Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Quote and a Contest

Son of a motherless goat!

That's my new favorite expression...and I can't even remember where I heard it. I know it was in a movie, but I can't think of which one. Anyhoo, that's what I said this morning at about 3am when my son threw up in my bed. Poor little guy had a pretty high fever, so I took him to the doctor this morning and they think he has a virus. 

Little boy with a virus = I don't get to go see hubby's baseball team play for the state championship today :( Thankfully, my friend Jodi will be at the game and will be texting me the score - GO WOLVES!

On a side note: In honor of gaining 500 followers (ahh, a girl can dream) Megan Rebekah is doing a contest over on her blog. You could win a nifty book OR a full MS go check it out! Oh, and if you win and don't care to take the prize, you can totally pass it on to me. I mean, don't let my sick child make you feel bad for me or anything. It's not like I could really USE a pick me up. I'll just be up vomit. Is the guilt working yet? hee hee :P

That's all I've got for you beautiful people on this lovely Friday. Hope everyone has a fantastic Memorial Day weekend - REMEMBER OUR VETERANS AND OUR TROOPS!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I did it...

(Isn't that picture hilarious? Not that I liken myself to an elephant or anything. Well, maybe the feet! Courtesy of Google Images)

I finally took the plunge and submitted the first two chapters of my novel to my critique partners. 

Um. Wow. I never realized the feeling I would have when I hit that "send" button would be like, I don't know, GIVING BIRTH all over again. Like everything I've held so dear for the last nine months is now out there in the world, unprotected, exposed. 

The first round of feedback I got was probably 50% good/50% not so good. My partners (who are awesome btw) were totally helpful in pointing out what I've done well and what needs work.

 I actually agreed with them 100%. Wait, WHAT?

I thought that I'd be all territorial and guarded about having my novel held in the hands of someone else...kind of like how I was with my first kid. "NO, you may NOT touch my baby, STRANGER IN THE GROCERY STORE!" I really wasn't though, which surprised me. I think I handled it a little more like I did when the second kid came around, like, "You want to hold my baby? Of course you can! I'm going to go take a nap for an hour or two, mkay?"

The only way I can explain that is: I WANT to be the best writer I can be, and I know that means letting people examine my work for flaws. It might be painful at first, but if you can put your fear/pride/righteous indignation aside, it's going to make you that much better in the end. 

If you don't have a crit partner (or three or four), GET ONE. If you do, THANK THEM. 

Pretty In Ink...this one's for you ;P

*Blog friend MeganRebekah inspired this post. She is doing a great series on putting your stuff out there for feedback. Check it out!

*Other blog friend Jody Hedlund also had some great things to say about what to do with feedback today. Go see for yourself!

** I missed Mommy Monday because I was watching hubby's baseball team win the final four in baseball. We are going to the State Championship! Woo hoo! So excited for his team...stay tuned to see how they do (they play again this Friday, so I will be on the road AGAIN!).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Day Late...

...and a dollar short! Well, actually it's two days late and a couple hundred short, but who's counting? That's what happens when you go on vacation, right? So here's Writer Wednesday and Fun Friday rolled into one...woo hoo!

I just returned from Savannah Wednesday night, and I have to tell you...I WANT TO MOVE! That place is just so stinking beautiful. If you have ever been, you know what I'm talking about, and if you haven't...then you need to go! The tourism board isn't paying me to say that (although, I'm not opposed to taking handouts ), it really is just THAT fantastic. 

As my photographer friend, Jodi, said quite eloquently, "Savannah is like crack for photographers." And she's right. She took some AMAZING pictures while we were there, AND I'M HOPING she'll be opening an Etsy shop soon where you can buy some of her incredible shots! Since we just got back she has been in full mommy mode and hasn't had a chance to get her pics up, so in the meantime I will give you a few pics with the help of my friend Google to show you just how gorgeous Savannah. Then when my girl puts her pics up I will repost and you can bask in the wonder that is Leap Frog Creations.

I'm so excited, because this trip gave me the chance to get the "feel" of Savannah in my blood, which is totally inspiring and has given me plenty of ideas for my book. Since my book is contemporary women's fiction, it was important for me to have factual information about the city. We had a chance to take a trolley tour, which was more than helpful with giving me lots of that priceless info and a sort of street-by-street look at how the city is laid out. 

Another thing that proved very helpful, is that it gave me a clearer picture of the "locals". We drove by one of the housing developments for The Savannah College of Art & Design (or SCAD) and saw their students "in their natural habitat" as the trolley driver so aptly put it. We ate at the (previously mentioned) Lady & Sons restaurant, owned by Food Network personality, Paula Deen, and I got to get a taste of the local flavor, literally.

All in all, it was an incredible trip (except for the part where my three year old woke up at 1 in the morning and wouldn't go back to sleep. Tune in Monday for that story!). Time to get writing and get all of this creative energy out! 

Everyone have a great weekend!

*** Okay, so, not winning any Wife of the Year awards here! I got so excited about telling you all about my trip and what I learned that I forgot to mention that hubby's baseball team WON and are on their way to the final four for baseball on Monday! Woo hoo!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

This Mommy's Packing Her Bags

...for a trip to Savannah!

If there's one thing I loathe, it's packing. Well, not so much the packing part, but the laundry part. Man, I hate laundry. If I ever commit a crime punishable with jail time and they put me on laundry duty, you can bet your sweet potatoes I'm going to be all over the news for busting the HECK outta there the minute they say, "Lights Out". 

Now, if they put me on yard detail? That'd be another story. They'd have to kick me out! Three square meals a day cooked FOR me and TV time? I don't even get that at home! Prison is like Club Med for Mommy!

Not that I ever would commit a crime

*I realize that prison is a horrible place. I really do. You know, just in case there's anyone reading out there who's done actual jail time. Have I mentioned you look GREAT today? Because, really, you do.

So. Packing.

I heard somewhere that you should pack everything you think you'll need and then only bring half of it. That person obviously didn't have kids, because that's just crazy talk. I am, however, only bringing what I really, really think I'll need, because we have to squeeze two mommies, four kids, and all the necessary accoutrements into an SUV. And one of those kids (I'M LOOKING AT YOU, YOUNGEST SON) still isn't potty trained, which means I will have to bring a bag of pull-ups, which takes up half the truck. 

I may or may not be able to post Wednesday, depending on whether or not our team wins or loses, so if I don't talk to y'all until Friday...have a great week!

What's your least favorite thing about traveling?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Time to Put Some South in My Mouth!

My husband's baseball team (he coaches Varsity baseball at the school where he teaches) just won their first round of playoffs last night. I just found out that the next round of games are going to be played in SAVANNAH, GEORGIA! 

Why am I so excited?

Well, for starters, that their team is winning. They won the Georgia A State Championship last year, and they have a really good shot at doing it again this year.

But the REAL reason (sorry honey!) that I'm doing cartwheels is...THE LADY & SONS. Paula Deen's restaurant in downtown Savannah. By far THE BEST food I've ever tasted in my life.

*Photo courtesy of Google Images
Her Fried Chicken is THISCLOSE to heaven. And she makes these Gooey Butter Cakes that are TO.DIE.FOR. I'm all about some southern cooking y'all. I might've been born and raised in Florida, but I'm a Georgia girl at heart. My mom and I and my friend Heather actually got to meet Paula's sons, Jamie and Bobby, and they were just as sweet and gracious as they seem on TV. 

I mean, come on, who doesn't love a man that loves his mama?!

An added bonus? The setting for my novel is Savannah, so I actually get to do some research while I'm there! I visited Savannah on a family vacation a little over two years ago and fell in love with it. It's #1 on my "Favorite Places I've Visited in the United States" list.

So next Tuesday, my girlfriend Jodi (her husband is the head coach of the team) and I will be loading all four of our kids into her truck and heading south! So, if you're traveling through Georgia and you see two mamas on the side of the road with a port-a-potty seat, it'll probably be us! 

What's the best place you've ever visited?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Back That Thing Up

That might've been a rap song I danced to in high school, but that's not why I'm using that title today.

My son dropped my laptop yesterday. 

I repeat, MY SON DROPPED MY LAPTOP YESTERDAY. The laptop containing all 50,000 words of a little thing I like to call MY FIRST BOOK.

For any Sex and the City fans, I felt a little bit like Carrie in the episode where her computer crashed (although, mine LITERALLY crashed, like onto the floor). It's a funny little clip if you have a couple minutes (don't worry it's totally G-rated).

My poor little guy, all he wanted to do was play his favorite computer game, but the laptop was sitting on top of the fireplace, you know, so little hands couldn't reach it. Apparently, those little hands could reach it after all.

I was upstairs in my bathroom doing my hair when I heard a giant crash, followed by a, "I didn't mean to! I didn't mean to! It was an accident, Mommy!" Of course, my Mommy reflexes kicked into high gear and all I could ask him was, "Are you hurt? Are you bleeding anywhere? Are there any severed appendages lying around here?" Hug, hug, kiss, kiss, "It's okay, sweetie. I know it was an accident. Now go play in your room for a bit, mkay?" 

Then I turned to look at the wreckage. As I picked up my computer to survey the damage, all I could see were dents in the top and a blank white screen, and all I could hear was rattling, which meant loose parts inside. Yikes.  

When was the last time I saved my manuscript? What about my outline? What about the ten pages of cuts I had just made and put into a separate document? Did I save it to my external hard drive? DON'T PANIC - DO. NOT. PANIC. 

And that's when I started to panic. I didn't stop panicking until...oh wait, I haven't stopped yet.

Fortunately, I had emailed the entire document to myself the two days ago, so the majority of my novel was recovered (all but about 5 pages that I had worked on yesterday). Unfortunately, those ten pages of cuts and that outline were not saved on my zip drive or emailed to myself, so they could be lost forever. 

Lucky for me, my  husband is sort of a tech genius, so he knows a guy who can fix it. That's sounds so mafia-esque, doesn't it? "My husband knows a guy." But this guy isn't someone who can off someone, he's a tech nerd who can possibly salvage my precious pages...even better in my book.

So today's lesson: BACK UP YOUR WORK. EVERYTHING. Save it to an external hard drive, flip drive, zip drive, email it to yourself, save it to your wireless network, whatever you have to do. You would think I would've done that, but I got a little lazy. Don't make my mistake!

Have you ever lost your work? How much? How did you handle it?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Thorn in My Side

Hey Kids! Are you ready for a biology lesson? Here we go!!!

I've been having pain in my side for several months now, and only recently has it gotten to the point where some days it's unbearable. And by unbearable, I mean feeling like someone is stabbing me with a butcher knife and twisting it just for giggles. Is that descriptive enough? No? What about poking me with a searing hot skewer. Or scooping my insides out with a garden shovel. 

I think you get the picture.

I've seen several doctors, the most recent a gastroenterologist, and none of them can seem to tell me what it is exactly that's wrong with me. I've had ultrasounds, a CT scan, and blood work - all of which have come back with nothing conclusive. The GI doctor thinks that it's muscular, so he suggested to me a few weeks ago that I get a cortisone shot in hopes that it might help. God bless him for trying, but all it really did was FREAKING HURT and leave a really nasty bruise. Now he has me on anti-spasmatic (that's a mouthful, right? and also something that seems more appropriate for my off the wall kids) medication to help ease what he thinks is deep muscle pain. Well, it's not working either. My next step is laparoscopy and that is just not at all convenient at the moment.

What's a Mommy to do? I feel a little bit like how I felt after I had my c-section and wasn't supposed to lift or bend or cough the wrong way - how is a mother supposed to do that? I've kind of gone into a zen-like state while trying to manage my pain. I try to ignore it as best I can to get through the day (with a healthy dose of ibuprofen and a few visits with my heating pad), at least until surgery becomes either totally necessary or a bit more conducive to our schedules.

Have you ever been overwhelmed by pain (physical or emotional)? How did you manage?

*On a side note, I had a LOVELY Mother's Day thanks to my hubby who let me sleep in (PURE BLISS) and painstakingly painted all my patio furniture. I hope all you mommys out there had a great one too!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Right Down to the Feet

Given that Mother's Day is this Sunday, I thought it only proper that I let the whole Internet know how much she means to me.

Internet, meet my Mom, Carol.

Now, this next statement may not be very flattering to her, but I will make up for it in a minute - I swear Mom! 

We share what I like to call "elephant feet". Our feet (heels to be more exact) are so rough that the minute we walk into the nail place for a pedicure the women look at each other like, "Uh-oh, time to break out the heavy grit sand paper!" They earn that tip, lemme tell ya. 

But that's not all she's given me. I have her skin, her affinity for birds (see previous post), her sense of humor, and her inability to hide any sort of emotion whatsoever - we wear our hearts on our sleeves and our tears on the fronts of our shirts.
But more importantly, my mom has given me her unconditional love and support my entire life. She is the kindest and most selfless person that I know, and I can only hope to be half the woman that she is someday. 

Mom, I love you so much. I hope this Mother's Day is your best one yet.


Your Daughter

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

If at first you don't succeed...

So there's these birds.

I'm not sure if they're swallows or finches or idea. I really should know, because I LOVE birds, proof that I am totally my mother's daughter. She's the one who talked me into putting a bird feeder in my back yard, she's the one that bought me the hummingbird feeder for my kitchen window, and she's the one that bought all of the ornamental bird figures in my house (I have 5...8 if you include chickens as birds. Should I rephrase? I love fowl? That encompasses birds AND chickens right? I digress.) Stay with me, there's a great point here - I swear.

So the birds. They fly around the front of my house like kamikaze pilots because apparently, my house is crack for birds. Well, they're back again, and just like last year they have built another nest! 

Now, the first time they did this, I thought, "Oh, how cute! I have a nest! In my light fixture! Squee! I love birds!" That was before we discovered that one of those little birdies had gotten stuck and we found out a little too late (may it rest in peace) and I crumbled into a blubbering, sobbing mess. 

Now, I'm sure that the little birdies know what happened to their poor, unfortunate friend. However, they are single-minded in their task - they will not be swayed! They will build this nest regardless of the consequences! 

So what's the moral of the story? TRY AND TRY AGAIN! Did you write your first draft only to discover it was a disaster and that you had to start over from scratch? Maybe you're up to your eyeballs in edits, and can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe life got in the way - that happens. 
Just remember - if you want it...NEVER GIVE UP!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Without Further Ado

This Mommy's Life has returned, and I have to tell you: I AM SO VERY HAPPY.

While the (longer than expected) break was really wonderful, I have to admit that I've felt a little lonely without talking to all of you. That's the funny thing about a blog - you have friends all over the place that you talk to almost daily (and, when you're lucky, they talk back!). I not only took a break from writing here, but from reading around the Blogosphere. So, I've missed you...A LOT.

 And just to give you an idea of what YOU'VE missed, I thought I'd give you a few highlights from my absence.

- On Christmas Eve I turned 29. Yes, I am officially in the last year of my twenties. Sigh. On a happier note, my hair decided it was already thirty and gave me a few grays for my birthday. Awesome. Truth be told, they might've been there longer than I thought. I thought I'd try to grow my colored hair out to figure out what my natural color was again, not thinking that my natural color might include the word GRAY. I promptly plucked the suckers out and gave them a proper burial (down the toilet). 

- My oldest son celebrated his 5th birthday, and will be entering Kindergarten this year (A point I will not dwell on at present, unless you would prefer this post to be completely incoherent rambling about how the years have gone too fast and my baby is growing up and soon he'll be married and leave me forever...yeah, you get the idea). He has become better at using a computer than I am, proving further that he truly is his father's son.

- My youngest son celebrated his 3rd birthday, and I can pretty confidently say that he will ALWAYS be a mama's boy, since I can barely go to the bathroom without him attached to my hip. He is also VERY into Iron Man right now, which is okay by me, because I am VERY into Robert Downey, Jr. ;P (If you grew up in the 80's and didn't have a crush on Robert Downey, Jr. then we can't be friends. Speaking of growing up in the 80's, has anyone seen Molly Ringwald lately? She looks fantastic! I'm totally buying her new book.) 

- I got a cortisone shot in my stomach for some pain I've been having recently. That was an interesting experience, LET ME TELL YOU. I still have the bruise, and it's been three weeks!

- I haven't burned anything in my oven (try to handle your disappointment), but I did manage to melt a sippy cup lid in my dishwasher! You're welcome.

- I have been busily working away on my novel (more on that on Writer Wednesday), but the process has been S-L-O-W going. And I'm okay with that. I'm going to get it done one of these days, but for now I'm content with small accomplishments.

Wishing you all a wonderful Monday - it's good to be back.