Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Day Success!

Both kids came home with smiles on their faces and stories to share. Kaylen, after saying she had a really good day, looked at me and said "Mom. Do you think I can get my spot from Ms. B?" Her "spot" is a special sensory pillow for her to sit on during carpet time (also known as circle time in some schools). Because of her misfiring "sensors", she finds it painful to sit on hard surfaces. Once her sensory issues are stimulated, it goes down hill fast. I thought it was amazing that she assessed her problem, came up with the workable solution and then requested help. She is definitely a different child than last year! I placed a call to Ms. B, the counselor, and she said she would deliver Kaylen's spot to her classroom and it would be waiting for her in the morning. That was all it took - my girl was happy! Easy peasy!

After about 40 minutes of talking my ear off, the kids slowly settled in. Or so I thought. Kaylen actually went to her room to pick out tomorrow's outfit. Right there tells me a lot. She is doing great!


I know, right? Can you believe it?????? This child has never, since age 2 when her SI went full tilt, worn jeans for any length of time. And definitely not when changing out of them wouldn't be an option. PEOPLE: THIS IS HUGE!!!

She picked everything out and put them in her clothes cubby for tomorrow. I am really rooting for her to follow through in the morning. Time will tell and if she chooses not to go forward with jeans this least she tried and maybe next time she will. The most important factor here is: She is doing great!!!!

I am so proud of her!!

Kelton seems to be having a bit of an adjustment issue. He isn't thrilled to be back at school but I hope that will change in the next week or so as he settles in. Growing up is hard - and I think the transition into the land of the older kids has unnerved him. He has a good teacher though so I think he will be ok. He had the same set of teachers (two of them) for both second and third grade so this switch to a new teacher is hard for him. But I have great faith in him that he will settle in and thrive.

Here's hoping they both have a fantastic second day!

Revisting a Revist

I just spent time re-reading last September's blog entries and I came across these little movies of Kaylen when she was three.

How can my babies be so big already????

And We're Off!

The 2011-2012 year has officially begun and both kids are happily settled into their classrooms.

The alarms started going off at 6AM this morning and the house was in full swing by 6:15. Kids were dressed and ready to go early enough that Kaylen wore her fully loaded backpack around the house for a good hour. :) We took our annual "First Day of School" pictures but sadly, both kids have a tendency to move the camera as they click the shutter so the ones of me with each child are a bit blurry and because the lighting sucked this morning (It was gray and raining. Of course.). The flash made it look like midnight but without it, they are not great either but life goes on and you can't recapture the moment. It is what it is. :)

Kaylen had a few minutes of panic/anxiety and collapsed onto the grass holding her tummy. After talking for a few minutes, she looked at me sadly and said "Will you meet me at the school?" I told her I would and she felt better.

We waited for the bus and they happily climbed on board. I followed the bus, parked on a neighborhood street (school parking lot is a lost cause on the first day) and was standing at her bus when the driver opened the door. She climbed off and we walked a little bit down towards her room. She turned, looked at me, smiled and said "I can do it from here." I kissed her, told her to have a great day and off she went!

I put on my official school badge and started helping kids find their rooms and answering questions for parents. Then I went into the office and helped the front desk staff. From there I went into the mail room and started counting out, and placing in teachers mailboxes, the massive amounts of paperwork that is sent home the first week.

I walked by the kids rooms to see them both happily engaged in their work and socializing with their table mates.

Two hours later, when my work was done, I walked by Kaylen's room. Her class was in music so I popped my head in and asked how she was doing. Her teacher smiled and said "She is really doing great!" We chatted for a few minutes and I was on my way back to home to an empty and silent house.

I can't wait to hear all about their day when they get home this afternoon. I miss those two!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Summer Goeth Before the Fall

The day dawned overcast and drizzly. Perfect. Because, you know, I am not having enough trouble with the transition from summer time to school time. Today is the last full day of summer. The last summer night. Tomorrow is open house at the school and then home to bed so we can wake to the 6:30 alarm clock which will signal the official end of lazy summer morning and will begin the hectic school schedule.

Rush rush rush. Not enough time. Never enough time.

Let it be stated that I am going, kicking and screaming, into this change.

Kaylen states she is ready for it. Kelton and I have having trouble. Short fuses and tears from both of us are plentiful today. Change is hard.

Being as how Mother Nature decided to pull the rug out from under my denial today, I decided it might help me feel better (and, let's be honest, surrender to the changes) to pull out the fall decorations. This was not as easy as it seems.

Last year, the person who helped me store the fall, Halloween and Christmas decorations threw a kink in my being able to get them out. In years passed, when putting everything up in the attic, the Christmas boxes went in first, then Halloween then fall. The reason being it was easier to access the boxes of needed decorations in order.

Ummm...yeah. Halloween and fall were shoved in the far reaches of the attic space and the Christmas boxes impeded being able to even get into the attic.

Add to that, I *won't* climb up into the attic, Kelton has a fear of heights and Kaylen, while eager to get up there, is just too short. Damn.

I called a neighbor boy this afternoon and he popped over and crawled up there. After much moving of things, he located the fall and Halloween bins and handed them down to me. He earned $10 for about 15 minutes of work but at least I have my decorations and I didn't have to break myself to get them.

About 15 minutes later, I had the fall decorations in place. Remember how I thought it would help make me feel know...jumping in with both feet? It does not.

Once upon a time, three and more years back (all my life, actually), fall used to be my favorite time of year. A time to begin anew. Now, as in very recent years, it is filled with dread, fear, anxiety and panic.

Some day I hope it is again a time I love.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Beginning - Again

The clothes are bought. The backpacks and lunchboxes are in place. The school supplies have been purchased. New shoes wait to be worn and new clothes are in drawers and closets.

Clothes for Kaylen was challenging this year - as clothes always are for her so... knowing her clothing issues as well as I do, I took her to the second hand store, Once Upon a Child. She and I pulled about 60 items of clothing to try on. She selected 15 that she thought would do. (Shirts, soft stretch pants, skirts and dresses. Thank goodness in amongst it all, she didn't ask for cupless bras. I'm so not ready for that. Ok - really? Is any parent EVER ready for that bit of knowledge about their child? :)) The items she selected have the HUGE advantage of being pre-worn so they are as soft as they are going to get. She knows exactly what she is getting. And bonus - it didn't break the budget. :)

Dakota picked up things for Kelton. A few new shirts and pants. Shoes.

It's a time for starting over.

The leaves have already started to fall from trees. The neighbors yard, always the first to need it, needs to be raked already.

September is imminent. For me, September is more like New Years than January. Everything starts over. Everything is new.

Buckle your seat belt because here we go.

End of the Line

Summer. All but over. I think I can hear the beginning strains of taps playing in the background. I'm not ready.

The weather is finally hot. As in HOT. I have a feeling this fall is going to be uncomfortably warm. I might be way off base but I think with the changes in the world, our seasons have shifted, ever so slightly. The summer starts later and runs later and winter? Well - it never ends. The cold dark wet days will be here before I know it. I'm not ready.

I want to have more swimming pool days, long lazy afternoons, late nights on the patio. I want to hear the kids clamour for ice cream, cold drinks and beg to buy the latest and greatest buy xbox games. I want the cats to stretch out on the hot patio and sleep away the afternoon. I want to drink sweet ice tea by the gallon.

I want. I want. I want.

And yet - here we are. The days are winding down at an alarming pace. Today is Thursday. Tomorrow the kids go to Dakota's for the weekend. Then Monday. Monday is the last real summer day. Tuesday is open house at school and Wednesday is the first day.

And I'm not ready.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Your Children Are Watching

I stole this from a blog I wandered by this morning. It was talking about when bad things happen and how we, as moms, process how to handle it. The bad could be all sorts of bad: health related, divorce, lack of employment, problems with other doesn't matter what type of "bad" it is.

If you are a mom who has children watching your every move, who count on you to keep their world together, who rely on you more than any other person on the get this.

This is what we do.

"You intend to be stoic…strong…a champion…even knowing as you promise yourself this that in reality you will crumble to the floor in a heap and scream and cry and pound your fist at the injustice.

And then… you will rise. You will be stoic. You will have faith. Because really…what other choice do you have? After all, your children will be watching."

Your children are watching. I know mine are. They are looking for chinks in my armour - anything that will belie my outward appearance of everything is fine and dandy - that I have it all handled and nothing can rattle me so deeply that it can't be fixed by a decent night's sleep. They are watching me when I say "It's ok. Everything is fine. You are fine and we are fine together." When I say "We are very lucky. We have people who love us and want the best for us." When I tell them that, in a few years we will look back over this time and be amazed and how far we have come. When I cuddle them and tell them it won't always hurt this much or that something that seems so enormous to them will, in time, grow smaller.

I can't fall apart in their line of sight. I have to remain steady in front of them. Falling apart is reserved for showers and late in the night and Facebook updates. People often tell me "I don't know how to do it." My answer is simply "I have no choice."

What other choice do I have? My children are watching.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Summer Cookout Night

As tradition goes, we have at least one night every summer where we have a cookout. In years past, it usually is one of the times when the tent has been up and we slept outside. Last year and this year, I skipped the tent part and we just had the cookout.

I built the fire and got it going and Kaylen sat out with me and we talked as we watched it burn down until it was finally good for hot dog and chicken nugget roasting. Yes, I said chicken nuggets. Apparently, Kaylen wasn't in the mood for hot dogs so she decided on chicken nuggets. I didn't care either way so chicken nuggets it was. Some day, when I am out searching for the perfect medical school graduation gift for her, I will look back on tonight and have a good giggle. :) Chicken nuggets, roasting over a campfire. Gotta love my daughter!

Kelton and I opted for hot dogs.

And for dessert? S'mores, of course. :)

It was a good little cookout. Calm and non-rushed. Good conversations and no bickering between themselves. Probably the best one I've ever had with the two of them - a sure sign that they are growing up right before my eyes.

Friday Night - Again

Oh look. It's Friday night again and, right on time, I'm blogging at 8:50pm. This time there is no one snoring gently next to me. Only the sounds of children settling in for sleep and a cat or two wandering around. Even the dogs are, blissfully so, settled in. You know - until around the time I flip off my light and try to sleep. Then they will be up and needing outside, where Jordan will wander around the yard fora good 20 minutes before coming back in. And, as luck would have it, he is mostly deaf so calling him doesn't help. I'm totally at his nighttime wandering mercy.

Nothing new in that.

With all my nighttime interruptions and all the other crap (and no, that isn't a pun) I have to deal with, I count myself luck that dog mange is not on the list. At least there is a bright spot, right? :)

Today has been a pretty good day. The kids found out who their teachers are and both are happy. Kaylen seemed to visibly relax when I read off her classmates name. She knows many of the kids from her class last year. A downer for her is two of the kids she is nervous about due to behavior issues early on last year are also in her class(one is "the spitter" and the other was a behavior issue kid. Kaylen gets upset when kids get into trouble for not doing what they should do. At school, she is very much a rule follower and thinks everyone else should be too. I have to agree with her on that one.). We weren't able to meet up with her teacher today but we did get to talk with the teachers who Ms. M student taught for a couple years back and Kaylen asked how well Ms. M could deal with "the spitter". Mrs. V assured Kaylen that Ms. M was very good at making sure everyone felt safe. That helped a lot.

Kaylen is ready for school! She even informed me that she thinks she will say goodbye at the house on the first day and doesn't need me to follow the bus. She has opted to leave that open in case she changes her mind though. :) Kelton is dead set against me following him to school. Guess I don't blame him but it kind of sucks for me.

Kelton was listed on two class lists. His first choice, and mine. Apparently there was an oversight for the final assignment. This meant, of course, that he was able to choose which one he wanted. He, of course, chose Mr. D and I am ok with that. Mr. D was there today so we got to spend some time talking with him and Kelton got to ask questions about what the year will hold. He, too, is ready to go.

Because of all the teacher changes and looping, the school no longer has the usual primary and intermediate sides. Instead, all the grades and jumbled up throughout the building. It's actually kind of nice. For my two, it means they are three classrooms away from each other. I think Kaylen likes knowing her room is so close to her brother's. I have to admit, I kind of like knowing that, too. :)

The school has also been undergoing some other changes; classrooms are being set up to accommodate all types of learners. The teacher I was talking with today has an interesting point: Where do you read books? I'm willing to bet you read them curled up on the couch or in a favorite comfy chair. Maybe, like me, you sit on the patio and read. Maybe in bed. Where is it we expect kids to read at school? Sitting up in hard chairs leaning over a desk or table. I bet not many of us sit at the kitchen table and read our books - at least not books for pleasure reading.

So now classrooms have some tables and chairs, big pillows on the floor, tall tables for students who like to stand and work.....super low tables for kids who like to sit on the floor and work. Even clipboards for those who prefer to lay on the floor and work.

I think this is AWESOME!!!! Kelton has a hard time sitting in his chair and working. This will give him different places and he can find what best suits him. Kaylen's classroom is completely set up and it is so cute, cozy and inviting. No more harsh overhead lighting. I think she is going to thrive in this type of environment and I am very excited for both kids. I think it's going to be a great year for them!

One more week of summer left. Wow.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Boo Boo's

I think I should check my closet to see if I am hiding a couple nursing uniforms that I am unaware of. The past 24 hours have been the day for taking care of boo-boos.

Last night, as we were making dinner, Stephanie was grating cheese when she hit the grater with her knuckle. It was UGLY. Ok - so *I* didn't look because I am way, way, way too squeamish when adults hurt themselves. Especially when they are saying "Oh man - it's bad. Really bad." thanks. But I can hand you a band aid. I know. I suck. be fair, it must be really gross because now she won't let me look. She called the doctor today because it is still seeping blood at a good rate. Ice and band aids is the recommendation because there is nothing to stitch. Ummm...GROSS!

And then just a bit ago Kaylen came screaming into the house. She fell off her bike in the driveway and skinned up her knee and arm. No hiding from this one: blood and all. I got her all cleaned up and stayed as calm and cool as I could (even though I am wigging out inside. A good nurse I would NOT make!) but can I make a request to the universe that we stop with the blood and gore for a while? I've had my fill.

I'm off to go do something very un-nurse like now; change the loads of laundry. Oh come on. You know you're jealous! :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rowdy Summer Nights

The summer is winding down and one thing I will miss is the kids being able to stay up later than usual because seriously? The fun starts happening right around 8pm. The kids start watching youtube videos of songs they know and they sing along. Loudly. At times VERY loudly. Right now it's The Lazy Song. Which has grown on me this summer.

Their laughter is infectious. The noise level, at times, climbs a bit too high and then I have to remind them to turn down the volume and settle down a bit.

Tonight they are in fine form. Singing loudly and, from the thud thud thud, I'm guessing dancing.
I hide in my room mostly. I love listening to them but the distance between them and me is a good thing for my noise (in)tolerance. At times I swear there is a band of steel drums out in the other part of the house.

But they are having fun. Making memories that, hopefully, will last a lifetime.

I remember the long summer evenings of my childhood fondly. Working on puzzles, playing board games....all of us a bit wild but all of us having fun.

I'm glad my kids are making memories.

Thoughts of School

It's Wednesday morning. Two more weeks to the day until the first day of school. I'm not ready. For me - handing my children over to anyone for any length of time, is not my idea of a good time. Sure, yes.....they can drive me bananas faster than you can say "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog." but just the same, I like them with me. School, for obvious reasons, takes them away from me.

If I were a different person in a different set of circumstances, I would probably home school. Why a different person? I don't have unending patience which I think one needs when teaching two children. Home schooling is a year round event whereby everything you do becomes a chance to teach. Measuring water? Math. Grocery shopping? Math and science. A trip to the park? Science....and recess. Mommy losing her mind and raising her voice to be heard? Not so much a great learning experience and probably won't so much be on the SAT. Just sayin'. I think my kids need to be taught be people who have a real drive and passion for teaching. (Let's be clear, being a parent is being a teacher as well. I have taught my children important things, and continue to teach them, every day of their lives.)

Oh but circumstances are what they are and like it or not (NOT!), school starts in two weeks. We are all trying our best to brace for the change. None of us are great with change (but really? Is anyone? I think people who loooooooove and crave change hate their lives...or themselves. You pick).

The rest of us are content with our lives. Love our lives and enjoy what we have and who we have in our lives. I don't see "resistant to change" as a bad thing unless it paralyzes you into not moving at all. Resistant to change is just "I don't want things to change. I like it as it is, thankyouverymuch."

And so - change in routine is not something I scramble to achieve. Nor do the children. We like knowing what to expect and what is happening. We like having plans and routines. That said - as things change, we all find our groove. New routines, new plans. It's just the days leading up to said change that can rattle us. The kids act out, I pull in. I sometimes look at them in the middle of their meltdowns and think "What I'd give to be able to scream and yell and stomp right along with you. I so get it." But sadly, because I am a grown up, that is looked at as well....a bit unstable. So instead I become quiet and withdrawn while I process. Not 24/7 because don't get to meltdown for 24/7... but every now and again. We all do what we need to do to cope.
Friday we can go over to the school to find out teacher assignments. We met up with Kaylen's kindergarten teacher who gave us the heads up that she is 99% sure who Kaylen will be getting as her teacher and that she has already talked with that teacher and filled her in a bit on Kaylen. Once class lists are carved in stone, Mrs. G will meet with the 1st grade teacher to thoroughly discuss everything and she is highly recommending Kaylen meet her new teacher and spend time in the classroom the week before school starts. I love Kaylen's kindergarten teacher. Oh how I wish she could have looped up this year and taken Kaylen with her. She is sooooo good with Kaylen and Kaylen responds well. You could actually see Kaylen relaxing as she and Mrs. G talked yesterday. It has to calm her fears to know that Mrs. G is looking out for her and will be right there if she needs her. That alone, pretty much guarantees Kaylen won't need her. Knowing there is a safety net is sometimes all we ever to be able to take the leap.

I don't know the possible new teacher well. She came in late last year when we needed a fourth 3rd grade teacher to accommodate all the kids. Her classroom was a portable and unfortunately, I have few opportunities to meet her. I do know the staff was impressed enough by her that when her contract ended, and it became apparent that we would need more teachers this year, she was offered another contract.

Now all this goes on the assumption that, as our principal sat in her office yesterday shifting around names and student groupings, she hasn't shifted Kaylen to another teacher.

Not that I have anxiety or anything but last night I dreamed Kelton was assigned a teacher at his school but Kaylen's assignment took her to another school. She was going to have Kelton's 1st grade teacher but that teacher was being sent to a different school so she decided to take Kaylen with her. First off, in realy life, I don't think the teacher would be a good match....for me. With Kaylen (both kids actually), I need to know I have easy access to the teacher and Kelton's 1st grade teacher, while great with the kids, was not great with the parents. I need someone who will communicate with me...and do it well and timely. Anyway - as my dream went, I was trying hard to figure out how to get both kids to school at the same time in different locations. And in my dream, Kaylen was repeating the way kindergarten started. Needless to say, I woke up stressed out. When my heart rate calmed, I was happy to realize it was just a dream. Or was it? Is Kaylen being bounced to another teacher? Friday will reveal all. And I'm pretty nervous. Oh...and so are the kids. :)

Kelton really has his sights set on the male 4th grade teacher but only because his class puts on a Shakespeare play every year. I'm sure he would do well in that class however I have my sights set on another teacher for him. In the end, I am defering to what his 3rd grade teachers feel would be a good match for him. I don't want him upset but I do want him to have the right teacher so I am nervous about that, too. Kelton is, too.

BUT...I have two more glorious weeks to have my babies with me and not worry about alarm clocks, rushed morning routines, school buses, homework and friend-drama. And I am going to take full advantage knowing that this year is going to be one full of changes. Small changes and big changes. But in the end, I am hoping that all the changes will be good ones.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Wild Friday Night

It's 8:50pm and I am sitting in bed blogging while Stephanie snores next to me. Ok - not snoring...but breathing that "I'm asleep" breathing. Do I know how to rock a Friday night or what?!?!

To be fair, she put in a long day at work - up and out with the sun and didn't get back here until after 6:30. Then it was dinner while we watched last night's Big Brother, some reconnecting time and talking about our days and now......snoring and blogging. Rock on!

So here I sit. Catching up on email, reading blogs and, of course, Facebook. Maybe later I will pull up some sites on manufactured homes and do a little dreaming of a place in the woods big enough for five people and a variety of animals. Maybe I'll pop over to Netflix and watch more episodes of Saving Grace. Maybe I'll head over to Damn You Auto Correct and laugh myself silly.

Oh I know you are all jealous. *I* am having a way cooler Friday night than you. :)

Well look at that. It's 8:56. I've managed to fill six whole minutes! I am ON FIRE! :)

And from the sounds of this post, I just might need to get some sleep myself. I think I'm getting punchy. Wowsa.

9:00 on a Friday night and I'm ready to call it good.

Getting old sucks. At this time of night when I was in my 20's I would still be trying to kill time before going out for the night. And now? At 46 I'm thinking of giving my kids their goodnight call, flipping out the light and sleeping.


Money on the Brain

So....the DOW has had quite a week, has it not? Up and down and all around. Facebook was all a twitter about it but I look at it this way, there isn't anything in the world I can do about it. I am at the mercy of the stock market. I have surrendered to that fact and I'm ok with it.

I was, however, happy to hear the news about the interest rates staying low through 2013. I know it's not ideal and all...blah blah stuff...blah blah blah but for someone like me, trying to get back on their feet after having their life implode, it's a good feeling to know that I have a chance not to be priced out of things by high interest rates. Things like mortgages, auto refinancing, etc. The big stuff. The stuff that feels important for me at this stage in my life.

When all is said and done and I am standing on solid financial ground once again (SOON!), I want to know that I can move forward and take care of keeping a roof over our heads and a set of reliable wheels to move us from point A to point B with reasonable (and by reasonable I really mean LOW) interest rates.

So for all of you with car loans and mortgages, now might be a really good time to look into refinancing and getting a lower rate. Saving money on your loans gives you more money to spend which, in turn, helps the economy- which in turn helps the market.

All it takes is a phone call or two. What do you have to lose?

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Wow. It's been a busy week so far. It actually feels like today should be Friday because I. Am. Exhausted.

Last Wednesday started my marathon week as it was the day I started refinishing furniture for Kaylen's room and the kids and I embarked on our "Operation Kids in Their Own Rooms" journey.

As one day moved into another into another into another it seemed like the energy level was frantic as we worked to get everything done and everyone settled. Instead of "just" refinishing furniture, it felt more like I built log furniture from scratch. Yeah yeah - but still - it was a huge energy outlay. In and of itself, no. But when added to all the other stuff I still had to get done daily, it was big for me.

So now, a week and a day later, the kids have been settled into their own rooms and the frantic energy level has turned to school stating in 18 days. There are still summer things I want to do with the kids. I'm not ready for school schedules to come front and center. I'm not ready for PTO to go full tilt again (didn't we just close out the year?). I'm not ready to figure out new routines for everything. But - ready or not, here it comes.

Kaylen goes back and forth between wanting school to start and being apprehensive about not knowing who she will have for a teacher. Hopefully we will have that answer next week and we can put that fear to rest. It helped to ease her fear when we started focusing on school clothes, shoes, supplies and....wait for it.....Halloween costumes. I know, I know! But the catalogs started arriving and Kaylen has started dreaming. Good thing, too, since to get what you want, you have to order very soon. But not for's also a great distraction for her! She can focus on the good things to come and it helps ease her anxiety.

We had a tough day earlier this week when her brain bug made a reappearance and sent her into a frenzy. When all was said and done and she had collected herself, it came out in bits and pieces that she was scared about school and not knowing who her teacher will be. Once we talked about it, she settled down and things have been calm on that front.

Kelton is being a trooper. He has his sights set on one of two teachers so hopefully he won't end up with the third teacher. I would be happy with either of his choices and we talk a lot about trusting his third grade teachers to make a good match for him and his fourth grade teacher. He goes back and forth between being ready and wanting summer to last longer.

It feels like it's not time for school to start because, weather-wise, summer never really got started. I even had to take down the pool this week because after weeks of not being warm enough to swim, when I took the cover off the pool I found larvae in various stages. thanks. Eeeeeew! Sure, I could have dumped, scrubbed and refilled but given the lack of hot weather and school starting in a couple weeks, it just didn't seem worth it. That and we do have a pool out at Stephanie's house that we can swim in anytime we want. :) (Note to self: next summer add the chemicals every week even when not in use. *sigh* My bad.)

Still - it was sad to take it down because it felt like we only had a handful of days when it was used this year.

Ok - I've rambled on long enough and I have a daughter chomping at the bit to go down around the corner and down a bit to see if the blackberries are ready to pick. She has been busy picking blueberries and raspberries this week and I guess she wants to add a third berry to her collection. If only she would eat the darn things! :) So I'm off for now. Take care!

Monday, August 08, 2011

A Little Peek..... country life.

Kaylen picking blueberries. We collected a lot!

Busy Morning

I'm tired.'s only noon but I am whipped. I've been moving at full-tilt since my feet hit the floor trying to get everything accomplished that needs to be done today. Seriously. I feel like I should be wearing a pair of nike wrestling shoes and a wrestling outfit since it feels like I've been herding cats all morning.

It's overcast right now and I am eager to get everything under control by the time the sun breaks free later this afternoon. The big question is.....will I succeed? Chores (kitchen, breakfast, bed making, house straightening, bathroom wipe down, laundry, dishwasher, trash emptied and garbage taken to the road for tomorrow's pickup, etc.)are done and I have already hit three of my five major job posting sites and applied for a handful of positions. Kids are dressed, brushed and entertained. Pets have been cared for and seem to have all found napping locations.

Is it any wonder than I am running out of steam? I have to say - it's days like this that I really impress myself. The heck with the rest of you - I'm pretty damn proud of myself. :)

It was a great weekend - which always helps me kick Monday into high gear. We split time between here and Stephanie's house so that all dogs were properly taken care of and all children have time at their own home. The kids have all gotten along incredibly well (can I just say? They were doing pretty well before the beach trip but since? They seem thick as thieves, which I awesome. I love laying in bed at night listening to them talk and giggle from the darkened living room (where they have weekend sleepovers). There is nothing like it.

And now - my break is over and I need to get back to it. I see it getting brighter out there and I want to check off my To Do list and move on to my Want To list. :)

Friday, August 05, 2011

Kaylen's New Room

Oh my gosh you guys....I rocked it! Seriously rocked it! Ok - yeah, the kids helped. Kaylen more than Kelton but still - I was the driving force behind it. Ok - not THE driving force. That would be Kaylen who insisted it was time for Kelton to move out of her room and back into his own. But really? I was the next driving force. The one who rocked it and changed it from "Oh My God what happened to this room?!? Should I call CPS? Maybe that show Clean Sweep? Seriously? There are two children living in this disaster? HO....LY CRAP!"

Ok ok - it wasn't *that* bad but it wasn't great. You will notice I didn't take a before photo. I just couldn't subject myself...or that scene. I could clean and organize til the cows came home but there was just too much stuff and not enough room. So yeah...maybe what transpired today in the span of four hot and sweaty hours wasn't as magical as say......reverse osmosis but it was still pretty amazing.

With the dresser and desk ready to go Kaylen, Kelton and I set about transforming Kaylen's room. We took down nursery prints and posters of puppies, We cleared out under her bed and collapsed the trundle down and slid it under her bed. We moved bookcases and toy bins. We sorted through clothes and toys and stuffed animals. Nothing went untouched. Nothing. Not even the closet.

We sent 6 kitchen sized garbage bags to Goodwill, 1 bag to the trash and 1 bag to recycling. I played hardball and Kaylen played with me. We sorted and said goodbye to things and viola! Like magic - four hours later - this is what we had:


I am so proud of what we accomplished and I am so proud of my girl for letting go of things (I'm trying so hard not to let the kids grow into pack rats. I am not and it drives me wild when they can't let go of toys and books that they are done with.). She rocked the wall decals (with my help, of course) and the whole room has such a big girl feel to it now.

I love, love, love it!

Oh - and Kaylen does, too. :)

Think she will let me sleep in there? :)

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Before and After

The story goes like this: For a variety of reasons, Kaylen has never been alone in her bedroom. Kelton, while having his own room, took to sleeping in her room when he was 3 and Dakota started law school. Can't really blame him - he was little and scared and wanted me with him while he fell asleep. Since Kaylen was an infant, I spent bedtime in her room nursing her and putting her to bed. It became the easy thing to do to set up a bed for him in her room and let them share.

I always assumed once law school was done and life got back to "normal", he would return to sleeping his room. After all, there would be two parents to move bedtime along.

We all know what happened after law school.

Kelton remained a room-sharer in Kaylen's room.

I have been wanting to transition Kelton back into his own room for a while now but both kids were resistant. At the beginning of summer, I informed them both before the start of the school year, they would be in their own rooms. End of discussion.

Grumble grumble whine whine.

Then Monday morning Kaylen came to me and said "I want Kelton out of my room." After much back and forth, the decision was made. By the weekend, Kelton would be in his room and Kaylen would have a "girly room" all to herself.

Kaylen doesn't have a dresser. Or didn't before two days ago. She has a pull out box thing from Ikea under her bed for her clothes (and I'll be honest, it hasn't held up. I've had to rebuild it and reinforce it. I imagine wood floors are better for something like that.). I set about finding a dresser for her.

After much searching, Stephanie mentioned that she had a dresser than Kaylen could have. It needed updating since it was coming out of Andrew's room but Kaylen liked that idea.

Hot pink was the color choice. Of course.

So yesterday we picked up primer and paint and today we went to work on transforming the dresser from Star Wars to Girly Girl.

She LOVES it.

Tomorrow, when the paint is good and dry, we have removable decals to add to give it that perfect girly charm and then we are all set to begin "Room Switch 2011".


Nothing is constant but change.

Sweat Time

It's hot. Well - not as hot as lots of places and certainly not as hot as it's ever been here but enough that when I spend time in the sun, I turn into a sweaty puddle. The outdoor thermometer is hitting 80 today.

I know. For some of you, that would be a welcome relief and I'm really not complaining that it's *only* 80. I'm just saying that it's hot for me.

I'm always grateful for inside climate control because when the core of my being heats up to a solid 80 or above, I'm not happy. At all.

That said, the AC in my car isn't working. Which sucks. Big time. But the $2500 it would take to fix it? Yeah - well.....can you say "pipe dream"? That sucks, too. But today? Lots of things suck. (Yeah yeah.....pity party for one, please.)

Kaylen and I (with a smidgen of help from Kelton) have been working on a furniture painting project the past couple days and I will tell you......while 80 makes for nice paint drying's hot to sit and stand in for painting. And especially when painting is one of my least favorite things to do. Ever.

All this said...I'm still in a funk. A major funk. (Can you tell?) Which sucks more than hot days or broken AC.

I'm just saying.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Not Perfect But Perfect in Its Messy-ness

" a blog is a mere glimpse into our lives, not a moving picture of every blessed and damned moment."

I stole that from a friends blog post. I think it's appropriate to share that line of thinking in order to remind everyone that things I post are a snapshot of where I am *at the exact moment* I start writing a post. It might not even be where I am when I hit the publish button. It's just a few moments in time. It is not a portrait of my life, or my mental stability. A Polaroid, if you will. Taken on a whim and developed quickly. The color not quite right, messy hair, a speck of pepper in your teeth from dinner, the light bouncing back from the lenses of glasses.

A portrait is a moment that is placed into perfection. Everyone arranged just so, hair in place, teeth shiny and bright and speck-free, glasses not catching the glare from the flash.

Yep. A Polaroid. That's what this blog is. Just a quick, sometimes blurry and never perfect snapshot into my life.


I'm in a funk. Nothing specific, everything in general. I really don't enjoy days when I feel like this; every negative emotion, feeling and word I direct towards myself. It doesn't help ease the feeling of funk. It does the exact opposite.

I don't know why I feel this way. I catch bits and pieces of the crap flying around my head: summer is almost over, Kaylen's patching and how soul sucking a process it is for both her and I, yard work that needs to be done but for which I have zero motivation to do (in my dream yard, I have fence to fence grass and no gardens whatsoever. I am not a dirt loving girl and I don't get the love of gardening. Not at all. Mowing the yard and watering it? That I can handle.), job searching, worrying about what to do about the kids when I finally do land a job, how it will change all of us, how to fit everything in that needs to be fit in while doing it on my own, bills, animals, car repair bills and medical I need to get up north to meet my new niece but how there is no money for two tanks of gas and I need to figure out where the kids and I can stay for an overnight visit considering I'd rather go mid-week than weekends (which are at an all time premium right now. It's amazing how fast time goes when you live in every other week increments).....just everything. How it will all come together. *When* it will all come together.

It's overwhelming. Four weeks to the start of the new school year. Supplies to purchase, clothes and shoes to make sure they have. Time, precious time with my kids, slipping away hour by hour.

Kelton, starting fourth grade. Kaylen heading into first.

As exhausted and overcome with "all things baby" that my brother and sister-in-law are right now, I envy them. The days and weeks and months when a small person dictates your every moment feels like bliss from where I am sitting. The needs of that tiny person consumes you so much that all other thoughts are squeezed out of your head.

I could use that; thoughts squeezed from my head.

So last night I tried to do just that. After dinner was cleaned up, I loaded the kids into the car, along with a package of hot dog buns days away from going bad, and took us all over to the duck pond to feed the ducks and walk around the park. I grabbed my camera, hopeful to catch a couple good shots of my small people. Hoping to freeze time for just a little bit.

I wish I could freeze it for forever.

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Beach Trip

One word: FANTASTIC!

We had such a great time that we snuck in an extra day and didn't come back until Friday. The funny thing was, we were all packed, the car was loaded and the kids and I were resigned to leaving when Stephanie pulled the "I don't wanna go." card. The kids echoed their displeasure with leaving and all four of them looked at me.

A few phone calls and a trip to the front desk later, and we were set for another night. I'm really not sure who was happier - the kids......or Stephanie. :)

In the days that we were in Seaside we never once got into the car. I parked it in the hotel parking lot Tuesday morning and I didn't start it up again until Friday morning. We spent our days in the waves, playing in the sand, playing for hours in the hotel pool. The kids rode the Tilt-a-Whirl about a million times. We went to the funny hat store, bought Crocs for Kelton and Kaylen (they had worn out their pairs from last summers trip to the Croc store). Stephanie and the kids rode go-carts and rode around town in a cool Sponge Bob golf cart car thingy (as much fun as they had, I was equally happy browsing the shops alone while they were tooling around.). We ate at the Pig-n-Pancake as well as the "fancy" restaurant in the hotel (the kids were beside themselves with the fancy-ness of it. It was pretty cute to listen to them but I will say, their manners were amazingly great when we ate there. Made me want to do it all the time since it wasn't any more expensive than the Pig-n-Pancake but alas, it was 99.9% seafood and well.....I don't enjoy seafood. At all.

Anyway - we had a blast (and a few not so great moments, which is to be expected....but those have already faded into the background and all that remains in my memory is how fun it was.) and no one wanted to come back to real life. I'm still singing the "I want to be back in Seaside" blues. Singing loudly too, I might add.

Nothing beats time at the beach for me. It's my "go to", my wish, my dream, my safe place. I just love it there. Absolutely love it.

But what is a blog post about a beach trip without pictures? Mighty sad, that's what. So without any more delay, here are a zillion pictures of our adventure:

Day One: First stop was Family Funland. I had passed it many times over the years but this was the first time I stopped. Stephanie saw the go-carts and just about bounced out of her seat! She had been wanting to take the kids to Oaks Park to drive go-carts and here were some *right in front of us*. How could I not stop?

Yeah. YOU try to get a decent picture of these three kids. *eye roll*

Kaylen and Bear. Bear went *everywhere* with us. Kaylen even insisted on spending some of her spending money to get Bear a new outfit. She is pretty attached to that furry thing these days. :)

Next up were the spray boats. I'm pretty sure the guy loaded Stephanie into the boat with the sprayer which overshot its target on purpose. She didn't stand a chance against the kids. She was soaked all the way through and ended up changing in the parking lot. Three days later, her sweatshirt was STILL wet!

Crazy hats for crazy kids.
Kelton is still wearing his hat. I think he made the best choice of any of them. :)

There are just no words for this one. :)

I LOVE this picture of Stephanie. :)

Tilt-A-Whirl. I'm pretty sure I would have been tossing my cookies but the kids rode it over and over and over and over. Day after day after day.

Kelton and I took some time away for just us. We walked along the promenade and then back through town. It was really nice to have one on one time with my boy.

On our way out of town, we stopped for a last run on the go-carts. Andrew, exhausted from swimming, didn't want to drive and, with Kelton being a bit under the height line, we held our breath. YES! They decided he could reach the pedals and be safe so he was given the green light to drive in a car alone! He was THRILLED! They had him watch the safety video, quizzed him and then turned him loose. He was amazing! Hesitant at first but by the second lap, he had picked up speed and was passing people. That's my boy!!!

There is nothing like a few days at the beach. :)