Waiting for Santa

It was just too much for the wee peanut.

Merry Christmas and a very happy new year!


The sweet so long

I knew it was too good to last.

My days as a stay-at-home-mom are winding to a ten-year end next month. Freelance writing has picked up, I have two long-term blogging gigs and great copywriting jobs that I enjoy with more coming down the road. However, it's time for me to head back to a place where suckers don't stick to my sweatpants on a daily basis and talk to a *gasp* adult once in a while. No. Bryan does not count.

I think I've found a great solution, however. I will be going back to school as a substitute teacher for the county so I'll be on the girls' schedule. Bry's home with Vyolette and he's considering also signing up to be a sub so we can switch off when my freelancing workload becomes heavier. With luck, by next fall I'll be able to switch to an idea I've been kicking around for a while - copywriting. I even have a fabulous name (see graphic)!

Now all I need are new clothes, good lord, how long has it been since I've been shopping??


Not so ice out there...

I haven't seen ice this bad since the Oregon ice storms off to Columbia Gorge! Last weekend, northern VA was hit by the nasty tail end of the clipper that ran up the east coast. While most of the valley below escaped, up here on TippyTop we were frozen to the gills in ice.

Saturday night:
1:40am - lily's up and vomiting. I can hear tiny shards of ice hitting the roof and windows but nothing too exciting.

3:30am - ice storm starts in earnest. I bolt out of bed, grab Vyolette who is staying with us in case we lose power and she needs warmth and start screaming "TREEEEE!" There are several large trees looming over my bedroom. I run out to the front room just in time to see the lights go out and flashes in the storm outside. Either the houses are on fire down the street or we have thunder ice and that's lightening outside. I fumble for the phone and have the power company on speed dial so report the outage and head back to bed. Another twenty minutes go by, ice is being torn from the trees and smashed against the roof (the sound that had woken me up) and the trees are being whipped around like pinwheels in the wind. I can see them in the flashes of lightening and I'm sure one will come crashing through the house.

7:30am - the storm is over hours ago. We wake up to a cold house and get the girls moving to keep warm. We have no back-up heat so watch as the house dips a degree an hour until we finally accept that the power is not coming on that night and we leave for Bryan's brother's house, 45 minutes away that evening.

5pm - Slowly we make it out of our driveway, Rowyn and I out before the car and dragging the downed tree limbs out of the way. We're being showered with hard shards of ice that fall from the trees and the dirt road is shiny with ice. We have a steep incline and after chipping the ice away from the car before we left, we're not inclined to put chains on. We finally make it to the main road, only to see ice encasing each tree and frozen road kill. We progressed in inches, dodging road crews and knowing the very steep hill leading down off the mountain to Route 7 lay before us. Luckily, FEMA headquarters are at the top of the mountain so the roads are kept as clear as possible and we made it down with little problem.

7p - after dinner we spent the night in a hotel, it's lights flickering, with the other refugees. The next morning, we took the girls to school on the off-chance it would be warmer there than at our house (it was) and Bryan, Vyolette and I went home to find three trees down on the property. The largest in our front yard, split in half and falling the opposite direction from our truck and front porch.

Crazy, eh? Power returned late Monday and last night the house made it back to 67 degrees. Anybody have a used wood stove?


Get back, old man!

Happy Holidays!

(Click on this one for a heckuva close-up, lol)

Ta daaaaaaaaaaa

See? The house really does exist...

'scuze the mess-


How to play Duck Duck Goose

Scene: my living room

Participants: Lily, Syenna, Vyolette, Rowyn and Wynter

How to play:
Have big girls sit in a wobbly triangle while Lily smacks them upside the head yelling "You're in the POO POT!" I can only assume she means the other kind of pot-thing we can't think of.

Suddenly, Vyolette follows Lily hitting them with equal vigor and bawking like a chicken and trying to strangle Rowyn. Anarchy ensues.

Wildlife tips from the girls

Since starting our adventure in the wilds of Mt. Weather, the girls have been picking up handy tips on how to deal with the various creatures that roam our acreage:

From Lily:
- If you see a bear, RUN! He'll chase you and pull your pants down otherwise.
- When a deer comes and looks in your window, hand him the baby.
- Frogs like flies and turtles -- SCREAM and run away.
- When you see a snake, don't move or say "peep."

From Wynter:
- If you found a snapping turtle, do not try picking him up. He'll jump up and try and bite your fingers off! (ow)
- If you see a snake, back away slowly and then RUUUUUUUUUUN
- If you see a skunk, you need to take a bath in tomato sauce, it doesn't matter if he sprays you or not!

From Syen:
- If you see a shark in your back pond, it's hunting season
- If you see a "stunk", yell, "STOP STUNK!"



Apparently I've been remiss in updating the blog so:

- yes, we've moved in
- no, we have no interior doors put up yet. They're still in the box. WHA?
- I have no photos because we've packed away the battery re-charger and I still can't find the bugger
- the deer are bossy, demanding things that think Vyolette is a chew toy so I tend to keep away - far, far away


Room pictures!

Carpet goes in today, appliances last weekend and *crossing fingers*, we'll be in soon! This is the front room. Kitchen to the left, hallway and two bedrooms to the right. More pictures to be added as I transfer them in the pffffttttt techno-way I have.


Chocolate spiders

12 oz Twizzlers; chocolate flavor
4 oz Milk chocolate candy melts

Cut twizzlers into 1 1/2" pieces. Slice each piece in half lengthwise. On waxed paper place 4 legs (pieces) on each side and then drop 1 tsp melted candy in middle for body. Use a toothpick to smooth to uniform circle and connect all candy pieces. Cool completely before removing from waxed paper.


Gettin' down with our bad selves

Star in Your Own JibJab! It's Free!

Happy Halloween!

Star in Your Own JibJab! It's Free!


When I win the Nobel prize for Literature...

Classic reaction from Doris Lessing

You can bet your sweet bippy I'll ask for extra brownies that day.


Have a Jolly Halloween!

I am crazy for Halloween, for me it's more fun than Christmas and I (usually) get started decorating the minute September is put to bed. This year I'm waiting until we move so I don't have to pack twice but it's torture to see my neighbor's nifty decorations already up and mocking me in their spooky goodness.

The girls have started planning their costumes though it'll be a surprise what they finally decide on. My favorite so far was Wynter's Bride of Frankenstein last year though I do have lingering fondness for Rowyn's banshee.

What was your favorite costume (adult or child)?

New favorite authors

I tell you, talent is ripe for the picking in my family!

Syenna and Rowyn have started their own blogs and they're running screaming down the path of Halloween ghosties! Come say hello!


NaNoWriMo - OH NO!

What the heck have I done?

Just in case you haven't been keeping score, I'm raising five kids and moving into the ginormous house on the hill in the next month and I've decided to write an entire 50k word novel during November with the insane help of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). That works out to roughly 1666 words a day. Doesn't sound like much? Try it and I'll meet you on the other side of November to celebrate!

One of my more brilliant ideas? Probably not but since the first novel is stalled, this should be a good kick in the rear to get down some of the finer points of "filler."

Send brownies.


You have been BOO'd!

Halloween is the perfect time for good little goblins to come out and play. Spread the fun by leaving a bag of goodies with the Wee Ghostie poem and drawing below on the doorstep of a friend or neighbor's house the week before Halloween but don't let them see you! Click on the ghostie below and save to your computer, then print him out to add to your goodie bag!

Goodie bag ideas:
Halloween DVDs
Coloring pages
Fake vampire teeth
Halloween makeup

Include this poem and the directions with your Wee Ghostie bag:

It all started with a little BOO
A knock upon the door and off they flew!
Halloween is almost here, the leaves are flying by
The pumpkins are ripe, there’s a witch in the sky!
Wee Ghostie came by the light of the moon
Put him in your window, it’s not too soon!

You have been BOO'd!
Choose two families and pass on a treat, make a copy of the ghostie and add it in so they can join in the fun! Put your Wee Ghostie in the window so others will know you’re part of the party!

Happy Halloween!


My favorite places

I'm on the net. A lot. And as I fumble around the baby and writerly sites, I pick up on some of the coolest blogs/websites out there. Just had to share some of my favorites!

Offbeat homes - my friend Jennifer's blog on some of the most creative and crazy houses on the planet.

Hippie sounds Another great site from Jennifer, she has excellent taste in music. ;)

Tree Hugging Family Get with the green, people!

Family Resource My buddy Julie's blog. Excellent information and she's a hoot!

Bea's Beatitudes My good friend Bea is a farmer in Tenn. A definite blogstop for herbal recipes, lore and great information -- sign up for the newsletter!

The Ardennes Ghost Project

Absolute Write -- I cannot thank this place enough for kickstarting my writing career. Seriously. If you ever even fancied a thought about writing, come and visit this amazing resource.

Many more coming but I need more coffee!


Feel better now!

I've been studying reflexology for years, combined with essential oils, this is a great simple way to better health!

Click here for your tooties!


So close!

We're in the final throes of housebuilding! Drywall started today!

1st day of school

Ok, I'm not as geeky as I look. It's taken me three weeks to figure out how to take the thingy out of the camera and upload photos to the laptop. Pfffttt. This is what I married Bryan for!


Oddpodz finals!

It's been a long time coming due to a recent overhaul to their site but the Oddpodz t-shirt slogan finals are here! Please vote for "work in progress" many many times. Mama has ten wee feet to shod!

I'll post a picture of the winner here!


Houston, we have space camp

And a visit from our cousin, Sophie!

of bats and men

Rowyn's GS troop worked on their Bronze Award this summer, completing three (and one more to come) bat houses for our area! I've been working with them on bat conservation and how they can make a difference! Great job, girls!

To create your own bat house, we loved these simple instructions: http://www.batmanagement.com/Batcentral/boxbuild/Small1.html

Go GO Speed Racer!

Syenna took to race car driving like a...well, like a 10yr old race car driver. She tore up the track!


Feeling moddy

How fun is this? I was named the new Children's Forum co-mod for Absolute Write, one of the most respected writer's boards on the net! I highly recommend this board for anyone even thinking of writing; it covers nearly every genre and can help with everything from getting started to celebrating your first novel. Come on over and say howdy!


Who me? Write a book?

Yep. Call me a late bloomer. After nearly fifteen years of Bryan bugging me to write a book so he can retire in style, I've started a ghost story. Now I've written ghost stories before but not with this much spirit. ba dum dum.

Check back here for updates, I'm on chapter six of Beyond the Pale!


I'm a Rockin' Mama!

How fun is this? I was asked by a fellow AWer to be her first in a series of Rockin' Mamas at sheknows.com! The link is up today so go check it out. I'm talking about Wynter's birth, how the girls all had "y"s in their names and why I'm a bad-ass mama. Ok, not really the last one but it's my blog and I'll shake my bad thang if I want to. :P

Check it out before I'm going tomorrow!


Up in the air, Junior Birdman

Rowyn and her cousin, Sophie, have left for Space Camp this week, courtesy of their grandparents. All the Tang they can drink and vomit on the whirl-a-girl for six days! This is Rowyn's first plane trip without an adult along so we were both a little nervous, so much for being the cool mom. I only tried once to get onboard with them...

The house is coming along swimmingly, just waiting for the last bit of ductwork to come in before we bring in the contractors for drywall et al. School starts in three weeks, eh, who needs a toilet?


Vyolette loves Gene

Who knew?

I always suspected one of my children would be a rock groupie but at 16 months? Tonight, while her teething kept her up, Vyolette saw for the first time her true love: Gene Simmons of KISS. She howled when she saw him in full costume and clapped as he tried to lick the camera.

I shudder to think of her at sixteen. Gene, you dirty old man. My door is on the left. ;)


8 Random things about me

Grrrrrr. I hate these things but here goes!

1. I am able to pick up almost anything with my toes.
2. I turned down graduate school to spend one more term at OSU and pick up a second major (history), then met my husband a month before I graduated and never went back to school.
3. I was once stranded in the middle of a river while tubing with my brother as teenagers. It took hours to get me back across.
4. I quit college at 18 and moved to NYC with no money (or brains) then returned to college after I figured out I couldn't make it without an education. Duh.
5. I can't stand many blonde actresses and most female singers make my skin crawl.
6. I found an ancient knife point while on a dig in Scotland, right in front of US tourists. Perfect timing. ;)
7. The first ghost I ever saw was my dog, Jake, a month after he'd passed.
8. I like to eat cottage cheese on my hot dogs. Wha?



I hate camp.

Well, not really. This past Sunday, the big girls went off to girl scout resident camp for a week and I had no idea how used to complete chaos I was. Two tiny girls could never compete with three cranky, goofy, popsicle-munching pre-teens.

Rowyn and Syenna went south about three hours. I kept having flashbacks to The Haunting where Mrs. Dudley kept saying, "no one could hear you scream. You're alone. In the dark." Real comforting.

Wynter was closer but the 100 degree heat put a real damper on the fun I was imagining her having. Hopefully they stuck all the girls in the pool and sprayed them with hoses.

I received two postcards from Syenna today:
"I had seven mosquitos in my cabin on the first night! We do lots of things at the beach. Sorry Dad, we had no choice, I have to do crafts."

"I want to go to day camp instead. The days are so fun , we are going swimming in a lake and rock climbing and hiking, it's real fun! I would like to do this as a day camp instead. That would be best. I miss you. I want to come back."

Er. No guilt here. She'll see me in therapy, I'm sure.


Trevor Luckman photography

MySpace works in weird and wonderful ways. Yesterday I was hit up to be the friend of Trevor Luckman, who lists himself as a photographer in Oregon. Being of the webbed feeted variety, I had to check out his work and discovered that he's from my home town area! No, we're not related.

He does lovely work in Grants Pass, OR. Please check out his site and say hello!


Happy Independence Day!

Somehow Independence Day gets me into some kind of trouble. I'm usually minding my own business when WHAM - the car I'm in slams into the truck in front. At a stop sign no less. Just decided to hit the gas before the truck ahead moved. ????

Another year, Bryan and I sold ice cream off the back of our truck in downtown Portland, Oregon. We made enough to live off of for a month that day.

One year, I was in California visiting my sister and decided I absolutely needed to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show. RIGHT THEN. You can imagine how that went over. TOAST!

This year we had a quiet (for a family with five small kids) and boring 4th of July -- until the tornado warning. Aside from it being a normal muggy crappy DC day, I didn't even see this one coming. No storm, no warnings then WHAMMO - tornado warning, get the ribs off the bbq, we're going into the basement. Rightttttttt after I finish this cocktail... Needless to say, all is well and though we skipped being evacuated at the National Mall (though that would have been fun too) we celebrated by researching Revolutionary era ghosts and playing with sparklers & morning glories. My dad would be proud. Of course, that's a whole other story...


NYC for the weekend!

Click on the photos for a bigger look.

I and five other brave mothers took our hormone-crazed, pre-teens into the big bad city of New York last weekend! After a lingering look at the Naked Cowboy in Times Square, we had a fabulous time at the Statue of Liberty, Mary Poppins on Broadway, shopping, the wax museum and popping in on the Today Show audience. Rowyn and I will never forget it!


Where's the bbq?

This is part of the deck off the kitchen.

Movin' on up to kindergarten

Lily's headed to kindergarten! Voted "Most Energetic" by her preschool, they have NO idea what's in store for them next year. ;)



What a crazy week! Last week, a t-shirt company I'd sent some slogans off the cuff for sent an email telling me I had been chosen as one of their top 50 in their contest. When I sent in the slogans, there was no mention of a contest, lol. Anywho, in my spam filter was an email saying in case I didn't get the first message (?) I was now in the running and I'd better hustle up some votes. So I did. A lot of them. Never underestimate the power of MySpace and a writer's board.

In their newsletter today, I discovered I was the winner of this week (yay!) and will move onto the finals. My great friend, Suzan Weiner, is also a finalist so please vote for her this week!

I'll keep you posted!


As pointed out delicately by my friend, Aly, I've neglected to update the world about the doings of the monkeys.

Softball is finally ending, we've finished last in 12U and middle-of-the-pack for 10U. Let's just say this wasn't our year. Rowy is headed off to Volleyball camp after school gets out, it'll be good to get out of the dust and hot sun.

Wynter had her author chat today at school. Her fabulous teacher makes a point of binding their creative writing and having a formal chat complete with luncheon for the class/parents afterwards. We are going to miss the faculty at this school enormously, they've all been incredible!

I'm busy submitting and writing. Buttercup's Giant Pumpkin headed off to Highlights yesterday, I'm shopping around some publishers in case it's rejected. One Little Goblin is trying to find a home, I can't decide where it's going! I'll be having my own author's chat in Wynter's classroom next week to test-drive them on the second grade.

Syenna, Lily and Vyolette are busy growing and attacking the sprinklers after school. Who needs a dog when I can have things ripped up by them? At least the girls don't poop on the carpet. Anymore.

Bry's busy as a wee bee on the house - projected move in date - July!


Rub a dub dub

Before the angry emails come flooding in, the dish brush was freshly out of the dishwasher! ;)

Hula Hoopers!

Top picture: Syenna - Kate - Astrid
Bottom: Kate - Syenna - Astrid

The hoopers tore up the Talent Show last night, next year: FLAMING BATONS!