Sunday, November 20, 2011


I know I blog fairly often about Cate's sassiness. And don't get me wrong; she's got plenty of that. But maybe I focus a little too much on that because those moments make the best stories or get the most laughs. She's growing so fast, and she's starting to pay attention to what kinds of stories I tell about her. Her little ears perk up when she hears her name in a conversation. So I'm making more of an effort to note the sweet things she does. And let me tell you, there are plenty of them.

We had the most amazing morning last weekend. One of her new favorite games is playing with her kitchen dishes. She sets up her little table with the cups and plates and serves coffee to Cory and me. She adds the coffee, then the cream, and then warns us that it's hot before we drink it.

That seems like a pretty normal game, since we are both pretty heavy coffee drinkers (especially since I'm in the middle of novel-writing). I also love the not-so-normal part of the game where all of a sudden cookie monster (who she thinks is just a tad on the scary side) is found swimming in our cups and we have to run to the trash can to dump him out. Or this week, it was mini versions Dani, Eric, Jake, and Seany who were trapped in our cups, and I had to let them go so they could run off down the table.

So that morning, we played the coffee game, and we danced around the kitchen to some of my girly music. Then she decided she needed to wear her pink skirt to dance in. After we got it on, she said, "Pretty! I wanna show my daddy." I just thought that was the sweetest thing, how it's so innate for them to want to impress their daddies at this young age.

-Other sweet moments have happened during the week with little E here. E is pretty sensitive to loud noises. We went to Jump N' Jungle last week, and there was this little gang of very active and very loud 3 or 4 year olds. They kept running by and screaming, which would leave E in tears. Cate went over to him and rubbed his hair, saying, "It's ok. It's just noise. Noise not scary." Then she kissed his hand!

-Later that same day, we put him down for a nap. She always tells him, "Night, nights!" and blows him kisses. That day, she also sang him her favorite song..."La, la, la, la, Elmo's song." So sweet!

-As you know, since we moved Cate to the toddler bed, we don't always have the easiest time getting her to sleep. She's done a lot better lately with staying in her bed initially, but she almost always comes to our bed around 4 in the morning to lay with us. On one such occasion, she climbed in bed with us, and we tried to settle ourselves around her. A few minutes later, I hear her giggling. She was saying, "Paci's, mama. Paci's!" I tried to shush her, but Cory whispered that she was dreaming. I rolled over just in time to see her smiling in her sleep, dreaming about pacifiers.

-This last thing I'm labeling as "sweet" mostly because it benefits me. Let me add as a disclaimer that I do not nag when it comes to the toilet seat. So she did not learn this from me. This happened completely on her own...When Cory leaves the toilet seat up, she goes and points to it. She says, "Oh no! Don't do that, Daddy." He is quick to apologize, but she has to belabor the point by saying. "Don't DO that!" again. Once she even added, "Cate fall in!" I love it!
Here are a couple more random sweet pictures that her daddy took. You might have seen them on facebook, but I thought these edited versions were swoon-worthy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NaNo Week 2

My second week of novel-writing was a week of ups and downs. I was behind, but kept some momentum going. I'm quickly learning that the weekends are my downfall. On Friday I didn't write a single word because it felt like I hadn't been able to hang out with my husband all week. Everyone said the excitement would wear off in week two, but that wasn't really true for me. At the end of the first week, the novel had taken a pretty drastic turn, so I was excited to keep going to see where it would lead me. Finally, yesterday on the 15th of November, I reached the halfway point- 25,000 words. I was finally caught up.
Let me pause here to say, that the most amazing thing happened this week, and I think it is the main reason that the excitement hadn't worn off. Emileigh, my writing buddy extraordinaire, and I decided to start doing 30-minute word sprints. We set the timer on the oven in my kitchen, and pounded away at our keyboards trying to see who could get the most words in the alotted time. It was such a rush! I think we're kind of addicted, because we still try to race by texting each other even when we're not writing in the same room together. My most productive half-hour produced 995 words. I had no idea that I had it in me to write practically 1000 words in 30 minutes! It made the huge gap in where was and where I was supposed to be seem a lot smaller. Plus, some very interesting things came out of that frantic writing. It's like you don't have time to think, so weird stuff just starts exploding onto the page.
And so we began week three. After my celebration at having successfully reached the halfway point on time, I went into shut down mode today. I didn't want to look at my novel. I didn't want to think about it. I was (am) tired from staying up too late, and creatively drained. Luckily, Emileigh and I had our weekly Starbucks writing date, and she had a vanilla latte and pound cake waiting for me when I arrived. We avoided our novels (sort of) for an hour and a half while we chatted. We talked a lot about our storylines, so I think it was productive. And it was an absolute necessary recharging moment for me. I squeezed in 700 more words before calling it a night.
So, now I am behind once again (Oh sweet victory, your spoils last only a short while!), and starting to feel a little burnt out. I'll keep hammering away at it, though. I'm in too deep to give up now. And when times get rough, I have Emileigh to race me back into word-count bliss.

Monday, November 07, 2011

NaNo Week 1 Recap

Today on my seventh consecutive noveling day, I should have at least 11,669 words. Drumroll, really....beat on the table or something....try not to spit on your neighbor....can you see that I'm stalling?.....10,518 words.
It took all of three days for me to get behind. I have made up some serious ground the last two days (my two-day total reaching roughly 4,800 words), and I'm hitting my stride once again.

Some things have surprised me about the process. I have had to accept the fact that it's getting really messy. When I'm under a word count crunch, I don't have time to go back and change things that no longer fit with the story as it evolves. In fact, from what I hear from experienced writers, doing so is a story killer. And now I can see why: letting your inner editor critique what you've already written is an instant creativity crusher. I go from free, sword-wielding, head-scarf-wearing, gypsy Jessica to severe, serious, black-pumps-and-business-suit wearing Jessica. And no one can create whimsical stories in a business suit. So every word stays, whether it needs to be there or not.
As a result I have three different font colors all with different significances, have demoted a main character to a minor one, and promoted a minor character to heroine. I have two different settings at the moment, that may or may not converge. I have written in first person perspective from two, no three! different characters, and then switched to third person because I wanted to tell the story differently. It's complete madness over here.
And I like it.
I'm becoming that person who gets cranky when they haven't written all day.
And I like it.
Week two, prepare to be squashed. You will yield to my crafting prowess and beg for mercy.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Day 1

Happy birthday to my new novel! Hooray! Today's writing goal was 1,667 words and I reached...(drumroll please...) 1,701 words. Yay me.
It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be, but also very satisfying. I love to begin writing assignments, and don't do so well at continuing them, so I know it will get harder. But I'm up for the challenge.
I pretty much have three units of time when I can write. These would be early in the morning before the other inhabitants of my house wake, midday when my charges are napping, and evening after Cate the Great goes to bed. I was hoping that I would get most writing done during two of these three times, and still have some time left for socializing, lounging, and general revelry. Today, it took just about every spare minute of all three times to complete my required word count(though you see I still squeezed in a blog post). So, my suspicions are affirmed...this will not be easy.

However, I loved writing at my newly-reformed writing desk by the front window in my house surrounded by some inspirational quotes that I pinned around myself. Listening to instrumental music through my headphones while pounding away at the keyboard was one of the most satisfying things I've done in quite awhile.
Now, on to day two!