Thursday, June 28, 2012

How did this happen?

I swear, I was in this state below (aka HUGELY PREGNANT) for approximately ten years with Baby Girl.
 It was the pregnancy that went on and on and on.
 Now I can barely believe that exactly one year ago, I started off the day looking like I did in that first picture, and ending it by staring into this beautiful face...
 And then I blinked and now she's 1!!! HOW DID THAT HAPPEN???
 Having a girl has inspired me to new heights in crafty-cutesy-mommyness. (AKA, I actually tried to be crafty and cutesy at all. Because usually? Not so much. Not that my boys' parties weren't good... I just didn't put so much, um, "homemade" effort into them. Party stores were my friend. They're boys. Pretty sure they didn't care and never will that I didn't handmake their basketball or Tonka Truck birthday banners.) But I've been dreaming of Baby Girl's first birthday party for months. I knew I wanted to do butterflies as the theme, and I think it turned out about as well as I hoped! (And yes, I went blonde again for the first time in a really long time. SHH is the one that told my cute friend to make me "as blonde as you can." Still not sure if I'm going to leave it long-term. I kinda like me dark. But we'll see... Anyway. Random tangent there. Back to Baby Girl and the party of butterfly-epicosity.) (Yes, that's a word. Phrase? Something.)
 Look! I made and decorated a cake! This is almost earth-shattering enough to signal the end of the world as we know it.
 I made cute cupcake displays! (And my awesome sister helped by making the butterfly cupcake toppers. And the darling hat, too.)

 I pinned it so I did it.... Lanterns with butterflies, ceiling decorations, stringing balloons on thread (so not a great idea for an outdoor party btw). I loved how it turned out.
The girl of the hour, who daintily picked at her cake and spit it out when I tried to put some in her mouth.


Heh, just kidding. She usually loves sweet things, but for some reason, cake does not seem to be one of those things. She did the same thing in her cake smash photo shoot.

But even though she doesn't love cake, I still love her. Adore her. Am so incredibly grateful for the gift of having her in our family. Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

(Yes, I know this post had nothing to do with writing. But she is so cute, I had to let you get a peak at her special day. And also, it gave me the chance to brag about my frawsome party throwing skillz. [ok, all you people out there who have incredible parties, no laughing at me. I mean, I DECORATED a CAKE. That's a big deal for me, people. Anyway. That's all.])

Happy almost weekend! Anyone want a cupcake?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ooooh and Aahhhhh!

So, have you heard of Kasie West yet? Let me refresh your memory :
She's the beautiful one in blue with the dimples. Love her!

If you aren't already, get your butt over to her blog pronto and start following. Then go HERE to see the cover for her amazing book PIVOT POINT.

The premise for this book is absolutely amazing. The cover is gorgeous. Like drool over it, wanna pet it, can't wait to own it and stare at it and pet it some more GORGEOUS. And the book itself? Even better. If you haven't added this one to your TBR yet, you'd better do it NOW.

Congrats Kasie!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Phwew! That was heavy...

Do you remember that phrase from Back to the Future? It was supposed to be all cool and futuristic. And now that movie is so old, most of my target audience for my books (YA) probably have never even seen it.

Anyway, the point is.... wow, that post yesterday was heavy. And yet you guys completely and totally lifted me up. THANK YOU so much for every comment and email. I can't begin to tell you how much it meant to me. Hugs for everyone! Unless you don't like hugs. Or if you're shorter than me and then that awkward moment happens when your face is in an inopportune location and I have to kind of shlump down and it's just totally lame. Let's just throw out cupcakes instead. CAKE FOR EVERYONE!

And you know what? I was sick to my stomach about posting that yesterday morning, but by the afternoon, I was so much happier. And then last night, as I was driving my three amazing kids home from SonA's baseball tournament (the last sporting event for two months until soccer starts up again!! YAY!!), we had the windows rolled down, Muse (Best. Music. EVER.) was blasting, and we were all rocking out. It was a perfect moment. We were laughing, dancing, singing. The wind was blowing through the car, the sun was setting, it was amazing.

So you know what? Yes, sometimes life is hard. Sometimes things don't go how we hope. Sometimes I'm not as kind as I want to be, and sometimes others are not kind to me. BUT. Life is beautiful. There is joy to be found in the journey every day.

I am grateful for how sad I was when I wrote that post yesterday morning, because it made the joy of driving home with my family that much sweeter last night.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Kindness Project - JUNE

Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good. But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren't feeling entirely whole. It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project, starting with a series of inspirational posts. We post the second Wednesday of every month.

Disclaimer: this is long and not very uplifting, so feel free to not read this post. Seriously. You've been warned.

So you know that part in our mission statement about "reach out even we aren't feeling entirely whole...?" That's me right now. More days than not recently, I haven't been feeling whole. In fact, I have been feeling like I am full of holes, with my good intentions and hopes and dreams leaking (sometimes gushing) out of me. I've been debating all week whether or not to tell everyone in this amazing group that I couldn't post this month. Because the honest truth is that I don't feel like I deserve to. I have tried every day to focus on this project, particularly when I've heard someone is in need or feeling down. I've tried to reach out and help others, even when it wasn't convenient for me. But I still feel like I've failed in many ways to truly embody the goal of this group. There are two big reasons why, but part of my struggle with this post is deciding how personal to get. I don't know for sure who does or doesn't read my blog in my circle of "real life" friends, family, and acquaintances, and I don't want to put in enough detail to cause anyone embarrassment or point any fingers. So let's try and keep it really vague, shall we?

How do you show kindness to people who often are unkind--even purposefully cruel--but are a permanent part of your life? This is a question that I have been struggling with all month. And unfortunately, I have more often than not tried to just avoid those people, rather than make an effort to be kind to them. Part of my excuse was that being kind is a double-edge sword in this case, because in the past, the majority of my efforts of kindness have been rewarded with more meanness.

The second part of my failure has been more in my internal thought processes than any outward manifestation. I am having a very hard time being kind to myself right now, and I think to be able to show true kindness to others, you have to first be loving and happy with yourself. And right now? I'm struggling with that, on so many levels. My internal dialogue is full of negativity at myself, if I'm being totally honest. I'm always surprised when people tell me "you seem so confident!" "I was so glad to hear that you doubt yourself, because you seem like you're so knowledgeable/sure of yourself/etc." I have done acting in the past, I even got to say, "They go to Hell, sir!" (in a British accent) in Jane Eyre, the Musical at a local professional theater (I know, right? I'm, like, practically famous), but I must be an even better actress than I thought! Because I am a mess of insecurities.

While everyone around me continues to have good news and more good news and happy, wonderful news (and I am genuinely so so very happy for them, and they know that!!); I, on the other hand, do not. In fact, I often feel as thought I'm falling further and further behind while everyone else is scaling (sometimes flying) over the mountains I'm trying to climb. And not just publishing mountains (although that is one big sucker and sometimes I feel like I'm barely clinging on), but in other ways, too. As a mom, as an athlete, and more.

Some of these doubts are self-inflicted and others stem from the doubts put there by others--including the people I hinted at before. Some come from having to adjust my expectations of life, based on things out of my control. Like the fact that I absolutely adore babies, and I've always wanted a BIG family. I'm talking 5, 6, maybe even 7 kids. But life has a different plan for me, and I am having to adjust to the fact that my sweet, beautiful Baby Girl is going to be my last. She's going to be 1 in just a couple of weeks, and the realization that she's getting so big, so fast, and that I will never again have a sweet baby of my own to cuddle takes my breath away, and leaves me feeling hollow. And then I think of others who can only have one, or maybe can't have any children at all, and I feel even worse. Because I am SO grateful for the three children I have, and I shouldn't feel sad that we can't have more. I shouldn't dare complain. I hated people like me when I was going through infertility. "Oh boo, poor her with her three, beautiful children." We went through infertility and loss, I know the pain and agony of that trial--and I know how lucky we are to have the three children that we do. There were times when it looked like SonA would be our only child. And yet, I still struggle. I'm being decidely unkind to myself about my inability to follow through on this goal and dream. And how is that helping me or anyone else at all? It's not.

I guess I always try to be so positive and upbeat on my blog, but I decided maybe I should just be honest. And I'm not always like this. But this has been a hard month, and so there you have it.
Man, this post is hard. I keep writing stuff and then deleting it. And I'm pretty sure these are intended to be inspiring and I'm thinking this post is anything but that. I probably should have just decided to not post this month and try harder in June so I had something to write for July. Oh well, too late for that!

So, yeah, massive #sarafail in the Kindness department this month.

Let's just say this: making a conscious effort to be extraordinarily kind is hard sometimes. And it involves taking risk. And it opens you up to being hurt sometimes, too. But I'm still going to keep trying.

Check out these (probably much more inspiring) posts from the other members of this group:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

SURRENDER Launch Party!

Last night was the launch party for Elana Johnson's latest book, SURRENDER. I love living so close to so many amazing authors and other incredible people. 

For example, my beautiful and amazingly talented friend Erin Summerill--she of the photog skills spoken of in legend and hushed voices, she who now has photo credits on multiple agent blogs, AND she can write, too. And she's hysterical.
 And of course the woman of the night: Elana Johnson! She did such a fabulous job speaking. There was a great turnout for her launch. And I will never think of taxidermy the same way again. ;)
 And my other beautiful, amazingly talented friend Brodi Ashton. I still tell everyone I know to go get her book. (have you read EVERNEATH yet? If not then get off your butt and go buy it right now! NOW! What are you still sitting there for???) She is seriously so nice, I'm so happy every time I get to see her.
 Me and Elana! She is so kind, caring, genuine... the list goes on. I just love her! (BTW, let's not comment on my bad hair day, okay? I didn't have time to wash and blow dry it, so, yeah.)

It was an awesome night (and I unfortunately didn't get enough pictures of all my friends that were there). SO happy for you Elana!! I've heard such great things about SURRENDER and I can't wait to read it!

And then this happened today... SonA graduated from 1st grade! *swells with pride* *sobs* How does time fly by this fast?? I can't believe how big he is. He wrote an entire card to his teacher in Chinese characters, telling her "Thank you for teaching me Chinese. I love you and I will miss you." and even more, but that's all he translated for me before he had to run out the door. I can't believe he already speaks Chinese so well.

And now, summertime, here we come! What have you been doing this week?