The Big News

I’m so grateful for participating in NaBloPoMo during November 2014. You see, I’ve been keeping a secret from you. A secret that I’ve known since November 13, 2014. A secret that stunted me from writing so much, because I was simply sure I would tell you the truth before we were ready. NaBloPoMo kept me writing through the early days in the secret, and as you can tell from the following two months, my secret has silenced me.

It isn’t that I don’t want to write to you. I do. I’ve simply been unsure of what to share. But now I’m ready to tell you the big news with Wolverine’s help.photo copy.

We’re going to have a baby!

We are all so very excited to welcome a baby this coming July. Telling everyone has been an absolute joy, and I’m so grateful not to keep any more secrets from you all or anyone else! Be prepared for an extreme increase in blog posting from little ol’ me, because I have a lot of catching up to do!

Kids & Voting

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I waited to vote until my son was home this afternoon. Bringing kids voting may not seem ideal to some (trust me, they like to blurt out who and what you’re voting for), but it’s important to get them used to the idea of voting. They’re going to be doing it themselves one day, so we might as well educate them when they are young.

We’re focusing on gratitude as a family this month, and today I’m grateful for the right to vote in elections. On our walk home from the fire station where our precinct votes, Wolverine asked me why voting was so important that people would volunteer to work at the polls. I gave him a big explanation about why every single person’s opinion counts (I didn’t get into specifics like the U.S. Electoral College), and how at one point, some people didn’t have even the right to vote. I told him that because I had the right and the power to vote, I made sure to vote in every election that I was able to.

You could tell he was impressed by my explanation.

I was finished explaining the importance of voting to him, but I decided to add one more bit of information. For kids, voting should be explained as best as possible, because eventually these little guys become adults. Crazy, I know.

I told him that less than 100 years ago, women weren’t even allowed to vote.

His mind was blown. BLOWN. All he could muster was a stuttered, “But how?” and then, “That makes no sense! Why?”

“You’re, right bud,” is all I could muster. It makes no sense.

I’m just so grateful for the right to have my voice heard and the ability to teach my children about voting.

His last comment before the subject changed: “Kids voting will be the next thing to change!”

Simple Joys

1:

On Saturday, Wolverine went to his first try-out ever. He’s played a lot of sports (soccer/baseball/football/basketball) since he was four, but this year is the first year he has to try out for a team. He was nervous about it, and go figure, the poor kid cut his foot on a toy the night before, but he did so great. Honestly, I know I’m biased, but he was one of the best kids trying out for the team. This coming weekend is round two of try-outs, and I think we will find out shortly after that if he makes it or not. The great thing is that even if he doesn’t make it to the next level, he gets to play on the same level he was last year, so no matter what he will get to play baseball. Either way, I’m super proud of him.

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2:

Leprechaun traps! This is the third year Wolverine and I have made a leprechaun trap for St. Patrick’s Day. It’s also the third year in a row that the leprechaun escaped (with our gold!) from our traps. Talk about a major let down. We decided this year instead of our more detailed traps of the past, we were going to try to stay simple and focused. Overall, this was a great trap, and I’ll bet we came so close to catching the little bugger.

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The funniest moment this year was when Wolverine invited my parents over to view his trap. They brought over their professional cameras and cell phones and this is what I walked in to see–a full photo shoot.20140317-134818.jpg

3:

After I mailed my wedding invitations on Friday, I stopped by the Christmas Tree Shop and saw this.  It was awesome.

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4:

Today is my anniversary with Wolverine. Yes, you read that correctly. We met on St. Patrick’s Day in 2011, and since then, we’ve been celebrating our anniversary. This year, we made cards for each other and bought each other a few gifts from the dollar store. It was pretty awesome. I’m a very lucky lady.

Wonder Woman

Last Sunday, Wolverine, my nephew, and I decided to get tattoos, and I ended up with Wonder Woman on my arm. I’ve had this awesome tattoo for about 9 days now and it has barely faded. I remember when I was a kid, temporary tattoos would rub off in a day. Who knows how long this will stay on for.

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Starting Fresh: The Beginning

So two weeks ago, I wrote about how I was starting over.

I’m happy to report that two weeks have gone by, and I feel pretty successful. A few days after I wrote that post, we went on a fun-filled, awesome family vacation for a week, and now we’ve been home a few days. To be completely honest, the reason I’ve been so successful is largely due to my vacation. It was a happy time that focused 100% on me and my two guys. Okay, to be fair, there was a teeny tiny bit of reading for Spry that took place during one of our low-key days, but that only helped accomplish my refocusing, so all is good in the hood.

When we got home we celebrated Wolverine’s 7th birthday and my father’s birthday (on the same day). I love those two guys so much, and I’m so happy to celebrate them both. Both of them have significantly influenced me and changed my life, and I’m so happy I have such great guys in my life.

I’m so excited to kick-start my eating and exercising again now that I am home from vacation. Usually, one of my favorite parts of going on vacation is eating out, but I can’t quite say I loved all the burgers and pizza and french fries and junk I consumed while in Orlando. My body is loving the fact that I’m fueling it with green juice. I never thought I’d enjoy healthy eating as much as I do now. I guess that means I’m getting older. To top off my new wellness lifestyle, I’ll be going to yoga for the first time with my best friend on Sunday.

Life is good, friends. It does take effort to  make big life changes, but I relish the easy moments of wonderfulness like being on vacation with my guys.

Summertime and the living is easy…

I like new beginnings. Remember how excited I was to start the new year? I think it is just the idea of starting fresh.

The idea of 2013 was super exciting for me. I had big plans, and so far it has been a pretty good year. But I feel like I’ve been so busy this entire year trying to do so many things that I haven’t quite experienced the past 5 1/2 months. I’m not a fan of that. I’ve spent too much of my short life rushing through things, and starting in 2010, I really learned to absorb and experience the moments in my life. I need to find a way back there.

So today, my friends, is a new beginning. There is nothing like the beginning of summer to start fresh, to relish in the upcoming moments. I love summer and I can’t wait to refocus my life and my priorities.

I can’t wait to spend time with Wolverine and Mr. O. This summer we have our big family vacation, weekend camping trips, baseball games, and so many other activities planned (like Wolverine’s massive birthday party). I really can’t wait for every event, but I’m going to make every effort to be as present as possible during all the activities.

I plan on taking the summer to enjoy time with my friends and family, work on Spry, kick-start my own writing and focus on my career track.

Books At Bedtime

One of my absolute favorite daily rituals is reading with Mr. O and Wolverine at night before Wolverine goes to bed. I love reading to him; I love listening to Mr. O read, and I love when Wolverine reads to both of us.

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Pee-Wee Football

Today I am grateful for Pee-Wee football. Wolverine played his last football game of the season yesterday. He started off the season with no clue how to play football. He was “okay” with it. We couldn’t quite tell if he liked it or he didn’t like it, but he went to all the practices and learned how to play. Then came tackling, and let’s just say that he wasn’t a fan. He’s the youngest on the team, and most of the kids spent last year tackling, so this was a new thing for him.

And then out of nowhere… Wolverine became the world’s biggest football fan! When we carved our pumpkins, he was concerned that the newspaper we were sitting on was the sports section. He didn’t like that we were going to get pumpkin-guts all over the players. We went trick-or-treating he told the neighbors about how he wasn’t “just” Spiderman, he was also a football player…”in real life!!!” He also complimented someone on their Patriots sweatshirt.

Who knows what the future will hold. I don’t know if he will play again next year. This might just be a passing phase, but I’m happy that he found an interest in the sport and that he enjoyed the rest of the season. Now, I’m sure we will spend a lot of time in the yard throwing a football around. I’m sure he will watch the Patriots, his new favorite team, with great intensity this year. And who knows, maybe he will find the Superbowl a little less boring in 2013.

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Who I am At 28

Note: This was originally drafted the week of my birthday, although I never finished it. I just read it in my drafts folder, and thought it was a good post to share, even if it isn’t fully complete. So here is something written last month, in my last few days of being 27.

hello-28

A few years ago, I would make some pretty stellar birthday lists. No, not as wish lists, but more like “lessons I’ve learned” or “goals for the coming year” kind of lists. Somewhere in the past few years (I blame grad school), I stopped making these lists. After reading Jenn’s most recent post about her 25th birthday (Happy Birthday, Jenn!), I decided to not let another year go by without writing something. Now, I have enough goals to last me, you, and your extended family a few years so there is no need to come up with any more. (I’ll just finally put some effort into my 101 in 1001 list!)  So here is a portrait of who I am (inspired by Nora from last year if you can believe it*) at the age of 28.

If you look at my hair, you will see that for the first birthday of my life, I am a brunette. There were days in the past 11 months that I missed being a blonde, but now I’m comfortably settled into the simplicity of brown hair. If you look at my face, you may notice the lack of glasses. I’m entering the first birthday of my life with perfect vision, and I see a great future in the distance. If you looked at my skin you’d notice many imperfections and scars. I’ve been cut into and biopsied and am eternally grateful to every imperfection because they prove that I am healthy and alive.

If you looked at my wrist you’d notice the only jewelry I wear: a Pandora bracelet from Mr. O with beads chosen carefully and purposely, beads that symbolize important moments for our little family. If you looked at my clothing, I’ll probably be either in work clothes or extremely comfortable clothing like pajamas or jeans and a tee-shirt. If you looked at my feet you’d see flip flops as I’m trying to get in every possible last day with them before it becomes boot weather. My accoutrements are various. If I am out of the house, I pretty much need sunglasses, my iPhone and keys; however, I will have much more on my person. I carry a huge black pocketbook, and if you dump it out, you will find: an agenda, a small notebook, at least 5 pens/markers, a wallet, a camera, many receipts, cough drop wrappers and a full bag of cough drops, a pill-box full of vitamins, eyeshadow, band-aids, tissues, finger puppets, paper clips, chap stick and lip gloss, and random other goodies.

If you watched me as I went about my day you’d notice I usually do multiple things at once. At work I seem to do four different projects at once. I’m not advocating this is a good idea (because it isn’t), but I can’t seem to get things done if I don’t multitask.

If you could peek into my brain you’d see that I most often think about my relationship with Mr. O, Wolverine, what I’m going to eat, my friends and family, Spry, work stuff and mundane tasks like getting gas or food shopping.

If you wondered what my life would look like in the near future, I’d tell you that I will be content. That I make the choice to be happy, and while I struggle from time to time, I still choose happiness over the alternative. I will tell you about Spry, the literary journal my colleague Linsey and I just founded. By this time next year we will have published two issues and be working on our third. I will tell you about Mr. O and Wolverine and how happy I still am with my two guys. I will tell you that this year of my life I plan on thriving and creating and relaxing.

Thank you, twenty-eight for the endless possibilities. I have faith that this will be an exciting year.

September Observations

September Highlights:

  • Mr. O and I celebrated our birthdays. What was really nice about this year is that we kept it pretty simple. For my birthday (it was a storm outside like usual) we picked up some Pho and ate some ice cream cake. For Mr. O’s birthday, we went out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, then came home to relax and play some games.
  • Mr. O and I had a joint birthday party/my graduation party and it was nice to have our friends over for a cookout. It was also pretty nice to see our friends and family mingle. Ideally, I’d like to have a cookout every year in September. That way we don’t need to make a big deal of planning a night out with friends, get babysitters, spend loads of money, etc. People can just come over for the night with their kids and eat lots of yummy food.
  • Spry Literary Journal continued accepting submissions all month. Linsey and I set a goal for the amount of submissions we hoped to receive in our first month of our first reading period. We were so fortunate to receive a number that was far more than our estimate. We love the faith writers have in new literary journals. However, we’ve only gotten a small number of creative nonfiction submissions, so if you write CNF, send us your work!
  • I’m doing a great job keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 240. Nuts.

Stinky September Moments:

  • I don’t have much to complain about this month. I had a head cold that lingered, a few cranky/miserable days and work was a bit nutso, but overall, nothing particular stands out which is nice.

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • Baby Dylan was born. One of my closest friends had her baby boy on 9/26, and I am so in love with him.
  • Mr. O’s mom retired! Congratulations! She had the best surprise retirement party last weekend. It was a great night.
  • Wolverine has been trying harder in football. He’s had a game every weekend, so we spend a few nights a week at practice and then the weekends practicing/playing another team. Go football!
  • Mr. O and I went to see Gabriel Inglesias at Foxwoods and the show was great.
  • After a brief hiatus, my girlfriends and I reunited for our monthly girl’s night.

I’m looking forward to____ in October:
What I like most about October is pumpkin coffee and hot apple cider. Oh, I also love to see the kids in their costumes and I’m pretty pumped because we will have Wolverine for trick-or-treating this year. I can’t wait to decorate our pumpkins. I’m hoping to continue getting quality submissions for Spry, especially in creative nonfiction (my favorite). We are about to hire an intern, so I hope that process goes smoothly. Wolverine has a few more football games. Mr. O and I are going away for a weekend, which is our birthday gift to ourselves. It will be nice to spend some quality time with my love away from our apartment and normal surroundings.

Overall Thoughts:
September was a nice month. I’m a fan of birthdays, so it was nice to celebrate me and Mr. O. It went by quickly. I spent much of the month worrying about work and Spry. I feel like I’ve been on a go-go-go type of outlook. I don’t have much to say about September. I always get a bit anxious this time of year, because I don’t like when it starts to get darker at night; I don’t like when it gets colder. I wish it could stay warm and bright outside. But I do love cuddling up to Mr. O and stealing his body heat, so I guess I can’t complain. What was nice about September, was this it was a normal month. There were no crazy or dramatic moments, and the calmness of the month was nice.

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Want to know more about my experiences in 2012? Check out the previous months: January and February and March and April and May and June and July and August

August Observations

August Highlights:

  • Mr. O, Wolverine and I went to DC and VA on a road trip for our summer vacation. This was a fantastic trip, because not only did we get to do fun things with Wolverine (the National Zoo, Smithsonian’s Museums of Natural History and American History), but we also spent a few quality days with one of my closest friends who lives in VA. She just had a beautiful baby girl last month, so it was so nice to be with mommy, daddy and baby (and puppies!).
  • Wolverine started playing football this month. He is such a little stud. He’s the youngest guy on the team, and he has a lot to learn, but he’s trying hard. It is so damn cute to see him at the water breaks, because he takes his helmet off and his face is all red and his hair is sweaty. He’s going to break so many hearts when he gets older.
  • Spry Literary Journal began accepting submissions! I can’t even describe how I felt when we got our first submission (and it was a GREAT submission too). It was incredible to read someone’s work after all the effort we put in to this journal. If you are a writer, please consider submitting your work to my literary journal.
  • We went to Mr. O’s work “picnic” in the middle of the month. When I say picnic, I really mean carnival. It is always so much fun. I held an alligator while I was there!
  • I’m doing a great job keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 210. TWO HUNDRED AND TEN!?!

Stinky August Moments:

  • I’m no longer a graduate student. Weird, I know, because all I did was complain about school while I was in it. I just miss it.
  • I’ve felt pretty busy and disorganized this month. I expected things to slow down a bit after graduation, but that didn’t happen one bit. In fact, I feel as if I was working even harder to catch up, and stay on track (or close to the tracks at least).
  • I only spent a few days with my friends from VA! I know I mentioned this as a highlight, and it truly was. It is just hard to leave such incredible friends. Especially when they have a new addition to their life. I love babies. So now, I’m saying goodbye to three people (and two dogs), not just two people. Sigh. It’s hard to live far away from your friends.
  • Dr’s appointments. Between my primary care, my dermatologist and my dentist, I feel like all I’ve done is go to appointments this month..

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • My parents and my brother and sister-in-law celebrated anniversaries this month.
  • I cancelled my graduation party because of a horrible weather forecast, and then the day ended up being pretty nice. Oh well, I rescheduled it for September and combined it with my and Mr. O’s birthdays… So it will now be Erin and Mr. O’s Birthday and Graduation Extravaganza!

I’m looking forward to____ in September:
September is a fun month for Mr. O and I, because we both have birthdays in September. We’re going to a comedy show at Foxwoods, which will be fun because we both like to eat and gamble. We have our party which I just mentioned. I’m hoping to get a lot of submissions this month for Spry too!

Overall Thoughts:
August was a nice month. I was busy, which made the month go by quickly, but overall, it was a good time. I felt crappy for about two weeks of the month which is never fun. All in all, I’m kind of glad to start a new month. I’m done with August. The only thing that stinks about being done with August is that the nights are getting darker earlier (which bums me out) and the weather is getting chillier. I love summer. I like fall too, but I hate winter and I can never enjoy fall because I’m always bummed about the upcoming winter. Oh well. Here’s to September!

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Want to know more about my experiences in 2012? Check out the previous months: January and February and March and April and May and June and July

Back to School Shopping!


This post is sponsored by Old Navy. Check out Old Navy’s Back to School Sale in stores or at oldnavy.com from August 2-15 & find out how to win a $100 Old Navy gift card, $50 OfficeMax gift card & a back pack.

It is almost time to go back to school. Well, it’s almost time for some people to go back to school. Graduating is a bittersweet experience. Anyway, while I won’t be heading to school this fall, I do know one little guy who will be. This year, Wolverine is going to be in first grade, and as many of you with little ones understand, kids grow fast. So the lucky little bugger will be getting some new outfits for school.

The school that Wolverine attends has a dress code, which I think is both good and bad. It is great because kids won’t be teased on what they are wearing. It is also great because it is easy to pick out what your child will wear to school the next morning. The only real reason I don’t like dress codes is because when I was a child I had to wear a uniform from Kindergarten all the way until I graduated 8th grade. I hated it. I had a horrible gray/yellow/blue plaid jumper and an Oxford shirt though. Luckily, Wolverine’s dress code is much looser than mine was. He has to wear solid color pants (in a few colors) and either a t-shirt or a polo (in a couple other colors).

So for the most part, the dress code is a good thing,  but last year, when we were shopping, we had to look all over the place to find matching articles of clothing in the school’s specific colors. That is, until we checked out Old Navy. Shopping for Wolverine at Old Navy last year was awesome. I cannot begin to describe how happy we were with all the clothes we bought there. The pants and the shirts fit him perfectly and the cost was great too. It is easy to overspend during the back to school season, so it was nice to stay within our budget at one place.

We will definitely be heading back to Old Navy to get Wolverine some clothes that will fit him for this school year. His outfits will actually look a lot like this, but only with a plain polo and full length pants. He’s going to be such a stud.

Boy's shirtBoy's shorts

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

July Observations

July Highlights:

  • I graduated from the best MFA program in the universe.
  • My last residency was incredible. I loved meeting the incredible incoming class. I loved spending time with some of my mentors. I loved teaching my seminar and giving my reading. I loved it all.
  • I am very happy with my graduation speech. It went so smoothly and I think I did a good job of involving the whole class in my speech. I’ve been toying with posting it here, but I’m not sure if I should.
  • Wolverine’s birthday party was a blast. The weather held out all day, which meant no rain until the party was over! Our water slide also worked the entire time. Mr. O put a lot of hard work into patching the holes on the slide, and the kids loved playing on the slide.
  • Announcing Spry Literary Journal. (Ha, I didn’t quite announce it yet, but the big announcement should come tomorrow!)
  • I’m doing a great job keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 179.

Stinky July Moments:

  • My dad had a heart attack while I was away at school which was very scary. Because of this he and my mother couldn’t come to my graduation. I’m very lucky to have a great boyfriend who videotaped the whole thing so that they could watch me graduate from the comfort of their living room!
  • Everything happened at once. Between school, work, the literary journal, another editing project I’m involved in and my personal life… everything happened this month. Oh, well. All good stuff.
  • Running into people I’d rather not see.

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • My fantastic friend gave birth to a healthy little baby girl. Welcome to the world Isabella.
  • Wolverine, my dad, Lauren, Kerri, Linsey and both of my grandparents all celebrated birthdays. Those same grandparents also celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.

I’m looking forward to____ in August:
August should be busy! Mr. O, Wolverine and I will be road-tripping down to DC and then heading to Virginia to visit some great friends and their new baby girl. We are also hoping to go camping this month. We’re going to a carnival and my brother’s annual cookout (which I’ve missed the past two years). August 15th will be the first day my literary journal will be accepting submissions.

Overall Thoughts:
July was incredible. I’m so happy and proud of the fact that I graduated from my MFA program. At the same time though, I will miss it terribly. I’m so grateful that my dad is okay and I hope his healing process is smooth. I’m glad that Wolverine loved his actual birthday and his birthday party. I’m tired, but happy.

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Want to know more about my experiences in 2012? Check out the previous months: January and February and March and April and May and June

Today is a special day

Happy 6th birthday to the greatest super hero I know.

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And happy birthday to another hero of mine… My dad.

June Observations

June Highlights:

  • We put in our air conditioners! That deserves its own bullet point.
  • Tball. I just love it. I was bummed because there were a few rainouts and Wolverine was sick for one of the games, but I have a blast watching all the little kids play. Wolverine is much more into it this year versus last year, and its fun to see him excited and into something.
  • Father’s Day. I’ll celebrate Mr. O for any reason, but I especially like to celebrate him as a father, because he is an incredible dad.
  • Wolverine got a reading award at school…
  • and even better than that…. he graduated kindergarten! He is so grown up now!
  • I’m actually keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 148.

Stinky June Moments:

  • The few bad weather days in between the awesome warm and sunny days.
  • Everything happening at once. Every project I am involved in between work, school and my personal stuff is all HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. I have no clue how I am going to accomplish everything.
  • Getting excited about a possibility only to find out it is no longer possible. Sigh.

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • My friends Thien, Amy S,  Audrey, Daisy, Chris, Trueblood and Trish all celebrated birthdays. My brother and his wife celebrated a wedding anniversary, and so did my good friend’s E & C.
  • J and J are getting married tonight! And I am very excited about getting dressed up and spending time with my friends.
  • My friend Linsey and I are working hard on our business venture. It is a LOT of work, but I’m enjoying the process.

I’m looking forward to____ in July:
I’m graduating! This coming residency will be magical, I’m sure. I get to spend ten days on an island with incredible like-minded creatures. I can’t wait to be with my friends again and absorb everything possible from my last residency of graduate school. I am so excited about being a TA, giving a seminar on my third semester project- The Story Behind the Status, doing a public reading, workshopping my newest story and giving a graduation speech. I’m excited to celebrate the birthdays of so many people I love. I can’t wait for Wolverine’s party. I’ll be happy to come home from residency and jump back into my “normal” life with Mr. O and Wolverine. I’m also pretty pumped to make the grand announcement about my new business venture.

Overall Thoughts:
I liked June a lot. There was a lot of nice weather, a lot of time spent outside. It was a busy month filled with errands and birthday parties and school/work/business/life stuff, but I can’t complain about being busy. It was overwhelming, but filled with mostly good happy things. I consider myself very lucky.

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Want to know more about my experiences in 2012? Check out the previous months: January and February and March and April and May

Acknowledgements

Y’all know that I am finishing my graduate school thesis. That’s all I seem to talk about on here.

At this point, I’m about 90% done with the thesis and 90% done the preface for the thesis.

I am 0% done with the abstract, 0% done with the acknowledgements page and 0% done with the bibliography. I do think the abstract and bibliography will be relatively easy though.

The acknowledgements though? It scares me. Why? Because I am too grateful. I don’t know where to start. I don’t even know if there is a limit to the amount of pages I can include for this section. I’m thankful for every moment I wrote about in my thesis. I’m thankful for ever person who influenced the manuscript. I’m thankful for all the schools that denied my fiction application when I applied as an undergraduate even though it broke my heart. I’m grateful for the nonfiction graduate class I signed up for at Umass Dartmouth even though I wasn’t a student, just to get my writing juices flowing. I’m grateful for Christina McCarroll who taught the class and all the amazing students who read and helped me hone my nonfiction craft (I’d never written a lick on nonfiction before this!). The two main stories I wrote in this class became my application for the seven graduate schools I applied to. I’m beyond grateful for being accepted to every one of those graduate schools. That is by far one of my favorite life moments. I was so proud of myself. I’m so thankful for Michael White, my program director. Fairfield was tied for first place on my wish list with two other schools. I’m grateful that Michael recognized my talent and was the first school to accept me (only a few days after receiving my application). I’m fortunate for all the students I met in my graduate school career. I couldn’t begin to thank them for their encouragement, their suggestions on my stories. I’m beyond thankful to the MFA gods for giving me Phil as a big brother and Daisy as a little sister in the program. I’m still thankful for earning the Trueblood Award my first residency (now called the Truben Award) and also for being voted the graduation speaker this last residency. I am eternally grateful to all of my mentors: Lary Bloom, Joan Connor, Porochista Khakpour and Kim Dana Kupperman who worked one on one with me over my four semesters. For the teachers who guided my workshops: Kim, Lary, Da Chen, Leila Philip, Baron Wormser, and Marita Golden- their guidance unearthed some of my best impromptu writing, all of which made it into my final thesis. I’m grateful that Baron will be my second reader for my thesis, and I cannot wait to hear him read my words as I walk across the stage to accept my diploma. I’m thankful that Fairfield led me to Phil (my big bro), Trueblood (yep, the award was named after him) and Linsey, as we formed the Masshole Writers Group. The stories I’ve written have changed sometimes very dramatically with their suggestions. Plus, we go out to eat when we critique each other’s work and I love food. I’m grateful for GChat, which allowed me to brainstorm with my school friends at times I might not have been able to easily communicate. I’m grateful for everything Ender’s Island. That place is the perfect place to study creative writing. That island will always be one of my favorite places and it as a place has truly opened me up. I’m actually thankful that I broke my foot on the island during my third residency. It taught me to rely on others, something I don’t know I ever really knew how to do. I am so glad to have worked on Mason’s Road, Fairfield MFA’s literary journal since my first semester. I was a nonfiction reader for three issues and this semester I am serving as the co-editor with my incredible MFA little sis, Daisy. Mason’s Road has greatly impacted my writing. Reading other people’s work is a great way to expand your knowledge and to see first hand what works and what doesn’t work. It has helped me critique and edit my own work. I am eternally grateful to the people outside of the program who have supported or assisted me in any way. I have to thank Kate for editing assistance. I’m thankful for all my friends who encouraged me, or scheduled plans around my busy schedule. I’m grateful for my family for not only encouraging me, but also being characters in my manuscript. I’m thankful for Mr. O’s family and friends who understood if I wasn’t able to go to dinners or get-togethers because I was too busy writing. I’m grateful for Wolverine’s excitement about graduation and the amount of homework we both have to do. He graduates Kindergarten in June (and he still is quite shocked that he graduates before me!) and my graduation is in July. Not only that, but I have to thank Wolverine for completely changing my life. The combination of school and Wolverine in my life has taught me more than I ever could learn about forgiveness and parenting. He has opened me up to selfless unconditional love. He’s helped me learn and grow, and I love him so much for that. I couldn’t end here without acknowledging the person who has probably been my main support throughout this whole experience: Mr. O. I’m thankful for all the times he cooked dinner or cleaned up the apartment or went places without me all so that I could write. I’m grateful for the times he sternly told me to do my homework– he’s the best dad. I’m thankful for the suggestions and perspective he gave me on my writing. I’m thankful that he’s honest and willing to tell me something doesn’t work, or he doesn’t get the point I’m going for. I’m glad he doesn’t judge what I say as he’s probably the only non-school person to read the stories. But besides the actual work, I’m so grateful that he supported me emotionally as well. He pushed me when I wanted to give up, he held and kissed me when it all felt too overwhelming (and then he made me stop crying and start writing.) The biggest thing he did was always keep put things into perspective for me.

Can I acknowledge myself? I’ve written what is now a 114 page manuscript (that could change a bit before May 1st). Wow. That my friends doesn’t account for all the other numerous pages I’ve written and revised in the past two years. It doesn’t account for my preface, for my craft essays, for my graduation speech. It doesn’t account for my class I’ll teach. It doesn’t account for the notes I’ve taken, the stories I’ve started but never finished. I’ve completed (almost) a manuscript, and I need to pat myself on the back as well. Good job, Erin.  I’m proud of you.

Well, I guess acknowledging wasn’t as scary as I thought it could be. Now all I need to do is edit, remove the zillion adverbs and it looks like I might be at least 90% done on my acknowledgment section as well.

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