Category Archives: Writing

Seven

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And just like that, today she is seven. Or will be, actually, at 1:55pm this afternoon. She was bummed when she learned she wasn’t technically seven yet. But we let her open her presents this morning anyway.

There are no words for how I feel about this kid. We had no idea what we were getting into that snowy March day back in 2009. But nearly every day since has been full of laughter, smiles and maybe some candy. She is full of love and energy and can whip up a scrumptious smoothie. She’s brave and adventurous, sometimes too much for her Mom to handle. She is compassionate and thoughtful and adores her rescue pup and her oversized goldfish.

So, thanks, kiddo. For being so amazing. And for making my days so much brighter. We love you!

Holding on to Six

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In two days my daughter will turn seven. SEVEN. S.E.V.E.N! It sounds so old. It’s so far from preschooler or toddler or infant. She’s a solid grade-schooler if that’s even a term.

Just this morning I told a woman, “she’s just six.” Years past I would have said “almost six” or “four in three days.” But for some reason, that I’m too afraid to admit, I’m holding on to six.

Six is fun. It’s a fun word to say, with an x hanging on the end. Not many words use an X, and even fewer (yep, your mind went there, mine did too, but we’re talking about my daughter here), put most of their emphasis on that greatly underused consentant.

Hell, Six is even a fun word to look at. The contrast between the curvy S and the straight-laced, yet unexpectedly fun X? And the little I with it’s little dot. It’s just a fun word.

But seven? I’m not ready for seven. I’m not ready to visit the land of the tween, even if it’s just for quick moments. And I’m not ready to have a second-grader. But really, I’m not ready to say goodbye to six. To say goodbye to the baby that surprised me every day. The baby that asked to be held. The baby that I could bring with me wherever I went. The baby that I carried with me for 10 months.

Which is why, last night at 11:24 when she woke with a nightmare I didn’t even question her request. Of course you can sleep in our bed. Of course I’ll let me cuddle into my side, rest your head in my armpit, lay your hair across my face.

Those moments come far less often than they have in the past. I’m hanging on to every one of them. And for the next two days, I’m embracing six. And every unexpected surprise that comes with it. For 48 hours, I’m holding on to Six.

I’m Over at Blogher

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A few weeks ago I saw a comment on a Facebook post looking for mothers who feel strongly about the danger of concussions in youth sports. As a hockey player and mother of a soccer/hockey player, I offered the other side of the conversation. About how Husband and I are not holding Daughter back from sports she loves because Something Might Happen.

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Well, Blogher responded. And I wrote something. Now it’s live. And I’m so excited. Enjoy!!

http://www.blogher.com/worth-risk-3

A New Year…

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The last few weeks have been spent shopping and baking and wrapping and celebrating. And we’re not done. We’re having friends over for New Years Eve and then our annual Best Neighborhood Ever Progressive dinner is this weekend. Thankfully, I was able to take some time off to slow down and fill up. I’ve been writing a bit, thinking a lot, and reading constantly.

I also signed up for a class through Creative Nonfiction and I can’t wait for it to start. The class I chose requires me to write 300 words each day,  Monday-Friday. I can find 300 words, right? I KNOW I can crank out 300 words. Just these two paragraphs are 110 words already. Now it’s at 115, see how easy?

And with the new year comes a fresh attitude and hopefully some fresh snow. I’m not making any resolutions this year, I’m not going on a diet, I’m not going to tell myself I’ll do something just to do something. I’m just going to try to smile more, eat more vegetables and slow down.

So here’s to a New Year. Enjoy!

(179 words)

Blogging for Books: The 13th Gift

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I requested this book, the 13th gift by Joanne Huist Smith, nearly a year ago. Right after the holidays. And after all the planning and gift wrap and sequins and bows I really had no interest in reading a book about Christmas. Yet here we are, in early November and I’m starting to plan Thanksgiving and Christmas (I know, I’m one of those.) I figured it was a great time to set the tone and start thinking about the holiday season!

The 13th gift is a memoir, “A True Story of a Christmas Miracle,” of a family in the wake of the father’s unexpected passing. The author doesn’t go into the details of his death, other than he had a heart condition and passed in his sleep, but rather the book is about how a stranger’s unexpected kindness, in daily gifts, brings the family back together.

At the beginning of the book, Joanne and her three kids are falling apart. School is skipped, meals are not made, emotions are raw. But 12 days before Christmas they receive a gift on their front step. Each day another gift appears. At first Joanne does not like the gifts, but after a few days the gifts bring the family back together until the family realizes that even though they lost a husband/father, there are still people that love them and are looking out for them.

By the time Christmas day arrives, the family has put together a holiday to remember. And by the time I finished the book, I was in the holiday spirit. I’m making lists and planning meals (because yes, I’m one of those.) Joanne and her family lost an integral part of their family that year, but with the help of strangers, and loved ones, they were able to find themselves and each other.

If you’d like to read it, leave a comment and I’ll share it with a lucky reader. I can’t be the only one starting my holiday shopping already. 

 

And then it was Fall…

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It feels like just yesterday that we were splashing around in the pool, looking for relief from the heat. And then this morning, the calendar tells me that it’s Fall. Or Autumn, the, is it more formal seasonal term? Or is it more prestigious? Either way I love fall. The trees change into an array of colors, the temperatures cool down, things seem to be falling into place for a long winter of hibernating.

Fall also feels like a new beginning. School is in full swing. Work is busier than ever. And I’m taking an online course that is challenging and frustrating but very interesting. It all leaves little time for writing and reading and relaxing.

But that’s exactly why I’m here. I’m aiming to do 90 posts in 90 days again, and when better to kick that off, but the first day of Fall. So here goes. Day 1 is done. Enjoy!

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Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 4.10.56 PMToday I turn 43. 43? Where the hell did that come from? One day I was in my mid-twenties, the next I was 40. And now this? I am grateful that I can celebrate 43. And I am grateful that I was able to celebrate it by swimming a mile and then playing in the pool outside with my family. My mom told all her pool friends it was my birthday, and the daughter quickly followed it up with “She’s 43!”. Geez. It’s a tough crowd.

But I’m glad to say I decided to come back here. To this space. To some writing. I hope to make some changes here and be here more often. I’m happy when I’m here. And I hope you’re happy when I show up.

So, get outside, hug your family and enjoy.

JJN

The First Tooth

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Daughter lost her first tooth this weekend. And her second. They had been loose for a couple of weeks, but the timing of the actual loss couldn’t have been more exciting. We had just ridden the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier in Chicago. She had just struggled to eat a hot dog at a Mexican restaurant overlooking Lake Michigan. The hot dog must have done the trick, because moments after we left the restaurant Husband reached into her little mouth and pulled out that tooth. There was a little bit of blood but a lot of excitement. There were phone calls to the grandparents. There was a posting on Facebook. There was jumping up and down and lots of hugs.

The next day tooth number two started to work it’s way out of her gums. We tried to pull it before she went to bed, but it just bled and didn’t budge. The next morning it was gone. No sign of bleeding and no sign of the tooth. Yet it was clearly not in her mouth. Figuring she swallowed it, we started getting ready for the airport. Thirty minutes later she found it, there in the sheets that we had scoured earlier. Amazing. White tooth, white sheets, found. Little girl happy again.

The tooth fairy found us in Chicago and found us again when we got home. She’s most excited that she lost her tooth on a vacation, and none of us will ever forget that Ferris Wheel. Ever.

Fresh Snow & A Writing Retreat

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We woke up to about five fresh inches of snow on Saturday and it was absolutely beautiful. Even when I was shoveling a path to the garage I thought it was beautiful. Even when I was driving through the streets in my neighborhood, plowing through drifts and piles, I thought it was beautiful. And clearly, when sledding on Sunday with Daughter, I thought it was beautiful.

But before we found ourselves flying down the hill towards a very large tree (we missed it, obviously), I spent most of Saturday with my amazing Writing Group. We gathered at the home of a member, in her beautiful living room, with a roaring fire and we wrote. Each of us had an hour and a topic. There was poetry. There was a Lyric Essay exercise. There were writing prompts. There was reading out loud. There were croissants and coffee and speedy sandwiches.

For the first time in months I put pen to paper and it felt great.

In the coming days (weeks) I’ll share some of the prompts. And if I’m feeling bold I’ll maybe even share some of the writing.

 

 

Writing Group & Ponies

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When I picked Daughter up from school yesterday she immediately asked me what we were going to do that evening. I told her we’d eat dinner and we’d play, but then I had to leave for Writing Group.

“What is Writing Group?” she asked.

Fair question, I thought. Glad I didn’t say I was going to Happy Hour.

“Well,” I told her, trying to figure out how to explain it, “Writing Group is when I get together with friends that like to write stories and we talk about them.”

“Do you write stories?”

“Yes,” I said, realizing that occasionally I do.

“Do you write stories for kids?”

“Well, not really, Kiddo. I’ve thought about it, but I haven’t.”

“Oh.”

She’s quiet and I turn onto Minnehaha Avenue from her school’s parking lot.

“Kiddo, would you want me to write a story for kids.”

“Yeah…”

“What do you think I should write about?”

This is where I got excited. Actually, the whole conversation was exciting, but I never expected a writing prompt from my 4.5YO.

And after some hesitation, she started.

“Um, Mommy?”

“Yes, babe?”

“I think you should write a story about Ariel. The mermaid.”

I smile broadly, but keep quiet.

“And My Little Pony. Ariel and My Little Pony. Can you write a story about that?”

I quietly chuckle.

Of course. Her two favorite characters of the week. A Disney mermaid (Hey, if she had to go Disney, I’m glad she went with the one that can swim.) and a group of Ponies that I know nothing about, but I’m learning quickly.

“Yes, kiddo, I can write a story about Arial and the Ponies.”

Or at least I can write a blog post.