Mama Diaries

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Old Mother Hubbard

As most of you know, my family and I will be moving in a couple of days.  We'll be out of our house for about four days while our belongings get moved.  This means we won't be able to take our food from the refrigerator and freezer with us.  I've been letting our food supply dwindle.  If you come over and peek in our refrigerator and cupboards, you won't see much of anything.  My kids have not been pleased about this.

"Mama," my son said.  "I need something to eat."

"There's some lunchmeat and bananas," I said.

"But I don't want lunchmeat and bananas," he complained.

My daughter got on the bandwagon.  "Yeah, Mom.  Where's the ice cream?"

Okay, even I admit, it's been tough not having ice cream.  That's my personal weakness.  "Sorry kid.  No ice cream.  No cookies.  No cake.  No chocolate.  (Another major catastrophe!) You'll just have to deal with it."

"Mama, you're worse than old Mother Hubbard," my son exclaimed.

Yes, I know.  I'm the most rotten mom on the planet.  Next I'll be sending my kids to the market to sell our pet cat for some food.  And then my boy will trade the cat for some magic beans.  Which of course will sprout into a giant beanstalk with a castle at the top. (Let's hope there's a chicken that lays golden eggs up there!)

This will be my last post for a while.  I'll be offline while my family and I settle into our new home.  I'll miss all of you.  But don't worry.  I'll be back!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Schultz, the Directioner

My daughter is a huge fan of One Direction, a boy band from the UK.  She's constantly playing their music and telling me all about the band members.  Apparently, One Direction has a new song out:  The Best Song Ever.  My daughter has been playing it non-stop on her iPod.

"Mom, you have to listen to this,"  she said.

"I already have," I replied.  "About fifty times."

She walked over to Schultz, our German Shepherd.  "Schultz, listen to this!"  She played it again.

Schultz cocked his head and listened.  Then he stood up.

"Look, Mom.  He wants to dance."

Uh huh.  I wasn't too sure about that.  But then something funny happened.  Right after one of the boys shouted, "Owww," in the lyrics, Schultz made a funny noise that sounded like, "Owww!"

My daughter was thrilled.  "Schultz is a Directioner!" she exclaimed.  

All right then.  We'll notify One Direction that they now have their first doggy fan.

Here's the video if you'd like to watch it.  (It's a little long because they do a skit before they sing.  All the characters are One Direction band members - even the "lady.")  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Shopping with the Girls

My daughter came up with a list of things she wanted to do with her best friend this week.  She's trying to get in as much BFF time as possible before we leave.  So far, I've taken the girls to Starbucks, the movies, and they had a sleepover.  Next on the list was a shopping trip.

"Do you guys have money?" I asked.  "Because I really don't want to have to pay for $300 worth of makeup and candy."

"Yes, Mom, we have money," my daughter answered.

Okay.  So we went to the store.  Of course they hit the makeup aisle.  No surprises there.  And then they hit the candy aisle.  Again, exactly what I expected.  When they were finished, it was time to check out.  I led them to the counter where they dumped their stash.

"You're sure you have this covered?" I asked.

My daughter nodded.  "We're fine."

The lady rang up the merchandise.  It ended up being close to a hundred dollars.  I raised my eyebrows and didn't say anything.

The girls took out their money and started counting.  The lady and I waited patiently.  Finally, they came to the conclusion that they didn't have enough.  "Mom, we need a little help."

Uh huh. Bail out time. I took their money and paid for the merchandise on my credit card. 

It looks like somebody is going to be doing a few extra chores around the house!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Video Spy

My son got an iPod touch for his birthday.  Not that he needs such a gizmo, but my husband decided to make his birthday extra special because of the chaos of the move (which happens in exactly one week. Can you believe it?).

Anyway, the thing has video-making capabilities. 

While I was going around the house cleaning, packing, and arguing with my daughter about whether or not she could have a sleepover with one of her friends, my boy followed.  I wasn't exactly paying much attention, because I was preoccupied with the above-mentioned things.

Two hours later, he tapped me on the shoulder.  "Mama, do you want to see a video?"

"Sure, Bubba."

Guess what it was?  A video of me!

"Bubba, what the heck?" I said, completely mortified.

He laughed.  "I'm a super-sneaky spy!"

Yeah, he is.  And if he keeps it up, I'm going to have to be a super-sneaky Mama and take away his new toy!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Boys

The boys were behaving badly, again.  Which ones?  Bubba,  Schultz, our 100 pound German Shepherd, and my husband.  They had the brilliant idea to tease my daughter and make her mad.

"Schultz, go upstairs," my husband said.

Schultz wagged his tail and ran up into what's supposed to be the dog-free zone, no questions asked.

My daughter was in the shower, so her room was vacant.  Bubba led Schultz into the room and closed the door, leaving Schultz alone by himself.

Bubba and my husband giggled and took off.

A few minutes later, my daughter came out of the bathroom and went into her room.  You should've heard her scream!  Apparently Schultz was all over her.

"Mom!" she yelled.  "Why didn't you tell me?"

"I didn't put Schultz in your room," I protested.  "It was your daddy."

"Daddy's grounded!" she announced.  "And I'm sending Schultz into your room tomorrow morning to jump in your bed, because you didn't tell me!"

See? I didn't even do anything, and I get implicated in the boys' devious plots.  Oy gewalt!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Blog Hop Interview

I've been tagged by Diana at DJ's Thoughts for a Children's Author Blog Hop Interview.  I'm supposed to answer a few questions about my writing and then tag another author.

Here are the questions:

1. What are you working on right now?  I'm working on a chapter book series in which the protagonists, two kids named Bubba and Squirt, travel through a hole and end up in different countries.  They have adventures while learning about the history, culture, and language of the places.  My agent has been submitting the first book, Big Hole to China, to publishing houses in the UK.  I'll let you know if it gets picked up.  I've also been working on a few picture books.

2. How does it differ from other works in its genre? The chapter books are similar to the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne, in that the kids travel to different places.  The difference is that Bubba and Squirt arrive in the present-day country (not in the past as is the case with Magic Tree House books), and learn a lot more about the language and culture of the places they visit. 

3. What experiences have influenced you?  I have done a lot of traveling and visited many of the countries I write about.  Learning about different cultures has always fascinated me.  I thought that writing books about these places would be a great way for kids to get a snapshot of the world in which they live. 

4. Why do you write what you do?   I really enjoy writing for children.  I love using my imagination and building worlds.  I also like to learn.  Writing these chapter books is a way for me to do that, and to share my knowledge with kids.

5. How does your writing process work? I begin by deciding which country I would like Bubba and Squirt to visit.  Then I come up with a basic plot.  After I've figured out that, I do a lot of research and write an outline.  Finally, I begin writing, chapter by chapter until it's done.  Of course the first draft inevitably needs revision.  I let it sit a while to clear my head, and then the revision process begins.  As far as picture books go, the process is a little different.  I come up with an idea, then a title, and then I just write.  It's more spontaneous. 

6. What is the hardest part about writing? Revising.  It takes forever to get things just right.  And when I think I have it all figured out, somebody like a critique group person or editor will point something out that could use even more revision.  It's almost like a never-ending process! 

7. What would you like to try as a writer that you haven't yet? I think someday I'd like to try writing a novel.  That's a huge undertaking.  But I think it would be cool to write something that could possibly be turned into a movie.

8. Who are the authors you most admire? I like Mary Pope Osborne, Rick Riordan, Jane Yolan, and Kate DiCamillo.

9. What scares you? Working so hard on my manuscripts and never seeing them published.  That would be a major bummer!
Deanie Humphrys-Dunne is the next author who will be participating in this tag.  Her post will be up on July 21st.  Be sure to stop by and read about her experiences as a children's author. (If you are a children's author and would like to participate in this blog hop, please let me know.) 

Balloon People

My kids were bored today.  "Mama, there's nothing to do!" they whined.

 I had work to do, so I didn't feel like stopping to entertain them. "I'm sure you can figure something out," I said.

My son poked around and found some packages of balloons.  He opened them and started blowing up the balloons.  After each one, he'd bring it over to me.  "Mama, can you tie this?"

I must've tied at least twenty of those slimy things.

"What are you going to do with them?" I asked.

"You'll see."  He went and got a Sharpie Marker and some masking tape.  He taped the balloons together so that they looked like a head with two arms.  Then he drew a face on one of them.  "It's a creeper, Mama.  A zombie creeper!"

I glanced over at it.  "Interesting."

He drew some more faces on the other balloons.  So did my daughter.  "This one's name is Bob," she said.

"And this one is Jimmy," my son added.

I nodded.  "Okay."

"Do you know what you have to do, Mama?" Bubba asked.

"No. What do I have to do?" I asked.

"You have to protect Bob and Jimmy from the creeper.


So now I have a couple of balloon people staring at me, begging me to keep them safe.

Here's Bob:

And here's Jimmy:
(Hmmm.  Jimmy appears to be having some issues.  Maybe he's afraid of the zombie.)


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hide and Go Seek

My eight-year-old son wanted to play hide and seek in the 90 degree heat today.  I thought he was nuts, but I went along with it, since I'm sure his hide-and-go-seek playing days are numbered.

He hid first.  It didn't take long for me to find him because I noticed leaves falling out of the magnolia tree he had climbed.  "Mama, how did you do that so fast?" he asked.

"I'm the Mama, that's how," I replied.

Then it was my turn.  I ran into the back yard and quickly scanned it for a good place.  I saw one - right behind the riding mower in the far corner.  I stooped down and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  I was there for fifteen minutes, and Bubba couldn't find me.  I peeked around the corner and saw him walk past me, through the gate, into the driveway. 

Two minutes later, he sent the dog out to find me.  Our big German Shepherd got distracted when he saw the dogs next door.  So he didn't find me either.  I watched my boy walk around the back yard again and go to the front of the house.  I decided to change my place to help him out a little.  I walked into our garage and sat on the step in front of the door.

And guess what?  The boy still didn't find me!  I watched him pass me twice as he walked around.  Finally, he saw me.  He totally cracked up.  "Were you there the whole time?"

"Not quite, Bubba.  But I saw you pass me a couple of times." 

"Mama, you're way too good at this game!"

I guess that's because I've had a lot of practice!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Catching Rainbows

I was watering the flowers when my son came over to watch.  "Mama, can I do that?"

"Sure, Bubba.  I'll go pull a few weeds."

He took the hose and began watering.  I went off to do my thing.

A few minutes later I looked over at him.  He was playing with the water and not watering a single plant.  "Bubba, what are you doing?"

"Catching rainbows."

"What are you talking about, Bubba?"

"I'm making rainbows with the water and touching them.  Except they don't feel like anything."

I laughed.  "That's because they're caused by the sun passing through water.  It's a prism effect."

He kept grabbing for the rainbows.  "Maybe I'll find one that's different."

Right.  (Who knows... perhaps if he's lucky he'll find a pot of gold at the end of it!) 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Impromptu Birthday Party

It's almost my son's birthday.  We have a party with the family this Saturday, but many of his friends aren't able to make it.  Bubba was upset, because he really wanted a last birthday party with them before we move.  "Mama, can't you make a party?" he asked.

"I'll see what I can do, Bubba," I said.

This morning I looked at the calendar.  No showings.  No appointments.  "Bubba," I said.  "Get your friends together.  We're having a party."

I went to the store and got pizza, cake mix, chips, balloons, and other assorted party supplies.  I went to work making the cake (He wanted a Minecraft party theme, so it was a square cake with a sword and pick on it).  We blew up balloons and decorated the house.  A short while later, a lot of boys invaded our house.  They ate pizza and cake and played Minecraft on Xbox 360.

"Mama, that was awesome!"  Bubba said afterwards.

Yep.  Not bad for an impromptu party!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Science Experiments

My family must've been feeling very scientific yesterday, because they came up with a couple of interesting experiments.

"Mama," my eight-year-old son said.  "Can we have some sand?"

"What for, Bubba?" I asked. 

"You'll see."

I got some sand.  My kids put it out under the hot sun and got a magnifying glass. It looked like they were trying to direct a sunbeam onto the pile of sand.  "Um, what exactly are you doing?" I asked.  "Starting a fire?"

"No, Mama.  We're trying to make the sand really hot to turn it into glass."

I had to explain that the little sand to glass process was something that should take place in a furnace and not in the middle of my driveway.

Fast forward about an hour.

"Do you want to see my experiment?" my husband asked.

I couldn't wait to see what he was up to.  I followed him out to the middle of my driveway. (Yes, another experiment in my driveway.)  I saw a bucket with bubbling fluid in it.  "What is that?"

"Battery acid," my husband explained.  "I'm neutralizing it by mixing it with four boxes of baking soda."

"Oh," I said.  "So what does it do - turn into water?"

"Actually, yes," my husband replied.

My son heard that and put his two cents in. "So can we drink it when it's done neutralizing?"

"Absolutely not!" I said.  "I don't care how neutralized it gets.  Nobody is ingesting something that was once battery acid!"

Oy gewalt!  

Friday, July 12, 2013

Daddy in Training

I took my kids to the playground today while we had another showing on the house.  Usually I'm the one standing around pushing my son on the swing.  Today, I felt like swinging.

I parked myself in the swing and started pumping.

"Wait, Mama," Bubba said.  "Let me push you!"

"You don't have to do that.  I know how to swing," I said.

"But I want to."

"Okay."  I let him push.

Five minutes later he was done.

"Do you think I'll be a good daddy someday?" he asked. "Because I'm a really good swing pusher!"

"Absolutely," I said.  "You'll be fantastic!" 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Flash Flood

Yesterday evening, we had a torrential downpour.  The result was a huge flood in the cul-de-sac of our street.  The water was literally waist-high at the deepest part.  After it stopped raining, all the neighbors came out of their homes to gawk and take pictures.  While the adults stood around, the kids had other ideas.  They put on their bathing suits, grabbed their pool toys and jumped in.

They played happily, floating on colorful inner tubes and pool noodles until a little something spoiled the fun.

"Mama!" my son shrieked.  "Help!"

I quickly ran over to where he was.  "What is it?"

He pointed to his leg.  A giant spider was crawling up it and was about to sneak under the short leg of his bathing suit. "Get it off!"

I whacked that thing into the water, unfortunately not before it bit my son.

Bad spider!  I hope he landed in the sewer and drowned because that's what he deserved for biting my boy and ruining the fun!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Schultz and the Bumblebee

For those of you who don't know Schultz, he is our 100 pound German Shepherd.  He's also a little crazy.  This morning I took him outside to do his business.  He sniffed around and then stopped at the hydrangea bush.  His tail curled up and he went into full pounce mode.

"Schultz, what are you doing?" I asked.

His furry body was frozen into position.  He didn't move a muscle.  I knew he was stalking something, but I didn't know what.  A mole? A chipmunk?

About ten seconds later, a huge bumblebee emerged from the bush.  Schultz pounced.  And the bee landed right on his nose.  I don't think it stung him, but boy, was he startled!

He sneezed and the bee took off.

"You're lucky that wasn't a yellow jacket, Schultz, or your nose would be the size of a baseball right now!" I said.

He looked at me and sneezed.

Hopefully that'll be the last time he tries pouncing on a bumblebee!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Scan Man

I took my boy to the grocery store today, and of course he started chit-chatting with one of the workers.

"What's in your hand?" he asked.

"A scanner," the lady replied.

"What does it do?"

"It reads bar codes and then makes a beep noise."

"Cool.  Can I try?"

The lady gave Bubba the scanner and showed him what to do.  At first he had a little trouble, but then he got the hang of it. Pretty soon he was making all kinds of beeping sounds.  "This is awesome!  When I grow up I'm going to be a scanner!"

The lady smiled.  "It's fun for about five minutes and then it gets kind of boring."

"No, it doesn't!  I'm going to scan everything in the store!"

He scanned a whole shelf of products.

The lady laughed.  "This is pretty good.  I think I'll just let him do my job and stand here and watch!"

Bubba grinned.  "I'm the Scan Man!"

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The To-Do List

My husband came home after being gone for a week.  Like any good wife, I had a list of things for him to do.

I let him put his things down, use the bathroom, and get a quick bite to eat.  And then I started.

"The new printer doesn't seem to be working.  Can you see what's up with that?  Because I really need to print out some manuscripts."

He looked at me.  "Sure.  It needs new software installed.  I'll work on it in a little while."

"Could you put up the new blinds in the bathroom, too?"


"And could you get me the information for the new schools for the kids, so I can register them?"

He nodded  and went to work.

When he finished with the printer, I went online to do my thing.  But it still didn't work.  "Excuse me," I said.  "We need a 25 digit product key to get this thing to work.  Could you find that for me?"

I guess that was the straw that broke the camel's back.  "Woman, leave me alone!"

I grinned.  "Just doing my job!"

Friday, July 5, 2013

RIP Sunshine

Today is a very sad day at my pad.  Our parakeet, Sunshine, died. 

When I went to feed her this morning, I found her on the bottom of her cage without a speck of life.  I knew it was coming, because I could tell she was old and at the end of her days.  But it's always sad to lose a pet.

Bubba didn't take it very well.  He's quite upset. (My daughter isn't home, but I'm sure she's going to be really sad when she finds out.)  "See, Mama, even the sky is crying!"

I looked outside at the pouring rain.  "Yes, Bubba, even the sky is crying.  But I bet where Sunshine's at is full of Sunshine!"

Bubba nodded.  "Yep.  Because Sunshine brings the sun!"

So ladies and gentlemen, whenever it stops raining, my family and I will have a proper burial for Sunshine and lay her to rest in the parakeet cemetery behind our house.

RIP Sunshine!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Pitch Perfect

I took my eight year old son to the field to play a little baseball.  If you remember last time we played, he was the pitcher and I was the batter.  He nearly knocked my head off with one of his wild pitches, so I thought it would be best if I was the pitcher this time.

I threw a pitch.  He hit it - way off into left field.  He ran around all the bases.  "Home run!"  he shouted as I ran to retrieve the ball.

I pitched again (I know - not how the game is supposed to go!). He hit the ball - high into the outfield.  And again he ran around the bases.  "Home run!  Two to nothing!"

This continued until it was 21 to nothing.

"Mom, you're really bad at this game!" he said.

"No, Bubba.  I'm really good.  I'm the perfect pitcher!"

On another note, I'd like to wish all of my American friends, a very Happy Fourth of July!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How Animals Eat Their Food

My eight-year-old boy sat at the dinner table pecking at his veal.  Yes, pecking.

"What are you doing, Bubba?"

"Eating like a chicken."

I raised my eyebrows.  "Why?"

"Because it's fun."

I studied him closely.  "What gave you this idea?"

"You tube."

Of course.

Naturally, I had to investigate.  Here's what I found:

Do those guys seriously have sippy cups?  (That could explain a lot!)

In case you haven't had enough, here's more:

Have a nice day!

Monday, July 1, 2013

What to Do in Case of an Alien Invasion

My eight year old son and I had a very serious conversation today.  Here's how it went:

"Mama, what would you do if aliens invaded?" the boy asked.

I honestly hadn't thought about that, so I took a moment to ponder it.  "I think I'd hide and spy on them. What would you do?"

He crinkled up his face and thought deeply.  "Hmmm.  I could ask them if they wanted to phone home.  But they might not speak English. Or if they seemed mean, I could splash water on them.  I've heard aliens don't like water."

I nodded my head.

"But what I'd probably do is hide in a freezer.  Then they wouldn't be able to use their heat tracking sensors to find me."


So what would you do if aliens invaded our planet?