May 23, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

I'm usually pretty low key about my own birthday, but the past week has been full of celebratory moments, and I find myself being more into the birthday groove this year! 

Over the weekend I attended the SCBWI-Oregon Conference, and it was FABULOUS on so many levels! I learned a ton, and happily, the sessions I attended drilled down into the exact things I needed to hear and learn RIGHT NOW. How lucky is that? I received helpful and encouraging feedback on two different works-in-progress, I laughed and socialized with other creative peeps, and I met my dream agent. That's exciting and scary all in the same breath because it means that I need to forge forward and share my work . . . and wait for a response . . . But first, more about my week.

On Sunday, I got my birthday present from my family, which was an Apple TV device. I'm not usually into TV-related things, but this device enables me to quickly and easily show my digital pictures on my television screen. My family and I watched "re-runs" of the glorious trip we took to Greece this past summer. It was heavenly.

On Monday, a friend spoiled me (and another birthday girl) with a finger food birthday feast. I would have taken a picture of all of the yumminess, but I was too busy EATING! On Tuesday, the YES! results came in for the school funding measure I've been busy advocating for over the past several months. It was very rewarding and encouraging to see ordinary people work together for a common cause and be able to achieve the desired outcome.

On Wednesday, I did an author visit at a local elementary school. I met with all the students in grades K-5. For the 4th and 5th graders, I taught one of my young writers' workshops (Gotcha! How to Find and Capture Great Writing Ideas). I was so excited to hear from one of the teachers that her students returned to her classroom (after their visit with me in the library) ENTHUSIASTIC about WRITING! Some of the students wanted to immediately get to work on the stories they started in my workshop. YAY!

Next came  the kindergarteners. I taught them the signs for the alphabet, featuring my book, "A to Z Sign with Me"). After that I got a quick lunch break. (I sat with some of the kindy kids who had just been in my session. Favorite quote from a kinder at the next table, talking to a student he was sitting next to: "Hey look, the author is eating!").

After lunch I met with the 2nd graders. We focused on signs for animals, featuring my books, "Famous Fenton Has a Farm" and "The Nest Where I Like to Rest." Yep, I wore the chicken hat for that one.

Next came the third graders. Since they are currently working on verbs in class, I featured my book, "Silly Sue," so they could learn some signs for action words. My favorite part of their visit: When someone asked why the girl in the story ate dog food (and my revelation that it was because "the author" used to eat dog food when she was a girl" . . .), and then the kids' reaction when they "remembered" that "I" was "the author." I suspect there will be some kibble exploration going on in some area homes as a result. Nothing like inspiring our youth!

The day wrapped up with the first graders. In class they are working on seasons, weather and plant and animal changes, so I shared with them my stories, "SEE THE COLORS," (which explores the lifecycle of the garden) and Four Seasons! Five Senses! And then it was 3:00 PM. I was very tired, but FULL of JOY. I love working directly with young readers.

And, now, it's today. My actual birthday. Both of my kids have special events going on in their schools. My son "is" Andrew Jackson for his "Influential People" project, and my daughter is an array of mis-matched colors and patterns for her school's "Spirit Week: Clash Day."

Here is a fun note I just received from my daughter's friends from school:

And this weekend: Family Time and Writing Time in my favorite writing space. But first, I will get my agent submission SENT. And then I will wait (and of course, write some more).

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