Monday, February 24, 2014

The Last Snowman, by JC Little, the Animated Woman

I'm stretching my comfort zone today. After all, it is my birthday. I'm entitled to a little something new today. Today, aside from turning forty-wonderful, I'm writing a sponsored post. I know. All the things we say we will never do. Just call me flexible.

BlogHer 2013 was a really comfortable place for me. I talked to whoever, went wherever, and had whatever experiences came my way. One of those experiences that came my way was a ride from the convention center back to the hotel in some fancy car provided by whatever car company was sponsoring the conference (I honestly can't remember. Sorry, car company). I jumped in that car because it meant I could ride with JC Little, the Animated Woman and have her captive in conversation for at least 15 minutes. It was a terrific 15 minutes, even if I did think we might die a couple of times. Big city drivers. Dang.

None of that has anything to do with anything really, except to say, I do love JC Little. When she announced that her new book was available for the Kindle, I immediately clicked over and bought it. Because she is awesome. Also, because it was only $3, and I could afford that. So much awesome for so little money. Then, when she announced that she would be doing a blog tour, my hand shot up like Horseshack, and I shouted, "Ooh! Ooh! Me! Me!"

I thought that I would write about my two littles and the book. It's about a snowman, and we just had a snow and built our first snowman together.


The boys do love the book. Christopher especially liked the pages with no words which he could narrate himself. They marveled at having enough snow to build a SEVEN FOOT SNOWMAN. "You mean taller than DADDY?" Yes, boys, that snowman was even taller than Daddy.

But after sharing the paperback version of the book with my boys, I have to go back to the unsponsored first time I read the book on my iPad Kindle app. Mallory walked behind me, and I called her over to show her the book. She sat down next to me on the couch, and we read it together.

She's about to turn 18 and leave for college. I am so proud of the woman she's become, and I feel like she has become one of my best friends. But I still see that little girl who has been part of my family for almost eight years now. I see her at the table, coloring with her little brothers, or we run into the backyard with our pvc pipe bows and arrow for a round of Hunger Games, and I realize that these moments are short. She will be gone soon, starting her own life, and we will be but bystanders, cheering her on.

Our gift to her will be the promises we have kept. The support we have given her. The love we share. 


JC wrote this book on a promise to her daughter. It's a great story, but it's also a great reminder that even the passing promises we make to our children matter. 

So. What do I want from you? I want you to enter a giveaway so that you have a chance to experience this wonderful story too. You will receive a paperback copy of the fantastic book, The Last Snowman, by JC Little. You will also receive from JC herself, a mug with an illustration from the book. The giveaway will run until March 2, and I'll announce the winner on March 3. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment in which I can reply to you. Remember, my blog is archaic, and if you don't sign in or leave an email address, or some way in which I can contact you, then I won't be able to let you know if you win.



Sponsors of this blog tour are:
Dot & Lil - luxurious bath & beauty and skincare products with a fresh, young feel, handmade in their Montreal studio. Dot & Lil are designing a custom soap just for The LAST Snowman blog tour - Limited edition "Hot Chocolate Swirl" soap! 


Borion a world leader in homeopathic medicines for the whole family. (I love this company so much already!)


P.S. If you don't win the giveaway, the Kindle version of the book is still only $3, and you should totally splurge for yourself.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Stars

Three years ago today, I lost my daddy. Two years ago yesterday, I lost my best friend.

Here's the thing. The anniversaries are hard in a way. In another way though, they are really good. I look at the pictures. I talk about them. I think about them. And the pictures? Are of happy times. The stories are funny. The memories are good.

Every anniversary is another year that we've made it when it seemed impossible that we wouldn't. We move forward and learn what it means to have somebody live on in our hearts.

I used to want to punch people in the face when they would say something like that. It's one of those things you have to get to yourself. Most days I'm there. Most days I can go through the pictures and think of Daddy and Susan and smile instead of cry. Do I miss them? Sure. Do I still want to call them all the time? Of course. But I can't. So be it.

This is what I have. A lot of wonderful memories. The knowledge that I had a daddy who loved me more than I could ever know and a best friend who always saw the good in me when I couldn't. And I had them for over 30 years. Insert cliches here. They are all true.

One thing I do is attach myself to songs that really hit me in the gut. And I sing them. Over and over. It's therapeutic for me. This isn't meant to be a sad trip down memory lane. It's just something I've been singing lately that makes me think of Susan. And anytime I get a chance to just sit and think about her is good for me.

Many thanks to Kevin who did everything but the piano and vocals. He even used Pro Tools which he hates. He's awesome.

 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Four.

It's here. Colin is finally turning four. I honestly questioned whether we would make it or not.

Three has been a hellish ride of tantrums and cuddles. One minute he's beggin for hugs and kisses and the next minute he's pulling a chunk of my hair out while screaming that he hates me. 

But I see a change. I see him beginning to boil over but trying not to. I can see him trying to think before he speaks. Trying to "get a hold of himself," as he calls it. Tantrums don't happen every day. There is a day or two reprise, and I'm grateful. 

He is so proud of turning four. He wants to be a big boy, and for some reason, he has decided four is that mile marker. He is smart and confident. He loves an audience. He has an intense need to be loved. In the middle of a tantrum, he will scream, "I need a hug. And. A. KISS!"  However angry we are at each other, somewhere in that three, about to be four, wisdom, he knows that we just need to stop and love each other. 

Smart cookie, that one. 

This time four years ago, I was waiting out labor at home. Waiting for contractions. Pretending I might make it all night by going to bed. My water had broken at noon, so we waited. At 2:45, we left for the Birth Center. By 5:30, he was born. Around noon, be came back home and united our family of five. 

Colin Henry, you complete us. You are hard work. You are tons of laughs. You are challenging and rewarding. You are my daddy made over. You are 100% unique and your own self. 

I love you.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Not laughing

Eight days in and I'm working hard on my resolutions. I've played piano, even *gasp* practiced, every day. And, of course, on the seventh day, a key broke. The A below Middle C. Number 37. One of my favorites. Sigh. Isn't that how this decade has been? We resolve to do better, get further, be more. We make plans and set goals, only to find that the universe has much different ideas. From new jobs to cancer to crazy people to whatever else, life keeps throwing things at us. We keep ducking. We keep getting pegged anyway. That key. Both pieces I'm working on are in a minor. So funny, universe. So very funny. Pardon me while I don't laugh.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Project Birthday Party

Christmas, check.

New Years, check.

That can only mean one thing. It's time for Project Birthday Party.

This past year, I swore that I would just have a simple party at some place with a bunch of inflatable things that kids can jump on and slide down. Of course, that's not happening. I just can't resist a theme.

The first hint came on Instagram the other day. 


Not too hard to guess if you have had a kid in your house anytime in the past 10 years. Here's clue number two:

There is much to do. Many platypli to cut out for a platypus search. Many 2 liter bottles to collect for science experiments. Many cupcakes to make. Many many things to do. Seriously. You only turn 6 and 4 once in your life. Why spend it in a well santitized bounce house? I'll probably have a very valid answer to that question the day after this party.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Our Year

Fresh start. I'm a big fan of fresh starts. Some would say it's because I don't usually finish things. Not me. I wouldn't say

Resolutions come easy in my head, but I don't like them. I don't like making promises I know I can't keep. Unless you are my youngest son. Apparently, making promises I can't keep have driven us into a cycle of arguments and tantrums that just can't be beat.

There are things I want to be doing that I'm not doing though. Like writing. Hello, month of November that I just totally quit writing. I want to write. Not just for epic reasons, but for the everyday. The little things. Like how Colin became obsessed with IceMan from Spiderman and his Amazing Friends from the 19EIGHTY's. It was the only thing he asked Santa to bring. Thanks to eBay, Santa brought a vintage action figure which Colin now stores in the freezer. Because where else would IceMan want to reside?

Stay cool, IceMan.
Music. Since I can't seem to finish anything there, I'm simply resolving to play my piano everyday. Be it a scale or two, a little Chopin, or getting back to those Beethoven sonatas, or a song or two -whatever. If I can get my butt up to the studio at least once a day, then I imagine it's going to be easier to make some music.

Sugar. It's my mortal enemy. I'm sad or angry, and I turn to sugar. The sugar gives me an instant relief, but then I feel shitty a few hours later. Not to mention the weight I've gained back. Which makes me sad and angry, so I have a donut. Like a dummy. So back on Weight Watchers I go. I have to be accountable to something since I don't seem to deem myself important enough to take care of in a healthy way.

Sewing. Consistently. Not just in a rush. Use what I have and stop buying fabric because it's pretty. I'm so excited about the craft fair that my friend Rachael and I did in December, and I want to do more of those. It was fun, and I felt good about earning money again.

Specraftular and Tweetly Homemade's booth at Holly Days
Caring. For my family. For my animals. For myself. I have to start caring in a more active fashion. Patience. Laundry. Understanding. Clean sheets.Yoga. Less sugar. More real food. These are things that I want to give myself and my family. It shouldn't be hard. I just need to focus.

Focus.

I have so much. These are my children.


This is my husband.

These are my animals.




And this? This is our year.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Over coffee

She came into Starbucks and immediately saw someone she knew. Two Raleigh Bob's connecting over their red Starbucks cups and a noisy wash of "I haven't seen you in so long"s. She's a jewelry maker. Her friend, the one in a meeting across from me, gushed to her colleague about how talented she was.

Then, she said, "This is my dad."

She introduced a man who probably used to be taller than her. His face was the face of a man who obviously used to be healthier. His cheekbones were over pronounced. His shoulders slumped. He spoke softly, but I heard him. He said, "I do like to eat."

The women laughed. He smiled. He still had it.

It was the baseball hat that got me. The random baseball hat that didn't go with the crisp blue jeans that were being cinched to him on the last belt loop. The baseball hat that was a little too casual for the collared shirt he had most definitely had help tucking in before he left home.

The hat was what brought my daddy zooming in this morning - his absence blowing through me like the coldest blast of wind rushing in each time someone opens the door to which I sat to close.

I miss him.

I wished that I could pick him up; take him on my errands with me; stop for coffee; spend the day doing mundane things.

In the end, I only stared, batting back a few tears. I stopped short of leaning over the table and grabbing the woman with the Raleigh Bob and telling her how lucky she was. For all I know, she's quite aware of how lucky she is.

I hope so.