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What a crazy beginning of September it’s been! Back to school (third grade!). Soccer practice TWICE a week. Bug taught herself how to ride a bike…. I think her brain is exploding.

It’s been brutal. I don’t know what we’d do if she added music lessons or fashion camp or robotics classes to her schedule, along with her once-a-week gymnastics training. I was feeling pretty sorry for her and her lack of a day off until Toby informed me that that’s how all kids do it these days and if she wants to compete with them in the future job market she has to get used to the rat race sooner or later. Sigh…I just want to go back in time. I’m glad she had a long boring summer now.

I’m sad to say her anxiety has come back but she’s handling it as best she can.  Which is really all we can do.  That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned through this journey.  I have to let her find answers and solutions. I can help but I can’t do it for her which of course is impossible for this helicopter mom.  I’ve been meaning to write a post on all our tips and tricks (and $600 bill to a therapist!! So not worth it.) but I haven’t quite gotten to that yet. Hopefully soon.

Lately she’s been sleep-talking and crying which breaks my heart. Has anyone dealt with that? It’s not really about her phobias and fears, more like just creepy nightmares that kind of scare me when she refuses to wake up. It’s like I’m part of a horror movie and she’s turned into a zombie looking all over the dark room at things I can’t see. When I ask her about them in the morning she can’t remember a thing. I’m thinking it’s just the way brains deal with scary stuff but it worries me.

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Soccer! Soccer, soccer, soccer. What a huge learning curve for Bug and I. She finally got assigned to a team and everyone is bigger and more experienced than her. Seriously, she’s playing with nine and ten year-olds. That’s what I get for daring to ask the commissioner if she could be on an under-eight team because she’s little. I guess they don’t take personal requests seriously. I can understand that. I’m sure they get tons.

It’s Bug’s first year playing so most of the time she stands like a tree in the field while everyone else runs around her. Thankfully, she has a really patient coach who believes in her and is very encouraging.  I think she’ll get it soon. They did win their first game which was super exciting.

I’m taking to soccer-momming quite well. I should have a blog on field-side drink recipes and fashionable shade receptacles coming along soon…maybe one on snack ideas since I am the designated snack mom on the 20th. Just kidding. I don’t have any such thing. I’m completely clueless. What do I make? Rice Crispie treats in the shape of soccer balls? Kababs? Frozen grapes? The first mom who handed out snacks had a three course meal stuffed in a princess party swag bag. I’m kinda worried.

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Outside of new school stress, crazy nightmares and overall soccer exhaustion, Bug is up to all her old tricks. She has always been a funny kid who makes people laugh but lately she gets me rolling. She’s a little comedienne. Super Girl costume with bra headpiece? Check. Take Your Stuffed Animal to Work Day, complete with mini paper laptops?  Check. She’s always up to something. I love this stage because she’s so much more self motivated. If I don’t pay attention, she completely messes up the house with one grand plan or another.

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Like looking for the tape (that she used up) in my desk drawer and completely upending it all over on the floor.  Oh boy. Who says toddlers make bigger messes? It doesn’t stop! Just because they are bigger and more coordinated? No.

This block of photos is a bit random because it also pictures a t-shirt craft Bug dreamt up all by herself while I worked on another t-shirt craft (coming soon) for Alphamom. Isn’t it cool? We got into a big argument over the puffy paint. I hate puffy paint like I used to hate sororities in college.  Maybe because sororities always made those puffy paint posters that drove my inner artist crazy. I don’t know. Anyway, in the end I scripted the word team on it for her but I fully expect it to be peeled off by the end of the day (she wore it to school today).

Also pictured is my good friend Tamie in the play, Little Mermaid. We went to see her this last weekend and it was a blast. (Yes, I am singing Little Mermaid songs on repeat in my head now. At least it’s not Frozen!) Tamie has always been in drama and watching her belt out Ursula songs was like being back in time for me.

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Also seen on instagram: cats. What? Isn’t that what phone cameras were invented for?

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And failed latte art! A few friends have asked me if I have an endorsement for lattes from some coffee company or something. No. I wish!  I’ve got no coffee gigs. I’m just stubborn and I refuse to give up trying to create latte art even though it clearly seems like I’m never going to get the hang of it. There are just a whole lot of variables! And now that I’m making them during my morning rush to school, things seem to have taken an even further step backwards. Oh well. It makes life more interesting. Never a dull moment around here.

Coming soon: Talk Like A Pirate Day, Anxiety Tips and (insert drum roll here) Dishtowels from Daiso! I know you are dying to get the low down.

Anything else you’d like me to blog? Bueller?

SAJ in Paris Launch Party!

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You guys! It happened. The launch party was everything I hoped it would be. We had so much fun.  I feel like this book is really off to a great start. It’s already sold out on Amazon, can you believe it?!!  I’ve heard they will have more in stock on Monday, thankfully. It’s still available on Barnes and Noble though and you can always walk into your favorite bookstore and special request it. In fact, that’s an excellent idea! No pressure, of course. :)

I keep going over and over in my mind all the little things that went right. Everything! Usually there is some big hiccup when I throw a party but this one went together pretty well. I have so many people to thank.

This book was a real struggle, as you know. It’s had a lot of ups and downs. So many people have been there along the way to help it along.  To see it finally finished and accepted is a huge relief. I feel so blessed.

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Mostly I need to thank God because way back when I was living in the sticks and things looked pretty bleak, I prayed and prayed that I could dig myself out and (…I don’t mean to get all religious or anything but) I really felt like God said, Finish Secret Agent Josephine in Paris and you will be okay. Of course this could all be in my brain and probably some of you will be thinking I might be smoking crack but I have felt from the beginning that this book was a gift from God.  I’m not going to become a famous author or anything but this book is going to pay the bills or at least it has put me on a path that can help me pay the bills and that is a REAL answer to prayer. Just like God takes care of the sparrows, he takes care of me. Not always the way I think I should be taken care of but I’m well taken care of, none-the-less.

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The reading went pretty well. I was so nervous that my voice wouldn’t be loud enough or I’d stumble over something. I had help from the audience to pronounce the French parts, which was really really fun.

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I think everyone had a lot of fun. I know I did. I think the kids really did too which was super sweet.  It wasn’t supposed to be a “kids party” per se but my books are for kids after all and it’s not like I’m going to say, Sorry, kids you have to stay home. It was tricky because the venue was a darling children’s clothing boutique and photo studio in San Juan Capistrano called Little Mud Nest . They have beautiful designer clothing and knick-knacks set up all over. I was so worried that the kids would spill sparkling lemonade on the handmade onesies or rub raspberry macaron filling on the hand-knitted cashmere owls. I was so busy talking and thanking everyone for coming but I constantly had one eyeball on the kids who might wreck havoc on the store merchandise.

Enter Sean Slippy! The solution to all my worries!

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It’s funny how sometimes the things you do last minute, on a whim, save the day.  My brother is in town just for the party. The plan was to have him lurk about because he is the villain in the story. But then right before the party I made up four little tiny manilla folders with mission instructions inside to find the bad guy. I handed them out to a few ring-leaders at the party with a small skein of  red yarn (which is also in the story).

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At first the kids were bewildered. They had to find the bad guy and all they had to work with was red yarn? Not to mention, my brother is a six-foot, 280-pound, scary-looking guy. The kids rushed outside to the court yard and spent the next half hour trying to get up enough guts to approach him. It was great. He lurked, they followed.  It kept them out of the store and provided some lively entertainment. Have I mentioned that my brother is great sport? He is. He’s a big teddy bear of a guy but when he doesn’t smile he can look pretty intimidating.

Of course they caught him in the end and wrapped him in red yarn. He said a few of the kids got pretty aggressive and hit him on the head a lot but I think he can take it. I’ll call it payback for all the times he held me in a headlock when we were kids.

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So the rest was all book readings and poster handing out, lots of talking and sipping wine, munching on macarons and catching up with old friends…trying on costumes and taking pictures in front of the giant Eiffel Tower.

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Isn’t the Eiffel Tower awesome? My good friend, and fairy godmother, Susan LaPorta sent that because she couldn’t make it to the party. How sweet is that? I have the sweetest friends and family.  I can’t thank my family enough.

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They’ve put up with my craziness for a long long time and they’ve always believed in me with more enthusiasm than I deserve.

One sad thing about the book is that I used up all my allotted pages writing the story and because of the publishing deal I have, I wasn’t allowed any more pages to write my thank you’s. A bit ironic but the story couldn’t be shortened!  I did write a dedication in the front to my blog readers (you guys!) but I really need to write a post thanking everyone who helped me. So here goes:

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