Welcome to the blog of science fiction author Eileen Rhoadarmer--where science fiction and Mommyhood collide!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Caught Up on Submissions!

Well, I've done it.  For the first time since Kal'El's birth (to be honest, for the first time since a few weeks before his birth) I have all of my ready-to-submit stories out to markets.  It took me nearly six months, but I'm finally back on track!

There are, of course, a few caveats to this feat.  One of my stories has been sitting with a market for well over a year, and I need to figure out what's going on there.  I sent one query through an online form about two weeks ago and have heard nothing, so I'll need to look for other ways to query.  If they're still holding it as a possibility that's all to the good, but I'd like to know (and I really REALLY hope this one wasn't lost as it would really stink to not have done anything with it for a year for no reason.)  I also have another story that is ready for me to format and start submitting but I just haven't gotten around to yet, plus two more that probably don't need more than another readthrough and possibly a tweak or two before they're ready, so I ought to get on those--though realistically that probably won't happen until a few Christmas projects are done.  But I just feel good to have submitted everything back out that should have been submitted (possibly numerous times) months ago.

Let the rejection letters roll!  (With hopefully an acceptance or two thrown in!!!  That is the name of the game, after all.)

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I took advantage of the doting attention of my parents two weekends before Thanksgiving and prepared a bevy of Thanksgiving crafts to do with Zaxxon.  I wanted him to learn the basic story behind the holiday as well as having fun and doing turkey stuff.

First we made a turkey out of his hands and feet.  I got the idea here.  He likes smacking crafts with the palm of his hand to make sure the glue sticks.
Attaching the eyes.

Zaxxon had already thrown two five-minute-long fits just before we did this craft, first when he realized he'd left his pumpkin sticker at the credit union and the second when he noticed his snowman stamp was rubbing off his hand--not to mention I knew he had a cough and a runny nose, and had gone to bed late the previous night, so I figured we'd be lucky to get through one project on this day.  However, to my surprise he wanted more, so we moved on to a Thankful Turkey.
We started by reading this book, Count Your Blessings by Patricia Reeder Eubank.  We've had this book for a while.  It's a nice little lesson:  Cuddlebear wants to know what Thanksgiving means, and his Mama tells him it means "thank you."  She then helps him realize that he has much more than presents to be thankful for.
Next we glued together the body of a turkey and I asked Zaxxon to name things he was thankful for.  I wrote them on turkey feathers and then we taped them to the turkey (meaning he got bored and wanted me to attach most of them).
He named pretty much every family member, and then came up with a few more things as I reminded him of what Cuddlebear was thankful for.

I liked the hand and foot turkey so much, I thought it would be a fun one to keep as a Thanksgiving decoration.  I thought doing it every year might be fun too, in order to keep track of the boys' growth.  So I made one for Kal'El too.

After the turkeys, I taught him the story of the first Thanksgiving.  After coloring and cutting-out, we did this craft in the hallway.  As I told him the story, I gave him the picture corresponding to what I was talking about and had him tape it to a big map of the United States (with the exception of the Mayflower, which I had him put in the water.)  I think he liked moving into the hallway--it was different at any rate.

I've seen my sister-in-law look wistfully at our craft wall from time to time.  I know she wants to do this sort of thing with her own kids, with the only problem being that they don't exist yet.  I can't give her children, but I can loan her mine from time to time. 
On this particular day I knew she was coming over and asked Zaxxon if he wanted to do a craft with his aunt.  He was so excited he wanted to do it right away (even though he hadn't eaten breakfast yet--not to mention the fact that his aunt hadn't even arrived either!) 
She helped him make a pilgrim hat and Indian headband.  Now he's ready for the feast!

I'd been thinking that the autumn leaves would make good turkey feathers, and were even the right colors.  So the next thing we did was to trim some leaves off one of our bushes, and Zaxxon glued them to a turkey as feathers (he was helping it get warm.) 
After it was done, we ironed it between layers of waxed paper so hopefully the leaves will remain yellow and red.  (I forgot to put a dish towel down first--and I'd wondered why the iron was smoking!)

Last year at around this time, we started attending storytime at our local library.  During the Thanksgiving session, the librarian broke out a felt board activity where each child helped put a feather on the turkey.  Zaxxon immediately joined in, despite the fact that he wasn't used to the librarian or crowds of children.  It was this library activity that made me realize he was ready to start doing crafts.  Here he is with the very first crafts he completed (he was so little!!!)

This year, the librarian did the same activity.  Zaxxon was capable of listening for his feather color this year, and he really enjoyed it again.  So I brought it home with us.  It involves a song (sung to the tune of Frere Jacques)
Turkey feathers, turkey feathers
Brightly colored, brightly colored
Who has a (fill in the color) one?  Who has a ___ one?
Bring it now, bring it now
The children (who had been handed a different colored felt feather before it began) were supposed to wait until their color was called and then put the feather on the turkey. 

At home, I modified it slightly.  I "hid" feathers around our living room, and then sang "Can you find the ___ ones, bring them now."  His eyes really lit up when we started this activity, and he loved running around the room looking for the feathers.  Then, once again, he helped the turkey get warm by gluing the feathers on.
He's so much bigger this year!

Lastly, we colored and stapled together a book called "Pilgrim, Pilgrim, what do you see?"  I found it online here.  He wasn't particularly interested in coloring much, but he liked making a book, and the finished product.

With all this preparation, along with some library books and a few other songs, I think Zaxxon was well prepared for Thanksgiving.  This was a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to Christmas.

Tot School

I'm linking up with Tot School again.  Check them out for great ideas for little kids (I'm sure there will be lots of holiday ideas this week.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Third Birthday Zaxxon!

Zaxxon has been three for a month now--I think it is high time I post some pictures to celebrate.

This year's theme was Toy Story.  I didn't do anything as involved as last year's favors and cakes.  The cupcakes still match the theme--they're the Toy Story aliens--but I didn't have to cut them to shape this time.

After a bit of free play, the kids played a couple of Toy Story games.  Pin the sheriff badge on Woody
And a Mr. Potato Head felt board.  I put this one together myself, based on the idea that kids LOVE the felt boards at library story time, so I was pretty sure they'd be eager to participate.  I was excited that the kids are old enough to play a few party games this year.

We served up lunch and then CAKE!

He's a neater eater than last year, but still made a bit of a mess

The party favors were shaped like Buzz Lightyear's spaceship.  These boxes were tinier than we'd expected from the picture, but they at least fit everything.

So we now have a three-year-old in the house.  It's been a fun age so far, however I do think he's more stubborn than he was at two.  His tantrums are worse, but he's also growing so much as a person and learning to communicate so much better.  His imagination continues to expand as well.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Kiddie Crafts - Shapes and Other Odds and Ends

Time for more of the crafts Zaxxon and I have done!  These took place in September and October.

Hubby had a big birthday in September, so I had Zaxxon help me prepare.  Making wrapping paper by stamping shapes in paint.

Lacing a "Happy Birthday Dada" banner

We then took a pretty long break, and got back into the swing of things with a project "D is for drum."

Zaxxon is really good with colors, counting, and many letters, but I discovered that he was a bit shaky on shapes.  Therefore, we did a few shape projects.  First, sorting shapes

Creating a scene out of shapes

Cutting shapes out (also good scissors practice--he's getting really good at doing it by himself)

Tracing shapes.  I've only just begun seeing whether he can imitate things like this.

Making play dough with a friend.  We did both black and orange for Halloween, which turned out to be not so great of an idea.  The black pigment was so strong, it quickly overwhelmed the orange while the children were playing with them.  Oh well, I know better for next time.

Another longish break, and then Zaxxon's third birthday was approaching!  I tried to help him understand the seasons and the year by making this season wheel.

This was an impromptu project.  We checked this book out from the library, The Line Up Book by Marisabina Russo, in which a little boy named Sam makes a line of toys from his room to the kitchen.
We read it several times, and then decided to make our own line.

I might possibly catch up with our crafts after another post or two.  That would feel good!

Tot School

I'm linking up at Tot School.  Check them out for craft and schooling ideas for young children!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Funny... I Write Better When I'm Rested

Kal'El has been sick for the last week.  Well, technically both boys have runny noses and a cough, but Zaxxon has taken it in stride.  For Kal'El, though, it's his first major illness and he has been UP. ALL. NIGHT.

Okay, so I exaggerate.  But the first few nights, it took me 90 minutes to settle him AFTER the 30-40 required to feed him.  This is from a kid who's been sleeping through the night for more than a month now.  We got a little relief after putting the humidifier in his room and putting him to sleep in the chair from his swing, to keep his head elevated.  However, he was still waking up in the night.  One night in particular, he started fussing before I even went to bed, so I was really lacking sleep that time.

Through all this, I've continued to write.  However, if I don't get some good time with both boys napping at the same time, writing tends to be the last thing I do before bed.  And when I'm already running on empty, that means doing it while exhausted.

There have been a few nights when I've kind of cheated--just entering a few pages of mindless revisions before seeking my bed.  It's not really doing much writing, but at least it's something.  I diverted my attention to a new story instead of revising my novel on a few of the sick days because I think it's easier to work on something new.  Even if what I wrote turns out to need serious revision, it's better than trying to revise (i.e. make my novel better) and only making it worse.

The good news is, the colds seem to be on the wane.  Kal'El is currently napping--in his crib again--and seems to be handling it okay.  He took a short nap earlier today in his crib and didn't wake up super congested, plus he FINALLY SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT again last night, so I'm hoping he's feeling better.  Me, I should post this and take advantage of the time to write.  While I'm feeling awake.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Catching Up on Kiddie Crafts

Zaxxon and I have been doing crafts again (infrequently, some weeks have a lot and then we skip some altogether) since early August, but I'm only just now getting caught up on photos and trying to get back in the swing of blogging.  So here's the lowdown on the crafts we've been doing.

We started back up with the letter "A" (we haven't been doing them in order.)  He knew this one already, but I'm trying to "officially" introduce each letter, because I want to make a big book for him out of the posters we make.  Here, he's coloring the "A" pictures.

A is for Alligator!  We spent a day making an alligator out of a paper towel tube...
...(complete with pinking-shear cut teeth)...
...an alligator bag out of fabric...
...and we turned an "A" on its side and made it into an alligator head.  My mom, who used to teach preschool, liked this one and wished she could have had the chance to use it herself.

We then continued the "A" theme with "A is for apples."  We pasted together the parts to make a whole and an eaten apple.  I thought it was funny that he didn't want to put the worm in the apple.  It had to be far away.

He even managed to draw an "A" all on his own!

We also made apples out of a cut-up egg carton.  (We snacked on apples after we made all these crafts, too)

We were preparing to go on an airplane ride around this time, so we talked about airplanes a lot.  I made him some paper ones, and he painted some wooden airplanes too.

I attempted to incorporate more movement into the next letter we introduced, "D."  After he colored the pictures and helped me cut them out, I spread them on the floor and asked him to bring them to me.  It kept him busy, though he didn't want to listen and bring the picture I asked for.

D is for Dinosaur!  We made one out of a paper plate.

He also got to dissolve capsules and watch sponge dinosaurs expand.  These were a bit of a disappointment, as they were much smaller than I had hoped for, and they also took longer than his attention span allowed.
He loved the end result, though.

Next was "D is for Dog"

And for "Dice."  This was hard for him to put together, so I had to help with a lot of it.

D is for Dump Truck!  I cut up an egg carton for Zaxxon, he decorated it, and then I taped the dump truck together.

That's about a month of crafts from our household.  There are more to catch up on, but I'll save those for another post.  (This one is long enough already.)

Tot School

I'm linking this up with Tot School.  Check them out if you'd like more ideas for crafts to do with young kids!