Tuesday, August 31, 2010

School-Dayz - Bring it on!

Who's REALLY excited about school starting? ME!  I'm so excited for Dakota to finally get to go to kindergarten today. He wanted to go so bad last year but missed the age cut off by three weeks.  Although, I was a little sad when he informed me I must stay in the house when the bus comes! I negotiated that I may go on the porch.

But I'm really  excited to go to college today.

Just walking across the college campus was so peaceful. It was filled with promise and quiet! In the hour that I walked to the advisor's meeting and back I actually THOUGHT without interruption. I observed everything about the campus - the yellow geometric sculpture, the grassy area under the trees, the sweet scent of petunias,chrysanthemums, grass and trees, caught a glimpse of the football team resting after practice, the mixture of old and new architecture and the stale smell of  the 1970's in Reid Hall. I can't wait to get in touch with my "thinker" again even if it will only be a few hours twice a week. The online class I took this past season was just enough to burn off the cobwebs. Now I'm going to be put to the test with a horde of shiny-new freshman!

The most exciting opportunity was one of my class requirements I'll be saving for next semester - Children's Literature. Hello? I'm being told to read a bunch of kids' books  from the late 1800's and write reports?  Right up my alley! 

And, yes, I did get a new backpack! No more running around with my son's old one from 5th grade! (although, I'm sure I'm still giving off the "nerd-vibe" in one way or another)
Monday, August 30, 2010

This Weeks "Mom-Monday" post Hey Kool-Aid

To my surprise this summer, two different 8 year old neighbor boys were home alone. I'm not certain how many days- maybe only a week or maybe off and on.  My son got mixed up (emotionally) when two of them were house-hopping and he felt ditched when they'd run to one house or another and he had to stay home, hoping they'd come back. They were going between their empty houses looking for something to do and I don't allow my 7 year old into homes that have no parents. So, I suggested they hang out here but they really just played video games, then ran off to one empty house or another then turn up again. Apparently I'm not the only parent that faces this  - worrying about all those kids riding bikes in the middle of the street when no one is watching them. I recently heard from a friend that runs a daycare in an adjoining neighborhood and all the "latchkey" kids gravitate towards her house during the day. It reminded me of the label we would give the house where all the kids wanted to hang out - "The Kool-Aid House".

Do you remember the old commercials with the happy mom serving Kool Aid to a zillion kids in her yard? At least she knew where HERS were and what they were up to.  Are you a Kool Aid mom?  If so, what do you do when you need a little break from the troops running in and out? I work nights, get up early to get kiddos off to school and sometimes I need a short nap before dinner, but my sons will be buzzing in and out with their friends. I stop and think, "Do I really want to send those kids home to their parentless homes?" I imagine 10 years into the future when they are all teens, trying to figure out where to hang out.  I usually tell my teen and pre-teen sons to keep an eye on the younger ones for 20 minutes while I sneak-rest. I dread having my kids announce to the whole neighborhood, "You can't come in 'cause my mom's takin' a NAP!" while my own kids are running in and out! I've attempted to sneak into my room and leave the door open (I listen while I rest - just in case), however,  my kids and their friends tend to end up in my room to ask me some "important" question - awkward.  
I noticed Sunday, my husband was taking a short post-church nap when the doorbell rang and the dog started barking right next to our bedroom door. It was the neighbor kids and their sister. I thought they were here to pick one of the other boys up so I called the boy to the door  as I  went back to my work in the kitchen. I quickly realized they had planted in front of the tv and were playing Playstation with my son and all four were shouting at the screen. I want them to know they are welcome and safe at our house, but sometimes I wonder if I need an "temporarily out of service" sign for my front door! While school starting will lessen these instances,  I'm wondering if any of you have this going on and do you just kick them out or find a happy-medium? Should I point at the neighbors house and say, "Hey look-she's got Kool Aid!"?

If you would like to join Mom-Monday just copy the badge onto your post from mycup2yours and leave a link.  (she's having a little technical difficulty with the linky so you may need to check back)
Saturday, August 28, 2010

Adversary Review - ***** Loved it!

Kate Kaynak's sequel to Minder, Adversary detailed the battle of the Ganzfield superpowers against their most evil, powerful and relentless adversary - Isaiah Lerner.  The battles in the book were so intense and fascinating with all the superpowers it literally made me grip the book and fear for the characters. Kate Kaynak's imagery is so strong I felt like I was in the room and at the same time seeing things happening with other characters.  Once again, she managed to mix an intense action/paranormal story with the elements of quirkiness, romance, and effects of superpowers in romantic situations, like the swimming pool scene. So refreshing and fun!

Being the second book in the series I feared that Trevor, Maddies soulmate, might be removed from the story somehow to create motivation or angst in Maddie, but was so pleased that he remains in this story and together they develop an new and intense ability that amazes even Dr. Williamson. I cannot wait to see what they will do with it in Legacy,the third Ganzfield novel. Other characters were developed more fully in this sequel that made me really care about them like Rachel and Sean, and Maddies mother! I can't wait to see her in Legacy - Go Mom!

Maddie grows stronger and braver personally and with her abilities through each chapter, but at the same time aware of her  own weaknesses, helping her to cover the faults of others around her with kindness. Anyone would be blessed to have friends like Maddie and Trevor - even if they had to ask for some "space" once in a while!  If you haven't read Minder yet, I recommend you take a weekend to read it and have a copy of Adversary handy because you are going to want to jump right into it. You've done it again Kate! How do you know what readers are thinking?

I rate this ***** (5stars)

Get your copy at Amazon or take a peek inside! - click here
Also visit the Ganzfield fan page for info on the Ganzfield series, Minder book trailer and other goodies.
You can get to know Kate Kaynak and maybe enter one of her contests to win a copy at The Disgruntled Bear.
Thanks again for the cameo of Aunt Leah and the Adversary ARC, Kate!
Friday, August 27, 2010

Have you ever forgotten...

...your age?  I spent the first half of the day Wed telling my family I was turning 38.  My one sister was giving me the "almost 40 pep-talk" and I was telling her, "Well, I'm only 38 - I have two years before I can start brooding over being 40."  Then I got my yearly birthday phone call from my dad.
"Hello?", "Hey, I caught you - I just wanted to wish you a Happy 39th Birthday!"  "Hey, thanks! But I'm only 38." "No, I was there - you are 39."
 Because of my muddled night-shift working, insomniac, mommy-brain I trust people who say I calculate things wrong. I did the math in my head - 39 - no way! I get out the calculator 2010-1971=39 Oh Man! He's right!  How does someone who gets a A+ on a mid-term not know their own age?  I mentioned this to my younger friend and she was astounded that I could mess that up. She swears her parents have NEVER forgotten their own ages. However, an intelligent business man friend of mine spent his entire 39th birthday telling everyone he was 40!  Have you ever forgotten something about yourself like that? Is it because it's about myself that I can't remember? It's not on the school calendar, not blinking on  my e-mail reminders - it's just about me. How about it - anyone else?
Thursday, August 26, 2010

discrimination - the "short" version

I tell ya' I can't win!  Being just under 5ft2in I suffer a barrage of discriminating comments. I went to the boys' school at the end of the school year to have lunch with them and watch them run track. I felt a hand on my shoulder and was told by the principal, "remember we take off our hats!" I turned and faced Mr. Smith and we both started laughing when he saw me face to face!  The next day I was looking for my 4th grader, wearing my "visitor" badge and a teacher asked me to get out to recess with that stern, "do you know where you need to be?!" comment we give kids who are trying to bend the rules while everyone else is occupied.

So last week, of all days (my 39th birthday) I took my 5 year old, Dakota, to stand in line with me to sign in for registration at MSU. We waited in the line with our last name initial and all I needed was to show up, sign in and prove I was there. It was a formality I had to cover since I withdrew last year and re-enrolled as a transfer student. After a 10 minute wait in the student line, wearing my new black and orange backpack, I got up to the table and announced my name. The twiggy sophomore helpers looked at me and said, "The parents line is over there." I gave her a raised eyebrow look and said loudly, "I'm a STUDENT!"

I decided I'm going to embellish a reversable hat. When I wear it to the middle school, I'll wear the "NOT A STUDENT" facing out. When I go to the college I'll wear the "NON-TRADITIONAL STUDENT" side facing out. Then maybe people will get a clue!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I got my birthday wish!

Snickers Cake
My birthday is this week and since we'll be super busy, Chris wanted to celebrate on Sunday. So, after church he sent me to my room for a minute and when I came out there was a Snickers Cake with candles lit and a gift bag that I was hoping contained some awesome jewelry I'd hinted for (it did). The cake read, "Happy 29th Birthday, Leah!" and the candles were 3 and 0! They also gave me a hilarous card about little kids thinking I'm old. It said, "What do they know - they eat paste!" Too funny! It was fun to have them all sing to me this year.  When I was blowing out the candles, Josh (who knows me too well) remarked, "I bet I know what she's wishing for - to catch a fish!" Yep, he got me - that's exactly what I was wishing.

Gallatin River
I packed a zillion pb&j's, two bags of chips and 7 cans of pop and off we went to the Gallatin forest to the most beautiful fishing access. I caught one!  How often do we ever get our birthday wish?
My Fish-Wish!
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Join the Adversary Virtual Launch Party!

Hey everyone - it's here! The sequel to Minder, Adversary is being launched over at The Disgruntled Bear.  Join me in sharing the excitement for the release of Adversary.  She's having an awesome giveaway at her site to celebrate the release!  Here's a quote from Goodreads:
The second book of the Ganzfield series. Things are more dangerous than they seem at Ganzfield, and not everyone will survive. Does Maddie have what it takes?See what happens next in the sequel to Minder.
 I haven't read my copy yet as it just came today, but I'll post a detailed review when I'm done. I loved Minder so much, I just know Adversary will be thrilling! As a reader, she knows what you are thinking! You can get your copy at: Amazon.  Also, check out the Ganzfield Fan site to watch the Minder trailer,enjoy all her fantastic links, learn about the Ganzfield series. She will not be leaving us hanging - I hear she may have as many as 7 books in this series!

And before I go - a little shameless self-promotion! I'm on pages 70 &71 as Aunt Leah and wrote the prayer that she's thinking. I can't wait to find out what it was really about. I only had a little "hint" from Kate Kaynak as to the situation. Thanks Kate for including me in your work!
Monday, August 23, 2010

Stitches Happen.

It's a fact, when you have kids - stitches happen! 

Thursday night we arrived early at the park to set up for VBS. Within 5 minutes I heard a cry and we turned around and Dakota was under a tipped over table with water jugs all around him. He had been trying to get  a drink and I assume pulled on the jug enough to tip the table on his face. I had to have his dad take him to Urgent Care for stitches while I tried to keep the other umpteen kids VBS-ing and try to calm Wyatt down because he was wigging out over the injury. I didn't want up the drama by our whole family (plus the extra boy I brought) making chaos in the waiting room (We've been asked to leave before). It was better to keep it calm with just dad there.

The best part about the night was when Dakota returned with his three stitches in his eyebrow - we ran to each other and I scooped him up and welcomed him back. I told him our neighbor was there and she was making him a tie-dye shirt and asked if he wanted to finish it? He said yes! What a trooper. He went right back to the activities and on with life.

Even though I was on the phone texting them questions the entire time they were at the Dr. -when we were out of earshot I asked how it went and if he cried. Chris said he didn't cry, but when the doctor asked him what had happened to cause the big gash in his eyebrow he replied, "My brother, Wyatt, hit me!"
Thursday, August 19, 2010

VBS Gone Wild!

Is that an OXYMORON?  Is it possible for Vacation Bible School to be a place for a mom to go wild?  Let's just say I see a lot of moms and dads having a ball singing and dancing in the park with their kids.  Adults screaming cheers to kids to run relays with water balloons or eggs. I wonder if I'm having more fun than the children?! Our kids' pastors  are dressed as mad scientists doing strange experimements that involve water balloons, eggs, orbs (what's an orb?)" just stick your hand in this jar here" (that looks like water) but it's full of clear orbs and feels like slimy eyeballs.  Or, "Here, close your eyes and taste this!".

They are using all kinds of experiments and skits to get the word of God into the hearts and minds of these tiny people. So, instead of staying home the last week of school, organizing and cleaning, we are all whooping it up in the park, making tie-dye shirts, getting soaked in the sponge throw and looking forward to the red team/green team tug of war after the bbq and the grand finale - someone gets to put a pie in the kids' pastor's face! AHAAAAAAAHAHA!  Too bad it won't be me, but I'll be sure to have my husband ready with the camera.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Baby Shower Gifts for the Expectant Parents of Boys

If it's a girl - no brainer. Run to your nearest Target and scoop up anything pink and frilly, right?  If your friend is having a boy though....a whole new set of guidelines apply.  It's not Target you will be going to, head over to your nearest Home Depot and you'll have it covered for his first 5 years of life:
Survival gear Gift List:
Spackle, spreader and intruction video
Duct tape
Magic Eraser
Large Plumbing Snake
Plastic Sheeting (to tape on the wall behind the toilet-potty training tool)
Band Aids
Multiple keys to bathroom doors
Sand Paper
Washable wall paint
Extra flip locks for the tops of doors

I think that about covers it! 

Oh, and a small screwdriver and wire snips to open all the toy trucks he's going to get! (who knew they put 8 pieces of wire twisties to hold each one in the box?)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Book Review - Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken



Right off, I fell in love with this book! It started with the cover. I mean, just LOOK at all the bright colors mixed with the dark background - and Sydelle and her pure white skin. Even her name - Sydelle! Her personality shines just like her cover .

Right away she finds herself swept away by a young wizard named, Wayland North. Already his name is taking us somewhere.  She embarks on a journey with him to stop a war that would destroy her homeland and even though at first she is disgusted with Wayland and the authority he has over her, she slowly discovers his weaknesses and a friendship is born.  Right away she made me love the youthful wizard, too. Sydelle makes you wish that just once you could travel by "twisting" - even if the wizard "stinks"! Just read this excerpt from chapter three:
"Well, have you ever thought of bathing?" I asked, turning away. "No one wants to hire a wizard who smells worse than their outhouse.  And who knows what creatures are living in that hair?"

Why do I need to brush my hair, anyway?" He lifted his arm and gave a few experimental whiffs. "And I smell wonderful. All manly and whatnot."
At first, their travels are mixed with extreme disasters, like landslides and storms, but also peppered with magic- dark and otherwise. Later, each step is purposeful and life-changing for the main characters.

As the story unfolds and the pace quickens, many aspects from the beginning of the story are woven together just like the title. There are kings and queens, sorceresses, castles, boats and battles between wizards. It ends with a huge twist - even though it's not a cliff-hanger it will send you searching to see if there's a sequel!  The only question I had about the characters was if they had enough bonding interractons to justify Syd's deep loyalty to North. I would have liked to have dug a little deeper into Syd's feelings. Still, Alexandra Bracken has written the perfect fantasy novel. It's colorful, fun, whitty, clean,exciting,scary, suspensful and romantic.  I can't wait to see what she writes next!

I give this ***** 5 stars!

Available Here
Sunday, August 15, 2010

What's that smell?

So, my van's full of stuff from still from the baptism a week ago. We
brought lifejackets to swim in the pond after, fishing gear, inner tubes and kickboards. The last two times I got in my car I had a little talk with myself, "I have GOT to take that stuff out!".  The whole family went in it this morning and yep, we all agreed - stinky! Not just a little stinky - sour and getting worse as each day gets hotter kind of stinky! Since we were entertaining the boys, when we were done I knew they'd hop right to the task when I reminded them to unload the van when we got home.......Here's what the smell was.......................................................

It gets better! I was thinking it was one of those parenting moments that many non-parents will not have the pleasure of even imagining so-I wanted to share the "joy". I needed a photo of the worm containers and asked Dustin where they were.  He replied, "In my room." .......boys!
Saturday, August 14, 2010

3 outta 4 ain't bad!

So, now that the boys have a little gasoline in their veins, they are looking for a chance to go fast and as Dustin keeps saying, "I'm gonna drift!"  So this morning we finally took Dustin to use his Go-kart passes he's had for a year. To our surprise, they let Wyatt go too (He's 7 1/2 and a major gear-head already).  Here they are.....

We did a post-race interview and their comments were, "WICKED!", "AWESOME!", AND "SA-WEET!"

We didn't have as much success entertaining Dakota (5 1/2)though, he wanted to play an arcade race game and after owning a Playstation I'm sure he was disappointed that it only lasted 2 minutes. So, we took them to the Crazy Days celebration at my work with the free bounce houses and he said, "Yaaaaay", then when he was directed to the one with the preschoolers "I want to go home - that's for babies!"

So, now the boy want to ride the little 4 wheeler we got from their uncle years ago. It is so difficult to start we haven't had it going in a few years......I have a feeling today's the day!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Literally, just a month ago, he taught him to ride the bike without the training wheels

So often I forget to teach the younger ones things we taught the older ones when they were even younger. That's what the older brothers are gifted in - knowing when to let the little birdies spread their wings...

Of course I did e-mail picts to my husband at work, knowing he couldn't do anything about it and (shhh! I also let my older son whack down a huge weed with a hunting knife!)
Thursday, August 12, 2010


Boy, I love that Jeff Kinney who that wrote Diary of a Wimpy Kid for creating the "Cheese-Touch"!  For those of you who don't steal your kids' books or watch kid movies, the Cheese-Touch is an even more modern, hip, and effective way of playing "cooties". Any kid that touches the rotten cheese on the playground has it and immediately becomes a social outcast. Everyone screams and runs, leaving the cheese-touch kid aaaallloooooooone! If that kid is tired of being the outcast, all he or she needs to do is touch another kid and then THEY have the Cheese-Touch. So that's exactly what I'm going to do to get some alone/down-time. I'm off to the fridge. How long does it take for feta to mold???????
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Love Is.....Rock Solid

Dustin brought this to me this weekend. At least for now, while he's 11 I am still his first love!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What is it with "Mom's quiet time"?

Ah, the coveted "Quiet Time". A time to pray, read, blog.  As a mom of 4 boys, it's something that has to be fought for. Even my mom commented at 11:30PM, "Wow, I guess you really don't get any quiet time !" Some days I feel like Igrane The Brave. I feel like I have to put on a suit of armor, get on a horse and ride off to fight the quiet-time-eating-dragon!  I wonder if Cornelia Funke would do me the honor of rewriting her story so Igrane (me) slays my dragon and rides back to the castle, pulls up the drawbridge and heads up the tower to devour some delicious "single-thought-at-a-time-in-my-head-time".


1: early riser boy, Dakota.  He senses a shift in the air pressure when I cross the livingroom to my lukewarm coffee pot and "PING!" He's on the hunt for mom and  a bowl cereal. He accompanied me through every single paper I wrote for my writing class this year and chattered away as I wrote rough drafts,edited, proofread EVERY paper. I consider that my "bootcamp training" for being a teacher. (I love the little guy so much I do appreciate his chatter- after breakfast)

2:wish-I-was-an-early-riser-Wyatt.  Has more than once interrogated and instructed me with these words, "Mom, do you  get up way early before everyone else? Well, wake me up ok? I want to have cereal and play outside!"

I'm really wearing this as I write!
3:houseguests  I love em' but only after 6:30am and one cup of coffee. A few years back, one guest asked, "Do you and Chris get up early for coffee? Like 5:30am? Well, wake me up! I'd LOVE to have coffee with you guys!" (how do I type out a nasal-y-not-a-chance-snicker? phnnnnkkknsh!) I've also had a 5:30 am request to charge an electronic device "since you're up"  by a housguest  that got up, requested, went potty, and went back to sleep.

4:pets Even my dog wants to get up early and be taken out when I tiptoe by. However recently, I've volunteered to babysit two lovebirds for the summer that "SQUAAAAAK" the second they hear the chime of Windows7 on my laptop. I find myself going outside and closing the door behind me so I can concentrate on projects. These guys literally rattle my eardrums. The neighbors three houses away laughed and said they can hear them!

5:friends  On the first morning that the boys did not have summerschool (their official first day of summer) they were blissfully sleeping late (except Dakota) and an old neighbor boy was staying with some friends for a week, comes over and knocks on their bedroom window, knocks on the front door and makes the dog bark.  A while later, a very considerate neighbor boy is sweetly tip-toeing on the porch to see if we are up yet. I peeked my head out the door and let him know the boys were still in dreamland. I had yet to get through that first cup of coffee or semi-quiet before the first boy returned to knock again and get the dog barking.

It's not that I don't love all these pets and people,actually I'm thankful that we've finally made friends and our boys are in demand -  it's just those moments when I try to sneak in some quiet that I wish the sandman would visit them all, human and animal, and sprinkle some sleepy-dust - just enough for me to shake off my grogginess with a cup of joe, then I throw open the front door welcome them all to buzz in and out for the day.

So that explains why many of my posts happen at 2:30 AM and why my interrupted thoughts look like Morse Code...---...----..---!

How about you all, how do you sneak in your quiet time?
Sunday, August 8, 2010

From Dedication to Baptism

Wow , it's been 12 years since we had Josh dedicated at Faith Chapel. I remember it like yesterday! It was Superbowl Sunday, 1998 and Pastor Stan was commenting that Josh was probably not only rooting for the Packers - he was "gonna BE a Packer!" because at 1 1/2 he was a pretty BIG boy. Fast forward 12 years, Josh is now 13 and made his decision today to be baptised. I was upstairs at church whooping it up with the little ones and teaching them about Noah's Ark and at the end of class my husband informed me that Josh wanted to be baptized today at the Pastor's pond with the others.

 I put him through the the whole "are you sure you are not doing this to impress your friends?" routine. I tested him thoroughly, told him he couldn't even ask if his friends would be there - even said he had to approach the pastor himself and proclaim his readiness and he headed right for him. The baptism was like being surrounded by family members declaring their allegiance to uphold their brothers and sisters, like we should all be wearing our "plaids" like the Scott's. I have a picture of the three pastors in the water with him and think of the future he will have with his dad and these three men guiding him. Then a huge thunderstorm threatened to interfere- with gusting winds, water rippling, thunder, and a huge drop in temperature but we just kept our focus until the last person was immersed. It was the most memorable baptism ever!
Friday, August 6, 2010

Reverting to Nerdism

Returning to college? Need help getting ready for your big day? Here's how to be (ask me how I know) the worlds biggest nerd:

Step 1: Carry a briefcase. Not just any briefcase, your husband's briefcase with the little Swiss Army emblem. Add an extra tote with a handle, because you really need the little calculator in it for the placement exam. All those 18 year olds will be jealous of your trend-setting bag, ditch their backpacks and run to the nearest thrift-store to get their very own "case". 

Step 2: Wear a non-breathable shirt especially on the hottest day of the year. If you forget, you can always go to the student store and purchase one and fyi - they DO sell deoderant (ask me how I know)

Step 3: Wear your cutest pair of brand new shoes - preferrably the stiffest and leave the band-aids at home. It's way cooler to hobble over to the clinic and ask for some.

These steps have been tested and proven true. When the day finally ends, and you limp out to your car or minivan, you may be rewarded by your peers- I found THIS on my minivan windshield.
Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Burri$ Heirloom....

 While my mom was here visiting, she brought me something very special that I wanted since I was a little girl. This beautiful cameo.

This cameo belonged to her, her mother before that, and her grandmother and namesake, Grandma Louise.
Grandma Burris was married to AP Burris (Algie was his real name!). AP owned a prominent company that is still in operation today and a common product used in every single retail store. Let's just say, he had the dough. However, he was a miser. He would not let Grandma Louise buy a postcard or even a stamp because it was "too expensive". He made her re-perk the coffee and recycle the coffee filters. She was resourceful and made my mom a fabulous scrapbook out of construction paper.She also spent time walking to the library with my Mom, taking her to see Wizard of Oz at the theater, and riding the bus. She mostly walked everywhere and eventually slipped on a melted candy bar, broke her hip, and passed away shortly after.

On their 50th wedding anniversary they had a portrait taken together and she's wearing the beautiful cameo he bought her. She finally had something of value to pass down and I was very excited that after all these years, I would be the lucky recipient! I mean, since I was a little girl I wanted it. How old would I be when it was finally passed on? Just look at how her hair flows! I thought it was so unique - NONE of my friends wear cameos. I could be a real retro-trendsetter, and when my friends asked about it I could rattle on about how it was passed down four generations -  to me. Do families still pass down "family-jewels"? (go ahead, laugh - not THOSE kind of jewels - I'm a girl!)

It gets better. Out of curiosity, my parents had it evaluated before my mom's trip to visit us. It had been so long, it might be a good idea to know it's monetary worth while passing it down. We're thinking, maybe $800? just guessing. She presented it to me, reminded me of all the stories along with b/w photos.

I will treasure the cameo always, especially since she then shared the best family secret EVA!

To our surprise.....the evaluator informed us.....ready for this?  Wait for it.....

It's a FAKE!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Minder Review and Author Interview with Kate Kaynak!

Hey everyone! Today is the most exciting day ever at my blog. After winning the "Minder Launch Party" and a signed copy of the book, I am thrilled to share my review and author interview with the amazing Kate Kaynak! If you have not picked up a copy yet, you have got to get one. Click Here. Also visit to watch her intriguing book trailer.
Minder is a quick read for some, but I took my time. I wanted to savor the book and wasn't ready to let go of the main characters, Maddie and Trevor, until most of the summer had passed. Fortunately, the sequel Adversary will be out August 20th . I will try not to spoil the story here. Minder shares a story about Maddie, a girl who discovers that she has the ability to hear what people are thinking, project thoughts into peoples minds, as well as overload their brains with energy if she feels threatened. After an horrific attack on her by neighborhood boys causes her to fry their minds, the authorities at the Ganzfield facility discover her ability and whisk her away, making her one of their students. She meets other students with a variety of abilities, some like her - many fear her, but none connect with her like Trevor. He also has unique abilities, and they are drawn to each other like superpowered magnets. I would not want to stand in their way! Trevor's character is written in a way that you immediately fall in love with him too. Even with Maddie's ability to read his thoughts, he remains unashamed of his humanness and humble in every way.

When I finished the book, I saw this image in my mind of a brightly colored quilt made of tiny, wildly-patterned squares with burn marks, tears and mended scars and zig-zagging top threads that travel outside their boundaries. Each square represented to me a student sharpening their ability and they were all sewn together making one huge, messy blanket of safety for the rest of us. The story interwove their abilities and personalities, and then put them all to the test when one of their students is put in grave danger. The story characters are witty, charming, deep, strong and committed to each other and acting with integrity for the greater good.
 Kate Kaynak writes in a way that makes you feel like you are part of their conversations. Her imagery is very strong and memorable. There are a few villans that are just as creepy and evil as any can get. The story starts out with one character, builds friendships between some of the main and supporting characters - both peers and authority figures, develops a unique and emotionally transparent romance, adds some seriously thrilling and exciting adventure as well as some drama, making my chest tighten with fear for the character's life.

I will not only give this book 5 stars ***** I will be giving it an extra star* for "I could read this again right this minute" Without further ado, let's get to the interview questions and answers.

L: Your bio says you went to Yale and taught psychology around the world. Can you share what inspired you to become a writer? (I'm so glad you did!)

K: Thanks! I've been writing since I was in high school, but I never wrote longer stories until I became a stay-at-home mom. Even though I actually have LESS time, I NEED the intellectual stimulation to keep my sanity!

L: With three very young children underfoot, how to you find quality time to write?

K: I write after the kids go to bed at night, and, if I'm lucky, I also get an hour or so before they wake up in the mornings. I find that I don't have time for TV anymore, although I do make time for some good books--I LOVED Linger, and I can't wait for Mockingjay!

L: Please describe your favorite writing place:

K: My grandparents sold us their house a few years ago. My grandmother's old study has become mine--it has three walls of floor-to-ceiling bookcases, a comfy chaise lounge, and a resident cat. It's the perfect place to settle in with my laptop.

L: Your favorite author?

K: I have too many to pick just one--Orson Scott Card, Jane Austen, J.K. Rowling, Maggie Stiefvater, Gail Carriger, Scott Westerfield, Connie Willis, Kim Stanley Robinson, and on and on.

L: Who do you identify with more, the plucky Maddie or the sensitive Trevor? Or are they really two parts of a whole person? Is that why they are a perfect match?

K: I'm very much like Maddie, and Trevor's partially based on my husband. They're actually a perfect match because I used Elias Porter's Motivational Values System as part of my character development, and they are polar opposites on the personality chart, which means they really do complete each other.

L: If you could give your husband, someone that you vowed to spend the rest of your life with, a superpower from your book or one you thought up, what would it be (G-rated;)?

K: LOL on the G-rated warning! I think he'd do really well as an RV (remote viewer), since he's always asking if I've seen where he's left his keys and stuff.

L: When you wrote Minder, did you plan for there to be a romantic theme along with the special powers or did it just develop?

K: The two themes evolved together. I'd read both the Twilight saga and the Sookie Stackhouse books, and it struck me that most books with a telepathic character (Edward, Sookie, etc.) give that person a love interest whose thoughts CAN'T be read. I started thinking about whom a telepath COULD fall in love with. Who'd be comfortable in a romantic relationship with someone who knew their every thought and emotion? I also realized that telepathic romances would develop very quickly, since there'd be no ambiguity or misunderstandings between the two people.

L: There were so many "zingers" in the book - What's your favorite quote from Minder?
K: I have a few, like:

"Where is that? Hell?"

"I snorted. "Close?New Jersey."

"Bad Maddie. Mean. No biscuit."

"Ah, caffeine?the other drug that enhanced my mental powers."

L: Will we be reading more about Maddie and Trevor in the next four books or will you be moving us on to other Ganzfield students?

K: I've completed the first three books, and I'm finishing the revisions on the fourth. These are all from Maddie's perspective. I think I'll finish the major plot arcs in the sixth book, and I'm considering writing the seventh from Seth's POV. I may do more from Maddie's viewpoint later on, though--I love writing from inside her head!

L: Will Maddie meet Seth in Adversary?

K: He's too sensitive to her thoughts--it'll hurt him if she gets that close.
(Notice that's not a "no.") :)
L: One last question. This book was so in-tune to what I love to read and how I think. Do YOU know what I'm thinking?

K: LOL, Leah! Actually, I wrote Minder because it's the kind of book *I* like to read. I think it means we're kindred spirits.

Thank you so much, Kate, for taking the time to answer my interview questions. This has been so enlightening. It's amazing learning what it took to write Minder. I'm counting down to August 20 for Adversary. I better let you get back to your fabulous writing in your cozy den, surrounded by endless bookshelves!
Sunday, August 1, 2010

To Watch a Dream Forming

Last Friday, I took the four boys a small town airport nearby to a "Fly In". My older/middle son loves airplanes so much he's planning to be a pilot. He even plans to own an airplane one day and talks about saving up for one. We arrived during their slow time and many of the pilots were sitting under their wings in the shade - all willing to talk about planes, flying, airplane maintenance with my son. My favorite pilot team took the time to explain how to build a career in aviation, how to use the military to get training and his pilot's license. The look on his face every time he got in a cockpit for a photo was priceless!  The entire event was one of those wonderful parenting moments that I have the privilege of experiencing. Even though I make lots of jokes about parenting all the time, this was one of those exciting moments for me as a mom - none of them fought or even touched a plane without permission. Next year we'll go back and get him on the list for a flight in his favorite plane - the 1928 Travel Air
This pilot takes passengers for $25 each!

Shout Out to C3 Church!

 Today was a fabulous day at C3 church! If you ever need to hear the word, you are always invited to C3 at . I just want to give a shout out and thank you to the fabulous worship team that got us under way. I find myself singing the songs all week long and consider it a privledge to be there for worship with them each Sunday. We had a guest speaker, Pastor Simon McIntyre from Sydney, Australia. His message delivered the tools we all need to move forward in doing the work we need to do to lead people to Christ.  He taught us that faith is a journey, that when we ask how we are going to get through rough times - we just need to get through it - live it! That's how we grow, by gaining faith in God through our experiences. He talked to us about working through our fears and not letting inconveniences stop us from doing the will of God. He left us with much to think about this week. What's holding you back? What inconveniences keep you from walking the walk and stepping out in faith?