Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I got some 'splainin' to do...

Well, I had someone email me to comment on how much she enjoys what I write on my blog (thanks Rebecca) and she was wondering (because my title of my blog is yada-yada-yada-writes 4 kids) if I had ever published anything that she could read. So, I figured if she was wondering, maybe all my great commenters were up at night, tossing and turning, wondering the same thing. I DO write and have been published many times...but mostly for adults. I write a lot for regional parenting magazines like About Families (PA), MetroKids (DE), Parent Magazine (TN), KidsVT, Pittsburg Parent, Family (NJ), Indy's Child, Charlotte Parent (SC), Parenting New Hampshire, San Diego Parent, and a couple big time magazines like Fostering Families Today and Relate Magazine for girls. I have also written crafts for ParentZone.com. Most of what I write is out of my passion for children. I write articles that keep kids healthy, keep families connected and creative in the way they deal with life. I have a pile of rejection slips that I have been collecting for almost two years now from a vast array of children's book manuscripts. Some people say to throw them away b/c they will ultimately bring you down and you will give up the ship. Not me. I actually have a file right in my file cabinet labelled "rejections" so that when I am published and children across the country are giggling at my words, I can encourage other aspiring authors by saying, "I collected 4,937 rejections before getting published!" I truly don't have that many although my ego may argue that depending on how many I pull from the mailbox that day. I recently attended the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) Fall Philly Conference and made some great connections! I now am awaiting a response from an editor at HarperCollins in regards to the first in a series of really quirky, fun picture books. Send up some prayers for me if you are the praying type (I am). I dream of touching the lives of as many children as I can before my time on this planet expires. So, there ya go! That's my mission in a nut shell! I am off to get a shower in the remaining minutes of the baby's nap so that I can take the big kids to a book signing with Elizabeth Kann, author of Pinkalicious and Purplicious. Throw those names in at Amazon.com and you will fall in love with her!! Have a creative day!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hide the shoes...

Alrighty, I remembered where I was headed with today's blog, I was momentarily stunned by my European visitor and forgot all about the shoe post! But believe it or not as I was surfing (yes, instead of folding the mound of towels that are staring at me) other blogs I came across The Sorensen Family site and low and behold - another child with a shoe obsession!
My two year old has this same affliction as you can see from the photo above. These are the shoes from his Build-A-Bear monkey. He spent all day yesterday cramming as much of his little feet into these shoes and then walking around like a little cross-dresser. Alarmingly, it appears he would be quite secure in heels!
If anyone knows a good 12-step program for this shoe fetish, please let me know!

A big European high 5...

I am so excited! I just logged on (it is precious, precious nap time...a.k.a. Mommy's writing time, sit on the couch with a cup of tea time, watch ANYTHING other than Barney while I fold laundry time...ME TIME!) to write my post for the day. I had a great idea. I glanced down across the page to my World Map in the left margin and there it was...a red "blip" on Europe!!! I have a reader in Europe! I am so excited, I forgot what I was about to write. Guess I will go fold some laundry, drink some tea and watch the boob tube while I think about what it was I was going to entertain you with...brb...maybe But should I come back and that European has left me a comment, I will surely forget my post idea again!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Let 'em know they deserve it...

Yesterday was an amazing day and my kids deserved it! After church we drove 2 hours to Pocono Raceway where my husband, my brother-in-law and my dad fought G-force speeds in their long-awaited ride in a Nascar! The three of them were like kids in a candy shop putting on their gear and posing for the cameras. You couldn't have scraped the smiles off their faces with a putty knife. My three little ones were watching in excitement not really grasping WHY Daddy, Uncle Frank and Pap were excited about going 165 mph - but they were being good sports. What they didn't know was my husband and I had a HUGE surprise for them after the race (which at 165 mph, 3 laps last about 4.5 minutes). The baby was going home with my parents for a night alone with Nana and Pap - otherwise known as King and Queen Spoil Machine! But my older two were headed to a JUMP 5 concert albeit another 2 hours away. We told them nothing. They were curious when the baby and all his "travel accessories" were re-located to Nana and Pap's car, in fact, I think for a minute they were a bit jealous. We fielded the questions with simple answers, "Just trying out a new place for dinner." They continued to ask but were also engrossed in a movie in the backseat. When we realized we were running out of time, as our friends who were meeting us at the concert had just arrived and called to say there was a line but they would wait out front with our tickets, we decided to hit the SONIC drive-thru for dinner - forgetting we had told them that dinner was the BIG surprise. "Uhhm, Mom, I don't want to sound disrespectful, but is this really where we are eating? We have already eaten at a SONIC before." "BUT, have you eaten at a SONIC in Brownstown before?" "Where's Brownstown?" "Here." "Oh. No." We got out to go to the bathroom while my husband hit the drive-thru. This is when they felt more comfortable showing their disappointment. Behind closed doors and without Daddy in earshot. I tried to convince them that the excitement was because we had never been IN a SONIC restroom, they weren't buying it and quite frankly they were a bit disturbed. I mean, truly disturbed, they were looking at me as if I had flipped my lid and was headed for the cuckoo's nest. They were nervously smiling and their gaze darted back and forth from me to each other...me...each other... Now for those of you who are not familiar with JUMP 5 - they are a Christian pop band whose music is all over the DISNEY CHANNEL and RADIO DISNEY. They sing the theme song for Lilo and Stitch as well as songs for Lizzie McGuire and many other kids' shows. This was our fourth concert and JUMP 5's last time in PA - forever. This was their FAREWELL TOUR. Our church hosted them in concert 2 years ago and our kids (my own and those of the friends we were meeting at the concert) were helping the band in their dressing rooms to cover widows with paper - my husband and I cooked for them - and the kids begged them to stay after the concert for a special ice cream social. We even went on their tour bus - so NEEDLESS TO SAY - this was going to be a HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE surprise! We pulled into the parking lot and they started to put the pieces together when they spotted our waiting friends as they darted in front of the car at the entrance. My dear friend Anne-Marie handed them their tickets and then we all went momentarily deaf with the high-pitched shrieking from the back seat. The concert was a blast! They danced, sang and squealed ANYTIME any of the band members looked in their direction. It was a bittersweet night as they realized this was the last time they would ever see them in concert again. We waited in line for autographs and they melted when the members of JUMP 5 said they remembered having ice cream with them. We got tons of pictures and created memories to last a life time. As we left the building the kids were feeling a bit sad about the Farewell tour - but that was nothing a LIMOUSINE couldn't cure. Our friends had rented a limo for the night and since my husband had to leave earlier in the evening, we ALL headed out in style. "NO seat belts! We don't have to buckle up!" "Is that a DVD player" "Can we play my JUMP 5 CD?" "Look, I can almost stand up - we could dance in here." "I love these lights." "We can eat in here?" "Who has a movie?" "I'm hungry." Tony, our driver, must be a dad or at least have a heart for kids because in less than 2 minutes our kids were delivered in style to DUNKIN' DONUTS/BASKIN ROBBINS! It was 11:10 and they were chowing down on chocolate, scanning every digital camera for pictures of the band, giggling and laughing and, believe it or not, I got a few hugs and a "You are the BEST, Mom!" Sure, they were tired this morning and I probably could have left them stay home but then walking into school with their concert Ts and telling their friends about their midnight limo ride would have felt like old news. Matthew, Emily, Natalie-Anne and JT, you are good kids - you SOOOOOOO deserved this one! Love you guys!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Did you ever wanna just BITE THE DOG?

Did you ever have one of those days that EVERYTHING got under your skin? Take the simple process of getting the baby to stop pouring his smoothie all over the highchair tray. I take the cup away and he starts slapping the puddles of strawberry yogurt for all he's worth... The dog was a poop fest all day and it was raining, we have no fence so I must accompany her on these jaunts- what the heck did she eat yesterday b/c it keeps coming out... My carefully stacked pyramid of groceries goes flying the minute I hit the edge of the parking lot...diapers, a case of spring water and pizzas declare lift-off as a nice woman comes to my rescue... The baby dislodged the gate at the bottom of the stairs a mere 4,000 times and before I could retreive him, he ransacked his brother's room every single time... The same person called me 5 times... A neurology nurse took a "stupid patient" attitude with me while I was trying to change an appointment... I have always been PRO-animals...was a vegetarian more than once, I abhor hunting and would like to be left alone with Michael Vick but today I just wanted to bite the dog!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Stop and smell the...caterpillars?

As a writer I dreamed of days sitting at my computer for hours with a cup of hot coffee and quite possibly still in my jammies. Then we added one more to my brood. I went from an at-home mom with two kids in school all day to a mom with hardly any time to myself.
Isn't it funny how one little, tiny person can keep you from everything that needs to get done? Well, when that tiny person was 2 and today he gave me a beautiful gift.
And this is the story:
After a flu shot we headed home for a morning of outside play. Little Izaiah's idea of sheer perfection. My idea of "Crap, I am not getting anything done." But today was different. Maybe it was my pity for him having just gotten a shot or maybe my brain actually DOES remember how to take a vacation. But in any case, we stopped to admire a new friend...

Usually, I am looking for an excuse to get back inside so I can jot down my latest picture book idea or make a few phone calls, make a dent in the laundry or straighten something so it looks like I was productive when my husband walks in at dinner time.
When this green, wriggling critter caught my eye I knew God had a different plan for Isaiah and I today. I coaxed my little guy out of the wagon and pointed to the caterpillar who was almost completely camoflaged in the grass next to the sidewalk.
Watching my toddler slowly approach a creature he has no reference for was priceless. His giant blue eyes looked up at me as if they were saying, "Are you kidding me? What in the world IS that?!" He knelt down and watched closely as his new green friend squiggled through the grass and then stopped to much a leaf.
This bugger was so huge that we (because now I have copped a squat on the sidewalk as if I was 2 as well) could actually watch the tiny leaf disappear bite by bite.
Isaiah watched intently, climbed back into the wagon and waved good-bye to his new friend.
I have no idea how long we were there and for the first time in a very long time I was IN THE MOMENT! It was wonderful. Thank you, buddy.
As moms, we have pressures coming at us from all directions. Some of you work outside the home - I personally could not handle that stress - and some of you are dealing with special needs children. Some of you are alone. Some of you are in a harmful relationship. But all of us are responsible for the well-being of our children. They deserve some time without those pressures encroaching on their quality time with their hero - Mommy.
Give them that time. It is always a good time to stop and smell the caterpillars!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Why SAHMs get constipated...

(minor-TMI alert)

I get everyone onto the bus and coax my little man back inside with the promise of a lollipop so I can relieve the "urge" that is looming in my gut. Now, you must know that our other two had a strict rule to live by, "NO sugar until after lunch!" When the third came along - yeah, not so strict anymore - I just jump on whatever ploy works that day.
"Want some candy?"
"Then, please get off the dining room table."
"Want a donut?"
"You'll need to stop playing in the potty and wash your hands, then!"
He's onto me!
If I'd have had a bowl of sugar in my small powder room I would have given him a spoon just so I could have relieved myself in peace. But I wasn't thinking ahead I guess.
I briskly entered the throne room with a chubby little hand in mine, shut the door and took my seat as Queen of...(I'll spare you!) With that, I was apparently awarded a Jester and JEST he did!
He is a small 2 year old but he felt big as he lurched his body across the room, planted his hands on the lip of the pedestal sink, threw his feet to the pedestal and lifted. His little body became the shape of a "less-than" sign. He was eye to eye with me. He looked at me, giggled and jumped down.
Funny how nothing goes unnoticed when you are 32" tall. He headed right for the small stack of toilet paper in the corner. He and I began a sweet game of catch with one of the rolls. Fifteen years ago, I would never have imagined myself in the toilet-seat-shot-put Olympics. But, who does? I was just hoping to read something, anything in any one of the many untouched magazines in the bin by my feet.
Bored with catch he makes it his mission to build the Leaning Tower of TP. What a kick he gets out of himself when he makes it as tall as he is. I smile. How cute. But three seconds later I have become the center of a nuclear attack as there are toilet paper rolls bludgeoning me from all sides! What is it about stacks and piles that make toddlers evolve into SUPER DESTRUCTO MAN?! Another Mom-phenomenon that we will never figure out.
The dog pushes the door, that I thought was shut, open a bit ad tries to come in. I fling my body to the door and shut it. I have all the stimulation I need right now as my body has not relaxed enough to make this trip a DONE DEAL, yet.
And with that minor distraction, my son has decided to switch careers. SUPER DESTRUCTO MAN is now Kareem Abdul Juicebox as he makes a slam dunk with a roll of TP into the pedestal sink. Funny, I never saw that parallel...the powder room sink does look a bit like a basketball net. Huh.
After the huge bulk pack of toilet paper is dumped on the floor and he begins fishing in the trashcan and lunging for the toilet brush I decide...it is time to abort this mission.
We walk out together only to find that the dog has completely macerated the roll she must have grabbed when she tried to interrupt only minutes ago. It looks like she killed a poodle!
Well, the "urge" has passed....there's always tomorrow.
Somehow I don't think working moms deal with this discomfort. I can't imagine their co-workers climbing under the stall and wrapping them in toilet paper or playing pat-a-cake! They have the PLEASURE OF POOPING IN PEACE!!