Saturday, August 13, 2011

Wild Card Weekend - Jackie Braun

Jackie Braun takes time out of her crazy schedule to join us this weekend - and chat about summer vacation.

Two weeks stand between me and the return of sanity, aka the end of summer vacation.  A new school year is right around the corner.  My kids are already in dread mode. I’m doing the happy dance -- when they can’t see me, of course. It would be cruel to do it in front of them.

But I’m going to miss summer vacation, too, even though I haven’t lazed around like they have. (See picture of them sitting in buckets of cool water with umbrellas shading them from the sun in our driveway)  I work from home, so having them underfoot has been challenging when it comes to meeting my deadlines.

Still, I’ve tried not to let my adult responsibilities impact their main kid responsibility, which is to have fun and make memories in the process.

 I remember my summers fondly. I want my boys to remember theirs fondly, too, along with the rest of their childhood. (And I’m really, really hoping they won’t tell people that all we ate for dinner was cereal, since that’s a deadline staple around here.)

     Anyway, I’m rather fond of a few of the offbeat summer traditions we’ve crafted.

 Such as our annual firefly hunts. In late July and early August when the “lightning bugs” start lighting up outside at dusk, we go fireflying.

We grab a few clear plastic containers, punch half a dozen or so holes in the lids, and head out to the yard, where we snatch as many of the bugs as we can and put them in our containers. It gets tricky the more you have.

At the end, we always let them fly free, but for a little while at least we have our own “flashlights.”

And then there’s our downpour parades.  I love a good rain. You know, the kind where the heavens open up and unload like a showerhead.  You’re soaked in seconds if you get caught in one. And that’s the point.

When my oldest was about 3 years old, he dashed out in the rain. He thought it was so funny. I ran out after him and I wound up soaked myself. And he was right. It was funny. And fun. Drenched anyway, we danced around the cul de sac on our street in the downpour, sloshing our feet through the big puddles.

It became a tradition after that. (Obviously, this is a no-no during an electrical storm … or while wearing a white T-shirt.)

We also have what I call our toad tour. Our house has six deep window wells that critters seem to collect in and then they can’t get out.

I hefted out two baby raccoons in the middle of the night once, and I’ve rescued baby chipmunks, a mouse, a young mourning dove that hadn’t yet mastered the art of flight, and one very ugly shrew. My favorites, though, are the toads. 

After a good rain, there always seems to be at least one hapless little fellow in need of a way out.  They nearly blend in with the pea rock making them difficult to spot, so it’s a game of sorts. Think of it as Animal Planet meets Where’s Waldo?

In case you’re wondering, I’ve never kissed a toad. I may be a romance writer, but I have my prince already. (Going on 19 blissful years.! Besides, a girl’s got to draw the line somewhere.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and check out my new book, MR. RIGHT THERE ALL ALONG.

From the back cover:

 Could her best friend be her best match?

The one thing Chloe McDaniels has always depended on is her friendship with Simon Ford. Even if it's been tough thinking of the gorgeous guy who makes her heart flutter as just a friend! But now, with their upcoming high school reunion dredging up memories of bullies and broken hearts, she needs him more than ever.

     As Chloe plans to unveil her new-and-improved self, Simon creates a plan of his own.
     Step One: Show her that love is worth the risk.
     Step Two: Give her the happy-ever-after she deserves.

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