Bee a Reader!

February 28, 2015 § 1 Comment

Hiram’s in the middle of his Read-a-Thon at school. I realize now that this happens in all schools across the country but before I had a kid in kindergarten I didn’t really understand that the Read-a-thon is kind of a big deal. It’s awesome. Of course it is. But it caught me off guard. Here are all things I’ve failed at doing *well* during our first try at the Read-A-Thon.

  • Helping Hiram find time to read for 60 minutes a day and writing it all down
  • Getting pledges
  • Making sure his Bee a Reader! T-Shirt was clean and remembering to get it on his body on specific days. See also: pajama day.
  • Being home and reading in case the principal calls
  • Making a reading corner AND taking a picture of it AND sending it to school
  • Not judging the theme. Bee a Reader. Like a buzzy bee. I just keep thinking, “Bzzzz. Typo.” Which is probably why I am not in charge of thinking of a fun theme that kids will love enough to read for.

I’m actually exaggerating. We have so far done OK and I am coming around on the theme too. It’s just that every morning I wake up and think, OMG! The Read-A-Thon! What are we missing! If you know me, you know this is absolutely NOT how I like to operate. And so I’m stressed out about it.

Next year. Next year we’ll kill it.

Also, let me know if you’d like to sponsor him. We’re “collecting pledges” through Wednesday.


Write a Novel: February Update

February 27, 2015 § 2 Comments

It’s the first month of my personal novel-writing year and I feel great so far. Through persistence, plus permission to just drop a few things that were not helping my process, I’m marking 2014 as done.

8 Houses? That report is done! And I made a map! It’s awesome.

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Short Story? I wrote it. I wrote it. It was kicking and screaming and now I can legitimately say that it’s terrible. But I put it to bed. I know this because since then I’ve been blessed with three new story ideas. This process and the onslaught of ideas that came after taught me a lot about how important it is to honor the story (as quickly as possible) even if it only gets as far as my Mac. I’m done putting pressure on myself to publish everything I write. It is non-productive.

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This year, I’m trying something new. It’s a stretch assignment for me because I really like linear planning. But, I’ve decided to give myself a focus each month and then just do my best. I need room for creativity and exploring and following the trail. Linear is hosing me up.

My worry is that I won’t make good progress. But then I think about how I didn’t make much good creative progress last year so actually, the bar is set very low! So far I have a very rough short story draft and another idea in the hopper that I can’t wait to write. That feels better. I’m going to give it a try.

Here’s my plan for 2015.

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Just one very boring chart with lots of room for surprises!


Things that Keep You Up at Night

February 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

Night after night of no sleep lately. Mostly, it’s been due to Lew being pretty sick, and then not sleeping. That has been a bummer but this post is not about that. This post is about Hiram who, on one of the only nights Lew slept all the way through, woke up and stayed up starting at 3:30 a.m.

At first we weren’t sure why. But here’s e-mail correspondence between his teacher and me that offers some insight:

Good morning –

Just wanted to let you know that Hiram has been up since 3:30 this morning. He was in a great mood when we dropped him off but I thought it was worth noting.


And then his response:

Hi Hadley,

Hiram told me when he walked into the room this morning.  He said swallowing a bug kept him up at night.
So far, so good.


Lew’s Dictionary: Constellation

February 16, 2015 § Leave a comment

Constellation – [kon-stuhley-shuhn] (noun) Animals in the sky with stars.

Eldyn was just sitting there eating his breakfast the other day when he busted out with the word constellation.


He yelled it out of nowhere.

“What does constellation mean?” we asked him.

“Animals in the sky with stars.”

Lew’s getting too smart for my dictionary feature.

Eldyn: 3 Years + 2 Months

February 15, 2015 § Leave a comment


Lew Hates Me: Luckily, Eldyn is my second child and so I understand that he doesn’t actually hate me. In fact, I like to think he loves me so much, and trusts me so much, that he feels safe trying out his meanest bits on me. Just to, you know, see if that’s what kind of person he should be long-term. (Answer: No.) He won’t do anything I ask. Doesn’t ever want to kiss me goodbye and tells me he’s going to chop off various parts of my body. All before 7 a.m.!

Homework: With the addition of his college bed comes a new interest in “homework!” Eldyn has gotten excited about writing letters and wants me to help him by making examples for him to copy. He still doesn’t call the letters by their names. Instead he says, “I want to make this,” and then he makes the letter with his arms. We’ve been practicing a lot of x’s and t’s so far.

Bored Books: Oh man. I just realized this month that Eldyn might be done with all his board books. He’s moved on to the books about ninjas and battles and reptiles. I didn’t really realize how much I love all those silly little books. I scan the titles and remember years and years of reading them over and over to both my babies. Now that I don’t have to read them anymore, I want to keep them all forever anyway. That would be a total waste of space. And books. Why can’t he just stay little forever?

2 Months

1 Year + 2 Months

2 Years + 2 Months


Do You Have Essays to Write? Sign Up Now!

February 13, 2015 § Leave a comment

Hadley Barrows

OKOKOK! Its officially official! You can sign up for my Killer College Application Essays class at the Loft. Click on this link to register yourself or your favorite smartie.

I love seeing it there in the electronic catalog and I can’t WAIT to teach it in July. I know I need to work on my patience.

Spread the word and watch for the print catalog in your mailbox soon.

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2014 Top Ten

February 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

I kept waiting for a time when B and I could hash out our 2014 top 10 together, but then we had several semi-opportunities and didn’t adequately discuss. I guess it’s not surprising. There’s been a subtle shift since kindergarten started. Much more “Do stuff on your own (or with +1 kid) and report back. If I’m not asleep. Otherwise please save for the next time I actually see your face.”

And so, I am doing it on my own and B can read at his leisure. B – please do yours too and report back. If I’m not asleep. Otherwise, document in the comments and we can discuss when I actually see your face. Love you.

Hadley’s top 10 – Not in any order

  1. Nailing a bunch of writing goals including: writing Dolly, Publishing Antler A, getting an awesome writing mentor
  2. Seeing Hiram learn to read
  3. Our family vacation to Chicago (highlights within this highlight include the cave, the sail boat, pizza night in Chicago and watching Hiram watch the Aquatics show)
  4. B and my trip to Tofte last February
  5. Our new front door
  6. Eldyn’s independence (now he can dress himself, sing in choir, explain how he feels and even water my plants)
  7. Cirque du Soleil date night with ALL my boys
  8. Eldyn’s kitty costume – So stinking cute AND handmade. A rare combo in this house. At least when I make it.
  9. Discovering Hiram’s artistic inclinations
  10. The Winter Olympics – it was way too cold and perfect TV watching weather last February. I took FULL advantage and have recently been wishing they were on again.

(It will be interesting to see if I have to change any of mine once I see B’s. I usually change a few, so…)

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