Tuesday, October 26, 2010

School Pictures

I know I'm biased but I think they are the cutest kids in the world. :)

Monday, October 25, 2010


My morning was off to a rocky, rocky start when little Miss Kaylen, who had crawled into bed with me a bit before the alarm went off, started complaining that she had a cold and couldn't possibly go to school (last week she had a sore throat and while I don't doubt that she is a victim of the cold going around, it took mere seconds for me to put the pieces together). I told her that yes, she could go to school which immediately resulted in a full-on meltdown. I get it - I do. Monday is a switch from the weekend and change is hard for her. Saturday she spent the day making pictures for people at school and talking about when she got to go back and how much she loves school. But after 48 hours in the comfort of her little family, going back to school is a change she just doesn't feel up to facing. I get that. And yet - face it she must.

She cried and carried on for about 30 minutes and by then I *had* to get in the shower or they would be late for school. I managed to talk her into a hot shower with me (remember: this is a water child and when upset, hours at a time can, and will, be spent in the tub). At a 20 minute hot shower (mine was only 5 but I let her stay in while I got ready) she was ready to face her day and I didn't hear another word about "I'm not going and you can't make me."

She got dressed, she and Kelton packed their lunches (I love this new thing they are doing because then I know they will eat - after all, it is food they are choosing.) and got ready for school. They both decided to eat the school breakfast which helped ease the time crunch.

Then it was off to school with smiles on their faces. I got a hug and a kiss at the classroom door and she was off and running. I came home and decided to put my 6 over-ripe bananas to good use by making two loaves of banana bread. Then I folded laundry and put it away, started new loads, grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down to job hunt.

I have to say, the fall day is distracting me a bit. The wind is blowing and the leaves are falling to the ground like snowflakes. I'm tired today from our busy weekend.

Saturday the kids and I hung out and just had some much needed quiet time together. The kids played very well together all day and we decided to pick up McDonald's for dinner. After dinner, the three of us cuddled in my bed and watched TV. Marlene arrived around 7 (she worked out of town all day) bringing candy from the beach candy store that my kids love. Oh ok - she brought some for me, too. As well as Eggs Benedict from my favorite beach restaurant, Pig N' Pancake. YUMMY!!!!

Needless to say, the kids were jacked up on sugar and it took a while to calm them down and get them off to dreamland. But they had had a great day and that is what childhood is all about.

Yesterday we headed to the mall and the kids played on the bouncy harness thing and Kelton was beyond thrilled to do a double backflip in the air! Kaylen has been doing them for years because of her time in gymnastics but Kelton was never brave enough until this week to try it. Earlier in the week, he did a single flip time and time again but yesterday he did two before his feet touched the ground. I was sooooo proud of him!!!!! Slowly but surely, he is facing his fears and moving forward.

After that we grabbed lunch and then went to pick up Princess, Marlene's dog, from the groomers. She is so cute with all her hair shaved off (she is a German Sheppard who sheds incredibly bad). From there we stopped at WalMart to pick up some pumpkin carving supplies and a new pumpkin for Kaylen (she gave hers from the pumpkin patch to Kelton so he could enter it in the pumpkin parade at school). Then it was home to carve pumpkins, roast the seeds and make popcorn balls (which didn't turn out very well - I tried to cut the recipe in half and well.......it didn't turn out as well as it should have. Oh well. We still have time to try again.).

From there is was bath time for the kiddos and off to dreamland they went. It was a good weekend and we all had a great time!

(That reminds me, I haven't posted pumpkin patch photos. I will do that and then link to them. :) )

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I need to vote

I need to walk over to my counter, open the voter booklet and the ballot and get busy voting so I can feel more justified in hating the political commercials. Lucky for me, I live in SW Washington so I get both Washington political commercials AND Oregon's.

I cannot wait for the election to be over so that I can go back to being bored by commercials for acne treatments and products for how to lose weight fast. A few thrown in for gutter guards would be a nice change of pace as well.

Ok - time to go vote. I just want it to be done now.

Child Labor

Is it child labor is they ask and beg to be put to work? :) They attempted to clean the house (never mind I did it yesterday) and took toys out to the garage this morning, all the while working on their "jingle". I think it went a little like "Kelton and Kaylen's cleaning and chore service.....YAY!" (One of those "had to be there" moments".) I do believe that Marlene's cleaning business is rubbing off on them. Then around 10 they started asking if they could call the across the street to talk with our neighbors about raking their leaves (we have our own but never mind raking up our yard - apparently it's only good if it's for someone else). At 11, I gave in and let them call.

They have both been over there for more than an hour raking and helping. I can see them from the front window and I have to say, it's cute to watch. It's driving the dogs insane though. They can hear the kids and Maddie can climb on the couch and see them. The dogs run back and forth across the house barking their fool heads off. It's driving me crazy but I'm trying to see it as a good fat burner for the chunky Dalmatian. :)

It's starting to rain again so I wonder how much longer they will be over there. Apparently the wife (who has Alzheimer's) lost her wedding ring in the yard the other day so while they are raking leaves, they are carefully looking for it. Kelton came back to get a backpack, a water bottle and a magnifying glass. I'm not sure how long he is planning to be out there. :) I guess the prize of $10 each of they find it is too much to pass up for my money hungry kiddos. Here's hoping! Maybe they will be willing to buy McDonalds for the three of us tonight. :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

A great morning followed by......

a so not great afternoon. There is nothing like leaving your sobbing child in the care of the school counselor as you walk away without showing how much your heart is breaking.

Yesterday, thanks to a lack of volunteers for All Health Day at the school, Kaylen's carefully constructed routine was thrown into turmoil when I couldn't be with her for lunch and recess but instead I stayed for second recess. I had her weaned from my being at second recess Tuesday of this week so I knew this might cause an issue. And it did.

She wants me there for library time. Apparently library scares her. (This is news to me.) She wants me to come back for a few minutes of second recess. I told her no on both things - not because I'm mean but because I so much don't want to go backwards and I *KNOW* she can do it.

Then she hit me with "But I was brave and took the bus. Please be here with me."

I hate Friday. By Friday that child is done. Toast. Over it.

I called over the counselor and she wrangled Kaylen away from me and said they could talk about library when they were back in her room. I didn't look back - I walk off the playground. My heart shattered yet again.

I know she will be ok. I know she will pull herself out of it. None of that helps me right now. Right now I feel so alone in dealing with my daughter's pain. I'm so glad it's my weekend to have them to myself. I think all three of us need it.


Give it up for my girl - SHE RODE THE BUS TO SCHOOL TODAY!!!!! This is the first time she has stepped foot on the bus since the second day of school.

Yes, true. I followed the bus and met her there but this is a HUGE step. Unless you have been living the hour to hour, day in and day out anxiety of this little girl, you have no idea what a gigantic step this is.

I am so incredibly proud of her. I could see the internal struggle of wanting to and not wanting to but she fought hard and won and her reward? Three of her friends from her class ride the same bus! I do believe their excitement was bigger than hers but I think once she calms down and realizes what a great thing she has accomplished, she will be just as excited as the other girls were.

I have to say, it warms my heart to hear the kids clamouring for her attention. Saying hello to her and asking her to sit by them. I love how sweet and caring her classmates are to her (and to each other). It's as though they sense she needs TLC and they are all happy to give it and support her and be her friend. And because of that? Because of that I think she is becoming more herself than she has been since school started.

I can't take all the credit for getting her to this point. Her classmates deserves as much credit as I do. I'm just so darn proud of her!!!

THIS is a President.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sick and Tired. Honestly.

I have a headache tonight. I'm sure it's from my cold, lack of quality sleep and well....stress. I'm under some stress with various things but there isn't anything new with that now, is there? :) (I can tell I'm stressed because I keep waking myself up talking at night.)

Today though I definitely feel the eye brow furrow thing as I force my eyes to focus and my head to stay in the game. I'm tired. I have pain. I'm pretty darn sure that if this headache stays too much longer I will have a serious need to read up on
wrinkle cream reviews.

I'm starting to wonder if my mother was right with that whole "Your face is going to freeze like that if you don't stop it!"

And speaking of tired...I'm time to hustle my two little ones off to dreamland so I can snuggle under my covers and count some Zzzzzzz's.

Applying for Jobs

Now that Kaylen seems to be doing better at school, I have more time to be home in the mornings which means I am able to look for jobs while I am well rested instead of waiting until after the kids are sleeping and I am too blurry eyed to make sense of much. It feels good to actively being searching again because I am beyond motivated to be able to support the kids and myself and move forward with my life.

I found one today that sounds perfect for me. No, it's not a position for an offshore injury lawyer. That would be more up Dakota's ally. :) It's a Human Resource Assistant position and while it is only part time, it would give me experience in the field I would love to get back into. When I read the duties, I actually got excited because it sounds so good to me. It also sounds like there is so much to do that it sounds like it has the possibility of ending up moving into a fulltime job. even if it doesn't, at this point, part time is better than no time and a job that excites me? That sounds like a dream come true.

So fingers crossed, everyone

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Need More Energy?

Some of the teachers and I were talking tonight about the different medications we all take and I'm astounded to learn how many of us (all moms) are on the same basic "cocktail" of medication. Anti-anxiety and anti-depressants with anti-anxiety components. I posed the question: "Do you think this is common for most moms who are trying to do it all?"

The group of women looked around at each other and all nodded. Yes...that does seem to be the case. No doubt about it, being a mom is hard. Being a mom trying to do it all is even more so.

Is it the lack of energy that sets it all into motion? Maybe. I was reading something about acetyl l carnitine which is a natural chemical in our bodies which help increase energy levels and clearer thinking. As we age, the natural chemical tends to decrease which can set us up for depression, forgetfulness, lack of energy, etc. I admit I am intrigued by what I read. Wouldn't it be awesome if you could take a natural supplement to get back all your youthful energy and well....let's be honest...memory?

Being a mom is hard work. For the most part it's a thankless job but those rewards, when they do come around, are so very sweet. Like right now. I have a sleeping daughter curled up next to me and looking at her sweet face makes all the struggles I had with her today worth it. I feel calm and peaceful....but then again, maybe it's the anti-anxiety pill I took earlier tonight. :)

Random Ramblings

It's been quite the week and I have had very little down time from the moment I open my eyes to the moment I fall into a coma like sleep at the end of the day.

Monday I spent the morning at the doctor with Kaylen discussing her various issues and plan of action for the time being. I really like her new doctor - and so does Kaylen. He was very relaxed in his approach and really made me feel good about all the work I have done with her and the progress she is making. She, no doubt, has issues but we will have to wait and see how to progresses from here through the next couple of years. He said that she has been through a lot in the past year (we all have!) and he isn't the least bit surprised at how she is handling it and how it is manifesting itself. It was nice to be validated by a medical professional that I am doing what is in Kaylen's best interest. He even said he knew what a sacrifice it is for me to be there as much as she needs me right now but it really is the best thing to give her the confidence and safety to keep moving along.

She also got her flu shot for which she was a trooper.

Tuesday was Kelton's turn. I took him in for a preliminary visit and a flu shot. He gave the new doctor a thumbs up as well.

Wednesday was an early release day which means I didn't really have time to go home during the day. They are long days for me broken up into hour increments. I did work that needed to be done, redid the display case and then sat in the staff room reading whatever I could get my hands on....and yes, that did include some diet pill reviews. The nice thing is, there is a coffee pot in there so I can drink as much as I want in between taking care of Kaylen.

Yesterday I learned something that sent me reeling. Just when I think I have a handle on what is happening with Kaylen, something else is added to the pile. On their own, it's not such a big deal but stacked on top of each other and added to almost daily? Well...the stack threatens to consume me. Her teacher pulled me aside to let me know that Kaylen has a terrible case of test anxiety. A level she hasn't experienced with kindergartners before and for which she is presenting at her certification class this week for input from other teachers. She knows Kaylen knows the answers because she is the first to raise her hand during learning time but when it comes to testing, one on one, she freezes, goes blanks and can't interact. I would say won't except it's more than that. Her teacher says you can tell she wants to but her fear is so great that she can't do more than shrug her shoulders and very quietly say "I don't know." So - now I have to figure out how to best help her cope with test anxiety. I've been reframing the idea of "testing" to "showing off what you know" but she is so afraid of being wrong and/or messing up that she can't bring herself to do it.

This is all so hard and sad for me. My self assured dynamo for a little girl is completely different at school - and in any new situation then she ever has been before. I was talking with Dakota's mom this morning when she and I met for breakfast and even she said "This is not at all what I expected would happen when she started school. She was so ready and so excited. It just breaks my heart to know she is struggling so hard."

Some days I feel so defeated and I have to work so hard not to let it show. I have to stay positive for her and praise her for all she has accomplished. We are up to me leaving 6 minutes early from her second recess which, while it seems like nothing, is a HUGE step. I am so proud of her - she struggles and works so hard to be ok.

She tugs at my heartstrings, that's for sure. I am so lucky to be able to work with her to get her through all this. I don't take that for granted. I have the opportunity to set to stage for a lifelong love of learning as opposed to her being set up to fail. I know how fortunate I am and even though I am emotionally and physically exhausted, there is nothing I see as more important than making sure my kids feel safe, are happy and secure and thrive.

Pages Created By The Children

I have to say.....they both show great talent. Especially Kelton. WOW!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Garage.....Again.....or is that Still?

The garage is a pain in my hiney. Seriously. I get it straightened up so that it doesn't give me anxiety attacks and then, within weeks, it's a disaster again. Toys, camping equipment, clothes both outgrown and waiting to go to a younger cousin and hand-me-downs waiting for kids to grow into, toys, toys, toys, bikes, bookshelf, an old couch that needs to go to the dump now that the hide-a-bed mattress is gone (I had hoped to list it for free on Craigslist and not have to deal with it but such is life), boxes of fall and Halloween decorations and yes, even the C7 led christmas lights that never were put into the attic last year after they were taken down.

To add to all this chaos......I found slug slime across old car seats (which need to be dumped because they are past their date) which just about grossed me out royally (I assume someone found their way in with the summer toys...which, yes, are out there as well) but didn't come close when I realized that some mice (maybe only one. It's not like I've seen any.) have taken up residency. As least they are smart enough not to gain entry into the house. I guess that's something.

So - a plan to declutter and organize the garage is underway. I believe several trips to the dump are in my future. Oh the joy of being a grown up. But you know, somewhere deep inside me I still harbor the dream of one day parking in the garage again.

And the dream lives on.

Saturday, October 09, 2010


kit: ColorFall by Shawna Clingerman

kit: A Perfect Day by Traci Reed


Thursday was picture day at school and Kaylen painstakingly picked out her outfit a good two weeks ago. She carefully dressed and chose her accessories: a headband and a sheep necklace. (Don't ask. I have no clue.)

Her class was one of the first ones through and when I went to get the third kindergarten class, there was a little girl wearing the *exact* same dress. I mean seriously. What were the chances? I just couldn't pass up a photo op at lunch recess. The girls were so cute and silly and loved that they were "twins".

Later that evening, I took the kids to a PTO meeting with me since Dakota is out of town and while I tried hard to concentrate on the meeting, the kids tried equally hard to have all my attention. Kaylen kept coming over to show me her drawings but this one? This one I just had to get a photo of. Two sheep. But of course.


Playing Games

Tis the season to be thinking of gifts for Christmas and I won't lie, it has me completely stressed out. I have some money squirreled away for a couple gifts for the kids but beyond that, I have no clue how it will all come together. I would be happy if the kids came up with their Santa wish gift soon so I can figure out how to get them. I think that is the most stressful part of all... I still want them to have the magic of the season.

Thankfully my kids wishes are simple. Thanks to Dakota, the kids have a Wii game system here at the house and then, thanks to Vicki, they have a couple other gaming systems at Dakota's. Needless to say, there won't be an xbox360 on their list but of there was, a good place to get replacement parts or heck, entire systems, would be Xbox Kinect.

Long gone are the days of the simple electronic gifts. The older they get, the more expensive their wishes but isn't that just the way life goes? I'd give just about anything to go back to the days of Leapster Pads....or back ever further to the days of rattled and board books.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Too Darn Busy

I want to blog...really, I do but honestly I've been so busy during the day and evenings that when "my time" rolls around I am just too tired to think in complete sentences, let alone type them.

I met with Kaylen's "team" at school Monday afternoon and we are all on the same page when it comes to her. Everyone is really happy and proud of the progress she is making and when I introduced my next steps plan, everyone was in agreement. When I went one step further, they said "Let's slow that down and take it more gradually." which I was really happy to hear. I have been pushing Kaylen harder than I would have liked, knowing that we need her to get to a place where she can handle all parts of the school day without me, so to be given permission to slow these last few steps down....well, I was relieved. Part of me is scared that if we push too hard, she will regress and we have come so, so far. Kaylen and I have worked so hard to get to where she is and I am so proud of my girl.

Tears are few and far between these days. I have learned that my instincts with her all along have been spot on. The child needs advance warning of changes and I'm talking at least a week of the event being introduced and reintroduced. I know some people think it's not good to give kids too much warning of upcoming things but my gut always has told me that my kids need to have advance warning and it needs to be reinforced - a lot. If you spring a change on her, she loses her balance and can't cope. But if she knows it's coming, we can talk and talk and talk and plan how to handle it and then she handles it like a pro.

She's amazing and I am so lucky to have had a school team that has been incredibly good with her and supportive of the plan I think is best for her (which they agree is the best approach for her, too).

I know how blessed I am to be able to be there for her. I shudder to think at the fallout if I hadn't been available to help her work through the past 4 weeks. I am blessed that Dakota is supportive of what I've been doing and understanding that during this time, some things just have to wait. The kids are the number one priority.

Monday I will take her to her new pediatrician to see about official diagnosis, plan of actions, etc. While I hate that I am asking her to be labeled I know that, in the long run, it won't hold her back as much as it will help her get the help she needs.

Thank goodness I have Marlene to lean on. She has been my sounding board many times and she helps me balance the kids so that each one is getting special time with someone. The kiddos LOVE to roughhouse with Marlene and, for her part, she enjoys roughhousing with them. I stand back and watch and laugh....and am grateful that it isn't my back they are jumping on. :)

Today, as a surprise while I was gone all day at school, Marlene and one of her employees came over and spent hours cleaning my house and can I just say how touched I am? I had really let the deep cleaning go over the past couple of years - always meaning to catch up on it but then never being able to do it (I've kept up on surface cleaning...just not the deep cleaning stuff). The kitchen was SO clean tonight that Kelton walked in and said "Wow - this looks like a new kitchen!" Marlene and Deb really rocked it and did a fantastic job. Now if only the kids would allow me to keep it clean for a day or two. :)

That's about it from me for tonight. Tomorrow is school picture day and I am working the event all day long. It's going to a long, exhausting day. Can I just say how happy I am that Friday is a day off?? I deserve it! :)

Monday, October 04, 2010

Happy Autumn!

The leaves in our yard are just starting to fall but the kids decided it was a good day to rake together a pile and play. Clearly the "pile" wasn't big enough, nor looked fun enough, for Kelton to stay out and play but Kaylen had a great time!

I'm sure there will be more to play in by the weekend. I have to say, I do enjoy kicking through a pile of leaves myself. :)

And finally, I convinced Kelton came outside. :)

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Eye Doctor Revisted

And I mean that literally.

Yesterday, Kaylen's teacher caught me in the hall and asked when she was due for another check up on her eyes. I said "4-6 months". She said "Any chance that it could be sooner than that?"

I asked questions and discovered that little Miss has been squinting and complaining that she can't see. She's also been moving her glasses down her nose, looking over them and them pushing them back up.

It hasn't even been a month since she got her glasses!

I called and they got her in for a 2:45 appointment. I let the kids know we were going to leave school early. Kelton was excited, Kaylen was not. I told her we would talk about it later. :)

2:30 rolled around and they were both called from class. I could hear Kaylen coming down the hall first. I could tell by her walking that she was pissed. Then came Kelton just as Kaylen burst into tears and said I must hate her because I was making her leave school early! (Yes, you read that correctly. That's a whole other post.) Apparently her class had earned an extra recess and now she couldn't go. *sigh* I can't win. :)

So off we go, Kaylen crying and Kelton upset at me because I had upset his sister. Kaylen proceeds to cry all the way to the office...and as we entered the office.

I explained to the staff and doctor that she was upset because I pulled her from school early so they worked hard to give her a "recess" at the eye doctor. They gave her stickers, told jokes, etc. until she was happy and smiling again. I love this place!

Then it was exam time. Just from the eye test I could tell something was up. As it turned out, her eyes have doubled in the amount of correction they need.....in less than four weeks! And now that they are "corrected" to +1.25, they are showing that, right now, she is sitting at needing a +5 in one eye and a +7 in the other. HOLY COW. If you don't know how to figure that out, think "coke bottle glasses". The doctor suggested starting a medical savings account for her for her glasses because when we get up much higher, we will want to get the ultra light, ultra thin lenses so she doesn't have the huge magnified eyes. He says the teasing from that is inevitable and really hard for kids to ever overcome. He showed me on his eyes what the correct lenses would look like and ....wow. *sigh* He also said that since she is still growing there is a chance that her eyes will level out in a range not that high. Time will tell.

And the reason she has been pulling her glasses down her nose and then back up? She seemed to realize that by not using them for a few minutes and then pulling them back up, they made it a bit easier to see. So blurry with the glasses, supper blurry without and then only a little blurry when she put them back on.

So - new lenses have been ordered and hopefully when they arrive (in 10 days) they will pop right into her frames and we will be good to go for the predicted 4-6 months.

Have I mentioned how horribly guilty I feel about her eyes? If you have little ones, get them in for an exam. Especially, but not limited to, if they were on oxygen after birth, had any breath holding syndromes or under lights for jaundice. I now know that, in the US, there is a program that provides the under one set with a free exam. It's call Infant See

I know I can't change the past - but I do wish she wasn't struggling with her vision so much. I just never imagined the damage her eyes endured with the oxygen and the pallid breath holding. I was more concerned with keeping her alive and no one ever mentioned, and I never thought to ask, about how her little body was being impacted.

But.....we're doing what we can now. And now is all I can do.