Bug,  coffee!coffee!coffee!,  Life Lessons,  Moody Blues,  my books,  spilling my guts

Some honesty

night light

I have to admit this book tour has been kicking my butt. It doesn’t seem like I’m doing much. Just throwing up a graphic every weekday and then resting on my accolades but I don’t know…I’m not really doing so great at it. I got my schedule all mixed up. I missed emailing some key players, I’ve been getting people the secret sentences at the very last minute and sometimes even hours after that. I’ve been dropping the ball, regularly. Work, books, life…everywhere. I was even late to pick up Bug from kindergarten today and I had promised myself I would NEVER do that.

You should see my desk right now. It’s a complete mess. Maybe I’ll take a picture tomorrow when it’s daylight because I probably won’t have it cleaned up by then. That’s the way the days have been going. But in a way, I’m thankful. I prayed for work and I got it. I’m not rolling in paychecks but I’m making ends meet and I’m busy. It’s a lot to be thankful for.

Winter has been hard on my sense of optimism as I’m sure it has on yours too. The days are so short! It feels like it’s eight when it’s FOUR! How are we ever supposed to get anything done? Well. At 3am of course. That’s why I drink coffee.

But coffee is killing me.

the darling and the hot mess

I tried to take some Christmas photos for a card that I was going to print up this week and mail out next but I couldn’t get a single shot of Bug and me where I didn’t look like a hot mess. Of course she is darling in every single shot but I look like I’m old and drunk with bloodshot eyes that even photoshop can’t fix. I know I could just put a photo of her on the card and call it a day but I vowed to embrace getting older. I don’t want to hide from my wrinkles and gray hairs. Women can be beautiful at any age, I’ve always thought.

I'm so tired

I just didn’t know I would look so scary at 39!!

this is the only one I like
(I like this one the best.)

So I gave up after a while and vowed to drink a lot of water, drink less coffee and get more sleep. You can see how well that’s working for me. I’m typing this at 2:58 am.


Anyway! The book tour is chugging along. I am so grateful for all my friends and co-bloggers who are saying such nice things about my books. I really don’t deserve it or them. And before you correct me and say that all my hard work is paying off let me correct you and say that my work is nothing in comparison to how kind my friends (and family!) have been to me lately.

They’ve picked me up when I’ve been crying. They’ve given me attitude adjustments when I felt like a failure. They’ve pushed me when I just wanted to give up. They’ve watched Bug for me when I had deadlines. They’ve let me stay at their houses when I had nowhere to go…They’ve nodded when I didn’t have the words. They’ve fed me and Bug when we were hungry. They’ve told me that it’s been a hard year and it’s okay to feel like this. Sometimes I guess I need to hear that because I keep wondering why I’m not doing better than I am.

olives make a thing go right

The autographing party went off smashingly! I didn’t actually autograph any books though. Funny how that happens. You set a date, you get everything ready and then you get in a room with your good friend, good food, a glass of wine and next thing you know you are spending the night talking instead of working.

my publisher

This is Calee, my publisher, friend, book-maker extraordinaire.


She made soup. That’s kind of awesome, isn’t it? I thought I would order a pizza but she said she had some vegetables that had needed “souping”. How funny is she? Vegetables that needed souping. I wasn’t going to say no to that. If vegetables gotta be souped, they gotta be souped! She saved me $20 and got me to be healthy at the same time. It was quite tasty. I wish I had the urge to soup vegetables now and then. I might have to work on that.


Bug was a little disappointed at the soup instead of pizza (and potato soup at that, the crime of it!!) but it was nothing a few thousand olives couldn’t fix.


Besides all the soup-eating, olive-eating and merry-making, we did get a lot of things organized and the kids had a blast painting.

maybe we should move the books a little further away from the craft projects xoxo

craft projects

A little too close to the books for my liking but thankfully no books were marred! A few paypal invoices might have taken one for the team but what can I say? It kept the kids busy and happy and out of our hair!


Today I actually did autograph all the books and I sent them off as promised (yay!). Bug worked very hard at hers. I love that a few readers requested her signature.


She takes it very seriously, adding flowers and hearts and clouds. She is an eternal bright spot. Talk about God knowing what you need when you need it….

coffee monkey

Did you know she makes me coffee? She might be a bit of an enabler but who could say no to that face and a cup of hot steaming coffee with just the right amount of cream and sugar? Not me!!

opera on the counter

You should see her holding the cup with a towel so it doesn’t burn her and walking so slowly to my desk so that she doesn’t spill. My heart explodes every time.


  • isaida

    Just want to let you know that I think you’re awesome!

    And I must teach my boys to make me coffee! if Bug can do it, so can my boys! She’s so cute :)

  • beth

    Thank God for bright spots, and family, and honesty. You’ve had a hell of a year, and I’ve wondered how many late nights went into a string of coordinated posts like this! You are too hard on yourself, I know how that goes, but it’s so hard to be gentle on yourself sometimes. May the deep breaths outlast the chaos, and peace creep up on you. xo.

  • Erica

    You are a fabulous author, illustrator and mother! I struggle with the ins and out of raising kids, working and the loads of other things on my never-ending “to do” list.
    Your posts make it sound like you have a very full schedule and you’re doing an amazing job taking care of it.
    You’ve been an inspiration to me…crafts w/ Bug, cooking, gardening, party planning, and churning out fantastic design work. It’s comforting to know you get a bit overwhelmed at times, too. Not that I like you to feel stressed, but it’s nice to know we all feel that way sometimes.
    I know you’ll come out on top…just take it one day at time!
    Cheers! (holding up a big mug of coffee to you)

  • Mrs. Wilson

    Connecting with 26+ bloggers and prize winners and working and mothering around it all? It’s not an easy task!! I think you’re doing great!! If you were more organized, I doubt you’d be so creative. I don’t know a single person who could pull off both those things. As for how you look at 39? My husband said the other day while lookin over my shoulder as I was blog-reading, “She’s really cute!” (Before you get creeped out, he comments on people all the time, male or female.)

    You HAVE had a rough year and you’re still standing at the end of it. With an incredible daughter to show for it. I’d call that quite an accomplishment!

  • Sonja

    Life gets so hard sometimes! I hate the feeling of having so much to do that at most, I can barely keep up. And then I don’t sleep enough and eat too much take-out and get impatient and grouchy with the people around me… not a good cycle.
    It’s good to remember all the good things you’ve got going for yourself, and to remember that this crazy time is just a phase. It’ll be over soon, and you’ll get to sleep again, and make soup, and be early for pick-up. And until that happens, it’s okay to cut yourself some slack and depend on others’ help. <3

  • Cathy

    You are doing just fine – normal life! Don’t be so hard on yourself – we all got your back. Hugs! (That Bug is an angel!)

  • Elizabeth

    SAJ — Though we’ve never met, I read your fabulous blog every day and have commented a few times. Just wanted to write and say that you are being much too hard on yourself! You have commmitted to do a major post every single day for 26 days, and you are doing it! An adorable graphic every day! So what if you are a few hours behind here or there! I think that not a single one of us does our job perfectly. You are entitled to not be perfect all the time — none of us is perfect!! You do so much, and I admire you so much. I think that you are an amazing mother to Bug, and a really creative and entrepeneurial artist and business woman. And you do it all on your own! You are a really together and admirable woman. Give yourself some credit.

    Also, for the Christmas card, you should use the one where you are wearing the striped shirt and signing your book. You look adorable there.

    Hang in there — you are busy right now, but things will come down. And remember, you rock. In all sincerity.

  • Jenn S

    first off, you are beautiful! i’m 30 and i’m not as pretty as you are, so there!

    second, be kind to yourself. nobody has it all together, we’re all just sort of muddling through, and nobody gets it all right or has everything done perfectly or on time. that just makes you human!

    ((so many hugs))

  • Becca

    Organizing this book tour is amazing, even if it isn’t “perfect”. I’ve never heard of a virtual book tour. It is an amazing idea, and an amazing undertaking. Nothing ever goes off without a hiccup or two, and your book tour has been so much fun to follow. I wouldn’t be surprised if others started following in your footsteps and having their own virtual book tours.

    I think your beautiful. But I understand where you’re coming from, I can relate with you on not being as okay with aging as I would like – I believe that everyone is beautiful at whatever age they are and want to embrace my grey hairs (but I don’t, I color) and my wrinkles (but it’s hard).

    We are always our worst critics, try to remind yourself of that. Because you truly are amazing – an amazing illustrator, author, friend, and mother.

  • Becca

    Oh, and as for the Christmas card – I like the one of you and Bug right after you said “coffee is killing me”.

    The blurry one you like best is fun and looks like you guys have tons of giggles together.

    And I agree with the comment above about you signing books – you look very adorable and it is representative of what’s going on…

    Hmm, I don’t think I’m helping.

  • sizzle

    It’s a hard time of year. So little time, so much to do. I definitely feel like I am going at full speed and still not accomplishing enough. And all I really want to do is sit and look at the tree and sip some cocoa.

    It’s so sweet that Bug makes you coffee. I can see why your heart explodes every time.

  • aunt kathy

    Keep smiling! It helps the spirits and besides you look especially beautiful when you do. I’m amazed at all you do. Please don’t be so hard on yourself ~ you will make it. Love you lots.

  • KarenG

    Awesome post, and great pictures! I always swore I would never be late picking up a child too, but it happens, and everyone survives. Life is crazy and hard, but kids make it all worth it!

  • BeachMama

    If I even got half as much done as you do in a day, I would be way further ahead!! I have a couple of years on you but I am still a light weight. I can’t function at 2:30am unless there is music pumping and a dance floor calling my name, even then I crash hard the next day. You are amazing in so many ways, talented, strong, beautiful and a great Mom. I look forward to a few days with you in the New Year to be in awe of you even more.

  • Mary

    My godson used to wake me up saying coffee is ready! I would bound out of bed happily into the kitchen to find no coffee…he just knew what to say to wake me up :) Kiddos are a gift from God.

  • bethany actually

    Oh man, the towel-carrying coffee would make my heart explode too. I’m so glad you have Bug for your daughter. She’s the perfect girl for you in so many ways!

    I love the blurry photo. I think you could make a really cute card with that one, something about how life has been a blur this year…then put a cute photo of just Bug on there too. I was making myself crazy trying to make the perfect card this year too, and was having the hardest time for some reason, till I finally lectured myself about how the perfect is the enemy of the good, and a good card is good enough. I can aim higher next year, and so can you.

    I’m so, so, SO thankful that you have Calee and other people in your life who will soup vegetables for you and let you lean on them a while when you’re feeling shaky. I hate that I’m not close by right now to help you out, but it’s so much easier knowing that there are other people there for you. And you should listen to them: you HAVE had a heckuva year, and it’s totally normal for you to be feeling stressed or crazy or whatever. You’ve EARNED those bloodshot eyes this year. :-) Here’s to less crazy in 2012, and me being back in CA, wheeeee!

  • jenifer

    Gosh, this is the first blog post I have read all year that just resounded with honesty, love and trueness. Thank you, because I really needed it right now! You’ve got something very special here and I am glad I found this blog through the craziness of the internet. It sounds like you have some lucky friends!!!!!