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Archive for April, 2012

Knitting Monday: Finishing and Starting New

I finished working on my blanket on Saturday. It ended up taking me a little over 20 hours to make it. It did turn out nice, but I definitely like doing projects that have a quicker turnaround. Like hats. Hats take me about half the time this blanket did(and it was a smaller blanket). Maybe even less, depending on the size of the hat and the complexity of the design. This blanket would be nice for over a car seat or in a stroller, or even for an older baby just to cuddle with. Hayleigh wants to use the one I made for her dolls. So, even though it is small, it could have a couple of different uses.

finished blanket

After I finished that one, I had to decide on another project. I went through my list and using a random number generator app on my phone, chose the Snowtracks Cap from coatsandclark.com. I started this one Sunday. It took me about 2 hours to finish the brim. Then, I had to do two more rounds before starting the cable pattern. It was not until after I finished 4 rounds of that(which took about another 2 hours) before I realized I had forgotten to switch to the larger needles as the pattern says to. So, at 9:30 last night, I had to rip out two hours worth of work. Hate when I have to do that. But, now hopefully I won’t make any more mistakes(ha ha, nice thought at least)

Family Friday: School Meeting

I had a meeting at Hayleigh’s school this morning. It was me, one of her teachers, the school psychologist,  the speech/language therapist(the one through the school, not the one we’ve worked with since she turned 3), and the occupational therapist that’s been working with her through the school year. The physical therapist couldn’t make it though. The meeting went well. They went over all of the evaluation reports. And she scored above average(and even well above average) for all of the academic type stuff. And even with her fine motor skills, she’s made gains of about 20+ months(since the last time she was evaluated 10 months ago). she’s made smaller gains with her gross motor skills but is still improving. They even said that if we send her on to Kindergarten, they could just get her eligible for services. With just her scores, she wouldn’t be, but by using “clinical judgment”, they could still get services for her.

But, we really think(and her teachers and the therapists agree) that if she stays in K-4 for another year, she’ll be even stronger going into Kindergarten. And we’re afraid that by sending her on, she’ll struggle and we’ll have to end up holding her back anyway. So, we feel it would be better to keep her back now instead of waiting. And really, she only misses the age cutoff by about 3 weeks. So, she is one of the youngest kids in her class. So, she’ll actually be closer in age to the ones coming into K-4 next year.

They did suggest trying to get her into the Early Connections program, which is right across the street from the school. So, I called them after the meeting, but since she’s all ready enrolled at the school, she can’t get into the state’s “Pre-K Counts” program. So, she would be in their child care program and on one paycheck, that just isn’t in our budget right now.


Writing Wednesday: ROWing Right Along

I’ve been rolling right along for the last week. I have started making out a to-do list every morning. I don’t always expect to cross everything off, but it’s the things I would like to get done. If I don’t finish them that day, then I just roll them over to the next day. They are really just my weekly goals broken down into even smaller chunks. It has helped me to see what I need to do to accomplish my goals though. And it helps keep me on track.

Read through Chapter 22 of Guarding the Heart and mark sections to be changed(added to/cut/reworked)
I finished this on Tuesday. There are some scenes where most of the text is now highlighted red and others where there is almost nothing. I know I have a lot of changes to make, but I still think the story at the core of it is strong. I’m hoping to be able to start rewrites next week.

Be through the steps of Snowflake Method
I finished step 6 on Monday. There are more, but I usually skip them. Well, I do step 8 but my own modified version of it(which is my next goal in this list).

Start figuring out timeline for Slow Revenge and planning scenes
I started this on Tuesday. Got two chapters put into the Storybook program. This helps me see the actual timeline of the story and not try to cram it all into a couple weeks(did that with a story I wrote last year).

Write at least 1 more flash fiction piece
Wrote 2 more. The first one was a continuation of the last couple I had written, “Wrong Place, Wrong Time” and “A Ham Sandwich“. I didn’t realize that until I had started writing. The other one was another prompt from Writing Fix.

Keep up to date with blog
Got an excerpt from some of my writing on 750words.com for Random Thursday. And a post on how my kids are Growing Up too fast on Friday. On Monday, I posted about Busting My Stash of yarn and yesterday I got one of the flash fiction pieces up. So doing good with this.

Keep up with replying to blog comments
This was up to date as of last Thursday I think. I know I have a couple more comments now that I need to reply to though.

Finish reading Plot & Structure
I finished this last Wednesday, I think.

Be 50% through Yseult
I actually finished this on Monday. Got really into it towards the end and kept picking it back up after setting it down. Tuesday I started reading Sin by Shaun Allan. I’m 13% into it and currently withholding judgment. It’s in first person and I may have mentioned before that I struggle with reading(and writing) that viewpoint. Not sure what it is. And the character in this one rambles, so I’m having trouble with following that. But, I like to give books until at least the 25% mark, so I’ll wait until then to decide whether to keep going or not.

So, I’ve made pretty good progress on my goals over the last week. By next week, I want to:

Be finished reading through Guarding the Heart(by 4/30)
Start rewrites
Have through at least chapter 12 of Slow Revenge put into Storybook
Write at least 1 more flash fiction piece
Keep up to date with blog posts and comments
Be 50% through Sin(or have chosen a different one to read)

How has everyone else been doing this last week?

Short Tuesday: Stranger at the Door

I did not realize until I was in the middle of this one that it was pretty much a continuation of the last two pieces I wrote. That’s the way most of my flash fiction goes. I’m not exactly sure which direction it’s headed until I’m in the middle of it.


A stranger was knocking at the door. I had just come out from putting the baby down for a nap. Afraid the barking of the dog would wake her, I hurried to the door. I opened the door after quieting the animal and stepping in front of her. There was still a screen between me and the man standing on my porch. But, even I knew it would offer little protection if he harbored any ill intent. When he continued to stand there without saying a word, my heart rate began to pick up. What was he doing here? Why would he not speak?

“What can I do for you?” I finally asked.

“I am sorry to have to bring this news to you,” he said, and pulled something out of his pocket. As he turned it, I saw it was his police department identification. Instantly, dread settled in my stomach.

“What news?” I asked, feeling as if the words were trying to choke me. “Is it Frank?”

This strange man nodded. “Yes. I am sorry to inform you that your husband is dead.”

I saw his lips move but I no longer heard his words. I could not hear anything through the thoughts swarming in my head. No, it could not be true. He could not be dead. I had just kissed him good-bye before he left for work that morning. Only hours had passed. How could he be dead?

I did not realize I had fallen to my knees until I felt the pup beside me, nudging my shoulder. I shook my head and looked up at this man who had just destroyed my world. “No,” I whispered. Then again, stronger this time. “No. It cannot be true.”

But, the look in his eyes told me it was. “What happened? How could this happen? Are you sure it’s him?” I knew the questions rolled out one after the other, without giving him a chance to answer, but I could not stop them.

The man held a hand out to me to help me to my feet. “We’re sure, Ma’am. I’m so sorry.”

“What happened?”

“There was a robbery down at the corner deli. He must have been getting some lunch.”

I felt myself nod although it felt like it was someone else answering him. Someone who was numb to the pain I was feeling. “He was running late this morning. He didn’t pack his lunch.”

“The robbers were running out of the store when we arrived.” He paused for a moment then and didn’t seem to be able to continue. “I’m sorry for your loss, Ma’am.”

My sobs choked me, and I could not ask the question in my mind. Did anyone survive? But, I didn’t need the answer. I didn’t care. I couldn’t care. Frank was dead. What else mattered? I felt the man leave my side and looked up at him again.

He seemed to want to make his escape now that he had delivered his news, but was not sure how to. “I need to get back. Once again though, I am sorry for your loss.”

Those words, how I hated them. They meant so little and so much at the same time. And I would hear them more times than I could count over the coming days. And each time, whether meant sincerely or just said in passing, they would dig their claws into my heart.

Knitting Monday: Busting My Stash

First up: I finished the first of my hats I want to sell and donate some of the proceeds towards the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I am still tossing around how I want to go about this. I had thought about making hats in all different styles and sizes and doing an auction on my Facebook page. But, I’m not sure if that’s what I want to do. I also thought about just listing the hats as I make them(with the ability to order whatever size wanted) and put 50% of sales towards the donation. Then, another idea I had was to still do the regular listings, but have a special sale on ready to ship ones once a month. And any proceeds from those sales would be donated 100%. Right now, I’m leaning more toward that last one. I may change my mind again though. And, I need to get my hands on some more red yarn(using Simply Soft or cotton yarn depending on the type of hat) before I can make any more.

My little hat model

Not being very cooperative

a side view

a view of the top

So, I realized I have way too much worsted weight yarn. I have all of the lighter weight yarns(super fine, fine, light) in a small bag and the bulky and super bulky weight ones in another bag(like the reusable shopping bags). Then, I have a tote box filled with the worsted weight yarn. And unless I have it all set in there perfectly, I cannot put the lid on it. So, I decided I need to work my way through this stash before I buy more yarn(unless it is for a particular project). So, I organized all the patterns I have by the weight of yarn needed for them. And I’m now working my way through them.

The first of these stash-busting projects I did was a pair of baby booties from Bernat’s website. As I have a lot of smaller balls of yarn(mostly given to me by my Grandma when she wanted to get rid of her yarn), this is a really good project. Doesn’t take a lot of yarn, so it would work when you just have a bit left. It took me less than six hours to finish these. So, a fairly quick project. And they turned out pretty cute. The yarn I ended up using for them in one I bought simply because I thought it was pretty(so no project in mind for it).

side view of the booties

front view

The next project I worked on was from the book that came with my learn to knit kit, a knit dishcloth with eyelets. I attempted it when I was first learning, but even though it’s labeled as easy, I could not get the hang of the eyelets. Of course, I think I tried it with acrylic yarn back then instead of the cotton it calls for. So, I decided to try it again now and with the right yarn this time. It turned out pretty nice, and was another quick project(just a little over 4 hours to finish).

Then, I decided to do a bigger project. I have a large skein of yarn(like 850 yards) which is taking up most of the room in the tote. So, I started a blanket using that yarn. I have pretty much avoided knitting blankets so far, except for the two small square ones I made(about 12×12). They just take too long to make, and I don’t have quite the attention span for that. But, this one is smaller, about 24×24, so I decided to try it. I’m just a little over halfway finished with it now and I have all ready spent about thirteen hours on it. Hoping it does not take quite as long to do the second half of it. I think when I’m done though, I’ll do a quicker project next.

half finished blanket

Family Friday: Growing Up

Nathan turned 19 months at the beginning of April. That is very hard for me to believe. Especially when I was looking through pictures to print out for his scrapbook the other day. Yes, just a few more months until he turns two, and I am just starting to work on the scrapbook. I saw the picture I took of him at three months old, and it was hard to remember when he had been that little. But, I look at him and see how much he has grown.

The day before Easter, he got his first haircut. It wasn’t unmanageably long or anything, just getting rather shaggy around the ears. And Hayleigh and I were both getting ours trimmed at my sister’s after my cousin’s baby shower, so I decided to have her trim his up as well. And I couldn’t believe how much of a difference just a little trim made in how he looks. He no longer looked like a little toddler anymore. Instead he was transformed into a little boy.

The day before his haircut.

Getting his hair cut

Looking all grown up at Easter.

Then, earlier this week, I was getting his breakfast ready. Just a bowl of cheerios, so nothing elaborate. But, as I was pouring them into his bowl, he went over and climbed up into my chair at the table. Just like that. And he sat there the whole time he ate breakfast. I resisted this new change for about a day. Then, switched the extra chair for his high chair. And he’s been sitting in his “big boy chair” since then. Granted there is more playing around at meal times, but he still sits there and eats.

Sitting at the table

I looked back through photos of Hayleigh, and she was still in the high chair at her second birthday, but out of it within the next eight months(the next picture of her at the table is that next Easter). But, he seems to be doing just about everything earlier than she did.

At this rate, before I know it, he will be the one going to Pre-K. Although since his birthday falls just a few days after the school cut-off, I have an extra year for that.

Random Thursday: Random Ramblings

For today’s post, I decided to take an excerpt of some of my ramblings from 750words.com. This is from the last day of March when I was trying to complete a monthly challenge, the first time I would have succeeded at that. So, read on, if you want to take a stroll through my mind.


I can’t believe I’m still up early on a Saturday to get my writing done. I don’t have an alarm set for on the weekends. But, at about four ten, more than thirty minutes before my alarm goes off during the week, I was wide awake. Have absolutely no clue why. I was just awake. Screwed around on my phone for a bit was still up and on the computer by five. Since this is the last day of the month, I figured I might as well get to writing. Need to get at least seven hundred and fifty words today so I can finish the challenge. After that, I really hope to get the rest of the words I need to get the nano badge as well. And next week, I should have my flock badge. Not sure of the exact numbers I need for those two but I will go check. Need another 2658 words for the Nano badge. And another 4378 words to get my flock badge. Should definitely reach that one by the end of next week. between the plotting for the new novel and any other writing I’ll be doing. I need to decide how I’m going to do that. I think I’ll spend that first hour writing out all my summaries and character developments. Whatever I get done then will be good. Then, the other two morning writing sessions(at 8 and 10 in the morning) will be dedicated to my blog posts until they are finished for the week. After that, I will do a chapter from plot & structure. Then I can work on some flash fiction. I want to get one piece finished a week. I think I’ll aim for right around five hundred words. If it goes a little over that though it is all right. Still need another four hundred and fifty words here to complete the March challenge. I am so close. I have never completed a challenge before Have always missed at least one day, usually on the weekends. So, this was really a personal challenge to me to see if I could stick with it for a whole month and no matter what else was going on still scrape out some time to write a certain amount of words. And I’ve done it! Or just about. Once I get another three hundred and fifty words written I will be done. I haven’t even made my coffee yet. Once I get my words done, that will be my reward. Getting closer now. I still haven’t started the piece for L.S. Engler’s challenge on her blog. I’ve never taken a closing line before and work toward it. Although that’s kind of what I did with this novella. Except it was the climactic scene I had all ready written and I worked toward that. But, that’s a little easier than just a closing line. I’m sure I can come up with something. I’ve just got to think on it. I may not get this one done, but hopefully the next one. I like the idea, just not sure what to write to get to it. Shouldn’t be that hard though. Just need to brainstorm some ideas.

Writing Wednesday: ROWing Over the Bumps

I started out the second half of last week pretty strong, but did not do too much over the weekend. Then, Sunday night was woken up by a little girl who could barely draw a full breath. Stupid croup. Gave her the medicine we have for when this happens, and she came into our bed for the rest of the night. She went back to sleep, but I didn’t have such an easy time of it. Was reminded of why we’re not a co-sleeping family. I just cannot sleep with a kid in the bed. Definitely when I’m getting smacked in the face, kicked in the stomach, and nearly pushed off the bed. We definitely all sleep better in our own beds. But, at least she felt better the next morning(and even wanted to go to school even though I was going to let her sleep in). I did not have much motivation to get anything done though, so it was a pretty laid back day for me.

  • Read through Chapter 10 of Guarding the Heart, marking sections to be added/cut/changed.

I made it through here on Monday(about the only thing I did get done that day). And I got through Chapter 11 and 12 on Tuesday. I’m hoping to finish this by the end of the month and then will start making the changes I’ve marked.

  • Be through step 6 of the snowflake method for Slow Revenge

I made it through step 5 on Tuesday. I really enjoy writing the back story pieces even if a lot of it won’t make it into the actual novel. It still helps me get into the characters’ heads. And while writing the antagonist’s back story, I started to feel a little bit of sympathy for her. Just a little bit, but at least there’s more to her than just being an evil bad guy. I am planning on starting step 6 today, but have not gotten to it yet.

  • Write at least 1 more flash fiction piece

I wrote a short piece(only about 350 words) Tuesday morning for L.S. Engler’s closing line challenge. Was kind of a spin off from the piece I wrote last week. The same situation, just starting a little earlier than that one and in a first person POV.

  • Keep up to date with my blog

Got my Random Thursday and Family Friday posts up. Didn’t do a Knitting Monday post, but did get back on track with Short Tuesday

  • Reply to comments on the blog

I got caught up on comments on Thursday then slacked off on this. Got caught up again on Tuesday.

  • Read and finish exercises for Chapter 13 of Plot & Structure

I read this chapter on Saturday but didn’t really do the exercises. I did think about where most of my problems with my finished first draft are. And after reading through the first 1/3 of it, I’d have to say the biggest problem is head hopping. That’s something I’m going to have to pay a little more attention to as I go forward. And I read through chapter 14.

  • Be at least 75% through Committed.

I finished this over the weekend. I did have a few problems with it, just felt like too much was being explained to me. A couple parts where I felt pulled out of the story. But, overall I did like it. I started reading Yseult, by Ruth Nestvold over the weekend and am about 20% through it so far.

Goals for next check-in:

  • Read through Chapter 22 of Guarding the Heart and mark sections to be changed(added to/cut/reworked)
  • Be through the steps of Snowflake Method
  • Start figuring out timeline for Slow Revenge and planning scenes
  • Write at least 1 more flash fiction piece
  • Keep up to date with blog
  • Keep up with replying to blog comments
  • Finish reading Plot & Structure
  • Be 50% through Yseult

Short Tuesday: A Ham Sandwich

This is another response to L.S. Engler’s Closing Line Challenge. The prompt for this week was “All I wanted was a ham sandwich.” This is kind of a spin off from the piece I wrote last week. Same situation, but from the first person point of view.


All I wanted was a ham sandwich. That’s why I had walked down here on my break. I knew I didn’t have much more time than it would take to walk to this corner store and back. I had gotten my sandwich and headed to the counter to pay for it when I heard the commotion. Two men stood at the front of the store. With guns pointed at the cashier. I dropped back behind a shelf, but they had already seen me.

I heard one of the men coming for me. My heart raced, and I wished I had listened to my wife. Wish I would have just made my lunch at home and brought it to work with me. Now, would I ever even see her again? Would my little girl ever reach her arms for me to pick her up again?

“Get down on the floor.”

I didn’t even look at the man who had given the order, just did as I was told. Then, I felt my face slammed into the floor. “Keep your eyes on the floor.”

I could feel the blood draining out of my nose and onto the floor. I felt something sticky by my hand, and hoped it was just a spilled drink. I didn’t even want to think about what else I might be laying in. I heard the same order repeated as the man moved around the store, subduing the other customers. I heard one man resisting the order. And flinched at the sound of the gunshot. From the cashier’s hysterical screams, I was sure they had not shot up into the ceiling.

I knew I couldn’t fight back against these men. Not if I ever wanted to see my wife and daughter again. The one person who had stood up to them now lay dying, if he wasn’t already dead. I said a quick prayer for him and that help would come for us before it was too late. Maybe I would make it out of here.

But, damn it. All I wanted was a ham sandwich.

Family Friday: Happy Easter and 3rd Quarter Progress Report

I hope everyone that celebrates had a wonderful Easter last weekend. Ours was pretty good. We ended up not coloring eggs this year. We didn’t have any in the house at the end of the week and didn’t feel like running to the store for just eggs. Neither of the kids seemed to know the difference and the Easter bunny was going to be hiding plastic eggs around the house anyway(so he didn’t have to worry about the early rising kids in the house waking up before he got here;)), so I didn’t worry about it too much.

We had to put out a snack of carrots and water(since Hayleigh thought he would need a drink to go with his snack). And he left the Easter baskets sitting right out on their coloring table. Sunday morning, Hayleigh comes running into our room, “Mommy, come see what’s on the coloring table. What the Easter bunny brought me.” It was so cute seeing how excited she was.

Easter baskets for the kids

The Easter bunny was pretty nice about hiding the eggs as well. Most were “hidden” in plain sight. Must have been thinking about Nathan when they were hidden. Although he was more interested in opening the first one he found and seeing what was in it than finding any other eggs.

Checking out his Easter basket

Carrying an egg around

Showing off her new sunglasses

Sunday afternoon we went to Cory’s aunt’s for Easter dinner. Ham, scalloped potatoes, corn, carrots, and strawberry pretzel dessert(YUM!). And an egg hunt for the kids a little later. It was a good time.

All dressed up for Easter

Finding some eggs

Standing in front of a large inflatable Easter Bunny


Last Tuesday, before starting their Easter break, Hayleigh brought home her third quarter report card. The only thing she “needs improvement” with, other than interacting with others, is recognizing words that rhyme, producing rhyming words, and writing her name with proper formation, all of which has improved over the last month or so.

Academically, she’s doing great though. She can identify all 8 colors, 6 out of 6 shapes, recognizes 11/11 numbers and can point and count at least 15 objects. And she counts up to 100 even though the end of the year goal is only 20.

She identifies 52/52 letters and recognizes 25 out of 26 letter sounds. She also recognizes name in print, can sing ABC song, Repeats rhymes/poems, can hear and combine letter sounds, and can count the number of syllables in a word(she is always having us clap the parts of words at home).

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