Monday, February 28, 2011

Fire in the Hole!

Haha. Remind me to never again make fun of Murphy's Law on Confession Friday.

So...this is the first I have been able to sit down in front of a computer since our...excitement...Saturday morning. And I literally had to wipe ash off of my keyboard before placing my delicate hands onto the be-speckled keys. What a stinkin mess!

Where our range used to be!

We were having our normal lazy Saturday morning. It was dark and overcast, and we were snuggling in the living room watching TV. Around 11:20 am I realized that I needed to get lunch ready. Evie was already dozing on the couch, and it really throws off our routine if she naps before she eats. So I preheated the oven and checked the freezer for a frozen pizza. I set the timer and grabbed Grace, knowing that I could fit in a 15 minute feeding before it was time to feed Evelyn.

Eventually the timer went off and almost instantaneously I got a whiff of burning plastic. Ugh. This is actually not an unfamiliar scent around here. We (used to) have a gas range with a broiler on the bottom, which means that it gets super HOT underneath anytime the oven is on. Real flames, my friends. I had never ever had an oven like this one before, and it always made me nervous, because it was easily accessed by little fingers. Just about a week ago Evelyn threw a sippy cup lid in there and after making some lunch our whole house stunk horribly of melted plastic. So when I smelled this plasticky smell I assumed it was just leftover lid plastic that we missed the first time.


Where our range is now! (I always hated you, broiler-on-the-bottom range.)

I turned the corner into our kitchen, and black smoke was chugging from the top of the stove. I, of course, flipped out! My first instinct was to get my babies out of the house, because I knew that it was going to stink really, really bad in a few minutes. So I called my mom and told her to hurry over to help me with the girls. I immediately turned off the oven and opened the door to see what the heck was going on. 

The thickest cloud of black smoke steamrolled out and I shut that oven door faster than lightening! I ran to put my girls in their bedroom and shut the door while I flew around throwing open doors and windows and flipping ceiling fans on. I had no idea at this point that our stove was actually ON FIRE. I just thought (don't ask me why) that something really big must've melted under there and we were going to have a smokey mess that I didn't want the girls breathing in.

Luckily it took just minutes for my parents to get to our house, and when they walked in they knew this wasn't a normal "Adrien burned the pizza" kind of accident. Even with the oven off the smoke continued to pour up and out of the stovetop. I honestly can't remember if it was my mom or dad who realized it, but someone shouted that the oven was on fire. My mom started screaming to get the girls out of the house.

We ran to the girls' room and swooped the babies up. Evie didn't even have pants or shoes on, so my mom rushed her outside into my parents' waiting truck while I took Grace in my arms and tried to get my neighbor's attention. (We live in a duplex, so if our house burns, so does theirs.) I rang the doorbell several times, and no one answered. Meanwhile, my mom is on the phone shouting at the 911 lady to hurry, hurry!

I put Grace inside the truck and ran back into the house, where my dad was. I only went back in to tell him to get the heck outta there, when I realized that my dad was trying to put the fire out. And this is where, in retrospect, things get kind of funny - even though at the time it was so not funny! My dad had the sprayer from the sink in his hands, and he was hosing the fire with it. My mom ran in the house, and all I can remember is her yelling that my dad was actually making it worse. We were both pleading with him to just get out. By this time, you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. I could barely even see the bright flames on the other end of the room. The entire kitchen was one giant cloud of black smoke.

I was thisclose to pulling my dad out by his ankles, when through the swirling ash I heard him say, "I got it out!"

With a huge rush of relief, I hurried back outside to my babies who were safe and sound in their car seats. My mom came to join me, and almost right away we saw the caravan of the firemen's trucks with their dashboard flashing lights come flying down the road. It was seriously like a movie. At first we thought they were going to drive by the house, but really they were turning around and practically blocking off the whole property from view, clearing the way for the firetrucks.

Since my mom and I knew that the fire was already out, we were slapping our foreheads and trying really hard not to laugh. (You know the kind...nervous laughter because just minutes before you thought all of your possessions and memories were about to go up in flames. Well...maybe you've never had to experience that exact nervous laughter, but you know what I mean!) Seconds later the massive, loud, flashing firetrucks were barreling down the street. I'm not kidding when I say that ten guys in full gear jumped at and swarmed my house like a SWAT team. In addition to the five or six guys who got there first, let's just say we made some great entertainment for all of the neighbors - some of them standing out on balconies to get a better look. How embarrassing. Oh, and our duplex neighbor...he decided to finally come outside when the firetrucks showed up. Poor guy; he was so confused!

So our house did not go down in flames, praise the Lord. But we did have a VERY eventful Saturday morning. The firemen brought in their huge fans and blew a lot of the heavy smoke out of the house. And if you don't know my dad, may not fully appreciate the fact that he told all the firemen as they were leaving that he hoped they were able to save the pizza. Sorry, dad. It was one charred black mess, and the pizza stone that it was on was warped...I didn't even know they could do that.

We opened everything up and left the house behind. There was no way I could take my babies back inside. After letting the place air out all day, we went back to evaluate the situation and realized that we couldn't stay at home Saturday night. Eric took the girls to his parents' house while I stayed home to pack our bags and take a quick shower. I had inhaled so much smoke that I spent a good part of the afternoon coughing, and at one point my mom looked at me and said, "Your nostrils are black." Um...yup. I blew my nose and it was full of ashy soot. Gross.

And I have to say that as I stood in the shower, alone in my own house, I felt very unsettled and uncomfortable. I honestly didn't think that the whole situation had affected me that much, but the hot water and the confined space was making me feel claustrophobic, and I just wanted to get the heck out of there. When we returned Sunday afternoon, I still got an eery feeling that I couldn't explain. That big empty space with the blackened walls gave me the willies.

My mom checked her phone later and saw that I called her at 11:36 am on Saturday. Sixteen minutes. In just sixteen minutes my entire life could have changed just from sticking a darn pizza in the oven. There are so many praise God's that it blows my mind and scares me to death when I think of how things could have gone terribly wrong.

Praise God this happened on a Saturday when my mom was off of work. And praise God that my dad came with her. She called 911 and my dad put the fire out. What would I have done without them?

Praise God that my parents got there quickly. They had no idea how bad it really was.

Praise God that my babies were taken out of the house unharmed.

Praise God that my dad got the fire out; the fire that was raging all around the gas line. I can't even imagine....

Praise God for our fire department, who came to our home so quickly. 

Praise God for my in-laws who opened up their home to us and helped us clean ours. 

Praise God that we were able to find a great deal on a replacement range so quickly which has a TOP BROILER and is even nicer than the one we had before. 

Praise God for everything!

One last look at our eery empty spot. Our new range is going in tonight!

I am not usually a fire-and-brimstone type of girl that tries to scare her friends into being a happy Jesus-follower by scaring them out of hell. It's not typically my style. But I'm telling you, because you ARE my friends, that if I ever hear someone tell someone else to "Go to hell," I'm seriously going to slug them in the mouth. If I got just a glimpse into what eternal fire is like, I wouldn't wish it upon my absolute worst enemy. Stuff like this makes you really take a deep gut-check, ya know? NO ONE is promised tomorrow. 

It's suffocating. It's hot. It's dehydrating. It stinks. It sears your lungs and singes your nostrils. Your eyes burn like crazy. And that's just from a fire in the oven. I can't imagine spending an eternity in a lake of fire with no relief. Nowhere to run. Not even a drop of water to quench your thirst. Praise God for the hope of eternal salvation, because I don't want to step one toe into the threshold of hell. No. Thank. You. And as your friend, if you have no clue what I'm talking about, or if you aren't sure where you are with God, then get your behind to my house and have some lunch with me and my girls, because we need to chat. :) And I PROMISE we will NOT eat pizza. Unless it's the delivery kind, because that I can do, haha.

Whew! What a week we've had! First Eric's car dies in the middle of a freezing cold rainstorm and he fears for his life for an hour as reckless cars zoom by on the interstate, and then the other three-quarters of our family escapes a smoke-filled burning home two days later. (Our trusty Lesabre, by the way, is getting a new life! We're having the engine rebuilt. The Buick will ride again!) We've had our share of excitement for a while, thankyouverymuch. Now if I could get my house to not smell like a just-blown-out candle, that would be fantastic!

And can I just sneak one more praise to God in here? Thanks. (Praise the Lord!)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Confession Friday 2-25!

Happy Friday!

I confess that at this very moment I am watching High School Musical 2...and enjoying it. I turned it on so that Evie would settle down and go to sleep. She's sleeping. I'm still watching. :)

I confess that I had a whole truckload of confessions that I kept thinking of all week long which I couldn't wait to sit down and share with you. Now I can't think of a single one of them, gosh darn it!

I confess that I totally splurged on a pair of shoes this week; shoes that I have been searching HIGH and LOW for. So when I finally found exactly what I was looking for I pounced. Usually I feel a little buyer's, not this time!

I confess that I got two dresses in the mail yesterday, and I spent ten minutes twirling in front of the mirror with them on. Now someone invite me to a wedding or a party so I can wear them, please. :)

I confess that there is definitely a downside to being on a budget and driving cars until they go kaput. Because, well, one day they really do go kaput. Haha. Just like one of our vehicles did this evening. We may or may not be able to salvage our trusty Lasabre. :(  BUT... the upside of being on a budget? Two words: Emergency Fund. We're not even batting an eye, because just a couple of paychecks from now we can pay cash for another car. Take that, Murphy!

I confess that I have been craving chocolate like crazy, and I almost cried when I was set to make chocolate chip cookies yesterday and discovered we had no eggs.

Can you find my blue cup? Haha. If I don't find a place out of reach, Evelyn WILL dump it all over the floor.

I confess that this scene melts my heart. And I realize that my kid is watching TV. But...I just love how I caught Evelyn lying on her belly, just like a big kid. *Sigh*

I confess that those Disney Channel shows which facilitated that cute moment drive me a little crazy. It's the laugh tracks! I cannot stand the canned laughter every 10 seconds. (Literally. Not joking.) Gives me the willies. But Evie likes it, and I like her. :)

I confess that I get a sick satisfaction from cleaning my girls' ears. Don't judge.

I confess that I'm really reaching for confessions today, so someone puhleeease confess something juicy to up the real estate around here!

Oh, but wait!

I confess that I find baby dolls all over the house in interesting situations, and then I take pictures of them. :) There is at least one great thing about having a toddler: They will definitely keep you laughing!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Words on Balance :)

Because we all wish we had it, and none of us will ever achieve it to perfection.

I am absolutely wiped after a day of maintaining. It was a morning of furious cleaning for the water heater guy (or water softener guy or whatever guy - I'm not quite sure what he is); but he's also known as "the guy who never showed up." And every mother knows that once the house is clean, it is a constant battle to keep it clean. Since I also happen to be juggling the beginning stages of potty training and a baby who loves her mama so much that she cannot bear the thought of being separated from me for one minute (okay, so that's kind of cute) I was slightly frazzled that this dude was coming over in the first place.

But I did it. I juggled with gusto. Then when Eric walked through the door and said, "Oh, it's possible that he may have said he's coming tomorrow afternoon...I could have misheard him," my delicate house of cards which I had been fostering and protecting all day long finally toppled over. Now as I look around my home, I see that hurricane Evie has once again blown through leaving absolute devastation in her wake. *Sigh* So we get to start all over again tomorrow...which is actually today for all of you. :)

I know I am not the only wife, mother, daughter, sister, or friend who struggles with keeping it all together. But I honestly think that most of this problem usually lies in the fact that we're all pretty sure that someone out there does have it all together and if we could just tap into whatever magic elixer they're drinking we'd be golden. And while we all know somewhere deep down that the perfect person hasn't existed before or since Christ himself graced this world with his presence, we still trick ourselves from time to time by thinking things like, "Well, that woman definitely has it more together than me!"

It's in the mom you see walking through the mall with her stylish haircut and perfectly pressed clothes, clutching her crocodile handbag while her two smartly dressed children tag along behind her licking ice cream cones and skipping merrily along. Surely she knows what she's doing?

And it's in the friend who always has a story of the great adventures she's had with girlfriends over the weekend and is busy planning vacations and shopping at Pottery Barn and who sickeningly seems to be on-trend all.of.the.time. What in the world is her secret?

The truth is, I can almost guarantee that the perfectly poised mall walking mama has a house full of laundry and a sink full of dirty dishes waiting for her at home. And that friend? Ask her family if she's really "present" all of the time. I bet she's not. Wanna know how I know that?

Because in order to have every single area of your life balanced in perfect harmony at one time, you would literally have to be super-human. Something always has to give.

I'm no math wiz, but I'm fairly certain that 100% of something equals one whole something. There is no possible way for you to be more than 100% of you. That's it. That's all you have to work with.

So we go throughout our days "divvying" ourselves up among all of our responsibilities and our relationships, and moms especially have a lot of divvying up to do. We may give 30% to our kids and 30% to our spouses. We spend 20% of our time keeping our house in order and take 10% of our time and give it to our friends. So let's see...that leaves 10% just for having time to ourselves. Alright, that doesn't seem so bad.

But wait. Some moms work outside of the home...for seriously like half of the day. There's 50% right off the top! Leaving only half of "yourself" to give to your kids, your husband, your friends, yourself, and any other family members who like to see you now and again. Oh yeah, and the housework. Oh yeah, and the errands. And the bill paying. And the play dates....

Many of us spend time volunteering and doing church activities, room parenting at school, organizing events, planning parties, dealing with neighbors, long daily commuting...the list goes on and on, and every single thing that demands one second of your time throughout the day takes one more sliver from your pie chart; one more percentage of you. It's maddening when you really break it down.

So what happens when your kid gets sick and demands MUCH more than that 30% of your time that you ordinarily allot for them? What if they take 70% of your time that day? (Holy cow! And we all know it happens.) Well, gee, that sure doesn't leave a lot of time for everything else. Ding ding ding! Something is going to have to give that day.

I think you get the picture. :) So what's the answer?

Well I can assure you that the answer to being a great mom does NOT mean giving 70% to your kids every single day. The answer to being a great wife does NOT mean giving 70% of your time to your husband at all times. The same could be said of your friends or your job or of running your home. Sure, your children may demand the majority of "you" for a day or two, but eventually the scales are going to have to tip the other way. Neglect your husband for too long and there's going to be some major issues with your relationship. Totally cut out your friends, and you'll have none.

So I'm gonna go with this: I think the answer for me is to spread the love around a little. Know what I mean? One day Eric will be my main focus, because we definitely need date nights now and then. I'll do my hair and say things like, "Oh this little thing? I only wear it when I don't care how I look." Name that movie! And there will be plenty of days where I carve out time for my girls to do something super special, where my main focus will not be distracted by housework, but will be only on them. And once in a great while, I'll even make myself the focus. I'll fill up each area's tank so we can keep chugging happily along.

And above everything else, I will realize that I cannot have it all, all at once. That's how I know that mall mom must have neglected her morning chores to spend so much time in front of the mirror to look so gosh darn cute. Well, either that or she's changing her cape in telephone booths...which would be pretty stinkin awesome, but highly unlikely. :)

Just knowing that the pressure is off, that's it's impossible for anyone to "have it all together," makes a huge difference. So whatever you're facing today, realize that you cannot do more than you can physically do. You are human. You are 100% of you and nothing more.

And now, as I step down from this soap box, I'm going to take a huge breath, close this laptop, and recharge for another day. Another day of maintaining. Another day of struggling for balance that will never see perfection. And I'm going to do it with a style and flair all my own. And lots of baby carrying. And pee puddles.

Okay. Over and out.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Would You Rather Wednesday

Tuesdays have suddenly become discombobulated around here with Eric beginning the first of his MBA classes on Tuesday evenings. He goes straight from work to school which means he leaves before we're awake in the morning and doesn't get home until very late. It's a long day for him, and of course, just as long of a day for us.

With that said, it's hard telling what kind of blogs you'll be seeing on Wednesdays from here until May! I have no idea what our Tuesdays will end up looking like from week to week. For example, my plans to veg out at home and cook a low-key dinner were uprooted when my mom called and asked if we wanted to come over and eat with them. Well, sure we do! We ended up spending the entire evening at my parents' house. While we were there my dear mother pulled out an old suitcase full of family photos, many of which were older than me, and we sifted through them as she told me who was who and what was what.

And then I saw this picture, and I flipped out. Meagan, is this you on the end?? Were you in my preschool class back in the day? Because I swear this cutie patootie looks like Keegan with a wig on!

I'm the short kid in the very middle. :) Well...if it is you, Meagan, then this is a very small world. (Or a very small town, which we already know is true!) I laugh every time I see this picture, because nearly every little girl is wearing precious tights and dresses, and I have my Mickey Mouse sweats on, haha. Mom blames it on my dad dressing me in the mornings. :)


Because our lives were slightly uprooted yesterday, I had to come up with a totally random thing to blog about for today, and I decided I would do a few "would you rathers" mom edition. I'm calling it "Would You Rather Wednesday" but that's only because it just happens to be Wednesday and the title flows well, not because I plan to do this every week, haha. These things are kind of hard to come up with!

"Would you rather" scenarios usually involve two undesirable (and unlikely!) situations that you have to decide between. I realize that not everyone who reads this blog is a mom (yet!) but everyone can put themselves into most of these situations. So, would you rather....

Would you rather...
Have free maid service for an entire year but cook EVERY meal at home (no eating out!) OR Have a complimentary personal chef for an entire year but do ALL of the housework yourself (including trash and lawn maintenance)

Would you rather...
Spend an entire pregnancy with "morning" sickness OR Deliver your next baby with NO drugs

Would you rather...
Have more money than you can possibly ever need but permanently move away from all of your friends and family OR Always live paycheck to paycheck but be surrounded by loved ones

Would you rather...
Give up your dishwasher OR Give up your washing machine

Would you rather...
Be told that you're never having any more children (or grandchildren) than you have right now OR Find out that you're pregnant with quadruplets

Would you rather...
Be a 3 foot tall mom OR Be an 8 foot tall mom

Would you rather...
Give up your sense of taste OR Give up your sense of touch

Would you rather...
Go without date nights for an entire year OR Bring your children with you on every date night for an entire year

Hehe, let me know what you would do! I would be a: house working, natural laboring, poor, washing machineless, mom of two girls, who is 3 feet tall, has no taste and who totes her babies with her on romantic evenings. :)

Have a happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Night of Firsts!

Time snuck up behind me tonight and hollered "Ready or not, here I come!"

It all began with an innocent trip to the store. Evelyn has had this very interesting habit of taking off her diaper and using our living room rug to tinkle on. After hearing from several people that this could mean she was ready to potty train I decided that, while we were out buying hangers and bubble bath, we should pick up a potty chair. One pretty pink princess potty seat coming up!

We brought it home and waited around until after dinner to get it out of the box. The plan was to set it out for a week or so and just see if she was interested. I wasn't even planning on enforcing the potty part in the beginning; I just wanted her to get familiar with the seat being around and give her time to investigate it.

Evie loves to stand on vents, just like her mommy and grandma used to do!

I have never, ever been super antsy about moving my babies to the "next step" of anything, believing that it is probably best to just let them figure things out in their own time. But in following every trend of Evelyn's life so far, I should have known what this potty training business was going to be like. I mean, when it came time to use a sippy cup my kid picked it up and sucked it down like a pro. When we introduced the fork, she shoveled food into her mouth like she had been doing it all her life. Every single time anything new has ever been introduced to Evelyn I always end up scratching my head and wondering how in the world did she figure that out without anyone showing her first?

So it shouldn't have caught me off guard when, the moment we set the seat in the middle of the living room floor, Evie took off her pants (and shirt?) and yanked at her diaper as if it were a straight jacket she was trying to wriggle out of. Eric and I looked at each other in disbelief. Well, okay! She certainly knows what this thing is for!

Evelyn sat on her seat, stood up, investigated, sat again, took the whole thing apart, put it back together...let's just say, she was enamored. We thought it was oh-so-cute the way she loved her princess potty chair so very much. Neither of us were very surprised when we didn't hear any little "tinkle tinkle" sounds hit the bottom of the shallow potty pan. And that was fine by me, because I was in no rush to run to the store and get big girl underwear for my firstborn baby.

Ha. Haha. Hahaha. didn't hear any tiny tinkles. But what we SAW was a little girl stand up nonchalantly, take the seat apart (again), and dump the now FULL pan onto one of Grace's quilts on the floor. How we didn't know what she was doing when she was doing it I'll never know, but Evelyn peed!! :) Well, not that that's a new development, but she went on the potty! First time. No coaxing. We just let her be. Needless to say, we had one little proud peacock strutting around for the rest of the evening.

The downside to all of this potty stuff is that now Evleyn is obsessed with it, and she doesn't want to wear clothes anymore, haha. She also cannot accept the fact that the potty should stay in the bathroom, and if we let her she would drag that darn seat all throughout the house and do her business wherever she pleased.

I'm also fairly certain that we now have one more place for things to go missing. (Oh, brother!) If there's a nook or cranny or something with a lid, Evelyn will find a way to stuff things in it.

So that in-and-of-itself made for one special evening. *Sigh* What a big girl. But that wasn't the only milestone that would be reached this evening. Since Evie was already running around in the buff, we decided to put our new bubble bath to good use. :) And while we were bathing, Evelyn graduated from the only shampoo she had ever known - Johnson's Baby Shampoo - to her very own big-girl brand. Now my kid's head smells like watermelons. Where does the time go, I ask you?

I had to take a video for you all while Evelyn splashed around. Mainly because she learned the words "bubble bath" and it was cracking me up to hear her say it. :) And...I'm still working on her to say "hi" to the camera, haha.

Of course, not to be upstaged, little sister Gracie decided that she was going to have a first of her own. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: Exersaucer baby!

Grace loved it! Initially. But then mommy spun her around in the seat, and my little tender-heart wasn't digging it so much after that, haha. I had been waiting for just the right time to try her in the exersaucer, and I thought, what the heck! We were already cramming so many firsts into one evening, what's one more?

She's ridiculously cute, I'm telling you.

What. A. Night! I am exhausted just thinking about it. And I'm actually going to skip all of the poignant things that could be said about babies not staying babies for very long, because to tell you the truth, my heart is smiling big time for the things happening in the here and now. It's exciting to think about the fact that it won't take long at all for my girls to "even out" and become playmates. They're growing up. I can't stop it, so I'm going to embrace it.

Well, okay, so I'm going to embrace it for now, because as we all know there will soon come a day (or probably night) when I'll think back and reflect on Evie and Grace's first months as sisters and long for my spunky toddler and wrinkly newborn duo. BUT... I'm not thinking about that at the moment. Nope. Instead, I'm thinking about how my mouth dropped open when I saw a bucket of you-know-what being poured out onto the living room floor. Priceless. :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Let the Dreaming Begin!

We have a new magic carpet, baby. And at the first hint of lovely weather, we let her fly...

...literally! It was stinkin windy outside. :)

I have been waiting for weeks to share this fantabulous find. I teased about it the very end of the post. And you forgot all about it, didntcha? My fingers have been positively tingling in anticipation to type these words. Let me take a moment...mmm...ah...okay...I'm good.

I'm dying! I am in love. I am so excited to finally have a quilt that I'm allowed to booger up and do whatever I want with. Big plans, my friends. I have big plans for this special blanket.

I will never forget the day when I tried to take a "real" quilt on a picnic, because I was reprimanded on the spot. "You can't put that on the ground!" Dejected, I folded one of our beautiful handmade quilts which we had received as a wedding gift and put it back into the dark, cold, lonely closet. (We need a quilt rack in a really bad way!) Instead, I grabbed a plastic checked tablecloth and with a sour face, I crammed it unceremoniously into our picnic basket.

Ever since that day, our red-checked tablecloth has remained our magic memory maker, you know the one. But I always vowed that one day I would get my hands on a quilt that I would be able to take with me anywhere I pleased. A whimsical sort of quilt that would foster lazy days in the park and tea parties and take us anywhere we wanted to go.

And while I'm still of the opinion that a handmade-with-love quilt would work just as well to become ratty and tattered with our memories (because who wouldn't want to know the quilt they made was so loved?), I am positively giddy over this beauty. 

Colorful? Check!
Whimsical? Check!
Huge? Check!

Check, check, check! Better than candy, friends. Way better.

Forgive the mismatched black shoes. Evelyn insisted they come along for the ride.

Our magic carpet hovered in the coat closet, waiting for a warm day to make it's debut. Last Thursday the temperature in our peaceful town was a glorious 60-something degrees, and when I peeked out of our sliding glass doors onto the deserted patio, I knew that I should jump on the opportunity to unveil our new friend!

I put together a little lunch and raced around the house trying to gather up a morning's worth of imagination. I knew as soon as I made my first trip outside that this was going to be a stretch. Yes, the temperature rocked my socks, but the wind! Oh, my goodness, the wind! How in the world were we going to eat lunch without being blown away? Well...I tried to be clever by taking our poor old magic carpet and draping it over the railing to create a wind barrier. Bah. Bahahaha.

It did work for a little while. In order to keep the tablecloth from blowing away, I placed four plastic chairs in front of it, and I was so ready to pat myself on the back when that tablecloth opened up like the sail on a ship and blew those darn chairs clear across the patio. So I grabbed some heavy books and anchored them down. Done. 

Where's Gracie?

I brought our lunch and my precious babies outside and we rolled around and played for a bit. Oh, it was so very lovely while it lasted.

Evelyn does not care for pepper jack cheese. Case in point:

She has, however, learned to savor the delicacy of a delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

It was delightful. It was hope wrapped up in ditzy floral prints. Hope that one day, in the not so distant future, we will be enjoying mornings like these all of the time. 

So we officially christened our new magic carpet with peanut butter stains and baby puke. We've already begun weaving the fabric of our beings into the threads of this new friend of ours. And unlike most new things that come into my possession, I can't wait to dirty this one up real good. :) Every mark, every stain, every rip or tear will have it's very own story to tell. While it's colors are fresh and vibrant now, I smile when I think of the day when it's patterns are faded and worn. Go ahead, baby girls, make your marks. Mama don't mind.

Unfortunately, nothing stales bread faster than a blowing breeze, and after one too many gasps from my infant I made the executive decision to pack it up and head indoors. We finished our picnic lunch as we watched our patio chairs with their new-fangled sail topple over and crash into the side railings once again. Our poor teddies now have that slightly earthy wind-blown smell. And our quilt of many colors is back in it's coat closet home, recharging for our next adventure. All in all, it was a very good day. 

I think that every child deserves to have a magic carpet all their own. And if you have children at home, I encourage you do an experiment with them sometime soon. Just take an old blanket or tablecloth and spread it out on the floor in a place they don't usually see blankets lying around. Maybe in your living room, or kitchen, or even on the front porch. Then wait for them to notice that it's there. I'll give you five dollars if they don't run to that blanket with their faces bright as the sunshine and jump onto it like they're diving into a swimming pool. 

You've just found your magic carpet. :)

But...if you'd like a super AWESOME magic carpet just like ours, then drive yourself to WAL-MART and check out their selection of quilts from the Home and Garden brand. Oh, yes. You read that correctly. Wal-Mart has never been so cool. Best part? I think we paid like $25 for the king sized quilt. The smaller sizes are even less. Small price to pay for hours and hours of fun, I say!

Mmm-mmm. Simply scrumptious! 

Later, gators!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Confession Friday 2-18!

I confess that THIS is what our closet looked like pre-cleaning. I'll have the afters some other day, because I confess that I'm still not totally done with it, haha. (It was much worse than it appears in this particular picture, but I'm not showing anymore until it's finished! Yikes.)

I confess that I learned a full-proof way for testing your breath, and now I keep licking the back of my hand and smelling it. GROSS, I know! But try it. It works! will give you a complex. Okay, so maybe you shouldn't try it. :)

I confess that I feel duped by Old Navy. Apparently I am a "Jennie" and they've pulled me in hook, line, and sinker. Observe:

"The new campaign will focus directly on Old Navy’s target customer, referred to as "Jennie" - a 25 to 35 year old woman looking for on-trend fashion at affordable prices."

Yup, that's me!

I confess that we wiped out one of my student loans yesterday! Which isn't so much of a confession as it is a WAHOO! (It's not too late to jump on the bandwagon. Don't be a slave to debt!)

I confess that I am feeling all kinds of unicorns and rainbows since everyone's moods have been uplifted by the weather. We were starting to turn into a bunch of mopey dopeys around here. Haha. Winter kills my spirit...I could never live in Alaska, despite it's beauty. No thanks.

I confess that Evelyn found a mini candy bar before breakfast this morning, and I let her eat it. That's misleading. She brought it to me, and I opened it and let her eat it. And then I had one myself. :) We followed it with some low-fat strawberry yogurt, so no need to totally freak out on me, haha.

(I confess that this line spacing is driving me nutso, but I can't do a dern thing about it.)

I confess that I have no desire whatsoever to have a "conventional" job outside of the home ever again. I'm asked quite often what I'll do when all of my children are in school, and it always catches me off guard. So I give a short answer and move on. But what I want to say is that I'll do the same things I do now only better! Lord willing I will run a home, be an active room parent for my kids' schools, volunteer more, and be the glue that keeps my family's stress level down. It's my dream job!

See the hair in her eyeballs? Ugh.

I confess that I let Evelyn's hair go for so long without cutting it that even I thought she was looking like a shaggy dog. I had romanticized dreams about her first hair cut; of taking pictures and making a big deal out of it. Well...last night I got so sick of her hair being in her face that I took her in the bathroom, sat her on the toilet, and chopped it off myself. No big pictures. But she looks so much better!

I confess that I think it's hilarious that Cassie has everyone admitting that they tinkle in the shower. :) Oh, what we'll share on our blogs! 

I confess that Evelyn had many silly antics this week, dressed up in several ridiculous ways, and had us laughing really hard...but I didn't get a picture of any of it. I have failed you. Shame on me. :) 

And now I have a quick question, and anyone and everyone can answer. Do you read blogs on the weekends? I'm trying to figure out if I should still post on Saturdays, and if even just a few of you say "yes," then I'll keep it up! Otherwise, I'll save the "good stuff" for the weekdays. :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011


And I ain't talking about the cleaning agent.

Eric and I have always been in the practice of rotating our music with the changing seasons. There is nothing more comforting than the crooning of 'ole Blue Eyes and Michael Buble when it's chilly outside, and when it warms up we love us some roll down the windows, turn up the radio, feel good rock 'n roll. We're seriously like Pavlov's dogs, salivating for Spring the moment our life soundtrack switches. And last night...we made the switch.

Prior to weddings and babies and *cough, cough* real adult responsibilities, our favorite thing to do as a couple was to travel around the midwest chasing after our favorite bands. I have no idea how I can still hear after standing in front of booming speakers that were taller than me for all those years. From outdoor amphitheaters to middle-of-nowhere dive clubs, we would do just about anything to make it to a good show. And no band put more miles on our vehicles than Bleach.

Nashville road trip!

I wouldn't be shocked in the least bit to learn that, erm...roughly 90% of you haven't even heard of this band, much less jammed out to one of their feel good tunes. (Hint: Mix a little Weezer with some old school Elvis Costello, and you've got Bleach in a nutshell.) Yes, we are Bleach fanatics around here. I have several genuine signed t-shirts hanging in my (almost organized!) closet right now and a truck load of pictures to prove it.

Bleach produces the type of music that makes you want to pull down the shades and dance around the house like a crazy person in your underwear. Okay, so stripping to your unders isn't totally necessary, but I did sort of wish that I could jump through sprinklers in my front yard after channeling some Bleach yesterday. No parent would ever, ever have to worry about the messages sent out to impressionable youth with this band, either. And the guys...are just really really nice people. Five stars. Class acts.

I would point any newbies to this rock and roll deliciousness to the album "Again, For the First Time." My fav. Eric and I have converted many a friend to this group's scintillating stylings. And I don't know one single skeptic who walked out of a live show without finding a new favorite band for themselves. I was one of those skeptics once. Oh, yes...yes, it's true. Eric introduced me to Bleach, took me to a show, and changed my life forever. You think I'm exaggerating, but I'm totally not, haha. Music is a powerful thing, and it can change your mood or outlook on a situation in an instant. There's gotta be a study or something to back me up here. :)

We were devastated, totally heartbroken, when we got the word that the band was ready to end touring together in 2004. Eric traveled to Nashville to see their very last show. Sad day. :( We've spent the last several years jamming to old music and belting out familiar lyrics that take us back to our dating days. Bleach has always remained our absolute, number one, favorite band. Of all time.

So when we heard that they're releasing a new album this Spring and touring this freaked out! No specific details have been released just yet, but as soon as we find out the nearest tour location, you better believe we're going to find a way to get there. Seven years. It's been seven years since I've been to one of their live shows. And I cannot even wrap my mind around the fact that there will be new music from my favorite old band. Love love love! Road trip? Oh, yes. Yes, indeed.

Check out the picture of his wife on his pedal board. :)

Here's a little taste...just a teeny tiny morsel...of Bleach. You're going to roll your eyes at me. You're going to say, "This reminds me of something I would have liked in junior high." Yes, that's probably true. But every once in a need to forget "adult responsibilities" and just have some carefree, feel good, squeaky clean fun. And yes, that's still possible.

Happy listening! I dare you not to smile. :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spring Cleaning (And My Crazy Weight!)

Warning: This was typed very quickly and with one hand, haha. No time for editing!

The bug has already hit! I'm taking a bit of an internet fast today so that I can get one area of our life organized. It seems like forever ago that I felt the need to open up doors and clean the things that no one sees but that drive me nuts.

Both Eric and I need to get some new clothes - badly. Eric needs dress shirts for work. He's been wearing the same ones for so long that they're not looking so hot after many many trips through the washing machine. And me...oh my goodness, my side of the closet is a joke!

This will be the first Spring in two years that I haven't been pregnant. I'm just going to share exactly how my weight journey has gone. I said I wasn't going to write much this morning, because I don't have much time, but I don't know how else to really drive this point home.

Pre-Evelyn I was the same size I had been since high school. For nearly a decade I filled my wardrobe with clothing of one particular size, but when I got pregnant with Ev I gained 35 pounds. Obviously I didn't have anything to accommodate my growing belly, so I had to buy bigger clothing. That's fine, every pregnant woman has to do that.

After Evelyn was born I waited several months to fit into my pre-baby clothes, and it just didn't seem like it was going to happen. I got sick of wearing baggy maternity pants, so I bought some new jeans and tops to fit my "new" body. Only, just weeks after I did this my extra weight started melting off. I hit my pre-pregnancy weight and could fit into my old clothes again. Woohoo! But what about those new clothes I just bought? Oh well, no need for them now. I really wasn't going to complain about that one, haha.

All would have been fine with the world, except that breastfeeding caused me to lose LOTS of weight. I surpassed the weight I had been for years and I kept losing and losing until I was 17 pounds lighter and two sizes smaller than I was on my wedding day. So now, even my original clothes were too big. Off to the store I went to buy some clothes that fit! And then...well, you can probably guess what happens next.

I found out I was pregnant...again. But even my maternity clothes wouldn't fit the same this time around, because I began my pregnancy over 15 pounds lighter than I was when I started the first one. Not to mention, I was pregnant in different seasons of the year than I had been before. (Are you following all of this? Haha.) So off to the store again!

I think you get the picture. So now, my closet is the biggest hodge-podge of clothing sizes that I have ever seen. I can't fit into most of my clothing - most is way too big, and some of it is still too small. But since I have no plans of being pregnant this Spring, that means we're going shopping once again. :) I can't wait to have clothes that fit!

And all of that is to say...our closet needs a good cleaning! We need to purge. We need to organize. We need to get our hangers ready for an influx of new clothing. I'm more than just a little excited about all of this. I love feeling refreshed, and this darn closet of ours has been an issue for quite a while. If I get brave enough I'll take before and after pictures for you all to see. But for now, I gotsta go. I've got piles of mismatched clothing calling my name!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Cabobbled Love Day

Mmm mmm...I think that Turtles...mmm...are quite possibly...the most...delicious candies in the world.  And I've got a box of these babies all to myself! Happy Valentine's Day to me! :) Are you sick of the heart stuff yet? Cause I PROMISE this is the last day of it around here. I am so ready to move beyond and get to springy thingys...especially after the morning I had yesterday!

Cupid stopped by and transformed our living room into a festive heart-filled field fit for frolicking. Our fluttering hearts were uber cute, and they were enough to send any young girl into lovey dovey dreamland. At the end of the heart trail were lots of goodies for two little princesses to help them get into the Valentine's Day spirit. I was so excited for Evelyn to wake up and discover this treat that mommy stayed up extra late to prepare. I knew she'd just love it!

And then....

When Evelyn rolled out of bed on Valentine's Day and walked into the living room, she completely ignored the forest of hearts hanging from the ceiling and exclaimed, "Stroller!" My precious daughter ran over to the stroller which was parked near the basement door, a reminder of our walk the day before, and she could have really cared less about our valentine wonderland. Evelyn walked by so nonchalantly it was as if the hearts didn't even exist. She did, however, swat one in passing a few minutes later.

But that was okay...because we still had our wonderful breakfast to look forward to.

Fluffy pink hearts were waiting for my eldest to look upon with delight. Evelyn loves pancakes, so this would surely be an extra special treat.


When it was time to mosey into the kitchen to enjoy our yummy pink pancake hearts, we quickly discovered that among the fluffy bites were lots of lumps of unincorporated chalky baking mix. Not to mention pockets of uncooked gooey batter. Mommy gives two thumbs DOWN to Aldi's pancake mix. Just sayin.' Cause it couldn't have possibly been me. Nope.

I was super excited to show Evie and Grace their special mailboxes filled with love trinkets just for them....

Evelyn cried when I put the headband on her head, Gracie puked on her new bib moments after I put it on her, and Ev stuck her princess wand in her sister's now resides...elsewhere.

I wish I could say that the day got better from there, but it really didn't. Grace never napped, and mommy didn't get a shower until daddy was on his way home from work. My plans to be dolled up for a special Valentine's day amounted to a wet head and totally naked face.  At some point I also discovered a tightly woven hair cutting off the circulation on my baby's toe, and after many failed attempts to rid Gracie of her toe tourniquet, I called my mother for backup. My poor baby was NOT digging us digging into her little piggy, and finally we were able to free her toe using a kitchen knife. Fun stuff, huh?  So in my struggles to just get the house in order with a baby on my hip all day and several crises to avert, the girls never even got to make their pops a valentine.

We did get to roll around on a fuzzy new blanket, though....

No, life is not always sunshine and daisies around here. We plan and try to do the best we can, but even our best attempts sometimes end up a royal flop. And that's okay. It only happens once in a while. We deal. Because that's how we roll.

Once my knight in shining armor walked through the door that evening things became infinitely better. I was surprised with a wonderfully practical gift from my man. We don't usually do big gifts to each other at all, but Eric splurged on my favorite salon shampoo and conditioner, and while some of you may think that's a bit odd for a Valentine's gift, I absolutely LOVED it. I never ever spend the money to get this little luxury for myself, and I think what impressed me most was the fact that Eric remembered what my favorite shampoo was. Two points for you, m'dear! (I can't stop sniffing this stuff! Insert inappropriate drug reference here, cause I'm addicted.)

After a nice dinner at home, we packed up the girls and went to visit their grandparents and to deliver some valentines.

Here's the lovely artwork that you saw the girls create here. I was pleased with the way they turned out, even after Evelyn spilled milky paint water over half of her masterpiece. :)

Now it's time to put heart season away. It's being folded neatly and packed up in a proverbial hope chest of memories. And while we still have a bit to get to "real" Spring, that doesn't mean we're not going to welcome it with open arms as soon as we possibly can! I can feel it, friends. It may still be a ways off in the horizon, but soon there's going to be a reunion in a field of wild flowers complete with slow motion running and sappy music. Cause me and Spring...we're due for a little romance. 


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