Monthly Archives: November 2011

If I were good at what I do, I’d have some kind of title here

I was sitting at Paneras writing madly, trying to finish of my 50 K words for NaNoWriMo, when Paul and Jacob stopped in on their way home from the doctor.

Dot has been sick for a while.


Fever and yucky feeling since Sunday late afternoon/evening.

So I hauled her into the doctor today.

They stuck a stick up her nose.

And said


(and not the chimney variety)

Ugh. I am supposed to be the good mom. The one who ALWAYS gets the flu vaccinations done.

Apparantly NOT.  (guess I have to settle for being human, dangit. *snaps fingers*)

In my defense ever since we got back from D.C. everyone has been sick at one point or another.

Anyway, now we get to keep an eye on the fam. At least Robert got his flue shot (I wasn’t completely negligent).

The only kid she was worried about was Jacob, so we made an appt. to get him checked and some preventative stuff started this evening.

After all that was discussed she listened to Dot breathe and declared


Poor thing. She was sent home with antibiotics and an inhaler. She’s missed the entire week of school, and I assume she’ll miss the rest.

So, back to Jacob.

I was writing when Paul and Jacob popped in.

Double ear infection,” Paul said in lieu of a greeting.

“What?” I was a little baffled.  “Appendicitis. See, I can do it too!” (Actually, I didn’t say that last bit, but I should have, because it would have been funny, so let’s pretend I did.)

“Jacob has a double ear infection.”

What kind of mom am I that doesn’t notice if her kid not only has one ear infection, but two?! I know it’s NaNoWriMo month, but I’m not that out of it, I promise!

“He never complained about his ears.” I felt a little defensive.

“I know. The doctor asked him if his ears hurt.”

“What did he say?”


I chuckled. Only Jacob could have a double ear infection and not let it bother him. So now I have a second kid on antibiotics and tamaflu or some oddly named med that is supposed to help him not catch the flu or something.

I don’t know for sure.

I wasn’t there.

I was writing.

And finishing


50 K words


and sanity returned to the house…

or at the very least…

clean clothes.

(laundry suffers during November – NaNoWriMo takes hostages.)


Filed under Children, Dot, Every Day Life, Jacob, Parenting, Writing

A Reply to my Turkey

Dear the Turkey,

You tasted




The Family

P.S. Don’t worry, the pig is next.

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor

A Plea From my Turkey

(as written by Dot)

Dear the *Family,

Please do not eat me for Thanksgiving. I have three reasons why you should not eat me.

One is because ham tastes much better than turkey.

Two is because I am cute and adorable.

Three is because if you eat me I can’t be your pet and I am very helpful and responsible.

So why don’t you go get a





rather than a small, scrawny, adorable, helpful and responsible turkey. I’ll even change the dirty diapers. I will also babysit the kids, but that will only happen if you



The Turkey

*She had our last name here, but I took it out for blogging.

The only other things I  changed were the color, sizing, and separation – though the final “do not eat me” was original to her letter.


Filed under Children, Dot, Writing

Slaying Monsters

James loves to do battle.

He’s great a playing dead – tongue hanging out and all.

He will frequently don his batman costume (mask and cape – most frequently WITHOUT anything else on. Just a pull-up, batman mask, and cape – SO funny), ninja costume, spiderman costume, or anything else that is battle worthy.

We try to stress to him that he can’t pretend to kill family members – just invisible monsters.

The other day he went through the house to some very grand sound effects.

“I kill you!”

“I kill you too!”

“And you!”

After a while he appeared in our bedroom with a very proud strut.

“All the monsters are dead.”

I chuckled, and Dad asked, “Did you get ALL the monsters, James?”

“Yes.” He gave a solid nod of the head accompanied by his trademark thumbs-up sign to confirm it.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

James looked thoughtful for a moment.

Dad looked at him. “It’s okay. If you see another monster, give it a hug and a kiss and you’ll scare it away.”

Without missing a beat, James flings himself at Dad, gave him a huge hug and planted a kiss on his cheek.

“Am I a monster?”


That is one smart boy. Muahahahahahahahahahahaha 😀


Filed under Children, Humor, James

Finding my inner girly

I grew up a tomboy.

Not one of those cool, sport playing tomboys that is confident and gorgeous and still girly even though she thinks she’s not girly. Who still wears cute clothes, has cute hair, and paints her finger and toe nails.

I was a farm-raised, awkward, klutzy, “boys have way more fun growing up” tomboy.

While some girls were painting their nails, I was digging in the dirt – making the latest race track for the hot wheels.

While some girls were sighing over their first third grade crush, I was decking the boy who tried to kiss me.

While some girls were turning flips on the monkey bars and cartwheels in the grass (gymnastics was the COOL girly thing in my elementary school), I was playing football with the guys.

While some girls were shopping for the latest fashions, I was jumping out the hayloft window into the VERY well-limed (ie: NOT STINKY) manure pile.

While some girls were practicing their first kiss on a mirror, I was receiving punching lessons from my brothers – again in the hayloft.

While some girls were mooning over the latest cute hollywood or music star, I was building castles out of hay bales and swinging from the rafters on ropes.

While some girls sunbathed for that glamorous tan, I raced oil barrels across the mucky duck pond.

While some girls had gorgeous flowing locks, or cute curly bobs, I had short hair and looked so much like a boy that I was often mistaken for one.

While some girls  did whatever girls do at that young age, I hunted critters with my brother’s BB gun, caught frogs, toads, lizards and snakes, and had spitting contests.

While some girls worried about how to impress the boys and what others would think, I burped the entire alphabet.

So, where is all this going?

Well,  I have come in touch with my inner


(somewhat at least).   I painted my toenails for the first time at age twenty-seven. (I don’t do fingernails much – I don’t like the way they feel, but I have come to enjoy colorful toenails.) I also tweezed my eyebrows for the first time when I was twenty-seven.   My sister makes beautiful jewelery, so I were necklaces, earrings, and even bracelets now. I will even, on occasion, wear


but only because it looks good on me (darn it)

I am still a little hopeless when it comes to fashion. Friends have helped A LOT on that front.

Anyway, a while back I got a scarf.

One of those long pretty decorative type scarves that you see hanging on the wracks at the store and think “what a frivolity.” Well, at least that’s what I thought – though secretly I like them.

The first scarf I obtained was a pretty red scarf given to me by a friend. The second scarf came about after attending a writer’s conference with a friend.

There is an unwritten law that if you are a female writer you MUST wear some kind of fancy or decorative scarf. My friend and I couldn’t stop giggling at the fact that at least ninety percent of the females in the room all sported some type of scarf.

We left the conference and laughed our way to the store where we picked out our “writer’s” scarf.

The only problem was, other than hanging the thing around my neck, I didn’t know how to were them.

Finally, after a year or two, I decided to look up scarf tying on the internet.

I can now fashionably wear and tie my scarf.


By now, though, the fashion is probably waning. ha ha. But at least I know that I can fit in at writer’s conferences. Muahahahahaha.

So, what’s next? Six-inch stillettos?

not unless I want to kill my self  😀

(oh, and if you’re a clueless scarf tie-er like me, check out this website)


Filed under Every Day Life, Farm Stories

My Best Pal, Wormy

In the animal kingdom

Some kids pretend to be lions, tigers, or bears (oh my!).

Some kids pretend to be dogs or cats.

Some kids pretend to be fish, crocodiles, or frogs.

But I have never, until tonight, witnessed a child pretending to be a



Jacob has this thing for worms.

A sort of affection.

When he was little he would dig them up and try to keep them as pets, only to be absolutely devastated to find petrified dried worm the next morning. Each of his little pets was name “Wormy”. Even recently he capture three worms, much to his delight,

  “Wormy lives in Ohio too, Mom!”

He proclaimed them to be his “best friends”.

Maybe I’m failing my child socially? I can see the scenario now when he’s forty-eight, experiencing a midlife crisis and talking to his therapist about it.

“It all started when my mom petrified my best friends.”

The therapist would look suddenly concerned, wondering if he was dealing with a serial killer mom and resulting disturbed child. “Would you like to tell me about it?”

Jacob sobbing. “They were worms. She left them out to dry.”

Anyway, pyschobabble aside and returning to original story…

it really should not  have come as a surprise when I found my child wrapped in a blanket rolling and scooting all around the floor while stating (very loudly, so no one would be mistaken)



They have ant farms, maybe I should get him a worm terrarium for Christmas.

But that could be very bad if Liz gets her wish of a Lizard for Christmas.

That’s a family feud waiting to happen, that is. And a whole other discussion he can have with his future mid-life crisis therapist.

“My mom and sister fed my best friends to her Lizard…”


Filed under Children, Humor, Jacob, Pets

a snippet of my latest

Nothing is quite as intimidating as….


It’s there, empty waiting. You can fill it with something great (or a little less than great). It holds all the potential of untold stories, unsaid regrets, proclamations of love and friendship. You name it, it’s all there waiting somewhere.

When I open a new document to start a new book, I stare at the page for a while. It’s a little scary.

It’s white



What if I mess it up?

and then I remember, that’s what editing is for.

November is NaNoWriMo  (National Novel Writing Month). I know I’ve mentioned it before. Probably numerous times. So far I am on track with my word count. My editing on my other book (I originally thought I’d do both at the same time) is a little behind, however. I didn’t intend to do NaNo this year. But I had an idea and after it rolled around in my brain for a bit I found myself staring at a blank page.

And I jumped.

This came out (see prologue below). It’s not great. It’s not polished (this is a 1st draft after all). But it intrigued and surprised me, and I decided

I want to read this story.

So now, I’m writing it.

It’s been fun to see where it takes me, and I’m excited to see where I end up. I get a little writing intoxicated. It’s hard to put down the book sometimes – which is why I try to only write when the kids are in bed. I think the amazing thing about writing is that it comes from me. It’s something I created. I get a little in awe of that. And what is really neat, is to see my kids start to love writing too. That part is awesome. Probably the most awesome.


I love the ocean. The scent of it, the sound of it, the frothy feel of it, even the tang of salt on my lips. My dad often teased me that mermaids left me on the doorstep. That story ended the day after my fifth birthday when my panicked parents found me at dawn asleep on the beach waiting for the mermaids to claim me. After that we moved to a landlocked state in the middle of the corn belt. I wasn’t even lucky enough to end up near one of the great lakes. Mom was convinced the family curse had found me.

Mother claimed my love for the ocean came because of my great grandfather, Ezekiel Horn. He was captain of the Grey Lady which was lost at sea when he was thirty-seven leaving his wife and six children to fend for themselves. She said the sea cursed our family for his nefarious deeds which is why, until now, we never moved back to the ocean. It took all her fingers and toes to count the family members who died a watery death. And now, I need one of my father’s to count them all. Mom died when I was thirteen, a freak accident plunged her car into a river.

Father doesn’t believe in curses, which is why, when his dream job offer came along he jumped at it, even though it was in the tiny town of Newport, Oregon. I wasn’t thrilled about the move, but a chance to be by the ocean excited me. I never thought the move would force me to face my own watery death. Perhaps I should have believed in curses after all.

*(In general I hate prologues, so imagine my astonishment when I realized I had written one. I was both mortified and intrigued. I suppose prologues aren’t so bad after all… as long as they’re short. ha ha 🙂 )

Oh – and posting this was REALLY scary. I get a little nervous sticking my writing out there for everyone to read. Blog posts are one thing, but books (especially when you aren’t published) are entirely different. I mean, what if it stinks? ha ha. Anyway, to all those who hold back like me – listen to my husband’s very sage advice:

“Post It.”

Take a deep breath, and take the plunge.

No adventures are ever gained if you refuse to step out the door.


Filed under Writing

Can I Clean my Room?

Yesterday morning after I’d hugged and kissed my kids and sent them off to school James came up and said,

“I need clean my room.”

I smiled in shock. What kid actually wants to clean???

I gave him a little head pat and said, “Yes you do.” I didn’t really think he meant it – he is only three after all.

He grabbed my hand and tugged. “You help me?”

The list of things to do was very, very long. Besides he shared a room with Jacob and wouldn’t it be better to wait so he helped to? So I replied, “Why don’t we wait until Jacob is home.”

He tugged more insistently. “No, we need do it right now.”

I looked into his earnest little eyes. He was sincere. He meant it. For whatever reason he felt he just had to have a sparkling clean room.

So I agreed.

It wasn’t too bad and he helped the WHOLE time. He never complained, in fact for the first fifteen minutes he insisted we sing the clean-up song NONSTOP.

You know the one –

Clean up, Clean up, everybody every where,

Clean up, Clean up, everybody do your share.

Of course, at one point someone in my family changed the second line to:

Clean up, Cleanup, even in your underwear.

It’s been a real stretch to sing it right ever since….

Anyway, we finally finished and my little boy was very happy.

I didn’t think anything more of it until later that day.

His sisters were trying to clean their room because a friend was coming over.  (we have a rule (well, a few actually): no friends in your bedroom if it’s messy – we are flexible to a degree but not if the room is a complete disaster) They were fighting A LOT.

James came up to me and said,

“My friends happy because my room clean.”

It took me a minute to realize what he meant. “James, did you clean your room because you wanted a friend to come over?”

“Yes. Mommy, I have a friend come now?”

“Who’s your friend?”

He thought long and hard. Finally I asked, “What about someone in your primary class? Do you have a friend in primary.”

“Yes. My teacher is my friend.”

So I went to the phone and called his teacher. It will be a while, but James has friends coming to see his clean room next week.

He is SO excited.

And I am so grateful I set my to do list aside.


Filed under Children, Every Day Life, James, Parenting


I’ve been thinking about acceptance today. Not so much acceptance of trials and such in our lives but of people.  Perhaps it’s because as my girls get older they struggle more with acceptance in school. Or perhaps it comes from knowledge of many different kinds.

Everyone desires and needs acceptance. Especially acceptance from friends and family.

I think back on my own experiences. I always had a loving and accepting family. I was lucky.  It was a little harder with friends. Many friends ceased to accept me as a friend because they didn’t accept my beliefs. It always frustrated me. I asked a friend once, “Why can’t you accept me as a friend even if you don’t accept what I believe?”

She looked surprised.

I continued. “Can’t we agree to disagree and leave it at that? Go on being friends?”

She thought about it for a moment and conceded.

We all make mistakes.

We all make different choices in life.

I may not agree with your choices.

You may not agree with my choices.

Does that mean we have to cease to accept one another?

We need friends. We need support. We want people to accept us, foibles and all. Should we not then, be willing to accept others despite choices and beliefs?

I had the opportunity to experience an awesome event a few weeks ago. Our youth group leaders received a call from another religious denomination. They were learning about other religions and wondered if they could bring their youth group to one of our youth activities. A date was agreed upon. We gave them a tour of our building and then, through the 13 Articles of Faith, explained our beliefs.

No one argued, yelled or fought. In fact, their pastor went out of his way to point out the similarities in our beliefs. I could see that he and others clearly did not agree on a few points. But they weren’t rude. They didn’t get up and walk away. They accepted us. They accepted that even though our beliefs and choices might be a little different we could still be kind and loving towards each other.

Dot came up to me the other day and asked, “Mom, why is it that most of my friends have challenges?”

“What do you mean?” I replied.

“Well, my best friend in Oregon had Autism, and one of my good friends here speaks a little funny, and the other friend has some learning disabilities.”

“Does it bother you?”

“Of course not!” She exclaimed, indignant that I should suggest such a thing. “They are awesome people.”

“And that,” I said, “is why. You see beyond their challenges to the people they truly are. ”

I count myself fortunate to have children who are willing to accept and love even when it’s not the popular choice, and I hope I always do the same.

It can take a great deal of courage to ask for and give acceptance.  I hope my children, friends, and family will always know that despite choices and such, I will always love and accept them.

No matter what.

And maybe, if I can do that, I will be able to make a small difference in the world and in someone else’s life for good.


Filed under Opinion, Parenting, Philosophy, Religion

The Entertainment Value of Tampons

I missed blogging Friday, so today (all day long) I kept thinking I need to write on my blog. I need to write on my blog.

The tricky thing is I also need to write my new book.

And I need to edit my old book.

Not to mention all the motherly and wifely responsibilities and such.

So, my time to write gets hacked into three little pieces on Monday, Wed, and Fri.

This is my excuse if I end up writing an icky blog post that’s




But, this post won’t be boring and blah because it’s about…


ha ha (how many readers did I just loose? Bear with me, it’ll be worth it…. maybe)

The other day I was working on something or other and suddenly realized I hadn’t seen James in a while. Now, not knowing what your three-year-old is up to is NEVER a good thing.

The only possible worse thing is when you find the three year old and ask them what they are doing they say


which translated from child speak is


and “nothing” usually mean “something” and that “something” is NEVER good.

So, I walked further into his room – because he was playing very happily in there (which is also not a good sign some days) and I discovered what had captured his unwavering interest. It was my box of


I’m not quite sure what he was doing with them – he could have been using them like lincoln logs for all I knew. Some were still wrapped, but most were unwrapped and ever more were dissassembled. (At least none were hanging out his nose – like in the movie “She’s the Man” which is insanely hilarious, by the way) Anyway nosebleed free and happy he was just playing with his new treasure. Which I laughed over and quickly confiscated. I put them all in a book bag and stashed them in my room.

A little while later I was at my computer (procrastinating writing) while Robert toddled about my feet. After a few minutes I realized I hadn’t heard from him, and there were strange rustling sounds coming from the vicinity of the master bath. (my office is in my bedroom) So, I went around the corner to investigate.

There was robert

tampon in each hand

happily waving them through the air.

I shook my head. and confiscated the tampons


and closed the bathroom door.

Much later, after all the little kiddos were in bed, I was at my computer again. This time actually getting something done. Paul was lying down, reading. I heard a funny rustling sound. It sounded suspiciously like the sound before.

But the little people were all in bed.

I decided to go take a peek.

I poked my head around the corner and saw our


batting a


all around the floor!

I had NO idea tampons had so many purposes and could entertain so well!

After my good laugh, I told Paul what had happened. (I had already told him about the boys earlier in the day)

I cleaned up the tampons and really put them away that time.

I came out of the bathroom and flopped on the bed, laughing.

“Man, what is it about tampons today?” I asked.

All of a sudden Paul pops his head up from behind a stack of pillows, a tampon stuck in his nose. “I have no idea.”

And I thought it was funny in the movie.



Filed under Children, Every Day Life, Humor, James