Sunday, December 30, 2007

Still Here

Yes - I am really still here. Well - technically I was not *here* but you know what I mean. Dakota has been home with us since December 21st and we have all really been enjoying our much needed family time. Then there was the hustle and bustle of Christmas and then a trip up for Christmas with my side of the family. We have been *very* busy.

Plus - Kaylen came down with something nasty last night (high fever/throwing up) so that was fun. Ick. We drove home today and are busy trying to settle back into our life.

I promise a real update soon....and hey - I'll even throw in some photos for you. :)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Vista Anyone?

Ok - it's time for the confession: I have a new computer. It became increasingly clear that the family computer was just getting too old and we were starting to have more issues with it then not. And yes, that's after we had the computer guy work on it, do a complete install and add more Dell Memory. In the recent months the CD/DVD drives started giving us error messages when the kids would try to play their CD-based computer games and I was getting "not enough memory" messages even though we had cleared off much of the harddrive AND installed new memory. And then there was the issues with ToonTown (Kelton's Christmas gift). When I realized the computer was almost 5 years old, we started leaning towards ditching the problems and starting over.

So - we now have a fancy-schmancy computer....and I am trying to learn my way around the Vista operating system. OY! Have I mentioned that I am not technologically inclined? Yeah - well...this should be interesting. :)

New York New York!

I belong to a message group and several of the members live in New York. I love the way they talk about their beloved New York City and the more they talk about it during the holiday season, the more I think maybe I should call New York movers and see what a cross country move would cost me. But then - I come to my senses. I bet it's a beautiful place to visit during the holiday season but then once it's over I would be in the cold winters and way too hot summers. Yeah - not really my thing. :)

But still - a walk through Central Park in the snow sounds like so much fun! :)

A Zen Holiday

This year I am adopting a new approach to the holidays....I'm calling it my zen approach. I'm doing my best to go with the flow and not get caught up in the drama that usually goes along with family gatherings, shopping, decorating, the perfect holiday outfits for the kids, the schedule of events. I am trying to not let anything get to me because in the end, Christmas is supposed to just be about having fun and enjoying time together. I love that our Christmas morning is just the four of us with no set schedule. Dakota's mom and step-father will join us for breakfast but even that is being kept low stress. It's such a nice change - normally by December 23rd I am wanting to run to the Outer Banksto get away from the mounting pressure, hurt feelings, feelings of "we should have bought" or "should have done" - just all of it. By the time I was just wanting it over.

This year though with my new "whatever" approach I am finding that I am actually looking forward to it all. What a nice change of pace for me. :)

Merry Christmas to you all! May you find peaceful times in the days ahead.

Things That Make Me Say Hmmmm

Ok - what the heck are HDMI splitters? From what I can tell, they are some sort of connectors for connecting multiple things together? I mean, isn't that was a "splitter" is? Making one cord into more than one? SO I guess that makes sense. Honestly, I didn't spend too much time searching around the site but I would imagine if I were more technologically inclined, I would love this site. But technology and best we are ships that pass in the night.

And really - I'm ok with that. :)

Christmas at the Mall

Today was the day Dakota and I look forward to during the holiday season - our mall watching day. This morning we loaded the kids up and drove to a nearby mall, one that we know gets crazy during the holiday season, just so we could watch all the frenzied activity and know that we weren't there because we *had* to be but rather because we wanted to be there to enjoy all the frantic holiday energy and activity.

I was hoping we would see one of the kiosks that have all the as seen on tv things but alas, the mall has gone upscale since Christmas of past and there was no such place. I think you can still find the As Seen items in some of the bigger stores but frankly, where's the fun in that? I used to love going into the As Seen stores and checking out all that stuff.

And yet - it was still really enjoyable. We spent about two and a half hours there, shopped around a bit, people watched, the kids rode the mall rides, we had lunch, stood in line to visit Santa and just enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the mall at Christmas time.

It's been a really good day! :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Yay for Dakota! After about an hour of chasing down updates and whatnot, Dakota got the game working on my laptop so at least we are set for Christmas morning. Thank you, honey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


And Christmas is saved yet again. :)

Will Santa Come Through?

The suspense is literally too much to take. Will Santa be able to save Christmas for a 5 year old? All Kelton wants for Christmas from Santa is a subscription to ToonTown, an on-line game that we had for about 6 months last winter. Since it costs money and I was the only one really playing it, I cancelled it back in June. For months Kelton has been asking to have it back so he decided a sure-fire way was to ask Santa.

So - we paid for the annual subscription on December 13th with the thought that it would give me plenty of time in the evenings to get the game back to where it was when we last played. Only........apparently because of Vista's release in the spring and other various updates our computer is no longer compatible with the game.

And for some reason, neither is my year old laptop - which makes absolutely no sense to me.

I've spent the last two days and nights sending reports to the tech team at ToonTown and following their directions. Nothing is making it work. Last night I even managed to mess up the laptop but good though I *think* between Dakota and I we have it back in the land of the living. But really - there is no telling until later today. Dakota took it to work with her to see if she can get on-line help going (their on-line/phone help is available from 9-9:30 Eastern Time and since we are in the West Coast it makes it near impossible for me to work on it without certain little Santa-believing children seeing me.

Our desktop computer, granted, is a relic in terms of technology (which burns me up in more ways than I can tell you - it doesn't seem right that three year old computer can't be updated enough (and for free) to stay up with the changes) which may mean that we have to suck it up and find a way to buy a new one....and before Christmas. I just can't stand the thought of Kelton's Christmas wish falling short when it is right *there*. We just can't access it. We have a ToonTown shirt and certificate for him for under the tree. It will be really crappy if Santa had to leave a note "Merry Christmas, Kelton! I am giving you your much desired subscription to ToonTown but sorry - you can't play it until your parents pony up for a new computer." Talk about sucking the joy out of a Santa gift. *sigh*

And the kicker for me is we are looking at what is most likely the last Christmas Kelton will even believe in Santa - he is already questioning it - and I so desperately need this to come through. We've told him over and over that we just don't have the funds to pay for Toon Town but he knows Santa is magical and can do anything.

Oh to have that kind of faith.

So - Dakota is doing what she can with the laptop today because if we can get the game working on it, we can hold off on a new desktop computer until the first of the year sales. If not, we'll be hitting the computer store tomorrow morning while Kelton is at school.

Oh the suspense. And I thought pulling of a Christmas miracle on the 24th last year was a feat - this one promises to be so much more challenging. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ornaments Make The Best Toys

Kaylen has a thing for the Christmas tree ornaments. Several times a day I will walk by her doll house and peek inside to see ornaments busy at play. The polar bear ornament is sure to be in the house at least once a day. The same is true for her Dora and Boots ornaments. Last night Mickey Mouse made his debut. I just love how she put him to bed!

I'm telling you - this girl of mine cracks me up daily. :)

Is There A Doctor In The House?

Tonight, Kaylen decided that she wanted to play with the doctor kit but in order to be a proper doctor she not only needed a healthcare cart but she also needed the appropriate attire. Apparently that meant gloves, red sparkly shoes, her brother's sun hat and ummm...nothing else. Oh wait - she did wear the stethoscope for a quick minute.

I was practically rolling on the floor. Her pink dog was her patient and she kept giving "Princess" shots in the head. Poor thing. :)

And yes, I did take pictures but I think I won't post them because, as I mentioned, she wasn't wearing much. :)

This Is New

As we all adjust to life without Jaxon I am discovering that the furry ones in the family are taking up new routines and new places to hang out. It's weird. But then - everything feels weird without "the warden" patrolling and keeping everyone in line. I have noticed that there are turf wars happening every now and again and sometimes, just for the fun of it, Lucy (the gray cat in the below picture) will jump poor Dallas and pin her to the ground. Without Jaxon to stick her big nose into things, the cats have decided it's time to shuffle the "top cat" position. It should be interesting to see who comes out on top.

This photo of Lucy I snapped yesterday. Never before has she been seen in a laundry basket so I thought that was odd enough to warrant a photo but as if that wasn't odd enough, when I tried to scoot her out so I could fold she actually growled at me like I was a teenager I was kicking off their playstation 3. Now mind you, it wasn't that the basket was left unattended for hours on end which gave her full rights to claim it as a bed for the day. No - quite the opposite is true. I emptied the dryer into the basket, went to the kitchen to throw out the lint from the lint trap and returned to find her in the basket. Yes, it was that quick.

Like I said - things in our animal kingdom are very strange at the moment.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Bracelet

I tried taking a photo of the bracelet but alas, it doesn't turn out with a darn. Well, that's not true - it sort of turns out but not nearly as well as it should. Instead of showing you mine, here is a link to the website from where Dakota bought it.

As cool as the ones on the website are, mine is so much more amazing. I'm just saying. :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Princess Tea Party

Saturday was not only my birthday but it was also Uncle Richard's "Annual Company Christmas Party". Every year since Kelton was two he has gone - and he loves it! He lives for this special time with his uncle and talks about the party periodically throughout the year. This year, Kaylen is old enough to know that she wasn't going to get to go so Dakota pulled together a Princess Tea Party just for her. So while Kelton was off at his party, Kaylen dressed in her princess gear and we headed over to Dakota's mom's house for a tea party.

Kaylen was just so stinkin' cute! I could tell you all about it but really, pictures speak a thousand words so here you go:

Kaylen and me before heading to the party.

Dakota, Kaylen and friends.

Arriving at Grandma's house.

The little Princess.

All dressed up and looking good!

Opening her princess tea party set - a big, big hit!!

Choosing her pink cookies.

Kaylen and Grandma.

Pretty girl!

This is a photo of Kelton after his Christmas party - check out that cool balloon candy cane!

And, just for the fun of it, a birthday picture of me.

Dakota and I went out for about four hours last night.....which was one of my favorite gifts. I just love having kid-free time with my sweetie. :) Dakota gave me the sweetest gift though - a beautiful bracelet with the kids names on it. It's very similar to the one I gave her for her birthday last April and I love, love, love it!! Now I no longer have to look at hers with envy! Thank you, honey! I love it....and you! :)

Christmas Wish List

So what is on your Christmas Wish List this year? Mine is pretty short - well, ok..the truth is, it is practically non-existent. I see the fact that I don't have a list a mile long as a great thing. To me, it means I already have everything I need and probably most of what I want. I don't need a plasma tv lift (though I'm sure that has something to do with not having a plasma tv) or a bunch of knick knacks. All I really need and want is for my family to stay healthy, happy and together and enjoy amazing and wonderful things for the year ahead. My wants are simple; I just want my family safe and together.

So Santa, if your listening..... :)

And Speaking of.....

And since we were just talking about resolutions (which we least, I was in the post below), I'm wondering if anyone with plans to "get healthy" will be using a diet patch. I don't know much about them but I am sure, that as with other weight loss things, there will be people who have great results. It always gets me wondering - but never enough to actually go beyond the wondering stage. :)

Tis the season...

The advertisements in this mornings paper clearly indicate that the new year is fast approaching. How do I know this? Because there was a ton of exercise equipment in the circulars and that can only mean one thing; retailers are preparing for all those who are planning to make resolutions to "get healthier" and "to exercise more" in 2008.

So are any of you planning to make a New Year's resolution? Care to share? :)

Friday, December 14, 2007

And once again our hearts have been broken into to a trillion pieces......

Jaxon Bailey
January 30, 1999 - December 13, 2007

What Happens in Vegas.......

Sometimes don't you just wish you could escape from the every day-ness of your lives and go stay someplace amazing like perhaps one of the Vegas hotels? Now personally, I've never been to Vegas but at times I am intrigued by the place. The bright lights, the colors, the slot machines....not that I'm a gambling freak or anything but one time when Dakota and took a cruise we did play a few slot machines in the casino. It was a lot of fun but I can definitely see how you might be enticed to spend way too much money playing.

Be that as it may though - a trip to a fantasy land like Vegas sounds kind of fun.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This is what happens.....

...when a two year old dresses herself.

I have to say - she provides daily fits of laughter for me. :)

This afternoon Kaylen was busy with her "babies". She is such a sweet little mommy.

babies sleeping

And of course changing the baby's diaper. (Don't you just love how she is wearing her party dress? She wanted to look pretty for pictures when I asked if I could take pictures of her with her babies. )

And singing her to sleep.

This girl of mine is just too much. :)

No more diapers

I find it impossible to really believe but Kaylen is out of diapers. At least, during the day. And last night she woke me up so she could go potty and then went back to bed so who knows how much longer she will need to wear diapers at night. I am actually quite surprised this time is here. She still seems so little to me and trust me, I did not have a hand in "training" here. This was all her. Just as "training" Kelton was all him. I just gave them a potty chair and let them decide their own time table. I'm so glad it was that easy for us.

Kaylen made the full-time daytime transition over Thanksgiving weekend (which ironically is the same weekend Kelton decided to be diaper-free a couple years ago. He left diapers behind at 3.5 years. Kaylen is a full year ahead.). It still seems so odd to me and I wonder how long it will take me to get used to seeing teeny tiny princess underpants in the laundry?

My sister and I were talking about the money savings of being a diaper-free household which I hadn't really given much thought to since diapers, and the cost of them, have been a steady thing in our lives for the past 5.5 years (not to mention I'm a bit in shock and denial that she is already at this point). I know it's not like American tax relief but seriously, every bit helps. :)

But wow. No more diapers. It's just so weird.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Sunday we took the kids to see Enchanted. This was a huge event for us - we've never, ever gone to a movie as a family and I am thrilled to report that we had a great time! The kids, while not perfect, were darn close and sat through the entire movie. At one point, I looked down the row (we were seated me, Kaylen, Dakota and then Kelton) and my heart swelled with happiness. Here we were, all four of us, on a new family adventure! It really was an amazing feeling.

We all really liked the movie - Kelton even asked if we could buy it when it came out on DVD (this after we explained that no, we couldn't stay and watch it again and no, we could go to the store and buy it yet). Such a fun time. My kids are really growing up.

Monday, December 10, 2007

An Early Birthday Gift

Isn't this cool?!?!?! Look closely - it's a gift card to Starbucks that is personalized!! Yes, indeed - that's me at the beach with a camera in one hand and a coffee in the other. Isn't that too great????!!!! I am totally loving it!!!

The mail delivery brought so many fun surprises today and one of them was an early birthday gift for me from our sweet friend, S. I can not even begin to tell you how touched I am by her gift. Thank you, S! You are the best!! :)

Secrets? What secrets?

Kaylen, at 2.5 years of age, can not keep a secret. I know - this shouldn't surprise me and really, it doesn't. But it does make for some amusing times.

This morning, Kaylen and I were in a local one-stop shopping store and we passed the snowman paper plates when suddenly she squealed out "Hey! Snowman plates! We got those for your birthday!"

I said "Oh! Those are really nice but I don't think you were supposed to tell me."

A few people around us smiled and one even said "So much for that surprise, right?"


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree!

Our tree is up! The kids had such a great time decorating it and the look on Kaylen's face the first time she saw the lights on it was amazing and priceless. She didn't want to actually hang the ornaments, instead she pulled them out of the boxes, screamed excitedly for Dakota to "Look! Look! I love this one!" and then asked Dakota to put it on the tree. At one point I looked at Dakota and she had no less than 15 ornaments in her hands as she tried desperately to keep up with an eager little girl.

Kelton was having a grand time as well - he would pull handfuls of things out of the boxes and hang them on the branches and he loved hearing about how they all came to be ours. Our tree is a hodgepodge of collected ornaments through the years and they are all very special and have their own stories. I love that about our tree! :)

As an extra added bonus to our fun time, Kelton decided it was time to write his first letter to Santa. He worked hard on it, added some hand drawn pictures, addressed it, stamped it and mailed it. It was so much fun to watch him!

And this is the kids standing next to Roller the Polar Bear in our yard. The tree is decorated, the house lights are up and most of the gifts are bought! We are almost ready for the big day!!!

The Wine Club

Last night we had one of our favorite neighbors join us for dinner to celebrate the holiday season so there was no better time to break out the bottles of wine we received as a gift from Gold Medal Wine Club. I don't know if you are familiar with wine clubs but basically you sign up and receive monthly shipments of wine. You can also have them shipped to people as gifts and well, who wouldn't want to receive wine as a gift? Just think of all the people who live far away from you that you could have wine sent to to celebrate different occasions. Pretty great idea, yes?

The wines are sold in different "series"; The Gold Series which is award winning small-production wines; The Platinum Series which is ultra-premium, rare, collectible wines; The Diamond Series which is luxury-premium, legendary wines; and The International Series which is hard-to-find imported wines of the world. The prices of the clubs vary depending on the series you select. The company also sends along a bunch of great literature which tells you about the wines and offers tons of information about wine in general. A great learning tool for those like me who know next to nothing about wine. :) I thought the newsletter was very well written, thorough and easy to read.

The wines we were given were a 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2004 Merlot. I'm not a Cabernet fan in general (ok - truth be told, I'm not a red wine fan in general) so after a sip or two, I left that one to Dakota. It's one of her favorite wines. We learned quickly that this particular wine really needed to "breathe" for a while but after a little bit, it was enjoyable. Dakota said that for the price, she has had others that she enjoyed more but if someone sent her a bottle, she sure wouldn't refuse it. The Merlot was more smooth and didn't require as much breathing time.

I would have loved to have received one of their white wines so that I could hog the entire bottle for myself but, but at least Dakota was happy to have most of the wine for herself. :) In fact, she is sitting next to me working on her laptop with a big glass of Merlot sitting next to her.

The next time you are wishing you could send a nice bottle of wine to someone, or find yourself wishing that you could have wine magically arrive at your doorstep each month, check out

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Tent City

This afternoon the kids and I built a giant tent in the living room. What a hit it was! They played in it for hours and, as you can see from the photos, one of our dogs, Jordan, was right in the mix as well. Kelton was laughing so hard because every time Jordan came out of the tent, he managed to pull one of the blankets off the structure and wear it around the house. We took to calling him "King Jordan" and the kids thought it was just the silliest thing ever.