Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Thank You by Amy Vastine

Around here, the only thing everyone is thinking about/dreading is going back to school. I have three kids in three different schools this year. My oldest began his high school career last week, my daughter is in seventh grade (what a sweet and pleasant age, said no mother of an adolescent ever), and my youngest is starting his last year in elementary school. It also means back to work for me as a middle school social worker (did I mention what a sweet and pleasant age that is?) So, in honor of all those kiddies getting on a bus, I thought I’d steal a little gimmick from Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show. I’m calling this:

Thank you darling daughter for informing me that you have never in your entire seven years of school needed to use a gum and a kneaded eraser for art class and convincing me your younger brother will still pass the fifth grade if I can’t find them at any store within a 100-mile radius of my house.


Thank you people who don’t know about Target’s a little section of calculators in the electronics department for allowing me the opportunity to do the dance of joy (much to my high schooler’s horror) after snagging the last $140 must-have graphing calculator on sale for $85, especially when the other five they had in stock in the Back to School section sold out immediately.


Thank you usually purposeless living room for storing all the school supplies until school drop off so the kitchen table could be cleared off for dinner.

Thank you school supply drop off day. Even though it’s not all that fun to deal with the hundreds of people who also have nothing better to do with their time than to show up at the middle school at 4:00 in the afternoon to dump their kids’ school supplies off, it’s nice to be able to see the living room floor again.

Thank you pre-sharpened pencils packs for saving me from spending hours at the dreaded pencil sharpener that never really gets those cheap pencils I buy sharp enough.

Thank you Thursday for being the day all three kids will be in school but is still part of my summer break. You have no idea how amazing an empty house sounds right now.

Thank you Friday for being an Institute Day and allowing me to sleep an extra hour on my first day back, go out to lunch with friends I haven’t seen in ten weeks, and being the beginning and end of my work week!

Lastly, thank you summer for being a time for me to recharge my batteries, spend time with my family, and giving me some extra hours to fit some writing in.

Now bring on September! My novel, THE BETTER MAN, comes out next month and I am so, so excited about it. In addition to the romance, there’s family, some drama, and a little humor.

To celebrate the release of my book and all the kids going back to school (which hopefully means more reading time for some of you moms out there), I’m giving away a signed paperback and bookmark to a US winner or an ebook to an international winner. Comment on this post or share it on Twitter with #HarlequinHeartwarming for a chance to win! I'll post the winner tomorrow in the comments section. And if you don't win here, check out my Goodreads giveaway. The link is in the contests section of the blog.  Good luck!

42 comments:

  1. LOL. I loved this, and for the first time I understand why my daughter the teacher insists on ONLY Ticonderoga pencils (Black ones are best, she says as we're filling my cart. Of course they are--they're also the most expensive.)

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    1. Well, now I'm curious and want to find some of these pencils. Nothing I buy ever sharpens all the way around. Maybe it's my electric sharpener, but I'm not going to use one of those hand held ones. I'd be at it for weeks! ;)

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  2. After reading your post, it seems very quiet, peaceful and uncluttered in our home, with just two dogs.

    I hope you thoroughly enjoy your time to yourself this Thursday and Friday, Amy!

    I am looking forward to your release.

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    1. Thanks, Kate. You know it's time for the kids to go back to school when they find a reason to argue with one another over every little thing from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to bed. I love them, but we all need the routine of school back in our lives!

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    2. All the more reason for you to enjoy the peace and quiet - - and take time to celebrate your upcoming release!

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  3. Ahhh, back to school time! The one time of year I shouldn't be allowed in any store that sells school supplies--seriously dangerous for me. But I love your gratitude attitude...although the idea of a graphing calculator might just give me into heart palpitations (never did understand how those things worked), LOL. Happy back to school!

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    1. LOL you should see this thing! It's like a handheld computer. I have no clue how to work it, but I warned my child that if he loses that darn thing, he's buying the next one!

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  4. Amy, love your "thank you" notes. So funny, but I missed the music by the Roots that Jimmy has playing when he writes his notes. I'm not sure his are as meaningful as yours. Throughout the junior high years I had a sign by my office desk that said: "This too shall pass." I lived by that mantra. Lo and behold, it did pass and now that my daughters, bless their hearts, have kids, they actually say---mother how did you make it through the teen years? Music to a mother's ears. Looking forward to your Sept. book.

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    1. My mom said the same thing about the music, Roz! LOL! I love your little sign. I know that it will all be over before I know it, so I try to appreciate the times I'm not tearing my hair out. Glad to hear others have lived through it and survived to tell about it!

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  5. Middle school counselor, huh? I'll be sure to pray for you. I taught abstinence education to middle schoolers for 6 years. And lived to tell about it. Seriously though, they were a lot of fun, especially compared to my seniors. :-) And Congrats on your book coming out next month!!

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    1. Thanks, Patricia! I do kind of love this age. I swore I would never work with Jr. High kids but here I am starting my 16th year at a middle school. It's not that bad. I have the fun job there :)

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  6. I think I sprayed my computer screen with coffee when you thanked your darling daughter...ahem.

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    1. My darling daughter apologizes for messing up your computer screen ;)

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  7. I'm thankful that my two girls (women now) are off tending to their own children and leaving me to the quiet of early morning, afternoon and evening reading. I guess there are some perks to getting older!

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    1. That does sound very lovely!! I know my time will come. And then I'll probably miss all this chaos. Of course I said that about having toddlers and I have come to realize I don't really miss that stage all too much. I like it that my kids can feed, bathe, and wipe themselves ;)

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  8. Since I have no kids to send back to school, your post makes me wonder what my sisters and I put our Mom through when it was time to go back! As picky as I am now about pencils, was I then? Oh wait, back in the 70's I think my only choice was yellow no.2!

    Congrats on your September release!

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    1. Thanks so much, Marcie. Seriously, I don't think my mom had to bring as many things to school back in the day. Some folders, pencils, crayons, and paste. Nowadays I have to bring a truckload of things to get them ready for day one. Yikes!

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  9. I love thank you posts! Way to share the love, Amy! :)

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  10. Oh, Amy! As Roz says, 'This too shall pass.' I remember how trying that was - and am grateful I don't have to do that anymore. Yikes. If I had to find a $140 device a child had to have, I'd have stroked out. Anyway - congratulations on your beautiful children and your new book. Well done, on all counts.

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    1. Thanks, Muriel! I know that the days are long but the years are short. I try to appreciate having the kids around because I know it won't be long before they spread their wings and fly. And now I made myself teary-eyed! Whoops!

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  11. As a third grade teacher, parent of high schoolers and writer, I can relate! And by the way, I tell my children that the Ticonderoga is the Rolls Royce of pencils! :)

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    1. Now I really need to check out these pencils!!

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  12. Amy, hilarious! I can only relate somewhat as I watch my two teacher-sisters get ready for the new year. One has four boys ages 10 through 16. I do my part for her by inviting the younger ones for sleep-overs or taking them all out to the movies or a meal so she can have some snippets of peace. I honestly don't know how you do it. Thank God for your sense of humor, right?

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    1. I don't know how I do it somedays either. Of course, I know people with more kids than I got. I don't know how THEY do it! And my sense of humor is sometimes all that gets me through ;)

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  13. Dude, big who needed a graphing calc this year, $100. cha ching.
    Giggled through this, so true, and so funny, just like you. Can't wait to read the new words. <3 U. xoxoxo - Jo

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    1. Thank you, lady! Those calculator prices kill me. Thanks for coming over and supporting the blog :)

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    2. I remember those days. Not the sending kids back to school part, but the going back myself as first a fourth grade teacher and later a librarian. All the preparations, the meetings, and so forth. Always took awhile to get back in the routine after the summer off.
      Congratulations on your upcoming book!

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    3. Thanks, Linda! Trying to get excited about the new school year!

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  14. Hi Amy!! Wow.....I almost forgot what it was like getting kids ready to go back to school. We have only one daughter, who is almost 25, and this post brought back some memories of shopping for school supplies. And we were supplying the classrooms even more than our daughter with paper towels, toilet paper, tissues and things like that because they needed it for the kids. So sad. I'm glad you found so many things to be thankful for, and congratulations on the new book. I saw it at Harlequin.com this morning and I was going to buy the paperback copy but it said "coming soon." ) :

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    1. Oh Laurie, bless you for giving to the school when they needed it. I know we are fortunate to have schools that have much more than others. And thank you for looking into the book. The paperbacks are not available for preorder. Not sure why that is, but that's what we've been told. Another reason for September to come quick!

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  15. My daughter started first grade today, and I still can't believe it...Your thank you notes were priceless! Congrats on the new release, and yay for a Friday start!

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    1. Thanks so much, Christy. I remember those days! It was so weird to take my son to supply drop off tonight and see all the really little kids there too. Not sure when my kids went and grew up on me!

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  16. I always loved going back to school in the Fall. I know, I know. I'm sick. But there was something about having another chance to start over and learn who I was and where I was going.

    Good luck with the school year, and enjoy your alone day!

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    1. I love that attitude, Syndi!! And thank you - I kind of can't wait for tomorrow ;)

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  17. I used to love it when school started in the fall. On one occasion, I drove down the highway singing at the top of my lungs because my son and daughter were finally back in school. I was furious when one time the first day of school was cancelled because of a hurricane, one called David, named after my firstborn!

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    1. LOL, Marion. I have lots of friends who stay at home. I know they are ready to celebrate when that bus pulls away tomorrow!

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  18. Oh, Amy, you need to send this to Women's World or Parents or something. My favorite was the presharpened pencil bit. My nine year old has been back in school for over two weeks. We didn't get a supply list. Nope, we went an hour at Walmart going through their turn table searching for his school's list. Finally, I called the school (next day of course) to be told there was no school list or the teacher would had one out on Meet the Teacher Day. The day before school starts. She handed one out. I couldn't get to the store that night (I was speaking at a Writer's Group that evening) so Mike went to first day with very few supplies. Thank you packrat Mom who never throws anything away. I still had his third grade supplies! BTW, Dad finally did the shopping because the next night I taught at our church. The problem with husband doing it... let's just say the list and what my husband purchased are, er, um, loosely related.

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    1. LOL Pam! I wouldn't dare trust my husband and a school supply list. He would not have the patience for it. Seven folders that are plastic and three hole punched in seven specific colors with matching notebooks? He'd say screw that and buy whatever he saw first. I can only imagine what he'd come home with and my children would be horrified! We also dug through last years supplies. No reason to by a new set of watercolors when last years got used three times! Hope you and little guy have an awesome school year :)

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  19. Anakinsmom, you are the winner of the signed copy of THE BETTER MAN!! Send me your mailing info to vastine7@gmail.com

    Congratulations and thanks to everyone for participating :)

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  20. Amy, I'm late but this post made me laugh...especially since our kids aren't too far apart in age and I'm going through the whole back-to-school ordeal LOL. I'm so late with shopping this year and sharpened pencils? Why have I never seen them!!!!???? LOL.

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    1. I had never seen them either, Rula, until this year but they are the best. I will never buy anything else!! Hope your kids have a fabulous school year :)

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