Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Writerly advice (and advice in general)

If you want to get anything done, stay off of your blog. And the internet. I'm finally home from over 2 weeks of vacationing, so my husband is in desperate need of non-wrinkled shirts for work. (I kind of let the ironing pile up before we left.) So what did I do? I set up the ironing board...then I logged in to Blogger while the iron heated up.

Next thing I know, 45 minutes is gone. Sure, I got caught up on some blog reading, and even managed some interaction with the kids (why yes, children, you may have another chocolate if it keeps you from bugging me while I glean important information from my fellow bloggers).

My darling #4 has been begging me to iron her little plastic shape thingies since the first week in December, so I did manage to pry my eyes away from the screen long enough to do that (and no, I haven't ironed this whole month - I have an 8 item rule before I lug out the ironing equipment. And yes, it's sick that my husband has that many dress shirts.)

So this is me staging an intervention for myself. Must. Get. Away. To iron.

What should you be doing right now instead of reading (and of course, commenting on) my blog?


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Blog Awards and Happy Holidays

I'm still in holiday mode, but thought I'd take the time to nominate 3 people for the One Lovely Blog award I got while I was away.

Also, a big shout out to Natalie Bahm for giving me the Kreativ Blogger award a couple of days ago. Thanks so much, Natalie!

The Kreativ Blogger award has a few rules attached, so I'll do that first, with nominations to follow.

1.Thank the person (or people) who gave you the award.
2.Write 7 things about yourself we do not know.
3.Choose 7 other bloggers to award and link to their blogs.

First off, thank you Kelly and Natalie both for those nominations. I know they're all over the place on the internet, but it made me feel really good to have you think of me. :)

And now, without further ado I give you:

Seven things you may not know about me (and may wish I had never shared)...

1. The only thing I've ever wanted to do in my life for as far back as I can remember, is have a big family and stay home with my kids. I call myself a professional mother when I fill out forms that ask for an occupation.

2. I sometimes feel like an underachiever for only having 5 kids, even though I've also had several miscarriages and a stillbirth, and I'm pretty sure my body couldn't handle any more. (I'd have probably kept going 'til my uterus fell out, or I ended up in a wheelchair. Fortunately, my husband thinks our family is the perfect size, and has saved me from crippling myself.)

3. I've only ever had one English teacher (12th grade English B) who "got" my writing style and appreciated my humour. Up until then, I thought I could write, but really wondered if I was any good. He gave me tons of encouragement, and made me feel like there could be others out there who might enjoy what I wrote too.

4. I love music, but find it incredibly distracting when I write. Oddly enough, I can write with a room full of kids.

5. I was one of the elite few in the air after the September 11th attacks. We lived in a relatively remote northern region, and I had a miscarriage. I was hemorrhaging, so I had to be life-flighted to a big city hospital. There's nothing like taking in the beautiful scenery while being stabilized at several thousand feet in the air.

6. When I read books, the voice in my head has the same accent of the character. I also start using an accent if I'm talking about certain people or things. When we were in Mexico, I was speaking English with an accent. I don't even speak much Spanish (although my husband does).

7. I love taking things apart, putting them together, or just plain fixing stuff. Home renovations are a source of pure joy. Home improvement stores are my own personal heaven. If I got tools for every special occasion for the rest of my life, I'd consider myself the happiest person alive. It's a sickness really.

Okay, so, um, try not to hold any of those things against me :)

My nominations for Kreativ Blogger award are:

1. Princess Hairstyles - I'm pretty sure this shouldn't even count, but it's fun and Holy Catfish, Batman! this lady can do her kid's hair. That little girl deserves an award for sitting through all that hair pulling! Obviously she enjoys having her hair done, although when a fancy 'do only takes a couple of minutes, I guess it's not that bad. My girls would have to sit for an hour for me to do a messy version. I may be handy with the power tools, but when it comes to my daughters, they're relegated to a life of 'au naturel' until they can do their own hair (or develop the ability to sit for 2 hours until I can get it right).

2. Susan at A Walk In My Shoes - I know she's received this before, but I love how she ties different shoes into writing. She's got some fabulous insights into the writing process, and I've learned a lot from her. As an added bonus, it's also fun to see all of those funky shoes. It must take forever to find the right ones to go with each post!

3. Carrie at The Wonder That Is My Blog - Oh my gosh, she is hilarious! And she's a member of the semi-secret order of the blog ninja. I don't know what that means, but it sounds extremely important. I just realized that I'm not even following her (I haven't transferred all of my faves from my favourites folder yet). Er, nevermind.

4. Milli at Fear of Writing - Great tips for getting over your fear of writing, as well as for successful 10k days (which can really give you a good jump start). Though I haven't actually done a full ten thousand words in one day, I've become a 10k day addict. A great little supportive community, and Milli is absolutely wonderful.

5. Mette Ivie Harrison - Okay, not necessarily creative,as it's simply a livejournal account, but I love reading her entries. She talks about life with kids, getting published, doing triathlons, taking piano lessons, and SYTYCD (among other things...). I haven't read her books (yet), but she writes excellent articles for Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show (which is where I found her).

6. Shannon Hale - Is it lame to give a blog award to author sites? Probably, but she is a delight to read. She went on book tour with Libba Bray a while back, and I seriously thought I would pee myself laughing reading about their shenanigans. And Princess Academy is one of my most favourite books of all time.

7. Terresa at Chocolate Chip Waffle - I'm sure she's been nominated a zillion times for this one, but this mother of four is a fabulous poet, and has a way of weaving her thoughts and emotions into her entries that'll bring tears to your eyes. I've really enjoyed getting to know her through her blog, as well as through her comments here on mine. I also have to give her the One Lovely Blog award, because it really is one of the most lovely blogs out there. Anyone know if there's a One Kreatively Lovely Blog Award out there?

My 2 other nominations for the One Lovely Blog award:

Erin over at Welcome to Littlefield, TX - She's a busy mother of two who teaches college English courses. Her writing is poignant, funny, and introspective. And her kids say the best things ever. I actually know her in real life, and love her.

Elise at Elise Murphy Books - She doesn't post very often (probably too busy writing like some of us ought to be...ahem), but I love her thoughts whenever she puts them down. She also takes wonderful pictures, and I'm enthralled with hearing tales of her life on her farm, as well as her adventures in writing.

Phew - this sure ended up being a long post! Hope you stuck with it.

I'm hoping to resume regular blogging after hanging with the kids* for their last week of holidays, so if I don't talk to you before then, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!


*aka: dance parties in the living room. Hope the neighbours don't mind us cranking the tunes...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Back 2 Life

Well, I just got back from vacation, and there was a blog award waiting for me courtesy of Kelly, who is a new face here at A Blissful Life. What a pleasant surprise! I've never been nominated for anything like that before. Thanks for thinking of me, Kelly!

I had an amazing time on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. The water was warm, the sun was hot, and the non-alcoholic drinks were plentiful.* I survived the public transportation, and discovered that when you're shopping, everyone is your amigo. Also, I was able to get lots of colour (a heat rash, but maybe it'll turn into a tan?).

It short, it was a blast, and apparently, my husband and I still enjoy each other's company, haha.

Anyways, I just thought I'd pop in and say a quick hello. It's nice to be back on my laptop again. I've got so much catching up to do, and so little time, but I'm sure many of you can relate to the crazy fun this beautiful Christmas season brings. :)
I'm gonna run, but here's a little picture that was taken from our balcony in Ixtapa, Mexico**.

And the view from the front of the hotel overlooking the Sierra Madre mountain range.

Then, just for fun, let's say that we didn't know what time church was on Sunday, so we were a few hours early and I tried to pick the lock to the yard. Since B & E is not my forté we found out that nobody would be there for another couple of hours, we ended up leaving. Good times though, good times.

Talk to y'all later!


*Seriously, I drank more pop and virgin piña coladas than any human should consume in 8 days. If I never see another Fresca, it'll be too soon.
**I highly recommend it for anyone wanting an authentic Mexican vacation. There were tons of Mexican tourists, but only about 6 white folks in our hotel. The food was great, the service was incredible, and there were barely any bugs (which is great, because I'm scared of bees. And wasps. Well, and anything that can hurt me. Pain is bad.)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Vacation (all I ever wanted)

It's rather oxymoronic to post this after my last winter love-fest, but in a few days I'm heading south for a week to a place where it'll be way too hot and humid...and I'm excited. Hubby and I are going on our first real "destination vacation" in 14 1/2 years of marriage.

Our last little trip without kids was to go skiiing in Idaho, but we stayed in a condo with his family, so I don't really count that (although it was fun to get away and we all had a great time hanging out). I also ended up almost stranded on top of a mountain crying my eyes out. True story*. Excuse me while I have a flashback. PTSD anyone?

And...we're done.

So anyway, after that partially traumatic vacation, I told hubby that our next one had better be somewhere warm and tropical. And maybe alone**. So, when his folks mentionned that they had a time share they wanted to use for another family vacay in a sunny locale, we thought it'd be fun. And then we found out it'd be cramped quarters and that our plane fare could either get us there, or it could get us an all-inclusive somewhere else, we weighed our options and went for the all-inclusive.

Now the bags are packed (umm, over-packed), and we're all ready to go. I'm dropping the kids off at my folks' place (thanks mom) and we'll be off! I may post some old blog entries if I can figure out how to do it, but no promises. I don't have too many to choose from anyway. :) If you don't hear from me for the next while, you'll know why.

Adios, amigos.


*Yeah, when you aren't a strong skier, and your hubby and bro-in-law tell you there's a really easy blue run, don't listen to them (or at least make sure they'd actually been on it). That sucker went straight down the mountain, and got really narrow. There were kids whizzing by me (obviously their parents don't love them, or they wouldn't let them race down mountains where they could slide. right. off). My goggles were fogged up, and two very sheepish men carried my skis and poles while I slid down on my butt. If they had told me I could do that in the first place, I wouldn't have had a panic attack thinking my children would never see their mother again. Tobogganing down was actually the most fun I had the entire time.
**In all honesty, we did have lots of fun with his family. We all get along really well and it's not very often that so many of us can get together.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cold, dark and happy

I love Christmas time. Actually, one of my favourite things about winter in general, is staying up into the wee small hours with the lights off, staring out the window. Okay, that sounds like I've reached the other side of crazy, but let me tell you, it's the best time* to feel the magic of winter.

Nighttime can be surprisingly bright, and the serenity of moonbeams on pristine snow weaves a spell that is only possible at this time of year. Even on a moonless night, the enchantment of the season is as tangible as winter's ardent, frozen kiss on your cheek.

As an added bonus, I get to bask in the warm glow of our Christmas tree for an entire month. I would keep that tree up year round if my husband would let me. I've made the suggestion, but he wouldn't go for it - although he conceded that if we ever have a large enough house, I could have my very own Christmas room. I thought that was pretty generous of him, don't you?

I can't even count the hours I've spent in a dimly lit room - either writing in a journal, or just plain pondering life's many mysteries. I'm not insane (you can't prove it), but I've had a wonky body clock for pretty much my entire life, and I think because of that, I appreciate the solitude that accompanies the schedule my body so loves to keep. (Either that, or I'm incredibly witty and can't get enough of my own company. Don't judge me, I'm just keepin' it real. *wink, wink*)

I love the long, dark winter nights. While it's a little strange to send the kids off to school in the dark, it means I can pretty much live in my pajamas (oh jammies, I heart you). Also, there's the perk of the pesky sun not interfering with my late sleeping. There's nothing worse than finally falling asleep, only to have the sun's rays bending around the curtain to say hello.

I've made peace with the fact that I am a bad day person, and a fabulous night person. (Um, my husband, not so much, though he's better than he used to be.) My new motto** is: if you can't be the person you love, love the person you are. Er, or something like that.

So I say, bring on the cold and the dark. I've got my jammies on, and the lights are low (and my morning-person hubby is already crashed on the couch).

Anyone else out there appreciating winter?


*Not the best time=when you're out shovelling and it's -30 degrees Celcius without the wind chill.
**And by new, I mean I totally just made this up now.