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 #smileaday To speedy recoveries. 
 
I was home with the youngest Bryant today, who was freshly diagnosed with the flu. Given how bad she felt last night, I anticipated a difficult day full of intense worry, but she was actually quite a bit better today. Low energy and definitely still sick, but much lower temperature for her fever and much more alert and "like herself." Such a a relief! Here's hoping that tomorrow keeps her on the fast track to healthy. 
speedy recovery
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 #smileaday It's been a rough one at Casa Bryant today. The youngest went from kinda sick to scary sick over the space of a few hours and has been diagnosed with Flu, type A. :-( So, I guess my smile today is that there is an Urgent Care facility in my town and that they treated her with kindness and compassion on the way to that diagnosis. And that, even though the flu sucks, it's nothing scarier than the flu. 
juju cartoon
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 #smileaday Book birthdays.

I had triplets today. Three brain children.

Three of my book babies were sent out into the world to seek their fortunes. Hmmm . . .may have to work on that metaphor. Makes me sound too much like the mother in the three little pigs, and I'm hoping to avoid the wolves.

It really is such a lovely feeling though, getting your work out there into the world. So grateful for all the help I've had getting this far.

It's time to celebrate so the youngest and I made cupcakes. :-)

new books
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 #smileaday When your partner is a good partner.
 
I don't feel good today. It's "just a cold" but a cold can be so miserable, making it hard to breathe and leaving you feeling so very very blah. Sometimes I think I'd rather just go ahead and be a little sicker so I could justify staying home from work (and writing substitute teaching plans-shudder!) as opposed to suffering through. 
 
But I am a lucky girl, and seeing how low I felt, the husband stepped in and made the Beans a la Bryant tonight. Warm, comforting, and someone else made it when I didn't feel up to it. Perfect. It's lovely when you need someone to take care of you and then someone does. 


sick cartoon

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 #smileaday Lunch with my girls.

College girl called me up today because she had some time and wanted to spend it with me and her sister. As if that wasn't good enough . . .there was also sushi!

sushi conveyor belt
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 #smileaday Today was a good day. I spent time with my tribe (A Women's Fiction Writers Association get together), eating good food and having great conversations. But the best part was after that, when I picked up my college girl and took her out to dinner. We had simple, easy, quiet time together, just talking about nothing and everything. Exactly the kind of time with her I have missed the most since she went off to school.
with my college girl
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 #smileaday Happy giggling girls. 
 
Today was a Scout meeting day, and I was the transport for my daughter and two other Cadettes. Some of my daughter's friends worry me because darkness pulls at them, but her Girl Scout friends are giddy and light and joyful. I'm glad she's got a good place for this part of her soul as well. 
 
And me? I got a car full of silly happiness at the end of my workday. Just the soul lift I needed. 
 
Girl Scout Cadettes
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 #smileaday Working together as a family.

My daughter was housed in the worst dorm her college had to offer, thanks to missing a deadline in her application process. But here in the second semester, she had the chance to move to another room and jumped on it! So we spent this afternoon and evening moving her out of her old room and into her new room. Somewhere in there, there was sushi.

A busy time, but had that wonderful "we'll all in this together" feeling.

wonderpets
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On the Basis of Sex movie poster #smileaday Female empowerment with my favorite females. I had a movie date with my daughters today. We saw On the Basis of Sex, the biopic of the early part of Ruth Bader Ginsberg's career (admission to Harvard Law school through the Moritz v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue case). 
 
Strong performances throughout and an excellent portrayal of handling both subtle and blunt sexism on a personal, professional, and institutional level with aplomb. Given that we already knew how the court case was going to come out, it was incredibly tense watching it get there. 
 
Left me feeling high and hopeful while I sat between two women of the next generation. Seemed like a good way to spend Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. 
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#smileaday Making space!


I've been slowly transforming the smallest bedroom in our house into a writing room for myself. It's slow going. Money and time are two things I'm always short on. For a couple of months, there's been this big pile of displaced things taking up half the room: college girl's belongings that didn't got with her but are still wanted, furniture and shelving that I haven't figured out if I still have a need and use for yet, toys and belongings left from when this was the tween's room, etc.


We moved everything that wasn't temperature sensitive into the half-way finished attic today and voila!  The room feels room-sized now! Tomorrow, I'm hoping to start removing the wallpaper. Maybe I can get some new paint on my walls before the end of February!

my writing room to be
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 #gameeveryweek Clank!  
 
Apparently, we have failed as gamer-parents because this is apparently the first deck-buildling game we've played with our girl and she's eleven. What a travesty! She got the hang of it quickly, though, so next I'll be teaching her Ascension (my favorite deck builder). 
 
When I told the youngest Bryant the theme to this one (we're thieves sneaking into some caverns to steal treasures from a dragon and get back out before we get killed), she laughed and said, "So, what you're telling me is that we're stupid." I had to agree :-) 
 
The title comes from the use of noise as a factor in whether or not you wake the dragon during your turn. Each time you do something that makes noise (like run while wearing armor, or fight a monster, or just stumble), you add a color coded cube to a bag, which is drawn from when the dragon attacks to see who takes damage. 
 
At the end of our game, one Bryant had died (poor Papa, he was so close to the exit!), and the other two of us had one life point left, so it was a near thing. Littlest Bryant won, which is not bad at all for her first deck building game ever. She bought way more victory points granting cards than either of us realized. 

Clank! boardgame box
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 #smileaday Revisiting old movies with my munchkin. 
 
I've been on a little bit of a kick here lately, "making" my youngest daughter watch old movies with me. I'm usually nice about it and pick things I think will please her, like Beetlejuice and Lost Boys (though there was that time I made her watch Big Trouble in Little China she has not forgiven me for). 
 
Earlier this week, we watched Armageddon, which was even cheesier than I remembered, and I remembered it as inducing fits in lactose-intolerant moviegoers. It's arguably the worst performance by Ben Affleck I've ever seen. Cringe-inducing even. But we laughed so much!
 
Tonight we watched Big Hero 6, which I know isn't that old, but when you're only 11 like she is, 2014 was half a lifetime ago. It still charmed the heck out of me, even when it made me cry, and making me cry didn't make me feel as manipulated as Pixar machinations usually do. 

big hero 6 characters
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 #smileaday Having my girls at home. Tonight my girls were cuddled up together on the sofa. They're older than they are in this picture, and I didn't get a picture this time, but it filled my heart with the same light, to see them being loving to each other. 

sisters together
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 Have you guys been playing the #10yearsago thing over here? I’ve seen a variety. What you looked like, what your dreams were, what your life was like. Since I’m been lucky enough to have a good decade, I think it’s kind of fun, the then-and-now thing. I went for a picture with my daughter in it, because age 1 and age 11 make for a pretty impressive change. As for me, I don’t think I’ve changed that much.

2009 and 2019
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 #gameaweek 5-Minute Dungeon. 
 
Last week was crazy-stupid-busy. One of those weeks where finding any gaming time at all is a struggle, no matter how much we love it. 
 
So, thank goodness for good games with a short playtime!
 
5-Minute Dungeon literally takes 5 minutes to play. It's a co-op game. Each of us picked a character, which assigned us a special skill and a color of deck. There's a deck of cards on top of a boss in the middle of the table. We're working together to defeat each card with the cards from our own decks. (It makes more sense if you see it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rwfpmYcwns) 
 
It has a fun theme, and has us working together to defeat bad guys, which seems like an excellent family activity to me. We used the Scottish voice on the countdown app this time, and spent the whole game trying to talk in Scottish accents ourselves. We're hilariously bad at this which only made it more fun. 

5-minute dungeon game box
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 #smileaday Girl Scout Cookie glee. 
 
Girl Scout cookies went on sale on Saturday. One of the fun parts of selling girl scout cookies is the absolute excitement that lights up people's faces when the sale starts. There's something special about treats you can only get during a limited time window, and these cookies, besides being yummy, come with the added benefit of being a good deed. You buy something you want and at the same time, you help a young girl get to do cool stuff with her troop. Win-win for sure!
 
My girl is a late joiner to scouts, just having started last year, but she loves it. They've already helped expand her boundaries and get to her to try new things. 
girl scout cookies
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 #smileaday Squeezing in a game on a busy day. 
 
Today was relentless. One of those teaching days when I could barely find time to go to the bathroom or take a bite of my sandwich. It gets that way when the semester is ending and grade panic sets in among the students of dubious work ethic. 
 
My night was busy too. I've got a convention to prepare for, so tonight was book inventory night and I needed to send some information in for the Author Dating Game, too. 
 
But I desperately needed to play something. Luckily, my husband is the best game concierge ever, and he has games to fit nearly every gaming group or scenario you can imagine. This game literally takes 5 minutes (5 Minute Dungeon) and is cute and funny. Just what I needed to cut my tension. 

5 minute dungeon game
5 minute dungeon5 minute dungeon

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Vindication Board Game #gameaweek I played quite a few games in the first seven days of 2019, but I'm going to talk about Vindication. I received it as a Christmas gift, and have played it only once so far. 
 
The premise is that you are wretched, an unworthy debased creature cast ashore on an island. Your goal is collect honor and possibly redeem yourself along the way. You do this by exploring the fantastical island and taking a range of actions. This is one of those games that doesn't have a single path to victory. You can earn honor points by defeating monsters, claiming territory and collecting honor as a sort of Monopoly-style rent, completing your secret journey, acquiring relics and traits, and probably some other way that I can't remember now. 
 
I was worried that so many possible paths would leave me feeling directionless in the game, where I floundered around trying a bit of everything and getting nowhere, but I really appreciated the secret journey card. Like route cards in Ticket to Ride, they can give you some purpose and shape to your action choices. Since mine awarded honor for defeating monsters, I went that route, and defeated several monsters that came with end of game bonuses. Capitalizing on those end of game bonuses had me collecting certain territories and types of attributes. I didn't win, but it was close! 
 
There are quite a few fiddly bits to this one, so I maybe wouldn't break it out with your friends who think The Game of Life is a complicated game. But it is well planned with good visual elements and four medium-to-highly-experienced gamers had little trouble figuring it out at La Casa Bryant. 
 
When I got it, we spent some time with a video from the makers about how to utilize all the very smart game-storage pieces that came with. If you nerd out about good game storage and thoughtful mechanics, you'll probably love this game. 
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 #smileaday A new place to walk. 
 
A friend told us about a little used park in our own town. I didn't even know it was there! Though I can still hear the highway from within, it was lovely in that all I could see was trees for a long, deep view. The weather was perfect, and even my tween, who didn't really want to take a walk, found it enchanting when the sun hit the mossy part of the path and made it glow. We'll definitely have to go back in a greener season. 

woods walk
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 #smileaday Yummy sounds from everyone at my dinner table tonight. I worked hard, and my work was appreciated.

yum

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Samantha J Bryant

February 2019

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