Word counts, and words that count

My brain is getting squishy.

Writing a book is stretching me in all kinds of ways. Mostly good, as it’s been one of the most exciting, albeit challenging, tasks I’ve taken on. I already want to write more, ideas swirling in me, despite the fact that some days there is nothing remotely coherent left in me.

Of course I’ve had those points along this process of wondering how on earth this is going to take shape and oh my gosh, this isn’t good at all, and I completely doubt myself. But then a coffee with a friend or a morning at the Farmer’s Market will breathe new life and new ideas and new courage into my brain for one more day or one more week, and I remember that our stories are indeed worth sharing.

For years, I’d been writing in coffee shops, but after our local coffee place moved to another town, coupled with the Starbucks being a good 15 minutes away, it led me to discover that the library opens when school starts and offers some cozy areas to set up shop. And it’s saved me a lot of money in coffee drinks, so that’s a plus too.

Writing at the library is both calming and empowering, with its rows and rows of books – captivating stories and beautiful cover designs and some of the greatest words ever written, right in front of me.

 Last week, I celebrated reaching 35,000 words. I try not to get too fixated on word counts, but then again, it also keeps me focused and gives me cause for little celebrations for reaching milestones as I work toward my deadline less than two months away.

This coming weekend, Evan and I leave for a trip to Austin, Texas. When he was scheduled to attend a banker’s conference there, we explored the opportunity of me jumping along for the ride… and we are thankful for willing grandparents holding down the fort for our first trip away together longer than one night. I’m treating the trip, with no obligations on my end, as a sort of writer’s retreat, and I am looking forward to this time so much.

We will be celebrating our 8-year wedding anniversary, and during the days of the conference, I will have space and time wide open to write, to think, to read, and to just be and enjoy.

I am hopeful to up my word count… but I am more hopeful to find words that count. Whether I write 500 words or 5,000 words on this trip, I am excited to have some free days to let myself mull over the words that matter in this story, the words that should be written and recorded and told.

For those of you who live in or who have been to Austin, where should I go on my writer’s retreat? I’m looking for a good breakfast cafe or coffee shop, a good spot for lunch, and anything else I can’t miss seeing while we’re there.

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Serving Up Lunch with Step2’s Mighty Table and Chairs – and a GIVEAWAY!

When I saw Step2’s fall products, I knew exactly what our kids needed – the Might Table and Chair set.

This very simple item – didn’t even need to put anything together! – has provided extra seating for little friends at lunch time and has gotten our Play-Doh and our arts and crafts projects off of the kitchen floor. Two thumbs up for no more Play-Doh smashed in my grout, thanks :)

And one afternoon, I pushed several kitchen-type toys into the kitchen and the kids spent hours playing “restaurant”…

Between our Mighty Table and Chairs set, our play kitchen and our grill, we had a full restaurant set up… and Chef Connor was in business.

“Here’s your order!”cIMG_2099

Inspecting the food…

…before diving in :)cIMG_2114

I love this table and chairs more than any I’ve seen before because of the colors. The neutral gray goes perfectly with our black and white kitchen and the green gives a trendy pop of color. With the colors, I can keep the set in our eat-in area without it detracting from the room or looking out of place.

While Chef Connor mans the grill area, it appears his patron has decided to help herself to another cup of coffee.  Guess she got tired of waiting. Good service is hard to find sometimes 😉

And FYI – today is the last day of Step2’s Friends and Family Sale, where you can get 15% off – and tons of their items are shipping for free too. (Use the code FRIENDS15 to get the discount.)

Here’s a little snippet of our play time… it appears that the restaurant patron is going to have a long afternoon of eating ahead! Par for the course with this girl :)

Today, someone will win their own Mighty Table and Chairs set! Simply enter using the Rafflecopter tool below. The giveaway will run through Saturday…
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Under water

Brenna and I had just returned from the library last Friday and were about to cozy up on the couch to read a book when I ran to the bathroom…and stepped into a huge puddle of water as I pushed open the door.

I flipped the light on to reveal one soaked bathroom – water all over the toilet, sink, and especially the floor. I ran downstairs and found a large puddle of water there, and then I ran up to our second story to be met with standing water in the hallway, puddles of water in the laundry room and Brenna’s bathroom, and soaked carpet in Connor’s bedroom and our guest bedroom.

There may or may not have been some choice words used. (Brenna was out of earshot.)

Evan raced home from work and called the restoration company almost immediately. Within an hour, our new floors put in only a year ago were all torn up and enormous fans were blowing throughout the house.

Before we had left, I had thrown a load of Brenna’s blankets in the washing machine. Over the last year, the washer has jostled just enough with each load that the drain pipe was working its way loose. And Friday was our lucky day. The drain pipe came out and drained the water all over our house instead of down the drain. Isn’t that just peachy?   

Brenna’s beautiful bathroom, taken apart :(

It surely was not the way I would have picked to relax at the end of a long week. But all I keep thinking about is how grateful I was that it happened like it did.

For one, the laundry room is located in an area where the water that spilled out didn’t affect rooms that would have caused a whole lot more damage – like the TV in the living room or photo albums. Or – shuddering – all of my important documents and laptop in my office.

And secondly, we caught it right away. I cringe to think about how much more damage would have been caused had we been gone for many more hours, or for the day. It could easily have ruined the sub-floors or our kitchen ceiling… thankfully the dining room ceiling is the only major damage on the first floor.

Oh – and we have insurance. I’m definitely feeling grateful for insurance!

Yes, it is a huge headache. We had to stay with relatives the last few days, which is an inconvenience for all involved. I’m listening to the construction crew take out the dining room ceiling, and our house looks a little like the home in ET with plastic sheets hanging all over.

But on the map of all that is important in the world, this is nothing. A teeny, tiny bump in the road. I’ll take this over my child being hospitalized any day, can I get an amen!

When you look for the good and the positive, it’s pretty easy to find.

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