Family Priorities

In my last post, which was a while ago, I mentioned that I was living in a town 4 hours from my family and working to pay off debt. Well, that lasted 6 weeks. My wife and kids went to pick me up around Mother’s Day, and when I hugged my wife I noticed she had lost a lot of weight.

Abbie is a small framed girl already. The school she teaches at is a huge stressor for her, and my being gone added to it. We have 3 kids and it was more than she could handle while juggling school stress, too. It was an easy decision to make. I was home for good a few days later.

I was working at a hotel and had already put in my notice to switch to a better company and position. I decided to pass on the new job and go home where i was needed. The slim job market here makes it tough, but something will come along.

In the meantime, I have been writing again. I have had a horrible dry spell. Nothing clicks like it should, and everything just kinda sucks. That’s if I can even get a good idea going anyway.

I have created a new character for a story series, Waylon the Wandering Whale, and the “Morgan” franchise is getting some new stories. I am still waiting to hear back from a publishing company for “Bella and Betty Bear’s Big Fight. Good Knight Ricky is still a challenge, but I am finally moving on that again. The missing element has been found, and it really changed the dynamic of the story. So, Things are happening, I’m just not overly vocal about it for now. Remember, Morgan Goes Fishing is available on Amazon or starting tomorrow, my eBay store.

We have also been working on our house. A LOT. It’s amazing what you can do to a house for under $50. We have painted, put in bookshelves, cut out trees and brush and hauled off 6 loads of trimmings. We have been busy. Here’s a flower bed we did over a tree stump I chopped out.

The good news, I have been more inspired to write. It’s almost like the more I work, the more ideas I have to write about. It’s not uncommon, I guess. Hard work is good for the brain. At least for me.

The best part of being home is my kids. They grew so much in the 6 weeks I was gone. Bella is a little marvel. I don’t know how to explain her, but she is amazing. Smart, caring and so much more big girly. Morgan just jad her 5th birthday. I don’t know what it is about her, but she inspires me in so many ways. Then there is Ricky. My little man. He has had some attitude issues that we are trying to work through.

I closed my facebook account. I can be found on Instagram and will be posting more there. I will even be starting some small video announcements and reveals. Find me on Instagram @danlittle104. My ebay store is also up and running, and I will be integrating things from there to here more very soon, so check it out @https://ebay.com/usr/littlebooksandhobbies. Find a book and enjoy.

Y’all have a good day.

Dan

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A Big Week

Last week I talked about goals our family has, and the limited options we have here to make them happen. We have a few new options that will help tremendously. It just means I have to move about 4 hours from my family and take a new job.

I got a message from a friend in the little town of Deadwood. It’s a casino resort town. Not a big place, but it’s home for our family. We’ve lived there in the past and loved it and made some good friends. This friend told me she talked to her manager about me and her manager asked her to talk me in to sending in an application.

I did, even though it’s four hours away. Yesterday I was offered and accepted the position. A few hours later I found an apartment to rent that falls within what I was willing to spend and still make financial sense. Then there is the downside. My family will be staying behind in a town we all wish we weren’t in.

The reason for this is simple, my wife is a teacher. We are trying to build her resume from a few years ago and a couple bad pregnancies. So she will stay here for another year, two at the most. Then she can have enough stability to hopefully get in at a school in the hills.

In meantime we are focusing hard on debt payoff. My job will plow us through in about 18 months at the most including paying off our house. It’s ambitious, but it’s doable. It’s a priority for us.

Do I want to be away from them for a week or two at a time? Not at all. I want them to have better opportunities, so I will sacrifice now, and God willing, we all move back to the Black Hills together and not be apart again.

For some people the idea is horrible. They think family needs to be together which I agree with completely. I also know that it won’t be forever. I’ve also heard, well why not just scrape by for another few years and all go together. My response to that, scraping by doesn’t have to be an option.

Don’t be afraid to take a chance and make a change. It’ll suck for a little bit, but it’ll definitely be worth it. Don’t let being broke be an option. Strive for better. You deserve it, your family deserves it. But mostly, why settle?

My poor girl

We have those weeks that we are always happy to leave behind us. This has been one of those weeks and we have a couple days to go. I broke a tooth and have to wait to get that taken care of, and worse than that, my Bella baby broke her nose.

The last 2 days for me have been slow and painful. I broke a tooth and it has kicked my butt. For a while though I didn’t feel anything. Adrenaline does that, especially when it comes to your kids.

When my son got home from school he asked if he and Bella could play with the neighbor kid. Sure, no problem. He knows he has to watch his sister, and I check up on them regularly. We live in a safe neighborhood and we can let kids play. It’s awesome.

The kids had been outside playing for maybe 15 minutes when Ricky comes in without Bella. Naturally I got ready to fuss at him for leaving you sister outside, like kids do. Then he tells me Bella fell and had a bloody nose.

I run outside and see Bella covered in blood. I grab her and the handkerchief in my pocket, sit down in the snow and start taking care of it. Within seconds I start going through all the questions in my mind, do we go to the ER, maybe I should take her to the clinic, crap if I do that I have to call my wife and tell her. Maybe I should just take her inside and stop the bleeding, if I do that, what if it don’t stop. It’s possible I was panicking.

Ricky stayed right by my side ready to help Bella. She is 3 and he is 6 and the greatest thing in her world. She’s sure of it, and he didn’t leave her side. I was proud of him.

After a blood soaked handkerchief, some toilet paper a wet wash cloth and a heart attack, we got her cleaned up. We had to wash her coat, gloves and shirt to get the blood out. The poor girl had a rough few minutes.

Now I could ask what in the world happened. Ricky told me they had been running to the neighbors house and she fell on the ice. Nothing horrible or mean, she just fell. Luckily she was okay.

I wish I could say this was our first broken nose. Unfortunately, I cannot. My wife has broken her nose 8 times. Three of those have been since we got married, and of those 3, two were caused by Ricky. One was playing, one was the result to too much sugar with a severe sugar sensitivity.

Once we got Bella checked all was well, just a broken nose. She has such a cute little nose too. Once the swelling and bruising goes down I am sure she will be fine. But, man, what a day.

Why I disappeared

We all have times in our lives when we just kind of disappear. This last month has been one of those times. I have kind of just shut down and avoided all of social media and sites. Probably not the best business move., but here is why it happened: We bought a house.

We live in a small town. Not the place we will stay, but it works for now. The opportunity to buy this house came along and we couldn’t really pass it up. Then we walked in to the place. I had to question my judgement.

We bought a house from hoarders. I mean, really, really bad hoarders. I am a minimalist and the overwhelming garbage in the house shut me down. It took us nearly two full weeks to clean out just the garbage. We filled a 12 yard dumpster in trash just from 3 rooms.

I then found out they were holding stuff for other people in the house, and didn’t bother mention it. So, we had people digging through the dumpster to get the stuff out that belonged to them. That’s fine I suppose.

When we were finally able to see the floors, I decided the carpet had to go. Luckily we found some pretty decent hard wood floors under it. If not for this scraper we would have never gotten to it. http://a.co/d/cKg0IfG

It is an ugly job, but it made it a lot easier. It helps to break the glue and under layers to remove the carpet. Finding the floors in the condition they were in made my day. Down the road we will rent a sander and refinish them. The house was built in 1920, so they need a little love. We have a lot of work to do, but it will be well worth it.

My next job is tearing out some plaster on a couple walls and hanging drywall over the lath. The shared wall between the living room and kitchen had a leak by the chimney and it messed up the plaster, so it has to go. That will have to wait until summer.

We are finishing up the bedroom paint and then we can finish moving in. It has been a long month, but the end is in sight. I am quick to get overwhelmed and shut down while I remedy a situation.

I have been doing some work on Good Knight Ricky and the Bad Joke Dragon. This is my latest short story that I am writing for my son. It has been a fun one too. I also have books for sale through my Biblio.com page, https://www.biblio.com/bookseller_info.php?d=2916574

I am also on Instagram and Pinterest both @danlittle104. Follow me there and feel free to check out Biblio. Give me a like and a share. If you comment, I will do my best to respond. I am really trying to start a harder push here. Things are leveling out on this end.

 

Stolen Scooby

I haven’t shared a good growing up story in quite some time. I was watching a video on YouTube and remembered this one. Thinking back on it almost 20 years later, and it’s still an odd story.

My cousin Brandon, sister Tonya, one of Brandon’s friends and me decided we were going to a movie in Sturgis Michigan. Not an exciting time, but fun. Brandon had his car, the Scooby mobile full of Scooby Doo stuffed animals.

My personal preference is Rocky and Bullwinkle.

We went into the theaters enjoyed the movie. I can’t remember for the life of me what we saw. When the movie was over, we got to the car to find it had been stripped clean of all his stuffed animals. I believe his CD ‘s were gone too. I can’t remember.

He reported it to the police and we moved on. On the way home, we stopped for gas at a little station in Howe, IN. It was a warm night, the windows were rolled down and we were all talking while he out gas in.

Out of nowhere a car pulled up and the driver shouted, “Hey man, are you missing something?” Then drove away laughing.

After a few minutes of confusion we realized it was the guy who stole the stuff, and the Scooby mobile was easy to spot. It was a 1986 Chevy Nova. Not a sexy car by any means.

We had to take the friend home, about 45 minutes away. Suddenly a car was flying up behind us, then turned on its high beams. It started passing us, slowed down beside us for a second the finished going around. It was weird too.

A little ways up the road a car was coming toward us, just as it got close enough, they turned on it’s high beams and drove by. At this point we were starting to freak out. We didn’t know what was going on.

By the time we reached the friends house we had been passed by what we were convinced was the same car 4 times. Twice from behind, twice from the opposite direction. Each time with the high beams done the same way.

It was one of those nights that makes no sense at all. I don’t remember if he got any of the scooby stuff back, but we did get a fun story to tell.

We were scared. We were confused. We were scoobyless. Really, it was a win for us.

The Little Labradoodle, Puppy Pickup Day Review

Hey everybody. Tonight we have another good book review. I got to read The Little Labradoodle; Puppy Pickup Day, y April Cox. I am really glad I got the opportunity.

doodle.jpg

The artwork for this book is enough to sell the story. I will admit that I have been hoping to read this story for a while. I had accepted the fact I would have to buy this book to read it to my kids. Luckily, I didn’t have to. I will do that later.

Would I have bought it, you bet. The cover stood out to me when I first saw it. Going through just helped to earn it a place on the bookshelf.

Ms. Cox did an amazing job creating a whole world for the dog in this book. The Little Labradoodle had to see his own shortcomings and come to terms with them. She let it do so in a really cute way.

The use of other animals to help The Little Labradoodle through its journey was fantastic. It was a great way to help kids learn other animals, as well as important lessons. Along with this, she used an awesome retracing of footsteps story line to teach as well.

It was a great book, and the illustrator did amazing work. My kids loved this book. They read it before bedtime and immediately wanted to read it again. The rhyme scheme, illustrations, and lessons make this an easy home run.

My only issue was the simple personal preference, I don’t really enjoy a rhyming book. (i hate the repetition of sounds). My kids love them, so we read them. It is not at all a reason not to buy this book. I got a free download for the review, and when we budget it in, I WILL be buying a hard copy.

I love supporting other authors and seeing their dreams grow. Follow the link below to get a copy of The Little Labradoodle today. You can’t go wrong with it.

While you’re at it, grab a copy of Morgan Goes Fishing for $6.99. Get it on my welcome page and save $1.00 off the Amazon price. Everyone have a great day, and thanks for checking out the review. Go show Ms. Cox a little support, she has a whole line of products to choose from.

Dan

 

Ghost Hunt; My Son’s Room

A while back i said I will be starting a ghost exploration weekly posting. I have had no luck getting any good stories. But, this week is different. I didn’t have to leave the house. What I did discover is one simple thing, I need equipment.

Thursday night, my wife and I were sitting up getting things done. I was working on a book and she was writing lesson plans for school. The 3 kids were all asleep in bed, and our dogs were asleep at my feet. The videos we had been watching on Youtube had stopped, so the house was dead quiet. You could hear a pin drop.

In this case, we heard the furniture slide. We looked at each other, both knowing we heard something slide across the floor. Abbie, my wife, went to check on the kids. I went to check the outside of the house. Suddenly, I heard Abbie yell, “Dan, get in here. NOW!”

Crap, she found something. I walked to the Laundry room to find Abbie standing frozen in my son’s bedroom doorway. She simply pointed and said, “It’s the dresser.” I looked over and sure enough, the dresser had been pushed across the floor. It was only a couple inches, but here is why it’s a problem.

The dresser is pushed up tight against the basement door. The basement is empty, with the exception of a couple old pieces of furniture. My son has been terrified of his room since we moved in.

We are a Christian family, so we began praying with him before bedtime. This helped him feel safe and it stopped the nightmares he was having. We were good with this result.

I walked over to the dresser and it was pushed out about two inches from the door. The door opens into my sons room, so the dresser has to be moved to pull the door open. We put an eye hook lock on the door to keep it from opening as well. There is about two inches at the most the door can move with the eye hook latched.

The dresser had been moved out about two inches and at the angle which the door opens. I left it pulled out and pulled out my camera on my phone and downloaded s spirit box just to see if I could make any contact.

After Abbie moved Ricky to my daughter’s room I started asking questions. I asked for a name, Nothing. I asked if they had a problem with us being in the house, Nothing. I asked if they wanted us out of the house, nothing.

I decided to try opening the basement door. When i did this I heard, without a doubt, “HI”. Then i felt a cold draft come up out of the door. It was a cool night and it’s a basement. I wasn’t too surprised. But there is also no airflow down there.

My sons room was 63 degrees and there is no external access to the basement. A cold air is possible, but not overly likely. Pretty interesting stuff.

I told my wife I need to get some equipment to set up for a more detailed evaluation. I want to get a good digital recorder and a spirit box. I’m not 100% sold on the spirit box concept, but I have seen some compelling evidence. I also want to get a small twist top flashlight.

When I get these, I plan to open the basement door up and try to get them to talk to me. Hopefully I can share some of the captures here for a more in depth story for everyone. I am also reaching out to locals to see about good places to go for different hunts.

I will be bringing you more. Stay tuned. If you have any recommendations on equipment and where I can get a good deal, let me know. I work with a very tight budget so I need to plan out when I can buy it.

Have a great week.

Dan

Steve the Bigfoot Hunter Review

Today we finish out our reviews on the Feisty Cat books By Natasha and David Breen. The last two books have been awesome. I will say though, this was my favorite. I am a bit of a Bigfoot nerd.

There is nothing wrong at all in this book. The story is cleverly written. It sticks with the same style we have seen in their previous works, and it’s Bigfoot. It’s humorous enough for adults, but easy enough to really get a kids attention.

My son laid claim to all 3 of the books the Breens sent. That is a success in my book. I won’t go in to a lot of detail on it because I can’t pick my favorite parts of it. It’s easily my favorite from this brother/sister team.

DO yourselves a favor, go on Amazon and find their books. Any of the three I reviewed here, or any of the others. I cannot recommend them enough. They deserve to be read. The family deserves the encouragement. If nothing else, Do it for Bigfoot. He’s a good guy, just misunderstood.

Dan

Review of Sweet Dreamer and Nightmare

It’s time for another book review. Today we are reviewing Sweet Dreamer & Nightmare And The Power of Positive Thinking By Natasha and David Breen. This is the 2nd of 3 books they asked me to review. Honestly, this book has been the hardest for me to review, but only in jest.

This book is terrible. It never stays in one place. When I find it, it disappears again. I usually find it in my sons room. Come to think of it, maybe my son is horrible. Or neither are horrible.

It’s a really cute book, even if it won’t stay put. My kids have loved it. It is an awesome book that shows the power of good thoughts.

Sweet Dreamer and Nightmare are exactly what you would expect them to be. They are cats in charge of good and bad dreams. Nightmare learns that it isn’t always so easy to scare someone.

We have read this book probably 30 in the last couple weeks. They cannot put it down. I tell them I need to use it, they have it hidden somewhere again. They love the art. It reminds me of the Thundercats from the 80’s.

The title sounds like something that would be scary, but my daughter Morgan loves it. She is afraid of everything. Disney movies included. There is nothing scary about it. It is a creative way to show that it’s good to be brave. Surprisingly it has helped her to be braver.

My favorite part, they won’t put it down. If my biggest complaint is that I can never find it, I won’t complain. It’s a great message written in a clever and friendly way. I highly recommend it.

David and Natasha are a talented team. They have a niche and they know how to use it. Go pick yourself up a copy of Sweet Dreamer & Nightmare And The Power of Positive Thinking. You will like it, your kids will like it, and it won’t scare them. It’s an awesome book. You can grab a copy on Amazon today here: http://a.co/d/4zg6HdO . You can also check out their Facebook page Feisty Cats.

Our next review will be the last in our series from Natasha and David Breen. But we have more great books to bring you. Have a great day.

Dan

 

Perseid

I am a bit of a nerd. I can’t deny that. I’ve always loved stargazing and keeping up with meteor showers. I always knew that if I did meet someone, she would have to be equally nerdy.

Friday, August 12, 2011 I found that girl. I was the maintenance man at an apartment complex, and Abbie was a new tenant, starting her first teaching job out of college. I was in the lobby arguing about whether or not the Perseid meteor shower was visible for my friend.

Abbie came down to wash laundry, and I decided to go in and talk to her. We went through the pleasantries and I mentioned the meteor shower. She said she loves meteor showers.

When I invited her to watch it with me, she said she wasn’t sure. There were boys at one of the doors and she was scared of them. Abbie is 5’3, tiny, and very shy. I told her I would keep her safe from the scary boys and be her guard dog, just joking around.

We went out and watched the shower for a while. To this day we still keep track of who sees the most shooting stars each month. Like I said, we’re nerdy people. Anyway, we wound up back in the lobby talking until almost 2 am.

When I walked her back to her apartment that night, I knew I was in trouble. We agreed to watch it again the next night too. The next night I was nervous as can be trying to get up the nerve to knock on her door.

I’m glad I did. It has been 7 years since that night. Every year on August 11, we watch the Perseid meteor shower together at midnight. We have our own celebration of the day we became us. Most would celebrate on the evening of the 12th.

I met my dad just a week or so after that night. He asked, “you’re going to marry her aren’t you?” I told him “I probably will.”

Abbie was the first girl I dated in 3 years. After the last relationship I had been in, I knew God was going to have to break out the big guns to make me date again. I joke around and tell Abbie that He needed the whole universe to make me realize it.

It’s been a great 7 years. We have been blessed with 3 awesome kids. Our son Ricky, 5, starts kindergarten this year. Morgan, 4, was the inspiration for Morgan Goes Fishing. Bella, 2, is just amazing in too many ways.

A meteor shower means very little to most people. I look forward to Perseid every year. It marks the start of the best part of my life. Now, it’s about time to go bring in the 12th. Have a great night.

Dan