Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Continued Excitement About Fanbase Press

For the past three months, I've been a Guest Contributor for Fanbase Press (FP). Not only have I been absolutely thrilled to be involved with FP as a writer, I have enjoyed reading other people's reviews, listening to their many podcasts, and interacting with several of them.

Knowing how much I enjoy being a part of this fun community, I am ecstatic to announce I am now a regular contributor. I can remove the "guest" part, and happily say I am a Fanbase Press Contributor. I even have a bio - how cool is that?

In one of my happiest shouts, "WOOHOO!!!"

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Experiences That Changed Me: My Work For Fanbase Press

Celebrating fandoms . . . and creating new ones.

As a writer, I've had many moments where I've been overcome with happiness, stress, and an overwhelming wonder of if I will be successful at my craft.

I guess sometimes I question the things I once viewed as successful, such as self-publishing my first book, and then wonder if I'm advancing enough to that goal of becoming a full-time writer. Because that's the dream. Well, I've been given an amazingly wonderful opportunity recently, and it has been absolutely one of the best experiences I have ever enjoyed professionally.

I was accepted as a Guest Contributor for Fanbase Press. If you don't know who they are, then think of Nerdist or Geek & Sundry, and you'll get the picture. They are all about sharing the "geek world" with everyone, and they're also helping promote creators and their work. It has been an amazing ride, despite it only being a month and a half, and I am so grateful for the opportunity.

If you're interested in seeing what I've done for them so far, please check out my Guest Contributor tab on this page, or go to my page listed on Fanbase Press. They are currently doing the whole comic-con thing this weekend, so you can catch them at Stan Lee's LA Comic Con if you're in the area.

Here are a few of the many things they have going on:

Quince - article via Legion of Leia
The Fanbase Weekly
Hero Hotel
Advance Hardcover Book Review: Rejected Princesses

Fanbase Press not only rocks awesome geeky goodness, they promote a widespread message of acceptance for any and all about anything. That's a very good thing and one of the reasons I love being a part of it.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Spooky Stories for Halloween, Part 3

Hi everyone! Welcome to the final part in my blog mini-series involving spooky stories I have reviewed for Fanbase Press. All of the stories I've listed so far, in part 1 and part 2, have some kind of creepy element to them.

Please comment on what you would want to read for Halloween. Did the cover page or review pull you in? Maybe it was both? How do these stack up against the ones mentioned in the first two parts (links above)?

Now to the final three!

‘Weavers #5:’ Advance Comic Book Review
Weavers #5 by BOOM! Studios

‘Rivers of London: Black Mould #1’ - Comic Book Review
Rivers of London: Black Mould #1 by Titan Comics

‘Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. #1:’ Advance Comic Book Review
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1954 - The Black Sun #1 by Dark Horse Comics

What is your top pick? What elements made you choose it? Please share in the comments below.

Do you need more stories to choose from? Look out for more story lists in the future. Please make sure to follow my blog and you'll stay on top of all that spooky/geeky goodness.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Spooky Stories for Halloween, Part 2

Hi everyone! Here is the second installment of Spooky Stories for Halloween. Please feel free to go back to part 1 to share your thoughts on those stories.

I'm listing three more stories I've had the pleasure to review for Fanbase Press, which all have some kind of spooky element, and I want to hear what you would pick to read for Halloween. Did the cover page pull you in? Was it the review? Or was it both?

‘Mycroft #2:’ Comic Book Review
Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook #2 by Titan Comics

‘Black Monday Murders #3:’ Comic Book Review
Black Monday Murders #3 by Image Comics

‘From Hell:’ Hardcover Review
From Hell (HC) by IDW Publishing

How would you rank these mystery-based stories? Do you have a favorite you would want to read? Please share in the comments below.

If you're looking for more spooky/geeky goodness, stay tuned for part 3 in this blog mini-series. Follow my blog to make sure you don't miss out!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Spooky Stories for Halloween, Part 1

Hi everyone! I recently became a Guest Contributor for Fanbase Press and it has been absolutely amazing. I've had the opportunity to be involved in the comic book world, with stories ranging from fun-loving, adaptations from video games, or even dark tales. Halloween is right around the corner, so I thought it's a great opportunity to see what everyone else would pick to read for this spooky season.

I will showcase three comic books, with links to my review and to the publisher, and I hope you will share in the comments below what you would pick to read for Halloween. You can pick based purely on the cover or the description of the story or both; please feel free to let me know. You can even rank them if you want. Here we go, let's check out some spooky tales.

‘Dark Souls: Legend of the Flame #2’ - Comic Book Review
Dark Souls: Legends of the Flames #2 by Titan Comics
‘Tales from the Darkside #4:’ Comic Book Review
Tales from the Darkside #4 by IDW Publishing

‘The Strain: Mister Quinlan--Vampire Hunter #2’ - Advance Comic Book Review
The Strain: Mister Quinlan -- Vampire Hunter #2 by Dark Horse Comics

What would you pick to read from this list of spooky stories? Have you already read them and have an opinion on how much they did or didn't scare you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

And stay tuned for part 2 in this blog mini-series of Halloween posts. Follow my blog to make sure you don't miss out.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Halloween Costumes

So our daughter recently turned four years old, and probably since summer she's known what she wanted to be for Halloween - a princess. Big girl has her dress and she is ready to go. Now little guy decided on a different path, sort of. First he wanted to be a princess too. We were totally up for it until he got distracted by something else and "roared!" That being said, he's going to be a green dinosaur.

He turned two over the summer, so both kids are quite agile and I imagine keeping up with them will be a treat. Let's just say I need the exercise. We're in a new neighborhood (since July) and I cannot wait to have them to go trick-or-treating here. Apparently our neighborhood is a high traffic area for kids, so it'll be fun to see them interacting with the other kids. Hopefully we won't run out of candy once we get back to the house.

I don't have a costume for giving out candy, but I've had people suggest I dress to match. Is it possible to be half princess and dragon? I would totally do it! My favorite costume as a kid - I'd probably have to say ninja.

What were your favorite costumes as a kid? What do your kids want to be for Halloween?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Guest Contributor at Fanbase Press

If you haven't noticed on my social media pages, I have recently been accepted as a Guest Contributor for Fanbase Press. This is an exciting endeavor as I love all things involving geeky goodness.

Please feel free to check out the Guest Contributor tab on my page, which includes links to my posts or check out Fanbase Press for my reviews and other fun stuff.

And, oh yeah, woohoo!! I love it.

Here are some of my most recent reviews listed below:

‘The Art of ReCore:’ Advance Hardcover Review
The Art of ReCore! by Dark Horse Books

‘Invisible Republic #11:’ Comic Book Review
Invisible Republic #11 by Image Comics

Friday, August 26, 2016

Experiences That Changed Me: My Internship With VAVi Sport & Social Club

I searched for summer internships during the spring of my junior year to try and get some experience, while having some fun. I had a friend who lived in San Diego, so my obvious thought was, "I'm going to find something in San Diego." I had visited with family previously, and it instantly became my favorite city. So it's safe to say the summer leading up to my senior year in college, I got lucky.

I didn't realize how lucky it would turn out until I finished my summer. VAVi Sport & Social Club took me in as a Sports Management and Event Planning intern, and let me tell you, it was A LOT of work. From the get go, I was tasked with market research, website management, project leader on some assignments, and any other tasks that helped this company function and eventually grow. This ranged from putting player information packets together to making sure each team member had a shirt size listed on their application to even setting up events.

I remember going to one of the many, many events they run. It was a flag football league, and I helped set up the fields with markers and even portable lights since it was going to run into the evening. I also helped hand out t-shirts, equipment, and flyers for the happy hour provided after the games finished.

I don't remember where the happy hour was located, but I remember passing out coupons for food and drinks and seeing how happy everyone was to be there. There were so many people; all excited about the league they were in, and being able to relax after a satisfying win, or loss. It's safe to say that not every league has to be super-competitive.

I spent over two months working for VAVi. I worked for an incredible staff, and most of them have moved on to different things. I've tried to keep up with those individuals as best I can, because the people of that team helped to define what kind of worker I really am. They provided me with the opportunity to be completely overwhelmed with my workload, but that point did not come.

I love VAVi, because they made me realize that I could push myself even further than I thought was possible. It made me stretch my boundaries during my senior year, and I became so much more involved and satisfied knowing that I wanted to keep that feeling; to always be useful and push myself to the brink knowing that I wasn't going to crack.

Just to be clear, my time at VAVi wasn't easy. Like I said before, it was a lot of work; yet, the people there showed me how to have fun while doing it knowing that it was okay to love what you do. Perhaps this was the first trigger that eventually led me on my quest to become a writer, to do something that I absolutely love.

I haven't had much contact with the current crew of VAVi, but it appears they have kept the same philosophy. It's okay to love what you do. I hope they know how much I appreciate that organization. I hope the staff of old knows it too.

At the end of my tenure as an intern, I was given permission to create an event just for the staff; it was my way to say thank you for an incredible ride. We played beach volleyball, and afterwards we grabbed some food and drinks at PB Bar & Grill (which was a great place). I felt so happy to be given the chance to let the entire team take a Friday off, so we could all have some fun. It happened to be my final Friday; my last day working for VAVi.

It was exciting to see how amped everyone else was to have their own event. I gave the event a name too, but I can't quite remember what random acronym-type name I crafted. Perhaps that means it was more cheesy than memorable. My last day had a lot of smiles and laughter. We hit up the beach, and people even brought friends along too. Our day ended after an extended happy hour.

It was bittersweet knowing my tenure was over and that these amazing people would not be in my life anymore. My friend and I were the last ones to leave. I think it was that moment when I realized how much they had done for me. I only hope they know, for me, that incredible ride hasn't stopped since.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Last Day Of A New Beginning

Today was the last day my wife and I will spend in our old home. We recently moved from a townhouse to a detached home. The entire process of selling and buying a home has involved a lot of time, hard work, and stress.

Despite how happy we are in our new home, and knowing there is still work ahead to make our new home ready, it was a difficult last day in the old home. We packed up the few remaining items and cleaned the home to get it ready for the new homeowners. As we were doing our final checks of each room, I couldn't help remember specific moments over the past few years.

I remembered the many times I would hold Adelaide up to her wall with stickers to point out the colorful leaves, flowers, and butterflies. I remember how she would point to each item as I mentioned them. The same would be said for Marshall, as we would "go around the room" each night to point out colorful paintings of sea life; crab, turtle, sea horse, starfish, whales, and fish. As I went through their rooms, I couldn't help but realize how significant this house was to our family. Our children lived their first few years in this home.

I admit it was a bit overwhelming and couldn't really feel satisfied knowing we were leaving behind the one place our children had known, as well as the only place we had known with regards to raising them from birth. I don't know if I could wish how to put the feelings into words. It was sad, and I don't know if there's any other way to describe it. Meghan and I have made a leap into a new home to provide more space for the two kiddos that have seemingly outgrown the space they've grown to love.

I guess it's not a surprise when one of the two little munchkins has found it difficult to adjust to the new house and rooms. Today's last day of the old home made me realize how significant our kids' feelings to it have been, and their new reactions, especially at bedtime, have been to this point. I couldn't help but think about the good memories we shared in the home as we went through the space earlier today.

Does this feeling go away with time? I'm sure it will, or at least I hope it will, for all of us. It's been a difficult process, and although we've been excited to be where we are today including the work put in this past week to prepare our new home during the move, I have to admit the difficulty in letting go to the home where Meghan and I raised our two children.

I had grown to feel quite comfortable in the old home. I appreciated the memories we got to live in day in and day out, and today's departure made me realize how much I will miss the times we had there and knowing we're leaving the space where so many memories were created.

I now hope for many more good memories to build upon in our new home. I hope our kids love this place as much as they love the old.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Favorites Right Now: Top 9 Movies

Keeping up with a recent series, "Favorites Right Now," Top 5 Songs and Top 10 Children's Books, I've decided to tackle my favorites right now for movies. Granted, it's a huge spectrum to delve into, but I'll break down by genre, specifically science fiction, at a later time. This movie list represents those that currently replay a lot in our home, stand out from somewhat recent releases, or all-time favorites that never get old. I'll even throw in quotes from some of the movies. Now, on to the list:

  • Monsters, Inc.
      • Plays all day, every day; option #1 in this house
  • The Proposal
      • Favorite date night movie - "You can tell she's a good dancer by the way she drinks her soda pop."
  • Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring
      • An all-time favorite (AATF)
  • Man On Fire
      • AATF; possibly the favorite of all favorites - "I wish you had more time."
  • Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone
      • AATF
  • The Shawshank Redemption
      • AATF - "I'd like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can't be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it."
  • Interstellar
      • Recently watched and rewatched
  • The Avengers
      • Mix of comedy and action makes this my top comic book movie right now - "I don't see how that's a party."
  • Minions
      • All day, every day; option #2 in this house

What do you think about this list? What are some of your favorites right now?

Friday, June 10, 2016

My Thoughts On Felicia Day's Book...FYI - It's Amazing

I don't know if any of you know this, but my wife and I are trying to buy a house. Not a specific house, yet, but hopefully very soon. During the stresses of trying to sell your current home, and also trying to find and ultimately buy a new home, the wide world of stress tends to build. I started reading Felicia Day's book, You're Never Weird On The Internet (almost), a few weeks ago and I just finished it.

I must say that it is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I think it does deserve a single line by itself to recognize its amazing quality. I know you guys are thinking, "Dude, we know this already. Where have you been?" Well, the past few years have not left me much time to read. Generally, I find time to read between December and March. Why? Because I work at a university in Maryland, which provides time off for winter break and I usually read a few books during that time, and eventually lose steam somewhere around the spring break time.

Anyway, the past few years I've been fortunate to have an amazing boss to work for at this university. She understands my passion to become a full-time writer one day, and now I write and edit for our department routinely, which is a pretty huge factor toward hitting that ultimate milestone. Now it's a good thing to have my work world spinning constantly, trying to see how many things I can juggle in the air at once; you see how I avoided using a particular word there...there would've been a joke there for sure.

As my life spins at work, I also have a very satisfying home life. My wife, Meghan, is my partner in crime; my peanut butter to my jelly (oh, no); my Crusher to my Picard. Yeah, that's right. And we have two amazing kids. One is three and the other will be two in another month (or so). In my home world, I am always thinking and thinking and thinking. Are we doing everything right with the kids? Am I being a good husband? Am I being a good father? Do I have time to write? Do I have time to edit the fourth book in my series...the one I finished writing a year ago...well?

In both worlds, I feel satisfied that I am heading toward my ultimate goals. One, helping my wife raise two amazing children and providing for them what they need and hoping they're happy along the way. Two, being professionally satisfied with what lies ahead and always keeping this writing (slash) editing (slash) creative train moving. It's not easy, and I don't know if I've ever felt it to be easy. I am always hyper-critical of my choices and work.

I understand that things can't be perfect, but I think that somehow I still have that programmed somewhere deep beyond the periphery. I know you're probably thinking, "Who cares? We thought you were going to talk about Felicia Day's book, which we already knew was awesome."

I know. It probably doesn't matter what I write in the big world of the internet. I'm just some random dude who has this dream of writing creatively, and has enough guts to think he's decent at it, but knows that many if not all don't give a hoot about it. It's hard not to throw an owl reference in there; my kids love owls.

So what does this have to do with You're Never Weird On The Internet (almost)? It's that it makes me feel like a certain part of my life makes sense. It makes me feel that the little kid who didn't know how to make friends, or the teen that didn't know how to be vocal in school, or the guy who just generally grew up being quiet, it's okay. It is okay.

I'm not saying it is easy to have those feelings of, "Would it make a difference if I wasn't at this party?" I'm saying I truly, 100% appreciate the words poured out of Felicia Day and into her book. I was trying to describe it to Meghan and I couldn't find the words other than to say that I feel like I can relate to her story. I guess that makes me feel happy to know someone is willing to share so much despite the personal cost of those that would choose to denigrate the very thing that would seemingly be meant to inspire.

Like I said, this is just some guy who seems to be living full-speed all of the time, and trying to find time anywhere in his day outside of work and family, to do the thing he loves; to be a creative genius that will be successful enough at it to be a full-time creative genius. I said creative twice (and now three times), perhaps I'll go back later and edit [check synonyms later].

If you don't know Felicia Day, I think her story is a very interesting one. I don't even recall what led me to Geek & Sundry when it initially was created; it was either The Flog or Tabletop, I can't remember. But since then, I have felt a connection with my geek (slash) nerd (slash) weird (slash) dork side that has always been there. I guess sometimes there are moments when a person wonders if the professional path they're taking is the right one, even when that person knows being a writer is THE thing to do. There are moments of, "How am I going to find time to write?" "How do I even unscramble my brain to figure out how to say, 'hey, I'd love to write for you or your company; I'll even start cheap; did I mention for free too just for the networking?'" "How do I find time to eat?"

Yes, I find time to eat eventually. And I also realized today that although I'm sad to have finished her book, because I wanted it to go on and on, I am also so happy to know she did it (not a joke). I love to write, which is why I sometimes blog to make sure that my writing flow has some forward motion [yeah, I had to rewrite that last sentence once or twice].

I don't know if writing this ultimately matters to anyone, but I know that Felicia Day writing her book matters to me. And maybe if I can share that with someone, and by writing something personal about myself (which isn't always easy), then maybe it makes even more sense for me because it might make sense for someone else too.

So, here's a cheers to You're Never Weird On The Internet (almost), and to the person who wrote it. You made sense to some things and I appreciate and admire what you do even more (even though I didn't think that was possible, because being kind and being a positive influence, all while building an empire of fun, will always make sense to me).

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Reflections Post

One of the biggest things I enjoyed about the A to Z Challenge was writing about my family. I like writing about my wife and kids, and admittedly I don't do it enough. It's kind of one of the reasons I like to blog about them, and my other favorites like comic books, movies, TV, music, and anything else that rolls around in my head; it's a journal I can go back to and read about the things I've done with the family or if I have accomplished any bucket list items.

As for the other challengers, I definitely found a few go-to writers that I checked in every day. The rest of the time I tried going up and down the list to find something new (almost) every day. It is definitely difficult to keep up with everyone's posts, but I think it's a good thing if you find some you want to go back to and make them a priority. I tried to post on those blogs the most.

I enjoyed my experience and am glad to have made it through every day. Will I do it again next year? I'm not sure, but I will definitely keep you posted.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Zzzzzzzzzz


One day, whether it's near or far, far from now, Meghan and I will eventually sleep and sleep in a way where we won't be stressed, worried, or anything at all.

One day.

In the meantime, we will do everything we can to be good parents, be supportive of each other, enjoy some good food and drink, and eventually gain some good sleep from now and again.

Thank you for everyone that continued to follow my posts during the A to Z Challenge. Please continue to follow my posts and feel free to follow me on any of my other social media pages.

Tumbling Along

Friday, April 29, 2016

A to Z Challenge: "You're Never Weird..."

"You're Never Weird..."

In case you haven't heard, I was given Felicia Day's book as a gift recently. I am still stoked about my friend's gift to me, and I am absolutely loving it. Not only do I appreciate the stories and honesty, I have found understanding in my own life. I can't wait to finish this book and I absolutely recommend this to anyone and everyone.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A to Z Challenge: X-Men And Other Comic Books

X-Men and other comic books

I love comic books. I love the illustrations and the special abilities of the characters created in these stories. Comic books seem to be so versatile to such a wide audience. If my kids don’t like comic books, it won’t be the end of the world. Heck, I am nowhere nearly as involved as I would love to be.

I guess there’s a small part of me that remembers that feeling I had when I started collecting as a kid and hope my kids will find that same feeling with something, whether it’s sports, music, or whatever.

My favorite comic books growing up were X-Men and WildC.A.T.S. I’m a huge Jim Lee fan and his work in X-Men and WildC.A.T.S. helped ingrain my love for comic books. When I was younger, I gravitated toward Image and Marvel Comics; Uncanny X-Men, Spawn, Savage Dragon, ShadowHawk, Wolverine, Bloodstrike, and Brigade are ones I immediately think of.

Over the past few years, I’ve enjoyed exploring the world of comic books again (since my teen years) finding new and older comics, and going to Baltimore Comic-Con a few times. It’s always a good thing when I get to stop into a comic book store.

Are there any comic books that are your favorites?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Where Are We In The A To Z Challenge?

Where are we in the A to Z Challenge?

It’s been a long month with a lot of blogging along the way. It’s been difficult to keep up with so, so, so many blogs participating, but it’s been fun to keep tabs on a few and trying to maintain this daily pace. So far, so good, right?

What have you thought of my blog posts so far? Are there any moments of my life I’ve shared that made you laugh out loud or think, “I’ve been through the same thing!”

There are only a few more posts to complete the A to Z Challenge. Don't forget to check out its page if you're interested in trying it next year.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Volumes Of Books

Volumes of books

We have a lot of books in our home for the kids and it makes us very happy. There are quite a few books that are our favorites, so I thought I would mention a few series or authors that we have that have gotten a lot of use over the past few years.

Sandra Boynton books have been fundamental reads in our house; The Going To Bed Book, But Not The Hippopotamus, and Barnyard Dance to name a few. They are cute and the kids love them.

That’s Not My series by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells (I believe they did the entire series) are great books that the kids loved to hold and touch. There’s a lot of interaction with these books because the kiddos just want to touch the different textures.

Pete the Cat books, via Eric Litwin and James Dean, were a favorite of Ads and slowly coming around to the little guy too. I Love My White Shoes, His Four Groovy Buttons, and His Magic Sunglasses are just a few of a bevy of smart stories that made Ads want to sing along during each telling of the story.

Meghan and I love that the kids are into books. The amount of time spent reading with them varies each day, so we’re always excited to bring in new stories to keep them interested; although, they always have favorites that they want us to reread. Sometimes we reach a limit to how many times in a row we can read a story, but we give it a couple before moving on in most cases.

I’m trying to remember how many times Meghan read I’m A Dirty Dinosaur to Marshall because he would not put the book down…8, 9?

I’m interested to see what books they will gravitate toward when they get older. I’m a science fiction, dystopian, and thriller kind of reader for the most part. Will they like some of my favorites?

Sphere by Michael Crichton
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
1984 by George Orwell
The Gun by Philip K. Dick
The Witches by Roald Dahl

What are your favorites?

Monday, April 25, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Unique Uses of Board Books

Unique uses of board books

Have you ever found yourself using a large book as a laptop holder? What about when you’re juggling a few items and you need to put a plate down and a book is much flatter than the couch? Have you ever placed blankets on top of a stack of books to better prop your feet up? Have you ever been sitting against a pillow, wondering why it’s much firmer than you know it to be, to finally realize there was a tall book behind it the entire time? And then not moving it?

I’m not saying I’ve done any of these things…you believe that, right?

Have you ever used a children’s book as a coaster?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Travels


It’s not something we’ve done a lot of with the kids, but we’d love to take the kids on a decent amount of trips as they get older. A vacation here, a vacation there, and maybe a vacation over yonder.

I don’t think we have a huge list (yet) of where we want to take the kids, but going to the beach, checking out The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and maybe that ultimate trip to Australia and New Zealand.

So I often check out my online friends’ posts to see where they’ve gone to get ideas of where to take the family when the kids get older.

They haven’t read or seen Harry Potter, but wouldn’t they love it?

Does anyone have any favorite travel spots?

Friday, April 22, 2016

What I've Learned From Felicia Day's Book, So Far...It's A Good Thing

As I read Felicia Day's You're Never Weird On The Internet (almost), I quickly realize how everything is okay. It might seem weird to sum up my life's experiences after barely breaching through many pages, but she became so much more relatable than I thought to be possible. I read segments and thought, "You mean, the I'm not weird and alone feeling I had growing up was normal." Or at least I wasn't alone with feelings of being the outcast, rebel, or just simply plain.

It's still to this day difficult to admit to feelings (such feelings) when I try to describe how awkward and alone I felt as a kid. The days of just wanting to play sports to spend time with "friends" hoping they'd actually be friends with me. My idea of friendship was probably more knightly than I am recalling at the moment, but friendship meant being able to spill the beans on any and all feelings I had about everything, but it wasn't until maybe grades 5 or 6 that really left me with any friends that wanted to hang out. I latched onto these one or two individuals like my life depended on it. Having sleepovers, playing video games, going for adventures around (or not so near) our neighborhoods, to eventually having two guys (me being one of them) that each played the guitar (I was decent; played for six or seven years solid until my hands and arms would just cramp up after a few minutes of play). My friend and I were interested in starting a band, and even thought of some band names, yet our conquest for band domination was put to a stop by the following words from my parents, "We're moving."

The new surroundings were not what I imagined, especially since my imagination seemed stunted by angst caused by the move. Everything was different, but one thing seemed familiar; that ever growing familiar feeling of being alone and not knowing what to do around other people. This wasn't like starting elementary where everyone's new to the class. This was being uprooted to a completely different non-melting pot of a town that everyone seemed to know everyone else, and now add the new dude. It can even be unintentionally amplified by a teacher that calls you "Yankee" despite the fact that you've moved from the northern part of one state to the southern part of the same state.

This teacher was very kind, and even said my accent sounded like I was from New York. I had no idea I was that cool until that point. Huh, New York. Okay, I can live with that. Wow, I think I kind of got off my initial point of writing this piece. Maybe I'll come back to all of this other stuff at a later time.

Felicia Day, in just a short amount of pages, has made my life (growing up) seem relevant. And the points she makes about finding what you love and doing it (not a joke), you go for it. So I love writing and creating fictional characters. I hope my creativity finds a way to grow myself wings to fly me to my next adventure. As I continue reading her book, perhaps I'll write more posts describing how her personal sharings have made me feel comfortable enough to open up more about me...not to say you're interested.

A to Z Challenge: Swimming


I really hope our kiddos get back to the pool soon. We started them with lessons last fall and they haven’t been back since mid-winter. I think swimming lessons are great for them. Meghan and I really want them to be comfortable around water. Not only do we think it can be a fun activity, but it could really be a healthy way of living moving forward.

If they’re used to the water and want to go more and more, we see that kind of activity as a big plus. Yes, parent mode for me can be quite heightened because I’m nervous with them in the water because they’re so young, but I do recognize that’s the point. They need to be acclimated at a younger age, so they’ll have the confidence as they get older (or at least I hope).

They did a fantastic job during their first go-rounds of lessons. Marmar loved the water from the beginning. While Ads took some time getting used to it during each of the first few lessons, she eventually was quite fine and eventually jumping off the side BY HERSELF!!!!

I wrote a post about this previously, and it still blows my mind. It amazes me to see our kids so brave and they just see it as having fun.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Rummy Babbit

Rummy babbit

As our kids get older, pronunciation will work itself out. But honestly (a great FF song), who doesn’t think that rummy babbit is better than bunny rabbit? I mean, come on. It sounds as cute as rummy babbits actually are; how can I argue with that? I find myself calling them rummy babbits too.

It does make me wonder what other things Ads has said or what Marmar will say in the future that will be different in some way. It’s like when Marmar says, “Mo” when he’s answering a yes or no question. Who doesn’t look around to see if there’s one of the Three Stooges in the room? Is that just me?

Anyway, it is amazing to see what our kids say. I know Meghan and I have both looked at each other (in possible horror) as our daughter repeats something she hears on TV. It absolutely makes us realize how smart she is and how quick she is to pick up on things. I think it has made us realize that perhaps we will need to limit what we have on TV; uh oh, Friends and Gilmore Girls.

I honestly can’t imagine what our household would be like without those two shows on.

Are there any words or phrases your kids have said that are better than the real thing?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Patience

Patience – and no I’m not talking about a GNR song

It’s not an easy task to have patience. It’s something I work on every day, because having patience will hopefully prevent an outlandish explosion of frustration over something nonsensical. I think that’s another reason I try to be silly and joke so I can always remind myself to take a deep breath and see the bigger picture.

If the kiddos can see their parents being patient about things in general, maybe that will translate to them as they get older. If it doesn’t, I’m going to lose it!

Monday, April 18, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Opportunity Knocks

Opportunity knocks

As I’ve mentioned before, my wife works for Usborne Books. Meghan (mainly) does online book parties where the host invites family and friends and she introduces them to the wonderful world of great children’s literature that is Usborne Books.

It started right before last summer. We were about to buy new books for the kids when Meghan said she wanted to try and do something else to bring in extra money. She remembered attending an online book party for Usborne and looked them up.

The starter kit came with a TON of books, which we saw as the perfect opportunity to do it. We were going to spend that much money, if not more, on new books, and now we spent that money on books and starting a new business.

Since becoming an Independent Consultant, Meghan has already promoted to Team Leader and absolutely loves it. There are so many books with creative stories and fun illustrations, while being very good quality and durable. It makes it easy to want to do the “work” when the product essentially sells itself.

She has done a stellar job! If anyone happens to be interested in hosting an online book party, feel free to reach out to Meghan and she can fill you in on how easy it is to get FREE books from simply hosting a party.

Also, it's a pretty cool business name, "May The Books Be With You."

Saturday, April 16, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Nearly Five Years

Nearly five years

My wife and I will be celebrating five years of marriage this summer. I don’t know what we’re doing to celebrate, but I have a few ideas. I do know one thing we’ll be doing to celebrate. During our honeymoon to Antigua, we bought a bottle of rum and decided then and there we would savor it for our five year anniversary.

So that’s going to happen. I can’t wait to open it up and celebrate. We’ll get to reminisce about that wonderful tropical island trip, enjoy what we’ve accomplished since that point, and enjoy each other’s company at whatever restaurant or place we end up, locally or visiting another city.

I’d say it’s been a fantastic time. Busy of course, but fantastic nonetheless. Just to name a few points that are quite obvious, we have two amazing kids; we’re both happy with our day jobs; we’re both happy with our second jobs; Meghan works as an Independent Consultant for Usborne Books and I’m a writer, and part of my day job includes writing and editing, which always makes me happy.

I think Meghan and I will highlight some more points when we celebrate five years. J

Friday, April 15, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Meghan, The Love Of My Life

Meghan, the love of my life.

She gives me many reasons to want to wake up in the morning. She’s forward thinking and looks to achieve family goals. She does so much for our family; provides as a Teacher, shares the load of duties around the house and takes over when the rest of us are out of commission because of illness, and she without a doubt loves the kiddos and me.

We’re hoping to (M)ove to a single-family home soon; there’s another M for you. She so wants the best for our family that she’s willing to spend any extra time cleaning, painting, packing, and anything else associated with getting a house ready to sell.

This journey is a fun one and she is absolutely a good part of the reason why. She is an amazing momma and our kids absolutely adore her; it is a great thing to see that. If there is one word used more often than any other word in our house, it’s momma for sure. When they need help with zipping their jackets, “Momma.” When they need more water in their cups, “Momma.” When they want someone to put them to bed, “Momma.” When they want them to read to them, “Momma.” When they want to be picked up, “Momma.”

The examples are endless and it makes me so happy to see that affection. I love you, babe.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Love


If I know anything, it’s to know that I want our kids to know without a doubt that we love them every second of every day. Even when the sky isn’t blue and the stars are falling, they need to know that we’re there to love them and everything we do is based from that feeling.

Perhaps the easiest thing I ever want to do in life and why this post doesn’t need anything more.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Keeping It Close To The Vest

Keeping it close to the vest

As a writer, I struggled with the whole, “how much am I going to share” type of thing.  Early on, I didn’t share any pictures of myself and never really referred to myself or Meghan by name.

I’m Travis by the way. My wife is Meghan. My kids are baby owl and buddy originally and Ads and Marmar for short now. We’re pretty tight-lipped with pictures of the kiddos. We have private pages that we use, but I haven’t posted any through my open social media channels. I guess it’s just one of those things that I like knowing are our own and they can share pictures of themselves when they’re old enough.

I love talking about Meghan and the kids. I hope if the kiddos choose to read these posts one day, they’ll know I meant well or at least know that I loved talking about them. It’s all I can hope for, because when it comes down to it, it makes me feel good to share some of the things they do. They make us so happy and when I write about it, I get to experience those moments again and it makes me happy again.

Maybe that's why I love being a writer. I love rereading my work during the process and see the ins and outs of my story as it comes along and whether or not it does the trick for me. I guess that's the great thing about our kids. They are the best story.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Jokes Are Necessary

Jokes are necessary.

I am not very funny, but I admit to being silly at times. “At times?” my wife asks in the background. No, I’m just kidding. She didn’t say that. Again, bad joke. No really, honey. I’m sorry. I’ll stop writing now.

[eleven hours later]

See. Not funny. But I like to be silly, and I want my kids to know that. I want them to know it’s okay to be silly, because there are enough serious times in life to make sure and squeeze in some levity. It’s not always easy to show a light-hearted side, especially when you’re trying to teach your kids right and wrong with simple tasks like being honest about doing something that maybe wasn’t so nice. Even if the action is funny, we want to make sure we explain or have them explain why what they did wasn’t the right thing to do.

Being a parent is a fantastic thing, even when we don’t always feel fantastic, because seeing the outcome so far outweighs anything else I’ve ever done in life, because I also get to see it in action with Meghan.

Now that you realize I’m not the funniest person alive, or even in my own household (because I think my kids are pretty funny), you’ll understand a little bit why I try to post funny tweets or talk about silly things that happen in my life. I want them to know how fun my life is and they’re a big part of it.

Just like you are, honey. *smiley face*

[21 hours later]

Monday, April 11, 2016

A to Z Challenge: IV Drip Coffee

IV Drip Coffee

Some might wonder why I didn’t do “C” for coffee, but the first thing I thought of was cookies, which revolved around my kiddos and my belly. Now coffee is something Meghan and I must have. It wasn’t always this way.

I started drinking coffee every day when we were on our honeymoon in lovely Antigua. Every morning I just started drinking it with breakfast. It seemed to fit the moment and our honeymoon. It was a cup of black coffee with and after breakfast, while sitting with the love of my life and watching the beautiful waters of the bay. If that’s not a good reason to keep something going, I don’t know what is. Meghan started at some point after that, I think it might’ve been after Ads was born – it’s probably not related…

So now our mornings start with coffee and sometimes it’s only coffee, and I think we’re okay with that. Yes, we do get hungry, but it’s the coffee that is most important for us.

We. Must. Have. Fuel. To. Make. It. Through. The. Day.

We complete sentences more easily during our first cup of coffee, or second.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

A to Z Challenge: High Fives

High fives are what we do when the kids are excited or they’ve done something well. Duh – Captain Obvious right here.

What’s been interesting is how they’ve both taken high-fiving to a fun level. When Ads was younger, we’d sometimes give her a high five for having a good day and to say “deal” about getting a good night’s sleep so she can be great tomorrow. At some point, I’d put my hand out and she would just hold her hand up and not follow through.

She would start smiling, laughing, and slowly keep pulling her hand back until it was on top of her shoulder. So of course, I would just quickly high five her hand and she would crack up and eventually learn to try and hold my hand back to prevent my quick high fives. It was a fun way for Meghan and I to end the day, because it started while she was in bed while we were saying good night. Of course, this led to doing it all the time and it became a fun game for us.

Now with Marmar, he’s always been an enthusiastic high fiver. He wants to make sure he gets it and does it with force. Recently, while we were putting him to bed (possibly around the same age that Ads started her “revolt”), he did the exact same thing. He held his hand up to his shoulder instead of slapping my hand and he started laughing hysterically, especially when I did a quick high five and got his hand.

I always find it amazing when we see these similarities and think it’s so funny that they get amusement out of creating a game for themselves. I think these moments are some of my favorites.

Friday, April 8, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls

This is another theme song that our kids stop everything for and dance until they can’t dance anymore. Now, I don’t recall if they’ve asked us to play the theme song once it’s over, like they have with Friends, but they do dance at the end credits for this show.

I remember clearly, on many occasions while the little guy was in his clip-on high chair, the end credits would come on and he would start dancing in his chair. He would just start bobbing from side-to-side and would go through the entire credits and it was so fun to watch.

Whenever I see them dancing, I always remember that moment when I first saw him bobbing in his high chair to the Gilmore Girls. The Gilmore Girls was also the first show that made little girl get up and dance. She would get up and start moving her arms up and down, and as she got older, would progress with a little skip across the room.

I love it.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Friends


Our kids love to dance to the theme song of Friends. It is amazing, but it isn’t the only theme song they love to dance to. We’re talking about stop-what-they’re-doing-to-dance kind of love here. They hear it and boom, they stand up from their books or toys or crawl down from the couch and hit the dance floor.

It truly is a fun and amazing sight. It is one of the many fantastic things they do that Meghan and I absolutely love.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Eclectic Music

Eclectic music is not something I usually have been known for. For the most part, my music love was inspired by the 90s grunge/alternative rock scene and I generally gravitate toward that and classical music.

Since the kiddos have been born, my goal has been to find kid-friendly music from my favorites and then trying to branch out into other realms to find stuff that is acceptable for them too. Now of course, I have liked other artists before, such as Wyclef Jean, Lady Gaga, and a mix of other random artists, one-hit wonders or not, but I have made a concerted effort to find suitable music that isn’t too head banging and clean of bad language.

Of course there are easy go-tos, U2, R.E.M., Counting Crows, Dave Matthews Band, Aerosmith, Billy Joel, The Lumineers, Jack Johnson, OneRepublic, Barenaked Ladies, and Coldplay to name a few.

Now finding new music can be quite entertaining, and might I say, it also allows me to listen to my favorite genre to find perfectly acceptable tunes to play at home or in the car.

Might I say Foo Fighters, Incubus, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Smashing Pumpkins, The Verve, and any other band I can think of that might have a gentler side for the kids.

Then I add in some music I listened to when I was a kid; Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, The Monkees, The B-52’s, Bon Jovi, and U2 (again).

And might I also say that I love Lorde’s Pure Heroine. Much like listening to Foo Fighters and Incubus albums at work, I have played this album on repeat over and over again. It is so good!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Dora The Explorer

Dora, the Explorer

If there is one show our kids both love equally, it would have to be Dora. Sometimes one kid wants to watch Little Einsteins. Sometimes one wants to watch Sid, the Science Kid. Sometimes one wants to watch Elmo. Sometimes, you get the idea.

But always, they can both agree on Dora. I don’t know if it’s the music, the backpack, the repetition with the map, or just a combination of many things that make the show entertaining for them, but they love Dora.

They don’t get up and dance for this show, but I’ll make sure to post about the shows our kids do like to dance to.

Monday, April 4, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Cookies And Other Baked Goods

Cookies and other baked goods

Since Marmar was born, I have had a not-so-hidden-need for baked goods. During Meghan’s stay in the hospital, my only source of sustenance was primarily cookies, cinnamon buns, brownies, and anything else that resembled a baked good from the cafeteria. It was fantastic.

Now, 22 months later, I still hold that affinity for baked goods, especially chocolate chip cookies.

Side note: Check out Peace-A-Pizza if you come to Baltimore. Their dessert café, Babas, is amazing! The BEST chocolate chip cookies I have ever eaten.

Cookies can also be a fun way to make meals easier for the kiddos. Depending on the size of the cookie, we’ll either break it in half or quarters and put it on their plate with lunch or dinner. The results are generally positive. The kids will of course eat the cookie, many times it’s the first thing, but then they will gravitate toward the other food items including their veggies. It’s almost like it kick starts their meal with some satisfaction and the rest of their food doesn’t seem so scary. Now, if they happen to ask for more cookie before anything else, the response is always one of two things.

Either it’s, “No,” or “You have to eat the rest of your food first.”

Granted, this isn’t a perfect system, because we don’t give them cookies with every meal (haha, that’s a joke), but it seems to work for this family. We think they do a decent job at eating the healthy stuff, which is why we don’t mind giving them the other good stuff from time to time.

Cookies, it seems so simple.

Sunday, April 3, 2016


Have I talked about my son's vocabulary recently? If not, he's getting there. He's still figuring things out, but his words are coming around. If you ask him a yes or no question, his responses are perfectly fine. For yes, he kind of hums his yes. However, when he says no, he pretends he's talking to a stooge.

We love it. It's starting to disappear a little bit, so I just wanted to share how funny and adorable it is. So perhaps before it finally goes away, I'll enjoy asking him questions where I know what the answer will be.

"Do you want to go to bed?"


Saturday, April 2, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Breakfast For The Kiddos

Breakfast for the kiddos

Food is always a mixed bag for the kids. Each meal can present its own fun and challenges depending on how much they want to eat. Let’s discuss the importance of starting the day off right. Meghan and I know we’ll be offering fruit and veggies at lunch, dinner, or both, so we’re a little more flexible with their breakfast items. Usually, this revolves around Cheerios, eggs and toast, or muffins, mini or full-sized.

To be clear, our kids can eat all of their food on their plates, say they’re done, but continue to ask for bites from mommy and daddy until our food disappears too and then we realize it’s quite okay because we at least have coffee.

So the most important meal of the day, it usually revolves around three specific food items but will always include any other food items that momma and dada are eating; from bananas, yogurt, other cereal, oatmeal, and the occasional donut. So breakfast is never a problem when it comes to the kiddos eating. They always want it and they always eat it, unless they aren’t feeling well and their hunger does wane a bit.

So there you have it, the Lakatas’ breakfast broken down to a few primary food groups; Cheerios, eggs and toast, or muffins for the kiddos; coffee for the parents.

FYI - this only references the first breakfast. Our kids usually eat a second or third breakfast, depending on how much they eat of momma and dada's plates and how many other times they eat before lunch. Lunch, that'll be another post (maybe).

Friday, April 1, 2016

A to Z Challenge: All About Me

All about me: Introduction

Author: The Weiland Kershaw Series, dystopian fiction; short stories, poetry
Favorite Food: Nachos
Favorite Drink: Water
Favorite Adult Drink: Bourbon
Blog About: Wife and kiddos or TV, movies, comic books, music, or any combination
Possible Theme Title For This Challenge: The Parenting Act - My Life As A Parent

Please feel free to introduce yourself and list some of your favorites. I'll see you guys on the B-side.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A to Z Challenge Blogging

Hi everyone. I'll be Blogging from A to Z for the first time. It's for the entire month of April, except for Sundays, but I'm excited to get some blogging in every day and read what so many others have to say. This is only the second kind of blog challenge I've participated in, so I'm anxious to get going. I participated in Gearing Up To Get An Agent (GUTGAA) a few years ago, and honestly, I follow and communicate (through Twitter mostly) with these friends more than any other online friends I've encountered. That being said, I'm encouraged with this new challenge for me.

So stay tuned for daily posts, with each post relating to a letter in the alphabet; a to z. The first letter (A) post will happen on Friday!!


Monday, March 21, 2016

Favorites Right Now: Top 10 Children's Books

Keeping up with my most recent post, "Favorites Right Now: Top 5 Songs," I'm going to share my favorites right now for children's books. This mix will include many I read to the kiddos repeatedly at their request, but there are a few that aren't read as often but I love the story and illustrations.

  • I'm A Hungry Dinosaur by Janeen Brian & Ann James
  • I'm A Dirty Dinosaur by Janeen Brian & Ann James
  • Happy Hippo, Angry Duck (A Book Of Moods) by Sandra Boynton
  • Underpants For Ants by Russell Punter & Fred Blunt
  • That's Not My Dinosaur by Fiona Watt & Rachel Wells
  • Papa, Please Get The Moon For Me by Eric Carle
  • I Want To Be An Astronaut by Ruby Brown & Alisa Coburn
  • B Is For Bedtime by Margaret Hamilton & Anna Pignataro
  • Dog And Mouse by Michelle Nelson-Schmidt
  • Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle & Jill McElmurry

Please feel free to share your favorites right now in the comments below.