Happy 6 Months, Little Buddy!

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Six months ago today, I was frantically raking leaves in our front yard, trying to keep my mind off of the fact that this baby still was inside my stomach. Much later that night (two hospital trips later, to be exact), out “popped” this beautiful baby boy: Lucas Alexander.

Now, six months in, I am discovering not only how different my children are, but how different my relationship is with each of them. Maybe it is because I was working so much, or maybe it was because I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but parenting Lillian has always seemed much more like a group effort than it does with Lucas. And, in all honesty, I love sharing her–she is spunky and fun!

With Lucas, I hover a lit (ok, a lot) more. And, when I’m not hovering, Lillian is there reminding me that he needs attention (“Mommy, Buddy’s hungry; he wants milk.” “Mommy, Buddy’s crying.”). And, while I would love to say that Lucas feels more like “my baby,” I can’t. He is definitely Lillian’s baby. And, really, I hope that never changes. Watching their sweet relationship grow makes me feel pitter-patters that I didn’t know existed.

This week, Lillian is in Oklahoma, being spoiled by Grammy and Gramps, which means I get lots of pictures like this:

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It also means that I get to enjoy the rare opportunity to have one-on-one time with Lucas. And, while I always think I’m going to get the house cleaned out or the laundry back to zero while I only have one child present, it never happens. Instead, partly because he doesn’t have Lillian to entertain him and partly because I just want to, I end up spending most of the time cuddling my tiniest person. Oh, and taking pictures (because we don’t have enough of those).

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But, in these moments, I get to see how his personality is beginning to shape. And, I might be a little biased, but I think he’s going to have a pretty good one.

Happy half-birthday, Buddy! We sure are glad you are ours!

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The Mask: A Book Worth Your Precious Downtime

It is no secret that my dream house includes a comfortably large library with a porch. It should also be no surprise that I spend the few down-time hours that I have reading, perusing book stores, and attending library events.   

Recently, I had the opportunity to listen the author Taylor Stevens speak at the Fort Worth Library. Haven’t heard of her? It’s okay, neither had I. She unassumingly took the stage and began unfolding her life story. And, like a modern day bard, she captivated the audience. I’m not even sure anyone glanced down to check Facebook on their phones for a good 45 minutes.

At this event, I won an advanced copy of her fifth book in the Vanessa Michael Monroe series, The Mask, which hits shelves (and Amazon) on June 30th. And, if I’m speaking honestly, the only reason I opened the book was because of her amazing storytelling skills and because she personalized the book in the most awesome way possible.

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But, it has easily become my favorite book of 2015, and that is why I feel compelled to share (also, I need people to read it so I can discuss it with someone ;)).

The series is a high-octane thriller, which is so far removed from my love of 19th Century literature that it is laughable. But, my goodness!! Her storytelling prowess had me on the edge of my seat by page 5 and kept me there until the very last sentence.

Vanessa Michael Monroe is not someone an enemy you want to have. She is an information seeker, paid by individuals, companies and governments, to seek out and obtain information that no one else can, and she is very, very good at her job. In The Mask, she is set on hanging up her hat and settling in to a quasi-normal life for a bit with her boyfriend, Miles Bradford.

And, as you might imagine, that doesn’t go exactly as planned. After Bradford is set up for murder, it is up to her to save him, even if the cost is their relationship. She performs her role as heroine as wonderfully as any knight-in-shining armor. And, by the end of the book, she will have you zipping a leather jacket and riding on a winding road on a Japanese motorcycle, if only in your imagination.

One of my favorite aspects of this book is how it is organized into small segments instead of chapters, allowing you can slink back and forth between reality and imagination faster than Clark Kent can take off his glasses and become Superman.

Because I don’t typically read high-octane thrillers, I can’t tell you whether or not her work is groundbreaking in genre. But, I can tell you that it is pretty fantastic addition to my world, and I plan on backtracking and reading all the books in the series.

So, go ahead, kick your feet up with that nice cold cup of coffee (or glass of nightcap wine), and dive head first into adventure. The Cheerios on the floor, dishes in the sink, and clothes to fold will still be waiting for you when you return.

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And, if you are an aspiring writer, you should sign up for her newsletter or check out her Facebook page. You won’t be sorry.