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I write novels, eat dark chocolate, raise three children, love my husband, scrub toilets, ignore the laundry, and love a good story, but hardly ever in that order.



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Saturday, October 31, 2009

My Treat

Are you in a sugar coma yet? My children are currently rappelling from ceiling to floor in the living room, only taking breaks to disco or do the Marcarena. I called my mom to ask about the combined six pounds of candy they harvested but she’d only giggle and say, “Haven’t you figured out that I’d throw half of it away while you were sleeping?” I’d feel violated but that idea is GENIUS.

Here are a few images from our week:

1. Our church hosts an enormous pumpkin party, complete with inflatables, costumes, games, a chemistry show, hay rack rides, bonfire---you get the drift. I volunteered one night. Guess where they put me?

That’s right. Security. I’m pretty sure it was because I’m super menacing and bouncer-ish. I was so primed and ready to bust people! You! Scooby Doo! Put down that extra Butterfinger! Stop right there, Hannah Montana in the bad wig! Shoes off in the inflatables! And listen, kid with fake blood and pretend appendages! Our flier specifically asked for NON-SCARY costumes. You get yourself home and change into Thomas the Train! Hup to!

The head of security, Dale, supported me in these efforts. Of course, he was wearing a turkey hat, so it was tough to respect those in authority over me.

End game: I didn’t get to bust ONE, SINGLE person. Everyone was so stinking nice and well-behaved. Maybe next year they’ll let me wear a headset, which is the clearest sign of power and a shoe-in for bust opportunities.

2. Happy end to scary eyeball incident: Mitch got glasses.

I defy you to find a cuter four-year-old human.

3. We tricked and treated. Our costumes:

The masked man (sans glasses) was Spidey/Mitch, who threw up a web sling to anyone in range. Thea, the bunny in the middle, seemed to be less enthusiastic about Halloween than her siblings. Also, her mother shoved her 14-month-old body into a 9-12-month costume. Third child. Ana’s current role models are high schoolers and Asians. All high schoolers are beautiful and all Asians are beautiful. If you are an Asian AND a high schooler, you should run for president. So Ana’s costume is officially called “Kimono Princess.” Unofficially, we call her Norwegian-Dutch But Aspiring Asian.

4. And what holiday would be complete without an appearance by Chuckles?

I also captured on video when Marc attempted to chase Chuck away with a broom. Marc came at the vermin only to be charged and eluded. Chuckles ran RIGHT TOWARDS HIM, around his legs and under the deck. “He’s a fullback!” Marc exclaimed, breathless. “It’s as if he trained for this, like a fire drill! He knew just what to do if approached by a man with a broom!” Unbelievable. I think he’s hibernating (Chuck, not Marc). My children are starting to think it’s normal to share one’s personal space with rodents.

Hope your own weekend was lovely. Here’s to “lost” candy that somehow finds its way to “Mom’s mouth.” I won’t tell if you don’t.

UPCOMING FUN THING: Have you heard of the group Mercy Me? They're coming to Des Moines November 7 and will have a meet-and-greet at Connxions Bookstore in Urbandale. I'll be there too, only I'm not famous. Stop by, but don't dawdle. The band's only there for 107 minutes, starting at noon.

FINDERS KEEPERS UPDATE: The boxes are shipped! The books looked great. Thanks to all the folks who are helping we out with this adventure. DON'T FORGET to send me your photo of Most Inspired Drop-Off and I'll enter you to win the Grand Prize-O-Rama of goodies and lunch on me. E-mail me at kimberly@kimberlystuart.com before December 1,2009, to be entered.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Eyeballs Are Creepy

Today is my birthday. I’m 34, which means I’m too old to get carded (and to be out late enough for that to apply, by the way) but too young to really be taken seriously when I talk about joint pain. In celebration of this day, which is also United Nations Day, for those of you in touch with Butros Butros Ghali, here are some tidbits I’ve learned after 34 years of hard living:

1. One should always wear a belt when doing yard work. It’s just the polite thing to do.

2. When in doubt, make a list, particularly for husbands and male children. Case in point: One morning this week, we were neck-deep in the before-school-hysterics phase. Do you know this phase? The one where everyone is running around in their p.j.s and not eating their breakfasts and then spill orange juice on the floor and, inexplicably, into their hair? We were in the hair part and I was trying to remember what Jesus would do. Cue screaming, this time Mitchell and coming from the living room. When I walked in, he was standing, holding his head with one hand and a very, lethally sharp pencil in the other.

Me: Mitch, did you hit your head?


Me: Honey, I can't understand you. What happened?


Me (sounding way more like mean old Herod than shepherdly Jesus): MITCH! USE ENGLISH WORDS RIGHT NOW!


(Translation: Mom, please help me! I know it's hard to believe, but I just stuck this pencil into my eye! No kidding!)

So we went to the eye people who are super nice and cornea-saving. But MAN, is it creepy to hear a man wearing what looks like spelunking equipment on his head say, "Yep, that's the tip of a pencil in there. But I think it's surface enough we won't have to DIG IT OUT." Then, with one look at the horror on my face, he added, "We have to do that sometimes."

When prompted, Mitchell explained why he had been pointing a sharp pencil at his eyeball, especially when we’ve covered the whole “Don’t-run-with-sharp-objects” discussion. “Mom,” he answered patiently, “I wasn’t running. I was jumping.”

So Number Two: When in doubt, make a comprehensive list, forgetting nothing, including “jumping.”

3. The swine flu isn’t really that bad. Also, I’m not supposed to call it “swine flu” because I live in Iowa and we’re very sensitive about pork.

4. Job was right.

The Lord gives….In mid-September, my dear friends Amy and Greg held their baby girl for the first time. Baby Kate was particularly celebrated. She is their third child but in between the last two, Amy lost three babies halfway through her pregnancies. THREE. But God was faithful to answer so many prayers and soon I’ll be able to kiss those chubby cheeks so long awaited.

…and the Lord takes away. This week, two sets of parents we know and love lost their children to untimely deaths. One child still in the womb, the other 29 years out, both beloved and gone in the wrong order of things. Marc and I ache for these friends, knowing well how it feels to collapse at the gates of heaven asking why, exactly, we were made to mourn, why our arms were empty, why God moves in mysterious, sometimes indiscernible ways.

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. At the risk of sounding trite, I know that I know that God’s name is to be blessed. And today I bless it. Thanks, God, for a great ride. You are good, even in, especially in times when we cling to You, beat Your chest with our fists, and crumple in a heap on Your lap. Thanks for creating me, protecting me, and pursuing me with Your love. Here’s to many more lessons along the way.

Friday, October 16, 2009


You people are amazing! I have a flooded inbox with a hearty army of volunteers for the Finders Keepers Project. All spots are filled! If you are perishing in your inmost being that you didn't e-mail in time, feel free to write me (kimberly@kimberlystuart.com) and we'll start a sub list. A sub list! I can't believe it! I feel like Sally Fields!

Or at least you like free books and I can take that. I could take it better if I had a jiggly perm like Sally's, but I'm still pretty strong.

I'll start sending out e-mails to those of you who volunteered this weekend and we'll get this party started.

Holy cats! Thank you, thank you, thank you for your overwhelming and speedy support.

Happy weekend, readers. And thanks. :)


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Finders Keepers

How are the wee, small hours treating you these days? Mine are busy. I’m annoyed to say that my mind needs to CHILL OUT when I lay me down to sleep but it, like everyone else in my house, needs to be told directions at least thrice before listening to Mama. My overactive-thinking mode really irritates Marc, or it would were he ever able to stay awake for more than four seconds upon hitting the pillow. I swear this is how it happens: Marc running around, brushing teeth, chatting about the day, being generally social. The MOMENT he lays his head down, his eyes go immediately bloodshot, closed, heavy, and he starts breathing like a man in a coma. DONE. OVER. No more conversation. The ONLY thing that can stir the man from slumber, is, well, inappropriate for my grandma to read (Hi, Grandma!).

So there I’m left to think, think, thinky-think. These days I’m thinking about how to get my novel STRETCH MARKS into the hands of people who would read it and like it, people in the market for a yummy fall read with laughter and tears, a faith-infused story that is NOT a sermon...Did you know that even in this fancy-shmancy age of technology and digital stuff, the number one reason a person buys a book is still because of a personal recommendation? Word of mouth. Plain and simple.

So what if I ask you to yap about the book? What if I make up some crazy, fun way to get the book out there, in your communities, to people who’d like to happen upon a good read? Here’s my idea, indebted in part to the lovely, witty author Amy Krouse Rosenthal:


1. You decide you like STRETCH MARKS. You are a nice person.
2. I send you a few books with my undying gratitude.
3. You keep one for yourself (the one signed to you or your Auntie Irma or whomever you choose).
4. You take the others and leave them in places prospective Kimberly Stuart readers hang out. The OB office, the cool emergent church down the street, a playgroup, the diaper section at Target, a park bench by a playground, etc.
5. You let me know by e-mail or post on Facebook or Twitter where you went, what happened, if you got to meet Oprah and slip her a copy, and so on.

6. If you are so inclined, send me a photo of your most creative drop-off and I’ll enter you to win a fantastic GRANDE PRIZE-O-RAMA, which will involve getting cool stuff in the mail and lunch on me.

Any takers? My publisher has been kind enough to send books for this very purpose, but once they’re gone, they’re gone. So e-mail me at kimberly@kimberlystuart.com right this very second if you’re interested. Fun, free book, a giveaway, and the chance to accost Oprah. What could be better?

Thanks, dear readers. I can feel myself sleeping better already.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Grinnell Signing Tonight!

If you're within 100 miles and looking for a great pick-me-up on a rainy Friday, give the high school bleachers a night off and come to a cozy indie bookstore in downtown Grinnell! I'll be signing books at Stepping Stones from 5 to 7 p.m. and would LOVE to see you there. Remember, if you show up and mention the blog, I'll slip you a free copy of ACT TWO (purchased by me, not by Mindy, the store owner. I know the Ten Commandments, people.). Then you can buy a copy of STRETCH MARKS for your neighbor or your kid's teacher or yourself, dagnabbit!

Let's say you don't live within 100 miles and you still want to get a free book. Well, I have good news. My publisher, David C. Cook, is featuring STRETCH MARKS on their blog this week and will give away freebies if you enter by Sunday, October 4. Just another option for the deal-seekers among us (unnamed here but maybe blood relation to me).

Have a great weekend, folks. I have something VERY FUNNY AND POSSIBLY CAREER ENDANGERING to share in the coming weeks. Check back every now and again...