Sunday, September 30, 2007

Another Busy Weekend

Where do I even start? I guess Friday morning would be as good a place as any. Kelton didn't have school on Friday but we did have the housecleaning service scheduled which meant we had to be out of the house around 9:30 because the service had a window of time from 9:30 to 11:00 in which they could arrive. That worked out well anyway as I needed to take my car to the shop to have them do a quick look to be sure there was nothing "wrong" with the engine. It had made a weird noise a month ago, and then again on Thursday, but because it was so irregular they didn't think there was anything they could do until it became more regular. They could, however, check to be sure nothing obvious was going on. So - the kids and I went out into an all out rainstorm (which I love, love, love!) and headed over to the shop. This is a new shop as I wasn't impressed with the last visit to the place we had been going. We piled into the waiting area and in no time at all my car was in and out of the garage. A missing fan clip was replaced for free and we were on our way.

Next stop was Fred Meyer to look at Halloween decorations and to pick up a few grocery items. We had a really good time there and by noon we were heading home. We had big plans for decorating the house for Halloween and the kids were beside themselves with excitement! One look in the driveway though told us our plans would have to be put on hold for a bit. The cleaning crew was still there - and to make it worse, they had *just* arrived. Kelton melted into a puddle of disappointment that it would be about an hour before we could start unpacking the decoration boxes.

Finally the cleaning crew was on their way and we headed out to the garage to find the orange and black storage boxes. Oh the excitement that took place and the utter chaos! I have to say, decorating for holidays is so much fun with kids. :) I took care of all the breakable things and they went to town on the window clings. Oh my! Our windows and slider glass doors are a sight! :) But hey - they had a great time and that's what it's all about.

Around dinner time Dakota arrived home. We decided to head over to the mall so that we could all have whatever we wanted for dinner. You just have to love food courts for that - the kids wanted McDonalds and neither Dakota nor I were in the mood. We picked up sandwiches from American Deli and then the four of us sat and had dinner together. At the next table was a teacher from our school district and she struck up a conversation with us - it was fun! And we learned lots and lots of things - and had quite a few things validated for us. It was nice. :)

Then we were off to look for a Halloween costume for Kelton, Kaylen is planning to be a Care Bear but Kelton was still undecided. He looked at Super Hero's, Power Rangers and Pirates but nothing grabbed his attention for long but then he spotted it - clown hair, shoes, a horn and a big red nose - and he was sold! Of course Kaylen couldn't be left out of the fun so we ended up getting some stuff for her as well. Aren't they the cutest clowns ever???

Dakota needed to study for a few hours on Saturday so the kids and I decided it was a good day to scrub down the kitchen floor. Yes, we had a cleaning team in the day before and yet, they have never once *scrubbed* the floor. They would wet mop it but the dirt managed to accumulate in the divots and it was in need of a good "hands and knees" scrubbing. We cleaned out the room and got busy. The kids wanted to help but....well....we all know how that went. Finally they got bored of sliding around on their tummies and moved on to watch tv and play. Our kitchen area is not small. The cooking area itself isn't big but the area where the kitchen table and computer hutch is fairly good sized and it took me almost three hours (with breaks to help the kids) on my hands and knees to scrub the floor. OUCH! I am sore today but the floor looks great! :)

I was just finishing up with putting everything back in its place when Dakota arrived home. We all had lunch and then headed out to go car seat shopping for Kaylen. No, she hadn't outgrown her seat but for months and months now she cries more often then not when she is in her seat. According to her, it was too tight and too uncomfortable. And I have to say that the crotch strap/buckle thing was indeed way too close for her to be comfortable. To get her comfortable, we'd often have the straps too loose for our comfort level. All in all, it was a miserable fit. The seat in Dakota's car was better for her so last week, after listening to a tantrum every time she had to be in her seat in my car, I switched them out. Friday night we had taken Dakota's car which was the first time Dakota witnessed Kaylen's new level of anxiety with that particular car seat. We both knew we had to do *something*. We went to Target and tried Kaylen in the Britax Marathon but the crotch strap was just as close in that one as in the one we currently had. And she had a melt down in the store aisle (which was sad because she was sooo excited to get a new seat and the fact that it was pink made her crazy happy. But then, we buckled her in and it was a no go. Poor girl.).

We had only one real option after that; the Britax Regent. It's the same seat the Kelton has. It's huge and you can 5pt harness to 80 pounds. I knew of only one place in the area that carried the Britax Regent so off we went for a 40 minute drive. The Regent does come in a girly pattern which we figured she would want but nope - she choose the brown suede. A choice that left both Dakota and I scratching our heads. But whatever. She was loving the seat!! We handed over our money *gulp* and had the tech install the seat. Once we had Kaylen all buckled into her new seat, I said "So? What do you think?" She gave me the biggest smile and said "It's so comfy!" This was the first time EVER that she has been happy about being in her car seat. The crotch strap is out far enough *and* it has a place it can move to down the road should we need to though I am doubtful we will need toas Kelton's crotch strap is in the same place as Kaylen's and he is totally comfortable in his seat.

The seat is sooo big and Kaylen looks so tiny in it. It's really very sweet. And she is so, so proud sitting in her new seat.

Today I went out and got my hair cut and picked up a few grocery items. When I arrived home, no one was here and since it was raining cats and dogs, there was only one logical assumption as to where my family was - out on a rain walk! I grabbed an umbrella and headed out to join them. By the time we got back to the house we were all soaked. We just love rain walks! :)

And with a rainy days comes a great excuse to stay in and enjoy the pitter pat of raindrops and some good quality family time. :)

I opened up my email today to find a request from Proud Parenting to link to the posting Disappearing Act. Of course I agreed. Go over and check it out - I'm number one on their top stories.

What an honor. Thanks, Proud Parenting!

For All My Pregnant Friends

(Pssst..Shawna...I totally am thinking of you with this. *grin*)

When you're pregnant, you become consumed with finding maternity clothes that are a) cool and b) fit. You'd think that would be easy enough but I never thought it was. When I was pregnant with Kelton a few stores, besides the one old standby, carried maternity clothes and I did alright finding a suitable wardrobe (both work clothes and non-work). With Kaylen though things were much different. All the stores except for Motherhood stopped carrying maternity clothes and it was a nightmare to find clothes. I even had trouble finding things on-line.

Kiki's Fashions (linked above) looks like a great place to buy incredibly reasonably priced maternity clothes. And oh my gosh - I was "window shopping" and I have to say that they have some really cute things! Tops that I would have actually worn!

I have to say, I loved maternity clothes and everyone in my family was jealous at Thanksgiving dinner that I had stretchy clothes. And you know what? There are some days that I really, really miss that stretchy comfort. :) No more babies for me though. :(

Happy Shopping!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Peace and Perspective

It's been a good day around here. No fighting. No yelling. No arguing. Well, a little arguing but nothing that wasn't easily remedied. :) I like days like this. No, I LOVE days like this. There was tons of snuggle time and millions of I love you. I was even lucky enough to be able to spend one-on-one time with Kelton on the backyard swing while Kaylen watched Dora inside. It isn't often these days that I have time alone with my first born - I miss it and it felt really good today.

I implemented a word into our lives today and I think it made a huge difference for all of us. Such a simple word: respect. Whenever someone started doing something they shouldn't be doing I would simply say "I need you to respect....." as in "I need you to respect Kaylen when she says stop." and "Do you think that was a respectful thing to have done?" and "I need you to respect my decision."

I was stunned and in awe of how easily it took care of things. It was like a magic word all day long. I was soft spoken when I would talk with them about it and they would both immediately start behaving again. So simple! And yes, I am well aware that what worked today might not work tomorrow but hey - it just might! I might be onto something. It was just a nice, gentle reminder for all of us.

Last night I was blog-hopping and I ended up on a blog that broke my heart into a trillion tiny pieces. It was a mom-blog written by a mom with two young daughters, an almost 6 year old and a not yet 2 year old. In July the family went to the beach and the 5 year old drowned while playing a water game. I read back into the archives and I literally sat riveted to my desk for forty minutes with tears streaming down my face. I can't begin to even comprehend the pain this mom is living with. It's heart wrenching and so, so raw.

After the afternoon/evening I had last night, I was beside myself. I went in to check the kids and kiss their sleeping faces a bunch of times. I just had to reassure myself they were ok because I just can't imagine losing them. I kept thinking "It can all change in the blink of an eye." Who cares about the paint? Who cares that it was a mess? They were having fun and laughing and playing. In the end, what did it really matter? They are here. Safe and healthy and loving life. That's what matters most and I need to remember that when they start acting up. In the grand scheme of things clothes can be washed (or tossed out) and skin washes clean eventually - hardly something to be angry about when I have my babies healthy and alive right in front of me.

Perspective, I tell you. Nothing like it.

A child who I never knew in life is making me strive to be a better, more patient mom. Her death has touched me and I don't think I will ever be the same.

Perspective. *sigh*

Tomorrow is another day and I am so blessed, lucky and fortunate to have the chance to spend it with my children. And tomorrow is a teacher in-service day in our district which means I get to have Kelton home all day long. I'm really, really looking forward to it. He has already put his bid in for something fun to do - he'd like to go to the store to "check out all the Halloween decorations". This cracks me up because both he and Kaylen are terrified of the Halloween rows and yet, they try to be very brave. It will be interesting to see how it goes. And through it all, I will be remember Hannah and the pain of her mother.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Not A Steller Moment

I really dislike moments like I had this afternoon. Nothing makes me feel like the world's worst parent then when I am yelling at my amazingly wonderful and beautiful children. I know most (all?) parents lose their cool with their kids and yet, I still hate when I do. I feel crappy during and after and it's definitely not the memory I want my kids to have of our time together.

I was incredibly busy and overwhelmed this afternoon trying to set up my own website domain. Being as removed from the technology world as I am made the process incredibly frustrating and time consuming. It was getting late and quickly coming up on the time I needed to start making dinner. The kids were growing restless and wanted to do this, that or the other thing. Then it hit Kelton - he wanted to paint! I told him no, that it wasn't the time for painting but he oh so cleverly got his sister on his paint bandwagon and they were all over me. (Did I mention I was frustrated with the computer stuff?) So - against my better judgement, I agreed to the painting project when Kelton came up with the idea of painting outside on the patio. They would have newspapers down so they wouldn't get paint all over the cement and they would be really careful not to make a big mess.

I agreed when every part of me was screaming "BAD IDEA! BAD IDEA!" I closed up the stuff on which I was working, set up their project and then went into the kitchen to start dinner. I hear the happy sounds of happy kids....for about 5 minutes. And then I hear "Kaylen...Kaylen...just dump the paint in your hand like this and rub it on your tummy."

SERIOUSLY?? Did I just hear that?

I go outside and what is there to greet me? Two children covered from head to toe in paint! Covered. Kelton very proudly saying "Look mom! I made our skin a different color."

I think I saw three shades of red...and mommy lost her cool.

So into the tub they went but not without leaving paint all over the bathroom wall, the floor, the sink, the toilet......*sigh*

I scrubbed them clean and then went outside to clean up the disaster area. I had to take the scrub brush to the patio to clean off the paint. All the clothes had to be sprayed down and washed - it was a giant mess. And I told them both that there would be no painting for two weeks (well - in my anger, I said until next year...but then after I came to my senses I backed it down to two weeks).

Once I calmed down I called Kelton into the kitchen where I was trying to make something for dinner. I apologized to him and then said "You know who I am the most angry at about all this?" He sheepishly said "Me?" "No," I told him, "Me." "I knew it was a bad idea. I knew that it was too late for a painting project and I knew that it wouldn't go well. Instead of sticking with the no I have you when you first asked I let myself be talked into it and I shouldn't have done that. So even though you were wrong to paint all over yourself, I was wrong too and I'm angry at myself for letting this all happen."

And what did he say? "That's ok, mom. Next time you'll know better."

Ummmmm.........yeah but not really what I wanted to hear. So I said "Yes. Next time when I say no, I'm going to stay with my no answer even if that means you are unhappy and cry about it. Next time we won't put ourselves in the position for this to happen because I don't like feeling angry at you, your sister or myself. And I don't like yelling at you guys."

After that conversation, I apologized to Kaylen. She said "Dat ok, Mommy. I love you." and gave me that silly little grin of hers.

I really don't like feeling like a crappy parent. *sigh*

What's All The Fuss?

I am going to confess upfront that I am not a techie. Since I've been home with the kids I have become removed from the technological world to a great extent - far greater than is probably good for me since I tend to get incredibly frustrated when I attempt to do something and it becomes crystal clear that I have been left behind in the technology dust. I used to be really good at techie things and there was precious little I didn't "get" when it came to computers and electronic gadgets. Sadly, that is no longer the case.

Take, for instance a MP3 player. What is all the fuss about? I just don't get it. People love them - I get that. I just don't know why or even what they do. I hear "I downloaded 3000 songs onto my MP3" and I think to myself "How in the world will you ever listen to 3000 songs?" But then, I have trouble getting through an entire song on the radio in the car when the kids are with me. Clearly my perception is off. :)

So indulge me...tell me why you love your MP3 (and would be great if you tell me what it actually does and what you use yours for, too. *grin*)

Light and Dark

Autumn is in the air and the shorter daylight hours are quickly approaching. I noticed that tonight it was significantly "less light" outside when it was time for the kids to go to bed. I love that! It's always hard to get them to settle down and sleep when the sun is shining, full force, into their room. There is something so cozy about dark evenings. I love that I can pull the blinds around 5pm and enjoy a longer "evening". I know - I'm crazy. But still, I love it.

The fact that the house is getting darker earlier has me thinking (or rethinking...or is that thinking again?) about our home lighting. When the lights are on, some rooms are too bright for me and others are not bright enough. There never seems to be a happy medium. Someday I'll get that all sorted out but for tonight, I'm just going to sit here and be happy for autumn is here and my dark evening hours are stretching out little by little. :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


It's one of those perfect autumn days. It's cool and crisp with blue sky poking through. The kids and I have been outside playing for a while and we had so much fun watching the leaves falling all around us. We talked about how much fun it will be when the front yard tree drops its colorful, dry, crackling leaves all over the yard. Kelton could clearly remember last year when, after returning home from a dinner out, all four of us played tagged in, rolled around in and tossed handfuls of leaves at each other. I was surprised at the level of detail he could recall - including where we had eaten dinner. I can't wait to do that again in a few weeks.

We're one of those neighbors that probably drive you crazy. We wait and let every leaf fall from the tree before we rake them up (or let the wind blow them away as we did last year. We didn't plan it but apparently Mother Nature thought we needed a break and gave us a huge windstorm. The next day - the yard was clean! Loved that!). We love to let the leaves hang around for a while so that we can play in them and take our annual autumn photos of the kids. Meanwhile, our neighbors across the street are out every other day raking and sweeping and cleaning up their yard. I'm sure we drive them crazy. :)

Yes, it's true. I love autumn. I love everything about it...the scents, the colors, the briskness, the jeans and light jackets or sweater....everything. I find myself standing in front of the window or sliding glass door just watching the world this time of year. I just can't get enough of it. So I ask you, is it wrong to want an outdoor kitchen so that we can sit out on the patio all bundled up while we (and by "we" I mean Dakota) cook dinner and watch the leaves tumble to the ground?

Happy Autumn everyone!

Email Messages

Just a day in my life......

This exchange, like so many others in our lives, took place via email. :)

From Dakota (with extra non-related text removed): on to homework (well, have been doing for a while, but checked to see if you wrote back since you didn't answer the phone)

From me:
Sorry about the phone - we were in the yard playing pirates and we had to shut the door to the house because well...there were wild animals in here. And then - we had to blow up the house because of the bad guys and wild animals and then we had to rebuild the house....twice.

It's been a busy day. You can see why I missed the phone. :)

From Dakota:
When you rebuilt the house, did you add some extra rooms? *hopeful


Sounds like big fun!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Disappearing Act

I love pulling disappearing acts sometimes and this weekend was no exception. Anyone want to take a wild guess as where we went? :) Here's a hint:

Oh yeah, baby! We went to the coast.

Dakota went to work and class Friday morning but then she needed to stop by the house for something on her way to go study the day away. The sun was shinning and it was a beautiful morning! I was folding laundry and Kaylen was watching "Barney's Halloween" when Dakota walked in the door and said "It's such a beautiful day! Want to go to the beach for the weekend?" you seriously need to ask? :) I did have a Moms Night Out bowling event Friday night but let's see...the beach for the weekend or bowling or a couple hours? Not much of a choice, was it?

Dakota got on the phone and started calling around and we found a place to stay with a beach view (we had stayed there in March). While Dakota lined up her mom and sister for pet care, I started packing. Then I left to pick Kelton up from school while Dakota and Kaylen worked on packing. We were out the door in 90 minutes.

What a great weekend! Sand, surf, carousel rides, bumper car rides (for Dakota and Kelton. None for me, thanks!), window shopping, arcade games, etc. We all had a great time!!

Day Two:

(note: click on the above photo and check out the look on Kaylen's face. It's just too darn funny!)

Day Three

All in all it was a great weekend - even when taking into account that the back tire developed a leak thanks to a sharp object of some sort which necessitated putting on the spare (the leak was not repairable and since it was Sunday, Costco was the only place open on the coast that had tires and they didn't carry the right size). I had to drive home at 50mph which was both frustrating and stressful. The delay in starting out, the slow travel speed, the pulling over so cars could pass, etc. really added time to our travel which meant we weren't home in the early afternoon so Dakota could get in her lost study time (from Friday). It also meant a late evening trip to buy a new tire since time is a precious commodity around here (it was Dakota's car which she drives to work and school which means no time during business hours to deal with tire trouble). But still - a trip to the beach is worth it's weight in gold. We all are wishing we were still on the coast. Life is just better at the beach! :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Loose Tooth Update

Is no news good news when it relates to a loose tooth? I don't think so but then it seems I am the only one around here waiting on pins and needles for that darn little thing to come out. Kelton has all but stopped wiggling it and he seems really nervous about it coming out. His fear has run from "It's going to hurt to eat food without my tooth." to "Does this mean I have to give up my baby blanket?" (which he absolutely does not have to do) so the fact that he is holding on so tight to that thing brings home the fact that this poor little guy is undergoing some major changes and is having trouble coping. Clearly loosing his baby tooth is being equated to "You are no longer our baby. You are a big kid and everything from here on out changes."

We are reassuring him on all fronts and though I can tell he is relieved to hear the words being said, I'm not sure he trusts what he is hearing. I can't blame him - I would imagine it's a hard place emotionally for him to be; one foot in the real world of "big kids" and one foot still needing and wanting to be "little". I can see him struggle with it and it's hard to watch. I know he will figure it out and everything will be ok (we all go through it) eventually.

I have explained that fact that his tooth is going to come out whether he wants it to or not but that's about all I can do. I remember not wanting to loose my top front tooth (which was clearly hanging on by pure magic and nothing else) when I was six. I did everything in my power not to touch it. Finally my dad took me to my grandma's house and she asked to look at it and when I opened my mouth to show her she reached in and *BAM* it was out. Loosing teeth is scary and exciting and overwhelming but I'm telling you, the way that puppy is moving around in there it can't possibly be much longer. I just hope he doesn't end up swallowing it in his sleep.

And while the Tooth Fairy won't be leaving a land deed for Wilmington NC real estate, I have a feeling that a shiny gold coin is waiting for him....and maybe she'll throw in a paper dollar for good measure. It is, after all, his first tooth. First teeth are special. :)

Check Me Out! :)

I really enjoy being granted these type of awards. They make me feel special and I love knowing that my life makes an impact on others.

This is what Lynilu had to say about me:
Casey has a tender heart and has struggled over life changes in the past months. Those with tender hearts seem to feel those pains in others, as well, and Casey notices what her fellow bloggers are coping with, always adding her kind words in support.

Thanks, Lynilu!! :) :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Buzz Buzz Buzz

Did you hear that? It's the sound of bees.

Yes, you read that correctly. Bees. Yellow jackets, to be precise. Lots and lots of yellow jackets going back and forth from places unknown guessed it.........the crawl space of our house.

Are you kidding me??????????

I wanted to run for the hills, or at least a nice piece of West Palm Beach real estate when we discovered the bees on Saturday. There I was, happily going about the business of pre-winterizing the backyard (putting the summer toys away, deflating and putting away the pool, trimming up the plants, etc.) when I suddenly realized there was a lot of bee activity happening under the kitchen window. I stopped and watched for a minute and yes indeed - there were bees...lots and lots of bees coming and going through the venting. I seriously wanted to cry!

Monday found us calling the bee guy (in between calls to The Geek Squad for the computer stuff) and scheduling a time for them to come out to take care of our "new friends". The owner of the company (he was also the 3rd guy who came out when the bumble bees refused to leave last month) was waiting for me when the kids and I arrived home after picking Kelton up at school. He looked at me and said with a half-laugh "If it wasn't for bad luck you'd have no luck at all, would you?" He sure hit that nail on the head! That's exactly how I was feeling about all this bee trouble. What were the chances we'd have to have someone out to take care of bees under the house *four* times in one summer? Four times!!

He went under the house and removed the nest. He said it was pretty new and only about the size of a honeydew melon. (Just between you and me, I think that's a pretty darn good size but what do I know?) He sprayed the area both under the house and outside and said that should do it. Let's hope so. As he was leaving Kelton yelled out "Bye! See you next year!" Oh I hope not. I would like to be "bee free" for at least one year. I really don't think that's so much to ask.

save our homes

The Computer is Home!

There's no place like home! I have my desktop computer back and everything is once again right with the world. I am so very grateful that I had a laptop to fall back on because I think I may have gone a bit batty without contact to the outside world but I am so, so, so happy to be sitting at my desk typing on a regular keyboard.

Apparently, even after 40 some hours of virus repair work, system sweeps, defrags, etc. with The Geek Squad (yes, that's the name of a real place. I believe they are affiliated with Best*Buy) we still had a whopping TWENTY SIX virus' (and I believe GS removed many as well - not to mention a ton of spyware)! I find that unbelievable. From my best guess work, I think we have been without anti-virus protection for three or four weeks (unbeknownst to me, I might add. I didn't realize it was time to renew it and I sure don't remember seeing anything pop up on my screen telling me it had lapsed). What kind of sickos are out there writing computer virus' to screw up the lives of people they have never met, nor will ever meet? What is the point, I ask you?? I seriously do not get it.

I really liked the computer guy who helped us. He was very quiet but clearly knows his stuff. He picked up the CPU yesterday at 3pm and this morning at 10am I had a call asking when it would be a good time to bring it back. Now that is service, my friend! :) And really - for all the work he had to put into this (he didn't wipe the hard drive, instead he went in an removed every single virus which means we didn't lose a thing!) his charge was reasonable! $163.00 which is only $64 than we were paying with GS (we got a full refund from them since they weren't able to help us). We also had him add some memory as well as a virus protection program (fool me once and all that jazz...).

Sure, I'd rather have done something fun with the money like buy tickets to a NCAA Tournament but what can you do? A person needs a computer. :)

It's so nice to be able to blog again! :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Boy Has A Loose Tooth!

Yes it's true. Five years to the week of his first tooth popping through his tender baby gum, it is loose. And not just a little bit wiggly...a whole lot wiggly! He is over the moon delighted at his new official "big kid" status.

We were brushing teeth tonight and after he finished his brushing I took over control of the toothbrush to be sure things were well brushed and I noticed that his lower front tooth didn't look quite right. (In truth, I've noticed the past couple of days that the bottom teeth seemed to be smooshed together more than usual but didn't give it too much thought.) I looked more closely and then I touched it - that thing was so darn wiggly that I jumped back and squealed "Your tooth is loose! Feel this!" He put his finger on the tooth, wiggled and screamed "I've been waiting for this day all my life!!!! I have a loose tooth!!! MOM! MY TOOTH IS LOOSE!!!!"

It was the funniest thing - Kaylen and I crowded around him watching him wiggle his tooth.

He said "Mom - I need an apple! If I eat an apple it might come out." So I went to the kitchen and got him one. He tried but finally admitted that it sort of hurt to bite with it. We decided wiggling would be the best way for now. And wiggle he did.

He wanted to call Dakota but she was already in class. I checked MSN*Messenger to see if she was logged in but she wasn't (very unusual). He looked sadly at me and said "Who can I call to tell?" We decided to call Aunt Lannon who guessed his big news on the first try. After that it was a call to his cousin Mikayla who is also experiencing her first loose tooth. The two talked on and on and on about wiggling teeth, The Tooth Fairy, how much the Tooth Fairy would leave and what they would buy with their money. It was pretty darn cute and I loved being a fly on the wall to their conversation.

He went to bed happy and excited. Another milestone reached. Next stop - a visit from the Tooth Fairy. He can't wait. And you know what? Neither can I. :)

I'm Back!! :)

I know, I know - you barely had time to miss me but believe me, I've missed being on-line. Who knew? :) The Geek Squad couldn't fix the computer stuff (some big virus that I can't recall the name of) so they refunded us our money (YAY!) and. on the advice of a friend, we contact a local computer repair guy who came by the afternoon and picked up the CPU to clean it off and reload everything. For good measure we also asked to have more memory installed. He seems really nice and even hooked up my laptop so that I don't have to walk around the house trying to find an unsecured wireless access from a neighbor. Yes, I know that is totally wrong but there you have it. I just think of it as sharing. :) We used to have a wireless router but it freaked out last year and we disconnected it. We have a new one and once the computer is back up and running we will get it all hooked up.

I am now using my laptop (have I mentioned how thankful I am to have a laptop ti be able to use? I am REALLY thankful!!) and am happy to have internet access. Yippie!!

So where was I before all this computer chaos started? Oh right- the babysitter.

Dakota and I went to see Tret Fure in concert this past Saturday and left the kids with a sitter for the first time ever. It was great!!! The concert was great (of course) and it was nice to catch up a bit with Tret and a few other people we haven't seen in a long time. Mostly though, it was nice to be with Dakota and just be together. Heck - we even were able to hold hands which is something we rarely have time to do these days. It was nice to chat in the car and just be "us". I hardly gave the kids a second thought because I just had this feeling that they were in good hands.

And good hands they were definitely in! We arrived home at 10:30 to utter chaos and such obvious fun! Kaylen was watching Barney and Kelton and the sitter were making Shrinky Dinks. The house was a disaster zone of art projects, science experiments, cooking, playdoh, etc. It seriously looked like they had the best time. Both kids were bubbling over with happiness and it was obvious how much fun they had had.

It wasn't five minutes from the time the sitter walked out the door to the time that both kids were sound asleep. It was sweet and cute and funny. I knew they probably wouldn't go to bed (and the sitter had been warned) though I did half-way expect Kaylen to have crashed before we got home. But nope- they had been going full steam ahead. I'm glad they had so much fun and the few hours of sleep that they missed were easily enough made up.

So - the first babysitter experience was a hit and I plan to schedule another time soon. The kids adored her, she appeared to be having fun and left us with "Call anytime!" You have to love that. :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Computer Trouble

I have so much to say and so little time right now. My desktop computer seems to have contracted some sort of mondo virus as well as spyware galore and has decided that it must take a much needed holiday. The Geek Squad has been doing their best to bring it back to life. We're moving in on the 21st hour since the first call and well - it's still going through SpySweep after SpySweep and the hours logged talking to the tech center are many. Poor Dakota - she has missed an entire day of work and school trying to get me back online. I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate her taking this on. I am worthless when it comes to this type of stuff and if I had needed to do this alone while dealing with the kids and whatnot.

I dug out my laptop and that is how I am coming to you now. Laptops are ok but honestly, I am more of a desktop kinda girl. Give me my mouse, a big keyboard and a nice sized screen and I'm happy. I feel like I'm playing a game on this one though I know if I had to do it for any length of time I would adjust. I remember when I came back from Seattle after using this computer for five weeks - the desktop computer seemed gigantic! I kept asking if Dakota had messed with the settings because the icons were so big. :)

I'm not a person who enjoys change. Have you picked up on that from reading my blog all these months/years? :) :) :)

Hopefully life will return to status quo in the next few hours and than I will be able to post a real update. We actually left the kids for the first time *ever* with a paid, non-family member sitter and went out Saturday night. We had a good time but I'm thinking the kids had a much better time. I'll have to tell you all about it. Let's just say that I love, love, love the sitter and so did the kids as yesterday I kept hearing "Mom, I wish Tweety could come stay with us today." I was thinking to myself "Yeah - I do to." :)

Think good thoughts for my computer. It's unbelievable how much I miss that thing. (Sad really - I feel sort of lost without it.) More soon.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Cloudy Day

It's been gray, cool and on and off again drizzly all day. Fits my mood perfectly. The leaves on the trees are changing daily and I can definitely feel autumn in the air. Today is quite a change from two days ago when it was 91 degrees. I both like and dislike that about this time of year - one day it's summer and the next it's fall. Back and forth it goes. It's hard to know what clothes to wear each day. I pulled out the bin of last years winter clothes for Kaylen today (she still wears the same size)but I can't really switch out her summer things yet. Kelton's school clothes are all fall/winter so every day I am needing to rifle through his summer shirts to find shirts he can wear to school (no stains, good shape, etc.). Once the weather settles in I can change out their wardrobes...but not yet. It's still too soon.

It's like being caught between two worlds. And again, that fits my feelings perfectly because that is totally how I am feeling.

I miss my mom. It's sad days like this that I miss her most of all. Times that, when I was a child, I would imagine her being here for. Now in reality, she was "gone" long, long before she died because of the brain deterioration and while I logically know that I've been without my mom since my early 20's, my heart aches in these moments when I could really use my mom. I sit here imagining that she would know what to say to make me feel better. Imagining. I know that's all it is and yet....I still want it.

"Mom - think of butterflies and happy thoughts." That's what Kelton tells me whenever he knows I'm feeling sad. Butterflies and happy thoughts. If only that made everything better.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Have You Seen My Groove?

I can't find my groove. Seriously. It's like I have been walking along the beach when suddenly a ginormous wave came and knocked me over. I've lost my footing and I'm scrambling.

Yep. That about says it all. Since Dakota and Kelton both started school I am finding it hard to find my rhythm. The getting Kelton ready for school and to school part isn't the issue - we're fine there (and for those wondering, he has decided that for now he wants me to take him to school but for no other reason that he likes to be there early so he can talk and play with the other kids as they arrive. When he goes on the bus, they keep them contained on the bus until the first bell rings. Clearly that was putting a cramp in his social life. *grin* I don't mind. I actually enjoy taking him.) it's just that after Kaylen and I walk away from the school things seem to stop making sense. Part of me is missing and it's such a weird feeling.

Kaylen and I went to Costco on Monday and it just seemed not quite right. Not enough chaos around me, I suppose. Yesterday we went to MOMS Club but even Kaylen complained of missing Kelton. She said "Dis no fun without Kelton." I had to agree that it wasn't nearly as much fun. More calm, yes. But definitely more lonely.

When we picked Kelton up yesterday I decided to take them to IHOP for lunch. This was BIG for us. Kelton has been wanting to go but I have never taken them out to eat by myself. We've hit drive-thru's, yes, but never a sit down meal. They actually did really well. I was encouraged.

Today Kaylen and I just hung out at home. I balanced the checkbook (something I could never ever do with both of them here), watched some TV with Kaylen, answered some emails, did some laundry and even chatted for a few minutes on IM with a friend. The house is so quiet ithout him here that it's almost eerie.

It's such a relief when the clock says it's time to go get Kelton. When we are all together again I think we all breathe easier.

That's not to say the afternoons are heaven on earth. Far from. But they are "normal" as we know it.

On the plus side of things though the vice principal was in Kelton's room this morning when we arrived and she took me aside and asked "Is Kelton *always* this happy? Every day when I come through here he is just full of live, grins and happiness. He really makes my day - I really enjoy him!" I said that yes, he was always like that and always has been. And that part is so very true. The child is one of the happiest people I've ever known. It's so great that someone noticed that *and* took the time to share it with me.

Here is an interesting fact that I learned this week: when you are getting ready to teach your child how to write it may be to your advantage to contact the school in your area to ask what handwriting style they are using. Confused? Yeah - me too. See, I noticed that the papers Kelton brought home had the practice words written in a font that I can only really describe as "italic-like". There were tail-like things on the end of letters and it clearly had Kelton confused. He even asked why there was a "funky J in his name". I didn't understand it myself as I had always assumed that school taught block-style manuscript - you know the kind I'm talking about - the kind they teach on Sesame Street and the kind you see in every learning to write book. It's probably the style you were taught with.

Boy did I assumed so wrong. Never in a million years would I have thought to call to ask what style they taught. Turns out, the entire school district (like many across the United States and beyond) teaches and uses D'nealian Handwriting. The premise is all well and good but wow! What a shocker. So now Kelton has to essentially relearn how to write. I picked up practice books from the school and I plan on ordering some wall posters so that we can immerse ourselves in this new writing technique.

Check it out:

Old style "wake"

New style "wake"

Old style:

New style:

I always figured math would be a problem in the higher grades what with the "new math" stuff (and it was never my strong subject) but I never guessed I wouldn't be able to help with the writing part. So..not only am I trying to find a groove...I also have to relearn to write. Fun.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11th

This is a hard day for me. Every single second of that day is forever etched into my being. I was 11 weeks pregnant with Kelton and this day completely changed how safe I feel in the world.

Kelton came home from kindergarten today full of questions about the twin towers falling. I wish the teacher would have warned us she was planning to talk about it (or that it had come up and they had discussed it). I wasn't prepared for his questions as since it is such an incredibly emotional topic for me, it was difficult for me to get through. It was so hard to talk with him about it and I'm not convinced this was a topic that 5 year olds should have been discussing anyway.

Tonight he was full of fears about this, that or the other thing.

And so it begins....I am no longer the information censor in order to protect him. Somehow that makes today feel even more scary.

Thank God I'm Not The Only Crazy Mom

My sister sent this article to me and I thought I would share it with all of you. Somehow, there is comfort in knowing you aren't alone on the crazy train. :)

A mother’s survival guide to school bus riding

Standing in line at the grocery store recently, I overheard a woman talking to her son about riding the school bus for the first time. It brought back memories of my older daughter’s first ride.

She was entering first grade and was more than ready to get on that big, yellow bus. I was the one who thought that it was scary.

As the first day of school arrived and we walked up to the corner, my nerves became more and more pronounced. Would the bus make it there? It was only a mile away but what if it broke down; where would the children go? And who would be on the bus?

I had heard a lot about children learning inappropriate words and gestures from other children. And bullying! What about that? My mind raced with every terrible situation it could think of— all involving my daughter.

When the bus did arrive, my daughter kissed me and waved as she got on, sitting in the front row. Thank goodness she listened to me about that. I wanted her right next to the driver. But then I realized that I didn’t know the driver.

I always ask anyone who was going to be in charge of my daughter lots of questions, but I hadn’t done that. Who was this person driving off with my child?

That was enough for me! I ran the five houses down to my home and hopped into my car to follow the bus.

I was impressed that the driver went slower than the speed limit, placed her yellow warning lights on long before she needed to stop, and when she did stop she made sure all cars did too.

I followed the bus all the way to the school parking lot and watched as my daughter got off and went right in the front doors, just like we had practiced many times the week before.

Satisfied, I returned home and walked in just as the phone was ringing. It was my father, making sure all went well.

When I told him about my following the bus, he remembered his first day of school, and how he got on the wrong bus to come home. He rode all over southwest Portland terrified his mom would never find him. (It ended well. As the bus returned to the school, with him as the only passenger, he saw his mom, pushing his little sister in a baby carriage, on the way to school to find him.)

This story sent me into panic mode because I hadn’t even thought twice about how my daughter would make it home.

I spent the next six hours fretting about this, conjuring terrible images in my mind about where she would end up. So, I decided to go up to Mt. Pilchuck and follow the bus home.

As the bell rang, I was hunkering down behind a bush. I couldn’t let her see me because she had told me over and over that she was old enough to take the bus.

When she walked out, I watched her walk from bus to bus looking for the one she was suppose to get on. Did she forget the bus number? We had gone over it a million times!

In a state of panic, I called out to the first teacher that I saw to come over to the bush that I was in. I pointed out my daughter to him and asked him to please help her because she was about to get lost.

He looked at me, a smile on his face, and assured me that wouldn’t happen. He suggested we give her another minute to see if she could figure it out.

I was shocked and wanted to complain to him about this no-help school when I noticed him staring at me. He was probably memorizing my face as a future neurotic parent to stay away from.

I was about to explain to him that even though I was hiding in a bush, I was not crazy when I then saw my daughter get onto the correct bus.

I sprinted out of the bush and to the parking lot to get my car and followed the bus until I was a block from home, when I hurried up a different street in an attempt to get my car home, and walk back up to the corner to see her off of the bus.

When she got off, we hugged and I asked her about the first day of school.

“It was great!” she replied. “But you must be tired!”

“Why?” I asked
“Because you spent the day in the bushes at my school. I saw you there. But that’s OK, Mom; I know that you worry because you love me.”

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pirate Family

Just thought I would share Kelton's drawing with you. Apparently we are a pirate family. You'll know who I am by the brown curly hair. :) We all have one regular leg and one peg leg and we are all holding swords. I had to cut a bit off because the paper was a bit too large for my scanner.

The note from his teacher says:
Kelton, Your pirate family sounds like a lot of fun!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Family Time

I love family time. It's fun to go places and do things as a family. The kids always have a great day and go to bed exhausted beyond all reason. There is something so satisfying in knowing that your kids have had an amazingly great day even if the day has been crazy and busy and hectic.

But there is one thing I really, really look forward to on family days and that is family night once the kids are tucked into their beds. I love that Dakota is home and we can turn down the lights, pop in a movie and just settle in and "be". I cherish our time together as a family more now than I think I did three years ago. Don't get me wrong - I loved our family time then I just didn't "get" how precious it is. I took it for granted, like we tend to do in life, but now that the days are few and far between I find myself looking forward to days when the four of us can spend all day together.

Life is good!

Party Time!

Kelton is going to a birthday party this afternoon. He hasn't yet decided if he wants to go alone or if he wants Dakota to go with him. Kelton has been getting birthday invitations to this particular child's birthday since he was about 18 months old. J is 7 months older than Kelton which, at one time, felt like a huge difference. Now they are both in kindergarten (J's birthday is after the official cutoff so he is (at least, he will be on Wednesday) a 6 year old kindergartner) and the age difference has all but disappeared.

If Kelton decides to go alone, it will be the second time he has gone to a party alone.

When did he get to be such a big kid?

Friday, September 07, 2007

School Buses and Seat Belts

I know many people have asked if there are seat belts on school buses and the answer is no, there are not. Here is what the National Highway Transportation Administration has to say about why there are no seat belts. Ironically enough, even though I am a stickler for my children's safety, I am ok with there being no belts in the buses.

Here is the website I am referencing:

The National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA) has issued a position statement on seat belts on school buses, concluding that "there is insufficient reason for a Federal mandate for seat belts on large school buses." The statement points out that:

"School bus transportation is one of the safest forms of transportation in the United States. We require all new school buses to meet safety requirements over and above those applying to all other passenger vehicles. These include requirements for improved emergency exits, roof structure, seating and fuel systems, and bus body joint integrity. These requirements help ensure that school buses are extremely safe."

NHTSA feels that the best way to provide crash protection to passengers is through "compartmentalization," in which "buses provide occupant protection so that children are protected without the need to buckle-up. Occupant crash protection is provided by a protective envelope consisting of strong, closely-spaced seats that have energy-absorbing seat backs."

**end snip**

Mommy on the Edge Answers the Comments

Froggymama said...
Oh boy. I hear ya. I think I'm going to be the crazy mom who volunteers her time everyday to ride the bus to and from school! But to try and calm your fears, I was a school bus driver in college and we were soooo careful making sure those little ones were taken care of, and safely arrived at school. I watched each one of them walk into the building -- and the school and our bus company were equally concerned. And everyday the principle of the school stood outside, ushering the kids inside. Are there teachers or staff outside, helping the kids in?

FroggyMama: NO. There is no staff outside at all. There was the first two days but then yesterday and today there wasn't a single adult. Kelton's bus is around the corner and quite a distance from his classroom so there is no one watching these kids at all.

11:44 PM
Perrin said...
Oh...this is hard. In the beginning I didn't think C would ride the bus for the first couple of years but on Day2 she demanded it. From what I can gather, the loading of the buses isn't nearly as organized at it seems it should be yet every day C made it. Today I had a scare as when the bus arrived for drop-off....she wasn't there. Finally the bus driver called her name about 5 times and then she came. She was busy talking and didn't notice it was her stop. I think when the buses arrive at school the kids generally all go in one direction and there are grown-ups around. You have to do what you are comfortable with but I finally I decided I just had to let go and trust that it would be ok. Hard! If C wasn't so insistent on riding the bus I would have been happy to drive her.

Perrin: *sigh* Hard it is. I'm not sure I can let go and trust that he will be ok. I'm just not sure I can do that.I would feel a million times better if there was an adult waiting for the buses to walk the kindergartners to their rooms.

12:42 AM
SassyFemme said...
From a teacher's point of view, he'll let you know when he's ready for you to not be there. IMO, there's nothing wrong with being there every day, or taking him to school every day, as long as he's able to make the transition from you to the classroom. No matter where I've worked it seems like the first week or two of school usually has some bus issues.

SassyFemme: He doesn't have issues breaking away from me. He is only scared of not finding his room and of being lost. Once we're there, he goes right in, checks in, hangs up his stuff, kisses me goodbye and walks away. It's just the getting there that is the issue.

4:43 AM
patti_cake said...
I don't know Casey. I don't WANT to be a helicopter parent but it's so hard.
Actually when I first saw your school pics and saw Kelton was riding the school bus I thought "Whoah, Madison will not be riding the school bus for a few years at least". NOT criticizing or judging you, at all, just the very young age + school bus just wouldn't compute in my mind.
Does Kelton WANT to ride the bus? Would he be upset if you drove him to school? That would probably ease your mind and your driving there anyway....
About the kid across the street. The hell? .... I can barely let my child play at the edge of our secluded cul de sac, no way would she get anywhere NEAR a road. No way. What are the parents thinking?

Patti, I am so not happy about the bus thing but he has been dreaming of his bus riding days since he was just over two. This morning we had settled on my taking him instead of going on the bus but when it was time to leave he said "I want to take the bus!!!" So a mad scramble took place to get him out to the bus stop in time (I was planning to leave a little after the bus would have been by so we had mere minutes to get out the door.). I had really been wanting to take him today but he wants so much to be a big kid.

6:58 AM
SJayneI said...
Hey, I don't blame you. I hate school buses. There really should be another adult on them anyway. Maybe there is where you live, but here in Oklahoma there is only the driver and a bus full of rowdy kids (no seat belts either). I pray that we are still in the situation where I can be home when it comes time for school so I can drive them.

And, yes, there should be someone meeting the buses for 5-year olds!!!

SJayne: AMEN!!

8:29 AM
Kristen said...
Hey I can comment!

What about following his bus, but parking a distance away and just watching him go in? You can see that he makes it in, but not have to physically walk him. That would also let you know that he *can* make it in safely and its organized chaos, not plain chaos.

This coming from the mom of a two year old who will walk to school cuz its across the street, so...

Kristen: That was plan for today but he freaked out and wanted me at the door. So I tried to alter the plan even more and just take him myself but he wanted to ride the bus. Because of the way the school is designed, I can't go somewhere within sight but not too close. I had thought about leaving 15 minutes after the bus picked him up to see if he made it to his class but he nixed that idea. He wanted me there when he got off the bus.

8:40 AM
Jojo said...
I don't know. I'm still of the mind that an adult other than the bus driver should ride on the bus at all times. I still think this is a 2 person job. Josh's school does not have bus service, none the less, parents are not allowed to drop off kinder's. Olders can be dropped at the front door, but Kinders must be taken to pre-care or to the classroom by an adult.

JoJo: A good plan, actually. These kids are five years old. They are only 5 years old. Way too young for a traditional drop off.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Kindergarten, Day Three

So far, so good. He seems to really like his teacher and today when I picked him up he gushed on and on about having two new best friends. One is named Kevin but he can't remember the other boy's name. I always have to hold back giggles when he talks of "best friends" but doesn't know names. Life is so easy when you are five. :) And in case you are wondering, recess is his favorite time. :)

Life isn't so easy for me though. I'm having issues about the big yellow bus. Mainly, I'm not sure when or if I will ever be ready to *not* follow the bus and make sure that Kelton arrives safely to his classroom. It just feels so....I don't know....not safe to expect a 5 year old to get where he is supposed to be without anyone watching him. He doesn't need hand holding but it would be nice if someone would meet the buses and escort the kindergartners to their rooms for the first few weeks.

It makes no sense to me - we spend years teaching children not to talk to strangers and to always stay within sight and then BAM! They go to school and the rules all change. As an example, the little boy across the street has always had someone come with him when he came over to play. Always. That included last Thursday. He is now in the afternoon kindergarten class and this afternoon when the bus arrived to drop him off, there was no one to meet him - he just bolted across the street (which is residential but people tend to drive way too fast on it). Then he bolted back over to our side to see if Kelton could play (he couldn't, we were getting ready to sit down to dinner). He bolted *back* across the street. An hour later the doorbell rings again and it is once again this unescorted child who was dropping off a birthday party invite (for this Saturday! Another gripe of mine. A little more notice would have been really, really nice. *sigh*). So that is what? FIVE times this child bolted across a street alone. Apparently once your child enters school, all safety measures just go out the window?

Ummm...yeah. Not for MY kid!

So my dilemma is this: When do I stop meeting him at the school to be sure he arrives safely? When do I just take it on faith that he is there safe and sound? When does it become ok that I wouldn't know if he didn't show up for a minimum of 90 minutes (or more) between arrival time, attendance time and the time that the office staff calls parents? When do I just say no to the bus and drive him there myself because frankly, that would be easier and less stressful for me. Or do I just do what I said I would never do and get him a Disney Go Phone that has a built in GPS so that I can check to be sure he is at the school? And even if the GPS says he is there, what's to say his backpack is but he is long gone?

How in the world am I supposed to feel safe that my baby is out in the world with no one watching to be sure he is ok? He is not 10 or 12 or 14 or 16. He is five. Five is too young to just put on a bus at the house and assume that he will be safe until I see him again three and a half hours later.

I think this will be a great deal easier when Kaylen starts school (I think that now, anyway). Kelton will be in the same school and I will have him walk her to her class each day. I just wish there was an older student that I knew and trusted to walk with him from the bus to the classroom door. That would alleviate so many of my fears.

I just don't know how parents can put their child on a school bus and walk the other direction. I guess this is proof positive that I am an over-protective parent who trusts very few people with my children.

Yes, it's true. I'm a freak about my children's safety. :)

A Step Up?

My daughter is a piece of work, let me tell you. There is nothing she can't figure out for herself if given half the chance. In our kitchen we have a wide counter that doubles as a breakfast bar (which we hardly ever use) and, like most homes with such a thing, we have bar stools under the counter. In recent months Kaylen has learned that she can scale up a bar stool so that she can sit on the counter to help cook, access pens, pencils, note paper and/or scissors or heck - just for the fun of it she can sit there and take in the view of her kingdom. It's often these days that I will walk into the kitchen to find her sitting happily on the counter. (She hasn't mastered getting down yet so that still involves a yell for "Help me get down from here!")

But now she has discovered new uses for the bar stools. Many, many uses. Once dragged into the living room it can help her reach the VCR/DVD so that she can try to put in her own shows (Barney is still her all time favorite). They can also be placed on their sides and used as a boat or filled to capacity with dolls. And just tonight she discovered that when you haul one into the backyard you can climb up onto the swing without help. Eeeeeek! Yeah - that one almost gave me a heart attack so we had to have a talk about stools needing to stay *inside* the house and on flat, level and solid floors.

I suppose it was only a matter of time until she moved on the bar stools. This girl has been dragging around step stools for the past 18 months in order to get closer to things.

Nothing is safe from this girl. :)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Great, Amazing and Exciting News!

I have been sitting on some seriously good news for almost a week now but since it wasn't my news to break to people I pledged my silence until the time was right.

The time is now!

My best buddy Brenda is moving home!!!!

If you have been a long time reader of my blog then you know that Brenda moved away to California last September because of a job opportunity for her husband. It was sad, sad, sad but we stayed true to our friendship and talked on the phone practically every single day. As luck would have it, her husband was offered an even more amazing job opportunity back here the next 4-6 weeks Brenda will be back. I am so excited I can barely stand it. WAHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

And as I promised, Brenda, I'll be standing on the porch of your (as of yet to be bought) new house with a Chai Tea Latte in my hands to welcome you home!!

I am so, so, so happy. :) :) :)

Such a Difference!

This morning started out a bit rocky with Kelton going back and forth between "I don't want to go to school!" and "Don't follow my bus. I want to do it by myself." Overall though, he wanted to go.

We finally settled on a plan. Kaylen and I put him on the bus and then drove to the school and waited at his classroom door. He walked from the bus to his room to find us. (If the buses arrive earlier than 9:10 (his has been first to arrive both days) the bus driver keeps the kids on the bus. Once the bell rings at 9:10, the bus doors open and kids come streaming off.) While Kaylen and I were waiting, the teacher listed on Kelton's paperwork put a list of names on the outside of her door. Kelton's name was not listed. I was hoping this meant the he was being moved into the other class. When the teacher finally opened her door I asked if that is indeed what it meant and yep, it did! When Kelton rounded the corner I went to him and broke the good news - he was so excited and kept saying "My dream came true! My dream came true!" (It's something he picked up in Disneyland last summer and says often when things go his way.)

We walked into the new room (next door to his first room) and was greeted with what I think a kindergarten room should look like. There were baskets of art supplies on the tables, baskets of books to keep them busy while everyone arrived and name tags taped to their spots. It was organized and Kelton had no trouble figuring out what to do. The teacher was greeting everyone and showing the kids where to hang their backpacks and jackets and then asked them to go find their seats. I looked at Kelton when he was in his seat and I said "So? Are you ready?" He gave me the biggest smile and said "Yep. I'm good. You can go." and he gave me a kiss.

I love that boy!!!!

I left the room feeling happy (Kaylen, however, was crying. She wanted to go outside and play on the playground. Silly girl.). I just know he is having a really good morning and I am really glad they switched teachers for him. I think he will respond really well to the new teacher because she was all he could talk about yesterday afternoon. He kept telling me how he wished he could be in her room and talked about how great her room was (he had gotten to go in and see it) so this really is his dream come true.

I feel soooooo relieved.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

First Day Update

I just picked up Kelton from school. I was having trouble reading him when I first walked into the room but once he was dismissed to come over to me here is what I heard:

I LOVED IT!! It was SOOOOO much fun and I can't wait to come back tomorrow!!
*happy sigh of relief*

Crisis averted. Thank God.

First Day

Well now - that sucked.

I had to leave my crying and upset child sitting in his room at school. My heart broke into a million tiny pieces. I hate this.

He was so excited all morning long and happily climbed onto the bus at home and off of the bus at school. He posed for photos and then we started walking to his room. As soon as we neared the door he flipped out and ran. We finally talked him into going inside the room but it didn't get any better. He was trying so hard to keep it together but then came time for us to go and he lost it.

I hated having to walk away knowing how upset he was. Yes, I know - he's probably fine (well - fine enough) by now but that doesn't help at all from where I am sitting. I am already dreading tomorrow when I know he will have a fit and not want to go.

This sucks and except for when he was first born and I had to turn him over to the NICU nothing has broken my heart more. My baby is unhappy and I can't help him.


Here are some photos taken before the complete melting. He looks so happy, doesn't he?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Pretzel Recipe

To those who have asked, nope, I don't mind sharing at all! Here you go:

1 tbl. Yeast
1.5 cups warm water
1 tsp. salt
1 tbl. sugar
4 cups flour
1 egg, beaten
course salt

Measure warm water into large mixing bowl.
Sprinkle yeast into water and stir until it looks "soft"
Add salt, sugar and flour
Mix and knead dough

Prepare surface for working. I usually put down wax paper and flour (to help the dough not stick to everything).

Give everyone a lump of dough to work with and have them twist it into shapes, letters, numbers, etc.

Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray and place completed pretzel shapes on the cookie sheet. Leave some space as the pretzels will rise as they cook.

Brush pretzels with the beaten egg and sprinkle with course salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until they are a nice golden brown.


Another Manic Weekend!

How in the world did we manage to pack so much into two and half days? Talk about trying to squeeze the last bit out of summer - WOW!

Saturday Dakota arrived home from studying around lunch time. By then, the kids and I had already gone to the grocery store to pick up stuff that we needed for the week, put stuff away, done two and a half loads of laundry and had lunch. I had to run out and pick up another mattress pad for Kaylen's bed as hers completely fell apart in the wash so Dakota and the kids settled in with a big bowl of popcorn to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas. Kelton has been chomping at the bit to watch it and actually did enjoy it (it took two days to get through it though).

After I got back we hung around playing for a bit and then decided to take the kids to the park to play. They had a great time showing Dakota all around one of their favorite park and we ended up staying a couple hours. Since it was hot we decided to take the kids to Red Robin for a special treat of milkshakes. We all had a really good time.

It wasn't long before it was bath and bedtime (with some real food snuck in there somewhere). They fell into bed completely exhausted and very happy. Even better, they went to bed knowing that Dakota would be home in the morning and it would be a family day! We all live for family days.

Yesterday morning we got up and I hit upon the idea of going to to a local lake/water sprinkler park that has been very popular among my MOMS Club members this summer. The kids had a blast!! We got there early enough that there wasn't too many people around. By the time we left, it was starting to get quite busy and I was glad we weren't just arriving. The kids had so much fun splashing around in the lake, running through the sprinklers and playing on the playground - it was hard to convince them it was time to go.

On the way back home we stopped and picked up (among other things) the water filter I blogged about earlier, then we hit McDonalds and went home for lunch. Then we decided to make pretzels. I have a very easy recipe for soft pretzels that we used to make at camp when I was a counselor (about a million years ago). It was always fun to do with the campers so I thought the kids would love it....and love it they did! We had three big trays of creations.

After that adventure, we settled in and watched the rest of Kelton's movie and then it was bath and bedtime. Without a doubt, the day flew!

Today we had a friend stop by with her son. Declan and Kelton have been friends since well..before they were born and they are both starting school tomorrow. They had a good time hanging out together and M and I had a good time talking all about schools, M's new job, etc.

After they left we had lunch and then decided to go to a local fish hatchery. It's the same one Kelton went to on his day camp field trip so he had a good time telling us everything he had learned. It was cute and really sweet. We romped around there for awhile and then headed back home, with a stop at the grocery store for eggs, flour and Popsicles. After playing a game of baseball in the yard with Kelton it was time to make the giant chocolate chip cookie he has been dreaming about for days. They are just now finishing up that project and Kelton is beside himself waiting for the pizza pan sized cookie to finish baking. Four more minutes, is the official countdown.

It's been a wild, busy crazy weekend. I think it's fair to say we sent this summer out with a bang. And now - it's school time. You know I'll have photos to share of that big event. Well - providing I can focus the camera through my tears.

(And yes, I notice that Kelton seems to wear the orange tie-dyed shirt he made in day camp in every photo. It's because it's his favorite shirt *ever*. I wash it A LOT. At this rate, that poor thing will fade before we know it.)

(PS...Thanks to everyone for your comments to my "mommy on the edge" post about his open house. I feel a bit better but we've also spent some time looking at our options for "just in case". Having options is always a good thing. :) )

A New Water Filter

Oh the simple joys in life. Yesterday we bought a new PUR water filter. You know the hook them up to kitchen faucets so you can run your tap water through them to get all the nasty chemicals out of the water. I love them and I can't live without them.

Anyway, our old one had been giving us trouble lately. The part that connects to the faucet suddenly started leaking something fierce and in recent days began spraying all over the place when I tried to use it. Dakota tried to tighten it but to no avail. A new one was definitely needed.

When we got the store we noticed a new kind and I was so intrigued. It has flavor cartridges that you can add to flavor your water. What a great idea! I love raspberry flavored water but the cost is hard to justify so this seems like a doable solution. I hemmed and hawed over the cost (about $10 more for the unit plus the cartridges are $10 for two) but then Dakota said those magic words "You know you want to try it!" She was right - I did!

It is so much fun!! You can have either plain, unflavored filter water or, with the mere push of a button, have raspberry flavored filtered water! What an ingenious idea!!

So far, I am really enjoying it. :)