Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Photos
Enjoy! (PS..I posted something earlier this afternoon so if you haven't read it, keep reading. :) )

Christmas Morning

Don't you just wish you were here to have seen it all in person? :) Kaylen was THRILLED with her baby set up and Kelton totally loved his art supplies though it did take him a while to actually just sit down and look through everything. I think he was blinded by his excitement. Believe it or not, we were still opening gifts at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Kaylen opened her last one about 7 o'clock last night. I love taking it slow, opening gifts and then spending time playing with things. I really do not like rushing through and having all the gifts opened in 15 minutes flat.

Oh - and the castle? It was a HUGE HUGE HUGE hit. I was so busy watching him jump up and down, screaming in excitement to actually film it but I did catch the tale end on film. I'll get it uploaded soon along with some more photos. It was a really great day with only a few hiccups along the way (one is a vent that I will share with you later. Let me just ask now though...is it *really* that difficult to say thank you when someone hands you a gift for your infant? I'm just saying....I wasn't looking for praise of how wonderful we are but a frikkin' thank you would have been nice! I'll go on and on about it later.... :) )

And now - without further ramblings.....here is the Santa experience that took place yesterday morning. :)

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Twas The Afternoon Before Christmas....

...and Mommies and little helpers all over the world are baking Christmas goodies. Here is one of my little helpers. :)
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Merry Christmas Eve Everyone!!!

Talk about striking fear in the hearts of two moms. Kelton dropped a bomb shell on us about what he *knows* Santa will bring: the Imaginext Adventure Castle. Only problem there is he never actually voiced this desire of his heart until bedtime last night (Dec 23rd). (He had shown great interest in it a few weeks ago at the store but I didn't take his desire seriously enough apparently. Then yesterday he found it at FisherPrice.com and spent 15 minutes playing with the demo on-line. I swear I never knew this was going on so seriously in his head!) So there we were - sweating it out. After the kids were in bed I drove to a few stores hoping against all odds to find the castle. Umm...yeah. Not happening. The toy shelves were all but empty. I returned home empty handed and very sad that my little boy wouldn't find what he really has been wanting. We strategized on damage control...we'd tell him that we would look for it after Christmas because Santa must not have found out in time that he wanted it. How he needs to be sure he tells Santa his wishes either in person or in a letter because Santa has to be told.

This morning I was casually talking with Kelton about why he didn't tell Santa. His response? "Santa knows everything, right? He should already know."


I called Toys R Us and stuck gold! They had a couple sets on the shelf. I flew over there and picked one up. We have decided though that we are going to tell him that Santa called us to let us know about his new request because Santa was already loading the sleigh and he didn't have room for both the castle AND the huge amount of art supplies that Kelton asked for when he visited him. He also asked us to tell Kelton that the best way for Santa to know what he would like is to tell him when he visits or to write a letter. That way Santa will know for sure what to pack in the sleigh.

But for the moms? We feel like we've just pulled off a Christmas miracle!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

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We are having a long holiday weekend starting this afternoon. I am beyond thrilled about the extra family time and the excitement of Christmas as seen through the eyes of my children. I wish you all the very best that the winter holidays have to offer - no matter what or how you celebrate. Be well, be safe and be happy.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Three Down, Five To Go

Last night marked the end of the third semester of law school. We have five more to face but somehow I do find comfort in the fact that when this new one is over we will officially be half way done! WAHOOOO!!!!!!!!

Dakota, we're all very proud of you and all that you are accomplished. You rock!

Monday, December 18, 2006

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credit for both pages: Shawna Clingerman's Cozy Christmas kit

**there is another posting for today - keep reading if you haven't seen it yet. :)
Just For Fun

Aren't they cute? I love the Ho Ho Ho that Kaylen does in the second one.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

My Birthday

My day started out bright and early when a little boy stuck his face near my sleeping one and said "Wake up, Mom! It's your birthday!" Is there a better way to wake up? Kelton excitedly pulled me into the livingroom to show off the decorations - snowman stuff, just what I had hoped for. (Snowmen are a nice theme when your house is already decorated for Christmas. Less competing going on than if you were to select, oh I don't know....My Little Pony or SpiderMan.) Kelton was already begging to dive into the presents and rip into them, I mean gently open them.

We tried convincing him to wait for Kaylen to wake up but nothing doing so we agreed to open one. Of course, I didn't get to do any of the opening that was left to Kelton. Much to his dismay, it was not a toy for him to play with. Instead, it was a DVD that Dakota had created using photos of our family taken during the year. I LOVE IT!!! Last year she made me a similar gift and it's still one of my favorite things to watch. I just love watching videos and slideshows of my family. We watched it but before it was over, Kelton was begging for more present opening. *sigh*

We woke Kaylen up so she could be part of it and we opened a few more things. Dakota bought me a great "family" necklace that I had been wanting. I really like it. I have one that has two parents and one child from my first Christmas as a mom and I was really wanting one with two kids. It's great! Dakota also gave me a Starbucks coffee card - which is always a huge hit. Starbucks is a guilty pleasure that I rarely am able to justify. Being able to swing by yesterday, order a drink and hand them my card was a thrill...and I have enough on it for a couple more visits. :) She also gave me return address labels which I know doesn't sound like all that great of a gift but they are the ones that you can put cartoon-type faces for all the family members. I am such a sucker for all things personalized. I love them!

Next the kids and Dakota went into the kitchen to make blueberry muffins. YUM! After breakfast we all got dressed and then split up to get some stuff done. I went over to a friends house to pick up the Little Tikes Teddy Bear Nursery that her daughter has outgrown (it will be part of Kaylen's Santa gift. We bought a doll and some doll "stuff" to go with it.) and then I ran it over to Dakota's mom's house to store it until the big day. Dakota took the kids and went to the grocery store to pick up a few things, including my birthday cake.

We reconvened at the house a short time later and I got Kaylen settled down for her nap. Once she was down, we called Dakota's mom who came over to stay with the kids while we went to a movie. We saw The Santa Clause 3 which we both really, really enjoyed. As we came around the corner from the theater, we looked across the parking lot and...............it was SNOWING!!!! Snowing! On my birthday. WOW!!! I was in heaven! Sure, it wasn't going to stay but it was beautiful and exciting. Dakota thought we should call home and let her mom know to open the back door and let the kids run wild. I told her I was sure Kelton would have already noticed and was probably out playing in it. (I was wrong. Grandma thought the kids should be bundled up with heavy coats and boots and wasn't keen on the idea of Kelton running out coatless so she told him he could go out when we got home. The now had stopped by then though. Heck - for as often as this happens around here, I would have let him go out naked - at least for a few minutes. He would have gotten cold soon enough and besides, just running out is part of the fun of an unexpected snow fall.)

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Waiting out arrival home was a beautiful bouquet of flowers sent by a friend of ours. (The above picture is the exact bouquet - isn't it gorgeous?) She is such a sweetie and the flowers are really amazing. (Thank you, S!!)

OH! I forgot to mention that the night before my birthday I got a surprise in the mail from Brenda. Another Starbucks card and believe me when I say this - there is no such thing as too many Starbucks gift cards for me. :) They make me very happy! :)

Dinner time came and Dakota's mom and step-dad came over for pizza, cake and ice cream. It was really nice. They gave me a years subscription to both Parenting and Parents magazine as well as a gift certificate to the movies. Very thoughtful!! I love those magazine but find it hard to justify the cost. The movie gift is really great, too, and now I am assured of seeing a theater movie before another year or more goes by.

Dakota also gave me another gift. A night in a hotel in downtown Seattle on our way up to see my family for our Christmas celebration there. A chance to see the city all dressed up for the holidays, to take the kids to The Seattle Children's Museum and...for the best part of all......an evening out with my dear friend, Delly, whom I rarely get to see these days. She and I worked together for many years but since moving from Seattle, we rarely get together. The trips we take up there are also packed full and rushed and there doesn't seem to be time to squeeze in a visit. We last each other when Kaylen was less than 3 months old. I'm really looking forward to it! A night away from the kids - Dakota will be tending to them in the hotel room (she is hoping at least one will be fast asleep before I leave but I have my doubts on that. Either way, I trust no one more Dakota when it comes to our kids and I know I won't worry.....at least, not too much.). It is going to be SO MUCH FUN!!!! Delly, if you are reading this I am really looking forward to this! Thank you for being part of a really amazing and special surprise. :)

So that pretty much sums up my birthday. It was a fun day that went by much too quickly. Thanks, Dakota, for all the effort you put into making my day special. You know what my best gift was? You....and the beautiful kids we created.

And now....I'm older. I keep trying to convince Dakota that I am only 22 and not *gulp* 42. (32 was a bad, bad year. It's the year I broke my back and not a year I'd like to think about reliving.....22 seems safer. *grin*)

Saturday, December 16, 2006


What do you all think of my new header?

The birthday was great - I'll post about it soon. We're off to go take the kids to look at all the Christmas lights. Our December nightly ritual. Only 9 more days to go..well, less than that because for all intents and purposes, today is over. That leaves 8 days. Eight days until the magic happens around our tree. I love Christmas morning. Even more now that we have kids.

Kaylen says "Santa says Ho Ho Ho". Not that clearly but you can hear it just the same. It's freakin' adorable. I have it recorded and I want to upload it to share. She also has taken to calling trains "Choo Choo Trains" Again, it just about kills me on the cuteness scale.

Our kids are so cute. I know everyone thinks that about their kids but in our case, it really is true. :) No seriously. It is. And I am in no way biased.

Stop laughing.

More later.

Friday, December 15, 2006

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(Shameless self promotion *grin*)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Who'd Have Thunk It?

Dakota's mom came over this afternoon to stay with the kids so I could get some shopping done. It was planned for a couple weeks ago but then the dreaded germs invaded our house and grandma coming over was pushed back. In between now and then, I managed to finish up the shopping I had to get done for Christmas but who am I to turn down a few child-free hours? Especially since in the past 16 weeks (that's how long the semester is) I can count on one finger how many times I have gotten away without the kids....and that was to the grocery store to do the bi-weekly shopping when Dakota was out of town at her law conference.

So anyway, I had been building this escape up for weeks. Literally. I had decided to head out to the mall and see what kind of damage I could do at the big going out of business sale at the Mervyn's store. After all, "everything must go" and is currently marked down to 50-70% off....heck, even the fixtures must go though I didn't figure I needed any of those.

I get to the mall and head into the store. I wanted new blankets so I went to the linen department. Ummm....yeah....good luck. If you wanted twin or king you were in good shape for most things but queen? Forget it. They didn't have any of my favorite blankets left anyway and everything else was picked over something fierce. Yeah - I should have expected it but I was blinded by my "I'm going shopping ALONE!" fantasy.

I went to the shoe department and found a great pair of Reeboks for Kelton in the next size up (I always buy ahead). Kaylen is a nightmare when it comes to shoes so I skipped that (she is all about her look-alike Crocs from Payless Shoe Source and nothing else will do. I even finally bought her a black pair (she has two pink pairs already) to wear with her Christmas dresses since pink just wasn't doing it for me and she *will not* wear any other shoes. Believe me, we've tried. It's not worth the screaming, kicking or shoe throwing). Then I hit the kid departments. I bought Kelton a shirt for next year and Kaylen a really sweet sweater and a pair of jammies, also in the next size up. Then I remembered their Hallmark card section. Score! I got about 20 different cards (mostly birthday) for $0.45 each. You just can't beat that for greeting cards, let alone Hallmark greeting cards.

Ok....so I was done. $53 worth of stuff and the receipt said I saved $75 (not really because I wouldn't have bought it all if it hadn't been on sale to start with but for the sake of argument, let's just say I saved money). I walked out of the store and into the mall and.........................

I stood there. Just stood there. I had no idea what to do.

It was a pathetic sight I'm sure. I didn't have to swing by and see Santa. I didn't have to go to the toy store to "look around". The pet store held no allure for me. I didn't need to buy anything so there was no point in wandering around other stores. Ok...well....it appears I was actually missing my kids. I was lonely just standing there. I wondered what they were doing at home with Grandma. I looked around at other moms with their kids and...get this....I WAS JEALOUS! I was jealous they all had their kids with them and I was standing there alone. Am I completely pitiful or what??

I was hungry so I headed over to my new find in the food court. They have an amazing California Veggie sandwich and I had decided a few days ago that I would get one on my mall venture. I went to order and the guy said "Sorry - we don't have any avocados. I can have them put tomatoes on for you instead." "Ummm....no thanks." I wanted what I wanted. I had been craving what I wanted for days now. Bummer. So I left and headed back to Mervyn's so I could return to my car.

I looked at my watch. It hadn't even been an hour yet. It had only been 40 minutes since I left the house. I suck at this non-kid time stuff. And I suck bad. I could name about 5 stay at home moms off the top of my head who would have given away their first born for an hour alone at the mall.

I decided to look around again - I mean seriously....I couldn't be back home in under an hour after waiting all this time for this opportunity.

Score! I found a cute pair of shoes for myself and at 60% they were only $20. Cool! I put them on and walked around the shoe department for a bit to make sure they fit...and to kill some more time. Then I looked around the underwear department (hey - I was desperate!) and even considered buying some girdle thing (did I mention I was desperate?). I passed on the girdle idea. What in the freakin' world do I need one for? I was losing my mind and, clearly, my grip on reality.

I needed my kids.

I bought the shoes and headed out the door. It had been one hour and 15 minutes since I left the house. I called Dakota to tell her how much I suck at not having the kids with me. I'm sure she thinks I'm crazy. Maybe I am. Then I call Brenda (in California). I had called her on my way to the mall to gloat about my "me time"...this time I was calling to confess that I suck and was going home. She tried to convince me to go to Starbucks and hang out for a while. But no....I missed my kids. I was going home. I do feel guilty about being away from them but honestly, I was just missing them.

Sure - their screaming, crying and usual toddler and preschool antics drive me over the edge hourly and it's amazing I'm not bald from pulling out my hair but their laughter and silliness, their smiles and their hugs....well....I guess it's all what makes me ME. I'm not even sure it makes sense all I know is when I walked in the house and saw Kelton play wrestling with Grandma on the couch and Kaylen sitting at the table watching and laughing....my heart just about burst wide open. And the way their eyes lit up and they both flew into my arms well......that's what I live for.

No worries though....by bathtime I was ready to schedule another escape to the mall. Although maybe next time I'll just pick up a magazine and head to a local coffee shop for some quiet reading time. Ahhhh...now THAT sounds like heaven!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Getting Ready for Christmas

Now that things have settled down in our house as far as illness, I thought I would take a few minutes and post some pictures of decorating the tree and the outside yard decorations. The kids had a blast decorating the tree. At first I had trouble with the unorganized manner in which decorations were dispersed but I finally had to just let go of my expectations and let the kids do what they wanted. In the end, the tree looks great and the kids are *very* proud of themselves. Now if I could find a way to convince them to leave the stuff ON the tree instead of removing and redecorating every day I'd be doing ok. :)

What the heck - that's why we don't put breakable stuff on the tree. Kids should be able to enjoy their Christmas trees, right?

Here are a few pictures of the outside of the house (well - part of the house. To get it all in I'd have to stand across the street and I clearly didn't do that! *grin*). The polar bear you see in the yard is new this year. He was named Roller by Kelton and the kids adore him! We can not leave the house without both of them running over to him to pet him and say good-bye. Kelton is insisting Roller stay up after Christmas......I have a couple of weeks to convince him otherwise. :)

Monday, December 11, 2006

So Far, So Good

Knock on something wood. Anything. Just do it. Kaylen did not throw up at all last night though she was running a fever all night. She was up (and therefore, so was I) from 2-4AM but at least she wasn't tossing her cookies. Once the tylenol took hold and brought the fever down, she finally fell back to sleep. She was up for the day at 6AM but at least there was no puking. Can I tell you have much of a relief it is to *not* be thrown up on? Believe me, before kids I had no idea how great a joy that one simple thing would be. :)

Kaylen woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed and she had a great day! It does seem like we just might have dodged that particular bullet. That said - I'm sure I just jinxed myself.

Both kids had a good day. Things were calm and peaceful and nice. We went over to Dakota's office around 9:30 this morning, picked her up and went to Starbucks. It's always great when they can spend a few stolen moments with their other mom. We were back home by 11 (it's about 35 minutes each way to her office) and Kaylen went down happily for a nap. I finished up my calendar project (gifts for the grandparents) and got it sent off to the printers and then spent some time with Kelton.

Once Kaylen woke we decided to take a trip to Joe's Place and Farms to pick up some branches from real trees. We have a fake Christmas tree and I really miss the smell of pine so I decided this year I would get some boughes to have around the house. Oh my gosh - the kids were in heaven!! The smells, the sights, the apples waiting to be bought! They were...well...they were like kids in a candy store. It was so cute to watch.

Once home we found places for the branches - and yes, that did include tucking some inside the tree. That was Kelton's idea and I have to say, a darn fine one! Then it was play time, art time, outside time and dinner time. After dinner came baths and jammies and then....the highlight of every evening these days: driving around to look at lights. I think in the past week we have only missed one night of going out. And yes, we even went out when I was my sickest last week. I just love to hear them squeal with delight; to hear Kaylen say "Kel-can....pretty!" Or "Mama! Santa! Ho Ho Ho!" I love when Kelton says "Mom, they must be very rich because they have so many decorations!" Seriously, Christmas through the eyes of children is something to behold. I feel so honored to be part of their magical world; where anything is possible.

I admit that last night at this time I was dreading today but all in all, it was a great day! As long as we can keep all the germs at bay for a while, something tells me I will be having many more of these good days as we continue the countdown to Christmas.

Oh - and the calendar project? Here's a page or eight of what I created:

(all pages created using the Year of Memories kit by Dani Mogstadt and Shawna Clingerman)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Tell Me It Isn't So!

Kaylen is sick. Again. Another sort of stomach bug.

Are you kidding me?!?! How in the world is this fair? Sure - she had been puke free for a solid week but the rest of us have only been well for 3 days. This is SO not fair!!
"It's a free country, yo!"

Yes indeed. That line was uttered by my four year old yesterday. Just out of the blue.

Talk about cracking up a parent. :)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Happy Dance Time!

I feel like ME!!!!!! I can't even begin to tell you how great it feels to feel like myself again. What a loooooooooooooooooooooooong week and a half that was. Yuck!

Tuesday night both Dakota and Kelton started not feeling well and having..umm..issues but by last night they were doing fine. They managed to dodge the big ugly bullet.

Today, Thursday, was business as usual for all four of us and it felt good. The kids and I had a great day and it was nice just to be. It's easy to take good health for granted but being sick sure makes you appreciate all the other weeks of the year that you are able to jump out of bed and move along in your day. And trust me - right now I am praising the heavens for feeling well again.

So earlier this week I promised you Santa pictures from last Saturday. It was completely unplanned on our part but when we arrived to do some shopping at WalMart, Santa was there and they were doing free pictures with him. Kelton was beside himself with joy! Kaylen - not so much. Here are the pics they took:

I love the look on Kaylen's little face. Sad but so cute. :) Don't feel too sorry for her though...yesterday she started babbling away with "Go. Santa. Talk. Me." She kept repeating it and I said "You want to go see Santa and talk with him?" "Yes!" So clearly, the girl isn't harmed for life. :)

Now if you remember back a few weeks Dakota and I took the kids to Sears for Christmas pictures. While the photo shoot itself was.....well....not all that stellar, they did manage to get one shot that was decent. Here it is:

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I can't say I'll be going back to Sears. I'm just not thrilled with the quality. Truth is, it's getting harder for me to take the kids in for professional pictures. What I need to do is find a rich relative who would love nothing better than to buy me a Canon Rebel so I can capture my own professional quality photos. :) Tis the season for dreams and all that. :)

I should probably end this posting and get to work on my seemingly endless To Do list for the holidays. I am very proud of myself though for getting the Christmas card and letter done and in the mail. No easy feat, that's for sure. I still have calendars to create for grandparent gifts though and that is going to take some time. Sure hope I get them done before the big day comes. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Say it with me people: relapse.

It's not pretty. The kids seem fine it's just me who has been hit by a truck. The kids are up to their usual antics - I'm wishing I could sleep for a week. Or at least a couple hours.

I logged in barely enough sleep to count last night. I did nap for an hour and a half with Kaylen this afternoon but man - I feel awful.

And to think that just yesterday I was feeling back on top of the world. *sigh*

Please make this go away soon. Dakota can't miss anymore work or school. This is the last week of classes before finals so having her help is out.

I seriously can't remember when I've been so sick.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Back in the Land of the Living

Ahhhhh! It feels SO good!! I woke up this morning feeling about 95% normal - thank goodness. It seems to have run its course in about 24 hours and I have to say, it was a very rough 24 hours. Ugh-a-roni!

Kaylen woke up even happier than yesterday so I'm betting she is back to her ol' self too and as an added bonus, there was no throwing up all night long. Could it be that we have finally made it out of this particular hell-hole? I pray it is so.

The kids were so good for Dakota yesterday. Today they are back to their normal "getting into everything and fighting over everything" selves and for once, I'm not at all frustrated by it. It's nice to feel healthy and it's great that my kids are feeling that way, too. Nothing like being sick to bring a little perspective.

On a side note, the kids favorite evening activity this weekend has been to go look at the Christmas lights all over the neighborhood. It's so much fun to hear them squeal in delight. I wasn't going to go last night since I wasn't feeling great but Kaylen was throwing a fit about my not going and then about maybe being left at home with me. It wasn't worth the struggle for a 15 minute venture. So - I tossed on a jacket and prayed there would be no reason for any other person to see me. I'm glad I went. At one house that was done up beyond all reason, I heard Kaylen's little voice say "Kel-can! Pretty!" (that's how she says Kelton). It's just so much fun to see the holiday season through their eyes.

I have some fun Santa pictures to post a little later. I started a post Saturday but never finished it. I hope to do that later today.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Sadly though, it wasn't the end of the tunnel...it was a train heading smack dab for me. I have the virus that Kaylen had (she is better...down to only throwing up once or twice in the middle of the night). It hit me hard around 12:30 last night and I am finally feeling like I can eat a few Saltine crackers. Ugh.

Thank goodness today was Sunday and therefore, family day. Dakota has really stepped up and took over. She even managed to get the grocery shopping done as well as do various fun activities for the kids. There hasn't been many meltdowns at all. Maybe SHE should be the stay at home mom. The kids appear to have had a great day. I'm glad they had fun....and happier still that she took them out of the house here and there so I could get some real sleep in.

Sleep. Yes. I need more.

Hopefully this will end quicker for me than it did for Kaylen. I know I cna't handle being this sick for even one more day.