Monday, September 5, 2016

After the Storm

I know my blogging has been sporadic at best this past year. Most often it's just been that life has gotten in the way and I haven't taken the time to blog. I wish I could say that was the case once again.

As you may have seen on the news, three weeks ago Louisiana experienced historic flooding. Sadly flooding that impacted us. We left our home Saturday, August 13, when water was starting to enter. There's quite a story there, one I'll have to write down eventually. But the end resort is that we spent one night in a shelter in a middle school gym and since then have been living with my mother-in-law and father-in-law.

By Wednesday, the waters had finally receded enough to where we were able to get back to the house where we discovered our home had taken in a couple of feet of water and both of our cars were flooded. We were lucky in some ways because most of our kitchen supplies and clothes were able to be salvaged. But so much else is gone, almost all of our books (and I'm sure you can imagine how many those were), toys, furniture, pillows, towels, board games, and so on and so on. I'm not sure when I'll be back with more updates since I'm having to type this out on my iPad (since both of our computers were also lost), but hopefully I'll be back soon with better news.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

18 Months Update

18 Months
Once again I'm writing this way later than I intended, although at the time I'm writing it you're still a day away from turning 20 months, so I guess I'm not technically late?
April 24
You had an 18 month doctor visit (which means no doctor visits for half a year until you turn 2!). You weighed 19 lbs (0.55%ile), were 30.71 inches (20%ile), and had a head circumference of 46 cm (33%ile). You're clothing and diaper size are the same as they've been. Although since I don't think I've mentioned it before, you are currently wearing size 4 shoes.
Eating with our new Minnie "poon"
May 4
You're talking up a storm. You know your body parts, even some of the more random ones like elbow, teeth, and hair. You know a ton of animals, either by their name or the noise they make. Or if you not sure what to call it, it's simply "an-mal." As for a few recent words, you've been saying help, trash, and dressed.
Mother's Day
May 8, Mother's Day
You still love books and want to read the same book over and over. Although lately before bed you insist on reading Patrick Eats His Dinner, which was one of my favorites when I was growing up.
May 29
You are obsessed with accessories and can say shoe, sock, bow, belt, and hat. Not shirt or pants, but you have the important ones down. Out of them all though shoes are your favorite. You love putting them on and taking them off, so much so that we've had to start hiding shoes from you.
June 3
You're still eating really well, somewhat surprising still since you're so tiny. You love broccoli and also have become obsessed with french fries. In general you'll eat whatever we give you, although you'll go through phases where certain vegetables, like carrots, you aren't willing to eat.
June 11, With Your godmother
It's crazy to think how you're becoming such a little person. But while I know you're becoming less and less of a baby, you'll still always be my tiny baby.
1 Month Old2 Months OldIMG_3341
1 Month ~ 2 Months~3 Months
4 Months ~ 5 Months ~ 6 Months
7 Months ~ 8 Months ~ 9 Months
IMG_414011 Months12 Months
10 Months ~ 11 Months ~ 12 Months
14 Months16 Months
14 Months ~ 16 Months

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Another Daughter of La Lune {Giveaway}

The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose
(historical fiction)
Published: July 19, 2016 by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster
Series: The Daughters of La Lune #2
ISBN: 978-1-4767-7809-9
320 pages
Author’s page | Goodreads
I was pleasantly surprised when I started this book to realize it was the next in The Daughters of La Lune series. Not that I would have missed out by not reading the first since each one stands on its own as each is about a different member of the family. But still, it was nice to catch up with Sandrine from The Witch of Painted Sorrows and see how her life turned out.

With this book we're in the midst of WWI in Paris. Opaline is Sandrine's daughter and makes jewelry. Except being a Daughter of La Lune, she has a bit of a magical ability that she's not too sure of. What she does know is that she's able to use her power to help others talk to their dead loved ones after creating pieces of jewelry for them.

This book had all I've come to expect with Rose's books. A bit of eerie magical-ness mixed with historical fiction. There's a few passionate love scenes, and of course it ends with a somewhat surprising ending.

Overall I really enjoyed my time in Paris (with a trip to England actually) with Opaline. Except the book read kind of slow to me. I can't quite put my finger on why though. But maybe it was a good thing, since I got to stay wrapped up in the world a little longer. Either way I know I'll be coming back to Rose's work again, and I especially can't wait to read what she writes about Opaline's future daughter (because you know that has to be what's coming!).




Nestled deep within Paris’s historic Palais Royal, safe inside La Fantasie Russie’s once-bustling workshop, young, ambitious Opaline Duplessi spends her days making trench watches for soldiers at the front and mourning jewelry for the mothers, wives, and lovers of those who have fallen. Opaline has a rare gift, a form of lithomancy that allows her to translate the energy emanating from stones. Certain gemstones enable her to receive messages from beyond. In her mind, she is no mystic, but merely a messenger giving voice to soldiers who died before they were able to properly express themselves to loved ones. Until one day, one of these fallen soldiers communicates a message—directly to her. So begins a dangerous journey that will take Opaline into the darkest corners of wartime Paris and across the English Channel, where the exiled Romanov dowager empress is waiting to discover the fate of her family.

Full of romance, seduction, and a love so powerful it reaches beyond the grave, The Secret Language of Stones is yet another “entrancing read that will long be savored” (Library Journal, starred review).
“Spellbinding.” —Alyson Richman, author of The Lost Wife


M.J. Rose grew up in New York City exploring the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum and the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park —and reading her mother’s favorite books before she was allowed.

She is the author of more than a dozen novels, the co-president and founding board member of International Thriller Writers, and the founder of the first marketing company for authors, She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Please visit her website, her blog: Museum of Mysteries.
Subscribe to her mailing list and get information about new releases, free book downloads, contests, excerpts and more.
Or send an email to TheFictionofMJRose-subscribe at yahoogroups dot com

To send M.J. a message and/or request a signed bookplate, send an email to mjroseauthor at gmail dot com

Follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Buy the book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Books A Million


You can enter the global giveaway here or on any other book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below.

Enter here

Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

Global giveaway open to US residents only:
9 participants will each win a print copy of this book.



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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Mailbox Monday (131)

I figured it's about time for me check in with a Mailbox Monday post, right?
Mailbox Monday
Gifted from My Dad
Spaghetti and Meatballs for All! by Marilyn Burns
I've actually seen this book on several lists of math books for children. In the story, Mr. and Mrs. Comfort throw a dinner party and have to arrange, rearrange, and rearrange the table and chairs to make room for everybody learning a bit about perimeter on the way.

Little Beaver Builds a Bed by Katie Thompson
This one was actually written by one of my dad's friends. It's about a beaver who builds a bed with his dad for a very special person.

From PJ Library
Tea with Zayde by Barney Saltzberg
This is actually a really cute and relevant for us book. Each day the little girl in the story has tea with her grandfather. Except you realize on the last page that they aren't meeting in person but over the internet. Until a few years ago a book like this never would have existed, but for kids growing up like Elley now, it's hard to imagine life without this type of technology.

Happy, Happy by Bara Bat-Shem
This one is slightly more traditional, but still adorable, as the book goes through the various happy times that occur in a baby's first year. Knowing Elley, I have a feeling this is one I'll be reading, over and over and over again.

What did you find in your mailbox this week?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Baby #2

In case you missed my hidden announcement last month, I'm pregnant.
5 Weeks
5 Weeks
10 Weeks
10 Weeks
Back when I was pregnant with Elley, I posted about it when I was 13 weeks along. This time, well, I just hit 28 weeks. Last time I took a picture every week and while I may not have posted them each week I was pretty close. It's pretty clear that I'm not posting weekly updates this time around. And while I haven't taken photos every week, these are the few photos I managed. Already this baby is suffering from being the second child. Ha!
11 Weeks
11 Weeks
14 Weeks
14 Weeks
Like last time, overall I'm having a really easy pregnancy. I still gag when I brush my teeth in the morning, (Once again that was one of the first signs I was pregnant.) but overall morning sickness was never that bad. Honestly, the hardest part has been the exhaustion. Being pregnant and dealing with a toddler is no joke, hence the fact that I've been so non-existent lately. Most nights after Elley goes to sleep, all I want to do is lay on the couch and zone out in front of the tv.
15 Weeks
15 Weeks
17 Weeks
17 Weeks
In good news though, I don't have gestational diabetes this time around! I actually had to take my one hour test early due to last pregnancy, but passed it. Even so, I still had to take the one hour test the normal time and failed. At this point I had to take the 3 hour test again and I was sure I was going to fail, but surprised myself. Basically this means desserts are still in!
19 Weeks
19 Weeks
20 Weeks
20 Weeks
We've done basically nothing to get ready for the baby. We had talked about getting a new house before the baby arrived, but since that isn't happening, the plan is to turn the library into a bedroom. Easier sad than done though since that room is packed with books. I've started going through and sorting books to pass on and others to put in storage, but there's still a long way to go.
22 Weeks
22 Weeks
26 Weeks
26 Weeks
As for Elley, she'll be 22 months old when this baby arrives and I have no idea how she's going to react. She will point to my stomach and say baby. But she'll also point to her own stomach and say baby, so I'm not sure she quite gets it. Although come October she'll figure it out and I'm not sure she'll be too happy with the changes.
27 Weeks
27 Weeks
I'd love to promise you I'll be back soon with more pregnancy updates. But with my luck the next time I post about this baby it will be here! Ha! Hopefully that doesn't happen and I manage to check in a time or two before then!

Friday, June 17, 2016

You Scream, I Scream

Almost Home by Mariah Stewart
: March 22, 2011 by Ballantine Books
Series: Chesapeake Diaries #3
When I was in 1st grade I wanted to be an ice cream man when I grew up (or an astronaut for somewhat higher ambitions). When I was in college, I wanted to be a food chemist creating ice cream flavors. Needless to say, I was quite excited to finally read the book in this series about the ice cream maker.

First of all, I love hearing all the new flavors Steffie makes in her ice cream shop. (Actually they're mentioned in passing throughout the series, but obviously more here.) I also loved seeing her process of making new flavors. Of course, each time it made me hungry and wish I could try them all.

But while the ice cream is important, there's a love story here that's the highlight. Like I say in all my reviews about this series, it's obvious what's going to happen. But that's half of the fun! The love interest here is a craft beer brewer who has a secret I wouldn't have expected, but is reveled fairly early on.

Of course the fun part of reading a series like this is getting to check in on all the other characters. There's lots of big updates from past protagonists, which makes it feel like your catching up with an old friend.

These books are always so much fun to read, and now that it's summer I think it's the perfect weather for me to pick up another one!


Disclosure: I was provided this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Back to the Ward

The Isle by Jordana Frankel
: January 19, 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
I was so excited to finally be able to read the sequel to The Ward. Granted these books are written by my good friend, but even if that was the case it would still be true, especially knowing the cliffhanger the first ended with.

This book has a bit of a different feel than the first. First there's the obvious, since instead of just being told from Ren's point of view it alternates between Ren and Aven. But it's more than that. I think a lot of it is there's more action. Yes, the first had its racing scenes, but this time what's happening is far more life and death.

Going into the book I was a bit disappointed that part of it hard already been spoiled. Not by reading a spoiler, but from a conversation with my friend, the author. While she did assure me that what she told me happened early on, it was pretty devastating to know out of context. Thankfully she was right and it did happen quite soon and didn't detract from the story.

Once aspect I love about this book is the fountain of youth subplot. Although a lot of that steams from seeing Jordana watch Tuck Everlasting (the one with Alexis Bledel) over and over our freshmen year of college. I just think the book is so her, and absolutely loved reading it.

Clearly my opinion is biased, but justifiably so, I think. These books are pretty awesome and unlike a lot of other YA, so if you haven't found this duo-logy yet, now is the time!


Disclosure: While I did purchase my copy of this book, in case you couldn't tell, I'm good friends with the author.