Sunday, September 30, 2012

All our problems are gone!...well mostly

So we have had some problems with the blog. I spent a good portion of time this week trying to get it all worked out and toyed with various solutions. We are trying a different hosting site, allowing that it is dummy-proof we should be good!

That means that the Reader Give Away is still on. Please read the previous post to get the details and we hope you will participate! Also, it means that you are now able to subscribe to our blog. Just enter your email in the box on the right and you should then automatically receives emails whenever we upload a new post.

Thanks for hanging with us as we learn!

Yours Truly,

These are the words of whispers

There are some dreams from childhood that still hold a portion of magic; a piece I cling to still in adulthood. Scenes from movies or books that made me wish something beyond what I could see or feel, a hope that life was more than what meets the eye.
I treasure those dreams, hold them deep within. In the same place where I have a love of curling up with a book or drinking a hot beverage. The place where snowfall is beautiful and magical. Its a place that is fed frequently by Doctor Who and Harry Potter, shooting stars and chocolate cake. It is where my own stories are born, taking hold of these pieces and working them to form something new. It is a well into my soul.
To some it is silly and childish. Wishes and magic are nothing more than fairytales. To me, they are real. Real because I can truly feel them. Just as I can feel the sunset. It is in those moments I can revel in majesty. Adore creativity. Bask in something greater than myself. Love and Create. It is what compels me to do.
There are days my mind tells me otherwise, but my heart screams it louder. A compulsion, as addicting as breath.
It is often with abandon that I finally submit. Fear still itches, constantly nagging; it will never be enough.
Maybe, just maybe, it will all be worth while.
“The true harvest of my life in intangible- a little stardust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched” Henry David Thoreau

Yours Truly,

Jordan Skywalker

The minute we stumble in the door, Jordan grabs my hand and enthusiastically drags me to his domain. I instantly transport to another galaxy, far away. The black walls surround and captivate me. Hundreds of glow-in-the-dark stars pop out all over the room forming uncharted constellations. An impressive Star Wars mural consumed the largest wall, the gravity of the room.
Jordan wastes no time showing off his Star Wars collection. “My bed is more comfortable because it is Star Wars, plus it helps me with ‘the force’ when I want to practice. This is my Star Wars water bottle and I keep it here on this shelf so I can have a drink when I get thirsty, I don’t have the force right now, but when I do I won’t even have to move, I can just make it come to me.” He grabs the water bottle and takes a long sip. “See, perfect!” Jordan points to the small white shelf just to the side of his bed and continues to explain his Lego Darth Vader alarm clock sitting next to his water bottle. “Darth Vader and I get to wake up at the same time, only I get to go play at school and he doesn’t.”  
Jordan jumps from his bed, rolls head first to the corner and pops up after briefly shuffling his now misshapen bleach-tipped mohawk. “These are my light sabers, I even made this one!” He holds up a red one, larger and more detailed than the other four, “All real Jedi have to make their own light sabers!” He waves it over his head and down his sides, fighting some invisible opponent.
Jordan eyes me, unsure if there are rules he should follow. “Can I play with my Legos yet?” He quickly asks. Before I can answer, he pulls out two large bins from under his bed. I step back, giving him ample room to play, not wanting to interfere with his agenda. “I feel like I just like to play with Legos instead of talking,” he adds. His eyes light up and his infectious smile slips onto his face. And it begins.
Quicker than I can keep up with, Jordan enlists Jedi knights, Storm Troopers, and “Roger, Rogers” (or droids to the rest of us) out of the bins, strategically lining them up. Next he unveils the arsenal of Lego weapons.  A minute later a battle of “good vs. evil” unfolds before my eyes. The miniature figures lose limbs and heads all around, Jordan’s sound effects compete with the best of any movie, and he spares no expense for dramatic emphasis. He does not make it far into the battle before he enlists some additional Lego Jedi to aid him, adding new ones as quickly as the others are dying off.
The battle continues on with hardly any words, Jordan’s fingers moving quickly as he searches for a blue light saber. Within seconds he locates it and assigns it to a dodgy Storm Trooper, “Don’t worry, he is still a bad guy,” he assures me as the light saber wielding Storm Trooper invades Luke Skywalker and faces an unfortunate end. “The bad guys never win,” he passively adds.
My presence slips to the background as Jordan’s concentration moves to the repair of his X-Wing. His big sister, Haley, and baby brother, Peyton, slip into his world to watch, but he pays no attention to them either. He sits with his back to us, legs crossed, a steady wiggle rippling through his whole body; apparent to me he has to pee but evident he has no time for a potty break. I bite my tongue and let him continue. He quickly turns around and holds up his repair. “We should buy the Death Star so I can fly this in there and blow it up, that would be awesome!” Jordan’s face beams with his brilliant, new revelation. “Don’t be ridiculous,” Haley speaks up for the first time, “it is over four hundred dollars, you will never be able to get it!”
Jordan’s grin just gets bigger, “I am going to get it, I will use my piggy bank!” Haley rolls her eyes and Jordan shifts back to his battle unfazed by her pessimism.  
I look on as Jordan pours everything he has into his game, not overlooking any details and not sparing any silence, the “whurzzz” of the light saber mixed with the blasts of the laser guns all interspersed with hums of “do, do, doo, do, do-doo, do, do-doo.” Jordan bounces about, never still, his energy protruding wherever possible. This world he creates becomes as equally real to him as the one he eats and breathes in, but much more interesting and intriguing, capturing the very essence of his dreams and wishes.
“Do you know who my favorite is?” Jordan abruptly announces, his first actual words in over fifteen minutes. I shrug. He holds up a small black figure, masked and caped, and whispers “Darth Vader, and did you know that in the end he comes to the good side? That is why it is good to like Darth Vader.” Jordan clips a red light saber in Darth’s hand, points it at me and yells, “On guard!” I grab the closest Jedi with a light saber, return the gesture, and indulge in a mini duel; not only does my Jedi lose his limbs, his head and his life, so do I, to which Jordan collapses into a joyous rage of laughter. “Jordan is the winner,” he squeals as the laughs subside, “whew, that was hard work.” Haley rolls her eyes again, unnoticed by Jordan.
“I am pretty sure I am going to be a Jedi one day,” Jordan giggles.
“Jedi?” His sister retorts, “You can’t actually be a Jedi, they are not real. You will probably be a Lego engineer.”
“Yeah, a Lego engine-ja-neer! Well, that and a Jedi cause those are my favorites, Star Wars Legos, and the Wii.” He stares anxiously into my eyes. “So, can I play the Wii? Oh, wait, I shouldn’t ask that should I? It’s a school night.” Looking at me hoping I might say yes anyways.


Happy Birthday Karena*!

2 posts in one day?!?!  Well it is my day to post but it is also Karena’s birthday, so what kind of sister would I be if I didn’t use our blog to wish my sister a Happy Birthday. So here is to you, Karena. Hope you have an amazing birthday!

10 Names You Don't Want

This week I had been creating my own list of sorts [which I will still do, eventually] but I could not resist the chance to talk about names. Karena shared her top favorites to inspire our youngest sister, here is my top list.
[Chance to share a super cute picture of my son as a newborn]
Aiden 1 week old
Ten Names found in Sci-fi/Fantasy that you should never name your son:
10. Merlin
Merlin will always be the name of the great wizard during the time of King Arthur. I would also include Gandalf and Dumbledore to this list. Basically, if the name is associated with a long white beard: pass.
9. Jar Jar
A quick shout out to the most annoying and unnecessary character in Star Wars. This name jars me [hey, Karena was allowed one cheesy pun!] It almost seems pointless to add this one, because no one in their right mind would ever use this name.
8. Spock
If you have a son who is half Vulcan, then you can name him Spock. He will need the ability to be unfeeling as all his peers mock him [although, if he was half Vulcan his peers would probably make fun of him for that regardless of what his name was] It just isn’t a great human name and I have yet to think of a pairing that would work. Spock Fitzpatrick? Spock Bost? Spock Smith? Spock Smock? Maybe…
7. Gollum
Sméagol isn’t a whole lot better, but at least it is a real name and not just an onomatopoeia. Might as well name your son Hock-a-Loogie.
6. R2D2
Let’s just sum this one up as: do not name your son after an android. Or cyborg. [on a side note, this week I had the realization that I knew the difference between an android and a cyborg. I don’t remember ever learning that]
5. Bilbo
I think this one is fairly obvious.
4. Worf
If you could guarantee your son would grow up to be a bodybuilder or football player or Klingon warrior then it could work. But if you had a little geeky child [slightly more likely] it would just be mean and ironic.
3. Gimli
Also fairly obvious.
2. Voldemort
If you are not a fan of Harry Potter, I don’t see you ever considering this. If you are a fan of Harry Potter, I don’t see you ever considering this.
1. Slartibartfast
Douglas Adams was a genius and a master of random and weird. He sat and thought of the most ridiculous things imaginable and compiled them together to make The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I think it would be safe to say that if you named your son this, you would be naming him the most ridiculous name in the universe.
[Just one more because he was so darn cute!]
His hair was awesome

12 Names

One of the first things you do as a mom is name your child, in fact, all too often we have the baby’s name before we have the baby. The moment you find out you are pregnant, you start tossing around baby names. Wait, as a girl, we start doing this at age 5. I knew when I was five my daughter’s name was going to be Megan.
What a fantastic responsibility. After all,  it is the one thing they will share with almost everyone they meet. Your child will bring it to school with them, it will be printed on the roster of their sports team, their report card, job application, and maybe (in the best way possible of course) on the front page of the newspaper. It is one of the few things they will keep from the day they are born until the day they die.
Well, in honor of my youngest sister who is expecting her second naming responsibility I have come up with a list of the top 12 sci-fi/fantasy names you need to name your boy.  (Girl edition to come later!)
12. Shia
Now, I am never a fan of naming your child after a celebrity but this is my one exception (not because he is some sort of outstanding citizen, I don’t know much about his person life, but because his name is that cool.) Put aside that he is a real person (ha!) and just assume he is Transformers.
11. Aragorn  
This comes in at number eleven because it is my biggest stretch. Love the name, not entirely sure how it would work on a two year old, even less sure how it would work in middle school. So, caution: this may be for the extreme, but one cool extreme!
10. Holmes
I debated between Holmes, Benedict and Sherlock on this one, but in the end Holmes won out. A little more subtle than Sherlock, but just as smart. Holmes Shia Ullrich. Perfect? I think yes. (Now I am taking the liberty of naming other’s children, hehe!)
9. Lucas
Lucas pops up all over the sci-fi world, but it is also my safest bet (for those of you looking for a sci-fi name without the risk of being extreme.)
8. Olivander
I decided I would only pull one name from HP, so here it is. Sure, Severus would have been great, as well as Albus, Hagrid or Dobby. But, come on, no one would take you Sirius. (Ha! I couldn’t help myself!) Olivander Ezekiel Fitzpatrick, we can call him Oli… just sayin’.
7. Edmund
Who doesn’t love a strong British name, especially when it is highlighted in such an epic series? Now all that is needed is a Londoner accent so it sounds just as cool when it is said aloud as it does in my head.
6. Link
Let’s face it, how many Lincolns are out there just so they can be called “Linc”? Be bold, just name the kid Link, you know you want to. Plus: 1) Halloween will be a lot more fun when he is three 2) they will be famous when they are in third grade and 3) just think of how cool his own kids will think he is…
5. Axel
I am not sure how sci-fi/fantasy this name is, but it should be. It is a cool, smart name with an edge of “tough” for those of you who are hoping for a pro footballer. “Axel and Emmaleah!” Has a good ring to it, eh?
4. Qui-Gon
This. Name. Is. Top. Notch. Had I known for sure our oldest son would have been a boy, he would have undoubtedly been Qui-Gon. If I ever come across a time machine, I might just go back and adjust. Qui-Gon Noah Bost, absolutely!
3. Ender
Confession: I have never read the series. Gasp! But it is on my list. Despite that, I still think this has got to be one of the greatest names. So unique and original, yet so simple.
2. Fister Foss
I know (most) of you have never heard this name, but my niece invented this name a while back for her mom’s car. I eventually sought “legal” permission (hehe) to use it in one of my fantasy novels. This name has the IT factor. This first and second name pairing matches up with just about every last name out there: Fister Foss Jones, Fister Foss Wade, Fister Foss Robinson, Fister Foss Cappiello…. I could go on, but you get the point.
1. Stoick
For those of you who know me well, this comes as no surprise. I love, love, love this name. If How to Train Your Dragon would have been released before the birth of all three of my children, you know for sure I would have a Stoick in the ranks! This is not just the best sci-fi/fantasy name, it is the best name. Period.
Allons-y!                                                                                                                             Karena*

Rise Up

There is a scene in one of my favorite books, the pinnacle moment after the protagonist has been captured and living under the tyranny of his adversary. He has been stripped of his power and freedom and is forced to labor under the harsh conditions of an oppressed people.
One day he has a choice. Simply, he can continue on this track hoping something will change or he can risk everything for a chance to make change happen.
His big moment is not some epic battle, its not a powerful magic or spell, it is not even an eloquent speech. It is simply a work of art. Something that completely encompasses beauty, power, and freedom. In the moment where it is unveiled, the whole city is present. The sheet is lifted and everyone is stunned.
Gone is the idea of bondage and defeat. In that moment each individual recognizes that within themselves is a power no one can hold over them. A beautiful marble statue reminds them that life has so much more to offer.
“Your life is your own, rise up and live it.”
While this work is fiction, there is something very significant about this message. I do not agree one hundred percent with this doctrine, but I do believe that every one of us is subjected to a tyranny that keeps us from being truly who we are capable of.
My worst enemy is my own self. There are moments where I feel completely useless and insignificant; lonely and unworthy; a failure. If I let those ideas take hold, it is as if I have put myself in chains. If I believe what others say about me, or what I think they say, then I put my heart in bondage.
There is freedom in the idea that we are all powerful. We are capable and strong. There are times our feelings say otherwise, but if we keep our mind clear and focus on what is true then we will not succumb to the negative thoughts vying for control over us.
Seek truth; rise up and live.
Yours truly,

Geeks are we?

As we venture out into the real world, the virtual word, the imaginary world, or any other world one may choose to dwell in, we will undoubtedly find a geek connection within. I drive down the road and see a sticker on a stop sign so it reads: “Stop Voldemort, before it’s too late;” I walk downtown and see a girl wearing a shirt that reads “I <3 <3 Doctor Who;” I hop online and see an add for the new Lord of the Rings Lego video game. But, maybe I only notice all these treasures because I love them!
love them!
What makes us geeks? It could be the fact that I have my 10th Doctor Sonic Screwdriver on me at all times, or that Kara uses a TARDIS lunchbox as a purse, has a TARDIS coffee mug as well as cookie jar. Perhaps, it is that we bought identical “I love Star Wars” shirts at different times unknowingly, or that we both have gaming systems and play games on them regularly (by myself, with the kids, with the husband…) We could add stuff to this list like: we have had pets named Legolas, Aragorn, Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn and a car named Gandalf and a house named Rivendell. Or, that we have both won NaNoWriMo may boost our geek status. 
Honestly, though, I think geek is more than a checklist. It is being who you are without reserve, and most certainly not trying to mold yourself into what others assume you should be. I am a mother, and for many years I was a stay-at-home mom, but I was never, by any means, June Cleaver. I would venture to say I am probably more like the whole entire cast of FRIENDS with perhaps a higher set of morals.   
The world isn’t watching you as closely as you think it is, so feel free to be who you are. Geek it up!


Inaugural Post

New things.
They’re shiny and clean and wonderful.
Who doesn’t love the feel of freshly opened plastic? I recently got an iPhone (I know). It was inexplicably rewarding holding this beautiful piece of glass and plastic, my fingers smoothly sliding its glossy surface.
Its almost an addiction.
No, not almost.
It definitely is an addiction.
While some of us have been able to be frugal and avoid such addictions, most of us have fallen prey to the love of opening plastic wrap and boxes.
Have you ever met a new addict? I mean, a person addicted to new. A plastic addiction? (I’ll work on that) You know the type.
They carry around a box.
Suddenly, the box starts to ring. They ever so gently set the box down on their lap, and pull out a bag. In the bag is another box. In that box is a case.
In the case is a phone that has long since stopped ringing. It was probably just a solicitor.
The point is that some of us would do anything to keep our things in perfect condition.
I know none of us really want our things to get old with all the wear and tear, but we are not exactly willing to go the length to preserve it.
Who’s to say which is better?
But as I am starting something new, I sit back and consider which route I want to take.
To preserve the new and keep it sleek and shiny? Or let it become worn and well-loved.
I guess time will tell with this blog, but if I could choose I would definitely go with love-worn.

Yours Truly,