Category Archives: writing

New title and tagline

WordPress is sending me daily emails. Trying to help me with my blog education. Today I was supposed to update my title and tagline.

When we got our first foster care placement back in September, our number of kids went from 5 to 6. At the time, my Instagram account was titled 5grubbworms. That was driving me crazy because now there weren’t just 5 there were 6. Even if Pipsqueak is only here for a little while, she’s a Grubb while she’s here. So I pondered changing it to 6grubbworms but I have no idea if we will foster more children in the future so why place a limit on the number? So my @5grubbworms became @allthelittlegrubbs on Instagram and I liked it so much I decided to revamp the blog name too.

The tagline is a different story and requires a little more explanation.

I love children. All the children. I really do. I’m the grown-up who will fight for the kids. I want to protect them all, heal them all, love them all. I would gladly give them my all.

Unfortunately, I’m also an introvert. Most small humans under the age of 18 tend to be loud and have endless stores of energy and emotional needs. It’s the way they are wired.

In essence, what I love about children – their innocence, kindness, excitement, energy, creativity, transparency, affectionate natures and potential, is also what is so, so exhausting.

Are they worth it though? Are they worth wanting to crawl into a shell after being with them all day? Are they worth never getting to have a complete adult conversation? Of not having time to read a book, or write a blog post, go on trips, etc.? Of course. No doubt.

My new tagline: Give me all the children. Then get them away from me.

Getting ready for 2016

2016 is almost here and I’m excited!

Personally, I’ll be challenging myself to continue to add balance to my life. Somehow, when I began to have children and then decided to stay home and educate them myself, I made a dangerous trade-off.

Not only did my husband and I decide to become a one income family but I lost something much more valuable than a paycheck. I lost myself.

This is a risk for all mothers, I believe. Whether they mean for it to happen or not. Some women pride themselves in throwing their all into their children’s lives, thinking and feeling like their children and their husband should always be first and be given the focus of ALL their energy and time. I did this at first. I decided to stop pursuing a career in the social work world to instead stay home and raise my first baby boy.

I have never regretted my decision. Our family grew quickly, five babies in 7 and a half years and I was BUSY. Busy with nursing babies and changing diapers, chasing toddlers and teaching preschoolers. Busy learning how to home educate. Busy learning how to be married when the shiny and new wears off and the hard, lean, trying years crowd out romance and time together.

In all that busyness, I did forget to add in a little margin for myself. I let old friendships die, I stopped reading almost completely, I did not write my thoughts or my favorite quotes anymore. I did not go out to eat with a friend and sit and talk for hours on a regular basis. I did not ask for what I needed, I did not seek out ways I could continue to fight for children in foster care and meet the needs of a population I feel most called to help.

I let it all get lost and while I can (and have over the years) blame circumstances and my husband and others for this, the responsibility lies with me. This TED talk really sums up the gist of it. It is up to me to get what I want.

If I want to read, I need to take the time and let the people around me know that it is a priority. If I want to write, I need to do just sit down and write. I have participated in and won NaNoWriMo 2014 and 2015 and that has done wonders for me. In 2015, I challenged myself to read 48 books. I won’t make it to 48, not for lack of trying but because my spinal fusion recovery caused me to miss more reading time than I planned. I am on my 43rd book of the year so I feel like I’ve still accomplished a lot!

Deciding to fight for my health, to fight against my own fear of surgery and the feeling of “who will do it all if I’m out of commission for that long”. Making the decision to have spinal fusion surgery – that was another accomplishment for 2015.

So why I am so excited for 2016?

First, I’ll be adding a photography challenge to my current reading and writing challenges. I know NOTHING (a big, fat zero percent) about photography. All I know is that when I look at some of my talented friends’ photos, I am inspired to be creative.

My children are always asking me, “What do you get if you win?” They aren’t very impressed when I explain that I just get the satisfaction of knowing I’ve done it!

Second, I’ll be training and working as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer again. I did this for a short time when I left the Blount County Children’s Home in 2002. I am so passionate about this organization and advocating for children. I can’t wait to get started!

And last but not least, I turn 40 this year. I plan to celebrate the whole year, but so that I don’t drive everyone around me crazy, I’ll try to limit the blatant celebrating to the month of April.

Nyquil buzz and NaNoWriMo week 4

“I’m exhausted. I spent all morning putting in a comma and all afternoon taking it out.”  Oscar Wilde

I wish this is where I was with my novel. It would mean I had finished it. That I had made it to 50K words already. That I had conquered week 4 of NaNoWriMo. But I haven’t.  Instead I’m sitting around 38,000 and while I know where I want to go with my story (for the most part) before the end of the month, the end of the month is getting here too quickly!

I had planned on writing a ton while my husband took a long hunting trip before Thanksgiving.  I was also going to print out fun, turkey crossword puzzles and coloring pages and call that school work.

Instead, I’m sitting alone (thank God for grandparents) in my house blowing my nose and coughing and swallowing shards of broken glass. I have strep and a sinus infection.  I stayed so healthy while all of my kids and my husband fought off various illnesses through October and November (yay vitamins!) but now I’m drowning in snot and pain and a Nyquil induced buzz.  All of which is causing my word count to stand still.

I will not quit though. And even if I have to write 10,000 words on November 30th, it will all be worth it because I’ll have written my first novel.

Nyquil

18,799 words, stitches out, expander in

So my word count for NaNoWriMo2014 is at 18,799 and it’s feeling so good. I wasn’t sure my characters were going to get off their butts and do anything but tonight they did. So exciting.

Jonah got his stitches out of his toe.  His temper tantrum from 10 days ago left him with 4 stitches in his big toe. It was gross, bloody and black.  He screamed like a crazy person getting those things in but of course, daddy took him to have them removed and NOT ONE TEAR was shed.

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I love the irony that he was wearing a shirt that says “Mom’s Happy Camper” when in fact if mom had taken him he would not have been a happy camper.  Go dad go.

Katie had to have an expander put in at the orthodontist today.  She’s getting the fun of spacers, impressions, appliances all at the ripe old age of 9.  Bless her.  But the experts (who never heard her high-pitch crying baby screech) say her mouth is too small and room must be made.

She did well with it today. It’s making her talk a little funny and she doesn’t appreciate when I laugh at her so I’m trying not to do that. Hey, don’t judge, I had braces for 3 years, I know it sucks. We keep telling her she’ll get used to it. Hopefully she will.

9,312 words and healing

So I am up to 9,312 words!  I should be further along now, according to the NaNoWriMo charts, but I’m pretty excited that I’ve gotten this far.  The characters are coming to me and they are slowly developing.  I’m letting them go where they want to, because as far as plot goes, I really have NO plot.  I have some vague ideas but I don’t know if my characters are going to agree with me or not.  If they are anything like my children, probably not.

It turns out that Chris was too sick to go hunting this week and weekend so we have had some extra, much needed family time. I was able to have some time out of the house alone on Thursday which is always priceless.  Tomorrow, instead of going to church, we are planning on a long drive to find some autumn scenery to enjoy.  Tomorrow night we’ll stay in and watch a movie.  We were driving to Foster’s soccer practice and I turned to Chris and said “this weekend has been so…healing.”  He agreed.

Foster’s last soccer game and end-of-the-season soccer party were today.  He received a trophy and ate some doughnuts, it was a nice conclusion to an undefeated season.  It’s always nice to be the winners.

My parents came over for dinner this evening and I still feel so thankful that they can just drive over for dinner any time.  I’m not sure they’ll bring a dessert to share next time though since my kids ate all the cheesecake before the grown-ups could get any.

5,759 words and voting

NaNoWriMo is coming right along. I’m at 5,759 words this morning. According to Chris Baty’s book No Plot, No Problem I should be at 8,335 by the end of today so I’m a little behind but I’m not focusing on that.

What I am focusing on is the way getting even a little writing time is making me feel. I can’t even put into words right now how amazing that feeling is.

The thing about adding something big like this to your daily life is that it makes you realize that you weren’t just feeling busy but you actually are busy.

One of the things I took time to do yesterday was go vote.  Even though I wasn’t fired up about going, not like I have been in the past.  I really have no tolerance for politics.  I consider myself to be patriotic, I love our country and support our military, but as I get older I feel less allegiance to any political party.  I feel the government has too much involvement in people’s personal lives but when the tables are turned on  the government leaders they’d rather us (American citizens) not stick our noses where they don’t belong.  Yes, dear Clinton, I do disagree with your infidelity.

So, do I vote? Of course. I am free to do so and that right didn’t come without many sacrifices of those who came before me.  And I’m a parent, so I have an obligation and responsibility to be a good example and show them the importance of voting.

Did I get to vote yesterday? Nope.  We’ve moved and my voter registration card is lost and my driver’s license has an address from two houses ago so when I showed up at the polls yesterday they weren’t very happy with me.

Oh well. I’m mailing in my new voter registration form and I’m going to get an updated license so maybe next time I can fulfill my civic duty.

NaNoWriMo2014, four stitches and Halloween

What in the world is NaNoWriMo? It stands for National Novel Writing Month (it happens every November) and I am participating this year for the first time!

I’m excited, nervous, determined and intimidated but I’m doing it.

It’s about time I stop talking about writing a book and start writing it.

I had planned on using yesterday, October 31st to move a desk to my room and get a little nook set up so I can have an official work space, however, Jonah decided a trip to Children’s hospital ER would be a better way to spend the first 5 hours of our day.

He is three so nothing, and I mean NOTHING, that he does should surprise me.  I’ve been through this 4 times before, 5 if you count when I lived with my 3 year old brother who tried to die several times but is a living, breathing 23 year old right now.

He comes into the kitchen, while I was trying to finish my coffee and read a message from a fellow mom/writer I’ve recently met.  He had on footy pajamas and decided it would be a good idea to go outside in the wet and cold and jump on the trampoline, which I tried to discourage by saying no, but as I said, he’s three.

He decided to go out anyway, except he couldn’t get the door to open.  He got angry, I was laughing inside thinking “curses! Thwarted by the door again!”  When I made no move to leave my coffee and open the door for him to do something I already said he couldn’t do he grabbed a heavy kitchen bar stool and threw it down to, I assume, make the level of his anger evident. However, he dropped it on his big toe.

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The ER visit was fun.  It took 4 adults holding him down to get the 4 stitches he needed.  After the wrestling, screaming match the nurses and “child specialists” brought him a popsicle and left so we could wait on paperwork for the next 20 minutes.  I was sweating and stressed and needed the down time before lugging him back out of the ER and down the street to the ER parking lot which has moved further away since the we were there for his burned hand a few months ago.  I thought it was interesting that he got offered his choice of popsicle but nobody asked me what kind of coffee and chocolate I would like after such a disturbing experience.

We made it home by midafternoon and the weather started to get uglier.  My kids had costumes and they weren’t very happy about the fact that it was 45 degrees and starting to rain.  We invited a couple of friends down for pizza and trick-or-treating anyway.

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It was cold and wet and the 10 pounds of candy I bought didn’t get passed out.  Halloween 2014, the first one in our new house and new neighborhood is in the books.