July 29, 2014 § Leave a comment








It’s official. Hiram can read words. He sounds them out and when he realizes he knows the word, he giggles with delight. Every single time. It is one of the most amazing milestones so far and I couldn’t be more proud of how hard he works on learning to read.

A few weeks ago, one of his cousins came from Wisconsin. She’s 9!! (Happy Birthday Emma!) and proceeded to read to her sister, Hiram and Eldyn almost the entire time she was here. Ever since then, it’s been Hiram’s dream to be able to read to his brother and other company who come by (see above.) We’re so happy Emma was willing to share her skills with our kids and have such a positive influence on Hiram!

Also I should mention that Sweet B is THE BEST, most patient reader-helper-daddy I have ever seen in my life. Now that Hiram has the hang of sounding out words, we’ve been spending a lot more time on “story time” before bed. Half the time, I can’t even participate because I’m so busy trying not to cry about how much I love watching those two work together on the word “again.”



Write a Novel: July Update

July 28, 2014 § 2 Comments

After last month’s update, I knew I needed to cut myself some slack. My novel to-dos were piling up, I was overwhelmed, and whenever I actually had time to write, I just sat there freaking out because I knew I was never going to finish everything.

  • My micro story idea was a huge bomb. I hated doing what felt like wasting time writing something that was aimless and uninspired.
  • My character study was done but for some reason, I just wasn’t satisfied.
  • I had made absolutely no progress on what was supposed to be my “first fiction work” this year. No progress. I didn’t think I had a  single good thing to run with and that was making me beyond grumpy.

At the same time, I had an exciting thing happening. Megan and I were publishing our first children’s book together! I was working so hard on the logistics* for that.

It’s funny how out of touch and down a hole I can get myself. It took getting into a complete frenzy before I realized I just needed to stop and think and somehow find the compassion I needed to give myself a break. To do what some might call creative problem solving, others might call realizing the obvious and I call a moment of clarity.

This children’s book that Megan and I published? It counts. The goal of this fiction exercise, as I’ve said to myself before, is to force myself to show people what I write. To practice and get used to putting words I care about in front of people I care about. To let them judge. To feel myself squirm while people read something that actually comes from me. If having a book for sale is not doing that, then I don’t know what is. First fiction work? Check.

Fiction Progress

As soon as the weight of finishing another work of fiction by July 1 was gone, the rest was easy. That last micro story? Skip it.

Microstories July

I’ve revised the Micro Story strategy so that I have more time to read Writing Fiction. Each month, I’ll finish one story that helps me practice what I’ve just learned. I’m almost done with the one for July and am much happier with it.

And Characters? It’s still done. It’s just a character study after all. I know a heck of a lot more about Abigail now than I did then and that was the point. Instead of moving on to Marcella, I’m going to spend the next few months organizing my thoughts about the Fellowship Community (what I call the 8 Houses). I decided to do this because it’s where the energy is.


8 houses progress july

And just like that, I’m back on track. And excited.

*PS – you can pre-order our book right now! They will start shipping next week. If you’re someone who I see all the time, just tell me  you want a copy and we can do it that way instead. That will save shipping costs.

Thanks Aunt Susie!

July 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

Hiram and Eldyn’s great aunt sent them each an animal from down under while she was visiting Australia. The boys lu-huv them and have been keeping very busy building habitats for the koala (kalala, if you’re Lew) and taking the baby kangaroo in and out of the mama pouch. Neither one can decide which one he likes more so they also spend a lot of time negotiating trades back and forth.

I asked them to smile so I could take a photo for their aunt and they readily complied. I still do the thing where I just take 18 thousand photos and hope for a good one but this time they almost all turned out. So you get three.

Company Makes Three

July 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

We got to take care of one of my top three “not my” babies this weekend. Megan’s little-one stayed with us overnight on Saturday. We love taking care of him and it was a great way to see what it would be like to have three kids without actually having to have three kids.

Here are a few of the benefits I noticed might come along with increasing your parenting responsibility by 33 percent:

  • People think up and then accommodate needs you didn’t know you had (but appreciate none-the-less). Example: They play with your kids for you while you shop.
  • People readily accept your kids as an excuse for things.
  • The newest/littlest one is an excellent distraction for the others.
  • The newest/littlest one (provided he is a agreeable) is a great new audience for the other kids who want to revisit the same book over and over while they’re learning to (or pretending to) read.
  • The older kids like to show off for the newest/littlest one by eating all their vegetables and cleaning/vacuuming all the floors in the house.
  • More people give you a smile that can only be interpreted as, “I feel sorry for you because it looks like you accidentally had Irish twins and clearly you really aren’t cut out for it.”

Eldyn: 2 Years + 7 Months

July 17, 2014 § 2 Comments


Goodness, Gracious. Haaaa! I don’t know where he picked it up but whoever is teaching Eldyn to say, “Oh my goodness!” and “Goodness Gracious!” please don’t stop. Ever. I walked into my room the other day and he was looking at each of my scarves. “Oh my goodness! How Beautiful! Oh my goodness gracious!”

Monsters! Eldyn knows about monsters now and suspects they’re in his room. Especially when the lights are off. For what might be the first time until now or forever in the future, the trick that ultimately helped Hiram come around to monsters actually worked with Eldyn too. The trick? We find the monster under the bed and shoo him home to his mama. “Monster, go home! Go see your mom! It’s bedtime!”

Cuddle, not. Wait what? What happened to my cuddle bug? In what I hope is a short-lived phase, Eldyn has started opting out of the portion of our morning routine where I get to stay in bed a little longer because he and I are “waking up slow.” Instead, Eldyn has joined the ranks of the others in the house who have no tolerance for lounging. This morning he was poking my eyeballs and saying, “Open your eyes!” That, little man, was not our deal.

1 Year + 7 Months

7 Months




Now we Hike

July 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

We went on our first official hike as a family over the weekend and then I spent all of today daydreaming about it. The weather was spot on — sunny happy sunshine and temperatures as perfect as pie. Hiram couldn’t get enough of the adventure and Eldyn did his special trick where he pinpoints the exact furthest spot from the start and then says, “Uppie, uppie.”

FYI – Only mama can do uppie, uppie and, despite my best efforts at persuasion, uppie, uppie is not the same thing as a piggy-back ride. “No, I want uppie, uppie on mama’s shirt.” Our fault for hiking too far before turning around. It was just way too fun.

Also FYI – Carrying Eldyn all the way back on my shirt was more than worth it.

Here are a few photos.

Star Ship Stars

July 11, 2014 § 2 Comments

Nothing but raw talent…

starships screen shot

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