Friday, December 10, 2010

my dearest catherine,

(Note: I find that in order to assauge my anxiety of sounding like a bad mom, I must address my daughter directly in this post. Otherwise, it might sound like I'm criticizing her in the public eye when I'm really just recording these antecdotes for posterity's sake. It's kind of like when Southern women say "Bless her heart" and then launch into a string of insults. It's just to make themselves feel better. Thus, I begin this post: Bless her heart...and mine.)

My dearest Catherine,

You know I love you with all that I have. And it's a good thing that you're cute as can be because sometimes I think Clive could have better luck raising you than I have so far. Now, at 20 months of age, your vocabulary is growing at an amazing rate. Still, one of your clearest and most oft-used words is "NO!" Athough you have the ability to say it sweetly, you more often scream it, and even accompany it by thrusting your fist into my chest, digging your nails into Dad's face, or even an occastional chomp of the teeth.

However, one night you chose an even more creative way to say "no."
You only eat cheese and bread. I'm beginning to give up on veggies altogether, but one night I, in some burst of misguided optimisim, thought you might try a potato. C'mon, I thought, it's not even that good for you. Surely you'll like it. I made some potato soup and fixed you a bowl. You greeted my bowl of homemade soup with gagging noises. Spiteful child.

I, of course, am not perfect either, and I went into full-mom mode. "Well, you can eat this, or go without dinner!" I declared. I lasted through about an hour of your screamy, whiny, grumpiness before I gave in and made you some chicken nuggets. ("But she is NOT getting cheese!" I told your dad.)

Another adventure we've had lately occured at our first night at a new Bible study. We were going to a house we had never been to before, full of people we had only met once. It's safe to say that I was a little apprehensive about taking you; I even said so to Dad in the car on the way. Turns out, my apprehension was totally validated. We weren't there a full half-hour before you vomited on their carpet. Then you terrorized their old, blind dog. (In your defense, you were just playing. You love dogs. You love them loudly and aggressively.) Then, when the teaching began, you ran back and forth accross the living room, hollering triumphantly and occasionally stealing another boy's football.

You've taken to refusing to wear pants in the morning. You're very particular about your shoes. I had to hide your white sandals that are a size too small because you keep insisting on wearing them even though it's the middle of December. You sometimes even get angry with me when I put on my shoes, for no apparent reason.

Just today in the bath, you narrowed your eyes at me, placed a full cup of water on the edge of the bathtub and slowly inched it toward me in an attempt to spill it in my lap.

My dearest Catherine, you are a handful, and sometimes I think it is all a campaign for you to be our only child. Still, you definitely have your sweet moments. Although you have stopped giving us kisses, you make the cutest face when you are giving rapid-fire fist bumps. You insist on taking Clive for walks, and you and I had the best time in a mid-kitchen empty coke bottle sword fight. When you lay your head on our shoulders, it absolutely melts us. You demand that the three of us hold hands and dance around to Katy Perry. And your giggle is my favorite sound in the whole world.

I love everything about you,

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

and the winner of the paragraph pitch contest was...

not me. :( Oh well, you know, I'm new to this and it takes a long time to get it right. I really enjoyed reading the winning entries, though. I would love some of the books they described.

The really exciting news is that, in true Sarah Timmons style, I am taking a half-day off work tomorrow as an early birthday gift to myself to do a webinar by agent Mary Kole. She will be teaching about all the ins and outs of what is required for making your book publish-worthy. Not only do I get to participate in the hour and a half webinar, but I get access to all the materials for a year, AND (here's the good part) I get to submit the first 500 words of my book to her for a critique. I'm so excited to get some relevant feedback on my writing. I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

paragraph pitch

I've been reading a lot of writing blogs lately. There's so much information out there from authors, author-hopefuls, and agents. I've even stepped out of my comfort zone a bit and entered a few contests that involve "pitching" my book. The first one I entered had to be in Twitter format (140 CHARACTERS -not words- or less), and was really difficult. I didn't even come close to winning, but I learned so much from trying to squeeze all the information into that short space while still being unique and packing a punch.

The most recent contest I entered was a little longer- a paragraph pitch to be no longer than 5 sentences. It ends tomorrow at midnight, and then the agent will judge the entries. The winner gets a query critique or a first chapter critique. It's so fun and intriguing (and a bit intimidating) to read all the other people's entries and see what kind of books they are writing. So anyway, I decided to post my paragraph pitch here as well. Let me know what you think!
Here goes nothin':
Elliana thought the stories her abuela told her were just family legends. But when her clumsy behavior lands her in alternative school, obsessive-compulsive Jillian and mind-reading wannabe Javier help her delve into her own untapped power. While on a trip to Mexico to visit her grandmother, Elliana accidentally unleashes the spirit of an ancient ancestor, banished inside the binding tree, who has been waiting to return to power for over four hundred years. As the ghost gains strength by stealing the memories of her loved ones, it's a race between deception that's centuries in the making and awkward teenage self-discovery. Can Elliana realize her own strength before she loses her family- and their history- forever?
Thanks to Shelli at Market My Words for hosting the contest and getting my mind to work in new directions!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

in case you didn't know

It's my birthday month!

This is what I want for my birthday.
I'm starting to hyperventilate just thinking about it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

this is where i have been lately...

...when my mind gets clouded and my stress level threatens to pop my head like an overinflated balloon. (I was going to say "like an overdue zit" but that was too gross.) I mentioned this in my last post about Big Bend, but the more time I spend away from there, the more I miss it.

There are places that have absolutely taken my breath away (I'm thinking Grand Canyon, San Francisco, New York City) but this place enlivens the senses with its newness and feels like home all at the same time. I must have been a songbird in West Texas in a past life. Or perhaps a javelina. Take a look:


weekend pics

It has been a truly glorious weekend. Nothing like working hard all week to make me appreciate my time off. We've spent time with friends and family, watched movies, played at the park, gone to the gym and been otherwise productive...and we still have half a day left! But I know you're not here to hear about my're here to see pictures just oozing with cuteness. And I'm not one to disappoint.

Doesn't get any cuter than that.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

daddy time

Cory says he has very little experience with tea parties, but he's Cate's favorite partner for some pretend tea and mini-cakes. She'll even mimic the drinking sound when she puts the little cup to her mouth.

Cate is 16 months old this week, and is seeming more like a little girl than a baby. We're in full-fledged toddler mode. She has done so well at daycare, and she gets excited when we walk in the door. It seems like she really enjoys getting to be around the other kids. Her vocabulary has expanded some, and now includes: ball, go, bye, done, hot (she said it once), and the ever-present dog and na na.

She loves to swing and she can now go down the slide at the park. She is very interested in music, and has taken to head-bobbing and shaking her "rock fist." She seems exceptionally fond of the music her aunts expose her to, especially when they sing and tell her to shake her booty. Recently she enjoys spending time with her aunts and grandma so much that she cries when she has to come home to mom and dad.

Her new trick is to walk backwards. Instead of turning around, she'll usually just go in reverse, especially if we tell her to "back it up." She is learning some body parts, and can point out her belly and nose. We're trying to teach her ears next, so she can tell us when she has an earache!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

lake travis: part 2








Unfortunately there are no pics of Cory. Thus is the plight of the family photographer.
Also, this is my first experiment with photo layout editing, so excuse the rough parts.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

lake travis: part 1

The condo on Lake Travis had a pool and and a hot tub, and Cate would always go swimming just after sunrise before everyone was awake.
Where'd Grandma go?

We will be so excited when she doesn't have to wear such a bulky life jacket. She's a good sport about it up to a point, and then she's done. A constant stream of pretzels and grapes kept her happy on the boat. Then when we stopped to swim, she prefered to dangle off Grandma's legs and be dipped in the water.

Friday, July 16, 2010

long line of beach bums

If there was ever any doubt, we now know for sure: Cate is my child. She loved the beach! I love this picture, because it so accurately captures the spirit of the trip. Cate is running toward the water, and I'm trying my darnedest to keep up with her. She squealed with delight in the waves. She didn't even mind getting the salt water in her face. She isn't the least bit scared of the water.

In the mornings, we'd go to the pool first, but she'd always start pointing to the ocean soon after we got there. She couldn't wait to get into the sand!

This is her super model pose.
We had a great time at Playa. It was even better than I had hoped because she was excellent on the plane. She slept all night while were were there and would spend 3-4 hours napping during the day because she was so worn out from playing in the water. It was a fantastic vacation!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

first haircut

Cate got her first haircut last week. She was so great; she LOVED being pampered. It helped that the salon was pretty slow that day, so everyone was watching her. She was eating up all of the attention.

She liked sitting right in front of the mirror so she could look at herself up close.

Then she got a little too excited by her own reflection and leaned too far forward. She smacked her forhead on the mirror! It was the only time she cried. But I had to post this one because she's got that big pitiful bottom lip sticking out
She even let him blow dry and style her hair! She was the ideal little customer!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Writing Update

Ok, so every summer I delcare that it's the "Finish the Novel or Bust!" summer, and this season is no exception. I've been consistently writing since school let out, but it is such a slow process! I'm up to 60 single-spaced pages which, at this moment, equals 29, 131 words. I think I'm just over half-way done and I have the rest of the novel planned out. It's just a matter of getting it on paper.

I'm struggling a bit with creating interesting scenes around the dialogue. I recently read a book that had a very interesting concept and some decent dialogue, but the characters were always driving somewhere and talking, or sitting somewhere and talking, or eating and talking, or playing frisbee and talking. It was boring! I know you want to strike a cord with real life circumstances, but no one wants to read about the tedium of someone else's life.

In addition, I have some limited time slots for my writing (i.e. during Cate's naptimes). So it's hard to get a chunk of time carved out to devote exclusively to the novel. I always have to sit and stare at the screen for at least 30 minutes before anything starts flowing. And I'm sometimes frustrated because I don't have those 30 minutes to waste!

Ok, I just thought I'd share my progress and frustrations. My friend, Memzie has been awfully inspiring with her progress in the 30,000 words in 30 days campaign. Keep it up, Em!

summer fun

We're practicing for our upcoming trip to Mexico. Cate has been loving the water. She's just a little fish: kicking, splashing, putting her face in.

This morning we fed the ducks at the park. (Well, I fed the ducks. Whenever I gave Cate a piece of bread, she'd hold it out to the ducks and then jerk it back and stuff it in her own mouth at the last second. She's a tease.)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

the adventures of catherine the great

It was just about time for a morning nap, and Catherine and her mama were rocking in a very comfy chair and reading a very interesting book. Just as Catherine began to doze off she heard "Arf! Arf! Arf!" right outside her bedroom window.
She sat up as straight as a fence post and harkened her ears toward the window.
"My friend Clive sounds like he's in distress," Catherine thought to herself. She pointed to the window, signaling to her mama that she thought they should check it out. When they got outside, they realized that Clive was not alone in the backyard!

"Rawr, Rawr, intruder! Arf, arf," Clive barked. The turtle looked terrified and scrambled alongside the porch. At first, sweet Catherine was frightened by all of the racket. She wrung her hands, wondering what she could do to ease the tension between the two friendly creatures.Catherine is such a brave and clever little girl; it didn't take her long to think of a solution.
"I know, Mom! Let's put the turtle in the box and set him free in the front yard. That way Clive can relax in peace...and so can I!"
The turtle seemed a little anxious at being put into such a small space. He was used to the wide open air. Catherine offered him some of Clive's water to calm his nerves, but he wasn't interested.

The turtle was wiley and courageous. He didn't shrink into his shell like most turtles would. No, he scrambled around, looking for a means of escape. He nearly scaled the walls of the box!
Finally, the turtle and the girl made it to the wide open expanse of the front yard. "You're free, Mr. Turtle, free!" Catherine called.

"Goodbye, turtle friend. Have a safe journey home," Catherine waved. She smiled as Clive barked his thanks from behind the backyard fence. Her work complete, she plodded away, ready for the next grand adventure waiting just around the corner.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

home with my baby!

It's summer!! Hooray! I'm so happy to be home and to have some family time. We have some trips in the works, but my three main goals for the summer are:
1) Hang out with Cate
2) Continue working out
3) Write!!
Cate started a new daycare today and she's going 2 days a week. I can spend some time there with her to help her get adjusted, and then I can have a few more hours to devote to my goals. I think it's a good plan. I hope it's a good plan.

Here are some random shots of my little one (a toddler now!) First, she uses her old car seat as a recliner. She'll point to it so we set in on the ground. Then she wants her bottle and she leans back and relaxes. Just in case her arms get tired, she can throw those feet up there too! Spaghetti! Of course her favorite food is the messiest! But she's always been a pasta baby...even in utero.

She ALWAYS wants to be outside. When she's inside the house she's either looking for someone to take her outside, or she's watching the "gog."

In the stroller...

Or in the wagon...

Let's and recent developments include blowing kisses, walking full-time even with shoes, unlatching the child safety locks by herself (yikes!), pushing the boundaries by throwing food and eating dirt (she knows she's not supposed to!), sleeping through the night (HALLELUJAH!), and speaking German. (Ok, so that's stretching it a little, but sometimes she babbles in a German accent. Seriously.)