“You Can Do a Graphic Novel” by Barbara Slate

With the introduction of a comic book/graphic novel (definitelynotchaperbook) starring a not-so-popular youngster writing a hilarious account of his own bummer of a life in a personal diary, my son has become completely intrigued with reading…particularly graphic novels. So, when asked to do a review of Barbara Slate’s “YOU CAN DO A GRAPHIC NOVEL,” I jumped at the chance.

As I had predicted, my seven-year-old loved the book. Not only did he think it was a fabulous guide to writing what he thinks is one’s own diary (aka graphic novel) but his mom thought it was pretty cool too. She sorta took the book and thumbed through for a very long time – surprisingly to her, Barbara touches on skills required for not just graphic novel authors but all kinds of authors…very helpful.

Barbara includes the basics but gives it from a personal perspective too, providing relief from a text book-style education and putting it out there in a way that’s interesting to readers of all ages. By the time you’ve finished the book, you feel like you know Barbara and have been inspired personally through her. From what I read – I don’t know her personally – she wasn’t the type with great connections and most certainly didn’t land a publishing deal easily – this gal was brave, bold and demonstrated faith beyond what many of us would dare. She had a passion and she went for it.

So, can you do a graphic novel? With this guide, I’d say…YES YOU CAN! Thanks ,Barbara, for being an inspiration to all of us and for sharing your personal story in such a creative way. Hope you don’t mind a little competition because I think my son is upstairs doodling in his “journal” right now!

Check it out: http://youcandoagraphicnovel.com/



The Reality of TV

Invitations, ice cream, cake, punch, games, prizes, goodie bags, decorations…chocolate fountain, swimming pool, submarine, iPhone…hey, you don’t turn 8 every day, right?

Our family was recently in contact with a television channel that produces a pretty wild children’s birthday party show. Our family fit the demographics they were looking for, so we corresponded with them about participating. The idea of the show is that the child gets a ginormous birthday party and the parents happily foot the bill. The reality of this “reality” TV…the parents don’t drop a dime on that crazy bash…the station picks it up – every last penny. Which in turn, leads the family to somewhat take advantage of that small detail and go absolutely crazy with their party expenses.

Exemplifying this type of lack in moral is obviously not what we wanted to do, particularly for innocent eyes looking to reality television as a guide to what a “normal” American birthday party might look like. So, we proposed this: we participate in the show but keep the budget minimal – craziness unlimited. And that’s exactly how we roll come birthday celebration time…it gets nutty, but we don’t have to install a swimming pool in the back yard to draw friends and neighbors in for a splashing good time!

The station seemed a bit aloof at our plausible suggestions and rather pushy with their frivolous ideas. So, come Skype interview time, we caught a glimpse of what may be brewing on their end. A storyline prewritten for us and not so flattering, hey, I get the need for good TV…BUT stick around for a while – we’re not so boring if you dig a bit. I’m sure they could pull some real reality TV drama if need be – wouldn’t that be nice?

Some interview eyebrow raisers included: talking to each of us alone, asking leading questions, telling us how to answer (seriously?), insisting on animation – bratty, I want it NOW style – asking us to repeat the question with our answer (“I think my son deserves a huuuuge birthday party because…”), inquiring about our careers and then asking me to make a statement about how I’m mostly “just” a stay at home mom…followed by a question for my son: Who will pay for this party?

His answer, “Ummm, I guess my mom will pay for the party.” ~ My Proud Mommy Moment

I probably don’t have to tell you that we were NOT selected to do the show.

The experience was an interesting glimpse into the truth behind television. I mean, we all know TV world is a far fetch from reality, but I guess it was my hope that when stations stir debates (especially those involving children and parenting) they, at the very least, seek credible sources of neglect – or lack in judgment – and exploit those cases…particularly this channel, boasting of “learning.”

So, this year, we’ll be hosting a fairly normal eight-year-old birthday party complete with cake, ice cream, party hats and the like. Not so much the swimming pool, submarine or iPhone – as much as he wants one, he’ll more likely receive games, toys and the dreaded…clothing.

I like to think our brush with childhood birthday party fame was good for all of us. My hope is that we all learned a little something about
the characters we see on TV and can be glad to have avoided the possibility of promoting mindless consumerism in our country. I have to admit though; it sure would have been fun to see our friends and family partying down on national television, ha!

Water World, Splashing Good Fun

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Water World is a favorite destination for our family, and it was so much fun to visit with our Mile High Mamas friends this summer!

I have been quite impressed with the variation of the adventure we experience from year to year – and I’m not just referring to the fabulous upgrades the park has undergone. With each passing year, our children reach new heights (quite literally) of independence and confidence in the water, leading us to novel discoveries and basically, a whole new [Water] World. This year, Si officially reached the 48’ mark – an enormous milestone in the life of a young boy – giving him the freedom to ride some serious thrillers, which he politely passed on (for now anyway), but lets keep that quiet as he works on his inner courage…to his credit, he did ride the Voyage to the Center of the Earth TWICE – happily!

Noelle’s raft ride experience didn’t go quite as well, ha. Bravery, however, was not so much her issue as was the dilemma of taking a break from the fun to use the potty. Ok, so accidents happen, especially in the lives of four-year-olds, but the mess is generally contained to their own little bodies and not shared with everyone on the raft – yikes!

So, thank you Water World for chlorinated water, thank you for hosting the Mile High Mamas and thank you for sticks by which we measure our growth, our children’s development, our inner courage…a mile marker for years gone by filled with sweet memories at a water park which has become so much more to us than simply an epic place to play.