Waiting for the fall

So often my life has been full of great chances or experiences followed by huge falls. I often tell people that I don’t have a fear of heights, just a fear of falling, because I know how much it hurts when you land.

I find that this has slowly been changing for me. As I work on bettering myself for me, I have found that I take great pride in my ups and lessons in my downs. No longer do I fear the fall because it will hurt. I understand that falls happen and that if I breath and use my tools I can learn from them and grow in a new or better way next time. So, Let’s talk about what I am pumped about doing.

So far I have lost over 10lbs. Which is amazing for me. Not just a loose it and gain it back like normal but a good month or two of being down in my weight. Or as my handsome husband likes to say, “Making new lows and lowering our highs.” He is right. When I stopped looking at it as a loose or you lose, I started noticing that yes sometimes I go up, but I have been rocketing down so even as I gain a little here or there, they are my new high which is still much lower then my old high. With that I have been pushing on. Focusing on my body and what I eat. Pushing myself to do more and move as much as I can without hurting myself.

Another thing I have going is my business. I started a new company called Mochi Photography. I had an idea a year and a half ago to have a booth where cosplayers or families could come and take pictures during their convention. I am also selling plushies and other crafty things I make in my spare time. I am now working on my sales pitch to get into daycare centers and other children rich areas where I can take pictures for them.

My other ongoing project is school! I am now in my second year of school to get my business degree. I am proud to say that my grades are awesome, my work is…. in by the due date, and I have really enjoyed the classes so far. I am so proud of myself for having stuck to my schooling and keeping up with it regardless of how I am feeling that week. I keep reminding myself that I started this school at the same time as Nik to keep me accountable. If he can do it so can I!

And one of my greatest ongoing joys is that Nik is doing so great in school. He is even leading the pack in the emergency drills and keeping focused on his work without a teacher or helper around to help. This is a big change from last year at the end of the year and a huge relief to my anxiety!

With all that said, I still have one more thing I am picking up in the next two months or so. I will be doing NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. I am going to focus down and split up my current novel work into a few novellas. So my project in November will be writing every day, and a deadline to finish the first draft of my Novella by the end of November.

So much to do, I am feeling a little tired just talking about it. Guess I should take a nap really quick before getting back to my homework, Mochi plushie making for this weekend, and taking care of Nik…… Nahhhhh I got this!

Fabulous Fun Fictions for…playing

Kris here

With all my talk lately of building Dads ‘n Dragons(notTM) I’ve been reading up on a lot of board games and other tabletop RPG games out there. Both for inspiration or creative techniques around boring stuff, but also because it would, you know, really suck to spend a year making something that already exists. I’m primarily making it for me to play with my local group anyway. But if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing RIGHT dang it! Wait no I take it back oh no I’m my daaaaaad~~~

Right, so I’ve been reading up on all that stuff and I figured it would be a good opportunity for another round of “What weird crap is Kris thrusting onto us this week!” Dearest reader, I only want the best for myself, and for everyone who likes me. So I’ve rounded up a small list of games you can play with your families that I never heard of before playing it with my family (and friends). Non-video games of course, do you think I’m some uncouth heathen? Sheesh!

Dixit  – Dixit is a hilarious game in the right crowds and the art style is so danged cute. Tina and I have played this with grumpy old men, happy not old ladies, and grumpy AND happy young children, and they all think it’s fabulous. You choose a picture, make a tiny story up, and everyone else throws in a card they think matches the story. The non story-tellers then all guess which is the main card, and everyone gets points! The rules are quick and easy so I won’t deliberate too long here, but it’s really good practice for on-the-fly creativity.

Betrayal at House on the Hill  – Holy crap you guys. I’ve probably put a hundred hours into this game and if someone came over to my house right now with a group and asked to play, I would…send them away. I mean jeez I’m not even dressed, it’s practically bedtime. But if someone called and asked if I’d like to play in ten minutes, HELL YEAH I’d zip out like a fly on picnic day. The game is essentially exploring a creepy old mansion for a while until Watson rolls 6 blank dice and starts the haunt. And then Tina wins the haunt. But the process of losing is just so fantastic!

Arkham Horror – I’ll be honest, I freaking love this game, but I play it far less than Betrayal at House on the Hill. The reason being just because it’s quite a bit longer of a game, and it’s a BIT rules intensive to explain sometimes. Also, it’s really only amazing with 4 or more people and our on-hand number of board game players is 3. But seriously it only takes like 90 to 120 minutes most of the time and it’s AMAZING. Not many other board games end my turn just because I’m scared of the scary tongue god. (http://www.arkhamhorrorwiki.com/God_of_the_Bloody_Tongue)

Love Letter  – Alright, that’s probably good with the board games already. Let’s turn to card games! Love Letter is about getting your love letter to the princess. You draw a single card each turn, and whoever has the highest card at the end is the winner! Except there are also things each card does, like the guards will let Tina actually guess the exact card you have in your hand right now it doesn’t matter what turn it is. Yeah you. You’re out. Sorry. Don’t get attached to winning if you’re playing against my wife not that I’m bitter or anything. We don’t actually have Love Letter anymore, but we do have Love Letter Batman. It’s identical, except the princess is the Joker and Robin can protect you against anyone, anywhere.

Munchkin – Munchkin is technically not a board game, because there’s no board! Though we did technically make one, it’s paper and I’m not including that. Most people have probably seen or even played Munchkin, but since it’s Nik’s favorite game to play with us, I figured I’d go ahead and include it in the list. You draw cards to your hand with things like “The Kneepads of Allure” or “The Boots of Butt Kicking” that you can equip to yourself with different bonuses, or curses, and you kick down imaginary doors to a dungeon and fight monsters. Some monsters are nice. The potted plant at level 1 won’t even hurt you, that’s how nice it is. It’s a silly game you can play with basically anyone who can read, and it generally takes about an hour to finish.

We have an animal cage literally brimming with board- and card games, but these are the 5 I find myself playing most often. For better or for worse. Let me know if you guys have any suggestions of your own, we’ll be happy to check ’em out!

Unless you say Settlers of Catan. If you say Settlers of Catan we can’t be friends anymore.

Dang it Kris!

Tina here.

Whatever Kris let in to this house got me bit bad. Metaphorically speaking of course. He has chatted my ear off about his rpg and his back and forth on setup and how it works. Last night he gave me a break and picked up a YouTube video by a guy documenting his progress in making his own rpg. Well damn if I didn’t make him pause and start over after fetching my notebook cause I had an idea.

That’s right. I am also making an rpg. However mine is aimed at nerdy families with younger kids. So if your friends are to busy trying out that new beer place in downtown Austin, you can just rope your family into game night in the guise of family time.

Really I know so many parents who are gamers and would love to play something like the established rpgs with their kiddos but the setup and explanations seem a bit daunting to explain to someone who you just finished explaining why you HAVE to wash your hands after you poop.

Now not to get you all hyped but I am excited and after I make a working model I will need a cast of various kinds of kids to be sacrificed to my little game. I promise to return them eventually. So yeah be on the look out for that and if Kris hunts you down to talk about magic vs physical fights, take a deep breath and enjoy the math and science he is about to throw at your face.

Troubled waters

Tina here!

Back with some more life happenings. Recently we have been running into issues with our youngest and his behavior at school. This has caused me to have extreme anxiety and worry about things that shouldn’t matter to me. Such as what the school thinks of me and my parenting, what other parents think, and what they expect me to do. Because at this point I am lost.

I expected him to have a fabulous time in school. To make tons of friends, maybe some problems with trying to talk too much but overall to enjoy the learning experience. He loves to learn new facts and information, he loves talking to anyone and everyone. This is the child who would seek out the grumpiest looking person and y’all to them till they smiled for him.

What I wasn’t expecting was randomly walking/running out of class and trying to escape the school. Kicking his fellow student over things such as them laughing at him or as children tend to do, ignore each other by repeatedly saying the same word over and over again. He has been destructive to other people’s belongings, stealing from his teacher for rewards he feels like he should have had. He was dangerous to other students and was suspended from school for a day.

What is going on? When I was asked to come in and pick him up I saw some child that was definitely not my sweet boy. I was worried he took something he shouldn’t have and was reacting to it violently. We will be starting Threopy this Friday not just for him but for Kris and I to understand how to best help him and work on these things together.

As Kris so wisely said to me,”Remember, this is not us vs him, but Mom, Dad, and Nik vs these problems. We are a team and will work them out as a team.”

What problems have your team helped you defeat?

Short story Saturday but shorter, more Nik’ier

Hi everyone – Kris here

This week I wrote a silly story for Nik to read on our trip to Oklahoma City. But then I also forgot to have him read it. So instead I’ll just paste it here and hopefully he’ll have already read it by now! The story is simple and meant to be read by a hyperactive 6 year old. If you have one of those, see if they can read along!

Tick-Tock’s Great Adventure!

__________________________________

Tick-tock. Tick-tock. The clock on the wall was very loud. Tick Tock the kid sat on his chair wondering how to get the clock.

“I know!’ He had a great idea. He could use TNT! Old Bob kept some under his desk.

Tick Tock opened the door to his playpen very sneakily, using a screwdriver he had disguised with a mustache. He opened the door to the hallway.

SQUEAK! The door was crazy loud!

Tick Tock dove under a table and froze in place, to make sure nobody had spotted him.

He covered himself with a blanket so he could hide on the go. Looking both ways, he saw the coast was clear and snuck away. He tiptoed down the hallway as fast as a tiger. No! As fast as a dragon!

He flew down the hallway like a dragon, using the blanket for wings. Vrooooom!

OH NO! A grown up! Tick Tock dashed out of sight into the laundry room. No one would suspect a blanket in the laundry room of sneaking about. The old people walked by and noticed the blanket on the floor.

“Say, why is this blanket on the floor?” One of them asked.

“Ah, don’t worry about it, someone will pick it up” the other replied.

Whew! His cover had almost been blown. Tick Tock snuck into Old Bob’s room like a ninja. Like a moving shadow! “Let’s see,” he said. “One stick should be enough, but I better grab extra in case I need it.” Tick Tock packed up ten sticks of TNT and ran back to his room as fast as lightning. Success!

He stuck the TNT into his pocket and climbed up a chair. Then he stacked another chair on top of that chair and climbed it too. Finally he was face to face with the enormous clock. “Okay, now I just have to put the TNT into the tube and it will blast the clock onto my bed.” Tick Tock checked his pockets.

“Oh no, I have nothing to light the fuse!” He sat in his chair to think.

“Maggie has a flamethrower in the kitchen, that would be perfect!”

Tick Tock ran off to another big adventure!

Spring breaktimes

Kris here!

I was going to write a blog post with a picture for one of my short stories, but I didn’t get that all the way done yet. I also haven’t completed the other short story I was writing but that should be for Saturday anyway. The reason I haven’t finished those is because of visiting children for the week, so let’s talk about them instead!

Children are terrible great. So much youth and vibrance, vitality and. Uh, attitude. Sheesh!

I kid of course, just as they are. We’ve been having a great time what with my being at work the entire duration of their stay, and them being jerks angels and drinking all my juice. I’ve been considering spiking it with nyquil but I think that would make them stronger. I also perfected my macaroni and cheese consistency and I consider that a week well spent.

We’ve got a couple of card and video games under our belts so far. Now that I’ll be finished working for the week, I was preparing to have them clean out the entire garage. I think this week is going to turn out really swell after all! And now, I’ll magically take some photos and add them to the post even though I’m nowhere near them for several hours:

In which Kris reads children’s books

Kris here,

It’s been a while since I talked about something I liked reading instead of rambling on about writing every week. I figured this week I’d talk about The Ranger’s Apprentice. This is actually a pretty recent series as far as stuff I’ve read goes – I read it a few years ago, but it was just published less than 20 years ago! Okay it’s not that new, but a lot of the books I like to revisit frequently were all written in the 70’s, 80’s and..well the 1800’s. I’m into older stories you could say.

The Ranger’s Apprentice I believe has a target demographic of something like 9-14 year olds, so I actually just read the first book to make sure it was alright for my then 6 year old and whether I could keep it around to read Nik at bedtime. Five or six books into the series and I’m thinkin’ “wow this is pretty good” – as evidenced by the fact that it took me about 3 days to read each book. The writing is surprisingly easy to digest for something written for such a young age; to be fair, when I was 10 I read Animorphs, Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe and Dragonlance. So I guess kids aren’t as bad at reading as all that.

I don’t want to spoil the actual story here, they’re relatively short and easy to pick up, but it’s essentially a coming-of-age tale of a young orphan named Will who got picked up as a …Ranger’s Apprentice. And he’s all like “pfsh no way!” and then later he’s like “This is amazing!” Honestly the main character is relatively likeable, but is by far one of my least favorite characters. I don’t hate the guy, I just like all the others better. Especially Halt, which is the “Ranger” part of the series title. He’s a rough guy who knows how and when to help, and he fills in my need to have a badass dude who can stand up to the evil guys while the smaller good guys are still doing jumping jacks or whatever so they don’t get stomped.

The series romps through a few topics I wasn’t really expecting to see – befriending bullies, beating drug addiction and killing a guy with a longbow arrow through the face, but were written in a way that I’m definitely adding them to the stuff-to-read-Nik list. Check out the first book if you have a few days to read a fun story, I can honestly say my copies are chopped up between physical books and e-books (self-control, what?!) so it’s available in whatever form you need.

Also the wiki says Mr Flanagan originally wrote the story as a way to get his own child into reading – I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but I’m 110% down with that.

(the first book is here)

ruins_of_gorlan
Source: Link

Tina chiming in here,

According to my research, The books have been slated to become a movie and started production in fall of 2016. I have not heard anything new but here is the New York Times article with more information if you want! (Link)