Is it 2018, yet?! I'm so excited to announce that I'll be attending the Sioux Falls Fall into Books Event in Sioux Falls, South Dakota next year! The signing will take place on Saturday, October 13, 2018. So, mark your calendars! You can find more information on the Facebook page. I can't wait to see you!
Fifteen, short years ago, this was just a dream.
The track. The hurdles with Shamrocks painted on them. The pole vault pit. The jump mats. The cage for the discus. The volunteers. The dozen busses in the parking lot.
Just fifteen, short years ago, I asked my high school principal when WE were going to get a track. His response: When YOU pay for it. Well, how much is it? I asked. About a quarter of a million, he said.
And that was the end of that conversation.
Well, thankfully, I didn’t have to foot that bill. Thankfully, the community came together and did that—in just a few years! And yesterday, New Haven hosted its first EVER track meet.
Had I just left New Haven two days earlier? Yes. Did I think twice about driving all the way back across the state again—for one day? No. I had to be there. I had to be there because this was always just a dream to me; I had to see it in real life.
And just to put this a little more into perspective, my nephew and I had a conversation while walking on the old "track" that went something like this:
Me: "Aunt Wawa, Aunt April and Mommy used to run on this track."
Jack: "What track?"
Me: "This one—the one we're standing on."
Jack: "This isn't a track."
Me: *nods head "Yes, Jack, you are correct."
So, yeah, yesterday was pretty cool. Everything ran smoothly, there were tons of volunteers, athletes ran fast and jumped and threw far and New Haven won the meet. You never would have guessed that this was New Haven’s first—like, not even a practice meet—track meet. To say I was a little proud to be an alumna is like saying I'm a little in love with the Great British Baking Show! So, yes, yesterday, I wore that three-leafed plant as if it were a crown! So, THANK YOU to all those who made this dream a reality!
P.S. My nephew’s daddy thinks my nephew is going to be a baseball star. But I’m doing my best, Coach Tucker. And just to prove it, right after the 4x400 was announced yesterday, Jack (my nephew) jumped up and said: This is the funnest (we're still working on English) race. They pass sticks, Daddy.
At that, his daddy looked at me. ...And I just smiled.
One step closer.
It's no secret that I love art—writing, creating, painting. My mom is a gifted ceramics painter, and for years when I was young, she sold her creations. Our entire basement was devoted to white molds, little paint jars, a slip mixer and a big kiln. It was one of my favorite places to be, right beside my mom, watching little figurines come to life with paint. And that's exactly what I had the chance to do again at Pinot's Palette Olathe—only this time, with canvases!
This was actually my second time at Pinot's Palette in Olatha. My husband and I visited when it opened last year, and we both walked out the door feeling as if we were little, undiscovered Picassos. So, of course, we knew we had to go back and make sure it wasn't just a fluke. And plus, who doesn't like anything that involves wine?!
That being said, Thursday, we brought our favorite wine (it's BYO), poured two glasses and started painting—with instruction, of course. Our expert artist walked us through everything and made it super easy, which is good for me (and especially, my husband). Let's just say, my husband can draw a mean Homer Simpson head (which I've included in the photo slideshow below), but that's just about it.
And while we were there, we also had the chance to wander around the studio and see all the cool events coming up. For instance, on Mother's Day, among other events, there's a Paint with Princesses day, where you can paint with your children, AND real princesses will be in attendance! Real Princesses! I have to be honest. As soon as I heard this, I was trying to figure out how I could get my niece or nephew (I'd promise him some toy trucks in exchange) here, just so I could paint the Beauty and the Beast rose and see Belle and Elsa!
And have you heard of the Pet Project? My husband LOVED this idea. (He's obsessed with border collies...just FYI). For this event, Pinot's will actually scan one of your pet photos onto a canvas. And then YOU get to paint your pet to life! The pet painting to the left is painted in neon paint, which brings me to the event that I'm signing up for next! On May 26, it's date night, and you and your date actually get to paint a pretty "Sail Away" piece together—all under a black light! It's like a sixth-grade dance all over again! How cool is that?!
So, after we were finished wandering around the studio, we went back to painting...and drinking wine. And before we knew it, we had done it!
And the finished product looked really close to what it was supposed to look like! I was actually kind of proud of us—well, more so of Neville! :) He managed to draw something other than a happy, sad or lost Homer. And it wasn't a fluke. We are little Picassos...or at least we are inside the walls of Pinot's Palette! Either way, we'll be framing these love birds.
So, if you're in the Kansas City area, I would highly recommend checking out Pinot's Palette in Olathe. It's always a fun experience where you can relax, unwind and best of all, tap into your creative side—even if you don't think you have one!
Our Night In Photos
I write about rain on tin roofs, gravel roads, old trucks with holes in the floorboards and small-town summer nights. I grew up on a farm in a little Midwestern town. Now, I live in Kansas City, Mo., with my weatherman husband.
Laura Miller's first contemporary romance novel, Butterfly Weeds, hit the Amazon Best-Seller's List and Top 100 in October 2012. The sequel to Butterfly Weeds, My Butterfly, released in June 2013. For All You Have Left, By Way of Accident, When Cicadas Cry and A Bird on a Windowsill followed. Look for The Life We Almost Had, Laura's latest small-town romance, at book retailers now. And check out her children's book, Pay It Forward!