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Notes on the Happiest Place on Earth

We’ve just returned from two _______ days at Disneyland!

You fill in the blank:

A. Fun Filled

B. Terrifying

C. Delightful

D. All of the above…

If you answered D, you’re correct!

Fun filled: Disneyland is magical. From the word “go!” — point of fact – we drove up to the in process renovation of the Disneyland Resort Hotel. My dear hubby got the bags out of the car while I sashayed up to check in, girls in tow. With my winning smile firmly in place, I asked the desk clerk if a room upgrade was possible. He frowned at me, glanced at the girls, then suggested that maybe his newest employees could get us a room in the new wing.

Newest employees? That would be great! I grinned. He leaned over the counter and called my daughters back, dressed them in employee vests, and allowed a 6 year old and a four year old to hunt and peck letters of our reservation into the computer. Darned if we didn’t get a brand new room in the renovated Dreams tower, complete with carved wall mural, “A Dream is a Wish” music box, and LED fireworks light show behind the Sleeping Beauty Castle as a night light.

Each girl received a balloon, an autographed picture of the 1950s Disney cast, and entry into the kingdom!

Terrifying? Not for my oldest. Rachel is up for everything, though she has to be reminded to ride the little kid rides, as she calls them. LOVES them while she’s on them, but would rather ride an endless stream of Splash Mountain, Grizzly Rapids, and of course – Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road. Her four year old sister? Chickened out of Splash Mountain at the last possible moment. Again. Perry and I discovered the wonderful world of Parent Passes, which enables one parent to pass of the kid that won’t go, while the other rides, and vice versa.

Ellie wailed on her way out, begging for another go around on the psychadellic trip that is Winnie the Pooh’s Heffalump adventure. She opted for the toddler track, riding Mr. Toad’s wild ride, Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, Small World, Buzz Light Year, and at CA Adventure – King Triton’s Merry Go Round, and the new Toy Story Midway Game. The girls played together at the “Smoke Jumper’s Camp” at Grizzly Bear Country, running up and down rope bridges, swinging on tire swings, and laughing themselves silly.

All was fine and good, until she watched us all “Trading her Off” with increasingly long face. She tried the Soarin’ California and discovered that flying was cool! More fun when we were all together… and “Not dat scawy.”

I convinced her that getting her grandmother onto the Grizzly Rapids ride was her bounden duty. She went to great lengths to encase her grandmother in waterproof capes, and drag her onto the river raft ride. Ellie was the wettest kid on the boat. We laughed until our sides hurt, at how waves crested her head at every drop. She loved it. Loved the attention. The drama! and ultimately decided, at the very end of day two, to brave Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road.

The end result? In her golden haired brilliance, she grins, “Mommy! I weally wike wollah coastahs!”

Ah, if only she’d have decided that before the end of day two!

It’s a delight to see your kids relish new found things. Her boundaries are expanding. Her universe is bigger for having been brave. More than one set of parents and grandparents warned us to not rush this part… soon, they’ll be tromping all over the park calling “Single!” and jumping to the front of the line, staying out until park close, as long as they phone in at regular intervals.

For now, we’re riding roller coasters as a family…and our Disney trips for the next years to come will be all the more full because of it!

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How to tame a toddler

There were posts going around on our message board for TWRP yesterday about writing with toddlers around. Yeah. That’s a real trick, isn’t it? Rachel’s in that phase now that she can be kept busy for hours coloring, watching a favorite show, or working on her projects (see Rachel at the kitchen table with a pair of child-safe scissors and a bunch of hastily printed out family pictures. The kid is an amateur scrap-booker extraordinaire!)

Ellie is another story. The girl is a ball of energy, needing constant attention and wanting to talk all of the time. ALL of the time. These days, she still sounds vaguely like Elmer Fudd. All of her “L’s” are “Yuh” sounds. Hear: Eh-yee instead of Ellie. Yost instead of Lost. At any rate, they’ve settled down again. I have a full day of work ahead of me, and we’re going to race off with the “school kids” and meet our day care at the elementary school.

Will I have time to work on edits for All or Nothing today? I’ve reviewed the full MS –returned to me from Elizabeth on Tuesday–and I can absolutely make the changes needed in just a few short weeks if not sooner without breaking a sweat. The only question mark is with the kids! will they let me? Working on my writing before and after work, staying up late into the night, waking early in the morning, my friends ask me “When do you have time to sleep?” perhaps writing with small children in the house gives you just what you need to do that. I wasn’t sleeping anyway…I might as well write.

Mornings with Ellie…

Ellie greets me every morning at the top of the stairs, usually while I’m having my morning coffee. I hear her sweet, raspy little voice:

“Mommeeee! I ‘wake!”

So I go greet her, usually wrapped in her shiny pink blanket and laying at the top of the stairs, waiting for me with a slight, pearly grin.

“Morning, mommee… I want to go down-stay-ahs…”

So, I’ll carry her down and we snuggle, listen to music, or watch her favorite show… this week, Scooby Doo. Last week it was Mrs. Spider. Before that, Dora. We like to mix it up. Ha.

Ellie’s getting so big, but still, she’s my baby. I’m struggling, because my surgery is coming in September, and I have 8 weeks or so where I won’t be able to pick her up and carry her. Of course, at almost 40 lbs, I have a bit of a time carrying her around anyway, and she is almost 3… but, I love it. It’s our time. So what will our time be after the surgery? I’d say, just like this. Me, typing one handed, and Ellie’s head in my lap.

After all, I did write All or Nothing with Ellie in the crook of my arm… I can do it again… of course, she was about 30 lbs lighter back then…

Of Little Girls and Ladybugs…

My sister gave us a “new” used hybrid trailer for Christmas – that means, it has a 17′ long body, and pop out beds to 23′. We’re planning on putting it to good use this summer, having already braved a trip in February – when we discovered the heater didn’t work (BRRRRR). All freshly fixed up and serviced, we just spent a lovely getaway to the lake over the weekend. Perry fished to his heart’s content (though I think I heard the fish laughing… we didn’t see ANYONE catch ANYTHING all weekend.)

The girls and I collected ladybugs and butterflies and played on a hidden beach.We had a picnic under an enormous oak tree on a field of grass. Flew a kite. Connected the dots with the stars, and woke up with the birdies. Idyllic? well, we were camping in a pop-out trailer. I did my best this time not to envy all of the lovlely, shiny new 5th wheels and Class Cs that were parked all around. Class As didn’t even bother to try camping where we were parked… So, social envy was curtailed in that arena.

We still love Lake Skinner – the best place close by, thus far, for a cheap weekend getaway – with no computer, no work, no bad days…

Let’s just say, we returned home with far less beer (and stress) than we hauled out with us. The girls are tan and happy, with some bandaid scars to share with their friends today at school. We spent last night finding many more places in and around SoCal to wander in our little tiny trailer. Can’t wait to see where we take it next!

To be Two Again…

Oh, to be two and a half again…
To not care that you’re covered in sand. To grab on to your mommy when a wave plows you over. To know that she’ll be there to catch you and bring you up to the surface again. To build sand castles and see magic in the air when a kite takes flight on an unseen breeze. To trust. To love. To laugh. To live. I suppose that’s what Jesus meant, when he said let the children come to me. We all need to remember what it is like to be truly childlike. Ellie and Rachel are my teachers. They’re my education on how to dance like no one is watching. How to be goofy and fun and that it’s more fun to hear your favorite song a hundred times than to skip around the radio looking for something else. If I were two years old today, I’d want to dig the deepest hole I could. To look for seashells. To sit and let the waves slap at my legs. To spend all day with my mom and dad. To play. To eat too much ice cream. To fall asleep on the way home and know that I’d wake up in the comfort of my own bed.

What a week.

I found out on Wednesday night that I had tonsilitis. What adult gets tonsilitis? Me, apparently. At least it explains my ping-ponging fever, and why I could no longer swallow. Perry was sick last week, me this week, I’m praying the girls stay healthy.

I’m 50 pages from being done with my first pass at revisions – then it’s off to the next phase – the Editorial phase – of which I’ve never been on this side of the coin. Scary! exciting! I’m so ready. Reading all of these authors – these women on the Wild Rose Press message board – I can’t wait to say that my book is on the market.

I’m also toying with several ideas on stories for the White Rose Line. So, we’ll see what happens next. For today, I need to go play with Ellie. Rachel and Perry are doing the Dino Dad Day at school. Ellie needs some mommy time. If I can work in edge wise around Grandma. Ha!

Author Page Up on The Wild Rose Press

Well, ladies and gentlemen…I’m officially “in the garden” as they say. I have my author’s link up on The Wild Rose Press website. View it here…

I’m also meeting some fantastic fellow authors – the ladies in the garden are most prolific. It’s actually most exciting and gives me a great deal of hope that All or Nothing will be more than a single title for me. Those who know me well know that writing has always been my heart’s desire. And, wow. Here we are in rewrites.

Speaking of rewrites, here’s a note as to progress:
I’m up to page 87 of 304. I feel really good of about 80 of them. (The page number/total changes as I rip scenes out, rewrite the POV, and I have to admit – some I mourn the loss of and others I can’t believe I ever clung to as if a liferaft in a stormy sea!)

My overwhelming issue has been with my supporting cast, if you will. Yes, it’s interesting to know who they are and how they think and feel, but as Elizabeth has reminded me again and again, the story is about RuthAnne and Bowen. And come to think of it, I’m a glosser over myself when I’m reading chapters such as these. AND when you gloss over your own chapters, that would be a big warning bell I would think.

The Online Writer’s group I’ve joined is really neat. So far, I’ve “met” an author/cover artist from San Diego – and Canada – and various other well wishers who all lend phenomenal support. I’ve evaluated my character’s opinions about me… (yikes. Never suspected Bowen would consider me a gossip!) and all of that. Crazy. Now I am looking to consider my writing process. Well, fits and starts seems most appropriate these days.

I have a stack of half finished plot outlines, WIPs and scraps of paper with ideas that I had at 3:45 am – which apparently is when my brain wakes up with creative fervor! my body however, flings a pillow over my head and forces me back into a restless slumber. That is, until I’m summoned by two year old Ellie to soothe a nightmare, fetch a cup of water, and now for heaven’s sake! take her to the potty. She’s 2! she potty trained herself and doesn’t even use her pull up at night! must limit her fluid intake prior to bedtime. MUST. *sigh* Maybe I’ll finally get the hang of motherhood by the time they go to college.

Of course, last night – my inspiration is this love of time travel romances that is flitting through the garden. I have one in my drawer – in need of a rewrite since many elements from that one migrated to All or Nothing (my stories are by no means monogomous in their pre-published formats).

SO – perhaps this one – Working title “The Hawk and the Raven” – a 3:47 am inspiration – might get my attention next. I will say this. Seeing all of these amazing women working on multiple projects, juggling family, career, life, the universe, and everything is incredibly inspirational. I finally feel like I’ve found where I belong.

Until tomorrow!