Thursday, March 31, 2011

Announcing my new "baby"

While I'll be keeping this blog active, I've kind of run out of steam for it, so I decided to start a new blog, insightful(ish).

You can find it at or by clicking the link above.

Ruth, the Mom will still be here, and I may even get inspired and post something new from time to time, but I'm not renewing my domain name so it will soon be back at its original address of

Hope to see you over at insightful(ish)! Thanks so much for reading!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Game time

Our family received six games for Christmas: Jenga, Lego Race 3000, Hedbanz, Square Up, Fowl Play, and Rat a Tat Cat. These all sound incredibly fun, but we didn't play a single one on Christmas day.

That's because my kids were too busy making up their own games. Here are a few favorites:

Speed Greed
Object: After all presents have been opened, be the first kid to look at a brochure that came with one of the toys and say, "I wish I had that."

Lego Challenge
Object: Open the Lego Fire Boat package and dump all the contents out onto the floor in high-traffic areas. Put together ten pieces, then wander off to watch Wow Wow Wubbzy. See how long it takes Mom to assemble the Fire Boat with several vital pieces missing. Bonus: Hide the instructions under the couch.

What Floor?
Object: Using wrapping paper, boxes, ribbons, product packaging, new clothing, toys, and Play-Doh, cover every square inch of the living room floor. Bonus: Drop the Fire Boat in the middle of it all and watch to see if Mom's head explodes.

Sibling Squabble
Object: This one requires teamwork. Out of all the new toys spread out on the floor, participants must agree on one single item that all of you must have right this instant, and fight over it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Gingerbread House Hunters

Newlyweds Fred and Ginger have been living in the Gingerbread Village neighborhood of Gingerbread City for almost a year. While they enjoy the big city life, they're TIRED of paying big city rent.


Today they're meeting with their real estate agent, Polly, to take a look at a few places and see if they can find a "sweet" deal on a new home.

"Shall we take my car?" Polly asks.

"I don't know, might be a little tight," says Fred. "How about we take our gingerbread train instead?"

As the train takes them past fields of candy-sprinkled snow, Ginger begins to look worried. "We're getting pretty far away from the city, aren't we?"

"To find a house in your price range with the features you want, we'll have to look out in the suburbs," Polly explains. "Now, the first neighborhood I'm going to show you is a newer development called Gingerbread Acres. There are actually two houses for sale here, and I think you're going to like what you see."

"Well, here we are," Polly says. "Would you like to take a look inside?"

Fred points out the fallen gingerbread tree in the front yard of one of the homes. "These places don't look very well maintained to me."
Ginger nods. "There are cracks in the walls, too. It's like whoever iced this place together didn't bother to do it properly."

"These flat roofs are like a disaster waiting to happen," adds Fred. "One big frosting snowstorm, and your roof gumdrops are on the living room floor. It just seems like poor design to me."

"Thanks, Polly," says Fred. "But I think we'd like to see something else."

"Well, these places would definitely need a little TLC, but at this price either one would be a great value," Polly says. "But if you're wanting something a little more put together, I think you're going to love the next house."

"Now this one's a little farther away from the city, in Gingerbread Estates," Polly says when they are on the train again. "But it's nicely maintained, and it has the slanted roof you're looking for."

"Sounds great," says Fred.

"Here we are," Polly says. "What do you think?"

"Now this is more like it!" exclaims Fred.

Ginger's eyes light up. "I love the Peppermint motif in front! It's perfect!"

After touring the inside, they are convinced they've found their next home. "The bedrooms are a little small," says Ginger, "but I do like all the storage space."

"Plenty of room for all of our candy and extra frosting," agrees Fred.

"And peanut brittle counter tops," Ginger continues. "At this price, who can believe it!"

"And, oh, look honey--it even has a YARD!" Ginger exclaims.

"Yes, it's a lovely yard," Polly says. "Now, I should tell you, this house is a short sale."

Fred frowns. "What does that mean exactly?"

"Well..." Polly begins, but she is interrupted by Ginger's shriek.

"Hey guys!" she cries. "Look over there! In the yard! I think someone's hurt!"

"Oh, my!" says Polly. "Is it...could it be..."

"Gingerbread Santa Claus!"

"Oh my goodness!" Ginger says. "He must have slipped and fallen off the slanted roof!"

"Santa, are you okay?" Fred asks, leaning over to check for a pulse. "Can you hear me? Santa!"

"I'm calling 9-1-1!" says Polly, whipping out her cell phone.

"There's no time," Fred says. "We've got to get him to a hospital, NOW."

Together they load Santa onto the gingerbread train.

"Thank goodness we came when we did," Polly says, as the train begins chugging away.

Ginger nods. "Now, explain this short sale thing to me..."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holiday decorating by the numbers

1 tree

7 strings of lights

1 string of lights that worked

3  children helping decorate the tree

3  ornaments broken

4,000,000 tiny shards of glass on the floor

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What time is it? Don't ask me.

If you think about it, time is arbitrary. We all agree to synchronize our clocks and decide that this particular time will be noon in the Central Time Zone, or whatever. Just so that we can all be on time to appointments. Or rather, so that everyone else can be on time and I can be five to ten minutes late.

With that in mind, I've decided that our house will remain on Daylight Savings Time. I'm sick of just blindly following along someone elses' rules. I mean, just because some master clock decrees that it is only 8:15 p.m. right now, doesn't mean I have to agree. It sure doesn't feel like 8:15. I'm starting to get a little sleepy, I just got my oldest son off to bed, remarking at how very late he got to stay up tonight, and it's been dark for at least three hours. Sure feels like 9:15 to me. So, 9:15 it is.

This whole mind bending exercise began last night, because Mr. Busy had to get up this morning for a 6:00 a.m. flight. I told him not to forget to change the clocks, and he told me he didn't want to change the clocks because he didn't want to get up at 3:45 a.m. and leave the house at 4:00 a.m. and catch a 6:00 a.m. flight. He said he would much rather get up at 4:45 a.m. and leave the house at 5:00 a.m. and catch a 7:00 flight, so that's what he was going to do. He had a point. Sure, 4:45 a.m. is early, but it's somehow more palatable than 3:45. All he had to do was leave the clocks the same and pretend his flight was at seven.

When one of the kids got up at 5:45 (according to the bedside clock) that clinched it for me. If my children are going to continue to insist on waking up around 6:00 a.m., there's no way I'm going to start calling it 5:00 a.m. That is way too depressing.

Things might get a little tricky somewhere down the road, like when my 8-year-old clues in that the time on the computer and television and everywhere else we go is different than the time on our stove. And I'll need to make a note of the "Ruth Standard Time" for all of our appointments. (I'm already patting myself on the back that next Saturday's 9:00 a.m. soccer game just became a 10:00 RST game.) Evening yoga will now be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. RST, which is pretty late for the kiddos, but hey, maybe I can make it to morning yoga, now that it won't be quite so early: 10:00 RST rather than the usual 9:00 a.m.

Now, if at some point my kids start sleeping in a little, then hey, I'm willing to make the shift. But until then I'm sticking with my plan. Speaking of which, boy, I sure am getting sleepy. I don't know what time it is wherever you are, but in this house it's 9:40, which means it's getting awfully close to my bedtime. Good night.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Worst Day of the Year, and the Best Idea Ever

Okay, so maybe it wasn't the Worst Day of the Year.

Nope. I'm pretty sure it was.

The day after Halloween.

Don't get me wrong. I like Halloween. As a holiday it cracks me up. Name one other day of the year when you would instruct your children to go up to strangers' doors and demand a treat. And those candy manufacturers have quite the racket going. We all go out and buy bags full of the stuff, then try to pawn it off on our neighbors just to get it out of our own house. Those of us with kids have to buy or make costumes, decorate jack-o-lanterns, and purchase candy to pass out. Meanwhile we're walking around with our own kids, collecting everyone else's candy. It's goofy.

The day after Halloween, I don't like so much. Halloween night there's the candy, the excitement, the staying up late. The next morning there's more candy. This year the combination added up to some very wild kids. I mean they were WILD. My kids are we say...energetic, and I'm used to a higher-than-average degree of rowdiness. But that day, I might as well have given them each a Red Bull. They were bouncing off the walls. They wouldn't listen, wouldn't calm down, and wouldn't stop fighting with each other. All day.

A few years ago I tried an experiment I'd heard about somewhere. I told my boys they could eat all the candy they wanted the night of Halloween, then I was getting rid of all the rest. I guess some kids can't eat that much candy before they start to feel sick. Mine, it turned out, could put away quite a lot of candy in one sitting.

So, that was a bad idea.

But you know what's a really good idea? Possibly the Best Idea Ever?

A candy buyback sponsored by our local pediatric dentist. The kids happily gave up most of their candy in exchange for some cash, I got the junk out of my house, and the candy goes to the troops.

Although I wonder if we are doing the troops any favors, loading them up with sugar. Probably we should send our soldiers some whole grains, and ship the Reese's Cups and Sweet Tarts to our enemies.

But, whatever. All I know is, it's out of my house. (Except for the Twizzlers hidden on top shelf of my closet. Shhhhhhhh.)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I'm gonna finish me a second draft

"I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work."

It's been a year now since I first started writing a novel.

I don't know if it's this milestone, or if it's the quote above that caught my eye recently, or if it's the crisp fall air, or maybe it's just the excessive caffeine I consumed today at Starbucks (what the heck do they put in their Pike Place Roast? I feel like my eyes are bugging out of my head). Anyway, something has certainly lit a fire under me. It's time to wrap this thing up.

I have a goal. I have a plan. And if all goes well, I will be finishing my second draft by mid-February. That might seem like a long time, but if you've ever attempted to write a novel, you know that one sentence can easily take a week or more.

Right now my manuscript is full of brackets. Inside the brackets are things like this: [improve this convo]; [take out some of this dialogue]; [describe his actions]; [make this better]; [transition]

Now, it is easy enough to to write [describe his actions], but it is much, much more difficult to actually describe his actions. But I'm at that point now. I need to sit down, start punching keys, and not get up until I have described his actions, or taken out some of the dialogue, or made it better (whatever that means).

My story has 33 chapters, and I'm almost at the end of the third chapter now. If I can finish chapter 3 by tonight, then I'll have ten chapters to complete per month, November through January, with part of February left for final editing. Then it's off to some new readers for feedback.

This means I'm going to have to write every day, at least a little bit. I'll have to focus. I'll have to tell my mind that it has got to get down to work. Wish me luck. My mind prefers to play.