Writing & Publishing

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

I was off today, so with Bill on Spring Break, we took advantage of family time.

A few weeks ago, The Cat in the Hat came to visit our local Barnes & Noble. Here was Talia’s reaction (notice she was excited as long as he was at a distance!):

Then because my sweet friend Caroline was working and knew it was Talia’s birthday that weekend, she had them sing to her!

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The Cat gave her a cupcake, which she quickly took!

When we got close, she hung onto me for dear life (while I balanced Liam in the carrier!):

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Today the Cat wasn’t there for story time, but we did read Green Eggs and Ham. Talia loved it. She also enjoyed pinning the tail on Horton, and coloring after!

Do you have kids? What did you do for Dr. Seuss’ Birthday? What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book? I think mine has to be “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”

The children are now in bed, so I’m off to work on my book proposal on the Old City Jail. Be sure to look back at the post from earlier this week for photographs!

 

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Military Spouse Life

Happy Birthday, Talia

Today is our daughters 2nd birthday. I haven’t had time to do a true blog post, so I’ll post some pictures of the coolest kid ever….and a few celebrities. 




Brendon Ellis of the SC Stingrays during a benefit for Breast Cancer. 




Our favorite radio guy in Charleston, Mr. TJ Phillips. We were in line with my sweet friend Missy to meet…


Trisha Yearwood and her sweet sister!

Yes, it’s Paula Deen, her very lovely husband, and my sister from another mister, Beka! Paula Deen grabbed Talia right from my hands!

















The last three were today! Happy birthday, baby girl!

Life

Getting My (Cake) Groove Back

Last year was a crazy year. So much happened during those 365 days, yet one of the biggest things to happen was closing my little bakery. We did not have a store front, ( we baked out of a commissary kitchen) which made things easier to close down, but emotionally it was still hard. At the time, the decision was the right one. I was exhausted from being pregnant with Liam, had a hard time finding good help, and I still wasn’t taking a paycheck. I sometimes would work 36 or more hours straight. I was going in a million directions with events, restaurant orders, personal orders, etc. It was draining. After almost 5 years of pouring myself into this, I crashed and I crashed hard. I wanted it closed and to move to Illinois to be near Bill’s family, and I didn’t want to look back.

Even though our doors were technically closed, I continued making smash cakes for my photographer friend. Over the past few weeks we have had a LOT of cakes and it made me realize how much I love to bake.

IIWith the smash cakes, I’m usually given colors and a theme and can be free and creative. I love doing it and it made me realize I’m ready to get back to baking after the break I’ve had.

How talented is Selena? These pictures are amazing. You can check her work out at http://www.selenastoneyphotography.com/. It’s pretty amazing. She did both newborn sessions for our kids. I’ll share those in another post.

When I look at the work Selena does, I just want my cakes to measure up. I also admire how hard she works to make her business a success. Basically, I’m really lucky to have a BFF I also look up to as a mom and businesswoman. (Selena is my “IDK WTF I’m doing as a parent and need help,” go to person……like when Talia stuck a popcorn kernel up her nose!)

Back to cake….

Of course for Talia’s cake smash, we went all out on the cake theme.

No, the cakes in the background are not real. They are dummy cakes. I use Styrofoam to decorate! Only the smash cake is real.

So as the life plan keeps evolving, I’ve decided to go back to baking. (I’m still going to write as well…)

When we get to Illinois, I can legally bake out of my house. I’m only going to make cakes, and I’m only selling directly to customers. I’m not going to work with restaurants or try and do events. The money, time, and energy needed for those things drive me to shut it all down before. I needed this time to step back and reevaluate what worked in my business and what didn’t. I think I can make it work again this time, and do it from the comfort of my own (new) home. I also think just doing cakes instead of over 75 pies, 50 flavors of cake, 40 cookie flavors, etc, etc, will help my success.

I’m really excited for this new beginning with cakes again. Follow me on Instagram @TinaRussoKinney to see more cake. I would also really love it if you liked my FB page!

Life

Confessions of A Somewhat Okay Mom

I didn’t plan on another post before we left for Illinois, but in the past 24 hours I have had so much happen warranting another blog post, so here we go.

To start, I met a pregnant mother in a store and during casual conversation she confessed she wanted to breastfeed her son (due today) and had difficulty with it with her first. She said she would probably resort to “just pumping” because she feared what people would respond to her feeding in public.

I was heartbroken for her. Breastfeeding can be tough. I had to pump with Talia because of my own anatomy and it was a bitch to do, but I did it for my kid. This mama feels like she will be mom-shamed if she feeds in public!!!

Then today I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a post from another Mama. I look up to her. She is an AMAZING woman! Her post revealed she felt like she was “failing at being a working mom.”

This woman actually helped bring Liam into the world. Again, heartbroken. (By the way, she’s NOT failing).

Finally, my father called. He had bad news. This was the one I cried over….. His girlfriend (who we all love) lost her son today to a drug overdose. I can’t imagine the pain she is in, but I promise she is wondering what else she could have done to prevent this…she probably will wonder for the rest of her life, if there was something she could have done.

So aside from the fact I constantly worry about the type of mom I am, I know mama’s need to lift each other up, not bring each other down. For this reason, I am posting a list of some of my more questionable mother moments. I want other mama’s to see this, get a good laugh, and hopefully not call social services on me! We need to remember we are all human, we make mistakes, and it will be okay!

So here it is, in black and white….my confessions as a somewhat okay mama:

  • I once feed Talia mashed potatoes for dinner because I just couldn’t deal with dinner that night. Mashed potatoes….for dinner.
  • I’ve pretended not to see my child lick the glass at a hockey game.
  • One time, I was grocery shopping and had to use the restroom. There was no place to put Talia and I did not want her crawling on the dirty floor. She was young and small….so I put her IN my tote bag and then hung that on the back of the stall door. It worked, and no, I’m not proud.
  • It took about 6 weeks before I realized the green line on the diapers meant Talia needed to be changed. Six weeks.
  • I was so exhausted recently while home with the kids by myself, I seriously considered leaving them with the dogs so I could go to Starbucks. In my defense, Diesel is about to be 18 years old….he should seriously start earning his keep! Also, they were FINALLY asleep and I REALLY needed the caffeine. I obviously did not leave my children home alone….but I REALLY thought about it!
  • Talia climbed up on a toy and it was quite dangerous. I knew I needed to pull her down to safety, but instead of grabbing her, I stopped and took a picture. As I was setting my phone down, she fell and nailed her head on the floor. I don’t know who cried more.
  • I let Talia feed the dogs from her plate when I’m exhausted and know she’s not going to eat it anyway.
  • One brand of gas relief for babies has a black/grey color to it. I used to take the leftover on the feeding syringe and paint a mustache on Talia.
  • Talia is learning to speak but doesn’t quite make whole sentences yet. I was exhausted from the nonsense questions at one point, I called my mother, handed the phone to Talia, and let my mother entertain her.
  • I’ve given my child candy to make her stop crying when daddy had to leave for school….as a meal. It worked.
  • Just this morning I traded Talia her toothbrush (she’s trying to do everything herself now) for a piece of candy. Again, it worked. Yes, I know candy undoes all the brushing.
  • When I need to write and can’t keep Talia’s attention on anything very long, I turn on the TV and use Curious George and The Cat in the Hat as a babysitter.
  • I once asked “for a friend” if I could tape the pacifier to Liam so he stops spitting it out. Apparently it’s a “NO.”
  • I sometimes use a blanket to prop up the bottle so Liam can drink on his own. Again, not all my fault…..Bill started it…
  • Both Bill and I have dipped pacifiers in things like bacon grease (his idea) and buttercream to help the soothing process along.
  • As long as it is used correctly, I usually laugh when my child says “Shit” instead of correcting her. This usually causes her to repeat the offense.
  • I always make sure to have a sippy cup for Talia with me. This way I know she is drinking from something BPA free and clean….then I let Bill give her Mountain Dew or Pepsi. Pick your battles mamas!

There are probably many more moments like this my tired brain is forgetting, but you get the point. Do you have any parenting stories like this or know someone with a good story? Tell us in the comments!

Military Spouse Life

Moving On Up…To Illinois

It’s really happening. We started packing recently and while it seems like I’ve spent enough time to pack an entire house on just packing one room, it’s ALL books and I’m not done with that one room!

This said, I hesitated several times when I was packing books on or by some of my favorite authors to be included in the book I am working on, Literary Crazy. If I find an agent to work with and can move forward on writing the rest of the book, I’ll need those materials. Knowing I have several other projects I can be working on, not to mention school, a newborn, a toddler, and the zoo of animals I live with, I packed all the books.

THEN BOOM!

Twitter hosted a pitching party where you use certain hashtags used by agents to find potential authors to work with. I found out about it last minute and sent my tweet anyway. Two tweets later, I had four interested agents!!!!!!!

I was beyond excited by which agents had requested more material, but now I must sit and wait. When I told Bill, he said I had better dig the books I packed back out because we rented a trailer to take the packed stuff back to Illinois over Thanksgiving! Now I’m not a superstitious person (well except for hockey…..and I’m pretty sure the Cubbies won the World Series because of my rituals…..in fact, I should call Theo Epstein and see where my ring is!) but I’m afraid to dig out the books/materials because if I do, the agents might not get back to me with good news. I know, I know……you’re rolling your eyes, I’m sure.

Instead of working on unpacking and repacking the mass amount of books to find what I need, I’m just working on other projects needing my attention. This consists mostly of article writing and trying to catch sleep when the kids let me!

I’m sure I will wait until the last minute (when Bill is loading the trailer to go to Illinois) to decide to pull out the books….which will be how the fight starts (just kidding).

Meanwhile, if you don’t hear from me, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving! As I mentioned, we are headed to Illinois so little man can meet the family and we can start house hunting! Sadly, I don’t  care much about the house we buy, as long as it has a room for my writing and a space for my soap making. I’ll leave you with some pictures of what I’ve been working on in that department!

Life · Writing & Publishing

Settling In!

While adding a new member to the family always requires an adjustment period, I’m happy to report things are going well with our new family member.

Talia thinks Liam is hers!



We love how much she loves him. She’s not the only one….


This is Addison. Her mom is one of my BFF’s.


Addison’s brother, Ellison….


Their talented mom, Selena. Selena is a newborn photographer and we were so excited to do pictures of Liam.



So far, this is the only one we have back. She’s so busy with sessions, it will be a few weeks before we see them all. This picture is one of my favorite EVER!

Here Selena was editing AND holding Liam while I used her oven.


So why am I using her oven? Well, she had a session requiring a smash cake. Even though we closed the bakery and are moving next May, I still make her smash cakes. The problem? Our oven caught fire last week.

Thankfully no one was hurt, and it didn’t happen while we were evacuated, but there’s nothing like waking up to the smell of something burning INSIDE your house. 

When I woke Bill, he insisted someone was burning toast. Um, there’s no reason we should be smelling someone’s burnt toast in our house. Sure enough, he went into the kitchen and the INSIDE of the oven was bright red. The oven locked itself shut as if it was on a clean cycle, and the only thing Bill could do was unplug the unit.

It took the fine people at GE almost a week to call us back. Our model wasn’t recalled, but they wanted to come look at it anyway. By the time they tried to finally come out, the landlord had replaced the unit. Pretty sure I won’t be buying any GE appliances anytime soon!

As if all this wasn’t enough, Bill and I started the next semester of school and Liam went to his first hockey game.


He basically slept through it all, even when daddy (Bill) was recognized as the Hero of the Game for his service in the USMC.




So proud of him!!!

I feel as though I can really get back to writing and querying over the next few weeks. I’m still tired, but not like I was when I was pregnant with Liam. November is National Novel Writing Month and it’s time for me to put out another novel! I’ll be sure to put together a bit about the idea and share with you over the next few days. Hopefully I can get out 50,000 words again this November, even with a toddler, newborn, school, and everything else!

Life

It’s a Boy!!!

After evacuating for the hurricane, we spent the first few days this week trying to get home, then both Bill and I had exams for school to make up because of the hurricane.

We then ended the week with the birth of this little guy. At 3:31 am, EST, on October 15th, we welcomed Liam Amos into the world! He’s a peanut at just 5.1 pounds and 18.5″! Everything went great and I managed to give birth naturally in water. We were home a few hours later. Big sister thinks he’s her personal snuggle baby and just loves him. She LOVES snuggling him and telling him about hockey!