First things first, did anyone get an email alerting you to a new blog post, namely this one? I have no NSA connections, so while I know some have submitted their email address requesting blog updates, I have no idea who you are. If no one's getting emails, I've done something wrong & will have to figure out exactly what. More on other blog matters momentarily.
I have a dear friend whose mother once said that the first year of a baby's life is all about maintenance. I've been thinking about her statement a lot lately. It seems everything worth having requires maintenance - the kids, the house, the car, the dog. If it weren't for me, our dog would die of starvation &/or dehydration. Last month, for the first time in seven years, I forgot to give Sophie, our dog, her heartworm pill on the first day of the month. I was done with my teaching duties & not thinking about the calendar, & for almost two weeks I didn't realize I'd forgotten to give her the pill. Everyone assured me it would be fine to give it to her two weeks late (& by everyone I mean Google). One day this week a cute, shiny new chalkboard from Pottery Barn will arrive that I plan to hang near my desk so that I have a large, visible space on which to jot myself reminders. I've always been pretty good at remembering things, but as I age, sleep less, & the number of those who depend on me to remember things rises, I've decided my head is no longer sufficient. Naturally the solution is to order something from Pottery Barn.
Between the kids & the dog, I rarely go a week without having to take someone somewhere to get a shot. Many days I feel like life is what happens not when I'm busy making other plans, as the saying goes, but in the few moments I am not performing my maintenance duties. Every morning, I do the following, usually before I've even hit the power button on my Keurig: change Henry's diaper, make sure Reagan has used the potty, fix Reagan's milk, feed Sophie, & refill her water dish. Then I do a sweep of the house to see if there are any fun urine-related overnight surprises that require immediate attention. I don't want to complain, but this is a lot for someone who hasn't had coffee yet & currently averages between four & five hours of sleep a night.
When you live with two small kids & a small dog who all depend on you for food, water, shots, regular grooming, toiletry concerns, & also expect you to squeeze some playtime in, other less consequential matters quickly fall by the wayside. If everyone is alive & clean & dry at the end of the day, you consider the day a success even if you didn't shower, sit down to eat a meal, or do anything to engage in adult-level activities, like read a book with no pictures or ponder the national debt.
I'd like to take a minute, before a dirty diaper or an empty water bowl beckon, & address an idea I have for the blog this year. Blog maintenance, if you will. You may recall, or actually you likely don't, that one of my goals for last year was to reread, further edit, & print out the book I wrote (if you're a new reader to the blog, to bring you up to speed, I wrote a book awhile back - - it was when I had one child). I did do all those things. I gave the printed copy to a friend who is a voracious reader & whose opinion I value, & she's the only person who's read the book in its entirety. The story kind of sputters at this point. We intended to meet for coffee & discuss the book - - what she hated, what she loved (if anything!), what made her laugh, etc. Like me, she has two young children, & so we've yet to sit down & chat about the book.
In February of last year, I briefly explained the process of attempting to find & secure a literary agent. Here's that post, if you're dying for a reread. I did send a query letter to five literary agents, & I received five polite "thank you, but no thanks" emails. All of this took place in the months before Henry's birth, & I haven't given any of it much thought since. I was in no way dismayed by their responses, & was banking on no one biting since I was about to give birth & not in any position to begin the rigorous rounds of editing & revising & negotiating that the publishing process demands. Looking back, the query letter I wrote is less than stellar. I have no idea when or if I'll send out further queries, but it won't be anytime soon because at present I cannot even recall half of the events in the book. Yes, the book I wrote.
This is where you come in. Do you want to read it? I am entertaining the idea of posting a chapter or two online every month. This will provide me with a schedule & with deadlines, which is what I need to go back through, reread, & change up some things that need to be tweaked. I think I can manage a chapter or two a month, notwithstanding Henry's unpredictable sleeping habits. By unpredictable, I mean that he just doesn't sleep much, ever, at all, with any regularity that affords me adequate sleep.
I thought about setting up a blog for the book, but then I realized I can create pages on this blog, basically like tabs. You've probably seen these on every other website/blog out there that's more sophisticated than mine, which is all of them. So, my extremely focused blogging about my kids & what I've bought at Target lately will continue right here, as always, & if you've no interest in the book, you simply don't click over.
My guess is that there is a small handful of you who fall into what a publisher would term my 'target audience.' The thing is, I did zero research about 'target audiences' before or during the process of writing the book. I wrote it for myself. It was a book I wanted to read, & I thoroughly enjoyed writing it (& I'm looking forward to rereading it, as some of it will be fresh content for even me!). It's fiction; I created a little world where I went & dabbled around when I had the chance to escape. Since first mentioning the book on here, several of you've expressed a desire to read it, & I'd like to make that happen if you'll do something for me. I need eyes that are fresher than mine to peruse the book. This is your chance to correct me! If you take the time to read, & you see a misspelled word, or a grammatical error (yes, I do make them), or anything that seems amiss, let me know. If you love something or someone, tell me. If you despise something or someone, tell me. Comment on the post, or contact me through this blog. Finally, do not feel you must read it because you're my mom, & don't assume that because you find the blog mildly interesting you will enjoy the book. The book & the blog intersect in only a few areas, namely things with which I am a little obsessed, like literature, coffee, & Target.
I am genuinely curious about your interest in what I've proposed. Let me know what you think. I've reread the first chapter recently & can post it soon (as soon as I nail down how to create a page within this blog for the book, that is). One reason I hadn't seriously entertained the idea of posting the book online was copyright issues. After a bit of research, I've learned that anything I post on the blog is automatically copyrighted. Neat, right? To fully cover my rear, I've signed up with iCopyright Content Services. Their nifty toolbar is displayed at the bottom of the page now. I say all this to let you know that I don't care if you 'share' a blog on Facebook, or forward something to a friend, etc. Do it! Knock yourself out. This blog isn't monetized, & I maintain it simply for pleasure & because it's a fantastic way to maintain a record of my children's early years (& other important happenings like my Pottery Barn purchases). I don't want my book swiped, however, thus the newfangled toolbar on the page.
I realize I've laid a lot on you in this first post of 2014. I promise frivolity in the next post, which is likely to be the results of my seven month photo shoot with Mr. Henry, who officially hits the seven month mark on this coldest of Mondays. I hope you're nestled in somewhere today. In preparation for today's high of thirty-one degrees, Saturday evening I went to the grocery store & bought a roast to put in the crock pot this morning. There's nothing better than staying in on a cold day & piddling around the house while a roast & carrots & potatoes simmer in the crock pot. I thought it was fitting since Deni, my SIL, gave me my crock pot when Trey & I got married & tonight, her alma mater will represent the SEC in the national title game. Ok, it's a loose association, but go with it. I am so happy for Deni & I'll be cheering for the Auburn Tigers tonight. After all, the SEC could use another bowl win considering someone's defeat in the Sugar Bowl. Speaking of sugar, I also bought extra milk, cocoa, & sugar at the store Saturday & have been drinking hot chocolate almost constantly since having my first cup of coffee this morning. Henry's going to be drinking syrup for days to come.
I'll likely perform my morning maintenance routine in my black winter robe tomorrow; regardless of who takes home the crystal football, the day after the NCAA football championship is a dark day for me. I invite you to join me in wearing black tomorrow to mourn the end of the college football season. It's been a great one.
So, add these items to your maintenance list:
-let me know your interest level in reading the book
-wear black tomorrow
One more thing. A friend of mine who regularly reads this blog has recently been diagnosed with cancer. She's awaiting test results after surgery & her doctors are determining how best to proceed with her treatment. If you don't do anything else I've suggested, add her to your prayer list. Thanks so much.