Satisfying my obsessive compulsions through the pursuit of creativity and personal betterment

Monday, December 31, 2012

Snapshots of Our New Year's Eve

Mark made cinnamon rolls for everyone for a New Year's treat.  Four cans, not one left. 

Lilith spent the entire time curled up with her Nook (a Christmas present from my mother) reading the 4th and then the 5th Percy Jackson book.

Logan was playing bunnies and itty bitty tea party with Ivy on the table, while Gryphon moped in the corner because he didn't have any masculine-type games to play with someone.  Rowan and Ivy also spent a lot of the evening building houses for said bunnies with the duplos. 

Lachlan had found his Frodo and a dragon, and Frodo was riding a dragon around the house.  Now, I really didn't expect Lachlan to ever play with Frodo:  but everyone else got a LOTR figure based on their Halloween costume, and I didn't want him to be left out.  So I am pleased that he knows it's his and plays with it sometimes.  Frodo was later dropped for Seraphyna's My Little Ponies.

Seraphyna got jazzed off the sugar from the cinnamon rolls and ran around shrieking and chewing on random things.  She also threw all of Ivy's baby dolls out of the toy bed and climbed in herself, chattering to the remaining inhabitants. 

At one point I glanced in the boys' room and saw Logan holding Batman, who was now wielding Aragorn's sword.  I'm sure he would be unstoppable. 

Right before bedtime Logan and Gryphon reconciled, and re-enacted the choosing of the wands from Harry Potter, after first dumping two rooms' worth of costumes on the floor to find robes.

Right now it is 12:11am, and I am cuddling a Seraphyna who is having trouble staying asleep due to snot.  Mark lasted until 11:21, then headed to bed.  He is also sick, and had been trying to fall asleep for at least an hour.  Rowan had a nightmare and is now curled up in his Avenger's blanket in here and passed back out.  Lachlan fell asleep before Mark went to bed.  Now if i can just get Seraphyna laid down,  we'll all snooze into the New Year. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Meanwhile in Azeroth

So there's this guy.  He goes by Frostheim and he's basically the Patron Saint of Hunters Everywhere on WoW.  He writes for WoW Insider and runs a massive hunter community site  He does amazing theorycrafting work and his posts are the ones I go to when I need help with aspects of the game.  He enjoys writing songs to glorify the hunter class, and recently ran a kickstarter so he could hire someone to help do an entire album of hunter songs.  They more than met their goal, and one of the songs promised was a hunter love song.  Okay, I admit:  I was a little disappointed when he chose the platonic love between a hunter and their pet.  But the song is really well done and best of all:  at the last minute, for the video, he decided to feature the vast hunter community and their favorite pets.  I am fortunate to follow Frostheim on twitter, and saw him put up the ad for hunter screenshots.  Although I would have loved to have taken the time to make a really artistic screenshot with a neat coordinating outfit, I found a good picture of Zarabethe in a decent transmog outfit and her blue dragonhawk, Cerulean (along with the matching companion pet).  Cerulean is special to me, because I really wanted a blue dragonhawk to match the blue dragonhawk mount I just got for getting 100 mounts.  It was a lot of work, and I knew I would show off my mount more if I had a coordinating pet.  The only place to tame a blue dragonhawk is in the Sunwell, a Burning Crusade era raid.  Just because it is a BC raid however, did not mean it was easy:  we literally had to go in, Elforen (husband) would pull everything and keep them off of me and pray we both lived long enough for me to tame one.  It took a couple tries.  But we got it, and I proudly flaunted my dragonhawk trio all over (until some other shiny pet caught my eye....ahem).  Anyway, I was excited to see Zara and Cerulean in the video for the song!  I couldn't remember if the names had been turned off or not, and I knew he wouldn't use it if the names were on, so it was a little iffy, but I squealed out loud when I saw them on it :).  Without further ado, the Hunter Love Song by Frostheim and Balthazar.

(Zara and Cerulean are at about :56)

(original post on WHU )

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day Fifteen: Coffee

I am thankful for the coffee, because without the coffee things wouldn't get done around here at all :).  And by extension, Starbucks Peppermint Mochas.  NOM.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Days Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen

Day 12:  I am grateful for my sister, Jenny, with whom I have a 100 inside jokes and we actually enjoy the sight of each other, unlike a lot of siblings.  We are alike enough to hang out and not kill each other, and different enough that we are not monotonous.

Day 13:  I am grateful for kind cashiers at Walmart who rush out and give you the item you scraped change together to buy and then in the bustle of getting children out, forgot to pick up.    I'm grateful for my Walmart in general, actually. Unlike most Walmarts that I've heard of, mine is personable, and the people who work there are kind and know us all if not by name, at least by sight.  Our local grocery store is not nice at all, and we get more glares and nasty under-breath comments there than we have anywhere else.  Even though they have better produce and meat, I try to only go there a few times a month for groceries due to the hostile environment. 

Day 14:  I am grateful for the landlady calling the plumber in a timely fashion and that there will be one here this afternoon, because HOLY LORD do I smell and I need a shower :D. 

EDIT:  WOO I hit 10,000 words!  A little slower than I would have liked, but still, an accomplishment!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Last Few Days

So, I've missed a few days.  On the upside though, several of them have been missed to writing.  I'm getting so much done, and I'm thrilled with it.  Now if I can just balance the housework in again, everything would be peachy.  So I'll try to catch up briefly while Lachlan sings along with Dory on Finding Nemo.

Day Eight:  I am grateful for such a beautifully mild fall so far.  Even after the chill of this morning, I can still appreciate barely having to run my heater at all.  And on that note:

Day Nine:  I am grateful for a house full of warm bodies.  Even today, with a high of 54 degrees and a very chill wind, the warmth of the children playing plus a little help from the oven cooking supper was all we needed to warm our house.  I didn't have to turn the heater on until after everyone went to bed and the temperature had dropped below freezing outside.

Day Ten:  I am grateful for a new church full of new friends.  We have been welcomed warmly and it already feels like home.

Day Eleven:  I am grateful for 4 lb, 4 oz tiny skinny newborns stretching up into great, hulking, ten year olds, that go off to a friend's house by themselves to play video games with barely a goodbye wave and no apprehensions.  And no, that was not a tear in my eye. *sniff*

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day Seven: Patience

I am thankful my husband has the patience of a saint. (At least as far as his wife goes).  Because I am a crazy, crazy, woman who needs lots of patience :).

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day Six: Free-Range Kids

Today I am grateful for the right and privilege to homeschool my children, and by default their freedom in childhood.

One of the most important things to a well-rounded education, and life experience, is to have low stress and the freedom to have a say in their subject matter and method of teaching.

I want my kids to be able to breathe, live, and enjoy life, without being stuck in a school and then homework and extra-curriculars from morning until night. 

I want them to be able to bond with their siblings first, and their friends second.

I want to keep them safe from socially acceptable abuse, like bullying or peer pressure.

I want them to be able to pursue their own interests and make their own trails.

I want them to get enough sleep at night, be able to help cook their own meals, and take charge of their own needs.

I want to be able to appreciate things as they come, like a beautiful day to pack a picnic and take studies outside, or a sudden warm rainfall to build dams against and make scientific observations.

I don't want to confine them to age and gender specific roles.

I want to watch their minds expand and unfold before me as they learn new things.

I want to spend every minute I can with them, because no one ever regretted spending too much time with their children while they were young.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day Five

I am grateful for small, well-run, personable credit unions that give people a chance with borderline credit.  And electricity not being turned off.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day Four: This Boy


Today I am thankful for this boy, Lachlan Jericho.   His nickname is frequently, "The Non-Verbal Minion" and he has accomplished what no other child in this house has done:  at age 2.5, he had not uttered a word.  I was not worried.  None of my boys have ever talked before age 2, and they always caught up very quickly with no issues.   He made different sounds and noises, he was affectionate and looked you in the eye, was not unhappy, and seemed to be able to hear just fine.  So I let him be. 

Diligently painting his fingers at the library Halloween party.
 At the beginning of September, he started acting sick.  One day with a fever, one day off, then the third the fever returned in force.  He would not eat and was very unhappy.  By the end of the third day I could tell he had a nasty ear infection:  one of his ears was swollen inside and draining a bit.  We treated it the best we could (it was a weekend, and we were between insurances) and the next day it was worse.  Sometime in the afternoon blood and pus began oozing out of his ear, and we knew his ear drum had ruptured.  We cleaned it very carefully with peroxide, and by the next day it was still draining, but clear and was much less swollen.  A visit to Dr. Google and we confirmed that his ear would be draining for some time, so besides periodically cleaning it, we left it alone.  (It did get re-infected a couple weeks later, but we got him some antibiotics and it cleared back up) 

One of the first times Lachlan let her play next to him without freaking out and running away

That week after his ear drum burst, something extraordinary happened:  whenever I took a picture with my camera, Lachlan would run over and say, "Cheese!"   Besides random gibberish, this was the first word he had ever spoken, and by far the clearest.  I was so amazed I took dozens of pictures that week, just to convince him to keep saying it.   It did not stop there:  slowly at first, but quickly picking up speed, he has added at least a dozen decipherable words.  And he MIMICS.  I knew he was jabbering while watching Thomas, but I never really listened to it.  (I had always blamed too much television for his unwillingness to speak)  The first thing I noticed him mimicking was Baby Einstein farm animals, and he sang a very enthusiastic EE AI EE AI EE AI EE AI OHHHHH whenever they did on the screen.  This was wonderful, and I tried singing the song with him, but he usually clammed up and stared at me.  So I just resigned myself to listening and grinning whenever that song came on, to hear his little voice take character and personality and make SENSE. 

Lachlan and two of his older brothers

In the meantime, he was trying out many new words, one of his favorite being "NO!" of course.  He would sing along a little bit with "Itsy Bitsy Spider", but mostly he just wanted to listen.  Then after we returned from morning trick or treating the weekend before Halloween, I put on Nightmare Before Christmas, one of his favorite movies.  As the Husband and I got lunch together, I noticed him singing along to the movie.  I stopped to listen,  and after awhile I realized something amazing:  he was reciting the entire movie.    In his sing-song gibberish-y way, he was mimicking almost every line in the movie by the prominent sound, the few words he knew, and the emotion behind the voice.  When a character yelled, he yelled.  When the voice singing went up in pitch, so did he.  If they spoke fast, he jabbered fast.  If they sang slow and hauntingly, he swayed back and forth, singing along.  And one of the incredible things was he wasn't just hearing something and repeating it, he was doing it at exactly the time that it happened, like he already knew the entire thing in his head. 

Lachlan loves his trains

At this time, I have listened to him mimic and recite many other movies and songs.  His memory astounds me.  I haven't ever had a child do this before.  It's like watching a beautiful story unfold, something you've never seen before, and you have no idea how it's going to play out.  Will he retain this ability to memorize and mimic later in life?  Will he become the talented singer that I've longed for out of my kids? (Don't get me wrong, all the kids are....enthusiastic.  Just not quite on pitch :) )  All I know is I feel privileged to have a front row seat to watch him absorb the world and make it his own.

More Cheese!  Srsly, I have about 25 pictures that look exactly like this.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thankful Day Three

It's also in the background of all our outside pictures.
I am thankful for the very nice salesman at Joe Diffie Ford in El Reno that sold us our 10 passenger van.  It has been the first vehicle that we have owned outright that runs well and is reliable.  When Mark walked three miles in the snow to their doorstep after working on the old green van all day, trying to get it to work, we didn't think we'd be able to afford anything that was big enough to hold us.  What we got was more than plenty, super reliable, and tough enough to take some knocks.  It's a gas-hog and sometimes a pain to park, but I love our van.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Nanowrimo and Thankfulness

It's November, which means two things in the blogging world:  Nanowrimo (and all its forms) and one-a-day posting of the things we are thankful for.   Both are an excuse to write more and make it a habit to do so.  As bloggers everywhere dust off their favorite writing pens (metaphorically) and start to empty out the ideas swirling in our brains onto paper (again metaphorically: I doubt any of us use pens and paper anymore to write)  I have decided to join them this year. I would like to write more on the stories that I'm working on to empty them out of my system, and perhaps move on to bigger and better things. My goal is to write 30,000 words this month, the equivalent of a small novel or novella.  I am going to include writing from my stories and from blog posts into this.  I should average 1000 words per day, which should be attainable even in my limited time.  As for listing the things I am thankful for, well I think everyone could use a little more thankfulness in their lives, myself included.  I will keep a running tab of words written on the sidebar over there, as well as updating my blog daily.  I will try to keep the entries short:  I want the bulk of the writing to be done in the background, on finishing up Z and E's story and writing more tidbits on Maerc and Shirelle.  I did get started a little last night, hitting 715 words before heading off to bed, so I need to catch up some today.  The hardest part of this is to just get the words out without editing my fool head off. I HATE unfinished work.   The goal is more words though, not perfect words. 

On that note, for my first day of thankfulness (technically yesterday) I am grateful for:  Adversity.  Without adversity we would putter along in our adequate worlds, doing adequate jobs, participating in adequate relationships.  It is only through adversity, which knocks us down, breaks apart our comfort zones, and changes our worldviews do we rebuild ourselves into something greater than before. 

For my second day of thankfulness, I am grateful for my partner through adversity, My Husband.  We have lived through, and still work through, problems and circumstances that no one should have to.  But if we do, I would like no one else to travel this journey with than him. 

Till tomorrow :).

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Meet the Pandas

So, Mists of Pandaria happened this week.  It is just gorgeous.  The colours, the attention to detail, it is an artistic feast for the eyes as well as being an engaging game.  I have no gotten in to the high level stuff (Elforen and Zarabethe must go together, after all) because we tried making Pandarens first, then thunderstorm last night....but tonight, I will not be put off any longer because the little tidbit I've seen of Pandaria just makes me thirsty for more.  So here's some screenshots to try and keep me from charging in without him :P.
Maye Rose turns to look at her monastery home one last time before moving on (to the next quest)
Look at the sleeping foxes!!

Maye and husband's monk Tyelung after getting some new duds (she blinked!  I lol'ed)

 Looking down over her home (isn't it beautiful??)

Taking a ride on a cart to a farm (again, look at the detail on that house!)

These flowers and bushes are a thousand times better looking that the ones in the beginning places of the game.

So many colours!  Look at the blue roofs!

Sitting at a shrine.  This isn't even part of a quest, it's just background noise.

And of course, panda dancing :D

Oh and the back of my monk Zhii looking at a really gorgeous bridge near the monastery.
 Well, I'm off to go battle some pets and try to keep my toes out of Pandaland :D

Friday, August 31, 2012

A Preview: Elf and Zara in 4 years

I've got this little epilogue-type piece that I'm working on, that is not likely to ever be posted anywhere public as it is very personal and will most likely turn very *ahem* smutty.  But the beginning is sweet and tells a lot about their relationship and how it has blossomed over the years.  I am in a sharing mood, so I'd like to post the beginning here for you to read.  Elforen is husband's and Zarabethe is my WoW characters, and I've been dabbling in writing their story for the past year or so.


Zarabethe paced back and forth outside the small cottage. She could hear Elforen putting Brekke back to bed inside. The 4 yr old night elf was crying: she had had another night terror. Zarabethe kicked the dirt in frustration as she marched: she imagined him scooping the anxious little girl up in his arms without a second thought. She would bury her tear-streaked face into her father's shoulder, wetting his shirt, and throwing her arms around his neck. He would talk patiently and soothingly to her as he carried her to her bed, and by the time he tucked her in with her loveys and her blanket, kissing her forehead, she would be calm and curling up to go to sleep. Zarabethe paused at one edge of the yard and leaned her forehead wearily against the tree there. The summer was so hot this year: the humidity was oppressive, and even a brief foray outside was enough for rivulets of sweat to run down her back, the sides of her forehead, and between her breasts. It aggravated her usual aversion to touch to an almost unbearable degree. How she longed to be in Elforen's place, lovingly tucking their daughter in without flinching from her clutching arms. She had tried today, she really had: but Brekke was especially needy lately. Everything was scary, everything was a danger. Spook had gotten a small splinter in her paw, and although Zarabethe had patiently let the child help clean and bandage the wound, she was beside herself with worry. What if it got infected? What if Spook got sick and died? What if she died? How would Spook take care of herself if she was not there to wash her paw? And then the tears; great big sad tears that only being held would cure. So she did. She tried to pace it, seeing if she could distract the 4 yr old with games and badly sung songs, but that only worked so long before she had been toting her around the house and gardens on her hip. Which, at full-term pregnant, was very hard to do, touch aversion or no. By the end of the day her back ached and she was completely exhausted. When Elforen walked in the door after being at the smith all day, he found both night elves in tears: Zarabethe trying to scrape a burnt supper out of a pan, and Brekke sitting at the table hungry. He had brought home a large basket of fruit, which he sat on the table in front of the hungry child, and ordered his wife to sit down and rest while he took the pan outside to dump the ruined meal and then opened the windows to let the house air out. She had never been more happy to see him home, covered in sweat and grime from work or not. But while usually she would be content to put her feet up and tune out the world for a bit, recharging so she could face it again, she found herself too restless to sit still. After only a few minutes of sitting, changing positions, closing her eyes and opening them, she was up again. The bookshelf was out of order. Her husband returned from bathing to find her up to her ears in stacks of books, obsessively rearranging them by date, then alphabetizing them, then starting over and sorting them by colour. He had gently tried to discourage her, she'd snapped at him, and he threw up his hands and left the room. Finally, she got them placed how she wanted, heaved herself off of the floor, and sought him out to apologize. But the task had done little to soothe her mind and she had flitted about all evening straightening and cleaning things. She even sat down and sorted the basket of little things that was sitting in their room almost out of sight. As tiny shirts, hats, diapers, and blankets were placed in neat piles, she remembered Brekke in her earliest days, which made her simultaneously wistful and nervous.

When she first felt the stirrings deep in her belly last year, she had been anxious, and her first thought was to ignore it or hide. But instead she had confided in her husband, and they had spent many late nights talking about the possibilities. In the end, it was the yearning in his eyes that had convinced her: he had missed so much of the beginning of Brekke; the pregnancy, her birth, even her first few days, and it felt cruel to deny him a chance at that. It had only taken a few months for the nausea and dizziness to assault her again, and she knew that she was carrying their second child. It had been so much easier this time around; Elforen was ecstatic every step of the way, doting on her to the point of ridiculousness, and her body seemed to know better what it was doing this time, and she was able to pace herself more. Brekke required so much work though, so much patience, time and energy, and she found herself frequently running short on all three. When the baby got here she knew it would be worse as breastfeeding would require her every last effort; she only hoped it would be easier this time, as she was prepared for it. Even so, the upcoming addition to their family constantly weighed on her mind and distracted her. Finally as she and Elf took turns tucking Brekke into bed (which of course took multiple trips) she sat down and started stitching again around the fabric she had traded for to make a baby blanket. It was very similar to Brekke's, only little blue flowers edged it instead of soft green leaves. Even that couldn't hold her concentration tonight, and she kept stabbing the tips of her fingers while sewing. When Brekke had cried out yet again, Zarabethe threw her stitching into the basket beside her and stalked outside. There she was now, only her pacing had quickly turned to an awkward waddle. By Elune was she uncomfortable. Giving up on her walking, she carefully eased herself down on the wooden bench in the garden. Their house was an anomaly in Elwynn forest. While it was mostly human in architecture from the outside, the inside was completely furnished in Night Elf furniture. Bit by bit, she and Elforen had worked to add little bits of home to the garden areas: lanterns to light the path, swooping archways that led to the animal area in the back. Enlarging the windows to let in more light and air. Native Kalimdor plants in the garden. She and Elf sometimes jokingly called it, “Ashenvale-by-the-Waterfall”, but it still fell far from the silence and peace of the trees in Nightsong Forest. It was for the most part secluded though, and they didn't get many visitors.

She was grateful for this fact as she attempted to stretch her aching legs. Her belly made everything awkward, and she didn't bother much with modesty the last few weeks. She was wearing a plain cotton sleeveless dress; it was too hot to wear much else. In a temperature less than that of the Burning Legion homeworld, it would probably be attractive: it was low cut, with thin straps holding the top up. Soft white cotton gathered under her breasts and stretched across her belly, feathering out at mid-thigh. As with most of her clothes, it had fallen victim to her embroidery habit, and a row of tiny leaves adorned the bottom hem. It was a garment that, under normal circumstances, she would have only laughed at, but today, it was too much fabric. It damply clung to her back and sides and she lifted her violet hair off of her neck to let what little breeze there was to her skin. Like everything else, even braiding her hair and pinning it up was becoming a challenge, and today she had not had the patience for it. She stayed there, head back, eyes closed, legs outstretched in front of her, trying to relax, until she heard Elforen's footsteps on the path in the garden. When the sound stopped, she opened her eyes and saw her husband crouched in front of her. His eyes held only concern as he held out a damp cloth to lay on her neck to cool her down. Her defenses and aggravation melted, and as she took the cloth she was not surprised to feel tears well up in her eyes again.

“I'm sorry,” she whispered as she pressed the cool cloth to her face. It felt like heaven. “It's just too hot today, and I can't get my mind to settle.”

Elforen reached to brush her hair back from her face, and she instinctively jerked away, regretting it even though she couldn't stop it. He pretended to only be brushing an errant leaf off the back of the bench. Tears spilled out of her eyes again and she looked away, trying to get control of her voice. Elforen diplomatically changed the subject.

“How are you and the baby feeling today?” he asked lightly. Zarabethe swallowed her tears away and couldn't help but smile. He asked her every day.

“Uncomfortable, but fine,” she said. “Still in there.” She sat up straighter, smoothing her dress down the best she could.


aaaaaaand that is about all I'm comfortable sharing :D.   If you are confused, feel free to visit my deviantArt to see their beginnings.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Kerfeet Enter the Fair

UPDATE:  They all did great! Logan and Gryphon got blues on their swords, Lilith got 5th on her chicken and blue on her cookies, and Ivy got blue on her dolphin.  I got second on both of my entries.  Overall, a good showing I think :).

Logan made a replica of Anduril, the Sword of the King from Return of the King.  Mark cut the general shape out of foam, Logan sanded it to get the right look, then painted it.

Gryphon made a Medieal Falchion (I think it ended up looking more like a cutlass, but that's the shape he wanted).  Same process.

Lilith made cookies (cinnamon oatmeal raisin) and a potholder loop chicken.

She burned her finger taking the pan out of the oven and needed a picture of it, too :)

Ivy and I made a dophin sock puppet.  I will freely admit, it was not one of my better works :D.  I think I completely forgot what a dolphin looked like while making it.  She was pleased though, so I guess that counts.

It's the grey thing in the bag behind her
I had all these plans for making things for the fair, then I hurt my ankle :(.  So not only did I not get to start on any fancy sewing fair projects, I didn't get to finish some other projects either.  So at the last minute I took the failed dress I made for Seraphyna for Ames Day, made the neckline smaller, added an elastic waistline, and made a matching hat.  It turned out so cute!  I can't wait to get it back so she can wear it :).   I also (about 15 minutes before we left for the faire) decided to enter Mark's Medieval Faire shirt, which I am inordinately proud of.  It was a little dusty from hanging since April, but still in mostly immaculate shape.  I'm hopeful for it. 

dress and hat

Mark's shirt

My lovely model in her dress

Tomorrow evening we'll go and tour the entire fair, and see if we placed in anything. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Clean, my minions!!!


Gryphon and Lilith wash dishes in stockpots in the bathtub, freeing up the sink.

You two are awfully chipper for being forced to clean

Logan and Ivy fold the laundry

Lachlan helps by laying all over it

Rowan is helping by staying out of my way and not hindering the other kids.
I'm just teasing, they are not being punshed.  But we have quite the round of chores going on right now.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

In Which I Talk About Myself Again

Anxiety is only endearing to cute, childless girls, and being mercurial only attractive in sexually deviant millionaire men.

It has come to my attention, through indirect means, that I do not like the person I have become in the past few years.  In all honesty it started when we moved back to Oklahoma:  two years of separating ourselves from our unhealthy attitudes seemed to slip away alarmingly fast once we were back in our comfort zone.  It was once we were back in Oklahoma that I began to really pay attention to and be hindered by my anxiety.  It grew to an almost debilitating peak December 2010, when our family went through a breaking down and rebuilding period.  Those months were hard.  There were weeks when I was barely able to leave the house, even with Mark.  I did not leave the house by myself for more than three months.  I remember the day because I was very proud of myself for taking the kids and going to the grocery store to get a few needed items and a craft for us all to do, with no breakdowns.   It was at that point that I started trying to get myself under control again, whatever the cost.  I was wound too tight to even try and be polite, patient, and accommodating.  Couldn't my family see how much stress I had going on all the time?  They could handle it, I couldn't. 

Sharp, sarcastic, demeaning remarks are unfortunately my default.  That's how my father dealt in life, and although I despised it and hate him for it, it became ingrained in my head as a show of strength, dominance, and control.  What I needed most in my life was control:  control over my anxieties, control over my surroundings, and the ability to focus and do my job of raising and homeschooling the kids, keeping the house livable, and taking care of outside issues that arose.  I have for the most part taken control of those things.  I can take all the minions and go grocery shopping for the month with no issues.  We go to the library and homeschool group.  I kindle the relationship with my husband, and have even started expressing myself with writing and drawing.  Most of the time the house is livable.  Things aren't perfect but they are a lot better.  I don't freak out much at all. 

But the sacrifice for that is my attitude.  Mark thought I was just miserable, because I was never happy.  I griped at the kids first and asked questions later.  I could be very sarcastic and/or dramatic when provoked.  I had NO IDEA that I was acting this way.  In my head, I was proud of myself for holding my stuff together for once.  I was happy, but I guess I never showed it. 

The turning point was when I was writing a chapter in my story sometime last week.  I was writing a scene, which in my head, was dramatic, over the top, and a look into my character's head and why she was that way.  In my opinion, this made her very unlikeable.  She didn't enjoy being that way, but it didn't change how she acted, and very few people were comfortable around her.  She was not a good mother.  She was not a good wife.  She was not a good friend.   She was not even good at taking care of herself.  Her only good friend was her husband, who was in love with her.  She wasn't even that connected to her children.   As they got older, they understood she had issues, and they loved her, but they were never close.  I got nearly done with it, and handed it over to Mark to proofread.  He read it, handed it back with a slight smirk, and said, "lt's you." 

He was completely right.  Except for minor details, I could have written out our evening any day of the week.  Wake up calls, however necessary, are never easy.  I was angry.  I was sarcastic.  Then I hated myself.  Finally, I reached the point where I saw the truth of it and was simply apologetic.  I was turning into my father, and I was in complete denial of it. 

I have done a lot of thinking these past few days.  I am learning to really look at how I react to things, and try to change them.  My knee-jerk reaction is seldom the appropriate one.  The upside is it's been more pleasant around my house.  The downside being that I'm seeing a return of my anxiety in force.  I realize that my caustic nature is directly related to the tough outer shell that I have built up to allow myself to function as a normal human being.  In order to make myself a better wife and mother, I am going to have to take myself down to a level where I am very vulnerable to outside attack.  My social anxiety is at an all-time high.  Example:  last night I did not have something planned in time for supper for when Mark got home.  Ordinarily I would fuss and fret, tear myself up for not being a good wife, gripe at the kids to help me clean kitchen/watch baby, and generally be unhappy and make everyone else unhappy.  Instead, I kept myself zen, told Mark what was going on, and we decided to go out.  I managed to have everyone (including myself) ready with minimal grumpiness and we went out.  It's tax-free weekend so all the restaurants are crowded.  We ended up at taco cabana.  We ordered food, got everyone sat down, and the girls helped me get drinks for everyone.  I noticed a line building up behind us as we filled up 8 different cups.  The grumpy looks of the patrons behind us just completely made me lose my cool.  I was terrified of those unapproving looks.  I tried to settle it down, after all, we were paying customers, and we had just as much right to get our drinks as them, but it set my mood for the entire evening.  I hyperventilated through the entire meal.  Every ill-tempered person in the entire room was obviously angry at us.  A litany of accusations and angry words that I was imagining them thinking bombarded my brain.  I was self-conscious over everything from how fast I ate my food, to how loudly the kids were talking, to Lachlan pitching pieces of rice off the table, and everything else.  I was shaking by the end of it, even though nothing had been said and the kids had been relative angels.   I have not been able to shake these feelings off like I usually can.  I knew it was going to be tough to change some ingrained habits, but this is much worse than I imagined.  Somehow, I have to break myself down again to a base level, then build up my defenses again, only without being mean, sarcastic, or demeaning to others.  I don't really know how to do this, but I'm going to try.  And in the meantime, I realize I'm going to have to prepare myself for a few months of mental torture as I sort things out. 

My husband is a saint as usual for putting up with me.  Hopefully he won't strangle me in a process that, with any luck, will end up with a much happier, calmer Melly.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Writing Again

So I told myself after the last writing contest, that I would not enter another one on that site.  Not because I was upset at not winning, or that I felt that the quality of writers on the site was poor, but because the method they used to shortlist the entries I felt was a popularity contest, and people were padding their stories with fake accounts and likes.  Writing should never be judged by how many friends you have. 

I have, however, been keeping my eye on the writing prompts for ideas to expand my comfort zone beyond just my own World of Warcraft characters.  I knew there was a fantasy contest coming up, although I've been busy with other things (imagine that!) and haven't checked it in a few weeks.  I happened to think of it today, and found the contest had been posted a few weeks ago.  The interesting part though, is who the judge is going to be.  I've had a few friends mention the upcoming book "Seraphina" to me, and I had already made plans to purchase it when it came out, as the story sounded decent, and well, who can resist with such a lovely title :).   But it turns out that SHE is the one judging this contest, and by reading the excerpt that she posted for inspiration for the contest, I am really excited about the prospect of this book, and really inspired to giving this contest a try.  My distraction has lost me precious few weeks in writing:  the shortlist is made by how many people "like" your story, and that takes time if you're not artificially padding your votes.  So tonight I will set aside the birth of Zara and Elf's second child, the sexual tension between Maerciless and her former paladin partner, Aeschlie, and Nimuelle the ditzy hunter's fatalistic mistake in animal identification, and try and come up with something completely original in as little time as possible. 

I also have two dresses for my niece to make, matching outfits for the girls for Ames Day to pull together, at least one entry for the sewing portion of the county fair to make, and two slings as gifts to complete, all by the 18th as well.  I am nothing if not overly ambitious :\ .

Contest details:

I leave you with a happy Seraphyna Ninja.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lilith and I draw the Tower of Barad-Dur

Lilith has decided she's going to make the Tower of Barad-dur for the Canadian County Free Fair this year.  For those of you following along, this is the tower that holds the Eye of Sauron in Lord of the Rings.  We finally found a picture of it in our DVD set and we both took turns drawing it. 

I realized as I was drawing that the side things on it make it basically look like a giant penis.  o.O

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Quotes from The Husband

Husband: *swatting the air near his salad*  Get away from my food, fly, or I will eat you!  And it will be a very satisfying swallow!
Me: ......
Husband: That didn't come out the way I wanted it to.
Me: *cackles*

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

And This Is Where I Cheat

I have entered a story into a WoW fan fiction contest. Anyone that has a minute or two, would you *like* it or add it to your favorites? don't even have to read it! thanks!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Or Sixth, or Seventh....

Song for a Fifth Childby Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Drawing Lord of the Rings

Arwen calling the river horses to wash away the Ringwraiths

Logan draws the battle for Minas Tirith
Gryphon draws Sauron forging the ring (on the back is an elf cutting off an orc's head......)
This is when Gollum is talking to himself while Frodo and Sam are sleeping, right before they get to the Dead Marshes (by Lilith)

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Mark and the boys ran to the store this morning to replenish the cheerios supply for breakfast.  On the way there, he saw one of his old coworkers, who waved at him.  He pulled over and they chatted for a bit.  As they pulled away, Gryphon asked, "Is that your girlfriend?"

And that, my friends, is how rumours get started :D.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Meet Mai Rose

This will be my Pandaren when Mists hits the shelves.  She's a Discipline Priest.  I kind of like the line drawing I did of her better than the coloured in version, but both I like.  She's cute but she's also serious.  That's going to be my Halloween costume as well.  The spelling of her name might change as most Chinese names with an "ai" are pronounced "eye" and her name is MAY, like the month.

Picture turned out a little fuzzy (although I guess SHE is a little fuzzy, har har)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lord of the Rings and The Making of Costumes

In the last 2 weeks, we introduced the kids to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.   We are reading The Hobbit together (slowly) so the world itself was not new, but this was a completely different story.  I was not sure how they'd take it.  I had a lot of misgivings:  that there was much violence, and suspense, and that they would possibly be bored to tears.  To a one, all five older kids stared in rapt attention throughout the entire thing.  They LOVED it.  That might not be a bold enough statement.  They worshipped the perfectness of the epic tale of the Fellowship of the Ring with a passion worthy of its tale.  I have never seen a more perfect trilogy than LOTR.  The costumes, details, and architecture are all breathtaking but still completely believable.  The acting is superb.   The weapons are realistic and beautiful.  I never had much patience for the books (I KNOW.  Bad Melly) but the movies I could watch over and over.  While Tolkien adds little songs and ditties it seems every other page, the songs included are few but extremely poignant.  Merry's song while Faramir rides to (what he assumes) his death, gets me every time.  Just beautiful.  The score is a perfect balance between an understated background that propels your emotions where it wants them to go, and a riveting score that you'd recognize on any occasion.   It seems that every single minute detail of that movie, to the embroidery on an extra's robe to the unique armour bestowed on each race (or each subsection of race, ex the elves of Rivendell vs the elves of Galadriel) was deliberate, lovingly created with the intent for realism.   I love the movie for the story, for the action, for the small amount of comedy, and I also love it for the theatre person in me.  I appreciate the immense amount of work it must have taken to pull this project off so well.  I am looking forward to the Hobbit, in fact I am considering taking the kids to go see it as part of their Christmas presents.

Also in this past week we have been discussing Halloween costumes.  Of course the kids have naturally drifted towards LOTR for the costume choices.  Rowan was the first:  without stumbling he told me he wanted to be Aragorn for Halloween.   He knew exactly who the character was,  knew the name, and that's what he wanted.  Logan and Lilith were originally going to be an Andalite with Logan being the front end and Lilith being the back end (it's a kind of alien deer.....thing) but then Lilith remembered she was going to be Katniss from the Hunger Games.  I have not let her read the books yet (although I am reconsidering letting her read the 1st so she can be prepared for the costume) but she fell in love with the character from the movie trailers I watched online.  So Logan chose Legolas.  It's a good thing we have two bows (one more a prop, and the other from Mark's boy scout days).  Gryphon still wants to be the Headless Horseman (which is awesome, but going to be a lot of work).  Ivy had trouble deciding, but I think we've settled on Eowyn, the warrior princess :).  I REALLY want to make Lachlan a hobbit.  He has the perfect frame for it:  big head, oversized feet and hands, short legs, and slightly curly hair.  I could even give him a ring on a necklace and make him Frodo.   It's either that, or a panda cub. Because I am going to be a Pandaren warrior, and Seraphyna is going to be my baby panda cub :).  I've kind of got an idea how I'd like a Pandaren warrior to look, and I'm going to attempt to draw it out soon.  I'd like to be a warrior, but if that doesn't happen, I'll be a mage or priest.  I'll make myself a long sleeved long blue dress, throw the blue corset on over the top of it, paint my face, and make a staff.  Very simple.   Mark is still deciding what to be.  He has a replica of Anduril, Aragorn's sword, so he might be Aragorn as well, but maybe a different costume.  Rowan is going to be Strider Aragorn, black shirt, black long jerkin, Mark might be Gondorian Aragorn, with the blue tabard of Gondor.  It's such a gorgeous costume.  We'll see.  He might decide to be something else as well.

Picture references:

Strider Aragorn (Rowan)
Gondor Aragorn (Mark?)
Misc Hobbits (Lachlan?)

Eowyn (Ivy?)

Legolas (Logan)

Katniss Everdeen (Lilith)

Pandaren (me, Seraphyna)

Headless Horseman as envisioned by World of Warcraft (Gryphon)