Friday, May 29, 2015

Book Review: The Leading Lady

I just finished reading Deb Marlowe's newest book, The Leading Lady (Book two in the Half Moon House Series).  I have to say, this is a great series, and a great book!

Lord Truitt is a man who is desperately trying to recover his honor, after it was ruined by Lord Marstoke.  Miss Callie Grant, who is first introduced to us in the book by passionately standing up for a friend, has hidden her true identity but finds she must work with Tru (and pretend to be his wife)!  Of course, Hestia Wright plays an important role. I loved seeing the snippets of her journal at the start of each chapter, allowing us an more in-depth look at her. An author who can merge two stories like that together shows a lot of strength, and Ms. Marlowe pulls it off!

This isn't just a romance book, but it's filled with mystery and intrigue, designed to keep the reader on her toes.  You find yourself immediately drawn into the story. The characters are strongly developed.  Ms. Marlowe's writing is passionate and strong.  

I have a lot of favorite parts, but I will use this one so you can link back to her site for the full excerpt:

"A kiss.  A simple thing, the soft touch of one mouth to another—and yet.  And yet she felt it, instantly everywhere, lighting her up from within, waking all the dormant parts of her, from the top of her head to the tip of her toes."

While everything seems to be wrapped up at the end, Ms. Marlowe makes it clear that we have not seen the last of Marstoke! Which means, there is more Hestia to come. :)

Find your copy here:
Barnes and Noble

And check out Deb Marlowe on Facebook!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

2015 Summer Bucket List

Normally I do a great big bucket list, with lots of fun things planned.  This year, it's a little different, due to my health situation.  But still there are things that I'd like to do.  It's hard to plan certain things, especially since I do not have surgery date scheduled. So we will work with the time we have!

I like to have fun with these things, and I don't hold myself to completely everything on there. But the kids get a kick out of crossing things off!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Mother's Day Weekend

*Editor's Note - I started this post Sunday night. My week has been so out of control, that I am just finishing it on Thursday!

I ended up having the best Mother's Day! The whole weekend was nice - but Sunday was especially relaxing.  The kids didn't fight like they did on Saturday. :)  We went to dinner on Saturday night with Keith's family. The kids were happy with their ice cream dessert!

Then on Sunday, they let me sleep in (sort of):

Then I came downstairs to this (and a special breakfast treat!):

The twins each made me a flower magnet with their picture on it. Connor made me a vase with three flowers in it. On the stem of each flower is something he can do for me (cook me dinner, give me a hug, help me with anything I ask).

We went to Family Mass at church, where there was a crowning for the Blessed Mother.  All the kids brought up a flower to the Mary statue - it was so sweet to watch. The kids behaved during Mass - perhaps it had something to do with the promise of donuts afterwards at Nana and Bumpa's house. My parents had all of us over after church. Then Keith and I took the kids to a local green house for vegetables, flowers, and I treated myself to a fairy garden. (Well, I bought what I needed, then put it together at home!)

This is what I worked on outside - I am doing a fairy garden out there as well. I also filled my pots with colorful flowers.

With my very boring and sucky diet these days, I requested that my wonderful husband grill me a steak. :) So we had that for dinner, along with a baked potato and veggies. YUM!  Plus there were leftovers.

All in all, it was a great day. :)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Five For Friday

This week started off great! Monday morning, I was on time for work - excited that this was the first week since the end of February where I did not need to use sick time for lab work or doctor's appointments. I treated myself to a Dunkin Donuts iced decaf coffee, half cream in celebration. Before work, I sent off a quick email to my kidney doc with my recent blood pressure readings.  (My bp is running high due to the steroids I'm on.)  I was super excited to share that my numbers had been down! 

And then the week went downhill from there. I was paying so much attention to the top number, I didn't realize that the bottom number still wasn't in the correct range. Which meant an email back from Dr. A stating that I needed to immediately start a super restricted low sodium diet. I had already changed my diet quite a bit when all of this started, so all my fun happy foods are gone.  Now there isn't much left.  The biggest decisions I've made this week are whether to have plain white rice or plain pasta with my unseasoned grilled chicken. Also, the right side of my brain is getting a math workout as I spend a lot of time calculating.... I can eat half my portion of Panda Express Orange Chicken (and white rice) for dinner, and that's only 335 mg of sodium, leaving me a special treat of one cheese rangoon (3 in a serving at 190 mg, let's divide, then add to 335, plus what's in this iced tea? I didn't realize it was flavored... let's add 10 mg to be safe...)

Oh! And I found another side effect of the steroids. I had read that in addition to making your face puffy, it can make the back of your neck puff up as well as you retain water. My sister so kindly pointed out that one side of my face appears to be fluffier than the other. OMG, she is right. And the other night, I had my hair up... and sure enough, I've got some sort of puffed-up humpback thing going on. It may or may not be noticeable, however, since I just won't wear my hair up, no one will ever know. ;)  As for the face thing, I am just excited that when I'm off the steroids, my face will slim down and people will just think I lost weight. Cue the compliments... I hope. ;) 

Anyway, there were some highlights to my week that I wanted to share. Because all in all, life is good. This week was just a downer week, which is okay.  You can't be positive all the time.

Look how sweet they are! Playing quietly together, building some sort of city for Keira and her my little pony friends. (Just kidding - I took the picture from inside the house so I didn't have to hear them arguing.)

There's my boy playing baseball. He loves it! This was right before he hit the ball and ran to first. 

I also got to go a date with my super baseball player. I treated of course, but he shared his cheese rangoon with me. ♥

And then I received this totally amazing gift in the mail. With no card! So I don't know who to thank. But I may have squealed with glee when I opened the box. Maybe. ;) Best present ever. (Sorry Keith - you are going to have to step up your Mother's Day game...)

I ended last night with this scene - Keith found me some vegan, organic, super "healthy" (only four ingredients) raspberry sorbetto. No sodium! Woo hoo! Add that to a book on the Tudors, recommended by none other than the world famous Anne Rice... I'm a happy girl!

Monday, May 4, 2015

A Letter to the 17-Year Old Me

Dear Me,

Hi! This letter is from you, only 20 years older. Sure, 37 sounds really old right now, but to be honest, it's not that bad. Well.... it wasn't that bad up until March 2, 2015. Can you believe it's 2015? No there aren't any flying cars or robot takeovers...yet. 

Overall life is pretty good, by picture-perfect Facebook standards (Facebook - it's a computer thing. Remember that crappy PC your parents have in the basement... it gets a lot better!) Anyway, in 20 years, you will married to a totally awesome tattooed guy who builds you things, but spends way too much time training for Ironmans. ;) You will live in a nice house, although when you get married and start looking at 3 bedroom forever homes, think twice, and splurge for a four bedroom.  You will be blessed beyond belief with a beautiful little boy in 2006, and then in 2008, you will receive the surprise of your lifetime (unbeknownst to you, twins DO run in your family!).

In October 2014, you and your husband will finally get a chance to get away, back to where you took your honeymoon. Enjoy every moment in New Orleans - it's the last time you will be alone with him for quite sometime! Even movie dates are pretty hard to come by with kids!  In February 2015, you will be blessed to have a family vacation (complete with Nana and Bumpa!) to Disney World. Take lots of pictures because you will spend lots of time looking at them when you get home and remembering all the special moments you had together.

But that brings me to March... and the news isn't that good. The very first thing to remember is that it's not cancer. But that kidney transplant you kind of always knew in your heart that you would need - well now is the time.  But as you deal with everything, just keep in mind that the part of yourself that grew dormant after becoming "Mommy", starts to come back.

As you are faced with a constant reminder that life is really too short, and that we may not always have tomorrow;
As you push aside the things you love because you think you have to because you need to be super-mom;
As you stare down into those sweet little faces, crying out for you in the night because Daddy just won't do;
As you snuggle on the couch, watching an seemingly endless stream of mind-numbing kid shows (and later, sadly find yourself singing kid songs even though you are all alone in your car);
As you struggle just to get through bedtime with the kids because you are so totally exhausted but still have loads to do.....

Always remember this - you are doing a fantastic job! I'm not sure how this adventure will turn out, but just know that you are the luckiest girl in the world. You've got these little cuties to live for:

Just a few more things:
  • Dump Nick after a year, because year 2 sucks with him
  • Get that tattoo on the fairy on your back - because now you can't
  • Finish your damn novel and send it to a publisher
  • Your kids get a lot of fevers - don't worry about the 1st or the 500th high fever
  • Oh and - after Colin's first stay in the hospital, tell the ped he has illness-induced asthma and get him on the right meds before the next two hospital stays!

Friday, May 1, 2015

What Do I Want for Mother's Day?

It's May, which means Mother's Day! So I'm putting together a list of ideas that my husband can get me.  Keith - you're welcome. ;)

Actually he already bought me something, and then forgot to hide it in the garage. So I will let you guys guess what it is based of my list. It's something I've wanted for a few years. And since I know what I am getting, he should probably pick up something else to surprise me with, right? LOL

I need a comfy chair for our deck. :)

Jewelry - you can't go wrong with jewelry. And this locket from PennyJules is so gorgeous!

By the way, I have a few of her pieces. Great quality,
beautiful jewelry. I highly recommend her etsy shop!

This desktop calendar for my desk at work. It's already made, just sitting in my Shutterfly account, waiting for someone to order it. (While you are there, pick up the magnet set I made from our Disney trip too!)

And for my big time dream list (because it's wayyyyyyy to much), this beautiful Kate Spade bag! (Maybe I will make this my "hey I finally got a new kidney" purse once I have my surgery!)