Heirs of the Magi News Flash!

***Heirs of the Magi News Flash!***

***Year Three of Harry Potter - After the Epilogue has now been posted at FanFiction.net in time for Harry's 37th Birthday! If you love my Harry Potter fan fiction stories as much as I do; check out this newest installment in the 'After the Epilogue' storyline!

Happy summer - or winter - reading!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Cassie's Journal - Dec. 30, 2011

Rowen and I got to spend most of the day playing again, but we did also go over to Aunt Leanne’s house after lunch to help her for an hour or so with some last-minute housework while she was busy with another afternoon of cooking. We thought that the little box of bakery treats that she sent home with us for our afternoon snack with Mom, Alicia, and the twins was worth the time out of our play day plans.

The weather was beautiful again, and it still feels a bit strange to be out riding my bike and being outside in a heavy sweater-jacket instead of a winter coat. It’s not like I didn’t get to do that when Mom and I lived in Georgia; but this is way different than this time last winter in Witch Falls. Most of the kids and teens in town were having fun – even the kids who weren’t getting to use winter-sport Christmas gifts yet.

Rowen had to go home – or to Grandma and Grandpa Emerson’s home – in time for dinner with them, so I was bff-less for the night after that. We weren’t having a dinner and a movie night at home, but Dillon was working again, so we had Violet with us; and Grandma and Grandpa came over for dinner too. Dad and Grandpa got into watching a football game after dinner, but since it was still nice outside; Mom, Grandma, Violet, and I took the twins out for a walk. We stopped in to see Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne, and they had about half of the McEwan clan there already. Tory, Kyle, Michelle, and Chrissy were in town too, but were getting settled in at Aunt Deborah’s house before coming over to spend the rest of the evening with the rest of their family.

We only stayed for a short visit, and then finished our walk before returning home and hanging out in the living room with Dad and Grandpa until it was time for Ethan and Ehlana to go to bed. Violet went over to the Inn to wait for Dillon, Jake, and Stephanie then, and since Mom had grandparent support, I opted for a little quality time with my Jacuzzi and another comparatively early bedtime. New Year’s Eve day is up next; and if the weather forecast is right, we’ve got one more really beautiful, warm day before we start heading back toward normal winter temperatures. The guys in town might want to waste all of that sun and warm while watching football games; but Rowen and I plan on enjoying ourselves with more biking and outdoor fun before we have to get ready for my first New Year’s Eve party at the Inn. I see another best last day of the year ever in my immediate future!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cassie's Journal - Dec. 29, 2011

If this is going to be winter at home, I have no idea why Grandma and Grandpa are bothering to head south! Seth Green’s birth is still the top topic around town, but the awesome weather is a close second.

Rowen and I had a picnic lunch at the park, and spent nearly the entire day outside. While Mom and Alicia were busy around the house and with the twins, we were cruising around on our bikes; playing at the park or school playground; and we even went for a short canoe ride, though the water was so cold that it didn’t take long before sitting in the canoe was uncomfortable. With year-end business to deal with, Aunt Leanne couldn’t take too much extra time off, but she was taking the afternoons off today and tomorrow, so Rowen and I stopped in to visit her once too; timing our arrival perfectly to have a bakery snack with her, and then carry a couple of pans of lasagna over to my house so that Mom could put them in to cook while Aunt Leanne had her oven filled with other dishes that she and Uncle Adam would need for their family Christmas and New Year’s weekend gang.

We haven’t seen much of Violet over the past few days, but Dillon was working close tonight, so she spent a couple of hours with Rowen, Ethan, Ehlana, and me after dinner until it was time for Ethan and Ehlana to go to bed. Rowen and I are taking turns using the Jacuzzi now; Violet’s gone to meet up with Dillon, Jake, and Stephanie; and I’m doing this journal entry while Rowen’s in the tub. Two more days left in 2011, and since we plan on keeping the fun rolling into the New Year, I’m going to keep this short; take my turn in the Jacuzzi; and then we’re going to get a little extra sleep tonight so we’ll be ready for our long weekend adventures!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cassie's Journal - Dec. 28, 2011

I was on my own for Tai Chi this morning; breakfast was quick; and Rowen and I were set free by eight-thirty when her parents left for the store and we moved our holiday base of operations back over to my house for at least the next day or two.

Alicia was working extra hours over the holidays, but that was mostly working all day on her regular days, and she was off today. Mom had planned around that, and Rowen and I didn’t have to help her out; but we did play with Ethan and Ehlana for a while this morning, and took them to the park for an hour after lunch. We also went for a long bike ride; had Olde Bakery snacks by the falls with Aunt Leanne; and played with some of our friends at the park again before going home in time for dinner. The top news by then was that Seth Green had been born after an all-day labor, and the twins were hoping to meet their future classmate on Sunday at church. Since the age cut-off for our school is in February; they’d know who most of their classmates would be within the next couple of months.

Mom and Dad both had work to do in the office tonight, so Rowen and I had Ethan, Ehlana, and Mandy to cuddle with for the first part of our double-feature movie plans. We let the twins pick the first one, and while Rowen and I had both seen Baby Geniuses; we were as entertained by the show as Ethan and Ehlana were – partly because of their running telepathic commentary and questioning about the movie. Sly and the other babies are amazing, but they’ve got nothing on my little brother and sister!

When it was time for Ethan and Ehlana to go to bed, we helped Mom with that; did a bedtime snack in the office with her and Dad; and then moved back up to the lounge for movie number two. We do at least try to mix in enough sleepovers at Rowen’s house so that her parents don’t get upset that we don’t stay with them very often, but it’s also true that we both prefer to have our sleepovers at my house now that I’m allowed to shield us so we can use our powers. Right now, I’m writing this telekinetically; Rowen, Mandy, and I are talking telepathically; and Rowen’s in the process of floating a drink and bowl of popcorn over to us from the counter.

Hold the word processor – I’ve just had a really cool idea! I can speed up a movie the same way that I can work my computer, but Rowen can’t keep up with what’s happening on screen, and it isn’t nearly as much fun to watch a show like that. Watching Rowen with the slow-motion telekinesis of the popcorn and her drink compared to my computing has me wondering what would happen if I basically took the whole room into a time-phase transmutation. Time for another break while I go see if Mom will come and play with us for a few minutes!

***

Okay, I’m back, and Dad wanted to come and play too. The answer is a resounding ‘yes’; though the power drain to do that with furniture, four people, and a cat was enormous. Mom also had me try it with Dad staying outside of the space I was time-phasing once so that he could tell us what it looked like from the outside. I hadn’t really thought about it, but apparently if you don’t move anything in a time-phase; someone watching from the outside doesn’t see anything different at all. The only change that Dad saw was on the television; and he said it was just like clicking from one chapter to the next except that the before and after were mid-scenes. Mom and I want to try that again sometime and actually move both the people and the furniture around to see what happens; but I’m too tired to try again tonight.

Between the two experiments, Rowen and I were able to watch about half of the movie, and that was a good thing because I’m wiped out now. Mom gave me some archive research to do for this, but she doesn’t think there will be anything about time-phasing that will be quite the same as what we did tonight. Dad thinks that’s because the VHS or 8-track tapes would’ve just broken at the speed of light. That does bring up the question of what happens to things like the internet, radio, and over-the-air or satellite signals; but that’s an experiment for another day too. I’d better rest up so that I can have enough power saved up for all of the time-phasing I’ll need to do to study all of that!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cassie's Journal - Dec. 27, 2011

We’re down to six in the house tonight – five, really; since I’m doing a sleepover with Rowen at her place. The Rice family was on the road by nine o’clock this morning, and after that first few hours of craziness; we’ve had a fairly laid back day. Before I get to that, though; it’s time for the weekend updates that I didn’t get around to writing about over the past few days.

First of all, Santa was very good to me this year. I don’t want to make a big deal of that, but try to remember that I am only ten going on eleven. I love everything about Christmas, and being a Magi Master doesn’t change anything except maybe to help me appreciate everything I have more than most kids my age. There were definitely some favorite gifts, but having my new family and friends to share every day with is what I love and appreciate most every day.

Moving on to family news, one of my favorite current events is anything to do with Aunt Grace and Mark. It was a bit disappointing to find out that they weren’t getting together at all over the holidays, but he’d traded Thanksgiving for Christmas hospital duty, and Aunt Grace didn’t go anywhere at year-end with so much to do at work. They did have a long chat on Christmas Day, and Ehlana let me know that some of the chats I missed out on over the weekend included discussions about potential future rendezvous for the reluctant but inexorably attracted pair.

With nearly two weeks to spend together, Violet and Dillon are happy campers, though being apart so much is harder for them than what Aunt Grace and Mark are dealing with – so far. They still have another year and a half of that to deal with, but the few of us who know how great their lives will be are sure they’ll think that going through those months apart will be worth it! Ethan, Ehlana, and I don’t know any real specifics about the future for Chris, Martin, or Dawn, but I should note that I sensed a couple of ripples this weekend when the boys were hanging out with their Witch Falls friends. There wasn’t anything clear, and nothing that suggested a particularly important event; but it was the first time I’d sensed anything with the Sight that involved them; so it’s probably worth noting.

Grandma and Grandpa will be leaving for their long winter getaway the same day that we go back to school, and they had quite a few members of the family interested in taking them up on offers to visit them sometime during their months in the sunny south. I’m sure that they’ll have at least a few guests, though nothing specific has been set up yet that I’ve heard about. I’d like to pop down there for a visit with them, but I doubt that Mom would let me use a time-phase transmutation to do that for a weekend.

Moving on to some of the news around town, I’ll start with the Green family. Heather was about half-way through her pregnancy, and though she’d had quite a few bad days during the first trimester; she had been feeling much better since Thanksgiving. While Adam and the rest of their family doted on her as she progressed through her first pregnancy, they were all also getting excited about the imminent arrival of their cousins’ – Kyle and Emily – third child. Ethan and Ehlana were fired up about the birth of another friend and future classmate too.

Naomi is only a couple of weeks away from her first birthday, and though I only saw her a few times over the last few days; it looked and sounded like she’s really had fun with her first Christmas. It’s funny that I really didn’t think about it until now, but Aunt Deborah and Nick spent a lot of time with Naomi, her parents, and the rest of their family this weekend. The twins and I may have adopted Aunt Deborah into our family, but she actually is going to be one of Naomi’s aunts; and Naomi seems to think that her uncle has made a very good choice!

All of the business owners in town were glad to have the day off for Christmas, and though we don’t have any Scrooges in Witch Falls; I do wish that our friends could have more time away from the unending work than they ever get to have. Maybe I’ll work on that a bit and see if there’s anything that a trio of creative little Magi Masters can do about that. The Stones, Emersons, Palmers, and the rest of my favorite business families did all seem happy with how their businesses were going this year. Considering what Ethan, Ehlana, and I have known since September, if they’re happy now; they’re going to love our future!

Rowen and I caught up on more of the weekend news with some of our friends while we played at the park this afternoon. Rebecca and Jenny were at the park too; and we stopped by the football field for a short visit while they were busy boy-watching with their usual group of friends. Santa did not bring Rebecca or Jenny a cure for their boy-crazy affliction like we’d hoped, but they also didn’t get boyfriends for Christmas either like some of their friends had either.

With the Christmas rush over, most of the stores in town could expect a break in the action for the next month or so, but Rowen’s parents would mostly be trading store sales time for a pick-up in computer services demand as their clients worked through year-end accounting. They did expect a couple of slow days, though, and that’s why Rowen and I were having our first sleepover of the holidays at her house. Rowen thought that the even better news was that Patrick was doing a sleepover too – at Scott’s house. Since playing their little practical jokes on us is a favorite past-time for the two boys, we’re sure that parental involvement, and possibly bribery, spared us from dealing with that all night.

Rowen’s Dad didn’t have a problem with being outnumbered three-to-one; with the leftover surprise dinner for four; or a chick flick movie night before we all went to bed early after some really long days. I’ve been on my computer since Rowen and I climbed into bed, and we’ve mostly been surfing the net and talking about some of the holiday weirdness floating around in cyber-space. I knew from living in so many different places that the stories Rowen found most unbelievable were likely true, and while we were often entertained and kept laughing; other comments and a few rants were just sad and disheartening. If you’re one of the kids, teens, or adults that are angry and hating on your family and friends because you didn’t get a car, iPhone, iPad, or other ‘must have’ for Christmas – you’ve completely lost it, dude (or dudette). Are you serious? Ask Santa for some perspective for Christmas next year; and no, you won’t find it at the app store!

Anyway, Rowen and I have a busy play day planned for tomorrow, so I’m going to wrap this up and call it a night. There may not be any tobogganing or snow play for us this week, but there are some good things about having such warm weather for the holidays too!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Cassie's Journal - Dec. 26, 2011

I’ve officially hit holiday overload!

Dawn and I ran around all morning with Jaimie and Kaitlyn; helping them to get ready, have breakfast, and pack their bags before going out in search of Boxing Day sales for a couple of hours. Rowen joined us for that while her parents were busy at the store, and she came to the lunch buffet at the Inn with us too. Uncle Blaine and Grandpa Duncan wanted to get on the road right after that; so the goodbyes didn’t take long, and then Dawn, Rowen, and I were set free to do whatever we wanted until dinnertime.

We played at the park for a while, and stopped in at the football field to talk to some of the girls that were watching a football scrimmage that Chris and Martin were playing in with some of their friends.

The two boys had some of those friends come back to the house with them, so we stayed out of their way except to deliver snack refills to them for Mom and Dad. Dillon was working the buffets at the Inn, so Violet spent most of the day with the parents and grandparents. There was a break in the third floor action for dinner, but by seven-thirty; Chris and Martin had all of their friends over – including Rebecca and Jenny.

Though Dawn and I weren’t hanging out with them, having so many of my older friends over did mean that we couldn’t go to bed early; though we were ready to do that by the time Mom and Aunt Melissa took Ethan and Ehlana upstairs for the night. The grandparents, Uncle Adam, and Aunt Leanne went home then too, so we ended up cuddling with our Dads and watching television for a couple of hours. Violet had Dillon to cuddle with once he came over after work; and Mom and Aunt Melissa joined us once the twins were sleeping in their cribs; and they’d admonished the gang in the lounge not to wake them unless they were prepared to babysit all night too. I was only a little amused when they advised us that at least a few of my friends had looked like they thought that staying and babysitting all night might be a lot of fun. I’m fairly sure that Dawn never wants to think about her brothers like that either!

Anyway, the party in the lounge did eventually wind down starting at eleven. Dawn and Mandy are both sleeping now, and even Chris and Martin decided that they’d had enough gaming for one long weekend; though they’re currently raiding the pantry and fridge while I’m doing this. Hopefully they won’t stay up too much later – their parents and grandparents decided to hit the road right after breakfast tomorrow; and Chris and Martin are not much fun to be around in the mornings after they’ve stayed up most of the night. Rowen and I have a busy play week planned that we’re going to get started on shortly after Dawn and her family head for home, so I’m going to end this here, and catch up on a few weekend details with tomorrow’s journal. Nighty-nite!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Cassie's Journal - Dec. 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Our collective wake-up call came at five-thirty this morning, and I ended up getting a bit less than four hours of sleep. Before I get to today’s action, I should mention that my Santa’s helper act earlier this morning was witnessed by Violet and Dillon. I tried not to get in the way of their Christmas cuddling any longer than needed, but I did stay long enough to hug each of them goodnight and get a couple of the remaining bakery cookies for the road after finding places to put my load of gifts in and around the stacks that now surrounded the tree.

The kids of all ages had to settle for checking out what was in their stockings until Aunt Leanne, Uncle Adam, and ‘the grandparents’ could join the party. Dawn and I helped Mom and Aunt Alison with Jayden, Ethan, and Ehlana while Uncle Blaine and Aunt Grace kept up with Jaimie and Kaitlyn; and the rest of the parents and teens helped out with getting drinks and pre-breakfast snacks ready.

This was my first Christmas with the whole family home, and having it land on a Sunday made for a wild, non-stop adventure ride. We somehow managed to open presents; cook, eat, and clean up from breakfast; take turns getting ready for church; and have the main Christmas dinner foods cooking in ovens at three houses before rushing out and making it to church with enough time to get everyone seated before the service started at eleven o’clock.

The teens were doing encores of some of their skits and music during the service, and there was a short birthday cake and drinks reception that followed; though some of the cooks and helpers in our family headed home instead of staying for that. Violet and Dillon were having lunch and spending most of the afternoon with his family until dinnertime; but everyone else spent the rest of the day in and around our house.

I mostly played with Dawn, Jaimie, and Kaitlyn; though Dawn and I popped over to Rowen’s house after lunch for a quick visit and a little gift exchange that we hadn’t wanted to do at church last night or this morning. We took Ethan, Ehlana, and Jayden out for another walk to the park to play when most of the Moms really got busy with getting dinner ready. Dinner was another couple or three crazy hours of fun, and Dawn and I got out of cleanup by taking care of our five younger cousins or siblings while everyone else pitched in to clean up.

The rest of our evening was comparatively quiet. Chris and Martin played video games in the lounge with anyone who had the energy to make the trek to the third floor and hang out with them for a while. Dawn and I stayed in the living room, where we played with Jaimie and Kaitlyn, listened to music, and occasionally joined in on the quiet, relaxed conversation that the adults were having. Ehlana, Jayden, and Ethan were first to be ready to call it a night – in that order – and Mom and Aunt Alison had lots of help to get them fed and off to bed. Jaimie and Kaitlyn were tired too, but didn’t want to go to bed until our trio of grandfathers advised them that they were going home to bed soon, and that they’d need to get ready for bed or miss out on story time.

Dawn and I still needed to help out by getting ready for bed then too; and I ended up without a sleepover buddy when Dawn fell asleep while cuddling with Kaitlyn in Aunt Grace’s bed. That’s had the bonus for me that I could do a bit of uninterrupted computer work after closing the doors between the lounge and my bedroom; and I’ve been doing that since climbing into bed an hour or so ago.

Tomorrow’s Boxing Day, though, and while we’ll be saying goodbye to the Granite Park members of our family, we also have some sales to check out, and the lunchtime buffet at the Inn first. The Rice family is staying until Tuesday morning; mostly to spend the extra time with Violet. I’ll need to get around to writing more about the family and town news, but that can wait for a day or two. Right now, all I want for the rest of my Christmas is a good night’s sleep!

Cassie's Journal - Dec. 24, 2011

Santa Claus has a fairly large group of helpers putting presents under our tree, and enjoying Olde Bakery treats, as I write this. I’m sure there are at least a few of my favorite people wishing that they could use a little Magi power to get that done – it’s been a very long day!

Mom, Dad, and I started out with Tai Chi while Ethan and Ehlana slept in a bit after staying up later than usual last night. I wasn’t surprised when that was pretty much the only quiet time any of us had between then and now. Dad and I were on the breakfast cooking crew, and we worked for nearly two hours from the time we started until the last dishes were cleaned and put away again. After our kitchen shift was done, I had time to grab a quick shower and get ready to go out before meeting everyone going on the Christmas Eve day shopping adventure.

Chris and Martin had made other plans by then to meet up with some of their friends, but all of the girls were going, and most of the guys were at least going to make a few stops – like to the Bakery, Emporium, and Fix-it shop. There wasn’t going to be any snow for Christmas for sure now, but I guess there is something to be said for sunny, unseasonably warm days too. Shopping was more fun for sure, and we even went to play at the park after lunch for an hour or so. Try not to be shocked, but I only picked up some bakery treats for the lounge and a mistletoe to hang in the lounge too, just in case we might get the chance to tease Violet and Dillon; or even better – Chris or Martin.

That little purchase ended up being very entertaining for quite a few of us today, if occasionally weird for me. I certainly didn’t expect to catch Jenny sharing a Christmas kiss under the mistletoe with Martin while she and Rebecca had stopped in for a visit while on their afternoon break from the Inn. I didn’t witness Chris getting caught and kissed by Carolyn Landry, but Dawn and I were both around to see several other couple kisses while Chris and Martin were hosting their afternoon gaming party.

Our house was family central from lunchtime on. I was off-duty for kitchen work at noon, but Mom and Dad had Dawn and I both working before and after dinner before going to get dressed up for the Christmas Eve service at the church. I hadn’t really thought about it, but there hadn’t been a Christmas musical last Sunday like there had been last year, but that was mostly because the teens were putting on a service filled with music and short skits that was just as amazing as that show had been.

The Christmas Eve fun continued back at our house, with most of the action in the living room, kitchen, and lounge. Violet and Dillon went to his house for a while after church, but were home with us again in time for the bedtime Christmas story that Grandpa told all of us before Jayden, Ethan, and Ehlana were taken upstairs and tucked into their cribs. It took a while longer to get Jaimie and Kaitlyn wound down, and Dawn and I eventually had to help out with that by getting ready for bed too.

We’d planned on staying up later, but Dawn didn’t last much longer after we climbed into bed with Mandy. That brings this journal up to the moment, and I’ve been playing on my computer since Dawn drifted off; waiting for my turn to play Santa once the grown-ups are finished their work. Hopefully I’ll have enough time after that to get a little sleep before Kaitlyn and Jaimie are up and running again!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Catalyst is Born Approved for Premium Catalogue!

The Catalyst is Born, book one of The Catalyst Chronicles has been approved for the Smashwords premium catalogue.  Look for it to arrive at major online bookstores like iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, and Diesel over the next couple of months.

Cassie's Journal - Dec. 23, 2011

The Christmas holiday is finally here!

It was party time at school, and though the official class parties didn’t start until after lunch; we played and had fun all day. Rowen wasn’t able to hang out with me after school, but I did stay to visit with her at the computer store for a while before going home. We both wished that we could do a sleepover for our first night of vacation; but Rowen was going to be as busy with her family this weekend as I was going to be with mine – and she was going to help out at the store as much as she could too.

Ethan and Ehlana made sure that I wasn’t bored without having Rowen around. They wanted the full school update first, and then we played in the lounge; listened to Christmas music; and had a long telepathic chat while Mom was busy with a little computer work and getting dinner started. We weren’t doing a dinner and a movie night, but Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Adam, and Aunt Leanne were coming over for dinner. When Dad and Aunt Leanne got home, the twins and I joined the party in the kitchen; and from then on, it’s been nearly non-stop action all night!

I was drafted and put to work while Ethan and Ehlana were put in charge of entertaining everyone before and during dinner. We didn’t end up having all that much time to relax and enjoy the meal before the Rice family pulled into town a full hour earlier than we’d expected. The ‘grandparents’ were spending the weekend with Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne, so they went over to their place with Grandpa Richard and Grandma Carrie to help them unload their car and get settled in before coming back to spend the rest of the evening with us.

They had lots of time to do that, since it took nearly an hour to get Uncle Rick’s SUV and Violet’s car unloaded and everything moved up to the second or third floor. Chris, Martin, and Dawn were exempted from a fair bit of that work due to the nature of the packages, boxes, and bags being moved, and the boys were particularly happy to go play video games in the lounge after putting their own luggage in the room across the hall from the lounge that they’d be sharing this weekend.

Once that round of controlled chaos was finished, we had nearly another hour to visit and play before the Granite Park members of our family joined the party and we had to get back to work unloading two more vehicles. Jaimie and Kaitlyn were going to be staying in the third-floor bedroom across the hall from Violet; though I won’t be surprised if Violet and Aunt Grace end up with cuddle buddies in their rooms instead. Jayden was going to be in Ethan’s room again, and Uncle Blaine, Aunt Alison, and Aunt Grace were on the second floor with the rest of the ‘aunts and uncles’ (or parents).

Violet’s day went from good to great when Dillon came over after work at the Inn; and he made it just as everyone was getting settled into the living room again and the work was pretty much done for the night. Ethan, Ehlana, and Jayden were very popular cuddle buddies, and they all stayed up later than usual. Jayden was wide awake because he’d slept quite a bit during the drive from Granite Park. It wasn’t until Kaitlyn fell asleep. Dawn and I had been hanging out together and playing while the adults had been talking; splitting our time between the living room and lounge. We helped Uncle Blaine with getting Jaimie and Kaitlyn changed and into their beds while Mom and Aunt Alison took care of Jayden and the twins. ‘Their’ beds tonight did end up being Aunt Grace’s and Violet’s beds; though both of my little cousins were on their own for the first couple of hours after falling asleep.

Dawn and I got ready for bed then too, but we stayed up and hung out in the lounge with Chris and Martin for a while before leaving them to their all-night gaming plans; climbing into bed with Mandy; and having a long bedtime chat. I was playing on my computer while we did that too, but Dawn’s sleeping now, so I’m taking care of this journal entry and a few other things before calling it a night too. We’ve got a busy Christmas Eve day, with morning shopping; afternoon family time; and the Christmas Eve service that the teens were leading this year.

Two more sleeps ‘til Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cassie's Journal - Dec. 22, 2011

Ethan and Ehlana are six months old today. Happy half-way to your first birthday!

They weren’t officially celebrating that, but Mom, Ethan, and Ehlana did go out to the Inn for lunch with Dad, Aunt Leanne and Uncle Adam, and Claire and Karl Norton for a little office Christmas luncheon. I’m sure that was more fun – and tastier – than lunch in the cafeteria was for Rowen and I; but we did have a pretty good day at school even without food by Jacob and Christmas bonuses and gifts. Mrs. Warren mostly had us playing or making crafts all morning; and we spent over an hour outside this afternoon between last recess and the end of classes. That would have been more fun if we’d had some snow to play in; but there were quite a few teachers doing the same thing with their classes; and we all managed to keep entertained until we were set free to head for home.

Rowen was working at the store, so I was on my own after walking her there and having a short visit with her parents. Mom had enough work to keep me from getting bored without my bff around, and it took me until nearly dinnertime to do the last once-over of the guest bedrooms and bathrooms; the lounge; and my bed and bath rooms. The holiday baking – at least for this weekend – was nearly done by then too; and Mom put the last two pies in to cook after our meal entree was ready.

It seemed strange not to be going to the Inn tonight; but Mom and Dad both had work that they wanted to get done before the weekend, so that worked out pretty well for them. I took care of Ethan and Ehlana while they did that; and we watched three of the Christmas cartoon classics – Frosty, The Grinch, and Rudolph. You may think that it’s strange to find out that I still love watching all of the Christmas shows even though my photographic memory does allow me to ‘replay’ anything, anytime I want – and in high-speed too. What’s really cool, though, is that those memories let me remember all of the first-time feelings too; and now I’ve also got brand new memories of that with Ethan and Ehlana. I wish everyone could keep those special moments the way that we can!

When we finished watching Rudolph, Ethan and Ehlana were ready to be nursed and put to bed. I helped Mom with that, and then had a bedtime snack with her and Dad in the office before coming up to my room. I’ve multi-tasked some Jacuzzi time with my archive studying; finished the nightly email and entertainment checks; and will be sleeping within about a minute of finishing this journal entry – all of that done before eleven-thirty! Forty-eight and a half hours to Christmas; about t-minus twenty hours to inbound family arrivals; and let’s just call it twelve and a half hours until school’s out. The afternoon Christmas parties really shouldn’t count anyway!

Cassie's Journal - Dec. 21, 2011

I didn’t really think about it last year, but the rest of the town and even the Ridge River district can’t have very many people around during the school Christmas concert. The gymnasium was full, and the only way they’d have room for more would be if we moved the show over to the church sanctuary. Even Jacob and Miranda came to watch Jake, Stephanie, Rebecca, and Michael. Some of the stores – like Palmer’s and Emerson Computers were closed for a couple of hours while the parents were at the school. You’d never see that happen in a big city!

Mom and Dad brought Ethan and Ehlana with them, and Aunt Leanne and Claire closed the office so they could come along for the fun. We all did have fun too! The kids and teens that really loved getting to showcase their special talents had their chances to shine. Rowen and I were happy to mostly watch the action with the rest of the audience except for the few minutes we were on stage for the few minutes it took for our class performance.

My favorite parts of the concert were the skits, including the one that Jake and Stephanie did with some other teens; all of the songs that the school band played; and a few of the solo or group musical numbers that were done by some of the most talented kids and teens. Don’t take this anywhere it’s not meant to go (Aunt Leanne), but yes, I did think that the guitar and vocal performance by a certain classmate of mine was one of those favorites. I’m sure he got the musical gift from his father; though I hadn’t known until today that he was such a talented musician. He almost seemed embarrassed by the applause when he was finished; and other than getting hugs from his parents after the concert was over; he did his best to stay out of the spotlight that most of the other show ‘stars’ were basking in.

Before any witnesses that might read this in the future can file a complaint; yes, I did hug him, and he got razzed about it by his buddies. I also hugged at least a hundred other people this afternoon too, so don’t make a big deal about that either!

Rowen and I went home with Mom, Ethan, and Ehlana; and we helped her with getting them nursed before putting them down for a short nap. There was more baking to do after that, and Rowen helped out with that until going home for the night after her parents closed the store and picked her up on their way by. I was part of the baking team until bedtime; and have been working on my computer since getting changed and snuggling under the blankets with Mandy.

I kept the archive studying down to just over an hour, and it’s only a bit after midnight. There’s more work that I could do, but I’ve had enough for today. I don’t expect to get much rest this weekend; so an extra hour or two tonight and tomorrow night is probably a good plan too. It’s time to switch to hours on the holiday countdown. We’ve got seventy-two hours until Christmas (plus a few more hours until the Christmas morning wake-up calls); about forty-three or four hours until the family starts arriving for the weekend; and just over thirty-nine hours until school’s out for the holidays!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cassie's Journal - Dec. 20, 2011

Today was likely the last day before the holidays where we actually did any real lessons at school. Tomorrow’s the concert, and Thursday and Friday will mostly be play days – plus the class Christmas parties on Friday afternoon. The weather forecast had been for a bit of snow overnight and into this morning; but it didn’t get cold enough, and we only ended up with more rain. It’s not looking good for a White Christmas this year; but I’m still hoping!

Rowen was working after school, and I traded my usual Tuesday family business job for helping Mom with another few hours of baking and babysitting support. Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne came over for dinner, and we’d been hoping to have Grandma and Grandpa back at home by then; but their flight was delayed, and they didn’t get back to town until nearly eight o’clock. We took the family show on the road to their house; helped them get unloaded and settled in; and then had a long visit that included some fresh-baked treats and hot drinks. Mom nursed Ethan and Ehlana while we were there, and we stayed until nearly eleven before they finally ran out of steam and we went home again.

I’ve ended my night pretty much the same as yesterday. More archive studies; the email and entertainment check; and wrapping up with this journal entry. The only difference is that I’m calling it a night a half-hour earlier tonight – this morning. One more day, and I think I’ll start counting down the hours until our family will be here for the holiday weekend. (and two weeks for Violet!) The great news is that nearly all of these last few days and hours are going to be filled with fun and holiday cheer.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cassie's Journal - Dec. 19, 2011

After-school play time has been cancelled for the week; but Rowen and I did have our hair appointments with Vicky and Liz before she came home with me to hang out; and we both helped Mom with the work that mostly included baking and watching Ethan and Ehlana until dinnertime.

Rowen stayed for dinner too, and for the evening Magi lesson that Mom did with Uncle Adam and me. She was helping out with that by being our patient, and Mom showed Uncle Adam and I how to detect viruses, and then heal Rowen of the little flu bug that she’d just contracted sometime in the last day or so.

Patricia stopped by to get Rowen on her way home from the computer store, and she and Rowen stayed for our early bedtime snack and hot drinks before being sent on their way with treats to go for Owen and Patrick. Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne went home then too, and Mom and I moved on to do the bedtime routine with Ethan and Ehlana.

I’ve been in bed since shortly after getting the twins off to sleep; cuddling with Mandy, and working on my computer. Mom and Dad went to bed too, but I’m fairly sure that they haven’t been studying in the archives. Moving right along away from that thought, I read through the archives that Mom assigned Uncle Adam and I that related to our Healing lesson; caught up on the latest work that Uncle Adam had done on our Magi project; added a few notes that I had about that from the weekend; and wrapped up by spending some time doing some of the archive reading that I’d skipped over the past week.

How time flies when you’re having fun! It’s nearly one-thirty already, and past-time for me to shut down for the night – in more than one way. One day down; four to go until Christmas vacation!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cassie's Journal - Dec. 18, 2011

This is a weekend update. Rowen and I ended up with extra sleepover buddies, so my usual nightly routine wasn’t possible while Lindsay and Jessica were with us. That was a last-minute change in plans, but let’s go back and start with Saturday morning.

Tai Chi was the brief calm before the work storm. Breakfast was quick and on the fly as Mom, Dad, and I juggled getting ready for the day; taking care of Ethan and Ehlana; eating; and getting started on the work too. The weather forecast was for a beautiful weekend, though it was still fairly cool both Saturday and Sunday mornings. That worked out for Dad, Uncle Adam, and me when it came time to do the outdoor work at our houses and at Grandma and Grandpa’s place.

The outdoor fun was booked for the afternoon, and my jobs until lunchtime were split between house cleaning and helping Mom and Aunt Leanne with the baking. Just for the record, not everything about baking is fun. If you don’t believe me, go peel, pare, or otherwise prepare a peck of anything. A peck is a heck of a lot, and Mom and Aunt Leanne had piles of pecks to prep. The good news was that it wasn’t long before they decided that a little Magi power was in order; and they even turned it into a lesson for Ethan and Ehlana that kept them entertained until they needed to stop and have late morning naps.

Aunt Leanne was part of the work crew that went over to Grandma and Grandpa’s house after lunch. Mom stayed at home with Ethan and Ehlana to keep the cooking and baking going. We spent a bit over an hour there, then Dad, Uncle Adam, and I split the rest of our afternoon time working around both of our houses and yards. We brought Ethan and Ehlana out with us for a while, and though Dad and Uncle Adam were both working hard; I’m also fairly sure that Ethan hadn’t been the one to set up ESPN on his iPad so that they could at least listen to part of the first bowl game of the day.

We wrapped up for the day when it started to get dark, and I was sent off to get cleaned up first so that I could watch Ethan and Ehlana while Mom and Dad got ready to go out. Dinner was a small casserole that Mom cooked up along with a much larger one that would be part of one of the holiday weekend meals. There wasn’t much time to eat, and I took care of the cleanup with supervisory help from the twins. Alicia and her friends came over before Mom and Dad were ready to go out. (Their kids really don’t want to know what was taking them so long!)

Jessica, Ryan, and Sophia Bassett were dropped off first. Naomi was next, followed by Scott and Lindsay Faulkner. Rowen and Patrick were last; mostly because their parents were going to Sheldon’s with Mom and Dad. My bedroom and the lounge were playground central for the night. Patrick and Scott were happy to mostly ignore the girls and play their video games. They let four-year old Ryan watch them play too; but we – the girls – ended up having him play with us most of the time when the two older boys wouldn’t let him try to play the video games too.

Jessica and Lindsay wanted to play with Ethan, Ehlana, Sophia, and Naomi as much as they wanted to play with the games and toys we had ready for them. We all had a lot of fun with Naomi – especially now that she was constantly on the go. I could tell that Ethan and Ehlana wished they could keep up with Naomi; but crawling like a pro or toddling around while holding on to furniture or someone’s hands wasn’t something they were physically ready for yet; even though they could do more than they could show off in public. Naomi wanted to play with them, and with Sophia; so a lot of her crawling and walking was in pursuit of toys and other things that she brought back to her three little friends for all them to play with.

Alicia had the boys stop their gaming so that we could all watch a Christmas movie together. Jessica and Lindsay picked the new Barbie movie – A Perfect Christmas. That didn’t impress two out of four boys, but they were outnumbered and outvoted. Those of us who were paying attention also noticed that Patrick and Scott stopped complaining about the ‘chick flick’ choice not long after it started; and I’m sure that I heard at least one of them humming along to some of the songs in the show. I spent most of that time cuddling with Naomi; Rowen had Ehlana with her; and we had Jessica and Lindsay sitting with us for one big snuggle-fest.

After the movie, there was a long break while Ethan, Ehlana, Sophia, and Naomi were fed and put to bed. It was a bit crowded in Ehlana’s room, but we had the spare crib and Ethan and Ehlana’s playpen there to have enough room for Naomi and Sophia to be able to sleep until their parents stopped in to pick them up. Rowen helped out with that while I helped out in the kitchen where we kept the rest of the kids busy with making up and cooking a batch of personal pizzas. They were ready by the time the four babies were tucked into cribs or playpen, and after polishing off their snacks, the boys went back to their gaming; leaving us to finish eating in relative peace – and with the cleanup too.

Ryan was sound asleep on the sofa by the time we got up to the lounge; and Alicia tucked him into bed in one of the guest rooms. Jessica and Lindsay were second and third to go; and they were put into my bed with Mandy. Rowen and I mostly hung out with Alicia and her friends until they sent Patrick and Scott off to get ready for bed shortly after midnight; and then we decided to get changed and go to sleep too. Even with my Queen-size bed, we were a bit crowded with our two little cuddle buddies; but we must have made an impression on the parents while we were sleeping, because we were all still in the bed when I woke up in the morning to get ready for Tai Chi.

I ended up exercising alone instead of waking Mom and Dad, and then I took care of a couple of diaper changes before Mom joined me in Ehlana’s room and I helped her get set up to nurse them. From then on, it was non-stop action. Jessica and Lindsay had been the only extra overnight kids, but they did manage to keep Rowen and I hopping as we all got ready for church and had breakfast in time to actually get to church for the start of the service.

We did manage to do that, and I was ready to sit down and catch my breath by the time Rowen and I sat down with her parents. That wasn’t a very long break, and then we were busy having fun with our Sunday school class until nearly eleven-thirty. With just seven shopping days until Christmas, and a lot of weekend visitors around the Ridge River district; most of the stores in town were open for the afternoon. That left Rowen free to spend the afternoon with me; and we were both recruited for more work around the house that mostly involved helping with the baking; but included another round of cleaning for the guest bedrooms that had been used by Patrick, Scott, and Ryan while they slept until being picked up by their parents.

Mom and Dad had Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne to play with them too, though they left for home at the same time Rowen did; having dinner plans with his parents, grandparents, Aunt Deborah, and Nick.

Ethan, Ehlana, and I had Magi lessons after dinner while Dad hid in the office to get ready for work in the morning. Between then and now, we collectively had four baths in three Jacuzzi sessions; Ethan and Ehlana were nursed, changed, and put in bed; and Mom and I had our bedtime snack with Dad before she sat down to work on her computer for a while, and Mandy and I came up to bed. The entertainment check didn’t take long, but I had a few email to catch up on.

The highlights were the family Christmas recaps that both Dawn and Violet sent me. They’d spent the day with Aunt Melissa’s family, and it sounded like they’d all had a fun, hectic day. I’m sure that you can guess how excited Violet is about being just five sleeps away from coming to spend two weeks with us – and with Dillon. Mom and I really only have one family Christmas – it must be crazy to have four like Violet will have including the one today; ours, one with Dillon’s family; and the Rice family Christmas on New Year’s Day.

Anyway, I’m going to skip another archive study session and get a bit of extra sleep. With just five days left to the holidays; I’m going to need it!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cassie's Journal - Dec. 16, 2011

Our last dinner and a movie night of the year was today’s highlight. Rowen had other family plans with the grandparents, so she wasn’t able to come; but everyone else was here, and we’ve had a lot of fun.

I helped Mom with Ethan and Ehlana after school while she worked on dinner and some baking that she had on the go; though we mostly stayed in the kitchen too so that we could talk with her and offer free taste-testing services. Aunt Leanne came over straight from work, and Uncle Adam, Aunt Deborah, and Nick joined us after closing the clinic for the weekend.

The dinner chat was mostly about the weekend plans, and though there was a lot of work to be done; Mom, Dad, and most of their friends were going to a Christmas party at Sheldon’s on Saturday night, and Ethan, Ehlana, and I were particularly interested in the babysitting plans that had been set up for the night. Alicia and her friends had been hired again; and would have a total of eleven kids. Since we were only going to have a couple of days until Christmas after getting out of school for the holiday; Aunt Leanne had also let me know that we had hair appointments with Vicky and Liz for Monday afternoon; though their appointments were before classes ended for the day, while Rowen and I would be going there straight from school. With Grandma and Grandpa coming home on Tuesday, the school concert on Wednesday afternoon, and a lot of work to fit in around the fun; we were all going to be in for a very busy week.

Since Dad was still on the road, and the boys were outnumbered; it was girls’ choice for the movie. We picked ‘A Princess for Christmas’, and though it is a total chick flick, our boys managed to survive; helped out by generous doses of cuddles, hugs and kisses from their favorite girls. I’d have felt bad about not picking something that they’d like better, but I was reminded all day by the boys at school that the football bowl season starts tomorrow; and that means that we’ll have a bit over three weeks of nearly daily testosterone overload.

Dad got home when we were about three-quarters of the way through the movie after being held up in Crystal Springs because of a worse than usual traffic snarl. We took a break while helping to get his luggage from the truck and drink and snack refills before settling in to finish the show. Ethan and Ehlana needed some extra time with Dad, so it was nearly eleven by the time we said goodnight to our guests and went upstairs for the night. Mom and Dad are taking care of getting Ethan and Ehlana nursed and off to sleep now; and I’m already changed and snuggled in bed with Mandy. I’m writing this and checking my email, but it’s going to be a long, busy weekend; so I’m going to skip the archive study that I should do tonight. I’ll just have to put in a bit more time on that next week. Don’t do an archive search on that – I’m sure that those famous last words have been written into my journal a lot over the years. Sometimes I even actually get around to finding time for that extra work!

Cassie's Journal - Dec. 15, 2011

I haven’t really written about any specific Christmas fun at school in my journal this year, but there is something going on pretty much every day now. Rowen and I aren’t doing anything special for the Christmas concert next week, but every class does have to do a song, skit, or something for the show; and our class has had a handful of practices to get ready for the little medley that we’re going to be singing; including the one we had today. Learning the music was easy enough for me, but if the boys in the school choirs and theatre groups act like the boys in our class do during practices, I have no idea why any girl would ever volunteer to join!

There’s been plenty of real class work going on around the Christmas fun; though a lot of Mrs. Warren’s lessons do have holiday themes too. Even with the occasional irritation from goofing off boys, we mostly had a great day, and I had more than a little Christmas cheer going on that continued while I worked on my homework and a handful of family business projects after school. Mom had Alicia helping her after school, and tonight, she stayed for supper and then came to the Inn with us for game night too.

Rowen met up with me there, and since this was the last game night until the New Year; Miranda and Jacob made it a bit of a Christmas party too. Miranda definitely was feeling the Christmas spirit when she and Mom earned the senior game Championship bragging rights for the rest of the year. I’m glad they had fun with that, but for Rowen, me, and most of the kids and teens, it was the awesome, Olde Bakery Christmas treats that were the best part of the night.

Mom and I were on our own to get Ethan and Ehlana nursed and off to sleep after getting home a bit later than usual. They were still a bit fired up, so that took a while to answer all of their usual post-outing questions and get them settled down, but eventually we tucked them into their cribs; and then we went downstairs to work in the office for a while. That’s ended up being a bit more than two hours, and I’m doing this while Mom is finishing up her work. That’s all of the family business work I’ll be doing this week, but that’s mostly because we’ve got our dinner and a movie night tomorrow, and then we’ll be busy all weekend with getting ready for Christmas – including a lot of cooking a baking; housework; and getting Grandma and Grandpa’s house ready for when they get home next Tuesday.

It’s going to be crazy, and I’ll love every minute!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Book Series - The Catalyst Chronicles

The Catalyst is Born, the first book in The Catalyst Chronicles Series, was published at Smashwords today; and is available for just $0.99.

The Catalyst is Born
Cats rule the world, but a battle rages between those of us who would care for, and protect, our planet; and the dangerous and arrogant few who would dominate, exploit, and ultimately destroy everything in their pursuit of power and wealth.  Long ago, a prophecy promised that at a time when our need was greatest, a human child would be born with the power to save us all.  That time has come.

Please check out The Catalyst is Born.  A sample of the book is available for free download.  I hope you enjoy this new series as much as the Heirs of the Magi books!

Cassie's Journal - Dec. 14, 2011

Okay, I’m officially tired tonight. It’s after one again, so that’s probably not surprising.

We had a busy, fun day at school, and then Rowen and I pretty much had a repeat of Monday except that she went home after dinner instead of doing a lesson with me. Mom did have a Transmutation lesson for me, which we did while Aunt Leanne took care of Ethan and Ehlana. She came over to hang out with us while Uncle Adam and Aunt Deborah were working at the clinic, and she and Mom also spent some time working up their holiday baking and meal plans for the Christmas and New Year holiday weekends.

Uncle Adam stopped in for a visit before taking Aunt Leanne home, and I helped Mom with Ethan and Ehlana until they were happily sleeping in their cribs. I’ve been on my computer since then, and just like last night; it was the archive studying that’s done me in. Thursday is another after-school work day, but at least we’ll have game night at the Inn too. Anyway, that’s all for now – catch you again later tonight or tomorrow.