Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Girl

On Tuesday, my friend Brenda sent us off from a playdate at her house with a bag of clothes that her daughter (a year older than Kaylen) had outgrown. Oh my goodness was Kaylen excited! Now if you recall, Kaylen isn't one to get excited about clothes - mostly it's a stuggle of "I'm not wearing that!" so I was surprised when she insisted the bag be placed at her feet for the ride home "to keep my new clothes safe" but nothing blew me away more than her reaction as soon as we walked in the front door.

"Kaylen? Where are you going?"
"To get scissors to open the bag."

Why of course. I told her I could free the clothes for her without scissors and I proceeded to do just that.

The squeals of delight that came from my daughter were too funny! She dumped the bag of clothes in the foyer and spent the next 40 minutes trying on different articles of clothing. Yes, she did deem some things "too tight, no thanks" but most of the things passed her test and she is so happy putting on several new outfits a day.

Clearly I need to buy clothes for her, take them to someone's house and let them give them to her. :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

OverSharing :)

Your Aura is Blue

Spiritual and calm, you tend to live a quiet but enriching life.
You are very giving of yourself. And it's hard for you to let go of relationships.

The purpose of your life: showing love to other people

Famous blues include: Angelina Jolie, the Dali Lama, Oprah

Careers for you to try: Psychic, Peace Corps Volunteer, Counselor

I'll Huff and I'll Puff and I'll Blow Your House Down

Wow - the wind is howling tonight. I had heard that it was supposed to get windy tonight and yet the sound of the trees blowing and the swings clanging still came as a bit of a surprise. I don't know why exactly, as I've never had a tree fall on a house I've lived in but whenever the wind gets to blowing this hard I think quickly about our home owners insurance and try to remember what they cover when a tree does fall on a house.

Long ago and far away I worked for an agent of a major insurance company and it's weird how often I use knowledge that I gained from that job. Home and Auto insurance - I used to know it inside out and backwards.

Most "Acts of God" aren't covered but, if I remember correctly, if a tree falls insurance will pay to repair the damage done to the house but not to remove the tree from the house (I dare you to try to fix damage without moving the tree but whatever...). I always thought that was weird. I guess the question would be - if a windstorm isn't considered an "Act of God" then what exactly is it? (Totally rhetorical for those who do not believe in God..... I'm just saying.)

See what happens when I'm tired? I ramble on and on and make not one lick of sense. Guess it's time to turn off the computer and go rest while I watch TV. Not like there is much on to watch these days. I'm finding I am watching way too much Home Improvement. :) It's a late school night for Dakota so I have lots of time to occupy. *sigh*

Gilmore Girls Revisted

Dakota and I just completed watching the newly released Season 7 of Gilmore Girls. *sigh* Have I before mentioned how much we love this show? Even though we knew how it would end we both had tears in our eyes. It is such a good show. No - a great show. It's a great show. I still can't beleive they cancelled it - not like it would matter right now with the writers strike anyway but you know what I mean. Dakota and I were talking about how much we would love a yearly update show - you know, just so we can peek in on our favorite Stars Hollow gang to see how everyone is doing. That isn't asking for too much, is it? :)

Obsessed. Yes, that would be a fitting word for us in regards to this show. :) I never really have an urge to find rare movie posters or, in this case, TV show posters but I honestly do for Gilmore Girls. I won't, of course. All our available wall space is filled with pictures of the kids but still....I'm tempted. Gilmore Girls was part of our lives for seven years. We never missed an episode. It's so wrong that it's over.

I'm just saying.

Just Another Manic Afternoon

A couple days ago the kids decided that they wanted to build with their Toobeez (basically giant Tinker Toys - a Christmas gift from Dakota's mom and stepdad at the urging of Dakota who had giant Tinker Toys when she was a child). I went out to the garage and lugged in the enourmous bag of tubes and connectors and the kids went hog wild! By the time the creation was complete, you would have thought they were the Winner For Corporate Performance Management (cpm)! They were just too funny working together. They stratagized, plotted and planned and finally they had created something that could stand (well - with a little help from Mommy but really, they did all the planning. I just balanced tubes while they connected things together). I love their imagination!

Doesn't it look like fun?

The Story of How I Broke My Back

A few people have asked how I managed to break my back so I went back through the archive and found the post I wrote last year. I would say that last line of "It's weird how a single moment in time changes your entire life." is very, very accurate. *sigh*

Read here

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Well now....

Dakota and I realized yesterday that neither one of us had asked where the syrinx (cyst) in my spine is located. I don't know why but I had thought it was only one or two vertebrae in length - I mean, surely it wouldn't be more than that.

This afternoon I sent an email to the neuro-doc to inquire as to its location. Imagine how you could have knocked me over with a feather when he responded it was from T6 to T10! Ummm...that's the length of 5 vertebrae in an area that only has 12. That's almost HALF of the thoracic spine area. Holy freakin' moly! I guess that's why it feels like I have pain in my entire back. Both Dakota and I were stunned.

I pulled up a graphic to share and then add comments for your viewing pleasure. Impressive, no? :)

I'm telling you - this is some adventure. And honestly, I'm ready to be done with it now. It's no fun. I'm exhausted from it all and I feel like I've been dealing with this level of intensity for more than (not quite) four weeks. If this is what it will be like than I just want to adjust to this new reality and get back to my life. Done now. Ready to move on, thanks. *sigh*

It's a Me-Me!

I was tagged by Caroline for a Me-Me. I don't usually participate in these since well - I have a hard time coming up with things about myself but today I thought "Why not." Aren't you feeling lucky that you stopped by? :)

Here are the rules:1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Leave a comment on their blog so that their readers can visit yours.
3. Post the rules on your blog.
4. Share the seven (7) most famous or infamous people you have met. Or go with the original 7 weird things about yourself.
5. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post.
6. Include links to their blogs.
7. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog. (Hmmm...I think I'll skip this part. That way they have no pressure. If you see your name here and you want to play - or heck, even if you don't see your name here and you want to play - then go for it!)

Dang. That's a lot of rules.

#1. I haven't really met famous people by the traditional definition of "famous". I'm not sure what that says about me. Has everyone else met famous people? Maybe so if there is an entire Me-Me dedicated to it. I guess because of this I'm clearly going for 7 weird things about myself. And yes, that was number 1.

#2. I have an extremely difficult time falling to sleep. Even with the pure exhaustion of being with kids 24/7 it's a rare night when I will fall asleep before an hour or more passes. Dakota is snoring within a minute or two of saying goodnight but not me....nope. I'm awake for freakin' ever.

#3. Upon waking at night, I repeat the entire not able to fall to sleep thing. The time varies but it's not unusual to have an hour go by. Not always, mind you. Just too often.

#4. I have to take a shower every single morning. Not because I smell bad (though I'm not claiming otherwise either) but because my hair turns into something *very* scary while I sleep. There is no way I could ever consider walking out the door without washing my hair in the morning - a brush or comb would never bring order to whatever happens while I sleep. I'm not exactly sure *what* happens but man is it frightening! :)

#5. I have an irrational fear of heights. It wasn't always the case but shortly after I broke my back I realized that I couldn't even look at movies when they were showing the height from the top of a building (or anything like that). I suppose you could chalk it up to rational/based on muscle memory or something since I fell 6ft when I broke my back but come on! It's just crazy! Three steps up on a ladder is pushing it. Crazy - I tell ya!

#6. The blankets on my bed must have satin binding on them. It's a carry over from childhood but I have to be able to feel the satin softness in my hands before I can relax and sleep. In fact, just yesterday I bought a fantastic blanket at Target. It's fluffy, incredibly soft and has the best satin binding I have *ever* held in my hands. It has become my new comfort item and I love, love, love it!

#7. I am actually having trouble coming up with weird things about myself. I just IM'd Dakota (who is at class) and she said it's because I'm not all that weird. That's kind of weird, right? Not being all that weird is kind of weird so yes, it counts. (Thanks, honey!) :) But seriously, I'll leave you with this one: I can not stand repetitive touch. That includes arm rubbing, massage, or even being breathed upon in a repetitive fashion. It makes my skin crawl.

Ok - there you have it. Seven weird things about me. Wasn't that just fascinating? :) And now for the rest of the game..I get to pick others to pass this along to. All my MOMS Club friends have private blogs but that won't stop me from tagging them. Here goes:


Tag girls - you are all IT! :)

Monday, January 28, 2008

School Called on Account of Snow?

Seriously? This smattering of snow was cause to cancel school today in our district? Not that I'm *really* complaining, because I'm not. I'm all for not having to rush around in the morning and I was definitely all for not working in the classroom this morning but still.....I'm not sure this really counts as snow.

Trying to make a snow angel.

Jordan eating snow.

To be fair, they were calling for more snow at the 300 foot level (which we are not...I'm not sure of our actual level but they call this the valley floor so I'm assuming we aren't much above sea level. Darn it!) and some areas were pretty icy and dangerous. I just wish we had woken up to a lot of snow. A lot.

Dakota stayed home until the streets were cleared off and then she sadly headed in to work. We all love snow days around here.

Tomorrow will be back to life as usual as the temps will be in the 40's. A nice change from the low 20's we've been having but still....white, fluffy, cold, beautiful snow would be so much more fun!

Robot Boy

Check out what Kelton made all by himself!

Isn't this adorable? I'm not sure why or how he came up with the idea but just as Dakota arrived home on Saturday (after a full day of studying and then doing all the grocery shopping (Thanks honey! You rock!)) and was unloading the car Kelton ran at us going a million miles an hour about needing boxes and tubes and tape and could we help him...blah blah blah. We explained we didn't have time to help him with his project right then (and having no idea what his project really was) but that we could find the things he needed and he could get to work on it and we (well - he wanted Dakota) would help him once groceries were put away.

By the time we were finished with our work, he had completed his little friend and I have to say, a more proud child you have never seen! As soon as I said I wanted to get some photos he said he needed to find shoes and socks for his friend. He settled for his own socks and Crocs but honestly, I'm sure he would have loved to have had a pair of platform shoes so that his little guy could have stood on his own.

I took some photos and then Kelton found the old robot head box that was in the cabinet and put that on himself. And then, as if that wasn't cute enough, he took his buddy to the couch, sat him right next to himself and they watched a TV show together. Dakota and I were both holding back laughter as he had a conversation with his friend.

The friend is still in one piece today and when I picked it up and put it someplace safe this morning Kelton said "You know Mom, he won't last forever."

I know this and yet, part of me wants it to. :)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Medical Drama

So - here is what has been going on with me medically over the past couple of weeks. I've been having tingling in my legs and pretty awful back pain. Last Sunday night while watching a movie the tingling zipped up my entire right side two times and when it started the 3rd time we decided that I should go to the ER to be looked at. It was 10pm. Ugh. Dakota stayed with the sleeping children and her sister and brother in-law took me over to the hospital. Four hours and a complete stroke work up later (even though I kept insisting that it had to come from my back), I was released with instructions to see a neurologist within the week. The and tingling had settled back down and returned to my legs.

Monday went well enough with the tingling and pain remaining in my legs and back. The tingling would all but disappear when I was moving around. I was thinking herniated disk or something. Logical assumption as I've been having new back pain in the middle of my back since October and was even seen in November for it when it got to the point where sitting hurt too much. I was told I didn't need an x-ray, given a brochure on exercises and a prescription for pain medication. I took the pain meds at night but they never really helped.

Monday night I was waking often to find my legs were tingling. Tuesday morning my legs tingled (much more intensely then before) even after moving around for an hour so I called the neuro office I had made an appointment with (for Jan 31st as no one had openings for this past week) to see if someone could see me soon (she found an opening on Friday and I booked that). As I was talking on the phone, my arms started to tingle. The nurse suggested I go to the ER room which Dakota agreed with.

We found someone to take Kelton to school and pick him up again, someone to stay with Kaylen (Grandma came to the rescue) and a friend to drive me to the ER (Thanks Sheri!) all while trying to not panic because well - you know our heads went to worst case scenario. Things was all changing so quickly! Dakota left her job and met me at the ER where we spent the rest of the day.

The upshot of the visit was the on-call neuro was the guy I had been scheduled to see so he went ahead and ordered the MRI that he would have ordered after seeing me anyway. Great - we'll be ahead of the game for the Friday appointment.

I couldn't take the stress of not knowing what, if anything, the scan showed so Wednesday afternoon I called the office insisting I be told *something*. I just had to know because we were so afraid it was going to be something bad.

No tumor. No words ever sounded sweeter to me. The nurse (who was relaying the message from the doc) said that there is, however, a syrinx which explains the symptoms. I asked what that was and she replied that she really didn't know. I asked her to spell it for me and after hanging up I hit the good ol' Google and called Dakota while I waited for pages to load. We both Googled from our computers sharing info as we read.

A syrinx (aka: syringomyelia) is a fluid filled cyst that is inside the spinal column and it puts pressure on the nerves.

Upon meeting with the neurologist yesterday (who we both really liked!) we were reassured that it is most likely a result of the trauma sustained when I broke my back 11 years ago. It is putting pressure on nerves causing the numbness and tingling I am currently experiencing as well as other medical symptoms I have been experiencing since last summer - including the side pain that I had thought was my gall bladder. Relatively speaking, it is small and since it isn't causing significant neurological problems we are adopting the wait and carefully watch approach (if it gets to the point of causing problems neurologically, then surgery would be necessary).

Hopefully this is just a flare up and things will settle back down. To be sure there are no other contributing factors, I will have another MRI study done next week (in an open MRI - thank goodness!) and then we will probably meet with a neurosurgeon for a second opinion (which was the neurologists suggestion). Providing nothing surprising shows up, I will follow up with the neuro doc in a few weeks, then a few weeks after that, then a couple months after that and so on until we only check in every year. We'll cross the bridge with what to do about the numbness and tingling if it doesn't resolve on its own at a later point.

So - all in all - this is really, really good news. The tingling and pain suck but given the alternative - I'll take it AND I feel vindicated about the stuff that has been happening in my body for almost a year. Once the pieces of the puzzle started coming together Dakota and I were able to ask "What about this thing? What about that one?" and the doc shook his head and said "All related."

All related. Somehow just knowing that gives me great peace of mind.

So - now we know and now we can deal with it.

It's been an exhausting week around here but I think it's fair to say we all slept better last night. :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

When the going gets tough.....

..the tough have photos taken of their amazingly beautiful children. :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Have you missed me? :)

I know, I's been days since I last posted. You know how life gets though - just when you think it's going to dodge left it goes right. I've been having some pretty intense and more than just a little bit frightening stuff going on health-wise which has been keeping me preoccupied. While we do have a good chunk of information, we don't have it all yet and won't until after meeting with a specialist on Friday so once I have processed stuff and know more, I'll share. Sorry to play coy with you but I'm just not "there" yet in terms of sharing. No worries though - from all the research Dakota and I have done today we feel strongly that everything will end up fine.

But just for the record - as it turns out, I *am* claustrophobic. HA! I never saw that one coming. I've had two previous MRI's in my lifetime and I survived them both just fine so I was confident when I gave "no" as my answer to "are you claustrophobic. Fast forward to about 15 minutes into the 40 minute scan. Not pretty. I managed to hold myself together (thinking happy thoughts, blah blah blah) until near the end when they wanted to have me wait while they ran the films up to the specialist to see if he wanted more scans done. Hell no!! I tripped out and by the time they moved me out of the tomb..ummm....machine I was in a dead sweat, shaking like a leaf and crying uncontrollably. Not a proud moment. (hanging my head in shame). The weirdest thing was I felt like I had no control over how I reacted. Yes, sure, that seems to be the true definition of panic but was so unlike me. I knew what to expect. I expected it and Not pretty. So - let's just say that if they need any more imaging they are going to have to send me to an open MRI. No more tomb like tunnels for this girl. (I felt like such a loser. The nice tech guys assured me it's very common an at least one person a day finds they can't do it. Still....felt waaaaaay stupid!)

Anyway - through all this ER drama and whatnot, we have still managed to find time for fun.

Last Friday, before all the drama started, I went to Moms Night Out which is a monthly evening event through my MOMS Club. I rarely ever go but took the opportunity this time around. Now that Kaylen is getting old it's easier for me not to be the one who has to put her to bed. It's a weird free feeling - the first time in almost 6 years that I haven't had to worry about the kids bedtime. Fun!

Anyway, we went to a members house and had game night - there were 7 of us there and it was a hoot! We played a game called "Things" which is a really great party game. As my friend Sheri wrote on her blog about the game; "It is really easy to play. One player draws a card to pick the topic and everyone writes a response. Some of the topics might be:

• THINGS . . . that exhaust you.
• THINGS . . . you shouldn't do on an airplane.
• THINGS . . . you shouldn't say as an opening line.

The fun part is that you can write whatever comes to mind. Then, all the answers are read out loud and you guess who said what.

Since there aren't any wrong answers . . . let's just say that as the evening progressed the answers continued to get quite creative."

So much fun! And I noticed that the more people had to drink, the more hysterical it all became. I'm just saying... :)

On Sunday we took the kids bowling which was really a lot of fun. We had an hour wait for a lane but thankfully there was an arcade which kept the kids happy while we waited.

Finally it was our turn and I was laughing myself silly over Kelton. He was rolling on the floor yelling "I'm SO excited!! Finally! I get to go bowling FINALLY!" That kid is just too much. I didn't' get many photos because the batteries in my camera died. Go figure. That has never happened to me before. I got a couple though - don't you just love Kaylen's style? And when she added in "kicking the ball down the alley it was almost as if she developed her own type of fitness equipment. Silly girl! :)

I have a few more cute pictures of the kids to share before I sign off - enjoy!

And this is why photos of Kelton are few and far between these days. He is such a goofy little guy! :)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

For Every Action There Is An Equal and Opposite Reaction

So - from the title of this post you would be safe in assuming that today was not all sunshine and starlight. That's not to say it totally and absolutely sucked either but it definitely had its moments.

First the good part: it snowed! But before you get too excited we're talking light flurries that were fun to watch, gave me hope of good things to come, made me feel all giddy inside, drove Kaylen to the brink as she desperately wanted to "..go sledding and eat snowballs! Can we now?" and made the day seem different. It was good. It amounted to nothing, but it was still fun.

The not so good parts: The kids decided in all their wisdom that while I was busy elsewhere that they would have a tea party. No big deal - we see tea parties daily around here and yes, it involves real water. Never a real big issues before...... yeah. It was a big deal this time. They decided to fill the play tea pot, the play coffee pot and several play pots and pans with water, take them carefully to the kitchen table and then dump them all as fast as they could to create a "waterfall" so they would go swimming. *sigh*

I rushed into the room upon hearing the torrential downpour *inside* my house and discovered Kelton on the floor under the table "swimming" in a pool of water. Kaylen was pulling apart the table (where the table leaf would go) so that the water could more easily reach Kelton. A large pile of towels later (have you ever noticed that spilled water always appears to be a much larger quantity than it was in the original container?) it was cleaned up and the children were in their rooms so mommy could have a time out and assess the damage. Coloring books - soaking wet. New workbooks - soaking wet. Other art supplies/papers - soaking wet. All trashed. *sigh*

After that all settled down Kaylen wanted to make a new art project that we had printed off and made yesterday (a casualty of the water) so the two of them went to do that. I went in to start the newly created load of laundry which meant moving the current load from the washer to the dryer and folding the load that had been in the dryer and putting it all away. Dakota called and I answered the phone on my way to fold the clothes. I wasn't gone from the room three minutes when I heard screaming and crying and Kelton yelling "MOM! Kaylen fell of the chair and hurt herself!" Then I heard Kaylen screaming "Kelton BIT me!" She was a mess of sobbing and hysterics. I looked at Kelton and demanded he tell me the truth (which I could already figure out) and he fessed up that he bit her because she wanted to print out the project but he didn't want to.

Much chaos ensued. Kelton was sent to his room, Kaylen's bite was washed out and iced. He did a lovely job on her leaving a welt, an immediate bruise and two tiny vampire teeth punctures. Dakota, still on the phone, asked to talk with Kelton and I swear to you - he about had a heart attack that mom wanted to talk with him about what he did. I gave a small smile to myself thinking how for him it must be what it felt like when moms would say "Just wait until your father gets home!" Dakota got to be the heavy for this one and I enjoyed being able to say "You heard what she said. If you can't behave yourself you will go to directly to bed for the night." It took the pressure of me and he had no one to fight with about it.

Once I calmed Kaylen down and got her working on her project things felt a bit more in control. Kelton came out and apologized to her and they had a little heart to heart as in her saying "Kelton you really hurt me." and him saying "I'm sorry." and her saying "You no do that EVER again, ok?" and him saying "OK."

From there on out, they were pretty good. After a short lived but nerve shattering meltdown from Kaylen because she wanted pasta for dinner and me saying no (she had it for lunch) they both ate really good dinners. Kaylen played well by herself for a bit while Kelton vegged out with the TV. Finally bath time and bedtime rolled around.

This is one afternoon I was not sad to see over. Of course, after they were both asleep I just stood and looked at them my heart full of love and sadness over all the things that had happened.

Hard to believe a few short hours ago I wanted to lock them both in a closet. (I'm kidding.....sorta.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Highlights from an Afternoon at Our House

Playing school and eating lunch. Working at the same table didn't go as smoothly as yesterday so I went out to the garage and unearthed the little desk that my dad made for me when I was six years old. Ever since it came back to me four years ago (a now-grown niece used it (hence the blue stenciled hearts as well as various other children over the years) I have been meaning to paint it so it would be ready for this day but alas, I have never done that and wow (!) does it look like it. A fresh coat of paint is definitely in its future! Then I lugged in the other desk for Kaylen (it goes back and forth to the garage depending on how much they are using it). Having their own work spaces was a good thing! :) The belts are their seat belts - of course. :) Don't *you* use a seat belt when working at a desk. :)

Kelton looking through his workbook. (See how mcuh this thing needs to be painted? Eeeww!)

After playing school for a while it was time to move onto other things. They went outside for a bit - well, long enough to ask that I scoop (YUCK!) and swing for about 5 seconds after I finished that lovely task. (Though I must say, having only one dog makes a huge difference in this job. I'm just saying....) Then they wanted hot chocolate because it was cold outside (yes, sweethearts. It was only 35 degree today. That IS cold - especially when you both refuse to wear coats.) After the hot chocolate was consumed Kaylen moved on to dressing up and skating. Her pink skates are one of her all time favorite things. It's pretty cute. :)

Jordan getting into the photo. :)

She is so much fun to take pictures of right now. I remember Kelton went through this phase too so I'm sure it won't be long before I get the tongue sticking out and the weird faces. Until then - I love taking her picture. :)

And yes, she is a safe skater. Knee pads *and* elbow pads. And yes, that is her purple princess dress - on backwards, of course. :)

And there she goes!

While Kaylen was skating and dressing up, Kelton was playing ToonTown. On the computer desk you can see the hot chocolate cups as well as Kaylen's princess mirror. :) That rag-taggled thing Kelton is holding? That's "Baby" his much beloved blanket. I don't hold out much hope for its long-term survival - it's in pretty rough shape but oh how he loves it!

And this is a screen shot of a Toon vs Cog fight in a Cog building in ToonTown. Kelton's character, Duke, is the one in the middle. The object is to destroy the robot cogs with gags such as lemon pie, seltzer water bottle or a horn. Kelton and I have so much fun playing this game together and in the past couple of days Kelton has started playing on his own (and his reading skills are improving daily with the game - it's been amazing to witness!) and by golly - the kid is GOOD! Makes a ToonTown loving Mom proud! :)

Later on in the evening I went into the living room and found this very adorable and sweet scene. Kaylen's Care Bear, Sunshine, was tired and ready for bed so Kaylen made her a bed on top of the coffee table, tucked her in and was reading her a bedtime story. This little girl just melts my heart!
So there you have it - a very busy four and a half hours. And of course it was busier still for me as I was running around getting tons of stuff done like laundry, cleaning and dishes. Never a dull moment, that's for sure! :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

School Called on Account of Ice

We all got a little unexpected surprise this morning - Kelton had the day off from school! As I was laying in bed this morning trying to come to terms with actually getting up Kelton came bounding into the room saying loudly "Mom called and school is two hours late because the roads are icy! YAY!!!!!!!"

"Hmmm...' I thought to myself, 'two hours late would mean morning kindergarten must be cancelled." I went out to check my email. Dakota and I are both signed up for alerts from the school and they arrive in our email and as text messages to our phones. It's actually quite handy. Sure enough, the email said no AM kindergarten. Kelton wasn't the only one happy about that. Lazy mornings are much preferred over the hurried "Come on - you need to eat your breakfast." and "Are you dressed yet? We have to leave in 15 minutes." mornings.

I looked outside and sure enough - it looked like a skating rink out there. I was surprised that it had gotten as cold as it had. Yesterday afternoon the skies opened up and dumped quite a bit of rain on us - so much so that the gutters on the street had rivers of water rushing down them and puddles were jsut sittingon the grass. With everything so wet, the world became a Jack Frost paradise when the temps took an unexpected dive. You could actually see the ice crystals on everything.

It wasn't a snow day (which all four of us live for) but it was still an unexpected surprise. Kelton went to bed hoping desperately for another day off. I told him it is highly unlikely but even I wouldn't mind another one.

The kids played so well together all day. This evening found them playing school (Kaylen even insisted on "Center Piece" which is what she thinks "Centers" is called. It's the time before the second bell rings when Kelton's class has time to work on puzzles, draw on the dry erase board, build with legos, etc.). From school they created a bus (complete with seatbelts made from Dakota's belts) to go on a trip and somehow they ended up at a hotel with a swimming pool that was also next to the beach. They got a great deal on a room, too! Kelton told me it only cost them $10.99 a night. Gotta love that. :)

I love when they play imagination games - it's so much fun to listen to them. I hope they continue their game tomorrow afternoon - I can't wait to see what happens next. :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Check That Off The List

Yay me! :)

Year Three, Second Semester

And we're off! Zooooooooooooooooooooooom!

Dakota started classes tonight after putting in 5 hours at her internship position this morning and working her "regular" job this afternoon. It's going to be a busy, hectic and time crunched four months - for all of us.

It's been a good winter break and we were able to spend lots of time together as a family. Hard to believe all we smooshed in to three short weeks. Three weeks. Wow. Was Christmas really only three weeks ago? It seems so much longer ago than that.

Now that the holidays are behind us, it's time to get cracking for Kaylen's birthday. Talk about a time warp - I just cannot believe that she is going to be three. Three!?! Wasn't she just learning to crawl last week? *sigh* She has decided on her birthday theme and it came as no surprise to Dakota and I. Dora. Yes indeed - Dora. But the kicker is she wants as much pink as she can get which isn't easy to do with Dora themed things. Kaylen and I picked out her party plates, etc. last week. We even ordered her cake. I was able to request hot pink borders on the cake instead of the bright orange. I figure I'll get some bright pink balloons for the day of her party, too (we just have family parties so there is a lot less "party-planning stress" than there otherwise would be).

I need to load Photoshop Elements onto the new computer so I can get to work on the invitation. I need to get that done this week so there is time to have them printed. I guess I should be doing that instead of blogging, huh? I wish I was more motivated but really - I'm just exhausted. It's been a long day and sitting on the couch sounds much more inviting than this so not comfortable chair but alas, a moms gotta do what a moms gotta do. :)

Hope your week is off to a good start!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Busy Busy Day

It's been a very busy day for us. After getting Kelton off to school this morning Kaylen and I headed over to a local coffee shop to meet up with some of the moms and kids from my MOMS Club. I really enjoy our once a month gathering and from the number of people there, many others do as well. The coffee shop has a play area for the kids so we move a bunch of tables together and the moms sit, talk and drink coffee while the kids play and have a morning snack. It's a lot of fun.

Kaylen and I hung out there for a couple of hours and then, since Dakota was home studying (yes, already), we drove to a nearby Big Lots and did a bit of shopping. Big Lots is one of the best places to get inexpensive, fun and cute holiday decorations. I went there with the idea of getting a couple more Valentines Day things (before last year, we had nothing Valentine theme related. Or Easter. Or any other holiday besides Halloween and Christmas. Now that the kids are older, the three of us have a good time decorating the house for all the holidays.) but the Valentine decorations were picked over and not all that great. However....they had started to put out Easter decorations so I scored some really great stuff for next to nothing. I've learned that the earlier you go there to look for holiday stuff, the better chance you have of getting the good stuff. :) And here was a surprise for me - I didn't realize that Easter is early this year. It's March 23rd. Personally, I don't think Easter should be in March but I guess no one really asked me. I read someplace recently that the date of Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. I found that interesting since I was never aware there was a rhyme or reason to where it fell on the calendar in any given year.

Anyway...after we spent some time at the store we headed over to pick up Kelton from school. Then it was home for a quick lunch before we took the kids to a local play place. Well...kind of local. Local as in the same city - just at the far end of the same city. The kids had a blast and they even had me crawling through the tunnels which was no easy feat given my back (which by the way - today is the 11th anniversary of me breaking my back. Wow.). Dakota and the kids played hard for about two hours - they were all sweaty messes but oh so happy! Kaylen surprised all of us by flying around the structure and coming down some of the fastest slides I've ever seen. It was crazy and so much fun!

Once everyone was completely exhausted we drove over to Pizza Hut for dinner. Kelton participates in a reading program at school that is run by Pizza Hut (Book It) and every month we record 30 of the books that we read to him (or - as is now the case, he is reading to us) and at the end of the month, the kids that turn in their sheet are given a coupon for a free personal pizza. When they turn in their coupons, they get a sticker on their card and once the six stickers are in place they get a trophy (of some kind). We still had the November coupon and today Kelton brought home the coupon for the December list so clearly it was sign that we needed to go to Pizza Hut and turn them in before they were misplaced. It also helped that the Pizza Hut is very near the play place (which also explains why we didn't get to the Pizza Hut last month. It's a long way to go for dinner.)

After dinner we made our way home and it was a quick jump to bath and beds. Surprisingly, for as tired as the kids were, they both took about 15 minutes to fall asleep. I was pretty sure they would be out before their heads hit the pillows. I think that will be the case with Dakota and I once we finally get to that point.

Yep - it was a crazy day but a good one. This weekend promises more of the same.