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.