Monday, November 26, 2012

Just over 4

Four days left that is.  This month has been a crazy roller coaster of writing.  Some days are fabulous and I can reach my daily word count goals in just a couple of hours.  The plot takes care of it's self, characters behave accordingly and all is happy.  Other days are exactly opposite.  It's like the story along with everyone in it is just staring at you blankly (almost the same way you feel like you're staring at the empty screen).  Or tiredness wins when brain power fails.  I've been known (more than once) to wake up to a few lines of gibberish staring back at me.  Yes, folks, I sleep type.

Today, however, was one of the good days.  In fact I'd go so far as to say it's the best day of all 26, and I imagine it will be the best day of the entire month.  It was that good.  The story practically wrote itself.  I just did my best to keep up with it.  Are there plot holes and flaws?  Absolutely.  Is the writing gorgeous and captivating?  Ha!  Probably not.  But.  It has potential.  A lot of it.  Beautiful things and funny things happened.  Smooth and brilliant (to me) transitions happened.  I couldn't stop typing.  The daily goal is 1,667. Today I stopped at 4,375.

I am in love.

Total word count for November: 43,010

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 6

Until now I've been really excited about my story overall, even on days is seems to not come as easily. Today I've had a hard dose of doubt about my story.  I think it stemmed from trying to do a little research on it.  I checked some books out on the fairy tale my story is loosely based on.  We'll use the turn loosely very generously.  I panicked that it's not true to the story, that critics will fault me for my own spin on a classic, that it will just stink.  The dialogue could use a lot of help, too.  Lots of help. As in there's hardly any.  At least that's what it feels like.

But.  I keep trying to remind myself that this is the very first draft.  I'm trying to think of it more as a really detailed outline (have I already said this).  When I've got everything down, and it feels finished, I can go back and really make it something great. I don't have to write a perfect novel right off. I also know that these negative thoughts are not from me but from the adversary.  To him I say, "leave my book alone!  She's mine and she is lovely."

Now back to pounding out thousands of words.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 3

Current word count: 5,547

This is hard.  And fun. I am loving it.  Maybe next week I'll hate it.  Right now it's awesome.  My writing, however, is not. I shake my head at my writing even as I type it.  It helps to tell myself that this is one really long and superbly detailed outline.  I wish I knew a little more about about both character and plot development.  Another part of me says being an avid reader for my whole life is the best experience I can start with.  I know what I like and what drives me insane.  (Gables series?  Not you, Anne with an e.)  I may have to give up reading book reviews for awhile.  I"m already taking them personally and they're not even about anything I've written.

I casually mentioned to McKay something about writing my book.  His eyes got so big and as excitedly ask, "You're going to be published?!"  I think I'll be happy to have him on my team when rejection letters start rolling in. :)  Jeff has been pretty awesome, too.  OK.  Really awesome and very understanding when I break tradition of watching our shows together so I can go write.  Or not pestering me about getting to bed earlier because he knows I need to write.

Honestly, I've had a really great showing of support.  I expected a little more "You're crazy!"  Instead I've gotten a of , "That's so cool!"  "I want to read it!"  I love it.  But.  No one will be reading it for a long, long time. One day.  I promise.  Even if I have to give it to you on a USB. ha ha.

In three days, I've noticed one side effect that I hadn't anticipated.  Focus.  Not on my writing.  I am focused on it when I'm on the laptop. Focus in every other aspect of my life.  I now have a purpose that is solely for me (even though I'm still doing it for my kids/family).  Things that felt overwhelming before are now simple and I have a clarity of mind that wasn't there before.  If this is what writing does for me, I will write forever no matter how appalling my writing might be at times.

I'm glad tomorrow is Sunday.  I'm hoping to rest my creative brain.  I may sift through my characters and pick their imaginary brains for all the details I can gather.  Maybe write a much shorter outline.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


or National Novel Writing Month.

In two days I will begin the journey of 50,000 words.  The goal is to reach this lofty word count in 30 days.  I'm feeling nervous.  50,000 words is a lot of words.  I read somewhere that the average YA book is around 80,000.  Ask me to read that in a day and I could do it.  Piece of cake, actually.  But to write just over half of that in 30 days?  Minus Sundays.  Scary.

I'm also feeling excited.  4 years ago a story popped into my head.  I wrote a page at best.  I sent it to a friend who gave me lots of good feedback.  And then life continued on and my little story sat at a page length for quite sometime.  The story, however, never left.  The heroine kept nudging me.  The hero started pestering me.  The villain taunted me.  So I started again only reaching a few more pages before letting life take over yet again.  Like before, the story and the people in it haunted me.  This summer I knew I needed to give myself over to the story.  For four years these people and the events in their lives have sat patiently, waiting for me to get my act together.  Over the course of a few weeks this summer I upped my word count to nearly 10,000 words which is the equivalent of about 27 pages.

I sent these pages (minus a few at times) to a few deeply trusted souls.  It honestly terrified me.  I love my story.  It's my baby.  It went out with a warning that it was the roughest of rough drafts and the only things I wanted were a) questions about the characters or plot to help me see what I'm missing in my story and b) loads of positive feedback.  No plot consistency corrections.  No grammar.  No spelling.  (Hey.  I'm needy like that.)  Let me just say right now that I sent it to the 3 kindest people.  You know who you are.  I had such lovely feedback that when Cami asked if I wanted to do this crazy NaNoWriMo thing, I jumped at the chance.

I am really looking forward to seeing the end (and most likely the beginning) of my story.  It's special to me.  It's s something I want to give to my kids.  Which is my ultimate goal.  Something tangible and meaningful to leave my kids.  Publishing has never been the ultimate goal.  But, I won't lie.  It would be legendary.  (Sorry. Lots of HIMYM lately)

Over the next 4-5 weeks, you can expect a messier house.  Hair hiding in a hat.  Face relatively free of makeup.  A slight crazed look in my eye.  Notebooks and note cards and Dr. Pepper as constant companions.  Lack of attention in conversations.  This is it.  My sweet little book is ready to grow.  I am ready for adventure.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


A few months ago I conned  talked my dad into helping me plan and execute a surprise party for my mom's 60th birthday.  We wrangled her BFF, Bonnie, into being our accomplice.

This is Bonnie.  My partner in crime.  And her husband Paul. He was pretty useful, too. :)

Really.  She was a necessity.  I do not get party planning love from my dad. :)  My mom was 110% surprised.

Mom and Dad.  Mom's still taking it all in.  BTW, the photo booth was a huge success.

So many friends and family members came out to show her some birthday love.  My favorite moment of the entire evening was when she turned around and saw her dear, dear friend Suzanne Hansen waiting to embrace her.
Mom and Suzanne gettin their glamour on.

I think my mom got rather teary.  (Which is the signal of instant success in the Marchant family.)  It was a lovely way to celebrate an lovely woman.

Just a few short days later, Miss Sophie had a "kingdom celebration" to celebrate her 6th birthday.  (6 is apparently the "it" number this year. :)  She was so excited for her party. I don't think she really even cared about her actual birthday.  We tried to go all out on the decor.  Darn wind was being a party pooper.  We did our best though with balloons and kingdom flags strung across the yard and, starting at the slide "tower" where Rapunzel her self was peeking out of a window, yellow crepe paper  going every which way.  Sophie wore her Rapunzel dress all day in anticipation.

 We played lots of fun carnival games like ring toss, pin the frying pan on Flynn, raced Pascal around a tree and more.

All the kids got to make a paper lantern.  (Too bad I forgot to send them home.  Oops.)  The crowning event though was the face painter.  My cute friend and visiting teaching partner is an amazing face painter.  We were lucky enough to schedule her to come and help us celebrate. (Really-she is amazing. And affordable. You can check her out here.)

It was so much fun celebrating birthdays.  I was completely worn out after such a crazy week.  (Did I mention that the first party came two DAYS after we came home from vacation?!)  It was so worth it, though.  Happy sigh.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Typical Sunday at the Maynes

by Jeff Maynes
Shared by me

Upon arriving home from the morning meeting Dad announces his presence and begins to investigate the native householders.
Lyndsi, are you ready?
McKay, are you ready? 
I can't find my shoes.   
They are probably in your room where you took them off last week. 
I looked Dad, I can't find them. 
"Sophie, are you ready?"  Big smile, he he he, he he he, Daddddd.  
Chole enters from some far flung corner of the house she is exploring
"Daddddieeeee  Daddddieeee."
3 mins later. 
McKay are these your shoes? Under your bed under your pants?
Oh, yeah.
Chloe enters room with her favorite toy of McKays, Thor. Its the one that yells "I am Thorrrrrrr"
Chloe  "Torrrrrrrr"
3 mins later
A mad dash of hair preparation has ensued in the bathroom.
Dad, be quiet and go downstairs, you are distracting the baby
Hair prep entails 3 heads of hair in 7.25 minutes. Remarkable
The relative calm of the next three hours descends upon us. 
After the big meeting is over we all head in different directions
Kids exit west to walk with friends/sibling, mom exits south with baby. Dad left in dust.
1 to 4 hours later. 
Dad enters from garage.
McKay and Sophie and table, Chloe & Mom asleep the latter a rarity, Lyndsi in room, all too common.
Hey Dad
Hey Guys. Is that an egg?
Did you cook it?
How did you do that?
Don't you remember that time you taught me how.
Ummm Yeah.
He made me one to.
Dinner sometimes is nice and sometimes is leftovers or whatever is found.
Dad, here is a list of what you could be for Halloween.
Spy, Chuck, Flynn Rider.
McKay has derived this list from conversations with Dad regarding his favorite movie, Mom regarding one of her favorite characters and randomness. Flynn Rider really?
Two of these are portrayed by the same actor, I am sensing a theme here.
After some family reading Mom and Dad go on a walk with Chloe while the remaining crew "get ready for bed"
24 minutes later
Sophie prancing around room in PJ's, Lyndsi in room, McKay. Door closed. Oh Dear.
McKay what you doing. 
Moving my bed back where it was when we moved in.
Dad rubs head, with audible groan heard.
Bedroom is rearranged every 5.7 weeks.
Have you guys brushed your teeth?
All answer affirmative
No on has brushed their teeth.
Prayer is said. Prayers are said.
3 minutes later.
Sophie: I'm hungry
Go to bed
I'm hungry.
Remember when we asked you 2 hours ago if you were hungry?
You asked what there was to eat, we said you could have some soup, you gave us a blank stare.
But I won't be able to fall asleep unless I get some food
Lyndsi: Dad can you help me make this project? (A doll bed out of cereal boxes she has learned on YouTube)
Its time for bed Lyndsi.  
Big Smile
Guess who won that battle
30 minutes later.
Dad, I'm scared. 
McKay. Go To Bed.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

First Day Fun

 Lyndsi- 5th grade.  Would rather be on traditional.  At least for the summer.  Loved back to school shopping.  Back to school not so much. :)  One of the best things about back to school is going back to dance.

McKay- 3rd Grade.  Excited to go back.  Loves his teacher.  Loves his class.  The least whiny when it comes to going to school.  Looking forward to learning his times tables and writing in cursive.

Sophie- 1st grade.  Will be our bilingual child.  Half day English. Half day Spanish.  A  bit nervous about 1st grade.  Loves her new clothes and lunch box.  Still loves reading (to me) and being read too.  She'll do well this year.

Chloe- No grade.  Gets to stay home.  Has Mom to her self.  Looking forward to being rather spoiled.

 The whole crew.  Who said they could get so big?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pinterest, my Pinterest

Spot free carpets and laundry
A waist line trying to expand
But not making it because of all the circuit training
Fashion sense
DIY decor and home projects
An large dose of funny
Favorite movie quotes and scenes
A good measure of inspirational and thought provoking quotes
Tips on parenting, road tripping, and more

Oh, Pinterest, how you have changed my life.

What websites have changed yours?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sling Shot Vs. Pocket Knife

Wednesday night McKay came down (the night before cub scout day camp) and asked Jeff and I for help making a decision on which souvenir to buy from the trading post.  He was wavering between a sling shot and a pocket knife.  He told us he had good reasons for both.

1.  I (McKay) would have fun.
2. I think I would learn something from it.

Pocket knife:
If I was walking and crossed a railroad track my shoe might get stuck in the track.  If it were too small I could use my pocket knife to cut the laces of and escape.

We tried to keep a straight face.  Really hard.  I'm sad to say, it didn't work.  The kid is hilarious.  And creative. Love my boy.  He chose the Sling shot, by the way, due to the fact that the life-saving pocket knife is now only available at the Weblos camp.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Kiev (not Ukraine) and Keane

I love a good  concert.  Sometimes I lack the words to describe them.  

 Cami and I anxiously awaiting the arrival of Keane

The band Kiev kept us entertained while we waited.  They were pretty good.  Their sound (at least live) is slightly reminiscent of Mute Math. (Another fabulous concert I attended this year)

The album they were promoting.  I like it.  Full of hope, despite sounding somewhat like a break up album. Favorite song: Disconnected.  If you like scary movies you should check out their video for this, but if scary movies haunt you (haha), don't watch it.  The song, though, is not scary.  Just the video.

Tom Chaplin, lead singer.  Beautiful voice.  Gracious and kind entertainer.  (Thoroughly enjoyed the enthusiam of the Salt Lake crowd- which was pretty lively)  

Kiev and me.  We met up with them at the end of the concert.  Nice guys.  Sorry we ran away like star-struck 12 year old girls.  Hey.  Keane started up with their encore.  Can you blame us? 

Love Keane and had been looking forward to this concert since I heard they were coming.  Keane did not disappoint.  They had lots of good energy, the singing was amazing, and listening to the lead singer talk...sigh...(hey, he's British.)  ;)  

In case you haven't heard them, and are interested, here ya go:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Grandpa's Cabin

Without much planning, we decided to head down to Jeff's family cabin for a couple of days.  The kids, like always were thrilled.  Planning even an overnight trip can be stressful. (Can I get an Amen! from you moms? :)  This time around it wasn't.  I didn't make a list let alone check it twice.  I did make dinner ahead of time at home with the intent of warming it up when we arrived.  (Worked like a charm, btw.)  We played and played and had a blast.  

Eating our yummy pre-made chicken and stuffing dinner with  corn muffins.

My beautiful, independent baby playing in the red ants.

Who plays miniature golf at a cabin in the middle of nowhere?  We do!  (Thanks Grandpa!)

I love when they start posing for pictures. :)

Still posing....Just cooler now.

Good morning!  Love the view from the front porch.

6 people and 1 dog finally finished 9 holes of Frisbee Golf.  Only 4 Frisbees actually survived.  Sorry Grandpa. 

After watching everyone else have a turn on the rope swing, Chloe insisted she have a turn, too.  She loved it!

Lyndsi was our big helper of the day, getting her  Sophie on and off the rope.

McKay trying his hand at archery.  A bow and arrow has now reached the top of  his Christmas list.  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bells Canyon

A couple of Saturdays ago Jeff and I took the kids hiking. His friend at work had told him about this hike in Bell's Canyon that went to a hidden lake.  So.  We grabbed some snacks and water and headed to the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon.

The kids did really well and had lots of fun.  Even Chloe had a good time.  The kids made some walking sticks over memorial weekend and got lots of compliments on them from the other hikers.  McKay was wishing we had a canoe to row on the lake.

I think we'll find some other family-friendly hikes to take them on this summer.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sharing What's Working For Us

I'm constantly looking for ways to make working easier, more fun, more interesting, etc for my kids.  And while I'm at it can we throw in something where they seem more willing and actually do a decent job and maybe perhaps see some consistent cleanliness is certain areas?  I hate to sound like an infomercial testimonial, but I found something that works!!

The funny thing is it's so simple it's almost dumb.  I can't even take credit for the idea.  Some wise grandmother suggested it to me about 2 months ago and I cannot believe how it's changed my life at home.

Here it is:

See?  Simplicity.  Each kid has responsibility for his/her room and one other area in the house (which rotates on a weekly basis).  If they do the job, they get a plus.  If they don't do it (or have a bad attitude, are sloppy, etc), they get a minus.  If they practice the piano for the allotted amount of time, they get a "B" for bonus.  They can earn a certain amount each week based on their age. For every minus, I get to deduct 25 cents.

So far it's had a lot of benefits.  The kids are helping more.  They're happier (at least I think so).  I'm happier.  They're learning about saving, paying tithing and spending.  Things aren't perfect, but they're consistent.  (And consistently clean)

Monday, May 14, 2012


Turned 8 in April.
McKay was speechless when we took of the blindfold and saw his new, blue bike.  

became a Cub Scout

Ok.  I know this has nothing to do with Cub Scouts, but Sharks are cool  animals .  They only choose cool "boy" animals for scouts.  Plus sharks have sharp teeth and so do wolves which is what McKay is. It works.  Sort of. 

and was baptized.

2 kids down, 2 to go.

The boy is on cloud 9.  8 year olds are fun.  Not quite as whiny as 7 year olds.  Plus they're more helpful.

Friday, March 30, 2012


Today I am thankful for

1. A dad who took his family out to dinner because that's what the kids wanted and had fun with them. And who also reads Harry Potter to his son despite having already read the book himself.

2. Reading Princess Academy with Lyndsi. We each have our own copy. (Hers is even autographed, lucky girl.) she is loving it. Tonight I noticed she is starting to do voices for characters more. My mother heart couldn't be happier.

3. A kindergartner whose passion is learning. If she wants to do homework (and trust me she does!), we can be at it for hours and I'm usually the one begging to quit. Love it!

4. The funniest baby ever who doesn't mind cutting one front tooth and two molars simultaneously who loves to play outside and whose favorite beverage is water.

5. My laundry room cabinets being nearly completed and my light fixture redo turning out better then I could imagine.

And last but not least, spring! Hasn't this been such a gorgeous spring? I love it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Just Thinking

Life here is busy, but good.  We've been dancing, scouting, learning to read, working on our tax season survival skills, enjoying a wonderful spring.

Like everyone else, we have our hard times too.  This song came on this morning and touched me in a sweet, tender mercy moment.

Immediately after, this quote from Elder Holland came to mind as well.

"If for a while the harder you try, the harder it gets, take heart. 
So it has been with the best people who ever lived.

For whoever needs it, keep trying.  Keep working.  The blessings will come.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

While Jeff has been visiting the fish mongers and enjoying beautiful views like this:

This has been our view at home

4 out of 5 Maynes have had some icky stomach bug this week.

oh and this

But most of you already know that since it's been your view too.

One day I will laugh at the less than wonderful week we've had. We've survived.  Looking forward to Jeff coming home and hope he brings a little bit of sunshine with him.

On the bright side, some good friends have shown a lot of love.  Thank you.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Midnight in Austenland

Or, rather, an afternoon at the Kings English Bookshop.  A very lovely afternoon spent with my good friend, Heidi:

Listening to a hilarious (albeit freezing) Shannon Hale

tell about her new book, Midnight in Austenland, share stories about the making of Austenland the movie, answering questions, introducing the players in her murder mystery game and generally having a good time.

Thankfully, we were there early and got good tickets for the signing line.

And after signing we had delicious raspberry lime infused water.  Too bad the cookies were already gone.  Sigh.  On to solving the murder mystery and chatting it up in a back corner.

What? What was that?  I won?  I won!!

Meet Ricky Whittle, aka Captain George East of Austenland fame.  Mine for all of 2012 and beyond. ;)

It was so much fun and totally worth the time.  Thanks Heidi for a fantastic memory!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What's a winter with no snow?


Unless you got a new sled for Christmas.  Then it's the pits.  Luckily for my little troops we had some decent snow a little while back and on a Saturday too!  Jeff got them all bundled up first thing in the morning and took the 3 older ones sledding.  I stayed home with the baby and lamented the end of 50+ degree January days.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


My Grandpa passed away this last Tuesday.  My mom volunteered herself along with me to help put pictures together to display at the funeral.  It was such a treat as I've never seen any of these pictures before.  Or even any of my grandparents from their early years.  I thought I'd share just a few of my favorites.

Grandma and Grandpa, Driggs, Idaho.  I think about 1945(?).   Not quite married.

Grandpa served in the military for 2 years.  First in Camp Roberts, CA and later in both Germany and Torino, Italy.  Just as he was called to the front lines, the war ended.

 Grandpa home on furlough:

My Grandpa came from a teeny, tiny town in Idaho.  Love his cowboy hat.