Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In which a girl goes away and comes back to blog awards

I'm sensing a pattern here. Apparently I'm appreciated once I leave for a couple of weeks, because that's when I seem to get some blog awards! I'm not sure if it's good that people give them to me when I'm not saying anything...but I'll take them anyway, haha.

I'm kidding, of course, and want to say a huuuuge thank you (see, it's humongous) to Shannon and Courtney for the OTT award.  I also want to say hi to the new followers who stopped by while I was gone. *waves* HI!

Okay so the rules are I have to answer the following questions and pass it on to 5 bloggers...Here goes!
Your Cell Phone? Non-existent

Your Hair? In a headband.

Your Mother? trustworthy

Your Father? softie

Your Favorite Food? I have no idea how to narrow this down. Fresh cinnamon buns, or garlic bread? Shrimp, or steak? I think I'm going to go with anything that I don't have to make or clean up after.

Your Dream Last Night? Hmm, that would imply that I wasn't up all night hacking up a lung. I dreamed of sleeping, but I was awake while I did it!

Your Favorite Drink? Shirley Temple (sprite, oj, grenadine)

Your Dream/Goal? That my kids will be happy, my husband content, and that I will be an agented, published author.

What Room Are You In? living room

Your Hobby? reading/writing, snuggling with kids

Your Fear? That I'll drive off the side of a cliff* and die before getting to do everything I want. It's not a rational fear, and I'm pretty sure that if I got to the other side before I felt I was done, I'd pester someone until they sent me back. I'm stubborn like that.

Where Do You See Yourself In Six Years? At my own book signings.

Where Were You Last Night? coaching #5's soccer game

Something That You Aren't? uptight

Muffins? Blueberry, but cranberry/orange is a close second

Wish List Item? A time machine. I'm thinking I'll be waiting a while for this one.

Where Did You Grow Up? I'm a Canadian prairie girl!

Last Thing You Did? Typed "I'm a Canadian prairie girl!" (not much more interesting than laundry, which was also what I just did.)

What Are You Wearing? sweats, t-shirt, bunnyhug**, socks, underwear (not necessarily in that order)

Your TV? Off

Your Pets? Do all the rocks in my back yard count?

Friends? Too far away.

Your Life? My bliss.

Your Mood? Pensive.

Missing Someone? Friends

Vehicle? mini-van

Something You Aren't Wearing? Just one something? Hmm, I choose Cinderella's ball gown.

Your Favorite Store? It's a toss-up between book store and hardware/home improvement store.

Your Favorite Color? Green

When Was The Last Time You Laughed? 2 seconds ago...oops, there I go again.

Last Time You Cried? Yesterday when I read a very moving article on gratitude (sappy, I know).

Your Best Friend? My hubby

One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? Walmart. It's not like I have a choice - it has everything and is always open!

Facebook? Great for keeping in touch with old friends.

Favorite Place To Eat? Anywhere that family and friends gather is the best!

And now to pass this little award along:

Natalie at Between Fact and Fiction: She's a funny gal, with lots of interesting info, and a talented artist as well.

Aubrie Dionne: I really enjoy reading her blog because I get to see the self-publishing side of things. She's also super nice, and shares letters from publishing houses. I like learning the language of the biz - it helps me differentiate between form rejections and personalized ones. Thanks for that, Aubrie!

Aik: She reviews books and cute little Etsy shops, and also has tons of cool giveaways, which is definitely OTT!

Jen at Unedited: She's relatively new to the blogosphere, but has hundreds of followers. If that's not OTT, I don't know what is. I love following my fellow aspiring authors on their journey to publication, and I really enjoy reading Jen's blog. (and I finally moved her from my favourites to my google follower thingy today - go me!)

Janice Hardy at The Other Side of the Story: Her advice is invaluable, and I definitely recommend reading her back posts if you need some great writing tips.

*Can you tell that I just spent many hours driving through twisty-turny mountains? *shudder*
**That's Saskatchewan speak for hooded sweatshirt, in case you're wondering.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

She lives!

Oh my goodness, it's been a long time, but I've finally joined the (blogging) ranks of the living. I'm playing a bit of catch up, but I'll post again later on because I've got to thank some people for giving me blog awards while I was gone! (Please don't think I'm ungrateful because it's taken so long Shannon and Courtney!) I got into town in the middle of the night and I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry!


Saturday, February 13, 2010


We've been at a wedding for the past few days, so I've been a little scarce around these parts lately...Well, the wedding hasn't lasted for days, but you know what I mean, right?

We're having too much fun with the family, but my kids are exhausted and #3 threw up* all over his bed last night around 3 am. Fortunately, we were able to minimize the damage (and the, um, stench) by stripping the bed and sticking everything in the bathtub. I felt so bad for the housekeeping staff, but they were amazing and kind. Also, the person at the desk went and fished out some extra bedding and didn't even make me come down and get it in my pajamas. It was much appreciated.

Anywho, I just wanted to stop in and say hello. I'm going to have fun catching up on my blog reading when things finally settle down! Until then...

*He's just fine now, but let's just say that he spent a bit too much time at the chocolate fountain last night, and it didn't mix well with being overtired.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A word by any other name (and Tracy has a soapbox moment)

I read a post the other day over at Caroline By Line on children discovering the power of language that really got me thinking (hey, don't be so surprised, it's been known to happen once in a while...). I knew I had to write about it when I went to comment on her post, and my mind was flooded with ways of how language affects my own family. I thought it might make for an interesting ramble on my blog (thanks for the inspiration, Caroline!).

I don't know why I was so surprised by the amount of influence words have in our family, seeing as how I'm writing books and all that - I mean, I'm trying to make a profession out of the use of words, right? And really, I've kind of always been a bit of a word nerd. I've been known to help my kids look up a word and get distracted by some new meaning of which I was unaware, and I've read through more encyclopoedias, dictionaries, and thesauruses than I care to admit (yes, I've read them for fun...I'm that cool).

My obsession isn't just limited to the English language, either. One of my prize possessions is a little Momento Orthographique - a cute little book that has 50,000 french words in it. It's awesome, and I've had it since I was seventeen and in my first year of university. Er, so, for umm, like, ten years. (times two)

So, uh, where was I before I got distracted by my lost youth? Oh yeah, semi-deep thoughts on kids and language...

I'm going to make an outrageous statement here: The key to a happy family is good language.

It's true! I know it sounds a bit crazy, but I hope you'll hear me out. Language is how we communicate, and if the language of the home is based on love and kindness, all kinds of happiness ensues, and communication is more effective. Don't you generally want to listen to someone who speaks kindly to you? Of course you do, and children are no different.

When it comes to children experimenting with words, it can be pure magic, or (impure?) H-E double hockey sticks. Kids often hear a saying and pretty much wear it out if you let them. If it's a good saying, it's not a problem. If it's not very nice,'ve gotta pounce on that sucker before it gets out of hand.

Back when my first 2 were three and four, they watched the movie The Aristocats. Well, one of the bad guys yells "Stupid cat!". For some reason, that really stuck with my 3yo*. Everything became 'toopid. I banned the movie until they were older, and banned the word stupid from the family vocabulary FOREVER**.

I have to say that there isn't much that makes me happier than hearing my kids playing together, telling each other stories, or laughing at some witty dialogue. Appreciation of language can be a family activity! Another thing that makes me happy, is hearing them use good language.

Not that they're expected to have mad grammar skillz and wander around saying "I love you" - "No, I love you more." or anything, but when they are using kind language, our home is a happy place, and a little bit of refinement goes a long way. I'm not talking about snooty, high tea with the queen kind of chit-chat, but if we're a little bit mindful of the things we say, and the way we say them, it goes a long way toward bringing joy to the home.

I'll be the first to admit that my family isn't perfect, but our kids get along extremely well, and I believe it's owing to the encouragement of good, clean, kind language. And the good news is, that it's never too late to cultivate that sort of pleasant environment!

I will warn you - once you've begun the nice-ification process of your family language, and start banning certain words, you run the risk of your children thinking the f-word is really the word for passing gas (which happened to my oldest in grade 2, who was distraught because she let the f-word slip at school. It took me a minute to realize she said the other word for was so hard not to laugh!).

So, now that everyone thinks I'm a total language nazi...
I'd like to know - what's your family language like? What works for you?


*That same child is now 12, and he is still fascinated with words. He'll use a big, shiny, new word any chance he gets, and has been known to sit on a new one for months in anticipation of using it in a conversation. He makes me laugh, but I'm also tickled that he loves words so much that he saves them up until he can use them.
**Also on the banned list: swear words, duh, shut-up, idi*t, s*cks, cr*p, f*rt, p*ke, j*rk