Back to Step One

Occasionally I speak about my past as a slow, slow, so very slow, distance runner.  I am not now, nor have a ever been a serious competitor.  See the over weight runner at the back of the pack, barely making it in before the time limit and pushing with all they have to get there?  I’m right behind them.

Don’t get me wrong,  I always make it in.  I’ve had the occasional race where it is a strong possibility of a Did Not Finish is following me the entire way.  I’ve even had several races where I should have probably stayed home, but I was not intelligent enough to do the smart thing.  No matter the challenge or the pain, I have always pushed through to the end.

At least, I used to.  I’ve told you the story of my horrible marathon in September.  The lack of training, the slight ankle twist nine miles in, the limping to the finish line with only a couple of people behind me.  While the race was beautiful and well done, I did not do as well as I had planned when I first started training.  Since then I have been pushing to get anywhere close to where I used to be, and failing horribly.  Let’s just be honest, at this point I would be happy to be back to the pitiful girl who crossed that finish line; at least she did it.  Now, I barely complete a mile on some days.

I finally decided it was time to admit I needed to step back.  I can’t train like the person who has run all those races.  A person can lose fitness with just a few weeks off from training.  I took six months.  My body might technically be the same one that crossed all those finish lines, but it no longer moves that way.

So, I decided to take it back to step one.  Instead of heading out of my house and just running like I used to, I’m back on a beginners training program.  I dusted off the old Couch to 5k running app, which will time my run/walk intervals for me as I slowly move towards more running again.  I started this program the first time almost 6 years ago.  After the first completion of the program, I deleted it from my ipod and moved on thinking I would never need it again.

It’s a little depressing to realize I am returning to step one.  No one wants to think they have been knocked down that far.  I’m trying to think of it in a positive light.  I’ve done it once, I can do it again.

With my step one, I’m taking it a little farther.  I suck at nutrition and weight training.  It takes so much more work than just lacing up and running out the door.  But my running, and well, my health need me to focus.  A friend turned me onto a new program, Tone It Up.  They are starting their Bikini Series this week, putting out workout programs, and motivation tips daily to keep you moving and get people bikini ready by the first day of summer.  Let’s be honest people, no matter how well I stick to this, no one will want to see me in a bikini in 8 weeks, but if I am never strangled by my athletic apparel again I will count it as a win.

Wish me luck!

Image

Quick disclaimer.  Tone It Up is not paying me to mention them.  I’m 99.99% certain they have no idea who I am and may never know.  While they might be responsible for me getting back in shape, I won’t blame them if I don’t get where I want to be either.  Anyone who chooses a workout program should remember I am not a doctor, and they need to consult their own physician before they choose a program. 

I also apologize if I have broken any delusions that I am in fact a tall, willowy, super model.  Feel free to pretend the picture is of someone else.  I do it occasionally too.

Advertisements

Mastery

I hate going to school.

Don’t get me wrong. I love learning, and I think education is one of the most important things for a better society. I weep openly at the celebrated idiots that are considered heroes to much of the American public. I’m tired of uneducated, untalented, and mostly useless people becoming rich and famous. On top of everything else, I’m quite certain if I ever seriously used the words ‘selfie’ or ‘hashtag’ my IQ would drop significantly enough that I might not recover.

Alright, maybe that is a little melodramatic, but my point stands. Intelligence and general thinking is beginning to be considered a bad thing, and promises a frightening future. (This might be a comedy, but I see the potential for documentary here.)  Education is important, and everyone should be making it a point to learn something new on a daily basis.

Wait, what was my point?  Oh, yeah.  I hate going to school.

I know this sounds like a contradiction, but in my mind it makes sense.

Learning can take place anywhere, as long as a person is using their mind and, well, learning something new.  It can be a silly dance technique, a new exercise or maybe a recipe to improve health, a small science fact that won’t technically effect your everyday life but is kind of cool.  Learning is beautiful because it can be anything that keeps your mind working and makes you a little better for knowing it.

School however has a different focus.  Instead of creating people who love to learn, there is a push to insert specific facts and abilities as neatly as possibly on a short timeline with the idea that this will create a knowledgeable group of graduates from both high school and college who are ready to compete in a global market.  Sure, it works for some, but there are also a large number of people who somehow skate through without seeming to have any actual practical skills or common sense.

I’m getting off track here.  I promise, this was not meant to be a rant on the state of education in America, and I will not turn it into one.  Let’s just leave it as there are things that work, and there are things that don’t and move on.

See, right now I am working on my Masters of Education with a specialty in Library and Media.  Not the expected major of a person who doesn’t like school.  How did this happen?  Why am I continuing on for a Masters degree if I hate going to school?

Well, it started a few years ago.  I was working in an Air Force Child Development Center in Okinawa Japan.  I took the job because my older daughter was getting ready to start kindergarten and I needed something to do with myself while she was gone.  (My girls are six years apart, so there was just one kiddo at the time.)  I had a certification in Holistic Massage Therapy and one semester of community college, as well as a few jobs I had worked during high school ranging from babysitting, filing in a doctor’s office, fast food drive thru monkey, and grocery clerk.  The CDC on base paid better than most of the other jobs and had a high enough turnover that they always needed new employees.

I didn’t think I’d like it.  I mean I liked my own child, but other people’s kids were touch and go.  At first I kept going because I liked the challenge.  Later, I realized I just loved the kids.  Seriously, there were a few in there I would have adopted if their parents ever decided they were done.  So I worked to make myself better.  I didn’t want to just be a daycare worker, I wanted to be a teacher.

I found a school where I could get my AA in Early Childhood Education online, working completely to my own pace.  I pushed it through in 18 months.  It would have been faster if I didn’t have to wait a few months between semesters for financing and school book shipments to go through.  A couple months later I started a new online program to received my BA in Child Development.  I could have stuck with early childhood, but I wanted to diversify a little.

I finished my BA almost a year ago.  We were already in Belgium, and I was unemployed working on finishing my novel while I finished my degree.  I had already realized I had romanticized my time in my former job.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved the time with the kids, seeing the dawning of knowledge in their little faces.  As I found space from my former career I realized no matter how much I loved the children I had worked with, I hated the environment many of the adults seemed to work hard to create.  Working in a building with approximately 60 woman between the ages of 20 and 40 can bring a previously undiscovered level of competitiveness and cattiness.  I’d like to say I was immune, and always stayed above it, but that would be a lie.  To be completely honest I didn’t always like the people I worked with, and I didn’t always like who I was while working in that environment.  It was toxic for me.

So knowing all that, why continue on to get a Masters?  There are a few reasons of course.  First of course it the Doctor Who association.  (Yeah, that’s right.   I would totally vote Saxon.)

Secondly, as long as I am in school, I don’t have to worry about paying back student loans.  And yes, I know taking out more loans to avoid paying them now doesn’t work precisely.

Third  is the potential for a better job.   A Masters of Education is not where the big bucks are.  I mean, come on it’s education, one of the most undervalued fields in America.  However, as much as I want to support my family from my writing, that isn’t happening yet, and it might not.  Many writers need a ‘real’ job to make ends meet.

Finally, is the desire to finish what I started.  Sure, I have two degrees, but I am hardly an expert in the field.  Even if I have realized that there are many aspects of the field that make me want to run away screaming, I have worked hard to get ahead.  Throwing that away completely now would be a waste.

At the end of this week, I will be halfway through my degree.   I’m not always sure I’m happy about that, but I’m still determined to become a master.  It’s been a rough ride.  I’m always relieved and proud when I finish a class.  Unfortunately the next week another class starts and I am thrown down into a minor depression, desperately wishing I didn’t have to do it again.   I sit at my computer before each assignment, BSing my way through as I regurgitate the same information that has been taught in every previous class, rarely learning anything new.  My eyes glaze over, as I lose my focus and wish I was anywhere else, doing anything else.  But still, I persevere.  I push through, knowing that as hard as it is now, I will never forgive myself if I quit.

 

So tell me people, am I alone here?  What do you push through doing, even when would rather be doing anything else?

 

Five Things About Spring Break

I used to love spring break as a kid.  It was more exciting than winter break (since I prefer sunshine) but not quite as exciting as summer break.  Mostly, it was a chance to lounge about, reading books or having sleepovers with friends.  As soon as I was old enough to work, it was a chance to pick up a few extra hours.  Now, staying at home with my kiddos, it is a combination of time spent with them, and time trying desperately not to fall behind on my own working.

Spring break can be a magical time, when it works out for you.

 

1. Spring Break Trips.

As a kid, my mother was either in school or teaching at a school, meaning we had the same breaks.  We never took exotic trips, but a week at Grandma’s house, or a trip to visit my older brothers was always fun.

By the time I was old enough for a drunken spring break trip, I had a 2, almost 3 year old daughter.  (By old enough, I mean 21, the legal drinking age in America, not the legal drinking age in most of the rest of the world, or the screw this age used by most America students.)  Even if I had wanted to, there was no way I would be leaving my child in order to be drunk and vomiting on a beach somewhere.  It’s just not me.

Instead, our family has mostly used Spring break as staycation times, with maybe a few day trips thrown in.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel.  I also however, hate crowds.  Traveling to most places during spring break means fighting the massive groups of people, some not caring if they ever move, others pushing desperately to make it somewhere on time, and everyone sweaty and sticky.  No thank you, I’ll travel at another time.

 

2. Spring Cleaning.

When we stay at home it is easier to notice how messy a house can be.  It gets even worse when everyone is in the house, all day.  As much as the kids hate it, an occasional deep cleaning of the house is necessary.

 

3. Spring Reading.

I am a proud book nerd, always have been.  Spring break usually brings a lovely change from the normal school required reading list.  Sure, there might be something I needed to catch up on, but, usually it was a week of reading whatever I wanted.  When that reading could be done outside in the sunshine, all the better.

 

4. Spring Cooking

There is something about the slightly warmer weather that makes you want to eat differently.  The warm soups are no longer satisfying and begin to make you feel heavy.  Instead you long for fresh fruits, vegetables, cold drinks, and maybe a little ice cream.  Spring break is a great time to hit the markets, buy the fresh food, and enjoy the light feeling of summer and sunshine a little early.

 

5. Spring Renewal

There is a reason we love spring.  It’s not just because we are tired of the cold of winter.  It’s not just because we want an excuse to take a vacation and relax.  It is the hope spring brings to us.  So many people make new years resolutions, and break them shortly after.  Spring is a chance to start again.  The plants and animals are waking up, showing us how to get new life after the cold and depressing winter.  The world is new again, and we can be too.

 

Spring break has been a delicate balance this year.  I know I spent more time on what the kids wanted, and not enough on my work or even on house cleaning.  As our two weeks draws to a close, I am a little sad to send the kids back, dreading the week of playing catch up, but looking forward to not just getting back to normal, but getting back to somewhere great.

Having a Moment

iphone 008

Normally today would be taken off from the blog, but I have a streak of visits going and I feel as though I must do what I can to keep it from being broken.

I am also, coincidentally enough, avoiding cleaning my house and writing a paper for school.  Right now, I am trying to imagine that much like the computer, the chair, and my own person are mostly not there, my to do list, anxiety, and all other problems are also not there.

Ahh.  Scientifically supported denial.

Inspiration

96dd85b41e24030ec746c694a0372e3e

Alright, normally I avoid the so-called ‘potty’ language, but sometimes when you find something online that expresses your feelings you can’t always be picky.

I ran across this on Pinterest one day, without any context to say who gave the quote.  It instantly made me a little happier, and was something I had to share with an older brother.  (Not this one, another one who happens to be an amazing artist.  Sharing random inspirations, as well as Batman and Benedict Cumberbatch pictures, is one of the strange ways we keep in touch.)

Writing, art, fashion, photography; all of thess are, at the core, creative pursuits.  They begin with someone who has an idea, or a vision.  You see something in the world, the way it is, or the way it could be.  Shockingly, not everyone sees it as easily as you do.  So, you work to capture it somehow, taking it and sharing it with the world.

But sharing doesn’t pay the bills.

There is a lot of money to be made in sharing artistic vision.  People are fascinated with the way others see the world, and they want to be a part of it.  When you find just the right market for your creativity, it can become not only your passion, but your job.

It can be easy to get caught up in the business side of creativity.

As soon as you make the shift from hobby to business, you have an obligation to create product.  Not only product, but product that sells.  We can stay true to ourselves and always create only what we want, but lets be honest, someone needs to like our work for us to make any money.  Even if we stand by the money doesn’t matter ideals, eating does matter.

So you make little changes.  You write for the genre that sells, shaping your story to the market.  You work a few commissioned art pieces, painting what people want.  You start making alterations for other people instead of sewing your own designs.  You photograph a family portrait session.

You feel like a sell out.

And people notice.  You might be changing your work to sell better, but eventually it will catch up with you.  The passion that once drove you will disappear, because you are no longer working from your soul.  You are no longer sharing your creativity; you are working a boring job like everyone else.  Without your passion, your creative works might as well be mad libs or paint by numbers.  Sure, they are amusing, but it is hardly great art.

Choosing a life like this, you have to constantly take a moment and refuel your creative soul.  Over spring break I have kept busy with my kids.  My normal writing/homework/cleaning/workout schedule has gone to pot.  It is wonderful to have this time with my children, but I am also anxious to get back to my writing.

I love writing, not because I make loads of money doing it (which, starting out, I don’t).  When I am writing for me, telling the story that is screaming from within me to get out, I feel a release.  Those are the stories that I feel most passionate about, the stories that come from my soul.  And I hope that people will dig that.

How to Create A Villian

Creating a villain is more than a key part of the conflict in a story.

It is almost a science, mixing in actions, motivations, and pain to get a mixture of character pieces that make the villain not only believable, but also understandable. I don’t want to see mindless bad deeds, I want to know why they became the person they are.

Let’s look at a commonly loved comic book and movie villain, Loki. I think it is safe to say he has just as many fans as the heroes, if not more. It’s not just because Tom Hiddleston is incredibly good looking, or reported to be a true gentleman, which is rare in modern times. These things help, yes. But Loki is loved because you can understand how he came to be so angry. He had a rough relationship with his parents and brother. He had a desire for the power that was so close, yet still out of reach. He knows he could do so much more, have so much more, and just plain be so much more, if only someone would let him. He became a villain because he felt unloved. No one believed in him, the place in the world he thought he should have was going to someone else. His pain and anger build until he can no longer hold them in, and then, he goes to get what he feels should be his.

Loki is loved because people can see themselves in his pain. They know how it is to be the one who is overlooked. Sibling, coworkers, friends; there is always someone who seems to have something we want and can’t seem to have. We want to lash out. Maybe we don’t want to go on a murderous rampage, but we at least would like to throw a good, old fashioned tantrum.

This is how a villain should be. The villain in a story is not just some shadowy black hat, doing bad things simply because they are bad. The villain should have a backstory and motivation that is understandable. If you don’t want your hero to be a cardboard cutout of the typical good guy, don’t make your villain that way either. Think through the many elements of your character. You may have to start with the big things, such as what you need him to do, but you need to fill in the small details as well.

 

1) Determine what kind of bad guy your villain is.
Not all villains are the same, or at least they shouldn’t be. To determine what kind of villain you have, you can begin with three broad categories; those who are tough, those who are cruel, and those who are evil.

The tough guys are the strong villain. They are the bad guys who will cause you physical damage personally. They may work with their fists or with weapons, but either way they are in the middle of the fight personally. This villain is not usually the brains of the operation. They are a foot soldier, or a thug. Even when they rise to the top, there is a part of them that loves the chance to get right back in the middle of the action. You can dress them up in a nice suit, but they will always look more natural covered in dirt and blood.

The cruel villain likes to make a point. They are not just exerting their power over you, even though they love that, they are teaching you how you are supposed to be. Violence is not their preference, but they will do anything to make you understand. Power is usually not their goal. They know the world is wrong, and feel they are the only one who can fix it. They might have a soft spot for family or friends. These are the people who help to motivate them to make the world a better place. That does not make their loved ones safe; their goal comes first, and they will only give so many warnings before someone will be taken out, no matter who they are.

The evil villain is capable of almost anything. Sometimes the evil villain can do anything because they honestly don’t care who they hurt. Other times, they do things because they enjoy it. They get off on the pain they cause others. Maybe it’s the mind games they enjoy, maybe it’s the torture. This makes them unpredictable because you might not be able to see their motivation. They might not even have a master plan so much as a desire to cause a little mayhem.
Of course there are other kinds of villains. Some of them will fall into one of these three categories; others might need a slightly different classification. But the cruel villain will never torture for fun, the tough guy won’t let an insult pass without retaliation, and the evil villain will not spare someone simply because they look weak. It is not in their nature, and will undermine the character.

 

2) Give them motivation.

 

It has been said before, but it is worth saying again; everyone has a reason to fight, and everyone has a reason to live.

Your tough guy might have once been a small child, beaten by those who were bigger. Now he fights because he enjoys the feeling; he will not let anyone have that kind of power over him again.
The cruel villain may have seen the pain of war. They want to fix the world because they see the cruelty others do to each other; causing a little pain to a few hundred to save millions is a small price to pay.

There is only one clear memory from the evil villain’s childhood. The darkness of the box they were in, the smell of the urine staining their pants, and the certainty they would pay for their inability to contain their bladder when the box was opened.

The villain needs motivation to become the person who is a problem from the hero, and the motivation to keep fighting when someone tries to stop them. If your villain causes trouble only because the story needs a bad guy, they have no reason to fight and may has well walk away at the first sign of trouble.

 

3) Let them do the right thing.

 

Even a villain is a person. Once there was something they cared about, something they loved. They are not a mindless killing machine; they are a human being, capable of thinking and feeling. Let them cause pain without mercy, let them steal, cheat, and lie. And then have them let someone go. Let them release the person who reminds them of their little sister, or the woman they loved and lost. Let them save the heroes girlfriend at the last minute, even when they aren’t sure why they did it.

There are already the people who made them a villain. Let them do the right thing and let them become a real person.

 

4) Give them brains.

 

It’s easy to foil their plan when there is a large self-destruct button, well labeled, and brightly colored on the middle of the evil machine. But really, what villain outside of a Disney cartoon, is smart enough to create the evil machine, but not smart enough to know how it can be easily destroyed? Yes, creating a good evil plot will make it harder for you to find a way to let the hero defeat the villain and give a happily ever after. But that is your problem, not the villains. Don’t sell your character short in order to make your job easier. Your job is not supposed to be easy. If good writing was easy everyone would do it. Don’t go for lazy writing, make your story amazing.

 

5) Let them win.

 

I’m not saying you should let your villain achieve world domination in the end. Sure, it might be nice for them, but it’s not exactly a satisfying conclusion to a battle to have everything end evilly ever after.
Let your villain win a few small battles. Let him kick the hero down a few times. Whether the villain is a person or a conflict, the happy ending doesn’t come right away. If good wins immediately, what is the point of the rest of the book? A villain who loses every time is not a challenge; they are an annoyance. Letting the villain win makes them a more formidable opponent, and makes the final win for the hero that much more impressive.

 

What can I say, just like so many other woman in the world, I really do love the bad boy.  You know in the end they are not going to win, but you still want them to.  You want something good to happen for them, because maybe, just maybe, it will change them.

 

So tell me, Who is your favorite villain?

Stepping Up

I have an embarrassing confession.

Two nights ago, I was walking upstairs to tuck my children into bed. I frequently joke with my younger daughter that I cannot make it up the stairs. She enjoys coming to my rescue and pulling me up with her, turning it into a little game. Unfortunately, the game felt all too real.

I was winded trying to walk up my stairs.

I’ve been trying to return to my old running habits, but things have been going slowly. Some mornings I set out, and moving seems impossible. It’s almost as if I have forgotten that I am a runner. Maybe not a fast runner, or a strong runner, but I’d like to think my medal rack counts for something.

I knew I was out of shape. I didn’t realize I was too out of shape to walk up one flight of stairs.

Most of the time I try to get out for a run, my mind is thinking of the jeans that are a little too tight, or the extra fat that crept up when I wasn’t moving fast enough to escape. I’ve never really been a skinny person, but I was never as large as I am now. I don’t want to be worried about my looks, but it’s hard not to.

So much of the world is focused on being tiny, they forget to emphasize the need to be healthy. When I am feeling good, I want to run to feel healthy. I want to have the energy to run my miles in the morning, and then go out with my family for the rest of the day. I want to wake up knowing that I am slightly stronger than I was yesterday.

And yes, I want to wake up and know that my jeans will slide on easily instead of requiring a wrestling match, a pair of pliers, several pleas to higher powers, and a flowing shirt to cover up the muffin top created when I am done. I want to know that the clothing in my closet will fit and make me feel good.

Mostly I want my daughters to know the truth. Being healthy is difficult. It takes work, and dedication. You have to find something you love doing so that you can do it often.

I want them to know it doesn’t matter how you look, it matters how you feel.

I don’t want my daughters to grow up thinking daily about the diet they should be on. They are creative and intelligent girls, with goals and ambitions that reach higher than the desire to wear a size zero jeans. My older daughter would like to go to Oxford; my younger daughter wants to be a musician and an artist.

They already know themselves better than I ever knew myself.

I tell myself I want to be healthy to show them what is important. But I think in truth they are showing me what is important. Neither of them care what they look like. My younger daughter doesn’t have a concept of skinny; she likes to eat, but she also likes to run around and play.

I suppose I need to reevaluate how I approach my exercise and eating habits. Instead of trying to be an example for them, I need to let them be my example. Splurge a little, enjoy my fruit and vegetables, and then run around and play.

Free and Clean

Ah, spring.

The sun shining in the sky, the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming. The days are just a little warmer, and just a little longer. It is a time that has traditionally given hope and a sense of renewal. No longer do we live in fear of a winter that will never leave; we know there will be light and warmth again.

You feel as though you have a chance for a fresh start. Forget New Year’s, deeply embedded in the cold. Spring is when I begin to feel alive again.

Unfortunately, spring brings with it enough light to show me what my world has become during my winter hibernation. I’m not sure what Goldilocks did while I was sleeping, but I really wish she had cleaned up after herself.

Spring cleaning has hit my house, and no one is enjoying it. Quite honestly, I have a hard time imagining how my house accumulated so much useless and unwanted crap. Some things are understandable; as children grow they no longer fit into all of the clothing they once did, and no longer enjoy the same toys. Occasionally these things need to be removed. However the copious amount of trash bags coming out of my children’s rooms leave me disgusted and deeply concerned over the fact that they have apparently been living within the city dump.

I always dread spring cleaning. Partly it is a desire to accept that my regular cleaning is good enough. Partly it is the large amount of work that goes into making certain the house is well cleaned. Mostly it is the dirty feeling I get, wondering how I could have been living with so much trash and unwanted things without noticing.

Of course, when I am done I feel better. There is more space in my house, things look better, and I feel better having donated old clothing and toys to someone that will be able to use them. It’s hard not to enjoy that feeling.

So how about you? Do you spring clean?

Five Things About Family Traditions

Family traditions are part of what make you who you are. It’s the things that are important to you, and the celebrations that mean the most to you. This is one of the reasons why it can be so hard getting married and blending your family with someone else’s.
It’s easy to forget that not everyone has the same traditions. Naturally when you get married, you begin new traditions with your spouse knowing that everything your family did was right, and everything their family did was wrong. In spite of that, some concessions have to be made.
1) Out with the old
Some traditions are lost, completely gone. I used to love Easter ham, and dying eggs. However my husband does not like ham, and I’m the only one in my family who eats hard boiled eggs. I used to go to church every Easter (well technically every Sunday) and that has also changed.
There are some things you let of reluctantly. Other things you are happy to be done with. It’s sad to me that my daughters have never dyed Easter eggs. However as my husband does not ask that I go to church with him ever, including holidays, I make the concession and don’t push holiday traditions he dislikes.
2) In with the new
Some of the traditions that have been affected by my husband have involved removal of traditions. Others don’t yet require adjustment on my part, but I know it will in the future. My husband’s family has large gatherings for many holidays. I don’t do well with large gatherings, even when it is family. I know it’s strange. I come from a large family, but I don’t do well with people. Someday we will be in the same country as our families, and we will make arrangements, at least occasionally to be there for these big gatherings.
3) Working hard
Keeping up with traditions is hard work. There are preparations to make, shopping to do, cooking, and cleaning. It can be exhausting, especially when it is primarily your job to keep things going. Maybe it’s this way with everyone, but somehow in my house all of the traditions fall on me no matter whose family it started in.  I might argue that his traditions are not my problem, but realistically, I’m too tired from getting the traditions going.
4) Keeping secrets
I loved Santa as a child. And the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, leprechauns, everything. I loved it. However, as a parent I hate it. I’ve been sneaking around trying to buy things without the kids seeing for years now and I am done. I try to find places to hide them that is both inconspicuous and easy for me to get to. You want to make it fun, surprising, and special, but also not so important it destroys their world when they find out it was just for fun. We do them, because I want my kids to have the memories I have, but sometimes I wish desperately for my kids to know the truth. I think my twelve year old knows its not real, but she doesn’t ask. I think she is afraid that as soon as she admits she knows, the fun is over. If she asks she will learn the truth of my family tradition; I got both an Easter basket and stocking until I was eighteen years old and moved out.  Just because you know it was a lie, doesn’t mean the tradition has to die.
Of course, some of the secrets we choose to leave to other families. We do not, and will not do that elf on the shelf crap. I teach my kids if a toy starts moving on its own it is possessed; you salt and burn the toy and douse the site with holy water. If it persists, no matter what religion you are, you call a priest. We don’t do risk that demon nonsense in my house.

5) They’re still worth it.
After all the work, all the stress, the sleepless nights getting things ready for the next day, the smile on your child’s face makes you willing to do it all again the next holiday.

 

For all of you who were deeply curious, I am proud to say I survived Lent!  The lack of chocolate was touch and go for a bit this last week, but I pushed through.  I suppose for full disclosure, I had two slips; once I accidently bought a bottle of mocha coffee instead of vanilla and didn’t notice until halfway through, and two days ago I had a pinch off my daughter’s white chocolate covered waffle in Antwerp, just to taste it.  Tomorrow I think I’ll start a add in follow up, but I will write more on that later.  Today, my kids are waking up.

Rerun

Normally I take Saturday away from blogging in order to work on other things.  Sometimes it is homework, sometimes it is story writing, other times it is simply trying to have a life outside the internet.  What can I say, the sun can be a beautiful thing.

Today, I am rerunning a plea for my big brother in his campaign for Greater Bay Area Man of the Year with the Leukemia and Lymphoma society.  He has six weeks left to raise funds and gain the recognition for all of the amazing work he has done of the past decade.

Not only is this a great cause, and one that is personal to me and many others, but you also get to help out a great guy.

If anyone is looking to make charitable donations, visit my donation page.  If you are looking to find out why you should bother with this schmuck, you can revisit my previous posting.