Secret Agent Josephine Books

Brenda Ponnay (aka Secret Agent Josephine) and I go way back. Wayyyyyyyy back – in fact, it was Brenda who encouraged me to start this blog back in 2005! (Which, of course, led me to search for past entries about SAJ, and well, there went my entire morning.)

Tiny aside – do you all remember this video of Wito and Baby Bug?

Our sweet babies!

If you haven’t heard of SAJ, let me tell you, this artist/illustrator/writer dynamo is the bee’s knees, and she recently published three children’s books! She’s been conducting a virtual book tour over the past month, and I wanted to ask her a few questions so you could get to know her better. HOWEVER, being the letter W on the tour means that pretty much every question has already been asked of her by the other book tour participants. So, I called in the big gun. Wito. Here is a transcript of Wito and Brenda’s interview.

Wito: What is your favorite color?

SAJ: My favorite color is RED.

Wito: Why?

SAJ: Because it’s bright and happy.

Wito: Why?

SAJ: Because it’s on the warm end of the color spectrum. It’s a hot color as in FIRE! FIRE!

Wito: Why?

SAJ: Because I don’t know?  Something about wavelengths and science. Go ask your Mom.

Wito: Why?

SAJ: Because she is smarter than I am and probably memorized all that stuff.

Wito: Why?

SAJ: I don’t know. Maybe because she is a genius just like you. And she can memorize whole books.  Maybe YOU should get back to ME with that answer.

Wito: BYE!

(Just to set the record straight, I’m pretty sure Brenda is smarter than the two of us combined, but thanks for the nice words, SAJ!)

Take a look at these adorable books.


They’re completely charming, and perfect for holiday gifts, whether they be in paperback or electronic editions. (All electronic titles are only $2.99!) My postillion has been struck by lightning.

iPad/iPhoneABCsColors, and Numbers.

KindleABCsColors, and Numbers.

NookABCsColors, and Numbers.

Paperback: ABCs, Colors, Numbers.

Keep track of SAJ’s Stealthy Book Tour here (there are fun clues to collect along the way), and check out all of her awesome books. I’m so proud of you, SAJ!!!

Oh! One last thing. Brenda is offering one 8×10 “W for Whale” print to one of the commenters!

Just leave a comment with your favorite “w” word by Monday, December 19th at 6pm PST and you’ll be entered to win! (My favorite “w” word is “whirl,” which I wanted to be the URL for this blog, but it was already taken. Hence, Whoorl was born!)


Secret Agent Josephine Rocks

SAJ and I walked down to the beach last evening while I wallowed in self-deprecation about my blog with comments like “Why did I force my husband at gunpoint to build this site for me? Why would anyone choose to read this damn thing? CSS blows. No one will ever visit this loser blog.” Don’t I sound fun?

Whoah! Hold your horses, little lady! Keep in mind that I just posted my first entry on August 3rd. Impatience. That’s a trait near and not-so-dear to my heart. I have a history of jumping into new projects with an insane amount of fervor (need! results! now!), only to have it slowly wither away over a couple of weeks or months. One project that immediately comes to mind was my all-consuming search for my family’s genealogy. The Whoorl Genealogy Project. I literally called my parent’s home 20 times a day.

“Dad! Did you know your great great great great grandfather lived in Kentucky?” “

“That’s great, honey.”

Twenty minutes later, “Mom! Did you know that our ancestors lived on a farm in Ballymoney, Ireland?!”

“That’s great, dear.”

Fifteen minutes later, “Dad! Did you know your great great great grandmother had triplets, Anna, Alfred and Angus?”


“Dad, did you just hang up on me?”


You get the picture. Eventually, the only parental voice I heard was the one on the answering machine. However, my ancestry insanity did fade after I realized most of my conversations with my father were similar to this:

Father: Sarah, I think it is really neat that you are trying to attribute your personality traits to someone who lived 300 years ago, but don’t you think you might be taking it a little too far? Maybe you should get some air.

Sarah: But Daaaaaad, I’m Irish. That soooooo explains my love of Guinness beer, my rosacea AND my fair skin, which mind you, has resulted in two moles being surgically removed with stitches involved! Had I known my heritage before, I might have worn a higher sunscreen! Duh.

Other recent projects involved learning to cook items other than Zatarain’s black beans and rice, and my secret incognito-burrito project that must remain under wraps for the time being. Well, I guess I am my father’s daughter- this is the man who dove head first with every ounce of his being into hobbies such as photography, guitars, coin-collecting, scrap gold parts (wtf?) and watch repair. Mind you, he excels at absolutely everything he does, but I don’t hear much about those coins and cameras these days, if ya know what I mean. By the way, this is also the man who would like me to refer to him as Bishop Stu Tu on my blog. Don’t ask.

Back to Queen Josephine. After our walk, I had some dinner and lurked on some of my fave blogs. And then, I saw it. My overly excited face on SAJ’s new entry. She was telling people to check out my blog. Could she BE any cooler or more helpful? I went to sleep with a big smile on my face, knowing that I, whoorly girl, was so lucky to have such a great new friend.

This morning, I poured myself a big cup of decaf. Yes, I drink decaf because caffeine makes me turn into one seriously anxious freak of nature. As my doctor informed me, I am naturally caffeinated. I logged on to my email, and there they were. Comments. Huh? People visited my site? HOLY SHIT! YAY YIPPEE YAY YAY YEE HAW!! I stood up, did a little dance, sat down and then it hit me. Doom. Big Doom. If people visited my site and liked it, then they will probably come back. That means I have to write something witty or funny or something. The pressure! How do you all do it? I was the girl from high school and college who morphed into a sloppy puddle of failure when a teacher mentioned the word “essay”. However, today I made a pact. This will be the project that doesn’t wither. I will continue to ramble on incessantly as long as someone is still reading. Woohoo! By the way, thanks to everyone who commented. I felt like I was 8 years old again shooting the duck at my rocking-roller-rink-fun-skate birthday party.

Oh, and for those of you who haven’t had the chance to meet SAJ in person, she really is THAT creative, inspiring and super cool. Plus, she’s got that whole pregnancy-glow-thing down pat.

Covert Operations With The Agent

Once again, SAJ saves the day.

Not only has she kept me company AND sane during the past couple of days, she wrote an entry about it. Thus, covering my ass ONCE AGAIN in the blog-writing department.

Go read about it and I promise I will get organized soon- of course, after I finish my trillion thank-you notes (yes mom, I promise to finish them by the weekend).

Oh, it’s official- I’m a mom. This became blatantly evident today as I breastfed Wito in the backseat of my car in the mall parking lot.

Secret Agent To The Rescue!

I had big plans to post about the first month of mommyhood when Wito decided to endure a growth spurt and feed every 2 hours around the clock. Good times.

My very cute pediatrician with a South African accent told me Wito would become much fussier in the upcoming weeks, and yes, he was correctamundo. And might I mention, I very much enjoy listening to anything the cute pediatrician says. Double swoon. Did you ever see the Sex and the City episode where Charlotte hires the hot divorce lawyer and acts all sweet and demure when she really wants to tell it like it is in the bitchiest of ways? Um, kind of like my situation with the pediatrician. Although, I’m sure the first 102 degree fever will swiftly take care of that issue.

He’s still a perfect angel baby during the day, but then the sun starts to set and DUH DUH DUNNNNN, scary devil baby emerges. This is the time when nothing will satisfy him. Rocky-vibrating chair thing? HATES IT. Tummy time? HATES IT. Being swaddled? Super duper HATING IT to the tenth degree. Have you seen the Miracle Blanket? This thing is like a straight jacket, but he somehow manages to bust out of it every time. I have given birth to a mini-Houdini. Shushing? Nope. Pacifier? For about 5 minutes until he violently knocks it out of his mouth while scratching his eyeballs out.

My God, the DRAMA.

I wonder who he gets that from?

I even drove to Babies”R”US like a bat out of hell to purchase the swing of all swings to appease him. After reading all the reviews, I figured it had to work. Um, HATED IT*. This was the point of no return. My first true baby-related meltdown. I wish I had it on video.

SAJ to the rescue! Thank Jebus she got me outside into the fresh air where I realized there is still a thriving world outside of my nightly Temple of Baby Doom.

We walked to the park while I enjoyed the sunshine on my pale-ass shoulders. I am very pale, people. The walk was glorious. Oh, and she took photos of the blessed event. Enjoy!

* He now enjoys the swing. And the Baby Bjorn. Hell yes.


I don’t even know where to begin. Thank you so much for every email, donation, care package, prayer and virtual hug you sent over the past week. The response has been truly overwhelming. So far, you have donated $1,500 to the Pediatric Cancer Research Fund, which is INCREDIBLE. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wita and I visited Maddie last Friday. Oh man, is she special. Maddie told us all about the amazing adventures she’s experienced over the past few weeks. Snorkeling in Hawaii, releasing Clarice the elephant seal back into the ocean, petting sting rays and feeding zebra sharks, to name a few. (You can read about her adventures at Maddie’s Caring Bridge page.)

What struck me the most during our visit with Maddie was how incredibly nurturing she was with Wita; tickling her feet, complimenting her blue eyes, giving her sweet, gentle kisses…I thought my heart might burst. While showing Wita her favorite Wyland coloring book, Maddie made sure to hide the shark page from little Wita’s eyes since it might “scare her.”

Such love. Wita couldn’t get enough, as you can see.

Things might be a little quiet at whoorl this week, as Dustin and I are working hard to design the website for Maddie’s foundation. (D was working on the design before the sun came up this morning. I love him so much.) Jesse and Amanda from Comal Productions have donated their services to build the website, and Secret Agent Josephine rendered an illustration for us within 10 minutes of me reaching out to her this morning. We are so grateful for these three folks. Jesse and Amanda can build a mean website (ahem, HAIR THURSDAY), and Brenda rocks. Most of all, though, they are good people. Period. (And how could I forget Amanda’s awesome website, Tipsy Society, that was featured in my I Think I’m Love series forever and ever ago.) Thank you, Jesse, Amanda, and Brenda!

This past month has forever changed the way I approach each and every day with my family. The little, nagging annoyances suddenly seem so trivial, the tender moments tug on my heartstrings a little harder, and the silly, fun moments have been amplified a million times over. At the end of last year, I told you that my New Year’s resolution for 2011 was to take at least one photo every day for memory’s sake. Well, I’m still going strong, and haven’t missed a day. Here are some of my favorite photos from January. (Click photo for larger size.)

Happy Valentine’s Day. Give your loved ones an extra hug today.

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Holiday, Holiday, HOLIDAY

(Be sure and vocalize the post title in your best monster truck rally voice before proceeding.)

1. Looking for some holiday style inspiration? Check out my dream holiday outfit (and 9 other beauty and style bloggers’ picks) over at iVillage!

2. We started a new turkey day family tradition this year, the Thanksgiving Day Feather Hunt. You can read all about it at Alphamom.

3. As some of you may know, Secret Agent Josephine recently made some big changes in her life. (Her site is a little wonky right now due to increased traffic…she’s working on it, though!) Well, the wonderful Heather of OMSH just posted about how we can help Brenda have a very merry Christmas…if you’re a big fan of Brenda, head over and take a look!

4. For those of you trying to complete your holiday shopping with a baby and a non-baby, might I suggest using a Tag Along? Wito is just way too big (and uninterested) for a stroller these days, and this INGENIOUS INVENTION has saved me from having to claim him at the Lost and Found at our local mall.

5. Um, Christmas is in 11 days. Hold me.