What people are saying

It’s been fun to read what people have to say about my book– thanks to all of you who have weighed in!  Here are some links to recent reviews.

Notes from the Trenches (new today)

5 Minutes For Mom (new this week)

Like Merchant Ships

Another Espresso Please


Amazon.com (11 reviews)

A Sane Woman’s Guide: one more giveaway

Just to prove that perfectly moderately sane women sometimes go a little insane, I submit today’s to-do list– the part that actually got completed (with major help from kids).

–Went to the bank, post office and Home Depot with 5 kids. Returned one item and picked up 15 other items that were all in different corners of the store, many of which required color/style selection, much to the dismay of the bored children (who all had BEGGED to come along, I might add in my defense).

–Fixed two broken closet door latches, and sternly warned children to treat the new hardware more gently.

–Installed a new rod for our shower. Was shocked at how smoothly it slides compared to our old one.

–Supervised an 11 year old as he fertilized the lawn (It would have been easier to do myself, but he knows how to do it now!)

–Primed a double-car garage. We’ve lived here since 1993 and finally decided to paint it– my husband was thrilled to come home and discover this had been done, mostly by our 14 and 17 year old sons.

–Threw out 6 ancient dust-covered houseplants — with only a small pang of regret. It will be soo nice not to have to water plants on that high shelf any more.

–Rinsed out and bleached several hundred plastic seed starter packets. This job was done by my 11 and 13 year old daughters, once I got them set up. Hubby was equally thrilled to see this done, since it is TIME to start our tomato plants!

–I’ve got lots more to do tomorrow– spring fever seems to have bitten my to-do list. However after a week and a day of spring break, I think we’d better also get some math and reading done tomorrow.

How about you? What’s on your to-do list? Anyone who shares an item or two in comments below will be automatically entered into a drawing to win a copy of my book A Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family. I’ll be selecting a random winner on Friday morning!

Homeschool Blog Awards

Just found out I’ve been nominated in the Homeschool Blog Awards in the ‘Thrifty’ category.  Thanks to the mystery person who nominated me!  If any of you might be inclined to vote for me, here’s the link!

The longest 12 hours

(aka my pitiful internet addiction)

I have soooo many things to do lately that I’ve felt a little overwhelmed.  Yesterday evening on facebook I commented that I needed some more time in the day and that a 28-hour day would be just about right.

A friend of my kids replied tongue in cheek that if one is already sleeping ‘efficiently’, and using time well in other ways, facebook time might be an area to consider redistributing.  Since he spends a fair bit of time on facebook himself, I didn’t take the suggestion seriously, though I did gasp in mock horror at the thought.

Then, 12 short hours later, my internet died.   Gone.  Dead.  Broke.  Caput.

From 9 AM to 9 PM today, I was without internet.  Not so much as an email.  Or a twitter update.  Or a blog post.

I remained relatively calm during the morning.  I had writing to do, after all.  As I wrote I stole frequent glances at the little icon in the corner of my screen that would indicate that my connection with the rest of the world had returned. But I got a fair bit done.

By lunch time I decided that this was no little hiccup.  I called the internet provider.  Got put in a queue.

“You are #8.  Estimated waiting time…..”

I held the phone to my ear while I read the mail and puttered around and talked to kids.  I appreciated the periodic update, “You are now #5….”

Except when I got to #1, it abruptly hung up on me.

Miffed, I called back.

Got the same treatment.  Long wait, then an abrupt hangup at #1.  Nice.

Finally I opted for the ‘leave a message’ option.  Left a polite but slightly whiny message.

Then I checked on the kids.

Thought about the blog post I needed to write.

Checked the computer.

Visited with Eldest.

Thought about the product review I needed to do.

Checked the computer.

Gave a haircut.

Realized I didn’t need internet for some of that writing, but checked the computer again anyway.

Gave another haircut.

Called the internet provider again.  Got hung up on again.

Checked the computer. Finally around 3:30 pm I was getting concerned.  Here it was, the end of the work week and I still hadn’t talked to a human.  What if I had to go all weekend without internet????

For some reason when we are camping, I can go the whole weekend easily, only thinking of the internet if I need to google something.  But here at home with the computer sitting there mocking me…well, I was going a little nutty.

I called the company again, selected voicemail, and left a voice message that might have sounded a teensy bit desperate.  I mentioned going without email since 9 am.  I mentioned getting hung up on.  I said things were getting a little tense around here.   “It’s not perty,” are the words I used, I believe.   At which point one of my 10 year olds stifled a snort of laughter.  I shot him a not-perty look.

The repair man called me back in five minutes.

At that point I put on the (piti)full armor of whining.  I also may have asked him if it was possible to access my email on his account.  I dunno whati was thinking-that he could read me my email over the phone or something?  Which, it turns out, is not possible.  He then informed me that their whole internet service was down all day.  Their company piggy-backs on Qwest’s equipment, it seems.  Something had broken and Qwest was having to fly a replacement part in from Denver.  No estimates available on fix-it time.

At which point I may have reminded the man that Denver is only two hours away flying, and that did not explain why my internet had been down all day.  (Or maybe I had that conversation with one of my children. Now that I think of it, I hope it was one of my kids I said that to, because that may have sounded a tad petulant.)

In any case, by the time the internet dude had gotten me sufficiently pacified, I am sure he decided that my ‘not perty’ assessment was accurate.

I managed to limp through the rest of the afternoon and evening with haircuts, dinner, and a movie.

But at 9 PM when the kids were tucked into bed and I saw that lovely, lovely icon that indicated that the world was at my fingertips once again, I rejoiced greatly.

A near miss and a new blog

This morning as the kids were eating breakfast, I walked down the hall towards the bedrooms to get something. The smell of something strange caught my nose…smokey, almost, like someone had lit a candle and then quickly blew it out. I called out to the living room, asking if anyone had lit a candle. It seemed highly unlikely. We never allow candles anywhere except in the direct center of our kitchen stovetop, and then only adults are allowed to light them.

The kids all denied lighting anything, but still my nose was twitching. I called Eldest back with me, to see if she smelled what I smelled. She did. We walked around in the hall, finally localizing the smell to the laundry room. The dryer had been turned off fairly recently and the washer wasn’t going. Eldest suggested that maybe the dryer belt was smoking. Given the huge load in the dryer at the moment, that seemed entirely possible. The smoky smell didn’t seem to be getting any worse and I knew the dryer was turned off. So we went back to eating our breakfast.

Twenty minutes later my 10 year old was in the laundry room, getting another load of laundry going.

“Mom!” he shouted. “Look what the iron did!”

Calling for him to turn it off, I hurried to the laundry room to see what he had discovered. A sleeping bag had been tossed on top of the dryer, on which was also resting the iron, still plugged in from Sunday. Apparently the weight of the sleeping bag had turned the iron on, just a little. The iron had melted to a plastic bag containing craft supplies that had also been set on top of the dryer. Several pieces of paper inside the bag were scorched brown, one of which was charred enough to break in half when I touched it.

We were THIS close to a house fire.

Eek. I’m still a little spooked.

And very thankful this didn’t happen during the night hours when no one would have noticed until it was too late.

Wow. Praise God for His protection.


On a totally unrelated and much less scary note, I wanted to mention that my dear friend Laura is now blogging at Laura’s Workshop. She is a fellow homeschooling mom with whom I’ve been friends for quite a few years. She and her husband and the youngest three of their seven children have just moved to Taiwan for a year. On her blog she shares some of the adventure surrounding living in a different country. If you like hearing from people living in other countries as much as I do, you also might enjoy these other expat blogs from other friends of mine:

Planet Nomad
Journey Mama

Welcome to my new space!!

Woohoo! You made it here- I’m so happy! Please (pretty please??/) go subscribe in my left-hand sidebar either via RSS or email. I’m excited about having my own space and being able to do some fun things here.

And just a heads-up: on Sunday I’ll have a new post over at 5 Minutes for Parenting: Avoiding the Dragon Mommy Syndrome. I’ll be writing there about once a month. Stop by tomorrow and share something you do when you feel smoke starting to wiff out of your ears, OK?

Thanks, as always, for reading and commenting. I love hearing from you.

The last BlogHer post for this year– I promise!

Here are the final business cards (I think) that I have from Blogher. If I met you and forgot to mention it, please feel free to mention it to me and I will add you.

Malena is a freelance reporter and also has a personal blog at African.Dance.Drum.Life. I had a great time chatting with her. She was especially interested in the ways that y’all have banded together with me to make a difference at least for a small village in Ethiopia.

Rlee has a website that features her art.

MJ Tam is the editor of www.momviews.net, a parenting and shopping advice website.

Ann Glamore of My Tiny Kingdom was another of the first people I met at the conference. She is elegant and delightful in person.

misspriss.org was one of several moms juggling a baby at a conference. Her little guy is just adorable!

Whitney and Heather (rookiemoms.com) are two young moms who wrote The Rookie Mom’s Handbook, which is a book full of activities and information for moms bogged down in the early days of motherhood.

Apronstringsflutter.com and Metropolitan Mama were two of the bloggers I hung out with over dinner on Saturday evening. We had a lot of fun!

Georgia of iambossy.com has some good pictures of the Saturday evening Blogher party. Think progressive dinner/cattle drive/day-after-Thanksgiving-shopping-crowd. Yeah, that about covers it.

Bonggamom and I were both fortunate enough to go on Saturday’s photo walk through CHinatown with Karen of Chookoloonks. (You can see all the photowalk pictures here and mine here)

If you’d like a lot of details about the Blogher weekend, be sure to check out coolmomsrule.blogspot.com. She has written a bunch of posts about it all.

Jessica at bernthis.com and I (along with Shannon) had a good discussion over lunch on Friday about the extreme difficulty of parenting. (Can I have an Amen?)

Jean from stimeyland.blogspot.com is another blogger I got to meet. She gave away a fun version of her business card– it was a luggage tag with her blog name on it. Very fun.

I met Debra of Messy Life at the very crowded Typepad party on Saturday. She is actually a psychologist and we had a good talk about adoption and the issues families sometimes face when getting kids settled into their new families.

Bobita of bloomingyaya.com wrote a sweet post about the emotions surrounding mom taking off for the weekend

I can’t forget to mention Tara of lijit.com. Lijit is a new search tool that sorts google results by how useful they have been to other people, instead of just by the number of keywords a webpage is (sometimes misleadingly) stuffed with. lijit bases its listings on things like how long viewers remain on a searched page, how much they click within that website, and how many recent hits that website has gotten. I plan to investigate this site more soon. Tara was really nice to talk with. She also blogs at I Quit For Lijit

Dawn of becauseisaidso.com was a speaker on one of the panels I attended, but at this moment I cannot remember which one. (Can’t be because I am writing this post at 2am, can it?

Headless Mom
has been faithfully commenting here for quite awhile and I am glad to have finally met her in person!

Biggie of Lunch In A Box writes a blog about the fun bento-style lunches she packs for her child each day. This one is sooooo fun!

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to meet Karen of chookooloonks in person. She was one of the first ‘celebrities’ who commented on my blog in the early days, and even though I hadn’t commented on her blog in a few months (silly me, I thought she shut it down, actually) she remembered about my family which made me feel all warm and fuzzy towards her. Besides, that girl can take pictures! Oh, my!

A site that she also blogs on is shuttersisters.com. It is a gorgeous, informative photography blog. Check it out. Also from shutter sisters is Tracey who also writes Mother May I . She is a lovely warm-hearted person, who was very quick to hook me up with a soul sister of mine, Jen Lemen.

Jen went to Africa awhile back, and came back home with a new perspective on the world. Jen understood when I talked passionately about the needs there, and she was thrilled to hear what all my readers had contributed to getting food to people who need it. I was able to meet her friend, Odette, as well. Check out her blog for all that backstory.

Now I am utterly exhausted, but if I did forget to mention meeting anyone or if any of the links are bad, let me know! This was a great weekend and one I hope to be able to do again next year!

Almost ready for Blogher!

I'm Geeking Out at BlogHer 08

I’m scurrying around like a crazy woman this week trying to get everything pulled together for my Blogher weekend. I am so excited! I’m looking forward to meeting my roomies, esp Shannon who has been an email friend for a couple years now. We have much in common, including our ‘baby’ girls who were born the same month, so I can’t wait to make her a real life friend.

Thankfully my daughter is doing better on her meds now, which makes me feel easier about going. But the stress of last weekend has gotten to me. I swear, my brain will not engage! My air-headed attempts are being made even more futile by the able assistance of my kiddos. Most of them were disgusted today to learn that I am packing tomorrow instead of taking them roller-skating. Never mind that they spent hours this afternoon splashing in the pool with good friends –more, more, more is their mantra. They’re not especially thrilled at the thought of doing without me this weekend either. It is nice to feel needed, but also a mite exhausting.

This afternoon I decided to try on a few outfits so I could figure out what on earth to pack. I had the audacity to begin this endeavor without an audience. My 6 and 3 year old daughters have locked-door-sensing powers, and immediately camped outside the door, knocking and calling soulfully to me approximately every 2.5 seconds. Meanwhile I am on the other side of the door trying to find some miraculous item of clothing that will make me look sleek instead of –ahem– like a sweet potato. Sadly, I was not successful. 36 hours unfortunately does not allow enough time for even the crashiest of crash diets. Ah well. I yam what I yam.

Once the least objectionable items of clothing were heaped on top of my suitcase for further weeding out (a 3 day trip probably does not require 7 outfits, after all) it was on to shoes. Will these cute heels leave blisters? But these comfy flat sandals– are they ugly? I still have not satisfactorily resolved that dilemma, but thankfully I don’t leave home til 4 am Friday. I’ve got lots of time, right?

I did finally get my new computer bag done today. I wanted something that looked more like a purse than a plain black computer bag, and found some fun fabric a few weeks ago. I’ll try to get the pictures up for you before I leave. I also have a letter or two from my sister to share with you, and I’m looking forward to telling you all about my conference experience when I get back.

Need a blog card?

Karen from Simply Amusing Designs did such a great job on my card that I just had to show it to you!

Here's my card

Two fun bits of news from the Owlhaven.

  First of all, I have a new writing gig over at Workitmom.com.  I’ll be writing there once a month or so.   This month my article is Could adoption be right for your family?  Check it out if that’s something you’re considering!

 Next– this bit of news made my stomach all quivery.  My book – MY BOOK! – is scheduled to be released in stores nationwide and online in March of 2009.   I cannot tell you how pretentious I feel writing that– and what an odd feeling I got when I got that email from my editor.  It is freaky, like the day you get married or have a baby or get off a plane on the other side of the world and you feel so much like your normal self–but not– that you can hardly believe this is really your life.

 I can’t wait to hold the book in my hands.  When I do, I just know I’ll be afraid to open it, for fear that my “Can’t. Stop. Editing. Ever.” demons will leap out. This afternoon when I went over to see my article at workitmom, I was greatly distressed to discover two typos.  How will a whole book feel?  Eeeeeeeek!  But bring it on anyway, angst and all.  Whee!!!! Today I am celebrating! 

And now, since this whole post is already blatantly self-centered, I might as well finish it off with a few pictures of me (and my precious ones) at the Oregon Coast Aquarium last week.  Here are the kids and me, with the big boys trying not to look too self-conscious standing on a WALL with their whole family while many, many people walked by and Dad said, “Say cheese!” way, way too many times. (They’re good sports, aren’t they?)

Then we have this lovely being-eaten photograph of all of us together, thanks to some kind stranger offering her photography skills.

 Thanks for being interested in my chattering!