first little soldier

So, I have a piece published on Babble, and I’m sort of nervous about the whole thing. It’s very personal, and it’s all just out there. So far there has been one friendly comment, which was nice, but will the trolls come out of the woodwork and smell fresh meat? Will people pull quotes out of context and use them to prove what a dumbass/callous bitch I am? Will people say cruel/judgey things about my life and choices? Will I be able to shrug it off?

(uhhhhhh)

That said, I am super, duper excited about it. I have sent off a bazillion (well, maybe eight) pieces to Babble, Adoptive Families, and Parenting, and am all hopeful to get something else published very soon. Also am working on the racy romance novel (up to about 17,000 words of 55-50,000) and that’s fun.

The writing is a big dream of mine, and it feels so great to take this first step of getting paid to write something and put it out there. My job-job (writing passages for and editing/revising English standardized tests) is something I really love, and it has the added bonus of getting my writing muscles all limbered up.

Daddy J fully supported me in converting our attic into my office, and it’s perfect place to work. It’s a beigey soft and coral pink, totally feminine and comfortable, with shaggy tan carpet. The perfect little nest to hatch dreams.

So, go check it out if you get a chance.

(holds fluttering stomach)

I hope you like it.

Inchin’ on up to the big 4-0

I turned 38 on December 11. It was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had. Also one of the most low-key, so maybe there’s a lesson here for me.

One of the strange blessings of Ward’s transition was that, along with blasting away my fear of death, I don’t mind getting older. It would be great and all to have the body of a twenty-two year old (oh, wait, I was pregnant for most of my twenty-second year; make that the body of a twenty-one year old) but I don’t mind the one I’ve got. I feel like it’s a pretty honest description of my life: I eat pretty well, but do indulge in some food and beverage vices treats; I exercise enough to feel good, but am not about to be confused with a marathoner. I have sun damage, but I still get a moderate tan when I go to the beach.

I am, for the most part, very, very happy.

I tell the boys often that it’s great being a grown-up. I love where I am and what I’m doing, so the years don’t sting as they go by.

I’ve written six chapters of the romance novel (I’m shooting for a Harlequin Blaze publication – yes, it’s quite lurid) but it’s been hard to find time the last week or so to work on it, what with Christmas shopping and decorating and work and the toddler and whatnot.

(So many questions are up in the air! Will Chelsea and Marcus GET IT ON? Will there be a Big Misunderstanding? Will someone feel very betrayed when a lie is revealed? Will the lie turn out to be for a very good reason and therefore okay? Will they feel like they can’t possibly be a couple because the hindrances are just too great? Will they realize that love is more important than those petty concerns? Will they make sweet and enthusiastic love to celebrate?)

(Yes!)

(Got to get back to my lovin’ couple soon. I miss their antics.)

The big boys are having banner years. The Commodore Brad (yes, my fifteen year old wants to be referred to as Brad now) has been practicing with a band now that his fall play performance is over. He’s writing songs and singing some and playing guitar. Rockinrolla is also still playing guitar and drums, and is a key member of the middle school basketball team.

Rainbow is so dang cute and funny now. He’s talking more and more and more. He gives an emphatic YESSSSS about things he wants, and he’s all about the jumbo cardboard block building now. When he turns into a flailing destructo feels extra energetic, I bundle him up and put him in the backyard with the German shepherd and the puppy. They explore the perimeter of the fence and pick up sticks and fallen walnuts together. He’s learning his colors; his favorite is YELLOOOOOWW!!! And he’s starting to eat at the table like a big boy.

And, for a couple of months now, he’s been super interested in the potty. Like, he sits on it naked and tries, but hasn’t produced yet. I think he may be close, though. Without fail, he’ll pee on the bathmat before he gets in the shower or tub.

My fears about something terrible happening to him are, I think, become more like a pesky old war wound that itches sometimes instead of a constantly distracting pain. I still have nightmares (like, we’ll be in a hotel and he’ll run off and be messing around an unsafe railing that’s three stories off the ground) and wake up with an adrenalin rush, but they are less frequent. I still sometimes have to read or play iPhone Scrabble until my panicked brain shuts up, but I’m mostly okay.

I visualize packing up a bucket full of worries and fears and handing them off to an angel (a trick from a meditation cd) and that helps some. I pray for help transforming the energy I waste on worrying into energy I can spend keeping him safe and happy and fulfilled. That helps, too.

I wonder often what it will be like as his age approaches Ward’s age when he had his accident. Will there be this big feeling of relief when Rainbow gets older than Ward was? He’s already bigger, but what will it be like when he’s older, too?

planning for the ball

So, Habitat Ball planning is underway.

I’m one of the decorations people, and have been scouring the Interweb for bargain decorations. Since it’s a fundraiser, saving money on decorations is a huge priority, so that we can give more to the charity. At the same time, this is the only yearly black tie (optional) event in our county and it needs to be fancy so that we can continue to get the patrons and sponsors in and get the big bucks donated.

We will have about 24 tables. In years past, we’ve mixed up the table centerpieces, but all obviously will need to match the theme and color. For instance, different candleholders and vases and such, but the same table covers and chair covers.

This year’s colors are light pink, black, and silver, and we are looking at a retro martini/champagne bubbles/Parisian sort of vibe. It’s still in the formative stages, but I think it will be gorgeous. I tend to gravitate more toward deeper jewel or earthy tones, so light pink and black are not my natural inclination, but I think the whole effect will be beautiful and chic and memorable.

My question:

Got any cheap sources for jumbo acrylic martini glasses? Black or silver or white (or pink) candelbras? Floating candles and glass bowls?

Any great (and inexpensive) ideas for the centerpieces?

Any smart ideas in general?

unexpected bonus

Our living kids have a somewhat untraditional age assortment (15, 13, and 21 months, at this point) and that’s been, really, a good thing so far. The big boys get to see how little people grow up, they get to see Daddy J’s and my early parenting philosophy in action, they get to help out some with childcare, and Rainbow has significantly older big brothers he can really look up to and rely on.

It struck me tonight that an additional good thing about this age span is that my big boys (along with Daddy J and me) get constant reminders about what’s really important. They are in 8th and 9th grades now and school requirements and social entanglements are heavy, and Daddy J and I have career and social stuff of our own.

It’s nice to have this innocent, pure little person in the house who just wants to be made to laugh. He wants to eat things he likes and be around people he trusts. He likes to watch videos where nothing bad happens and where people sing a lot and hug frequently. He enjoys the pets.

Toddlers are perfect anchors to the important stuff: don’t spend time around people who don’t make you feel good, do what you like to do, don’t worry about getting dirty, laugh often, cry freely, kiss everyone you love good night, while feeling no remorse if you don’t feel like kissing somebody.

I am so glad tonight to have this little reminder, in the form of Rainbow, in my life. The daily work of raising a toddler is such a sweet joy for me.

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