Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Birthday Celebration Weekend - Part 3

Saturday morning was exceptionally quiet since we were missing one of the children. It's so strange how they can drive us insane and yet we desperately miss them when they aren't with us. :)

It was birthday party day!

We got ready and headed out for the drive to my dad's apartment. We arrived after my sister and the 3 other kids and it was really good to give Kelton a hug and a smooch. I missed the little guy. :)

It wasn't long before my brother arrived with lunch so we got everyone fed and then headed over the the game room for some hand pool (which is basically rolling the balls on the pool table and trying to get them into the pockets. Pool cues and kids are usually a bad mix so we avoid that) and mini-golf. There was a Wheel of Fortune type wheel in there and the kids had a good time playing with that, too.

There was also a Wii that was set up in another room and the older kids went over there to play some games while the younger ones and a few adults headed back to the apartment to hang out and play. I spent some time looking through photo albums with Kaylen because she wanted to know what I looked like when I was 4 years old. Long after she got bored and moved on I sat and looked through more books. It brought back many, many memories; bittersweet to be sure.

Finally everyone returned from playing games and it was present time!

Followed by cake time!

After that, my dad was exhausted so we packed up everything and went our separate ways. We headed back to my sisters to pick up Kelton's overnight bag and spent a little time while the kids showed off all their birthday gifts. We bid our farewells to an extremely tired aunt and uncle (who wouldn't be after caring for 4 kids, spending the night and morning caring for 3 kids and then doing the whole birthday party thing. Heck - I was tired and I had had a lot of free time in that same span of 30 hours!) and then headed over to met up with James and Cara. They had given Kelton a game, Hyperdash, that we already have so Kelton was going to exchange it for something else. After a lot, and I mean A LOT, of looking Kelton finally decided on 2 packs of Hot Wheel cars.

From there we hit Red Robin for an early dinner and then decided to go to Marshall's. None of us had ever been before so it was fun to look around. I ended up finding, and falling in love with, birthday ice cream bowls, a cupcake adorned plate and a small cupcake adorned platter (they all go together). I got two ice cream bowls, the outside are similar but the insides are different: one is blue and one is pink. Perfect! I love them so much it borders on ridiculous. :) And get this - I got all 4 pieces for $12! That's a deal because these are great and destined to become a cherished family tradition for birthdays.

Kelton picked up a new backpack for school since the zipper on his gave out last week and both kids scored with a paint and paper set.

By the time we were done there it was time to head back to James' house. We all played in the hot tub for a short while and then the kiddos were put to bed.

It was another long, but very good, day.

Sunday we packed up the car and drove the 4.5 hours home. Phew! What a weekend!

And in case you are wondering, antibiotics are a miracle drug. My thumb is so, so, so much better now. Sore to touch but oh so much better. I can bend it again *and* it is no longer swollen to twice the size of the other. Gotta love that. :)

Birthday Celebration Weekend - Part 2

Friday morning we woke up and got moving. We discussed some possible plans for the day ahead - it was a completely unscheduled day which is very rare when we visit family and the possibilities were endless.

We decided to make a trip to the Outlet Mall for a little while. With the kids in tow we knew we wouldn't have too much time but it would be fun none-the-less. Just as we were in the final steps of getting ready, my sister called and asked what we were doing with our day. I told her of our plans to hit the shops and she very graciously said "Why don't you bring the kids here?" Seriously?!?! I'm all over that! A chance to go shopping with just Dakota rarely presents itself so I was all too happy to agree.

We headed down and dropped off one very excited boy and one slightly apprehensive girl. Well...she was slightly apprehensive by the time we got there. At my brother's house she was in full 4 year old glory with her cries of "I don't want to go there! I want to be with yoooooooooou! I'm scared of Aunt Lannon!!" We reassured her that she was not scared of Aunt Lannon but if she decided that she wanted to come with us, that was fine. It went back and forth that way until I finally said, in no uncertain terms, that we were done talking about it until we were at Aunt Lannon's house.

Once there, of course, she was perfectly fine and we left to a chorus of "Get out of here! Bye! Take your time!"

We drove the short distance to the mall and happily started going in and out of shops. Ever on the look out for a good deal on Dansko shoes, the shoe stores are always a must. We didn't find shoes (which is ok since we both found a few pairs the weekend before) but we did manage to find a few things for ourselves and a couple things for the munchkins. Kaylen is absolutely no fun to shop for since she has a bazillion clothing issues (sensory issue related) but I did find one dress that would work for her. (And bonus: she loves it!) It makes me a little sad to look in stores packed with darling little girl clothes because I know I can't buy 99.9% of it. That worked in Kelton's favor though when we picked him up two pair of shorts and a t-shirt for an amazing price. :)

During our shopping trip I couldn't help but notice that an infection I had brewing on my thumb was steadily becoming more and more painful..and moving down my thumb. I had a hang nail that I yanked out the previous weekend and I noticed on Tuesday it was a little sore. I soaked it and put Neosporin on it. By Wednesday it was worse so I repeated the soaking and medication. Thursday, while it looked ugly, it felt like it was getting better. I continued with the remedy I use that usually works. Friday morning I thought it was even better but by afternoon there was no denying it was worse. When I took off the band aid both Dakota and I looked at it and knew it wasn't good. We finished up shopping and picked up the birthday cake for Saturday and then we headed over to my sisters with a game plan; I have Kaiser which has a reciprocal agreement with Group Health (the HMO in the area) so it made sense to head over to the Urgent Care Clinic to have it looked at. Not exactly what I wanted to spend time doing but well.....it needed to happen.

As the plan went, Dakota would stay at my sisters to be with the kids because by then we knew Kaylen would probably be done having us gone.

We walked in the door at the same time the cousins were just being dropped off for the play date we had arranged earlier in the week. Our kids looked at us and both groaned and demanded we leave. Easy enough! After checking in with my sister and telling her the plan of Urgent Care we headed out in the hopes of being first in line when clinic started seeing patients at 4:30.

And first we were! We were in and out with a prescription for antibiotics in less than 20 minutes and back at my sisters front door before an hour was up. And we were just in time for dinner!

We had a nice dinner and then helped clean up. We were going to be leaving Kelton behind for a sleep over with his cousin, Mikayla, which was all fine and dandy...in theory. In practice a little girl had a complete meltdown over leaving her brother behind. Poor little thing. :( We finally calmed her down enough and were able to get out the door.

Forty minutes later, we were back at my brother's house and little Miss Kaylen headed to dreamland.

Phew! What a day!

Still to come: Birthday party day...plus photos! :)

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Birthday Celebration Weekend - Part 1

As I mentioned, this past weekend we ventured up north of Seattle to visit my family. It was the weekend of the annual cousin birthday party which is one family party for three of four kids who have birthdays within weeks of each other. Kaylen is a February birthday, their cousin, Mikayla, is in March and Kelton is an April baby so instead of three parties and three trips here and there and everywhere, we combine them. A win-win for everyone one except the August birthday boy, Parker, who is 6 months younger than Kaylen. Maybe next year we should move his birthday so he doesn't feel left out. :)

Dakota decided it would be fun to take an extra day and have a little more time so we hit the road first thing Thursday morning. We decided to stop at The Rainforest Cafe in Southcenter which is a favorite place of ours. We had a really fun lunch and since we were there right when they opened at 11AM, we were allowed to pick where we sat. The kids decided to put us at the table directly in front of the elephants. Big fun!

From there we drove about an hour further and had a short visit with my Dad. He is home from the Rehab Center (he came home about 2 weeks ago) so it was nice to see him in his own place again. He is still in a wheelchair and still has his neck brace on. His leg, while out of the cast, cannot yet have weight on it. His apartment has been modified so that he can get around and he has a home health aide in daily to help him. He is so happy to be home again - and his cat is happy to have him home! (His cat was staying with my sister who says she was all too happy to send him home but I think the canister of Pounce cat treats still in her house says otherwise. *grin*)

After the visit we continued our trek North. We made a stop so Dakota could get her hair cut (Oh I know! We know how to vacation, don't we?) and then continued our way to our final destination for the day; my brother's house on Camano Island.

The kids had energy to burn so it was out to the trampoline for some high jumping fun which was quickly followed by some free child labor garden work. Really, the only people who did the work was James and Cara but still - the kids "helped".

Any guesses what happened next? :)

That's right! One rake in the face. He really should have listened to me when I told him what would happen. :) :)

From there it was Wii games, a trip to the hot tub, dinner and bed. It was a long day for everyone!

Still more to come.....I know you are on pins and needles. :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Out of Touch

Sorry to disappear on you for a few days there. We went out of town to see my family for a long weekend and just got back this afternoon. Thanks for the many emails that were sent to check up on us - we're ok.

There is no news to share yet except this; Kelton is on spring break! YAY!!!

Her spring break was last week and she spent three days of it studying after work and then the last two days up in the Seattle area with us. At least we had her to ourselves for a couple days - that's better than none.

Back to unpacking and settling in. :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kelton's Weight

It's down again.

Next step is meeting with a nutritionist.

To recap his weight chart:
Sept 64lb
Dec 31 58lbs
week 1 57.5lbs
week 2 59lbs
week 3 58lbs

Feb 25th 57.9
March 25th 56.7


Poor little boy - after talking with the doc and setting up next steps we were on the way out of the building and he looked at me and said "Mom? Does this mean I will die soon?"

I told him absolutely not! This would not make him die. We just needed to find a way to get more food into him. He looked relieved. And I swear my heart broke into a trillion tiny pieces.

My poor baby. :(

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A $7.00 Part

Why is it that a part you think should be a $7.00 part is more than 6 times that amount? Plus shipping.

A week ago the handle to our dryer lost its mind and popped out. Yeah yeah - it's worked hard for years and all but come on! It's not like it had a tough life.

I taped it in well enough to still function and then set about finding a replacement for it. No kidding - it's 4 inches by 2 inches. Tiny. necessary - but tiny.

I found it for the lowest price at PartSelect.com and yet it was still a staggering $35.86 plus shipping. I swear to you this thing couldn't possibly cost that much make. I'm betting $0.54 to make. I would have happily paid $7.00 for it.

I begrudgingly paid $35.86 plus shipping.

It arrived today and I snapped it into its new home. Doesn't it look nice?

But it sure doesn't look $35.86 nice! :)


Kaylen is busy today playing doctor to her babies. It's been a favorite game for a while now and in fact, last week it actually caused an argument with one of her playmates who told her that only boys could be doctors. Boy oh boy did she put up a fuss for that one! :) It wouldn't really surprise me if one day down the road when she was grown if she started looking into healthcare training institutes. She does enjoy all things medical - and is always the first one to jump at the chance to get a band aid for someone who might need one.

It isn't unusual to go into the living room to find several "examination rooms" set up and several babies in the waiting room. Let's just say she has gotten a lot of use from the doctor kit that Kelton received for his second birthday. :)

Here is a photo I took of her a couple weeks ago. She wanted a nurses outfit made like one she saw in a book. Mommy isn't exactly artsy but I think I did well enough. :)

Buying on Facebook?

Has anyone else noticed that you can buy real stuff through Facebook? I have seen ads every now and again but have paid little attention but the new format highlighted the fact that I could buy a present to send to someone on my friends list who is celebrating a birthday. It got me thinking.....what else can you buy with just the click of the mouse while catching up with the latest news of friends who post on Facebook?

Can you buy vases and have them shipped to someone? Can you buy sinks and maybe even arrange to have them installed? What about jewelry? Can you get someone a gift card to Starbucks? Or maybe their local mall?

Maybe I'm not cool enough to know that you can buy real stuff through the Facebook site. I just assumed it was virtual stuff only but from the looks of the ads - it's real stuff.

Is Facebook the new "One Stop Shopping" place?

Has anyone clicked on those links for buying things? I'm just curious as to how it all works and I'm too hesitant to actually click on the links myself. :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Just Another Rainy Monday

I'm in a funk today and I have no real reason why. Nothing has happened. Nothing is looming ahead. I'm just....out of sorts. I didn't sleep all that well. For some unknown reason I was awake within an hour of falling asleep. And then an hour later. And then Kaylen was awake and calling me and then she was needing something every two hours for the rest of the night. She woke up later than usual and she was unusually quiet this morning. I thought "Uh oh. She's going to come down with something." but then by 10:30 she was her happy little self and wanted to go to gymnastics. She's been fine ever since.

Kaylen's gymnastics class, which I usually enjoy, bored the crud out of me today and it seemed to last forever.

When we arrived home, the guys who I hired to thatch and aerate the front lawn (I have hopes of a moss-free, decent looking front yard this year. Dream on, right?) had finished the job. Since I didn't want to pay $50 for them to rake up at the thatched mess I got to work on that. Kaylen was my trusty helper and we were done in about an hour. Good heavens that was a lot of work and not really what my back needed (it's been a tough couple weeks pain wise with my back/nerves and I finally went to the doc last week and was given meds to help get me through the flair up) but since I already paid $48 for the work they did I just couldn't see paying $50 more to have them rake. Well - I couldn't *at the time*. I could totally see the reason after I finished the job. :) But finish it Kaylen and I did. Then we tossed down some grass seed just in time for the rain to start falling.

With only two hours before Kelton was due home I got to work on folding laundry and various other chores that needed to be done. I can't begin to tell you how much I wish I could have instead curled up in a comfy Berkline chair and hang out and watch movies. Rainy days just beckon to that type of behavior, don't they?

But nope - not today. *sigh*

One good thing happened today though - I received a settlement check for a whopping $48.99 for the Airborne Class Action Suit. I had totally forgotten that I filed a claim on that a couple years ago. Sure - it's not a ton of money but it's something. Why the class action suit? Basically because the company made false claims on what the product could do. They sent info to me a couple years ago and I signed it, attached my receipts and sent it back. And then forgot all about it.

I guess that's all I have right now. I can hear the munchkins going nutty in the other room so it's time to go settle them down and then hustle them off to bed soon. Hopefully there will be more sleep to be had tonight. Here's hoping!

Friday, March 20, 2009


This week the carpets got the better of me. This week a coupon book arrived in my mailbox with a great coupon for a carpet cleaning company in the area. This week I picked up the phone and made an appointment.

No, it's not like we had the extra funds to shell out but this is a better time than most what with it being tax season (or as I like to call it "Give us back our money" season) and all. And let me say again - it was a great deal. Such a great deal that I had my doubts on the quality but figured at this point we had very little to lose. Even a little cleaner was cleaner than it was.

The appointment was set for today between 12-2. I arrived home from my playgroup at 11:45 and the truck was sitting in my driveway. Prompt. Always good.

And it was a good thing I got the house ready *before* I left.

They got to work quickly and pre-treated for free because well.....it was clear the living room needed it. Yes, my friends, it's been more than 4 years since our carpets have been professionally cleaned. Prior to baby #2 arriving and the start of law school we had them cleaned annually and then we cleaned in between. We've been using our Bissell but well.......yeah. It doesn't hold a candle to the truck mounted steam cleaning.

Allow me to show you what it looked like prior to cleaning and after cleaning.

And believe me when I say this photo doesn't do the clean side justice. I had *almost* made myself believe the carpet was supposed to be a beige color instead of off-white though I knew in my heart of hearts that was not the case. But now? Oh but now!

Sweet clean carpets. This girl is one happy camper. :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Family Fun Night

And you will never guess where!

McDonald's. That's right. McDonald's.

When we were there last week I noticed a sign in the drive thru area announcing Wednesday Evening Family Fun Nights. Each week will have different activities starting at 5:30pm and it's totally free.

I don't know if all McDonald's are doing this but I know ours is. :)

Since it was an early release day for Kelton yesterday and we were all feeling a little restless by late afternoon, I decided that it would be fun to try it out. I am so glad we went.

The event started out with a craft project (paper plates and streamers made a fun "windsock" for their rooms) and then a science project (they made flubber). We ended up the time playing (many games of) BINGO.

Even though about mid-way through the BINGO game Kaylen started asking to go home (and by the second game I was playing all four of their BINGO cards) the kids still had a really good time. Thankfully we BINGO'd on the last game so we ended the evening with both kids getting a much sought after prize.

It was fun and both kids have already put in a request to "do it again next time!".

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Pages

I seem to have lost whatever scrapbooking "edge" I might have had once upon a time and darn it if I can't seem to find it. I think I've decided to look into taking an online class to see if I can (re)spark my creativity but in the meantime - this is what I did today.

credit: Jen Wilson's Fronzen Tundra

Credit: Shawna Clingerman's Power Puff Girls

Looking at them again, they aren't as bad as I first thought but they definitely lack "something".

Oh For The Love of Tape!

Kaylen has discovered scotch tape and lately, just as it did when Kelton was 4, it is flying off the rolls as she wraps things to have "birthday parties" and uses it on art projects. Yesterday, though, I saw something that brought me right back to the height of Kelton's tape obsession. Take a look.

This was common for Kelton:

And now, apparently, for Kaylen as well:

Do you think it's genetic? :)