Mar 26, 2009

My First Love

I'm still in love with my first love. It's true. I just can't get over poetry. Ever since that first poem I wrote was taped to my elementary school wall, I knew I was in love with poetry. With working on writing children's books I've kinda put my poetry on a back burner. I jot stuff down, but most times never return to work it into a full poem. However, this week I was able to finish one.

You look longingly out the window

and wait at the door

Impatiently searching out

the one who knew you first

You’ve worn a path in front of the fireplace,

sometimes stopping as if to warm yourself

But you know I don’t light fires in March

The first days of spring are meant for open windows

and airing things out, not stoking old flames

I tried to teach you something new,

to show you there is more

I tried to help you remember what’s worth remembering,

and forget all the regretful things that transpired before

But thoughts of an overgrown garden and rhubarb pie

have taken you miles away

So I bide my time with laundry and planting pansies

I stop digging when I hear your heavy sigh through the screen door

Even before the sighs, and the pacing, it was your eyes that gave you away

Looking ever north, to the day I’ll drive you home

to the one that holds your true heart

The one that loved you first

Mar 24, 2009

My Other Creative Outlets

Sometimes I get distracted from my writing by other interests. Sometimes it's on purpose. For instance, my dear friends down in New Orleans have two beautiful children that needed gifts made for them. For Christmas I made my own sweet children superhero capes with their very

own logos that I designed. I found a pattern and tutorial on how to make capes over at apple cyder. Molly makes some beautiful things, so check her out. For Gabriel I made a cape in LSU

colors because he's a rabid Tigers Fan. Cecelia is only 5 months old, so she needed a dainty

pillow-case dress. The pillow case dress is the perfect sewing project for people like me who don't know how to sew well, but just kinda fumble through it :)! You can find all kinds of instructions on the dresses all over the internet, or if you don't sew there are some talented women on that are dress-making goddesses.
I've also been indulging myself in what others might call "light" reading. I am referring to my love of Gothic romances. My teenage years consisted of a heavy diet of Victoria Holt and Barbara Michaels. I still love a good Gothic tale: a run down house, mysterious master, insane family members... (you get the picture). It's been over 150 years since the Bronte Sisters made the stories of mad, tortured, tragic lovers so damn captivating, but the story line still works! Use the moors as a back drop to a tragic love story, and you've piqued my interest.
The book I read is not classified as Gothic romance, the book's spine says it's a mystery, but trust me, the author must have been on the same teenage diet I was on. Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn is set in Yorkshire, complete with a tumbled down mansion on the moors, a crazy, incestuous family and gypsies (applause). It's the third book in the Lady Julia Grey series. I enjoyed all three, but this latest one was definitely the best.
Lastly, if you can't tell by now, I also love gardening. Recently, I attend a series of classes through our county parks on composting . It was an excellent series. I learned so much (but I swear I'll never compost cat poop), and received a free composting bin at the last class. The kiddies and I had a lot of fun filling the bin up over the weekend. Now they love to eat their fruit outside so they can go throw their banana peels or apple cores in the bin. Maybe I'll write a story about how my children love to compost!

Mar 19, 2009

DJ Dashboard, Play A Song For Me

Today was Pre-school group. I spent a good chunk of time this week getting prepared for it. For the past two years my son (and sometimes daughter, but usually she's in school) and I have gotten together with some friends to have some learning/fun time together. The moms in the group (there are 5 of us) take turns planning and running the group. We meet twice a month, usually at our library up the hill. Well, the library meeting room was booked, so we met at my house. Since I'm in a gardening/spring mind set I thought it would be fun for the kids to plant something and to give them a simple lesson on growing things.
My son's duty was playing DJ. I dubbed him DJ Dashboard (he once told me "Dashboard" is his nickname). He does have great taste in children's music. Here was his line up: Children's Songs, A Collection of Childhood Favorites - Susie Tallman, Catch That Train- Dan Zanes and Here Come the ABC's- They Might be Giants. I highly recommend all three CD's.
To start out, we painted our terra cotta pots.

While the pots dried we read a book, Quiet in the Garden by Aliki. It's a whimsical story about a young boy exploring his backyard garden. The drawings of the blue-eyed little boy and his animal friends are beautiful. It turns out the boy's garden is not so quiet (much like my house). But who could complain about a home filled with music and happy, laughing children?

After story-time we stood up, stretched, and moved our bodies while we learned about photosynthesis. I wrote the following little ditty for the kids:
Plants need three things to grow
Can you tell me what they are? Do you know?
Soil, water, and sunlight
That's right!
Look there, I see a little sweet pea
She's getting very hungry
Tell her to stretch out her leaves
Stretch, stretch, stretch
Reach for the sunlight and turn it into energy!
Photosynthesis, my friends, is a very long word for what plants do to make food
Now let's pretend we're sunflowers
With roots deep down in the ground
We're thirsty, let's add rain showers
Now we're hungry
What do we do?
We stretch, stretch, stretch
Reach for the sunlight and turn it into energy
Wow! I feel so happy!
I have so much energy
My leaves are big and green
I'm the prettiest sunflower you've ever seen
Thanks to...
I love pho-to-synthesis!

Being growing plants made us hungry. Snack time! I made my world- famous (famous in my world) dried cherry cream scones. Yummy!

With the pots now being dry, we planted our yellow tulips and talked about our new found appreciation for soil, water, and sunlight.

The rest of time was spent between playing and having meltdowns (the children, not the moms). I'm sure there were some well-deserved naps taken this afternoon (children AND mothers). I just wish this mama would have been able to sneak one in!

Mar 17, 2009

Be Aware of What You Have Up There

It's Brain Awareness Week March 16th-22nd. Who knew? Well, now you do. Since my brother has been living with us I've been reading up on neuroplasticity and what we can do to help him improve his memory and other skills. The book that introduced me to neuroplasticity is called,
The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science.

It's a fascinating read and has changed the way I look at my brother's TBI and how we can deal with it going forward.

Mar 13, 2009

Books, Children's Museum and Cheerios

I had a very fruitful trip to the library this week. It only takes us 5 minutes to walk there. Gotta love that! Except it's all up hill :( . I could have used a wagon for my haul this week. But my dear brother was kind enough to carry the bag o' books for me. I want to share with you all the wonderful books I found, but that will be it's own separate entry.
I'm off to the Cincinnati Children's Museum today with the fam and friends. But before I go I thought I would post a link to Cheerios Spoonful of Stories Contest. Cheerios Spoonful of Stories is an amazing program and the contest is a great opportunity for unpublished authors (like me) to get published. The contest isn't officially open until March 16th, but it runs until July 15th. Plenty of time to write, edit, re-edit, take to writer's group and edit some more.

Mar 7, 2009

Porch Weather

With five people living in my house, it has felt a bit cramped lately. I don't have space of my own to work. I thought I would take advantage of a beautiful day and use my front porch swing to sit and write. I pulled my porch pillows and blanket out of storage and settled myself in to work on my book. Within a half hour the whole family was out there with me. Not that I blame them. It is a cozy spot. We've all been cooped up for so long, it feels wonderful to be out in the fresh air. My son (and daughter) traded in fort building for mud pie making this week. Well, mud pie making turned into garage painting as you can see.

They are such lovely, messy little people.

They are my inspiration!

Mar 2, 2009

Research Week

I'm busy doing research for my next picture book. It's hard work, especially with someone breathing down my neck. My 4-year-old son and I are making forts inside the house today. ( It's 8 degrees out.) My son is a bit of a tyrant. I thought I knew all there was to know about building a great fort. I pulled all the cushions off the sofa and chairs. I grabbed blankets and pillows. But, apparently I still have more to learn because he kept tearing down what I built and building something completely different. That's the thing about observing children and immersing yourself in their world. The way their minds think and the creative things they do with their imaginations is so different from what an adult would do. I love it!
I'm also busy doing other research this week. I have some books waiting for me at the library. There are two publishers specializing in Hispanic Children's Lit. that I'm considering sending my last manuscript to. My finished manuscript "Does your Nose Remember?/ ¿Tu Nariz Recuerde? " is a bilingual book with a young Latino boy as its central character. So, I requested some books from these publishers before I decide to query or send the ms off to them. One of the publishers requests a phone call as a query! Yikes! Wish me luck....