What to give up?

I was so jazzed this spring from attending the Left Coast Crime conference in Reno and having my first short story publication. I felt inspired to complete a draft of my novel and to start finding opportunities for feedback. I felt so inspired I made a personal goal to complete this by the end of September.

Spoiler alert: didn’t happen. Work got busier. The full circuit of three camp drop-offs and pickups ended up taking two hours a day. This is not a complaint, they had a great summer and did some really fun camps. And they got some free time at home, which is also important. But this blog is about me, not the kids, and my summer was almost all work and no writing.

Today is September 9, it’s a Sunday, and I’m in a cafe, alone, writing for the first time in months. My husband is taking all three kids to the grocery store. I feel bad about this. I know I don’t have to. I know he doesn’t feel bad. He can handle it. I also know it’s not exactly easy to take three kids to the grocery store, and that I could be helping but I’m not because I’m here writing.

I guess I better get to it. This novel’s not going to write itself in the next two hours and if I’m going to feel bad about taking the time, I’d better have something to show for it 🙂

UPDATE: I wrote for two hours and it was awesome!

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What’s for Dinner?

Yes, this post is about food, and no, this blog is not about food. How many parents out there have things they want to do besides churning out three meals every day for the foreseeable future? No? It’s just me?

I’m not that picky. I want a healthy, delicious dinner on the table every night at a reasonable hour, it can’t take forever to prepare, and oh yeah, the kids have to actually want to eat it.

Here’s a sample schedule of dinner at my house.

  • Sunday: Eat dinner at Grandma’s if possible, otherwise, pasta.
  • Monday: Burritos
  • Tuesday: Chicken, rice, vegetables from the freezer
  • Wednesday: Mac N’ Cheese
  • Thursday: Something in the slow-cooker
  • Friday: Tuna Melts and roasted garbanzo beans
  • Saturday: Left-overs

Is it boring? Yes. But these meals are inexpensive, quick to prepare, and generally healthy.

Not spending hours producing dinner means I might be able to squeeze in another 500 words that day. (See how I brought this back around to writing?)

What are some go-to meals I’m missing? Share, please!

Inappropriate, Meet Responsible

So I was driving my kids around the other day. The two of them, ages 3 and 1, were chilling in the back seat and I had the radio on. A song came on which I happen to like: Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” If you’ve never heard the song, listen to it here:

Inappropriate lyrics for the preschool set? Yes. Incredibly catchy in a seventies disco kind of way? Also yes. So I have to decide. Leave it on or change the station?

I say to myself, “My kids are too young to understand these lyrics. I can keep it on.”

After the first chorus, the three-year-old pipes up. “Get lucky?” she asks from the back seat. “What does that mean? That’s funny!”

“Yeah,” I say, sheepishly turning the volume down. “It is funny, isn’t it?”

For the record, I believe in being honest with children. If they ask the question, they deserve a developmentally appropriate and truthful answer. In this case, there was no developmentally appropriate way to tell her what “Get lucky” means in this context, except to explain that lucky is when good things happen to you. OK, that is kind of what the song is about. But it felt wrong to deliberately mislead her. I guess I wanted to keep my track record of being straightforward with her. And that means sometimes withholding information if she’s not ready for it, not making something up or stretching the truth. Fortunately on this occasion she didn’t push it.

My three-year-old has never asked how babies are made. Even when I was pregnant, she never wondered aloud how her baby sister got inside Mommy’s tummy in the first place. If/when she does ask, I’ll tell her in words she can understand. If I think she’s not ready, I’ll tell her we can talk about it when she’s a little older. In the meantime, we laughed together at the funny song then moved on.

But maybe I’ll stick with NPR for a while. The kid is a big fan of pledge drives.