Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Santa Season has begun!!!

...So Santa season has officially started! I have to say I'm really more excited about it this year than years past simply because AR "gets it" this year. This past Sunday, we went to Bass Pro Shop to see Santa. As soon as we got inside, she started yelling, "Christmas tree! Look, Mommy, Christmas tree!" It was just pure excitement and joy that only a child has. It gives me chills and makes me want to cry! I'm going to soak it all in and try to enjoy the holiday season as much as her this year.

We usually always go while Matt is gone hunting. It gives us something to do and it's usually early enough in the season that there's no line. WRONG! This year we had to wait in line for like 20 minutes. I know that's not that bad but when you're with a 2.5 yo, it's an eternity! Luckily, there was a dog behind us in line so that entertained her. Plus we're working on colors and counting so there were endless things for us to count. Anyways, we finally got to the front of the line and she was so excited! The dress she is wearing is an 18 months and she barely fit, I'm shocked we got it buttoned. She was such a big girl, told him her name, what she'd like for Christmas, and that she'd been a good girl. I was so proud of her!

Afterward, we played some games, did a craft, and I wrote a letter to Santa for her while she worked on her penmanship. We asked Santa to bring Mommy lots of patience and she hoped Daddy wouldn't eat Santa's cookies.

It was snowing when we drove home. I saw this sitting on our front porch...yeah, probably time I throw that away, huh?

And then we got home and that innocent excitement and joy came back as she stood at the fence and jumped up and down because it was snowing. Melt my heart...

Want to start a poll on how many Santas we'll see this year???

Saturday, November 15, 2014

My First Author Signing!!!

...So remember I told you all I wrote a book? Well, I've actually written four and all will be published by 12/31/14. There's also another book already finished that I'll be releasing in March 2015, plus at least two more in the Burning Lovesick series, one more that I'm currently working on, and possibly a short, sports novella that will be in a boxed set releasing next summer. So yeah...just like everything else I do, I've kinda jumped in head first and am fully submerged!

There's definitely a learning curve, but luckily, there are tons of resources, fellow authors, and reviewers that are willing to support me and help me out, which I need lots of that! It's an expensive process and I have yet to break even, but the way I'm looking at it is like this: I enjoy writing. It's a hobby. Hobbies cost money. If I wasn't writing, I'd be spending money doing something else. If I end up breaking even, that's just a bonus. I won't be quitting my day job for this and I highly doubt I'll be going on "tour" any time soon either. ;-) It's just fun, I enjoy it so it is what it is!

Last Thursday, I attended my first "signing event" at the local library. I was all set up with the first two books in the Burning Lovesick series, Love is a Fire and Burst Into Flame and I even had copies of my book The Right Pitch that won't be released on it's own until the end of December. I felt like I'd officially made it! I was the real deal...however, it was a little odd to introduce myself by my pen name!

While I didn't end up selling any books, I still had a great time. I met fellow, local authors and exchanged ideas with them. The lady beside me and I agreed to share our secret with each other if we even figured out how to make it big. I met the library staff that's been so supportive whether it's through stocking my book on their shelves, retweeting my tweets, and hosting this awesome event. I also met some readers in the community and handed out some business cards. Hopefully, over the next year, I'll get some more local readers that will come see me next year.

Oh! And I had a pretty awesome assistant with me for the evening!

In case you're looking for a great, personalized Christmas present or just want to purchase the ebook, here are the links to my books (if you want an autographed copy, contact me and we'll work it out!):
 
Burning Lovesick Series
 
 
Everybody's After Love-This book is based here in STL and the main characters are loosely based around Matt and me. This book is available for pre-order and will release 12/3.
 
The Right Pitch-This book is available for pre-order and release 12/31. HOWEVER, it is a part of a boxed set that will release 12/8 which will include stories from ten other authors and only be 99 cents. I will update with the pre-order link when it's available.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mrs. Cavanaugh's Chocolates...


Time was when Marie Cavanaugh spent hours in her South Dakota farmhouse each Christmas season making pecan rolls and homemade chocolates for holiday gifting.

"It started when my aunt sent her pecan-rolls recipe," Mrs. Cavanaugh recalled. "I gave the recipe my own touch and started making the yummy specialties. Then I began dipping chocolates. Our friends and neighbors loved these treats, encouraging me to start a candy business. Finally, I decided it might be a good idea.'"

Her husband George and children Carla, Lorraine, Calvin, Colene and Genise rallied, helping Mrs. Cavanaugh fill demands for her homemade sweets.

...In 1972, the family moved to Utah, leaving good friends and their beloved cattle ranch.

"It was a difficult decision, especially for George," Mrs. Cavanaugh said. "He was excited about making our new venture, which we chose to call Mrs. Cavanaugh's Candies, a great success. We felt Utah was blessed with good chocolates and that we would enjoy - and could compete with - those who pride themselves on making excellent chocolates."

Millions of pounds of chocolates later, Mrs. Cavanaugh's candies have earned a reputation for unquestionable excellence....
Ask chocolate aficionados. They will direct those seeking the best chocolates to the popular Mrs. Cavanaugh's Candies. My readers receive Buy 1 lb Get 1 lb FREE of Mrs. Cavanaugh's Chocolates use promo code: usfamily2014 http://www.mrscavanaughs.com/

 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Harlem Globetrotters Coming to STL!!!


Don't Miss The Harlem Globetrotters Coming to St Louis on Jan. 2. Save $7 Off Select Tickets to any Harlem Globetrotter Game with promo code FAMGUIDE now on sale! The iconic Harlem Globetrotters are coming to an arena near you with their unrivaled family show, featuring some of the greatest athletes on the planet. With incredible ball handling wizardry, amazing rim-rattling dunks and trick shots, side-splitting comedy and unequaled on-court fan interaction, this must-see event is guaranteed to entertain the whole family creating memories that will last a lifetime. The Globetrotters will face a great challenge this year against the Washington Generals who were the last team to beat the Globetrotters in 1971, and are now coached by a former member of that team. They are on a mission and will do whatever it takes to win, with a new strategy that is sure to give the Globetrotters a run for their money. My Readers save $7 Off select tickets to any Globetrotter Game this season at http://www.harlemglobetrotters.com/tickets Use promo code FAMGUIDE

 

 
I have always loved the Harlem Globetrotters! I know we'll be getting tickets to take AR to her first game. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Four for Four...

...So last Friday, I spent ten hours at the hospital. Hubs has been having bladder/kidney issues/infections since last November when we ran the Turkey Trot. When AR and I got back from Florida beginning of October, hubs said he wasn't feeling well (this was Monday). After work Wednesday, he asked me if I thought he felt warm. Then Thursday right before I was about to teach, he calls me and tells me that he's going to his specialist that afternoon (don't mind I'd been telling him to go since last November!). The doc did an ultrasound and found that he had four stones in his bladder that would require surgery.

So on Halloween, I dropped AR off at the sitter at normal time (6:30AM), went to work to help set-up a special event from 7-8:30AM, went home and got hubs then headed to the hospital where we arrived at 9:20AM. Now I'm not a hypochondriac but as I saw in the waiting room listening to coughs, aches, and woes, I start to get paranoid! The waiting room was full and then we were moved to another waiting area that was nicer but WAY small. In the first hour, I moved seats three times so that we could arrange for everyone and their couples. I want to add that while we waited, Matt yelled at me about our gas bill, his dislike for pizza, and how my car leaks oil. :-/

Finally, they called Matt back and said I'd get to see him again before his surgery. About forty-five minutes later, the nurse came and got me. When I walked into his area, neither of us said anything and the nurse looked at both of us and asked, "Um...this is Matt, right?" We both agreed, and she said she was nervous since neither of us said anything! We chatted with her, the nurse, the anesthesiologist who all asked him: who's your doc, what kind of surgery are you having done, how big are the stones, and do you have ebola (okay, maybe not in so many words but that's what they were getting at).

I gave him a kiss, told him I loved him, and headed back out to the waiting room. I pulled out my peanut butter M&Ms, my laptop, logged into Wifi and was all set up to do some massive reading and work for the day. Then my in-laws showed up and that plan went out the window (well, all the M&Ms got ate!). Right as they arrived, I missed a call and when I called back, it was the hospital. I panicked something was wrong before they even started but they were just calling to let me know they'd started. This was about 12:45pm.

I sat and watched patients be called back, have their procedures, and leave with their loved ones. I read, I ate M&Ms, I texted updates, chatted with my MIL and then around 2pm, Matt's doc came out. I might mention that this doctor has worked on Matt since he was five so he knows the family very well. He actually came to our wedding and sat on the front row with our family. So when he came up, he took a seat beside me, my MIL to the right of me, and then he spoke directly to her. He told us that they'd been drilling on one stone for almost two hours and making no progress, even with the laser on the highest setting. He was thinking that the stones were calcium (probably from him drinking a whole gallon of milk in one night!) and that's why they were having such a hard time. The goal was to not cut him open but at this point, there was no other option unless we wanted this to turn into a ten hour surgery.

He headed back into the operating room and I started texting out updates. My mom started texting my MIL asking how I was doing, ugh-mothers! I know, I'll probably do the same with AR. A couple more hours passed and we were the last ones in the waiting room, everyone who had come before and after us were gone and home. Finally at 5pm the doc came out, said they'd gotten it all out and showed us a pic of the four stones. HOLY MOLY! Those suckers were BIG!!!

At 5:30pm, the nurse came out and said we could go see him. I know how Matt is when he wakes up in the morning so I hung back while his mom went and talked to him. About a minute later, he asked for me and I was like, ahh...he asked for me! He was complaining that his arms hurt from being strapped down for four hours. We gathered up all his belongings and they moved him into a room he could stay in overnight (this is actually where my dad had surgery back in August so I was somewhat familiar with the place).

Once in his room, he asked for me again and then for his best friend who arrived a little later. We called and he talked to AR before Aunt Liz took her trick or treating (thanks EB!). The boys got ready to play cards but not before Matt puked in a bucket I held for him. :-/ Then I asked if I could go home for the night and he got all kinds of confused about what was going on. I had to explain everything to him, reminding him he'd talked to his doctor, that I wasn't spending the night, and that he was staying in that room.

Knowing he was in good hands, I headed home a little after seven, stopping for a large ice cold water because I was so thirsty and hadn't eaten/drank anything more than M&Ms and a bottle of water all day. When I got home, my little mermaid drank it all! We handed out some candy and then headed to bed, momma was exhausted. I think I was the only parent that didn't post pics of her kid on Halloween. :-/

Saturday morning, we deposited Daddy's check (after driving 20 minutes to find his bank!) and then headed to the hospital. I think it was just him and one other patient there. He was doing good, back to his 'ole attitude and ready to eat. After visiting for about an hour, AR and I went to get lunch for everyone. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and we ordered way too much food or dropped it (approximately 30 seconds after I handed AR her sandwich, she dropped it on the floor :-/ ). Once lunch was over, AR found herself a little spot to play on the tablet...in the closet!

Finally a little after noon his doc came by and said we could take him home. He was a very happy camper about this! I have to admit, I think my hubs looks pretty cute in this pic!

I had a throbbing headache, was walking on eggshells for him, and dealing with an impatient 2 yo with little to do at the hospital so needless to say, I was on edge. Hubs got mad at me for getting on to her a few times (like when we were in the bathroom and she wanted to pull the cord for help and I firmly said no, he said I was too mean). Anyways, when we came home, she fell asleep in the car. Once I got Matt settled, I tried to get her to lay down with me...no dice. Luckily, she went in the living room with Matt who turned on Daniel Tiger while I napped. All in all, it was a good team effort and later I took her to the park to give Daddy a break from Daniel Tiger and AR a chance to run off some energy!
 
So long story short, four hours for four bladders stones and hopefully he's on the way to recovery. No lifting for him for 2-3 weeks, including AR, so looks like I'm a "single mom" on drop-off/pick-up duty and everything in between! So if you see me and I look exhausted, I probably am, but that just means the main man at our house is getting better! Prayers would be greatly appreciated and a big thank you to everyone who texted, tweeted, FBed, emailed on Friday to check in on him. Friends and family are AWESOME!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

AR the Mermaid!!!

...My girl was a mermaid for Halloween. Luckily we did lots of things leading up to Halloween because I didn't get to take her trick or treating (more on that later and thank you Aunt Liz for taking her). Anyways, she did this hilarious mermaid thing that made me laugh every time she did it. So for your viewing pleasure...AR the Mermaid!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Trunk or Treat...

...Sunday night the church where AR goes to preschool had Trunk or Treat. I'd never been to one before and the cars were all really decorated awesome! We've been to quite a few Halloween events and this was actually one of my favorites. My wild child that was singing Frozen in the dressing room at Kohl's earlier in the day was so quiet and soft spoken at Trunk or Treat, it was crazy! Even with her own teacher she was quiet and shy!

Finally! I got to meet her friends from school, they're triplets! We see pictures every week and I think she's been calling the boys by the wrong names but hey, at least she's got friends.

Here's my mermaid in the "Red C"

My sis and H came with us. Here's H as the Queen of Hearts in front of a castle.

This trunk had a ring toss and did I mention that all the booths had some great candy???
Hello Reeses!

The trunk had their two black labs dressed up. They were sitting perfectly still that I almost thought they were fake. The kids loved petting them.

They also had a hayride which AR LOVED!!!

The mermaid and the Queen of Hearts

We came home with a bag full of candy and two happy girls! It was warm enough that I just put her gymnastics leotard underneath her "shell bra" and all was good. Excellent event and I'm glad I got to talk to her teachers since I hadn't seen them since open house in August!