This Page

has been moved to new address

Tiaras and Trucks

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
/* global ----------------------------------------------- */ body { margin: 0; padding: 0; text-align: center; min-width: 760px; background: #ce436e url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/bg_body.gif) repeat-x left top; font-family: helvetica, arial, verdana, "trebuchet ms", sans-serif; color: #632035; } blockquote { margin: 0; padding: 0 10px 0 10px; border-left: 6px solid #f7d8e2; border-right: 6px solid #f7d8e2; color: #ba476b; } code { color: #ba8094; } hr { display: none; } /* layout ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #wrapper { margin: 0 auto; width: 760px; text-align: left; } #blog-header { padding-bottom: 15px; background: url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/bg_header_bottom.gif) no-repeat left bottom; } #blog-header div { background: #632035 url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/bg_header.gif) repeat-x left bottom; } #main-wrapper { position: relative; width: 760px; background: #f7f0e9 url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/bg_main_wrapper.gif) repeat-y left top; } #main-content { display: inline; /* fixes a strange ie margin bug */ float: left; margin: 0 0 0 3px; padding: 0; width: 483px; } #content-wrapper { padding: 22px 0 0 0; background: url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/bg_content.gif) repeat-x left top; } } @media handheld { #wrapper { width: 90%; } #blog-header { background:none; } #blog-header div { background: #632035; } #main-wrapper { width: 100%; background: #f7f0e9; } #main-content { float: none; width: 100%; } #content-wrapper { background: none; } } .post { margin: 0 16px 14px 29px; padding: 0; border-bottom: 3px solid #f7d8e2; } #comments { margin: 0 16px 14px 29px; padding: 10px; border: 1px solid #f0ced8; background-color: #f5e4e9; } @media all { #sidebar-wrapper { display: inline; /* fixes a strange ie margin bug */ float: right; margin: 0 3px 0 0; width: 269px; color: #761c37; background: url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/bg_sidebar.gif) repeat-x left top; } #sidebar { padding: 7px 11px 0 14px; background: url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/bg_sidebar_arrow.gif) repeat-y 179px 0; } #blog-footer { padding-top: 15px; background: url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/bg_footer_top.gif) no-repeat left top; } #blog-footer div { background: #491525 url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/bg_footer.gif) repeat-x left top; } } @media handheld { #sidebar-wrapper { float: none; width: 100%; background:none; } #sidebar { background:none; } #blog-footer { background:none; } #blog-footer div { background: #491525; } } #profile-container { margin-bottom: 20px; } #blog-footer { padding-top: 15px; background: url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/bg_footer_top.gif) no-repeat left top; } #blog-footer div { background: #491525 url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/bg_footer.gif) repeat-x left top; } /* headings ----------------------------------------------- */ #blog-header h1 { margin: 0; padding: 26px 0 0 84px; color: #feeef3; font-size: 30px; line-height: 25px; background: url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/icon_header.gif) no-repeat 16px 26px; } h2.date-header { margin: 0; padding: 0 0 0 29px; font-size: 10px; text-transform: uppercase; color: #c88fa2; background: url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/icon_date.gif) no-repeat 13px 0; } .date-header span { margin: 0 0 0 5px; padding: 0 25px 0 25px; background: url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/bg_date.gif) no-repeat 0 0; } h2.sidebar-title { padding: 1px 0 0 36px; font-size: 14px; color: #bd8095; background: url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/icon_sidebar_heading.gif) no-repeat 0 45%; } #profile-container h2.sidebar-title { color: #95526a; background: url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/icon_sidebar_profileheading.gif) no-repeat 0 45%; } .post h3.post-title { margin: 13px 0 0 0; padding: 0; font-size: 18px; color: #ba476b; } #comments h4 { margin-top: 0; font-size: 16px; } /* text ----------------------------------------------- */ #blog-header p { margin: 0; padding: 7px 16px 0 84px; color: #feeef3; font-size: 10px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 14px; } .post-body div { font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; margin: 0; height:1%; overflow:visible; } .post-body blockquote { margin: 10px 0px; } p.post-footer { font-size: 11px; color: #bd8095; text-align: right; } p.post-footer em { display: block; float: left; text-align: left; font-style: normal; } p.comment-data { font-size: 12px; } .comment-body p { font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } .paging-control-container { float: right; margin: 0px 6px 0px 0px; font-size: 80%; } .unneeded-paging-control { visibility: hidden; } #sidebar p { font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 20px; } #sidebar p.profile-textblock { clear: both; margin-bottom: 10px; } .profile-link { padding: 0 0 0 17px; background: url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/icon_profile.gif) no-repeat 0 0; } p#powered-by { margin: 0; padding: 0; } #blog-footer p { margin: 0; padding: 0 0 15px 55px; color: #feeef3; font-size: 10px; line-height: 14px; background: url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/icon_footer.gif) no-repeat 16px 0; } /* lists ----------------------------------------------- */ .profile-data { font-size: 13px; line-height: 17px; } .post ul { padding-left: 32px; list-style-type: none; font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; } .post li { padding: 0 0 4px 17px; background: url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/icon_list_item.gif) no-repeat 0 3px; } #comments ul { margin: 0; padding: 0; list-style-type: none; } #comments li { padding: 0 0 1px 17px; background: url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/icon_comment.gif) no-repeat 0 3px; } #sidebar ul { margin: 0 0 20px 0; padding: 0; list-style-type: none; font-size: 12px; line-height: 14px; } #sidebar li { padding: 0 0 4px 17px; background: url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/icon_list_item.gif) no-repeat 0 3px; } /* links ----------------------------------------------- */ a { color: #bf277e; font-weight: bold; } a:hover { color: #96095a; } a.comment-link { /* ie5.0/win doesn't apply padding to inline elements, so we hide these two declarations from it */ background/* */:/**/url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/icon_comment.gif) no-repeat 0 45%; padding-left: 14px; } html>body a.comment-link { /* respecified, for ie5/mac's benefit */ background: url(http://www.blogblog.com/thisaway_rose/icon_comment.gif) no-repeat 0 45%; padding-left: 14px; } #sidebar ul a { color: #e25984; } #sidebar ul a:hover { color: #b02c56; } #powered-by a img { border: none; } #blog-header h1 a { color: #feeef3; text-decoration: none; } #blog-header h1 a:hover { color: #d9b4c1; } h3.post-title a { color: #ba476b; text-decoration: none; } h3.post-title a:hover { color: #902245; } /* miscellaneous ----------------------------------------------- */ .post-photo { padding: 3px; border: 1px solid #ebbdcc; } .profile-img { display: inline; } .profile-img img { float: left; margin: 0 10px 5px 0; padding: 3px; border: 1px solid #ebbdcc; } .profile-data strong { display: block; } .clear { clear: both; line-height: 0; height: 0; } /* Feeds ----------------------------------------------- */ #blogfeeds { font-size: 14px; } #postfeeds { font-size: 12px; }

Tiaras and Trucks

Monday, October 31, 2011

My Costume? I'm an Author

The truth is Santa once carted a typewriter all the way from the North Pole and lovingly placed it under our Christmas tree.  Hopefully he left a few dollars in my mom’s stocking, because she was the one replacing my typewriter ribbons as I filled pages upon pages with stories, stories I was convinced would catapult me onto a best-selling list before I left junior high school.

I became interested in boys and wrote about hand holding and note-passing and breathless first kisses.  I became more interested in boys and experienced those things.   I decided my first novel wouldn’t be finished until after high school, filling floppy disks with ideas and beginnings and endings, the middle of my epics hazy and unsure. 
My dreams of moving to New York and writing for a living out of a studio apartment curled inward, pushed back by ideas of journalism and white space and bylines.  They shrank into the corner during the angst-inducing year of philosophy classes, later beaten into submission by the academic reading and writing required of an English major. 
The truth is dreams can get tired, too.  Teen author slid into young adult author until finally my fingers stalled at my keyboard, and I casually relegated the idea to “one day I will write books.”  One day in the future, one day when the kids are grown, one day when my life feels settled, I will write books.
Everything changed when I met Greta.  If you’re shaking your head and looking around for a straightjacket as I talk about meeting a fictional protagonist, you’re probably a reader and not a writer.
The truth is I didn’t create her or imagine her or plan her; she walked into a specific writing prompt and presented herself, and I needed to know more about her. 
So I wrote her, in snippets and glimpses, without regard for chronology, filling in the details as they revealed themselves to me.
More than a few thousand words, and several snapshots of her life, later, and I’m at the point where I think it’s time we made a commitment.
And that’s where novel-writing dreams collide with a compelling character and begin to dance to the frantic tunes of NaNoWriMo.  National Novel Writing Month.  Or November, to the non-crazy people who don’t plan on churning out 50,000 words in the next thirty days.
The truth is I’m unsure about this undertaking.  Nervous.  Exhilarated.  Terrified.
The truth is I wouldn’t have done it without the excitement percolating around it at Write on Edge.
The truth is I can’t do it without their support.
The truth is I can’t do it without YOUR support.
The truth is I’ve always known there are novels curled together in my brain, patient and dormant, biding their time.
The question is can this one make the leap into reality?

photo courtesy of Laura at Purple Sky Photography

hopefully I'll still be smiling by November 30th
and as for the nitty-gritty ,I'll still be posting during this experiment
I'm aiming for three posts a week-Monday, Wednesday, & Friday

This week's prompt was The Truth.

Every MONDAY join us…
Write, post, link-up, share your story and your voice.
Be part of carrying the weight of confidence and share our mission
to empower, inspire, and remind
women, parents and children

that the time has come to celebrate ourselves!

Next week’s prompt: “Something you do not regret doing”

(Remember you can also write on a topic of your choice.)

Labels: ,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Does a Smile Fit in an Envelope?

If you walk into my mom’s house, you are likely to find a few of the same things scattered in their usual spots.

Diet pop (or soda, if you please) in the crisper drawer, the book she’s currently reading on one of the family room end tables, and an addressed card or two propped up on the kitchen counter, waiting to go in the mail.
Lots of people send birthday cards, but my mom remembers anniversaries and new babies, weddings and new jobs, and sometimes just a card to say hello.
For a while, I took pride in having a stockpile of cards on hand for any occasion.  I flipped through my address book and sealed with little stickers and dropped them in the mail.  Then our budget tightened, my supply began to dwindle, and I found myself in front of card displays before holidays, mentally choosing the cards I would send.
Hallmark, of course, is the king of cards.  Wandering through their aisles, you see cards for big occasions and cards for small moments.  They have cards with words you wish you’d thought of and cards beautifully blank inside for you to fill with your own.
And thanks to Hallmark, I had the chance to channel my mom for a week.
Hallmark provided me with a packet of cards and stamps, though some of their cards now come with the postage already paid.  Their premise was simple: send a card a day for seven days.
Once again, I settled into my couch, legs underneath me, and opened my address book.
I sent cards that made me smile, signing my name and sealing the envelope with a flourish.  I wrote a note to a friend coming up to a bittersweet milestone with her child and sent away a smile to a blogging friend who makes me feel special every day.  I wrote to my grandma, who we already miss like crazy, and my best friend, and a friend I haven’t seen in far too long.
I received texts and e-mails and phone calls in return; like me, people like getting something besides bills in the mail.  Those little thank you messages made me smile, completing the circle, a hug through the miles that started with a card in the mail.
I also received silence, and I understand that, too.  To-do lists get long, and time slips into nighttime, and phone calls get postponed yet again. 

Still, watching those smooth envelopes slide into the blue mailbox each day, I was reminded of the beauty of a written note, a tangible thought, able to be tucked into a book or a car visor for a later moment. 
I may have to go out for a few more stamps.
their version of a greeting card

Hallmark provided me with a set of cards and postage to cover their mailing, but no further compensation was provided for this post.  All experiences and opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced by Hallmark in any way. 

Labels: ,

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Gourd Disco Party

she takes her crafting seriously

"Let's make a craft," Abbey suggests, at least once a week. 

The one necessary requirement for a craft, in Abbey's expert opinion, is glue.  We can glue sequins or small, puffy balls, or pictures cut from magazine, but we must glue.  Anything else is "just coloring" or "just painting" or "just play doh."

When my friend Nichole posted about a three-step craft involving glue, glitter, and little gourds, I knew we would be making the trek to Michael's to supplement our craft supplies and make a mess of the dining room yet again.

We covered part of the dining room table in a plastic table cloth, covered little pumpkins and squash with copious amounts of glue, and shook glitter until the colors ran out (little packets!) and then moved onto the back-up glitter.

Originally, I had planned to do an orange or two, a gold, and maybe a pale green.  A little glitter goes a long way, you know.

a gourd disco party wasn't in my plans

Abbey thought otherwise.  She carefully painted, holding them up for my approval, and shook glitter until I told her it was gone, helping me scoop it between bent sheets of paper that made it a little easier for her little hands to control.


We ended up with eleven sparkling gourds, and she insisted that all of them, "are good to put out, Mommy."

this isn't exactly how it looked in my head
but who can argue with all of her hard work?

We purchased:
two bags of plastic gourds (I wasn't sure if I wanted to do small or mini)
glue for glitter crafts
giant container of gold glitter (not the fine type, this was back-up glitter)
candy corn
We had at home:
paintbrushes
multi-colored packets of fine glitter
cake stand
taper candles
vase

Labels: ,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Her Royal Wish


As a little giraffe, she insisted on being carried through most of the Boo Zoo, pulling off the hood to the costume each time I replaced it.

I borrowed a ladybug pullover and crafted the tutu myself, watching her run towards flickering jack o’ lanterns, glittered red tulle sparkling in the dusk.

Last year we fashioned a fairy costume from wings and tulle and glitter that found its way into our hair and clothes and fingernails for days.  I found a star shaped wand, but she insisted on the pumpkin.

This year, I hesitated. I asked what she wanted to be on Mondays and Tuesdays and Fridays, wavering between admiration for her staunch opinion and a churning mix of emotions about that opinion. Each time, she answered:

“A princess.”

And not just any princess.

“Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty or Belle or Tianna.”

A Disney Princess.

A princess drawn with shiny hair and wide eyes, a tiny waist and delicate features. A princess always paired with a heroic prince and a happily ever after.

What messages am I sending?  What is she hearing?

When she slides her small feet into my shoes, does she imagine a glass slipper? When I wield a blow dryer and a brush against my hair, does she picture the careful coif of a waltzing girl, waiting to be made a princess?

I offered to transform a black leotard and layers of tulle into a bee. “Cute! Maybe next year, after I am a princess.” I steered her towards an ice cream cone. “Mitt the Mouse is wearing that one.” I found a little pink fleece…something…maybe an elephant, before her glance aged ten years into the face of a teenager, complete with rolled eyes and an audible sigh.

“Cinderella.”

Then the text came, from a well-meaning friend: Disney princesses on sale.

I let her try it on, knowing I was giving in. Airy white and blue tulle, painted with silver swirls of glitter, ribbon-adorned sleeves puffing from her shoulders, sparkles reflecting light into the mirror, sparkles framing a face of pure joy.

“Mommy! It’s perfect. The mice will love it!”

So relieved she didn’t mention a prince, I acquiesced, not only buying it but purchasing a size that leaves room for years of balls and tea parties and more lessons about appreciating the inner sparkles as well as the ones littering our closet floor.
Write on Edge: RemembeRED
the prompt:
For Tuesday, reach back to a costume that made an impression.

Labels: , ,

Monday, October 24, 2011

Everyone Loves Brownies



When Jackie invited me to come over to With Just a Bit of Magic to share a recipe, I giggled a little.

With Just a Bit of Magic is one of the places I look for easy and delicious things to try out in the kitchen.  Jackie is a fellow Michigan blogger, and each day she moves a little closer to a new career in social media. 

I might not have a go-to main course, or even a side dish if I'm being honest, but I definitely have a dessert that's always a hit.  Follow me over to Jackie's place, where I'm sharing my Layers of Love Brownie recipe.  You know you want to...

If you're visiting from With Just a Bit of Magic, welcome!  Please sit down with one of those brownies (what? you didn't make them yet?) and see how my family centers me, how running can be a mental exercise, and what my daughter thinks I should be for Halloween.

Labels: ,

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sharing Some Smiles


Naps
Lately, his book of choice is Curious George Rides a Bike.  We settle into the glider, snuggling and reading until my voice coaxes him into slumber.  Every once in a while, the backseat grows quiet, Abbey succumbing to a much-needed nap.  After our half marathon, but before picking up the kids, Ryan and I stole a brief, luxurious nap before noon.

 

Happy Grandma
After years of putting everyone else's needs before her own, my mom retired this September and had their kitchen cabinets and counters replaced, a project she's been talking about for a long time.  She deserves fourteen kitchens for the sacrifices she's made throughout the years, but this one makes her smile.


muffin recipe courtesy of Move Over Mary Poppins
visit for the recipe but stay for her amazing storytelling

Pumpkin
My mom's pumpkin bread kicks off my Christmas season, but until she begins baking, I seek out the flavor in other goodies-the pumpkin spice latte from Biggby Coffee or the above Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins are my favorites this year.

 


Playing Outside, Before Gloves Become a Necessary Accessory
Equipped with Diet Pepsi, a Toy Story bottle of water, my ever present writer's notebook, a little leaf picked by small fingers "just for you, Mama", and a kleenex for slightly runny noses, we are soaking in the remaining outdoor weather that doesn't require wrestling Abbey and Dylan into snowsuits.


Photos courtesy of Pinterest
Click for source information

Fall Fashion
Dresses with tights and boots, jeans and cozy scarves, warm neutrals and pops of color.  I'm finding myself drawn to casual looks this fall, jeans with cute accessories (though I just can't get away from a good heel!)  With two little ones, and only one who enjoys shopping, I haven't made any of my fashion dreams a reality yet this fall.  There's still time, right?


This week at just.be.enough. we're talking about Five Things That Make Us Smile.
What made you smile this week?

Every MONDAY join us…
Write, post, link-up, share your story and your voice.
Be part of carrying the weight of confidence, empowerment and share our mission
to empower, inspire, and remind
women, parents and children

that the time has come to celebrate ourselves!

Next week’s prompt: The truth...

(Remember you can also write on a topic of your choice.)

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, October 21, 2011

Three Days Later

{Found in Drafts Folder}

Why am I scared of my own creaky house?  Turning on the lights will quash this crazy feeling, right?  See you at the coffee place tomo

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood
the prompt:
Compose a post in the form of a text–160 characters.
Your text must elicit or express fear.

Labels: ,

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Four Paws Up - Reviewing Love at First Bark


Abbey recently made a little book at school about safe and unsafe activities. Her unsafe activity was “running into the street,” which makes sense, because we remind Dylan about that at least eight hundred and eleven times a day. Her safe activity was “petting my pets.”

We don’t have pets.

Love at First Bark, by Julie Klam, might seem like an interesting reading choice for me.

We all love Honey Bear, my furry niece, but the closest we’ve come to opening our home to a pet is a discussion about getting a fish when she turns four. Well, in college, my roommate adopted a cat; he is still the coolest cat I’ve ever met, though I don’t think he remembers all of the time I spent waving his little feather on a stick in front of his face.

Reading Love at First Bark didn’t change my mind about getting a dog (sorry Abbey!) Our house didn’t miraculously grow before I finished the endearing tale about rescuing dogs. I have a tough time asking my parents to watch Abbey and Dylan on the rare occasions we go out of town; I can’t imagine adding another little creature to that request.

What struck me the most in reading Julie’s story is how incredibly fortunate I feel that there are people like her living amongst people like me.

I love snuggling with Honey Bear, but Julie Klam is the type of person who eschews her afternoon plans to figure out what to do with an abandoned dog tied to a post on a New York City street. She’s the type of person who goes out of her way to help the animals in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans.

Love at First Bark speaks repeatedly about the ways caring for animals can help people discover positive things about themselves; she clearly feels that she’s lucky to have encountered the animals in her life.

I can’t speak, or bark I guess, for them, but Love at First Bark makes me think that they must feel the same way about her.

Learn more about Love at First Bark or meet Julie Klam, and join the discussion about adopting rescue animals over at BlogHer Book Club!

I received a copy of Love at First Bark to read and review, as well as compensation for this post, courtesy of BlogHer and Penguin Books. All opinions expressed, as always, are my own.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall Haiku at the Zoo


jewel tones and flip flops
soon we'll add tights and jackets
sunlight growing cool

Mama’s Losin’ It

5.) Write a Haiku for Fall and pair it with a favorite Fall photo you've taken this year.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Perfect Apple

then

She clasps an empty plastic bag in her small hand, surveying the trees with a critical eye.  Delicately, she parts leaves and touches ripe apples, settling on the perfect specimen, red brushed with hints of gold.
“I think this one!” she yells, though I am right next to her.  Only now beginning to understand the distinction between inside and outside voices, she is thrilled to be outside, flexing her vocal chords amongst the neat lines of apple trees.
Snuggled against my chest in his carrier, Dylan looks around at the sound of her voice, content to be carried in the sunshine.
“It looks perfect,” I agree, waiting for her to plop the perfect apple into her bag.
She plucks it from the tree, turning it around in her hands.
Instead of putting it safely inside the bag, she raises it to her mouth, nibbling a bit before tossing it onto the ground.
“No, that’s not it,” she declares, leaving the apple to be pressed into cider.  Handing me the bag, she moves on to her next find.
Choosing six apples may take longer expected. 
Around us, kids fall into two categories: speed pickers and taste testers, tripping on apples brought down by gravity and thrown down by hands finding flaws in the golden red skin.
Two or three more apples fail her quality inspection before she turns to me, beaming.
“Moooommmmmy,” she breathes, “It’s perfect!”
The apple she hands me is slightly small and bruised on one side, near the stem.
Her eyes meet mine, expectantly, so proud of the apple she’s finally chosen.
My lips graze Dylan’s forehead; I briefly rest my palm on her head, her hair warmed by the sun.
I gently place her apple in our bag.
“You’re right, Abs.  It’s perfect.”
now
the prompt:

autumn...

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive
autumns. ~George Eliot

Labels: ,

Monday, October 17, 2011

Are Beautiful Bugs Still Bugs?

Photo courtesy of Pinterest
Click photo for source information

They flit between flowers and float on the wind, their orange and black patterned wings catching your eye in the sun. 

Their beauty gives butterflies a distinct advantage on my ‘Insects I’d Invite to Dinner’ Pinterest board.   

Come on over to a belle, a bean, & a chicago dog, where Liz is letting me use hang out and share a story about the butterfly house and the lies I tell my kids. 
Liz is funny and smart and truly has her finger on the pulse of social media and all of the ways it can be used.  In addition to her personal blog, she also spends some time at an amazing company she co-founded, Eli Rose Social Media .

If you're visiting from a belle, a bean, & a chicago dog, welcome!  I’d love it if you looked around a bit.  Feel free to listen in as I write to Abbey onher first day of school, remind myself about what matters, and disagree with (wayahead of me in the writing game) Stephen King.


Labels:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mixing Away Bad Moods

My galley kitchen wasn’t built for two small IKEA stools, a cobalt KitchenAid stand mixer, and a counter spilling over with ingredients.

But there we crammed, one of us wearing her Easter dress, one of us wearing his footed pajamas, and one of us wearing something that would soon be covered in aforementioned ingredients. Our agenda for the day hadn’t included homemade granola bars, but any mom can tell you that when your kids are cranky by eight in the morning, even Target doesn’t want you wandering their aisles.

Knowing that asking Abbey to help would elicit a contrary refusal, I had slowly smoothed out the recipe, a bit sticky with honey, and deliberately pulled out ingredients from the baking cupboard. She noticed and dragged over her chair without a word.

I helped her scoop both scoops of oats and spill more than half a cup of flour before Dylan threw down his plastic dinosaurs and pulled his own chair over to the counter.

With both kids jockeying for position at the mixing bowl, I had to relinquish my position between the two of them, leaving them with full access to push and grab at will.

Abbey helps all the time, her small hands dumping canola oil and ground flax seed as carefully as her coordination allows.

Dylan rarely shows interest, and soon grew tired of the practically empty tablespoons of cinnamon I was allowing him to add to our mix. Curious fingers reached towards the honey. Abbey pushed the plastic bear out of his reach, and I inwardly sighed, bracing myself for the whine of complaint.

“Here Dylan,” her kindest voice offered him a plastic mixing spoon. “Do this.”

Light shone through the small window, picking up the blonde glowing in their hair.

I gently straightened the bow of Abbey’s sash, my mood buoyed by her reaction.

And when Dylan managed to vigorously stir a not unsubstantial amount of our ingredients onto the counter, we were all ready to laugh, his chuckle the most gleeful of all, knowing he had somehow amused his big sister.

Extra cinnamon and pumpkin made our granola bars taste deliciously like fall, but what I really slid out of the oven that morning wasn’t on the ingredient list; we had subtly stirred newfound cooperation and smiles and better moods into the batter.

Calmly, I placed the recipe back in the cupboard, awaiting the next time their sour moods need a little something sweet.

Dry Ingredients
2 c. oats * 1 c. flour * 1/2 c. ground flax * 3/4 c. brown sugar * 3/4 tsp. cinnamon

Wet Ingredients
1/2 c. canola oil * 1 egg * 1/2 c. honey * 1/2 c. pumpkin * 2 tsp. vanilla

Easy-Peasy, Kid-Friendly Steps
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Dump all ingredients into mixer
Mix
Spread into greased 9 x 13 pan
Bake 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees
Cool 5 minutes before cutting

This week's prompt was: What Fuels You?
And so much of that comes back to soaking in the lessons Abbey and Dylan wordlessly teach me.

Every MONDAY join us…
Write, post, link-up, share your story and your voice.
Be part of carrying the weight of confidence, empowerment and share our mission
to empower, inspire, and remind women, parents and children

that the time has come to celebrate ourselves!

Next week’s prompt: Five Reasons to Smile

(Remember you can also write on a topic of your choice.)

Labels: ,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Spending Time With Our Missing Piece

Eight children, seven raised into adulthood, nine grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and counting.
An impressive resume for a woman not quite five feet tall, even in heels.
You are invited to call her Nan, as most people do, though her name is Eleanor.
She's my mother's mother, as I am my mother's daughter, all of us far below average height and comfortably curved into softness that makes the perfect lap, though it makes shopping for jeans a struggle. 
Some of my earliest memories are at her house in New York, her gold and red lava lamp lighting a dark room at night, stockings hung from her staircase at Christmas, possibly part of the reason I was so drawn to our home, with its staircase aching for stockings.
When she and Pap moved to Nashville, we created new memories, the country music my grandfather adored the new soundtrack for our family vacations.
Though we still visit Nashville, her extended visits to my mom's house mean Abbey and Dylan can really bond with her, and I feel so blessed each time I hear she'll be coming to stay for a month.
She draws and paints with them, does puzzles with Abbey, and helps Dylan build sandcastles, her patience never wavering.
This year she'll turn 81, yet she recently made the kids painting smocks, complete with eyelet edging and whimsical buttons.
As her last visit drew to a close, Abbey started routinely talking about going to see "Grandma and Nan," and her face crumpled a little when I gently explained that soon Nan would be back in Nashville.
Her voice is gentle and kind, her hugs and kisses freely given, her smile easy and warm.  Everyone's grandmother, she's the person to sit next to at a party where you don't know anyone but the hostess. 
By the end of the evening, you'll know her and love her and hope to be a grandmother just like her one day in the future.
I know I do.

Lauren Nicole Gifts Blog
 
Join us at Lauren Nicole Gifts to talk about someone inspirational in your life!

Labels:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Looking for My Training Wheels

From afar, you may not recognize the little girl confidently riding that bike. 

Looking closer, you will see the small bike is purple, decorated with princesses, and matches the purple, flowered helmet atop the darkening blonde head.
Yes, that's Abbey riding that big girl bike!  Thankfully, she hasn't mentioned removing the training wheels yet.
 
Speaking of that, where are the training wheels for motherhood?  We are so grateful to Grandma Sharon for finding such a wonderful bike for our girl, but I was a little thrown by how much she looked like a child, and not my little preschooler, on that bike.

I wrote more about this new stage over at Just.Be.Enough if you'd like to read more about what seeing her on that bike taught me about Abbey.

I'm also linking up with Poppy again, because how in the world did my baby girl grow into a bike like that already?  Next she's going to want the keys to the car.



Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Respectfully, Mr. King, I Disagree

ready to slide

More than fifteen bottles of nail polish languish in my make-up drawer: shell pink, tangerine, a metallic teal that stained my toenails for months.  Used a time or two before being forgotten.

My gaze wanders to our mantle, mentally redesigning the space.
I flip through running magazines looking for new workouts and training plans.
So when the Write On Edge prompt presented itself this week, I hesitated and considered calling it a night without a post scheduled for the morning.
In “On Writing” Stephen King wrote, “The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.”
Disagreeing with the prolific Stephen King seems ridiculous.  His success is legendary, his path paved with best sellers and respect and ownership of his genre.
My path is unsure, a hill obscuring what is next.
And there are moments I agree with his statement.
I hesitate before throwing aside warm blankets on a cold morning; I shrink from jumping into Lake Michigan at the beginning of the summer, the water still chilled, waiting to be warmed by months of sun.
But bigger moments?  Realizing I was ready to get married? Choosing a new career path?  Starting a family?
Those moments don’t scare me.  I relish the planning, the anticipation, the adrenaline of putting my plan in motion. 
Follow through is what brings the fear. 
What if I made the wrong choice?
Why was I entrusted with the two most amazing creatures on the planet?
Am I crazy to think I’m capable of that? 
Stephen King might have a problem getting into a plane to skydive, but my doubts creep in after I’ve leapt into the sky, as I’m spiraling to the ground.
I can only pray that my parachute catches the wind on the way down.
the prompt:
In “On Writing” Stephen King wrote, “The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.”
Write a memoir post – first-person and true – inspired by that statement.
Word limit is 300.
And while we’re talking Stephen King, don’t forget! The first Read on Edge tweetchat will be Wednesday, October 19th! Happy reading and writing!

Labels: , ,

Monday, October 10, 2011

Listen Up, Future Self!

Dear 99 Year Old Angela,

By this time, you know what happens in our life more than I do.  You know our disappointments, which of our dreams have come to fruition, and how some of those dreams have been reshaped into wonders I cannot yet imagine.

You may not have kept this Saturday in your special box of memorable days.  Days at the zoo can blend together, pushing the increasingly heavy double stroller over the cement paths, opening Goldfish, peering at monkeys for just a few minutes longer than an adult finds necessary.

But this Saturday was different.

You dragged your heels about going, a fuzzy-headed cold and a few nights of interrupted sleep compounded a nagging feeling of restlessness, of not being appreciated outside of your role as a mother.

You went through routine motions: automatically packing snacks and filling water bottles, applying sunscreen and remembering the stroller brake outside of the butterfly house.

Resentment bubbled under the surface of your smile.

Then something shifted.

It began on the carousel, a new fixture at our zoo, the animals still shiny and smooth, unblemished by errant wads of gum and the residue from sticky, chubbily childish hands.

Abbey’s infectious giggles coaxed out a real smile as she primped and posed, “Take my picture, Mommy!” reminding you that you hadn’t used the camera as much lately.

By the time we reached the prairie dogs, an underappreciated animal, cute and spry, the bubbling resentment had dissipated.  Abbey patiently helped Dylan into the children’s viewing area, holding his hand instead of pushing him away, quietly encouraging him and relinquishing her turn, with a smile, in a reasonable amount of time.

Of course, we had to remind Abbey fifty-nine times that she needs to tell us before jumping out of the stroller.

Dylan fell asleep as we ambled to the car, slept during the ride home, and refused to nap the rest of the day.

You forgot to refill your enormous zoo member diet pepsi cup before leaving.

Yet the day ended without the discontentment and resentment with which it began.

So today, I want you to remember that Saturday in October, warm and lovely, leaves just beginning to glow red and orange in the sun.

Remember how a small hand sliding into yours can ease worry about what will tomorrow or the next day or the one after that.

Remember to be present.

With love,
Angela, October 2011
P.S. You don't look a day over 93.  I promise.

This week’s prompt: Write a letter to your future self or your child.

Every MONDAY join us…
Write, post, link-up, share your story and your voice.
Be part of carrying the weight of confidence, empowerment and share our mission
to empower, inspire, and remind women, parents and children

that the time has come to celebrate ourselves!

Next week’s prompt: What fuels you?

(Remember you can also write on a topic of your choice.)

Labels: , ,

Friday, October 7, 2011

Moving Day

Greta paused, expecting her ex-husbands presence to echo off the walls and ceiling, magnifying in the now-empty space. 

Their argument over the paint color started as a joke.  Truly there wasn’t much difference between steel and dove, especially when they weren’t planning to change one brush stroke on the smooth walls.
But his voice had grown petulant, fading into uncomfortable silence as they shifted a couch and armchairs and her small Parsons desk into a workable configuration.  He slunk away as she poured wine, leaving her to settle into a cream IKEA armchair in the dusk, looking through the south window alone.
Today, freed from their cages beneath comfortably low couches, dust bunnies crept along white baseboards, scarred from lack of care with wayward shoes and table legs.
Grooves from her desk chair marred the birch floor, highlighted, along with dancing flecks of dust, by the sunlight streaming through the sole window.
“Ready?” Drew spoke from the doorway.
“What would you call these walls?” she asked cautiously, though they were past the point of tests.

 

“They’re grey, Gee,” he grinned simply.

 

Silently, she took his hand, pulling the door closed, leaving dust bunnies in peace.

the prompt:
This week we asked you to take us somewhere. Where was up to you -fiction or creative nonfiction- but we asked you to use your words to paint the setting as vividly as possible. In 200 words.

Labels: ,

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bring On the Holiday Checklists

It may only be October, but with Abbey and Dylan around, I sometimes feel as though I’m constantly playing catch-up.  Planning ahead means I might have a chance to arrive at a holiday party only five minutes late instead of thirty-five.

Cold weather makes me want to retreat into a turtle shell lined with cable-knit sweaters, so planning ahead means I can watch snowflakes out the window and listen to Christmas music instead of bundling us all up to brave the weather.

Here's a few things I'd like to do this year to avoid rushing around like an elf who just found a "nice" list buried in "naughty" files.

1. Make a list of people I plan on shopping for this year and get a small calendar to write down party dates.  Carry those in my purse at all times, so I'm not over-scheduling or under-buying.

2. Jot down books people mention.  Glance through sale ads with friends and family in mind.  Shopping ahead of time means I can put a lot of thought into gifts and not stress out about finding something at the last minute. 

3. Pull out holiday recipes and make note of anything new I want to try.  There’s nothing wrong with doing a test run before bringing a new concoction to a party.  All desserts should be taste-tested at least once.  At least.

4. Go through my wrapping supplies and see what I need.  I’ve been known to pick up extra wrapping paper by the cartload, when all I really need is gold ribbon.  Then I have to go back out into the snow for ribbon, plus I need to find somewhere to store the fourteen unneeded rolls of penguin wrapping paper.

5. Decide on cards, because I love spamming my friends and family with actual mail during the holidays.  Storkie has a gorgeous selection of holiday cards, including photo cards.  I love that you can go to one site and find something cute or something sophisticated, something religious or something seasonal. 

6. Scour Pinterest for holiday decorations and craft projects for the kids.  Even Dylan can help make a tulle Christmas tree, and making homemade gifts can save money while making our friends and family feel special.

7. Look through my pictures!  Though it’s always fun to see a holiday themed photo on a card, you may be able to use a favorite photo you already have to fit in with a card you like.  Do you have a picture of your kids making a giant mess?  Contrast it with an angel themed card!
8. Buy a few fairly generic gift cards.  It’s inevitable that you’ll (ok, that I’ll) forget someone on your (ok, my) list.  Having gift cards around, especially if I can pair it with homemade trail mix, cookies, or another treat will save me from venturing to the corner drugstore and figuring out which snuggie I should purchase.

9. Pre-address thank you cards to people always on our list (grandparents, aunts and uncles, best friends).  Let Abbey add stickers or stamps to the envelopes as an afternoon craft project.

10. Stock up on hot chocolate.  If I do the first nine items on this list, I'll be able to  enjoy a warm mug of hot chocolate (or a homemade café mocha) on my couch instead of scrambling around at the end of December.

What do you do to prepare?  Am I crazy for thinking about Christmas before I have Abbey's Halloween costume?

I wrote this blog post while participating in the Storkie holiday blogging program. I received compensation for my participation, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Labels: ,