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Showing posts from 2008

Done! Done! Done!

I need to go start dinner, but before I shut down the computer for the night I just have to say..."It's done!"

Yes, the novel that would not die is finally done. It's probably far from perfect. It could probably use another go round with the red pen, but as of right now...it's done!

Done.

Done.

DONE!!!

Final word count after revisions: 113,527
That's approximately 472 pages in Courier New 11-pt font.

Chillin' at Home

I love winter break. I took a few extra days off this year, which means I'll have enjoyed two whole weeks of vacation when I finally return to work on Friday.

Today I've played Heavenly Sword, cleaned off one of my scrapbooking tables, and started organizing my books. Weird, I know, but it's helpful to have an idea of what you have and where its located when you're trying to complete a few different series.

Now it's about time for the kiddos to head off to bed. Yay!

Merry Christmas!

I can still say this because Christmas won't officially be over for us until tomorrow. We have one more party to attend. We're supposed to be at my in-law's around 10ish tomorrow morning to do Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa.

Yesterday was spent at home, playing with our new toys and enjoying each other's company. The boys were spoiled (as usual). Not that I can say much about being spoiled because I'm right there with them. Spoiled rotten. I had figured I'd be waiting at least a year or two before the hubby would ever agree to buying a PS3. So imagine my surprise when I opened up exactly that! We watched our first BluRay movie and played a couple of games yesterday. The graphics are amazing.

Seriously, I think I'm still in shock. I really did not expect anything that expensive this year. Not after our recent investment in a replacement TV for the living room. This means I also feel GUILTY because I did not spend that much on the hubby. At l…

Overdue

Sorry the updates have been rather...late. Now that school is over I should get back to into the routine. For now, here's some quick updates:
I was awarded scholarship funds for the writing conference in May. It should be enough to almost pay for the entire trip. I just have to remember to bring in receipts and whatnot.I have received my final grade for my first graduate class. I think it's a solid A. Maybe an A- if the teacher grades funny. I still haven't put up the Christmas stockings. That's happening this weekend. My little guy is counting down the days until Santa arrives and the stockings under the tree are a major concern for him. He's afraid Santa will forget to fill them if they're not hanging from the banister. In one day and four hours I will be on vacation!I got The Dark Knight at the work Xmas party! I can't wait to watch it. Both of my kids have had the flu this week. Ug. At least it seems to be a quick one and doesn't linger.…

The Next Big Project

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. What's the next big project? What do I really want to write? I know I want to write fantasy. What kind though? I'm inclined to try my hand at another epic novel, yet there's a part of me that wonders how much fun it might be to tackle urban fantasy.

If I decide to stick to epic fantasy, I already know the story I'm going to work on. If I decide this is where I'm going to spend the next several months, I'll have to reimerse myself in Ancient Egyptian research. Oh, the hardship! I love pretty much anything to do with Ancient Egyptians.

If I decide to work with urban fantasy, I'll be starting from scratch. No vampires, though. Not this time around. Something different.

Of course, none of this can happen until those final edits are done. I'm forcing myself to stay on task here.

Almost Over

Last night was our last night of class. Yay! We had cookies, talked writing for a bit, and then did a reading. Yeah, mine sucked. Should have picked a more recent story. The problem is I start a lot of stories but I rarely finish them. The one I read last night was only 9 pages, which was a good thing. The bad thing was I don't even known what year I wrote the darn thing in and my style has dramatically changed. Let's just say there was a multitude of inward cringes, if you know what I mean.

Ah well. Reading done. Class meetings done. THWADS done. The only thing left is to do is polish the short story and turn it in. The suggestions from my group members are minor and shouldn't take more than fifteen or twenty minutes to incorporate. Maybe that's what I'll do next. Finish my final assignment and await judgement.

Once this semsester is behind me, I can focus on my novel edits. I'm a little over halfway done. Part of me thinks one good weekend would knock it out. Y…

8

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My Artist
Originally uploaded by Krheiser
Around 1:30ish this morning my little guy turned 8. I'd give you the exact time but my memory from that long ago morning was messed up by copious amounts of drugs. All I really remember of his first few hours is moaning that my skin was on fire.

I remember a lot of other things, though. I remember that his sugar was off and they were keeping a close eye on him for the first few hours of his life.

I also remember how sweet and gentle his big brother was when they first met. (The picture of that moment sits framed on a shelf in my office, so the memory has been sufficiently reinforced).

He's my hot head. The competitive child who's determined to win or, at the very least, to do well. One look at his little face on the soccer field or basketball court and you know. You can see the channelled anger and frustration. He doesn't give up; he just tries harder.

He's also my little artist. A notebook and some markers go a lon…

Writer Meme

* Age when I decided I wanted to be a writer:Hmm. I'm going to guess and say I was probably 9 or 10. Maybe earlier.
* Age when I “wrote” my first story: Again. 9 or 10.
* Age when I got my hands on a typewriter: My memory sucks. I'm thinking the old manual typewriter arrived right around age 12 or 13. Maybe earlier. Eventually I upgraded to an electric and then an electronic typewriter.
* Age when I wrote my first novel: 15 or 16 - it was a historical romance that I wrote on the back of scrap stationary from my mom's office. I remember it had a green masthead.
* Novels written between age 4 and age 34:Guessing here. I'm going to say roughly 5 completed novels with many stories who died in infancy.
* Age when I first submitted a short story to a magazine: I've never submitted to a magazine.
* Thickness of file of rejection slips prior to first story sale:I've only put my stuff out there a handful of times. Rejections can be counted on one hand.
* Age when I s…

The Holidays Have Arrived

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Originally uploaded by Krheiser
Yep, that's right. We've already put up our Christmas tree. It's a bit earlier than normal for us, but the alternative was to wait until mid-December. Weekends will be a rare commodity until after the first of the New Year. We've got Christmas parties and family gatherings galore.

And I know you're laughing at my poor abused puppy. He's in clothes! I bought him a holiday outfit. I should be ashamed but I find it all quite hilarious, thank you very much.

I'm about 85% done with the shopping, too.

Life is good!

Giving Thanks - Day 7

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Family Photo
Originally uploaded by Krheiser
This is going to be a short one!

I am thankful I finally managed to graduate with my Bachelor's degree in the Spring!

Giving Thanks - Day 6

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Originally uploaded by Krheiser
I know. I missed a few days. Sorry about that.

This morning we woke up to a two-hour school delay. This meant by the time the bus came, the sun was up and I could take pictures! I'm so excited by this. I had been hoping for a pretty snowfall where the trees were blanketed in white. I had the shirts picked out, so all I needed to do this morning was dig the Santa hats out of the attic. Then I ushered my boys outside into the cold, wintery morning and took a half-dozen pictures.

I am thankful for the snow.

I am thankful for the shirts the daycare surprised us with last week.

I am thankful for good smiles and cooperation.

These are totally going to be put onto a Christmas card this year!

Giving Thanks - Day 5

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Originally uploaded by Krheiser
Yesterday this little boy didn't get on the school bus like he was supposed to. The daycare called as soon as they discovered his absence and we started making phone calls. Calls to the school. Calls to his best friend's house, the little boy who lives less than a block from the school. Calls to the bus garage. Eventually, we got through to his best friend's dad and found out he had showed up there after school.

So, I am thankful we found him safe and sound at a friend's house last night.

I imagine he is not thankful for the grounding or the manual labor he will be performing all weekend to make up for his lapse of judgement.

But I'm thankful nothing bad had happened, that nothing more than little boy foolishness prevented him from riding the bus to the daycare.

Giving Thanks: Day 4

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At the Kingdom Gates
Originally uploaded by Krheiser
See that little red car right there? The one closest to you? That's us! My sister-in-law, Kellie, took this picture while we were entering the Magic Kingdom parking lot.

Now, you may be thinking this post is going to be about how much I love Disney. And I do! But that's not what this post is really about. It's about the vacation and the family we spent the week with while in Florida.

It's not often we take big family vacations with my brothers or sisters. In fact, I don't think I can recall a single big vacation where all of us were able to get the time off and the money saved. And, as far, as I can recall this was the first big trip the hubby and I had taken with any of my siblings. So, this trip really did seem like one of a lifetime to me. It was a chance to spend time together with my brother and his family.

I am thankful for the opportunity.

I am thankful for my teeny, tiny niece was the world's best baby and …

Giving Thanks: Day 3

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The Five of Us
Originally uploaded by Krheiser
This picture was taken a few weeks ago at a friend's wedding. It's one of those rare pictures with all five of us in the frame. We had to wait to take it until my brother BJ and his family showed up - they were at their son's football game, so they didn't get to the reception until quite late. Luckily, the rest of us were having a good time and no one had left prior to his arrival.

These are my brothers and sisters. These are the people I shared one bathroom with in a house of seven. These are the people I played tag with in the yard, ice skated with on the pond, fished with in the gravel pits, and pretty much tormented whenever the mood struck. Not that they didn't do their fair share of tormenting, too!

I am so thankful I was not an only child. Having brothers and sisters means life is never dull. It means there's always someone you can lean on, depend on, and raz on. After all, "those who tease you, love you.&q…

Giving Thanks - Day 2

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Ken
Originally uploaded by Krheiser
How could I not be thankful for my husband? He's many things to many people, but to me he's the world. He's the one I turn to in times of happiness and sorrow. He's the one I laugh and cry with. There are so many things this man means to me and there are so many reasons I give thanks that he choose me when he could have chosen another.

I am thankful for the times he's listened me rant when I really should have just shut up.

I am thankful for the times when I'm sick and he's taken care of everything so I can rest.

I am thankful for the thoughtful little presents he brings home from the grocery store (chocolate, mainly).

I am thankful for the flowers he surprises me with "just because".

I am thankful for the nights when he cooks dinner. Eventually the kids would tire of cereal, pizza, and frozen dinners..

I am thankful he knows how to run a dishwasher and a washing machine.

I am thankful he's the type of dad who makes …

Giving Thanks - Part 1

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So Handsome
Originally uploaded by Krheiser
One of the blogs I follow is celebrating Thanksgiving by highlighting people, places, or things the author is thankful for. Of course, I think this is a brilliant idea! It may also help me post here a little more frequently. That being said, I was supposed to post this yesterday but I got side-tracked.

So....perhaps two posts today!

I am so thankful for those two little boys right there. They may drive me crazy and make me want to scream in frustration sometimes, but I can't imagine my life without them. They melt my heart. They make me smile. They are my boys and I love them.

I am thankful for snuggles on the couch.

I am thankful for artwork with "To Mom" scrawled across the top (or bottom) of the page.

I am thankful for hugs and kisses in the morning.

I am thankful for their imaginations and the stories they tell.

I am thankful they still want to be tucked in every night.

I am thankful they can play so well together...most of the time.

Busy Weekend Ahead

Tonight my writing group meets. It's a small, intimate group with a surprising variety of writers. Our WIPs cover everything from poetry, to children's fiction, to SF&F. Tonight I'm planning on reading from the first few pages of my paranormal romance novel so I can get some feedback on where I started and whether or not I have exposition in there to satisfy the reader. I was tempted to read from my NaNo project, but it's too new, too raw and I know I'd be too easily discouraged to continue if the feedback was bad.

Tomorrow I have a candle party in the early afternoon. Afterwards, I'm spending the night at my sister-in-law's house and scrapbooking until my eyes (or creative drive) gives out. I would like to make a sizeable dent in the stack of Maine vacation pictures, but I'm taking a bit of variety with me this time. Sometimes the muse needs something a little different in order to keep working.

Sunday is homework until I drop day. I had sta…

Took a Night Off

I was so lazy last night! The most productive thing I did after work yesterday was a couple loads of laundry after helping the kids with homework. Otherwise, my sorry little self sat on the couch. I'm blaming this lack of productivity on the new television hanging on my wall. HD television is pretty amazing. And the sound surround, as my youngest son so cutely calls it, isn't half bad either.

So, I watched the Country Music Awards show last night. I think Kid Rock's performance was by the far the best. Although, Carrie Underwood's choice of song made me tear up a bit. Didn't help that she had a war widow speak right before she took the stage.

So...really nothing much to report here. Other than I am LAZY and DREADFULLY BEHIND SCHEDULE! Considering my weekend plans, this could be very problematic. See why NaNo never works out for me. I can't just give up my life in order to dedicate myself to the story. I always get sidetracked by something or would …

Nano

I don't have a lot of progress to report. I ended up sick late last week and then had weekend plans that interfered. However, I did manage to get 8 scrapbook pages done on our family vacation. Never mind it was the family vacation we took in 2006. Never mind that I've not even started this year's or last year's vacations, all of which have several hundred pictures each that I'm going to be sifting through trying to figure out which ones to include or exclude from the book.

I plan on working on my revisions at lunch today (from the very old project that should have been done ages ago). Then, tonight, after I get home and get things like homework, dinner, and (hopefully) excerise out of the way, I'm going to work on my NaNo project. I'm not feeling completely left behind yet, so trying to play catch up still seems a sane course of action.

Wish me luck!

We'll Take It

The boy did well! First marking period grades were better than expected. He got an A, two Bs, and two Cs. There's a non-credit art class in there, too. This report card earned him $20. Now I know there may be those of you who think rewarding Cs is simply insane. Well, all I can say to you is that you don't know my kid, his struggles, or how huge this accomplishment is.

Also...hoping it will motivate him to do as well or better next semester. It's possible even though he's starting out shaky (failing to turn in his science folder and homework the first week did not help).

Still waiting on the little guy's report card. Will update on that later!

Not to Jinx It...

...but the oldest brought home two printouts of what should appear on his report card. Drum roll, please. He's getting a C+ and a B- in two of his subjects! What two subjects, he couldn't remember and it wasn't printed on the teensy little computer printout his teachers handed him. But...they're passing grades!

I know. I know. There's more than two subjects to worry over here. Things could still go dramatically wrong when that darn envelope arrives.

But...he's passing! Despite his inability to stay organized, to turn things in, or even write legibly half the time, he's passing! (Knock on wood, cross your fingers, say a little prayer, and wish upon a star.)

NaNo Update

Total Word Count: 3345.

Opening Paragraph:

Ashyss Forasya, an unwanted tenth daughter of a sixth son in the House Forasya, couldn’t remember the last time the Grand Dame had summoned her to a private audience. When the missive had first arrived Ashyss had considered ignoring it, but against her better judgment she had washed off the sweat and dirt of the training labyrinth and dressed in her finest soft armor. She had briefly considered wearing the heavy armored chest plate and arm guards, but if her great-grandmother, the formidable Grand Dame, planned to murder her, Ashyss would have gotten a dagger in her ribs instead of a terse command to appear at the Forasya House at her earliest convenience.

Nano

So far so good.

Yesterday's word count: 1763

I've decided on a working title for the book. Until something else makes more sense, I'm calling it House Foraysa. My main character is a mercenary who happens to be the unwanted tenth daughter of a sixth son in the House Foraysa. Her little "quest", if you will, involves a family matter that will send her into peril. Of course, since I'm writing without a net here, I have absolutely no idea what the family emergency is or what kind of peril she's going to end up facing. Since I tend to write organically, I trust these things will just magically make themselves known as I write in the scenes.

I have been using a few pictures I've stumbled across online for inspiration.

This is Ashyss Foraysa of the House Foraysa.

This is a fellow mercenary and Ashyss's lover, Legas.

This is Ashyss's distant cousin who she will have to work with in order to pull off her "quest". Her name is Seiene.

I have no idea …

Report Cards...They're Almost Here

Yes, folks, it's that time of year again. The end of the first marking period approaches and reports cards will be prepared.

I hate report cards. Maybe if they had all smiley faces or a consistant string of straight A scores, I'd pay them about as much attention as my parents once did, which means barely a cursory glance with a vague "good job" to boot. Instead, I get to count down the days until I have to explain once again what anything less than a C means for my oldest boy's future. This may sound a tad bit pessimistic, but you should know it's experience speaking here. This happens every marking period.

And I hate it.

Just once I'd like a report card with his name on it that doesn't have DOOM written all over it in invisible ink. I'd love to give hugs and kisses and extoll praise. I'd even gladly clean out my wallet if I thought bribery would help (it doesn't).

On the upside, I feel pretty confident the little guy's score…

As Promised

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Me..as a Candy Corn Witch




Terri...as a Dead Bride




Ken, Me, Kenny & Terri




Archie and Angie




Amy & Eric
Our Hostess and Host





Why Have I Not Heard of This?

I can't believe I just happened to stumble across this little tidbit today. How, oh how, could I have missed this?

One of my favorite epic fantasy stories has been made into a mini-series. It will be premiering this weekend on November 1st at 8 p.m. under the title of "Legend of the Seeker". Fantasy fans might better recognize it's printed variation as the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind.

Quick Update - Will Post More Later

Friday
After work we dropped the kidlets off at my sister's place for the night so we could run up to the funeral home. After standing in a loose circle of people I hardly know for two hours, we went over to my cousin's house where we ended up watching old home videos of our husbands and their friends playing baseball. It was rather bittersweet, a mixture of laughter and tears. Considering the circumstances, it was a nice visit.


Saturday
After picking up the boys from my sister's, I had to run to Meijer to pick up a few things for that evening. We had a sitter lined up, which meant we needed to make sure we had dinner and snacks. Frozen pizza, pop and chips. I also needed a small curling iron capable of creating ringlets. I wanted to be a curly-haired candy corn witch. (I'll post pictures later).

While I was off shopping, the hubby was home disciplining our oldest child. He's officially obnoxious now and his mouth finally got the better of him. Someday, though, I'm…

Blah

I'm having one of those days.

I've had a headache since this morning. I never get headaches, so I don't cope well with them. Irritation turns into ornery real quick, which makes me a less than pleasant co-worker.

I don't see the night getting any better either because we have a funeral showing to attend. One of my hubby's friends from high school was killed in a car accident a couple of nights ago.

The rest of the weekend looks promising, though. We have an adults-only halloween party tomorrow night. That should be fun.

For Me

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From Them.

Another Busy Weekend

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Friday night I attended a local writer's group meeting. Once upon a time, I used to be a member of this very group. I read and critiqued for several months, but life interfered and I dropped out. Recently, I ran into one of the group members and was invited back. Although I live quite a distance from where the group meets, I decided to give it a go anyhow. I'm glad I did.

There were a few members who I remembered and who seemed to remember me. Strangely enough, they actually remembered one incident in particular because they had been outraged on my behalf. I hadn't realized it at the time, but it's nice knowing the fella's opinion on what I should or shouldn't be writing hadn't gone unnoticed. Although, honestly, I took his words as an ass-backwards compliment after I thought about it. I had just finished reading a vampire or historical romance (can't quite seem to remember which) and he told me, "You're too good of a writer to be writing this k…

Dreaming and Teaching

Today I attended a Teaching Summit where I work. The keynote speaker was Jeffrey Zaslow, the co-author of The Last Lecture. If you're not familiar with The Last Lecture, you can catch bits and pieces of it on YouTube.

I'm still absorbing everything I heard and felt. Randy Pausch's story is heartbreaking and awe inspiring. The book, if you haven't read it, is an amazing collection of short stories put together to deliver a life lesson each of us could benefit from learning.

The Summit wasn't just about Randy's story, lecture, or book, though. It was an opportunity for our faculty and students to take a moment to think through what life-lessons, in and out of the classroom, are important to them. Their presentations revealed not only the power of teaching, but the scope of where teaching is done. Learning does not happen only in the classroom. It happens everywhere and sometimes the teacher is really the student.

There was one other message I took away from t…

My Weekend

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Sorry I haven't been updating. Things have been a little crazy, which means I get a lot distracted. Over this last weekend we had soccer, trick-or-treat Halloween at grandma & grandpa's campground, a wedding, and then I experimented with senior pictures.

First things first..there was soccer.








The boys didn't do so well. I know my little guy's problem (child in red - top picture) was that he had been up too late Friday night. Instead of picking them up and going home at a reasonable hour, we stayed out too late talking to our friends. (My nephew was playing goalie in Pic #2 and my niece is walking down the field with her coach in Pic #3).

After soccer we went trick-or-treating through the campground. Again. Yes, we just did it two weeks ago. What's your point? This was a different campground. Besides, you try telling grandma and grandpa no. See how that works out for you.

As soon as the campground opened back up and cars could once again move, we headed off to a wedd…

Finding Our Groove

I think it's safe to say we're settling into a routine around my place. The mornings are rough. I've never been one for getting up willingly and when the alarm clock is going off at 5:30 in the morning, I'm even less willing. This usually results in everyone feeling rushed. Thank goodness I have the world's most amazing husband who isn't afraid of packing lunches or overseeing breakfast.

The majority of our days are spent at school or work, of course. And can I just say thank God for lunch hours. If it weren't for my lunches, I wouldn't have time to read, write, or run errands. This one little hour out of every day has become my lifeline, my sanity-perserver.

After we pick the kids up from daycare, we run home and start working on their homework. Some nights this goes by very quickly and they're done before dinner is on the table. Other nights the oldest boy is still struggling to finish up by 8 o'clock - it just depends on the how much h…

What a Weekend!

Friday I burned up one of my vacation days so I could stay home with a sick puppy. Yes, puppy. The children were fine and went to school. Puppy on the other hand had some serious intestinal issues. I seriously contemplated taking him to the vet, but the vet assistant assured me that as long as things didn't deteriorate, he would be fine. When he managed to make it through several hours without any explosions, I began to feel a little less anxious.

Not that I didn't keep him locked in his kennel most of the day. I did. Cleaning the diarrhea out of there is bad enough. I didn't want to worry about the carpets!

This gave me lots of time to clean my house, which was desperately needed. I even did the windows! I know!

Later that night, after the hubby got home, I was supposed to go visit my Grandma. Although I always enjoy visiting Grandma, I did have an ulterior motive. I needed to interview her for the assignment due Monday (today).

I was just about ready to walk out …

Love Thursday

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You wouldn't know it by looking at this photo, but my brother hates to have his picture taken. Managing to catch more than a side profile or the top of his hat can be quite the challenge. Yet, when he's holding his daughter, I've been able to snap more than one "keeper". I love that!

Interesting Podcast

I've been listening to Mur Lafferty, Scott Sigler, and JC Hutchins for the last couple of days. Episode 99 of I Should Be Writing 2.0 is a roundtable discussion of New Media. As some of the biggest names in the fiction podcasting world, Mur, Scott and JC's advice is worth keeping in mind for anyone interested in venturing out into the podcasting universe.

I don't know that I'll ever podcast my novels. I might. I might not. I just don't know. That being said, if I do decide this is a worthwhile marketing ploy, I will make an effort to study what these three have done and what they're doing now.

I really don't know much about Scott or JC. In fact, I have to admit I've never sampled any of JC's work and I've only listened to the first few chapters Scott's novel, Nocturnal, which I've very much enjoyed so far.

Then there's Mur. She was the first fiction podcaster I stumbled across. I started listening to her podiobook, Playing For Keeps, wh…

My Weekend

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This weekend we went trick-or-treat camping. I didn't get my camera out all that often except when it came time to get the kids dressed. Then I went a little crazy. I uploaded quite a few of the pictures to my Flickr Account (hint! Go there to see more adorable children in costume!).

The highlight of my day was when my oldest decided to join in the festivities. Apparently, he's outgrowing Halloween, which I think is complete nonsense since I am still quite enamored with it myself. Free candy. Costumes. Come on! What's not to love? Still, he kept insisting that he didn't want to trick-or-treat. Since I refused to believe him, I packed a spare costume...just in case.

Good thing! With about 15 minutes to spare, he changed his 10-year-old mind and decided get dressed. He wasn't thrilled with the mask, but at least he let me get a few good pictures before he tore it off and tried conning me into carrying it around the park.

A Frustrating Discovery

So I get home last night to find my husband a little stressed out. Okay, a lot stressed out. The oldest child forgot to bring home half of his homework. Again. All of a sudden it's become standard practice to leave books and worksheets in his locker instead of stuffing them in his backpack.

After dinner I offer to run up to the school to see if I can get into his locker to retrieve said homework. The first few doors I tried were locked, but eventually I found a way into the school. I explain to the only person I see what I'm there for and they let me wander through the hallways. Finally, I make my way to the Fifth Grade hall and locate his locker. Twirl the lock until the three digit code is accepted, lift on the little silver handle, and pull the locker door open.

And see red.

No wonder nothing is coming home. He couldn't find his homework or his textbooks if he wanted to! Papers, books, folders, and a sweatshirt litter the bottom of the locker. It's a good foot deep. No…

Weekend Pictures

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This weekend we took an hour or so to walk the new bike trail they put in near our house. I took my camera so I could experiment a bit more. You'll notice some of the pictures below are a bit on the blurry side...so much for shooting with an open aperature. Kids move too much! Not to mention the least bit of camera shake is noticeable as well. Maybe a tripod would have made a difference.



Me & My Boys
My Sister and Her Kids
My Two Little Men


Running the Dog




How are the boys doing in school?

It seems to be a popular question, so I thought it'd make a decent blog entry.

The youngest is doing stellar. I don't think he's brought home anything less than a 90% so far. Most of his work is actually nearer to the 100% mark. Of course, I haven't heard how the standardized tests are going - oh, how I hate those!

The oldest is being diligent and showing very good character. He has homework Monday through Thursday by design. Most nights he averages 1 to 1 1/2 hours. This is a huge block of time when you consider we don't pick him up from the daycare until 5:30 and bedtime is at 9:00. By the time we eat dinner, get baths, and make sure the homework is done, he's left with about an hour to unwind.

Even though the homework is time consuming, I'm grateful his teachers are so good about making sure the hubby and I are kept well informed of daily expectations. We get an e-mail every night outlining what he needs to complete before class the next day. Already this h…

Looking for Willing Victims

I've decided I'd like to expand my photography skills and experience. This means I need willing models. So far I've got a couple of people who might be willing to let me practice on them. I'm excited but nervous. I want so badly to take amazing pictures and give them each something they like.

Shoot #1: Mom wants me to take Christmas pictures of her three daughters. I'm very excited, but I also want a lovely background. I was thinking of taking them to a park or some other such setting where there's a lot of pines. The problem is that Fall has just arrived and these are supposed to be Christmas pictures. Any suggestions?

Shoot #2: A senior. I think I'm okay on this one. She wants fall colors in her pictures, so I just need to wait for the trees to do their thing. Then its a matter of finding the right location.

Now here's my real delimna:

Where do I upload them so they can be printed to look like professional pictures? Rounded corners and impri…

The hubby and I

I read this article earlier today about the strain children can put on a marriage. It was an honest, open admission of spousal dissatisfaction. The author, a mother to 2 children with a "bun in the oven", comments on the fact that she and her husband's marriage has suffered due to their growing family. It hasn't broken, but there's definitely some tension between them.

In the 13 plus years we've been married, ten of which we've been parents, the hubby and I have had tension. We've had arguments. We've chosen to not talk to each other, to make snide comments, or to otherwise make the other person miserable. The stress and worries of adulthood seem to be amplified by the presence of children.

Yet, we've also been blessed with a very strong relationship that seems to have grown instead of growing stagnant. We're both pretty open people. If one of us is angry, there's really no way the other person can claim ignorance. Subtly isn&#…

Loving the Look

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Photoshopped to look Old
Originally uploaded by Krheiser
I've not perfected it yet, but I really like being able to take a sharp, colorful, modern photo and transforming it into something aged. I'm not sure what the official term is, but I like to call this photoshopped effect an antique wash. It's sepia, but it's not. You can see the hint of color seeping back into the photo.

I've been playing with this effect for a couple of weeks now. I've taken a good half-dozen pictures of my newest little niece and modified them to somewhat resemble the picture showcased here.

One problem...I can't seem to print them! My printer keeps putting a faint line through the photo almost as if the ink cartridges are running out, but when I send a full-color photo to the printer, it's beautiful. I'm frustrated but confident I can figure out a way to print the pictures. They're too cute not too!

If the morning is this bad...

I was in the basement, putting the puppy's kennel blanket into the dryer (he had vomited on it while we were at work yesterday), when I heard my hubby's angry voice through the floorboards above my head. Minutes earlier I had dragged myself out of bed and down the basement steps, leaving him and our five-month-old puppy in bed.

Stuffing the blanket into the washing machine, I moved as quickly as my half-asleep body would allow. When I get upstairs and into our bedroom I was met with the most disgusting sight. The damn dog had taken a shit on our bed! On our bed, people!

Okay. I can deal with this. Puppy spanked and taken outside before being unceremoniously deposited into his kennel. Toilet paper used to pick up and dispose of the puppy feces. Sheets, blankets and pillows stripped off the bed. Dump first load into the Washing Machine.

All before my morning shower.

This is not the way you want to start your day. Really. It's not.

You Might Be The World's Worst Mom When..

Your child calls you sick from school and you tell him it's too early in the school year for him to take a sick day.

Yes, I did.

I'm not heartless, really. It's just that he's back on his meds now and we know there's a readjustment period when upset stomachs aren't all that unusual. Last time it took his system nearly three weeks to adjust to the early morning dosages. We learned then that toughing it out is sometimes the only viable alternative. Otherwise, the child ends up with too many absences.

But what do you do when he calls a second time and tells you lunch didn't help and he almost hurled in the boys' bathroom? You send his father after him. What choice do you have?

Could Be My Boys

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Adjusting

With the kids back in school, life is adjusting to backpack checks and homework schedules. Even if the boys fail to bring home any homework, they're discovering mom and dad can always find something for them to do. For the last few nights we've had a scheduled reading time. Each boy is given a book and a set number of pages or chapters to read. Once they're done reading, they are then required to write about what they just read. I know! Evil!

My 10-year-old is using his blog. I took a few minutes yesterday and set it up to send out an e-mail to me, my hubby, and his grammy whenever he updates it. I'm hoping this will remind us to go post a comment or two of encouragement. Must remember to do this next!

My 7-year-old is stuck with pencil and paper. Strangely, he has the better punctuation, grammar, and spelling even though there's no computer to aid him. Not that we don't have run-on sentences and misspelled words. We do. They're just not as numerous as his ol…

Love Thursday Entry

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Silly Girl in a Raincoat
Originally uploaded by Krheiser
I know you can't see any faces, but sometimes it just doesn't matter. While we were walking to the beach in 88-degree weather, my niece felt the need to wear her rainjacket. I love the glimpse of her holding her mom's hand, as well as the contrast of their clothing choices.

First Day of School

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Waiting for the Bus
Originally uploaded by Krheiser
Yesterday was the boys' first day of the new school year. The morning went fairly well, which means we didn't miss the bus! When we stopped at the end of the driveway I told the boys to hurry and get out of the car so I could get their first day of school photos. I managed to snap off a few shots just before the bus stopped at the neighbor's place.

Don't they look less than enthusiastic?

Labor Day Weekend

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The last three-day weekend of the year was spent at a nearby campground. So nearby that we could run home and grab whatever hadn't been packed into the camper. I know I ran back to grab the puppy's chain, baseball gloves that had been left in the backyard, and a few other odd items we just couldn't live without.

At the campground itself we had football, ice cream, swimming, and campfires. We only took the kids to the pond on Saturday, though, because none of us moms were all that impressed with the beach. It was nasty on the toes, if you know what I mean. Slimy. Of course, that didn't stop the kids from having a blast.

When the kids weren't swimming, they were either riding their bikes or playing touch football with their dads. I don't know how the dads could stand the heat, but they managed. The only problem being that my hubby thinks he broke his toe -- open-toed sandals are not condusive to football, not even two-handed touch football!
Of course, camping isn&#…

I Hate the First Week of Class

Friends, I am exhausted. This week has been long and brutally busy. Work is INSANE. I expected it, prepared for it, and am still blown away by the level of activity and, dare I say it, the neediness the first week brings. Students suddenly recall they actually have be enrolled in classes in order to receive credit. It's amazing how a whole summer can pass and it's only when matters become critical that people act. I guess you could say procrastination makes the world, and the University, go round!

But anyhow. Busy. Exhausted. Ready for bed.

What's that? Editing? The novel? Is it ready to be distributed and read? Um. No. My good intentions have been foiled by the complete shut down of my mind and body by the time I can manage to steal a few moments at the computer.

I don't even feel like reading.

I just want to veg out. But that's not even possible because...FOOTBALL! Mother of All That Is Holy, I hate football season. It consumes our television, which is why I'm ac…

Wahoo!

My home computer is once again up and running. I am now able to work on my revisions at will. Or surf the internet.

Of course, I didn't do either last night because I was simply too exhausted. After a long day of work, I came home to a dog kennel filled with urine, feces, and vomit. Oh, yay! Lucky me! After cleaning that up, I had to get dinner together and run my oldest boy to his first soccer practice of the Fall season. The field is huge! Then it was home to give the puppy a bath and wipe out his kennel a second time. Again. Yay, me!

Did some laundry and crashed on the couch.

That's it. That was my night. No editing, no reading. Just vegging...

Computer Woes

When we upgraded my hardware at home, it seemed like a good idea to upgrade the software, too. Vista looked good. It's supposed to be more secure and heaven knows I can use all the security I can get, especially since I tend to use a lot of downloadable programs (Picassa, Flickr Uploader, etc..).

Vista is a pain.

I got a new external harddrive that came with its own drivers and one-touch back-up software. Yeah. As soon as I installed the driver and software, Vista started flaking out. Hubby now has to fix the new computer so I can use it. Right now I can only get the internet. While that may sound just fine to most of you, I need Word and Picasa and the Flickr Uploader.

So...updates here may be slim until this issue is resolved.

For Love of the Hunt

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So Grown Up
Originally uploaded by Krheiser
Today is Love Thursday over at Shutter Sisters, and since I like this weekly ritual so much better than the Thursday Thirteen, I want to contribute every week. That being said, here's something that makes my heart warm.

This is the first year our oldest boy will be old enough to hunt with his Dad. Although I find it hard to comprehend, it seems 10 is the magic number when it comes to Youth Hunting. He'll get to take his little bow and arrow - or a gun - out into wilderness to shoot either deer or ducks. (I know both are on the agenda for this fall.)

Since he's reached this magical age, my husband has been diligent in teaching him adult responsiblities as they practice. Although the practice sessions really don't last for more than 15 minutes most nights, my boy and his Dad get to spend some meaningful and memorable father-son time together.

The other night one of our good friends - okay, one of our very best friends - showed up wi…

Almost There

I really think I stand a pretty good chance of finishing up the edits by Sunday night. Here's why! The amount of pages left to go is less than 100. Tonight my hubby is going to be working a booth for the CRIM Festival of Races, so I'll be home alone with the kidlets. This means I will have time to edit if I want to take advantage of it. The same opportunity will present itself on Sunday when the hubby is off being a good little workerbee and helping students move into our brand-spankin' new housing units.

So...I'm thinking type-ins will begin next week! Yay!

A Puppy Apiece

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A Puppy Apiece
Originally uploaded by Krheiser
Sunday afternoon we had a little four-legged visitor. Whenever his owners fail to keep a close enough eye on Hercules, he comes over for a visit. I don't know how he makes it across our busy rural highway without getting hit, but he does.

I can't even begin to express how thrilled Cash was to see another dog his size, one that doesn't snarl or sulk whenever he comes near. Hercules pranced, pounced, and raced through the wooded trails and across our front and back yards with Cash, forever ensuring him a spot on Cash's BFF list.

So I guess it wasn't all that surprising to see Hercules show up again last night. Once more I took my puppy outside so he could enoy a little play date with our neighbor dog. As they raced around the house, I took quite a few pictures as I tried to capture their energetic and joyful relationship.