Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Birthday Day

And then, after visiting my mom, James, Cara, Dakota, the kids and I headed to a park to play. After that we had dinner out and then came back to the hotel room for cake and ice cream. All things considered, I'd say she had a pretty good birthday. :)

And here are a few pictures I took at my mom's a couple days ago. Kaylen really likes the wheelchair and will go directly to it. She has gotten to be a good little driver, too! Pretty funny. :)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Happy Birthday, Dakota!!

Today the love of my life turns 41. She is getting ready to leave our house and drive the 3 plus hours to our hotel and the three of us are so darn excited to see her!!! After I down another cup (pot) of coffee, I'm going to jump in the shower, get ready, get the kids ready and head out to Fred Meyer to find a birthday cake and decorations. Yep - we're going to decorate the hotel apartment! :)

The only question is will we end up with Spiderman, princess or something equally completely non-adult? Only time will tell. :)

Happy Birthday, Dakota! I have to say though, I think I get the best present every year on your birthday...another year with you! :)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Waiting for my mom to die is torture. On the biggest hand, I don't want her to die (duh) but on the other hand, the kids and I have been here almost two weeks and the stress and strain is showing on all three of us. At this point, there is no telling how much longer we will be here.

She's getting worse. She started liquid morphine every 4 hours at 1cc Tuesday and by yesterday morning, she was up to 4cc's every hour. She probably should have started out at a higher dose Tuesday but whatever...she's been fighting taking pain meds but yesterday gave in willingly. I feel awful for her.

I'm so damn sad and frustrated and angry and heartbroken. Yesterday was a crap-ass day and I took out so much on the kids. Poor babies. Not that they were angels but the didn't really deserve me screaming at them either. I know they are stressed and I know they hear everything that is going on and yet....I just kept exploding. Today is better - though not by much. I did end up exploding all over Dakota via the phone though. *sigh*

I can't leave the kids with anyone for a break. I *could*, of course, but I can't do it to Kaylen. She can't stand if I'm out of her line of vision for more than a minute and given how stressed out the kids are, I just can't in good consciousness do that to her. Dakota arrives tomorrow afternoon so at least I can leave them with her while I go spend time with my mom. It's just getting so hard to have them there and get a nice visit in. I feel like I am riding them constantly to be quiet and good. This all sucks more than I can explain.

I'm tired. I'm overwhelmed. I want to go home. And I feel crappy for wanting that because of what it will take for me to be there. I don't want my mom to die.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Pacific Science Center: Grossology

Cara and I took the kids to the Pacific Science Center today. Among other exhibits, they have the Grossology exhibit which, if you are a 5 year old boy, is something that MUST be expienced. :) I admit that I enjoyed it as well. I found out several facts that I never thought I'd have the need to know but I now know them. For instance, did you know that in the average lifetime a person pees out enough urine to fill 319 bathtubs?

I know. I don't know how you lived without that bit of knowledge either. Glad I could help. :)

Here are a few pictures of our outting:

Stretched to the Point of Snapping

I'm feeling like a rubber band that has been pulled as far as it can go and yet - someone just keeps yanking on it anyway.

As if the stuff with my mom isn't stressful enough (and every day it becomes more so) we had a couple more things dumped on our laps.

Thursday Dakota called me to give some not great news. Her department is making some big cutbacks. Her supervisor's position has been eliminated and one of the two team members positions as well. It just isn't clear which team member. In all likelyhood, it will be Dakota that moves on. Not all together a bad thing as she has been restless in her job for a while now and would love to find something more closely aligned with law but still....yet another stress to deal with. The timeline is unclear as to when all this will unfold but Dakota isn't wasting time - she's already applied for a few positions and will continue to do so. We know something good will come of this - it's just getting from here to there that isn't all that much fun.

Friday we got even worse news. Dakota's dad was admitted to the hospital (ironically it's only 15 minutes from my parents house) and things weren't looking good. Today the offical word was given: lung cancer that has already spread far and wide. Three to six months is the prognosis. Needless to say, she is spinning.

This is the last week of classes and then finals begin next week. The timing of all this couldn't be worse and yet - here we are.

I can hear myself screaming inside my head: THIS ISN'T FAIR!! THIS IS TOO DAMN MUCH!! and yet, all I can do is put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. There are moments in time, like right this very minute, when I don't see how that is even possible and yet....I know that thre are two sleeping babies in the next room that are counting on me not to let their world implode.

We're lucky, in a way....we have the kids to keep us centered and focused and moving. And yet sometimes, just for mere seconds, I wish I had the time and space to just fall apart.

I feel like talking with Dakota about all the crap I'm feeling, etc. isn't very fair since she is now swimming her in own pool of grief. It's all so strange.

And I wonder how much further I can be stretched. No - wait. I don't wonder. I'm putting it out to the universe that I have all I can handle right now. No more for now. Give us time to absorb, deal, grieve and heal. They say (whoever "they" are) that bad things come in three's. Ok....we're at three. We're all full up. Any other problems are just going to have to keep moving and find elsewhere to set up shop. The Inn is full. Seriously. It's full.
A Rare Family Photo

Cara took this the other day on the ferry. I really like it so thought I'd share. :)

So much happening here...can't even find the words yet. Maybe tomorrow. :(

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ferry Ride!

Yesterday James, Cara, my dad, Dakota, the kids and I went on a ferry ride (or - thanks to Grey's Anatomy, I've taken to calling them ferry boats even though I grew up here and have always before called them ferries. I notice my kids are calling them ferry boats which cracks me up. :) ). The kids LOVED it and Kaylen kept saying "More ferry boat? More ferry boat?"

Here are a few pictures:

Friday, April 20, 2007


Dakota comes today!!! We are all so excited to see her that I can barely sit still. Her train arrives at 12:30 and you know there will be three eager people waiting at the station.

My mom is still hanging in there. Hospice told my brother yesterday that we probably gained a few days because we found out about the infection before we normally would have since they had to cath her instead of getting a sample the "old fashioned" way. They were able to culture the bacteria from the bladder itself and not the tract. She is definitely starting to decline and yesterday, for the first time, she request pain medication. She has been refusing it so yesterdays requests means that the pain is increasing.

Yesterday, while I was visiting with her, I asked my mom if she wanted me to get her book (she had been reading it the day before while I was there). She said "No...I'd rather just look at you." So - we're getting there and she is well aware of what is taking place.

The kids have had two really good days in a row which I so desperately needed. Yesterday we picked up Cara and the four of us headed to the local Children's Museum. It was a really good 2.5 hours of just playing and being kids. I think, too, that we are finding a routine to call our own for now. That helps tremendously.

I have pictures from the Children's Musuem but I haven't yet uploaded them. When I do, you know I'll post some. :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Day In Pictures

All I really have the energy to say is: I'm tired. Physically and emotionally. The kids are tired in probably the same ways and they are having a hard time adjusting to being away from home. Their behavior sucked today - well, not all day but from about noon on. Miraculously, they were quite good at my parents this morning, A few hiccups but overall, pretty darn good. I didn't even come close to seeing good this afternoon. It's been a very, very long day. (And Brenda, thanks for putting up with my mini-meltdown on the phone today.)

An all morning visit with Grandma and Grandpa:

Swimming with Uncle James and Cara:

Monday, April 16, 2007

Wait for it......

You know that saying "Wait for it......wait for it....."? That pretty much sums up how all this is feeling right now. My mom actually got out of bed today and they got her dressed. Talk about a mental shift for me to make. All this back and forth and up and down is hard on a girl. She is not running a fever yet which would indicate the infection was causing problems but it is clear that things are starting to shut down. Today she kept falling asleep while people were visiting which she hadn't before done. She has been sleeping a lot but never falling asleep during a visit. This afternoon, when the kids and I were visiting, she laughed at a story I shared about Kelton and his "baby" (blanket). Other than that, she never spoke a word. The waiting is difficult and painful. Sleeping is not easy for me either and it sure doesn't help that Kaylen doesn't sleep well in general and rarely sleeps even her regular patterns when we are away from home. I'm tired.

And stressed.

This morning we took Dakota to the train station to head back home. Unfortunately, it took her all day to get home instead of the 3.5 hours it should have taken. Her train broke down so she and the other passengers were shuttled into Seattle to wait for the afternoon train. She found a coffee shop and set up shop for the hours she was waiting. By the time she got home, she decided to skip tonight's class and just study at home.

After we left Dakota this morning, the kids and I headed to a nearby park for some much needed "run and be kids" time. It was cold and gray but they didn't care. They played for about an hour and then we headed back to the hotel for lunch. We stayed in for a few hours and I did some laundry, Kaylen napped and Kelton vegged in front of tv for a few hours. They really needed some down time.

Then my brother James, Cara and my dad came by to visit and we went to The Rack with them to find my dad a pair of shoes. The store is literally right outside my window (well - across the small parking lot) so we all just walked over and walked back. Very exciting! :)

Then we headed over to visit my mom. After that James, Cara, the kids and I went to dinner. Then it was back to the hotel, bath and bed.

My mind is all muddled and very tired - I apologize if this is an incredibly boring posting. (and don't even get me started on proof you can probably tell, proofreading isn't high on my list of things to do. Sorry! :) ) I guss I'll end this rambling and let you get back to your lives. But before I go, here are some photos from the past few days: Kelton's birthday party with Dakota's family, some silly shots from dinner last night and then a few from the park today. Oh - and I think there are a few photos of the kids and Dakota playing in the "toy corner" of the room. Enjoy!

Thanks to everyone for your kind comments and support. I appreciate you very much!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Settling In

It's 6:30 and the rest of the family is still sleeping. Yesterday was a long day but we are finally settled in (well mostly) into the hotel. I've been going a little nutty trying to get everything done in two days to get here - it's all complicated by not knowing how long we are going to be here. So much to do but I did manage to accomplish a lot; inlcuding getting Kelton registered for kindergarten for September. Appointments were cancelled and rescheduled and pet sitting help was arranged (we have an amazing neighbor and, of course, Dakota's wondeful family helping us out). Dakota is here for the weekend and then will go back home, via train, Monday morning for school and work. She'll take the train Friday morning back up and stay the weekend. That will be the routine for the time we are here.

My brother set us up in a really great hotel, The Hampton Inn and Suites - in a 900sq foot suite with complete kitchen. It's really incredible considering it is 50sq feet bigger than the first house Dakota and I bought. :) The staff is overly friendly and helpful which tipped me off the the face that they know why we are here. I asked my brother and yep, they know and, he was quick to add, there is nothing they won't do to help me out while I am here. That brother of mine - he knows how to get things done. :)

We weren't in our room (apartment, really) for 5 minutes when James, Cara and Lannon showed up to help settle us. Then we went to lunch and then it was off to my parents. My mom has changed so much in just a week. I admit I was shocked more than I thought I would be.

Later, James said to me, "I know in the next couple of days you will be asking yourself why you are here but just wait." Meaning he knows things don't look critical yet (eventhough they very much are at this point) but times are changing - and fast.

It's so surreal.

This morning after breakfast we will head up to my parents place again. I'll stay and Dakota will take the kids and go pick up groceries. I know at some point today James and Cara are planning to come over to go swimming with the kids. Kelton and Kaylen are both VERY excited about the pool area.

Thanks for all your kind words and for the birthday greetings for Kelton. Yes, it's true. Yesterday he turned 5 years old. WOW.

For those of you on my Yahoo groups, I went to no mail status (Thursday, I think) for now.

More later.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Not Good News

I'm going to be MIA more than not for a while. Things have gotten to the point of no return so the kids and I are heading up to stay until after.........

I will be taking my laptop with me because I will need to work on the video montage so I will update as I can.

*sigh* Happy Birthday to Kelton.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Because I Am In Need Of Amusement

I stole this from Random and cracked me up and just screamed "SHARE ME!"

–Go to

–Click on Maps.

–Click on get Directions.

–From New York,New York

–To Paris,France.

–And read line # 23.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


My sister, brother and I are pulling together photos for a montage. This is the only photo I have of my mom and me from "the early years" and I have to say, it's kind of cool and kind of eerie how much Kaylen looks like me.

This was my second birthday which means my mom was 28 years old. This, of course means, this picture was taken 40 years ago. Wow.

I'm sure as my brother and sister start going through the family photo albums, I'll have a few more to share. My sister and I were reminiscing via IM tonight.....we really do have some amazing and fun memories from when we were kids. It's nice to be able to look back and remember things like that. Nice...and heartbreakingly sad at the same time.

I'm looking forward to working on the montage and being able to have a DVD full of memories to cherish. I still can't believe we're in this place in time though. Things feel very surreal.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Weekend, the write up

I just watched the montage again and I have to say - I'm such a sap. Every time I see it, I cry. I'm so glad we were up there this past weekend. So, so glad.

I was able to have my mom all to myself for a while Saturday afternoon and it was really great. She was in her room resting on her bed when we arrived so I set the kids up in the living room with some toys (Dakota stayed with them) and went back to sit with my mom. She didn't have a lot to say as talking is very difficult for her now but I managed to chat enough for the both of us. She would answer yes or no, laugh when I said something funny and even managed to get a few multi-word sentences. I told her I was in complete awe of her being able to raise 5 children because sometimes I feel I can barely raise the two I have. She said "You have wonderful children. Beautiful." It broke my heart and made me proud at the same time. I shared with her how I felt about watching them grow up and how hard it is for me that Kelton will be starting school. How hard it is to let them go. She listened and said "Yes. It is hard. I raised you." I knew she was saying that she knew how hard it is to let your children grow up and move on because she had to do it with me. I think she was also telling that me everything will be ok.

It was hard emotionally but I'm so glad I had that time. I needed it. I need more but I have to be happy with what I am able to get. It's not like I can move into a hotel with the kids and stay up there. I wish I could but I can't.

I also had a really good visit with my brother. We have never gotten to spend much time together until recently and I am so happy that we are able to now. I love watching him with my kids and they, of course, adore their Uncle James (though frankly I think Kelton has a crush on my brother's girlfriend. It's kinda cute!). On Friday we met James and Cara at their house and then went to pick up lunch to take to the nearby park. The park was so much fun!

After the park, we headed up to our hotel and got settled in just in time for me to head over to my parents house. Traffic was awful and what should have been a 7 minute drive from the hotel to the house was 35 minutes. Ugh! James and Cara were already there but James said that when I walked into the room, my mom lighted up and where they were only getting nods and shrugs, she started talking in 3 and 4 word sentences when she talked with me. Guess I'm pretty special. *laughing*

After visiting for a bit, we all headed out. They followed me back to the hotel and we picked up Dakota and the kids and went out to Red Robin for dinner. Then we made a stop at Toys R Us to pick up gift cards my sister was needing. Of course, toys there are meant to be played with though I'm not sure who played with more of them - James or Kelton. Again, very fun to watch the interactions. :)

Then it was back to the hotel for bath and bedtime.

Saturday we were requested to be at my parents at 10am as one of the caregivers had arranged an Easter egg hunt complete with eater baskets for the 4 little ones in our family and the care givers two little ones. The kids had a blast and my mom had a really good time watching them. We really wore her out though so after about 2 hours, we all headed out so mom could rest. Dakota and I decided to go to the local mall to hang out for a few hours as can only do so much hanging out with kids in a hotel room. We spent about 2 hours there and then headed back to the hotel to grab a bite to eat and rest a bit before going back over to see my parents.

After visiting for about an hour (my mom was still so tired from the morning that she was still resting when we got there which is when I had the earlier posted conversations with her) we said our goodbyes and left. My parents were going to go to Easter church service so between their getting ready and leaving and our packing and leaving, we weren't going to be seeing them again this trip. It was hard for me to leave.

We then drove up to my sister's house where everyone was gathering for dinner. After dinner, we let the kids run wild in the freshly tilled garden area. James set about digging a deep hole with the fence post digger and the kids had a blast climbing inside the hole. It was hysterical to watch! Tired and grimy, we plopped all four kids in the bath and after they were clean, dry and in their jammies we let them play. It was a really nice evening and we returned to the hotel exhausted and happy.

Sunday was Easter and the kids were thrilled to see that the Easter Bunny did indeed find them in the hotel. We even had an egg hunt! Talk about being prepared. :) Then it was packing and the long drive home.

For a weekend that I wasn't sure what to expect or if I would see anyone besides my parents, it really turned out to be a fantastic weekend. Emotionally overwhelming at times but a really great weekend. I was able to talk with my mom and make some really special memories to hang onto, watch my kids interacting with their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins and spend time with my brother and sister. I'm so glad we had the time.

Today the phone calls came from my sister and brother. Bladder infection (again) possible, lung infection still there though better than last time. What to do about antibiotics? Mom decided to not take any at this time since they are making her so sick. She may change her mind tomorrow or next week. It's whatever she wants to do. Without antibiotics, it's anyones guess. At this point, even with antibiotics it's anyones guess. She's been on antibiotics for weeks (3 months I think). When do they not do anymore good? It's so hard to wrap my mind around it all.

I am just so grateful for the time I had this past weekend. So, so grateful.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Video Montage of the Weekend

Happy Anniversary to Us!

This was us, twelve years ago tonight. What a wild ride is has been and continues to be. :)

Thursday, April 05, 2007


I've packed this family up three times in as many weeks. Well - five times, so far, if you count packing up to come back home. I'm sick of packing. I'm sick of counting out underwear, diapers, socks, jeans, shirts, etc. I'm tired of gathering blankets, books, toys, snacks, DVD's and other "must have's". Pakcing is overwhelming when you are doing it for four people all by yourself. All while two little ones run around and try to drive you, and each other, crazy.

I had to laugh tonight when Kelton was telling Kaylen to do something that she clearly didn't want to do. She yells, at the top of her lungs, "LEAVE ME ALONE BRAHBRAH!" (that's how she says brother and it's all she ever really calls him even though she does know his name. I think it's sweet.) Oh my kids - they are willfull. Wonder where they get that from? :)

I guess I should finish compiling my list of "things still to pack" before I completely hit my wall tonight. Take care and have a good weekend!

PS...Happy Easter to all who celebrate! Here's a little something I posted last year that I thought I would share again:

Wish us luck as the Easter Bunny will need to find us in our hotel room this year. That ought to be interesting. :)

This made me so happy that I just had to share.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I've Got Nothin'

I kept thinking that somewhere along the line today something inspirational would hit me that I could blog about. But nope. Nada. I seriously have nothing.

Oh wait. I just let one of our dogs outside and a big ol' mosquito eater flew in. Now the cats are on the kitchen table and the counter trying to get it. I guess *that's* something. As lame as it is.

And now dog #2 wants out.

Yep - that pretty much sums up things here. Boring.

The day was ok. A few meltdowns here and there. Some art time. Kelton and I played Toon Town for a bit which is really kind of cute. He wants me to play and he likes to watch and give "helpful suggestions" but since I'm at the control (per his wishes) he runs to take care of whatever Kaylen needs when she calls out. Today he did things like change the DVD (Barney, of course), find a doll she was looking for, helped her find a book, got her some water, etc. I think that's one of my favorite things about playing computer games with him - I love watching him, and listening to him, take care of his sister. Sweet stuff! It helps even out the times when he picks on her relentlessly just to get a rise out of her. Brothers. I remember those days well.

It was a warm day - 69 degrees at 4pm. Of course, earlier in the day I hadn't realized it was warm out because it had been overcast and we had been inside all day. A day without errands to run or places to be. Kelton is recovering from a cold-type bug so we've been laying low. I want everyone healthy (or as healthy as can be) when we go to visit my parents this weekend. The last thing my mom needs is the four of us showing up sick with colds.

I tossed the kids out into the yard after dinner and they had a pretty good time running around. Kelton tried to convince me it was warm enough to bring out the sprinkler but they happily settled for Popsicles instead. :)

So, all in all...a rather lackluster day in regards to fodder for blogging. Sorry guys. :)

Tomorrow I need to get everyone packed up for yet another weekend away from home. This will be the third weekend in a row that we've been gone. Next Saturday is Kelton's birthday. I'm in such denial about my baby turning five. FIVE. I remember when he was a teeny tiny baby in my arms and we talked about the day he would leave us to go to school. It seemed so, so, so far away. Like it could never possibly happen and yet - here we are. Months away from that day.

Time flies.

Someone once told me when I was pregnant with Kelton "The days are long but the years fly by." I didn't really understand it then but I sure do now. *sigh*

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Manipulated by the Best

Ah yes. It's so easy to manipulate a mommy who lives on, and for, caffeine.

We're driving along, happily chatting with each other on the way from running errands when my not-yet 5 year old says:

"Mom....wouldn't a nice cup of hot coffee taste really good right now?"

Me: "It sure would."

Kelton: "Yeah. It would be really nice."

He makes a few happy sounds as I start to fanatize about holding a hot cup of Starbucks coffee in my sleep deprived hands.

Kelton: "Hey Mom?"

Me" "Mmmmm?"

Kelton: "Why don't we stop by a coffee place and you can buy a coffee." (notice how it isn't a question. It's a statement. A directive."

Me: "You know, that does sound really good. I think I will."

Silence for a minute while I am lost in happy thoughts about coffee.

Kelton: "And while we're there, let's get a big cookie for me and Kaylen."

And there you have it. My sweet boy wasn't looking after *me*. Nope. He was looking after himself and his desire for a big chocolate chip cookie.

And yes. He got it.

But I got my Venti Raspberry Mocha, too! :)

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Beach

It was a great weekend and I was no where near ready to come home yesterday. I think I could have easily stayed for an entire week. I put together a short (well, short for me) montage. It's under 5 minutes - just one song length long - so take a peek and enjoy.

The shot of the beach with the tall grass and driftwood is the view we had from the living room window. I swear I could have sat in the lazy boy chair by that window all weekend long. It was a breath-taking view. As you can tell, the kids loved the carousel and they rode it more than just a few times. Usually we are a "sleigh" riding family which means we sit in the sleigh bench only. Horses were a no-go...until this weekend! Kelton decided all on his own that it was time to ride the horses and ride they did! It brought happy tears to my eyes to see them riding so tall and so proud. My babies are growing up so quickly.

Enough ramblings from me about how great my life is so go on, click play and enjoy the show!

And for a mere $132.39....

I'm back in business! The clean clothes business, that is. Thank goodness...I think the pile of clothes in the garage from the weekend at the coast were starting to ferment. :)

I called first thing this morning to find out which two hour time slot we were in for the repair guy and they said "Between 3 and 5PM." Yikes! I'm not sure how we won that lottery place since I called first thing Thursday morning to schedule (which has always been a same-day schedule thing the two times when I called before for the dryer). But..what could I do?

At 4:50pm, the door bell rang. Talk about cutting it close. I was actually beginning to think they weren't coming. But he did indeed arrive and he did indeed fix the washer! A strut had broken (we have a front loader) and was easily fixed. He was here and gone in less than 30 minutes.

The part itself cost only $32.36. Labor was $90.00 (OUCH!) and tax; $10.003. Definitely a figure I could live with considering I was bracing hard for a much, much heftier number. :)

I am now on my second load. With only about four more to go. :)