Thursday, April 30, 2009

Karate Boy

Kelton was invited to an open house at a local martial arts place and he really wanted to go. As part of the invite, he was given a VIP pass for a free uniform, 2 private lessons and month of group lessons. Oh boy did he want to do it so, being the good mommy that I am, I signed him up.

We went to the first private lesson on Monday and he LOVED it. I was totally captivated by how into he was. He was given homework and he did it. His second private lesson was tonight and it was the night he was to earn his white belt. He showed off what he had been taught and had practiced. repeated his memorized line and shared about his act of self-discipline. And then the moment arrived; he was to break a board with his foot.

He had been squirming with anticipation and trepidation for two days. Asking at every turn how many times it might take and did I think he could do it. Finally - the moment arrived. And here is what happened:


He is SO proud of himself! And I am very proud of him, too.

I love the place that he is going to - there is just something about it that makes me feel it's the right place. I love how the kids are both happy and doing what is asked of them without screwing around. I love the easy going atmosphere but most of all, I LOVE how Kelton is responding to it all. Now I just have to figure out how to swing tuition. Wouldn't it be nice if money grew on trees?

Coughing and Sneezing the Better Way

(I think I've posted this before but with what is happening out there, it is a good time to repost. :))

Spread the word, not your germs. :) Check out this funny but important lesson on the proper cough and sneeze protocol It's been around for a while - I first saw it years ago but it seems fitting for right now). It totally grosses me out to see people cough into their hands . Help spread the word to people about the better way to cough and sneeze.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Donate to Great Strides

My blogger-buddy, Elise, has a beautiful little girl who has an ugly disease called Cystic Fibrosis. This little three year old and her family have endured more than most of us will ever have to face in our lifetime. This is a daily struggle for them - hours and hours of treatments and thousands upon thousands of dollars is what it takes to keep their daughter alive and thriving.

It's time for The Great Strides walk. And it's time to ask you once again to dig into your pockets and find a dollar, two or maybe five or ten to donate to help raise funds to find a cure - to find the magic bullet that will help Addie live her life to the fullest and to the longest length she can.

A cure. Wouldn't that be amazing?

If it were your child....or your best friend's child....or your niece, nephew or'd give, right? Well - I believe that we are all responsible for the children in the world. We all have the responsibility...the obligation, if you will... to help keep them safe and healthy. So in a way, Addie IS your child. So give. Even if it's only a dollar, give. We all know how fast dollars can add up.



Here is the email that Elise sent out:

Dear Friends,
My mom and I were talking yesterday about how the shock of Cystic Fibrosis ---that initial jolt of sorrow has worn off. Addie is now three and a half. Her lungs, her body, her spirit is as healthy and vibrant as one can be. The sorrow of 'disease' is still present, everyday, but it is something we've come to live with, like an unfriendly neighbor, or drafty house. We are always living CF, but more so - we are living Addie.

For those of you who aren't surrounded by Addie's love everyday, let me tell you a little about her. She is spirited, naughty, curious, intelligent, determined, and kind.
Addie can ride her tricycle faster than any toddler around, and can turn a corner like nobody's business. She loves animals, especially her dog Buddy. She isn't afraid of snakes or bugs and will carry around a gopher snake or stink bug as comfortably as a bunny. Addie loves hiking and riding bikes. She knows the names of all the wild flowers and plants in Southern California and can distinguish "Cowboy Cologne" from wild anise. She loves California poppies like her mama, and has shoved various forms of Mexican sage and lavender up her nose, and has munched on dandelions and marigolds. Don't worry, Poison Control assures me they are safe.

Addie has three best friends, Makaela, Bowie and Mingus. She loves them so much, I could never imagine leaving Southern California because of these heartfelt, fledgling friendships. Addie is challenging and tests us on every level. She can run faster, think quicker and love harder than anyone I've ever known. I cannot express to anyone how much Scott and I love this kiddo. She is magic, she is life, she is love.

Living with Cystic Fibrosis is a challenge, and keeping her healthy is a
full-time job. Addie has three hours of respiratory therapy everyday. She takes a ton of medications and supplements and we have over nine pharmacies, five doctors, nutritionists, social workers, nurse care managers, and respiratory therapists, to keep our baby alive and our world in order.

Cystic Fibrosis does not discriminate. It is the number one genetic killer of children in the US. As hard as we try, as compliant as we are, sometimes it doesn't matter. The median age of survival is 37, but more than 60% of kids with CF won't make it to adulthood. This last week, we lost an eight year old to this disease. It isn't fair. And we are NOT going to let this happen to our baby.

Scott and I try to live positively. We focus on Addie's health and her
long life. But to do that, we also have to invest in her cure and therapies. I
know we will find a cure in Addie's lifetime, but we have to raise money to make it possible. Drug companies and the government will not invest in CF, because it isn't profitable -- only 30,000 Americans suffer from this disease. So it is up to us and only us to give our kids a long life, to keep our babies out of the hospital and in our arms as long as possible.

I know times are tough. I know there a million deserving charities. But please give what you can. Five bucks brings us closer to the cure. We appreciate any amount.

And after you give, send this email to your friends and family. Tell them how incredibly special Addie is and how we need her in this world because Scott and I cannot, will not, imagine a world without our Adelaide. Thank you.

To make a donation or join our walk team, please visit our Great Strides Website:

You can also watch our youtube video at:

Thank you as always. We’re all in this together and will find the cure

Elise, Scott and Adelaide Free

Monday, April 27, 2009


WAHOO!!!!!! She did it! Dakota is done with law school classes FOREVER!! Well - the class part...she still has finals but by next weekend she will no longer be a law school student. She will be a Law School Graduate. A Juris Doctor. (And for fun, I think I'll call her Doctor Dakota. :) :) : ) )

Holy cow. We're here.

We're really, really here.

Excellent job, Dakota. Well done, indeed!!

I am so very proud of you.

Happy Birthday, Dakota!

Today is Dakota's birthday but since it is a work and school night (which, I might add, is the LAST night of law school classes EVER! Talk about a great birthday gift!) so we spent yesterday celebrating.

The kids put up birthday banners and various other decorations Saturday afternoon so on Sunday morning they were more than ready to have her open her gifts. At breakfast, the kids gave her their gifts; Kelton got her an inspirational plaque (ok, I got it for her but he gave it to her) and Kaylen picked out a toy Tree Frog. And yes, she picked it out all by herself. :)

After breakfast we let her open one of her gifts from me. She has been wanting a better MP3 player than I gave her last year (yeah yeah - it was inexpensive and I knew nothing about them but let's just say her old one will make a great one for Kelton.). Her new one is a Sansa Clip one in blue (I have the pink one - I think I got it last year). She loves it!

After that we got ready to leave the house to do birthday things...well...if birthday things usually include buying a new VCR/DVD combo unit to replace the one that bite the big one this week and ordering a new pair of glasses for the birthday girl. We did round out the afternoon with a birthday trip to Chuck E Cheese and believe it or not - it was Dakota's idea! :)

After that we headed home for more exciting birthday fun - like hooking up the new VCR/DVD, mowing the lawn, the annual tightening of the bolts on the play structure, etc.

Then we had dinner and some games in the backyard ("Mother May I" and "What Time Is It Mr. Fox?") and finally cake, ice cream and the remaining two presents.

What did she get? Well funny you should ask. :) I got her the 5the Season of The L-Word and a bracelet. You can go here to see it.

All in all - I think she had a good day. Even if she did have to mow the lawn. :)

Happy Birthday, Dakota!!! I love you very, very much.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The End if Officially In Sight!

As it does, time marched us forward - sometimes pushed up forward as we, as a family unit, kicked and screamed.

Four years ago these last days seemed like an eternity away but - as time does, it moved by minute by minute, day by day and month by month and now we are *here* sitting in this place very near the end. We can see the light and it is not a just a train barreling down on us. It is really and truly the light at the end of the tunnel.

Today marks the very last time that Dakota will be sitting in classes at law school. The last time. Wow. She has three finals to get through and then it's done. DONE. No more being a law student instead she will have those much desired initials J.D. (Juris Doctor) behind her name. I am very, very proud of her.

There was a crystal clear message that the end is really and truly coming at rocket speed: Friday afternoon a rather large and VERY heavy box was delivered by UPS. It contains the many study guides and books she will need for the BarBri classes to prepare to take the Bar at the end of July.

The Bar. The test to end all tests when it comes to law school.

And this is Dakota holding one of those very large books (and notice - it's legal sized....which is a strange size for a book to be):

And this is how she is really feeling about it. :)

But wow. We're here. It's been a long, long, long road with bumps along the way too many to mention but we are here. Kaylen, back then was a mere 6 months old who rarely slept and drove me to the brink of sanity and she is now a strong, capable and amazing 4 year old. Kelton, a wild child at 3, is now a terrific and incredible 7 year old. We have all grown and changed and yet - we are still standing. We have moved through growing pains that have run deep and have been incredibly painful and yet - we are still standing. That, in and of itself, has been no small feat as many others who went into law school standing with someone are no longer standing together. We have faced all that law school is - both from the inside where Dakota has been, and the outside where I have been - and we are still standing!

We have so much to be proud of as a family. And this family is oh so very proud of itself and of our star member: Dakota.

Great job, honey!! Really, really great job!!

Volunteer Appreciation Event

Not only was it Take Your Child to Work Day it was also the volunteer appreciation event at school so while the kids were off getting to feel special, so was I. :)

It arrived at the school earlier than the event because I needed to create a new display case for the front office. So I took it from this (which I put together a couple weeks ago for Turn Off Your TV Week):

To this (which highlights our upcoming skate night and Mother's Day Gift Shop):

After I finished the case, it was time for the volunteer appreciation event. We all went down to the library (there were several other parents/high school students who volunteer for tutoring, helping in the classrooms, etc. and of course the core PTO group. All told, I'd say there was 25 of us plus the teaching and admin. staff.) to find a huge spread of delicious treats. The room was decorated in posters created by classrooms. Kelton's room added my name to their poster and that was a lot of fun to see. The little stinker kept it a secret but after we all arrived home that night he excitedly asked if I had seen the poster. Sweet! :)

The best part was when all the school staff gathered together and sang us a song. So fun! :)

Then it was time for the awards. A few people were singled out for their above and beyond service to the school and I have to say, it was really nice to hear the principal singing my praises. :) She saved me for last and I have to say - it was a highlight for me. I have been working myself silly with things and it was just really nice to hear how much it has been appreciated. I loved her line about "and we don't want her to get burned out so please,everyone, do what you can to help her so we can keep her. She is invaluable to us!" Talk about a much needed ego stroke. :)

I went home with my Oscar statue, flowers and candy. What more could a girl want? :)

PS..keep reading. I posted a couple more below this one. :)

Take Your Child to Work Day; Part 3

Bare with me - I know these are out of order but I want to get them all in. More than anything, this blog also a journal to my kids. (Dakota has been sweet enough to compile the first two years (so far) into book format and she has them printed up for me. I LOVE it as I know it will be something to hand down to the kids since I've really sucked at keeping up with their baby books. Sorry, kiddos!)

Anyway.....back to Take Your Child to Work Day

I dropped Kaylen off with Dakota and Kelton for lunch at The Spaghetti Factory. A co-worker and her daughter were also going to be meeting them. I opted not to stay mainly because the kids had really wanted this to be a special day with Dakota but also because I had PTO things to take care of, a display case to create and a couple hours of downtime wouldn't be so bad either. :)

While they waited for their lunch reservation, the played around on the river bank behind the restaurant.

To get back to Dakota's office, they needed to take the tram.

And then, of course, they needed to have a meeting:

After their day was over, and their memory books were made, it was time to head home. Can you say "child labor laws"? :)

They had a great day and came home with bags full of treasures such as Post-It notes, pens, paper clips, photocopies of hand prints, etc.

And both are eagerly anticipating next year! :)

Sick Little Girl

As a continuation to yesterdays post about Kaylen not feeling well, I thought you would enjoy seeing what I walked into the living room to discover after spending not even 15 minutes getting a quick dinner pulled together for the kids.

Oh yes - that is indeed a sleeping child.

At 4:45pm.

I tried to wake her. Kelton tried to wake her. There was no waking her.

I picked her up and put her in her bed and she stayed fast asleep until about 8:15pm when I heard her call to me. Kelton had been asleep for about an hour by this time and I figured she was going to want to get up from her "nap". I went in and all she wanted was for me to snuggle her and back to sleep she drifted.

Same thing around 8:30. I figured she must be hungry since she hadn't eaten dinner and lunch had been many hours before. But no - she wanted to stay asleep.

That was the last I heard of her until 2:15am. By then she had been sleeping for 9.5 hours and I figured I was in trouble. And I was for a while. She got up to go potty (thankfully! Because I have no idea when the last time had been prior to falling asleep.) and then tossed and turned for a while before finally falling back to sleep around 4am. She woke at 6:30 for her day.

She must have really needed the sleep - she is much better today. Not 100% herself but at least I've seen more energy in the past 5 hours then I saw all day yesterday.

I have to say, it was so strange - and kind of a nice change of pace - to only have one child to tend to after dinner. Kelton and I hung out together and watched some of the TV shows he loves and made guesses about what would happen next in the show. It was nice. And instead of the usual bedtime chaos, when it was time for bed he went without complaint and was fast asleep in less than 3 minutes.

Dakota studied last night so I was all alone for the rest of the evening - which isn't the norm for a Friday night. What an odd, but good, evening it was.

Friday, April 24, 2009

My Girl

Kaylen isn't feeling well. To be fair - none of us are though I think Kelton is on the other side and getting better. The rest of us have begun our descent. Ick. It's "just a cold" - a bad one with a bad cough - but just a cold.

Kaylen slept terribly last night and therefore, so did I. When she woke for good at 5:30 she looked at me and said in a very sad little croaky voice "Mommy? I don't feel so good."

Poor girl. :(

This is her at 9am:

Around 10, she rallied and put on a dress. Around 10:30, she wanted to go for a bike ride. We went.

Then she wanted to hang out in the yard. She did a little of this and that and then she asked to play in the sandbox. And here is how she set it up for herself. You have to give her points for *wanting* to play. I'd say she just didn't have the energy.

She is now cuddled into my bed watching TV. I hope she feels better soon. I hope we all do.

Box Tops for Education

Back near the beginning of the school year I posted that Kelton's school was collecting Box Tops for Education and a few of you wonderful people shipped the stashes you had been collecting (and helped Kelton's class earn a donut and juice party one afternoon). To date, the PTO has raised more than $1,000 from box tops. This rocks since each box top only has a net worth of $0.10 each. Go us! :)

The year is starting to wind down (which I find unbelievable!) so I thought I would just toss it out there that if you have a stack of box tops collecting dust in a drawer, I'd LOVE to have you send them my way.

Let me know! And thank you. :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Take Your Child to Work Day; Part 2

These were taken on Dakota's cellphone so the quality isn't awesome - but fun just the same. :)