And…we’re back

Re-opening the blog attempt #…

yeah, I don’t know either.

The whole keeping-up-frequent-posts-with-no-home-internet thing is a bit of a drag.  It requires discipline.  Which I sometimes lack.

But here goes again, anyway.

I went to my first writer’s conference this weekend.  The Louisiana-Mississippi region of SCBWI held its first ever KidLit conference Saturday at Sacred Heart Academy in New Orleans.  It was lovely.

The take-away:  Write for yourself, revise for your readers.  Thank you, Cheryl Klein.  

We also got to meet Angie Thomas, four days after her debut novel The Hate U Give hit #1 on the NY Times bestseller list.  Needless to say, she was glowing.  Though I suspect that is usual for her.  She was definitely an inspiration.  Yes, I bought the book.  No, I haven’t read it yet.  Really have to finish Octavian Nothing Part II before I take on anything else.  And that may be a while.  

I also got to meet Carrel Muller, who is the lower school librarian at Sacred Heart.  I want my girls to go to school there so she can be their librarian.  She is lovely!  She convinced me I need to go back and fill in all the holes in my folklore and mythology education.  And read do the same with my kids.  She also read a piece of mine (in the First Look part of the program where they read and critique the openings of several submissions), and it was exactly as I would dream of a children’s librarian reading it to little ones.  So that was a very cool moment.  Now if I can just convince someone out there to publish it…

Right.  So on that note, I could use prayers for persistence – to keep showing up at the page, and to keep sending things out, despite the piles of rejections.  Blah.

For those of you who are here less for the minutiae of my writing life, and more for cute baby stories, the lovely children are well.  I’ve picked up two Latin classes at JPG in the mornings, so they are spending the mornings with a friend and coming home for lunch, naps, etc. in the afternoons.

Just through May.  If the headmaster asks, you can assure him I still do not want to come on full time next year.  This experience has been a good reminder of where I want to be.  Home.  Period.  Which, of course, includes the library and the park.  But mostly home.

I thought our chickens had stopped laying, but it turns out they laid all their eggs in the bushes for a while.  Under the blackberry brambles, to be precise.  We found 24 one day, and 7 the next.  We have three chickens.  Three eggs a day, at best.  So it was a jubilee.  They seem to have figured out the purpose of the nesting boxes again, though.  Which is easier, but less exciting.  You can’t have everything, I guess.

We planted some vegetables and flowers last weekend.  (Thanks to Fr. Sam for the seeds!  The wildflower bed is well on it’s way!)  Hopefully there will be pictures…when I get better at technology.  Maybe next spring.  
Book of the week: This Is Not My Hat by John Klassen.  Hilarious.  It should be used in film classes as a study in dramatic irony, and in writers’ workshops as and example of how the pictures and text work together.  No redundancy – each does its own part towards a flawlessly integrated whole.  And it’s soooo funny.

I hope that there will be more posts soon.   And that is not intended as ironic, but whether it is or not remains to be seen.

Such a man!

After supper, Isaac stood on his high chair, wiped his nose with his fist, wiped that on his shorts, and climbed down.
To which Lucy commented, “He’s such a man!”
We’ve taught her well.

Let the omelets begin!

The girls contest that we are well on our way to a farm: Polly, the chicken, has started laying eggs. We are up to three beautiful brown, medium-sized eggs as of this morning.  So we can make about half a breakfast, once a week from our own chicken.

Hey, it’s a start.

Moving Tip #3

Have awesome friends.  We have some pretty fantastic friends. We made a few trips with the pick-up ahead of time, but our friends showed up Saturday morning with a fleet of minivans (and one awesome trailer) and we moved a house full of stuff in two runs. By lunchtime, we were taking a break and deciding where bookshelves should be planted. Our friends cleared the forgotten corners of closetrs, put together our massive dining room table, and didn’t complain about lugging our mountains of junk. They were jpyfdul and encouraging, and even offered to come back for more later in the week. Best moving asset: friends looks ours.

Transportation…or Delicious Snack

Isaac’s new passion: motorcycles. Which he pronounces “moka-sikles”. Which I would like to spell mocha-sicle, and enjoy as a frozen chocolate-coffee treat. Sounds good, right? So now I get a popsicle craving every time we go for a drive.  I guess ttings could be worse.

Moving Tip #2

Mark your boxes with crayon instead of marker. I love my Sharpies, of course, but crayons work beautifully (and you get to see the interesting texture of the cardboard) and marauding two-year-olds can’t use them on furniture. At least, not as easily as a marker. And if you’re like me, it’s easier to find a broken crayon on the floor than your one functional Sharpie, which you put in a “safe” place.

Cheapskate Moving Tip #1:

Best place for free boxes:  the hoppers outside Dollar General.  Other dollar stores run a close second.

“Wait,” you might be thinking, “did I accidentally go to a blog about how to change residences on a budget?”

No, you are still at the blog about my thrilling life.  But we’re moving, hence today’s topic.  The wild experiment of two (and then three) families living in one house is coming to an end, and we will have our own place again.

I’ve not been writing much lately, so now you may be thinking, “That is a wild experiment!  Why didn’t I know about this?”

Honestly, there has been surprisingly little to write.  I’m hoping to have some reflections, which may or may not be worthy of sharing, after I’ve had some time to reflect.  Right now, it’s all about the boxes.  And the Clorox ones are the perfect size for two stacks of trade-size books.  No lie – best discovery, after the box hoppers, of the week.  Since books are literally somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of our non-furniture possessions.

Only downside to these boxes: we snagged some that had dryer sheets or laundry detergent or something in them, and the back of the truck and the house now smell like whatever fake perfumey stuff some people use on their clothes.  It is not a smell I would want to spend the day with.  But hey, the boxes were free.

Review: Dangerous!

Dangerous!
Dangerous! by Tim Warnes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. I think Isaac loves it even more. Sweet little mole is labeling everything…until he meets something lumpy, and bumpy, which doesn’t fit into just one label. The conflict which ensues, and the resolution, are touching. And the labels made me giggle. (Rhododendron was my favorite!)

View all my reviews

Review: Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Stretch It, Shape It

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Stretch It, Shape It
Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Stretch It, Shape It by JoAnn Deak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a good introduction for the girls to what the brain does. I like its emphasis on the elasticity of the brain (though it’s possibly over-done…but maybe it’s worth repeating so many times) and the fact that trying new things and making mistakes is how you strengthen your brains processes. My crew needs to hear that…often. Not too detailed (short enough for a 2-year-old to survive) and plenty colorful, and easy to understand. But definitely just an introduction.

View all my reviews

Review: A Good Day

A Good Day
A Good Day by Kevin Henkes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Kevin Henkes’ work. This is a delightful little book, short enough for Isaac (age 2) to listen to over and over again. It’s uplifting, and (gently) sends a message that I want my kids to learn – a bad day will always get better. And of course the illustrations are fantastic, because it’s Kevin Henkes.

View all my reviews


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