Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Busy Morning

It's been a busy morning around here. First we took Kelton to the bus for his trip to day camp and then, after the bus left, Kaylen and I headed to a park in Everett that we have been to several times over the past few years; Forest Park. It isn't far from the Camp Fire office where the bus picks up Kelton so we were there at 8:05am.

The plan was to play in the park area, then hit the spray park and finish up our park trip by going to the petting farm. The only glitch in the plan was the time things opened. The water park and the petting farm didn't open until 10 which left us two hours (!) to play on the playground. That's a LOT of time. We were the only ones there for about 30 minutes and since the park was in the shade and a breeze was blowing it was great! Kaylen had free run of everything and had a fantastic time.

More people starting showing up and soon the park area was buzzing with day campers. By 9:30 the day camp kids had gone into their buildings to start their activities and the playground was much quieter. Swimsuit clad kids and weather weary parents continued to arrive and finally at 10 on the dot the spray park began spraying. The kids all ran like crazy and parents all gave a collective relieved sigh. :)

Most of the water features were working full blast but there was a sad little section by where I was sitting that was not. I'm pretty sure a few bathroom faucets running at full blast would have created more water spray then these three little nozzles. Even the toddlers weren't impressed with it and moved on to play with the big kids.

My big (little) kid was having a blast!! She played hard for about 25 minutes and was completely soaked and happy. We got her all dried off and dressed and we headed down to the petting farm. Since it was early most of the animals were opting for their food stalls instead of roaming around for the kids to pet. We were able to pet bunnies and goats though and Kaylen was happy with that.

Of all the days to forget my camera, today was not one of them....but forget it I did. *sigh*

After Kaylen tired of the farm area we headed back to the car and all the way home Kaylen said "Thank you for planning this fun day for me. I can't believe I had THREE special things! Kelton is going to be soooo jealous when I tell him."

We're taking a break right now and in a couple hours I will be off and running again. I'll pick up my dad and the three of us will head up to the camp to pick up Kelton and then drive to my brother's house for a pre-wedding open house event. I don't plan on staying too late because I need to get the kids home (before they fall asleep in the car), in the bath and then into bed at a decent time because tomorrow will be crazy busy yet again with the end of camp event at 3;30 and then needing to be at the wedding rehearsal right after. And YAY! Dakota arrives tomorrow. We can't wait!

Running on Empty

I'm tired. Really tired. Yes, I know - Dakota is probably more so...but maybe not. Maybe it's a completely different kind of tired. She is tired from using her brain and problem solving and recalling data - I'm tired from the constant entertaining. Constant.

We're not at home so therefore I do not have my usual routines and fall back activities for when I need a break. And honestly, I find it challenging to be in someone else's space. I always wonder if I am being a considerate enough house guest. I worry about wearing out our welcome (after all - it's a lot of nights). I worry about the things the kids don't pick up and I try hard to stay on top of everything.

At home I can flip on the TV in the afternoons and let the kids watch a few shows which gives me a break. I don't have that luxury at other people's houses (though at 3pm Arthur is on PBS and it's one of Kaylen's favorite shows so yesterday and the day before I did turn it on for her). This week it's been "Mommy - play dolls with me." "Mommy - let's do art." Mommy - let's do a puzzle." Mostly it's dolls. And I'm soooo tired of playing dolls.

It's hard to be "on" every minute of the day. Maybe I need to look into some hgh supplements to give me a nice burst of energy. Maybe the heat needs to STOP so we can all get better sleep at night. (Oh and by the way? The heat wave ends Monday and by next Wednesday the area will be back in their usual low-mid 70's. That would have been sooo nice for this week. *sigh*). And speaking of energy, I guess I better go make some lunch for the little girl.....and then it's back to another stimulating round of dolls.

You know you're jealous. :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's Done!

My phone rang late this afternoon with the good news - Dakota is done with the bar!!! After two intense days, it's over. Last night when she called she was bouncy and energized sounding. Tonight? Not so much. Tonight hearing her voice just made me want to be home so I could open the door and give her a big hug. She sounded so tired. :(

Being gone so she could study and prepare was a good idea but being gone during the test wasn't. I missed being there when she got home and even though we talked a lot on the phone, it just wasn't even close to being good enough. *sigh* I can't wait to see her Friday and give her the hug I am wanting to give her right now.

I would have loved to have gotten her something special to mark the occasion - perhaps some diamond heart jewelry or, staying with the whole "bar" theme, a yummy tropical drink like a HUGE Blue Hawaiian.

The bar is over and now summer can officially begin at our house. We're all looking forward to camping in the yard (you know, once the temps drop back down to normal). making s'mores over a campfire and just hanging out together. I'm just so proud of Dakota - so, so proud. Congratulations, honey!!!!!!!


109. That could be the number of many, many things but instead what that is was the temperature in my sister's backyard this afternoon. This is the Pacific Northwest people - this is CRAZY! The official temperature at the Sea-Tac airport was 103 which sets a record for the highest temperature on record ever. EVER.

And it was this week that the kids and I were here. Of all the luck. *sigh*

There has been so much sweating going on that I'm pretty sure we all should be showing evidence of weight loss. On fun thing we've done the past two nights is to make root beer floats and sit out under the big peach tree in the yard. They have stayed up on watering in the back yard (my brother in law has an incredible garden - both vegetables and flowers!) so the grass is green and soft and wonderfully cool to sit on. It's been a nice way to wind down the day.

Tomorrow I hear it is supposed to start cooling down. Only 99 or something ridiculous like that. Maybe it's time to dig out a sweater. :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's Bar Time!

Today is Day 1 of the Bar Exam. I jsut finished talking with Dakota and she is at the location and waiting to sign in. Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!

All good thoughts for her over the next two days would be greatly appreciated. We've worked hard and sacraficed so very much to get to this day and we are both feeling nervous and excited. What a huge accomplishment for Dakota. This is stunningly huge.

Congratulations honey! I am cheering you on and wishing you nothing but great success. I love you!!

Sidenote funny story: Yesterday my sister was talking with Kaylen and asked her about the big test Mom was getting ready for. Kaylen said "She is taking the bar test." My sister said "And what will she be when she is done with it?" Kaylen thought and thought and then said.....

wait for it........

A barber!

I love that child! :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Baby It's HOT!

The kids and I are up north of Seattle for the week while Kelton attends day camp with his cousin and while Dakota is at home stressing out and studying herself crazy getting ready for the bar which starts tomorrow. The other things Dakota is home doing is enjoying the air conditioning...and I could not possible be more jealous. IT IS HOT! I heard on the news this morning, at 5:30 when the outside temp was sitting at 70, that there will be a heat wave all week. All. Week.


I'm sitting on my sister's deck, in the shade, as sweat rolls down my neck. I don't do heat well and I'm in the land of no a/c. I've talked with a few people since arriving here on Friday and I hear the same thing I used to say when I lived here: "Why spend the money on a/c (or even a window unit) for the handful of days that you need it?" And to them I say "Because of the handful of days you need it." I used to say the same thing too - in fact, the first car Dakota and I owned together did not have a/c (it wasn't standard back in those days) because "It gets hot like what? Six days a year?" That, my friends, is the mid set of Pacific Northwesterners. :)

It's been a whirlwind since we arrived on Friday. We got to my brother's house and unloaded our weekend bags and then headed back into town to meet a friend I have not seen since my teen years. It was awesome! She brought pictures of "back in the day" and it was surreal to see photos of myself, her family, my family, etc. Very cool. She also brought a long a really great album of her oldest son who died five years ago from ALM Leukemia. I was so impressed with her strength and gratitude for the time between his diagnosis and (6 months later) death. She is an amazing woman and I am so proud to call her my friend.

Saturday we came to my sister's house for a BBQ that they were hosting. It was a fun times catching up with people but I think one the best part was when the rains came and cooled it down from the overly warm temperatures. :) The kids, of course, loved playing with their cousins.

Sunday we said goodbye to my brother and drove down to my sisters where we will stay for the remainder of our time. Saturday is my brother's wedding and both kids are in the wedding party - it's sure to be a good time...and hot. Yes hot. It's an outside wedding and the temps are predicted to be quite warm. Personally speaking - I love the sunshine. I love warm temps but when the creeps past 82...I'm done.

This morning we took Kelton to the bus pick up for day camp and after headed out to visit a friend I haven't seen in a very long time. We sat trying to figure out exactly how long it's been but neither could recall exactly. It was so easy to just sit and talk for hours and then Kaylen started to get restless so it was time to go. I was sad to say goodbye and I hope we can get together again the next time we are up. With her work schedule and out weekend visiting schedule it's tough to work it out but she would really like to see Dakota again and to finally meet Kelton.

On the way back to my sister's house I stopped at the store today to buy a few things. While there I found Kaylen a toddler sized splash mat so she can keep cool - she played in it for a nice long time and I'm sure she will be back with it soon - after I play Barbies with her (UGH UGH UGH!). Tomorrow she and I are headed out to a local beach with my niece and her almost 4 year old son. That should make the princess of "There isn't anyone for ME to play with!" happy for a bit. :)

Ok - time to play Barbies. Wish me luck.

PS - I have photos to post but I can't find a way to change the dpi so that they will upload. The good part of that is my brother fixed Dakota's laptop so at least I have a laptop to use. :) If I ever figure out the photo stuff - I'll get some posted. I know I know - the anticipation is killing you. :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fishies Graduate

Today was the last swimming lesson for the kids and I am very proud to announce that they both graduated from their levels and are moving up! Kelton passed with flying colors and is now ready for Level 3 and little Miss I-Can't-Keep-My-Face-Out-of-the Water-Look-at-Me-I-Can-Swim! is now ready for Pre Level 1.


I am very, very happy for them. :)

I promised them that once Dakota was done with the bar we would go swimming so they could show off all their new tricks. They can't wait!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Just a Reminder....

...of how fast it all goes by. Because sometimes we (ok....I) need to be reminded.

(it takes a second or more to load)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pool Party!

The kids and I were invited to a pool party play date today and it was SO much fun! Here are a few photos of the fun that was had:

We had a lot of fun!! What a great way to spend a summer afternoon.

The Pool - and the Stress It Creates

Oh my gosh. I can't even begin to describe the sort of chaos that takes place when Kelton plays in the blow-up pool we have. No really - I can't find the words to give you an accurate description on how much I want to yank out my hair, his hair, every blade of grass in the get the picture, I'm sure. I just don't know what tips him from a semi-reasonable child to an out of control wild child when it comes to water.

Any water really. Yesterday it was the smallest of our blow up pools. We have a bigger sized one that we haul out on family days but since it's deeper it takes longer to warm up and heaven forbid my children play in right from the hose cold water like I did when I was a child. But then, I guess they don't have to walk uphill both ways to school in the snow without shoes either. Spoiled children. :)
But I digress - as I often do when reliving painful experiences. As I said, it was the small pool.

So I had the pool set up, complete with the attached whale slide, and Kaylen had been happily playing in it on and off all day. Then, later in the afternoon, the phone rang. It was the neighbor boy who wanted to come over to play until it was time to go to karate. Sure - sounds like a fine idea.

Prior to his call, Kaylen had talked me into taking a quick bike ride down to the corner. It's 5 houses away. I thought "Oh it's ok. The boys will find something to do for the three minutes we're out of the house." They are usually really good about finding something. Seriously. It was no more than 3-5 minutes and I'm betting heavily on the 3 side. Kaylen rides extremely fast and I have to run to stay up. We went 5 5 down and 5 back at a high speed. Anyway -
I get to the open garage door to find that Kelton had left the door from the house to the garage wide open and I now had a fugitive cat in the front yard. I scooped her up and put her back inside. Then I heard it....the splash of water.


Oh yes he did.

In the few minutes I was away the boys decided to go into the back yard (where Kelton had flat out refused to be all day long) and get into the pool! I cannot begin to tell you the number of times we have told them they are absolutely forbidden to even BE in the backyard without an adult when the pool has water in it. This is not a new rule. It's been drilled into their heads since they were old enough to crawl and they both know it inside out and upside down. There is NO fudging of this rule because a drowning child is the vision I most see in my nightmares and until that moment, our rule had been obeyed.

I flipped out. This is non-negotiable from my end. I removed him from the pool, sat him and down and I made him tell me the rules for the pool. He knew them, of course, and then followed up with "I'm sorry. I forgot." FORGOT? ARGH!

After a time out, I let him return to the pool (which I wouldn't have done if the neighbor boy wasn't over but I don't feel punishing another child for my child's short coming is the way to go). But then - oh boy. More chaos. He splashed Kaylen (who hates it and he knows it), he used the pool and slide like a trampoline, he was just out and out obnoxious....which sadly, is nothing new when he is around water.

And it's been like that since the beginning. I don't know what it is but water, any water, just brings out this wild side of him. It's crazy.

I sat on the patio to supervise and I am not kidding when I tell you I would have rather been reading up on medical treatment or tax law (that's for you honey). It was insane. And the kicker was - from the time the neighbor boy arrived to the time he walked out the door was 25 minutes!

And I wonder why I am so darn tired at the end of the day.

A (Positive) Sign of the Times

I was watching Good Morning America this morning for a few minutes and I happened to hit the stock market report. Can I tell you how glad I am to hear that they are talking about it in a positive manner? It's no secret that the economy has been a stressful topic for many of us and I have to tell you - I loved hearing something good about it for a change.

They said that companies are reporting "higher than expected" earnings for the quarter, that new unemployment filings are down and that the market is up - not by leaps and bounds by every move in the positive direction is a good move, right? They started to talk about the foreclosure rate which I missed thanks to "MOM! Can you help me?" but I did hear that new house building permits are on the rise. Let's hope that we start reading good news on things like The Carolina Outer Banks foreclosures.

I'm ready for good news. I'm more than ready to not see a zillion For Sale and For Rent signs. I'm ready to go back into my bubble of thinking that all is well and that jobs are plentiful and lucrative. Bubbles are good places to be. :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Haircut - Revisted

My sister has been on me to post a picture of Kelton's way too short haircut but here's the thing; I don't have any "after the fact" photos. I do have the one I took when he was sitting in the chair at Supercuts.

Now don't get me wrong - it isn't *horrible* fact, he is adorable with short's just not what I wanted nor what I asked for. It has, however, left me wishing that stylist had chosen a healthcare career instead of a career in hair. I'm sure she was just doing what she thought looked cute and she is right - it does look cute. It's just not what I wanted to have done.

Still - it will grow and, in the mean time, Kelton is have a grand time getting it wet and combing it straight down. He really wants to have straight hair so while it is short enough to pretend it is, he is having a good time.

Me? I'll be glad when it's a little longer. :)

PS....keep reading. I've been busy today. :)

Summer Weekend, Part 3

What can I say? We squish a lot into our days. :)

let's see - where was I? Oh right - after the birthday party we stopped by home and picked up Kelton's DS and pokemon cards and then drove him the 5 blocks to his friends house. After dropping him off we went to the store to pick up a few things that we needed. Among other things, I hit the Back to School rows and gathered fun stuff to keep them busy for 2 hours 15 minutes on our trip to see my family at the end of the week. We also picked up "car treats" which is just fun foods for them to snack on during the drive.

After we finished up there we headed home to put stuff away and then, much to Kaylen's delight, it was time to play in the crazy daisy sprinkler with Dakota! Oh my goodness the fun those two silly rabbits had.

I left to go retrieve the prodigal son and then all four of us enjoyed some backyard fun time. Dakota and Kelton sprayed each other but good so all three were dripping wet messes but boy was it nice to hear happy laughter from my entire family.

It wasn't long before Dakota started up the BBQ and made us all a delicious dinner. It actually felt like summer to me - the smell of good food, a drink in my hand, my beautiful wife, happy children, and eating on the patio. I have to keep reminding myself that there are more of these summer days to come - and soon!

The evening didn't end on quite the happy note though - poor Kaylen ended up getting hurt by all of us. :( After dinner the kids played while I cut Dakota's hair. For some reason, both kids thought it would be great fun to stand on the teeter-totter toy. I said it was a bad idea. I asked them to stop but I guess it's one of those things they choose to learn the hard way. *sigh* At first Kaylen jumped off and they both fell to the ground laughing. Then came Kelton's turn to jump off.....and Kaylen flew forward and smashed her face into the handle on the teeter totter.

My poor girl! Luckily no real harm was done and ice made her feel better. Then, as Dakota was helping her brush her teeth she somehow got positioned over the sharp corner on the counter and it jabbed her in the tummy. Oh the tears! Then...while trying to get her back into a semi-decent mood, she decided it would be fun to close the door and block me into a room. I played "big bad wolf" and tried to huff and puff and well...on one of the puffs I nudged the door too hard and it hit her in the head.

I'm pretty sure she had thoughts of calling a Morristown personal injury lawyer after all that. :( We all felt terrible that she ended her day that way. Poor girl.

After the kids were in bed, Dakota and I enjoyed some much needed grown-up time - complete with a big bowl of ice cream! At least *we* know how to end a hot summer day. :)

Summer Weekend, Part 2

Sunday. A day of rest...or at least it is supposed to be.

That is rarely the case for us. Sundays are usually "run around like crazy trying to get everything that needs to be done, done" days. Yesterday was no exception.

We had a pretty mellow start to the morning before getting Kelton to a birthday party at a nearby bowling alley. Oh my gosh was he excited! While he was there having a great time the three of us headed into Portland to locate the hotel where Dakota will be taking the bar next week. It's always good to know where you are going and to check out the facility. We arrived and went inside to ask where the exam would be held and then met up with another hotel staff person who let us into the room.

Dakota inquired about power cords since well.....there weren't any around and our laptop battery certainly won't hold a charge for 9 or more hours. The guy said he believed that everyone just runs off their batteries. That caused a bit of panic and thoughts, I'm sure, of a new notebook computer that might hold a charge for longer than my 3 year old laptop (remember - Dakota's laptop bite it back in April so she is using mine for now). Before we worked ourselves into a tizzy we decided a good course of action would be to call the hotel on Monday to talk with the person in charge of setting up and, if a good answer wasn't provided, Dakota would call the bar and inquire.

Even though we *knew* that power would have to be provided it caused some angst. It's hard not knowing something for sure in times of high stress.

We left the hotel and headed over to the food court at the nearby mall. Kaylen made it quite clear that is what we should do when she said "Is anyone else as hungry as I am?" :) I can't blame her, it was 12:30pm by that time.

After getting lunch we headed back to our side of the river to pick up Kelton. As soon as we walked in both Kelton and the birthday boy came up to us and starting hammering us with "I can go to his house after to play?" "Can he? My mom said it's ok."

After talking with Dakota and the birthday boy's mom we agreed but we first had to stop by the house to pick up his DS. By this time it was 2pm and we still had a lot to do.

More to come after I get lunch for the kids......

Summer Weekend, Part 1

Summer weekends aren't quite what the have been in the past - at least, not yet. Dakota is gone all day Saturday studying like a crazy girl but that is rapidly winding down as the bar is next week! Eeeek! Next week!

For me, that's a really good thing and I'm excitedly looking forward to having it behind us and spending more time together. For Dakota it is a TON of stress. And I will say, I am stressed out for her - this is huge! I'm sure right about now she wishes she was at at home enjoying a sunny, non-stress-filled day. Maybe she and Kelton would be hooking up all the Wii accessories and playing carnival games or Mario Cart but plugging away at Con Law and Contracts and whatever else she is working on today is what she is doing instead. And I am confident that all this hard work will pay off. (You're doing great, honey!!! I am very proud of you.)

But back to the weekend - Saturday, after the disastrous morning (keep reading if you missed that gem of a story) we had a fairly good afternoon. I set up the slip-n-slide for Kaylen (Kelton didn't want to play). She had a blast running and sliding and jumping and I had a good time watching her.

Dakota finally arrived home around 5pm. The kids decided to go play in the slip-n-slide again while Dakota relaxed for a bit (alcohol included and well - who can blame her?) and then made a yummy dinner. We all ate in the living room and watched Toy Story.

I have to say, for a day that started out well and them swiftly moved to downright awful, the afternoon and evening turned out to be pretty nice.

More to come.....

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Yeah yeah

Good thing he's got this sweet side to him. :)

How Many Times?

That is the question I pose today: How many times will I slam my head against a wall before I think "Hey - this hurts. I should stop."?

I took the kids out in the world today. As it turns out, it wasn't my smartest move. I'm thinking, seriously, it would have been more fun, peaceful and lovely to just stay home and read a Colonix review. No kidding.

And I'm not sure why it turned out as horrifying as it did because it started out quite well. I decided that, instead of cutting Kelton's hair myself as I have always done, I'd take him to Supercuts. I was pretty sure I gave clear directions: trimmed, not too short, cleaned up and evened out but long enough so that it's still curly. She asked about using the clippers - I said absolutely not. I did NOT want it clipper short (hey I can do that myself). I wanted it left long enough so that it stayed curly looking.

So not what I got.

I keep telling myself that the wedding is in two weeks and the only difference between a bad haircut (or, in this case, a short one) and a good haircut is two weeks. I know it will look better by the wedding but I'm so not happy with the current shortness.

At any rate - that part went fine enough as far as behavior. Then we went to the mall to go to the bookstore. The kids have asked for their own bibles so we went out to find easy to understand bible stories. Kaylen found a baby bible story book and completely lost her mind with wanting it. We're talking fuzzy bunny cover, board book pages and, oh right, $20. Too bad little girl - not happening. We left the store in "pulled back together" shape and headed to Target to buy a birthday gift for a party that Kelton has been invited (which is tomorrow). As I drove I gave what I *thought* were clear instructions: We are there to buy a birthday gift. That is all. If you follow these rules and behave yourselves, you may pick out a candy bar to have after lunch."

Apparently I need to work on my "clear instructions." Kelton started in on wanting the cool new Bakugan thing that he wanted to get his friend. Then it was "How about this one" It's ONLY $5." I repeated what we were there for. He kept at me.

Que the MAJOR meltdown by a 4 year old who kept screaming "I WANT SOMETHING!" and "YOU AREN'T LISTENING TO ME! I WANT SOMETHING!"

Que Kelton joining in the chorus of "I want".

Que Kaylen going into full on 4 year old tantrum.

Que Kelton seeing his opportunity of breaking my will thinking that if he begs long enough and loud enough he will get his way.

Not so, my friends.

I picked up the gift item (and cursed that the party was tomorrow because otherwise I would have left everything), took their hands and began walking them to the front of the store (and seriously people. Can we NOT put the toy aisles in the back of the store? Moms would really rather have a quicker getaway with obnoxiously screaming and crying children then dragging them through the entire store as people stare. Talk about the walk of shame. *sigh* ).

The crying and whatnot continued (though Kelton did manage to pull himself together but was still surly and obnoxious). I paid for the birthday gift and walked them out of the car.

Now don't think for a minute that I was calm and peaceful once we got to the car. I was anything but. Among other things, they were told they were to go to their rooms immediately upon entering the house and that they better make themselves comfy because it would be a while before I was calm enough to deal with them.

After we got home they did indeed go to Kelton's room (they asked if they could go to the same room and honestly - I didn't care. I just wanted them away from me.). I took care of the things that needed to be done and then made a lunch of grilled cheese. I took it to Kelton's room, handed them their dishes and closed the door.

Trust me - it was better that way for all of us.

We've all had some breathing space now and maybe, just maybe, we'll have a better afternoon.

A girl can hope, can't she?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hot Stuff!

It's 92 degrees outside right now. My cats just stood at the back door begging to go outside so I, being the nice person that I am, opened the door and let them go. (They are "inside" cats with "backyard privileges" which means they stay in the backyard. We're just lucky that way - they are content to just be in their yard for a little bit each day.) I see them now standing there wanting to come back in. "Why?" you ask?

It's HOT out there! It's one of those days that you don't so much need a weight loss supplement because as you stand in the heat you start to melt into a puddle. Hot hot hot!!

After vacation bible school ended today the kids and I came back and I fed them lunch. Then we were off to a nearby park for an afternoon of fun with staff from the parks and rec department. Let me say again: it's hot. Thankfully the park has a nice shady area with tables so the art projects were all housed there today. When we first arrived, we were the only family there so we started out with a game of Bingo. Kaylen won. Twice. Which really got under Kelton's skin. By her third win....well.....let's just say he was not a happy camper and given that he was tired from the a week long day camp and sweating in the heat he wasn't exactly Mr. Charming about not winning. *sigh*

Thankfully other families began to trickle in and we moved on to decorating sun hats. As in honest to goodness fabric hats. The kids were thrilled and had a good time painting and drawing on their hats. They are quite a sight. :)

We rolled out butcher paper on the walkway and we traced the outline of the kids for them to color, the kids played with balls and then everyone went on a "bug hunt" with magnifying glasses and bug jars.

The two hours flew by! And as much fun as we had at the park, I was very happy to unlock the door and walk into a comfortably cooled home. Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!

I really do feel bad for people without a/c (and remember well when we were among them) right now. The heat is relentless. We're supposed to hit a "cooling trend" starting tomorrow with mid-80's predicted. I'll take it. 90's are just too hot.


It's Friday already. How did that happen? The week has absolutely flown by which I guess is what happens when your day is broken down in to three hour increments of drop off, pick up, lessons, dinner and bedtime. It's been crazy to be sure but it's been good.

The kids have loved vacation bible school and it has sparked some good conversations this week. I can't help but think how far Kelton has come since last year when he wouldn't be ready for me to leave for about 15 minutes after arriving at the church. This year it was quick good-byes and rushing out of sight. Kaylen, of course, has been Miss. Independent. This morning she was much more clingy at drop off but still - with a few extra hugs and kisses, she was on her way. She, more than Kelton, is completely exhausted after her week. She's been having trouble falling asleep so she isn't getting as many Zzzzzzz's as normal which is definitely showing.

Last night was family fun night for VBS which was a lot of fun. The highlight was a slide show of the week which I loved! Seeing the kids having fun in both movie clips and still shots was great and I loved how excited both kids would get when they saw themselves or friends.

Another fun part was when the groups got up to perform their group cheer (which the kids came up with on day 1 and honestly - we're pretty funny) and then sing a song. Kelton's group sang "I like to chew my gum with God" which is a super silly song with a great message.

I made a few short movie clips on my camera but I sure was wishing I had one of those new small fancy camcorders to capture it all. (We have a camcorder but it's 8 or 9 years old and is HUGE compared to those teeny tiny ones they have now. It mostly collects dust since our cameras have the movie feature. Still....not the same as having a full tape of movies ready to go. Maybe someday we'll look into getting a new one.)

After that, the kids made bookmarks and enjoyed ice cream. I was able to talk with some folks (some I met last year and a couple others go to Kelton's school and recognized me which was a nice connection to have). Dakota (who moved heaven and earth yesterday to get home in time to see them at their swimming lessons, have dinner and then go to the church with us before coming home to hunker down with her studies until 10pm) and Kaylen left around 7:10. Kelton wanted to hang out with "the dudes" (camp counselors and old volunteer kids from the church) for a bit so he and I left for home at 7:30pm.

It's been a good week - lonely for me at times (it's weird to be home without the kids) but really good.

Singing with his group.

Making bookmarks

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Heart Breaker

I took the kids to vacation bible school this morning and as I was signing them in Kaylen looked at me and said "Don't take me to my room. I'll go by myself." I told her that I was sure she could but that I would walk with her anyway. She started shoving me toward the doors leading to the parking lot and said "No - I'll go by myself."

"No - I'll take you."

The camp staff were watching this unfold and I could hear giggles and talk of "Ooooh...isn't she adorable." and "What a sweetheart!" and "They grow up fast, don't they?"

I said goodbye to Kelton and he walked off to join his group and then I started walking toward Kaylen's classroom only to be told yet again that she didn't need me.

Didn't need me? At four? Already?

I stood my ground and walked her to her room but she refused to let me past the door. She turned and said "You can go now."


I kissed her and said "Have fun!" and just like that she was gone.

I love that she is self-assured. I just hate that she is pushing me away already. Where did my leg clinging daughter go? I know it means I'm doing right by her but I swear to you - with all my heart I want to scoop her up and hold her back.

But I don't. And I won't.

She is amazing.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mama Knew What She Was Talking About

My mom used to say to me:

There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good
She was very very good
And when she was bad
She was horrid.

At the time I thought it was kind of mean though now, as the mother of a 4 year old daughter who is more "slugs and snails" than "sugar and spice" on any given day lately, I can see where it was right on the money.

I'm sure Kaylen is the spitting image of me in more ways than looks. I'm sure my sass, my attitude and my pouting, crying and screaming drove my mother to the brink of all things sane.

And I'm sure she is laughing but good from her vantage point in heaven.

I remember her saying once "My wish for you is that you have a daughter who is just like you." That one I took to mean in the positive but I wonder if there wasn't just a hint (ok - a whole LOT) of "Ooooooh...I hope you get one that tries your patience as much as you try mine!" thrown in for good measure.

I love my daughter but in the past 6 months or so I can see that parenting this child through the age of 4 (and beyond) is not going to be as easy as in years past. She's a beautiful, amazing, articulate, polite (to everyone else), funny, endearing smart as a whip child with a very healthy dose of sass thrown in.

And I swear to you - if I had a dollar for each time in the past month she has yelled "I'm NEVER going to talk to you AGAIN!" I could probably go out for a very nice dinner and pay for a sitter. I have learned not to let her see me sweat with that one though. I just say "Good. Then it will be nice and quiet around here."

Even though it hurts to hear her yell it at me.

I'm sorry Mom. I know I wasn't an easy child. Kaylen is making that point crystal clear. Happy now? :)


The kids are in Vacation Bible School...or as we call it...Day Camp....this week. While it definitely has a different feel and look to it this year, they are both having fun which, in my book, is all that matters.

Kaylen is in the preschool through kindergarten class which runs for 3 hours. When I picked her up yesterday the teacher told me what a great listener she is. I love hearing that. :) She seemed so happy and chattered on about all they had done.

Kelton is in the second grade group. When I picked him up he said "Was that really 6 hours?" I said it was fully expecting a "Wow! It went so fast!" Instead I got "It felt like 10." I wasn't sure how to take that so I just let it sit. By the time we got back from karate he was sharing bits and pieces of his day and singing a few songs. He was very eager to return this morning so I'm guessing he was just tired from his day. :)

It's strange being at home for 3 hours alone. I mean - I'm ok with it but it's a little on the lonely side. I miss the kiddos but I am so glad they are having fun and that I am getting a 3 hour daily mandated break for the week. I do believe this is the most down time in a single week I have ever had. It might be the most down time in a month that I've had in at least the last 4 years. :)

In a couple weeks the kids and I head north so that Kelton can attend day camp with his cousin. It actually worked out so that Dakota would have three full days to study without us being around before the bar starts (those are bound to be intense days). Then she has the bar dates to just be as focused as she needs to be. When the bar is over, she will take the train up to meet us. I'm already trying to figure out what I need to take for the week. We're staying a couple days at my brother's house and then moving down to my sister's house. I know we'll need a good amount of stuff but I'm pretty sure there won't be a need for >long distance movers. That said, the last time I went to Seattle for "a week" it turned into five so who really knows. Goodness knows I needed movers for the trip home after those five weeks. :)

While Kelton attends camp during the day Kaylen and I will be left to our own devices. I know that a couple days we'll hang out with her younger cousin, Parker and I know that one two other days we will be meeting up with two different friends. One I haven't seen in about 14 years (!) and the other I haven't seen since the day of my mom's funeral two years ago. I'm looking forward to catching up (face to face instead of facebook to facebook) with both of them.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Uploading Photos

I've been a slacker about uploading photos from our camera lately so after Dakota and the kids returned from a "rain walk" yesterday (yes - it was raining. *sigh*) I decided that it was time to upload and share. Lucky you, yes? :)

Let me take you back to the 4th of July. In the late afternoon Dakota's mom and step-dad came over for a BBQ. The kids had a great time showing off their silly swinging skills which include removing the cushion from the yard swing to help soften their landing when they jump from their swinging swings. OY! Sometimes they give their mommies heart attacks.

Silly kiddo.
Dakota and her mom.
Kaylen had just jumped from her swing and Kelton...well.....he's just plain silly.

I realized that this is the first 4th of July since Kelton was born that I don't have a surplus of photos. That will teach us not to have a big family gathering for the day. :)

Once the sun went down we were in for some firework fun. I bought the kids packets of "party poppers" which is about as much into in the whole "fireworks" as we plan to get (there is just something neither of us understand about spending a fortune only to blow it all up). The kids had a great time! Then we settled onto the front lawn to watch all the people in the neighborhood "blow up their money". :) Hey - I'm all for watching OTHER people do it. :)

And that ends another 4th of July celebration. Moving forward to yesterday.......

Yesterday it rained. A lot. So in the afternoon (after returning from again seeing Monsters vs. Aliens at the second run theater) Dakota and the kids went on a "rain walk". Basically it's an excuse for the kids to go nuts and bounce in and out of puddles. Whatever. They have fun. :)

They both decided to take their "bug identifying" magnifying glasses and I'm glad they did. It made for some fun photos. (Thanks Dakota for snapping these!)

Yes - that would be mud splatters all over her face. :)

Listening to the magnifying glass talk to him.

After getting back to the house Dakota took a few photos of Kelton being...well..Kelton. Thanks to karate we are seeing *a lot* of this these days. :)

Phew. Now I can stop feeling guilty about those photos sitting in my camera. :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wedding Attire

Today in the mail came boxes for the children and inside those boxes were invitations to take part in a wedding as ring bearer and flower girl. That's right - Kelton and Kaylen, along with their two cousins will be walking down the aisle of my brother's wedding in August.

This has been a long anticipated and much desired invitation and they are both thrilled with their parts. Kelton will share his ring bearing responsibilities with his (almost) 4 year old cousin and Kaylen will share her duties with her 8 year old cousin.

They are all very excited.

The kids had to try on their "costumes" immediately and then I tried (and failed) to get a good photo of them. After the outside photos Kaylen wanted to practice being a flower girl. After all, Kelton has been a ring bearer before (Dakota's mom's wedding when Kelton was 18 months old) but she has never been a flower girl. I found her a basket and then she picked some flowers from the yard and put down blankets to make an "aisle" in the living room. She had so much fun and I think she feels ready now! :)

Kelton, for his part, groaned and complained about how it "isn't fair that Kaylen gets to wear a dress and sandles" while he "has to wear long pants, long sleeves and coat AND black shoes!" I couldn't help but laugh because what woman hasn't been envious about how easy men have it when it comes to dressing up? Throw on a jacket, shirt and tie and you're good to go. Not so easy for the rest of us. Sure made me smile though. :)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Little Fishies

I have little fishies. Two of them. And I couldn't be more proud of them.

Swimming lessons are going amazingly well. Kaylen didn't hesitate at all when it came to lesson #2 and by lesson #3 (this past Tuesday) she was rushing off to stand at her teacher's side before I could even blink. I have a good feeling that she will pass this swimming class easily. She has no issues dunking under the water, can hold her breath for 5 seconds, can blow bubbles, etc. She is a pro and I am very proud of her. It's so much fun seeing her splashing, kicking, jumping and diving underwater without hesitating. We have come so far from last year when, after lesson #2 she refused to return. After her first lesson this time I had my doubts but my girl is growing up. She faced her fears and jumped back in. Go Kaylen!

Kelton is doing very well too. I have a harder time knowing what is going on in his class since they have their class in an area that is hard to see from the viewing area. I do know that he is excited about going to class and very animated after. All signs that he is having a great time!

And for me - I don't care if they pass their class or have to repeat it next time. All that matters to me is that they are having fun.

And it seems that is certainly the case with both of them. :)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Two Hours

You can do a lot in two hours. I mean....a lot. Today Dakota's mom came over to hang out with the kids to give me a much needed sanity break from my life. (She is planning to make this a weekly thing and I am sooooo excited about that! I love my kids but wowsa. A mom needs some time off every now and again.) I had up to two hours of free time!

Blissful free time.

And not a darn thing to do. Hmmmm.....

I made a quick stop in someplace I knew a friend would be and we chatted for a few minutes and then I drove over to the church where the kids will be attending vacation bible school next week to see about picking up a registration form for Miss. Kaylen (who, after weeks of saying she was sure that she didn't not want to go, changed her mind two days ago. Luckily there is still a spot and they are holding it for her.). The parking lot was empty so I knew the office staff were gone. Bummer. No big deal really since I had no other place to be. :)

Then I drove over to WalMart because - heck.....I was child free and running to the grocery store kid-free felt a little bit decadent (I'm telling - I rarely go anywhere without them). I wandered around and picked up things we were needing. I even had time and brain power (since it wasn't being sicked up with "Stop it! Stay with the cart. No...put that back. STOP HITTING YOUR SISTER!") to figure out something for dinner and pick up the items needed. WoooHoooo!!! It's the little things, you know. I even ran into a friend and set up a play date for tomorrow.

I spent about an hour there and then headed home. Dakota called as I was on my way back out to the car and suggested I go someplace and use the rest of whatever time I had left. I decided I would go home early because coming back early is a good way to have grandma volunteer again - and soon! :)

I came home and visited a bit with Dakota's mom (who is an amazingly great person!) and, after sending her on her way, made lunch for the kids. After that - I plugged myself into Farm Town and worked on my imaginary farm for.....TWO HOURS!

It's an insane use of time. It really left me questioning why I am doing it but it sure didn't stop me from planting my entire farm (95% of it was harvested this morning which meant a lot of work to replant. This time I tried to stagger the days things will be ready for harvest. It's just too much to have it all come up on the same day.) and then ...oh you know....buying the bigger plot of land. Because I guess the land size I had just wasn't keeping me busy enough. Oy.

I don't know about this game. I really don't. I should have stayed away.

So that is how my day pretty much went. Well you know.....with the usual chores and karate lesson thrown in.

Farm Town. *shaking my head* I just don't know.

Monday, July 06, 2009

*Deep Heavy Sigh*

Only in my world, folks...only in my world. The dogs were rough-housing tonight as they always do and on one of their wild scramble from the living room to the back of the house Maddie, the boxer-whippet mix, missed the corner and slammed into the coat closet door.

And that door? Yeah. It's broken.

I am hoping I can duct tape it together enough that it will be "good enough". Ok - well not duct tape exactly. I got the pieces back together and used Liquid Nails to glue the bottom that had been damage (these are bi-fold doors) after extracting the post thingy - you know, the piece that normally resides *outside* the wood - from inside the hollow core.

I'm pretty sure it will be able to be put back and attached properly but you know what? I really find no humor in the situation. None.

July 4th

I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful 4th of July and that you spent it doing exactly as you wanted to do. We usually host a 4th of July afternoon/evening BBQ for Dakota's side of the family but this year we didn't because...well..because there just wasn't time with Dakota needing to study all day for the bar review class she is taking. Not to mention the stress of hosting probably would have thrown us both right over the edge of whatever sanity is keeping us from jmping. I missed getting together with the family so I was really glad when, after Kaylen and I returned from picking up Kelton (he spent a couple days with his cousin who lives 2 hours away), Dakota said her mom had called and she and her step-dad were going to come over for a BBQ.

Sure- it wouldn't be the usual "foodfest" that a family gathering brings but still - I really like her mom and step-dad and seeing them was a perfect way to make the day seem more special. And, as an added bonus, I wouldn't need to start reading fat burner reviews after eating way, way, way too much good food. :)

Don't be fooled though - there was still plenty of good food. Hamburgers, chips, potato salad, coleslaw and corn on the cob. But more than the food - the conversation was excellent. It's nice to step out of the mommy and "partner to someone studying for the bar" roles and just be me for a few hours.

After dinner Dakota's folks headed home and we set about waiting for darkness to fall so we could enjoy the fireworks which dominate the neighborhood. I read some more of my book while Dakota and the kids watched Monsters,Inc. And then finally - it was dark enough to head back outside......into the heat! Boy was it still hot out there!

We hung out in the front yard and let the kids do party popper "fireworks" and then we watched as the neighborhood exploded around us. I have to say, I do enjoy the huge displays that shoot up high enough to be seen for blocks and blocks. All the excitement of the 4th without a penny of the cost. You just have to love that!

So whatever you did, and however you celebrated, I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

My Version of Fun in the Sun

The kids had a great time at the library event today, it's true (see next post for details) but here is *my* idea of fun in the sun.

That's right - my laptop, a cup of coffee and the patio. Too bad it was too hot to stay out there for too long. It sure was nice.....until it hit 90 degrees. By the end of the day it was 95 degrees in my backyard. I remember complaining about wanting sun but I don't recall ever saying "Gosh - I wish it could be too hot to even be outside." 80 is perfect - even a bit warm but higher than that? Umm...not loving that so much.

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE our air conditioning? :)

Fun in the Sun

Every year our local library holds free weekly activities for families and today marked the first event. It was a carnival to kick off the summer reading program so even though it was hot - and getting hotter by the minute (and there is no shade to speak of where our library holds these events) I sunscreened the three of us up and headed out. True to years past, there were a kajillion people there.

I was hot just waiting in line for the event to start and I was so wishing I had a cute, cool and comfy pair of Dansko sandals to wear instead of my hot clunky ones. Somehow I just feel so much hotter when my feet are hot. Ugh.

Finally the festvities began and the kids were off and running in two different directions. We ran into a friend of mine and her 4 year old daughter so Kaylen opted to hang out with them (we were all in a playgroup together a year ago) while Kelton choose to go his own way meeting up with several school friends and a couple people he met last summer at various events.

There was the quick sand walk (corn starch and water), ring toss the duckies, bowling, milk botle knock down, bean bag toss, face painting and I'm sure a couple more I missed. At the end of each game they were given a prize. The kids had a great time and were happy to walk out with their bag of goodies. I was just happy to get out of the sun! :)

I know what you're thinking. It's a pink and purple penguin, of course. How could you not see that? :) Hee hee.