Monday, December 29, 2014

To My Sweet Husband—It's Your Love

My husband and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary a week ago. I had every good intention of posting something sweet and special, but with Christmas quickly approaching and my in-laws coming into town, those good intentions fell by the wayside. So, this post comes a little late, but still holds lots of meaning. Happy Anniversary to my sweet hubby. There's no one else I'd want to share my life with. 

This song by Faith Hill and Tim McGraw is one of my favorites. It was sung at our wedding reception by my amazing brother and a dear friend. (As a total surprise which, of course, produced an influx of tears from me.)

In other news, this is my week to host Unicorn Bell, and I'm doing a special series titled Books and Cookies where I post yummy cookie recipes and book reviews. Today, I'm reviewing Cortney Pearson's debut novel Phobic and posting a recipe for Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies. Yum. So good. I made them for the holidays and they turned out dee-lish! 

So, hop on over there and check it out! Hope everyone had a very merry Christmas and is looking forward to a new year. I know I am!! 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Deja Vu Blogfest: Are you gonna try for a girl?

Today, I'm participating in the Deja Vu Blogfest hosted by DL Hammons. In honor of this blogfest, I'm re-posting one of my favorite blog posts from this year. This post you're about to read is one of the very first ones I put on my blog when I started it almost a year ago. Hope you enjoy! 


Clearly, when we're out in public as a family, five boys is somewhat of a head turner. So, I often hear from the waitress at the restaurant or the cashier scanning the groceries at the store, "Are they all yours?" Followed by, "All boys?"

Yep, the last time I checked they were all boys. And unless I have a crazy sign attached to my back, why in the world would I voluntarily take other people's children to the grocery store? Doesn't make sense.

But my favorite question—the one I get the most, which is amazing considering how personal it is—"Are you gonna try for a girl?"

Hmm, let me think about that one. 

I'm always very nice in my response because truthfully, for a long time, we WERE trying for a girl. I just knew I was meant to have a daughter swaddled in pink with a future of tea parties, Barbies, and prom dresses. Not to mention one day having the opportunity to plan an elaborate and detailed wedding reception. But, alas, it was not meant to be.

I thought I was having a girl once. My first child in fact. We were told by the ultrasound tech that she was 99.9% sure (never trust the ultrasound) we were having a girl. So, for the next few months, I lived in a world of frilly dresses and pink ballet slippers, and the birth of our daughter Kylie couldn't come soon enough. 

I'm sure you can imagine my shock after I gave birth to our "daughter," and the doctor proudly declared, "It's a BOY!" And what a beautiful little boy he was, chunky and dimply, and yet, I couldn't shake the nagging thought, "Where's Kylie?"

As I lay in the hospital bed with my husband asleep on the couch across the room and my beautiful boy in a bassinet beside me, I cried for the daughter I'd never have, for the loss of the little girl I had carried inside me for nine months. Those who have never experienced this sudden shock will have no idea what I'm talking about. I'm sure many will think, how could I not be happy for a beautiful, healthy child, no matter the gender? And I was happy. Very happy. But I was also sad that the bond I'd formed with a daughter named Kylie, was nothing more than a memory. She didn't exist. And I had to come to terms with that. Over the next couple days in the hospital, I grew to love the baby boy who had no name. Now, I can't imagine my life without him or the four other little boys we've been blessed with.

So, when people ask me, "Are you gonna try for a girl?" my answer now is invariably the same: "No, we're good." For a brief moment in my mind, I had a daughter. Now, I think I'll settle for a granddaughter swaddled in pink with a future of tea parties, Barbies, and prom dresses. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This Writer Mom

It's time for another edition of This Writer Mom!

For those who aren't familiar, these blog posts are an attempt to shake things up a bit and mesh three things I love—writing, being a mother, and design. Based on color and style, I match pictures of "mothers" to their ideal writing (and perhaps lounging or dining location). It's a fun way to incorporate design elements into my blog while still maintaining a focus on writing. Hope you enjoy!

This Writer Mom...

Cooks here...

Sleeps here...

Writes here...

Friday, December 5, 2014

Reading Counts

Like most writers, my love of books began at an early age. When I was small, my mother read to me. Constantly. Once I was old enough to read by myself, I read anything I could get my hands on. In my room, I had a small walk-in closet that housed a white bookshelf. This bookshelf was filled with my favorite books and my favorite book series. I remember hiding out in my closet for hours, surrounded by books and words and stories. Stories that took me to faraway places and into the lives of characters I loved.

I remember this book! source
Loved this series. source

I spent many hot summer afternoons curled up on my blue comforter, reading Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley Twins, and the Babysitters Club. But once I hit high school, the reading stopped. For some reason, I became too busy to read. Too busy with things like cheerleading, soccer, show choir, honor society, class offices, and other clubs. The only reading I did was for English classes, and then I devoured the Shakespeare plays and The Grapes of Wrath. Others complained about reading and bought the cliff notes, but not me. (Okay, maybe I did get the cliff notes once or twice, but ONLY because I wanted a BETTER understanding.)

Needless to say, college wasn't much better as far as "finding the time." And then I was married and had small children. When you're wiping poopy bottoms and cleaning up slop off the floor, there isn't too much time for reading. But when my husband was in law school, there was a group of women who had a book club and that got me back into reading. Then more children came (and more children came) and all the while I WAS reading. To my children every day and every night. Books like Goodnight Moon and DinoTrux and Where the Wild Things Are as I raise my own little "wild things."

And then I heard the truth. If I want to be a better writer, then I HAVE to read. What a great excuse to pick up a book and immerse myself. And when my husband comes home from work, I get to have a conversation like this:

Hubby looks around the untidy house. "What did you do today?"

I hold up the book I've been reading. "Research!"

Can't get better than that!

What were some of YOUR favorite books as a kid?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

IWSG December—The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

It's that time again...Time for another posting of the IWSG (or the Insecure Writer's Support Group for those of you not familiar with it). As always, a big thank you to Alex Cavanaugh for creating this monthly blog hop where we air our insecurities and offer encouragement and support for other writers. The IWSG is a great group to be a part of, so if you haven't signed up yet, you can go HERE to do so.

Also, a big thank you to the awesome co-hosts for today: Heather Gardner, T. Drecker from Kidbits, Eva E. Solar at Lilicasplace, and Patsy Collins.

As many of you know, I'm in the process of querying my young adult novel, so you'd think my insecurities would stem from the query or publishing process. However, as of right now, I'm feeling pretty good about where I'm at in this query process.

So, what are my insecurities for this month?

I recently decided to delve into a novel I wrote a while back. It's one that has been sitting and sitting because as soon as I finished it, I realized that I could probably never publish it. At least not under my real name.

This work is raw, emotional, and it's real. It exposes the good, the bad, and the ugly side of love and relationships. My husband (who is ALWAYS my very first beta reader) says it's my best work thus far. And as I've been reading through it and revising the heck out of it, I think I'd have to agree with him.

But the problem is, I can't publish it.

I'd be too embarrassed. Too afraid of what others might think.

So, I have two options: I can revise it until it will make others happy. Or I can leave it as is and let all the ugly parts of me show.

What would you do?