Braveness- Otherwise known as “Will I survive Black Friday?”



For Black Friday my family has always gone tree hunting. We avoid stores, all stores. Since the invention of online stores I spend any shopping time on that day clicking and waiting for it to arrive in the following week.
This year I have no choice. We need a new dryer to save money on electricity. I’ll have to figure out which place to go that will be likely to have room for me to park my extended bed 15 passenger van. I need to pay as little as possible but still get an energy star dryer. We also have a family of nine so we need to have as big as possible. My life won’t always require so many details to align right, but for now I have to use my ingenuity, do a lot of research and I have to muster a huge dollop of braveness like a glob of thick whipped cream on a pumpkin pie.

I’m just hoping I don’t get eaten alive. “Family, just muster on without me until I escape the black pit of traffic and parking insanity!” Maybe this will be the last time I have to torture myself with Black Friday shopping IN PERSON! You be brave too. We can survive such things. Right?

What do you do for Black Friday?

Just don’t get lost in all that black!

A New Year with New Adventures to Come


There are so many ways to look at a year.

I started one year knowing it would be difficult. I enjoyed whatever little bit I could to get through what I knew would be hard. I called 2013 The Year of the Teen and the Toddler. My oldest child turned thirteen and my youngest turned one. I’ve been struggling with what to call this year. The Year of New Adventures? The Year of More Unknown? The Year of… Uhhh…

So many adventures for good and bad or even for good and bad exist in every year. This year I will have been married for 15 years! I plan to publish my first novel and possibly a short story relating to that novel. My kids will all be a year older and at least one more of them will grow taller than me. I have so many other adventures planned and so many that I know I will encounter that I can’t plan.

Once again I plan to enjoy every good moment. I don’t make New Years resolutions, but I do set goals for the year. What will things be like a year from now? No doubt I will have many successes and failures to reflect on. No matter what I will find hope to start the new year.

What adventures do you have planned for 2014?



Last night…


I had a parenting semi-emergency that required I go to the store at 9pm. Night time pull-ups and dish soap and Hershey’s Hugs and Kisses. I was waiting in line to pay when two very young men came up behind me, joking and laughing. As they mocked the cashier it was clear this was their friend. The young man who slapped down a pack of gum behind my stuff was in blue fatigues and hadn’t seen his friend in ten months. I smiled and asked if he was home on holiday leave.

“Yes ma’am.” He nodded then went back to pointing at his friend who was about to run my items over the scanner. At that age going that long without seeing your friends would be very difficult, a sacrifice.

I admire the sacrifice of young men like this one. In our family we have several generations of military service for my children to learn from and honor. My father-in-law, my father and my husband all served in Korea during three different times of war. My grandfathers served during world wars. My husband was in the reserves when we met. This holiday season remember the people who serve our country in more than just military ways. My sister serves the US as a civilian employee and cannot make it home over the holidays some years.


Remember all of those who serve that cannot return home at this time. They make our lifestyles possible. All these dystopian novels that have been showing up and being revisited (1984, Brave New World, Matched and of course Hunger Games) are showing us what life could be. History has shown us how much worse life could be.

So while being “Ma’am”ed was a bit of a Hah to me, he was showing respect. While life has been complicated and living without an oven for two months during holiday times has been tough, it could be worse.


And enjoy today. Enjoy the people you are with. Enjoy the anticipation of good moments like kids anticipate Christmas morning.


Happy Holidays to all!

Our Favorite Halloween books


We have two books that we have loved since my kids were little. It’s exciting having a little one again after half a decade. My older children and I have been reading the first of the two to my toddler. The other one is a good choice for a story before bed later this week. We would love to find more fun holiday books over the next few months.

This Is Not a Pumpkin by Bob Staake

It is made very clear that you can do a lot of things with this large orange orb that has a stem, but no matter what you do with it, the orb is still not a pumpkin. Quite simply pumpkins cannot smile.


Jon Pig’s Halloween by Jan Waldron pictures by David McPhail

Jon Pig is afraid of witches and monsters so while his friends go out to trick-or-treat, he stays home. Baking eases his anxiety so he goes to the kitchen and starts to create some treats for his friends. Suddenly someone knocks on the back door. Who could it be? And will he find more fun than fear in his unexpected guests?

Do you have a favorite Halloween book? Please share with us.



Costume: Bad Case of the Stripes

This week is Halloween! During the weekend many groups already had harvest and haunting fun. We participated in a Halloween chili cook off, trick-or-treat and activities at church. We haven’t done something like that for years because of the types of allergies in our family that made it hard to control the foods. We make sure we have fun. We watch movies and make safe treats. Halloween doesn’t necessarily cooperate with convenient days in the calendar so we can keep it small for a school night or do something bigger for a weekend.


My Sweet witch

I have a favorite Halloween movie that I haven’t gotten to watch for years. My oldest child found it disturbing when she was little and hasn’t liked it since, but really, who wouldn’t like Jack Skelington?

The past few years there are a ton of remakes of old horror and scary films. Obviously they are favorite thrillers if people go to the effort to make then anew for our modern generations. I like the ones that are fun and interesting. I have a weakness for the stop motion films since I’m a puppet artist. I bought Coraline before we moved so it’s still missing in the unpacked boxes. Maybe I can find it before Thursday!

What is your favorite scary movie? What do you do on Halloween? What ever you do have wonderful, safe fun!


Tip your hats for Halloween!