Tag Archives: children

Happy Thanksgiving!

22 Nov

Hmmm, there’s a layer of dust on the old blog. I’ve been away for a while, and until I get some things settled in regular life, I can’t guarantee I’ll post very often in the next few weeks. But I did want to take a moment and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! (Yes, I know some of you are not Americans, but just go with it. Thanksgiving is as much a state of mind as it is a historical remembrance.)

I love this holiday. It’s relaxing. Especially this year, where it worked out that we are staying home and no extended relatives are coming here. I can’t recall the last time we had a Thanksgiving day with just the nuclear family and I’m really looking forward to it.

I am thankful for so much in my bountiful life. I have a dear husband and great kids, wonderful friends, and a career that I love. I have gained readers this year, for whom I am exceedingly grateful. I live in a place free of war, where there is plentiful food, clean water, and warm housing. I am free to follow my dreams and to worship as I please. Life is good, and I am blessed.

I wish all the best for you and yours, for today and for always. Off I go to put in the turkey!

What are you most thankful for?

Emerging from Life Stuff and a New Paperback!

7 Nov

Wow, I’ve been away for a while. Sorry about that! Life sort of exploded on me and required uninterrupted attention to put everything back to normal, so the blog, my twitter, and my Facebook page all went lacking for love.

It was a lot of slogging through unexpected things that all had to be done right-this-minute, mixed in with the Helvetican’s birthday, Halloween, nonfiction writing for the other half of my writerly existence, replacing my printer that died when Mercury slipped into retrograde, and topped by making a ball gown for the Princess in two days.

Two. Days.

Satin bodice. Tulle skirt. (McCall’s pattern #M6466)

36 yards of tulle in six layers.

Finished just in time for the dance. I’ll have to upload a photo of the dress because I don’t think the Princess wants to be on my blog.

Yes, I am still reeling from the slight loss of sanity. But hey, now you know why I’ve been missing in action!

New on the writing front: I pulled the ebook of Finding Refuge from wide distribution and went exclusive to Amazon for the next three months. This poor book has had a tough time finding an audience. It’s had great reviews, but sold poorly at Amazon, dismally at Barnes & Noble, and didn’t sell at all elsewhere. So, in a bid to jumpstart its visibility, I went for the exclusive.

Due to the change, I can now offer Finding Refuge for a three-day FREE run, starting tomorrow, 11/8 and running through 11/10. If you don’t have a copy already, this will be an excellent time to pick it up. Just click on the book cover to the right…

Also…Finding Refuge is now available in paperback!  YAY! It’s so pretty, see?

So far, it is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but it should be up on Books A Million and other bookseller websites within a couple of weeks.

Well, that catches us up to current on my side. Anything exciting going on in your world these days?

Lucy’s Monday Musings & Heading for Yellowstone

8 Oct

It’s 11pm on Monday, and I’m FINALLY getting a chance to sit and catch my breath. Oy, what a weekend! The Helvetican had a few days off, but ended up sick. Poor thing. And you know, I love men, but they are the worst patients when they get sick…

Oh, come on, you know it’s true.

So, in addition to playing Nurse Lucy, I edited two magazine issues (only one of which I expected to land in my lap), and dealt with son #4. What’s his problem? He hates high school. Here’s a kid who is popular, smart, athletic…the kind of kid who is supposed to float through high school, everything going his way, everyone adoring him. He has all of that, and he doesn’t want it. For two years, he’s wanted to be be done already, free to move on to college. Now, as a senior, when he’s supposed to be having fun and breezing through his last year, he’s decided to bear down and earn credits outside of the regular school day so he can graduate early, at mid-year.

I admire his determination, but I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with a kid who wants to buck the system…especially since it will cost a pretty penny to get those extra credits. I like the school year to run in an orderly fashion, and he’s shaking it up. I have to remind myself that it could be far worse. He could have decided to simply drop out. Yeah, given that option, I think I’ll just happily take paying for extra credits for a kid who’s finally driven to do something.

So, it’s been a very full few days. Tonight finished off with a scramble: grocery store, running several loads of laundry, attempting to check in online. I have to ensure that the kids are all set with whatever they might need before I leave in the morning. The Helvetican and I are heading off to Yellowstone for a couple of days. It’s our anniversary trip, and I plan to unplug, unwind, and enjoy.

Take care of yourself, have a lovely week, and I’ll be back on Friday with lots of cool (I hope) vacation photos!

The Madness of My Yearly Roller Coaster

2 Oct

Everyone’s year comes with ups and downs. Sometimes that means a long period of a gentle, smooth ride with a few kiddie-thrill hills tossed in. Sometimes it means a year filled with corkscrews and double loops. Heaven help you if you’ve experienced the latter this year, and remember to count your blessings if it is the former.

However, a year for me always comes with two tracks. The first runs January 1 through about the third week of August. Anything can happen, of course, but generally it’s a pretty smooth ride from January until May, when madness and few races up and down hills hit due to that being the wrap-up for the school year and, lately, one child or another graduating. The track smooths out again for the summer, with an occasional car repair or holiday thrown in to make things interesting.

The new ride kicks in as August is fading, when I climb that first hill of getting kids back to school. The first hill is a doozy, chugging upward, multiple stories high, over those weeks until it crests on my birthday at the first part of September. The coaster train pauses there at the top for a little bit before plunging into the steep, terrifyingly fast maze of twists and turns that make up the remainder of the year.

Between my birthday and New Year’s Day, life is littered with family birthdays, my wedding anniversary, and the three biggest holidays of the year (the biggest we celebrate, anyway). I learned long ago that once my birthday hits, I have to just hold on and try to occasionally catch my breath, because it’s going to be the end of the year before I know it.

I’m in the middle of the most maddening section right now, the triple-barrel-roll-loop formed by having three of my children’s birthdays and my anniversary all within a 17-day period.

I expect the rest of the year to finish out with more than the usual frenetic pacing. I’m packing additional stuff in there, including releasing Finding Refuge in paperback, publishing Taming Scrooge, and wrapping up the third book in the Heart’s Redemption series for release in January.

I clearly did not think through the timing of all that in conjunction with the rest of my life. But I will do what I always do as my roller coaster tears through the end of the year: Hold on tight, breathe, and enjoy the ride!

How does your year flow? Do you have an annual crazy section?

Mother & Daughter Tradition

13 Sep

The Princess and I look forward to the week after Labor Day (September) every year. That’s the week the State Fair opens. We like looking at all the farm animals, petting the goats and sheep, cooing over the rabbits, admiring the many varieties of chickens on display. But there is truly just one reason she and I go to the fair: mehndi.

If you’re not familiar with mehndi, it is decorating the skin with a dye, like a temporary tattoo. It originated in India but is practiced in several countries and cultures. The design is drawn with henna. The henna dries on your skin, flakes off, and leaves behind a reddish-brown stain that will last up to a couple of weeks.

We got our first mehndis at Knotts Berry Farm in California. The Princess was six years old. A few years later, we discovered a mehndi artist with a booth at the State Fair, and we’ve returned to her every year since. We went last night for our 2012 editions and were invited to share naan and chicken curry with our artist when we finished. What a great time! This year, our designs incorporated Jagua, a natural fruit dye that leaves a bluish-black stain behind. Bi-color mehndi, woohoo! As a side note, don’t ever use ‘black’ henna. It is toxic and can severely damage and scar your skin. If you want a black design, use jagua.

Here is my design:

This is an hour or so after getting the design. The henna paste and jagua gel are still in place on my skin, with glitter added to make it even more fun.

This is my design today, the stain left behind after the henna and jagua flaked off. The henna will continue to darken until tomorrow, and over the next week, the jagua will likely fade to a lighter blue-gray.

Here is the Princess’s design:

For both designs, we asked the artist to make something up rather than pick something specific. The Princess did ask for the Nerdfighter slogan DFTBA in her design. It means Don’t Forget To Be Awesome.

Do you have a tradition with a parent or a child?

Another Birthday Gone and Blog Hop Wrap Up

4 Sep

Birthday flowers from my boys!

Hi everyone! What a great Labor Day weekend. Things were truly hopping around here with the blog hop. Locally, after a huge thunderstorm rolled through here and cleaned out the air, we finally got a refresher course in what the mountains and blue sky look like without wildfire smoke haze obscuring everything. Ahhhhh! As an added bonus, the weather has cooled off, FINALLY. Sooooo done with summer heat. Bring on fall!

Thanks for all the lovely birthday wishes! The birthday stretched to three days this time, to accommodate everyone’s schedules. The Helvetican and I went for sushi on Saturday, yummy, then the family party was on Sunday, with my sister and dad hanging out with us for grilled chicken and ribs. My mom called and her hubby sang a birthday song he wrote.

The kids all remembered my birthday this year, and it was so much fun. The Princess wrote a song about my birthday with ukulele accompaniment. She also made me a Doctor

Tardis card, made by the Princess.

Who Tardis card, complete with the Tenth Doctor inside. Perfect nerd-girl gift! The boys went all out, with cards, coupons for free household chores, cards, flowers, Diet Coke, dark chocolate of several varieties…yes, I’ve trained them well. Then last night, we hit our favorite Mexican place, whose chile verde-smothered chimichangas are divine. I’m calling it a successfully completed birthday.

Inside the Tardis card…The Doctor, of course!

Romancing the Hop ended last night, and I have winner announcements! I plugged all of your comments into the Randomizer to come up with a winner. Miriam Roman wins her choice of a $15 Amazon or B&N gift card. Congrats, Miriam!

FYI, there were 9,000 comments left across the blog hop! Wow! The Hop Grand Prize winners are:

Kindle Fire Winner:
Laurie Goudge
(from It’s the Journey that Counts’s Blog)
$130 Amazon Gift Card:
Ellie
(from Carrie Ann Ryan’s Blog)
Swag Pack:
Cassandra
 (from Dana Delamar’s Blog)

Today’s plan? Get a magazine article out the door because today is deadline, and maybe sneak in a nap. Anything else is a wonderful bonus accomplishment.

What did you do this weekend? Any big plans for your week?

Romancing the Hop!

31 Aug R

Welcome to the hop! There are over 200 authors and bloggers participating in this blog hop, and the prizes are AWESOME! Each participating blog is offering a prize, plus, for each blog where you leave a comment, you are entered into the drawing for one of THREE grand prizes. Remember to leave your email address in your comment!

Now what are those prizes?

 1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet

2nd Grand Prize: A $130 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

3rd Grand Prize: The following Swag Pack!

 So, on with the hop! But first, and this has nothing to do with the blog hop, but I’m throwing it out there anyway…Sunday is my birthday! Happy birthday, Self!

Now then, let’s chat a bit about romantic gestures, those sweet things our heroes do that just melt our hearts. The Helvetican has always been good about the classic gestures: remembering the dates of my birthday and our anniversary, taking me out for regular date nights, buying me flowers (extra points for remembering that roses are not the only flower on the planet) and/or chocolate, and accompanying me to events he has no interest in just because he knows I want to go.

I love those things, but it’s the little things he does that really turn me to mush. Like how he remembers so many details from funny or sweet moments in our whirlwind courtship, and how he’ll talk about falling in love with me, or what he loves about me now. Or the way he always manages to walk in the door holding a Diet Coke when I really need one. Or the quiet flirting, the way he’ll hold me or drop a quick kiss on the back of my neck and pat me on the backside, even when there are teenagers in the room. Yes, they groan and tease us, but I think it’s a great example to them of keeping the good stuff alive in your relationship, even when you’ve been married long enough to have teenagers.

In return, I give him little romantic gifts, too. Guys do tend to find different things romantic than we do. With the Helvetican, when I pick up his car at work and return it to its parking spot after a wash and vacuum, he gets a little misty eyed. He’s the only guy he knows who never gets a honey-do list on his day off, and he regularly mentions how much that means to him, that he’s allowed to just enjoy his time off work. But I think his favorites are those little gifts of physical affection when he’s not expecting it, like a quickie before he heads off to work, or a little flash when we’re alone on a mountain trail. Those moments tell him I still find him sexy and I still enjoy playing with him after all these years.

It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut in a relationship, but it doesn’t take big romantic overtures to keep the wheels of love turning and stir up the passion. What’s your favorite romantic gesture to give or receive? Leave a comment (remember your email addy) for an entry into the Grand Prize drawing, as well as an entry into MY drawing! I’m giving away a $15 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card! Then, continue on the Hop with this link: Romancing the Hop. Have fun!

Keeping my nose above water

9 Aug

Hi all. Oy, what a week! That seven days absolutely flew by. Sorry to leave you all for so long, but, silly me, I didn’t realize prepping for and hosting an exchange student would totally consume my life. And that’s for a temporary one. Our student is from Japan and is here with a group of 30 or so students for a whirlwind 10-day trip to the USA.

Delicate Arch at Arches National Park. Image courtesy of porbital / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We’re in the middle of the trip right now, during which all the students are gone to see the wonders of Arches National Park and Dead Horse Point in Moab. They’ve already explored Timpanogos Cave and spent time at the Olympic venues in Park City. We get our student back tomorrow, and I expect him to be too tired to go forward with our Friday evening plans (Son #3′s band is doing a show). We can do fun things on Saturday and Sunday, then Monday the students have group activities until the goodbye party. They leave us Tuesday morning for a couple of days at Disneyland before returning to Japan.

It’s been enormously fun so far. Our student speaks far better English than I speak Japanese, and as long as I pay attention I can understand him pretty well. My kids seem to do better than I do.

I was supposed to do Camp NaNoWriMo this month and get 50k words typed by the end of the month. So far, I’ve had a less than stellar start, but I think I can catch up…amid the chaos of prepping two high schoolers to start classes at the end of the month. What a way to say goodbye to the summer.

Is your summer ending quietly or in a mad rush?

Girl Time!

6 Jul

This has really been a week for rejuvenation for me, where I’ve taken some rare time off to spend hours at a time out of my office, away from writing, away from all of my usual hats. It’s given the creative well time to refill, as well as being a great refresher for the mind, soul, and heart. Today, I added some body rejuvenation too.

I spent the afternoon today with my daughter. The Princess and I had lunch, checked out the comic book store to see if new issues were in for her fave comics, and stopped in at a new hobby store where she picked up a remote control helicopter. But before all that, we did a mother/daughter spa trip.

The spa was fantastic, the ambience serene, the decor lovely, the staff perfectly accommodating and enjoyable to chat with. We each had an hour long massage (the lime aromatherapy was heavenly), and hour long pedicures. My toenails are now deep red. The Princess went for sparkly green. Then she had her brows waxed and tinted, because they are naturally blonde and practically invisible without assistance.

Sooooo much pampering. It’s far too expensive to do very often, but it was so worth it today, when I could share the experience with my daughter. Maybe we can turn this into an annual experience!

What’s your favorite way to pamper yourself?

Need more hours!

27 Jun

There are not enough hours in the day. There used to be. I remember getting so much done and still having hours left over when I was younger. Did someone just mess with time while I wasn’t looking? Did minutes compress so that an hour still looks like an hour but is actually more like 30 minutes?

I need more hours. I’m not getting done nearly what I need to this week, even when I’m cutting into sleep to carve out extra time. I have costumes to finish for two teenagers going on a camp tomorrow (long story about why there’s costumes). I have a nonfiction article deadline on Monday that I need to put some time into. The grocery store and I must have a meeting at some point today. I’ve already told the remaining weeds in the yard that they have won today’s battle because I won’t be coming out to fight. And the Helvetican has the day off and wants to hang out. I miss him, dang it, I want to hang out too.

Anyone have some extra hours on hand that they’ll loan me? Even a few spare minutes here and there will add up.

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