Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Havoc

I'm going to be a little self-indulgent today on the artistic corner, so I apologize now as this post has absolutely nothing to do with our journey towards publishing. Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year. In fact it's the only one that we truly go a little crazy for in our house. After years of retail management Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year and Valentine's Day can't truly be celebrated if everyone waits to the last minute to buy that something special. We do celebrate these holidays, because of our children, but it doesn't mean I enjoy them.

It gets a little crazy in our house during the month of October. Starting the first day of the month-as long as the weather cooperates-the decorations hit the lawn. Living in Omaha has proven to been a little crazy, like this year when our poor Snoopy hit the ground after we got seven inches of snow. Still, I personally would have them out sooner, but every year my husband makes me wait for the great reveal. This year, one of the neighbors asked Thomas' if he was intentionally trying to out do everyone in the neighborhood. He obviously doesn't understand our obsession. Seriously, our house looks like it could belong in Salem. Actually, its on a list of places we'd like to live.

The kids have certain books we read on a daily basis. Their favorite continues to be The Five Little Pumpkins which my son now has memorized. If you haven't read this book it's great and I totally recommend it. It puts a smile on both of their faces no matter how many times we read it.

While the children have movies they like to enjoy during this month like Hocus Pocus and The Little Vampire, the adults dedicate it to watching as many horror movies as possible. It's sad when we can pretty much quote the movie Scream word for word. Thomas' has used this time period to catch up on the Saw series.

Our traditions are deep and on a funny timeline. Every year we carve our pumpkins on our son's birthday. We do this because any earlier and the pumpkins would be mush. His birthday on the the 27th is perfect. Just so everyone knows we did take him trick or treating on his first Halloween. Yes, he was only 4 days old and yes, he had a costume.

We also have a very important food tradition in place. Every year our food for Halloween night always has something to do with scary or spooky. We have had Dead Joe(Sloopy Joes), Jack-O-Pizza(A pizza with apumpkin face), Morgue Leftovers(Chilli). Tonight though we are having Bloody Batwings(Chicken Wings) and Mummy Dogs(Pigs in a blanket).

The beginning of Halloween has many different explanations and yes I've researched them all, because that's just how I am. Regardless of any of them, this family loves the whole idea. Of course there are a multitude of things you could chalk this up to. First, I was raised in an area where the biggest celebration was Neewollah. It was the biggest celebration in the entire state of Kansas and we love it. We haven't been home in years to be apart of this, but its traditions are deeply ingrained in us. Then there's the whole theater thing. Seriously what part of us would not want to dress up in costume, being someone else for a night and actually blend in with the crowd. Then of course the kids love the candy, who wouldn't, but when I asked them today they said the thing they look forward to the most is carving pumpkins.

So to everyone who reads this blog have a great Halloween. Enjoy trick or treating and pumpkin craving! Be safe and most of all have FUN! Because in our house Halloween is the most wonderful time of the year!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thomas' Query

Thomas' query is posted over at openquery. His is the one entitled Black Box Confessional. Check it out and leave your suggestions. The ones given already have been really great. I wanted to send out a special thanks as we hit 500 hits this week on our blog.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Let's Imagine

Above my work area hangs a picture of Central Park's Strawberry Fields. I love this picture for many reasons. First, the Beatles are my all time favorite band. Second, I love New York City and getting to visit the site was on my life's to do list. Note that for this particular item it only took one trip versus seeing the Hollywood sign took multiple attempts and ultimately ended with us backing into a stranger's house. Lastly, that one simple word pretty much sums up everything that I am about.

As a child I was often called imaginative. This of course was my own doing. My nose was either stuck in a book reading or in a notebook writing. We performed plays on the front porch of my grandfather's home. It was a perfect stage. My imagination was vivid and exciting and thrives on today.

This beautifully written word entices me to create just about anything. As writers, we use our life's experiences and turn them into works of art. We manipulate a simple incident and imagine it to be much more.

Imagine with me for a moment. A friend of mine who plays hockey meets this amazing young man who also plays. They date for a short while, but end up going their separate ways. Years have passed since this relationship and although in the format of time it was relatively insignificant, she will tell you otherwise. This time-trapped relationship is laying base for my current project, The Heart of Jerseys. In deciding to pursue this, I had to ask myself the question, "Imagine if they had stayed together? What would their worlds have been like?" I want to take a second and think those of you for your encouraging words to go ahead and pursue this even through my crazy busy time of the year. You were all right. I shouldn't stop the creativity from flowing.

With that one word though I could change it all up in an instant, but then choose to manipulate it the other way. I'm sure once I begin writing that the characters will turn it in the direction they choose, just like always.

I encourage all of you this week to use that word while trying to come up with your next great project. Take that small minuscule moment in your life or someone elses and imagine it to be different. Who knows what you'll come up with.

You may say that I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the world will be as one.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

In the Great In Between

The last couple of weeks I've been sorting through the gory editing process of my latest manuscript. It is no surprise that this is my least favorite part of the writing process. I know I'm not alone here in this as several of us probably wish the story could write itself with no mistakes or lengthy changes that need to be made. Nevertheless the edit has to continue for the manuscript to move on into its next place.

It is during this time that I find myself a little unfocused. The work feels forced more than the fun I usually have during the creative part of the process. Normally, I would continue on to my next project and at least begin the ground work, but its the time of year where my life is controlled by work. After all I'm a manager for Wal-mart and our crazy time of the year will officially begin in a short few weeks. Working on anything, but editing during this time causes the writing to be what I refer to as sloppy or lazy.

This craft is not something I can easily turn on and off. I go to bed thinking about projects, wake up wondering where my characters will take me and even at work try to manipulate passages in my head. My brain and heart want to move on as the new project ideas swirl inside me. I've been trying to apse it by writing short stories for a contest, but it hasn't quite quenched my appetite.

Regardless of work, I may have to go ahead and begin the next project, so I can continue to allow my creativity to be alive.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Writing World

Wordle: Black Box Confessional

Wordle: Amidst the Fog

I've been involved in different aspects of the entertainment industry from the time I could pretty much walk. I've learned the hard way that it could be a cruel and cut-throat world. Often times the critiques we receive are based in mere jealousy than honesty. It can be dangerous to not only our psyche, but our craft as well. As my own daughter tests the waters in this world, I try to keep her guarded from those who are so malicious. I allowed myself to walk away, simply due to one person finally breaking my artistic spirit and I've spent the last several years working to get it back.

As I've stepped back into what I love so much head first, through the blogging world I've been able to surround myself with people who are like me in many aspects. Some of them are working to achieve the same goals that I am-getting published of course. Others have already taken that road and are more than willing to share their experiences with the others. Ultimately, it will make our journey less rocky.

One of my favorite bloggers have consumed the Dean writers this week as he announced a first paragraph contest. During which writers could submit any first paragraph to a work in progress. In the end there were almost 2500 entries-which I finished reading at two o'clock this morning. What I've loved most about this is how each of us comes up with our own unique worlds to write in. How can people even say its all been done before. The better part was all the constructive comments we received throughout the process. In the end there will be ten finalists. Truthfully, I would love if Thomas and I were among them, but I found myself gaining even more from others works. I closed my laptop last night feeling so inspired by the writing community around me. Today the finalists will be announced and hopefully the constructive spirit continues.

Late last night there was an updated post that gave Thomas and I a new writing toy. It takes a manuscript(or anything you've written) and puts it into a collage format. It also allows a writer to pin point the words we use the most, so we're aware of the things we repeat. I've included ours at the top of the post for fun. Thomas' is the brown one and mine is black and white.

So until the next contest enjoy the Wordle fun and I urge all of you writers to check out the first paragraphs in the contest.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Query Me...

Folks this is Thomas' potential query letter for more agents and we need feedback. Please! He's super concerned about the beginning mainly:

Mr. Blah Blah
With Blah Blah Blah
1234 Street
New York, NY

Dear Mr. Blah Blah,

A paroled child rapist, a reporter and his father the town minister along with his best friend’s dad the Chief of Police, and an old Voodoo Witch make up five of the unsettling characters in the novel Black Box Confessional.

For ten years in rural southeastern Kansas a dark truth has surrounded the deaths of two high school seniors found in a water logged truck at the lake on graduation morning. Dark secrets have always been the specialty of the town’s residents going back to the days of the Blood Benders and the Dalton Gang. However, some secrets are too sinister to stay hidden.

Alex Mitchellson, an investigative reporter from Denver, has returned to his hometown for the first time in nearly ten years. The return is complicated by obligations, old romances, and the sudden death of his two friends. The most disturbing complication comes in the form of a tattered yellow envelope awaiting him in his hotel room. The letter, although very cryptic, warns him about the very lies that caused him to leave his home nearly a decade ago.

As more letters continue to arrive Alex is forced to faces his greatest fear; that there was more to his friend’s death. With the help of his high school girlfriend, and his last remaining friend, a social shut-in, together they raid police files, blackmail one person and seduce another all in the midst of have their every move watched by a dangerous outsider. Every piece of evidence points towards foul play and the possibility of a cover up, and an ever increasing danger for Alex.

Armed with the identity of the mysterious letter writer Alex takes the final step towards discovering what happened to his friends, and to unearth why they had been singled out. His questions are answered when he discovers the Chief of Police and his own father are at the root of a dark and sinister secret centered around the love the two boys shared. In a final confrontation Alex must make a dangerous choice to save himself or his friends from the hands of the two people he thought he could always trust.

I'm a graduate of Emporia State University, receiving a double bachelor in Theater and Journalism. While there I received many awards for articles published in the college newspaper. Several of my short plays have been produced by colleges in which I was affliated.
Although, my wife believes it is against my religion to use commas.

Thank you for considering Black Box Confessional.


Thomas Dean

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Later, she dragged herself to bed once she was done with her ponderings. From here on out, it was about her, as it should have been from the beginning. As she drifted off to sleep, she couldn’t stop all the memories flooding to her head.
The phone rang and rang, but she was in to deep of a sleep to completely comprehend it. Then the shaking began; it wasn’t gentle, but harsh and frantic.
He screamed her name-had she answered the phone? Lexi coughed in an attempt to respond, but it caused her chest to burn.
Once again she felt the shaking and heard his voice begging her to wake up. She sat up in her sleep induced haze, but found that the haze was different. Fog floated around her room and it took her a moment to realize it wasn’t fog, but smoke. The alarm within the kitchen was blaring now. How had she not heard it?
Lexi sunk down the edge of the bed now as her adrenaline kicked in. Trying to crawl, she realized that the smoke had affected her more than she thought. Her muscles were weak and she found it hard not to cough. She stopped moving, even though she knew she was standing on death’s door.
The screams became louder now and she knew that somehow Mark was trying to save her. She pulled herself forward for him. Arm by arm, she worked to the bedroom door and than out the front door.
The sound of the sirens echoed through the night and it was the last thing she remembered before she closed her eyes.
The touch was familiar and warm; it sent waves of emotion through her body that she couldn’t possibly begin to explain. Her eyelids felt heavy, but she wanted to open them. She needed to know that she wasn’t dreaming.
“Lexi, I’m right here,” Mark said. He was there and he’d saved her; she wondered if even knew that. “Zach started the fire. Then out of hatred he called and told me what he’d done. He also admitted to being one of the men Amber slept with while I was gone. I called the fire department, but I knew it wasn’t enough, I had to try to reach you, but you wouldn’t answer.”
“But you were there Mark, urging me to go on when I couldn’t. You saved me and you weren’t even there-just like you have my whole life,” she said quietly in between coughs.
Mark leaned in and kissed her. It was natural and full of emotion as if they’d been doing it their whole life.
“Will you hold me?” she asked. “You bet,” he said as he climbed into the bed with her. He’d been right along time ago, when he had said they were soul mates; they were just too stubborn to admit it. Jen drifted off to sleep in the protective arms of the only man she’d every really loved.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Part 2

Last year, Mark had accused her of lying. Amber had cheated on him and she’d found out. She thought she was doing the right thing by telling him. When he confronted her about it, Amber put the works on and he ended up staying with her. She played the jealousy card and he’d bought right into it. Regardless of what he believed, Amber had not been faithful and her lies were ruining their friendship.
They couldn’t go back now.
Pulling on her robe, she walked out of her bedroom. Lexi lived in the same house all her life. Each room held different memories of her childhood. Passing the living room in route to the kitchen, something caught her attention. The movement was subtle, if she hadn’t been on high alert she wouldn’t have even noticed it.
He sat there in his typical sleepwear-boxers and a wife beater. Lexi knew she was hallucinating; Mark was in Washington, DC-a recent post September 11th assignment. When he’d joined up, the world had been fairly peaceful or that’s what it seemed like, but now it was a whole different country.
“I don’t want to talk to the real you. What makes you think I would want to talk to the figment of my imagination you?” she said continuing to walk towards the kitchen. At first her mission had been simple-a glass of water, but now tequila was in order.
“You’ll get tired of fighting with me,” he said. The statement was already true. She hated being mad at him.
Lexi returned with her bottle of tequila and sat at the dining room table. From there she could see that the figment hadn’t disappeared.
“Why don’t you let me help you?” he said standing up.
“Because you’re not real; you’re something I’ve made up in my mind,” Lexi replied.
“All you had to do was answer the phone.”
“And all you had to do was believe your best friend.” She choked down all the hatred with a shot. “We’ve been friends since we were six years old and you chose her,” she finished taking another drink.
Mark sat down at the table and watched her chug one after the other. He didn’t say anything else; allowing her to wallow in her own self pity.
The sunlight burned her skin, but than a cool shadow blocked it. Opening one eye, she saw Zach standing over her with his arms crossed. He looked angry as if he were about to accuse her of something. Of course, that would be nothing new to her. In two weeks, they would be married. Lexi understood she should be running around preparing everything, but she just didn’t feel like it.
“Your boyfriend called me this morning,” he started, letting his jealousy shine through. “He’s worried about you. Said that he had a bad feeling about you last night and that you wouldn’t pick up the phone when he called.”
Lexi rolled her eyes, trying not to puke.
“I told him you were fine, just peachy, but clearly you’re not. I don’t even know my own fiancĂ©e and he’s half way around the country and knows.” Zach began to pick up her mess from the night before; although he chose not to do so quietly.
She didn’t understand his aggravation, but she didn’t want to fight with him either. Zach would rise to the occasion.
“You don’t have to do that, I can take care of myself you know,” she said attempting to stand to her feet. The effects of the tequila caused her to sit back down.
He stared at her for a long time and when he finally spoke he said, “The problem is you only let one person do that and he’s not here. I can’t live up to him Lexi.” When she didn’t respond, Zach walked out the back door. He liked to sulk on her patio and she knew she should go to him.
It took all of her energy to make it out there but she did. Zach sat staring into the horizon overlooking the pond behind her house. “I’m sorry,” she squeaked out still in her alcoholic fog.
“When he left, I thought it would be the best thing for us. The distance should have brought us closer, but it hasn’t,” he said.
“You don’t know what you’re saying.” It was the only response she could come up with.
“Most of our friends chalked everything up to jealousy. Until he left and than they saw everything I did.”
“He’s been my best friend since I was six years old Zach.”
“And I would kill for you to look at me the way you do him. Kill for it Lexi, but it won’t ever happen. He broke your heart, can’t you see that?” Zach shook his head. “No, you can’t, because you don’t want to believe it. He asked Amber to marry him. Did you know that? And she said yes. One year later and he’s still calling you a liar and you continue to punish yourself.”
The truth finally settled in and she knew that along the way she’d hurt Zach on her path, “If you feel that way, why are we still together?” The words came out before she could tell her mouth to stop.
“Because I love you.”
“It sounds more like you’re trying to win a competition than actually be with me.”
“Are you telling me the wedding is off,” he asked with not a stitch of sadness in his voice.
“You deserve to be happy and I don’t do that for you anymore,” Lexi replied.
Zach stood angrily and she was suddenly very aware of his body mass. He was quite a bit bigger than her. Like Mark, he’d played sports, but now he did construction which kept him muscular. Lexi knew that his temper was easily flared although she’d never been the direct target; she’d seen it at the bar. This simple gesture terrified her, but he walked out of the house anyway.
What had her miniscule life become? It had once been filled with dreams and ambitions, but she’d rearranged it for the man that had just walked out her doors. Mark had always ridiculed her for giving it all up and now it seemed more stupid than ever.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Excerpt from my new short story...

The embrace felt warm like it always did; despite the fact that the rain had soaked their clothes hours ago.
The two friends didn’t care, they were saying goodbye. Months ago, Mark told her he was leaving-joining the Marines. One day he’d been considering it and the next he told her he’d actually done it. Their fight lasted for hours. Lexi refused to speak to him for almost two weeks. Standing in his arms, all that wasted time seemed stupid.
An urge to kiss him rose from deep inside; everything about it would be wrong. They’d been friends since the first day of hockey practice-they were six years old. Lexi was engaged and Mark had dated the same girl almost as long as she’d been with Zach. She couldn’t deny the feeling though; it had always been there.
He stepped back from her now. Apparently feeling the same pull she was-the same one they’d felt since they hit puberty. Mark had once joked that they were soul mates, but the subject was quickly dropped.
It was time; she could feel it. He studied her now with those eyes that could make any girl’s soul melt. That look should have been reserved for Amber-his girlfriend-but right now it was all hers. When other people were around, she knew they could see the way he looked at her. That’s why their significant others were so damn jealous.
Lexi found herself reaching to touch his cheek-memorizing him as well. He looked like a young version of Kurt Cobain: unkempt hair cut, grunge-rock clothes, and those crystal eyes.
The military would kill his artistic spirit. He’d joined on a whim to prove something to Amber.
There was no more to say. He turned and walked away from her. She watched as he climbed into his old, beat-up truck. The roar from it starting caused her to jump back into the reality of the situation.
Lexi could feel the pain inside her chest wanting to rip out, but she waited until his truck was out of view.
And than it all came pouring out of her. The coughing sobs tore through her, causing her to wake up in a panic. The phone beside her bed rang. She checked the time: 3:00am. She knew who was on the phone, but she didn’t answer. Mark must have sensed her feelings; she never quite understood the connection, but it was always there.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lunch with a Superstar

I make it no secret that I'm super proud of my daughter, Cloudya. She's a beautifully talented little girl whose also signed with an agent in Chicago. Last month her yearly activities started up full swing again. She takes ballet, guitar lessons, joined orchestra this year and is in the school All-Star choir. Sounds like she's busy as is, but than there's the auditions that occurred at the beginning of the year as well. Of course she landed a role in the Omaha Ballet Theatre's professional production of the Nutcracker. This will be her second year in the cast, but it will monopolize most of her "free" time from now until December.

After a packed summer of movie and commercial auditions, I began to become concerned that I was becoming one of "those" parents. We've all heard of them. Those parents who push their kids to follow the dreams they could never obtain. I've always sworn that I would make her stop once she said that she didn't like it anymore. I've heard the grumblings a couple different times this year, so I've been on high alert.

While talking to Cloudya after she finished her American Girl audition, I asked her if she had fun and her answer was yes. Okay, so that relieved me a little, but nothing like what happened today. Kaiden and I decided we would join her for lunch at school and as soon as her classmates saw us the questions started. They asked about the different movies she had auditioned for and if she knew anything yet about her audition in Chicago. One of them asked if they could go see her in the Nutcracker and wanted to know what nights she would be performing. Another little boy was interested in the fact that Cloudya has decided she would like to attend Kid's Eye this summer. It's a film camp for kids her age sponsored by the Rhode Island Film Festival. I overheard one little girl telling another one sitting across from her that Cloudya was famou,s because she does movies and stuff. This statement made me chuckle. The girl then questioned Cloudya about it and she responded with, "I am famous now."

My first reaction was, "Wow, what a little diva." Of course, her nickname around the house has become just that. Famous-well I don't know about that yet; she's still got a long way to go before that happens. However, it was a relief to hear that she had been talking the subject up with all her little friends at school. I knew that she is proud of all her hard work she's been doing and in the long run knows it will pay off. She's also super excited to be rejoining all her ballet friends for this year's production.

For now though I'll still have my guard up, watching for the signs. In the mean time, we probably should have a little discussion about dropping the word famous. Of course, to all of us who love her she already is.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Change on the Horizon

Most reading this blog assume that I spend all my time writing and that it's been that way for a very long time. Reading back through my posts, I thought about how much I made it seem like that. The truth is I took a break for several years; blaming everything I could except for myself. The real reason-jade. That's how I describe it. I allowed someone to finally break my confidence, which is what they wanted to happen. In the end, allowing them to get inside my head. I walked away because of one person's opinion-stupid I know. Usually criticism doesn't bother me so much. Honestly, we need it to make us better at what we do. One person doesn't define who we are as artists, but I let the jade consume me.

Luckily, sometimes we get second chances. I spent a great portion of last year, helping my husband edit his novel. For the first time in a long time, I felt whole. Sure, I wasn't working on my own writing, but it was enough to revive me. This year I was finally tired of my own self-pity. I hated how incomplete I felt. I swore I'd get back into my own routine again. It was hard, I'll admit it. Sure you never forget how to ride a bicycle, but that doesn't mean its easy when you get back on for the first time.
Then something happened to remind me just how precious all that lost time was. We all have those moments that make us look back and wonder what in the world we are really doing with our life. I had mine on the middle of Lake Pactola in South Dakota this summer. On vacation with my family, we thought it would be a neat idea to rent a pontoon boat and go fishing. The day was absolutely gorgeous. It had been the clearest day we'd seen the whole time we were there. All of us were getting bites and landing fish; which is something I don't usually do, because fish hate my hook.

My husband was out back of the boat wake boarding. Something that only California boys can really do well. That's when we noticed the rain heading in our direction. So, I'm a good ole Kansas girl and my reaction was to grab the camera. How beautiful the far off rain danced off the lake. It didn't take long for that far off rain to be right up on us. We put up the awning, so we didn't get so wet.

The rain became the least of our worries. Hail started to pelt our swimsuit-covered bodies. We rushed to get the kids covered, but they were already screaming at the top of their lungs. The waves on the lake started to swell, making steering the boat near impossible. Thank goodness my father-in-law is not only stubborn and protective, but very knowledgeable about handling a boat in a storm.

The cold water rushed through the front of the boat where my mother-in-law and I were covered up. She realized we couldn't stay in that location. She pushed me to where my daughter was hiding from the storm. Of course, she had to do this because I was in my pre-foot surgery state and couldn't walk without a boot on my leg. When I got down there I realized my son wasn't with me daughter like I had previously thought. Panic rushed through my body as I didn't know where my son was on a boat that could possibly beat it at any moment. Not knowing where Kaiden was; what kind of mother was I? I knew Cloudya was down there and I thought I'd seen him go with her. What I'd really remembered seeing was my sister-in-law covering him up with a blanket close to her. As soon as she heard my panic and the waves settled for a second, she got him to us. Relief hit me, but we still had to get off the boat alive.

The cushions from the seats protected the children from the hail, but they were still shivering from cold and fear. As a mother I feared hypothermia and shock, so I came up with a way to keep them a little more preoccupied. Cloudya loves to be quizzed about things she knows well like Twilight and the Jonas Brothers and Kaiden likes to hear the answers so he can beat her at the next game. We do this alot on long trips. I asked Cloudya when Nick's birthday was and she screamed she didn't know. Well obviously, reasoning was out the window. Then she asked, "Can we just sing one of his songs?" So there we were, in the dark door of a near death experience and my daughter wanted to sing Jonas Brothers songs. Cloudya started to sing and than Kaiden chimed in. I took my towel off for a minute to access the sky. If there was anything I could do, it would be to see how soon till the storm cleared up. I got a clear shot of my father-in-law, he was shaking so hard from fear. It wasn't cold, I knew that, the only thing I could see on his face was solid fear. Almost everyone he cared about was on that boat, and he wanted to get them back to safety. As the kid's voices surrounded us, the sky started to look a little less bleak although the hail continued.

The hail plummeted us for nearly forty-five minutes and just as we got to the marina wouldn't you know it would stop. I learned several things about myself in those moments, but mostly about wasted time. This wasn't just about my craft, but my children and family more importantly. I knew getting off that thing that I would stop at nothing to make sure everyone of their desires came true. All the years I'd spent in my jaded state seemed stupid now. The whole thing made me remember something my grandpa had said along time ago, "An artist doesn't choose his art, but rather the art chooses the artist." I knew on that day, that I had only been wasting my talent and it was time to get over that. Shortly thereafter this blog was born and the kids got to see the Jonas Brothers in concert. Someday an art or craft will choose the two of them-of course, there's some debate on rather it already has or not-hopefully I set a good example for them and they achieve everything their little hearts desire.