Saturday, January 28, 2012

D's book is done!

The hardest part of my post-TBI life is accepting that I've lost my ability to write professionally. Where my thoughts used to flow so fast, I couldn't help but write, not the process is slow, cumbersome, and usually full of typos. I usually have Niels proof my blog posts to take care of the most obvious errors. And if I have any sort of deadline, my brain just freezes and I can't think of anything.

About three years ago, when D was a baby, I was up in the middle of the night and I had a rare flash of inspiration. I had the idea for a series of books about a little boy who doesn't always want to do what he needs to do. I ran down to my computer to put down my thoughts and the basic text of the first book, "But I Don't Wanna Go To Bed."

In the morning, I read what I wrote, fully expecting that it would be gibberish. Instead I was very pleasantly surprised that it was still the cute story I thought I wrote the night before.

Over the next few days, I made a very simple version of the book using Powerpoint and images from the internet.
You can see it's been read many, many times.
Interior shot
This gives an idea of how old D was when I started this project.
I've wanted to make the project into an actual book, but knew that my brain would not be up for the pitch process. And really, even though I was working on a proposal for a children's book series before my TBI, I really just wanted something to pass on to my son so he could understand a little bit of my old self.

I remembered my talented friend, Dave Butler, who wrote and illustrated a super cute adoption book, what I had bought for a few of my friends.

So we starting talking about working together to illustrate my story.

Originally, we had hoped to have the book ready for Christmas. It's the Christmas gift to D's grandparents. The idea is that they could read the story to him over Skype as a way to stay connected. But between my terrible three-month headache, the energy spent on our new house build, and the realities of working with a brain that doesn't always work the way I want it to, and it took a little longer. Fortunately, Dave was great to work with, and very patient with me!

The page is a great example of how happy I am with his work. Since writing the book, our sweet Bailey dog passed away. Dave added Bailey to each page as a silent tribute to her, and it's fun for D to find her in each page. (It isn't hard, but he's three, so it's fun!). Also, since we're a Dutch family, the tulips are a nice touch. And yellow is D's favorite color.

Yesterday, Dave gave me the good news that the books are in! I ordered a small amount for family, and of course, for D, but we're already had a few requests for copies on Facebook, so I'll soon put in another order so we can sell them to anyone who's interested.

It's a lot less fanfare than my previous book release, but in many ways, I'm even more proud of this book. I can't wait to read D the real thing! And maybe, my brain will get started on the next one, "But I Don't Wanna Eat My Peas."

Monday, January 16, 2012

Jen's birthday interview

In the spirit of our new family tradition, here's my birthday interview.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

It's the end of the my 30s...

Today is my last day in my thirties. Happily, 40 doesn't seem to bother me as much as 30 did. Perhaps because, other than sustaining my TBI and the fun that went with it, my thirties were pretty fantastic. I started out in a career I loved, my first book was published, I was under contract for a second, I was a home owner, I had a sweet puppy dog, and best of all, I met and married my best friend, and our lives were blessed with the arrival of our little boy.

As I think ahead to the next twelve months as a forty-year-old, I see a pretty awesome year ahead. I look forward to, in no particular order.

  1. Moving into our dream house.
  2. Celebrating five years of wedded bliss with the most wonderful husband I could have ever imagined.
  3. Believing that my current treatment plan, combined with the brain-injury-friendly plans we incorporated into the new house will mean more good days and less days curled up in fetal position in my bed!
  4. Spending a week with my mom in Las Vegas while Niels is attending a conference.
  5. Getting back to the Netherlands to see my in-laws.
  6. Watching my baby sister, Liz, get married.
  7. Catching up with my best friends in April when all five of us are back in the same country, same state and same city!
  8. Adding a new four-footed family member this fall. I thought we would wait until D started school, but I don't think we can wait that long!
  9. Watching all the fun things my three-year-old will do and say and learn this year.
  10. Taking the brain power and energy I've been using for making decisions for the new house and channeling into building deeper friendships with women in town. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

D is three!

I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it would be a fun tradition to start. I did the interview closer to his birthday, and we've played "the question game" almost every day since. These answers are pretty standard.

This picture was taken on January 3, when we finally got a bit of snow. This is the first year that D has had any interest in the snow, but he tires of it as quickly as his mommy does.