Long Time No Blog

…..2 months and 2 days, to be exact.

Parenting two little ones has turned out to be a big fat lesson in humility, especially in the I-can-do-all-the-things arena.

A few days after my last blog post, I got the most recent round of revisions back from my editor and got to work on them. Because the kids are not (for the most part) napping at the same time, figuring out how to get the work done was a real treat. Happily, Bridget is a great night time sleeper. She usually sleeps from 8:00-4:30ish, nurses, and goes back to sleep until 8:00. I started Ā getting up after she finishes nursing, around 5 or 5:30, and writing until Will wakes up around 6:45. It does make the late afternoon/witching hour stretch looooong when you’ve been up since 4:30, but I’m not a night owl and at 11 pm, I lack the higher order thinking skills to write a book. Every free moment (and some not so free moments in which Bridget perched on my lap while I typed one handed), I’ve been working on the book revisions and I turned them in last Friday, only a week late, huzzah! My editor said she expects this latest round to be the last set of significant revisions and that after this, there should be only minor changes before it’s finished. I had no. idea. how much my manuscript would change from initial concept to publication, and truly, how valuable a good editor is. I expected she’d work out kinks like awkward sentences, but she has shaped the manuscript into something so far superior to what I initially handed her and really pushed me to better writing.

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Early morning writing & coffee & milk drunk baby.

On the home front, I potty trained Will using the Oh Crap! method and I think I am pretty safe to say he is daytime potty trained at this point. (I know. I just jinxed it.) He’s still in a diaper at naps and nighttime because ain’t nobody got time for unnecessary night waking. He really enjoys telling me he needs to poop and that he needs to watch Wild Kratts while sitting on his potty to “help me ‘relass.'” He’s getting to be such a big boy!

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What? You were hoping for a potty picture? šŸ˜‰

Bridget is 4 months old and continues to be a doll baby sweetheart, a champion nighttimae sleeper (although a less accomplished napper), and just goes with the flow. For example, napping on the deck table with Atlanta Magazine for a pillow while her brother plays:

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Unfortunately, my poor, sweet girl has continued to have health issues. I did a total dairy elimination for a month but it didn’t help with the eczema. I called her pediatrician in hysterics on a Friday night because:

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We tried steroid cream for two weeks, which cleared her right up. Unfortunately, a few days ago, the eczema started creeping backĀ andĀ she’s got a yeast rash. We are now on a new steroid regimen, a lotrimin/diaper cream regimen, and back in disposables until we get the rash cleared. This sweet child hasn’t even complained about all her ailments. I tell the husband on a daily basis that I am so grateful for her and her overwhelming sweetness. She has been my ray of sunshine in an otherwise difficult time of moving and winter and challenging postpartum recovery, and I am so very thankful for this bundle of joy.

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The Publishing Process Continued

So, as you can see I have TOTALLY been all over my blogging game lately and really managed to keep up with the whole, I’m-in-the-second-trimester-now-so-I-can-do-all-the-things promise.

I really don’t know how people write a book and keep up a blog on a daily basis. JustĀ from a time management perspective, I can’t do it. And by the time I’ve frantically tip-tapped away at the keyboard during nap time before the sand runs out a.ka. Willebeast awakes, I’m done with trying to write something coherent for the day.

Anyway, progress on the book continues. After returning the contract to the publisher, I heard from my editor who had some specific guidelines on where they wanted the book to go from here. I had kind of forgotten that the publisher hadn’t seen a complete manuscript yet, only two sample chapters and a table of contents. The husband had to remind me of that fact. Whoops. Anyway, the editor’s comments actually asked for a manuscript that is about 10,000 words longer than the length the publisher had suggested when responding to my initial submission. She also had some requests about demographics of the saints/blesseds/venerables featured in the book and a specific format that they wanted for each chapter that was a bit different from how I originally wrote it. She asked me to have it back to her by Labor Day weekend, but I am really bound and determined to move this along as expeditiously as I can right now since the next four months will feature the sale of a home in Atlanta, the purchase of a home here in DC, moving all our stuff out of storage and into the home, and also giving birth to a new small human.

I was fortunate not to have to completely scrap any of the chapters I had written in the last draft. (There were some that had been scrapped from the original submission but the re-write I did seems to have been at least on the right track.) I did need to expand onĀ what I had to bump up the word count, so I spent some more time researching some of the more obscure figures I wrote about. It’s easy to just start adding sentences here and there, but I wanted to make sure I was actually adding to the value and content of the book and not just padding the manuscript a la college term paper. I think this last re-write added to the catechetical value of the book. Since I had 10,000 more words to work with, I was able to really do some more explicit catechesis on the virtues and to put the stories in each chapter into context with an Appendix of super short mini-biographies. I had already (completely by accident) achieved a table of contents that was pretty gender balanced. The editor did want to make sure I had enough “big name” saints for reader recognition and that the saints used were geographically diverse. I definitely hit the diversity target but of course had to compromise on the name recognition factor a bit to do so. So we’ll see what she says about that after reading the manuscript. I sent in the draft last week and she promised to get back to me as soon as possible, although she did tell me there are several other authors whose titles are ahead of mine on the schedule. In the meantime, I’m just waiting to hear back about what further changes and edits need to be made.

Completely unrelated but since all blog posts are supposed to have pictures, here is cute Will at his first hair cut:

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(Please note that he could not possible care less that his hair is being cut as he is sitting in a firetruck, watching an animated program on TV, and shoving his chipmunk cheeks full of animal crackers.)

Answer Me This- It’s Back!

Answer Me This summer

Yay! Answer Me This is back!

1. Any big plans for the summer?

Well, there’s the whole writing a book thing. I actually have a “finished” manuscript, but so far my editor has only seen my sample chapters, table of contents, and summary. So, I’m waiting to hear back from her on any changes she may already want me to make before sending what I’ve got over to her. Even if I send her my current manuscript without any changes, I’m sure there will be plenty to make before it goes to print. I envision lots of typety-typing in my future this summer.

2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

I thought about this one the longest and really thought I couldn’t come up with something, but then I remembered! You know those ball pits they have at Chuck E. Cheese? (Side note- my friend Keira, the brilliant one who taught me to say, ‘I camp at the Ritz’? She calls it Chuck E. Coli, which I could not love any more than I do.) When I was little, my cousin Peter told me that there was a giant drain, like in a sink, at the bottom of the ball pit and you had to be careful not to get too deep into the balls or you’d get sucked down it. Any I really believed him. For a long time.

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3. What is your favorite amusement park ride? (Can be a specific one at a specific park or just a type of ride.)

I don’t think I have a specific one in mind, but I do like roller coasters. Not really the upside down ones; I like the old fashioned rickety wooden ones. Come to think of it though, I don’t even know the last time I rode a roller coaster.

4. What’s on your summer reading list?

Well, something that will assist me in making my wild child 19 month old behave. Will is out.of.control. Seriously, I don’t even know what to do with him. Any recommendations for toddler discipline books?

Other than that…

I’m planning on reading Bad Religion for non-fiction, based on my friend Kelly’s recommendation. For fiction, I have to finish the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is shameful that I’m Catholic and consider myself a reader and a writer and have still not finished LOTR. I know. It’s almost as bad as not liking Kristin Lavransdatter, although that’s something I just can’t understand. And finally, my spiritual reading with be A School of Prayer by Pope Emeritus Benedict.

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5. Have you ever fallen asleep in public?

Definitely yes on an airplane, but I don’t think anywhere else in public.

6. What is your favorite smell?

I really love the smell of Aveda shampoo. And cooking garlic. But not together. You shouldn’t wash your hair while you’re cooking.

Aveda-Smooth-Infusion-ShampooGo see Kendra for more!