Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Knock knock...

Our six-year-old loves making up knock knock jokes. It is a good way to delay bedtime, and also surprisingly easy when you don't need a punchline that makes sense (a recent example he made up: knock knock. who's there? pill. pill who? pillow! followed by maniacal giggling).

It's gotten so bad that our four-year-old wants in on the action (knock knock. who's there? lightning mcqueen. lightning mcqueen who? followed by maniacal giggling). And our almost-two-year-old (na na. who's there? maniacal giggling). So I guess what I'm saying is that I'm in constant need of knock knock jokes. And also little kids are funny.

From here. This joke's pretty good, but I'm not letting my kids see The Dark Knight anytime soon. They don't need to hear a real maniac laughing yet...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Humorous Books

What's the funniest book you've ever read?

I love Terry Pratchett. Love, love, love. His Tiffany Aching novels, and Good Omens (with Neil Gaiman), and Discworld (particularly the Night Watch books)...all his books are brilliant and hilarious and wonderful, and I love them.

I also love Fred and George Weasley in Harry Potter (hee hee...Gred and Forge). Oh! And Simkin in Margaret Weis and Tracey Hickman's Darksword trilogy (egad!). And Roald Dahl's biting, wicked pokes at foibles, and brilliant comics like Calvin and Hobbes, and (even, terribly) those lame joke books I'd buy from my Scholastic book fairs way back in elementary school. Books that make me laugh are my favorite, even when (maybe especially when) they have darker moments as well. So I'm compiling a list, and anyone who contributes gets virtual cupcakes with victory rainbow sprinkles!

What, I ask you, is the funniest book you've ever read?

This is not a cupcake. This is Tiffany Aching with some Wee Free Men on her shoulders and a hat made of sky. She may look serious, but trust me: if she were reading her own book, she'd be smiling.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Okay. Today was a crazy I-had-to-call-911-for-the-first-time-but-hooray-everyone's-safe! kind of day, but may I say that I'm loving fall? Or that reading Harry Potter to my six-year-old makes it more magical than ever before? Or that, while I'm too lazy to upload my photos of the pumpkins outside our house right now, for some reason I'm willing to draw them on Paint?

I swear I'll post a real picture later. Maybe.
Hooray for books!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Walk in the woods answer, and also CUTE BABY!

Yikes! I've let time get away from me again. So. Walk in the woods answers. Here goes:

1. Your view of the woods represents how you view life. So if you feel positive/excited, you may be more of an optimist. If it's scary, well, that shows a darker worldview...

2. Your actions and feelings about the lake supposedly tell you what you think about sex. You may jump in and like it, or avoid it and think it's gross. I don't know what it means if you go boating or scuba diving or something. Moving on...

3. Your shiny object shows what you think about love.

4. Your house in the woods lets you know how materialistic you are, and your approach to it shows your basic trust of people.

5. Your bear represents challenges in life, and how you handle it (denial, tackling it head-on, losing to it) may indicate how you deal with problems.

My results were pretty accurate, actually, and at the very least I think it's a fun exercise to do once. But that brings me to something more awesome that I want to write about: me and my husband drove to Seattle with our three young sons. We went on a ferry. We visited the zoo and the beach. And, most important of all, we were there when my younger sister had her very first baby!

None of my sister had kids before this. And I have to say: having a nephew on my side makes me happy. Plus, cute! Just look!

I am totally biased, but I think he's adorable. Look at that face! That little diapered bum!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Guided Fantasy

I like teaching: it's creative, it feels important, and I'm never, ever bored. I don't talk about teaching university writing much here, but I love my job. Here's a quick activity we did the other week in our class if you want to try it...I claim it shows how sometimes writing can reveal things we didn't realize consciously, although I really do it just because it's fun. And it worked for me when I did it in a class. Let me know if it works for you if you try it!

So. You start out by pretending you're walking on a path. You walk and walk, and soon enough you see that your path goes into the forest. What is the first image for the forest that comes to mind? How do you feel about the forest? (This is the first question I ask my students, and I have them write a brief description of their answer).

You go into the forest (no choice on that part!) and walk for a while. Then you come to a clearing. There's a lake in the clearing. What does the lake look like? How do you feel about it? What do you do there? (Question 2!)

After your lake escapade, you go back on the path. You see something shiny on the side. What is your shiny object? What do you do with it? (Question 3)

You continue on the path until you see a house up ahead. What does your house look like? What do you do there? How does it feel to you? (Question 4)

You go back into the woods, and you meet a bear. What is the bear like? How do you respond to it? (Last question!)

If you survive, go back past the house, shiny object (if it's still there), lake, and out of the woods in your mind. Hooray! Done!

Leave your answers in the comments if you dare! (Question 2 is potentially the most embarrassing, so you can skip that one--but it's not THAT bad:). I'll go over the answers in the next couple days.

It'll be fun!

Mmm...I love forests. I could go for a walk like this right now.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I'm alive!

Quick note. I'm alive. The ear infection turned into two ear infections, strep throat, and double pink eye. It passed from three-year-old to six-year-old to one-year-old to me. I graded hundreds of essays. I revised and made my book so shiny that it made me cry at the sad parts, and survived the everyone-throws-up-but-me party the week after everyone recovered from strep.

I will start writing here again, promise! For now I leave you with this video, because accordian:

And this picture, because cute!

Yes, the small Sith Lords are mine. It was adorable on the Dark Side that day.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Grading zombie

My three-year-old has an ear infection.

This may not seem like much, but for him it is a world-shatteringly big deal. He needs medicine at night, and snuggles all day, and we watch lots and lots of Cars (and Cars 2).

I also teach every day for the next few weeks. If you see a full-time teacher, give them something nice--cash, maybe, or a chocolate that can give them a bubble bath and a massage, because they work so hard.

Worst thing, though, is the grading.

The 6-8-page argument essays nearly killed me. I'm pretty sure that the 27 analyses on Thoreau's "Walking" that I picked up today and have to finish in a single weekend will finish the job. Hopefully I'll come back.

Because if I do reanimate at the end of next week, the madness will be over! Well, probably. Once three-year-old's immune system finally wins the siege. And I catch up on sleep. Until then...

THIS is pretty accurate. At least I still know the letter B, right?

Thursday, May 1, 2014


Today was a super-busy teach-lunchforkids-school-write-shopwithkids-wedding kind of day. But in the best possible way.

Here's all the boys on my husband's side of the family. (My husband's the one with the most facial hair right now--but they can all grow some impressive beards when they want to!)

Here's the girls, plus my little shadow (I'm on the far left, and that's my three-year-old, who was being the cutest I-can't-let-go-of-you friend of all time)

Good food, good friends, good family. Hopefully it's worth getting our six-year-old to bed a couple hours late on a school night...

Monday, April 28, 2014


I shouldn't post jokes I made up with my six-year-old. But I'm tired, so...

Knock, knock

(Who's there?)


(Doctor who?)

Hee hee!

From here. I like this show, even though the episodes vary wildly in quality. Science is Magic, dinosaurs can rampage across space ships, and  Charles Dickens meets alien ghost-zombies (that's when I got hooked). Hee hee indeed.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spring Break!

My husband's not working. I'm not working. The kids ARE in school.

It's the best holiday I've had for a while.

Sure, I still have to grade three essays a day (blah), and there's some lesson planning to do, and I need to clean my whole kid-riddled house before my younger sister's baby shower next Wednesday, but--and this is important--when my kids start chucking cars down the stairs or smearing peanut butter on the walls, it's not always me they yell for.

And if they do yell for me, sometimes it's my husband who goes and cleans up the toothpaste, or the marker, or the STOP PLAYING WITH THAT DEAD SPIDER! corpse.

I should be writing. I'm excited about my fourth book, and today I'm making a final choice between first person and third person point of view, but I just thought I would share what it feels like to not be the only one at home with a one-year-old, three-year-old, and six-year-old.

It feels something like this:

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Joke

My six-year-old came home from Tae Kwon Do and said "Mommy, I have something to tell you."

I looked at him.

"Knock knock," he said.

"Who's there?"


"Irish who?"

"Irish you a happy St. Patrick's Day!" he finished triumphantly.

Happy St. Patrick's Day indeed.

He's wearing a green belt here, so he can't be pinched. In case you wanted to know.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Writing Process

I finished my third book last week! Don't get me wrong: it's the most problematic of all my books, largely because I tried this new process for it (a sort of hey-I-like-Roald-Dahl-and-Maniac-Magee-maybe-I'll-try-to-write-like-them-even-though-they're-crazy-different-and-I-don't-have-a-plot kind of process), and...well, it didn't work very well. But at least my draft is done (and I have a killer concept for my fourth book!).

Anyway. This got me thinking about process, and all the ways writers can write. Some writers love making soundtracks for their books, others (me!) can't listen to music while writing at all. Some writers are meticulous planners, and others wing it all the way (I think I'm a mixture of both, although I'm still figuring that one out). Some writes can include a deft political agenda (like Barbara Kingsolver) while others (me again) need to focus solely on character and story or their book turns out problematic (see my third book, above). So here are some facts, because they're interesting, about various famous writers and their quirks:

E.B. White couldn't listen to music while writing, although he could listen to ordinary family noise.

Joan Didion would write, then go over her pages that evening with a drink. The next day she'd edit what she did the day before based on her evening notes.

Ernest Hemingway wrote in the morning.

Kurt Vonnegut also wrote in the morning, did teaching work in the afternoon, and slipped push ups, sit ups, and a swim into his daily routine.

Rick Riordan claims in this interview with Jonathan Stroud that he has a loose outline when he starts writing, that he spends a couple months researching the start of each book, and that he spends four to five hours daily with broken-up writing.

Jonathan Stroud also spends time planning out scenes before he starts a first draft. He aims for about 25 pages a week (even if he claims he often misses that mark).

Maya Angelou would write in the morning and early afternoon, then edit what she'd written in the later afternoon. Oh, and I love how she said "Easy reading is damn hard writing," because it is true.

Barbara Kingsolver became a mother and a writer on the same day. She says that it takes her hundreds of pages to find her first page.

I want to find more, but my sister is now on my phone. Let me know if you have any favorite writerly processes (yours or famous writers'), and have a lovely Tuesday!

Books! That are produced by writers with processes! I love writers...

Friday, February 28, 2014


...are awesome. And not only The Lego Movie, although I enjoyed it a lot. I enjoyed this song...

...and this song...

...and Unikitty, which is just like the unicat I made up in third grade for a piano song I wrote, except Unikitty is Lego and she doesn't have wings.


Because Legos are cool, I want to do this to keep track of my writing/grading/critiquing time. Maybe even cleaning time!

Ha ha ha. That was a joke. I do not get cleaning time.

But Legos! Organization! It's hard to resist.

Maybe I'll get the pieces to build Unikitty.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Children's Center

I've been living here every Tuesday. I go up at 11:30 in the morning and come back sometime after dark (usually around 6:30ish, which isn't technically living there, but...close). I take our three-year-old son, and he learns how to play.

It is awesome.

After our Play 2 Learn class (which is, as I just mentioned, awesome), we walk by fences for an hour or so, wandering towards someplace that sells food so that we can eat a snack (pizza, maybe, or a tuna melt sandwich). Then we walk back to the Children's Center for our Wiggly Worms group, which gives me a crash course in sensory integration/occupational therapy. We get to play with floam, and jump on mini trampolines, and make swings for giggling children out of pillows.

Isn't it a cool building? It's a hundred-year-old school with twisted metal-ball statues and toys everywhere.
Here's my confession: I spent months after our three-year-old's diagnosis reading lists, and calling mental health experts, and trying to figure out our (apparently nonexistent) mental health benefits for children through our insurance. I got frustrated. I was glad to know more about how our son thinks, and I'm sure that helped me, but I'm so, so glad I signed up for resources at the Children's Center. We've got the Floortime Method playgroup, the occupational therapy course, a family therapist (who can probably explain autism to our six-year-old, which is trickier than you might imagine!), and lots of people who understand if our middle son starts drawing fences, or running as fast as he can along the walls, or sucking on his fingers.

I was going to write more here about how when you get a diagnosis for autism you get lots of lists, and it's overwhelming, and once you find a reliable wonderful resource it's such a relief, but my sister called, so I shall sum up: yay Children's Center! Yay!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Where should you live?

I've lived in Utah for thirteen years now.

Thirteen years.

I was born in Utah, moved to Phoenix, Arizona as a baby, got dragged to Seattle as a six-year-old (I went to three elementary schools in first grade), and then came back to Utah for college when I turned eighteen.

That's six years in a super-hot city in Arizona, twelve years in the drizzly green northwest, and thirteen years in Utah.

I bring all this up because we can sell our house this year. We bought with a first time "here's some money from the federal government but if you sell in the first five years after buying you have to give it all back or we will KEEEEL YOU" thing, and since we put all the moneys into carpet and fixing warped water-damaged wooden floors, me and my husband decided that staying put was a good idea. But in August our parole time is up. And so I took this quiz to see where I should live.

The answer is London. Or Paris.

I like the four seasons we get here. But the air pollution in the Salt Lake winter is scary (I like my mountains to not be shrouded in brownish-deadly fog), and there's a part of me that longs for adventure. London or Paris would be an adventure...especially with three kids in tow.

And therein lies the getajob-sellthehouse-findahouse-pack!load!drive! scariness. Yikes!

This is more along the lines of what fog should look like. And trees. There must be trees.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Two birthdays + Christmas + New Year's + another birthday =

WHEW! I have officially survived my baby's first birthday, my dad's birthday, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Eve (upon which I stayed up until nearly 10:30 p.m.), New Year's Day, and my oldest son's sixth birthday. To celebrate, I shall post this picture:

Christmas morning! Awww. Aren't my boys handsome?
I have been slacking with queries, but shall resume forthwith. Once I recover from all the holidays. Whew!