Halloween and NaNoWriMo


How are you doing? We just finished removing our Halloween decorations. I wonder how long it will take Eva to give in to her urge to decorate for Christmas. A few years ago, we already had our tree up and decorated! She’s nuts.

Anyway, on Halloween, we had some friends come over for a party before we took all the kids around the neighborhood. The party was fun, with some amazing homemade food, and everyone seemed to enjoy the conversations. Half of our effort went to keeping the kids fed and occupied, so they wouldn’t keep begging to go Trick-or-Treating.

After we finished eating, we took the kids outside to get ready to go. It was raining, so the adults grabbed umbrellas, and the kids didn’t care. On one hand, it’s not fun to walk in the cold and rain; on the other hand, there were far less people than usual, so the houses handed out more candy!

Our costumes this year didn’t have a theme like we usually do. Talon was Mal from Disney’s Descendants, Atlas was an astronaut, Eva was a wolf, and I was the milkman.

If my costume doesn’t make much sense, let me explain. Eva insisted that she and I have a couples outfit this year. After looking through several, we decided that I was going to be the milkman and she would be the pregnant housewife.

At one point, I asked Eva if I could change my costume, but she said, “Absolutely not. Then I would just be a pregnant wife. It wouldn’t work.” So I moved on. Then, a couple days before Halloween (after my costume had already come in), Eva decided that she couldn’t find the right outfit to make her costume work, so she was a wolf. I just shook my head and moved on. Sometimes, she drives me crazy.

As one of our friends put it, we were a “…scandalous pregnant house wife wolf who had a astronaut baby with the milk man.”

In other news, I started NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which is a personal challenge to write 50,000 words of your novel in November. That comes out to 1,667 words per day. I’ve been writing, but I’m far from keeping up with the pace. I’ve written just over 2,500 words, when I should be over 18,000.

The point of the challenge, though, is not so much about making the goal, but to focus on writing your novel. And it’s worked! I’ve been writing far more than I’ve written before. Most of my novel attempts only result in a few hundred words before I lose momentum and motivation. Granted, a few hundred and a couple thousand aren’t far apart, it’s still a big accomplishment for me.

I’ve always wanted to write a novel. It’s been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. I’ve started several times, but planning all the details always got in the way. With NaNoWriMo, you are encouraged to send your “inner editor” on a month-long vacation and simply put words on paper. It’s been really hard for me to fight perfectionism, but sometimes you just need to tell yourself to shut up.

I read the intro to my book after finishing the rough draft, and boy is it rough. I’ve never written so sloppily (by my standards), but It’s a rough draft. I found that I always try to turn my rough draft into a final while I’m writing it. NaNo has really opened my eyes, though. It’s helped me realize that writing a long text requires a lot of work and many revisions. It can’t all be done at the same time. Patience is key.

That’s all I have for now. What have you been up to? Anything interesting happening in your life?


Writing a Book in One Month, and Other Updates

Hello Again,

I have taken upon myself a monumental task.

About a month ago, my daughter said, “I wish someone would do that for me,” in regards to her brother getting a personalized book for his birthday. I thought it was just a bit of sibling jealousy, and it probably was. She’s most likely forgotten about it, but I haven’t. It stung when she said it.

So I’ve decided that I want to write her a book. Most books take many months, if not years, to complete. I like to plan ahead and get all the little details just right, but I don’t really have time to do that, since her birthday is in October. My wife said to just start writing. I don’t think I can be that disorganized, but I’ll definitely have to tone down my perfectionism. I’m not sure how I’m going to accomplish this goal, unless I really buckle down and focus.

Therein lies the problem.

Even now, I’ve been “writing” to you for over an hour. I keep getting distracted by trivial things. Do you have any tips that could help me not only accomplish my goal, but also focus in general?

In other news: I have to be honest. I stopped writing for a dumb reason. I lost my USB Flash drive—or, rather, it was stolen. I left if in the computer at work, and it disappeared by the time I got back. The problem is, I had a nice spreadsheet for all my goals. I lost about four months of data, and with that, my motivation. I could have just picked up from there and continued on, but I didn’t want to. I know, it’s a lame excuse.

I figure I’ll just start again next year and keep better track of my USB. I’ll give you a general overview of my goals and where I stand on them, though.


  • Grow closer to God (immeasurable) (0%)
  • Have a conversation with my grandma in Spanish. (0%)
  • Write a letter a month to family/friends. (10%)
  • Read at least 15 novels (70k+ words each), or 1,050,000 words total. (125%, including audio books)
  • Publish at least 30 blog posts. (10%)
  • Write at least three chapters of my novel. (0%)


  • Outline my entire novel. (10%)
  • Record blog posts in audio format. (0%)

Well, that was a humbling experience. Especially the first and second ones. I knew I was doing really well with reading, but I didn’t realize that I’ve done so little on all the others. I know that writing the book for Talon will complete two of the goals, so that will feel good. I still need to write many more blog posts and letters.

Sadly, I don’t know if I’ll get to have that conversation with my grandmother. I just got back from visiting her, and she’s not doing too well. I did make sure to hug her and sit with her as long as possible, but I failed to learn enough Spanish to talk with her.

God is always in the back of my mind. Some might say that that’s better than Him not being there at all, but I personally think that it’s one of the worst places for Him:

So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” -Revelation 3:16

So, what’s new with you? You haven’t heard from me in a while, and I had a lot to say. I’m anxious to know what’s been going on in your life.

Let Me Know,


Being a Stay-at-Home Parent is Easy

…if you only have to do it for two days.

Bachelors for a Weekend
Bachelors for a Weekend

Eva took Talon on a weekend getaway to the Garth Brooks concert in Portland, while I stayed home with Atlas. We had a lot of fun and bonding time. I even took care of some chores, so she could come home and relax a little.

We started the weekend with and empty house. Literally. I woke up to an empty house, less Atlas and me. I was expecting to get a goodbye, but I’m betting that Eva wanted me to get some extra sleep, which I really appreciate.

Anyway, I woke up to Atlas making some crazy noises. I think he was yelling at his stuffed animals, then consoling them. Weirdo. So I got him out of bed, changed him, fed him, yada yada.

Then the magnitude of my ignorance began to shine through. I thought, “Eva left me this list of housework to accomplish, so let’s get started on that!”

[Stay-at-Home Parents, this is the part where you get to chuckle and nod because you know what’s coming.]

Atlas was having a good ol’ time playing with his toys, but just as I was about to start a task, he was right at my feet or undoing whatever it was I was doing. If that didn’t work, he would get into whatever mischief he could find.

The thing that baffles me is that if I was doing nothing but watching him play, he was a perfect angel that wanted nothing to do with me. Trust me, I tested it.

Speaking of perfect angels gone bad, what’s with dirty diapers? When it’s full of pee, he lets me change him like it’s no big deal. But if it’s full of poop, he kicks and squirms and makes it nearly impossible to clean him without getting it on something. It’s like he’s on a mission to get it on as many things as possible before I can finish.

I tried to finish as many things on the list as I could, but I wasn’t very successful because I had to wait until he was either taking a nap or having a bottle. After I laid him down for the night, I took a movie break and decided that I should work on a “Welcome Home” present for Talon. It took me a couple hours, but overall I was happy with it. I’m not sure if she liked it yet, because I was asleep when they got home. Here’s a photo of the finished project. It randomly blinks bright/dim/off, but I couldn’t get a video in the right format to show you.

Cloudy With a Chance of Dreams
Cloudy with a Chance of Dreams

The next day, I tried to get back to cleaning and crossing things off the list, but Atlas was a little more needy. I just don’t know how any one person can accomplish so much during the day with a child constantly at their side or destroying what was just done. And yet, my wife does it every single day. Thank you, My Love. So much.

In conclusion, I went into the weekend with a semi-realistic notion that I wouldn’t be able to finish much on my list of chores, and came out with a much better understanding of what Stay-at-Home Parents have to deal with every single day. I know my experience wasn’t perfectly accurate because I didn’t have to do it for more than two days (day after day would really add up), but I now have a tremendous amount of respect for any and all Stay-at-Home Parents.

Thank you for working so hard with no pay to keep our home and family looking and feeling somewhat normal.


P.S. I purposely capitalized “Stay-at-Home Parents” because I respect them that much.

New Year, New Look

Happy New Year!

As I stated in a previous post, I decided to give my blog a much-needed makeover. I’m sure you’ve noticed the change in the layout. I think it’s a little too dark, but the other free options I had were way too bright. The only way for me to get a color scheme that I like is to pay $99 per year. That’s not going to happen unless this blog gets tremendously popular.

I also stated that I want to change the format to that of a written letter. I decided on that style because I feel like I open up more and hide less when I write that way. Plus, I figure that it’s more personal and welcoming. So, here’s my first (albeit short) letter to you:

Hey There,

I hope your holidays were wonderful! Mine sure was. I worked most of it, which was bitter-sweet. On one hand, it means I’ll have a nice addition to my next paycheck. On the other hand, I didn’t get as much family time or rest as I would have liked. I did get a few days off, but it’s still not the same as being at home for almost two full weeks.

What did you do for the holidays? What was your favorite part? What was your least favorite?

I had some time to reflect and work on my list for my Resolutions (goals) for this year. I made a spreadsheet in Excel to keep track of my progress. I even made corresponding tables, so I can show you my progress from time to time. Here’s my modified list:


  • Grow closer to God (immeasurable)
  • Have a conversation with my grandma in Spanish.
  • Write a letter a month to family/friends.
  • Read at least 15 novels (70k+ words each), or 1,050,000 words total.
  • Publish at least 30 blog posts.
  • Write at least three chapters of my novel.


  • Outline my entire novel.
  • Record blog posts in audio format.

I feel really good about these goals. They aren’t so big that I can’t achieve them, yet they aren’t so small that I can slack off for weeks at a time. I hope I don’t disappoint you.

I look forward to hearing from you.



‘Tis the Season to be Selfish

Broken ChristmasLast night, we went to the mall to finish up our Christmas shopping. My wife and I both decided that we’re going to try to buy all the presents for next year during the after-Christmas sales. That way, we aren’t rushed for time and won’t have to fight the big crowds. Sure, it’ll be crowded, but nothing compared to last night.

We also wanted to check out the lights near the mall and see the Christmas show outside in the street. We had a lot of fun at the show and looking at the lights, but I learned a few things: Continue reading ‘Tis the Season to be Selfish

I Like My Family

PaperCamera2014-12-20-13-33-45-19111501[1]The Holidays are almost here, which means we’re sending out a bunch of cards. While I was writing some of the cards, my mind wandered (surprise!). As I stared at the blank cards, I found myself wondering, “What do I say to them?”

It’s not because I had a falling out with my family. Quite the contrary. I don’t think I could have asked for a better family. I just haven’t kept in touch with them, even after telling them I would many times. I hate it, but it feels like the “out of sight, out of mind” concept has planted itself deep in my mind.

I see them on Facebook all the time, and I read their statuses and click “like” quite often. After hitting the button a few times, it dawned on me how sad it is that my only form of communication with most of my family is, at most, a comment on Facebook—not even a message. I can’t remember the last time I messaged one of my family members without it being about getting an address or some sort of information. And the worst part is…

That’s an improvement.

I remember my uncle mentioning that I talked to them more when I lived 600 miles away (growing up with my parents), than when I lived less than 100 miles away in college. Of course it struck a cord, and I said I would try harder, but then they were out of sight.

I didn’t see them because my life was more important me than theirs was. I hate to admit that, but it’s completely true. I could have driven to see them once a month, but I used excuses like not having enough money for gas (which they would have paid for) or having to work too much. In reality, I was just too focused on myself.

Now that I’ve graduated and my life has settled, has it gotten any better?

Not really.

If you count the scarce interactions on Facebook, I guess it has improved a little. And I did try writing some of my family members letters for a while, but after a couple months, things “got too busy” again. I had all the right intentions when I said that I would keep in touch. I really did. I just got distracted and forgot about the best family I could have ever asked for.

It was really hard to type those words. I even thought about deleting them a few times, but I can’t sugar coat it. Not any more.

If you were to look at my New Year’s Resolution List, you would see that writing to my family is the third one down. I wrote the items on there in order of which I though I was most likely to complete them. I figured that reading was going to be easy, as I either have my books on my phone or carry them with me. Writing a blog post is easy, too, because that’s just typing on a computer, which I do anyway.

But writing to my family is the first item on the list that’s going to take real commitment. That’s the one that I’m not only going to have to make time for and find all the materials, but I also have to open up and put real thoughts and feelings on paper. I have to constantly put my family at the front of my mind, so I don’t lose them like I did Taylor.

I bought a few things to help with the process—to make it more exciting. I know that it won’t guarantee success, but I have to try. I need to make them more than just living memories. I need to make new memories with them.

Early New Year’s Resolution

PaperCamera2014-12-16-13-40-48[1]For some reason, I’ve been thinking about my New Year’s Resolution lately. I normally don’t even make one, let alone think of them. But alas, my mind has wandered and dragged me down this path.

It seems to have started while I was finishing Head of the Dragon by Ryk Brown. As I was finishing the book, it reminded me of a blog I had previously read where the author made a list of all the books they had read that year.

I decided that I want to not only record every book I read next year, but also set a goal of reading at least fifteen novels (70k+ words) or the equivalent (1,050,000 words). I presume that I read about 10 books of that size per year, so I want to push myself a little further.

I also want to publish at least 30 blog posts, which is a little less than one per week. That will nearly double my current total over the past four years (40). It doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you’ve been following my blog, you already know how big of a challenge that’s going to be for me.

I would also like to write more–both physically and electronically. I want to write a letter a month to family and friends, and I want to write at least three chapters for my book.

I would also like to get all my posts recorded (audio) and posted on here, but that’s more of a bonus goal for me.

I know I put a lot of numbers and information up there, so here’s a summary of my NYR (not New York Rangers, fellow hockey fans) List:


  1. Read at least 15 novels (70k+ words), or 1,050,000 words total.
  2. Publish at least 30 blog posts.
  3. Write a letter a month to family/friends.
  4. Write at least three chapters of my book.


  1. Record blog posts in audio format.

I will update these goals throughout the year, or as needed. I’m going to set a limit on myself by not counting anything prior to the beginning of 2015. In other words, the book I’m currently reading and the cards I’m writing will not count, even if they carry over.