Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's SMASHing!

(Sorry, couldn't resist that title)

Here's how my Smash book is coming along so far. I will add more as I go on, and I hope to add some prettiness, too. I just haven't gotten that far yet.

This section is for blog prompts I've collected around the interwebs. The pocket is for loose paper.

Some of my collected prompts.

And more prompts

This section is "serious" writing stuff - six essentials in a plot, simple novel outline, that kind of thing.

This section is for jotting down ideas I have for posts.

And THIS is my handy calendar section. There are three months here. And this is where to find the calendar.
See? I'm off to a good start here! I'm going to also use this to schedule out posts in advance, so I have more time for other things. While I love this, I'd rather not spend as much time at the computer, especially since summer is basically here and there are fun things to do.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Can I get a redo?

This is inspired by a recent Twitter conversation. With the twelve year age difference in my girls, I have obviously done things differently with Sophie than I did with Emma. Part of this is because I'm older and more confident, but much of the reason is because I just know more now. Resources were available to me the second time that were not there the first time. So, what would I do differently? Lots of things.

If I could take the knowledge I have now and go back in time, poor Emma would have a much happier infancy! Luckily she is fine now and doesn't remember any of it, but I feel so bad now that I didn't know such easy things to help her! Like garlic - I had no idea until after Sophie was born that it's a common cause of gas and colic in breastfed babies. Sophie had a week or two of that pain until I tried eliminating garlic, and then she was fine. Poor Emma had a few months of that. Sensitive diapers would have saved Emma two years of pain and terrible rashes! We learned when she was a few years older that she had sensitive skin; I have no doubt the diapers themselves contributed to her rashes since no treatment worked for her.

Then there's the overnight issues. I can't count how many hours I spent awake with Emma at night, trying to get her back to sleep. Rocking, pacing, "sleep training" (didn't last long), singing, pleading, anything to get her back to sleep. This time? I was too old and tired for that. When Sophie wakes up in the night, she comes into bed with us, snuggles up and goes right back to sleep. The only time I've spent more than a couple minutes awake in the middle of the night was the night both she and Emma were sick the same night (but not at the same time thank goodness). I started this when she was a newborn. I'd put her to bed in her cradle (and then crib later), but would bring her back to our bed when she woke up. When she began sleeping all night, she stayed in her bed all night. There also was no big transition event (or issue!) from our bed to her crib since she was in both regularly anyway. And now that she's in a toddler bed, I don't even have to get up out of bed. It's so nice to have sleep!

The biggest difference, though, is something that can't be changed but I only learned because of the experiences I had the first time around, and it's the first piece of advice I give any new parent: Trust yourself. Anyone and everyone will try to tell you what you or your baby "should" be doing, from your parents to your friends to strangers at the store. The bottom line, though, is that no one knows your baby like you do. Trust your instincts. If everyone raves about a method of sleep training or potty training or discipline or whatever, but every fiber of your being is screaming at you that it's wrong - listen to yourself! There are hundreds of parenting experts, but only one expert on your baby. You've got this.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Tonight after work, after weeks of drooling and dreaming, I found myself at Michael's picking out a Smash journal. I have wanted one since I first saw them, but couldn't think of a reason for one (other than just wanting one). Then today I realized I have a problem - my writing materials are so unorganized!

Were is the correct word, now.

I got the journal, the closing strap with pen loops, tabs, and pockets. I have my first section well underway, and can add to the sections at will. I've written down my favorite writing prompts from a Kind Over Matter ebook (favorites so far - there are many more to come!), two apps I have on my phone, and from Pinterest. I can make notes for the prompts when things come to mind immediately.

I plan to include a calendar, also, so I can plan out posts better. This is my second Blogathon, and I've participated in several challenges since the first, but I've definitely learned this round that I need better organization. I don't have time to just wing it any more.

So, be prepared! Now that I have all my inspiration in one place, get ready to be amazed.
Or something like that.
My new book

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

It's Wordle day as the theme day in the Blogathon I'm participating in this month. Like Tia at Depression Cookies, though, I prefer Much easier to use.
Have a great Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Family fun day

We had a great day yesterday at our town's annual music & fireworks event! We had a picnic dinner, played on the playground, and had lots of fun. Two of Emma's friends joined us, and we found Sophie's best friend there with her family. There were so many boats in the lake, and lots of activities for the kids. The evening ended with the fireworks show.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, May 26, 2012

YouTube fun

Happy Memorial Day weekend! I hope you have lots of fun planned for the weekend, or at least lots of relaxation. Just for fun, here are some YouTube videos that I discovered today. Enjoy!

The first one, the 2 year old ballerinas fighting on stage, cracked me up. I can totally see Sophie and her friend doing this. They love each other, but if they're both in a bad mood at daycare I am told they fight all day! But still can't be separated. The videography in that one is a bit rough, but you can tell what's going on.

The second one is an elaborate proposal from a guy named Isaac to his girlfriend. Watch the whole thing, and I dare you not to smile. It is impossible.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fiction Friday - Part one of a series

This Fiction Friday post will be a bit different. Instead of one contained story (or all I have of a story), this will be one part of a longer story. Enjoy!

"Your mother lied to you. That's the truth."
That is how the stranger approached me as I was waiting at the bus stop for the bus downtown.
"Excuse me?" I asked, dumbfounded.
"You're Lizzie, right? Lizzie Martin, Eleanor Martin's daughter?" he said.
"Yes...," I replied, hesitantly. Who was this guy, and what was he talking about?
"Your mother lied to you about something very important," he insisted again.
Okay, what on earth is going on here? How does he know my name? How does he know my mother? Who is this stranger?
"So, what did my mother supposedly lie about?" I asked him, very skeptical of whatever he might say. Who does this? I mean, who just approaches a stranger at the bus stop and opens with that sentence? I looked him over. I didn't really pay much attention when he first approached, thinking he was just another bus rider waiting for the bus. He was tall, with sandy hair and sharp blue eyes, wearing a long trench coat against the crisp autumn day. His legs were covered in twill pants, and his feet were wearing brown leather shoes. At least he didn't look homeless.
"Joe Martin is not your father," the stranger said all at once.
I felt like someone had punched me in the chest. Instantly I flashed back to my earliest childhood memories - riding on my father's shoulders around the yard, him playing blocks with me, helping me build magnificent skyscrapers from brightly colored squares and rectangles, curled up in his lap with a book at bedtime, watching him work as he tinkered around in the garage, handing him tools from the silver toolbox with the squeaky hinge. "You must be mistaken," I said. "Joe Martin is my father. He's always been my father. I even have his eyes!"
He chuckled at that last remark. “Do you?” he replied.  “How about we discuss this over a cup of coffee across the street?”

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I miss her

I found myself teary this morning. I went in Emma's room to ask her a question. The was she was sleeping, I didn't see a 14 year old girl. I saw the little four year old Emma. I remember how her face used to light up when she'd see me, and she'd exclaim "Mommy!" and throw her arms around my neck, hugging me as tight as she could. I miss that time, when she loved me openly and purely, and didn't care who saw. I was her biggest confidant and first friend. Now she hardly tells me a thing, shares all her secrets with her friends, and doesn't often give hugs.

I know this is normal, and natural, and how it should be. I am proud of the young woman she is becoming, but I still mourn the little girl who was left behind.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Last House call

Warning: If you have not yet watched the series finale of House MD, but want to watch the episode, stop reading. There WILL be spoilers.

Last night was the series finale of House MD, one of my favorite shows. For eight years, this show has brought wit, humor, roller-coaster emotions, and medical knowledge (hint: it's never lupus) to our television. Hugh Laurie is a gifted actor, and the rest of the cast flourished.

When the episode prior to the finale ended with the news that House's parole was revoked and he would be sent back to jail to finish the last six months of his sentence, although best friend Wilson only had five months of life remaining, my husband and I instantly had a theory of how the finale would go. He thought House would die - somehow. I thought he and Wilson would go off on a Thelma and Louise type adventure, evading the police and enjoying the freedom.

Surprisingly, we were both right! The ending was perfect for the show. House "died" in the burning building. Wilson and Foreman witnessed him in the window, saw the ceiling fall, felt the explosion. Then, in perfect House style, during his own funeral he texts Wilson "Stop talking you idiot." The body was his last patient, who had died. House switched his own dental records with the patient's. Brilliant. Unlikely in the real world, but brilliant nonetheless. Just like the rest of the show. House asks Wilson how he wants to spend the remaining five months of his life, and the final scene shows the two of them riding off on motorcycles. Not many series finales are this perfect.

Remember the finale for Chuck

Sweet, beautiful, but achingly frustrating for those of us who watched this couple go from first meeting to a beautiful marriage and partnership. We never knew if Sarah regained her memories. I know I wasn't the only fan to feel cheated. The House finale was much better. No questions left unanswered, no open endings. I suppose we could ask what House will do once Wilson dies, but I am positive he'd go on living, alone, playing his music, enjoying the company of various hired women, and possibly eventually letting someone love him.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Big day!

Today has been a very rushed, very busy day. I had a full day's worth of patients done by 1:25 today. At 1:30 I walked over to the hospital's professional building for a doctor's appointment. That took much longer than I anticipated, so I was late leaving to pick up the girls. Sophie was at her babysitter's house, Emma at school. She had to change clothes and get ready for tonight.... middle school graduation.


But, since I was so late, it was rush rush to get her home, then go back to the sitter's house to get Sophie. We got home literally 5 minutes before we had to leave to get Emma to graduation.

We were slightly late (but not bad).

Then, it started. My baby girl walked across the stage, and is now officially no longer in middle school. This fall, she will enter high school.

When Emma went across the stage, Sophie yelled and cheered for her from the balcony. Emma heard her. Sophie is a little loud.

Then, we went to dinner to celebrate, and I am finally able to rest for a few minutes.

Wait, Sophie is still up...

I'll rest eventually.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Happy weekend!

Saturday we slept in (3/4 of us did anyway...)

The girls snuggled & caught up

In the evening we went to the park.

Today was Youth Sunday at church.

After Sophie's nap, the girls danced in the living room.

YouTube Video

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A car ride

I buckle her in her car seat.
"Tiss! Hutt!" (Kiss, hug. She cannot say the hard c sound yet, or g sound apparently)
"Bye-bye, have fun!"

I get in the driver's seat and buckle my own seat belt. Off we go.

"Mama, bus! Bus, mama! Mama, bus! Bus! Mama bus!!" (every large vehicle -semi, cement truck, city truck, RV, actual bus we see)

"Attoo! (tractor) Attoo Mama! Mama attoo! Mama! Attoo!" (tractors, bulldozers, lawn mowers)

"Burr! (bird) Mama, burr! Mama! Burr!" (this happens several times as there are many birds out this time of year)

"ABCs! ABCs Mama!" (every sign or lettering on trucks we see)

"Boons! (balloons) Boons! Boons Mama!" (a car dealership we pass often has balloons on the vehicles)

"Hows! (cows) Hows moo! Mama, hows!" (we pass a few farms each morning)

"Teen! (train) Mama, want teen! Want teen, mama!" (if I could control the train, this part of the drive would be much happier)

We near her sitter's house. "Mamie Nanny ROOFF! Mamie Nanny ROOFF!" (Tammy, Nanny, Ruth - her care providers)

Every single morning, this is our car ride. Often with the sounds of VeggieTales in the CD player, so random singing along is interspersed between exclamations. Every. Single. Morning.

But, I love how excited she gets at such simple things. She gets great pleasure out of our morning drive - a drive that I used to find impossibly boring. Once we get out of town, it's just farmland and houses, a few subdivisions of McMansions here and there. But to her, it's a fifteen minute variety show every single day.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fiction Friday

Lola pulled up to the curb in front of Tom’s Cape Cod in her silver Jetta.  She often teased him about moving out of the city to “Wisteria Lane” and becoming domesticated, but secretly she loved it out here and was a bit jealous.  The houses were pretty, well-kept, and spaced far enough apart for living. Some people in the neighborhood had small gardens; many had backyard pools.  The whole atmosphere was relaxed.  Lola could feel the stress melt away the closer she came to Tom’s neighborhood and the further away she drove from her hectic city life.

Tom had a beautiful golden retriever named Bella.  Lola and Bella got along rather well; apparently Bella did not view Lola as a threat like she did women Tom dated.  She could be difficult with them.
Tom opened the large navy blue front door and Bella bounded out to greet Lola.  At 6’4, he had to duck slightly to go in and out, and his frame seemed to fill the doorway.  He waved, and Bella wagged her tail excitedly, waiting for Lola to exit her car.  Often when life in the city became overwhelming, Lola drove out to spend the day with Tom and Bella.  The change of pace did wonders for Lola’s mental state.

“Hello Bella my sweet!” exclaimed Lola as she opened the car door and the dog greeted her.  She waved at Tom, who was waiting on the front porch.  She was taken aback at how handsome he looked, how at ease he was in his surroundings.  “Stop this,” she told herself.  “He is like a brother to you!”

“How was the drive?” Tom asked, leading her into his house.  “Bella has been watching for you all day.  I was thinking we’d go to the park since it’s such a beautiful day.”

“Sounds like fun,” answered Lola, putting her handbag and laptop case on the kitchen island.  “I brought a new Frisbee for her.  It was in a gift bag at some fundraiser event last week.  Let’s see who is the better catch, the dog or her master!”  Lola went to the refrigerator and poured herself a glass of iced tea from the pitcher on the shelf.  She and Tom had been friends since their freshman year of college, some ten years ago.  She was as comfortable in his house as her own apartment in the city.  “Which car do you want to take?”

“Let’s take mine.  It has a bit more room.  And I’m sure you don’t want dog hair all over your city clothes,” Tom teased.  They made their way to his SUV in the garage and piled inside.  “Backseat, Bella,” he said.  Lola buckled into the passenger seat and popped a disc in the CD player.  “You have to hear this new band.  I went to a performance last weekend and they are amazing!  They sound a bit like The Killers meets U2 and have a love-child band.” 

As they rode to the park, Lola stroked Bella’s head and let her mind wander.  She had a sudden flash of another life – one involving living in a house with a yard and navy blue front door, flowers under the windows, and telecommuting two days a week.  She had other friends who had moved out of the city and had the same arrangement, so she knew it was permitted by her company.  And the commute back into the city wasn’t all bad, and there was even a train station nearby, cutting her time even more…

“Stop it!” she scolded herself.  Where were these thoughts coming from?  Sure, she loved it here, but for visits only.  She loved living in the city, loved her apartment, her friends, the nightlife.  “Well maybe not the nightlife,” she thought as it dawned on her she hadn’t been out to a club with her friends in quite a while.  She had just been too busy, and at the end of a hard week at work didn’t feel like partying until the early hours of the morning. “Maybe living in the suburbs wouldn’t be so bad,” she thought.  She decided to pick up a real estate booklet while they were out, just for browsing.
“What in the world are you thinking about so hard?” asked Tom.  “This is a work-free weekend, remember? And I hope your phone is off, too; we don’t want to scare the ducks away so Bella can’t chase them!”

“I was just thinking about how nice it is out here.  I might even get a home guide for when I get old like you!” teased Lola.  Tom was all of a year older than she was.

 Tom playfully punched her in the arm, but his heart skipped a couple beats.  Imagine Lola living out here!  He had always cared for her, but the past couple years realized he was comparing every girlfriend to Lola and finding the girl lacking, made up an excuse to break up with her.  He would never tell Lola how he felt, though.  He treasured their long friendship and knew she’d feel awkward and avoid him if she knew what he wanted from her.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The ABCs of me

I found this idea here. It's fairy straightforward - just list the alphabet and list things for each letter that describe me. Sounds fun!

A: American. Although my only siblings are not - I was an only child but my family hosted exchange students. We now have "family" all over the world!
B: Broccoli, beans, beads, boots, books
C: Christine is a family  name going back to the mid-1800s. I'm the only one now that uses it, although several of my relatives have the same middle name. So did my grandmother.
D: Daughter. I am one, I have two.
E: Emma's name came from the main character in a book I read in middle school.
F: Fair-skinned.
G: Ginger, genetics
H: Heat. I'd rather be too hot than too cold. Oppressive heat is no fun, but I can deal with it. When I get too cold, I can't warm up for anything. And I break out in hives (another h word!).
I: Ice cream is amazing. I love it so much.
J: Jewelry. I like it. I like unique pieces, and pieces that my husband or my child picks out for me are the very best.
K: Kids - When I was growing up, I never wanted to have kids. I wanted to adopt when I was older the age I am now, but I never dreamed of giving birth and being "mommy." Now I love it.
L: Learning, lemonade, lasagna
M: "Mama!" I hear this a hundred times a day (and I work outside the home!) but I love her excitement. Marketing - my college major
N: Nice - too nice sometimes. No - I need to say this more.
O: Orange tangerine Mio, orange flavored candy, oranges = good. Orange the color = not so good
P: Peppermint Mocha Coffeemate is my morning saver.
Q: Quiet. Yep, that's me. Mostly.
R: Redhead, reading
S: Sophie's names are family names as well, but on purpose. Emma's were family names by accident.
T: Tall, Toblerone
U: Understood. My husband gets me, and I treasure that. Not everyone does.
V: My first name is Virginia
W: Weight (losing), working (thankful I enjoy my job)
X: xanax - our dog needs it. Seriously.
Y: Young. Emma likes to point out I'm the youngest mom of her classmates. I don't mind though.
Z: Zzzs (never enough), zoo. My favorite zoo animal is the otter.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ginger problems

On Saturday, I mentioned that I'd heard for a while that redheads are prone to migraines and anesthesia problems. Since I had a dentist appointment yesterday, I decided to research that just a little and see if it was accurate.

I've always had problems at the dentist. I consider myself to have a high pain tolerance, but when it comes to this one area I'm awful. I cannot relax enough for the anesthetic shots to work. My face will be so numb I can't feel anything, but as soon as the dentist would start work on my teeth I'd feel everything. The dentist I'm seeing now knows to use nitrous oxide every time. It makes the whole process much easier and smoother. I do still have a little pain, but I can deal with it. The anxiety is gone, and much less injections are needed.

I was surprised at what I found yesterday. It turns out that the same gene that causes red hair also affects how we process pain! This is from an article at Quality Health:
A study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association revealed that people with naturally red hair, or a gene called the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene were much more likely to fear dental pain. They were also more likely to experience dental-care related anxiety and fear compared to people without red hair or the gene.
The majority of people who have red hair, and fair-skinned people, have variants of the MC1R gene. Previous studies show that redheads are resistant to subcutaneous local anesthetics. They also require about 20 percent more anesthesia before surgery than patients with other hair colors.
See? I haven't been imagining things! And here is an "official" study from National Institutes of Health with all the technical stuff. Something else I read yesterday, but somehow failed to save the link, said that redheads usually do consider themselves to have a higher pain threshhold.  This comes out of necessity, since we are more likely to build up a tolerance to pain relievers (true in my case also) and just learn to deal with the pain.

I'm glad to have scientific proof to back me up on this. I feel so much better knowing that I'm not defective in some way.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Summer list

Another daily writing promt from The Write Prompts:
Make a list of 25 things you want to do this summer that are not “tasks” that need to be done.

This should be fun!
What do I want to do this summer?

Finish painting our house. That might fall under "tasks," though.
Go to Rockin the Docks again this year
Take the girls to the park
Have a picnic at the lake
Visit our city's pool - I have yet to go to it, although we live very close.
Go on a day trip to a fun place. We have lots of choices within easy driving distance!
Play outside more
Do more crafty things
Make cookies
Do some of the projects I've found on Pinterest
Write. I have several beginnings of stories that I want to spend more time with.
Plant something
Do fun things - bubbles, sidewalk chalk, kiddie pool, outdoor games
Visit the Children's Museum
Visit McClung Museum
Go to the farmer's market
Go to the zoo
Visit a splash pad
Watch less TV and play more games
Grill out more often

That's not 25 things, but it's a good start. I want to enjoy the summer, so it's not just three months of "just another day" while we work. We all need to have fun!

Monday, May 14, 2012


Tonight, my first born baby girl has her 8th grade dance. Tomorrow, she leaves at the crack of dawn with her classmates to Washington DC. Next Monday is class night/graduation. This summer, she will be attending High School week at camp.

How is it possible for this much time to have passed? I don't feel old enough to be the parent of a high school student. Only four short years and she'll be getting ready for college!

I've never been the mom that cries because her child is growing up, but the thought of high school just blows my mind.

Do my parents still feel like this, too? Does that feeling ever go away? Or will I one day be holding my grandchild, thinking the same thoughts?


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Sophie and mommy
Emma and my grandmother

Sophie and mommy

Sophie and mommy

Emma and mom

Mommy with both girls :)
Emma and my mom

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law

Emma and her Nana

Emma and Grandma

Emma and Nana

Emma and Grandma

Emma and Mommy
Emma and my grandmother
My mom and me
Four generations - Emma, me, my grandmother, my mother

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Earlier this week I received a one-word writing prompt email from a blog I subscribe to. It was simply "ginger." As a redhead, the first thing that comes to mind is not the spice, but instead the hair color. Although it's only been the past several years that I've heard the term widely used in the US to describe us.

Most ginger talk is in good fun. It seems we have no souls, so we steal others. Interesting. Also, I've been hearing a lot that we're prone to migraines (would explain a lot) and also that we're resistant to anesthetic (would explain years of dentist visits).

Sadly, though, if you do a search for "ginger" online you will find "Kick a Ginger Day", a website created "as a joke" from a South Park episode. Unfortunately, too many people took this seriously and actually did hurt redheaded kids across the globe.

Why all the hate for gingers? I prefer this version of the popular "keep calm" posters: