Friday, March 30, 2012

In Which I Learn My Daughter Does Not Test Well

"I like being told what to do."
-Laura Roecker, Middle Child, survivor of Lisa Roecker's incessant bossy pants machinations

My daughter Mia was born to be a middle child. She spent the vast majority of her first year on this earth alternating between screaming her head off and warding off a variety of illnesses that inevitably landed us in the emergency room at 3 AM. She was born with a smooshed nose which led doctors to theorize that she didn't move much in utero, a theory further proven when she failed to crawl until she was 13 months old. Her complete lack of mobility lead to physical therapy appointments that involved me sitting with Mia around a series of large plastic toys screaming at the top of her lungs while the therapist shouted at-home exercises for us to try at home. True to form, Mia stubbornly refused to participate in my half-assed attempts of home therapy. She started walking at 14 months and I'm pretty sure it was her way of giving the medical community the middle finger.

Since then Mia has continued to embrace her middle child syndrome. She accepts Jack's constant abuse with adoration. She follows around her younger cousin Lydia. Her favorite color changes every week based on what's popular with her friends at school. She trips over her own feet, she runs into glass doors and she screams whenever someone even looks at her the wrong way.

And yet, she remains the sweetest, most loyal little girl on the planet. All of her friends at school shout her name when she walks into the classroom and teachers who she hasn't seen in years rush up to say hello and tell her how much they miss having her in their classroom. As my husband is fond of saying, Mia is like a teacher's wet dream. She loves school, follows every rule and treats everyone with the kindness she wishes her older brother would show her.

So you can imagine our complete shock when we found out she failed her kindergarten entrance exam.

What's that you say? You didn't know they had entrance exams for kindergarten? Well, they do. And apparently they're like super hard. They ask things like colors, shapes, and even ask children to identify their body parts.

After we got the dismal results of this exam I happened to overhear this conversation between Mia and my husband:

Ken: So, how did you like your kindergarten visit?
Mia: Good.
Ken: Did you answer all their questions?
Mia: Yes, Daddy. The teacher said I did good.
Ken: Right, so what kind of stuff did they ask you?
Mia: I don't know.
Ken: Well, where's your elbow? Did they ask you that?
Mia: [Points to her knee]
Ken: Seriously, Mia? That's your knee, how do you not know this stuff?

Whenver I encounter Mia issues I've gotten into the habit of consulting with my very own Middle Child expert, one Laura Roecker.

Laura's response to this most recent debacle: "Oh poor, Mia! She just doesn't test well! Remember that time when I just randomly filled in all the bubbles on my California Achievement Test because my friend told me it didn't count toward my grade? Mom and Dad had me enrolled in remedial classes until high school after that."

Well, lucky for us this situation was easily resolved with Mia's preschool teacher calling the school. She feels strongly that Mia is ready for kindergarten.

In the meantime, I finally broke out the Operation game I bought the kids for Christmas. Mia will be able to identify her femur by the time I'm done with her.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

YA Scavenger Hunt - BRING IT!


HUGE day today. There's an epic YA Scavenger Hunt and we're FINALLY revealing the cover for THE LIES THAT BIND...but you'll have to find it first!

So...back to the Hunt. Here's how it works. There will be three loops. Blue, Yellow and Red. YOu can win 20 books on each loop for a total of 60 books! Or just do one loop and enter to win 20 books. Totally your call!

And we are TEAM RED! Any time you get lost in the hunt or a link isn't working you can click here to keep going.

Now, onto the fun stuff. Today for the hunt, we're hosting the HUGELY famous, NYT's Bestseller Colleen Houck. (You can't see me right now, but I'm totally breathing into a paper bag.) What's that you say? You live under a rock and you've never heard of Colleen and her amazing TIGER'S CURSE series? Well, let's take care of that right now, shall we?

About Colleen: Colleen is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, science fiction, and romance. Formerly a student at the University of Arizona, she has worked as a nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter for seventeen years. TIGER'S VOYAGE is the third book in the New York Times bestselling Tiger's Curse series. Colleen lives in Salem, Oregon, with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.

About TIGER'S VOYAGE: With the head-to-head battle against the villainous Lokesh behind her, Kelsey confronts a new heartbreak: in the wake of his     traumatic experience, her beloved Ren no longer remembers who she is. As the trio continues their quest by challenging five cunning and duplicitous dragons, Ren and Kishan once more vie for her affections--leaving Kelsey more confused than ever.

And now....(drumroll please)...Colleen's super secret, extra awesome content....

Hi Tiger Fans! Here is a short story I wrote set in the time before the curse happened. Enjoy!
YA Scavenger Hunt Exclusive: ARRANGED, a short story by Colleen Houck -

Our secret letter is G! You'll need it to help you unscramble the phrase to enter to win 20 books on the Red Loop of the YA Scavenger Hunt.

And click here to continue on the Hunt and visit the fabulous Claire Merle and even more super secret content. Who knows, maybe you'll even find the cover of THE LIES THAT BIND!
Happy hunting!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It's time to SLIDE!!!!!!!!

Happy book birthday to SLIDE by Jill Hathaway! Here are five reasons you must stop what you're doing and buy a copy of your very own right this very second.

5. Jill. She's as sweet as can be. There's nothing better than good things happening to good people.

4. The reviews. I see a star. And a glowing Kirkus review. And some amazing blurbs. Nicely done.

3. The sisters. Vee and her sister Mattie's relationship is really well-done. Nothing like sisters.

2. The pink hair. Another pink-haired detective on the prowl? Yes please.

1. The mystery! We're not gonna lie, we've kicked ourselves many, many times for setting out to write mysteries. It's not easy, guys. Not easy at all. Jill blows it out of the water.

To further celebrate the release, we are giving away our coveted advanced copy of this book. Leave a comment telling us why you want to read SLIDE and we'll give you the chance to win!


Monday, March 26, 2012

It's Monday, Let's Dance

There are moments in life where you just have to dance.

I'm not talking the kind of dancing you do at prom. Or at weddings. Or even at bars after 3 shots of tequila.

This is the kind of dancing you do at 11:39 PM on a Sunday night when everyone in your house is fast asleep.

The kind of dancing where you spin around in circles until you're dizzy. The kind of dancing where you jump around so much your stomach cramps.

The kind of dancing that reminds you that you're alive and it's spring time and Mad Men is back on the air and your kids are still young enough to giggle at Ms. Piggy eating donuts in the new Muppet movie.

The kind of dancing you do to remind yourself that there are a lot of little random things that make you happy every single day.

If you want to dance like that, I highly recommend this song.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tell The Truth Tuesday

1. Laura has talked the entire Roecker clan into doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred.

2. This brings back memories of doing Tae Bo with my mom and dad in our basement.

3. She had me at Shred.

4. I spent all night researching recipes for our diet plan.

5. And then I ate an entire bag of salt and vinegar chips.

6. This is not going to end well.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I Suck

So, I've been pretty much the worst blogger ever lately. I could rattle off about a billion different excuses for my absence, but it would all be very depressing and I'm so not in the mood for depressing.

Honestly, I've spent the last few weeks holed up, watching trashy TV, telling anyone who will listen that I want everyone to sit shiva for me when I die just like in a Jonathan Tropper book. Oh, and I've been making lots of inappropriate comments at solemn events, because if there's one thing I'm awesome at, it's inappropriate comments.

So, yeah. I'm focused on figuring out a way to channel all of my suck into some awesome blog posts and a killer revision. And I'm getting there. I really am. Life is too short to spend too much time pissed off at how unfair it is.

In the mean time please forgive me for being a terrible friend/blogger/writer/person/mom/wife/sister/woman. For better or worse, I'm sure I'll be back to my normal self sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A little happy

It's been a difficult couple of weeks. This just makes us happy. We need a little happy.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Live From New York it's Monday Night

LiLo had a rough go of it on SNL this week. There was a whole lot of cue card reading and uncomfortable non-funnyness. Honestly, she kind of phoned it in. On one hand I'm super proud of her for trying to get her career back on track, but if you're going to stage a mega comeback on SNL it's probably a good idea to memorize your lines. Ah, hindsight, sadly it's only 20/20 if you're not smoking crack.

Regardless, there was one AWESOME sketch that cracked me up. Particularly given little Lydia's obsession with princesses. Note to Andy Cohen - if you put this on the air, I would absolutely watch.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


It's dark in here. And cold and something just brushed against my arm. Lisa swears she felt a spider drop on her head and she's frantically shaking out her hair while sobbing uncontrollably. She asks me if I see it and I pretend to look but really just look away instead. She maneuvers herself into the fetal position and starts rocking while I shiver in the damp corner of our cell. I ask her if she thought to bring a jacket or a blanket or even a sweatshirt and she ignores me, pulling her dingy I-was-once-bright-white-but-now-I'm-sad-grey robe tighter. And then we're crying again, wondering when our next meal will be. Lisa clasps her fingers around her bony wrist, big, sad eyes pleading to make it stop. I shake my fist at the pure, unholy madness of our situation before dropping to the damp floor on bloodied knees.

Actually...I'm on my couch. But I haven't showered and I see a spider on the ceiling. And Lisa is wearing that robe. And crying intermittently.

Edits suck.

We will most likely be wallowing in this bottomless pool of desperate suckiness for at least two weeks.

Although Lisa is still making time to stalk Zillow and pin random decor ideas for her dream house on Pinterest. Go figure.

Anyway, we'll be back to our semi-regularly programmed nonsense as soon as we claw our way out. If you never hear from us again one of two things has happened:

1. Lisa finally sold her house and has quit writing to focus solely on her second career watching HGTV and performing half assed DIY jobs.

2. We got hungry in the pit of despair and ate each other.

Either way, don't waste any tears on us. We'll be in a better place.

Don't call this a comeback

So it’s been a minute. Or 10. Or truthfully more like 2,102,400. At least we think that’s how many minutes there are in 3 years, but let...