Category Archives: Oh, Baby!

Surviving Five

Alvie Bean turned five on Saturday. Because I have clearly lost my mind, I agreed that he could have a birthday party. And invite a bunch of friends. And they could come to our house.

Due to a frosting fuck-up, Alvie and I had to make a run to the store for *gasp!* store-bought frosting. I know–I am deeply ashamed. (I should’ve made the frosting the day before and thrown it in the fridge, but nooooo….)

Even with the inferior frosting, the cake turned out pretty okay, I think.

There were approximately 100 (or roughly a dozen) kids between the ages of 2-7 at our place for two hours. They shrieked and yelled and ran and ate and played and fought and had a delightful time.

There was a piñata!

And a “pin the pokeball on the charizard” game (I got zero pictures of that). And, of course, cake.

And presents. And rooms full of feral monkeys. (One parent, after peeking into L’s room, said “It’s like Lord of the Flies in the there.”)

Overall, I think a good time was had by all. Even me, once I finally got to drink that glass of wine I poured.

After the excitement wound down and the birthday boy was released from his room for a post-party cat-kicking attempt, the Beer Guy and I took Alvie out to dinner. (The Bean is enamored of the Beer Guy. “I’ll have water to drink, because that’s what C is having.” or “I used to like Ninjago, but now C & I prefer Pokemon.” or “We’re going to build the Burj Khalifa together and we will not need your help, Mommy.”)

It was a lovely weekend (the Burj Khalifa did, indeed, get built by my two favorite guys with zero assistance from me). Alvie got so many lego sets and drawing kits and spent Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning working on his first still life.

Still Life with Beer Bottle

“Mommy – please put this picture on the internet so I can be a famous still life artist.”

My boy has grown up so very much, but, as he told me this morning on the way to preschool, “Mommy, you can still call me ‘baby’ sometimes. Just not in front of my friends.”

Okay, baby…I’ll try to remember.

Freshly hatched (April 2012)

First Birthday – just getting into that whole “walking” thing

2nd birthday – he’s always liked drawing…

My Alvie-saurus in the Dinosaur Train birthday shirt for his 3rd birthday

4th Birthday boy prepping for his train party…

And now, so very big. He’s grown up so much in the last year.

This kid…my heart.

Five Years with Alvie Bean

Dear Alvie,

Tomorrow, you’ll turn five years old. You love your birthday and have been looking forward to this milestone for quite some time. I’m pretty sure your excitement over both mine and the Beer Guy’s birthdays was because that was two less birthday barriers before you turned five.

You are such a wonderful boy. It’s been a hard year, and we’ve had some rough times, but through it all, you’ve stayed affectionate, kind, and oh-so-curious.

April 2016

You’ve grown so much this year–both physically and intellectually. You dress yourself everyday (even socks, which were challenging for a long while). Your style isn’t necessarily my style, but you definitely have one. Thanks be to Thor, though, you’ve moved passed that “all shirts must be blue and all pants must be black or grey.”

May 2016

You are, as always, both the most infuriating and most delightful person I’ve ever known. You’ve figured out that one of the quickest ways to get out of trouble is to give me a hug and tell me you love me. It doesn’t always work, but it melts my heart.

June 2016

We had so much fun this summer. Between the backyard sprinkler and the water  park at the park two blocks away and time spent with your BFFs at the park and the pool, it was some good times.

July 2016

I spent as much time as possible outside with you this summer–complicated by the ridiculous heat Portland experienced. We gardened, we swam, and we got ice cream from the creepy, off-key ice cream van (a first for both of us!).

When it was too hot for outside, we built legos, and you started showing an interest in drawing. You’ve gone from barely drawing in September, to drawing childish square/triangle window-less houses in October, to completely recognizable Tower Bridges (complete with Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben).

This was December – his skills are even more mad now.

In August, we took a trip! We flew on an airplane all the way to South Dakota to visit Grandma and Aunt Liz. You did so well on 3/4 of the airplanes. You were polite, charming, and well-behaved.

August 2016
On the plane!

It was a fantastic trip. You met your great-grandma, several great-aunts and uncles, my good friend Marcy and her family, got to see trains, waterfalls, and swim in the largest natural lake in South Dakota. There was the small incident of air-sickness on the first leg of our return trip, but even barfing on a plane, you managed to maintain your equanimity and charm…those flight attendants were so nice to you.

September 2016

You developed an unholy affection for all things Pokemon. I don’t understand it–although I don’t particularly mind it as a tv show (it’s better than Daniel Tiger, that’s for sure), I don’t get the attraction. But I’m sure it won’t be the last time I don’t understand your interests. Fortunately, I don’t need to understand–I only need to support.

October 2016
Ash Ketchum caught all the candy

Autumn was hard for us. Mama was stressed, you were stressed, no one was sleeping, and our routine was all messed up with the various holidays. You really enjoyed participating in all the pre-election excitement. You helped me drop off our ballots, we painted our finger and toenails in patriotic colors, and we made election party cupcakes. (We’ll not talk about the rest of that.)

November 2016

It was hard on all of us, but your excitement about the winter holidays almost made up for it. It was so fun taking you gift shopping and seeing what crazy things you came up for. (The best? Stopping you from buying grandma a pair of socks that said “I’m a delicate fucking flower.” You liked them because flowers. I almost let you get them. Almost. You really need to learn to read, kiddo.)

December 2016

Post Christmas was also an exciting time. First Grandma came to visit and then it started snowing. And snowing. And snowing.

January 2017

Oh – and we moved again! This time, as I’ve reassured you more than once, for good. Not, however, forever. You may not live with us forever. You’ve got 13 more years, and then you’re out of here, buddy! It’s been fun getting your room set up (you have your own desk for all your drawing!) and getting to know new cats. One of the best parts (for me, anyway) is that we’re two blocks from a huge park with a pool!

February 2017
Rainy walk to the pool

The last month has been a countdown to your birthday. Every day we ask Siri how many days it is until April 8. You’ve planned your cake, addressed all your party invitations, and asked every day if any presents have arrived.

I am so excited to pick you up tonight! I didn’t get to see you on your birthday last year, and I’m delighted that I’m getting you for this one.

You have become such a delightful child and I am so pleased that you’re my kid. You are smart, funny, talented, challenging, and kind. The last five years are beyond anything I could’ve anticipated and I know the next five will continue to surprise and challenge and delight me. Most of the time.

March 2017

You’re my favorite, kid. I will love you to the sun and the moon and all the planets and back.

Love,

Mommy

Our super serious “Mom’s taking me away from Pokemon” faces

 

The day is getting right away from me…

This weekend was so busy and my week isn’t looking any less so!

Thursday evening, I did my best to take myself out. (Part of that included literally taking myself out.) I cut my right pinky on a pair of tongs while making dinner for the Beer Guy. Later, I broke a wine glass, and in an attempt to pick up the pieces, stabbed my right thumb with the broken stem of said glass. Later, after being bored to pieces, I talked the Beer Guy into taking me to karaoke. This was not my best decision to date. And then I fell down and sprained the shit out of my ankle, because that’s how I roll.

The "Most Interesting Man in the World" says, "I don't always roll a joint, but when I do, it's my ankle."

I went to the Rose City Romance Writer’s Spring Fling on Friday evening and most of the day Saturday. I’d headed over to meet up with some writers for a pre-conference happy hour, but I couldn’t find them (and didn’t look too hard, people are scary, yo!), but I did spend a very productive hour filling in my new planner, having a beer, and making plans.

A beer, a planner, and a week's worth of plans

The morning session on Saturday (on marketing) was fabulous, I met some great people, and handed out my new cards to just about everyone. I’ve gotten to the point where I can say I’m an author, talk about my book, and encourage people to look into it. I’ve really grown a lot in the last year! I also spent more money on books in two days than in the last few months. Autographed romance novels are a deductible expense, right?

Romance novels by Farrah Rochon and Cecilia Tan

Saturday evening, I had dinner with a friend in town for the weekend. I’d met her at the RT convention last spring, so it’s not surprising that our conversation was about 75% book and writing related.

gin and tonic

There was also a G&T. My first of…more than one…that evening

The Beer Guy had a friend in town this weekend, too, so we hit up karaoke Saturday night (and talked even MOAR books…turns out we have a mutual appreciation for a lot of the same paranormal books and authors).

karaoke screen

I swear the Beer Guy is in that photo behind the inconveniently placed pole

Yesterday was a lot more chill, but I still managed to get a lot done in terms of The Waning Moon (details Wednesday!).

Today is all about errands, little business things (finances, marketing plans, freelance business planning), and wasting spending a great deal of time on a PowerPoint (complete with charts!) that I will be presenting to the Beer Guy tonight. Ideally, all conversations would have an agenda, copious notes, line charts, and trend lines. I have been informed that it’s a little weird, but have decided that I can embrace being a little weird if it enables me to get my point across.

Powerpoint Slide that says "Death by Powerpoint" in blood with a zombie

I swear, it’s not as bad as all this!

I’ll have a book review up tomorrow, some writing updates Wednesday, and my “Letter to Alvie: Five Years” post on Friday. (Thursday will be a surprise for us both!)

 

Monday Miscellany

So much stuff stirring around in my brain right now. SO MUCH. That means bullet points for you!

  • Every time I start to exercise regularly–and I mean every fucking time–I get sick. I have head congestion and a runny nose, which makes it impossible to run because I like to breathe. Breathing while running is hard enough when I feel great. JFC, universe!! Do you want me to be fat and lazy? Because that would be easier for me, and if that’s what my destiny is, I can go ahead and give in.
  • I’m going to do some gentle, non-inversiony yoga today. The purpose is to remind my muscles that we do like to move a bit and keep the habit of carving time out of my day to exercise.
  • BUT SERIOUSLY! WTF‽‽‽ This is monumentally unfair.
  • Other important things: I desperately need a job. If you want to pay me money, let me know. I’ll do anything! (Although, I’d prefer to edit or write or proofread. I’ve done a little bit of those things freelance, and would enjoy doing more.) However, if you need someone to do the weird stuff, I can do that, too.

  • After finishing up the edits (and cutting 25,000 words) on The Waning Moon, I decided to reward myself with a little gaming. I’m not much of a gamer (anymore), but there are a few things I like. It’d been a while since I’d played on my PC (I don’t even use the PC for anything–it just sits around getting dusty and storing old photos of the Bean), and it was a PITA to get everything set up. BUT, finally Saturday evening post Bean bedtime, I was in and playing Dragon Age: Inquisition. I’ve killed some stuff, which is a nice break from writing all day where I also have been killing.

  • The Bean and I have been making bread every weekend he’s here. He’s becoming such a great helper (and I’m almost sincere about that now!) and really enjoys kitchen stuff.

 

  • He’ll be five in less than two weeks, and I’m not sure I’m ready. It’s fun watching him grow up and become his own person, but he’s almost too big for me to pick up (I need him to ‘jump’ when I pick him up), and carry, and hold–although we do our best. He’s been extra cuddly lately, and I’m taking advantage of that as much as possible. I know there will come a day when he doesn’t want me to hold him anymore.

  • This week’s focus is getting the crap stuff having to do with The Waning Moon done–synopsis and blurb. It took 130,000 words to tell the story originally–how am I expected to break that down to a couple pages, much less a couple paragraphs? Once I talk about coffee and tacos, I’m out of space!
  • The first newsletter went out last week with an exclusive peek at one of my favorite amusing bits from The Waning Moon, as well as the first chapter of Raj’s story. Sign up now to learn more about our favorite vampire!
  • If you’ve read The Cardinal Gate and are so inclined, I’d be delighted and grateful if you’d review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.
  • Of course, if you haven’t read The Cardinal Gate, I’d be even more delighted and grateful if you did! (It’s available on Amazon in paperback, ebook, and Kindle Unlimited.)

 

That’s about enough miscellany for today. Have a great week!

 

Three Things Thursday: Alvie Bean Edition

  1. Today I got to spend a couple extra hours with my delightful kid. His ankles are poking out of his pants and his arms and belly are hanging out of his shirt. I don’t even know how time passes so quickly sometimes, but, as he informed me this morning, he will be five years old in 22 days. FIVE.
  2. Speaking of that kid–he’s almost five, so it’s a given that he’s a handful from time to time. But he’s also really at that age where he loves to help. He’s not always the best at helping, but he loves it so I let him help as much as is safe. He helps me make bread, and set the table, and empty the dishwasher…and the other day he addressed his own birthday party invitations. And they’re completely legible.
  3. I’ve pointed out my book to him (I got my stack o’ author copies). The Beer Guy also purchased a book. Alvie Bean was mildly confused about how that book could be the Beer Guy’s because my name was on it. I’m amused by the thought that you can only own books you’ve written yourself. (I’d need a lot less shelf space if that were the case.)

TWENTY-TWO DAYS! (I don’t even know what’s going on here…it looks like he’s about to backhand me. I don’t think that’s the case.)