good friend, (who knows who she is!). May the Heavens and/or Karma/The Force/Good Luck/Zeus/Fortune/St. Whateverhernameisforgoodluck smile on you this day!!!

Okay, so, It's officially cold outside. I had to move to the elliptical yesterday, instead of taking a walk with the baby. Can I just say I about died on the elliptical after 20 minutes? Yes, I realize the range of motion is different, but I climbed hills and went backwards and forwards and all sorts of things I don't normally do.

I'm thinking it's better for me in the long run. Of course I'd love to be outside and enjoy the fall scenery (the trees are starting to change) but I don't need the baby to catch Pneumonia. Plus concentrated exercise is always good. I need to start my weight training again. I love how strong it helps me feel.

Thing One had her first basketball practice yesterday. She loved it. She's with all her friends in 5th grade (fifteen girls total) and we had a parent meeting last night and I think this will be a great coach/program. Plus, anything that keeps her active is good. Except the crossover with soccer won't be fun. But soccer ends mid October so we'll be only missing one bball practice a week.

I have absolutely NOTHING pressing today. No sports, no cubs, no meetings or activities, just a plain Tuesday with no fixings. I am going to work on my no-longer walk-in closet so I can walk in it again, and get some writing/research in. It should actually be a nice day! Except for all the stress on the news. I want to turn it off, but I'm riveted. I don't EVER watch tv during the day, but this stuff stresses me out!

ps. Got my decorations up yesterday! I'm feeling festive!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Razzle Dazzle.

Status: Antsy, happy, tired, frustrated, determined. (Yeah, I've felt all FIVE of those emotions so far this morning, in case you wanted to know.)

My mom called me this weekend and wanted to know if everything was OK. I said "sure, why do you ask?" She said "well, you didn't blog on Friday so I thought there might be a problem."

Heh heh. I thought that was amusing. I guess I didn't blog on Friday, did I? Ooops.

So I've discovered that a natural reaction to a longer-than-my-arm to-do list is to want to chuck it into the nearest wastebasket and thumb my nose at it. That's me this morning. I have the "I HAVE TO DO" list and the "I'D LIKE TO DO" list. Both are daunting. Perhaps because it's Monday, and I spent a lot of the weekend running around (except Sunday, I rested)--but I just don't feel like doing any of it.

Dangerous waters. Usually when I don't "feel" like doing something, that's when I most need to just get my rear-end going and DO IT. Don't need to take Psych 101 to know that fact.

Did a lot of writing in my head this weekend. I'm trying to decide if two of my characters "get real" about their feelings for each other in this book, or the next one. And once again, I need to continue my research of Mexico. Veracruz, specifically. Anyone going to Mexico any time soon? Can I stash myself in your suitcase?

I'm doing a Nora Roberts. I'm living vicariously through Google. It's the only way to fly, when you're tied down with four young children and a husband who works all the time and a household to run. Not much time for "research trips." So, Google it is. Actually, I'm very impressed with the amount of information there is out there. Someone usually has posted photos of the exact location I'm looking for on Flickr, or someone blogs about their experience in the town I need to know about--it's all out there, somewhere, someone has done it and put it on the Web. Good thing for me!

Time to do the cleaners/grocery store/cleaning thing. I wanted to get my Fall decorations out today but I'm thinking it's going to be tomorrow. That's definitely a "LIKE TO DO" list point.

Oh, and about the blog title--I couldn't think of anything better. "Razzle Dazzle" seemed like a good "hook." Gotcha!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Status: Wondering why they have pumpkins lined up at local grocery stores for sale already. I mean, they'll be rotten WAY before Halloween, so...why bother?

My neighborhood is funny. We always wait--for that one neighbor to get her Halloween stuff up (because we wonder how early is "too early") and once that one neighbor gets her Halloween stuff out, like a herd of lemmings, we all follow suit. Usually within a day or two.

Well, the "I-Decorate-Early" neighbor has officially put her stuff out. Pumpkins (why do people stick jack-o-lantern heads on their lightposts--isn't this a fire hazard?) hay bales, scarecrows, corn stalks, window decals, fake spiderwebs, ghosts in the trees, you name it. So, now, like some psychological lemming urge, I feel *I* must get my Halloween/Thanksgiving stuff out, too.

But I am not a crazy decorator. You won't see tombstones in my front yard. (Mostly because I'd have to move them every time I mow the lawn and it bugs me to no end when they fall over). I just usually stick a harvest-looking wreath on my front door and some fake pumpkins and hay bales on my doorstep and call it a day.

Yeah, I'm the Lemming with the floatie in the picture above. Everyone else goes whole hog. We're talking ORANGE Halloween lights in the bushes, big blow-up collapsible witches and ghosts on the lawn, and everything. I prefer to keep my decor--dignified, thank you. Simple and clean.
Except Christmas. Then I lay it on thick. :-) No floaties for me!

This week is cruising. I have to write and research during the day, now, because night is taken up with snuggling with Hubby on the couch and watching recorded shows. Some of them are soooo good, too.

Time to go dig out some tubs of decorations! It's almost October!!!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

KLUTZ Month.

Okay, I am dubbing September "Klutz Month." Only because after two years of living in this house without any major mishaps, suddenly, we are spilling lots of (STAINING!!!! ARGGHH!) things on the carpets and floors.

What is up with that?

I realize accidents do happen, but must they happen in Sixes??? Two weeks ago (the First Incident, I remember it very clearly) we were having Rootbeer floats and Thing Three dumped his entire float--rootbeer and sticky icecream, on the basement carpet. I shrieked. It was the only reaction I could come up with. I mean, an entire float on the carpet??? Usually he spills a drop or a splash. Never had we had a Complete Dumping.

Incident Two: I made the colossal mistake of giving what I thought was a half a raisin/oatmeal cookie to Thing Four, who greedily gobbled it up, but unbeknownst to me, I had grabbed a chocolate-chip cookie. He got melted chocolate all over his hands, and decided to crawl across our light-colored carpet. TWELVE little chocolate stains in all. Yeah, I shrieked on that one, too.

Incident Three: I was enjoying a glass of red grapejuice with my lunch, and the baby came toddling up and started to fall. I reached over to steady him and knocked red grapejuice all over the wood floor. (It's sealed, so I didn't shriek as much, but I let loose a flood of Bible Swears, you know it!)

Incident Four: Thing One's bloody nose during the Sleepover in the Basement. 'Nuff said.

Incident Five: A full glass of chocolate milk on the basement steps. (I will NEVER allow a seven-year old to "take his dad a glass of chocolate milk" again. Even if he begs and tells me he can do it. Lesson Learned.)

Incident Six: This morning: An entire cup of orange juice on the carpet. Thing Two was to blame this time, and I probably scared him when I shrieked, but dang it, I'm tired of stains and spills!!!!! It's hard work to keep my carpets looking pristine!!!

So, hopefully, since the month is almost over, the Klutz incidents will cease. It sorta makes me nervous what NEXT month might be...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thanks, everyone, for the comments yesterday. I am doing much better today...I got all my laundry done! I think looking at Mt. Vesuvius in my laundry room could put ANYONE in a bad mood.

Vesuvius is gone, the piles of "to be folded" clothes are gone, (this time I MADE SURE the boys put them in their drawers and hung them up, so they don't end up right back in the dirty clothes basket) and the floor and counter are all clean. *sigh* It will last about a day, but it looks pretty for now.

I feel bad for poor Thing One yesterday. She had school, then girl scouts until 4:30, then Soccer practice at 5pm, and when she got home at 6:30 she only had time to scarf some rewarmed dinner and do a mountain of homework. It was 8:30 before she knew it. She said to me "Mom, I didn't have time to breathe, today!"

I told her "Welcome to my world, sweetie."

Of course she only has girl scouts once a month, so she'll only have about one more crazy monday like that. Today she'll have student council after school. Then I pick her up and we go to the church for Pack Meeting (I have to lug all the kids because I can't leave them and go 30 miles away to the church, NOT comfortable) so it will be interesting today too.

Her basketball practices start up the 29th. Crossover (which inevitably happens when you do multiple sports) can be a BEAR. I told her if she felt like it was too much, she could drop something. She's trying to get on the honor roll this year, because she's in 5th grade and they only allow 5-8th grade on the honor roll. No, she's not an overachiever or anything. She doesn't take after her FATHER at all.

Yes, that's sarcasm. ;-)

Hubby just went to work. He thinks he has a sinus infection, so he's going to the dr. He didn't sleep all night. Guess what? I didnt' either. At 2am I finally told him I was going to the guest room to get some sleep, because I couldn't handle him getting out of bed and pacing every half hour. Poor guy. (I was going to banish HIM to the guest room, but I figured that would be mean.)

I promised a friend I'd give her my leftover boxes from the move. It will be nice to get rid of them. Then I have to go grocery shopping, and make some phone calls. Oh, and mow the lawn. And get Thing One's physical form signed by the pediatrician so she can play sports. Oh, and...


Monday, September 22, 2008


...and we're back to crazy weekends. Well, this Saturday was especially crazy because Hubby is still sick, just as he was getting better, his throat started killing him, and he got a fever. Niiiice. So it was all on me to do the soccer games on Saturday. And of course I had to drag the baby everywhere with me, because Hubby is sick, and I don't want him to get the baby sick.

Thing One's sleepover went fine, but I had to get up and fix a big breakfast for the girls (I guess I sort of have a reputation for this, so I couldn't let them down) and then it was off to the first soccer game of the day at 8:30. I wish I could have watched it, because for the most part I chased a baby around. Then it was back to the house for a quick moment, and off to soccer game number two. Luckily, I got to put the baby down for a nap and didn't have to take him.

We didn't have a ref, so we had to wait for one, and started late. Halfway through the game, I could feel my skin burning. I had sprayed liberal amounts of SPF 30 on, but hours in the hot sun (and it was EIGHTY degrees and muggy!) were taking their toll.

I didn't feel like making lunch so I went to Culvers (it was the winner by vote--everyone was tired of sandwiches I guess) and THEN the minute we got home to eat, a friend of Thing One's asked for her to come over so I had to drive her to the friend's house, which is 20 minutes away (everyone in our church lives far away, it sucks) and by the time I got back, the baby was awake and Thing One wasn't there to play with him and give me a break so I got to do all that, and I was TIRED.

Then I started getting ornery. Hubby had been laying on the sofa downstairs all day watching sports, and granted, he wasn't being whiny or anything, but it was NOT fun for me to have to take care of everything by myself. Hubby is usually so helpful on weekends and I missed that.

I went to pick Thing One up from the FAR FAR AWAY FRIEND'S HOUSE after two hours, (we had a tense moment where she BEGGED me if she could have a gerbil right in front of the mom and her daughter, and I had to be mean and say no) and I decided to heck with it, I was getting takeout.

But the place I wanted to go to was pretty far, and wouldn't you know it, the freeway ramp was CLOSED due to construction and I had to drive another 20 minutes out of my way. THEN they screwed up my food order and gave me nothing that I ordered, and it was another 15 minutes to sort it all out.

By the time I got home, it was 7:30 and everyone was starving and I was in the blackest mood I've been in, in a while.

Sunday was lame, too. I won't go into details. Let's just say I want to "rest" from the weekend, but I can't do that. Gotta run around and do normal week stuff.

And yes, the foul mood has carried over to today. You can't tell, or anything, can you??

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Sickie Dilemma...

Status: Happy--one of my research books arrived yesterday!

I decided to read it with a highlighter--so I could go back later and make notes, but I pretty much wanted to highlight the entire book, so that was silly. The book is AWESOME. It really backs up my decision to write what I'm going to write. What's interesting, is this book was originally published in 1981, so it's not anything "new." Sometimes I just want to hit myself in the head and wonder where I've been all these years, and why I never asked questions before.

ANYWAY, I feel guilty, because I sent Thing Two to school. He has a cold. He is coughing, and sniffling, but he doesn't have a fever. My criteria for keeping them home from school is they have to have a fever. Otherwise, I give them something to make them comfortable, and they go.

Thing Two was BEGGING me to stay home today. He said he felt horrible at school. His head hurt, and he was tired, and his throat hurt, and basically, he was going to expire any second.

I felt his forehead, but it was cool and dry. What to do? I was all for keeping him home, but Hubby (who is also sick) told him to get tough and get through school.

Then I looked on the calendar and said "hey, aren't you having your icecream party in class today?" Thing Two looked at me and said:

"You know what? I think I'm feeling better."

Hmmmm....."But," I said. "You just told me you were going to die if you went to school."

"Just give me some medicine, mom, I'll be fine."

I still feel bad for sending him, but I suspect he was "hamming it up" (just like *I* did at that age) so he wouldn't have to go.

It's a tough call for mothers. Frankly, I'm all for letting them stay home when they're feeling miserable. But when you have a head cold, you feel miserable for DAYS. That's too much school to miss. So, we go to school with colds. We stay home with fevers. Fevers mean something else is amiss, and you're definitely contagious.

It's a tough one. But there's probably a million other kids at that school with colds, too. It's a risk you take with Public school.

Well, it's Friday! Another quick week. Thing One has two girls coming over for a sleepover, and I am thinking this is not such a great idea. Especially since she has a soccer game tomorrow morning. But they've been "planning" it for a week, so they're very excited.

We'll see what color smoke comes out of the chimney tomorrow...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Am I Impatient???

Status: Feeling...antsy...

I think the obvious answer would be...YES, I am impatient. Not in everything in life, of course, but in certain ways.

For instance, the research books I ordered through Amazon on Sept. 11th STILL aren't here yet! If I'd ordered them on Ebay, they'd have been here three days ago. :-) Amazon sellers just don't have the motivation to ship quickly. I am impatient when I make a bacon/egg/english muffin with my sandwich maker, and it takes FOREVER to cook the egg. I also absolutely detest when a car pulls out in front of me, and slows down.

Other than that, I'm pretty easygoing. Okay, maybe not so much, but I like to get things done, quickly. I never used to be like this, but in my line of work, (stay home Mom) you have to be on your toes.

My house is full of sickies. Hubby gave his cough/cold to Thing Two, and I suspect Thing Three (since they share a room) is not far behind. I am shielding the baby from ANY contact from the Sickies, and my daughter is a hand-sanitizing germ phobe. She wants to be healthy for Soccer-- and Basketball practices start up next week (eeeks I have to get her physical release note to the Dr. and get it signed!) and she can't afford to be sick.

It's all the weather changes, too. It starts out waayyyy cold in the morning, and is in the 80's by noon. My poor kids are bundled up with jeans and long shirts in the morning, and they come home DYING from heat.

In writing news, I figured out my location for the ancient hill. It seemed the most logical place after I weighed the people who profess it's "the place" and have fact after fact to back their theories up, vs. some of the people out there who just "think" they are right, and have theories but no solid evidence. I like to have solid evidence, or at least a REALLY sound argument, based on facts.

So, that hurdle has been leapt, and now I'm on to the next one. Of course I can't exactly "leap" it until my blasted books from AMAZON get here!!!!! Any day now, people! I'm on a schedule!!!

*ahem* Well, it's Thursday, already. Yesterday at Target I got the absolutely LAST Indiana Jones costume in Thing Two's size. They went really fast. And it isn't even October yet, for two weeks. And then I went to the mall to Boston Store and the baby and I got to look at all the PRETTY CHRISTMAS TREES in the Trim-a-tree department. Yes, Christmas Trees.

I'm telling you, these Holdays are advancing on us with all the subtlety of a Tsunami. It makes me NERVOUS!

Happy Holidays oops I mean THURSDAY!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's in MY BACKYARD...

Status: Eh.

First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my little Sis! I won't disclose how old she is. She might murder me. :-D

Poor Thing Two, it took him an hour to finish his homework last night. He only had two mathboxes and one set of Geography questions, but he wanted to make sure he did everything right.

He's in Fourth Grade. The longest it's ever taken him to do homework in the past was about 20 minutes. But he diligently finished everything, even after his other siblings finished up their homework and were downstairs on the computer, watching TV, etc.
I gave him a big hug when he (very proudly) showed me his completed homework.

I was in a quagmire of research last night. Normally, research is fun. Not so, last night. When I want to find out about something, I read up on it, make mental and literal notes, and move on.

Well, I am researching an ancient hill where a great battle took place. There's a well-known scholar who claims the hill is in "such and such" and he lists all his reasons why he's right. Pretty compelling argument. So, I thought I was done.

THEN, I found another scholar, who felt the ancient hill was in a different "such and such" place. And he listed all HIS reasons for why it was right, and they were compelling, too. Then I found yet another non-scholar (but he might as well be) who felt it was yet in another location, then another and ANOTHER.

FIVE different possible locations, all throughout central Mexico and Guatemala. And all of them are 100% CERTAIN they are right. Clearly, they can't all be right.

I've decided there is a hill in my backyard. Maybe THAT is the hill?

Okay, I'm being snarky, but I was very frustrated by the end of the evening. But then I realized it's probably a good thing there's so much conjecture about the actual location of the hill, because where *I* decide the location is (for my work of fiction, of course) would not be scoffed at, as long as I keep it vague. If that makes any sense at all.

Although my back yard sure is a tempting option...

I feel bad for the electric guy today. He's supposed to re-wire from my garage to my light post out front (because apparently when they put in the landscaping they nicked the wire in several places and the post stopped working) and he was supposed to have a trenching machine but they sent him without one. So he has to dig a 50-foot trench BY HAND. Then he gets to run a pipe and thread new wires through.

I think a nice tip is in order. Poor guy. I know they're charging me an arm and a leg to do it, but he'll be here all day. Yuck.

I'll be hanging out pretty much at home today, cleaning. But I am going to get some writing in. The Muse won't wait!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Is it Just Me...

...or is it when Men get sick, they become a tad...wimpy?

Another reason why I'm convinced women are made of stronger stuff in some areas: When we're sick, we can still drag our behinds out of bed and put on lipstick and go to PTA meetings and dance recitals and soccer practices--we still cook meals and drive kids everywhere, because we have to. We take some cold medicine, and deal.

MEN, on the other hand, when they get sick, the world ENDS. When Hubby is sick, it's like I have a fifth child, who can't do anything for himself. (Granted, he just started getting a cold last night, but I can only IMAGINE what the next week or so will be like. FUN FUN FUN.)

It's the same with lack of sleep. When Thing Four was born, I just dealt with the Every Three Hours Day or Night feedings. Hubby took a week off and helped out with the feedings, and after 48 hours he was a MESS.

Granted, we were both zombies, but he was seriously AFFECTED by the lack of sleep.

Women are just tougher. Thank you very much. :-)

Still fleshing out the plot of my story. The plot is easy enough, but the research will take a very long time. I want my research books to get here!!! I'm just a little impatient. :-)

We're falling into a system already, and it's nice. The kids get home from school, and they all gather around the table with a snack, and do their homework. Then they are free to do what they want (NOT VIDEO games, they only play those on Saturdays now) until soccer practice.

It's been very orderly. We need the structure for Thing Two, but it helps the other kids as well. I'm liking the system. Sure, it's not fun to get home from school and do "more school" but then it's done and the rest of the night is free. Unless they have really hard math homework. Then, (and I'm embarrassed to admit this) they have to wait for Hubby to come home and help them.

Yes, I can diagram a sentence, think up 50 words in place of one word, write 100,000+ word novels and type 90 words a minute, but if you set an Algebra problem in front of me I go all "Deer in Headlights" and the wheels of my brain come to a complete standstill. I can't help it. I got shortchanged when they handed out Math Skills in Heaven.

I'm still trying to figure out WHO gave me the "No Good At Math" Gene. Was it Dad? Or Mom?

And Fractions. I quiver in my shoes when my 5th grader asks me about fractions...

Monday, September 15, 2008


You know what I just realized? Today is my Blogiversary!! Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom officially began on this very day, FOUR years ago in 2004.

Wow. I've been blogging for that long? Four whole years?? Yikes. I guess time flies when you're having fun!

I'm just tickled that I still have readers--thanks to all of you who have stuck with me since the beginning. :-)

Okay I sound like I'm retiring. I have no intentions to go anywhere! Now back to our regularly monotonous, normal day...



Not that I have anything against slugs...I have memories of big yellow banana slugs out by my Aunt's cabin in the woods when I was a child--and my dad gleefully running around with a salt shaker...but I have to say, SLUGS is what we were this weekend.

How's THAT for a run-on sentence? :-)

Well, other than the one soccer game that didn’t get cancelled on Saturday because of rain, we just were…slugs. I got quite a bit of research done, and other than showering, we didn’t go anywhere.

It was kinda…nice.

Sunday was more of the same, and it was very relaxing. Of course, heh heh, now I have to do some serious cleaning because I didn’t clean WHILE we were being slugs…

I am nearly finished with the first chapter of my sequel. I’m testing the waters. I have most of the modern day story plotted out, but the ancient story needs SERIOUS research. I wish my research books would come in the mail faster! But I was cheap and opted for normal delivery. Why pay a low price for a book and pay twice that amount for shipping? Doesn’t make sense to me. But I am a VERY impatient person…

Typical Monday stuff today—I am going to try and squeeze more plotting in with the cleaning and laundry. And I discovered what my sons do when they “clean” their rooms. They put all their CLEAN clothes in with the dirty clothes, and dump them all down the laundry chute. I was going through the pile of dirty laundry from them and I found at least 12 shirts that were clean and UNWORN. I was hopping mad. Lazy butts.

That’s seven and nine-year old boys for you.

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Nothing Ruins a Morning Walk Like...

...dead things. Or more specifically, dead frogs and worms.

It rained last night, so I took the baby in the jogging stroller this morning for my 50-min. walk around the neighborhood, which is one I usually enjoy, and I found myself grossed out at every turn. Dead, squished frogs EVERYWHERE. And worms. Lots of worms. Ew. I was surprised at the number of frogs. It looks like we just came through one of the Ten Plagues Of Egypt in my subdivision. I mean, where did they all come from???

My kids are funny, when they go out to walk to the bus stop, they run around scooping up worms on the driveway and "saving them" by dumping them back in the grass. I don't mind, as long as they come back in for hand sanitizer before they leave.

Yesterday was interesting. I received another story idea via Lightning Bolt, and spent two hours scribbling plot notes and researching. This story will be a BEAR to research, because the subject material, though specific, is very vast. I ordered some research books and one research DVD, so I can really dive into it. Today I'm making my BOX.
For every novel, I buy a set of hanging file folders and tabs, and I file EVERY bit of research I find. This is my box for the last novel:

It's very convenient for me. I have everything I need, in one place. When I'm through writing the novel, the box goes into storage. Historical fiction (which is what I like to write the most) is very research-intensive most of the time, so I need lots of files. :-) It works for me!

This novel will be tricky--I am going to spend most of the weekend plotting it out and researching what I need. It is the sequel to the book I have on submission. The fun part is, I get to revisit the world of my characters again. I get to see them grow and change and do new things. I love that about writing.

Okay, time to get some stuff done! First thing--go rinse all the worm parts ground into my shoes! Ugh! (I'd post a picture, but...well...I won't even say why.)

Have a great weekend, all!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I just want to stop and take a minute to remember why this day is a day to remember. My thoughts are with the families and people still affected by the horrible events of 9/11.

Status: Grumpy. EXTREMELY grumpy. Then again, I'm a grumpy person in the morning after I've run around yelling at kids to get all their stuff together for school. (Well, only ONE kid, but I digress). The before-school morning chaos is back with a vengeance...

Thanks for all the excellent suggestions and wishes for my submission yesterday. As far as I'm concerned, it's "what submission?" I am one of those types who could drive myself completely bonkers thinking about it:
Oh...the editor could be READING my chapters right now! Or, it could be at the bottom of a HUGE slush pile, and I'll have to wait eons...or maybe, it got LOST in the mail! And I'm ripping my nails for nothing...or maybe the editor is actually OPENING THE ENVELOPE RIGHT NOW!!! I wonder what sort of facial expressions she will have as she reads? Is my query good enough??? Oh, STRESS....she's probably throwing it in the SASE right now...

...SEE?? I could really do a number on myself. So I won't. I'm just going to carry on, and get surprised either way, when I do. :-)

So, Thing Four is 15 months, and it's time to get rid of the bottle. He LOVES his "ba-ba." I mean LOVES it. When he wakes up, he wants to be cuddled and have one. Sure, he drinks a "cuppy" during meals, but when he wakes up from sleep in any form, or is about to participate in sleep of any form, he wants a "ba-ba."

Not any more. I have packed them all away. I have tried "phasing them out" in the past, but I have found that with MY kids, it is best to just do it cold turkey. The "ba ba" is simply not an option any more. So, whenever he wakes up now, I ask him if he wants a "cuppy." Sure he does. Then he realizes he isn't getting a ba ba and gets sad/mad/both. But we're on day three, and he is just fine with the cuppy now. Well, every time except when he first wakes up. He wants to throw it, if I don't cuddle him while he drinks it.

He's a Big Boy now. *sniff* I am not ready for my baby to be a Big Boy!!! Can he go back? Can I turn back the clock just about one year??? Waahhhhh!!!!

*ahem* Okay, I'm fine now. But the Bottle is Gonzo. Such is life. We have now entered the Age Of The Cuppy. (aka Sipper Cup.) Heaven help me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Let the Nail Tearing Begin...

This morning, after I drink a motivating pot of Postum, and I've taken a few deep breaths, I will put my baby (well, a query letter and the first 50 pages) into the mail, to submit to my dream publisher.
Unfortunately, they do everything by snail, and it will be 8-10 weeks for a response from them. So, we're looking at, roughly, the first week of NOVEMBER at the earliest, that I would hear from them.

Eight weeks of nail-tearing torture. I say tear, only because I never BITE...I tear them off. Yeah, it's still a bad habit. My cuticles, however, look fabulous.
Hopefully my query letter was kick-butt enough. I think it captures the essence of the novel. So, we'll see!

I have to mow the lawn today. Hubby has been mowing it, so it's been nice. But don't worry, I've found yet ANOTHER reason why I'm rubbish at lawn care.

I thought I'd be all clever and run around spot-spraying the weeds in our side yard. So, I got the weed killer, and very carefully shot just a little into the middle of each weed. THEN I read the label:

"Do not use this product to spot-treat weeds in lawns, as it is a GRASS KILLER as well as a weed killer."

I haven't said one word. I'm waiting for Hubby to see the sideyard and freak out. The weeds ARE dying, though...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Tuesday, Part II: The Blog Part :-)

First, I am happy to report I am TROJAN and VIRUS free, thanks to my good friend Brenda! Woo! Apparently she's had the same problem. The nasty little trojan had imbedded itself in my registry, and every time I started windows, THERE IT WAS.

Well, this nifty little SDFix program got rid of it, and I am happy as a clam. Brenda rocks!

Oh, and this is part deux of my blog, because I posted my pizza dough recipe BELOW. You can scroll down to see it.

Yesterday was scary. I couldn't find my wallet anywhere. I had the baby in the car, diaper bag, handbag, my armory of supplies, and I looked in my handbag, (only because it felt light) and my wallet was missing.

You know that feeling. You're sure it's somewhere in the house or in the car, but there's that tiny little earwhig of doubt that niggles at you: IT HAS BEEN STOLEN!!! RIGHT NOW THIEVES ARE BUYING 70000 HOCKEY STICKS AND SENDING THEM TO NIGERIA WITH YOUR AMEX!! RUN TO THE PHONE!!!

So, I calmly took the baby out of the car and began looking. It was nowhere. Not in the usual five places anyway. Whenever I lose something important, there are about five places I look, and I usually find it. Not this time. I called Hubby in a panic, and remembered I took his car when the kids and I went shopping Saturday night.

He went out to the parking garage, and lo and behold, my wallet had fallen out of my handbag and was wedged between the passenger seat and console of his car. THANK GOODNESS.

However, he was downtown, and I was 30 miles away. Um, no, can't run errands. Can't drive. All I had was my checkbook, and frankly, who is going to let me write a check without picture I.D.?

So, I was stuck at home. ALL DAY. Except I risked driving to soccer practice because, well, my kids wanted to go.

SCARY. I hate that feeling. So now I get to do all the running around today, that I couldn't do yesterday. And I swear it's even colder today. Gotta bundle up!

You Asked For It...

The PERFECT PIZZA DOUGH recipe, that is. So, here it is. I got it from the Bosch Newsletter, and it is perfect for my Bosch Universal mixer. But any mixer will do, as long as you have a dough hook attachment. :-)


*3 cups hot water *2 Tbsp. honey *6 to 8 cups flour (can be white, wheat, etc.) 1 Tbsp. dough enhancer * 1 Tbsp. SAF yeast *1 Tbsp salt

(If you don't have dough enhancer, no worries, I accidentally ommitted it one time and the dough was still very good)

Place water, honey and 3 cups of flour in mixing bowl with the dough hook. Mix until paste consistency. Add yeast and salt. Add additional flour quickly, 1 cup at a time only until mixture pulls away from sides of the bowl. You may not need to add entire amount of flour or you may need to add a bit more, depending on your climate, elevation, etc. If using white flour, knead with dough hook for 5 min. If using half white half wheat: knead 8 min. If using whole wheat flour, knead 10 min. Add dough enhancer the LAST TWO minutes of kneading. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Roll crusts to desired shapes and sizes. Add favorite toppings and bake on pizza stone or in pizza pan for 7 min, until edges start to brown.

**A HINT: Hubby and I found that when we used a pizza stone, the bottom didn't cook well in our oven. So, we put the crust in by itself for 5 minutes, then brought it out and put the sauce and toppings on, and put it back in, and the bottom was fine.

This dough recipe will provide enough dough for three large pizzas. If you want half that, you can half the recipe. It doesn't require the dough to raise, you can immediately make pizza out of it. But to be on the safe side, Hubby and I let it rest for 15 minutes. It's your personal choice.

It's DE-LISH! You can make breadsticks out of it too. I twisted mine, brushed them with fresh garlic and melted butter, and they were divine. Or you can smother them with cheese. YUM!!!

UPDATE: Karen asked what "Dough Enhancer" is. Basically, Dough Enhancer contains all-natural ingredients and improves texture and shelf life of breads. You can get it at bakery stores, I ordered mine online from Bluechipgroup.net. It comes in a can, like this:

Whenever I make wheat bread, it always seems to help it keep longer. Also, the texture is "better." It's a good one to have on your shelves, if you bake a lot of breads and rolls from scratch.

Monday, September 08, 2008

It's Only a Matter of Time...

...and we'll be dealing with THIS, again. Seriously, why is it so COLD here now? Usually we have a hot, late summer--with temps in the 80's until the beginning of October. Nope. It was in the low 50's this morning. Brrrrrr....

The weekend was quiet. We found THE BEST PIZZA DOUGH RECIPE HANDS DOWN on the internet, it is perfect for our family. It makes two large pizzas and a tray of breadsticks! But since we only manage to eat ONE pizza, it might be big, now that I think of it...but if anyone is interested let me know and I'll share.

We had only one soccer game, and they played Thing One wayyy too much. She was a starting forward, and the coach kept putting her in. By the end of the game, she could hardly run. I knew she was tired when she got called out and she (very theatrically, I might add) flopped down in the grass and acted like she was dead. She's never done that.

Oh well, at least the coach recognizes her skills. :-)

I am going to have to wipe my computer. I ordered the disks from HP on Friday, so I'll have them soon. I don't want to do it, but I can't get rid of this nasty hijacking trojan. I've never had this problem before. EVER. So frustrating. A word of warning: NEVER google anything that has the word "dolls" in it. I foolishly googled "Legend of Zelda Link Paper dolls template" and got the nasty porn bomb when I clicked on one of the hits. UGH.

I am getting dangerously close to submission on my story. I hope to have my query and sample chapters in the mail by the end of this week...and then the nail biting begins. Since it's LDS fiction, there's only a handful of publishers I can submit to, so I'm starting at the very tippity top, and unfortunately, this publisher DOES NOT accept e-queries (only snail mail) and they take a minimum of eight weeks to get back to you. I'm still trying to figure out which shenanigans I can pull to get me farther up in the slush pile, and I think I've come up with something. I'll let you all know if it works. ;-)

Happy Monday! I've decided, at the prompting of one of my readers, to outline a sequel (just in case) and I'm going to start work on one of my other YA novels that I've had percolating for a while. Enough to keep this momma busy for a while!

Friday, September 05, 2008

I Loathe Viruses!

Yeah, the kind humans can get, too, but I'm talking about COMPUTER viruses. Especially the nasty kind that hijack your browser and won't let it go until you've downloaded their product. Um, just a hint guys, if you're going to hijack my browser and make it so I can't even navigate or use my computer, the LAST thing I'm going to do is download your product...

Sheesh. I was up until late last night trying to clean it. I even BOUGHT some anti-spyware program, Stopzilla, (which, to my dismay, found ten major trojans and spyware) but even after cleaning and removing, IE STILL is getting hijacked. I don't know what to do, short of wiping my computer, and I'm telling you, that would be a major all-day process and a pain in my...head.

It was just an innocent Google. That's all it was. My son wanted me to look up some Legend of Zelda Link artwork, and suddenly I had a porn bomb on my computer. I had to slam the laptop lid down and tell him to get out of the room. Thank heaven his back was at least turned and he was looking at my bookshelves when the porn bomb hit. The images were...AWFUL.

There are some seriously sick people out there.

Anyway, this is one of the reasons why I won't let my kids use Google. My daughter once googled "Zac Ephron" (or whatever his name is) and suddenly the screen was inundated with all these full-frontal naked pictures of his current girlfriend.
I have put safety precauctions on my kids computer--and I don't allow them to Google. Clearly there are people out there who prey on kids who type in innocent phrases.

It's gotten really bad, lately. I can't travel the world and write, so I Google the world and write, and every once in a while, I get some unsavory stuff. It only reinforces my belief that there are people in this world who are out to take away my kids' innocence.

And I plan to defend it as long as I can.

But in the meantime, anyone have suggestions for getting rid of a nasty IE browser hijacker? And please don't tell me to switch to Firefox or Mozilla. I'm set in my ways and I like IE...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

It's Postum Weather!

Okay, I'm not one to get political, but Sarah Palin ROCKED last night! She is a force to be reckoned with.
Her quip about Hockey moms brought down MY house, as well as THE house. ;-) I'm sure it's on You Tube if you're interested...

It's FREEZING today. 58 degrees and stormy and rainy. I just got back from taking the kids to school, and I'm about to make a pot of Postum. Yes, Postum. Because until I run out, I'll still be drinking it. I have one unopened jar (I found it when I was cleaning out the pantry, my kids ran upstairs I whooped so loud) and one half used jar. That should get me through this fall and winter, for sure.

Thing One made me laugh this morning. We got her her first pair of "skinny jeans" and she HATES them. They look adorable on her, but she likes loose jeans. She feels like a sausage (her words) and I could shoot her. I'd kill to have her legs. Well, she's almost 11, so naturally she's going to have skinny legs.

Boys are so easy. They'd wear the same thing every day if I let them. :-)

I printed up my novel for Hubby to read. I am nervous, because he believes in my writing, but he's also an avid reader and very picky about his reading material.
This morning, he told me he really liked it so far. He did stay up pretty late reading in bed last night, so maybe that's a good sign?

I've been writing my query letter, and I'm running it by a few trusted writer friends. It's starting to get real, and I'm sending my "baby" off on submission very soon!

Well, time to fold all five loads of laundry I washed yesterday. STIMULATING.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

My Kids have been Body Snatched!!!

So, the alarm goes off this morning at 6:30, and I get out of bed, dreading the task of waking up my children. Short of dumping ice water on them in their beds, they are hard to wake up.

I start walking up the stairs to their rooms, and I hear giggles and laughter, coming from Thing One's closed door.

I open the door, and see...

All of my kids (including the baby) awake, smiling and completely dressed already for the day.

They informed me they woke up on their own at 6 am, and decided to get dressed and ready.

I just looked at them like I didn't know them. This is NOT like them.

They all had super awesome first-day-of-school experiences, so that may have played a part.
Frankly, I am not complaining. I'm sure by next week I'll be threatening to pour ice water over their heads if they don't get up, but for now, I'm enjoying this.

I finished the edits on my story last night. I worked on them during the day (I felt so guilty but I only had the baby with me, and he was playing in the office with his toys, happy as a clam) and I FINISHED! I need to write a killer query now. I haven't written a query since I landed my agent in 2002. And since we parted ways in 2005, I haven't really written another query. So, I'm out of practice. I just hope I can get a great HOOK.

Slow day today. Kids are off to school, Hubby is off to work, and all I have to do today is laundry, running to the music store for a flute book, dry cleaners, and Office Max. And going to Office Max is NEVER a chore! Office supply stores are like candy stores for me. Woo!

And now I need to figure out what I want to work on next!! Where's my muse???

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Imagine me singing the title. I couldn't figure out the html code to put little musical notes around the title, because I'm html-challenged. :-D

The kids actually sprang out of bed like springs when I woke them up at 6:30. They were so dang excited. I didn't make them take the bus this morning (yes, I was feeling generous)--I drove them instead. We snapped lots of pics and made sure they had everything.

Of course I found Thing Two's shiny new homework planner sitting on my bed, so I had to turn back around and run it to school for him. Yeah, I was thinking that too. NICE START to the year.

But then the baby and I ran and got groceries, because he was literally wearing his last diaper (I even rummaged through the diaper bag--but no luck) and he hadn't done his morning well...poop.

So, we're all stocked up now and I don't know what to do with myself, and all this quiet. Well, I do have quite a list of things to do, I just don't know if I want to do them. Part of me wants to just lay around like a slug and eat bonbons all day (KIDDING!) and another part of me wants to go running with the jogging stroller, clean the whole house and finish all the edits on my story.

I think I'll opt for the latter. I just need to get some breakfast in me, and I'll have more energy.

Eight hours of quiet! What will I do???

(Then, of course all hell will break loose because the kids will come home, we'll have to run to soccer practice, then to the church for Cub scouts and Girls activity days. Yep it will be more like NORMAL!)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Happy Labor Day?

I hope everyone has a good holiday, but my thoughts and prayers are going out to the people of New Orleans right now.

It just doesn't seem right. Didn't they just do this?