Friday, April 29, 2011

Angels and Miracles

I truly believe we are being watched over.  And Keira has her own special guardian angel, as well as St. Therese (Keira's middle name is Rose in honor of St. Therese, the Little Flower). 

On Easter Sunday, we went up to Gigi's (my grandma) house, as we do every year.  Most of the adults and kids were in the house, but my uncle took Connor and Keira outside while he was weeding the garden.  Gigi lives in the house that my grandfather grew up in.  Their neighbor's house is a similiar situation - the woman that lives there grew up with my mom and her siblings, her mother was Gigi's BFF, that sort of thing.  Her daughter has one of those turtle sandboxes with a cover.  Keira and Connor went to the sandbox to play, while my uncle, and eventually my aunt, were nearby. 

After awhile, my aunt went over to see what the kids were doing in the sandbox.  And clutched in my two year old daugther's hand, filled with sand that she was pouring into a plastic bucket, was a glass bottle that had been broken and was jagged at the top.  Sharp points too, ones that could have caused some serious damage to a person.

Keira had no idea she was playing with what could potentially be a deadly weapon.  And who knows what kind of idiot put a broken glass bottle into a sandbox, knowing children play there.  Obviously, Keira's special guardian angels were watching over her (and Connor). And I'm so thankful for that.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happiness: Magnolias

We moved into our house on a Saturday in March.  I was five and a half months pregnant with my first child.  The day after we moved in, there was a massive snowstorm,  and we gathered at my grandparents' house as my grandfather passed away.  On the day of his wake, my husband came down with the stomach flu, and with the funeral, Keith being sick, then a week later, my pregnant self getting the same illness, our house did not unpack itself.  It wasn't the most joyous occasion, as I had previously dreamed it would be.  Owning our own home, bringing a baby into the world - I assumed happiness, but received sadness, sickness, and a house full of boxes instead.

Fast forward a few weeks.  The snow melted, the heartache subsided (some), and we were healthy again, with a little baby boy reminding me daily with his kicks that he was doing well.

 I looked outside on spring morning and saw this:

We had picked a house with a magnolia bush.

Now, if you know me at all, you know my love for New Orleans.

And the fact that I have a tattoo of a magnolia flower on my back.

Every spring, I look forward to seeing my bush bloom. 

Spring makes me happy, but magnolias make me happier.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Pictures

Haven't uploaded all the pictures from yesterday, but here are a few that I took on my phone.

The Easter bunny brought Colin a stuffed Donald Duck.  He is obsessed with Donald, although I don't know why.  I think it's because Connor loves Mickey Mouse, and Keira loves Minnie and Daisy (I love Minnie and Daisy so much, Mommy).  The plan was to get Daisy for Keira (to go with the Donald), and Connor needed Pluto to go with his Mickey.  However, the Easter bunny was dismayed to find out that the Disney store was out of Daisy Duck.  In fact, they had nothing with Daisy in the entire store.  So Keira got another Minnie, but this one was wearing a red dress instead of pink, so Keira didn't mind. 

And in typical Connor-fashion, he wanted to hold his Mickey and Pluto up by his ears like a reindeer.  (Hey - it made sense to him!)

Group hug

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wayyyyy Back When-esday

Thought I'd play along with Twinfatuation today.

Easter, 2 years ago:

What's funny about this is, Colin no longer uses his blue taggie blanket for his lovey.  For over a year now, he has been obsessed with a Gerber burp cloth (we rotate a few).  Keira has since claimed her brother's blue lovey, and it's the only one she sleeps with.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happiness is bathtime...

I will admit it.  I don't do bath time.  Never have. Keith looked at tubby time with Connor as his time to bond with him.  Then the twins came along, and it moved into some sort of assembly line process.  Wash, rinse, hand to mommy to dry, repeat.

As the twins got older, we would put all three kids in the bath.  Keith would still do the washing, and I would do the drying/dressing/etc.  Usually after one kid is out, I rock them like a baby while they sing Rock-a-bye Baby to me.  (It's always so much fun when the tree falls because I pretend to drop them and they laugh.)

Yesterday there was no nap time.  (Sob.)  By dinner time, it was very apparent that there was no nap time. So when the twins finished crying eating, I took them upstairs and started the bath water.  I don't know what it is about water, but it changes my kids into little happy things. (As long as there is water in the tub.  When it's time to get out, that's another story.)

They laughed, they splashed, they discovered that when there is only two kids in the tub, they can lay down.  They laughed some more. And after they were wrapped tightly in their towels, they sat on my lap, like they used to do when they were babies, and they wanted me to rock them.  There is nothing sweeter than the sounds of two innocent voices belting out the words to Rock-a-bye Baby.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Giveaway Winners!

The winners for Purex with Zout detergent are:

1 - traciet
2 - Ashley


Please email me with your address so I can get your coupons mailed out!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Talking with Keira - and giveaway reminder!

Keira's ear has been bothering her, but the doctor yesterday said it was not an ear infection.  We sent motrin to my mom's this morning just in case.

She insisted on carrying the ziploc bag I had put the bottle in.  Minutes later, she had thrown the bag to the floor and was holding the bottle tightly. 

I keep this safe from Colin.

I remind her that Colin is strapped into his car seat, so the medicine is pretty safe in a ziploc bag on her lap.  Then I add, Plus we don't want it to spill and get on her seat.  How would we clean that up?

We could use paper towels to clean up the mess.  That a good 'dea Mommy?

Sometimes I think she is way too smart for her age.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Time for a Giveaway!!!

I do laundery every day.  Every.Single.Day.  So when Purex contacted me to see if I wanted to try their new detergent, Purex Complete with Zout, I said of course!

Now, along with the bottle of detergent, there was a fact sheet explaining what a great stain remover it is as well.  Last night, that stain removing action was put to the test:

We took the kids to IHOP for dinner.  Colin wanted strawberries with his pancakes, so I asked for some on the side.  Now these are the yummy strawberries covered in a thick red (sugary) sauce.  And Colin was wearing his favorite Toy Story shirt, which is yellow.  By the time we left the restaurant, it had shades of strawberry red all over the sleeves and collar.  I was so upset because I assumed the stains would be there forever.

After getting home, getting the kids ready for bed, getting the kids to finally fall asleep (all in all, a two hour process), I was able to put the shirt in the wash, and I added some of my Purex Complete with Zout detergent.

30 minutes later when I went to check the washing machine, I was so happy to find that all the stains were gone.  Completely gone! 

Purex is offering two Embracing Chaos readers a coupon for a free bottle of Purex Complete with Zout.

To enter the giveaway: (Please leave a separate comment for each entry. You must leave your email address in your comment or have an email address that's visible in your profile).

  • Become a follower of Embracing Chaos or let me know that you already follow.
  • Blog/facebook/tweet about this giveaway and then let me know!
It's that simple!

The deadline to enter is Sunday, April 17 at noon (CT).  Good luck!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happiness: Week Five

I apologize for not actually taking a picture of our book, but Colin wanted to take it to school today. 

This is one of those books that I have read over and over (and over) to the kids.  The words were quickly seared into my memory, and I no longer needed the book to be near me.  It was a bedtime staple for quite awhile during the winter, but then someone took it downstairs, and it was placed with other books, being casually forgotten about in the way that toddlers and preschoolers forget about things.

The other day, Colin found the book in the family room.  He was so excited, you would have thought the Wiggles had appeared in our house.  (If you know Colin, you know how much he loves the Wiggles. And by loves, I mean obsesses about....)

So at bedtime, they were told no stories, since we stayed up late watching Minnie's Masquerade.  But Colin pulled out Goodnight Moon, and he is so cute when he asks for things.  So the twins grabbed their loveys and sat beside me while I read the book.  When I finished, Colin took the book to bed with him.  Then I went in to say good night to Connor.  He wanted a story, and he too wanted to hear Goodnight Moon.  So I laid down beside his bed, and started to recite from memory. 

He objected, since obviously there was no book in my hands. 

Keith was in the doorway and told Connor that I used to read the book to him so many times when he was a baby that I didn't need the book. 

So I began:

In the great green room........

Then Connor said:

Let me do it Mommy.

There was a telephone
And a red balloon
And a picture of....

Ok, Mommy, your turn.

It went on like that for the whole story, I would recite a line or two,
then Connor would follow with the next couple of verses. 

And that, my friends, is the ultimate happiness.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend Re-cap

Friday night was the pre-shop for my twins' club resale.  I was able to get Connor most of his summer clothes, a couple cute outfits for Keira, and a new pair of Handy "Hammy" (Manny) pjs for Colin.  He is quite obsessed with his current pair, that is only about 2 sizes too small. I've been sick with a cold, so Keith was nice enough to let me sleep in on Saturday (although that's quite hard with the kids downstairs), but after I got up, he headed to do some errands.  We just hung around the house, until my parents dropped off my nephew.  4 kids, 4 and under - how fun! ;)  Actually Reid is quite well-behaved, probably because our house looks like Toys-r-us to guests. 

Please excuse Popeye, er I mean, Connor.  He thinks it's funny to close one eye in pictures these days.
 On Sunday, after Keith went grocery shopping and for his run, I went for my own run.  I'm training for my first 5K in May, and have only ran outside a couple of times, both times the weather was about 50 degrees.  Brrr......  Anyway, I'm working up from one mile, so I was pleased as punch to run two miles in about 20 minutes.  The first mile was done in about 8 1/2 minutes!  I can't believe it. Keith took the kids to get me Starbucks while I showered, then we headed off to a new park.  I forgot my camera, so you will have to make do with what I took on my phone:

When we got back, Keith made us lunch - tomatos and mozzarella on ciabatta bread, then headed out to work on our "new" front yard.  (Pictures soon!)  The weather was really nice, although in the afternoon, it was quite hot.  Our backyard is in full-sun, so we stayed inside for awhile trying to get the twins to nap.  Yeah, not so much.  Colin finally fell asleep lounging on the back of the couch, but Keira refused to even sit down.  Grammy and Aunt Diana stopped by before dinner, so the kids were pretty happy to play with them.  Keith grilled steak for supper, which Colin ate, only as long as he could dip it in ketchup first.

My one complaint about nice weather and spending a lot of time outside - inside chores aren't getting done! I've got way too much laundry to catch up on tonight!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Looking back...

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to travel downstate for a meeting, held near the campus of my alma mater.  This meeting happens a couple of times a year, so it's not the first opportunity I've had to be back on campus.  But one thing that always remains the same is the feeling I get when I'm heading back home - that long lost radio station is playing music like it did back then, the sun is shining down through the sunroof (although I'm driving a much nicer car this time), and the memories of days gone by replay in my head.

It's not often that I get four hours alone to myself, just to think.  Somedays, I am lucky if I can take a shower without a child or two pounding on the bathroom door.  Meal times are a chaotic affiar.  And bed time.... well that just takes

It's not that I want to go back to college, although a carefree day every so often would be nice.  I think back to the songs that held so much meaning in my life; the people that made such a difference; the guy, that one guy, that I never think of anymore.  I think back to A and M and wonder where they are right now, if they ever made it back to college after failing out.  I think of E who disappeared from all our lives, even though she lives in the same town as me.  I think of that time, I did that one thing, the something that even back then was too illegal to mention on a public blog.  I remember M and his tongue ring and his vampire books and think, what would my life be like now if he hadn't waited so long to make his move. My mind is filled with memories, with thoughts, with poems, the ones that I never get the time to think of anymore because it's too busy processing appointments, and work, and that never-ending to do list.

There is a moment as the road stretches endlessly into the blue sky peppered with white clouds.  I am listening to the music of my youth and the radio station begins to lose it's signal...I hold out hope, straining to hear the final lyrics as they are replaced with static and his voice (ahhh.... Eddie Veddar.....and Jeremy) fades away. 

A reminder that the past is truly gone. 

A smile sadly graces my face, as I wave to what was and drive home to what is.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My thoughts: Lover Unleashed

Lover Unleashed is the ninth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.  It takes place immediately where Lover Mine (swoon.... John Matthew and Xhex.....) ended.  Payne, after sparring with Wrath in the Sanctuary, suffered a life-threatening injury and was sent to the human world for help.  When Doc Jane realizes she cannot help Payne herself, she goes back to her former life to contact Dr. Manny Manello and bring him into the vampire world, for what was supposed to be a short time.  However, upon meeting Payne, we see that the Fates had other things in mind for the patient and her healer.

Thoughts and possible spoilers:

I love the BDB world.  J.R. Ward has done a fascinating job with these books.  When I first picked up Dark Lover, the first of the series, I knew by the end of the chapter one that this would be one of the best series I've ever read.  In LU, I was a little apprehensive going into the story, wondering how the Warden would bring the daughter of the Scribe Virgin and a human surgeon together.  Most of the story, however, was not focused on the two of them.  Vishous, Payne's twin brother, realized at the end of LM that he had a sister and that their mother, the Scribe Virgin (and the creator of the vampire race) had hidden it from him, and kept her chained up for hundreds of years.  Much of the storyline evolved around V and his shellan, Jane (a ghost), as well as his best friend, Butch (half-breed turned vamp).

See how this can get confusing if you didn't start from the beginning of the series?

The V-Butch storyline played out a lot like I thought it would.  Butch knew what needed to be done to bring V back from the edge, and the underlying feelings of the two males was brought back to the forefront.  Jane, although I never cared much for her - she always seemed so cold and distant - made a convincing portrayal of a woman fighting for her marriage.  V, the ever-complicated character, has been one of my favorite brothers since the beginning.   I always go for the tortured soul, and while Zsadist is the epitome of that label, V has his own demons, ones that are constantly trying to break out and take over. 

Another, somewhat interesting storyline in the book, is that of the vamps from the Old Country.  Xcor seems like he will be the next nemesis for Wrath, bringing more focus to internal fighting among vampires during the next book (which I heard is to be Tohrment!!!) Perhaps the next book will continue to have less of a focus on lessers (evil beings who are dead set on destroying all vamps)?  One member in Xcor's band of fighters is a vamp named Throe.  I kind of have the feeling that based on his history with Xcor, combined with his fearsome desire to want to protect women, we may be seeing him switch sides later on and join with the Brotherhood.  Just a theory.

One of my favorite non-brothers, Quinn, realized something about himself and decided to make some changes, not so much to win the heart of Blay back (yes here are the m/m couple of the series), but to bring peace to himself.  (Again with the tortured soul....)  The Warden has said that originally she saw Quinn and Layla getting together, but she has since changed her mind, and Blay and Quinn will get their HEA, although probably not their own book.  Blay's relationship with Saxton was further described, and although I never liked Saxton, my heart went out to him when was was talking to Quinn towards the end of the book.  (To paraphrase: I am his lover, not the love of his life.)  The twist about Quinn seeing a child that looks both like Layla and himself was a twist I can't quite figure out.

Payne and Manny were the final piece of this puzzle. Each book always has the HEA, so in that way, each book is predictable.  But the vampire/human storyline always makes you wonder how they will eventually be together in the end.  So far, we've had vamp in dormant state go through the change (Beth), being granted eternal life by the Scribe Virgin (Mary), and a half-breed go through a rite of passage and see if he lives (Butch), human die and be brought back in ghost form (Jane) ((not the best idea)). What I do enjoy though is not every book is vamp/human, but some are vamp/vamp, or in one case sympath/vamp, which makes the reader feel that it is not the same storyline over and over again (cough, Christine Feehan, cough). 

The scenes between Manny and Payne were heartbreaking towards the end, when you realize all that he is throwing away he is doing not really for her, but because of what she does to him (read: how Manny will be able to live a long, healthy life).  At least until he realizes he is taking the cowardly approach.  I was glad it wasn't another Bella or Xhex kidnapping scene, although how Payne gets out of her capture situation is a little hard to believe.  The ending, where the reader is shown that V has actually gotten a glimpse of a happy future and not one of death, makes me wonder if his visions will change for the better in future books.

It's my blog, so I could ramble on all day about the brotherhood, true? This is the one series I get upset about if interrupted while reading (like say, the lunch break when my husband called me 3 times to 'chat').  Another year to wait for the next book, which the warden said on facebook will be Tohrment.  It will be interesting to see how Tohr continues to deal with the devastating loss of his shellan (that scene in the office still brings tears to my eyes), and his new HEA, which seems like it will be No'One.  Perhaps we will see more of John Matthew. My one complaint of this series is once a Brother gets his HEA, we only see glimpses of him and his shellan in future books.  Other than that, I highly recommend this series, and this book.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Look what I made Mommy!

10 seconds after walking in the house after work, I was greeted with a loud crash (or five).

Keira happily exclaimed: Look what I made Mommy!"


I said the only thing I could:  Good job, baby doll!