Resolutions and Delusions

Monday, 31 December 2012

I just read my New Year's Eve 2012 post with all 10-- yes TEN-- of my resolutions.

What the hell was I thinking?

Ten resolutions, of which I kept none. God, I feel... well, I don't really know what I feel. As far as resolutions go, I am a complete failure, but otherwise I did see some pretty big accomplishments. Probably the biggest of all was giving birth to a long-awaited, and incredibly beautiful, baby girl.

I think its safe to say that things are better with regards to my family life. My husband and I are spending more time together and I have been able to spend more quality time with my son, not as much as I'd like, but its getting there.

As far as writing went, boy did I have some lofty delusions there. When I look back at those five resolutions I just want to laugh. I can't say whether I just didn't try hard enough or I set the bar too high, but I didn't really get close to those goals. I did attempt NaNo, I'm proud of that. I didn't win, but I write nearly 30k words, so I'm thrilled with that.

The New Year is full of writing possibilities. Recently I've been accepted into the evaluation for guides. I've still got a long way to go with that and I won't know if I actually got it or not until late January, but, honestly, it is a dream come true just to get into the first round. And I'm pitching to Intrigue on the 4th of January, so fingers crossed I get somewhere with that, too. All in all things are looking up on the writing front.

So what to do about resolutions tonight. At midnight we embark on 2013, what do I want to accomplish? Or, maybe I should ask what are realistic goals?

Sarah Addison Allen (my hero) posted on her Facebook today asking what three words describe your hopes for 2013. I like this idea much more than making resolutions. Of course, those three words mean a lot. They are hopes and dreams. They are plans and goals. They are wishes.

My three words are: Focus. Family. Freedom.

What three words would you choose for 2013?

Wine, Worry, And Whining

Saturday, 22 December 2012

So it's Friday again. Thank God! This week has been anything but fun, I have to admit. But thanks to some good news and the generosity of the people at DH's new job (who have sent home 4 bottles of wine and a very expensive single malt) it hasn't been such a bad Friday.

I haven't been really great about posting this past week thanks to a number of things. First off, in the run up to Christmas I am more stressed than usual. Being on half my pay tends to do that to me. Second, Hunter's little virus that took him down for a day has nearly killed Scarlett and I. We've even been to the hospital! It really has sucked. And third, I got the chance to compete for my dream job this week. Yes, the week I contracted the Black Death. Figures, huh?

What is this amazing opportunity, you ask? Well, at the risk of jinxing it, I'll tell you... Months ago I applied to be the guide for's cheerleading site. I wasn't really hopeful. I mean, sure, I'm a coach and sure I've been around a while, but I never even got considered when I applied for colon cancer and that is my career specialty. So, anyway, I applied and after a while, I stopped checking my emails.

I had almost forgotten when I got the email telling me I had made it into the evaluation program. And, of course, it came just as the Black Death was starting to get a grip on me. Suddenly, I needed to write three articles and two blog posts. And they had to be warm and engaging. And it was all I could do not to curl up in a ball and die. Seriously. I can't remember the last time I was this sick. And a puking, fevery, whining eight-month-old only adds to the joy of a deadline. A few times I started to email a withdrawal to the editor.I just couldn't write.

So, the deadline was Wednesday night. Really, I just had to make sure the content was in my editor's mailbox by the time she started work Thursday morning. I was up until 2:30am on Thursday morning-- doped up on Sudafed and sucking down hot toddy's. I was certain the copy was a mess, but at least it was in on time.

Somehow, miraculously, I have made it to the next stage. That's the good news. The bad news is that now I need to write loads more and use their web tools to publish it to a mock site for a final evaluation n January 11th. Web tools which I can't really make heads or tails of.

Oh, and I signed up to pitch to Harlequin Intrigue. Again. Before I found out about this thing. I need a pitch ready for January 4th.

Part of me is terrified that I have jinxed my chances by telling you. Part of me dreads the embarrassment of coming back to tell you I didn't get it. So, why am I telling you? Because I probably won't post to my normal schedule. Hell, I might not post at all over the next couple of weeks. And I know at least one of you out there knows how awesome it is that I have even gotten this far. I don't think DH really gets it. And I would never turn down support, of any form, so if you have any experience with or if you just want to say 'hang n there', or say a prayer for me, it will be greatly appreciated. I can't even begin to explain what getting this job would mean for my family.

So, I'm taking a chance. I'm putting it out there. I'm hoping for prayers and crossed fingers and a hell of  a lot of good luck. Now I'm off to finish this celebratory bottle of wine before the baby wakes up (again).

I'll let you know how I get on.

Drive-By Friday

Friday, 14 December 2012

I had all of these brilliant ideas of posts for Fridays, but I'm afraid they'll have to wait. I only have time for a drive-by today. I'm sick today (little man was kind enough to share the plague with me) and I'd kill for a nap, but instead I'm sat in front of the school waiting for my monster.

Something fairly major has come up (I'm afraid to jinx it so I won't give you the details just yet) which means I'll probably miss a post or three in the next few weeks. I apologise in advance.

Now I must rush off to read about HTML and anxiously check my messages for three very important replies. Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Not much time to blog today. I have a very ill little boy off school (sleeping. now which really worries me) and a million things to do! On the plus side, any minute now UPS should be returning my data on a DVD from my failed hard drive-- Yaaayyy!!! Also, I spoke with someone in a very important position yesterday who is going to help my up my credentials so I can be more readily recognised in my field and publish the non-fiction manuals I've been working on for years now. Serious plus!!

So today I'm buried in paperwork and homework (another essay due soon) and coughing, hacking child. Not to mention my own coughing and hacking (he's a thoughtful boy, always willing to share with his Mommy). At least the baby hasn't started yet. I better get back to work, I'll be coaching soon. Which means going out in the cold. Ugh.

Stay warm, everyone.

Bad Mommy

Monday, 10 December 2012

I'm afraid I've been a bit of a meanie today. Bug, aka little brat, has pretty much given up sleep, so last night we were up every hour at least once. I'm not good without sleep. I'm nasty. And not in a way that thrills my husband. I'm just downright mean.

Add to that the fact that I skipped my articles in favor of going to the grocery store (bad move) and thanks to leaving the card for the account with the money in it at home, I had a pretty crap time and was nearly late for school pick up. So I came home and cooked for two hours-- literally-- homemade apple sauce, homemade scalloped potatoes,  country-fried steak (won't make that mistake again). Only to have DH complain that the meat was too oily and DS declare that it all tasted funny and that American food is icky.  Yeah. I nearly took my plate to my room to keep from telling them just what I thought of their opinions.

So here I sit, finally having finished my articles, enjoying a bowl of strawberry trifle and a cup of tea. Praying the baby sleeps at least a couple of hours tonight. Next stop is bed and hopefully a chapter or two before I drift off. I'm reading Jana Deleon's newest, The Awakening. I love her work.

I suppose I could work on my own story. Or the four things I didn't check off my to-do ist today (this is number five). But the real world has to close down for the night sometime. It's  nearly 2330. I think that time is now.

Night all.

Still Writing....

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Well, I am happy to report that I am still writing on the story I started for NaNo. Of course, I'm not writing steady again yet. I'm just trying to get through my mountain of sewing (play costume, stockings, Christmas dress, dog bed, scarf...) first. The incredible amount of time I spent writing in November (NaNo and my articles) left me with no spare time for crafty stuff and I'm desperate to start making pretty things again.

But I have written a bit more. Writing is quieter, less mess, and can be done in the car while sitting in front of the school. I'll need to step it up, though, since I entered the Harlequin Intrigue Speed Dating pitch contest.

Aaahhh!!!! What was I thinking?

I plan to pitch this story, so mostly I've been working on my pitch. Trying to boil this story down to 100 words is brutal. The plot is way too complicated for 100 words. This is why I didn't pitch it before. I'm writing a couple of different versions and I'll choose from them once I am done. I might post them here, haven't decided yet.

I will finish my NaNo story (late, but whatever) and pitch it in January!!

If you NaNoed, what are you doing with yours?

Santa, Neck Ties, & Nap Time

Monday, 3 December 2012

I have missed another nap time. Damn it.

I would have gratefully napped while Bug took her morning nap, but I had company and didn't feel I could. God, I wish I had. I am so tired and here I am waiting on the boy to come out of school. No chance of a nap now.

My house is a-buzz with excitement for the arrival of a certain fat guy in a red suit. Of course, everyone's house will be by now. Bug doesn't have a clue since she's so little, but Hunter is bouncing off the walls. There is so much going on it would be impossible for him not to be. Yesterday it was a birthday party (and last weekend), next week it's the football party, then the cheer party, then Christmas. And somewhere in all of that is the Christmas play and the school trip to the cinema. I tell you, it is a fabulous time to be five. Not so fabulous to be footing the bill, mind you.

But the little monster is worth it. He is such a funny kid. He has asked Santa to put neck ties in his stocking. That's right, neck ties. Which are stupidly expensive for children. Instead I'll be buying a load of men's skinny ties and shortening them. Good thing I can sew.

I need to run now, it's almost time for him to be released. I'll try not to miss any posts this week (last week was a bad one). Until Wednesday, happy writing or sewing or baking or whatever. ;-)

NaNo Oh No!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Well, I think it's safe to say I won't be winning NaNo this year. I've barely broke 25k and I can't be certain I'll get any more done this month. I have family coming back tomorrow night and staying through the weekend, so it's looking unlikely that I'll get anything done.

I'm glad I took part. And I'm pleased that I have a great start on my story. So it certainly was worth it. Not to mention the fact that I learned a lot about myself and my writing. I also got far enough in, that my story is begging to be finished. Now let me just say a quick prayer that at least some of it is useable.

I noticed a few purple, winner banners on my buddy list ( Jemi! ;-o). Man, am I jealous. I may have to give it another go next year. In the meantime I think I'm going to set up a group on Facebook to post goals and word counts so my CP and I still have a way to check in and be accountable.

I will finish this story by Christmas (or die trying).


Friday, 23 November 2012

To all of my friends and family back home, today is Black Friday-- the day of massive sales-- but to me it's the day before Thanksgiving. Since there is no such thing as Thanksgiving here, but it is one of my favorite holidays, I cook a feast on the Saturday. My mother-in-law always comes and from time to time we have other random guests. This year it's my nephew, who has just started university in Liverpool.

I started prep last night since I needed to start cooking today (our oven is crap and takes days so it's best to do anything I can in advance. Of course, this meant that Bug had to get up a gazillion times in the night. So here we are in the car in front of Hunter's school. She's napping and I'm blogging. It's one of those days when I'd kill for tinted windows so I could steal a few minutes of sleep myself.

This morning I made two loaves of banana nut bread, one pecan pie, two pumpkin pies, and homemade green bean casserole (I make the mushroom soup from scratch and boil fresh beans). Then I cleaned the kitchen, which after multiple pie crusts dramas looked like I let a two year old loose with a bag of flour, and the toilets and headed out to the school. This is the first I've sat down, and it's in the car (fail).

I'm praying that the little man did well on his spelling test today because if so I can buy him a pack of Moshi Monsters. I have to go to ASDA anyway, so he'll be begging for one, fingers crossed I can let him have it, rather than listen to him wail all the way through the store. Sadly, I went to ASDA on Tuesday. Yesterday I had them deliver. And today in back again. The first step is admitting you have a problem.

Right this second, I'm torn between my desire to read, my need to write, and my temptation to close my eyes for just a second. I wonder which will win out.

Happy Black Friday!

NaNo No-No's

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

I have done it now. I have missed so many days of NaNoing that it is unlikely I'll hit 50k.

I divided my NaNo goals in number of scenes-- one scene for me is roughly 1700 words. By this logic I needed one per day. I already knew that Tuesdays and Wednesdays were not always going to work for me because of my coaching, so in theory I had to squeeze in two extra scenes during the rest of the week.

It was going well until last week when I got behind. Now I need to write daily and squeeze in an extra six scenes!! I'm going to try, but I am also accepting the fact that I may not make the deadline. I still have have way more than I ever expected to have, so I'm happy with that. I'm also a little more determined to keep going and finish this book.

As far as how or why I got behind, there's a load of reasons ranging from real life (sick baby, working too much, stress) to my little fictional world (I've gotten stuck a few times and my story has taken a few unexpected turns). But all in all, I needed to work at it harder. Maybe I should have written first thing in the morning before doing anything else. I didn't because I prefer the night when everyone is in bed and the house is quiet, but some nights I've given in to exhaustion and gone to bed instead. Or maybe I needed to be more excepting of the twists and turns it took instead of wrestling them.

Whatever the case, I'm glad to be doing this. Even if I don't finish. It has taught me a lot about my writing and myself. So I'll soldier on!

Happy NaNoing everyone!!

Sick & Tired

Monday, 19 November 2012

My little Southern Belle (see the fainting pose) has a severe chest infection with icky sinuses. She's sick and I'm tired. So it's been a real long day. Ever have one of those days where you just ache? My upper back is killing me.

I still need to do loads of research and writing plus a little housework. It's going to be a long night. So rather than post much here, I'm going to get to work.

For your viewing pleasure... Here's a picture of Bug doing her 'Belle' pose in her 'pink & fluffy'.


Friday, 16 November 2012

I keep thinking. 'Yaay! It's the weekend!' Then I remember that I'm a mom and therefore I don't get weekends off. They are just like every other day. (Boo!)

Plus, it's going to be a busy one. There's football tomorrow and a Christmas fair. Then a birthday party and my cardio class on Sunday. Not to mention I am waaaayyyy behind on my writing--articles & NaNo!

I would have been a bit better off, but DH bought me a tablet yesterday, so I spent the night playing on it instead of writing. Now I need to write 6 scenes this weekend! Fat chance, but I'll give it a go. I may need to pull out the caffeine pills, though, baby is up all night with her teeth, so I'm like a zombie all day, even after two cups of coffee.

I'm going to try to get some writing done. Night all!

Wednesday, NaNo, & Naps

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

It's supposed to be Writing Wednesday, but so far no luck.

I'm not sure what is going on with me, but I feel downright icky-- like nauseous and tired. I'm actually dreading tonight. I'll be coaching cheerleading from 6-8:30 then teaching a cardio class 8:45-9:45. Honestly, I'd rather just go home now and sleep.

I started the day raring to go. I had my notes for two articles I was supposed to write done and had every intention of getting on with my NaNoing. Then my husband texted me to say he got the dream job (it looks like we will be having Christmas after all) and I had to wake my mom at the ungodly hour of six am and ring my critique partner to tell them. Next came a gripey hour with Bug (a tooth has just pushed through, not really 'in' yet, but visible on her gum line) then when she decided to nap I stole a cheeky 45 minutes myself. Now here I am blogging in the car in front of school. Where did the day go? Seriously?

After I get Hunter, I'll have to take the kids home and feed them and me in preparation for cheer. Then hustle off to set up the room and get started. It's unlikely I'll write any before that. Tonight I'll be too exhausted to write and probably come home, shower, and sleep instead.

I can and will catch up my NaNo, but what scares me is how easy it is to get out of the habit of writing daily. I once read that it takes 21 days of doing something everyday to make it a habit. I hoped NaNo was going to make daily writing a habit for me.

I guess there is still time, though. If I do hit 50k words by the 30th, I still need another 10k so I was planning on continuing the madness for an additional week to finish the book. Maybe I can still make it a habit. Either way, I'm still pleased with what I've accomplished.

I just wish there was more time in my schedule for naps.

Mommy Monday

Monday, 12 November 2012

I love Thanksgiving and I love all of these statuses I've been seeing on Facebook about what everyone is thankful for. I would have loved to do it, but I didn't catch on to it until now. I suppose I could start now, or try to catch up, but with everything else I have going on right now, there's no way I'd be able to keep up.

I have so much to be thankful for right now. Even though we have had the worst time of it lately with DH being made redundant, sick kids, and losing the house in North Carolina. Not to mention all of the little hurdles we cross daily.

Mostly I am thankful for my husband and my children. Through all of this stress and worry, I can still safely say that I am just as in love as I was the day we were married. And although the doctors said we couldn't have children (and we lost 6 in trying) we now have two beautiful, perfect children. I couldn't really ask for anything more.

I do miss my family, though. More than usual at this time of year. I will make a big Thanksgiving dinner-- even though it isn't a holiday here-- and my mother-in-law will come, but it just isn't quite the same as being surrounded by a big, noisy family.

It is the holidays at home that i miss the most. There just doesn't seem to be as much cheer here. And its not me, I am not going anti-UK on you or anything, I've had people here say the same thing. I honestly am dreaming of the day we can come home. I am dreaming of hosting Thanksgiving at our house, with my mom and Scarlett helping me cook while my dad snoozes on the couch and Steve and Hunter watch football.

For a while there I thought we might be looking at a Carolina Christmas. That seems unlikely now. In light of everything, I have to be thankful that we will be able to give the kids a Christmas. It was looking less likely a week ago.

But I'm not giving up hope. I will spend the holidays at home eventually. Right now I am aiming for trick or treating with my parents next year. After the crap weather and serious lack of people giving out candy, my dad has promised to take Hunter out and not come back until they've filled a pillow case!

So for now, I am thankful for my family and the little blessings-- like the 30 seconds Scarlett wanted to cuddle today before she spotted my laptop (she's a gadget girl). And I'm thankful I can give my children happy holidays and a wonderful childhood. No matter what continent we are on.

Yet another quickie!

Friday, 9 November 2012

It's Fun Friday and as usual I have loads to do. Its going to be a busy day!

Last night I sat up late writing for NaNo and I've nearly caught up to where I want to be. I finished Tuesday's scene which I had abandoned when I got too tired, wrote a scene which should've counted for Wednesday, and started my Thursday scene. So technically, I'm still behind, but I did write something like 2600 words last night, so I'm pleased with that.

I need to get two articles written (notice I said 'need to', not 'want to'-- I really don't enjoy those articles) and I am setting up a business for my husband (register, website, insurance, etc.) because that's something I really am good at. I also need to finish setting up my other site (the crafty one). I'll do my MaNo tonight; I prefer to do it after everyone has gone to bed and the house is quiet. Oh. And I still need to work on my assignment due Monday.

As usual, I am in over my head. Good thing I like to swim! Happy writing!!

Quickie post...

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Ok. I figured this would be the case and sadly it is.

When I first decided to do NaNo I knew I needed to count only 5 days a week instead of 7. No, I never planned on taking weekends off (I'm a mom, what are weekends?), but I do coach on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. I figured I wouldn't have time to write on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and that seems to be the case. Unfortunately I fell into the '1667 words a day' rhythm.

I wrote some yesterday-- not quite 1300 words-- but it wasn't the 1700 needed each day. Today I've been spectacularly useless. I have written nothing! Not that I don't want to write, because I really do, it's just that I can't seem to get my 'real' work done.

I start teaching a new fitness class tonight. And I think I may have caught a stomach bug. Fun times.

So I'm not going to beat myself up-- after all I'm doing way better than I thought I would. Instead I'm going to try to catch up. If I'm not completely dead tonight (which I probably will be) then I'll write tonight. If not, I'll use the next few days to catch up.

Now I'm off to get ready for my new class. Happy writing!!

Getting ahead...

Monday, 5 November 2012

Today is supposed to be my 'Mommy Post'. And it is, kind of.

I'm blogging this just after midnight in an attempt to get ahead for the day. I have 12 things on my to-do list for today and I seriously need to get to work if I'm going to finish everything.

There's this blog (which is about the only thing I can do from bed) and a whole slew of housework. Plus there are a few writing-related tasks-- three articles (only 2 on the list but 3 expire tomorrow) and my NaNo word count (I need one more 1700 word scene, but I'd like to aim for 2, it can't hurt to get ahead since Tues & Weds are so busy for me).

So I'm blogging now.

What does this have to do with Momminess? It's simple. Somehow this weekend I managed to get my work done AND play with the kids. That almost never happens. Usually something is left behind on my to-do list, but this weekend, miraculously, I stayed on track. And snuggled up for a couple of movies and played some card games.

Starting tomorrow, I'm going to track my time and see where I waste it during the day. I have to find ways to get the work done before dinner! I also know I need to start getting up earlier to write in preparation for going back to work (I wish maternity leave could last forever). I'll have to come back to that later :).

This week I'm going to concentrate on getting more done in the day. Starting with tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes.

In other news, I hit 6781 words last night for NaNo! That's a little tiny bit past the target for the weekend!! I am so amazed that I started with not even a proper idea for a story and I'm doing so well! I'm going to try to set similar goals for my articles. I'm also hoping to get into the habit of writing everyday and carry it on after NaNo.

But more in that in Wednesday's writing post. Right now I need to go to bed. With the way things have been going, the baby should be up any minute.

Night all!

Day Two

Friday, 2 November 2012

It's day two of NaNo (only just barely-- it's 0451 here) and already I feel tragically behind. I had a goal of 1650 words for yesterday and I only wrote 1088. I have to say it was a little disheartening.

I feel like this was a bad time to try it, with all of the drama at home, but then is there ever a good time? I think doing NaNo may be like having kids. there never really is a right time, you just have to take the leap.

I'm going to make myself keep going, although last night as I struggled to find any inspiration I was ready to give up. But if it weren't for NaNo I probably wouldn't have 1088 words toward a new story. I probably wouldn't have any.

The reality has sunk in that I need to write my articles more than ever. This year seems to be flying by and I really need the money. Add to that the stress of not knowing if we'll even have a roof over our heads in a month or two and honestly, I am freaking out.

Which could be why I'm blogging at this ridiculous hour.

Nonetheless, I have to keep going. I have 10 things on my to-do list today and unfortunately they are all pretty important. So, I guess I should try to get a little more sleep.

After all, the kids will be up in about an hour.

Ready, Set...

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Tomorrow is the official start of National Novel Writing Month!!

Are we all ready?

No? Me neither. But I am further than I thought I'd be. I have a basic plot outline and today I'll be working on expanding it to add more detail. While making jack o' lantern pizzas and Halloween sugar cookies and getting the kids dressed and going trick or treating... It is going to be a long day.

I started working on the outline earlier, but haven't gotten far. I had to get showered and get to the hospital for my pre-op appointment. I wish I could've spent all day at home, but sadly I also had to get copies made and go grocery shopping before I could go home and start the rest of the day's work.

The pizza dough is currently rising and the butter softening for the cookies. And I'm sat outside the school waiting for Hunter and praying the rain will let up so we can go trick or treating. There's a giant rain cloud hanging over us. I really hope it moves on before six.

Back to NaNo... I'm looking forward to starting my writing. Instead of looking at a daily word count, I've decided to look at scenes. I'm the type of person who has to finish a scene in one session. I really can't leave it once I get the momentum going.

I also decided to schedule my weeks as 5 days instead of 7 to give me a little wiggle room. So 7 scenes a week will put me at the 50k for the month, but it will leave me about 2 scenes shy of finishing. That's no worry, though. If I get that far I figure 2 scenes will be a breeze!

My only worry is when I'll be able to write. I don't really have the kind of family that I can tell about this and expect any support. The kids are too young to understand and since DH still can't find work (damn recession & redundancy), he's got bigger things on his mind.

Add to that the fact that Baby Bug has officially given up sleep and I may not survive this first week! But I'm going to try my hardest. Lots of coffee!! I'll pull out the caffeine tablets if necessary and I'll make adjustments in other areas of my life. For example, I made the decision not to do any articles today do I can get the outline sorted and still have a fun night with the family.

If you are doing NaNo, do you have a schedule or a system? I'd love to hear about it. I'd also love to hear tales from years passed, since it's my first time.

Happy writing and Happy Halloween !

No trophies for me...

Monday, 29 October 2012

I certainly won't be getting 'Mother of the Year' this year.

One of Hunter's friend's moms (what a mouthful!) asked if I was up for that title and that's why I was sewing costumes and baking cake pops. If only she knew.

The truth is today I have been the worst mom. All day I've had the Mean Reds. You know, when you aren't fit to be around other humans. Especially tiny ones.

I'm sure it is a direct result of being up all night with the baby and then up at half six for good. Hunter goes back to school tomorrow so he's been home to drive me batty and, of course, Scarlett has been whiny all day since she was up, too. But then I have no idea what her problem is since she's had two good naps today. I should've been the one whining. Instead I did a lot of shouting. Hunter doesn't really hear things until they are shouted at least twice.

Then DH came home and told me to 'get over it' when I said it had been a bad day. He said everyone (meaning him) had a bad day. What he doesn't realise, though, is that before he even got home he had clocked out. He came home, put on his pj's, and parked on the couch. I was still folding clothes, waiting on Hunter (and him) to finish eating so I could clean up, and trying to get the baby to settle down for bed.

Now I have three articles to write. Yep. I'm still on the clock. DH seems to think being on maternity leave means I eat bon bons and watch TV all day. He also thinks I write these articles because I love it. In reality I hate writing nonfiction, but we need the money.

At the rate I'm going I won't finish 'work' until around midnight... Which should be just about the time the baby wakes back up and I clock in again.

So, yeah, I don't even think I'm nominated for MOTY this year.

Bat Kitty!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Introducing Bat-Kitty!!

Okay, I admit it, I stole this picture off of someone on FaceBook. 
I can't remember who, otherwise I'd credit them. But, seriously, how cute is this?

Anyway, the point is this is my favourite time of year. I love October. 
There is just something magical to me about fall. About the colors changing and the crisp, cool air... 
And I LOVE Halloween! Yesterday I finished the DIY costumes for the kids (they look awesome!) and made a load of cake pops for the Halloween party (they look like crap, so I'm considering buying more candy melts to make them right). I also have to carve the pumpkins tonight. I'm so excited.

So here's my Friday Fun!

I already did my articles for the day (although I am way behind and could do with doing at least two more-- maybe late tonight). Today I get to do more of what I want to do. After I take the monster and baby to a play date, that is. I'm going to come home from the play date, finish the cake pops, carve the pumpkins, and then settle into my WIP planning. The story starts in October and the town will be full of pumpkins and all things witchy! I figure my cake pops and pumpkins are the perfect way to get into the mood for this story.

Happy Writing Everyone!!


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

I finally bit the bullet and signed up for NaNoWriMo.

I have watched the participants of National Novel Writing Month each year, for years now with a combination of wonder and envy. For anyone who has never heard of this phenomenon, NaNoWriMo happens every November. Writers from all over the world set out on the first of November to write a novel. Or at least 50,000 words. The idea is to get a first, and very rough, draft down in by the end of November. 

In theory, it sounds do-able. And there are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of 
people who complete the task each year. 

I want to be one of them.

Of course, with my life things are never easy and it seems like a stretch to think I could get 2000 words written a day, especially since it means writing EVERY day. And I already write between 1000 and 1500 a day on articles (trying to bring in some extra cash considering our recent bad luck). But I'm going to give it a shot anyway. The thing is, even if I only write 5000, and I'm sure I'll do better than that, it's something. And at this point any word count is a good thing.

So, yeah, I'm taking the leap. I'll update you each week on my Wednesday post. Right now I'm in the planning phases of my next WIP anyway. The next step is to rope my CP into doing it with me since the WIP I'm working on is for our write-along. She'll probably love the idea and she's got a great heads start. Last she updated me she was already over 2500 words.

I need to work out how to do the 'buddy' thing on the NaNoWriMo site, but feel free to add me if you are signed up and if you know how to, I'm ChristyKate. Otherwise, leave me a comment and once I figure it out I'll add you.

Happy NaNoWriMo-ing!!

Half Term

Monday, 22 October 2012

It's day one of the October half term.

I don't think the boy is going to make it.

I have three articles to write and one edit and I started writing at 0930. Guess how many I've written...


I can't seem to get him to sit still long enough for me to get anything done. Literally. He's making it impossible for me to write because he has to sit so close to me he's nearly in my lap and his leg has been shaking for ten minutes straight. It's been like this all day.

I'm going to keep trying to write, but I'll be counting down the hours until bedtime. Three and a half hours...

Facing the music...

Friday, 19 October 2012

Today I told my critique partner what I was afraid of. Well, one of the things I'm afraid of. Heavens knows, there are quite a few...

I've started a new story for a 'write-along' that I'm doing with her. Yeah. Another new story. Obviously the ADHD has played a part in this, but I know I really need to let go of that crutch. Instead, I need to own up to what's really going on.

I can't seem to finish a book.

Well, really I can't get past chapter four.

It has occurred to me that I have put three blurbs on this blog to date. Three blurbs (and at least one was actually sort of decent, I'm sure of it). Three blurbs and I haven't finished a single book.

Well, that's not strictly true. I used to finish books a long time ago. Probably 15 or 20 years ago I always finished. Of course, I have re-read those and am totally ashamed by the state of them, but still, at least they were finished.

What I am afraid of (at the moment, at least) is that one of you, my two blog readers, will call me on this fact. I keep waiting for someone to say 'well, did you ever finish that book?', forcing me to hang my head in shame.

I have no excuses really. I do have a fairly decent reason for starting a new story. My CP was starting fresh and we wanted to be at the same place so we could move at the same pace. And this one is a story I've been looking forward to writing. But at one time I was looking forward to writing all of the others, too.

I'm hoping this time will be different. Scratch that. This time WILL be different. If for no other reason than I'll have my CP to push me along. Or guilt me or whatever it takes. Plus the story starts around Halloween, so the timing just feels right.

I have also promised myself that when I finish this one (notice I said 'when', not 'if') I will find the money to get my hard drive restored so I can get back the one book I miss most. The one I'm halfway through re-writing (I managed to beat the chapter four curse) which I can't bear to start again (only because after i re-wrote it, I finally loved it).

So the new plan (you are probably sick of my plans by now) is to finish this one then get back onto some of my 'in progress' WIPs.

I feel ashamed. I would say that I feel like I've let you all down, but honestly, I don't think there are really that many of you reading this blog. And those of you who do, know me by now and have probably lowered your expectations. But still, I feel ashamed. In every other aspect of my life if I say I'm going to do something I do it. No excuses.

So off I go again on this adventure. This time I'll try not to let myself down.

Writing along...

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

My critique partner and I have decided to try to write new stories at the same time. A sort of 'write-along' if you will. So we've both started with new ideas to brainstorm, plot, and write.

I'm struggling a bit for a number of reasons. The story I started with refused to cooperate, so yesterday I swapped it for a story that was begging to be told. And my computer has died... Again. I seriously want a new one. An iPad this time. Add to that sick kids (the boy just came in from school and threw up on my living room floor) and you've got a recipe for writing disaster.

But I will not be discouraged. I will meet my own (self-imposed) deadline! Which means I should get back to it now while the baby is sleeping and the boy is snuggled up on the couch. Happy writing!

Mommy Mornings

Monday, 15 October 2012

It's 0152 and I'm lying here wondering what happened to my formerly, lovely baby. You know, the one who used to sleep through the night. This one I have now hasn't slept through in a week. Ugh.

I have 14 things on my to-do list for today and here I am up, a second time I might add, because Bug will no longer sleep through. I guess it was too good to be true. We had gotten to a point where I could put her to bed at 0700 with a bottle and she'd sleep until 8 or so the next morning. God, how I miss those days.

So my new 'morning' seems to stutter from about 0100 to 0600. I'm going to try to get back to sleep now. I just wanted to be able to check something off my list. Today is going to be a long day.


Friday, 12 October 2012

It has been one of those weeks. I'm honestly starting to believe that I'm doomed to only have 'those weeks'. We lost the house, then got another shot at it, only to lose it again. Oh, and did I mention that my hubby was made redundant on Wednesday? Yeah. One of THOSE weeks.

The only good news is that I finally got that horrendous paper turned in. All 39 pages of it. Thank God!

Tonight, after my usual chores (cooking, cleaning, kids, articles, sewing...) I plan to sit down to write! I'm very excited about that. I spent the day talking romance with my CP and I'm excited to get started on this week's goal. In fact, I've brought my notes in the car, so I'm off to get started now!

Happy writing, everyone!

DIY Mommy

Monday, 8 October 2012

I have loads to do today still. All I've managed is a big grocery shop and a trip to the fabric store for Halloween costume fabrics.

I do think I deserve a treat for getting glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth (Monster size) and Bug cookies (mini rusks). Not to mention the hot cocoa I found which has omega-3 in it. let's just hope he'll drink it. I also got fabric to make frilly pink curtains for Bug's room.

I'm really looking forward to a sewing weekend! I need to hem the Monster's football jersey on Friday (practice is Sat) because right now it looks like a dress. Then over the weekend I'll be making a pumpkin hat for Bug (she has jack o' lantern footy pjs so all she needs is a hat with leaves, vine, and a stem) and a vampire cape and cummerbund for Monster.

Its a DIY Halloween this year. I have some awesome witch shoes (from the US) and a hat somewhere so I may show up at the party in those, black cords, and a black sweater. There just isn't the money for store bought sets this year.

But that's ok. For just a little while longer I get to play stay-at-home mom, so I'm gonna do it right!

Here's a pretty picture...

Friday, 5 October 2012

No time to post today. Sorry. The project has swallowed me whole. Here's a pretty picture instead.

Mistaking Mountains for Molehills

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

My final project has turned out to be a lot more difficult than I anticipated. I chose something I knew I would enjoy in the hopes it would also be fairly straight forward.

That is not the case.

Every time I complete a task for it I uncover four more that I hadn't seen before! I swear, if ever there was a case for starting early...

Oh well, too late for that now. I'm taking a short break from my stories and my articles, just until I finish the project. The only reason I'm posting now is because I can do it from the car while I wait for the monster to get out of school.

The project is due on Oct 11th, so there isn't much time, but I can do it. I have no doubt. I just need to focus. Of course that isn't easy with the kids, etc.

On another note, the house we chose sold before we could get our offer in, which really sucks because now I'm back to searching for a house my hubby won't hate. He had his heart really set on that one.

So, yeah, it's all fun and games here, as usual. If anything, this 'break' from writing has me antsy to get back to it. Let's hope the muse sticks around for a good while longer...

No time for fun this Friday.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Well, as usual I am behind on my articles. But that isn't the worst part. I have 2 weeks until my final project is due for my linguistics class. And I haven't really started it.

It isn't that I have intentionally been slacking (all of those pins are from late at night in bed, I swear). There just seems to be more going on than usual. Hunter is struggling with spelling tests. Scarlett is teething. And we are trying to buy a house back home.

A house that needs gutted. And my hubby plans to handle all of the contracts from here and finish it in time for us to move next summer. He has spent two days constantly texting and ringing and asking me for details on the house. So I've been on the phone with my mom (who viewed the house yesterday) and the realtor constantly. Of course, we haven't even applied for financing yet. That will likely be this weekend or the first of next week.

It's no wonder I can't get any real work done. My next 2 weeks are going to be a lot of fun trying to do my project, catch up, and stay on top of the house stuff. Yeah. Right. Now is about the time I could use a maid. And a personal assistant. And a babysitter. And a vacation...

So I'll try to post still, but if I'm not around much in the next two weeks, you know why. Let's just hope I can pull it all off!

Dream jobs and childcare...

Monday, 24 September 2012

So, I've been asked to interview for what would be a dream job for me. It's coaching 3 high school and 2 primary school cheerleading teams. This is a big reason why I plan on teaching school when we move home- to coach the cheer teams. Well, that and the vacation time.

It seems like the perfect opportunity to go back to work super part-time (like 2 days per week) and pick up the extra I need to make the bills coaching. I'm also fairly certain I'm the most qualified candidate, since I'm the only American coach in my area.

Problem is the schools are roughly a half an hour from me, my car likes gas-a lot, and gas prices here are insane (I paid £7 for about a gallon today, that's about $12). Add to that the cost of after school childcare and nursery fees and I'm fairly certain the job won't pay enough.


I'm hopefully going to go interview this week and find out more, but I'm not going to hold my breath. I can't afford to quit my real job, so I'll probably have to let this one pass. How I wish it was a contract job until the summer with a pay of what I'm used to. Then I could leave my job and hopefully by the time the contract ran out we'd be headed to NC.

Double sigh.

It's times like this I wish my Mom was just around the corner. She'd have no problem watching the kids for a few hours for me.

I'll let you know how it works out...

Tasks for the weekend...

Friday, 21 September 2012

Another short post. Lately I haven't had time to think, let alone write. Add to that the fact that I'm catatonic during the day and I'm just happy to get these few paragraphs out.

Baby Bug was ill last week and she only started sleeping through again last night. Of course, I didn't sleep. The monster has suddenly become afraid of monsters. Do he's up every night between 2 and 3. And let's not forget the dog. Even he has played a part in my sleeplessness. Tuesday night Hunter was up at 3, Scarlett at 3:45, and Buddy at 4:30. The neighbors came home in a taxi so Buddy went nuts. He is an awesome watchdog, I just wish he'd stop barking at people we know. And the post man.

Tonight it's DIY pizzas for dinner. And wine. I'm gonna need lots of wine...

Happy Friday, everyone!

So You Think You Can Write

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Thanks to kids, painting, moving my office, blah, blah, blah... I don't really have time to write a proper post. Instead, I''l refer you to the So You Think You Can Write website. This is an exciting opportunity for aspiring romance authors. I wish I could participate, but kids, painting...

So here you go. Enjoy!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Last Monday, I turned 37.


I know it isn’t the end of the world. I also know 37 isn’t exactly ‘old’. But I can’t help but feel like I’ve missed so much, or maybe messed up so much. I’m sure I read somewhere or heard somewhere that I shouldn’t have any regrets. I’m not sure if what I’m feeling is regret. I just feel like there is so much more I want to do and there just isn’t enough time.

If I pass one thing onto my kids, I hope I can ensure that they never let a moment of happiness pass by unnoticed. I want to teach them that there is never ‘enough time’ and that you should find time every day for the things that make you happy, the things that make you, you.

I wanted to write books… lots of them. I haven’t written any. I wanted to see Europe. We did vacation in Rome, so it’s a start. But I look at the rest of my so-called list and there’s just loads I want to do. I just wish I could go back and start ticking off that list. I also wish I could take back a few of those nights partying at the frat house and spend a little more time hitting the books. Maybe then I wouldn’t be stressed out about the EMA that is due in a few weeks.

I want my kids to figure out what makes them happy and do it. And I want them to understand that what they do each day will affect their happiness later. The advice I told my hubby to pass on to his nephew who starts university this month is ‘have the time of your life, just make sure the time of your life doesn’t prevent you from having the life you want someday’. It’s good advice. It would work for future politicians as well. I want Hunter and Scarlett to finish school and university and to have the sort of life they dream of. Whether that means seeing the world or writing stories about it or whatever. I want them to be happy, for always not just for right now. 

What is the one thing life has taught you that you want to pass on to your kids?

Birthday Wishes

Monday, 10 September 2012

This morning, Hunter asked me what kind of birthday cake I wanted. I told him I wasn't worried about a cake, I just wanted him to do his homework. It seems lately all I do is fight over homework. And work.

I'm on maternity leave and I swear I work harder now than I did at my real job. And it's not just because I have Scarlett to look after. It's because I'm trying to write more than ever to make extra money for bills. Soon I hope that extra money will go to saving for our move home, but for now there's too many bills to pay.

So what do I want for my birthday today? I mean short of winning the lottery, but I'm not greedy, just a couple hundred thousand would be enough to buy a house and move us home....

Believe it or not, I want to write. I want to get as many articles written today as possible. I need to write 10 each week and I haven't written any in the last two weeks thanks to our vacation. I could do with a few 'kid-free' hours before I'm too dead to form complete sentences.

Of course, I'm writing this while sitting in front of the school waiting to pick up Hunter. Then there will be homework to do and dinner to cook, baths and bedtime stories...

In Rome I laughed in front of the Jimmy Choo shop. My hubby said maybe if we could afford it he'd buy me some, but I told him it was ok. Nearly six years ago I chose Terrible Two's over Jimmy Choo's. And I'm happy with that decision. Although sleeping in a bit today would've been nice. We have to start getting ready for school at 0730 so there was really no reason to be up at 0600. Oh well...

I'd say it's fairly unlikely I'll get my wish this year. Maybe I'll re-evaluate and come up with something more realistic. Like both kids in bed on time. Or homework done before dinner.

Or a hug...

I should definitely be able to pull that one off.

Storybook Nails!!

Friday, 7 September 2012

My new favorite manicure!
Newspaper nails seem to be the new, hot thing for manicures and as a proud word geek, I couldn't be happier! I kept seeing these all over the internet. Most were the full nail, but my favorite version was the French manicure. My only real complaint was that on every one the words were backwards. I wanted to be able to read my words...

The key was in the newsprint. Or the 'not-really-newsprint'. I decided I could do this with my own words and make it more special. And readable. So here's how I did it:

First things, first you will need to get your supplies together. You will need clear polish for the base and top coats (I used the same clear for each), a pale polish for the tips, alcohol (I used vodka), and a sheet of paper printed using the 'mirror' function on your printer.

This is the blurb from my magical realism blurb!

I copied and pasted the blurb from my WIP onto a new document. I changed the font to Times New Roman, size 10 and printed it using the 'mirror image' function on my printer so that the words were all backward. This way, when I transferred the print it would be the right way around.

Apply a clear base coat.

Next, I applied a clear base coat to my nails. They are acrylic (but mostly real).

Apply two coats of a light shade to the tips.

Then I applied two coats of 'white' on the tips and let it dry completely. You can use any light color for the tips. My polish wasn't actually white, more of an ecru which I thought looked more like the background on book pages. 

I love these so much!
Once your tips are completely dry, cut the printed paper into small squares. Be careful to cut so that there are plenty of words and few spaces on each square. 

Soak one nail at a time in alcohol for 10-15 seconds. The original tutorial I read said rubbing alcohol, but I still can't find anywhere to buy that here (after 8 years of looking) so I had to make do. We have a bottle of Russian vodka which was given to us about 2 years ago (we don't drink vodka) so I tried that and it worked beautifully! 

Carefully press a square of paper, printed side down, onto your nail. My paper was thick, so I also dabbed vodka on top of the paper with cotton wool.Press down by rocking your finger over it. Be careful not to move or slide the paper. If you do mess one up, simply use a cotton swab dipped in some polish remover to wipe off the print and repaint the tip. If some of the paper sticks to your nail, just wait until it has dried and gently rub it off with your finger.

I think I'll be sporting this look a lot!
Finish with a top coat. I used two coats of the same clear I used as the base coat. 

And that's it! Storybook nails!! Your own words, or those of your favorite author, on your nails-- fun, fashionable, and fabulous!


I'm back!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Well, Rome was incredible, but is really nice to be home in my own bed.

I'm sure I'll post about it all another time, when I'm not so tired, but for now I just need sleep.

I hoped to write while we were away, but I spent each day in the beautiful city under a glorious sun corralling my little ones and each night I crashed before I could even pull out my laptop. In fact, I never once turned it on.

So, I need to get back on track tomorrow. I think I'll start with a back cover blurb. That'll give me the boost I need to get in with the plotting and first chapter I need for Friday. But now, I must sleep. Night all.

It's time!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

In all of my excitement yesterday (and all of my rushing to get things done) I forgot to post. Sorry.

I'll try to remember while we're away, but no promises. :)

Today is the day-- Rome!!! Here is one of the sights I'm looking most forward to: The Trevi Fountain!!

When in Rome...

Monday, 27 August 2012

I can't remember if I've used this
picture before or not, but
I love it.

Today officially starts my 'Countdown to Rome'! 
In just a few days I will be braving European travel with two kids to spend what I hope will be 
an idyllic week in Rome. 

Who am I trying to kid? I have a 5 year old who has developed the most terrifying temper tantrums and a baby with reflux. I'm not really going on holiday. I'll just be mothering in another country. But I want-- I NEED-- a break. I need a bit of down time and magic. I need sunshine (we really don't get nearly enough in the UK) and swimming and just some time away from here.

No matter the weather or the tantrums or whatever, I will enjoy this vacation! It may be my last for a long time.Possibly my only trip abroad. If I get my way I'll be back in North Carolina next summer. In the meantime, I am going to use this vacation as a break from the 'I have to's'. You know, the 'I have to cook dinner' and 'I have to clean the bathrooms'. Don't get me wrong, I will have things I have to do, like laundry (it's inevitable when travelling with a baby with reflux) and bottles. But I won't be worrying about my final project for my linguistics class, I won't be vacuuming and polishing, and I won't be writing articles. 

I will write, though. I really want to work on my magical realism WIP and I think it will be just heavenly to curl up after a long day of sightseeing or lounging by the pool, when the kids are in bed, sipping wine and writing the stuff that I want to write. On my holiday I am going to write for me.

I'm going to start getting into the holiday spirit today. I am going to run my last couple of loads of laundry for a little over a week (Yay!). I'm going to pack for me and Baby Bug (I think the hubby is packing for Monster). I'm going to sort out my jewellery and make up and toiletries. I'm going to find my travel adapter so I can keep my phone (Kindle) and my computer charged.I'm going to make sure every note I need for my WIP is stored on my Dropbox account. And I'm going to get ready for a few days of 'reduced responsibility' (there's not such thing as no responsibility when you have kids).

The countdown starts now...

Let's all go on a...

Friday, 24 August 2012

summer holiday!

I went to ASDA today for a few things for our trip-- travel-sized toothpaste, swim trunks for the monster, sunscreen, euros... The usual bits and bobs needed for a holiday. I think it's the usual. I've only been on a couple of holidays, so I'm no expert.

I also had a long chat with my writing friend, Brenda, about what to pack. She's been to Rome before and had some excellent tips. I think I'll try the capsule wardrobe idea and see if the works out. I'm trying to turn my entire wardrobe into a capsule wardrobe, so this will be like a taster.

Thanks to the Kindle on my phone, I won't need to bring a stack of books like I did on my other holidays. Which is a good thing because cheap airfare comes with nearly no baggage allowance. We each get one piece of hand luggage, except Bug. She gets her stroller, but no luggage.

I do plan to bring my writing. There's a pretty good chance I'll have re-writes to do at some point while we are away, but not only that, I'd like some time to work on The Bee Keeper. I spent a good deal of time discussing it with Brenda today.

Our joint goal is to have a rough or maybe nearly-polished plot of our WIPs ready for our next meeting in two weeks time. I'm also hoping to get my first chapter written. I finally feel like its time to start writing.

That said, I've still got 10 articles on my desk waiting to be written. It's unlikely I'll get them all done this weekend (I wish, but then I have kids, I'm lucky to have time to pee alone, there 's no chance I'll have enough quiet time for 10 articles!). I do hope to get them done as early as possible, though. I'd love time to write TBK stuff before we leave on Thursday.

But for now, since I'm already snuggled up in bed, I'm going to read a bit. And try not to think about all of the things I need to do before we go. Wish me luck!

Good writing.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

One of my favorite Harlequins.
I am an taking a linguistics course. I hate it. I thought it would make my writing stronger, but I'm no longer convinced.

Anyway, I have to do a major research project as an end of course assessment. For my topic I plan to examine the difference between 'love stories', or more mainstream novels, like those by Nicholas Sparks and romance novels, mainly Harlequin.

I don't believe there is much difference in the writing. It is widely known that romances are looked down upon as poorly written and love stories are hailed as literature. I've read both, and I can't seem to see much difference in the quality of the writing.
Possibly my favorite Sparks.

So I plan to analyse two (or more if two isn't enough for the scope of the project) examples and look at differences. The only real problem is that I'm finding it impossible to work out just what exactly good writing is. What qualities does it possess? What linguistic properties, for example does it have a higher lexical density or more complicated clause structures (riveting, I know).

So today, it is likely that instead of writing what I hope would be considered good writing, I'll instead be researching just what comprises good writing.

What do you think constitutes 'good writing'?

Mommy Monday

Monday, 20 August 2012

Well, after finding out soy is bad for Bug, I switched her back to regular formula. She seems to be tolerating it well enough. She isn't throwing up much, which is good since she had started to regularly throw up the soy. Only problem is that my sweet, quiet, unbelievably pleasant little girl now has a streak of monster.

Yesterday was especially tough. It was one of those days when I really could've used a little help from my mom. It's made me miss home even more.

There is good news on that front, though. For the last 2 days my hubby has been actively searching for a house near my mom! In the same town even! Anyone who knows us knows what a big deal this is.

My dad has offered to help us, but he has limited time at work, so we have to make the jump in the next six months of so. That's for the best anyways since his health is rapidly deteriorating. My one big worry is that he'll never get to hold his granddaughter, so I'm happy to go as soon as possible.

The downside to this, of course, is selling all of our things and finding a way to ship the stuff I can't part with. Oh, and the flight. Don't even get me started on that. I have no idea how we are going to travel from Manchester, UK to New Bern, NC (3 planes) with our suitcases, 5 year old, 10 month old (at most if we leave in 6 months), dog, & cat.

So, today I have Bug's passport interview (she needs it for Rome), and along with the 16 other things on my to-do list, I'm going to start researching things for the move-- like pet regulations and international moving companies. And prices to shop things to my mom. Box by box.

This may be the start of another really big adventure...

Friends to write with...

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Last week I caught up with my writing partner finally. I haven't seen her since before I had Scarlett-- over four months ago.

We used to meet once a month for lunch, chat, and some critiquing. Aside from her being the only person I know who enjoys writing, she's also my only adult friend in the area.

I forgot how nice it is to sit around and chat about writing.

We've decided to meet up every Friday now. Not for lunch, but at my house (so the monster can play outside). We've also decided to set a goal each week.

That's something that I really need. I desperately want to write this week, so I'll have something for her to read Friday, but this week seems to have filled up rather quickly. There's videoing for cheer today, getting Bug weighed, cheer tonight, play date tomorrow, and then, of course, she'll be here Friday.

Our first goal is to brainstorm our WIPs so we can start plotting. I've already brainstormed, but each time I think about it I learn new things about the story. I still don't feel like I've completed the task we set. The thing is, I may never stop so this week's is kind of a deadline. Otherwise I don't ever think I'll get it written.

So today, as I start my to-do list of 17 tasks (16 after I finish this post!), I am especially thankful for my writing partner. For being there and helping to push me along.


Monday, 13 August 2012

I don't remember where I found this. Sorry.

I'm afraid I don't have much to say tonight. I know, you're shocked. Usually I waffle on and on about complete crap, but not tonight.I still have my two articles to write... And it's 2248. So no time to get gabby.

My hubby seriously started job hunting back home today-- near my parent's even! Let me tell you I am praying he doesn't change his mind again. I really want to be home. Of course, I really want to be in the beach house, or in a beach house. I miss the ocean.

I think everyone finds their own magic somewhere. Mine is in the waves. I hope I can introduce that kind of magic to my kids. I hope they can find their own magic and that it will always stay with them. Even when they're far away from the source, I hope it's still part of their everyday life.

I had lost that. But just the other day I stumbled upon it. My fascination with the waves and the sand and the sharks. Yes, even the sharks :).

For so long it made me whole. The feel of the sand between my toes and the sound if crashing waves gave me peace. I'll never let it go again.

This came from a friend's Facebook. It was taken at the Outer Banks, where the beach house is.
I think he's stunning.

My new addiction...

Friday, 10 August 2012

Do you feel like an overachiever? 
Are you getting way too much done? 
Do you need to slow down?

Then I have two words for you:

Pinterest and Polyvore

I am not a label hound. In fact, until just about the last two weeks I couldn't give a damn about fashion. 
Then I joined Pinterest. 

I started as a way to keep track of all of the cool things I found on the net that gave me inspiration for my WIP. Soon I was pinning constantly. My app became my best friend when I was up all night with a 
sick Baby Bug. I was hooked. 

Next I found a 'lookbook thingy' on Pinterest that was quite simply my perfect outfit. 
This one.

That pin linked my to and now I can spend hours looking at outfits and dreaming up my new wardrobe. It's great fun, kind of like being a teenager again. It also sucks every bit of motivation to do work from me. And, probably worst of all, it makes me want to buy designer things. I have already started. I just bought my dream purse-- a light navy slouchy purse with a bow, a designer label, and leather so soft I want to pet it. Next up, designer sunglasses for our trip to Rome. 

My new addiction is not to blame for my not posting Wednesday. I blame the OU for that. I had an overdue assignment to finish. But it is to blame for my sudden need to gut my closet and have my nails done.

I must say, though, it has been fun collecting inspiration for The Bee Keeper. Pop over and have a look if you like. But I am not to blame if you find yourself 'pinning' at one am.

Monday Mommy's Wishes

Monday, 6 August 2012

Here's a great pick of the Monster and the Bug watching Scooby Doo together. God knows, I wouldn't know what to do without those two. Even though they run me ragged most days.

I spoil them. I do. I know I shouldn't but I just want to give them everything. Especially a childhood full of happy memories. To that end, I drove over an hour to Lyme Park so Hunter could make a crepe paper kite in the shape if a bat last week. And I'm going to make the drive at least one more time in the next couple of weeks because he loved it.

I am trying to teach him about responsibility, though. Last week we started a chore chart. So far, so good. Hunter has gained his allowance and the extra help around the house has been nice.

I just wish both of my little treasures could grow up to be happy, helpful, and full of heart. And it wouldn't hurt for them to have a North Carolina accent. ;-)

Well, it was Friday...

Saturday, 4 August 2012

... when I started this blog. Now it's Saturday.

We had a really rough night last night as Baby Bug was up sick and sniffly most of the night. As a result we were both cranky today and I got absolutely nothing done. And, of course, the Monster played his part by raising hell most of the day. So, I've just finished my articles and finally have time to blog.

It's Fun Friday, so here's a little fun from one of my articles. As you may know, I am desperate to work off the baby belly. I've been trying everything. Today, one of my articles was on belly dance exercises-- the perfect waist whittler! I am not new to belly dance, which is why I chose to write the article in the first place. I have DVDs, books, etc. and have even taken a class or two in my past, but somehow in my quest to get my belly button ring back in I forgot all about how much fun and how effective belly dance is.

In my article research I found the perfect belly dance workout. It burns calories, blasts belly fat, and you don't already have to be slim or have a great deal of coordination to do it. Not that I don't have coordination, but these days with the lack of sleep I'm lucky I can walk without falling down. 

Give it a try. Seriously,it's great fun and you can pull the curtains so the neighbors don't see. :)

RIP Maeve Binchy

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Your words and wisdom will be missed...

A little titbit for all of the parents in the UK...

Monday, 30 July 2012

Today is the first day of summer. It’s also the first day of the unofficial pool to see how long my monster lasts. I have threatened him more than once with the ‘Keep it up and your sister is going to be an only child’ line. And that was before I had to be home with him ALL DAY. Now, don’t get me wrong... I really do want to be a ‘World’s Best Mom’ and I do really try, but my patience only stretches so far.

What my monster needs is activities to entertain him and wear him out. I think I have found the perfect solution (assuming we have a fair amount of sun this summer)—a membership to the National Trust! 
Here’s why...

The National Trust membership for a family of two adults and unlimited kids is £70.12 for the year when paid by direct debit. It comes with newsletters, a magazine... all sorts, but most importantly, it gets you free entry and car parking to over 300 properties!

This weekend I had a good look through the copy of Primary Times which was sent home in Hunter’s bag and found that not only is Tatton Park listed (a favourite place for our family),but there are many other places listed which are only a short drive from us. Free entry and parking at Tatton alone would be worth it as much as we go there. They have some great things for us to do this summer, in addition to feeding the animals at the farm and playing in the massive playground.

I also found Lyme Park which, as it turns out, is only about a 20 minute drive for us and offers a different kid-friendly activity each weekday this summer! I’m really excited about this one. I have marked several days out there on my calendar, including making and flying animal kites, watercolour painting, skimming stones, learning about water mini-beasts, and listening to a story teller in the garden.

You can even use your membership for entry into attractions in other countries. We are spending 
a week in Italy next month and I’ve already found a place to visit for free there!

It looks as though summer may be ok after all. And not as expensive as I originally thought. Thanks to membership in the National Trust. If you are home for the summer with school-age kids (of course, I’ll have Scarlett in the pram as well), it may just be the best £70 you spend.

Check it out here:

Summer is here...

Friday, 27 July 2012

Hunter's last day of school was today. I won't lie. I went trough the massive pile of things he's made during the year and cried a little. My baby boy isn't a baby anymore. He's finished his first year of school.

I've started planning a million things to keep us busy this summer. Mainly so he won't drive me crazy. I swear, that kid has the energy of 14 kids. The only thing I know for sure is that I need to find ways to burn off that energy. I would just throw him in the backyard and let him chase the dog, but we can't guarantee we'll have sun all that often.

To that end I have signed us up for membership in the National Trust. That'll get us unlimited trips to Tatton Park. Tatton is brilliant. There are gardens, a mini train, a farm where you can feed the animals, and a killer playground. The membership includes parking, so aside from gas and a picnic lunch it'll be a free day out! Turns out membership includes a few spots in Italy, as well. So we might save a little on our vacation this year. Not bad for £70 per year.

Anyway, this is supposed to be a 'Fun Friday' post, so I feel obligated to give you something at least. And here it is...

I robbed this from a friend on Facebook. I have no idea where it came from (so sorry, I can't credit it) or even if it works (but I'll be trying it out soon), but seriously, how cool is this?

Until Monday, have a great weekend everyone. And let me know if you make any glow sticks, or bottles I guess.

Paying my dues...

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

I am paying my dues.

I was not chosen for the HAR pitch. Unlike the HI pitch where I never entertained thoughts of winning, I actually did think I had a chance with this one. So, yes, I am rather disappointed. But I'll live.

I wish they had given us more of an ideas of what they wanted. Or maybe a little feedback on what was lacking. I swear, I still feel like I have no idea what to write to enter these pitches. I guess I'll never really know. Maybe they'll post the winners so we can have an idea of what it takes.

I do know that I'm not giving up. I'm also not going to be so hard on myself. You know that whole 'burning the candle at both ends' thing? I skipped the ends and threw the whole damn candle in the fire. All because I am so desperate to get published that I was trading sleep for writing. I'm also battling one hell of a throat infection (probably a side effect of no sleep and too much stress).

I think it's time to relax a bit and write what I want to write for a while. Without worrying about contests and trends. I'm still taking classes to finish up my degree and once maternity leave is over it'll be back to the grind. In an effort to accomplish as much as possible while on leave, I've seen writing as a chore. Something that has to be done, not necessarily something I want to do.

I think it's time to find my passion in writing again. I'll still write VB, but in my own time. Not just because I want to hurry so I can enter it in a contest. I'm going to just write.

SYTYCW and New Voices are both on the horizon. Will I enter? Who knows. All I know is I have to keep writing.

And keep paying my dues.

Mommy Madness

Monday, 23 July 2012

It's 5am. Yeah. I'm up. Sort of. Baby Bug woke at 4:30 for a bottle and seems to have no interest in going back to sleep. I am not impressed.

It used to be that she'd have her bottle and go right back down. Then she started this 'let's play a bit' malarkey. It wasn't bad when she was waking around 6. I just stayed up and got stuff done. I wouldn't even mind being up fro 5, but this is pushing it.

It doesn't help that I am ill. DH gave me this nasty crud which has my throat so swollen it hurts to swallow anything, even drinks. In the interest of being completely debilitating it also causes ear ache and head ache. Excellent. He has it, too, but while he's slept and watched Mad Men all weekend, I've kept the house clean, kids happy, and been to three birthday parties. Must be nice to be male, huh?

And I have 15 things on my to-do list. That's right 15. It'll be 14 when I finish this post. All I want to do is go back to bed. Which I am going to do. Right now. I think Baby Bug may have finally drifted off.

Night all (sort of). Happy Monday.

Making friendship bracelets...

Friday, 20 July 2012

Have you ever had one of those days when you have a hundred things on your to-do list and all you 
want to do is listen to Bob Marley and make friendship bracelets?

That's what last night was like. I blame Mollie Makes,

I picked up Hunter from school and needed to go to the grocery store.While I was there I got this month's edition, mostly because it has a cute skirt pattern in it, but also because of the friendship bracelets 
on the front cover. The skirt, by the way, is the type I'd wear on the beach while listening to Bob 
Marley and tying a million knots in DMC embroidery floss. All the way home all I could think about 
was the big bag of floss I had at home.

Of course, then I got home and there was dinner to cook, kids to bathe, and battles over bedtime to fight. 
I never did get to pull out my floss last night. I still haven't. 

Today, I looked at my to-do list. Including the overdue tasks (I seem to always have something overdue), I had 21 tasks. At six am, with little sleep (Scarlett had a rough night) I knew there was no way I'd get through them all. And nowhere on that list was anything I wanted to do. Nowhere did it say relax

I thought back to the good old days, when I could pack up the car and head to the Outer Banks without a care in the world. Or sit on my front porch swing, safety pin a knot of floss to the knee of my jeans, 
and make a bracelet. 

I know I'll never get back to that carefree place in my life, but I am determined to find at 
least a little of that freedom. 

From now on I will turn down opportunities to take on more responsibility. I will finish all of my to-dos during the day (of course, this will get a little tricky once I go back to work). I will spend my evenings 
doing things I want to... like writing, reading, spinning, crocheting, sewing, or any of the crafty 
past times I've collected over the course of my life.

I will let go of the stress of being a grown up and remember what it was like to be 17. I will live 
in the moment. And let that moment take me back to 1993 now and again. 

I will make friendship bracelets.

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