Category Archives: childrens books

Princesses

 

Watching Princess Kate on the “telly” with her impeccable manners, fantastic clothes, and her jet setting life style it’s hard for a girl not to think, wouldn’t it be grand to be a princess? Always perfect, always poised and pretty, but… what if you just aren’t that type of girl? What if you prefer messy spaghetti to neat finger sandwiches; and overalls to long gowns? Can you still be a princess?

I have two wonderful daughters. Two daughters, two girls, two VERY different people.

When my oldest daughter was little she was a princess loving freak! She wore dresses and tutus and loved anything that glimmered and shined. She watched Ariel and Jasmine and Belle over and over; beautiful (and overly priced) dolls littered the hallways and stairs of our home and she dreamed of one day actually living in her own giant, pink, plastic, elevator-equipped Barbie Dream house.

My younger girl…not so much. Most days it’s all I can do to get a brush through her hair, and she barely made it through one year of ballet class. This little girl spends much of her time being a Ninja warrior, and for her birthday this year she wants Legos (not the pink ones), an extra large plastic container of orange cheese puffs, and karate lessons (God help us).

 

 

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It takes all kinds of girls, and thank goodness for that.

So for my two girls, and for the millions of girls in this world, those that are quiet and those that are loud, those that are graceful and those that are not, those that dream of being princesses and those that already are, I wrote this little rhyming picture book.

 

 

 

SOME PRINCESSES

 

Some princesses wear high heels, shiny and new.

Some princesses wear flip-flops, or red running shoes.

 

Some princesses walk slowly, their heads held up high,

Some princesses like to skip, leap and soar to the sky!

 

Some princesses’ attend grand balls and waltz all about.

Some princesses rock the drums and totally jam out!

 

Some princesses play croquet, gently tapping the ball.

Some princesses play baseball, hitting one up, Up, UP…

and over the wall!

 

Some princesses eat sandwiches, with the crusts all cut off.

Some princesses crave tacos, or spaghetti with sauce.

 

Some princesses watch their manners and try not to slurp,

(but all princesses pass gas and ocasionally burp).

 

Some princesses’ dress in long gowns covered in jewels.

Some princesses wear overalls, with pockets for tools.

 

Some princesses have hair that’s always shiny and neat.

Some princesses have hair that just FREAKS out in the heat!

 

Some princesses make a mess, and have maids put it all away on a shelf.

Some princesses have moms that say, “Princess, go clean that mess up, YOURSELF.”

 

Some princesses have brown skin, some freckly, some fair.

Some princesses wear eyeglasses, some use a wheel chair.

 

Some princesses may be quiet, while some are quite bold,

but all girls are princesses, with hearts spun from gold.

 

It’s true.

 

No matter who they are or what they like to do;

ALL girls are princesses, especially,

 

Girls.

Just.

Like.

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Anne Sawan 2014

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March Madness and Three Little Pigs

So we are all into March madness over here, both the basketball kind and the kind brought on by prolonged winter cabin fever.  Lucky for me, Susanna Leonard Hill is sponsoring a March Madness writing contest to help alleviate some of the boredom and restlessness that has settled into my brain. This one requires a 400 word max fractured Fairy Tale. thIt’s all just for fun (and a few great prizes) so give it a try, you just might get hooked!

http://susannahill.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-march-madness-writing-contest-is.html

Inspired by almost-true events:

Go outside Three Little Pigs!! 

Once upon a time there were three little pigs.

Three little, lazy pigs that just sat around all day and did nothing but play video games.

Until, one sunny day when Mama Pig decided she couldn’t take it anymore.

“That’s it!” She said, pointing to the door. “I have had enough! Go. Out. SIDE!”

“What?” said the First Pig.

“You want us to go out… there?” said the Second Pig.

“But, there’s never anything to do outside.” complained the Third Pig.

Mama Pig threw open the door.

“Have an adventure! Use your imagination! Just go outside, NOW!”

So the three miserable, lazy pigs went outside.

“It’s sooo hot out here,” moaned the First Pig.

“I’m sooo bored,” whined the Second

“I miss my video games,” cried the Third.

A dark shadow crept slowly along the fence.

“Little pig, little pigs, let me in,” whispered a deep, gravely voice.

“The wolf! Mom! Mom!” The three pigs banged on the door.

“Go away,” said Mama Pig from inside the house.

The three pigs stared at one another.

“Quick!” said Pig Number One. “To the straw pile!”

The three pigs ran across the lawn and burrowed their way into the middle of the straw.

“Ha!” laughed the Wolf. “Do you really think that measly house made of hay is going to keep me away? I am going to huff and puff…”

The three pigs dug as fast as they could through the back of the straw pile.

“To the tree house!” yelled the Second Pig.

The three pigs clambered up the ladder to the tree house and slammed the door shut.

Snap!

A branch snapped, and then another, and another.

Snap!
Snap!

Suddenly through the wall came the wolf’s furry head, his red, beady eyes and his pointed teeth.

“Really, a house made of sticks?” He snarled.

The three pigs quickly threw themselves out of the treehouse, landing one by one with a thud on the dirt below.

“Over there! Behind that brick wall!” yelled Pig Number Three.

The three pigs scampered behind the wall but they knew it was no use;

sharp claws soon crept over the rocks…

“Help! We’re doomed!” They cried.

“Pigs! Oh, Pigs, time for din-ner!” Yelled Mama Pig.

“Awww, already?” said Pig Number One.

“That was way more fun that video games!” Said Pig Number Two

“Sure was.” Said Pig Number Three. “See you tomorrow Wolf?

“See you tomorrow Pigs.”

Do You Believe In Magic?

I am in a really bad mood today. Don’t know why, maybe its the never-ending pile of snow outside my front door. Maybe it’s because the door on my car was frozen shut when I went to drive the kids to school.  Maybe it’s because I had zero gas in my car once I finally opened the car door and then had to stand out in the snow and wind and freezing rain to fill my tank. Whatever the reason, I am not in a good mood. So on the advice of my sister I am headed to HomeGoods to buy something with a starfish on it and then I am going to bake a cake. A chocolate cake. In the meantime here is a little story I wrote about a girl who woke up in a bad mood, and the help she gets from her brother to turn it around, because sometimes all it takes is a little, fun, child-like magic…(and sometimes it takes HomeGoods and chocolate cake)

Harry’s Magic

 

Eliza woke up on the wrong side of the bed,

her hair all askew, her eyes seeing red.

She didn’t know why but she felt angry and mad;

her insides felt twisted, and crinkly and bad!

Her head was all groggy, her lungs full of steam;

she wanted to shout, she wanted to scream!

She put on her shoes and downstairs she clomped,

Each step getting louder: stomp,

STomp,

STOmp,

STOMp

STOMP!

 

“Hello!” Called her brother,“ What’s that? Whose out there?

Is a there a dinosaur in the house?  A monster? A bear?”

“No, Harry, it’s me,” Eliza said with a growl.

“I woke up feeling grumpy, my mood is just foul.

I don’t want to laugh or smile or play.

I just feel like yelling, so stay out of my way!

I am furious, irate, annoyed and quite fuming.

I feel like a beast, like something not human!”

 

“A beast!”  Harry said. “Well, I can fix that!

Quick, bring me my wand, my cape and my hat!

I will drive out that fiend! I will shatter that curse!

I will make you a potion before it gets worse.”

 

“Now, let’s see…

First, I will need the dog’s chew bone, then some old bubble gum,

three hairs from a hairbrush and an earring from Mum.

A sock that is smelly, a Band-Aid that’s new,

a crayon that’s green and dad’s left running shoe.

Some Halloween treats, an old boiled egg,

a button from your sweater, a scab from your leg,

some bologna that’s slimy, an elephant with wings,

three rotten apples and a dolly that sings.”

 

Eliza reached under sofas and reached under chairs,

she peered into closets, and ran up and down stairs.

She pulled back the curtains and opened the drawers,

she climbed into the bathtub and searched behind doors.

She gathered it all, the old and the new,

the smelly, the gross, the slimy, the chewed.

 

“Let’s go!” Harry said, throwing open the door.

“Outside! We aren’t done, there is still a lot more!

We must search all around and find all that we need,

like that slippery worm! Quick! Over there, by that weed!

Next a butterfly, then some flowers: both yellow and red,

a grasshopper and a rock from under the shed.

Wild goose feathers, and a jumping bull frog,

a nut and a twig and some moss from that log.”

 

So, Eliza ran and jumped and climbed into the trees,

she crept through the bushes on her hands and her knees.

She gathered it all up and put it into a pail.

“And lastly,“ said Harry, “one teeny-weeny snail.”

 

Eliza searched and searched until at last she found one.

“There!” She said, “Is that it? At last, are we done?”

“Almost,” said her brother, slowly stirring his brew.

“But there is just one more small thing I still need you to do.

You must jump! Dance! Leap! And sing out a song!

And when you are done, that beast will be gone.”

 

Eliza growled and groused, but did as he said,

singing sort-of-a song and barely nodding her head.

She gave one leg a slow shake and the other a jiggle,

she wiggled her backside and then… she started to giggle.

Huh?!

 

Eliza’s eyes grew round, her mouth opened wide.

“Harry,” she whispered.  “I feel different inside.

I am no longer crabby, or mean, or a beast!

I feel silly, elated and not mad in the least!

All gone are my monsters, my meanies, my pout,

I just feel like singing and dancing about!

I feel crazy and happy! I’m Eliza! I’m me!

Oh, thank you! You did it! You set my fun free!”

 

“You’re welcome,” said Harry, with a wink and a bow.

“My magic always works and I’ll tell you how.

First you conjure up some sillies, then stir in some fun,

give a hip and a hop and… ABRACADABRA! It’s done!

Because no beast can survive, no grumpies will stay,

if you just let a little Harry-magic into your day.”

I Love You!

       Happy Valentines Day everyone! Here is a small, silly, rhyming children’s book I wrote for my kids about all the ways in which we can express and keep I Love You in our heads and hearts. Hope you like it and feel free to share it with those you love…especially if you love a publisher of children’s books 🙂                                                  safe_image.php

I Love You

I love you.

I love you.

I love you.

 

I can yell it out real loud,

or whisper it real low.

I can chant it, I can hum it,

I can tap it with my toes.

I love you!

 

I can holler it as I wiggle,

I can whistle it as I skip.

I can shout it as I jump,

I can shake it with my hips.

I love you!

 

I can say it in Chinese,

or how they do in France.

I can sing it hopping on one foot,

or while I do a crazy dance.

I love you!

 

I can quack it like a duck,

I can croak it like a frog.

I can spout it like a whale,

I can bark it like a dog.

I love you!

 

I can be a scary monster and say it with a growl,

or maybe with a grunt…

or a roar,

Or a HOWL!

I love you!

 

I can scratch it in the sand,

and scrawl it in the snow.

I can write it in the clouds,

and in the brown dirt down below.

I love you!

 

I can spell it with spaghetti,

or from carrots, or even peas!

I can scribble it in the bathtub

while I scrub my dirty knees.

I love you!

 

I whisper it in my bed

while I’m counting sheep,

and I see it in my dreams

when I’m fast asleep.

I love you!

 

I hear it in my head,

but I keep it in my heart

for those times when we’re together

and those times when we’re apart,

I love you.

I love you.

I love you.

Anne Sawan, 2014

Sweet Sand

Sweet SandIMG_1468

 

I went to the beach last week with my kids. After forcefully applying sunscreen to my two older boys they finally broke away and ran off, quickly gathering a group of kids for a wiffle ball game, while my five year old, Eliza, plopped herself down on the sand by the edge of the water and began digging.

Soon a stout little girl in a flowered bathing suit sidled up.

 

“Whatcha ya doing?” She asked.

“Building a mermaid castle,” my daughter replied. “Wanna help?”

“Sure.” The girl said, picking up a shovel, “I’m Ava.”

 

(Amazing: a bat and ball… a bucket of wet sand, apparently that’s all you need to spark a few friendships. We adults certainly have a lot to learn, or unlearn perhaps.)

 

The two little girls planted themselves not far from my chair and began to dig, chatting as they worked side by side: How old are you? Do you have a cat? How many teeth have you lost? Important stuff like that.

“My mom had a baby.” I heard Ava say as she flung a shovel full of sand into the air.

“Oh,” said my daughter, pouring a bucket of seawater into a hole.

“She’s my sister. Her name is Sophie. See?”

 

Ava pointed a few seats down to a woman sitting under a large umbrella with a baby sling wrapped protectively around her body.

 

“Do you remember being a baby?” Ava asked.

 

Eliza shook her head.

 

“Me neither,” said Ava, diligently digging. “But my mom said I was sweet.” She laughed, “She said that she ate a lot of sweets when I was growing in her tummy that’s why I came out so sweet. She’s so silly! What did you mom eat when you were in her tummy?”

 

I glanced up from my book, curious to hear my daughter’s reply.

 

Eliza shrugged, “I don’t know…Maybe mac and cheese?”

Both girls giggled.

 

The girls worked on, decorating their structure with broken shells and gathering some unsuspecting hermit crabs (excuse me, I mean mermaids) to occupy their castle but soon the tide began to creep in, the water splashing at the walls of sand until at last the mermaid castle crumbled. The girls shrieked as the shells swirled about on the beach and the freed crabs all quickly scurried away.

 

After a brief lemonade and snack break the girls recovered from their loss and happily skipped off to swim together in the ocean.

It was a good day.

 

Later that night back at the beach house after a dinner of charred hamburgers, a trip to the local ice cream shop, and an evening full of silly cartoons I laid down, exhausted, in bed next to Eliza, bits of sand scratching away at my legs and back. Blasted sand, I thought, always sneaking into the house no matter how much I insisted everyone rinse their feet with the hose, use the outdoor shower and leave their flip flops at the door. I tossed and turned trying to get comfortable.

 

Eliza rolled over, flinging her tanned arm across my chest and pushing her nose against mine.

 

“Mom,” she breathed. “What did you eat when I was in your tummy?

 

My heart dropped.

 

“On the beach,” she continued. “Ava said her mom ate a lot of sweet stuff when she was in her tummy and that’s why she’s so sweet. So… what did you eat?”

 

“Well…” I took a deep breath, giving a futile swipe at the sheets, trying to brush the irritating sand away, down, onto the floor. “You were never in my tummy remember? You grew in someone else’s tummy.”

 

“Oh, yeah…right.”

 

There was a long silence then as we lay there together in the bed listening to the soft whir of the overhead fan, little pieces of sand poking insistently at our legs, our backs. Invisible bits that never seemed to leave no matter how hard I tried to sweep them up and toss them away.

 

“Mom?”

“Yes?”

“I think you ate a lot of sweets too.”

 

I held her close.

“Me too sweetie. Me too.”

 

 

The Playground

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As the weather improves I have been frequenting the playground with my youngest daughter and every time I am there I see parents chatting away on their phones as their kids play and I think to myself, “I wish there was a No Cellphone sign here.” One of those signs hanging on the fence with a picture of a cell phone on it and a big black X through it. Perhaps just a gentle reminder to all of us to hang up and play, run around, be silly.

It seems to me that cellphones have taken over our lives!  We can’t seem to be without one for five minutes and it really is so ridiculous. I know it is hard to believe but I survived a good portion of my life without a cell phone and whats-more my parents never had a cell phone and they not only survived but they managed to raise twelve fairly normal kids! How did they do that?

Believe me, I am not lecturing, I am just as bad as the next person. If I am in my car (or on the playground) and suddenly realize I don’t have my cell phone my heart rate skyrockets. Oh no! What if someone is trying to reach me and I’m not available?! What if there’s an emergency? What if my son stubs his toe at school or my oldest forgot her homework, or my friend calls to tell me about some juicy gossip from the book club that I missed? Breathe, breathe. How far away am I ? Should I go back and get it?

Okay, seriously, how many true emergencies happen to you in one day? Or one week? Unless you’re a brain surgeon or the CEO of Google do you really need to be available at all times to everybody?

I sort of miss the days of going to the playground B.C. (before cell phones) because back then, any news, any “emergency”, any gossip would just need to wait. I simply wasn’t available. I was busy. At the playground. With my kids.

THE PLAYGROUND

You said, “Let’s go to the playground today.

We’ll spend some time together and have fun while we play.”

“Yippee!” I yelled, “I know just what we’ll do!”

And I ran to get my sweatshirt and find my left shoe.

First, we’ll swing high on the swings and go down the big slide,

then hang down from the bars and play “you search while I hide.”

“Hello? Where are you?”  You will say with a smile,

(Knowing exactly where I am, all of the while).

Then we’ll look up at the clouds and see funny things,

like a rabbit with pajamas and a bear that can sing.

We’ll dig holes in the sandbox and pour sand in the trucks,

then walk down to the pond and feed bread to the ducks.

But when we got to the park I knew it wasn’t to be,

because the first thing you did… was sit under the tree.

“Go and play.”  You said, “I’ll just make one quick call.

It won’t take but a moment, really, no time at all.”

So, I tried a few cartwheels and a front forward roll

went to the sandbox and dug a huge hole.

I called, “Look at this!” to you as you sat,

but you just turned away, caught up in your chat.

You sat over there yakking away on your phone

leaving me to play, by myself… all-alone.

So, I glanced up to the sky but saw nothing there,

no silly cloud animals, just blank, empty air.

I climbed the tall climber and tried out a new trick,

then I sat on the swing and gave a few little kicks.

And after a while you yelled, “Com’on! Time to go!”

and I walked to the car; my head down, my feet slow.

And as you buckled me in, you said, “Oh, what a great day!

I’m so glad that we came to the playground to play.

Wasn’t it fun, but, boy, it went by real fast,

I wish I could find a way to make these special days last…”

Anne Sawan 2013

When Santa Was Small

Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays, whatever suits you.  It has been a hard week for this country.  A week full of grief and sadness.  I have no new words to share, no pearls of wisdom about this great loss; I just thought I would publish this small story I wrote to help spread some cheer. A story about Santa.  A story to remind us all about childhood and the fun and the mischief we got into.  Have a great holiday and hold your kids close, but also hug those adults you love. They were once kids too.

DSCN2373When Santa Was Small

T’was the night before Christmas, the kids tucked in tight,

all drifting off to sleep on a cold winter’s night,

with dreams of Santa Claus dancing through their heads,

and the gifts they would find when they sprang from their beds;

wind up robots, sparkly dolls and chocolaty sweets,

new books, bouncy balls, and shiny skates for their feet!

All except George, who sat up straight in his bed,

while visions of black coal filled up his head.

His eyes were big and round, his lips all a quiver,

his legs starting to shake, his body to shiver.

Was it real what he heard? Was it all true?

Santa could see everything that you do?

Like the time he told his mom he ate three cookies but really had four,

or when he taped “You have cooties!” to the girls’ bathroom door…

What about last week when he threw a spitball during lunch,

then kept throwing more, until he had thrown a whole bunch!

George slid down under his covers and hid.

There would be no presents now! Santa saw what he did!

Then his mom walked in and switched on the light,

“What’s wrong George?” She asked. “Something not right?”

George pulled back the blankets, poked out his head,

cleared his throat, took a gulp and quietly said,

“Mom, do you think Santa was ever just a young boy, like me

a boy who worried he might not find a present under the tree?

Do you think Santa ever sat in school, trying so hard not to wiggle,

but then his mouth started to twitch, and his legs started to jiggle?

At lunch did he gobble up his Jell-O, but not his fish sticks or peas,

and did he have to be reminded to say thank you and please?

Do you think he ever passed gas or let out a HUGE burp?

Did he drink his milk fast, through a straw, with a slurp?

Did he leap off the bus with a rip and roar

run up the steps and throw open the door?

Did he holler and jump, sprint and dash all about

until his big sister yelled, “Mom!” and his mom said, “Go out!”

Do you think Santa went out to skate on the ice

spinning and showing off,  then falling down…twice?

Mom, do you think Santa tried to be good, but sometimes was bad…

acting up, yelling out, driving everyone mad!

George’s mom smiled, kissed the top of his head,

pulled up the covers, fluffed his pillow and said,

“You know what I think…I think Santa did,

all of those things because he was once a kid.

A kid filled with sillies, with love and with joy,

a kid who made mistakes, like any small boy.

I bet… after Santa fell, his sister helped him back up,

and gave him hot chocolate in his favorite cup.

Then his mom made him a warm bath all full of bubbles

to help him unwind and forget all his troubles.

I think Santa sat and soaked ‘til he was shiny and clean,

and then brushed his teeth ‘til they glistened and gleamed.

He went and found his favorite pajamas with feet

and slid into his bed under soft, cozy sheets.

I think Santa’s dad read him a book and gave him a kiss,

and said, “Go to sleep now, little Saint Nick.”

Then his mom shut the door, leaving on one hall light,

whispering softly, “And don’t let those jingle bugs bite!”

And as he laid in his bed, I think Santa looked to the sky,

and dreamed about flying in a sleigh way up high…

with eight magic reindeer and hundreds of presents with bows,

zooming and zipping through the white Christmas snow.

So yes, I think Santa was once a just a boy,

a boy full of mischief and sillies and joy.

And I think he remembers what its like to be young.

all of the hard stuff and all of the fun,

because Santa, like you, was once little and small,

and Santa knows being a kid, well, that’s the best gift of all.

Anne Sawan 2012

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2012: Off And Running And Writing.

2012! Wow! How did that happen? Weren’t we all supposed to die about a million times already from some sort of apocalyptic disaster? I think there is one happening this year as well.  So this might just be it, the real end.  Better go live your dreams, make your wishes come true; eat that chocolate cake before we all explode into a million microbes.

I had a great 2011. I felt like I made some strides in my writing, and want to thank you all very every much for your votes in the various contests I entered. I truly appreciated all the support and encouragement.

These writing contests remind me of the races I subject myself to every few months.  I run and run and run, maybe limping a bit a long the way, then come home proudly clutching the medal that shows I did in fact pay the entry fee for the race and my kids jump around, asking, “So, did you win?” To which I inevitably reply something like, “No, but I was the 200th runner over the line!”  They stare at me, sadly shaking their heads and place a sympathetic hand on my shoulder saying, “That’s okay Mom.” Or, more likely,  “Wow, you stink.”

Look, I know going into these races I am not going to win but I love them. I am hooked. They challenge me, give me something to put my energy into and inspire me.  I see the true athletes out there and I am in awe. These people are good! They train year round, living and breathing this stuff. Me…not so much.  In many ways these races are a lot like the writing contests.  They provide me with a goal, urging me on, daring me to learn from my mistakes and to strive to become perhaps a just a little bit better.  Afterwards when I read over my material, see my glaring errors and then read other peoples entries and see their genius I think: That’s it!  I am done, no more writing for me… then I get just a sliver of good news.  Just enough to keep me going…like two great things that happened this past week.

One, I received news from Adoptive Families Magazine that my book, The Very Best Day, was the most read printable article of 2011. That felt great! (Not exactly sure what it means.  Aren’t they all printable?  But hey, take what you can!) Now I just need a publisher…

And, two, my book A is for Adoption was published last week in the January 2012 issue of Adoption Today. So all and all, a good end to 2011 and off to a running start in 2012.

I am placing a link to Adoption Today below, but I know some people have had trouble accessing it, so I will include a copy of A is for Adoption as well.

Now here is a quick disclaimer about the book. The book is narrated by a girl named Anna, which some people, including my own children, found a bit confusing given the makeup of my family (my oldest is named Anna).

Teddy: “Wait! Anna is adopted too?”

“No, Anna is not adopted. Eliza is adopted.”

Harry: “You never told us Anna is adopted!”

“Because she’s not.”

Teddy: “Am I adopted too?”

“No!”

Eliza (crying) “Wahh! I want to be adopted like Anna.

“You ARE adopted. Anna is NOT Adopted.”

Teddy: “Are you sure I’m not adopted?”

Challenges!

I hope you all have a good, healthy, and happy New Year.

http://www.bluetoad.com/publication/?i=95083&p=38

A Is For Adoption

A is for Anna, that’s me! What’s you name? When you see the first letter of your name in this book shout it out!  A is also for adoption. I’m adopted, are you? Adopted means your birth parents couldn’t care for you and your parents really, really wanted you so they made you a part of their family, forever.  Some people are adopted when they are babies and some when they are older. Some kids are in foster care first, and some aren’t.  How were you adopted? What’s your story?

B is for birthday.  I have a birthday party every year to celebrate the day I was born.  This year I want a chocolate cake with rainbow sprinkles and a HUGE piñata. B is also for birth parents, the man and woman that made you but couldn’t raise you. B is also for brother. I have three. They like to wrestle, look for worms and play baseball.  Sometimes they let me play with them, sometimes they don’t. Do you have any brothers? Do they live with you? Do they look for worms?

C is for cookie.  Everyone knows that!  C is also for caseworker, some people call them adoption workers or social workers.  A caseworker is the person who watches over kids before they are adopted and makes sure they get to the right family.

D is for Daddy. I love my dad. He takes me on bike rides, and buys me ice cream.  I also have a birth dad. I never met mine. Do you have a dad? What do you guys like to do together? Do you know your birth dad?

E is for eternity. Eternity means forever and ever, which is how long I am going to be a part of my family.

F is for Family.  My family has a mom and a dad and three brothers and a sister and two dogs and a turtle and some fish.  My friend Lizzy has two dads, one brother and a cat and Jay has a grandma and that’s it.  All families are different.  What is your family like?

G is for Gecko, which are the only lizards that make noise. They live where is it warm. They have nothing to do with adoption, unless… are you from a warm place? Did they have geckos there? I hope I get one for my birthday. That would be cool!

H is for Happiness.  Happiness is love, fun, friends and families…. oh, and Disney World, of course!

I is for I love you. That’s it.

J is for jumping, juggling and jogging.  J is a fun letter! J is also for Judge. A judge needs to say it is okay for your parents to adopt you. I had to go with my family to a judge when I was a baby. I saw a picture of us all in our dress up clothes.  The judge wore a black robe and was holding this hammer thing called a gavel. Everyone was smiling.  Some kids go to the court when they are older.  Do you remember going to see the judge?

K is for knowledge.  That’s a big word that means to know or learn stuff, like who you are, where you are from, what your adoption story is.

L is for life and learning and love.  My birth mom and birth dad gave me life, so I could breathe and eat and swim and run, so they are really special.  Learning is important because you need to learn about who you are, where you came from, and then there is learning in school like how to read and do math. Love is the best.  I love my mom and my dad and my brothers and sisters and friends and pets and teachers and cousins and grandparents and…whew! That’s a lot of love!

M is for Mom.  I love my mom; she plays with me and likes to read to me.  What do you like to do with your mom? I know there is another person out there who is my birth mom, but I didn’t know her. I am glad she had me though, or I wouldn’t be here! Do you know your birth mom?

N is for Naked mole rats. They are small rodents who live in underground colonies in Africa. They have large teeth that stick out that they use to dig. They have very little hair and have wrinkled pink or yellowish skin. They are really funny looking and have absolutely nothing to do with adoption, unless…are you from Africa? Maybe you have seen one?

O is for open.  Open means you can talk about anything and not be scared or embarrassed to ask questions about adoption.  Your parents might not always know the answer, but they will try to figure it out for you.  Open also means something you forgot to shut, like the refrigerator door and then your mom will yell, “Who left the door open!”

P is for parents.  I have two, a mom and a dad. How about you? Parents get to make the rules like say what you can eat and where you can go, and tell you to do your homework, and stuff like that.

Q is questions. I have a lot! Like who were my birth parents? Why couldn’t they keep me? What did they look like? Where are they now? Why did the dinosaurs become extinct? How do fireflies light up like that? Do you have questions?

R is for rainbow.  Rainbows are cool and have so many different colors, just like people.  Some families look like rainbows because there can be all kinds of colors in one family: brown hair, red hair, blue eyes, green eyes, brown skin, tan skin, light skin with freckles.  If you line up your family maybe you can make your own people rainbow.

S is for super, stupendous and special!  I am all those things, super, stupendous and special, oh and my mom says I am silly. S is also for sister. I have one older sister.  She likes to play softball, swim and shop for clothes.  Do you have any sisters?  Mine is awesome, even though she doesn’t like me touching her stuff.

T is for together. Adoption is about being together as a family.

U is for Ultrasaurus which was a huge, long-necked dinosaur.  Their bones have been discovered in both South Korea and the United States.  They don’t really have anything  to do with adoption either, well unless you are maybe from South Korea or the United States. Are you?  Wouldn’t you love to ride on an Ultrasaurus!

V is for valuable.  Valuable means something that is desired or wished for or important.  My parents say all kids are valuable.

W is for wish.  My parents had a wish and it was me! I have a wish, to go to Africa and see a naked mole rat in action.

X is for Xenops, which are birds that live in South America and again have nothing to do with adoption, unless you are from South America, then, I suppose it could have to do with your adoption story.  Are you from South America?

Y is for yes! Yes I am adopted! Yes I love my family! Yes I am valuable! Yes I was wished for! Yes I have questions! Yes I want to see a naked mole rat!

Z is for zillion. I have a zillion more places to go, things to do and questions to ask.  Oh, yes, and I love my family a zillion times through.

Anne Cavanaugh-Sawan, 2012

MeeGenuis, you Genuis too?

Hi all! T’is the season to freak out! I am freaking out.  Just back from a great trip to Florida, and not one Christmas decoration has been dragged down from the attic, unwrapped or hung yet. I received my first Christmas card in the mail today, I haven’t even taken our photo yet! Somehow these things all manage to get done in time.  Thank God, Steve Jobs, Amazon and UPS for without them Christmas would simply just not happen here.

I do have a Christmas story I am going to post in a few weeks but first it is time for a holiday appeal, and the hope for a Christmas wish to come true.

Wouldn’t you like to make just one person’s Christmas wish come true? Guess what, you can! It takes no money and minimal effort on your part. I know everyone is tired and annoyed from the last writing contest I asked people to vote for, and believe me, no one is more tired of asking people to vote for them than me but… (you knew that was coming right?), I entered yet another writing contest so if everyone just goes and votes for my two books I can stop these annoying and rather embarrassing pleas for help.

A company called MeeGenuis, which publishes and markets online books for children, put out this contest.  I tried a few of their books out on my youngest and she liked them, so their marketing ploy has already worked for them with at least one consumer. I entered two books into this contest, and if I win I not only get my book published but the local school library gets a free library of ebooks for a year. Pretty cool, right? So please, take a break from the Christmas hubbub. Make yourself a cup of cocoa with creamy marshmallows melting over the top, sit down by a crackling fire, put your tired feet up and vote for me.  That’s all I want for Christmas…oh yeah and world peace, of course. Thanks guys!

Oh, here is the link, see how easy I made it for you? Relax, breathe, now click the “Like” button right there next to to the story.

http://www.meegenius.com/challenge/the-baseball-game-by-anne-sawan

and again, here.

http://meegenius.com/challenge/two-years-bigger-two-years-smaller-by-anne-sawan

Thank you! You are the best! You deserve something really great this year. Something really big! Really expensive! Really cool! Treat yourself, go ahead. Or better yet, write a blog, tell people what you want, and maybe…. 

The Very Best Day

Sorry I have been neglecting my blog! I have been pulled into this NaNoWriMo thing and have become a bit obsessed.

NaNoWriMo, for those who don’t know, is a contest of sorts where writers are encouraged to write a novel of at least 50,000 words during the month of November.  Sounds easy? You think you can do it? Go ahead, I dare you.  This is hard work, almost like writing a dissertation in thirty days, but unlike a dissertation, it is actually fun. Also unlike a dissertation, there will most likely be no reward at the end, no cap and gown, no ceremony, but for some crazy reason I need to do this.   I know there is probably no way I will finish my novel in time but the contest has at least finally got me to sit down and put on paper a story that I have been mulling over for a long time.

More on that later.

November is National Adoption month and Saturday is actually National Adoption Day. National Adoption Month is dedicated to educating people about adoption and honoring those involved in the process: adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents, foster children, foster parents social workers, judges , etc. Whew! It takes a village! Funny that November is Adoption Month because November 17th is Eliza’s, my youngest child, actual “home to stay day.”

On November 17th, four years ago, we returned to Boston after a wonderful and life changing trip to the Middle East. A trip I never would have taken if it were not for this one small baby with big brown eyes that called me there. I met members of my husband’s family that I probably never would have met, and saw things I never would have seen.  We were treated like royalty, marched around to parties and dinners, tasting wonderful food, visiting villlages, seeing ancient ruins and beautiful underground caves filled with pools of aqua blue water.  The people were so gracious and wonderful yet through it all I felt unsettled and anxious. A piece of me was far away, across the ocean. I needed my kids.

It was freezing cold when the plane finally landed in Boston, the wind howled and snow was whipping about.  We piled into the warm limousine that was waiting for us outside, and started the last part of our journey home.  The drive to our house seemed to take forever. When we were finally passing the shops on the main street of the town where we live, I looked at my husband and said, “Now, I can breathe.”

We pulled up to a house full of family, friends, and balloons.  Eliza was passed around, we all hugged and chatted, and I felt my heart come to a quiet, peaceful rest. The next morning, long after all the well-wishers had left, I awoke to a quiet house.  I picked up my baby and went downstairs. There were plates of leftover cake and empty cups scattered about. It was wonderful. Soon the other kids ran downstairs, there was breakfast to make and cartoons to watch and I thought… this is it.

This is the best day of my life.

And…that’s what I wrote about. The wonder of being a family, the sense that the real miracles of life don’t occur with lots of fanfare and glitz, (sorry Kardashians) they occur in those small windows of time when you just breathe in each other.

I thought I would honor this special month on my small little blog by reprinting the story I wrote about that very day.  This is the original book that started this whole crazy blogging-writing thing. It was published in Adoptive Families Magazine this past summer and I placed a link to the book on the sidebar of my blog, but I never really placed the book here for all to see.

I look at this book now and think, it really isn’t just about Eliza, it is about all of us. All of the pieces of our journey, our family, our friends, near and far that brought her to us.  I also think this book could just have easily been written for biological children as well, and I may just do that one day. Here’s a start:

I remember painting the walls a foamy green, and stenciling a school of silly fish on the nursery wall.

I remember sitting in the rocking chair, my hand wrapped around my big, bloated, belly, feeling you dance inside.

I remember daddy struggling to put together the crib, swearing that several pieces appeared to be missing and the directions only came in Chinese.

I remember the excruciating pain as your big head…

Okay, wait; maybe I should work on this book a bit more.

No matter how they come, plane, or pain, all my kids are special, all are loved. Happy Adoption Month everyone.

THE VERY BEST DAY

Mommy, tell me again about the best day ever.

The day the social worker called and said you could adopt a baby, was that the best day ever?

Well, that was certainly a very wonderful day full of wishes, and dreams and hope, but no, it wasn’t the best day ever.

The day you opened the mail and saw a picture of me for the very first time was that the best day?

That was without a doubt a truly marvelous day full of happiness, excitement, and joy, but that was not the best day.

The day you went on the airplane to come and get me and bring me home, was that the best day?

That was such an extraordinary day, full of luggage, and taxis and lots of rushing around, but no, that wasn’t the best day ever.

How about the day you held me in your arms for the very first time was that the best day?

That day was so very close to being the best day.  It was definitely a miraculous day, full of love, and wonder, and awe, but it was still not the best day.

The day you, and me, and daddy all came home and there were lots and lots of people at the house having a big party with a huge painted sign saying, ”Welcome Home” that spread across the whole front porch, was that the best day ever?

That day was utterly special, incredible, amazing, and fabulous! It was a day full of hugs and kisses, meetings and greetings, brothers and sisters, grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends, cakes and cameras and gifts, but still, still it was not the best day ever, because…

While all of those days were wonderful, marvelous, extraordinary, miraculous, special, incredible, amazing and fabulous none of them were the best day, because the best day, the absolute very best day ever, was the next day.

The sun came up,

the dogs barked,

birds chirped

and you were there

There were empty cups scattered about the house,

and paper plates with crumbs of leftover chocolate cake still stuck to them.

There were scraps of wrapping paper and brightly covered ribbons covering the floor,

and three clunky suitcases waiting to be unpacked in the corner.

And you were there.

Daddy fed the dogs,

got out the flour,

and cracked some eggs into a big bowl…and you were there.

I put on a pot of fresh coffee… and you were there.

Your brothers and sister came running downstairs and suddenly there was laughter and yelling and sticky pancakes

…and you were there.

The snow started to fall quietly outside… and you were there.

And what could have,

should have,

been just an ordinary day was suddenly

wonderful, marvelous, extraordinary, miraculous, special, incredible, amazing and fabulous because you were there.

Now that, THAT was the very, very, very best day ever!