Sunday, April 25, 2010

Plan B

The last few days have been rough between me and my five year old daughter. I'm not sure all the reasons. We are VERY different.

She LOVES the color pink, I'm not a fan.
She LIKES jewelry, I forget to wear it.
She LIKES cats, I like dogs.
She's a girlie girl, and I'm, well, not.

But, just being different isn't the reason, well not the main one. She has been having trouble obeying...specifically telling the truth. We have dealt with this issue a few times and I seriously thought she figured out that telling the truth was so much better than sipping vinegar. Guess she's forgotten.

So, Plan B
Mother/Daughter Dates.

This morning we had our first....just the two of us. It wasn't anything spectacular or grand. It was breakfast at 7-11. Yes, you read right 7-11...
We sat outside under the umbrella tables. She with her chocolate covered doughnut and strawberry yogurt. Me with my "xiao bing" (Chinese pastry) and latte.
We talked about school and her friends.
She daydreamed about a princess and prince marrying....which she told me was me and Uwe (ok, that was cute).

Today was better....really good. Maybe she is just getting to that age where she needs special time with her mom. She is the youngest and her sister has special needs, which requires more attention. So, I think that we will be having Mother/Daughter Dates more often. Maybe once a month...time where we just get to hang out and talk. I'm sure as she gets older I will come to really appreciate these times together....just the two of us.

For those of you who are mothers to you do anything like this? For those of you that are daughters.....did you have times like this with your mom?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

WIP: not much, but first book review

OK, I let Wednesday slip by again...but this week I did actually work on my WIP a bit more, not much though. Excuses? You want excuses? (I do because two weeks in a row is not so good...)
1. Hero Games....planning, prepping, and attending. (my blog about it, click here)
2. Visit from two dear friends (Cindy Fox and Libby Stephens) that we haven't seen in four overseas makes you very appreciative of friends "dropping by".
So, there are my reasons....only two, but I believe good ones.
Now, what did I get done?
1. I finally sent "The Contract" to a friend to critique. She returned it and I looked at her comments. Like them, but haven't changed anything yet...due to the above reasons. Thanks Amy for great ideas and thoughts!
2. Edited more on the "Mei Mei" story.
3. And from this blog got the idea to get pictures for my characters for my novel that is untitled. Thanks Lisa!But, again due to the reasons above, I haven't looked for faces yet. I may even do the poster board it!

So, here is my very first book review....
"Al Capone Does My Shirts" by Gennifer Choldenkow

I picked this book up at the school library. I'm so thankful that I can get books there as a parent to student/wife to principal. The title really intrigued me and seeing that it was a Newberry Honor book, I definitely wanted to read it.
I have to tell you, I was crying by page 30.
What?!?!?! Yes, you see this book really spoke to me in ways that it may not speak to everyone. I am a mother to a special needs daughter. I also have a son who is just like "Moose". Having this book written as a journal from the POV of Moose was brilliant. She captured the sibling of a special needs child really well. Gennifer Choldenkow is a sibling, herself, to a special needs sister. So, she really understands and got the message across. I loved this book...if you can't tell. Not just because of the special needs aspect, but having the setting on Alcatraz Island with Al Capone was very unique. I believe I learned a bit about that time era and finished the book wanting to explore that prison and era more.
If I ever get to SF, I'm going to take the tour...

Friday, April 16, 2010

My Heroes...

Growing up, my heroes were the "Duke" boys of Hazard County....

Partially because they were just sooo cute....but honestly it was that they raced General Lee through some wild mazes and jumps, most always escaping the evil Boss Hogg and his troops. Between the ages 5-10, they were my heroes. I had a nightshirt of the Dukes, I named my pet turtles after them, and I had a few General Lee cars. And everyday out at my grandparent's farm, my cousin (btw, also a girl) would pretend we were Bo and Luke Duke....Pa had a junkyard with a few rusty cars in it. We'd spend hours jumping through the windows pretending to race over dirt roads or jump ponds to make the great escape.

OK, I've grown up a bit and my heroes have changed over the course of those years. This past weekend we were involved with "I Am a Hero Games". This is a field day for kids with special needs. This event always makes me stop and think about who my heroes are. So, today I want to recognize my they are heroes...

So, my first Hero goes to Matthea, my daughter with Cri-du-Chat. This is the first time she ran without her "Buddy" holding her hand. She did trip and fall at the beginning of the race, but got up and with encouragement from her "Buddy" and from the other bystanders she ran to the finish line. She LOVED this day!

Matthea running the 50m with her "Buddy" from TAS. Uwe is in the back cheering her on to finish.

My second hero goes to my youngest daughter, Megan. She's five. This could have been a day where she could have complained and whined about not getting to participate with the other kids, but she didn't. In fact, she helped out by holding the flag with her friend. She loved cheering for the kids as they ran across the finish line.

Megan doing her "job" with her friend. (she's the one with the blue pants)

My third hero is Marcus. This guy is just growing up way too fast for me. (I know, all parents say that!) He was a runner for this day. That means he took score sheets to the score table so that they could be recorded on each child's certificate. Again, not a complaint about having to help out.
Marcus going around checking for finished score sheets.

My fourth and final hero is my husband. Without his vision for "I Am a Hero Games" this day would not have happened. He and his friends plan these events and put them on, not just for our family but for other families with special needs children. They created a day where the kids can be kids and the parents can be parents no matter the disability.
Uwe talking with a mom before the games began.

"I Am a Hero Games" is a day to celebrate life.
For one morning, a child with special needs...
is cheered for not shunned
is praised, not scolded
is adored, not despised
is a Hero, not a "Nobody"...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Just Call Me 'Wendy'

Wendy Who?

Peter Pan's Wendy? (well, I wouldn't mind flying off to Neverland...)

Wendy from the movie Sandlot? (ahhh, to be a hotty...)

Nope! Wendy from Bob the Builder...

I needed my tool belt today...(actually, I don't own one, but after today I may go and buy one! Can't you just see me with one on?)
Today's episode is "Fix It" Day at the Maurer Apartment.

First plan of action was the bathroom door doorknob. Last week one of my wonderful children decided it would be fun to lock the door then shut it behind herself. No keys to be found anywhere! So, I tried to take the doorknob apart myself (not a good idea) and ended up breaking the doorknob. But, the door was still locked shut tight...
I had to call for back up...
My "Jack Bauer" of a husband showed up. "Hiiiiyaaa" and it was opened.
Lesson learned....use doorknobs that don't require keys to unlock....I may go and change all the doors in this place....I LOVE this new doorknob!

Second "Wendy" action of the day....the girls dresser. The drawers were falling out. The screws had come out and the slides had fallen, I get the good 'ole Phillips and put them back on.

With hammer and screwdriver I am on a mission....anything else in this apartment that needs fixed? I'm on a role today!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

WIP out the door...

OK, this was not a good week for me in the writing sense. I got nothing accomplished....I'm not even sure I opened any files to look at short stories or novels...*sigh*

The only big thing I did was start my Fill in the Gap booklist. This was fun as I need to make a list of 100 books I want to read in the next five years. (Thanks Amy for encouraging me to do this!) I'm not very far in the list, but started to read one of the books yeah for that, I guess.

But, I did think about twists and plots a bit to the novel I've not started. I really need to do a character sketch to get in the mind of this American middle school football that is my "homework" for this week.

Another cool thing happened though...tonight while at our Bible Study on "Esther" by Beth Moore, I thought of another novel...I need to hash out the idea a bit more in my brain to see if it could work. But, it was really exciting to me to get this fun YA novel idea.

Off to read a bit more before I head to bed...btw, I'm reading "Al Capone Does My Shirts" by Gennifer Choldenko

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

10 Things I Hate about Fasting...

Ok, I started this fast about 3 days ago with some I can't just "back out" and no one will know. So, for therapy I'm listing reasons I dislike it...many are very sarcastic, but hopefully a bit funny.

1. No coffee at breakfast. This is a killer since I enjoy it so much!

2. Cooking meals for the kids. Can't they just make their own meals for a week? HA!

3. Cleaning the juice machine. This is probably my top one....why is it always such a pain?

4. Vegetable juice...enough said.

5. No coffee time in the afternoon. Love my coffee time right before I go and pick up the kids from school. Actually, need it for sane reasons for when they are all home. =)

6. Headaches. Lack. Of. Coffee.

7. Notice that everyone else in the world I live in is EATING! Seriously, everywhere I walk there are people eating some of the most delicious looking delicacies. Can't I just nibble?

8. The smell of garlic, spicy, food...Indian sounds really good right now.

9. How the day can drag on and on and on; just waiting for bed so you can stop thinking about food, but then you start dreaming about it. (I may have a problem....)

10. Going to Starbucks and not being able to order a Cafe Latte...*sigh* happened last night to me. I had already made plans to meet a new friend there last week before I decided to do this Chamomile Tea I drank. (but had a great time with the friend, so much so, I forgot I wasn't drinking that)

Ok, so there you have it. But I don't want to end this blog on the lows of fasting....I do love how I feel after about day I should be getting there soon. I feel healthier, cleaner, and seriously have more energy. The other great benefit for me is that it gets me back on track with God...I become more sensitive to His leading and guiding in my life.

So, have any of you fasted? What are your stories...
Do you have any good recipes that cover up the vegetable tastes? =)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fighting Independence

This morning I caved into the inevitable. I let my 8 year old son have a bit of independence.
As a parent you know this day is coming. You even want to prepare your kids for it (I mean who wants a 30 year old son still living at home playing video games? I don't unless that kid gets a huge paycheck for playing them. HA!) ...but a few months ago bam, like a bat hitting me in the head he asked if he could walk to school on his own.

NO WAY! my insides screamed out. But, calmly, I told him "We'll see" hoping desperately that he'd forget about this insane request.

HA! Forget? Me delirious, maybe? Maybe even floating on the clouds above reality. My kid DID NOT forget. In fact, he's asked a few other times. And amazingly, not everyday. He's been quite mature about the whole matter considering his age.

Then last night we were reading his Bible. Grandma bought him the Boys Bible: The Ultimate Manual for Christmas this year because he wanted a "real Bible, not one with pictures". (I should have seen this coming at Christmas, eh?) This great Bible has mini devos for boys in it! I love it!
Anyway, back to the last night. We just started reading in 1 Samuel 2:12-21; about Samuel. The mini devo was focused on v. 21 on how the boy Samuel grew up...then it says that boys ages 7-9 go through some big changes, like becoming more independent.

Bam, another bat...seriously need to hide those things or at least watch for them. But, really, it hit me. He is asking for some independence. I talked with my husband about it and we agreed that we'd let him walk part way by himself once in awhile...not regularly.

So, today we all put on our rain shoes, coats and opened our umbrellas and walked down the road. It was a walk way too short for me...I wasn't quite ready to watch him cross the intersection by himself. But, the light was green and off strutted the brown umbrella farther and farther away from my protective wing.
"Am I crazy for doing this?" "What if a scooter hits him?" "What if...what if...what if" were the echoes bouncing in my head. Then a quieter voice rose above the fears, "Dad's at the other side waiting a few short blocks away(in case you don't know, Dad's the principal at his school); and our Heavenly Father who cares so much more for that boy than I is walking right beside him." And to put the final touches of peace into place I saw another family just a few feet ahead of him.

Then I wondered what my boy would do after he crossed. Would he look back at Mom? Would he keep walking never looking back? Or would he run like a caged animal just released?

Then it happened. The brown umbrella crossed the road. It stopped and slowly turned. The umbrella revealed a boy with a huge smile on his face. A quick wave and the sign for "I love you" and then he walked off.
*sigh* Yes, he is growing up.

But, thank you Lord that he is not all grown up yet. And Lord, please allow this time in his life to last a bit longer. I'm not ready to release any more strings of independence yet. And one last request...could you give me a louder warning before I need to release another string? Those "hits" are not fun. =)

WIP back at home

Well, it is Wednesday and I am not in the hospital. So thankful for that. But, being in the hospital I did get my WIP assignment 9 finished up and sent out to my instructor. Update on that is...I got it back this morning. Oh, getting critiqued is not my strongest point...especially before I have a cup of coffee. (Note to self: don't ever read critiqued material before a cup or two of coffee). Actually, it wasn't THAT bad. In fact, when I read it later with a cup of coffee in hand, what she suggested was like, "Duh, what was I thinking...that direction is so much better!" But, the great news is that she is willing to look at it one more time....a revision. Now, I have to cut it down from 800 words to 400....but, just today I did get it down to 550. So, I think I can rework it and have it polished by the deadline, May 15th. *sigh* So, this WIP is not really finished yet...but are any of them "finished" until they are actually published?

The Big thing I noticed in the hospital was how unorganized I was with my writing. I had brought the whole stack of papers, notebooks, and my laptop with me. It was a bit, Monday I spent some time just organizing and putting the short stories into folders to keep track of what I was doing with each. So, now I know where I am in the writing process with each project I've got going in my head...last tally was 11 short stories and 1 MG (which I will be working on like a crazy woman for the next few months (fingers crossed) for my final assignment).

Today, as you already know, I worked on cutting words....very hard to do! But, for something fun I entered some contests. A friend of mine won 4 tickets to go whale watching in Cali. They are there right now with their three very adorable kids taking a nice family vacation. I remember when she won thinking, "How hard is it to just enter?" But, it wasn't until my other friend over at The Green Bathtub posted some really good contests for writers that I stepped out and entered. So, here are the three that I entered today:

1. Susan Fields is celebrating her 100 Followers and is giving away gift certificates to Barnes and Nobel or Borders...your choice!

2. The Invisible Sister has returned from Ecuador and has really fab prizes from her trip as well as a book.

3. Then Lisa and Laura celebrate their 500 follower with a sister arm wrestling match with some awesome prizes!

So, check it all out if you have time.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Easter That Almost Wasn't

I wrote a "poem" about our Easter this year. I say a poem because I know that it's not a classic...but as I was writing about it just seemed to come out in pose. It is corny to say the least, but sums it up pretty well.

I've struggled with thoughts of failure as a mom and a wife. Not having put up any decorations this year; not painting eggs with the kids; not doing the Easter things...and then not really planning Uwe's family party well.
I know, I know...."give myself some slack, I was in the hospital all week", "it's just one year there will be next year",
I think about how God did provide for my kids when I couldn't....the package coming in three days before Easter; Matthea getting released on Good Friday; all the meals that people provided for us; and the party that we had where my kids got to do all the "Easter things"...and then I smile. God is good.

It was two days before Easter and the hospital release was given.
Not an egg had been boiled, blown out...can't believe it.
The apartment was piled with laundry and dust.
No time for decorating, spring cleaning a must.

The children in bed dreaming of their chocolate stash.
Papa with visions of a big birthday bash.
Mama collapsing with so much to do.
No time, no energy, not even a clue.

Easter Morning arrived and the kids help with the plan.
Breakfast in bed, just the thing for our man.
Opa and Oma to the rescue this week.
Care package with Easter toys and treats.

Mama with two of the three still go
To church for the Easter Service so,
Papa and 'thea stayed home to fix
Boiled eggs for the party from 4-6.

An Easter Party with kids, yes Easter might be saved.
A story, dyed eggs, and a hunt for all ages.
Our children were clappen
Easter really did happen