Wednesday, February 28, 2007

You are all cordially invited to...... pity party. Aren't you the lucky ones. :)

I'm tired. I know that. So therefore it stands to reason that I am not coping very well. The last few nights have been filled with precious little sleep for me and I dare say, probably not a lot for my little girl either. She seems to be in the midst of some gigantic developmental growth. Her verbal skills have grown by leaps and bounds in the past few days (she is cranking out some four and five word sentences and using tons of new words) so I think her mind is just so busy that it is keeping her from staying asleep for longer than oh say...30 minutes at a stretch.
All. Night. Long.
For. Days. On. End.

She talks and cries out seemingly non-stop all night long. She thrashes around in the bed. It's incredibly frustrating to have a lot of patience for it at 2:30 in the morning when it had been going on since way earlier and I still have hours left to go. And naps for her? Forget it. The past three days she was napping for a mere 30 minutes, even though she is no where near ready to give up naps. She wants to sleep, I get that. I want her to sleep. Scratch that....I NEED her to sleep. I NEED sleep.

Ok - so the groundwork is down for you - I'm tired and my darling little one is the reason.

My pity party? I guess I'm just feeling like a loser these days (probably one day less than the sleep deprivation has been happening but whatever...I still feel like a loser). I feel like one of those girls in high school that no one wanted to be friends with who, if given half the chance was probably a really great person. And yet, people couldn't get past her ugly glasses or stringy hair or whatever it was that the popular crowd considered loser material.

I know I'm being sensitive. I get that. But is it really that much to ask that my posts in message groups and boards get responses equal to the responses other people get? Is it *really* necessary for one person, who seems to have an issue with me, to attack every freakin' thing I say when I respond to someone else's posts? I'm just saying that I don't recall an MD following HER name and it did indeed follow the name of the person who gave ME the advice I was passing on (and properly credited). Why do some people feel the need to throw barbs every chance they get? This is exactly why I stopped posting and responding on this particular group for a long, long while (and because of the exact same person) and yet why should *I* have to stop posting? Why does someone else have free reign to be an ass to other people?

I'm just tired. Normally it would (probably) roll off my back but today it really hit me hard. It made me feel like a loser - like I have nothing of value to add. I know that it's not true. I'm not that pathetic but for a while today I was (am) feeling *that* pathetic. And you know the kicker? I usually hit delete whenever I see a posting come through from her. I have no need to read her crap and yet for some reason, I scrolled through it (and her posts are longer than the freakin' Gettysberg Address! I guess she has a lot to be right about.) today to see the "not so subtle" attack on what I had posted. case that isn't enough..when I start feeling like I'm a loser I start to focus on all the other things that suck. Why don't I have many friends in real life? I used to have so many friends (and therefore know I can make and keep friends) but then, after kids and staying home with them, I just don't. I have a few mommy friends I talk with and one really good friend I talk with daily but I'm missing the connection from having friends you can just call up and say "Hey - what are you doing? Wanna meet for coffee?" I know it all changes once you have kids - I get that. I'm just feeling lonely. Isolated.

And again - I know this all comes from being tired. I just have to get it out.

Please, please, please - let me get some decent sleep tonight. Life always feels, and looks better, when you get sleep.
Totally under-rated.

And on another front - I scrapped tonight. Check it out:

credit: Unamused Boys kit by Jessica Bolton

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

New Pages

Wow - my scrapbooking skills are feeling rusty tonight. I guess that's what happens when you don't do something for a few weeks. I'm not as "in love" with these pages as I have been with pages in the past but I'm pretty happy with them. I clearly need to "get my groove back" though.

I used to scrap every night after the kids were in bed but lately, I've been spending the hours between kid bedtime and Dakota arriving home from school to catch up on the many blogs I read. I'm not sure how it happened but I'm finding the list of blogs I read increasing exponentially. So much for my goal of parring down. :)

So - without further ado; here they are:

credit: Grey Day kit and calligraphy heart by Shawna Clingerman

Journaling reads:

Your first time flying a kite all by yourself!! You were so proud as the kite soared higher and higher. The rain was falling from the sky and the wind was blowing but you held steady. The joy on your face was incredible and the excitement in your voice made both Mama and me laugh. Each and every time we watch you experience something for the first time we are reminded of how precious, and how fleeting, childhood really is.

So fly kites, baby boy. Fly then often and fly them high because you, my love, were made to soar!

credit: Cabana Boy kit by Dani Mogstadt

Monday, February 26, 2007

And In Other News......

Kaylen had her 2 year well child visit Friday and it went oh so much better than her one year (as you may remember that is when her heart murmurs were detected and due to her breath holding stuff, we were immediately referred to a cardiologist).

She is a healthy little girl - weighed in at 26lbs and 33 inches tall. She had her second Hep A vaccine and while she didn't enjoy the experience, she rebounded pretty quickly. She shouldn't need any vaccines, except for the flu, until her 4 year appointment. I can't say I'm sad about that. :)

Children's Growth Chart Percentiles Calculator lists her percentiles as follows:

At 24 months:
your child is 26 pounds, and that is
at the 40th percentile for weight.

your child is 33 inches, and that is
at the 25th percentile for height.

For those of you who are familiar with the whole "percentile" game, what it means (supposedly) is that in a room of 100 twenty-four month old girls, there would be 60 kids who weigh more than she does and 75 kids who are taller.

Even though she isn't *that* small, she is quite a change for us since Kelton was (and remains) in the 95th percentile across the board from the day he was born. So for us, she is tiny. :)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

17 Hours Later...
The Third Installment (please read below in reverse order to bring yourself up to date)

I think this picture says it all:

At 8:20 tonight, approximately 17 hours after "Project Play Structure" began, Dakota all but completed it! The only thing left to do is to add the anchors. To do that, though, we will need to make a Home Depot run for some deck screws. For some reason, there weren't enough in the seemingly hundreds of bags of bolts, nuts, screws, etc.

We let the kids stay up to see the finished project (Dakota was determined to complete it tonight.) and they were THRILLED! If you notice in the photos, I have them decked out in the snow pants and boots in a fruitless effort to keep the mud off their bathed bodies and clean pajamas. I did say fruitless, right? Yeah. I thought so. BUT...they had an great time trying out their new structure and put up quite the fuss when it was time to come in from the rain. It was two hours past their "head to bed time" by the time they were done playing.

It's been quite the wild weekend here. Great job, Dakota! We're all very proud of your hard work...and I'm sure the feeling will eventually come back to your fingers. :)

And More....
(The Second Installment)

If you haven't read the post below this one yet, you might want to do that first. This one brings you current on the project - at least until dark. Dakota is still out there working even though it is pitch black and raining. She assures me she is fine - she has a latern, after all. :)

And a little movie to share though I'm not sure it gives the full picture of the wind blowing and the rain pouring down on us. Oh yeah - big fun!

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos
The Play Structure Adventure

This weekend we've been busy trying to build the new play structure which is not without severe challenges when you have two little ones underfoot. Dakota is doing the lions share of the work in the (all too frequent) pouring rain. It's 40 degrees here which tends to really feel cold when you are wet and standing in a mud puddle.

Now I know I said we wouldn't be working on it if it were raining this weekend but if you recall, I also said that you should try explaining that to an almost 5 year old and a 2 year old. They have been going bonkers with excitement and all too often we've been hearing "Is it done yet???" You can imagine how well the answer is going over: "No honey. Probably not until next weekend (when Dakota will once again have time to work on it)."

I have been *very* busy rinsing muddy pants by the dozen, washing off boots covered in mud, washing down the kitchen floor, helping when needed outside, doing all the regular weekend chores, practicing my conflict resolution skills with the kids (OY!) and various other things. I was outside almost the entire time yesterday but wow did my back put up a fight! It just doesn't do well in the cold - and sometimes both Dakota and I forget that until it's too late. *sigh*'s all going much, much slower than anticipated. The booklet said it would take 6-12 hours to build - but I'm pretty sure they didn't add having kids "helping" into that estimate.

It looks much different in past 30 minutes as Dakota has gotten the colorful cover-thingy on it as well as installed the "safety rails" on the side. I have to wonder how much more quickly it would have come together if it hasn't been raining and cold all weekend. Oh...and if someone had been here to entertain the kids. :)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Coming Soon!

So we did it. We bought a wooden play structure for the backyard. It's not one of those super fancy ones by Rainbow but it fits our budget (well - with a little stretching and adding in the kids birthday money from people) and will be perfect for our needs.

The kids and I went down to the store and purchased it yesterday and we will pick it up on Saturday. Dakota and I will build it as soon as we can - and as soon as weather permits. It isn't supposed to be all that great of a weekend rain-wise but hopefully it will be ok enough that we can work on it. If not, it will have to wait for a weekend when the weather cooperates. Try explaining *that* concept to an almost 5 year old and a 2 year old.

The kids are so excited - Kaylen keeps yelling "Swiiiiing...........SET!" I love how it sounds like two distinct words. :) Kelton is already planning out his guest list for playdates once it is up.

While it's true we have a lot of smaller yard toys, there is precious little for above three year old set. We have one swing - a toddler airplane style- and the kids fight like crazy over it. Kelton is too big for it and his feet drag on the ground; not to mention it is crazy trying to pick him up high enough to get him into it. I just knew I couldn't go through another spring and summer with only one swing and two swing-crazed kids.

So...we did it. Since it was on sale, and since we have our IRS refund, we jumped with both feet and bought one. And you know what? I'm almost as excited as the kids. :)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Conversation With a Little Negotiator

Me: "Good night, Kaylen. Sleep well."

silence for a second

Kaylen: "Puppy. Me get."

Me: "No, I'll get it. I know right where it is." (this is a nightly stall tactic though the desired object changes every single night.)

I go and get the puppy and bring it to her.

Me: "Nigh-nigh time. Good night."

silence for a second

Kaylen: "TV. Blue Clue. Yeah, TV."

Me: "No TV. It is time for sleeping."

silence for a second

Kaylen: "Barney. Watch TV. Barney."

Me: "No Kaylen. No TV. It is sleeping time."

Kaylen: "Peassssssse Mommy? Peasssssse? Barney? Three min-mins (minutes). Peassssse? Yeah yeah!"

Me: "No. Sleep time."

Kaylen: "Two min-mins. 'K Mommy? Two min-mins yeah." (she starts to get up)

Me: "No. No minutes of TV. It's bedtime. You can fall asleep here, with me beside you or I can rock you. Which one do you want?"

Kaylen: "Here." (the bed) then a minute of silence......and then "Noooooo ROCK ROCK!"

So I rock her to sleep. My silly, silly bear.
How Does She Do Those Cool Slideshows??

Easy. I upload my photos to an album on PictureTrail and click the link that says "Create a Photo Flick". I select the album where the photos are located, select the type of slideshow I want, click the box next the photos I want to use, click ok and then copy the HTML coding they provide. I then open up a new post here and paste the coding into the body of the post and VIOLA! It's done! :)

I do know that PictureTrail has free accounts and it says there is limited photo shows connected with the free account. I do not know the specifics of how many photos you can upload or the layout of the available slideshows.

Their basic membership is $19.95 a year and then you would have access to everything.

Being the photo-hound that I can be, I have the $39.95/year account because I was always running out of room for uploading photos. I upload regularly to my PictureTrail account as it is the way I share photos with my family (and if I posted that many here, I'm sure most of you would run screaming from the room. I mean, sure, my kids are adorable but the average person doesn't really want to see *that* many photos of anyone else's kids. :) )

I have been a member of PictureTrail since I was pregnant with what's that? A little more than 5 years. I, for one, recommend them. Recently they have gotten very fancy what with adding a social networking feature. I don't do that stuff - I save all that for here. Aren't you all lucky? *grinning*

So there you have it - photo slideshows made easy. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bringing You Current and Our Oregon Coast Weekend

Warning: This is very, very long. You might want to grab a cup of coffee or something before you start reading. Oh - and a bathroom trip might be a good idea, too. :)

Ok - so when you last heard from me it was the day after Valentines Day. Since then, I've been running here, there and everywhere. Friday morning I had an appointment at Picture People to have an annual shot of the kids and I done. I learned a painful lesson: when you are having your photo taken with two young children who are pushing you this way and that; it is good to remember that you need to reposition yourself because the photographer is so busy getting the kids to look at the camera that she doesn't tell you that your neck is being shoved forward giving you the look of having 15 trillion chins. *sigh* Oh well - what's done is done and it didn't turn out that awful.

And here are a couple other shots we were able to get before the kids melted into complete silliness.

While we were killing time at the mall I went by the boys section at Penney's and found a sale on cute shirt and tie sets for Kelton. Regularly $22 they were on sale for $17 and since I've always found it handy to have dress clothes for him, we went about trying some on. He settled on a dark purple shirt and I have say, he looked incredibly dapper in it. He wore it home so he could show Dakota.

He was so proud of himself and kept saying "I look just like Uncle James!" So darn cute!

Fridays are Dakota's big study day and she normally heads over to her moms house to study (she lives really close and it's quiet enough there for Dakota to get in good quality studying - as opposed to if she stayed here. The kids just can't leave her alone. Can you blame them?) but this Friday she was studying here because she had a pretty nasty cold and didn't want to expose her mom to her germs. Trying to keep the kids quiet and away from her was difficult, at best. We showed off the photos and the shirt to Dakota and then Kelton bee-lined for the computer to play while I settled Kaylen down for her nap. All was quiet for about an hour and then Kaylen woke up. All bets were off as I struggled to keep both kids quiet enough for Dakota to study...oh yeah - and I had to keep them from hanging all over her, the table and the chair. *sigh* It was exhausting. I love having Dakota in the house with us but I definitely see the advantages for both of us to have her studying at her moms. :)

Finally, she was done and we headed out to The Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner. It's a great, inexpensive place and very kid friendly. After a good meal, we headed home and soon the kids were tucked in tight.

Saturday morning dawned far too early for my liking so Dakota took the kids into the living room and let me sleep for another hour. (She is a goddess!) Soon we were up and at 'em and somewhere between coffee, breakfast, showers, watching the kids get completely soaked and muddy in the backyard sprinkler (hey - it wasn't *that* cold and the sun was shining beautifully!) and breakfast dishes we hit on the idea of escaping to the beach for a couple of night. It took a bit of doing but Dakota was able to talk her mom into tending to the pets and secured us a hotel room. The kids and I were bouncing off the walls with excitement as we went to throw stuff together. We were out the door in an hour!

Traffic sucked big time and it took us about 90 minutes longer to arrive at our destination than it would have. We didn't go to our usual beach town (no availability at any of the hotels) and instead drove to the place that Dakota went to back in October for the family law conference.

We stayed at the Salishan Resort and Spa which is between Lincoln City and Newport Oregon. Now I know a lot of people love that area but honestly, it's way too "city-ish" for me. I want the small coastal town feeling so for me, Cannon Beach and Seaside are just the ticket. I can see a WalMart and a Walgreens at home. I want things like The Picnic Basket, kite shops, etc. I just want that feeling like I'm away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Now don't get me totally wrong - Salishan itself was peaceful and beautiful! I could just do without the traffic and the big chain stores.

Shall I pause here to let you make a bathroom run or so you can get more coffee? :)

Ok so anyway....we arrived around 4:30 and settled into our hotel room. Can I just tell you that the beds were to die for! They were so plush and wonderful that I wanted to crawl in and stay forever. But alas...a small child stood near me yelling "BEACH MAMA! BEACH!" Yes, it's true. My girl is a beach bunny. So we packed up extra clothes (because what would a winter trip to the beach be without pouring rain?) and sand toys and headed out. We found a beach - more of a cove or an inlet really but it had sand and water and since it was getting dark, it was as good as it was getting.

Sadly, in Kelton's excitement to reach the beach he didn't see the curb and took a header onto the sidewalk. His hands were full of sand toys so his poor little face took the brunt of the impact. It was awful!! At first look it wasn't bad: scrapes above his eye and a bit of blood. I wiped away the sand, dried his tears and we were off and running. Ten minutes later his eye and forehead looked terrible! So bad that Dakota and I quickly discussed finding an emergency room. It was grossly swollen and absolutely white. I've never seen a bump look that way before. He seemed fine. Oriented, focused, speaking well, looking and acting fine. We decided to watch him closely for a bit.

Since it was freezing cold we didn't stay on the beach too long. Instead of heading into Lincoln City for dinner (at The Pig'nPancake - which is my favorite place and they are scattered up and down the Oregon coast.) we headed back to the hotel to get ice for Kelton's face. All still seemed well with him so we adopted the "wait and see" approach. It was still bad looking but it wasn't getting worse.

After a bit we decided to head into town for dinner. It was late, mind you. Going on 6:30 which is late when you are a kid who is usually heading to bath and bed at that time. Still, we had a good dinner and were back to the hotel and in the pool (our hotel routine!) in no time. The kids were out like tired little lights by 9:30 and, I admit, Dakota and I were only minutes behind them.

The next day found us in Newport for breakfast. Ummm....actually it found us in Newport trying to find breakfast. After much searching we settled on The Shilo Cafe. The view was amazing. Which is all the positive things I can say about that place. On a busy three day weekend is it *really* that much to ask for that you have soap in the bathrooms? And what is with places not having kid-friendly cups to drink from? Like a two year old isn't going to spill milk from a filled to the top GLASS container? Yeah right. I'm just saying. But like I said - the view was breath taking. Too bad I left the camera in the car (which was parked way too far away).

After breakfast we headed to The Oregon Coast Aquarium. Not at all as I had expected but still very nice. Kaylen loves watching the seals and birds and well...just about everything. Kelton, on the other hand was in meltdown city. There are several outdoor exhibits and there are large carved rocks that you wind through, along the way there are windows to view creatures and whatnot. Wait! Did I just say you have to wind through carved rock? Like tunnels? Yes. Yes I did. And there lies the crux of the day. Kelton does not like tunnels. Apparently he does not like octopus. Or darkened exhibit halls filled with fish. Or hallways. Or anything inside a building. Or anything outside a building. Do you see where I'm going with this? The boy was a mess. Screaming, crying, begging, pleading. Nothing says a waste of $31 like that scene.

According to the map, there was a "nature trail". Finally something he would agree to do. We walked, he bounded like an excited puppy with too much energy, along the trail. It lead, as I knew it would, to the undersea exhibit building known as Passages of the Sea. Luckily, the lobby was light filled and had those really great "squish a penny to make a souvenir" machine (a highlight on our vacations) so Dakota and the kids got busy picking out a couple designes to make. I went to see the exhibit. I didn't see much of it when I realized there was no way we would be able to talk Kelton into seeing it. It was dark and very noisy. It wasn't until later that we realized we entered at the bottom of the ocean and if we had come in at the top of the ocean, we probably would have had a shot right off the bat since it was lighter. I didn't go in far before turning back. I stayed with Kelton while Dakota took Kaylen. Umm..yeah - she took one look at the darkness and the fish swimming around and under her and she wanted nothing to do with it either. Dakota brought her back out. Kelton, meanwhile, found some internal strength to stand at the entry. Before I knew it, he was back out begging Kaylen to go in with him. She still held fast to her "no way!" no matter how much he tried. Finally he got his nerve up and went with Dakota. He had a great time and was so proud of himself! They went completely through the exhibit and then, because it dumped them out at the other end of the aquarium, wound their way through the carved rock because they figured Kaylen and I had gotten tired of waiting for them (they were gone forever!) and would be out looking at the seals. Was Kelton scared? Nope. They were on a mission and he wasn't scared at all....except for the place where the octopus lived. No way would he go near there! He is such a silly kid sometimes.

Kaylen and I *had* gotten tired of waiting and I had convinced her to cover her eyes and bury her face in my neck so I could race through the exhibit looking for them. I got through it without finding them (and without really being able to look at anything) and said "Honey, I think we need to go back through in case they went around to find us." Nothing doing! She would have no part of that. So....I had no choice but to walk the long way back to where we had been waiting.

When we got there, Kelton and Dakota were there. Kelton was beside himself with excitement and wanted to take me through. I went happily while Dakota walked Kaylen back the other way. After checking out the seals again, Kelton decided it was time to go. I thought it was a good call. Kaylen was tired. So was I. All that 4 year old angst earlier had been exhausting for me.

We drove back to the hotel while the kids slept. Kelton woke upon our return so he and Dakota went in the room while I stayed in the car with Kaylen. She finally woke and I took her inside only to have her promptly fall back to sleep.

Seeing that she wanted no part of being awake, I suggested Dakota and Kelton go to the toy store in the shopping area of the resort. They were up and out in no time. Finally Kaylen woke and we went and joined them. Kelton found a couple of fun games, Dakota and I got a much needed mocha and then we headed back to the room so the kids could have some down time.

See those rocking chairs? I MUST have one! They were so comfortable and it was great to just sit out there and rock while looking across the driving range. I admit that I thought about how I could tie one to the roof of the car. I'm sure the price would have been more than worth it. I LOVE rocking chairs!

So after playing for a bit, we once again headed to The Pig'nPancake for dinner. Kelton was out of control. Seriously. So not pretty. Dakota took him outside once (to get a grip) before the meals arrived but before I could even finish my Eggs Benedict (OMG! If you ever go to this place you MUST have the Eggs Benedict. No one makes them like they do and I should's just about the only thing I ever order when we are out.) I had to take both kids to the car. He just wouldn't settle down and it sure isn't fair to other people to have to listen to him carry on, kick the table, bang his silverware, etc. Kaylen, while I know she was just mimicking him, was doing the same so out she went too. Dakota stayed to finish up and pay the bill.

Finally he calmed down enough to be allowed to go swimming (the pool is a huge thing for the kids whenever we stay at a hotel. A huge, huge thing! They are both water babies.). After the pool it was time to head back for bath and bed. Since Kaylen had taken such a long nap she was difficult to get down - she tried but she just couldn't fall asleep so even though she was quiet and resting, we couldn't do anything until she was asleep.

Finally she passed out. Dakota and I turned on the TV and watched Desperate Housewives before we went to bed.

Yesterday morning we went to a great little hole in the wall place called Gracie's Sea Hag. It was fun and left me feeling like we had finally had a "coastal experience". Kicked back and relaxed. The kids were even well behaved which is always a plus.

After breakfast, we headed out to the beach. It was pouring but we promised them they could play in the sand and fly a kite before we left. We did both those things and were drenched to the skin.

We headed back to our room for the final time and changed into dry clothes. We finished packing and hit the road. It rained a good deal of the way home which wasn't much fun but thankfully, the kids napped for the worst parts so it wasn't as stressful as if they had been awake and talking.

We finally arrived home - safe, sound, tired and happy. We had navigated through injuries and meltdowns (too many of those to count), temper tantrums and a fair share of "You go away! I want the other mom!" episodes which I will touch on later this week. Let's just say that a 4 year old can say things that can hurt an adults feelings so deeply. I know it sounds unreasonable. I'm an adult. I should be able to shake it off and chalk it up with child behavior and yet...when your son looks and you and screams "I don't like you - GO AWAY!!" it hurts. A lot. More than maybe it should.

Sunday night, as I tossed and turned in bed because of the incredibly rough day (I was trying to figure out what was the cause behind the onslaught of obnoxious behavior that was directed at me all day) I was formatting my blog entry. The jist of it was "What a huge waste of money this weekend was." But you know, as the hours stacked up between then and now I saw that, sandwiched inbetween all the yuckiness, there were some really great times. And today when Kelton and I were talking about the weekend his whole face lighted up with excitement as he talked about all the great things we did and saw. Suddenly, and without warning, I found myself feeling really happy that we went.

I'm such a sap and all but, for me, there is a lot of truth behind the thought that if my kids are happy, then I'm happy. Today life went back to usual. Dakota went back to work and school. My daughter continued with her happy go-lucky, hero worshipping ways and my son returned to his sweet little self with a tad of obnoxious thrown in for good measure.

Yeah - it was a great weekend! :)
Missing in Action

Yes, I know. I've been MIA for about five days now. The nice thing I learned through my absence though is at least a few people out there would miss me if I vanished. For those who wrote to check on me - thanks! :)

Things are fine here. We actually escaped the craziness of regular life and headed to the coast for a spur of the moment, long weekend. It wasn't restful nor relaxing but a different kind of craziness shakes up the same ol' same ol' and is good for a family. :) I'll write all about everything later today (or probably tonight once the little ones are in bed). I have photos to share too but first, I must get them off my camera and onto my computer.

The kids and I are having a low-key day. We all need to recuperate. So stay tuned. I promise it won't be five days before you hear from me again. :)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Missing My Babies Being Babies

Yes, they will always be my babies but I am at a point where I am really, really (did I mention really?) missing my kids being tiny babies. I suppose I'm at the point where people start thinking of having another baby (and believe me - I've entertained that thought...after all, when Kelton was two we were already working on Kaylen) but honestly, I've boiled it down to the fact that it isn't a third child I am wanting/needing....I'm wanting to re-live, from the very beginning, my own children's infancy. I want them to be tiny again. No...further back then that. I want to go back to being pregnant with Kelton and start all over again.'s not another baby I crave...I just want to rewind time and start again.
And it would be really great if I could take the knowledge I have *now* back with me to then. :)

So in honor of all my baby-longing tonight, I made a baby page. This is Kaylen when she is two days old. Breathing unassisted but still attached to far too many wires and monitors. This is the day I was finally able to hold her all I wanted and I did. The nurses kept coming to give me pain medication and tried to convince me to return to my room to rest(I had Kaylen via c-section). Nothing doing. I stayed with my baby all day long. I'm sure more baby pages will be coming in the days ahead. Just call it therapy. :)

credit: Sweetly by Andrea Burns

Talking on the Phone

This was much cuter the first time when it was unprompted and she was just carrying on a conversation on her own. And yet, I still think the cuteness factor of this one is pretty high. :) This scene is pretty standard around here - I have a feeling that she'll be a phone hog in her teen years (or earlier since she already runs to the phone whenever it rings and she has been known to carry on quite the conversation with Dakota. *grin*).

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos
Time Change

Am I the last person on earth to know that we are changing time a month earlier this year?

Did you know that on August 8, 2005, George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This Act changed the time change dates for Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. Beginning in 2007, DST will begin on the second Sunday in March and end the first Sunday in November. The Secretary of Energy will report the impact of this change to Congress. Congress retains the right to resume the 2005 Daylight Saving Time schedule once the Department of Energy study is complete.

Ummm...why? Does anyone know? I detest changing times. It messes everything up (and this year it will cause a special brand of chaos since computers, VCR's, etc are pre-programmed for the time change dates years in advance. I understand Microsoft is sending out a patch in an update (and I also heard the first patch has a bug....)). Kids need to adjust their sleeping times, waking times and eating times. It's a pain the rear! At our house we start trying to adjust the Friday of the weekend it takes place - there is just no way we can all get into the swing of thigns with one day. It's madness. Why not just leave the clocks alone? Craziness, I tell you. Craziness.

You can go here to read more about it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

So How Was Your Valentines Day?

Mine was pretty good. This morning Kelton had gymanstics, the first class in the new session. I went back and forth over signing him up given all the stuff that took place last session but he pleaded with me and promised me he wanted to do it again. Ummm yeah. After 30 minutes on the 45 minute class he melted down and said he was just "too tired to do gymnastics anymore." I had explained upon signing him up that that he would need to stay for the entire class and participate. I quickly gave him the run-down of what leaving class would mean - no more gymnastics. And no other activities that cost money for a while. "That's fine." came the terse reply.

I quickly thought about how much money this was costing me - I may as well just have flushed it down the toilet. And then it hit me - I wondered if they would put the rest of the money towards classes for Kaylen this session. I asked and yes! They would. So Kaylen and I will be in the parent/tot class for the remaining three weeks. I have no idea how she will like it but I figure at least I'll get one more class out of it if nothing else.

So then it was home for Kaylen's nap and Kelton's quiet time (He was "too tired" you know so he had no option but to rest. I'm such a mean mommy sometimes.). Once Kaylen was awake we headed out to Dakota's office to exchange little gifts (my girl knows me! I got a coffee mug and a Starbucks gift card. I gave her the movie "The Lake House" which we both loved when we saw it. The kids each got a small box of candy.) and then go out for a bit as a family. Since it was raining, walking around was out so we opted to go to a nearby Burger King to play in their amazing play structure. The kids and Dakota had a blast running all over that thing. I admit that even I had fun. A lot of fun. It wasn't one of those cramped structures that leave you feeling claustrophobic (which I can't stand!) and I even ventured down the roller bar slide. It was fun! :)

After about an hour we dropped Dakota back off at her office and headed home. Traffic was awful and it took us almost 90 minutes to make the drive (usually 30 minutes). You'd think it never rained here the way people tend to freak out about it.

By the time we got home it was dinner time (no one was hungry) which was quickly followed by some play time, clean up time and bath time. As a treat I popped a bag of popcorn and we snuggled in my bed to watch the Blues Clue Love Day episode. It was actually really fun to just be there with my kiddos. They were happy and tired. A great combination.

Kelton went to sleep very easily but Kaylen decided she needed a bit more wind-down time (if you don't catch her sleep window just right it slams shut and you have to wait for the next cycle to come around. It's frustrating but once I understood that about her, it became much easier to deal with.). She sat on the livingroom floor and "read" some books to herself. About 30 minutes later she was ready for sleep.

All in all, it was a great "Love Day" around here. I hope your day was filled with love as well.

credit: Dani Mogstadt and Shawna Clingerman's Year of Memories
PS...Keep reading. There are two new posts below this one. :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Spin Art

Remember this from when you were a kid? Dakota and I sure do and when we say it at Toys to Grow On we knew we had to get it for Kelton for Christmas.

Tonight Kaylen decided that she simply had to do art and there was no way of getting around it. Spin Art is just the thing she wanted to do. I was skeptical as she had only been a casual observer in past Spin Art sessions but thought "Why not let her try?"

Check her out! She had a blast. :) When I took the photos, the spinner was going at full tilt - I think it's pretty darn amazing how clear, and still, the paper look in the photos. She was so proud of herself and I have to say, her art turned out really amazing! I guess it's official: I have to artsy kids on my hands. :)

Questions and Answers and Learning Way More About Me Than You Ever Wanted

On my Moms To Babies listserve group today, I posed the questions "What do you think makes a good stay at home mom (SAHM)?" and "If you are a work outside the home mom (WOHM) and money wasn't an issue, would you want to stay home? Why or why not?"

This was in response to a thread I was watching unfold whereby people were saying that they were not stay at home material. By asking the questions I did, I think I was trying to figure out what people think it takes to be a good stay at home parent. Maybe I wanted to measure myself against the criteria of others - a reality check to be sure I was actually a good stay at home mom. I don't really know. I just kept reading things that said, in essence, "I need to work because I'm not SAH material." I just wanted to know others definition of "SAH material".

Someone responded with their input and then asked me if I thought I was a good stay at home mom and then asked me "If money weren't an object, would you
want to work outside the home?"

Here is my response:
I'm happy to answer. Do I think I'm a good SAHM? Most days, yes. I think I'm a really good SAHM. I love being with my kids and doing things with them. I love reading stories and making up games. I love teaching them everything they know. I love knowing what they are doing each and every second of their day. I love having complete and absolute say over every aspect of their lives - from what they eat, watch on TV, the amount of fresh air they get to who they spend time with. I love knowing that my morals, beliefs and values are the ones they are in contact with 100% of the time during these incredibly informative years. I love that I am the one answering all their questions about everything (which I'm finding really important with Kelton right now since he has been asking about where babies come from, why men can't have babies, dying, war, etc).

Is being a SAHM what I thought it would be? No. It isn't. It is SO much harder than I ever dreamed. It is also the best thing I have ever done. When I look at the incredible human beings my babies are turning into I am in complete awe that I am the one who is hugely responsible for it.

As for working outside the home, I will honestly tell you that no, it is not what I want to be doing. I would not be good at it anymore because I would be too worried and too focused on my children being in the care of someone else. Now I know that isn't true for others and I certainly am NOT implying anything negative to anyone who isn't a SAH-Parent. I just know it's true for me. Outside of Dakota, there is absolutely no one on this earth that I would trust to care for my children. No one. Maybe that makes me a control freak but considering the things that happened in my life, things that I am determined not to let happen to my children, that is just how it is for me.

I think it's great when parents know they aren't meant to be at home fulltime with their kids, when they know they are better parents when they work at a paying job. Dakota, for instance, could never be a SAHM. Being with the kids for the limited amount of hours she is, is very challenging for her. She does not have the high level of patience that is required. She loves to play with them but gets very frustrated with the rest of it. She has an impossible time working in kid time (which is radically different than adult time) and I know (and she agrees) that she can't wait until Monday morning rolls around and she can escape to work. That said, she is still a good parent. We all do the best we can and we are all the best parents we can be.

Now all this being true, I know I am not a perfect SAHM. I have bad days when I question why we had kids and why I am at home with them. Not unlike the bad days at work when I questioned why I was there and why didn't I quit. I also know that I am less than the parent I want to be once dinner time rolls around. I'm tired, lonely and running very short on patience and still have hours and hours of solo parenting ahead of me (and I'm not sure I count Dakota coming home at 10:30pm and leaving at 5:30 the next morning as a stop-gap in the solo parenting part. Sure - she is there if Kelton wakes up at night but I'm still on all night with Kaylen.) . I didn't sign up to be a parent alone day in and day out so yeah, I get really frustrated that it often feels like I'm in this parenting thing alone way too much of the time. But life is what it is and I know it won't always be like this.

BUT...long (very long!) story short: Yes, I do feel like I am a good stay at home mom and there is nowhere else on earth I would rather be than with my kids day in and day out.

So there you have it. I am exactly where I want to be and I think I'm a good stay at home mom. Even on the really hard days. :)

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Party

Two year olds sure know how to throw a party. Friday night, around 11:30 I noticed that she felt warm. Really warm. I was concerned but wrote it off to probably being warm from her actually being *under* the covers instead of them being kicked off. All night, whenever she stirred or woke (which was often - very often) I noticed how warm she felt. Not hot - but definitely warmer than usual.

She woke at 6 in the morning and there was no convincing her that it was not time to get up. So - she and I went to the livingroom to watch Blues Clues. She was still warm so I retrieved the thermometer. 99.2. Not as high as I had feared. And hardly anything to make a note of in a small child. I dosed her with Tylenol and hoped that this was just a fluke and that she was fine. After all, what were the chances that we'd have to cancel her party again this year? (Last year she had the real flu, (influenza, and yes, she had her flu shot - thank God. I imagine it would have been much worse if she hadn't. As it was it left her with two heart murmurs) and we had to cancel her party.)

She asked to take a nap at 8AM. She wasn't all that warm anymore but she was a bit crabby. After she woke from her 30 minute rest, we went to the store to pick up her cake and groceries for the next two weeks and then we came back home. She still wasn't running much of a fever. I put her down for her nap and then we decorated the house for her party, which we had decided to go ahead with since it was a very small family gathering (grandma, grandpa, an aunt, an uncle and a cousin, More had been invited but well - things happen, I guess.). I ran out to get the balloons and while I was gone Kaylen woke up. Her fever was gone!! She was cool to the touch.

I was so relieved that it seemed to have been a short lived thing. She had been complaining about her mouth hurting so I guess it is possible it was teething related (two-year molars and all). Whatever the reason, it seemed to leave as quickly as it came and the party was set to go without me feeling guilty! Always a good thing! :)

Kaylen really had a good time. She opened her gifts (with Kelton's help, of course) and immediately tried to put on the clothes she received. She is such a stereotypical girl sometimes! When Kelton was 2 (and 3) you would have thought he was being punished when he opened up clothes. He would throw them over his shoulder as if he was saying "I can't believe you have the nerve to give me clothes. Where are the toys?" It was a kick to watch her get so excited. It was fun to watch her - her eyes lighting up with delight. She would say "Mine?" and look at us to validation that these were really for her.

When it was time for blowing out the candle she did really well. Kelton cried at both his first and second parties when people sang. I think it scared him. She cried last year but she didn't this time. She even blew out the candle (well - tried. I think Kelton finally got it out.). She seemed to have a really good time.

I still can't believe she is two. We have come so far from that teeny tiny miserably unhappy newborn that she was. When I look back I can hardly recall all those hard days, weeks and months. Ok - that's a huge lie - I can recall them very well, I just know that the time between now and then has dulled the pain. :) From the moment she was cleared to leave the NICU it seemed like all she did was scream.

Someone told me that some newborns just hate being newborns and that sure fit the bill with her. As she grew and could do a little more (and I'm sure it helped that we started figuring her out better) she settled down but those early months of holding a swaddled screaming baby while we bounced for hours on the exercise ball (the only things that had much effect on calming her ) or slept with her on our chests while we tried to sleep on the couch were well.....hard. Really, really hard. I never, in a million years, would have guessed that the incredibly fussy and unhappy infant she was then would grow to be the fun-loving, incredibly happy child I have in my life today. It's really amazing to look back and realize all the ground we have covered in the past 24 months.

Childhood really is a magical time. At least, I know it is for me. I just can't imagine not having either one of these little guys in my life. Time though - it is just flying by. Two years old. Is she really two already?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Birthday Party

I'll write all about it later but for now, here are some photos of Kaylen's 2nd birthday party. I still can't believe she is two. Although, if you ask her how old she is she will tell with, without question, that she is three.

Not yet you aren't, little one! Not yet.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!!

My baby is turning two years old on Saturday. I can't believe it. Here are a couple pages I made in her honor.

credit: Gummy Grins Girly by Sarah Meyer

Journaling reads:
How in the world is it possible that you have been with us for two years already? It seems like just yesterday you were born and yet when I look at you there is no denying that you are no longer that newborn I held in my arms. You are such an amazing child - so happy and full of life. You love your baby dolls, bouncing on your hoppity hop ball, reading books and watching Blues Clues. Your brother is your hero and you try to be just like him. I love nothing better than to watch you two play together. In the middle of whatever game or activity you are doing I never fail to hear Kelton say “I love you, Kaylen” and I know that in just a second it will be followed by your little voice saying “Love you, too, brother.” You are a miracle and every single day I know how lucky I am that you are in my life. Yes, it’s hard to believe that it’s been two years already but then again, I feel like you have been part of my heart forever.
My life is more beautiful because of you.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Just Another Day in Paradise

That's exactly what today was. Paradise. Not all of it, of course, but a huge portion of it. This afternoon the kids played so well together. Instead of watching TV or playing computer games (or begging me constantly to do either or both)they both played together and separately for hours. I'm talking hours! I don't think I've seen anything like it - ever. I only had to step in a couple times and even that was easy. No real fussing from either one of them. It was heaven!

And then tonight, they again played together without issue. The gathered up all the "friends" (as Kaylen calls her stuffed animals and dolls) and "buddies" (as Kelton calls all his) and piled them on top of themselves, giggling like fools. Then they put them on the floor and rolled off the couches onto them. Later they were in Kelton's bedroom playing with his building sets and other toys. Playing happily together. Happily!!

Again, no requests/demands for the TV or the computer. At one point I was thinking "who *are* these kids?" It was seriously bliss.

At bath time I gave the kids the option of not having a bath (Kelton considers this a treat better than most others) since I had let them play much longer than usual and it was creeping quickly towards lights out. Kelton took me up on the opt out but not Kaylen. She wanted her bath. Fine - easy enough. Not long after I finished washing her Kelton came in asking if he could play mom and watch her in the tub while she played. Sure thing! So I went off to do a couple things. Next thing I knew, he was brushing her teeth for her and then he got her out of the tub. He dried her off, carried her (!) to his room and was helping her get dressed. (Now don't think I'm a bad mom...I heard all of it and reappeared in the bathroom at the start of the tooth brushing. I just let him continue on with his role play.) I snatched up the camera and got some really cute pictures. I love the one of him trying to get her diaper on! :) It was fun to watch them together. They really are sweet with each other.

There are a couple factors that could be coming into play in this "about face" I've seen this week. The first is I think Kelton knows I'm standing firm on things and, having tested me endlessly the past few weeks, has all but given up arguing with me when I say "This is what we're doing now. We can look at doing XYZ later." In fact, all I have had to do these past few days is say "Please don't speak to me that way." or walk away if he fails to calm down quickly and he will rapidly change the direction of where the situation was heading.

The second thing we did we removed several of his "favorite shows" from his list of approved television. We realized that he had been picking up the obnoxious tones and sayings found in some of the tv programs he watched. Given that these were mostly Disney Channel shows, I've never given them much thought but last weekend Dakota and I sat down and watched a few with him and decided that some of them had to go. American Dragon, Jake Long and Timon and Pumba (which is horribly obnoxious when it comes to rude behavior, tone of voice and treatment of people) were the first to go. We're replaced them with shows like Blues Clues, Dora and Diego which we let him stop watching last year because they were "boring". Maybe they are boring when you are looking at turning 5 in a couple months but they are good shows that teach respect and manners. And besides, with all his bigger kid shows there never seemed to be time for Kaylen to watch things like Blue (whom she has fallen in love with!). You know what though? After only a couple complaints he has settled right down and is actually selecting Blues Clues to watch! And the improvement in his attitude speaks volumes! Volumes, I tell you!

I don't know if these are real magic bullets I've found but for now the house feels more calm and I feel like I have a better handle on what is happening and how to quickly change the direction if things are going well. It feels good. Really good.

Bring on more days like this.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I Love Days Like These

Talk about a 180 from Sunday. Today was one of those rare, often dreamed about days when everything runs smoothly and meltdowns are virtually unheard of. A perfect day when my preschooler runs off happily to join his gymnastics class (even though he doesn't like the coach....and who, frankly, neither do I) and follows directions. He spoke up when an activity was too frightening for him to do (there are a few things that really scare him - he is not a child who enjoys heights) instead of just melting down (I was soooo proud of him!). When we stopped by the mall after class to pick up something, both kids were perfectly behaved.

Instead of having a fit about stopping at our MOMS Club event (as I had planned to do), he simply said "Mom, I think I'm too tired to do well there today. Can we just go home instead?" Again, I was so proud of him for using his words instead of having a tantrum.

Once home, he happily watched a tv show while I settled Kaylen in for her nap. Then we snuggled together and watched Clifford's Really Big Movie which was a big deal for him and, I'll admit, really fun for me.

Then later he played well with his sister and even "read" her a few books. He ate his entire dinner without complaint and used his good manners. He helped straighten the house, too.

I'm telling you, THIS kid is welcome to stay as long as he'd like. His evil twin, not so much. :) But seriously - it's just been a really, really good day. I wish I could understand what makes one day horrendous and another day picture perfect. I wish there was a secret recipe I could follow...something....anything. For the life of me I don't know what started off differently today. It felt like any other morning to me but clearly *something* was different.

Whatever the reason - I am very, very grateful.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Water Baby

Remember back in August when Kaylen developed a fondness for playing in the kitchen sink? Remember when I thought she would outgrow it or forget about it? Umm...yeah...never happened.

Not a day goes by that she isn't begging to get into the sink to play in the water. And it's a rare day that don't oblige. She is just so gosh darn cute sitting in there playing. She asks for cups and then one by one she fills them up, places them on the counter and puts the lids on them. Secretly, or maybe not so much secretly, I love this game of hers. It freezes her in time for me and let's me forget that on Saturday my baby is turning two.



WOW! It's hard to be in denial when you look at the sets of pictures together. She has grown like crazy!!!!! Impossible.
It's Home!!!!!!

Look what is home - finally! It's been a very long NINE days of being without my car but as of 5:10pm tonight this lovely piece of machinery is safely back in my driveway.

Does it make me sound like some sort of loon when I say I almost cried when I slid behind the wheel and turned the key? Freedom! The sweet sound of freedom!

YIPPIE!!!! WAHOO!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!
*doing a dance of happiness*

Sunday, February 04, 2007


It's been a day. I feel like I want to run screaming from the house to places unknown for a night, two, maybe more. I want to run away for a while.

My son seems to have been possessed by....what? I don't know. Maybe just possessed. He has been sassy, rude and obnoxious. He has had horrifying and mortifying tantrums in public; both which warranted a swift removal from the public venue. Once with the shopping cart full of things ready to be bought left hastily in a row (I was alone with him at the time). The other time he was removed by one parent while the other finished the sales transaction.

He has been so incredibly difficult today. Sometimes I wonder how I make it through days like this without completely losing my mind. My thoughts now reside in getting through the rest of the night and then wondering how I am going to get through tomorrow, alone, if he is still acting the same.

I'm at the end of my wits today. He is pushing every button I have...and several that I had no clue even existed. How, in the blink of an eye, can such an incredibly amazing, bright, sweet and sensitive child turn into someone I want to leave on someone else's porch?

Please, please, please, please let tomorrow be better.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

And Speaking of Smart... I did in the post below this one. Check out what my little guy did this morning. I am so excited for a couple of reasons. The first being that he has decided that it's ok to write his name by placing the letters in the right order and in a straight line. You have no idea how long we've been enduring the "No Mom. I want them all mixed up." phase. And the second because he wrote "love" for the first time just by having my spell it for him. I'm so proud! :)

And in case you are's a chair with feet and then he added his and Kaylen's faces and that stuff to the right is hair. Oh - and ears on top of his head, of course. He is nothing if not creative! :)
From The Mouth of a Babe

"Tuffy Mama? Nose?"
"Yes baby, mommy's nose is stuffy. I have a cold."
"Yep, I ned to blow my nose."
"Me get!" (and off she runs to the bathroom to get a tissue)
"Here Mama, Blow." (she says and she holds the tissue out for me)
"Thank you, honey."
"No tuffy?" Mama? No tuffy?"
"No honey, I'm not stuffy now. Thank you."
"Away. Away Mama." (she says pointing to the tissue)
"Yes honey, I'll throw it away."
"Germs. Away. No sick me."

Is she smart or what? :)