SATURDAY SPARKS: BABY LOVE!

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

Today’s feature will spotlight part of my extended family.  Recently, my niece Emily gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Margaret Louise.  She is the first grandchild for my sister and her husband, so a gathering was convened to honor the new family member.

Present at the event:  My sister and her husband; their four daughters, Elizabeth, Emily, Dorothy, and Katherine…and of course, little Margaret Louise.

First, say hello to the new mother and baby, Emily and Margaret:

 

Emily & Margaret - 1

 

Now let’s take a look at the four sisters, with the baby:  Left to Right:  Katherine (Katie); Elizabeth; Emily with Margaret; and Dorothy.

 

 

Emily, sisters, & baby - Katie, Elizabeth Emily, Dorothy

Meet the grandparents, with Baby Margaret:

 

 

Emily's baby & grandparents

Here is the whole group:

 

 

Emily, etc. - Sisters, Parents

 

And finally, a special moment between little Margaret and her Aunt Dorothy:

 

 

Emily's sister & baby - Dorothy

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Is there anything sweeter than a new baby?  I predict that, since having a new baby around can start a trend, the sisters might just find themselves stricken by Baby Love.

It seemed to work that way between me and my siblings.  LOL

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What are you sharing today?  Come on by and tell me what you think.

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LOOKING BACK ON THE SUMMER & BEYOND – SATURDAY SNAPSHOTS

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

In the past few weeks, I have featured many family moments.  We started off the summer with graduations.  Then we moved to fun and sun with my eldest son and DIL, visiting from Berlin, followed by some changes in my interior world, both during and after the house guests departed.

Now…let’s take a look at some new beginnings, starting with Fiona, off to college this month.  Here she is with a new style:

 

 

Fiona in August - college girl

And another perspective:

 

 

Fiona in August - 2 - college

 

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Meanwhile, while my son and DIL were here, they shared some photos from their wedding a couple of years ago.  They joined their lives in marriage in Gibraltar, and honeymooned in Spain.  Wedding party below:

 

 

Wedding party in Gibraltar

 

Here is the Queen’s Hotel in Gibraltar:

 

 

Honeymoon Hotel - Queen's in Gibraltar

 

They honeymooned in Spain, and took in a bullfight:

 

 

Wedding - honeymoon in Spain

 

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Finally, there was another celebration this week:  my daughter Heather’s birthday.  I created this collage to showcase some versions of her over the years:

 

 

PicMonkey Collage-Heather

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Here are some snapshots of changes in my spaces after the guests left.  I moved one of the dining room cupboards to the center of the far wall and shoved the dining room table into the space left; now there is more room to walk through the area:

 

 

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 Here’s a close-up of the area:

 

 

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Here is my newly reconfigured office space:

 

 

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What moments are you celebrating this week?

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FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “DID YOU EVER HAVE A FAMILY”

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

How can it be Friday already?  I’m happy about it, though, and eager to share excerpts from one of my recent ARCs:  Did You Ever Have a Family, by Bill Clegg.

 

 

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Beginning:  (Silas)

He wakes to the sound of sirens.  Many, loud, and very near.  Then horns:  short, angry grunts like the buzzers signaling time-out in the basketball games he watches but does not play in at school.  His cell phone says 6:11 a.m. but the house downstairs is awake and loud and in his mother’s rough morning voice, scratching above his father’s and sisters’, he hears something is wrong.

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56: I saw him there with June a few times, working out.  I think it was the first time I heard him laughing or saw him smiling since high school.

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Blurb:  The stunning debut novel from bestselling author Bill Clegg is a magnificently powerful story about a circle of people who find solace in the least likely of places as they cope with a horrific tragedy.

On the eve of her daughter’s wedding, June Reid’s life is completely devastated when a shocking disaster takes the lives of her daughter, her daughter’s fiancé, her ex-husband, and her boyfriend, Luke—her entire family, all gone in a moment. And June is the only survivor.

Alone and directionless, June drives across the country, away from her small Connecticut town. In her wake, a community emerges, weaving a beautiful and surprising web of connections through shared heartbreak.

From the couple running a motel on the Pacific Ocean where June eventually settles into a quiet half-life, to the wedding’s caterer whose bill has been forgotten, to Luke’s mother, the shattered outcast of the town—everyone touched by the tragedy is changed as truths about their near and far histories finally come to light.

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I haven’t started reading this one yet, but now I’m curious.  What do you think?

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FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “HOUSE OF WONDER”

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

My feature today is a book by Sarah Healy:  House of Wonder.

 

 

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Beginning:  (Prologue) – The House on Royal Court

Ours were dinners of boneless chicken breasts, smeared and then baked in the congealed contents of a red and white can.  My mother would have clipped the recipe from a magazine, using sharp orange-handled scissors, the type that can slice down a length of wrapping paper like a fin through placid water.  Warren and I would sit waiting, eating our green bell pepper quarters filled with twisting orange strings of squirt cheese.

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56:  We were given instructions about icing, painkillers, and potential problems against which to be vigilant.  But really, Warren’s injuries were not severe compared with many that the ER saw.  It was their implication that was upsetting.

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Blurb:  When we were little and I needed Warren, I would rub my earlobe.  And perhaps it was the alchemy of childhood, a magic that happened because I believed it could, but I swear it worked. He always came.

Theirs wasn’t always the misfit family in the neighborhood. Jenna Parsons’s childhood was one of block parties and barbecues, where her mother, a former beauty queen, continued her reign and her twin brother, Warren, was viewed as just another oddball kid. But as her mother’s shopaholic habits intensified, and her brother’s behavior became viewed as more strange than quirky, Jenna sought to distance herself from them. She is devoted to her career and her four-year-old daughter, Rose. But now, in his peculiar way, Warren summons her back to 62 Royal Court.

What she finds there—a house in disrepair, a neighborhood on tenterhooks over a rash of petty thefts, and evidence of past traumas her mother has kept hidden—will challenge Jenna as never before. But as she stands by her family, she also begins to find beauty in unexpected places, strength in unlikely people, and a future she couldn’t have imagined.

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What do you think?  Does it pique your interest?  Come on by and share your comments and links, please.

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FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “CANCEL THE WEDDING”

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

I hope all those who celebrate it had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Today I’d like to share an ARC from Vine:  Cancel the Wedding, by Carolyn Dingman.

 

 

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Beginning:  (Prologue – August 1956, Huntley, Georgia)

The strap from the overloaded canvas satchel dug into Janie’s shoulder as she made her way down the well-traveled path to the river.  She could feel that George was already there before she could hear him and long before she could see him.  They were only ten years old but they had been tuned in to each other like that for as long as she could remember.

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56:  One didn’t have to be very present while Mrs. Chatham was speaking; she didn’t require much in the way of response.  At the moment she was retelling the family tree of nearly everyone in town.  It seemed as if everyone was knotted together in one way or another as she went through the names.

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Amazon Description:  A heartfelt fiction debut that will appeal to fans of Emily Giffin’s Southern charm and Jennifer Weiner’s compelling, emotionally resonant novels about the frustrations of blood ties, Cancel the Wedding follows one woman’s journey to discover the secrets of her mother’s hidden past—and confront her own uncertain future.

On the surface, Olivia has it all: a high-powered career, a loving family, and a handsome fiancé. She even seems to be coming to terms with her mother Jane’s premature death from cancer. But when Jane’s final wish is revealed, Olivia and her elder sister Georgia are mystified. Their mother rarely spoke of her rural Southern hometown, and never went back to visit—so why does she want them to return to Huntley, Georgia, to scatter her ashes?

Jane’s request offers Olivia a temporary escape from the reality she’s long been denying: she hates her “dream” job, and she’s not really sure she wants to marry her groom-to-be. With her 14-year-old niece, Logan, riding shotgun, she heads South on a summer road trip looking for answers about her mother.

As Olivia gets to know the town’s inhabitants, she begins to peel back the secrets of her mother’s early life—truths that force her to finally question her own future. But when Olivia is confronted with a tragedy and finds an opportunity to right a terrible wrong, will it give her the courage to accept her mother’s past—and say yes to her own desire to start over?

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What do you think?  Does it pique your interest?  Come on by and share your thoughts…and links, please.

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SATURDAY SPARKS: FUN IS WHEREVER YOU FIND IT….

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy.

Today’s featured photos are an assorted group of family fun moments.

First, here’s Heather’s Birthday Brunch, from a couple of weeks ago.  She’s the one in the middle.

 

Heather's B-Day Brunch

 

And a few hours away, Brett and his three A’s are enjoying a game:

 

Brett & Kids at the game

 

Fiona and Tomas…with her latest experimental hair color…and a fake nose ring.  Yes, fake!

 

Fiona & Tomas...Fiona's new hair

 

As you can see, an assorted bunch trying out a variety of fun experiences.  What are you sharing today?

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SATURDAY SPARKS: THE GARDEN COTTAGE

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy.

This week, I am excited to share some photos of my eldest son’s new garden cottage in suburban Berlin.  First, here’s the gorgeous exterior with some gardens:

 

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From the patio, enter the dining area through the French doors….I LOVE French doors….

 

 

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Cozy dining will happen here….

 

 

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As you may know from previous Saturday Snapshots, I am a big fan of lofts…and exposed wooden beams.

 

 

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This work space looks inviting to me….

 

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The sitting room looks cozy to me, too….

 

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Now I simply must go visit!  Thanks for joining my fantasy tour of my son and his wife’s new space.

 

What are you sharing today?  I hope you’ll stop by and comment, with links.

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CREATIVE SPARKS: SATURDAY SNAPSHOTS — MOMENTS

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy.

Today I’m featuring moments with Noah…and my own special morning in my newly painted patio.

 

Noah’s special creation:

A Creation

Noah’s Band Award – (He plays the trombone):

 

Noah, the Trombone Player

Bookworm Noah:

 

Little Bookworm

 

And….this morning, I was happily reading and having breakfast on my newly fenced and painted patio.  Last week, they built the new fence, and this week they painted it.

 

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CREATIVE SPARKS: BERLIN STREET ART

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy.

Last week, I shared photos from my second son’s visit to Sierra Leone.  This week, take a look at some Berlin street art photographed by my eldest son, Craig Robinson Photographer.

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Hope you enjoyed the show.  Please come on by and share your own photos…and your links!

CREATIVE SPARKS: FAMILY & THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy.

Now that Christmas is coming very soon, I will share a few decorations…and also some more family shots.

First….across the world, in Spain, my son’s bride Gabi snapped this rare and spontaneous shot of Craig.  He looks exuberant, doesn’t he, especially for someone who is usually behind the camera instead of in front of it.

Taking a leap of faith?  Craig, newlywed, in Fuengirola, Spain
Taking a leap of faith? Craig, newlywed, in Fuengirola, Spain

Now…back to the states, and down south a bit, in sunny LA:  Aubrey and some friends “catch” the premiere of Catching Fire.

Aubrey, far right, with friends
Aubrey, far right, with friends

Here in my city in the middle of the state, we are gradually decking the halls.  I pulled some of the usual decor out of the bins to showcase a wee bit of Christmas, Laurel-Rain Style.

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And here’s a little vignette, with “fake” poinsettias, to make us feel the cheer of the season.

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And for the grand finale, here’s the tree at the home of Heather, Steven, and Noah.  I recognize some of the ornaments from the days when I had a big tree in my foothills house.

Heather, Steven, & Noah's tree

Now…for the rest of the weekend, I plan to watch movies and shows on Netflix, sip a little eggnog, and read.  What are you doing to get in the holiday spirit, if you celebrate it?