New year, new challenges

As is probably obvious by now, I track years by school years as well as calendar years. Gives me twice as many new years! Of course, I’m rarely ready to start new projects when the new year rolls around, but I do have a burst of energy and attempted organization, so with luck, this’ll mean that I actually get Treachery finished this month. Helping in this are two apps, both of which I’ve mentioned before: Freedom (to keep me off the Internet) and Scrivener for iOS (so I can write even away from the computer).

bee on sedum flowers Continue reading

Three random things

Two-headed monster

(First thing)
Last week, I told the kids we’d do what they wanted for the last day of summer. They opted for the Da Vinci Science Center, so that’s where we spent the afternoon. (Morning was library, comics and gaming store, and ice cream shop for lunch.)

Which means that the kids are back in school now. Huzzah! This, of course, is what I’m grateful for. Continue reading

Half the year is past

hosta buds

This year really seems to be flitting by. I wish I had more to show for it. Despite not having completed projects yet, however, I feel more on top of things. My writing feels more solid. I have plans for where I want to go with my career, which was never a high priority before — I tended more to the “spaghetti on the wall” method.

Family life feels more grounded, too. I still have days when I totally lose it with my kids because they interrupt one too many times, but I’m happy to plan time with them. My daughter and I have actually agreed on one hour a day that she gets my attention, to draw or play or whatever, and because I can plan on this, it doesn’t feel like an imposition. There are still things I want to add in, but we’ll see how that goes, little by little.

I’ve managed to actually complete a craft project (I’ll post about it on Sara’s blog), and I’ve got a couple others on tap to start.

In other words, right now, I feel settled. I don’t know if I’m really as on track as it feels like, but I’m definitely making progress and doing all the things that are priorities in my life. (Well, maybe I could spend more time with friends.) For all of this, I’m grateful.

What are you grateful for today?

Rainy Mondays

hosta leaf

Every now and then, I think I should water the yard. I worry about my blueberry plants (now with a dozen berries!) or the petunia that my daughter’s class gave me. And then, this being Pennsylvania, it pours. We’ve been here almost a dozen years, and I still find it weird — will always find it slightly tone-deaf — that people can worry about a drought if it doesn’t rain for two months (usually July and August). Two months does not a drought make. (It does, however, lead to times when it’s not ridiculous of me to wonder whether I should water the plants.)
Continue reading

Flowers for summer

mixed bouquet

Last week, I didn’t plan on getting much work done, what with it being the last week of school for the kids. Sure enough, I did lunch with my daughter’s class, plus the annual outing with the kids for ice cream. Also did a trip to a library in a neighboring town, plus ran through the car wash because the girl really loves that.

And, of course, different flowers are blooming. Last week marked the end of the peonies for this year, but the rose is blooming, as are the red hot pokers, and the Monarda (bee balm) will be starting soon. Clematis is budding, too. Not expecting anything from the crape myrtles until next month, though. So what do we do with this bounty of blossoms? Well, the girl wanted to take flowers in to her teacher. Hence, the bouquet.

Now we’re back to remembering how to deal with Mom wanting to work with the kids at home. We’ll get it straightened out by the end of the week, I’m sure. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying their enthusiasm.

What are you grateful for this week?

Owlicious

group of owl figures

In junior year of high school, we had to keep a writing journal in English class. At a loss of what to write one day, I started off with transcribing what I could remember of a dream where an owl was taking me to another land to help my friends, and when the owl landed, I asked it who it was. It said, “Don’t you know? I’m you.” Eventually, this morphed into an ongoing storyline with all sorts of friends inserted as characters. (And of course, we all had magical powers and could shape-change into specific animals and had fated true loves … *ahem* It was high school.)

Anyway, ever since, I’ve always felt a fondness for owls (which retroactively included the metalwork owl in Clash of the Titans and any other version of Athena’s chosen messenger). My kids discovered this a couple of years ago, so now owls are one of their go-to presents for me. Hence, the collection that lives on my desk and keeps me company as I work.

Today, I’m grateful for ever-present reminders of my kids’ love. What are you grateful for?

A little summer music

Summer? Well, the song puts me in mind of summer. My daughter’s been practicing a song they’re doing for the spring concert next month, which means it’s been running through my head fairly nonstop. To appease the earworm, I pulled up a YouTube video, which I now share with you.

Life with kids

Liquid nitrogen and burning ships, that’s life with my kids.
Friday, I helped chaperone a field trip to the local science museum (DaVinci Science Center) for my daughter’s class. She found the demonstration of adding liquid nitrogen to boiling water fascinating. (Sadly, I didn’t get any pictures of the resulting cloud.) She and her friends also made slime, experimented with levers, played in a submarine, crawled through a dark tunnel, and learned all sorts of cool and gross facts about animals. I mostly got tired legs, but it was great to see the excitement on their faces. (Of course, my daughter didn’t want to leave at the end of the day.

Then a few times over the weekend (and again tonight), I played a co-op board game with my son. Dead Men Tell No Tales is a very fun game that we haven’t managed to win yet. Our current working hypothesis is that three is the optimal number of players: one each to deal with deckhands, fire, and treasure, but not so many that half the trapdoors are out before anyone even gets a second turn. It sounds complicated, and it is, a little, but it’s a fun challenge where we keep thinking that just a slight modification of our tactics will produce the desired result.

end of a game

So today, I’m grateful for time with my kids. What are you grateful for today?

Health and happiness

Last week, my daughter got sick. At first, just a slight fever, headache, and chills. Wednesday evening, she agreed to just go to bed instead of eating pizza. It seemed fairly mild, so I hoped a good night’s rest would put her to rights.

Not so. Thursday, she still had no appetite, ran warm all day, and put herself down for a nap in the afternoon. I encouraged her to drink, but didn’t force her.

Friday, her temperature spiked (possibly because she’d been under three blankets), and she started vomiting. That seemed to clear things a bit, though, because her temperature started dropping. By Saturday morning, her stomach was only upset because it was so long since she’d eaten.

So I’m grateful for her return to health. What are you grateful for this first Monday of the new year?