goals, philosophy, writing

Get Healthy Bloghop: Water

My number-one secret for getting/staying healthy isn’t really a secret at all.


Drink water.

When I was pregnant with my first child, the best advice my doctor gave me was to keep hydrated. I got a giant water bottle – one marked with easy-to-read measurements, and used that to keep track of my water intake each day. By the time I was finally done with pregnancy and nursing … well, by that time I was expecting again, so when I was finally done with all that, I had firmly established the habit of drinking water constantly throughout the day.

I’m not perfect with it anymore – my girls are four and five, long enough for me to occasionally slide back into bad habits. But oh boy, can I tell the difference when I get out of the habit. When I am drinking enough water, my mind is clearer; my body healthier; my hair and skin happier; my temptations to eat too much sugar far lessoned. When I’m even slightly dehydrated? I get slow, sluggish, and stupid. Cranky, too.

I don’t always like drinking it. Sometimes it’s too boring, sometimes it just tastes unpleasant. So often I add fruit to it to give a little more flavor, or squirt some lemon juice in, or even add just a tiny bit of juice. Anything to convince myself to keep drinking it.

And no, coffee, even decaffeinated, is NOT an acceptable substitute for water. So sorry! (Neither is black tea, which is sadder for me personally.)

Exercise is good (I’m still looking for something to fill the gap ice dance was for me this winter); healthy eating in general is hugely important; the simple act of moving throughout the day necessary; but for me, drinking enough water to stay properly hydrated is the single best thing I can do to stay healthy, body and mind.

How about you?

This post is part of the Staying Healthy Bloghop. Check out more posts at Alex J Cavanaugh, Stephen Tremp, L Diane Tremp, and Michael Di Gesu.

children, God, Life Talk


From this …

Meeting Grace
Meeting Grace
Sweet baby
Sweet baby
Sister kisses
Sister kisses
She smiled early, and hasn't stopped since
She smiled early, and hasn’t stopped since

… to this, in four short years

"best birthday present EVER" she said about her bike
“best birthday present EVER” she said about her bike
Hey kid, who told you you could grow up?
Hey kid, who told you you could grow up?
cookies and a fancy dress for Oma's graduation
cookies and a fancy dress for Oma’s graduation
Ready for adventure
Ready for adventure

Happy 4th birthday, darling Grace. You have brought so much sunshine and joy to our lives. You are full of drama, compassion, mischief, love, and delight, and you are way too smart for comfort.

You aren’t even close to being a baby anymore, but you’ll always be my baby, my sweet, lovable, darling Gracie. I’m so thankful God put you in our lives!

goals, Life Talk, school

Home Again

I woke up this morning with the strangest sense that I had left something undone. But what? I had even unpacked my suitcase before collapsing into bed last night! Then I remembered:

No blog post.

I almost always write these posts Sunday night, in order to have them up in good time Monday morning. Last night, though … well, it’s probably a good thing I did forget, because otherwise the post would look like this:

asfkjbarlsuhdflkgjbfkdjbgjskbg Graduated! sfkgjbnjlkjbjb..!

I was tired. It was an amazing weekend, watching my mom receive her Master’s hood (afterward, while I was helping Grace in the ladies’ room, a news photographer stopped by and took a picture of my gram, Mom, my sister, and Joy, to do a piece about the four generations in the paper. SO wish I hadn’t missed that!), bullying my pregnant sister into taking her vitamins every day and drink enough water, celebrating Grace’s birthday a little early, just enjoying being together with family.


Mom, Dad, Joy, and Grace
Mom and Gram
Mom and her girls!

But it was exhausting. Especially since my brother-in-law took out all four of Carl’s wisdom teeth on Thursday, leaving Carl pretty much non-functional for the rest of the weekend. Our trip to Ottawa on Sunday, intended to be the cap on a fantastic weekend, ended up being mostly a bust just because he was still having a hard time forming coherent thought and I was too tired by then to do the thinking for him. We wandered around Parliament, drove by the tulip beds, and came home with little more than a box of Timbits to show for it. Oh well. Another year.

We’re all doing much better after sleeping in our own beds. (and those Timbits were not scorned for breakfast today, let me tell you.) I’m even hoping to start first grade with Joy today.

(We’re starting right after finishing kindergarten, because we know we’ll be having to take time off during the year and I would rather start early than have to go late next spring, and also I’m a little concerned she’ll forget half of what she knows if we go a few months in between right now. Also I’m still really bad at sticking to a schedule, so the more time I have to form good habits, the better.)

Other exciting things will be happing soon. Magic Most Deadly is with my proofreader. The cover designer and I are trying to restrain ourselves from going overboard with shinies. I’m currently debating between finishing up a new Sophie short story, putting in more work on Magic Most Deadly’s prequel (this one set in Regency times!), or going over to the Louise Bates side and starting work on the 1930s historical fiction. I’m really strongly leaning toward the 1930s story, but … I would love to do some physical research on that first, going over to the area in which it is set and getting a real feel for it, but that’s not likely to happen until next summer. So I’m still dithering.

In the meantime, laundry, school, meal planning, and grocery shopping beckon. It was a great weekend, but it’s good to be home!

families, heroines, influences, Life Talk

My Strong Heritage

I have a love/hate relationship with Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and the like. I don’t like how exclusive they are. For Mother’s Day especially, I don’t like how a culture that usually treats women, mothers in particular, as “less than,” takes one day to say “Oh yeah, moms are great,” and then goes back to sneering at them.

On the other hand, I also like any opportunity I get to show the people I love how thankful I am for them. So I’m usually torn, these sorts of holidays.

But today, I’m not torn at all. I want to sing praise not just to my mother, but to all the women in my family who have contributed to make me the person I am today. It’s the day after Mother’s Day, and the day I choose to celebrate these amazing women.

My mom. She’s getting her Master’s degree on Saturday. Her granddaughters get to watch their Oma get a degree, how amazing is that? She taught me everything I know about sewing, cooking, teaching, and more importantly, how to use my brain (OK, Dad contributed to that part as well. Don’t worry, Dad, your post will come after Father’s Day!). She taught me about sacrifice and hard work, and the importance of having dreams while keeping your practicality. She’s the best mom I could imagine.

Gram, Mom’s mother. Just as my girls get to watch their grandmother earn her degree, I can still remember going to Grammie’s college graduation. She’s tackled every challenge that comes her way with zest and determination, and her energy puts me to shame. She’d do anything for her family, except let them get away with doing less than they are capable of.

Grandma, Dad’s mom. Raised eight children and had a hand in the raising of many of her grandchildren. Kept a sense of humor up to the very end. Faced a hard life with laughter and courage. Also went to college, to become a teacher. Instilled a love for reading and love for music in all her family.

My great-grandmothers. Some of them I only really know through stories. Some of them I knew well. One of them got to meet my Joy right after she was born. One of them had a name I am proud to now carry as my own. All of them strong, independent, courageous women.

My sister. My best friend, one of the smartest people I know, with the kindest heart to match her keen wits. She’s going to get to hold her first baby this fall, and I am so excited to see her become a mom. She’s going to be as spectacular at that as she is at everything else, I know.

My aunts, great-aunts, cousins … really, the list is too long to go on. And if I get started on the women who aren’t in my family who have influenced me and contributed to the person I am today, we’d be here all day. I am so thankful for all of them. I rejoice that my daughters have such a strong heritage – and one of equally brave, smart, loving women from their dad’s side – behind them.

Not just Mother’s Day, but every day I thank God for them!

Gram meeting our Joy for the first time.
Gram meeting our Joy for the first time.
Books, fiction

More Good Books

I’m at an in-between place with writing at this moment – not quite ready to make the final edits to my current MS, but also not wanting to dive wholly into my new one for fear I’ll get carried away and have a hard time coming back when the time is right for said current edits. I have a short story I’m working on, but the plot keeps getting stuck, so I’m working on plotting right now rather than actual writing.

Instead, I’ve been reading. Voraciously. Coming home from the library every week with stacks of books, and exchanging every one for fresh fodder the next. It’s like I’m a kid again.

(The warm streak we’ve been having contributes to this. The girls and I have been spending every moment we can outside, soaking in the sunshine. This winter was long and miserable and sickly, and so we are forgetting about school and housework and everything inside related, and for me, that includes writing. Laptop doesn’t like the sun. Books love it.)

(The mosquitoes are starting to emerge, though, so we’ll probably start spending more time inside this week. Gracie is mildly allergic, so every bite balloons up and itches like mad, and since we live right by a wetlands, we get swarmed with mosquitoes all summer long. Poor kid.)

Anyway. Not all of the books have been winners. Some I read, finish, and think “Ugh, why did I waste my time?” Some I read, finish, and think “Wait, what was the point of that story again?” Some I read and don’t finish. Some I don’t even read, just skim and decide to skip.

But most of them have been good, and a few have been truly wonderful. Two in particular from last week’s load.

The Grass-Widow’s Tale, by Ellis Peters. I love Peters’ Cadfael books, but Inspector Felse is almost as good. This book features Bunty, Felse’s wife, and it entered my life at just the right time. In it, Bunty is turning 41 and wondering who she is apart from Wife and Mother, and what her purpose is on the earth aside from those two roles – does she matter her, alone, aside from how she affects Husband and Son? I’m not quite at that age yet, but oh, haven’t I asked myself those questions?

The adventure Bunty gets entangled with as she struggles with these questions is both exciting and enlightening, and I love how she is both gentle and fierce, loving and ferocious, exactly when she needs to be. It’s a great, great read, and another one of those books that deals with serious matters as only supposedly light fiction can do.

The other book was Eva Ibbotson’s The Dragonfly Pool. This is only the second Ibbotson I’ve ever read, and sometimes I feel kind of cheated that I didn’t get to discover her as a kid, when her books and characters would have had a hand in shaping my world. But there’s something special about reading them for the first time as an adult, too, though not of the same sort. This time it’s more of a reminder of the magic of my youth, and I need that, these days when I feel old and cranky and worn-out way, way before my time.

(I am learning, these days, when those moods come on me, to shout “Carl! We’re being too boring again! We need an adventure!”, and he is learning not to fetch me a nice soothing cup of tea when I do that. We’re getting there. By the time we’re old we’ll have remembered how to be young.)

The Dragonfly Pool, despite not being fantasy, is really quite fantastic, and thoroughly delightful. I love Tally, with her quiet and steadfast determination to help others, and how in doing so she helps herself along the way. I love all the side characters, so richly drawn. The villains are satisfyingly villainous, and the overall setting is truly magical.

So. Those are two of my excellent reads from last week. We’ll see what gems pop out of this week’s library haul.

What good books have you been reading lately?