Since I pulled our suitcases out for our trip to Nepal last November, I have not put them away.

First there was a trip to Canada around Christmas to see family.

Then there was a quick run to New York to meet amazingagent Marietta and amazingeditor Michelle.

Then it was time for a belated 40th birthday bash out west with old friends. Here we can be seen in what I refer to as the 1980s Prom-Pose-On-Skis:

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Then it was back to Canada for the kiddos’ February break to visit more family. I refer to this as the Canada-Tourism-Sales-Pitch trip because we drove sled dogs, played loads of hockey, and skated in a frozen forest trail. And ate loads of maple syrup on snow…YUM.

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Then a few weeks later I was off to meet up with my online writing group — an incredible bunch of women who all write Young Adult and Middle Grade. (There will be a post about that trip soon – it deserves its own space). We were meeting at a big cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia. I did a lot of this:

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But also a fair bit of this:

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(Not pictured in these writer retreat photos is Maurice Wa-Wa, the taxidermy raccoon eating a box of Crackerjacks. He is but one reason the retreat needs its own blog post).

Then I got home and in a few days I leave for a 25-person family reunion/ski weekend that involves, among other things, a singalong with drunken renditions of Danny Boy and The Gambler, 20 pounds of spiral-cut ham, and poker. And matzoh, because we’re funny like that.

Mae West famously said, “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!” And she’s right. I wouldn’t have missed a minute of this year. I’ve had years filled with minutes that I would have loved to miss, years where there was too much of a bad thing, years that kicked my butt. So I am not complaining – it has all been amazing. It has also been overwhelming, exhausting, and a little nuts.

During all these trips, trusty laptop in tow, I’ve been working on my revisions on The Family Furnival. Working with amazingeditor Michelle and with lots of lovely feedback from writing partners, I’ve been trying hard to make my story better, to make it worthy of the book it’s going to be.

I love this book, and the crazy family I created. Working on revisions I’ve had a chance to revisit them, to think hard about their adventures and sorrows, to climb into their skin and try to make their stories stronger, better, more honest.

Today I turned my revisions in, and decided to celebrate by dusting off the blog. (I should probably also dust off the house, but that’s another story). Anyway, I’m not sure that the next few weeks will be any less crazy, but as I said, this is the best kind of crazy to have. So I’ll hang on and enjoy the ride. Hope to see you all along the way…

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