library cards

i love books. this is not a surprise if you’ve read any of my posts. i read books, i buy them, i borrow them, i work on them at my day job, and yet, i can’t help but be amazed by the stories others tell me about them.


this past weekend, i was at a friend’s baby shower and in lieu of a card, the hostesses had requested we bring a book to start the baby’s library. this idea charmed me, but also rattled me. there are SO MANY GREAT BOOKS out there, how could i ever decide on just one for this baby?

my automatic buy for babies is usually any book by sandra boynton. the board books are sturdy and bright, but most importantly, silly. the words and pictures are crisp and clean and hilarious. how can you not love a book that caters to both babies and parents? however, the countdown to the shower was closer than i realized and i had no time to run to the store. i turned to my own bookshelf.

(why do i have kids’ books on my shelf, you ask? i used to work for a large, corporate, trade publisher in the juvenile division and kept all the best books i (and my coworkers) worked on.)

i settled on THE POLAR EXPRESS.

for me, this book didn’t hold the weight it does for others. christmas books were/are abundant in my parents’ house, but i had zero memories of reading this particular book as a child and as such, my only memories of it were the struggles i incurred while working on the 25th anniversary edition which included the book, a slipcase, a cd, a sticker, and shrinkwrap. it was my first “kit” and there were a lot of moving parts when you were in the production department…

anyways, i realized my experience with this book was in the vast minority, so i tenderly pulled the book off my shelf and prepared it for the shower. when it was time for the mama-to-be to open my gift, she held it high so everyone could see. her mother in law immediately ran over to me with tears in her eyes.

“that’s the first book [my son] picked out when he got his first library card,” she whispered.


until recently, the library in sister J and BILT’s town was a tiny store at the local mall because the main building was under construction, but as soon as the newly renovated library re-opened, a family outing was planned.

it turns out you have to be four years old to get your own library card. baby mac is three. that didn’t stop her.

while sister J was registering for the cards, BILT, baby mac, and bubba mac perused the kids’ section. baby mac was overjoyed with the selection and in fact, would pull a book off the shelf, race over to sister J to show her the new option, and then return to BILT to pick out another one. she ended up selecting four books that day to take home.

first choices

four books may not seem like a lot but it’s a strong enough foundation to support a lifelong love of books.

do YOU have any book stories to add to my collection?

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northern lights

in a fit of procrastination, i typed “where can i go to see the northern lights” into bing.com (true story, brother G) and this was the result:

(1) Go to the extreme north of the globe, towards the North Pole, for ideal viewing. This is where the aurora borealis is magnetically drawn. The ideal locations for spotting the aurora are north Finland, Scandinavia, Siberia, Alaska and Greenland.

(2) Visit these locales from October through March. Since the rest of the year is dominated by day-round sunlight, seeing the aurora is more difficult during that time.

(3) Keep up with ongoing solar activity to find out the best times for viewing.

(4) Watch for reports of unusually high solar activity if you live farther south. When solar activity is unusually high, the lights can often be seen at much lower latitudes than usual. Chances for viewing would be especially good throughout Canada and mid- to northern regions of the U.S. and Europe. It even may be possible to see the aurora farther south.

(5) Put yourself in the best viewing position by heading to the country. Even if the aurora borealis does make it far enough south to be seen by those outside of the scientific community, it will probably be drowned out by city lights. Find a secluded, light-free locale.

(6) Practice the art of patience when waiting to see the lights. You may have to wait several hours before finally catching a glimpse, so be ready to put your skills of endurance to use when aurora hunting.

(7) Be ready to go as soon as the conditions are right for possibly spotting the Northern Lights. These brilliant displays generally only last 2 to 10 minutes, so you don’t want to miss it.

a list! i love lists! it’s like it knows me. and a list of how to see something that’s always been on my life TO DO list? color me excited.

in other news, what’s something on your life TO DO list?

book club

QUICK FIX arc tour

remember when i was part of linda grimes’s IN A FIX arc tour? well, guess what? i was part of a second arc tour for her latest book, QUICK FIX.

and, you guys. YOU GUYS. this book. THIS BOOK! it’s everything every second book in a series should be. it deepens our knowledge of the main and supporting characters. it’s got new twists and turns. it stands alone. it’s complete. it leaves us begging for more, especially that love scene. it may very well be the sweetest (and sexiest) love scene around. i may have put my hand over my heart when reading it, because, awwwwwwwwwwww.

i’m not sure i can talk about how funny this book is, how real the characters are, and how unique the premise is without melting into a puddle of gushiness and re-forming back into a proud mama. (what? i “know” linda via twitter. i’m allowed to take credit for her writing successes. ;)

instead of subjecting you to my incoherent albeit happy babbling, here, have a review by patty blount and here, have some cover copy (from amazon):

QUICK FIX—the second installment of the original urban fantasy series by LINDA GRIMES.

Ciel Halligan, an aura adaptor with a chameleon-like ability to step into the lives of her clients and fix their problems for them—as them—is working a job at the National Zoo with her boyfriend, Billy, and his ten-year-old sister, Molly. It’s supposed to be a quick fix, giving her time to decide if it’s wise to pursue the romantic relationship her charming scoundrel of a best friend wants, or if she should give Mark, the CIA spook she’s crushed on since hormones first rattled her pubescent brain, a chance to step up to the plate.

Molly has already begun to show signs of being an adaptor herself. She’s young for it, but she’s always been precocious, so it’s not impossible. What is impossible is her taking on the form of the baby orangutan she touches—adaptors can only project human auras. Until now, apparently. Worse, Molly is stuck in ape form. She can’t change herself back.

Escaping from the zoo with their new baby orang, Ciel and Billy head for New York City and the only person they know can help: Ciel’s brother James, a non-adaptor scientist who’s determined to crack the aura adaptor genetic code. But when Billy winds up in jail, accused of attempted murder, Ciel begins to suspect Molly’s unusual adapting ability is more than just a fluke. Who’s been experimenting on Molly, and what do they hope to gain? And will Ciel survive to find out?

fascinating, right? plot twistingly intriguing, right? goody goody gum drops, right? this charming little book will see the light of day on august 20, 2013. mark your calendars. seriously, MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

UPDATED TO ADD: check out linda’s blog for her vision of the characters! so cool.


happy third

dear baby mac,

today, you are 3. (you’re no longer a baby nor have you been one for awhile, but the (blog) nickname stuck and so i’ll address you as such.) you are, in fact, a big girl now. your brain astounds me, both in its cleverness, its sneakiness, its unlimited boundaries and its potential. you are parts silly, sweet, sassy, and stubborn, but your mom is more so, which usually sets you in your place. ;)

you have this unusual ability of appearing not to be paying attention, but when we least expect it, you pipe up with the correct answer or a spot on question or a poignant statement and we learn yet again not to underestimate you.

we’ve also learned you’re starting to know what we mean when we say “n-a-p” or “d-r-i-n-k”. slow down! you’re too smart!

you’re a bundle of emotion bouncing and hopping and running and giggling and screeching. no matter the emotion, it’s contagious, but by none more so than bubba mac (your wee bitty brother). he adores and stares and copies and follows you everywhere. i know you think he’s annoying, but you take your big sister role in stride as you proudly proclaim him, “my baby.”

you’re a funny little thing who’s blossoming into an amazing person.

princess practice
princess practice

your imagination marvels me, but so does your take on reality.

looking at decorations
taking in all the decorations

you may look like your mother’s twin, but your thoughts on having your picture taken are on par with your aunt’s (aka, mine):

silly bday girl

all in all, you’re one grand kid and i can’t wait to see what superhero things you accomplish/come up with next.

super birthday girl

aunt abby



every sunday (well, barring any scheduling difficulties), i make a very important phone call to sister J. because of the wonders of technology, said phone call lets me see her, baby mac (3yo), bubba mac (1yo), and when he’s not doing his doctor duties, BILT. the kids are of the age where every day brings new changes and expressions and words and actions and it’s so so so much fun to watch them grow.

even if they like to push the button that hangs up on me.

this time, i’m not giving them that option because i’m forgoing one technology (the phone) for another (a plane).

bubba mac
being a baby is rough.
baby mac
dread pirate baby mac
easter 2013
happy easter, y’all.

with faces like those, you see why i’m powerless to resist.

i wish you a very happy weekend. see you on the flip side.