The Baby Shower

For the last couple of weeks, my sisters, mother and I have been planning my sister, Lisa’s, baby shower.  Not only was I immersed in an assembly line for invitations, a distinguished member of decorations committee, and wannabe sommelier for the secret pre-party meetings, but I helped make arrangements for the cake and bravely experimented with some candy making (yes, I actually gave this a shot and it turns out, I’m not THAT bad at it).  Check this out:


My sister and brother-in-law, Glenn, are having a boy (which explains all the blue and brown) and after months of tossing around names, they finally agreed on Niko.  We wanted to do something special for the arrival of baby Niko.  So I gathered up the family one afternoon and bought a bunch of river rocks that we painted blue (with baby’s name) for guests to take home and place in their gardens.

The only decent-looking ones are those that I didn’t paint.  In fact, my 3 year old did a better job.  Somehow, in a family full of artists, I got the crappy end of the paintbrush.  I can do stick figures…somewhat.  But I cannot pull off brushstrokes, balance and all those inherent little things that artists seem to know.

Since this wasn’t exactly my forte, I didn’t feel like I’d done something truly special for my soon-to-arrive nephew.  I wanted to do something Aunt Keri-ish.  So I decided to write him a story to go with the rocks.  A poem, of sorts.

I have to tell you, I’ve written poetry since I was a teenager.  But the stuff I write is typically dark, brief and almost never rhymes, unless by freak accident.  My poetry is not something I often share, as it’s a bit more personal than my usual writing.  I had to crawl out of my skin a little to write this.  And since I didn’t want to give my nephew-to-be a lifetime of nightmares, I dropped the dark and added a little whimsical.  I was sort of going for a Dr. Seuss kind of story.  And at the end I added instructions for the party guests, describing what to do with the rocks.

Here is the story that I wrote for baby Niko to go with the blue painted rocks (sorry there is a major spacing issue that I just could not figure out for the life of me):

The Rock and the Tree

The rock from afar, holds no special sight.

It sits on the ground, and never takes flight.

And yet, its uses are many, you see.

The rock helped establish the river and tree.

Don’t believe me?

Well, listen, I’ll tell you a story.

Bout a seed in the ground and a rock from the quarry.

How the two came to be special friends over time.

It starts years ago with a cute little rhyme.

Niko the seed lay adrift on the soil.

Alongside the riverbank, where he started to toil.

He thirsted for water and shade from the sun.

But all of his efforts, resulted in none.

As a seed he was stuck and could not move around.

Instead he glanced longingly at the sprouts in the ground.

The water had found them and nourished them so.

It helped them take root and allowed them to grow.

Niko the seed sat helpless and cried.

Fearing, without water, that soon he’d be dried.

In the sun he lay thinking, ‘Oh what can I do?

The answer came hurling in a rock colored blue.

It scared him at first, landing hard with a thud.

Beside the little seed where it lodged in the mud.

Mud?’  wondered Niko, ‘How can this be?

Well that rock changed the course of the river, you see.

Diverted its path toward the dry little seed.

It helped Niko burrow in the soil to feed.

It gave him the shade from the sun that he’d need.

And Niko was grateful, so grateful indeed.

“From where do you come?”  asked the seed to the stone.

“A quarry,” he answered, “where I sat so alone.

‘Til a boy picked me up and took me to his home.

The bright blue caught his eye while he aimlessly roamed.

In his pocket he kept me, day after day.

Then skipped me across the river in play.

Now here I lay, I suppose, for a bit.

Do you mind if I share the mud where you sit?”

“Not at all!” cried Niko, “I’d love you to stay!

To hold conversation and help pass the day.”

“Oh joy!” Said the rock, “and let this be known,

I vow to protect you in this place you’ve been sown.

I’ll provide you with water, friendship and shade,

I hope you will find this a reasonable trade.”

So there the rock sat, giving comfort and shelter.

From the dry summer sun and all of its swelter.

And soon autumn came, then winter and spring.

There sat the rock, still doing it’s thing.

Year after year seemed to pass in a blur.

And that little sapling grew to a large Fir.

The rock sits beside it, though now it’s quite small.

Compared to the tree standing noble and tall.

So the next time you see a small rock on the ground

Perhaps there’s a seed lying somewhere around.

Still don’t believe that a rock can change courses?

Mold a new path and influence the forces

That block us from that which we need to get by?

Then here is something I wish you to try:

A baby is coming, and soon you will see

The manner in which a rock you can be.

His future, unwritten.

His path, open wide.

Be the rock by the river

Be the shade at his side.

Help nourish him now

And guide him along

For he too is destined to grow noble and strong.

Lay this rock in your garden or beside a new tree,

Think of the baby and the man he’ll soon be.

Know in his journey, you helped him become

The tall tree that now shades the small rock from the sun.


Instructions:  Place this rock somewhere special – in a garden, a flower pot, your windowsill, near a small or large tree – wherever you’d like.  Write your name on a small white scrap of paper and set it beside the rock.  Take a picture of the rock and paper along with the object by which you set the rock (can be with a phone camera) and send to Lisa.  The pictures will be placed in Niko’s baby book as the ‘rocks’ in his life.

Here are just a couple examples, including mine:

I received a very nice surprise from one of my writer friends, the very lovely J. A. Belfield, who read the story and expressed how much she enjoyed it in an email.  She attached a recording of herself, reading the story aloud.  I have to say, not only do I adore her accent, but I think she did such a wonderful job reading it, that I had to share it with you.  I forwarded her recording along to my sister as a little audiostory for baby Niko.

The Rock & the Tree

What are some creative ways that you’ve welcomed a new baby into your family?

Interview with the Holloway Brothers

Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with author J.A. Belfield, and she’s brought along the sexy Holloway brothers from her novel Darkness & Light. *gives Sean and Ethan a once-over*  So excited to have y’all here.  Was that said too breathy?  It was.  Chillax, Keri...  

Howdy boys!

Ethan, I do believe I’ve met you before.  Hehe  When you took over a certain someone’s blog a while back.  Ring a bell??  The English accent is still hot as hell, by the way.  *winks* 

Ethan: *stares hard* So which intelligent question did you ask then? Actually, don’t answer that.

*grins* So let’s get down to business, shall we?

Ethan, your brother’s woman, Jem, has recently returned to the pack.  It’s been a while, how does it feel to have a shot of estrogen in the Holloway household?

Ethan: Weird … to begin. She’s not bad, though. For a female. She’s fun to wind up—which keeps me entertained. *smiles*

Any chance you might be looking for a lady wolf of your own?  *toys with necklace and bites lip*

Ethan: You mean an unwed or unattached one? Not really.

Right!  Right.  *cough*  An unwed one…as in definitely not me.  *shifts in chair* Okay moving on…

What is your idea of a perfect date?  *rests chin on palm with a dreamy stare*

Ethan: Date? You asking about venue and activities or personality? ‘Cause I’m only willing to answer the latter. *shrugs* Someone unafraid to be themselves, I guess.

Oh me!  *clears throat*

Sean, we know you’re spoken for.  What is it that you find sexy in your little lady?  Make us swoon, honey.

Sean: *glances at Ethan before taking a deep breath*Jem smells amazing. She has a scent that can cut through a crowd even during rush hour foot traffic. And she has this way of gazing at me when we kiss. I don’t even think she knows she’s doing it. But, damn, it is enough to make a guy har—melt … make a guy melt. *cough*

Ethan: Yet again, too much information.

Hahaha!  Melt.  Right.  *shakes head*  I don’t know how Jem manages to keep her paws to herself.  You’re smokin’ hot! 

Sean: *another glance at Ethan, eyebrow arched*

And speaking of Jem, she seems to be quite the popular catch…particularly among other packs.  It must be incredibly frustrating trying to keep her safe.  How do you do it without tying her…up?  *shivers*

Sean: The only way to keep Jem safe from other packs is to take them out. End of story.

As for tying her up? Tell me: Do you really think she’d stand for that? Would you like to deal with her after the fact? Try it … and then let me know how that turns out for you.

Ethan: You can let me know before hand, though. Some things’d be worth watching. *smiles*

True that.  She’s seems quite the little pistol! 

*Both brothers snort and exchange a glance*

And your love spans centuries, as detailed in the upcoming release, Instinct.  How do you keep things fresh and fun in your relationship?

Sean: Wouldn’t you like to know. *chuckles* Okay, more seriously. When you lead the kind of lifestyle we do, there is no time—no reason—to claim boredom. We have our jobs, we have our family, we have extended kin in the rest of the pack, we have the forest a stone’s throw away … and I have Jem on top of all that. See? Every day is a fresh day, and every damn second is fun.

Ethan: And if all else fails, there’s Movie Premiere and Snickers.

I want some dirt, boys.  Any secrets you wanna spill on J.A. Belfield? 

Ethan: She’s a pain in the arse. Bloody female drives me crazy.

Sean: She’s not that bad. You’re just fed up with being in the sidelines.

Ethan: Actually, I’m fed up with being disturbed at stupid hours to listen to her mumbling out conversations that haven’t even happened yet. Not all of us sleep like the dead, Sean.

I’m with Julie on this one, guys.  When inspiration strikes, ya gotta go with it. 

Ok onto the next question…How does a female…er, one, not necessarily me per se, become a member of the pack?  Just curious.  *dodges eye contact*

Ethan: They don’t. That’s all there is to say on the matter.

Sean: Even Mum wasn’t a pack member when she was still around. Jem’s special circumstances.

Ethan: And an accident.

Sean: Definitely an accident.

Ethan: Even if it was an inevitable outcome.


Julie, how do you keep these boys in line?  I’ve heard whips are quite effective.       

Julie: Hehehehehehehe. Whips and threats of bad stuff happening to them. They usually forgive me for all the c*** I put them through, though, so long as I promise a happy outcome at the end.

Yes, I found my boys are very forgiving as well.  Promise a little happiness in their otherwise tormented lives and they suddenly succumb to our demands…well.  You know what I mean.  *cough*

What’s your drink of choice?

Julie: If you want my favourite I’d say cappuccino but when I’m writing throughout the day, I allow myself three cups of coffee (preferable before lunchtime) and then switch to clearer drinks for the rest of the day in the wonky hope of flushing out the intake of caffeine.

Ethan:  Glenmorangie

Oooh!  Whiskey!  You are a tough guy, aren’t you? 

Ethan: Actually, I’m just a male with good taste.

Sean:  If you say so. I’d much rather treat myself to a decent mug of coffee

Julie you are much more disciplined…I’ll sneak a Starbucks late in the day from time to time. 


Boxers, briefs or commando?

Julie: Briefs.

Sean: Boxers.

Ethan: Mind your own damn business.


Oh I could ask you a million more questions…just to stare at your perfect, chiseled faces, but I know you’ve got places to go and people *winks at Sean* to see.  Thank you Sean, Ethan and Julie for a super fun interview.  I look forward to seeing you again.  *tries not to stare at Ethan’s tight backside as he rises from the chair*

Craving more of these fine-looking brothers (and I can attest they do look fine), or the very talented J.A. Belfield?  You can find them here: