Monday, November 28, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays.  What could be better than a day celebrating a bounty of delicious dishes and people coming together as friends and family?  But this year, Thanksgiving has a whole new meaning for me.

I never imagined when we moved out to Seattle in October that I would ever again be hosting Thanksgiving dinner surrounded by our wonderful family.  But it is funny how things work out and as we we drove across the country for the second time in a month (this time back to Ohio), I was already planning for the only time of year our whole family manages to get together.

When all 17 people arrived at our house Wednesday night, I couldn't have been happier.
I don't know how, but on Thursday everything ran smoothly and we actually got the food on the table an hour before I expected. I  think I simply wanted to enjoy every moment.  When my mother-in-law made a toast, tears of joy filled my eyes and I was truly thankful for so many things.

Some of which are:

Being back in our house that is relatively easy to get to from either Michigan or North Carolina.
The cousins all getting along.
Having great helpers in the kitchen.
Having my 90 year old Grandpa with us!
Having a family including in-laws, who all enjoy being together for 4 days!
My husband and kids!

Not even my kitchen faucet breaking in the middle of the holiday would spoil my weekend!

Cousins watching a movie together.

Silliness with fake mustaches 

More silliness

One of my great helpers!


I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend!


Monday, November 14, 2011

One Blue Kimono

One blue kimono and a teenage girl.

One gyoza lesson for 3.

One orange kimono and a teenage girl.

One Japanese language lesson from great uncle.

Having Great Uncle and Aunt from Japan visit ....priceless.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy 11-11-11

Boy those geysers are smelly!
Happy 11-11-11!

Hope you are all having a great day to remember.  I'm sitting at home waiting for my internet to be upgraded! YEAH!  We are finally joining the future with high-speed internet.  

I'm moving along like the tortoise with my Nano project. Hopefully I will make it to the end slowly but surely.  

I thought I would leave you with a few of my favorite pictures from our journey westward and back.

Skating in Sun Valley Idaho :)

Last night in Seattle

Grand Teton National Park

Devil's Tower, Wyoming

Have a great day and enjoy your weekend!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NaNo Day 9 and the Earth Really DoesTurn

Jess, my daughter over at Write Skate Dream, convinced me to take part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  I was a little apprehensive about trying to write 50,000 words in a month because my main focus has been writing picture books with around 500 words!  I figured my pacing would be too fast and I would come to the end of the novel by word 2,000.  But Jess really wanted me to join her in the challenge, so I took the plunge.

Today is Day 9 and I'm 5,122 words behind my daily word count but that's ok because I have written 8,211 words and there is still plenty of story to write!  I'm not worried about winning NaNo.  I'm simply enjoying the process.

Along the way I've learned a few things about my writing too, like I'm not so good at crafting interesting dialogue.  I caught myself too many times using short stiff answers like a simple "thank you" which didn't take the plot anywhere.

I've also learned to rely on what Jess calls a skeleton, which is really a glorified outline, to keep the story moving in the right direction.  The more detailed I make the skeleton, the easier it is to do the actual writing.

The most important lesson I'm trying to master by participating in NaNo is to carve out at least an hour each day to work on my writing projects, instead of running around crazy, trying to get everything else on my "to do" list done before I write.      

I'd love to hear how your projects are going whether you're doing NaNo or not.

Wikipedia photo by Luc Viatour at
The Earth Really Does Turn

I know the Earth is always rotating, but other than the slowly setting sun I don't ever have the chance to see the evidence of its motion.  Last night I had that opportunity.

The evening was warm and we gazed through clear skies to look at the moon in our telescope.  It's dimpled face shone brightly through the lenses.  The craters seemed close enough to reach out and touch.  Captivated by it's beauty, I kept my eyes fixed.  Slowly the moon inched it's way across the eyepiece until it was no longer visible from that position.  I don't know how much time had elapsed, it seemed like only about 30seconds, but there it was in front of my eyes.  The rotation of the Earth.  AWESOME!    

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Journey of a Lifetime... and Insecure Writer's Group

Our route to Seattle
Well October was an interesting month for us.

September 29th- said a tearful "goodbye" to our friends and family in Ohio.

September 30th- packed up the minivan and began our 2600 mile drive West to Seattle, our new hometown.

Along the way enjoyed the sights of Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, gorgeous mountains, and lots of corn.

October 8th- arrived in our Seattle apartment.  Great view of Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier.

Oct 9th- celebrated daughter Alyssa's 13th birthday by going out to breakfast and dinner at some cool restaurants in the city.

Oct 15th- husband realized that job in Seattle was not working out and house hunting was not going well.

Oct 21st 6:00 am Pacific Time- husband got job back in Ohio, resigned from new job.

Oct 21st 8:00 am Pacific Time- packed up minivan and began our 2600 mile journey back East to Ohio, to stay.

Oct 24th- explored Grand Teton National Park in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Oct 25th- blizzard in Wyoming dropping 12-20 inches of snow on our route forced us to explore Park another day.

Oct 26th- saw a beautiful black bear cross the road right in front of us.  AWESOME!

Oct 27th- visited my 97 year old grandma in Cheyenne, Wyoming who I hadn't seen in 25 years.

Oct 29th- we arrived back at our old house in Ohio, which luckily hadn't sold.

Our route back to Ohio

I know this seems like a crazy journey, but in this case it truly was not the destination that was important.  It was all the life lessons we learned along the way.  We realized that although Ohio is not perfect, what we had there was very special and difficult to find elsewhere.  We realized we can drive 5000 miles together and still enjoy each other! And we saw a bear!

OMG there's a bear!

I hope you had a great October!  I 'd love to hear what you were up to.


p.s. I decided to do Nano this year and yesterday I made it to 1725 words!  Yeah!  My username is kjmckendry.  If you want to be my buddy you can click here.

Ohh with all this going on I almost forgot today was the first Wednesday of the month which means Alex J Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Group post.

Over the last few months, with everyone's encouraging words from the Insecure Writer's Group and the Campaign over at Rachael Harrie's blog I feel like I grown as a writer.  I have tried lots of new ideas, not all of them have worked but at least I was writing.  I even got some new inspirations for stories.  Last year I didn't think I had what it took to participate in NaNoWriMo, but yesterday I took the plunge.  So today I just want to say, "Thank you" to all my followers and fellow bloggers who spend time to support their fellow writers.  You're awesome!  Now stop reading my extra long post and get back to writing your novels! :)