Friday, December 30, 2011

Scarlett Notes for the End of 2011

I had Scarlett in the bathroom with me the other day.  I have a box of toys in there for her, and she was happily emptying each item out of the box. Suddenly she brought all her toys over to me, one by one, and placed them in my hands.  And with such seriousness, she started pulling her pants off.  I asked her what she was doing and she firmly said "Bath."  She was all ready to take a bath, all by herself, mid-day.  LOL

In the morning, the first thing she does when she comes downstairs is put on her necklaces.  We got her some play jewelry for Christmas, and she wears those necklaces all day, every day.

Today we took a (brief) trip to Barnes and Noble.  Scarlett's at the age where she wants to run around by herself, and she's not shy enough to stick by me or reserved enough that I can trust her to not pick up the books if I am looking away from her for a split second.  So we didn't last long in the bookstore.  But when we were leaving, I was strapping her in to her carseat and she started wiggling her shoulders and saying "Dathee, dathee," (dancing, dancing).

Scarlett is also going through a phase right now where every time she hears a loud noise she comes running at me with her arms in the air, frantically saying "Hold you?  Hold you?"  I don't know why loud noises freak her out so bad all of a sudden.  I hope she's not developing my high anxiety.  She even gets upset when I speak sharply to Tyr now.

And finally, lately some of the most fun we have is when she's so tired she's delirious.  She gets so giggly and playful and cuddly, it's almost painful to have to take her to bed.

Other words of note lately: "caack" (sock), "kai Tyr" (quiet Tyr), "pyoo" (pee-yew, as in she's got a stinky diaper), and "bahbah" (potty), and "nahkee" (necklace).

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Day and Beyond

Scarlett was up early Christmas morning.  Even at 17 months old she picked up on that Santa Claus energy.  LOL





She loved all the toys in her stocking so much, I hated to pull her away to get her ready to go.  We left at 8:30am to start the "relative relay".

With a quick pit stop to drop Tyr off with my parents, we made it to Jeremy's parents' house by 10am.  The twins showed Scarlett their Santa toys, and then we all opened gifts.  I can't believe Jeremy's parents got us anything after giving us a JEEP earlier this year.

Scarlett is obsessed with babies right now -- so Mariah is one of her favorite little people in the world.

Mmmm cupcake for breakfast!

The twins and Selena showing Scarlett one of their new toys.


We stayed for an early Christmas dinner, but headed to my parents' house right after.  We opened gifts there right away and once again were amazed by our family's generosity.  My parents got me a drafting table and got Scarlett an easel.  It's been art central around our house all week!

Princess!

That dog opens out into a sleeping bag.  So cool!

Exhausted, but pushing through.

Family picture time


Other than grocery shopping on Monday, Jeremy, Scarlett and I just spent the day recovering from the holidays.  Jeremy started coming down with a head cold and I got a migraine, so we didn't have much choice other than to take it easy.  In fact, Jeremy was feeling so run down he stayed home Tuesday as well.

Tuesday I met Michelle for coffee in the afternoon and then headed to the Springs for Cheryl's birthday party at Splash.  I didn't even know that place existed -- and it's so cool!  You get to paint and drink wine.  I couldn't ask for much more.  The hostess walked us all through painting Van Gogh's Starry Night.  I loved to see how everyone's results were so different, but so beautiful.

Scarlett and I stayed the night at Jeremy's parents' house that night.  Jeremy went to work Weds morning, and Scarlett and I stayed and played with the twins until around 10am.  Then we headed back up to Northglenn.

I spent my entire Michael's gift card Weds afternoon, but got a ton of stuff for Scarlett and me to do.  While she napped I practiced my watercolor techniques on my new drafting table.  Then when she woke up, I showed her how to use chalk and dry erase markers on her new easel.  Then we went to the living room where I got out her new big pad of paper and crayons.  She loooooves crayons, and was especially excited because I also got her a bright pink plastic case to put all of her crayons in.  She spent 45 minutes taking her crayons out one by one, then putting them back in the case one by one.  Jeremy is concerned that she may have my obsession with organization.  I can only hope to be so lucky.  :)

Jeremy is still in the Springs tonight, so only Scarlett and I went to the Curry family's going away party in Lafayette.  There were a ton of kids there (though none as young as Scarlett), and Tutti has a kids' play area, so I just set Scarlett down and she was off like a shot.  I kept a close eye on her through the plexiglass and stepped in when needed, but overall she did really great in there on her own.  Especially since she's an only child and doesn't go to daycare, I am impressed at her ability to play well with other kids.

So Della and Mike, two of my best friends from college, are now moving to Arizona.  It was sad to say goodbye to them and their kids tonight.  At least they're moving to a location that's easy for me to visit.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Playing in the Snow










Catching Up

I was too distracted to write in my blog this week.  But I want to catch up a little here.

Jeremy was in the Springs for most of the week, so I was working at home alone with Scarlett.  The only reason I was able to handle that is because it was a slow work week.  I had projects to do and issues to take care of, as usual, but they were spaced out enough that I didn't completely lose my mind having my attention divided between work and Scarlett.

Another challenge, too, is that I'm trying to build up my freelance business right now.  And keeping an eye on a toddler doesn't lend to focus or concentration -- so I had to work on that mostly after she went to bed at night.

Thankfully my mom came to help Tuesday afternoon and stayed until Wednesday afternoon.  I love having her here.  Not only because she helps so much with Scarlett, but it's also great to have an adult to talk to, and a woman at that.  We went to dinner at Olive Garden Tuesday night and then watched The Help and blabbed for hours after Scarlett went to bed.

Erin came to visit Wednesday night.  She brought me Christmas cookies!  Scarlett loves Erin, and gets a little upset when Erin isn't paying attention to her.  So we ate some dinner and then after Scarlett went to bed we finally got a chance to really talk and catch up.

Jeremy surprised us by coming home early on Thursday.  I was quickly starting to lose my mind at home with the baby (not to mention my back was killing me after shoveling a ton of snow), so it was the best surprise ever.


Friday I had the day off work, so Jeremy let me sleep in and then we splurged on lunch at Denny's (yes, eating out anywhere these days is a splurge!).  I spent the afternoon wrapping gifts.  Jeremy insisted on giving me one of my gifts that night -- the entire Hunger Games series in hardback!  I'm well into Catching Fire now.

Christmas Eve Day

We decided to open our Christmas gifts today because we're going to be so busy tomorrow. And especially for Scarlett (but also for Jeremy and I), we wanted time to enjoy playing with our gifts.

While Jeremy is playing with his new bluetooth headphones, Scarlett is enjoying her ZooTalkers set while I read Catching Fire.

Jeremy got me some jewelry from foreign artists this year. The necklace is from an artist in Thailand and the amethyst/white pearl earrings are from a Balinese artist.
Ginger Cascade necklace from Thailand

Guardian Moon earrings from Bali



Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Inspiration, Santa and Ho Ju

Last week I met my friend and former piano teacher Heather for coffee at Mojo's in Lafayette.  I got there early so I could get some focused work done before she arrived, but I had trouble connecting to the wireless there.

It's amazing what you can accomplish when you can't get online.  Even though I needed product information I couldn't pull without an Internet connection, I was still able to put together all the rest of the content for five promotions in under an hour.

I'm typically not an eavesdropper.  In fact I blogged about that recently, how I need to start listening more when I'm out in public.  But this time I couldn't help it.  There were two women sitting at the table next to me, one interviewing the other about something called AMWA and I knew it had something to do with writing.  When I got home later that day, I looked it up and it's a professional association for medical writers.  Well then I had to figure out what a medical writer was.  Did you know that there is an entire industry in and around writing medical brochures, journal articles, government regulatory docs, grant proposals and even sales training and marketing materials?  Yeah, I didn't either!  I learn new things every day.

So anyway, back to my coffee date.  Heather and I are mutual inspirations, we've found.  When we talk, ideas tend to sort themselves out into solutions.  And this time what came out of that hour-long coffee date was a holiday CD featuring Heather's phenomenal musical talent.  Yup, she went right home and produced a CD of Christmas songs (she's a professional and highly educated piano and voice teacher).  Now how's that for some inspiration?

Sunday we went down to Castle Pines.  We dropped Scarlett off with my parents and did our final holiday shopping.  Afterward we all went to my parents' neighborhood holiday party.  Scarlett freaked out when we approached Santa, so the pictures we got of her fiercely clinging to me were blurry.  I'm hoping my mom's video camera produced a few usable still-shots.  If so, I'll post them here.

Along with Santa Claus there were horse-drawn carriage rides and free food and wine.  Sadly there was no one managing the Santa Claus visits or the carriage rides, so it was a free-for-all.  And let's just say there were a lot of parents spending their time at the wine bar rather than keeping their kids company.  We did manage to get a carriage ride, though, and Scarlett loved every second of it.  She was especially excited about the horses and oohed and aahed over the "peety" lights as we were carried through the neighborhood in a New York-style carriage.

And finally a Scarlett development update that I should have made weeks ago.  At just over 16 months, Scarlett started mimicking sounds regularly.  You can ask her to say a word or a phrase, and chances are she will attempt it.  Some of our recent favorites are "ho ju" (hold you -- as in she wants you to hold her), "pa pah" (grandpa), ahpoo (open or apple, depending on the context) and "keedjee" (kitty).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Career Coach, Date Night and Fireworks

I met with a career coach this evening.  I'm feeling very scattered with all of the various projects I work on -- both in my day job and my freelance work.  I was hoping the coach could get me pointed in the right direction.  It was just the initial consultation, so I didn't get a ton out of it.  But I think if I continue to work with her she'll be able to get me focused.

When I got home from that appointment, my brother and Lisa were at the house to babysit and Jeremy was dressed up for our date night (shaved face, cologne and all!).  Scarlett was putting on a show for everyone, per usual.  She was so excited to have an audience.  I knew she was going to have a fun night (the short amount of time before bed, at least).  So Jeremy and I went to the local dine-in theater and had dinner while we watched the new Muppets movie.  I now have that "mana mana" song stuck in my head. It was a great date night.

I forgot to mention that this weekend was the Thornton Winterfest, which took place at the rec center behind our house.  Saturday night they had fireworks (which were setting off car alarms in our neighborhood, but Scarlett still slept through), and the view from our house was amazing.  It still stresses me out when they allow overflow parking in our open space, though.  I believe open space should be left to nature.  Cars destroy animal habitats.

I see signs that they may be building a trail through the open space.  That could mean they'll maintain it more as a natural habitat so the trail could be considered a "nature trail". Or it could just mean more traffic through that beautiful field behind our house.  I wish I knew how it would turn out, but I guess all I can do is wait and see.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Home Sweet Home

To blog, or not to blog?  That is the question when I'm away from home.

I don't like to advertise when I'm gone because I think it's an invitation to robbers.  Even though most of the time there is someone either staying at our house or checking on it.  I'm still paranoid.

But then I also worry when I don't blog that people figure out I'm traveling.  LOL

Jeremy and I were in the Springs for the last week.  Janet and David were on vacation in Mexico, so we were watching their house and taking care of the twins.

That means we had THREE toddlers all week.  Two of whom were in the midst of potty training.  And after that particular experience, I feel like potty training Scarlett in a few months will be a piece of cake.

The boys were fantastic, as always.  And Scarlett got along with them well, as always.  I helped as much as I could given that I still had to work during the week, but it was really Jeremy that did most of the child care-taking.  Even though the twins are pretty self-sufficient, and Jeremy is used to taking care of Scarlett's needs, it was still three toddlers to one (sometimes two) adults -- which is stressful for anyone.  I am constantly impressed with Jeremy's patience.

The hardest part for us was that the twins don't go to bed until about 10pm.  Which means that Jeremy and I got no adult time at all.  I don't know how David and Janet handle that!  We need our adult time!

But we're home now, and realizing how good we have it.

It was nice to be down there long enough to meet up with some people I haven't seen in too long.  I got to have lunch with my colleague Deb and another lunch with Josey.  And during yet another lunch hour, I finally got to meet the Peterson/Nelson family's newest addition, baby Janey, and spend some time catching up with Katie.

Most of my trips to the Springs involve family obligations and appointments, so I rarely get to spend the kind of time with my friends down there that I would like to.  And our out-of-town friends visit us up here in Northglenn when they can -- but most people have young children and I know how hard it is to arrange that kind of time.  All I can hope is that we can maintain our friendships well enough through these early family years, so when our kids are older and we have more freedom we are able to spend more time together again.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Highlights from After the Storm

We got a break in the weather today, so Scarlett and I went out and played in the snow. She would have been happy if I had just let her run up and down the driveway all afternoon.

Afterward we made some tea and ate pancake bites next to the fire.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Northglenn Noel and DARN SNOW

Last night my mom, Scarlett and I went to Northglenn Noel, a little fair at the Northglenn rec center. It was so cute.  They had lots of kids' activities, tables where you could spin the wheel for prizes, a bake sale, a lighting ceremony, pizza, and of course, Santa!  I didn't get Scarlett's picture taken with Santa, though, because Jeremy wasn't with us.  It's only fair that her daddy be there too.  But I did win a gift card to Best Buy at one of the prize wheels, so that was pretty cool.

My mom headed back home last night, and we were so sad to see her go.  Scarlett cried a little when she realized her playmate was leaving.

We were supposed to head down to Colorado Springs this morning to meet up with Jeremy, but instead we're snowed in.  Another storm system passed through and dumped another 4 inches on us.  The roads through Denver are a mess and the storm is headed toward the Springs.  And yet another system is supposed to come through on Monday morning.  I have no idea when we'll be able to get down there at this point.  But I'm trying to make the best of it.  I've got the fireplace going, Scarlett is taking a nap in her fleece PJs, and I'm catching up on some blogging and emails.

I haven't seen Jeremy for more than 5 minutes since Tuesday morning.  Usually I enjoy the snow, but right now I'm cursing it.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Zoo Lights, Tori & Dean, and Quick Daddy Visit

We are members of the Denver Zoo, now, and with our new membership came free tickets to the member preview weekend of Zoo Lights.  So off to the zoo we went on Sunday evening.

They did a wonderful job with the lights, and Scarlett enjoyed the whole experience.  She got to see giraffes, elephants and sea lions up close, too.  The sea lions put on quite a show, playing and jumping in and out of the water, so that was definitely Scarlett's favorite exhibit of the evening.  She started mimicking their sounds, so we got her a little sea lion stuffed animal in the gift shop on our way out.  I will try to post some of Jeremy's pictures from the night soon.

Poor Jeremy was only home Sunday and Monday before he had to run off again.  He went to Kansas City with his dad to check on one of the businesses out there, and to eat barbecue.  Yeah, it was mainly for the barbecue. So Scarlett and I were all by our lonesome Tuesday and most of Wednesday.

I don't normally watch TV or even listen to music while I'm working -- but there was a Tori & Dean marathon on the Oxygen channel on Tuesday, and I missed most of last season.  So I had it on in the background and quickly discovered that Scarlett LOVES the show.  She was actually stopping and paying attention to it.  She's obviously got my good taste in TV programming.  LOL.  Seriously, though, she fell asleep during the live Beetlejuice show at Universal Studios.  I notice when she pays attention to something!

My mom arrived on Wednesday afternoon to stay with us a few days.  That night after work, we went to Flatirons Mall to do some shopping before Jeremy returned.  Jeremy was supposed to come home that evening to re-pack and spend some time with us before heading down to the Springs to work Thurs-Fri, but when the guys went to their cars at the airport, David's car wouldn't start.  So Jeremy had to rush his packing, only got to spend a few minutes with Scarlett and I, and then he was off to take the guys home to the Springs.  I felt so bad for him.  I know he was looking forward to spending a few hours with us girls.

It snowed Wednesday night, so my mom, Scarlett and I woke up to a winter wonderland this morning.  It's beautiful, drifting over the hills in the open space behind our house.  We've got a fire going in the fireplace, and we're just enjoying the peaceful winter day inside.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Breaking Dawn and Spoiled Scarlett

My parents, Drew and Lisa came up to visit on Saturday.  Jeremy was at work in the Springs, so he missed out on our fun.

We went to lunch at 3 Margaritas, then went back to the house so I could give the guys the rundown on Scarlett's afternoon routine.  Drew and my dad stayed with her while my mom, Lisa and I headed to the theater to see Breaking Dawn.

This was the first time I've been to our local theater (obviously we don't get out to a lot of movies these days).  It was so cool!  It's one of those dine-in theaters, so every row of seats has a table in front of it.  There is a huge menu, and a waiter comes and takes your order and checks on you during the movie.  And it wasn't any more expensive than a regular theater.  I kept thinking how perfect that would be for a date night -- dinner and a movie in one!

Breaking Dawn was incredible.  It was my least favorite book of the series, but it is now my favorite movie of the four.  They took a difficult story line and created a visually stunning movie experience from it.

Meanwhile, Scarlett was in heaven having her uncle and grandpa at her disposal.  She showed them all her toys, and gave them a tour of every room in the house.  I don't even think she noticed I was gone.  I'm thrilled that she does so well with people babysitting her.  It makes leaving her with people a treat instead of a pain.  She makes the time together fun for everyone.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

We stayed the night at my parents' house on Wednesday, to get some extra family time in and also to avoid having to rush the next morning.  It took two tries, but Scarlett went to bed pretty close to her usual time and stayed down all night.  So us adults got to drink some wine and beer and enjoy the new Conan movie (eh) before we crashed for the night.

Thanksgiving morning was a feast of fresh fruit and sweet rolls.  Scarlett was in heaven with all the new treats to try.  The rest of the morning was spent hanging out and cooking.  It was so beautiful outside, Scarlett got to spend lots of time running around the back yard.

Thanksgiving dinner was delicious.  Conversation focused on the Occupy Wall Street movement -- we all believe it has strayed so far from the original idea that it is absolute hypocrisy now.

Before we left for Jeremy's parents' house, we had coffee and dessert and let the baby take a nap.  Lisa made pecan pie, and it was probably the best I've ever had.

We got to the Mehrings' in time to see Jennifer's family for a few minutes before they left for their next dinner.  Mariah is 4 weeks old, now, and just as cute as ever.  We spent the rest of the day and evening hanging out with Janet, David, Kelsey and the twins.  Scarlett is getting a little pushy with the boys, so we're having to keep a close eye on her.  Only 16 months old, and she already thinks she's the boys' boss.  LOL.  I explained to little David that we had to help teach her the right behavior, and he was totally on board.  In fact, he was happy to report to everyone how Scarlett told him "thank you".

Jeremy stayed in the Springs to work the next two days, so Scarlett and I drove home by ourselves Thursday night.  She was asleep within two minutes of getting into her car seat, and hardly opened her eyes when I moved her to her bed at home.  Unfortunately she had a bad dream and awakened me in the early hours, so I brought her to bed with me -- and that always means I don't get much sleep.  I'm a light sleeper, and I am a worrier, and that combo equals me waking up every time she sighs or stirs.  At least I never have to worry about rolling over on her.

This morning was really rough.  I'm so glad I had the day off from work and other obligations.  Between the lack of sleep, a terrible allergy attack, and the following Claritin which made me soooo tired, I didn't even change out of my PJs until Scarlett was up from her morning nap and ready for lunch.  In fact, I need to get to bed early tonight, so I'm going to wrap this post up here.

The following photos are courtesy of my brother Chad.


The Zimmerman side of the family


Crazy baby

Scarlett loves fruit, just like her mama


Future cheerleader?


Grampa's little angel

Hi Dada!

Scarlett found her Daddy's hat today and insisted on wearing it for a good half hour. I figured I should get it on video, since Jeremy was missing out while he was working.



YouTube link: http://youtu.be/AZJIvQ5G7d4

Monday, November 21, 2011

Houston Startup Weekend

I've got a lot to download here in this blog today.

I flew into Houston Hobby airport late Thursday night and was picked up at the curb by GlobalWrites owner/foodie extraordinaire/awesome friend JoAnn Takasaki.  We went back to her condo, where she fed me leftover couscous and spinach salad -- leftovers that would be considered 5-star fare in a restaurant, btw. We stayed up talking until 1am.

Friday I worked my day-job from the condo, stopping only for a kolache and Starbucks break. We were serenaded by JoAnn's friend Bruce for lunch.  Bruce is learning to play classical guitar, and he gets really nervous playing in front of people -- so he wanted to use us to try to get used to an audience.  And JoAnn promised him a gourmet lunch in return.

After I logged off work on Friday, we headed over to the Houston Startup Weekend kickoff.  I had no idea what to expect, but it didn't take long for me to get excited right along with the HSW participants.  Entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes -- successful business owners, starry-eyed college students, dreamers with big ideas, nerdy application developers, representatives of some of the most incredible creative companies in the world -- all in one place and interested in only one thing: to work together to create new startup companies.  The collaboration was unlike anything I've ever experienced.  Absolutely inspiring!

After the kickoff, we met up with my long-time friend Jennifer at Lupe Tortilla.  It was one of my favorite restaurants when I lived in Houston, and they still have the best tortillas I've ever had.  A few margaritas and a giant quesadilla later, we three girls were gabbing away and losing track of the hour.

Saturday morning, JoAnn, her husband Chris and I hit Artcrawl Houston. Once a year, a portion of the Houston warehouse district is transformed into art galleries and people are free to peruse.  It's similar to Open Studios here in Boulder, but it's not just studios you're seeing.  I met some incredible artists and saw some breathtaking work.  And to top it off, the prices were so insanely good, I was happy I hadn't brought my checkbook -- or I would have drained our savings account that day.  I fell in love with an abstract piece entitled The Guardians from an artist named Pizo.  It was 28x22 original oil painting, and it was only $250.  Seriously!  Do you KNOW how hard it was for me to not run to an ATM that day?  Oh, and I fell in love with an even larger acrylic piece from Nia Jacob (part of the fabulous MOCAH's Queens of Creativity group) entitled East Side of My Heart.  Sadly I couldn't fit that one on a plane or it, too, would have been worth running to an ATM for.

On our way back to the car from Artcrawl, we ran into Alex Barber of Whiteboard Labs and Lizbeth Ortiz of East End Studio Gallery.  I've been in conference calls with Alex before, but never met him in person.  And Lizbeth is a good friend of JoAnn's who just opened her own gallery, so I was extremely excited to meet her because one of my dreams is to open a gallery.  Obviously I will be picking her brain now that we're Facebook friends.  LOL

Also on our way back from Artcrawl, I stopped and got a yellow cupcake from a food truck -- YES A CUPCAKE TRUCK!  I think the name was Frosted Betty, but don't quote me on that.  Anyway, as a Coloradan, food trucks are an curiosity to me.  A really delicious curiosity.

Post-Artcrawl was a quick stop at Whole foods for lunch, then another quick stop at the condo to change, and off to the Houston Startup Weekend happy hour.

GlobalWrites was a sponsor of the HSW happy hour, so we brought a couple of cases of wine and stayed to hang out for a few hours.  During that time, we met Twilio guru Keith Casey.  The dude is a genius.  I could have listened to him talk about startup businesses all night.

We relocated to Boheme after happy hour ended.  A few folks joined us there -- Keith, Grace Rodriguez of C2 Creative, fellow GlobalWriter Adam Rosen and his lovely Brazilian girlfriend.  Out on the back patio, in the humid breeze, we drank and talked well into the night.  We were pretty shocked when the bartender announced the bar was closing!  How I made it until 2am without falling on my face, I'll never know.

Sunday morning was brunch with JoAnn, Chris, Jennifer and her mom at Farrago.  Let me tell you what my breakfast was, because it pretty much encapsulates the charm of this place: organic, free-range eggs brought to the restaurant from a local farmer; shredded potato cakes made from ingredients purchased from the midtown farmer's market that morning; homemade blueberry/choc chip/strawberry muffin with a sugar-crisp top; and a bottomless mimosa.  I devoured this while enjoying the company out on the sunny front patio.  The owner even stopped by the table to ask specific questions about each of our meals -- could I tell that the eggs were organic?  was the mole sauce on Chris's migas too sweet?

JoAnn, Chris and I spent the rest of Sunday with our heads down in business planning.  It was a huge task to try to get the plan for brand-new business GlobalWrites really nailed down, and it was a sometimes emotional process -- but we really accomplished a lot.  We even have the beginnings of a mission statement!  I'm excited to see where it heads in the next year.

Saying goodbye to JoAnn was bittersweet.  It was such an inspirational weekend, but I am happy to be home with my family again.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Justified Attitude

I mentioned not too long ago that Scarlett has been a handful since we returned from Florida.  Well, I now know why.  She's got FOUR new teeth coming in!  Three have already broken the surface, and one is just about to erupt. 

Mystery solved.

Unfortunately she's also hit the age where she's starting to have nightmares.  Last night was my first full-night's sleep in nearly a week.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Writer Voyeurism

I know a lot of writers.  And they're all voyeurs.  It seems to be a necessity of the job.

I'm constantly seeing "character notes" from my writer friends on Facebook.  They read something like this usually, OMG, barista at Starbucks just picked her nose with her inch-long fuchsia talon. Great character for my next book!


And really, all characters in every book ever written have had some basis in reality, whether it's a physical trait or a personality quirk.  And a great place to get character ideas is from people in a public place.

But I can't do it.  I am not programmed that way.

When I go to a coffee shop to write, I am head-down in my work.  I consciously shut out everyone around me.  Is this shyness?  Self-centeredness?  No!  It's PARANOIA.

I am so scared someone is going to catch me looking at them, or listening to them, I make every effort to avoid doing so.

You know those times where you're lost in thought and absentmindedly, unintentionally staring at someone, and they catch you?  Yeah, I hate that.

Could be because I was an insanely shy kid growing up.  Could be because I am a crazy-person magnet, and eye contact is a surefire way to get a crazy person to come talk to you.  I dunno.

But I need to break this habit.  I need to become a voyeur myself.  People are inherently inspirational, and my writing sure could use the juice.

I'm heading to the airport tomorrow night to catch a flight to Houston.  Maybe I'll practice there.  Wish me luck!

View from Home

Our house is on a hill, and our master bedroom has a huge picture window facing the downhill side of the house. In this room, you are a full three stories up. It gives you the sense of being in a treehouse during the day, since the only objects at eye-level are the tops of the nearby cottonwood and birch trees.

But at night... everything transforms.

Standing at the window, your view is of a sea of sparkling lights. Like glitter on blacktop. You can no longer tell you're in a suburban neighborhood when laid out before you is a cosmos of streetlights, lit windows, distant antennae and the occasional flash of a car on far-off 112th Street reflecting off the lake.  It's beautiful, to say the least. Jeremy likens it to being in a hotel, and I agree it has that sense of strange space to it.

Every night I lay in bed and stare out at that glittering black ocean for a few minutes before sleep overtakes me. I can't bear to close the blinds, even though I know you're supposed to sleep better in the pitch black.  The world from the top of this hill is mesmerizing.

The view from our master bedroom is what sold me on this house. As soon as I walked into that room, I knew I was home.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Visit from the Curry Clan

Della, Sophie and Orion came over for dinner tonight.  I can't believe how big those kiddos have gotten!

Scarlett is so affectionate with other kids these days. It's so cute.  We had to keep a close eye on her tonight because she was obsessed with hugging Orion, and he's just barely able to sit up on his own so he's still kinda wobbly.

Did I mention my daughter smooched a little boy at the mall on Saturday?  It was hilarious!  She walked right up to this little boy who was sitting in his stroller, and kissed him right on the lips.  I've got my hands full with this one.  hahaha

Here's a pic of Scarlett hugging baby Orion tonight.  This was taken with Della's phone.

Anemia Facepalm

Yesterday was a big *facepalm* day.

I've been exhausted lately.  After we returned from FL, I assumed it was travel fatigue.  Then I got strep and I assumed it was due to the healing process.  After that, I thought it was allergies.

But yesterday I was so exhausted I could hardly move.  My head was foggy, like I'd taken cold medicine.  I could hardly muster up the energy to smile.  Again I thought allergies, or maybe PMS.

Jeremy ran some errands yesterday, one of which included picking up my very expensive (but so worth it) vitamins from GNC.  I have been out for nearly a month.  I went to bed early last night and proceeded to take said vitamins after brushing my teeth, as is my usual nightly routine.

And it struck me.

ANEMIA.

DUH!

I'm a vegetarian, and those vitamins are my main source of iron -- and I hadn't been taking them for a month.  I got anemic when I was pregnant and I felt the exact same way, with that crippling exhaustion.  And extra iron supplements fixed me immediately.

I woke up this morning, body full of iron from my vitamins, and I felt tons better.

Why is it so hard to remember remedies and cures when I'm not feeling good?  Maybe it's because I rarely get sick, but when I do start feeling icky, for the life of me I can't remember what fixed me the last time.

Hopefully I'll just remember to keep my vitamins in stock and I won't have to remember this particular lesson again.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

ScribeFire

In a desperate attempt to procrastinate tonight, I am trying out a new blogging tool.  I'm writing this post from Scribefire, a Chrome browser extension (also available for other browsers).  It's supposed to be a one-stop shop where I can update multiple blogs.  So far, so good.

Speaking of my blogs, if you haven't checked them out lately, you should visit Attack of the Muse and Penning the Way for art and writing updates.

Wow, this weekend just zoomed by.  And I didn't do much.

Thursday night I did some painting.  I used my new 300lb cold-pressed watercolor paper for the first time, and I am still trying to decide if I like it or not.  I've got more work to do on the painting to bring out the details, but I'm pleased with the first layer of color.

Friday night after Scarlett went to bed I just watched Grimm and Supernatural and then headed to bed to read.  I'm re-reading Arrows of the Queen.  It's the first book in one of my favorite series from childhood -- I seem to read it about once every two years, and it never gets old.

Scarlett had a rough night Friday night, so I didn't sleep much.  So Saturday morning was a lazy one.  But in the afternoon we went and met up with Erin for some window shopping at Flatirons mall, and then dinner at Tutti followed by a stop at Starbucks.  Scarlett really loves Erin.  It's pretty cute watching Scarlett try to monkey her way into Erin's arms at every opportunity.  However, Scarlett has been getting really wild in the evenings lately, so she was a handful and a half at Starbucks -- mainly she just wanted to run around squealing and pushing chairs.  That was not so cute.

Jeremy was home from work when Scarlett and I got home that evening.  So we spent some time together as a family before Scarlett went to bed.  And then Jeremy and I caught up on season 3 of Fringe.  I know.  We're just wild.

Jeremy let me sleep in on Sunday, and I slept until almost noon.  It felt sooooo good.  It's been about a month since I've really been able to sleep in.  We planned to go for a walk this afternoon, but the wind was just nuts.

I'm heading to Houston later in the week to meet up with JoAnn for some business planning/brainstorming, meet-and-greets and to serve as GlobalWrites representatives at Houston Startup Weekend.  I'm so excited!  I haven't been to Houston in years.

I just went to publish this post and I realized ScribeFire doesn't have spellcheck.  Uh oh.  Good thing I'm a good speller.  LOL

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Fits and Procrastination

Some days the writing comes easily.  And some days it comes in fits and starts.

Today was a fits and starts day.  Well, really so far this whole week has been that way.  But I just remind myself to keep starting (I believe that was from Eric Maisel) and not edit myself as I go.  I can always go back and revise later.  (You guys should see what the first drafts of my blog posts look like.)

Luckily with my GlobalWrites work, we have somewhat of a peer revision process in place.  So when I write godawful copy (ahem), JoAnn doesn't hesitate to send me a note saying "Hey, can we try it this way instead?", and she re-spins my words to sound a million times better.  I, in turn, do this for her and the other writers.  We've got a good system in place.

Novel writing is a different story.  It's a solitary pursuit.  And for me it's getting more solitary.  I don't let people read my first drafts anymore.  I don't like feeling that anxious and exposed.  So I pound this keyboard with my headphones on and my door shut.

I downloaded Freedom tonight.  It's a little application that shuts off your wireless connection for a designated amount of time -- and it makes it difficult to turn the wireless back on before that time is up.  So basically Freedom stops me from Facebooking, blogging, checking email, even researching while I'm supposed to be writing.  I've only used it a handful of times, but so far it's a good anti-procrastination system.

Another good anti-procrastination system, but this one for my day job, is working at a coffee shop.  I've gotten into the habit of going to a coffee shop for half a day at least once a week.  It gets me out of the house, gives Jeremy and me some breathing room, and allows me to really focus on projects and tasks.  It's amazing the amount of work I can crank out in a few hours at Forza or Starbucks.  Of course, the easy access to high amounts of caffeine probably helps too.  I got almost all of my fourth quarter metrics reporting done today, thanks to a pumpkin spice latte.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Sapling with an Attitude

Scarlett has been a handful since we got back from Florida. It's hard to say exactly why.

It could be that she learned some bad habits on our trip. When you're out in public with a toddler, the enforcement of discipline has to be somewhat appropriate for the environment. For example, no raised voices in a restaurant, or letting her cry in a hotel room (sadly she's one of those kids that needs to cry for a few minutes before she goes to sleep, about 50% of the time). She got more of a response from us with crying and whining than she usually does, and I wonder if that notion stuck.

Or it could be that she's still readjusting back to being home. We were away for an entire week -- it's not unusual for a child to take time to readjust. We're just used to her readjusting quickly.

Or it could just be Scarlett's age. Testing boundaries, asserting independence, increasing pickiness with food -- it's all normal for her age, according to all the childrearing books and websites.

So I'm extra glad that both Jeremy and I are with her so much right now. Both of us work together to curb the bad behavior and reinforce the good. I know how unusual our family/work situation is, that we are both home with her, and I am grateful for it every single day. I won't ever take it for granted. And I do see that it has a positive effect on Scarlett. Even on her worst days, she's an incredibly good kid.

I left Scarlett with my parents on Saturday so I could go get my hair done and visit our new little niece. Scarlett has never gone through that separation anxiety phase, thank goodness, so it's easy to leave her with people. Though with her attitude and boundary-testing lately, I did wonder if she'd be a handful for my parents. Luckily she was on her best behavior for them, only getting cranky when she woke up from her nap. And that was shortly before I got back, so they didn't have to deal with it for long.

I do love seeing her with family -- mine and Jeremy's. She adjusts so easily to the different people and different routines. At my parents' house, she walks around like she lives there, and she loves to play with my dad, snuggle with my mom, show off for Drew, and cling to Chad. And at Jeremy's parents' house, she knows all the toys are there for her to share with the twins, and she dives right in to join the boys' play. She relies on Jeremy's mom, acts coy with Jeremy's dad, and clings to Kelsey. But it's all seamless. From person to person, she just adjusts. I am so blessed to have such a flexible child. I hope she continues to be that way.

I have a hard time with change, believe it or not. I get into routines and change is uncomfortable -- but I very quickly adjust and establish new routines, so I have learned to compensate for my inflexibility with rapid adjustment reflexes. It still doesn't stop me from getting that uncomfortable feeling every time there is a change, though, whether it's a job change or a change in dinner plans. In my younger years, I would seek out big changes to shake up a stale life or escape bad memories. And even though I sought out those big changes, they were still hard for me.

I don't see that in my daughter. Yet. Her flexibility is like a sapling that bends and snaps back easily, while mine is like Legos that get knocked down and rebuilt. I'm glad for that. I'd rather her be a sapling than a Lego tower.

So anyway, this weekend. I got to meet my new niece Mariah. Oh she's so tiny and precious! Not even 2 weeks old, and she's already got more hair than Scarlett. Holding her made me want another baby so bad. Not that I didn't already want another baby, but it was a stark reminder that I need to get on the ball because I'm not getting any younger. As I just mentioned, change is hard for me. A new baby is a BIG change. So my anxiety is not only for my childbearing years passing by, but also because I kinda want to get that big change over with. That probably sounds awful, but babies are HARD WORK! Worth every bit of it, of course. But man they change your life. I can hear my mother saying "I told you so," as she is reading this. LOL

Wow, so this post went in a direction I didn't plan on. I really did just want to recap some of my weekend here.

My family all went out to an Asian fusion restaurant called Volcano on Saturday night to celebrate Drew's birthday. The food was awesome. Scarlett was kind of a pain in the butt. She wasn't loud, she just had ants in her pants.

I guess the only other thing I didn't mention yet is that Jeremy got home at 4am this morning. Drew was having a party at his house to celebrate his 30th birthday (my little brother is 30! OMG!), and I couldn't go because I had Scarlett, but I told Jeremy he should stop by on his way home from working in the Springs. Jeremy was having such a good time, he asked if he could stay a while, and who am I to deny my husband a good time now and then? Besides, he doeesn't ever get the opportunity to go to parties anymore, and he gets along so great with my brothers. So he got home at 4am (yes, sober -- he's a good husband and father) and I got up with Scarlett this morning so he could sleep. He took over with Scarlett when he had enough sleep, though, and I got a nice long, leisurely nap today. Aaahh. Sunday naps are such a luxury anymore.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Denny's, Book and Alaska

Jeremy, Scarlett and I had a little family outing tonight.  We went to Denny's for dinner.  I know that doesn't sound like much, but with our limited funds these days, and Scarlett's early bedtime, it was a nice little date.

After watching Bones with Jeremy tonight (FINALLY the new season has started!), I headed upstairs to do some writing.  My current work-in-progress is entitled Alaska Song, and I got about 1,500 words in tonight.  Not shabby, but certainly not a record for me.  For all you non-writers, that translates to about 6 pages.

It's November, which means it's National Novel Writing Month.  If you'll remember a few years back, I actually completed the NaNoWriMo challenge and in a matter of 26 days I wrote a 52,000-word book entitled Breach of Fate.  Ever since, I have wanted to join the competition again and crank out another book -- but life got in the way.  First a move to Lafayette, then a baby, and now a family and multiple jobs.  I just don't have it in me to write a book in 30 days right now.

But I'll keep cranking out the pages, even without joining in NaNoWriMo.  I will get another book written.  And it will be better than the last.  And it will sell.

Onward.

Anchorage keeps popping up as a destination in all of my book ideas.  I don't know why.  I've got this obsession with the place, and there is no real reason for it.

My parents went on an Alaska cruise a few years ago, and it sounded so amazing.  Jeremy and I have been wanting to do the same cruise ever since.  My parents have talked about wanting to do the cruise again with us, and darn it, I'm sick of saying "someday".  So I'm looking into it for next year.  It will be the perfect trip for a then-two-year-old (leisurely cruise and lots of animals to see), and I can do some location research for my books.

Essence of Childhood

Playing in a pile of clean sheets.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Scarlett 15-month Stats

It's time for a stat check!

Scarlett is over 15 months old now.  She is a tall, skinny girl at over 29" long and just over 19lbs.  She lost a little weight because before our recent trip to Orlando, she got a stomach bug -- and then of course she got a virus/cold in Orlando as well.

She walks with much more confidence, now, though her balance is still precarious.  She at least watches where she's walking instead of blindly walking over things on the floor now, so that's a new improvement.

She regularly says "please" and "thank you", without prompting.  "No" is her favorite word, however.  She mimics single-syllable words when you say them to her, such as done and back.

Scarlett gives hugs and kisses when you ask for them.  She is extremely affectionate toward stuffed animals and baby dolls -- though she'll hug and kiss almost anything she likes.  She blows kisses too.

She has started this growling thing recently.  We're trying to teach her the word "help" so she can use it when she needs assistance -- but she insists on growling "Aaahh! Ahhh!" when she needs help right now.  She's got a bit of a hoarse voice from this cold, and I honestly think she likes the sound of it (or maybe the feel of it) and that is part of why she makes that noise.

She never did pick up a lot of sign language.  She does the sign for milk and food/eat, and she made up her own for "all done" (she throws her hands up by her shoulders).  And she responds to a lot of the signs we do.  But signing was just never her thing, I guess.

She still takes two naps a day, and she still goes to bed at 7pm sharp and wakes around 7am.  Unless she's got a problem, she sleeps through the night.

Scarlett is fascinated by so many things.  I'm excited to see what her interests narrow down to as she gets older. Right now she loves the piano, coloring, dogs, horses and dancing.

First Pumpkin

We let Scarlett pick our her first pumpkin at Anderson Farms on Sunday.  She was very clear about which pumpkin she wanted, even at 15 months old.

Since she's still too young to really enjoy carving a pumpkin for Halloween, we thought we would just let her draw on her pumpkin.  So on Halloween, we dressed her up, took her out front, gave her a few markers and let her go to town.  Amazingly enough, she only get a little bit of ink on her hands.







Monday, October 31, 2011

Narrative

I am both a writer and an (amateur) artist. Both are creative pursuits. You would think they would work well together, right?

Not so much in my case.

Both art and writing are all about telling a story, really. But they use such completely different parts of my brain! That works out great when I am trying to take a break from one by focusing on the other -- but there are so many ways in which it would be handy if there weren't a brick wall between the two pursuits for me.

In art I tend to concentrate so much on my skill (or rather, developing/practicing my budding skill), that I start without a narrative. I get an idea and I run with it, not stopping to think, "What story does this tell?"

I've been writing since I could pick up a pen, so when I write I concentrate decidedly less on the skill and more on the story I'm trying to tell. So I don't stop to think about the beauty, the poetry of my words. Now, granted, most of my professional writing is copywriting, so "poetry" doesn't really apply -- so I am referring more to my fiction writing. After the story is told, I go back and polish the writing during the editing process. (This doesn't work conversely with art -- I can't as easily add the story after the initial piece is done. This is why you see so many unfinished pieces from me!)

Oh, but if those two worlds could merge!

Jeremy tells me, "You're a writer, honey. Come up with a story before you start drawing. That's the narrative for the piece." Easier said than done. If I get into writing mode, I'll have six pages of fiction written and it will be bedtime -- no art created. Art, for me, is spontaneous.

Writing this post, I now have an idea for a solution. At least for the art part. Maybe I'll come up with a bunch of little narratives. You know, start a little file. Then when the inspiration to draw/paint hits, I'll have a stash of ready-made stories to illustrate.

See, people, now this is why I blog. Sometimes I just need to "talk" through an issue. LOL

Contact Card

I'm heading out to Houston in a few weeks to join JoAnn at the Houston Start Up Weekend event.  I figured I should probably have some up-to-date contact cards with me -- and nothing says amateur like a template.  So I designed my own.



You can't tell from this photo, but the card is heavy stock with a gloss finish.  I drew the illustration in Adobe Illustrator, and colored it in Photoshop.  Simple, unobtrusive, and conveys the fact that I'm a writer without me having to put the words "writer" on the card.  (This is really a contact card versus a business card, so pigeon-holing myself with the word "writer" on the card wouldn't be wise.)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

No More Examiner

Well, I quit the Examiner.  What a big fat waste of my time!  Those types of markets make me so mad -- they take advantage of writers, big time.  For those two articles I wrote, I earned a whopping 34 CENTS.

I am a professional writer.  I do this for a living.  I'm not an 18-yr-old newbie looking to build a portfolio.  I have a hell of a portfolio.  So if a client doesn't pay my minimum hourly rate, the decision to do the work for them or not is an easy one.

So I put in my notice.  And since they don't send out a check unless it's more than $10, I'll never see a penny for my work.

Anderson Farm

We were all still pretty sick today, but we managed to get to Anderson Farm so Scarlett could pick out her first pumpkin.  The animals were her favorite part, but the pumpkins were a close second.

Anderson Farms in Eerie, CO

The petting zoo included goats, rabbits, chickens, geese, donkeys, llamas and ponies.







We got to feed the Scottish Highland cows on the hayride.







Tower of tires!

Our Buggy can really fly.

Her first pony ride. She reacted the strongest to the ponies out of all the animals.


If I had let her, she would have played in the pumpkins all day.