Thursday, January 31, 2008

Another one down

Today is Grandparents Day at the kidlet's school. My parents came back from visiting my aunt in Arizona to attend, driving all night and in a snowstorm to try and get over the pass before they closed I-5. They left their house at 6 am to make the hour plus drive and beat the traffic. My mom called me a little after 7 am from a local cafe where they were eating breakfast to say they'd come by and take Finn to school since the activities start at 8 am.

Mackenna broke down into tears when I told her she couldn't go to school this morning. She's still got that glassy eye look and her cough doesn't sound good. Two years ago she and her brother were both sick on Grandparents day and missed all the fun.

A few minutes later, Finn walked into my bedroom, dressed in school uniform, with flushed cheeks and glassy eyes. He'd been coughing most of the night, his throat hurt and his skin felt warm. Yep, he's got a temperature.

My parents arrived right after that to find out all the efforts they'd made to make it to Grandparents Day were for nothing. Neither of the kidlets would be going to school today. Neither of them wanted to stick around long and be exposed to the germs. I totally understand this at their age, but it was so hard for the kids. I feel so bad for all my parents went through to get here, but there's nothing I could do except apologize, which I did. I had no idea Finn would get sick too.

Now I'm just waiting for the trifecta. Rose is complaining of a sore throat, but I don't know if it's an attention getting sore throat or the real thing yet. No fever though.

Needless to say, sick kids needs lots of attention so that's what I've been giving them, but I've gotta admit, I'm starting to freak out as everything else has been pushed to the back burner. I look at what I need to do and it's totally overwhelming: a proposal to write, 8 RITA books to read, page proofs for RESCUED BY THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS that have a due date, two tree skirt panels to embroider for son's class auction project, wood burning to learn, a 50 x 40 wood mirror frame to be traced and wood burned so daughter's class can paint it. I can't even talk about the house right now. The only thing that's been done is laundry.

I'm trying to squeeze in things as I can. Yesterday, I managed two chapters of the page proofs (called AAs - author alterations), a chapter of a RITA book and an hour of wood burning practice. Baby steps. Gotta remember that. I need to break it all down and make a To Do list. Some chocolate might help!

Hope your Thursday is better than mine has been so far! What have you got going on?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Paging Dr. Ross

I just got home from the ER. Mackenna was having trouble breathing and chest pain. I phoned our doctor and a nurse from the hospital called us back. She told us to try steam for 20 minutes and she'd call us back. The steam didn't help so we had to go in.

I took her to Emmanuel Hospital in Portland. It's the ER of choice of our pediatrician and pediatric clinic. They have a separate children's ER waiting room complete with a television that plays the Disney Channel. Mackenna smiled when she noticed it. That was good. She hasn't been smiling much today.

The triage nurse said we'd picked a good time to come in. 5 to 8 is the worst. Our wait wasn't very long, and we were quickly ushered into a room.

After so many years of watching ER (okay, George Clooney), I always wondered if there were pediatrician ER docs as hot as Dr. Ross. So far, I haven't met one. Nor have I even glimpsed one in our... (oh boy, are we already past two hands worth of kid ER visits if so I don't want to remember the number.) But let's face it, no mom wants to be the ER, hot doctors or not. In fact, I hope this is our last visit to the ER.

This time wasn't so bad. Mackenna's doctor, female, was nice. So were the two R.N.s, both male. One of the nurses wore a Scooby Doo hat, tie and pants. This brought another smile to Mackenna's face.

She's sound asleep now in our bed. I'm going to keep the inhaler they gave us handy just in case. Hubby is going to sleep on the couch. Angus, who we picked up yesterday, will like the company! He's been sleeping downstairs and on the stair landing. The dog, not hubby.

I hope you're having pleasant dreams! Fingers crossed for a full night of sleep and a much better day!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sick Kidlet

My oldest daughter told me she didn't feel well. We took her temperature and she had a low grade fever. Last night, she really went down hill. This morning she showed up in tears next to my bed. Her head, throat and chest hurts. No school for her. I'm going to run her by urgent care after I drop off my son to make sure it isn't strep. The fun never ends around here!

Outside it's a mix of rain and snow. At least the roads aren't icy. How's the weather in your corner of the world?

Monday, January 28, 2008

This week's winner!

We hit a snowstorm on the way through Southern Oregon yesterday. By the time we got home and unpacked, I didn't feel like hopping on the computer so the free book winner is a day late.

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2008-01-28 17:32:52 UTC

This week's free book winner is Nathalie. She won with a comment on the post, Princesses, Jedi and More. Nathalie, please pick a book from the list here and email me your selection with your snail address. You can find my email via the contact link on my website. Thanks!

Last week's winner, Dru, chose Hot and Heavy by Sandra Hill.

The kids are out of school today. SNOW DAY! We may get more snow later. They are thrilled. All I can see are the mounds of laundry waiting to be washed and folded. At least we're unpacked! I wanted to do that right away. I'll get to the final trip reports soon.

Also, hubby would not let me get the sledding hill. Oh, well... I did get a few things I wanted: a Mickey Jedi, a 2008 Disneyland frame and a silhouette picture of the kids. I also bought something to give away on my website or the blog!

Have a wonderful Monday!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Final Morning

We got in late and are heading to the park early this morning for a couple of hours before we start our drive home. I'll post more about what we've been doing and pics when I get home on Sunday!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Crossfit - Tinkerbell

I woke up this morning and the last thing I wanted to do was get dressed and head to the hotel's workout room. I had pulled up one of EvaT's workouts last night, but upon waking I did not want to do burpees. (Those are really hard for me.) So I decided to make up my own WOD. One I could do in my hotel room and in my pajamas. Yep, the ultimate Buttercups workout that I have named Tinkerbell. There may be a real one that does these three, but I'm sure the fourth exercise is a new one.

Tinkerbell (3 rounds with 15-9-6 reps)

Push ups (chair. At least I didn't wimp out and use the wall!)
Sit ups
Wand wave (no wand sub princess wave or if you have a pirate sword, sword swings)

We're off to Disneyland in about an hour. I need to grab a shower. Have a great (and magical) day!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A not so blustery day

As 9 o'clock drew near this morning, so did the sun. A big change from earlier's downpour. Oh, it rained off and on during the day, but never the thunderstorms predicted. That meant low crowds and no lines. It was a little chilly, but not that bad. Overall, a pretty good day to hit the park. There were fourteen of us today. My parents and Rose's godmother from Oregon joined us!

The one character Rose had wanted to see again was Minnie Mouse. Minnie was at the Plaza Inn birthday party on Monday, but Rose didn't get her autograph. Guess who we saw as we walked under the tunnels! Rose made a beeline to the queue and asked for her autograph book. She knew exactly what she wanted.

We had early admission so hit Tomorrowland. Rose had wanted to go on the rockets so that was our first stop. Everything was a little wet, but we were wearing our rain gear so it wasn't bad at all. Our shoes hadn't dried overnight. I'd even used the blow dryer on them before bedtime so we put on socks, then plastic bags before putting on our shoes. It was a little strange, but your feet stayed dry!

Today was a lucky day for us! Disney decided to continue their Year of A Million Dreams in 2008. As part of that promotion, we won Dream Fastpasses. That means we got a two cards on a lanyard with fastpasses to every ride in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure that uses fastpasses. Of course with the weather, fastpasses weren't necessary, but they will make cool souvenirs.

We rode the train to New Orleans Square so we could ride Pirates of the Caribbean again and eat lunch at the Cafe Orleans. Very yummy food there. I had the Ratatouille. The kids menus are actually chef hats that say Ratatouille (Disney movie) on them. To celebrate Rose's birthday, they brought her a Mickey shaped beignet with a candle on top.

Rose is too short (and young) to ride Indiana Jones. On Monday, I took her on rides. Today, hubby watched her so I could ride it. They spent their time taking pictures around New Orleans Square. Here is a sof the Columbia. It, along with the Mark Twain, are used in Disney's Fantasmic show that runs during the park's busier times.

This is the Mark Twain. We sailed on this ship on Monday! It's fun to stand on the top deck and check out all the cool things on Tom Sawyer Island. With the success of Pirates of the Caribbean, they added a Pirates Lair to the island. We haven't been there yet, but that's on the list for tomorrow!

No trip to Disneyland is complete without a Jungle Cruise. Rose and I had already been on it, but no one else had. The jokes are corny, some downright groan-worthy, but it's one of the rides you just have to go on. Check out the baby elephants. They have added a few new things over the years, including piranas. Finn liked those!

I've lost track of all the candles she's blown out or the wishes she's made. But with all these celebrations, let's hope she's wished for different things each time. Today at the wishing well in Toon Town with the cupid Mickey on top, she wished for a dog. Good thing Angus will be staying with us soon! Time to get our doggy fix out of the way!

We ate dinner at the Japanese restaurant in the Paradise Pier Hotel. Once again, good food. We had to take off our shoes and sat at this table where you're sitting on legless chairs and your feet hang down. The kids loved it. This is the birthday treat they brought Rose. It is also the only treat she ate all by herself. When she was down to the last two oranges she realized she hadn't shared and gave one to her cousin Cooper and the other to Finn.

When we got back to the room after having a silhouette picture done of the kidlets, riding Star Tours and doing a little shopping (2008 frame, 2008 Christmas ornament, Jedi Mickey Mouse) and we found these chocolate covered tuxedo strawberries waiting for us. There were five, but Rose grabbed her right away./ I love chocolate covered strawberries so had the fine folks at Disneyland Vacation planning get the delivery set up for me before we left home. A big hit with everyone!

I also took hubby to the Dept. 56 store tonight, too. He didn't say yes to the sled, but he didn't say no. That's a good sign. I'll have to work on him tomorrow.

Well, my eyelids are getting droopy. It's time to go to sleep. Hope everyone has a great day tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rock stars, royalty and rain

I started my morning off with a Crossfit workout. I decided to work out every other day since this is a vacation! I did a warmup (sit ups, push ups, weights, stretches) and then did the WOD (three rounds of 400m run with 3 minute rest in between each run) on a treadmill. It was the best I could manage this morning.

After a quick shower, the girls and I were off to Libby Lu's for their make over. We met my sister, niece and mom there. The two older girls wanted to be Hannah Montana. Rose wanted to be Lola, aka Hannah's best friend Lily. They all dressed in rock star clothing, had their nails done, make up put on and hair styled with wigs. So cute. They then learned a dance to a Hannah Montana song and preformed it. Once that was over, my mom, daughter and niece all had their ears pierced. A big day for them!

Something really cute happened at Libby Lu's. A four year old named Maddie and her mom were watching the girls get their ears pierced. Maddie's mom wanted her to get it done, but the little girl was hesitant. But after seeing Mackenna and my niece have it done, Maddie said she wanted to get hers done. (Rose, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with ear piercing!) The girls stayed and watched her get her ears pierced. Maddie's dad videotaped them and thanked them for helping out!

We headed to California Adventure. We had 11:40 reservations for lunch with the princesses at Ariel's Grotto. Since we had some time to kill, we took advantage of my mom's Disney Visa and went to the special character meet and greet they offer cardholders. We got to see Chip and Dale. As we were getting ready to walk out Mickey Mouse and Goofy showed up so we got autographs and pictures with them, too. The girls were thrilled.

We met Ariel on the way in. Rose was so excited after we sat down, she barely touched her lunch ($15.99 for a kids' plate but it was a character lunch so you're paying for the personal time with the princesses.) She had a hard time staying in her seat whenever she caught a glimpse of another princess. She finally realized they would come to her and liked that concept.

Snow White, Cinderella, Belle and Sleeping Beauty all paid a visit to the table. Cinderella asked Rose to give her a high five. It was so sweet. Sleeping Beauty was so wonderful with the girls and paid extra special attention to Rose by getting down to her level and giving her a special hug. I wish I could show you the pictures, but Rose isn't wearing her wig in them. The wig and the bobby pins bothered her too much so we had to take it all down within an hour of her hair being done!

Once the princesses were done visiting all the tables, the staff at Ariel's Grotto brought Rose her dessert with a candle in it. They also sang Happy Birthday to her. Yet another magical time for Miss Rose as the princesses called her.

The kids wanted to swim after that so we skipped going on any rides. The two hubbies took six of the kids swimming while the rest of us went shopping in Downtown Disney. I bought five balls called Bath Bombs at a store called Basin. My sister told me the kidlets would love them in the bathtub. I also bought Engish Toffee (my fave) and some other sweet treats at the candy store.

I did find something I want at the Department 56 store. It's a sledding hill with a sled that actually goes down. I'd seen it in a Baby Einsten DVD and the kids have always wanted me to get one. I haven't asked hubby yet. I'm waiting until the perfect moment to tell him I need to spend $70 not including tax on something that will come out for a month a year.

While we were shopping it started to rain. And rain. And rain. It's supposed to rain for the next three days. Bummer. But we're from the Northwest. Rain won't stop us.

We headed to dinner at the Trattoria restaurant. Boy, did that glass of Chianti taste good. They made Rose a special handmade birthday card, gave her a bowl of ice cream and a Disneyland gift card. They were out of their normal birthday favors. Seriously, this little girl of mine is coming to think she's an honest to goodness Disneyland princess!

After dinner, we headed to the park. My parents and my part of my sister's family didn't want to head out in the rain so went back to the hotel. Hubby and I, our three kids, one of my nephews and niece headed to Disneyland. The rain was really pouring down. As people streamed out of the park, we made our way in. It was wet with puddles everywhere, but we walked on all the rides.

In less than an hour and a half, we rode the following: Star Tours, Finding Nemo Submarine ride, Matterhorn, Autopia, Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear. Not bad considering a couple of those rides have had really long lines since we arrived. By the time we got back to the hotel, our coats were drenched along with our shoes, but we'd all had a really fun time in spite of the wetness. I hope tomorrow is better though, but if it's not we'll make do!

We've been having a family debate. One person does not want to go to the park in the rain. The other four of us still want to go. Maybe not to stay all day, but at least get a few rides in. Do you mind doing stuff in the rain even if it means you'll get soaking wet?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Princesses, Jedi and More

We had early admission this morning. There was no rope drop and it was funny to see adults running along Main Street pushing strollers and dragging their children behind them. One mom in front of us kept going after her children stopped. She turned and stared at them. The kids asked her to slow down. She told them they needed to run and took off again. Those poor kids!

Getting there early is important, but some people can be a little intense about it. My sister is borderline, but she would never run someone down with her stroller. Though she did tell hubby not to stop and take any pictures on our way to Peter Pan. He still managed to shoot a couple pics, including this one of Sleeping Beauty's castle.

Thanks to the early admission, we managed in less than an hour and a half to hit every ride in Fantasyland. No lines on anything but the Storybook boats where this picture was taken. (I can't remember the real name and am too tired to look it up!) I love the miniature buildings and gardens. Not a bad morning at all, but as soon as the real park opening rolled around at ten o'clock, it got really crowded.

We then took the three girls (my two and my niece) to the Fantasy Princess Faire while my sister took all the boys to Tomorrowland. This was our first time at this new attraction. It was a long wait, but worth it.

The girls met three princesses: Pocahontas, Cinderella and Belle. Hubby had fun posing with all three! I was just completely relieved because we could check off meeting Cinderella. She's my girls' fave princess and we didn't see her the last time we were here. Rose was simply beside herself. She was in awe of them and wasn't sure what to say. It was very cute and the princesses were so sweet with her. The two nine year olds had no problem talking to the princesses, however, and they even found out that Belle read American Girl novels when she was a young girl!

After meeting the princesses, the girls went down and decorated crowns with stickers. Next came the royal coronation. The girls received princess lessons as well as dance lessons then got to dance with Belle as part of a May Pole dance. Snow White and Mulan took part too. Since hubby had his fun with the princesses, I posed with two of the cast members from the show we'd just watched.

After lunch my sister and her family headed back to the hotel to meet my parents who had arrived that morning. My family went to the Jedi Academy show. The one thing I wanted most on this trip (besides seeing Cinderella and safe travel there and back) was for the kidlets to be selected to participate in this show. A Jedi Master chooses 15 younglings to be trained as padawans. I'm a huge Star Wars fan and so are my kids, and it's the first time we'd ever seen the show so I even asked on Disneyland Forums how to get chosen. The key seemed to be having the kids act enthusiastic. If you've ever met my son, he's enthusiastic about anything until you ask him to be that way. I knew we'd be attending this show over and over again until he got chosen. He said he didn't want to do it, but I knew if he understood what would happen, he'd be all over it.

We arrived early so we were sitting right at the front. I told the kids to act like they really wanted this. Rose started crying saying she didn't want to do it so she went back with hubby so she wasn't in the front. When the Jedi Master started choosing kids, Finn froze. He looked down, sort of had his hand up. I was trying to get him excited. It wasn't working. He was getting mad at me. The Jedi Master passed right over them. I was so disappointed. But then he started back. Mackenna was jumping up and down. Finn finally raised his arm high. Both of them got chosen on that second pass. Huge relief on my part.

As soon as Finn got up there, I could see a change in him. He was smiling and looked thrilled to be a part of the show. Just like I knew he would be! They put the kids in brown robes and gave them lightsabers. They taught them how to fight. It was very cool.

Then the Dark Side entered. Darth Vader and Darth Maul. My two got to fight Darth Vader. Mackenna was even chosen to use her hand to Force push the two stormtroopers back. Hubby captured it all on video! At the end of the show, they each got certificates. Finn wants to frame his and hang it in his room (Star Wars theme room, of course!) He also thanked me for pushing him to do the show! Sometimes mom does know best!

We caught up with my family at California Adventure. I took the two youngest (Rose and my nephew) to see the Playhouse Disney show while everyone else went on the Tower of Terror. I still haven't been on that ride. I sure hope I get a chance before we leave, but I always seem to be the one who gets the little ones to watch! We also went to the coolest show with Crush, the turtle from Nemo. It was an interactive show and one of the neatest things I've seen. We all had a hard time not calling each other Dude! the rest of the evening!

Back at Disneyland we ate dinner at the Plaza Inn. Yummy fried chicken! Then rode some more rides. Then it was back to the hotel for a birthday party. The Grand Californian made the most beautiful Tinkerbell cake for Rose. It was tasty too. Chocolate cake with a whipped cream with fresh strawberry filling. They rolled it in on a table with enough plates and napkins for everyone. They even included candles and matches! And Tinkerbell is edible!

Rose was very surprised. She received presents from my sisters' family and my parents. I'd gone to the Dollar Tree and found some great Disney theme items so made favor bags for all seven of the kids! Needless to say, the best 5th birthday ever continues on!

Tomorrow is a makeover for the girls at Libby Lu's and lunch with the Disney Princesses at Ariel's Grotto in California Adventure!

What was your best birthday?

P.S. A belated birthday wish to Amy! I can't believe I forgot. It is written down in my planner, but I haven't looked at that in a couple of days. So sorry!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Fun times and hot princes

We ended up seeing the Electrical Parade again. We were fortunate to get reserved seating from the hotel! Once again Rose was enthralled. The best part, Sneezy came up to her during the parade. He touched her head and made her feel like the most important little girl there. She just beamed.

Seriously the best birthday ever.

At the Happiest Birthday Party on Earth earlier in the afternoon, Pat E. Cake led cake decorating and a conga line around the Plaza Inn. Even Mickey and Minnie showed up!

After our break in the room, we ate dinner at the Rain Forest Cafe. We rode Soarin' California before watching the parade. Once again, Rose thought it was all real. She kept lifting her feet to keep them from hitting something. Seeing what Disneyland has to offer through the eyes of a child really is something special. I guess I'd forgotten what it was like the first couple of times we went with the kidlets. Not surprising since for Mackenna's birthday trip, I had a couple month old baby. For Finn's birthday trip, she was two. I'm sure both times, I was exhausted!

But this time, I'm not so tired. No deadline looming. Nothing to keep from enjoying each and every minute. And it truly has been magical.

I can't help but remember when I was a kid, living in Cypress not too far away from Anaheim, and being dropped at the gate when I was in third and fourth grade. (Not that I could ever imagine doing that with my own kids who are that age, but it was a different time back in the seventies.) I remember wanting to live at Disneyland back then. It's fun to hear my kids say some of the same things I did.

After the Electrical Parade, we headed back to Disneyland. Space Mountain was down so we rode Buzz Lightyear instead. We then headed to It's a Small World since it's closing tomorrow for refurbishment. As we were getting off the ride, the lights went out and the fireworks started going off. Seeing them from the other side of the castle was neat. We took advantage of the show to hop on the Matterhorn. As we were riding the bobsleds, fireworks were going off. Very cool to experience it that way.

As the show ended, we made our way to Space Mountain. The last two visits in 2003 and 2005, the ride had been closed. The only time hubby had ever been to Disneyland before that, the ride was just being built so he'd never been on it. Four of us loved the ride. It was a little much for Rose. But the refurb they did is very cool and I loved the ride. Not that I didn't love it before, but I'm sure it was showing it's age which is why they made all the changes. The kids especially liked the music being played. Rose didn't say much, but wanted to be carried out. I did, even though it meant a flight of stairs. Quite the workout.

Speaking of workouts, I actually did a Crossfit workout this morning. One of the traveling one's from the blog I mentioned. I did 5 rounds of 25 squats. It took me 5 minutes. Not much but something! Wish I could say the same about my writing.

But I did find new muse for my prince book. And I must say, he's perfect! He was on the cover of the USA Today that was delivered to my room this morning. I had no who idea, but I just stared at his picture and felt my heart melt. Yep. Definitely hero worthy.

His name is Ben Barnes. He's 26 and as they said in the You must google him. He's just my type. Long dark hair, gorgeous. He is even going to play Prince Caspian in the next installment of Narnia. Yep, the perfect Prince Hottie. What more could you ask for a hero?

You know what I've been up to these past few days. What about you?

Dolphins, Dolls and Disney

Update: Here are some pics and an edited version of the earlier post since I was in such a rush this morning! We're back in the room taking a break. The older kids are doing homework! Yes, I'm a mean mommy making them work on a holiday!

On the drive down Hwy 1 as we were passing through Malibu, we saw dolphins. I don't know about you, but I've always loved them. There is something so graceful, almost mystical about them. About 12 of them were swimming south We'd been told to watch for them, but what were the odds of seeing them during our drive? We pulled to the side of the road to watch them jump and swim. Very cool. As someone posted in the comment section, I too would love to do one of those swim with dolphin experiences.

We then headed inland through Beverly Hills. This picture was taken as we drove by this sign. We passed Rodeo Drive. Mackenna wanted to stop to see movie stars. Of course, her version of a movie star is anyone who stars in a show on the Disney Channel!

We made our way to The Grove to American Girl Place. Talk about doll overload. The girls were stunned with all they had. Two entire floors. A cafe, doll hair salon, photo salon, doll hospital and theater. Each historical doll had her own little room with everything you could buy. There were also different sections for the Doll of the Year as well as the books and rest of the stuff. Hubby and Finn were totally overwhelmed. And let's not go into what hubby had to say about the price tags. We didn't buy much, mainly a couple things that were specific to American Girl Place since we could always get the other stuff via the catalog.

Then it was on to Disneyland. We went to the California Adventure Park. Rode a few rides, had dinner and watched the Electrical parade. Rose thought everything was real. So cute. She bounced when she saw the mice from Cinderella dance by. She was watching that DVD on the drive down! The pirate ship with Peter Pan and Captain Hood scared her. She ran behind me and hid. Some when Pete and his dragon came by.

After the parade, we headed to Disneyland for the fireworks show. Talk about magical. It was just like the YouTube video I'd posted a week or so ago, but there's nothing like seeing it in person. At first they announced that the show might be cancelled due to high winds, but it went off as planned. Thank goodness. It was the kidlets first firework show ever. Not sure how they will ever top it. We then rode Star Tours, It's a Small World Holiday version and Buzz Lightyear. I really liked t he holiday version of It's a Small Ride. The decorations were lovely and they played Jingle Bells along with the normal song, but in all the different languages.

It's time to head back to the park! More later!

Have a magical evening!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A New Winner!

I figured I'd better pick this week's winner early since it'll be a busy day!

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2008-01-20 16:09:38 UTC

This week's free book winner is Dru. She won with a comment on the post, Road Trip Prep. Dru, please pick a book from the list here and email me your selection with your snail address. You can find my email via the contact link on my website. Thanks!

Last week's winner, windycindy, chose First Lady by
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
. Enjoy! And I did get all the books I'd listed on Friday mailed before we left. Sorry for the delay!

We're having a great time with my brother-in-law's family. Today though we'll say goodbye and drive to Disneyland. It's about a two hour drive, but we're taking the scenic route. We'll be heading down Hwy 1 along the coast through Malibu to Santa Monica. This is what hubby wanted to do and it's his vacation, too! Then we'll cut over to The Grove in Los Angeles where we will stop at American Girl Place. The girls are beside themselves! Their Bitty Twins and American Girl dolls, too! After they've looked and shopped a bit, we'll head to Disneyland where we'll meet my sister, brother-in-law and their four children. They're vacationing with us!

I know it's going to be a day of "Are we there yet?" questions! We are going into the park tonight, ride a few rides and see the fireworks!

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Camarillo, CA

We made it to hubby's brother's house and met our nephew for the first time. He's a real cutie! We'll go to Mass this afternoon.

When I said four days in the car, I meant two days each way. No way could I do four days straight. I used to do those cross country trips from California to Tennessee in the summer with my parents. It was horrible!

Off to visit some more!

Woodland, CA

We drove until 1 am and stopped in Woodland, California for the night. Okay, 5 hours. We're leaving in about three minutes to head to Camarillo where hubby's brother lives. Sound effects were what we will remember most about last night....sirens and trains with really, really loud whistles.

I drove from the shift from Medford than hubby took over around midnight. Rose kept asking when we got to Disneyland. She didn't understand that we wouldn't be there last night!

Have a great day!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Road Trip Prep

Chaos. That's the only way to describe things right now. I have nine days of clothing laid out on the floor for each kid. Swimsuits, goggles, rain gear, too. The weather looks as if might be all over the place so it's made packing hard.

I've got snacks, DVDs and a portable player and other stuff to keep them entertained during the days we'll be driving. I have no idea why we are driving. This was hubby's idea. I added up the cost savings. $400. To spend four days in the car. I don't think that's much of a savings personally. My time is worth more than that. But, oh well, what do I know?

My only hope is that I can get a good chunk of my book drafted on my alphie during the drive. This would justify the driving in a big way. Rather than doing a Book in a Week (BIAW), I'd be doing a Book In a Drive (BIAD). Possible? I sure hope so.

No Crossfit today. It's a rest day. Thank goodness. I'm sore and my knees are bruised. But I found a bunch of workouts I can do without equipment on EvaT's blog so that's what I'll do while I'm away. I really don't want to stop my momentum.

I've almost got all the books ready to mail out so that's on my To Do list today! I also need to finish up the auction baskets I'm turning in and call the cat/house sitter who will be staying here! Better get to it!

I'm taking my computer so there will be updates from the road and the Happiest Place on Earth. If there's anything in particular you'd like a picture of in Disneyland, please let me know!

Have a great Friday!

Update: Here is the list of people who are getting books. If you're not on it, and you've won a weekly contest or posted a comment on Christmas day, please let me know. Things are crazy right now and I may have lost your email!

Free book winners: Marianne (2), catslady, Nathalie, Brandy, windycindy
Christmas backlist winners: Brandy, Dru, Tori (there were three others who I never heard back from!)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Leaves on Trees

My nine year old got glasses yesterday. I was hoping she would take after her daddy when it came to eyesight, but unfortunately she's near-sighted. Just like me.

She's not happy.

Oh, she loved being able to read the signs, see faces and not have everything so blurry when she put them on. But she hates the idea of glasses. Why? Because boys in her class have already started making fun of her when she wasn't even wearing them yet.

Boys. No matter what the year, they never change.

I was halfway through eighth grade when I found out I needed glasses. I was new to school and had to have an eye exam by a nurse. I had no idea that the world wasn't blurry to everyone else or that people could actually read the words on the chalkboard at school without asking someone for help. And leaves on trees. That's what I remember most seeing that first day with glasses. A tree wasn't an undefined blob of green, but branches with leaves. So beautiful.

But I got teased, too. Another one of the horrors of Greenacres Junior High School.

Last night on the drive home, I explained to my daughter that I remembered how those "four eyes" comments made me feel like. I also told her how some boys will tease about anything and everything, but wasn't having a whole new world of sight open up better than worrying about them. I probably said too much by the time we arrived home. Needless to say, I don't think she was convinced, but she wore the glasses to school today. Fingers crossed her day goes well!

The worst part? She needs braces, too. Just like mom. At least we have a little time until all her baby teeth fall out, but I didn't even want to tell her what the boys are going to say about that!

Crossfit - Lynne

Today's WOD is called "Lynne" and consists of:

Five rounds for max reps of:
Body weight bench press

Post reps for both exercises in all rounds.

Yeah, right. I didn't even know what a bench press was until hubby explained it to me last night. No way can I learn and do that, I thought. I was going to have to wait to see what BrandX came up with, which was:

do 5 rounds of
max push ups
max pull ups or jumping pull ups

Do 3 rounds:
max push ups
max pull ups or jumping pull ups

Okay, I can do that. Not doing real push ups, of course, but box ones and jumping pull ups. Though the "max" scared me a little. That meant you were really supposed to push yourself. BrandX said you should be falling off the bar. That sounds like it would really hurt. I work hard, but there are times I could probably push myself harder. Having a trainer is good for that.

I did my usual 500 m row and 2 rounds of warm-ups (Samson stretch, overhead squats with PVC pipe, sit-ups, push ups, pull ups, ring dips/jumps.)

I was going to do Buttercups, but decided to try Puppies. I did box push ups as best as I could. My arms and legs were shaking at the end of each round. Here's what I did for the five rounds (push ups/JPU)


I'm sore. I really pushed it, but this was my last workout at the garage gym until we get back from Disneyland so I didn't want to wimp out. Of course, I'm climbing at 9 this morning. It'll be interesting to see how I do!

Have a great day! Do something physical, whether it's a workout or walking a flight of stairs, if you can!

Update/note to self - A max Crossfit WOD and climbing the same morning is not a good idea.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Prince and Me

Marianne had posted about Luke Malby, an actor who starred in the movie The Prince and Me. Since I'm writing a prince story, I thought this would be a great movie to watch to put me in a royal mood so to speak.

Please note, there will be spoilers so stop reading now if you don't want to know any more about the movie.

The other night, hubby and I put the kids to bed and put in the DVD. I told him it was a chick flick that I wanted to watch for research. He said that was okay. We settled back on the couch ready to be entertained.

I know many love this movie. I wanted to like it, but it just didn't work for me. Hubby, either.

First off, when I was at Stanford, the prince of Belgium was there getting his masters degree, so the whole prince going to college did not feel new or fresh to me. Add in Prince Edvard's motivation to go to college in the US--to see women take off their shirts--and it just didn't work for me. Rather, it made the prince seem to have the maturity level of a fourteen year old boy. Sure, I could totally buy his wanting to race fast cars and kiss women. What guy wouldn't? But given that many beaches in Europe are topless, I don't know why he just didn't fly down to the south of France for a few days instead of enrolling in a college in Wisconsin.

Still I loved Prince Edvard.

Luke Malby is totally crush worthy and redeems himself from his mammary infatuation rather quickly. He is totally charming as a stranger in a strange land of cheeseheads and dorm roommates. When cutoff from his money, he first asks his manservant, Soren, a great character, for his money, then gets a job even though he has no idea what he's doing.

Eddy's love for Paige is the catalyst for his change from boy to man, prince to king. When he threatens his parents that he not to become king if he can't marry Paige, you believe him. He's become a better person by the end of the movie. His character growth is clear and consistent.

The heroine, Paige, is a character many romance writers have used in books. So driven and focused on a life plan for her future that she's missing out on life now. That worked for me. Her character arc didn't. And because of that I could not believe these two would ever live happily ever after. That's what ruined the movie for me.

At the climax of the movie, Paige decides for no reason that I can see other than staring at a globe that her dream of being a doctor and traveling the world is more important than her love for Eddy. There is nothing to motivate this decision. All the while, you think she's grown enough as an individual (her flying to Denmark with her girlfriends all using their credit cards to pay for the trip is great) to see that what's most important in life is love. But no, what's most important to Paige are her dreams, not a man who was willing to give up the throne for her. Also for someone who was supposed to be so smart, it was surprising she gave no thought whatsoever that as Queen of Denmark she could do a whole lot more for Doctors without Borders than as an MD herself.

If you watch the deleted scenes, you do get more of an idea of why she made the choice she did. At least two of those scenes should have been in the movie. Still, Paige wasn't willing to make any sacrifices, and this was a big downfall of the movie to me. If you watch the deleted scenes, you realize that her graduation day is the same as Denmark's constitution day, so when Eddy shows up it's a big sacrifice for him to be there. Of course, this made his love for her feel even more lopsided to me, and just reinforced my belief of no happy ending there. I'm not even going to discuss the alternate unhappy ending.  

One other thing.  Hubby and I both had problems understanding the time passage during the movie. Thanksgiving was mentioned. I was thinking semester finals were in January when Eddy leaves, but it was always sunny. I thought it snowed in Wisconsin. Maybe that's just during Packer playoff games. So perhaps Eddy left at the end of the school year instead. Still Paige was in Belgium for two weeks. Why would graduation be delayed so long after finals? Maybe I'm too analytical, but questions like these pull me right out of movies and books and make them less enjoyable to me. (And in case you're wondering, I do drive my critique partner crazy with stuff like this!)

I don't mean to be harping on The Prince and Me. It was an okay movie. There were some laughs (the xbox roommate is funny) and nice, sweet scenes. I enjoyed the prince watching her dance and falling in love with her. The look on his face matches the words in the song so well. The scenes with her family during a Thanksgiving visit were fun. And what female wouldn't love to try on all those crown jewels in the safe! But I needed to believe in the HEA. That's my payoff with movies like this. (Books, too!) I think the movie could have been a lot better in that regard.

Did you see The Prince and Me? What did you think?

Crossfit - 5000m Run or Row

This morning's WOD gave you a choice between running or rowing. The scaled workout was as follows:

Run or row 1500-2500 m depending on your ability

Run or row 1500-2500 m depending on your ability

I decided to give rowing a shot so I did two rounds of my usual warmup, but skipped the row I normally do. The farthest I'd ever rowed was 500m (what I do as part of my warmup) so this would be a challenge. My goal was 1500 m. When I got there, I wasn't that tired so I kept going.

My WOD: 2011 m row in 10:52

I owe my friend a drink!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Crossfit - Filthy Fifty

I met my climbing partner at 10 this morning and climbed for about an hour. I did much better this time. The 5.8 routes I did even felt good! I'll probably give a 5.9 a try when we meet tomorrow. I stopped by home to see hubby and Rose (who was still in her jammies!) than drove to the garage gym to do my workout of the day (WOD.)

To show you what I mean by scaled workouts, this is what the WOD on the Crossfit website for today is:

For time:
50 Box jump, 24 inch box
50 Jumping pull-ups
50 Kettlebell swings, 1 pood
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Knees to elbows
50 Push press, 45 pounds
50 Back extensions
50 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
50 Burpees
50 Double unders

There is no way in the world I could do that. So I go to the BrandX forum for a scaled workout to do. They offer a Big Dawgs version, a Pack version, a Puppies version and the Buttercups version. I vary between Puppies and Buttercups depending on the day.

Here was my scaled WOD:

10-15 Box jump, 10-15 inch box (box plus a 35 pound weight = approx. 10 inches)
10-15 Jumping pull-ups
10-15 Kettlebell swings, 12kg
Walking Lunge, 10-15 steps
10-15 Ab-Mat Sit-ups
10-15 Push press, 20-25 pounds (I used two 10 lb dumbells)
10-15 Back extensions (Good mornings with barbell)
10-15 Wall ball shots, 10-16 pound ball (Ball throws in the air, not against the wall)
10-15 Burpees (Burpees with knee pushups)
10-15 Standard Jump Rope Jumps

My workout was the Tenacious Ten since I did 10 of each exercise. I made a couple substitutions (those and other notes marked in red above) and did workout in 9:07:59.  I have no idea if this is good or bad.  I don't really care.  I just want to improve on that time the next time this comes around again.

Of course, I realized when I got home I was supposed to do Thrusters if I couldn't do the wall balls, but oh, well... It was a good workout. Though I only did a 500m row and one round of warm-up because I was a little tired from climbing and kind of dragging as I got everything set up. Still I managed to get it in!  That's gotta count for something.

Did you do anything physical today?

Ice, ice baby

The alarm went off this morning so I could get to Crossfit, but once hubby heard the reports of black ice on the road he asked if I had to go. Since I was going to be the only one at the garage gym this morning, I decided to go back to sleep and wait until later in the day. Most school districts in the area are running two hours late, too. I was also supposed to go climbing, but hubby wants me to wait until traffic dies down. Guess I'll take advantage of the extra time and write!

The December 2006 tragedy on Mount Hood led me to write my last manuscript. I heard on the radio this morning that two climbers are missing up there. They were supposed to return on Monday afternoon, but didn't. Their car remains in the Timberline parking lot. Portland Mountain Rescue members got the page last night, but the weather up there has the search on hold.

Sunday was gorgeous on the mountain. As we were driving home from Chuck E. Cheese, Hubby and I stared at Mount Hood, surrounded by clear blue sky, talking about how we should have been up there skiing. Today, snow is blowing sidewards and it's 10 degrees. Bad, bad conditions. It just shows how quickly things can change up there.

Someone posted on the climbing forum that the climbers were going to be ascending the Leuthold Couloir and descending the south side. When I first started writing my Mount Hood story, I was thinking of using the Leuthold Couloir route, but I later decided, after talking to PMR members, to not go with an avalanche scenario and have an accident occur on the Reid Headwall instead.

I have no idea what happened to these two missing climbers. There hasn't been much information released yet, but lets just say what I've heard so far is eerily close to the opening scene in Rescued by the Magic of Christmas. I just hope these climbers are okay and make it safely down the mountain. Please say a prayer for them. Thanks!

Update: If you want to know more, check out this article from The Oregonian.

Update 2: The climbers have been found and are safe! See Oregonian link above for full story.

Monday, January 14, 2008

And the winner is...

Better late than never. Also, I took all the comments up to now and entered them into this contest so we'll start next week's with this post. Boy have we been a chatty bunch this week. I love it. Thanks for all the comments!

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2008-01-15 04:19:22 UTC

This week's free book winner is windycindy. She won with a comment on one of today's posts, A Happy Day for Rose. Cindi, please pick a book from the list here and email me your selection with your snail address. You can find my email via the contact link on my website. Thanks!

Last week's winner, Brandy, chose If the Shoe Fits by
Stephanie Rowe
. Enjoy!

Free Book Redux

I posted something similar back in August, but since I'm updating the books I thought I'd repost the rules, too.

Here's how the giveaways work:

1) A new contest begins today. The next one will start when I put up a post announcing the winner from the last one. I hope to do this on Sundays, making it a weekly giveaway, but hey, I'm only human, about to go on vacation and hopefully back on deadline soon so I reserve the right to have some leeway with this and to change how this works if I need to.

2) Your name will be entered each time you post a comment so you can have multiple entries for each weekly contest. Your entries are good for that week's contest only. If you want to keep your name entered each week, you have to keep commenting.

3) If you tell a friend who hasn't commented here before to post a comment and he/she mentions you sent them over, you're name will be entered again.

4) Your name will also be entered and kept entered in each subsequent week's contest for as long as I have books to giveaway if you post a review of any of my books on Amazon or another romance novel-related site. Just let me know where you posted it!

5) Books will be sent by the cheapest snail-mail means available so if you're overseas you might not see the book for a while! And if life gets hectic, I may not mail them right away, either. But you will get your book!

6) The winner gets to choose one item from the following list (more books may be added!):

Historical Fiction
1. Stephanie Laurens, The Truth About Books, Audio CD, Autographed
2. Samantha James, The Secret Passion of Simon Blackwell

Category Romance
1. Sandra Marton, The Italian Prince's Pregnant Bride, Harlequin Presents
2. Melissa McClone, Fiance For the Night, Silhouette Yours Truly
3. Melissa McClone, If the Ring Fits, HMB/Silhouette Romance
4. Melissa McClone, The Wedding Lullaby, HMB/Silhouette Romance
5. Melissa McClone, His Band of Gold, HMB Tender Romance/Silhouette Romance
6. Melissa McClone, In Deep Waters, HMB/Silhouette Romance
7. Melissa McClone, The Wedding Adventure, HMB/Silhouette Romance
8. Melissa McClone, Santa Brought A Son, HMB/Silhouette Romance
9. Melissa McClone, Billionaire's Wedding Masquerade, HMB/Silhouette Romance
10. Melissa McClone, Blue Print for a Wedding, HMB/Silhouette Romance
11. Melissa McClone, Plain Jane's Prince Charming, HMB/Silhouette Romance
12. Melissa McClone, Marriage For Baby, HMB/Silhouette Romance

Contemporary (Includes Single Title Romance, Chick lit, Woman's Fiction and Erotica)
1. Linda Lael Miller, McKettrick's Luck

1. Lynsay Sands, Bite Me If You Can

A Happy Day for Rose

When I got home from the garage gym yesterday morning, the kids were already up and getting ready for church. Rose's eyes sparkled and her smile lit up her face. She hugged me when I wished her Happy Birthday. She couldn't believe she was five!

On our way out of the church, she asked me to tell Father that it was her birthday today. When we got outside to say hello, he mentioned that today was her birthday without either of us telling him. and asked if she wanted a blessing. She did! (I'd asked him at the garage if he would give Rose a birthday blessing after Mass.) Rose was so happy he knew it was her birthday without having to tell him. We went downstairs for donuts, then headed to the store to pickup her cake.

She wanted a High School Musical 2 cake. I called around, but the only thing I could find was a High School Musical 1 cake. This was fine with Rose. She just wanted to have a big girl cake! Her second choice was Tinkerbell (we're having one of those delivered to the hotel room when we are in Disneyland next week) or a princess cake.

We ran home to change, then hit Chuck E. Cheese for lunch. My brother-in-law (also Rose's godfather) and his girlfriend met us there. After a couple of hours pizza, games and cotton candy, those over the age of ten could no longer take the noise or the crowd (it was fine until about noon then people streamed in) so we headed home. Rose's godmother met us at the house to open presents and have cake and ice cream.

What does turning five get you? Well, Rose received pajamas and a robe from her godmother, disposable cameras from her godfather (for our trip), a princess softball set from her brother, a Barbie bath set from her sister, money from her grammy in NY, a jewelry box from the family and a Leapster with a couple of games from hubby and me. Quite a nice haul. She loved her gifts.

The only bad times were when the birthday girl cried at naptime (she didn't want to take one), but she fell asleep quickly and cried again when we had to wake her up to head back to church for religious ed. She told us she didn't get to sleep long enough. We told her she could go back home with daddy and skip her class, but we all had to go to help me set up my class. That sounded good to her, but once we got there she decided to stay.

We came back home for dinner (her choice-burritos) and another slice of cake. I think she fell asleep the minute her head hit the pillow. Not a bad day for a five year old. And for mom. I have to admit it was really nice not having to deal with a party.

The celebration continues, too. We're sending in Go-gurts today for her class celebration. And at morning prayer, the entire school will sing Happy Birthday to her.

Plus there's the upcoming trip to Disneyland. We go there each time one of the kids turn five. This has led the kids to ask if it's the last time they'll ever go to Disneyland. Hubby answered yes. I told them he was joking.

Rose still can't figure out when we'll be in Disneyland. Yesterday, she told her grandparents over the phone that she wasn't going on this day. Time doesn't have a lot of meaning for kids her age. That means I'll be saying, "We leave on Friday" a lot this week! Not that I mind. I think I'm as excited about this trip as the kids. I love Disneyland!

Hubby thinks I go overboard with birthdays. I think he could care less about celebrating them if given the choice. I don't know if it's guy thing, family thing, what, but holidays just aren't that big a deal to him whereas they are huge to me.

What about you? How do you feel about birthdays (besides the getting older part)? Are they big deals or just another day?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

My baby is five!

Happy Birthday Rose! My youngest turns five today. I must admit I'm somewhat in denial about it. I still remember being in the hospital to have her. Where has the time gone? Kindergarten is only 8 months away. Yikes!

Hubby said that must mean it's time to have another baby. Um, no. It doesn't mean that at all.

No birthday party since we're going to Disneyland, but we are having lunch at Chuck E. Cheese. Then we'll come home to have cake and open presents.

I still have to add the new books to the list of books you can win and let Brandy have first choice so I may or may not get the free book winner announced later today. Sorry! It's been a busy week.

Crossfit - Death By Pull ups

The name says it all.

The workout consisted of the following: With a continuously running clock do one pull-up the first minute, two pull-ups the second minute, three pull-ups the third minute... continuing as long as you are able.

Use as many sets each minute as needed.

I did a 500m row and 2 rounds of warm-up (only did 5 pull-ups each round due to workout!) Since I'm a newbie and can't do pull ups, I did a scaled WOD subbing jumping pull ups (JPU).

I ended up with 12 rounds + 12 jumping pull-ups. That means I completed 12 JPU in round 12, but could only get 12 JPUs instead of 13 in the next round. So close. I really tried hard, too, but just couldn't do it.

The soreness continues on!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Crossfit - Elizabeth

I was supposed to go to the garage gym at 6, but when hubby woke me up I told him I was too sore and would work out in the weight room in the rock gym. It felt good to sleep in a little.

I hadn't climbed in weeks. The last time was before Christmas so I made plans to meet a climbing partner at the rock gym this morning. At the gym, I did as much of the Crossfit warmup as I could with the equipment they had. (And my sore muscles would allow.) I substituted as needed. I did two rounds, then gave the WOD a shot. Okay, I attempted it. Sort of. For two rounds. And didn't bother timing it.

The workout, Elizabeth, consisted of:

3 rounds (Buttercups version):
Dumbbell cleans
Bench Dips

I had watched the videos on how to do cleans last night. Luckily the rock gym had a lighter bar that I could use. They weren't hard, but because of that I wondered whether I was doing them right or not.

I'd never done a bench dip so I watched a video on how to do those, too. Ouch! They hurt so bad. I could barely do any. I'm sure my form was horrible.

When my partner arrived, I had her watch me do the cleans. She corrected something (keeping the bar closer to my body), but in general I was doing okay with the movement. But I need to work on whatever muscles you need to use for the bench dips. Those things are so hard.

Once I was finished, we hit the wall.

Climbing was so much fun though I felt as if I'd gone backwards in my skill level. I was climbing 5.8 and 5.9s in December. I went back to 5.7s today and was struggling a little. My instincts felt off and my movements clunky though I made it to the top of those routes.

I tried a 5.8 that is my nemesis at the gym. There's one part that I just can't get past. Today was no exception. I was closer this time, but just couldn't do it. There's really no hold and it's a bit awkward. It was really discouraging.

My instructor, Caroline, was there today. My partner and I were talking about what we'd climbed. I mentioned the red route. She made a face and told me to never get on the route again. That it was a bad 5.8. That one of the holds should not be on a 5.8. She made me feel so much better.

I saw one of the guys from my climbing forum and met his wife right before I attempted the nemesis climb. When I went to say goodbye to them later, his wife told me not to do that climb again. She'd climbed it after me and said it was horrible. Not worth the effort. This made me feel even better.

My partner still wants me to try it again on Tuesday. I don't know after two experienced climbers told me not to. I'll have to see how I feel next week.

I also bumped into another person from the climbing forum who I'd met at the Climbing Cutie's Ice Fest in September. She was the one who finally convinced me that Crossfit would be a good thing for this out-of-shape mom/writer. We've emailed a few times, and it was great to see her again. She's really nice and super supportive about my doing Crossfit. One of her comments to me back in October led to a little, I guess you'd call it, a wager. When I finally do a 2000m row, I owe her a drink!

The kids have their final swim meet of the season. Due to our vacation, they will both miss the Championship meets for their age groups. Kind of a bummer, but there's always next year. I better get busy and make sure they're ready to go.

Hope your Saturday is going well! What have you done or are doing today?

Harlequin Special Treat

Valentine's is over a month away, but Harlequin has debuted a new website to celebrate the holiday. Check out Harlequin Special Treat.

You'll find all kinds of goodies including free on-line reads (one by Linda Goodnight who is in the upcoming Wedding Planners continuity with me), games (aka Time Wasters), Inside Romance newsletter, an email valentine and the 2008 Romance Report will go live on January 23rd. Enjoy!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Four year olds and sparkly lips

Yesterday, my almost five year old daughter, Rose, wanted to go to the coffee shop. I assumed she wanted to go to the one we'd been to on Tuesday (i.e. the one that is mainly a play area.) Nope, she wanted to go to a little Italian one (with no play area or toys) instead. The only other thing on our agenda was a trip to the library to read and both places are close to each other so I said sure. Rose put her purse (a stuffed Chihuahua bag the same color as Paris Hilton's Tinkerbell) over her shoulder and off we went.

After she finished her hot chocolate, Rose placed her purse on her table. "It's time to put on my make-up."

"Make up?" I asked.

Rose nodded. "I need to do my lips."

I wasn't sure what this meant so I just sat back and watched. She removed a tube of Disney Princess Chapstick. She carefully took off the lid and rubbed it across her lips.

"Good job," I said.

She put away the tube. "I'm not done, Mommy."

Next, she pulled a mini tube of pink lipstick with a picture of Sleeping beauty on it. She rubbed that on her lips.

"Oh, what a nice touch," I said. "Your lips are shinier now."

She gave me one of those looks as she put the lipstick away. "I'm still not done, Mommy."

I'm not much into makeup. Lately I've been using a bit of a tinted moisturizer and a dab of mascara and that feels like a lot to me. "Sorry."

Rose held a tube of pink princess lip gloss, the kind with a sponge on the end, in her hand. She carefully ran the gloss over her bottom lip, dipped the sponge back into the tube and then glossed her top lip. She screwed the top back on and placed it in her purse. She looked inside the bag. "Oh no."

"What?" I asked.

"I forgot my mirror," she said with a pout.

"Let me see."

She looked up at me.

Remember how women wanted to know what lipstick Monica Lewinsky had used in her television interview with Barbara Walters because her lips looks so good? This was pretty close.

Rose had gotten a lovely color, perfect gloss and just the right sparkle from her three step combo. I removed an extra bit of gloss from the corner of her mouth. "You're lips are perfectly sparkly."

She beamed. "Thank you."

"So how did learn how to do this?" I asked, knowing it wasn't from watching me.

"Mackenna taught me," she said.

Hmmm. My nine year old knows how do this? Forget hitting the Bobbi Brown counter. Maybe I should be asking my nine year old for some make up tips instead?

Who taught you to put on make-up? Do you wear make-up a lot, sometimes or never?

Crossfit - Skills day

Today's WOD is Diane which consists of 3 rounds of deadlifts and handstand pushups. I'd learned deadlifts, but had only done them the day I learned them and never in a WOD. I emailed the Climbing Cutie for advice on weight. My max weight that first day had been 65 lbs. CC suggested half my body weight. (This corresponds within a couple of pounds to my previous max weight.) I also studied the videos last night to figure some alternate handstand pushup I could do and decided on the feet on a box ones.

I arrived at the garage gym to find the door down, but two other cars there. A new guy who started this week, Father and I were it.

I did my usual warm-up: 500m row and 2 rounds of the official Crossfit warmup. You're supposed to do three, but I'm just not there yet if I want to have a chance at completing the WOD and not meeting Mr. Pukie.

Since the other guy and I are newbies, Father decided to make this a skills day. He went through the deadlift with us using 65 lbs. Then instead of the WOD, he wanted to teach us the back squat, something I'd never done. We used a 45 lb bar. I still can't get low enough with my squats. After we had both learned the movements and done a few reps, Father had us do a mini WOD.

3 rounds (not for time)
5 back squats (45 lbs)
5 deadlifts (95 lbs)

I did it! 95 lbs. Yay for me! And though it was harder than the 65 lbs, I never felt like I wouldn't be able to do all the reps. Though the final one on round three I did take a pretty good pause and a couple breaths before lifting!

Father said the two of us will now be ready for future WODs that have these two exercises. I can't wait!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It's a Small World

The world of Internet forums is anonymous. You pick an avatar or user name and maybe where you live will come out or a few other things, but that's about it. You rarely know who you're talking to.

The other day, I posted a few questions on a Disneyland forum about our upcoming trip. I provided some information about myself, including I would be driving from Portland and listed the ages of the kids for suggestions on new things to see. Imagine my surprise when I got the following reply:

- clearly from your well worded post you must be a published romance novelist. We will be at the park during those exact times. Maybe we can meet up? I just happen to be the sister of a romance novelist and we would probably have a lot in common!

My first thought was what a coincidence. And then I took a look at the user name. It was the same name as one of my sister's old dogs. Yep, my sister figured out who I was by my post! She said she was going to write some really smart ass post, but didn't want to get flamed for being mean to me. Gotta love her!

Her reply led another poster to ask who the romance writer was because she was a romance reader. I emailed her last night. Turns out she has all my Silhouette Romance (and will now look for my Harlequin Romances!) She also lives in Southwest Washington just north of me. A very small world indeed.

Do you have any small world experiences to share?

Crossfit - Michael

Yesterday's WOD was called Michael. The guys were going to work out in the afternoon, but since us girls would have the kids, we decided to meet after we dropped the kids off at school. It was a little different with just the two of us there. Instead of listening to the harder music (not sure what else to call it) the guys prefer, girly music filled the garage.

We did the official Crossfit warm up, then went on to Michael. Since I was a little sore from the day before, I did the buttercup version (i.e. the easiest scaled workout.)

3 rounds for time:

400m run
10 Back extensions (I did Good Mornings with weighted bar)
20 situps (I used the abmat)

Time: 16:59 (I am sooooo slow when it comes to running!)

Today (Thursday) is a rest day. Thank goodness. I'm really sore.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

For your viewing pleasure...

The proposal is calling me so I decided to use some visual aids to blog with this morning so I could get to work!

1) What I'm reading:

2) What I'm listening to:

3) What I'm doing to get fit:

4) What makes me smile:
Funny Pictures
moar funny pictures

5) What movie I can't wait to see:

6) Where I'm going to be very, very soon:

What about you?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Melissa Cocktail

I got this from Marianne this morning:

The Recipe For Melissa

3 parts Creativity
2 parts Defiance
1 part Seductiveness

Splash of Savvy

Limit yourself to one serving. This cocktail is strong!

Back on Track!

I mentioned yesterday, it was time to get back to work. And that's exactly what I've been doing.

Last night I moved on to Chapter 2 of The Anatomy of Story by John Truby. I did two writing exercises. It's been a long time since I've done anything like this and I have to admit it was really fun. The first exercise was writing down all the things you'd like to see in a movie or read in a book, etc. A total brainstorm exercise. The next was to write one line premises for all the ideas you've had. This took a little more thought than the first one. Then you compare the lists. I did that instead of working on the new proposal so guess what I'll be doing today!

After a much extended vacation and recovery period, I was up at 5:35 am this morning and at the first one at the garage gym at 6 am. It felt so good to be doing Crossfit again. Five of us were there, and it was so much fun. The following is more for my own records. (I really do use this blog as a diary of sorts!)

Warmup: 500m row, 2 rounds of official Crossfit Warm-up

WOD: Cindy (puppies version) Do as many rounds in 12 minutes of: 3 jumping pull-ups, 4 box push-ups, 7 squats.

I did 12 rounds which is an improvement over my 10 rounds in November. Not bad for all the time I've had off! Now to get back climbing.

I forgot to mention. I read my first book of the year last week. (One of my resolutions was to read 52 books this year. And not counting all the kids books and easy readers I go through each day with Rose and Finn.) The book was Book 1 of the Spiderwick Chronicles. There's a title, but it escapes me at the moment. As soon as I finished, Mackenna put Book 2 on my night stand. Guess my TBR pile will have to wait!

I'm sitting at a coffee shop that's mostly a kids' play area. I thought while Rose played, I could do a little on-line stuff and writing. Of course, with all the noise, I'm not sure how much writing will be possible. I may have to wait until nap time, but it's nice to have a change of location from working in my bedroom or great room couch or kitchen table!

What's your fave place to do what you like to do?

Monday, January 07, 2008

This Week's Book Winner is...

Sorry for the delay in posting the contest winner, but yesterday was the last day of vacation for hubby and the kidlets so I played hooky from blogging and blog hopping.

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2008-01-07 16:22:11 UTC

This week's win a book winner is Brandy. She won with a comment on my "And the free book goes to" post. Brandy, please pick a book off the list here and email me your choice and snail address. If you wait a day or two, I should have a couple of new books added. I never got around to it this week. Thanks!

Last week's winner, Marianne, chose The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt.

Everyone was hoping for snow today and the kids wore their snow rally jammies to bed again. Unfortunately, the forecast changed so all are back to school and work. That means me, too. My Monday class resumes today. I have a proposal to write. Crossfit WOD to do. And books to mail. I haven't sent any since before Christmas break!

As I was putting away Christmas decorations yesterday, I put on The Nanny Diaries. It was one of the movies I'd picked up the other day from the video store. I'm glad I was multi-tasking because I probably wouldn't have finished watching the entire thing had I been just sitting and watching. I didn't like it at all.

Last week I asked what movies people recommended. Are there any you don't recommend?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Kidless and Carefree

Yesterday I had a bunch of appointments and things to do so I only opened my iBook long enough to get directions for where I needed to be at 9 am. No blogging, writing, blog hopping, anything. It was an unexpected, but not unwelcome break!

Last night was the Epiphany pageant and my class of 4-5 year olds did awesome singing Silent Night in front of everyone. We all met for a slice of King's Cake afterwards. My mom drove up to attend and took the kids back with her so hubby and I have the house to ourselves until Sunday. Well, the three cats are still here, and one woke me up this morning pretty early. Both are staring at the bedroom door right now waiting for hubby to feed them breakfast. That's normally the kids' job.

Continuing on our nightly DVD viewing, we watched Blades of Glory last night. Absolutely hilarious, especially if you've ever followed figure skating. Even if you hadn't, it would be hard to watch that movie and not laugh. It's totally inappropriate for children though.

My book order from Amazon arrived. I'd ordered a writing craft book by John Truby, a birthday present for my oldest who'll turn nine in March and one of my own books. I wanted to see how the ranking would jump for Win, Lose or...Wed with one sale. About 300,000 spots.

We dropped my daughter's Irish dance solo dress off to be altered. Good thing we waited until now. She's grown a lot since October! A dress designer, Alison Thrasher, creates some of the most gorgeous solo irish dance dresses around and we feel lucky she could altar Mackenna's dress that was made by a UK designer. The crown is too big and the headband a little tight so I'm going to attempt to make a new headpiece for the dress myself. Fingers crossed I can do it!

I have no idea what we are going to do today. It's nice not to have plans for once. What do you have going on?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

DMDs and MDs

I decided to take one day of the kidlet's Christmas vacation and have them visit both the dentist and the doctor for their check-ups. Today is that day. Now I'm wondering if that was such a good idea. We'll be gone most of the day. And on top of everything, tonight is the dress rehearsal for the Epiphany pageant. Oh, well, it's too late to change things now.

But the day hasn't started off the way I planned. I was supposed to be at the garage gym at 6 am for my Crossfit WOD. I woke up at 5 am, decided it was too early to get up and fell back asleep...until 8 am. I slept right through the alarm. Either that or hubby turned it off. So this morning, I went for a run. I printed off the 12 week beginner's workout and if I can't make it to the garage gym on a particular morning and don't have the equipment so I can do the WOD at home, I'm going to do whatever's on the schedule. I really have missed working out, and now that my cough is almost gone, I feel strong enough to start again!

Oh, least I got a little exercise in!

No one goes back to work or school until Monday so it's been nice to be on vacation-mode still.

Hubby and I have watched three DVDs over the past four days. Something we never do. Cliffhanger (a climbing movie that made me laugh now that I know more about climbing), Amazing Grace (a confusing beginning, but once I figured out the storytelling technique it was very good), and last night, Christmas with The Kranks (a funny look at the holidays based on the book Skipping Christmas by John Grisham.)

Have you watched any good DVDs that you would recommend?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Face Behind The Blog Meme

I found a meme on David Airey's blog called The Face Behind the Blog Collection. I don't do many memes, but I'm doing this one. It's from May 2007, but better late than never. I'm also tagging everyone who reads this blog to do it, too.

For me, blogging is about building a community. A community of fellow bloggers, readers, writers and people who might stumble across the blog via a google or blog search. And, as I'm learning with the climbing community I joined last year, it's nice to put a face with a name and make that connection a little more personal.

So...although I post pictures of myself, here are a few more of the face behind Melissa's Diary.

This picture was taken at Smith Rock by one of my closest friends, Tiffany, when we were out climbing with the kids and my hubby. It was so hot, and I was taking a rest. Notice the helmet hair!

Another Smith Rock picture by Tiffany when the two of us went climbing with our guide, Will, on my birthday. We had just hiked around Monkey Face and I was so tired. It was a bunch of switch backs heading up. A few minutes later, Tiffany asked me to stand on a large rock overlooking the canyon, but my fear of heights wouldn't let me get near the edge.

This picture was taken in December when we baked Christmas cookies. The kitchen is not somewhere I usually hang out! I made the apron I'm wearing in a beginner sewing class I took years ago.

If you choose to do this meme, let me know and I'll post a link to your blog post along with others who have done this. If you don't have a blog, but want to share your picture let me know and I'll post it here! Thanks!

Face Behind The Blog photos:

The Climbing Cutie!

I added his link below since he's participating by having his pic on this post. And before any one asks, he did give me permission!

Face Behind the Blog participants:

Melissa McClone - romance writer
David Airey - graphic designer
Climbing Cutie - alpine climber
Brandy - reader and mom extraordinaire
Dru - world traveler, gifted quilter and author's dream reader
Marianne Arkins - talented author and review site goddess

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

I really can't believe 2008 is here. 2007 remains a bit of a blur with all I had going on. I hope this new year is less hectic. A calm twelve months would be nice.  I'd even take a calm couple of months!

Let's see how I did with last year's resolution. Here were my 2007 New Year's resolutions:
1) Write everyday on a story (blogging and email do not count!)   I did not write everyday.  Not even close.  But I did finish three manuscripts.  That has to count for something!
2) Finish my non-category novel by the end of the year (this is the story I worked on during NaNoWriMo)  Nope.  I did do a little work on it, but really had no time or energy due to the three books I'd contracted to write.
3) Exercise three times a week (need a set number of times so I actually do it!)  The exercise was hit or miss.  Most weeks I managed two times.  Once I started Crossfit (until I got sick) it was three to five times.
4) Lose 15 pounds (being more specific should help me!)  I lost 15 pounds, but then gained back five.  I realized the scale doesn't always tell the story so I'm not going to worry so much about the number any more.
5) Keep in better touch with friends (this one should always be there, IMHO)  I did try to do this.  I'm sure I could have done better.  Deadline time got in the way big time.  Some understood.  A couple didn't.  Deadlines aside, a few people never responded to emails or phone calls.  At least I tried to keep in touch!
6) Be even more patient with kidlets (a good one to have again with all the deadlines I'm facing this year) and the hubby (I'm adding him this year due to all the deadline dementia coming up.)  I asked the kidlets how I did on this one.  They said I was more patient with them than in 2006.  Yay!  Of course, I know I wasn't as patient with hubby so I guess this resolution really wasn't met, either.  He takes the brunt of my impatience and I really do need to work on that.

Bummer.  I really didn't do well with my 2007 resolutions.  Let's hope I do better in 2008.  Here they are:

Writing resolutions/goals
1)  Write two really good category romances
2)  Start writing a non-category spec novel 
3)  Be more disciplined with my writing
4)  Be more productive with my writing (i.e. meet set page goals for a given project)
5)  Meet all deadlines
6)  Improve my writing craft
7)  Redesign my website

Health and fitness resolutions/goals
1)  Eat healthier (give The Zone a serious try once the kids go back to school)
2)  Sleep at least six hours a night (even during deadline time!)
3)  Do at least 3 Crossfit WODs a week so I'll be able to do Kim's 12 Days of Christmas Workout next December and be able to do all of the exercises (except maybe the handstand pushup!)
4)  Climb Mount Hood
5)  Climb a 5.10 rock climbing route

Personal resolutions/goals
1)  More patience with family (especially hubby)
2)  Read 52 books this year (one a week)
3)  Make more time for family, friends and fun
4)  Remember to fill the well (the creative well!)
5)  Grow closer to God

Okay, I've listed many more things than in 2007, but maybe now I'll have better a chance at achieving one in 2008.  

I'd like to thank everyone who takes the time to read this blog.  I'd especially like to give a big hug to those who post comments.  You've become treasured friends and I'm so glad I've gotten (and am getting!) to know you.  You are true blessings in my life and I appreciate each and every one of you!  I hope 2008 is the year dreams come true for all of us.

I also want to thank Patricia for including Win, Lose or...Wed! on her list of Favorite Reads in 2007! Boy, I love when google alerts brings news like that. I was all smiles yesterday when I saw that!

As for our New Year's Eve, we rang in 2008 at a friend's house celebrating both the New Year and his 40th birthday with people from the kidlets' school and church. Our priest was there for a little bit, too. The food was delicious, but I must admit the birthday cake was the best thing there. White cake with white fluffy icing. Yum! The kids celebrated New Years at 9 (pacific time) with a babysitter by watching the ball drop in New York, drinking sparkling cider from glass champagne flutes and eating ice cream sundaes.

I was so tired when we got home last night. We'd managed to sneak in Zoolights after all. We arrived at the zoo at 4:30, discovered it was free admission night, bought train tickets and got in line. Tom's brother and girlfriend met us there. We stayed a couple of hours and then drove home so we could attend the party.

This morning we attended 8:30 am Mass since it's a Holy Day of Obligation (the Solemnity of Mary.) Hubby said he tried to wake me up around 7-ish, but I didn't even acknowledge him. I woke up at 8 and even the kids were still asleep. Still we all managed to make it to the church in time. I'm going to consider getting us up and ready so quickly my Crossfit WOD!

Later today, the five of us will be attending a party at the home of one of my climbing friends. I need to make something to bring, but can't decide what yet.

What are you doing to kick off the New Year?