Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What if I send it in and they don't like it? What if they say "Get out of here, kid. You got no future."?

Back in January, I made a set of goals that just so happen to coincide with the new year. Number 6 on my list was to write down on paper (or at least type into the computer) the children's book that I have had ruminating in my head for several years. So one day a few months ago, I did. I typed it out. And I asked myself, "What now?"

I bought a book about getting books published with lists and lists of publishers and agents. I looked at the book for a couple of weeks. Then I looked at my story again. Then I looked at the book. Finally, I printed out my story. I sent it off to 4 different publishers from the book. It was a scary day. I was like Grace from "Return to Me" trying to mail her thank you letter to the heart donor's family. I just couldn't put the envelopes into the mailbox! I finally let go and off my book went to four different publishers all in New York.

On Monday in the mail, came my first rejection. After careful reading (I'm sure) their editors determined that my story wasn't right for their list. I'm sure all authors are rejected at one time or another. But, what if my story really is stupid? What if it's no good at all? What if it isn't right for anyone's list? And, what the heck is a list?

If you want to read my story, I'll send it to you. I considered posting it but someone might steal it. I don't worry about people getting info about my kids from my blog and stealing them but I do worry about my book. If you read it, you may not criticize. You must, using your most convincing language skills, assure me that it is on it's way to kiddie book stardom. Or at least publishable.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I'm going to be baptized!

Congratulations to Calvin on his baptism on Saturday! It was a beautiful day and a beautiful service. Calvin shared this day with Daniel Benson from the ward. I was thankful that the Spirit could be felt during the service. We were treated to two excellent talks by Daniel's Grandma and Calvin's Uncle. Emily performed a special musical number on the piano. The treats after were very yummy. I am so proud of Calvin and his choice to be baptized!

Calvin and Daniel

Calvin and Dad

The "bros"

Weekly Top Five 4/28/2008

Top Five James Bond Movies

1. The Spy Who Loved Me

2. Dr. No

3. Moonraker

4. You Only Live Twice

5. Live and Let Die

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wilt thou give me a lock of thy jet-black tresses?

I have a favorite bush in my yard. It is in the back corner of our yard. I chose the spot for it because every morning I can look out of the window and I can see it. I love the bush on so many levels. First of all, I love it because it is a Lilac and I love Lilacs. They look beautiful and they smell beautiful. They are my very favorite. I love to bring in a whole bundle of blooms and put them in a vase or pitcher and set them out. Pretty soon the whole room smells like Lilac. Second of all, I love it because my sweet friend Jodi gave it to me. She gave it to me last year and her husband even came over and planted it for me. It was a very thoughtful and inspired gift for her to give. Which leads to the third reason why I love it: She gave it to me on the anniversary of my mom's death. That day is my most hated day and she knows that and she wanted me to know that she cares. It really means so much to me that she cares about me so deeply. Every day since last August, I have looked out the window at that bush which represents to me that I am loved by a dear friend and that my mom is always close by. Since the weather has warmed, I've been going out every day to look at it and see the leaves that are growing and the buds that are forming. I can't wait to see its blooms and smell the fragrance. It makes me feel so loved.

This picture doesn't really do it justice.

Thankful Thursday 4/24/08

1. Lemon

2. Dan in Real Life

3. Nice smelling kid shampoo

4. Daffodils

5. $30

Monday, April 21, 2008

Weekly Top Five 4/21/2008

Top Five Favorite Grocery Stores

I hate big grocery stores. I hate them with a passion. I feel exhausted just thinking about pushing my cart up and down the enormous aisles. It is so tiring. I hate any kind of "Super Marts." I do not want to buy my food, clothing and lawn mower all in one place.

1. Churchills, Toledo, Ohio. I seriously dream of Churchills all the time. The potato salad. The cookies. The nice cashiers and baggers. If I had a million dollars I would reopen it and live there.

2. Country Markett, East Lansing, Michigan. Free Pop while you shop!

3. Sofo Foods, Toledo, Ohio. Meatballs to die for.

4. The Andersons, Maumee Ohio. Technically not a "grocery" store but they do sell food and, breaking an above rule, lawnmowers.

5. Holiday Market, Canton, Michigan. Don't really love it but felt bad about not including anywhere near where I currently live.

I carry your heart. I carry it in my heart.

Today is my sister's 25th birthday. I have been madly in love with my sister since the moment I knew that she was going to be born into our family. I was 8 when she was born and I had longed for a sibling for as long as I could remember. I'll never forget the first moment that I saw her. She was born 12 weeks premature and spent a few weeks in a incubator. At first we could only touch her through the holes in the sides. After a few weeks we could hold her. When she finally came home, I would take care of her for my mom sometimes and pretend that she was my own baby.

The feelings that I have for her are too deep to express almost. She is my friend, my sister, my daughter, my mother, my therapist all rolled into one. The greatest blessing I have been given is to have her living so close to me. I love sharing time with her. I love holding her daughter and sharing motherhood with her. I love her laugh and her smile and her tears and her cry. I have held her in my arms so many times when she has been weeping and she has done the same for me just as many times. She is my perfect compliment. She knows how I feel without me even having to say it.

Some things I never want to forget: walking to the park, the moment I saw her after she wrecked her car, her wedding day, going to mother/daughter events (or skipping them), how strong she was when Dad died, how great she is with my children, how the kids would mess up her room, how she would mess up my room, telling her first that I was engaged to Chris...and so many million other things that make up my love for her.

Anna, Happy Birthday! I love you so much. Thank you for your sisterhood and your friendship.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"I Prefer..."

Lately my good post ideas are coming from Mark and Suzy Brown other people's blogs. I really liked this list idea.

PC to Mac.
Mozilla to Explorer.
Pencil to pen.
Sleeping in to early rising.
Elastic waist to button.
Regular lemonade to pink lemonade.
Raspberries to Strawberries.
Acoustic to electric.
Elevators to stairs.
The Beatles to everyone else.
TV to Movies.
Pie to all other desserts.
Chewy Chips Ahoy to Regular Chips Ahoy.
Sherbet to Ice Cream.
Letterman to Leno.
Paul W. to Mitch Albom.
Kroger to Meijer.
Aldi to Kroger.
Mexican to Italian.
Forests to Mountains.
Farmland to Forests.
Crocs to any shoe.
Barefeet to Crocs.
Roger Moore to Sean Connery
Ohio to Michigan.
Fruit to Vegetables.
White to Wheat.
People who don't know better to people who should know better.
Brad Pitt to George Clooney
Tom Cruise to Brad Pitt.
Chicken in a Biscuit.
Wendy's to McDonalds.
Subway to Wendy's.
Office Max to Staples.
Batman to Superman.
Bowling to ice skating.
Walking to running.
Chilis to Fridays.
Cheetoes to Chips.
Daffodils to Tulips.
8:30 to any other time Church.
Harry Potter to Twilight.
Autumn to Winter.
Spring to Autumn.
Summer to Spring.
Cook to Archuleta.
Cornwell to Grafton.
Homemade to storebought.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I suppose the life of an anorexic duck doesn't amount to much in the broad scheme of things.

Today we went to the Real Life Farm in Canton for a field trip with Spencer's class. It was so much fun! We saw the really sweet baby animals. Spencer got to hold kittens and bunnies. He fed goats and sheep and cows. He also milked a cow and rode a horse. The real life farm is one of my very favorite field trips. I was glad we had such a beautiful day to enjoy it on.

Spencer milking the cow with Farmer Don
Cameron feeding the lambs

Um, Mrs. Heiner, could we have a turn with the kitten?

Spencer and a bunny.

Spencer feeding some kid.

Little tiny baby goat

Lucy was hungry too!

Gavin feeding the goat.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thankful Thursday 4/17/08

1. Little Animal Magnets

2. Joe--a very nice looking addition to the Leslie Science Center field trip.

3. Having a child old enough to babysit

4. Lammy

5. Sunny and 70

Monday, April 14, 2008

Well sure we're friends aren't we?

Yesterday is going to go on record as one of the top 20 experiences of my life. I got to be reunited with an old friend who I hadn't seen in 10 years. Marybeth and I went through all of elementary and high school together. She became my best friend in the 4th grade and we remained together through a lot of stuff until we parted ways for college. She was always a better friend to me than I was to her. She supported me through some really tough times and I never really thanked her for being a solid rock in my life. I let her down more times than I can count. I particularly remember a shouting match we had in our little locker cubby at St. Ursula. She was mad at me for something and I started yelling at her, told her to stop acting like my mother, etc... A classmate walked by and said something like, you guys are too good of friends to let something like this come between you. That is exactly how I feel about our friendship. We are too good of friends to let a boy or a religion or 10 years come between us.

Being with her was the perfect mix of today and yesterday. We reminisced about so many things and shared all the new stuff. I got to meet her husband who you can tell just loves her so much and is such a great partner for her. She is expecting her first child, a girl, in September and she just exudes joy at the prospect of motherhood. She lives outside of Washington DC now and visits her family in Toledo several times a year.

In addition to seeing her, I got to see the rest of her family. Her mother, Mrs. Bauer, who was also my 7th grade teacher. Mrs. Bauer took in my sister and I many times when we needed it. I know she cared about me as I was growing up. I got to see her father, who always called me Jenny Benny. I remember some pretty scary rides to SUA in his van that involved a lot of honking and lane changing. Her sister and niece and a friend were there too. I don't know why, but I had this overwhelming feeling while I was there that this is what it would be like to have a relationship as a grown-up with a mother. Her mom cooked us dinner and kept refilling my drink and was fun to talk to and liked the pictures of my kids. I hunger for a place called home where you can go and be taken care of by the person who loves you more than anything else in the world.

Marybeth and I in high school.

Marybeth, thank you for your friendship. It means the world to me. Let's not let 10 years go by again.

I am the thing from Uranus!!

Calvin had to do a science project involving space for school. This is a traditional assignment for the 2nd graders at Smith. Emily made a model of Sputnik. We even found Sputnik sounds on the internet and integrated them into her display. Christopher did a model of constellations in which we poked white Christmas lights through the display board in the shape of each constellation. When the time came for Calvin to decide on his project, he was set on making a model of his favorite planet. His favorite planet is Uranus.

Uranus has always been my least favorite planet for obvious reasons. The pronunciation is terrible. Before I even learned the connection to a certain body part, I was told the correct pronunciation was something like "Urine us." To me, that is just as bad as the other option. Upon researching Uranus with Calvin we discovered the planet was named after the Greek god of the heavens. I wish they would have chosen another name.

Calvin was oblivious to the potential embarrassment of either pronunciation. He was delighted with his model of the icy blue planet that causes me to snicker like a 4th grader every time I hear the name said.

Close up of Uranus

Now there is a way to be good again...

I saw "The Kite Runner" with my friend Jodi this week. I read the book a couple of years ago and I have really been looking forward to watching the movie. I was not disappointed. The movie was superb. There were elements left out from the book but the film was, for the most part, a wonderful translation of the book. I loved watching the touching relationship between Amir and Baba while they were in America. The most poignant moment in the film for me was when Amir read Hassan's letter as an adult. There were many moments that were painful to watch. If you are a fan of the book, I think you would enjoy the movie.

It's even better if you can watch it while eating a giant bowl of bread pudding.

Weekly Top Five 4/14/2008

Top Five Favorite Male Characters from 80s Movies

1. It begins and ends with Jake Ryan.

2. Lloyd Dobbler

3. Cameron Frye

4. Ferris Bueller

5. Kieth Nelson

Thursday, April 10, 2008

He likes to butt things... with his head.

Happy birthday to Calvin! He's 8 today! Calvin was named after Chris' mission President, Calvin R. Stephens. Part of me thought maybe giving our son a righteous man's name would have made his personality subdued and spiritual. I was wrong. It would be more fitting to say that Calvin was named after Calvin of "Calvin and Hobbes." One side of Calvin is very challenging. Calvin was introduced into the world with a very difficult labor and delivery, (during which he broke his clavicle), became a tenacious toddler, and developed into a child who has no problem finding trouble. Yet on the flip side, Calvin is almost always happy, his intentions are ALWAYS good and you would have a hard time finding a more loyal and truer friend.

Being a third child, Calvin discovered at an early age that he needed to be louder than the other two in order to be heard. He developed a ear-piercing scream that he would use to get my and everyone in a 2 block radius' attention. Even today, the noise that comes out of his mouth seems to be on volume VERY LOUD all the time. He laughs a loud, infectious laugh that seems to come from the tips of his toes.

Calvin also discovered early on that if you run away from Mom while she is tending to Emily and Christopher, she can't run very fast and you might be able to get away. Whether it was down the street or in Sears, he loved to run away.

During a one-week period of his third year, Calvin did all of the following: colored his entire torso, legs and arms with a black permanent marker, swallowed a button, threw Chris' phone in the toilet, shoved an entire set of drill bits through a tiny hole he discovered in the wall so that they were forever trapped behind the drywall and went down the stairs in a poopy diaper one step at a time leaving a nice brown streak all the way down. Because he was so curious, he was always finding things to get into and messes to make.

Once Calvin brought some pill bugs into the house as pets and put them in a drawer to keep them safe. Scared the living daylights out of me.

He has been in the emergency room and to the doctor more times than all of the other children combined. He broke his clavicle at birth, had to be re-circumcised at 1 year old, smashed his fingers in the door at Taco Bell requiring 9 stitches, broke his arm last year and sprained his thumb just this week.

For all his silliness, curiousness and craziness, I love him so much. I love the way he tells a joke and laughs and laughs over it. I love the way he looks like my dad and even has many of his mannerisms. I love the way he does the butt dance. I love how he likes to cuddle and snuggle. I love that he will still kiss me goodbye at school in front of other people. I love that he loves babies and small children. I love that he always wants to help and tries so hard to be good. Most of all, I love him just because he's my Calvin.

Thankful Thursday 4/10/2008

1. The Kite Runner movie

2. Soft baby sleepers with giraffes on them

3. Gamestop

4. Max and Ruby

5. Smarty Pants

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What do you know of my heart? What do you know of anything but your own suffering.

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

I am a bit obsessed with the movies based on Jane Austen's books. I have watched the A&E's "Pride and Prejudice" probably 6 times in the past 2 months. I even got little Christopher interested in it. He is really frustrated with Lizzie and Mr. Darcy. "Why don't they just get married?" My very favorite Jane Austen-based movie is "Sense and Sensibility." I love everything about it. Although I love reading her novels, the movies just bring the characters so much to life for me. I am so happy that PBS has been showing so many of them over these past several months.

Monday, April 7, 2008

My name's Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump.

I saw this post on a friend's blog and had to post it on mine. So fun! Feel free and steal.

1. Your rock star name: Pearls Express (first pet, current car)

2. Your gangsta name: Peach Crocs (fave ice cream flavor, favorite type of shoe)

3. Your Native American name: Yellow Giraffe (favorite color, favorite animal)

4. Your soap opera name: Lynn Toledo (middle name, city where you were born)

5. Your Star Wars name: VOSJE (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 of your first name)

6. Superhero name: Pink Soda (2nd favorite color, favorite drink)

7. NASCAR name: Clarence Norman (the first names of your grandfathers)

8. TV weather anchor name: Kijowski Kalamazoo (your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)

9. Spy name: Summer Lilac (your favorite season/holiday, flower)

10. Cartoon name: Kiwi Pajamas (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now)

11. Hippie name: Toast Catalpa (what you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)

Weekly Top Five 4/7/2008

Top Five Favorite Animated Movies

1. Sleeping Beauty

2. Beauty and the Beast

3. Rugrats in Paris

4. The Rescuers

5. The Little Mermaid

Friday, April 4, 2008

Of course you'll still be you in a legal sense, but think of it as a thinner, more attractive, better you than you could ever become without us.

I'm giving a shout out to my husband today. My dear Chris Vos has more will power than anyone I know. He has decided to lose weight and in five short weeks has lost over 20 pounds. He is exercising every morning using his mom and dad's treadmill. He is doing Weight Watchers and is so strong! He doesn't give in to any temptation! It is pretty amazing. I am so proud of him.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thankful Thursday 4/3/08

1. Mano's Hummus

2. Croc's Cell Phone Holder

3. Watching Cam in the foam pit at Michigan Academy of Gymnastics

4. Free Stuff

5. Tiny glass owls

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Random Shots

Here's some fun, random photos that I downloaded off my camera today. Enjoy!

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