Last Minute Monday Goals–Week of May 25

My goals were moderately successful last week. I had a minor work crisis early in the week, and that superseded my goals and took some of the time I had allocated.  More


If We Were Having Coffee (Birthday Edition)

1-2014-12-31 23.40.27If we were having coffee, I would tell you about the excitement here about Picasso turning six. He had a party at school, then we went to the Children’s Museum, then home for pizza, presents and cake. I made the cake from scratch and it turned out pretty well, but it was a full-day chore. (Well, that plus running errands. And everything else I had to do that day.)

I would tell you about the fun we had at the Lego store. Tom had a ton of fun putting bricks together so we could fit millions of tiny bricks into the bucket. They also made some [strange] Lego figures. It was all very exciting.

We would talk about the latest Child Services near-kidnapping and how these cases of CPS getting involved because children are “not well supervised” is resulting in a chill factor for many American parents. I see kids barely older than Picasso alone at the park 3 blocks from our house, and I applaud that freedom, but I wouldn’t let my kids do that. Sad, because when we moved here, it felt like a neighborhood where kids could roam free. Now, I worry if I leave my son in the yard while I walk two houses up to the corner bus stop.

We would talk about discipline problems. I might be looking for a high-five for sticking it out for an hour (I timed it) to make Cassatt pick up the Scrabble tiles he threw all over the floor.

You might ask me about my fiction blog. I haven’t written in there much over the last few weeks. I did find a support group for the main character in my novel, though, and that group will be her key to friends and life again. But nobody gets to read that yet.

I would tell you about my plans to return to work. I may be looking for a [very] part-time job in the fall. In that vein, are there any divorce lawyers you would recommend in the St. Louis area?

I would ask you:

  1. What kind of coffee are you drinking today? (I’m drinking decaf this afternoon.)
  2. What is your biggest parenting success over the last week?
  3. Does fear of Child Protective Services influence how you parent your kids?


If We were Having Coffee … (New Year’s Edition)

Photo by Ballistik_Coffee_Boy, courtesy of Creative Commons

Photo by Ballistik_Coffee_Boy, courtesy of Creative Commons

If we were having coffee, I would tell you how excited I am to start off the new year.  I would tell you about our quiet New Year’s Eve and about the excitement of Doughnut Magic. I would talk to you about how I did more writing over Christmas vacation than I have done for a long time, and that I’ve finally started writing about my characters again. (There’s not enough structure yet to call it a novel, although I dream it will get there someday.) I would ask you how your Christmas vacation went, and whether you stayed sane while your kids were off school.

I would talk to you about your thoughts about Ferguson, about whether you think protests are accomplishing anything and what better ways you think the protesters could get their message across. I would express my frustration with the anger and bias I see on both sides of the issues, and my wish that people could see past their hurt feelings to listen to the other side.

I would be chomping at the bit to get to my volunteer-work life. I would share my excitement about a grant that my local CHADD group got, and some of my dreams about spending it. I would talk about the speaker we are having at our meeting Wednesday, a professional organizer, and how excited I am to hear her speak.

I would tell you about the editing class I’m taking online. I hope it will help my writing, and I may look for some freelance editing work once it is over. I am learning about a whole different world that lies underneath writing.

I may tell you about the chicken pot pie I made for dinner tonight. Tom got me a stand mixer for Christmas, and I used it to make pie crust. The pot pie was good. I made an extra one to go in the freezer for a busy night (or maybe just one where I forget to plan dinner ahead of time.)

I would ask you:

  • What are you excited about as we start the new year?
  • What changes are you making this year?
  • What’s the best recipe you made in the past week?

I found a meme on Just Gene’O titled If We were Having Coffee. I liked the theme and wanted to have coffee with you. 🙂 Hop on over to his New Year edition of If We Were Having Coffee.


Flash Fiction

I have been writing a lot of flash fiction lately–mostly in response to prompts I find at Carrot Ranch and Flash Friday.  (I find Carrot Ranch easier because they give me a full week to procrastinate.)  It’s a fun medium, and something I can tackle in a short period of time.

I entered the Flash Friday contest last week and wound up as a semifinalist.  Here is an excerpt from my round 2 piece:

Lit only by fluorescent lights and the green glow of the Computer Monster, three insubstantial walls contained my world. The world was silent, but for the soft click-clack of computer keys. I was not alone in my quest to find sunlight.

Click through for the rest of the 280 word piece.  Or just read the whole blog.

A bit about me and this blog


Hello!  Many of you visiting today are new here, so I’d like to formally introduce myself and my blog.  Relax, grab a cup of coffee, and try to catch your breath if you have children hanging off of you.

I live in St. Louis, Missouri.  South county, to be more specific.  I live with my husband Tom, and with Picasso, who is 5 and in Kindergarten, and Cassatt, who is 3 and started preschool this year.  That means I have two child-free mornings each week!  Mornings that go by all too fast with cleaning, errands, laundry, meetings, Bible study, and I try to fit some writing in there too.

I am active in a local MOPS group.  My time there is a chance to breathe.  Picasso is upset this year that he doesn’t get to go, and I am still adjusting to picking up only one child from childcare!  I am the fundraising chair for our MOPS group, which keeps me busy at the beginning of each semester (and during fundraising time, which is now.)

I am also heavily involved in CHADD (Children and Adults with ADHD); I am the coordinator of our local chapter.  So I am working hard to spread the word, and somewhat overwhelmed by how big and separated our city really is.  It’s amazing how much work goes into marketing!  Hats off to those who do it well on a small budget.

Once upon a time, I went to law school. I had my own law practice, where I practiced family law and advocated for families working through the IEP process at school.  My license is currently inactive, as my life is too busy to practice right now.  I do keep active with my advocacy work through CHADD, however.  For a while, I had a series on the Advocating for your Child on this blog.

For now, I write.  Most of my writing right now is short fiction, which you can read over at my other blog, Fiction as Life.  I have been published in MOPS’s Hello Darling blog, and have a poem that will be published in When Women Waken in early November.

IMG_20140715_084342This blog is a haphazard mix of posts.  If you stick around, you will find I am not very consistent with posts.  I have made a commitment recently to post more regularly, please help keep me on track with that!  I post everything from kitchen how-tos to posts about my family and my garden to advocacy posts.  I have posted a few times about Ferguson, which is very close to me and appeals to my yearnings for justice.  For the most part, however, I stay away from political posts.

Now you know about me, I would love to hear about you!  What are your hobbies?  What would you like to see more of on this blog?

Writing and Children

I have been taking some creative writing classes, and have fallen in love with my new hobby.  I’ve gotten some books from the library to help me learn to write better.

Your Child’s Writing Life

One book, in particular, Picasso has taken a great interest in.  It is Your Child’s Writing Life and it shows you how to teach your children to be life-long writers.

I picked this one up at first because I thought it would give me (as a beginning writer) some ideas on how to write well.  Instead, it has encouraged me to teach Picasso to write.  We have started some new routines to encourage this.

First, we created a word jar.  When we find words we love (or just words he wants to put in there), we write them down and put them in the word jar.  Every so often–hopefully weekly, but so far it has been daily–we pull out the words and read them.

We have also started daily writing practice.  Every day we set the timer for five minutes and sit down and write.  I try to write a quick story in that time so I can read it to them at the end of that time.  Picasso either draws a picture or copies some words from the jar during that time.

I hope I can continue to encourage Picasso (and hopefully Cassatt as well) to love writing with these practices!

Big Sugar Creek

Big Sugar Creek

Big Sugar Creek Natural Area. Photo courtesy of Missouri Department of Conservation.

The stream is cool and crisp, with a rocky bottom and jagged rocks on the shore. A high bank suggests a raging current during spring flooding, but today it is inches deep in most places, so slow that you barely feel it moving when you wade into its clear waters. Tall trees line its bank, providing shade most of the day so it is comfortable even on the warmest days. During the hours spent at the creek, wildlife watches the family invisibly through the trees.

Parents set up chairs in the creek to sit and cool their feet while they observe. The children throw rocks into the stream. They make a tremendous splash, and can even get a parent wet without touching them! Dad shows them how to skip rocks, which they abandon after several failed attempts when they realize the rocks can actually change the flow of the water. They then enjoy themselves damming up the water with rocks and silt. The dam raises the water level so that water is washing in lines and rivets beyond the dam, then settling until it reaches another child-made dam downstream. Water begins rushing upstream as well, as it flows into shallow tributaries.

Parents pack up their chairs as the children towel off. They have somehow gotten themselves wet from head to toe in the shallow creek. It is time to leave to find lunch. The stream bids farewell to its guests, waiting to welcome them back another day.

Here Comes the Fire Truck

Photo credit: ewan traveler

Photo credit: ewan traveler

I was baking cookies.  Yes, it was 86 degrees outside.  Yes, my children were “helping” in that way that assistance makes the task harder to do.  Still, I was baking cookies.  We were going camping in two days and, regardless of how many other snacks I brought, I needed cookies!

I was almost done. Finally! I could move on to figuring out what was for dinner, since it was already 4:30.  The last batch was in the oven, why wasn’t dinner registering for me? More

And Summer Begins

Is it possible that there are only three days left of school?  Today is Memorial Day, the “official” start of Summer. The school year went so quickly, and it is not yet ready to let go.  Even though Picasso graduated from Pre-K last week, school drags on, and he will be going again all through June.

Even the summer reminds us of our long winter.  We went to the swimming pool on Saturday, opening day. We just couldn’t miss the first pool day.  The blue water was inviting, and the lazy river was irresistible.  We stayed only until Picasso’s teeth were chattering and he was shivering, even as he insisted he was not cold.

I was hoping to enroll Cassatt in summer camp so that I could have some time to myself.  After a week of potty training, however, he is far from being accident-free.  We have two more weeks to have him “potty trained,” but I don’t see it happening.  Maybe three days of camping next weekend will give him the boost he needs.  At any rate, we shall see how crazed I am by the end of it.


“Get the sandwich off your brother” I said, as Picasso put pillows, sandwiching daddy’s shoe, on his brother’s back.  Cassatt is wearing a white sock on his head, his “mitten”, and the boys are taking turns walking in daddy’s size 13 shoes. Picasso randomly starts running up and down the hall screaming a soprano scream. Is it bedtime yet?

Just another evening in our house.


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