One Outside, One Within

Fluttering feet and mushy kisses. Kicks and jabs.

Creaking rocker, sleepy snuggles – quiet in the womb.

Aching back, cramping legs, eyes that carry bags. 

Guilt for the one outside, anxious for the one inside. How will I, one woman, one body, one heart, one mother be enough? 

My heart is full of love even as my patience runs thin, for the one outside and the one within.

Hi everyone. Did I mention that pregnancy has been making me feel ALL the feels lately? 

I hope you enjoyed my impromptu poem I just ticked-out on my phone.

-Rachel

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A Book Review: “Masters And Beginners”

I’ve followed Daley Downing’s blog “The Invisible Moth” for a long time. So I anticipated the release of her new book, “Masters And Beginners”. I was thrilled when she asked me to be an early reader.

You may recall my post from last week, where I explained that I was having a rough day and was delightfully surprised to receive a (bookish) package. Inside Daley thoughtfully sent some treasures and the most precious of them all: her new novel.

Here is the synopsis of Daley’s first book “Masters And Beginners” in her series “The Order Of The Twelve Tribes”:

“When Sophie Driscoll’s grandmother dies, her parents take over running the Annex, a warehouse facility that stores magical artifacts and documents proving, and protecting, the existence of faeries. Sophie and her brothers, Flynn and Cal, happily adjust to a new house, new friends, and a new way of living, joining the ranks of generations who have kept the fey and mortal realms separate for centuries. Before the first month of their new life is over, they’ll encounter romance, elves, talking cats, ancient secrets, and potentially lethal danger. What could possibly go wrong…

You had me at magical artifacts, faeries, and talking cats.

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But, what I really admire about “Masters And Beginners” is the world that Daley has created. She makes you believe that your neighbor’s barn/shed/garage could house magical cats and fairy documentation. I love when stories combine our world with a magical twist.

I enjoyed reading a YA story where the protagonists came from a solid, loving family and get this, both parents were alive!

(What…the parents are still alive AND wonderful people?)

I know, it was shocking and thoroughly refreshing. As an adult and a mother, I felt a special pull towards the Driscoll parents. I’m glad Daley included them as much as she did in the series. Often in YA writing we never meet the parents or we are repulsed by their behavior.

The main protagonist (Sophie Driscoll) is an admirable, likeable  teen. I adore the close relationship she has with her two brothers, especially her older brother Flynn. There is a story-line of romance between a few of the teens in “The Order” (humans (mostly) who protect the fay’s existence and magical artifacts), but romance doesn’t run the story. Mostly these kids are smart, adjusting “Order” kids, who are trying to do their best.

The excitement and mystery moves quickly. Daley has really mastered the art of pacing her story. (I read the book in less than a week. I was hooked.)

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. I want to learn more about the many intriguing side characters like: Sophie’s love interest, her mysterious neighbor, Alex. Her cousin Madison. Flynn’s love-interest Emma. Really I just want MORE. (I’m a greedy book dragon.)

I’m honestly just so impressed with the quality of this one-woman writing/editing/marketing team. I know Daley has worked incredibly hard to release her novel and I can’t tell you how inspired I am after reading “Masters And Beginners”.

If you would like to experience the magic yourself, you may purchase a copy of “Masters And Beginners” here.

Happy Reading,

Rachel

First Day of May

Happy first day of May. It’s an overcast morning here, but the sun is starting to peak through.

We did a lot of spring cleaning this weekend. We are trying to get the nursery ready and that means tearing apart our current office. We are also cleaning out our basement/bonus room to turn into the new office. Between that, being pregnant, and herding a toddler, I’m pretty tired.

I have revised my picture book “Elsie Goes To Work” so much it’s hardly recognizable. I think it’s almost ready to be pitched to editors and agents. I just need to send it and stop messing with it, but I also want it to be as perfect as I can make it. I think this is a constant battle for artists, the ever-present question of: when is your project (baby) ready to leave your hands?

I’m a few pages away from finishing “Masters and Beginners” (Volume 1 of The Order of the Twelve Tribes) by Daley Downing – book review coming soon. *Spoiler alert: I highly recommend it.* If you would like to purchase a copy to participate in the discussion you may do so here.

Other than that I’m just looking forward to the farmer’s market opening this Thursday and watching my garden and my family flourish.

Have a great week.

-Rachel

Picture Pick FriYAY: La Conner, Wa.

Miles and I typically visit the tulip fields every year in La Conner, Washington. We got a late start this year and it was the first sunny day in weeks. Which meant sheer and utter tourist chaos. We waited on a side street for 45 minutes before I said, “Let’s skip the tulips.”

I was sad to miss seeing them, but my son in the backseat was losing every ounce of toddler patience. (Which isn’t a lot to begin with.)

Here are some pictures of daffodils and tulips from years past.

These are two of my favorites that Miles took back in 2010:

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La Conner, Wa tulips

Anyway, back to last Friday…

We decided to skip the tulips and go straight to the town of La Conner.

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Photo found on Google Search

La Conner is a MUST SEE, if you are ever visiting Washington state. If you are a historical home junkie like myself, you will get your fix. The historical farms will take your breath away and the tiny town oozes charm.

LaConner, Wa.

You get a lovely mixture of farm and maritime life.

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Oh hello there, Great Blue Heron!

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Look at my handsome travel companions. I’m a lucky gal! (Miles is really much happier than he appears. Ha!)

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Sorry I didn’t capture more of the farm life and the tulips in La Conner, but there is always next year.

Happy FriYAY everyone!

-Rachel

A Delightful (Bookish) Surprise: “Masters And Beginners” Has Arrived

I was having an off morning. My almost two-year-old woke up very early. That led to a series of meltdowns. My patience was running on “E”. I was feeling the guilt-soaked isolation that only a stay-at-home parent can feel.

Then I got a knock on my door and I heard the plunk of a package being set down.

I saw that it was from New York and I was thoroughly stumped.

I opened up the package and discovered two adorable baby blankets, two beautiful wooden boxes filled with treasures, and….

Daley Downing’s new book, Volume One: “Masters And Beginners” from her series,  “The Order Of The Twelve Tribes”.

Daley has a fantastic blog called The Invisible Moth. (I highly recommend you check it out, like right meow. Lots of cute cat pictures and details of Daley’s life as an author.)

My eyes filled with tears for the personal and thoughtful gifts that she sent and my book-dragon heart raced with excitement to read Daley’s book that I have been anticipating for months.

“Masters And Beginners” Summary: When Sophie Driscoll’s grandmother dies, her parents take over running the Annex, a warehouse facility that stores magical artifacts and documents proving, and protecting, the existence of faeries. Sophie and her brothers, Flynn and Cal, happily adjust to a new house, new friends, and a new way of living, joining the ranks of generations who have kept the fey and mortal realms separate for centuries. Before the first month of their new life is over, they’ll encounter romance, elves, talking cats, ancient secrets, and potentially lethal danger. What could possibly go wrong…

Please stay-tuned for a book review for “Masters And Beginners”. If you would like to participate in the discussion and support an incredibly talented indie author you can snag a copy of “Masters And Beginners” here.

Thank you Daley and all of the other wonderful bloggers who make this community the special place that it is. You save this mama’s sanity over and over again.

-Rachel

Picture Pick FriYAY: Enjoying The View

Sometimes I take things, people, places, in my life for granted. Yesterday I was looking out my window and I fell in love again with our yard. I saw the beauty of spring, and the vibrant colors that most days I ignore.

Can you see the waterfall through the blossoms? (“Waterfall” is a stretch, it’s actually a storm drain, but “waterfall” is so much more romantic.)

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I was thankful that in this small part of the Earth that we inhabit, animals are able to thrive.

Can you spot one of our resident ducks in the photo below?

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You’ve seen the view below in a fall photo series that I shared. Here it is in luscious spring.

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Happy FriYAY. Hope you are enjoying your view today.

-Rachel

Picture Pick FriYAY: Spring

I posted a comment on Paul’s blog, windblownwords about spring.

I thought of my comment again today when I was strolling with a dear friend. (And by strolling I literally mean pushing our kids in strollers, not luxuriously walking idly by.)

Nature is stretching her branches and rubbing the frost from her eyes.

Happy spring. Happy FriYAY.

Rachel

The New Addition 

I’ve been a little absent lately. Not just from this blog, but in many social aspects of my life. 

I’m excited to tell you guys why…

We are expecting a baby girl in August! I’m so thrilled and excited, but nothing turns me into an introvert like pregnancy. My mind has been filled with family and preparation – I’ve really just been enjoying this time.

Thank you all for your friendship and patience with my attendance of this blog. 

-Rachel

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Today Miles, myself, and our son are going to a friend’s house to enjoy corned-beef and cabbage.

I’m a quarter Irish, mostly on my father’s side. (Although we have Irish ancestors on my mother’s side too.) My maiden name is Carroll.

Carroll Name Meaning

Irish: Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Cearbhaill or Ó Cearbhaill ‘son (or descendant) of Cearbhall’, a personal name of uncertain origin, perhaps from cearbh ‘hacking’ and hence a byname for a butcher or nickname for a fierce warrior. (ancestry.com)

Now my married name is McKee.

McKee (derived from McKay) Name Meaning

Scottish and northern Irish: Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Aodha ‘son of Aodh’, an ancient personal name meaning ‘fire’. Etymologically, this is the same name as McCoy. (ancestry.com)

I hope you have a lovely weekend. I want to leave you with my favorite Celtic prayer. A few fun personal facts about this prayer. I wrote it in Miles’ travel journal when we first met,  he was leaving for a long road trip. The first line is inscribed in his wedding band. This prayer hangs above the hand towel in our bathroom so we can see it every day.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

-Rachel McKee

Cover Image: “Rock Of Cashel” Ireland. Found on the website Globe Trotter In Ireland.

Finding The Magic

I’ve been rewriting and editing, and then rewriting and editing some more. I’ve had my picture book (PB) reviewed by three people and it’s been incredibly helpful. Elsie Goes To Work is so close, but I feel it’s still missing something. I think I’m leaving some magic out.

I wanted to keep you guys posted, but I don’t have much to report. I’m just looking for that fairy dust to sprinkle on my PB.

So, you know if you have any to spare (fairy dust that is), please help a writer out.

-Rachel