Books I Love · Writing

The Words of Wilder and Austen

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

William and I have been reading The Little House series together at bedtime. We’re halfway through Farmer Boy. He’s enjoys it, but I know when he still hasn’t wound down enough to listen.

So I wait…

…and open up my trusty Kindle.

I’m currently re-reading Pride and Prejudice. I absolutely LOVE this story. Oh poor, misunderstood Mr. Darcy! But guess who took an interest in what I’m reading?

William. Wait, what?


Okay, enough alliteration. I was totally shocked that my six-year-old son wants me to read Jane Austen to him, but I’ll go for it. So I actually read passages like this to him:

“To Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner he was scarcely a less interesting personage than to herself. They had long wished to see him. The whole party before them, indeed, excited a lively attention. The suspicions which had just arisen, of Mr. Darcy and their niece, directed their observation towards each with an earnest, though guarded, enquiry; and they soon drew from those enquiries the full conviction that one of them at least knew what it was to love. Of the lady’s sensations they remained a little in doubt; but that the gentleman was overflowing with admiration was evident enough.”

I have no idea how much of that he takes in. Every once in a while, he’ll stop me to ask what a certain word means, but he seems to like the flow of the language. He’s asked for me to read it for the last several nights.

And I do a little happy dance inside. 😉

The thing is, I haven’t read the classics for a while. For the sake of my writing, I needed to read modern books. My first draft of Harp Lessons tried to emulate some of Austen’s flowery style and my editors had to chisel away at the manuscript to make it more stylistically pleasing for today’s audience.

I am nowhere near having the command of the English language that Austen did. But when I tried to pretend that I did?

Call the bomb squad!

The result was that my words were fit for weapons of mass destruction rather than to delight a mass of readers. I’m relieved to have had patient editors when I first learned the ropes. They were fabulous people to subject themselves to my pretentious words.

I am reminded of the journal I kept of my trip to England back in 2005.

Hee hee.

While describing the places I went, I was so wrapped up in the experience, I couldn’t resist using the word… wait for it… “alighted.”

Fortunately, I’m the only one who ever goes back and reads that journal. But maybe William will one day read it and forgive my attempt to emulate a favorite author. 😉

I’d love to hear from you!

Have you ever tried, crashed, and burned while imitating the writings of your favorite authors? Did it actually turn out pretty good? Do your kids like to read the classics? Do they “get” it?

Friday Fun

Friday Fun! Random Winter Things

florida snow
Our neighbor has a snow maker. We think he’s pretty awesome. 🙂

The boys were having a discussion about something that happened the night before and it turned into an argument (a surprisingly quiet one). They kept asking me about it saying “Do you believe me Mommy?”

I said, “I can’t take sides because I wasn’t there.”

Charlie said, as if it settled the matter, “Well, I believe myself.”

Charlie – Age 5

We took the boys on a road trip to see snow. Because we live in Florida, we had to drive ten hours to get to Maggie Valley, NC. At the time, the only snow was at the commercial locations. Nevertheless, we had a blast watching the skiers, throwing snowballs, building snowmen, and William and I got to go tubing down a snowy hill. At the end of the day, we asked the boys if they enjoyed the snow. William’s response?

“I didn’t like it because it wasn’t real snow from the sky.”

*head desk*

William – Age 6

Kids will say random things. They will also pick up random things from the ground. Sometimes this happens at the same time. I have no idea what this is or what it’s used for, but Charlie found this little gem on the sidewalk:

tiny trashcan

Ooookay! Let’s go look for the faerie who lost it! 😉

Charlie – Age 5

Going with the theme of random, my boys also fight over random things. Yesterday, when leaving for school, we were ready to head out the door, when they had a shoving match. What were they fighting over? Who got to OPEN THE DOOR! Because there are only so many doors that we’ll open in our lifetime…


William – Age 6, Charlie – Age 5

I’d love to hear from you!

What are some of the random things that your kids do? Are they ridiculously picky? Do you look back at the weird things they fight over and laugh?

Friday Fun

Friday Fun! Overreacting

Yup. That's William. :)
Yup. That’s William. 🙂

William: There are more boys in the world than girls.

Mommy: How do you know that?

William: My teacher told me. She knows lots of things.

Charlie (very seriously): Maybe he talked to God!

Mommy suppresses giggles.

William: No, Charlie!

Just when Mommy thinks that William is going to correct Charlie’s thinking that God directly talks to people anymore, he instead says indignantly: My teacher’s a she, not a he.

Glad we cleared that up.

I picked William up from school last Friday and he had earned a new toy from his class’ treasure box. He had chosen a mini bowling game, about the size of a jacks game. Charlie, of course was chomping at the bit to play with William’s new toy.

We went to the Y after school and when we got back in the car, Charlie managed to get his hands on the game. I was still outside the car when I heard a clatter and then William shrieked as if someone had cut off his finger.

“What happened?” I asked.

William was beside himself and could hardly breathe let alone answer. I thought that Charlie had hit him on the head or something. Hubby answered for William.

“Charlie threw the bowling game and several of the pins fell between the seats.”

One of these days William is going to have to learn how to keep his cool.

William was counting by places; first, second, third, etc. When he got to twenty-first, he channeled his inner Pippi Longstocking and called it “twenty-wonst.”

The boys hate waiting at red lights as much as we do. Last night, we waited at a red turn signal and William sighed. “When’s it gonna turn green.”

I decided to borrow from Whoopi Goldberg. “I bet I can make it turn green with magic,” I said. “Watch.” I saw that the cross street light had turned yellow, so I blew air at the red light and it promptly turned green.

Ever practical William began to cry when I wouldn’t tell him how I did it.

I’d love to hear from you!

Do your kids overreact to silly things? Do you find yourself giggling when they try to figure out numbers? Do you force them to hang on to their wonder just a little bit longer even if they protest?


Friday Fun

Friday Fun! Looking at the World through Minoclears

I'm Wild Will Hiccup. Note my sneer. I get this sneer when I need a nap.
I’m Wild Will Hiccup. Note my sneer. Six years later, this sneer still means I need to go to sleep.

My mom sent the boys camping gear including a pair of binoculars. Neither kid can pronounce it properly, though William successfully pronounces it with a ‘b.’ When Charlie gets a hold of them, he apparently can only see boys from one end of the minoclears, and only girls when he flips them around.

Charlie – Age 4

When William comes home from school, he is usually “starving.” However, he knows my usual offerings. His typical statement as soon as he gets in the door is, “Can I have something except a banana, peas, bread, or oranges?”

Yeah, I know he’s “starving” for refined sugar. I’m such a mean mommy for letting him starve. 😉

William – Age 6

Charlie has a toy train that has the magical ability to fly. 😉 It stops at several stations around the house. One of the stations is the Watch Station. Taking a cue from the “I Love to Laugh” scene from Mary Poppins (which we’ve been watching everyday lately), I asked him, “Is that where they stand around all day and make faces?”

He looked at me very seriously and said, “No, Mommy. That’s where they watch the trains.”

Ah! How silly of me!

Charlie – Age 4

Charlie: I don’t want to be called “Charlie” anymore.

Mommy: Do you want us to call you “Charles?”

Charlie: No.

Mommy: What do you want us to call you?

Charlie: “William!”

Charlie – Age 4

I’d love to hear from you!

How do your kids look at the world? What are some words that they persist in mangling?

Friday Fun

Friday Fun! Tales of a Space Cadet

sleep study blog

Charlie doesn’t sleep well. We’re in the process of an investigative sleep study to find out why his brain isn’t telling him to breathe properly when he sleeps. Needless to say, he doesn’t usually get a good night’s sleep, resulting in some rather humorous behavior. There are obviously many negatives to this, but let’s not go there today. defines a space cadet as “a person who appears to be in his or her own world or out of touch with reality.” Urban Dictionary says this kind of person is “easily lost in reverie” and “does not respond when directly spoken to.” Here’s how Charlie measures up.

In His Own World

I did the ice bucket challenge and had my boys dump the ice water on me – to William’s everlasting enjoyment. I still can’t figure out what Charlie was thinking when I was about to say “GO!” William was poised and ready with his bucket, but Charlie picked his up and started to wander off with it. You would think that the chance to dump ice water on Mommy would grab his attention.

Out of Touch With Reality

Charlie doesn’t seem to possess a concept of time. Yesterday when I picked him up from preschool (a seven minute drive from our house), we hadn’t yet left the parking lot when he asked that quintessential phrase of kid-dom, “Are we there yet?”

Sorry kid, my teleporter is in the shop.

Easily Lost in a Reverie

Charlie will listen to a skip in a CD for a good five minutes – at least. Sometimes my car’s CD player will finally clear it, and then he’ll ask for me to make it do it again. What is going through that funny head of his when all hears is “prac-prac-prac-prac…?” If William is in the car, he humors his brother for a while but eventually asks me to go past the skip.

Does Not Respond When Directly Spoken To

I think any kid has trouble with this. But an example of our usual scenario is:

Charlie plays with the refrigerator magnets. Daddy says, “Charlie we’re going to the toy store!” Charlie still plays with the magnets. “Charlie get your shoes!” Charlie continues playing. “Charlie, we’re going to the toy store!” Charlie continues playing. Daddy moves the magnets out of reach. “Charlie, we’re going to the toy store!”

Charlie finally says, “Oh! I LOVE the toy store!”

I’d love to hear from you!

Do you have a kid who’s a space cadet? Does he or she fit the definition? Or do they create a new definition of the word? What funny things do you do when you don’t get enough sleep?


Please Take Care of What We Teach Our Children – A Lesson from Ferguson

History quoteI know I was going to post my response to the World Blog Hop today, but I was struck with this inspiration and felt that this was seriously more important. It also falls in line with my theme as a writer. I was listening to NPR in the car this morning, and heard an interview with an anonymous black female officer from Ferguson, MO. I have scoured the NPR sites trying to find the interview so that I can hear it again and link to it here because some of the things she said resonated with me. If anyone has the link I would very much appreciate it.

Okay, so bear with me. I’m operating on a scattered gluten brain and wasn’t taking notes (since I was driving), but after explaining how she felt like an outsider in the police department, but was okay with it, the officer was asked about her thoughts on officer Darren Wilson who shot Michael Brown. If I remember correctly, she was more concerned with what made the Wilson so scared of Brown, that he felt his life was threatened.

She went on to describe the stigma that is taught to you from a young age in that area. Whether you are white or black, you have to fear those whose skin is a different color. But she couldn’t explain why it’s that way.

How sad. And look where that kind of teaching has gotten us. An unarmed young man is killed, and a town riots.

We’ve been down this road before.

No one likes it. Except maybe the media (which is why I hesitate to talk about this at all).

What I’m most concerned with is why history seems to be constantly repeating itself. I challenge people to stop and think about why people have these fears and feelings. Were they taught to feel this way? Are they still unknowingly teaching their children to feel the same? I know from experience that children are very observant sponges and sometimes parents aren’t even aware that they are teaching their children to think a certain way.

Please, PLEASE think about how you respond to people who are “different” from you and your children. Whether the other people are white/black, fat/thin, disabled/”healthy,” etc., please teach your children to get to know people, before passing judgement on whether or not that person is a “threat.”

Chances are, a perceived threat can be a great friend. And you would miss out.

Please help to break this cycle of fear. It starts at home. Teach your children not to miss out on friendship.

I’d love to hear from you!

What do you think causes these cycle of racially charged riots? Do you think it’s caused by the parents teaching their children to fear? Do you think that we can finally end the cycle?

Friday Fun

Friday Fun! Competition

At least there are plenty of wild flowers, so they don't have to fight over them.
At least there are plenty of wild flowers, so they don’t have to fight over them.

I grew up with one sister. I remember squabbling and fighting occasionally. But my boys compete over EVERYTHING. Is this normal? And when someone “loses,” doesn’t get “his turn,” or thinks the other one did it “wrong,” then we had all better start preparing for the Apocalypse.

And then I wonder… Do my boys realize that I named them for authors, and not royals?

Here are some of the more ridiculous things they fight over:

When getting in the car, who’s first to finish buckling their seat belt.

When getting out of the car, who’s gets to open the front door after I’ve unlocked it. (“I NEVER get to open it!” is a common complaint by whoever missed out that time.)

Who gets to sit in the right hand c orner of the couch when watching TV.

Charlie goes IN the EXIT. William has been reduced to snotty tears many times over this.

Who wins the race upstairs to bed. (This is usually followed by a secondary race to the bathroom where Daddy makes sure the previous “loser” wins.

But the only thing that they fight about that actually warms my heart, is…

who gets Mommy to read them to sleep tonight. ❤

I’d love to hear from you!

What are some of the silly things your kids fight about? Does it drive you nuts?What is something inconsequential that you use to go berserk about? 


It’s So Quiet…

It was eerie. My car was quiet on a Monday morning. No shouts of “He’s copying me!” “He took my Mickey!” “Are we there yet?” “I’m hungry!” “I’m thirsty!” “I wanna hear ‘Nation Once Again’ song!” “No, ‘Brian Boru’s March!'”

I went to the grocery store…by myself. I was in and out in 20 minutes. It would have been faster if I knew where they stocked the WD40. Charlie’s bedroom door is squeaky.

Yup, it’s the first day of school!

Charlie’s in VPK so I have 3 hours every morning to GET STUFF DONE!

But I have to admit, it was hard not walking William to his 1st grade classroom. We’d already been there last week, so he insisted that he could do it himself. *sniff*

Anyway, I’m going to make this post very short so I can get as many chores done with no kids underfoot as I can. And I’m going to listen to an audio book while I do them! Woo hoo! 😀

Happy first day of school, everyone!

Friday Fun

Friday Fun! In Honor of Robin Williams

We will miss him. Image attributed to “Robin Williams Aviano” by U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Tabitha M. Mans – Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons –

Monday night, I went to check my email, and Yahoo news reported that Robin Williams had died. I was so shocked, I gasped and blurted it out to hubby before realizing that William was in earshot. He took a strong interest, probably because of the name Williams. He understands about death and that sometimes it just happens whether by old age, poor health, or accident.

But then he asked, “How did he die?” Hubby and I looked at each other. We silently agreed that six was too tender an age to learn about suicide.

I wish I had Robin Williams’ wit. He would have turned the question around to something hilarious. We took the lame route. “We’ll explain when you’re older.”

A couple of days later, William made it funny by accident. He asked, “Did they take that actor you like to the White House and bury him in the sand?”


Oh! Ha! One of the boys’ favorite songs is Harry Belafonte’s “John Henry.” When John Henry dies at the end, they take him to the White House and bury him in the sand.

If William were older, and had seen Patch Adams, I would have quoted my favorite line from that movie. “And if we bury you [backside] up, I have got a place to park my bike.” I can only imagine the kind of gags Robin Williams would have come up with after being compared to John Henry.

While we are deeply saddened that Robin Williams suffered silently, we are also deeply grateful for the brilliant fun, humor, and wisdom he so generously gave us. The world is that much brighter because he was alive.

I’d love to hear from you!

What is your favorite Robin Williams line or moment? Have you ever had to explain suicide to a six-year-old? How did you handle it?

ANNOUNCEMENT: Stop by my Facebook page and check out the contest to try for a PDF copy of The Stone of Kings!

Friday Fun

Friday Fun! Adventures in Learning

moustacheHow do you spell YMCA?

William – age 6


When I visited my mom and sister recently, Jamie led me to his room where he wanted to read his favorite Disney books with me. He would pick a book for each of us. After I read mine aloud, he would “read” his. His stories consisted of, “Dumbo abbodabadeeba” *turn page* “Dumbo abbodabadeeba…”

Jamie – age 2


Mommy: Do you want waffles or cereal for breakfast?

Charlie: I don’t want any of those.

Mommy: How ’bout some eggs?

Charlie: No, I want cereal!

Charlie – age 4


William has been very curious about the weather lately. I even had to explain what an earthquake was because he thought it was a weather phenomena. For some reason, he latched onto a specific idea and will recite it…and recite it…and just be sure you heard, he’ll say it again to anyone who will listen: “A snow storm would not exist in the desert.”

William – age 6


I’d love to hear from you!

What are your funny stories in the adventures of learning? Do your kids say no to anything even when it’s something they want?