Thursday, May 28, 2009

Last Day of Preschool

Hmmm...I have no idea why uploading a movie to Photobucket to post won't work for me but it won' I can figure it out I guess you'll have to click to see. :)
Kaylen attended her last day of preschool this morning and when I signed her in I was given a CD full of photos that were taken during her 7 week class. What's a mom to do? I made a movie. Enjoy!

Wheeeeeeeeeee! that Wii?

Dakota received a sum of money from her mom and step-dad for graduation and I had thought that she would want to put it towards a new laptop since the one she used for school bite the big one back in April (she's been using mine since then). I knew she had her eye on a fancy teeny tiny NetBook and given our budget, using graduation money would be the only way that would happen at this point.

So imagine my surprise when she announces that she thinks we should buy a Wii as a family gift. It didn't take long to spend her gift money; the system, an extra control and a couple games later we were on our way home.

Oh the fun that has ensued since then! I think I have Wii arm. Ouch. Now it may not be as much fun to some as say New York Yankees tickets but Kelton and I played baseball in Wii Sport last night and had a great time! He won but I guess that isn't surprising since he continued to pitch to my team while I answered a phone call from Dakota. :)

Big fun to be had around here these days. Thanks, Dakota! :)

Yo Yo!

It's Yo Yo Week at Kelton's school. No, seriously. It is. Last week the school held a character building assembly and the guy told all sorts of engaging stories using yo yos. It was fantastic! The assembly itself was free providing that the school agrees to sell yo yos for 5 days following the assembly.

Easy enough! So, for the past few days I have been getting the kids up and out early to be at the school to set up and sell yo yos. I had no idea how many yo yos a person could sell in a day....or three. We have been on warp speed for the hour we are selling and it's crazy! There are usually three adults selling and three 5th graders doing string adjustments and putting names on yo yos. It is just nutty how busy we are.

I'm pretty sure we are all burning as many calories as if we were taking some metabolism increasing product like atro-phex. I kid you not! The first day we sold about $500 worth of yo yos and yesterday and today we hit $700 for each day. We are almost sold out of the 230 yo yos they sent and will have a new shipment waiting for us in the morning.

It is unreal. But - just like with book fair week, it's been fun to have so much activity to kick start my day. I'm not all that sad that the school year is coming to an end (not until June 18th though). I'm feeling the need for a PTO break.

We still have a final PTO meeting and field day to navigate and then we should have some down time. You know - until the backyard planning sessions begin for the 2009-2010 school year. :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Visitors and The Party

Sunday early afternoon my sister, brother-in-law, niece, great niece and great nephew arrived in town to attend the graduation party. We were all excited to see them and couldn't wait. Infact, we were so excited that when they called and said they were ready to come over we all waited in the front yard.

We had a couple of hours before the party so the grown ups hung out in the backyard and the kids played in the yard and in their rooms. It was great!

Before we knew it was time to head off to the party. Let me just say it was SO. MUCH. FUN! I think this was the first time in years that I just relaxed and had fun...and yes all you non-believing friends of mine, had a few drinks. :)

Let's just say that by the end of the party both Dakota and I were in need of a designated driver. Or perhaps you could have gotten a double baby jogger stroller and dumped us both in it. (Just kidding!) My niece drove the kids and I home and Dakota's sister and brother-in-law brought her home a while later. She stayed to have "grown up time" with her sisters and mom and I came back with the kids and my family to just hang out...and sober up.

We ended up having a BBQ and was just finishing up when Dakota arrived home. It had been a great day.

Monday arrived and it was time to say good-bye to my family. We went over to their hotel and spend an hour chatting while the kids played and then the time was really there. We sent them on their way - very sad that the weekend festivities had come to an end.

It's the type of weekend that both Dakota and I could use many more of. Time to cut loose and not be ultra-responsible. We're have four long years of being ultra-responsible and weighed down by the stresses and a couple days of freedom from that were amazingly well deserved - and appreciated.

What a huge moment in time.

Cheese Cheese Cheese

Just a quick post to share something amazingly wonderful with you.

Tillamook Vintage Cheese.


I had my first sampling of it when we went to the Cheese Factory on our beach vacation and I just have to tell you - I think I might have swooned a little. This cheese takes two years to make and about .5 seconds to gobble down. Oh. My.

If you love cheese (and who doesn't?!?!) you *have* to try this kind. Yeah yeah - easy does it or we'll all be looking for weight loss pills but honestly? You have to try this type of cheese.

Have to.

Dakota surprised me by buying a Baby Loaf of it and I'm not ashamed to tell you that I have made a fairly good dent in it. And I just enjoyed some slices of it with Saltines.

YUM! :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Graduation Party

I have more to share about graduation weekend but that last post took me an hour to write and I have some things I need to get done. I promise to tell you all about it later but I do have to tell you that the food at the party was yum yum yummy! I think we all ate (and drank) enough that we should start looking into some good weight loss products! Seriously - the food was *that* good!

But it was more than the food and free flowing champagne (and the fact that Dakota's niece and sister thought it would be great fun to see me drunk and somehow managed to work together to make sure my glass was never empty). It was the family (part of mine drove down to share in the weekend) and friends. The laughter. The relief. The tears of happiness.

It was just an all out great weekend. And I can't wait until bar review and the bar are over so we can get back to having fun again.

Anyway - stay tuned. And yes, I have photos. :)

A Weekend to Remember

What a fantastic weekend!! As you have all seen in the previous post, this weekend has been one of milestones and memories. Dakota, after 4 long and difficult years, received her Juris Doctorate degree from Lewis and Clark School of Law. Impressive by any standard but even more so if you take into account that she did it with two young children (and me) to balance as well as a full time job. In the 4 years, as we all do, our family faced tremendous difficulties, a few that threatened to topple us. We both lost a parent and were faced with levels of grief we'd never experienced. We lost three of our furry companions. Our children grew from three years to seven years and from six months to four years.

So much took place in those four years. So very much. We have come through it changed. For the better, but definitely changed.

And Saturday morning we really began the celebration! We were dressed up and on the road by 8:30. Dakota needed to be on campus for a 9:30 class photo. Since we would have had to follow within an hour, I packed "survival" bags for the kids and I and we all went together. We arrived and got a great parking spot. Dakota put on her regalia and we snapped a few photos of her and the kids. Then we walked her to the fence and said our goodbyes and good lucks. On the way back to the car the kids and I looked into the stadium and was amazed to see that there were lots of people already in the stands. Uh oh. This wasn't part of my carefully constructed plan! I had planned to hook them up with a DVD for about 90 minutes, get their tummies full and then change them into their good clothes. I figured sitting for 45 minutes in the stands before the 2 hour ceremony would be long enough. But....with places in the covered area fewer than the non-covered area, I know we had to shift gears.

The kids agreed that we should get ready and go find seats (we also needed to reserve seats for Dakota's mom and step-dad). I changed Kaylen into her fancy sundress first and then helped Kelton finish getting his good clothes on. I grabbed the picnic blankets I had in the car (Kelton was the only one smart enough to have grabbed a jacket on his way out of the house. Even though the sun was shinning, and it would get warm later, it was COLD!) and the two bags of snacks and activities and we walked over to the stadium.

We found seats and then we set about settling in for the almost two hour wait before the two hour ceremony. Yes, my friends, you read that right. I was expecting my children to sit still, and behave, on bleacher seats for FOUR hours.

And did you catch the part about the two blankets? And the cold? Let me just add that I had a sundress on as well. And the kids were not into sharing their blankets. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!! I was certainly wishing that I had something that would keep me warm - heck, even vinyl corsets would have been welcome at that point. Vinyl traps body heat which would have been oh so nice.

The kids were so, so good. Kelton stayed busy with his DS and Kaylen and I just watched things/people and chatted. And we placed bets with each other on when Grandma and Grandpa would arrive.

The seats started to really fill up by 10 and finally at 10:30 I spotted Dakota's mom across the field. We made contact by phone and they headed over to where we were. The kids were so happy to see them - and I was happy for more adults to help entertain. :)

11:00 brought the sounds of music and way off in the distance, the sights of graduates walking could be seen. I don't have many photos of that because well....I couldn't see through the tears in my eyes. :)

The ceremony was really long. Kaylen, at many intervals (when she wasn't requesting snacks....I think she ate the entire time) would say "I'm sooooooooo booooooored!" Finally, at one point, I looked at her and said "Me, too!" Let's just say that the speakers were less than captivating. We were all beyond ready when at long last we were at the actual "graduating" part. The five of us all eagerly waited until Dakota's row stood and walked to the line and then, with tears in my eyes and the kids standing on the bleachers yelling we watched as Dakota's name was called and she climbed the stairs to receive her diploma. What a moment in time!

Kelton scrambled into my lap and said "We did it, Mom! We really did it!" It's a phrase I know he has heard us saying to each other the past couple weeks but it he couldn't have made a more true statement if he tried.

We did it.
We made it.
We graduated.

Our last name starts with a "D" so we had a ways to go before the actually walking was completed and the kids were bouncing off the walls. They knew that after the ceremony came THEIR ceremony. The children of the graduates attended a special ceremony, complete with diploma and gift, to thank them for their years of sacrifice. For all the times they had to hear "I can't today. I have class (or I have to study).". For all the nights they didn't have their law student parent there to help them brush their teeth or tuck them into bed. For all the hundreds of missed moments.

But it had to wait a while longer. After they finished handing out diplomas there was *more* people on the program. I wanted to poke my eyes out. It was already 1:30 (it should have ended at 1 and remember: my kids had been sitting there since 9:15). Finally it was time for the Dean to give his "charge" to the class. He walked to the podium and said " I crafted and re-crafted my talk but what I think is best is if I just skip it and let you get back to your families who are eager to see you. I imagine I will get the biggest applause for that." And he did.

We found Dakota and we all walked across campus to the Children's Ceremony. Oh the excitement! I don't have any photos since the entire family is called up, but it was really nice. Dakota took the podium and thanked the kids, me and her mom and step dad for all our support. Then the kids received their diplomas and gifts and then a family photo was taken of us (it will be sent later).

We watched the other families have their turn and then...just like was over. Graduation, for everyone, was complete.

We took a few photos outside and then said our goodbyes to Dakota's mom and step-dad and we headed back down to the law school to return the cap, gown and hood. On our way back to the car we made a note: we'd been there for 7 hours. What a day!

Dakota did it!
We all did it!


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Oceans of Fun: Part 4

May 12th through May 14th

After a rocky start to the night and no sleep for the mommies until the early hours, Kaylen woke up insisting she was fine. Against our better judgement, we gave into her desire for chocolate milk. Oh yeah - within 15 minutes we saw that again. Ugh. She is so good though - and made it to the bathroom.

Kelton and I drove into the store to pick up some supplies not knowing how the day would play out. When we got back it took just minutes for the crying and fighting to start. It was more than I could do - spend the day on the coast cooped up with fighting children. So we made the decision to clean up, pack up and head home a day early. No one was happy about it and the kids begged and pleaded to stop at Tolavana to check on the holes that they had dug the night before. No harm there so we agreed.

By the time we arrived (several hours later because of the cleaning up and packing and driving) the sun was shining and Kaylen was acting completely normal. She said she felt "good!" and we were kicking ourselves. Dakota and I hatched a plan: make a few calls and see if we could find someplace affordable to stay for the night. After all, things at home were taken care of for another day and no one was expecting us back.

She made two calls and presto! The next thing we knew we were arriving at the SurfSand Resort to check out a couple rooms. Oh my gosh! Can I tell you how much we LOVE this place?!?!?! As in LOVE LOVE LOVE. Cannot say enough good things about it. Seriously.

We've always known this in our hearts but this was the nail in the coffin: beach houses are great for some but not so much our style. We LOVE beach front hotels. (Spoiled much? Why yes, thank you. We hope so.)

They made us a rocking great deal for quite a bit less than the usual "going rate" and we were happy to take it. Our room was on ground level with a parking lot door and, on the other side of the room, a slider that opened onto the lawn and pathway to the sand. HEAVEN!

They had a swimming pool too and the kids were itching to swim so Kelton and I took off to the outlet mall to find suits for the three of them. While we were gone, Dakota and Kaylen played on the beach and in the surf and then went back into the room and had an hour long soak in the giant jacuzzi while they watch the bathroom television. Talk about decadent! :)

We went to the pool and the three of them played while I stood guard. After that, we all went back to the room to get ready for dinner. We ate and spent a little time roaming around before heading back to our beautiful and amazing room.

The kids were down quickly leaving Dakota and I to read and watch a movie.

Ahhhhhhh! Bliss!

We woke the next day with the question: Do we steal another day in paradise or suck it up and go home?

Do you know us? How well? What do YOU think we did? :)

We made the phone calls to the pet sitter, Dakota's work and Kelton's school and we were good to go! We were told at check in the day before that our particular room wasn't available for two nights but that if we wanted to extend, they would happily move us. Can I just say? This moving rooms is pretty good? Two sparking clean rooms is pretty much amazing. :)

We were up on the third floor of the same building for the second night and it was spectacular! The view was truly amazing - the ocean, the sand and Haystack Rock all right out our sliding doors. Of course, that day it poured rain and the wind howled like a December night be we still managed to have a really, really great time.

Rain or not, we went in and out of every single shop in Cannon Beach and had a great time doing so. The kids were really good and the town all but deserted. Perfect for us. After we were done we headed back for some down time; the kids played and Dakota and I read for a bit. Then the kids wanted a bath so Dakota enjoyed some time in the jacuzzi with them. They stayed in for almost two hours! And me? I stayed camped out on the oh so comfy bed and read and read and read. Bliss, people. I'm talking B.L.I.S.S.

It was dinner time so we went back into town and had dinner at Bill's Tavern (which, by the way, has the best BLT sandwich I think I have ever tasted! Kelton says they also have the best clam chowder he's ever had and he orders it everywhere we go so I would take his word for it.). We headed back to the resort with the wind whipping. The kids wanted to hit the beach which we tried to talk them out of. Kelton decided against it but Dakota went ahead and took Kaylen. Needless to say, they didn't get too far because it was so windy that the sand was actually blowing and rolling with the wind. It was amazing to watch, that's for sure.

Before we knew it it was time to say goodnight. Another night of reading for Dakota and I.

The next morning dawned bright and beautiful! We walked down to Haystack Rock and learned quite a lot about the bird sanctuary that it is. It was pretty cool to be so close to this enormous rock that can be seen for miles.

From there it was a quick jaunt to check out time. We packed up and sadly said farewell. As we were out getting photos by the Puffin (not in the rain) the manager came out and offered to take a family photo. This is great because it's something we rarely have on vacation. He asked us all about our stay and if we thought they could improve anywhere. I'm telling you - the customer service of this place rocked so, so hard.

We drove down the road, had breakfast and walked around a bit stopping at the park for some playtime. Then we walked back up the car and headed out of town.

What a seriously fantastic week at the coast. Well you know - minus the barfing and all but really, even that turned out to be a gift because we never would have stayed at the SandSurf Resort and we all know that was Dakota's and my favorite part of the entire trip. :)