Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Big Week for Kelton

It's been a big week for my boy. School supply lists were available on Saturday so we went school supply shopping. It was fun to pick out all his stuff (even though it's not really "his stuff" everything goes into big containers and is basically "communal" which I go back and forth on having an issue with but - it is what it is.) There is something so intoxicating about school supplies - Dakota feels it, I feel it and I'm proud to say, my kids feel it. :) New crayons and paints and scissors. Pencils, pens and erasers. Fun!

He ended up with a Spider Man backpack (which is no surprise to me) and Transformer tennis shoes. I am still going to get him a new pair of Crocs since really those are his main footwear. I found really great ones that I am going to save up for. I think they will make him (and me) happy. They are Crocs with Mickey shaped holes. I think they are so incredibly fun.

And as a PSA (public service announcement) let me share with all of you parents of not-yet-school-aged-kids that the back to school rows are a gold mine of art supplies. Elmers glue for $0.20 a bottle, Crayola 24 count crayons for $0.20 a box. Paints, papers, scissors, binders, etc all cheaper than you will find them the entire rest of the year. Since Kelton was one year old Dakota and I have hit the back to school sales and restocked every art supply known to man. It just makes sense so check out those rows and if you see things your little one (or you) will use during the year, or you think you may use during the year, - stock up! Just a handy mommy tip for you. :)

Kelton's day camp is going really well. He woke me up at 6:05AM asking if it was time to go yet. I took that as a very good sign. He learned a couple new games yesterday so the kids and I spent a few hours in the yard playing - it was really fun. Today he came home with a silly song that Kaylen and I picked up right away and have been singing ever since. So, so much fun!

He had a project to do at home this week for sharing time on Friday. He was to make a poster of his favorite pet (oh which one to choose?) and then tell his group all about the pet at sharing time. He picked Jordan, our dalmatian. I took some pictures of him with Jordy yesterday and then this afternoon we took a trip to the craft store to buy poster board and various scrap book supplies (I'm sure it surprises no one who knows me in real life that the "due at the end of the week" project is done by the second day. *grin*). Except for wanting help with gluing the pictures onto the board, he did it all himself (well - I helped him spell Jordan's name but he handled getting the stickers and putting them on the board). He was so darn cute sitting at the table working on his "homework". Kaylen, of course, had to get into it too so at the store I bought her some duck related stickers and pink cat ribbon (she loves all things duck and pink). Their projects are so cute. :)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Gone Camping!

On Friday afternoon, Dakota came home with the idea of setting up the tent and camping in the backyard. If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you probably remember that we do this every year and it is always a lot of fun!

We had the tent up in 18 minutes which we were pretty happy with considering this is only the second time we've ever raised this particular tent. I love this tent! It's 14x14 and it's perfect for us.

As you can see, the tent was a big hit with Jordan the dalmatian, too! He is a camper at heart, that's for sure.

We bbq'd for dinner and then the real fun began! We made a fire in the fire bowl so that the kids could roast marshmallows and make s'more. Big, big fun - and a big, big mess! This was the first time Kaylen ever had a s'more and she loved it. Check these out:

And here are a couple of my favorites:

Both kids really wanted to sleep in the tent so after bath (wow - did they ever need a bath!) we settled into sleeping bags for stories and sleep but alas, sleep was not to be had. After more than an hour of trying, Kaylen finally fell asleep. Thirty minutes after that, Kelton decided that he couldn't sleep outside and wanted to go to his own bed. I carefully carried Kaylen inside and Dakota went with Kelton. He was out cold in about 30 seconds flat.

First thing in the morning, we all headed back out to have fun. The tent was up until last night and, as promised, it will be back up this Friday for another weekend of camping fun. Maybe this time we'll actually manage to sleep out there. :)

(PS..Keep reading; I posted something a little bit earlier today)
Camp Kiddo

This morning Kaylen and I dropped Kelton off for his first day of Camp Kiddo, a day camp run through the school district to help get kids ready for kindergarten. He was bouncing off the walls with excitement.

Once he was settled with his group (5 kids and a teacher) Kaylen and I came back home. I've always known that Kelton has a huge personality but I don't think I realized how much it totally filled the house. It's so quiet and empty feeling here right now - even though Kaylen is in the living room watching Barney. It's just so darn obvious that someone is missing. It reminds me of being a kid and having a sibling at sleep-away camp. The house always felt "off". It makes me kind of sad to have him gone. I'll pick him up in two hours but from where I sit right now, it's been a very strange and long first hour.

The schedule for the week looks fun. I think he is going to have a great time and I am over the moon happy that he wanted to go (and I was thanking my lucky stars that he wasn't the child screaming their heads off at drop off. Considering how preschool went, it really could have gone either way once we were there.) I can clearly see that he has changed so much from last fall. He's ready for this. I, however, am not. I've been having some stress/anxiety issues lately and I have a feeling it's related to school starting in a few weeks. *sigh*

It's hard to let them grow up sometimes. I do know though that, as a parent, my job is to prepare my babies to leave me. That is what it's all about - giving them the skills and tools to become independent adults. It's not so much that we are raising children - we are actually raising adults. Odd.

Here are a couple pictures of my happy boy:

Sunday, July 29, 2007

It's Been a Busy Weekend!!

I cannot believe all the stuff we have managed to pack into the past three days. I dare say I haven't even sat down to rest since it all started.

Friday morning started off at 8:30 when the bee guy arrived at the front door. He wasn't scheduled until 9 but I was ready so it was fine that he was early and besides, the kids and I had a playdate lined up for when he was done and gone so I figured we'd be on our way in no time. Yeah. Right.

At 10:00 he finally emerged from the crawl space and with him came a plastic laundry bag (the ones the hotels give you for your laundry) filled with bee nest, dead bees and eggs. Eeeeeeeeew! He said when he got down there he found the nest but all was quiet so he figured it must not be a live one. Then he started messing with it and suddenly it was alive with noise. Apparently there must have been a cell of the nest that had eggs in it when the last guy was here and sprayed it but because the spray doesn't kill eggs, a whole new colony arose. I'm thinking the last guy should have taken the nest with him, aren't you? Geez. Anyway - this guy spent more than an hour down there trying to get every last piece and sprayed the area really well. Once he was up, he went to the outside entrance and sprayed it really well. He said to go ahead and screen it. Anyone who might be under will die off and no one new will be able to get in. So - the area is officially sealed off. Let's hope this is the end of the bee issue.

After the bee guy left, the kids and I got ourselves ready and called our new friend Sheri to let her know we were ready to play. We met at a really great place nearby - it's a coffee shop, cafe AND play area for the kids. LOVE IT! We went once last winter and it was amazingly crowded but thankfully, this time it wasn't. I even got to sit down in a chair and have a real cup of coffee in a real ceramic mug! It was fun! The kids had a great time playing and Sheri and I had a good time chatting - well, you know, in between going into the play area to soothe hurt feelings or intervene in a situation. Still though - I had a good time. Once Kelton is in school I can see it becoming a monthly outing for Kaylen and I.

After playing for a while, we headed home for lunch. Soon after Dakota arrived home full of plans for big fun - camping in the yard!!

That's a post all unto itself so I will leave you hanging here. Tomorrow is Kelton's first day of day camp so hopefully I will have a bit of time in the late morning for another update....that is, of course, if Miss Kaylen will allow it. :)

Here's the fun to come:
setting up the tent
making a camp fire
making s'mores (and those are some serisouly funny pictures!)
trying to sleep in the tent
shopping for school supplies
and more camping in the yard

I downloaded 126 pictures from this weekend....told you it was crazy, busy fun! :)
OH! And I was given a blogging award this weekend, too. I'll have to tell you all about it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

If a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words Then These Are Worth Five Thousand

Click to enlarge it. It is SO worth it! :)

These were from the photo shoot for the annual group photo of my MOMS Club. Is it any wonder I call them my little monkeys? :)


My daughter cracks me up. This week she has mastered the use of the word "interesting" though it comes out more like "in-tus-ting". It is her stock answer for almost everything you tell her or show her.

K: "What 'dis?"
D: "Corn on the cob."
K: "in-tus-ting" (said while she knowingly nods her head)

C: "Kaylen, it's time to clean up the living room."
K: "How come, Mommy?"
C: "Because we are done playing with those toys and it's time to put them away."
K: "in-tus-ting" (said while she knowingly nods her head)

Kelton: "This is your Care Bear. See? It has the heart on it."
Kaylen: "Why mine have heart on it?"
Kelton: "Because you liked it."
K: "in-tus-ting" (said while she knowingly nods her head)

Needless to say, it's been "in-tus-ting" and way more than a little amusing around here today. :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Painting, Swimming and Having Fun

This morning, before I had even finished my first cup of coffee, Kaylen decided she wanted to paint. Not with watercolors, mind you...oh no, those would be too easy for Mommy to clean up. She wanted and bright containers of washable poster paints from Crayola. I can't really blame her - they are a lot of fun to use. Now while I am all for texture exploration by children I have to say; this is just not something that a mom should have to face before an entire cup of caffeine has been consumed.

And because paint to Kelton is like flowers to bees......it wasn't long before his "no thanks" about painting changed to a big, messy yes.

(if you look closely at this next photo, you will see my unfinished coffee cup sitting on the counter next to the very handy wipes for easier clean up)

Once the fun was done, I scooped them up and tossed them in the tub. It's the only way to go! :)

After cleaning them up, and cleaning up the mess left behind, I decided to fill the pool in the hopes that it would warm up by early afternoon. It was supposed to be 86 today but I think it only got to 82. Plenty warm for me, mind you. Here are a couple shots from the pool party.

The day held lots more fun including a very lively game of "Adventure" which is when the kids dress up in their adventure gear and we pretend to go to strange and new places. This afternoon we found Saturn, Pluto and Mars (different size balls in the yard) and we hiked up rugged mountain terrain (play structure) to an iceberg laden lake (their pool). Later we were attacked by wild bears (their stuffed animals) and had to build a fort to keep us save (couch cushions). At one point Kelton ran over to me, hugged me and said "You are great at this imagination stuff!" :)

It was a really fun day around here. Really, really fun.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Playdates, Children and Guns

Which of those things don't belong? Yeah - kind of a no brainer but here is my question; how do you handle bringing up the question about guns in the home when you are letting your child go somewhere to play?

This question, of course, covers not only your child's (or your) friends homes but also the homes of relatives.

How does everyone else handle, or expect to handle, this issue?

Our home is gun free. But I know that this won't (or hasn't) been the case in the homes of friends and relatives and now that Kelton is getting old enough that friends are coming here without parents and he is going into other homes without me I am getting concerned.

So I need to figure out language to work into every situation when playdates are arranged. I find myself worrying about offending the parents but then I do a quick internal check and think "Umm...offend the parents or risk my child being killed. Not really a toss up, is it?"

I guess I could say something like "Kelton would love to come play with (insert name here). Given kids curiosity though I have to ask if there are any guns in the house." Beyond that, I'm at a loss.

And what is they don't tell me the truth????

How are others handling this? At this point I am feeling like my only option is to have all the kids here to play instead of sending him into someone else's house.

I'm so freaked out about this stuff....it only takes an instant for a life to change - or end.

And I thought being pregnant was stressful and scary.

Monday, July 23, 2007

More Weekend Stuff

Saturday we were struggling with trying to come up with something fun to do on a cloudy, cool day with rain threatening. We came up with going to The Water Resources Education Center . I had expected there to be a ton of people there since it's a free activity and a good way to burn a few hours but we were the only ones there for almost the entire two hours we were there. The kids favorite place was Puddles Place which is where all the toys are kept. We all had a pretty good time playing together.

After we returned home we set about getting some chores done and one of them was screening up the entrance the bees had been using to get under the house. We had been watching and hadn't seen any activity so we thought we were home free. Umm.........NO! After Dakota had screwed the last screw into place what, oh what, arrived on not one but BOTH sides of the screen? Bees. One inside and one outside. She removed a corner of the screening and left the area. The bee guys are coming back out on Friday. This is the third time in a month. They are sending out their top guy this time around. Let's hope it does the trick.

And jumping right from Saturday to Sunday afternoon......

Late yesterday afternoon, after returning from the fish hatchery I pulled out the slip 'n slide for the kids. They had a blast! Here are a few pictures from yesterday.

Today has been a low key day. The kids have been playing quietly and watching a bit of tv here and there. I think they needed a down day as much as I did today. :)
Still Going Strong

In case you have been wondering, I'm still working out on the treadmill. I no longer can claim X-number of days in a row as I have taken breaks here and there (such as going to the beach for three nights) but I am regularly getting in five days a week. I have to admit that I have a hard time getting in work outs during the weekend. Once we have our slow family wake-up routine done, coffee ingested and the paper read I find that there just isn't time to work out *and* get out and about early enough. Maybe it's a convenient excuse, I don't know. But hey - at least I'm still getting in my time. I read somewhere that you shouldn't work out seven days in a row and that a break each week should be factored in. It makes sense but again, maybe I just want it to. :)

I do wish for a magic diet patch though. Don't we all?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

New Camera Bliss and a Trip to the Fish Hatchery

This morning we headed out our annual trip to the local fish hatchery. The kids love it there mostly, I think, because they get the feed the fish. The day was muggy and overcast down here but once we got up the gorge there was plenty of blue skies. It was a beautiful day to be out and about.

Check out these pictures that Dakota took today. I am amazed at the clarity. WOW!

Here are some other pictures taken on our outing:

And a couple of Kaylen that I am really loving.

PS..Keep reading. I posted the rest of the beach story. :)
The Beach Trip, Part Two (Finally!)

I have been trying to get back to write about the rest of the beach trip but alas, there just never seems to be the time. I thought I would be able to get to it Friday or Saturday but by the time evening rolls around, all I really want to do is hunker down on the couch with Dakota and watch an episode (or two) of The Gilmore Girls. We also managed to watch two movies from Netflix this weekend, too. So - as you can see, it hasn't left much time for blogging. :)

Now where was I? Oh right - Day 2. Day two is when we met up with Brenda and family on the beach. But first, after breakfast, we ventured into the small town of Nahalem. It was by accident, actually, that we ended up there. We were just following the road to see where it went and BAM! There we were. There were some great little shops to browse through - which is one of our favorite things to do. We didn't end up going back with much though - Kelton bought a notebook for $1.10 and Kaylen brought 4 small bracelets for $1.00. I found a really amazing coffee-related piece of wall art but for $50 I left it for someone else. :)

After our trip to Nahalem, we headed back to the hotel and got ready to go our to the beach to meet up with Brenda. You should have seen Kelton's face light up when he spotted Carson! They were only a few houses past our hotel and I swear Kelton ran every sandy inch of it. The initial greeting was a bit standoffish - I think neither one knew what to expect - but within seconds they were hugging and squealing. I can't even tell you how happy it made my heart to see them together again. These guys had spent many, many days together before Carson's family moved last September (at least once a week Brenda and I headed out to the mall with the kids to hang out) and they've been talking with each other on the phone a couple times a week lately. They are amazing friends and that was still quite clear in the limited amount of time they had together last week.

And I LOVED seeing Brenda again! It's weird though - since we talk every single day on the phone, there wasn't a huge amount of catching up to do - we just switched immediately back into step and talked about what had happened since our last phone call a couple days before.....which was really nice! I love having a friend like Brenda. Love, love, love it.

Brenda and I met for coffee and shop-browsing the next morning which was so much fun! It's amazing how much we can find to chat about - even after all these years. Dakota had taken our two little ones down to the beach while I was with Brenda and they had such a great time! They dug holes which filled with water, Dakota wrote their names in the sand and they each sat inside their name for a photo, they built sandcastles and went on a treasure hunt. By the time I got home (2 hours after I left) they were back in the room, cleaned up and completely exhausted. Poor pups! :)

We let them rest for a little bit and then headed out for lunch and ice cream.

Once they were all jazzed up on sugar (!!) we headed back to the hotel to change and head back to the beach to play with Carson and Katie. Oh my goodness what a grand ol' time they all had!

The kids were completely exhausted from their day so we didn't stay too long. Kelton was anxious to get back to the room but he also really wanted to show Carson where he was staying. So we packed up all our stuff and Brenda and Carson came over to the hotel for a bit. It was fun to watch the kids running wild in the room while Brenda and I sat on the couch and talked. This was the last time we'd be together since we were heading home in the morning. Finally it was time to say goodbye - the boys hugged and hugged and hugged. It was so sweet and sad. I know they miss each other as much as I miss Brenda. Thank goodness for free long distance! :)

The next morning we woke up to the rain pouring down so after morning coffee, a light breakfast and some time sitting in front of the gas fireplace; Dakota took the kids down to the beach for a final play session and I stayed behind to pack. As I packed, I would go out on the deck and watch them playing. I just love watching them all together. I could hear the laughter all the way on the deck. Since it was raining the beach was all but empty. I have to say, the rain made it much easier to pack up the car and drive home.

We had such a great time at the beach (though really, I think it would be impossible not to have a great time when you are on the coast!) and, as usual, we are already looking forward to our next trip.

Friday, July 20, 2007

My Son

My son has a conscience. You have no idea how relieved his other mom and I are to see it coming into play. Normally, non-truths tend to spill fromm him pretty easily but I am quick to catch him, get the truth and explain why we don't lie but last week something happened....he actually got away with a lie.

I was folding laundry in my room and, next door in Kelton's room, the kids were playing. Kaylen had been "helping" me put away laundry and Kelton was mostly just hanging out. Suddenly I heard a horrific noise - like wood shattering with a few metal sounds thrown in for good measure. I flew into the room and found Kaylen sitting in the top drawer on her side of the dresser and Kelton standing across the room. Kelton's middle drawer was clearly broken in some manner.

I demanded to know what had happened to the drawer and Kelton told me that Kaylen had climbed in it and it broke. Ok - I could buy that. She was, after all, still sitting in the top drawer on her side. It wasn't hard to buy that she had used the drawers as a ladder and one broke. She has a bad habit to scaling up the dresser to sit on the top of it. (It's a 6 drawer dresser, three drawers on each side. They share it.)

I sent both kids out of the room while I worked on figuring out what had happened and how/if it could be fixed. It turned out that the drawer runners had been pried from their tracks in the back. I wasn't sure how a 27lb kid could have put that much force on the drawer but figured that she must have jumped in it or something. It wasn't pretty and I had no clue how I could get it fixed as nothing I tried was working. An hour later, Dakota arrived home from work to find me with various tools stacked around me, cussing at the dresser.

In the end, we finally were successful in repairing the drawer and life moved on.

That was last Friday.

Last night while Dakota was getting the kids ready for bed, Kelton got quiet and said there was something he needed to tell her but that he was scared she would be angry. After reassuring him that she might be a little angry at first she would do her best to fix whatever it was. He confessed about the drawer. He had been the one who broke it because he wanted to sit in a drawer like Kaylen (which for the record is a big no-no for everyone). Dakota talked with him about the situation and then they decided that Kelton would tell me. So he did.

I'm so proud of him for coming out with the truth! We talked about how lies can make you icky inside and sad (not the first time he heard all this but now he had a point of reference on which to draw). Suddenly, he looked like a different kid - like a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. I was so, so proud of him and told him so. We talked about how much better it is to tell the truth than to walk around knowing you lied.

He has a conscience!! Now if only the lesson would stick the first time around. :)

PS..I haven't forgotten to share the rest of the beach trip. I will probably write more tonight or tomorrow. Stay tuned! :)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

We're Home!

We have returned from our few days at the beach and we had a great time!! The weather was outstanding (except yesterday when it was raining like crazy which was totally ok with me since we were heading home anyway) and we spent hours playing in the waves and digging in the sand. We explored the town - which didn't take too long since it's sort of a hole in the wall place - and drove into nearby towns to explore them. We've never stayed in the Rockaway Beach area before (only going through it on the way to the Tillamook Cheese Factory two years ago (see post here)) and except for being exceptionally close to the water; I wasn't all that impressed it with. It's great if your goal is beach, beach and more beach but we're a family who likes to explore and shop and go out for meals in addition to enjoying time in the water and on the sand. Not so much the place for that. Still - the beach was great and I am glad we went. :)

We arrived around 11AM on Sunday and our first stop was a place called Flamingo Jim's. I had been told it was a great place with a bit of everything - and it did not disappoint. We ended up spending $40 pretty easily. The kids each picked a couple small items, Dakota and I bought really cool coffee mugs and then we all helped pick some salt water taffy. After that we went in search of a place for lunch. Umm...yeah - that was an adventure. We finally ended up at finding a place that was open and serving lunch and settled into a booth. The food was nothing special but it was food and did the trick. The place did have a great view though. :)

Once we finished lunch we drove to the hotel to check in and settle into the room. The place was nice enough - definitely a beach hotel which is great because it's on the beach and not great because most of the places that we've stayed seem to skip the regularly updating and upkeep that should happen. I guess because they don't have to worry about people *not* coming (again - they are right on the water) this tend to get overlooked. Still though - it was decent enough and the view made me immediately forget about the shoddy carpets. :)

It didn't take long for us to change into beach gear and head out into the gorgeous afternoon. Kelton and I ran in and out of the waves for probably close to an hour. At first I wasn't crazy about getting soaked to the skin but soon enough I was just that - and having a great time. Dakota and Kaylen stayed up on the sand building castles and digging holes. They finally joined us for a few minutes but just a couple of wave-dives into it, Kaylen was done and wanted to go back to the room. I took her up and left Dakota and Kelton playing for a while longer.

It was a really great first day!

More to come.....
Beach Photos

I've run into a small glitch with my beach photos. There are so many incredible ones that I am wanting to showcase them somehow. But how? I was kicking around some ideas in my head while I went about doing laundry and dishes this afternoon and I came up with a couple different options. The first one would be finding a multi-frame photo collage but I am not a huge fan of that option. Personally, I find the layouts of collages hard to work with. You have to be sure that you find photos that go the right direction for each slot and, on the whole, it's too small to really be a powerful focal point.

Then I thought about the free standing tri-fold photo collages. I've seen them in other homes and they really look great but the problem I have with them is, for my house, we don't have that kind of floor space (the kids are fortunate to have tons of fun toys). The photo frames in the unit seem to universally hold 5x7 or 8x10 photos, which is great because they are big enough to really make a statement, but all the photos seem to need to be in the up and down direction and my photos, for the most part, are longways. So that option is out.

Suddenly it came to me! Why not a digital picture frame? I could splurge and buy one for the fireplace mantle! Talk about a focal point for a room! The photos would rotate through at regular intervals and I could enjoy each and every one. Definitely something to think about!!
I'm Just Saying....

I love, love, love my lcd monitor! I was just sitting here looking at my computer desk area and suddenly I remembered my old monitor - the one right before this one. It was huge! I never had working space around that old monitor but with my lcd flat screen monitor I have lots of room. Of course, that also means I have room for things to pile up like notes and the kids game cd's. Minor clutter aside though - I really love this monitor. :)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

We're Sooooooo Gone!

Well...almost. :) This time tomorrow we will be on the beach! Bring it on!!! We've spent all day running around getting things done so we will be ready to go bright and early I can not wait!!!

Can't you just hear the waves crashing????

Unless we find internet connection somewhere, this will be the last you hear of me until the end of the week. WoooooHooooooo!!!!!!!!! Here we go!!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Am I Blog Rolled?

Do you enjoy my blog? If so, would you please do my a big favor and blog roll me on your blog? Thank you, everyone! I am forever in your debt. :)

PS....yes indeed...this does have something to do with increasing traffic flow and increasing my Google PageRank. :)
Look What I Have!!

Since we are going to the beach this weekend I jumped the gun and bought my new camera. We have half the money for it from the pay to blog stuff that Dakota and I've been doing so, providing everything goes as planned, we'll have the other half in about two weeks and can pay off the credit card we put it on. Yay!!!!!!!

I am loving this camera!!!! Check out these photos:

Clearly I should have used the flash on this last one but still! Aren't they great??

I still love my tiny camera, don't get me wrong. I love the way it is so easy to carry with me and that it takes amazing photos, too. My new one, once I learn the ropes of it, will allow me to capture more "portrait" quality which I am all about. :) But still - my little camera is still near and dear to my heart. I mean seriously - just look at these I captured on Monday at a spur of the moment romp in the sand. Chances are good that I will *always* have my small camera with me where my new one is a bit tougher to toss into my purse. :)