Showing posts from 2013

A day in the city with my girl

My sister invited Keira and I to head into Chicago to see the Marshall Field Macy's Christmas displays and visit the American Girl Doll Store.

The thing is... Keira didn't have her AG doll yet.  Santa wasn't bringing Saige until December 25.  So Mommy called in a favor, and St. Nick dropped her off on December 6!

Yesterday, my sister, niece, Keira, and I drove into the city.  I hate driving in Chicago. But we had a blast! It started snowing right about the time we got there, and the snowy roads made for a loooonnnngggg drive home, but we girls had a fantastic time!

Keira picked up a couple of goodies at the AG store, and Mommy bought herself a new purse as an early birthday present at Macy's.... All in all, it was a wonderful day!!!

Happiness at home...

Today I'm linking up with The Happiness Project over at Leigh vs. Laundry.

The kids had off most of last week for "turkey break".  My work is always closed Wednesday-Friday (a fact my husband somehow was clueless about but we won't talk about that....)  

It was a great five day break from work and school.  I got to pretend I was a stay-at-home-mommy, and we did a lot of fun things, in between spending Thanksgiving with my side of the family at my uncle's house.

Peppermint is Back!

Keira, my sweet little girl, is deathly afraid of the elf on the shelf.  
Read about it here: The (Evil) Elf on the Shelf
So last year, I found a stuffed polar bear that used to be my grandma's. I don't know where she got it, but it was in her curio cabinet, and I asked my mom if I could have it. I figured a polar bear was a lot less menacing than an elf.  The experience went pretty well, Keira loved Peppermint, as long as he doesn't move around too much AND because he can't go upstairs. (I called Santa and specifically made this request.)
With Thanksgiving break last week,  Peppermint the Polar Bear made his grand entrance,  and brought along 3 baby polar bears to keep an extra special eye on the kids.   Because the babies are so small, Keira is ok with keeping hers in her room.   (And apparently in my work bag, because that's where I found one this morning!

To Be Grateful (A Reminder)

I published this post earlier this autumn season.  I thought it was only fitting to re-post as we draw closer to Thanksgiving.  I was reminded of how great my life is when I drove past the local homeless shelter this morning and saw kids and parents standing in the cold, waiting for the school bus.  

Imagine driving past a park one chilly November morning as you are headed to drop your kids off at school.  The sun is just bursting out of the clouds, and the cold frost twinkles on the grass.

You pass a park and see a minivan. It's side door is open, and overflowing with open boxes and bags of clothes.  Two small children play on the swings in school uniforms, as a woman picks up the picnic table and walks to the garbage can with the remains of breakfast. A man walks out of the park bathroom with a pile of clothes in his arms.

You think to yourself how odd it is to see a family at a park at this time of morning.... especially on such a cold morning.

Then it hits you. The box…

Thanksgiving Week, Day 1 (Guest Post: Kendra Thornton)

This week I'm writing about all things Thanksgiving!  To start things off right, I would like to welcome Kendra Thornton to Embracing Chaos. Check her out on Twitter when you are done reading about her Thanksgiving traditions!

Woes of a Working Mom

Being a working mom is hard.   Getting the kids out the door to school on time,  while trying to make sure you are not late to work is even harder. 
Almost impossible. Actually quite inconceivable these days.  Let's face it, it's just not happening.
We have a routine in the morning.  In fact, I created a colorful chart with words and pictures for the kids to see.  They do well... sort of.  Despite our routine, there is a lot of arguing and crying and screaming that goes on during the wee hours of the morning at my house. Apparently putting on a uniform that your mother has laid out for you the night before is quite tough.  Today's arguments revolved around Christmas socks and long sleeve black shirts.  Neither are school approved.  But five-year olds don't care.
Finally the crying/screaming/arguing has stopped.   Everyone is dressed.   Everyone is happily watching tv  while setting up every single board games and box we own in our family room  to create some sort of for…

Happiness is a missing tooth!

Boy lost his first tooth last night.   He is the last one in his class to do so,  and he's been waiting and waiting for this moment!  He was so excited! 
I kept hearing "This is so cool!"  from the bathroom where he watched  his mouth bleed for about 5 minutes. ;)
We had received a special tooth container  so he carefully put his tooth in it last night  and placed it under his pillow.  This morning, he was stoked to find  a gold dollar coin from the Tooth Fairy!
Happiness is sharing in your oldest son's excitement.

A Love Story

13 (lucky 13!) years ago,  I met a boy with an orange mohawk and tattoos.  (My parents were thrilled.)
I didn't like him.  He was kinda annoying and talked a lot. When I ran into him at a party, he poked me. And annoyed me some more.
Then one night I met a friend at the drive-in movies. The boy with the mohawk was there. We sat in the back of his truck and watched Shrek.
On our first year (dating) anniversary,  he gave me a sunflower just like Shrek gave Princess Fiona.
On our second year anniversary,  we rode a carriage through the French Quarter  and went on spooky ghost tours.
I told him I was going to get married  on Halloween 2004. Would he be there? If so, he should get to proposing.
Nine years ago today, we had our spooktacular wedding:

Seven years ago, we added a little pumpkin to our family:

And less than two years after that, we added two more:

Now my pumpkin patch is complete, and I'm the happiest girl in the world!

Happy Anniversary Keith!!!

Book Giveaway!!!

In honor of the paperback release of 'Twas the Night After Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries (available for pre-order here), I was lucky enough to snag an AUTOGRAPHED copy of the hardcover version of this book! And I'm giving it away to one of my readers!

All you have to do is follow the prompts on the rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

I was sick yesterday and didn't get a chance to hook up with Mama Kat's Writing Workshop. One of her prompts was "a pumpkin-inspired craft or recipe".

Two weekends ago, I attempted Better Home and Garden's Pumpkin Mac and Cheese.  I gave Keith the list of ingredients, and he ended up not getting sage and walnuts, so that topping was basically just Parmesan cheese.   And that's okay because it still tasted delicious!

Here is the recipe that I used:
2 cups  dried elbow macaroni  2  tablespoons  butter 2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour 1/2  teaspoon  salt 1/2  teaspoon  ground black p…

Make Time for Detours

We had a busy weekend: Legoland on Friday and the firehouse open house on Saturday. Keith was gone a lot, and I didn't feel good. My plans for Sunday included the mountain of laundry and a week's worth of house duties that I didn't have time to complete during the busy week. I also thought I'd stop by the library, let the kids get a couple of DVDs and books to keep them busy, pick up lunch, then hurry back to the chaos I currently call "home".

Get books, get lunch, get home was my mantra for the day.
Once at the library, the kids were finding books and playing (the boys like to have a contest to see who can build the most blocks with these connector-things they have.)  I got my three books (Nora Robert's Blood Brothers trilogy for some spooky October reading). We got our DVDs, books, and a couple of CDs.  We were good to go.

Until the librarian asked if we were staying for the craft/story activity at 1 p.m.  I sighed as I looked at the clock. It was 12:30…

How I learned to stop yelling at the kids...

With the kids in school, we've talked a lot lately about being kind to others. And listening when our teachers (and parents) talk to us.  The kids are pretty good with being kind, but it's the listening piece we've struggled with.  Lately I find myself yelling at them because they are generally misbehaving more.  They seem to be keeping it together at school; it's only at home that we've had a lot of struggles with following directions, picking up toys, not fighting with our siblings, and general meltdowns over random things (mainly due to being over-tired I've surmised). 
I've prayed for patience and to not have to yell at them.  I thought that God would answer my prayers by having the children behave better and listen more.  Yeah, it didn't quite happen that way.
Last Monday, I started having a stabbing pain every time I coughed. (And I was coughing a lot thanks to being sick.)  Turns out I have an inflammation of my cartilage under my breastbone.  I…

It Happened at Daycare...

One of the writing prompts today over at Mama Kat's is "It happened at daycare".  Oh the stories I have...

I'm grateful to the twins' daycare because they started the potty training process and worked really hard with the twins to get them to where they needed to be.  However....I wasn't always grateful.  I'm cheating a bit and posting something that I wrote back in 2010. (Don't judge, life is crazy these days!)  It doesn't completely fit with the title, since the point of my story is what happened to me BECAUSE of daycare, but you get the idea.

The post was titled: "Thank you Daycare". I've copied it here for your reading pleasure. 

Last week, the twins moved up a classroom at daycare, to the 2-3 year old room.  This is also known as the potty training room.
However, no one told me this.
On day one, they were put on the toilet about 4 times to start intense potty training.  They also sent home their pack of their diapers with a …

To Be Grateful

Imagine driving past a park one chilly November morning as you are headed to drop your kids off at school.  The sun is just bursting out of the clouds, and the cold frost twinkles on the grass.

You pass a park and see a minivan. It's side door is open, and overflowing with open boxes and bags of clothes.  Two small children play on the swings in school uniforms, as a woman picks up the picnic table and walks to the garbage can with the remains of breakfast. A man walks out of the park bathroom with a pile of clothes in his arms.

You think to yourself how odd it is to see a family at a park at this time of morning.... especially on such a cold morning.

Then it hits you. The boxes and bags in the van are the family's entire belongings.  The children are spending time playing in the only backyard they know. The woman served her family breakfast on a cold metal picnic table. The man had washed up and changed for work in a park bathroom.

Over and over, this scene replays each morn…

I knew they were trouble...

Now I'm not saying I was a goody-goody-two-shoes when I was growing up, but I can say that during the first 13 years of schooling I had (K-12), I got in trouble ONE time. I was in fifth grade and rolled my eyes at the teacher. I had to write my name on the board. My mom was upset, and made me write an apology letter to the teacher. (Which didn't prove at all awkward when I ran into her years later, as she teaches at the college I now work at!)

Connor, I remember, had to move his magnet from green TWO times the entire first year of school.

The twins, on the other hand, appear to be on the fast track to detention. (If kindergarteners had detention, which they don't. They do have a colored-clip system where they start on green, and can move to yellow, orange, and red.)

Nine days of school, and Keira has moved her clip THREE days so far.  Yesterday, she even moved to orange, which warranted a 5 minute time out. Colin has only moved his clip twice, or so he says.  It's har…

How You Doin'?

So a few months ago, I was all 

And I was happy, blogging at my new home Under A Gypsy Moon.
But then this happened...

The twins started kindergarten.
And, well, 
Life has just gotten funnier.

I know, I know!
 I said goodbye, but I hope you will forgive me.
And join me again...
as I chronicle:
The school years...

My 500th Post... A Giveaway and The End of an Era

This blog started in 2008 when life was crazy. I had just had twins, as well as a newly turned 2 year old at home. I went back to working full-time 2.5 months after the babies came.

This is the link to my first post, aptly titled, The First Post

And this right here...

This is the last post for Embracing Chaos.

I have been thinking about this for awhile now. I love writing and knew I needed an outlet to chronicle those first crazy few years of the kids' lives. I made the title of the blog, Embracing Chaos, because that it what life felt like at the time. It was so crazy and effed up, that I had to just embrace the crazies or lose my mind trying.

But things changes. Life has calmed down... sort of. There is a different kind of crazy that runs my life. The twins start kindergarten in the fall. Connor will be in second grade. Keith and I have taken a more natural, holistic approach to life. The chaos that once was is no longer. (Don't get me wrong, life still throws me curve ba…

San Francisco - Day 4

On our last day, we got up super early  to ride the trolley down to Haight-Ashbury:

Took a walk through Golden Gate park:

The day was filled with other conference-related things,  but after my last session at 5,  we hopped on the cable car and  headed back to Fisherman's Wharf:


Fresh crab... yum...

Sunset on the beach...ahhhh...

Ghiradelli chocolate AND peanut butter sundae... OMG YUM...