Monday, October 31, 2011

And That's a Wrap.

Halloween 2011 is officially over and done. The door is locked, the light is off and, most importantly, the children are sound asleep.

It was a good night - which it always is (and yet, that doesn't make me like Halloween any more than I already don't). This year, I had Harry Potter and a Mermaid with me and they had a great time!

First off, we drove over to see their grandma who ooohhhed and aaahhhhhed appropriately over them. From there, we drove back to our neighborhood...kinda. Two blocks down and one over...because our block never has lights on and the one we went to is full of school friends and, most importantly, poch lights that are on. Sure enough, within 4 houses, we hooked up with a classmate of Kelton and the three kids became a "pack". They had a great time and laughed and laughed as they went from house to house. I had a good time talking with the mom, whom I know, and waving at other parents I know from the school.

The evening was quite chilly and while the kids didn't think twice about not wearing a coat, I was bundled up. Thanks to the titanium rod in my spine, I get VERY cold, VERY quickly. By the time we were done, I was frozen through and through and wishing for some new fangled new back surgery or something that would make my back more "user friendly". A pipe dream to be sure but a nice dream none the less.

Within an hour, we were back home and the kids were sorting through their goodies.

Both are thrilled.

I will have to say, though, that the best time for all of us came after we arrived home. We were back in plenty of time to answer the door for tons of kids. Kelton and Kaylen had so much fun handing out candy and Kaylen has decided that next year she would like to stay out only 30 minutes and spend the rest of the evening handing out candy. Kelton? Well - he wants to spend even MORE time going door to door. :)

Next up: November. Ready or we go.

Confession Time

It's Halloween!

The pumpkins are carved, the costumes at the ready. The house is festive and the candy basket is full to overflowing. I'm ready. ready as I will ever be because I have a confession: I HATE Halloween.

Yes. You read that right. Hate it. With a passion.

All of it. The decorations, which I would have been all too happy to skip this year had it not been for my Halloween loving children. The massive amounts of sugar that my children consume for weeks. The teenagers who come knocking at the door, even after the porch light goes out. The traipsing around the neighborhood and over to the kid's grandmother's house. Though honestly? I do like that part. I enjoy visiting with Dakota's mom. I miss her. But the rest of it? I could easily do without.

It's days like this that makes me envious of Travel Jobs that would get me out of all the festivities.

As an adult, I have never enjoyed dressing up and can count on two fingers how many times I have. Sure, the kids are adorable....or gruesome, depending on the costume of choice. This year I have a mermaid and Harry Potter. At least they are cute. And I do enjoy their know, until it exceeds epic proportions. After that point, I'm ready to stick us all in our beds, pull the covers up tight and wait until the day passes into the next.

November 1st, as it does every year, will find me happily putting away the ghosts and goblin decorations. Thanksgiving is the same for me. I'd just as soon skip it. And this year? So far, I'm not even excited for Christmas. Right now it feels like a daunting undertaking. I have two things tucked away so far. I need to get moving but find I just can't.

Personally, I can't believe tomorrow is November 1st. The leaves on the ground, and falling in a rapid pace, scream that we are deep into autumn. I just can't believe it's this time of year already. Halloween heralds the holiday season. From today on, it's a fast slide into Christmas. Maybe that's why I don't like it. I'm never ready to face the stress and craziness of the holiday season. Who planned this calendar we have? Why the need to scrunch three major events into a 7 week window? I mean seriously...wouldn't trick or treating be more fun if you could actually SEE the costumes instead of coats, rain jackets, umbrella's is evidenced on the East Coast right now, snow suits? All in favor of moving Halloween to mid-summer, raise your hand! :)

Not that anyone asked Iwill stop grumbling, plaster a smile to my face and say:

Happy Halloween!! (and wish like crazy I was still at the beach......)

Loving the Beach!

Friday, October 28, 2011

School Photos

Unbelievable! They did it again! No matter what I keep saying over and over, these babies of mine have gone and grown up even more. Just look at this:

Kelton James
Fourth Grade

Kaylen Lane
First Grade

Saturday, October 22, 2011


My babies should be hitting the open skies in about 5 minutes. It's surreal to think of them in a plane, way above the earth, without me. The thought of them hurling through time and space is enough to make ME want to hurl. Not that they haven't flown before. Not that I have an irrational fear of flying. No - it's just because I am not there do what exactly? Protect them?

See? I know it's crazy but still - I have anxiety about them flying without me there.

Yes. They are with their other mother. Yes. They are safe. Yes. I trust her with them. You the way that I trust anyone with pieces of my heart and soul.

I know they are going to have an amazing time. I mean, how can one go to Disneyland and NOT have fun? I also have no illusion. I know this will be a week full of moments...good and not good... for all of them. The kids have never spent an entire week alone with Dakota. Dakota has never spent an entire week with them. And neither has Vicki. I know my kids. I know there will be....moments....when it's a tough go for all of them.

I wish the grown ups patience, understanding and the ability to remember what it was like to be 9 and 6 and in a land of magic and excitement. I wish the children grace and thoughtfulness to realize what a huge gift they are being given and to be gracious and, above all else, happy and easy to be with.

I wish all four of them a great time.

And I wish for me to get through these days until I can hold my children in my arms again. Because see....*I* have never been without them for a week. Not once in their entire lives.

So that is that - they are in the air on the way to the Happiest Place on Earth and in a while, Stephanie and I will be on our way to the beach. Just a day trip but the beach none the less. I LOVE THE BEACH!!

I'm excited and really looking forward to exploring Cannon Beach without children. I have never spent time at the beach without the children.

I guess we are all spreading our wings a bit.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


After months of the anguish of trying to grow Kaylen's hair longer, we finally hit a milestone this morning. LOOK!

She has ponytails!!

And I have a much, much older looking child. It's wild and crazy how changing her glasses and hair style have changed how she looks.

Adorable. If I do say so myself and well...since she is my mini-me, I'm going to say it. Again. ADORABLE! :)

How did the long hair experience begin? A friend of hers in kindergarten had long blonde hair and thus began her love affair with long, blonde hair. Oh wait. That's not true. Long blonde hair was a big deal from her from about 18 months on when only blonde hair dolls would do. It was disturbing for me but we made it through that odd, odd stage. Anyway.....Ella brought the love of long hair into reality for Kaylen.

I took a long, deep breath and agreed to let her grow it out. It. Has. Driven. Me. Crazy.

I do not like long hair. I do not like long hair on little girls. I know. I'm in the minority but I'm ok with that. It's fine as long as their hair stays neat and tidy but that means the little girl is not running around being a child. Messy long hair? Drives me nuts.

Kaylen's hair is thick. Unruly. Wavy. Curly. It's hard to handle. There have been some days I have fought the urge to put something akin to scorpion helmets on her just to hide the mop of messy hair.

But today. Oh but today! Today we put in pony tails and I see the allure of longer hair. She looks sooooo cute!

But you know what happened last night? Kaylen informed me that she doesn't want to grow it long anymore because *insert drum roll here* Ella cut off her long hair and is now sporting a short bob! So now? Now she wants a bob.

Did you know that differences in hair texture is a topic that is completely lost on a 6 year old? You do now. Oy.

Our hairstylist really wanted to do a bob last time Kaylen was in for a trim but she didn't want Kaylen to freak out of it felt shorter. Any guesses what I will be taking her in for once she returns from Disneyland? :)

But oh, oh, oh....she is so cute with ponytails. :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

And Then There Were Two

From three happy cats:

To two:

On Friday, Andi left this world and made her journey to Kitty Heaven. In the 12 years she was with me (Dallas and Andi were 2 when we adopted them), she snuck in and stole my pillow...and the side of my bed. She slept beside me every single night and I am going to miss her forever.

I love you, my sweet Andi.

Tis the Season

It may LOOK like autumn out there. The leaves are falling from the trees in a way that reminds me of falling snow. The grass has returned to it's green color and is in desperate need of mowing (can I tell you how much I have enjoyed *not* mowing it since late July when it stopped growing?). Houses around me have been made festive with Halloween decorations. However, my mind has already left October and is residing in December as thoughts of Christmas fills my head. Wondering what it will look like this year. How I will swing fulfilling Christmas wishes of my two amazing children. I have started dreaming and scheming of what I can do to pull a Christmas miracle out of my hat. Kaylen locked in her Santa wish months ago but Kelton is still going back and forth. It's a hard place to be - encouraging him to dream while guiding him to ideas that won't break the bank. I want them both to think outside the box.....maybe think about unusual christmas gifts though I don't really have a clear vision of what that would look like.

It should be interesting to see what they can come up with....but I need to get them working on it because I read on someones FB post yesterday that it's a mere 10 weeks away and if miracles are going to happen, I need as much time as possible.

On another note: They leave for Disneyland bright and early Saturday morning. They will be gone almost a full week. It will the longest time span I have ever been away from them. So weird but I know they are going to have a great time and make memories that will last them a lifetime. Sad for me but over the top happy for them!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pumpkin Patch 2011

The kids and I made our annual Pumpkin Patch trip today. They had a great time!

Duck Races!

Feeding the goats.

I love this face to face shot! :)

Kelton's new thing is trying to look unaffected by photo taking. As he said " I want to have that look of I'm looking somewhere else or that I'm thinking something important." Believe it or not - he approved this photo taking and actually posed for it. :)

Pumpkin Launch!

Lost in the corn maze. It was incredibly muddy but we had a good time and we actually made it out! :)

See? Proof we made it to the exit.

There is that "far away, thinking of something else, aren't I oh so cool" look that Kelton has adopted. :)

But look! One good shot of my boy! :)

Cleaning off their pumpkins before we call it a day and head home.

It was a fun trip and we all had a good time. :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Eye Doctor Revisited....Again

Kaylen had her three month recheck at the eye doctor again. The best of the best news is that the patching is working!!! Her eyes are beginning to work as a team and the eye doctor was very pleased with her progress. She has a ways to go yet but it's progress! Her depth perception went from being able to find 3 things on his special chart (with special 3D glasses)in July to being able to find all NINE today! Numbers 7, 8, and 9 were hard won but SHE DID IT!

I am so proud of her!

The not so great news is that she once again needs a stronger prescription. Since her lenses are starting to resemble coke bottles (which, in turn, magnify her eyes), I'm having them use the high end lenses which will squash it down and reduce the magnification of her eyes without affecting the correction. It's worth it. I remember when she got her first pair and I learned of where she is heading; that eye doctor suggested we start a savings account to help offset the cost of the more expensive lenses. As he said "Glasses aren't tease-worthy anymore but magnified eyes will definitely put her in the line of teasing." This is why both eye doctors have recommended I think about contacts for her once we get down the road a bit. I'm not sure where I land on that topic. Time will tell.

Kaylen had her eyes super dilated today, too. After 40 minutes we went back for the second part of the exam. They had one of those fancy schmancy eye computers measure her eyes and then he gave her another exam. It revealed just a tiny bit of a difference between the non-dilated exam and the dilated one. I'm glad he did the dilation though - always better to have a good idea of where we are heading. Kaylen was a trooper and even though the eye doctor had warned she would want to go home and veg out after her appointment, my little rock star insisted on going back to school. She is an amazing little girl and I am so, so proud of her!

We will be back at the eye doctor in three more months for another recheck. Good thing I really like her eye doctor (he is so great with her!) because I have a feeling I am going to be seeing a lot of him. :)

Friday, October 07, 2011

Innocence Lost

Ummm...I would be talking about *my* innocence.

Now get up out of that gutter you are in because no, that is *not* what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about my "cat innocence". For those of you with cats, you just might understand without my going any further but just for the fun of it, let me go on.

My house was the scene of a murder cover up today. Never, ever, ever in all my years of being owned by cats (because, let's face one owns a cat. They own you) have I had to deal with murder scene clean up. That all ended about an hour ago, thanks to a it's a wonder he's still alive because he drives me to the brink of sanity cat named Zip.

Zip is a cat the defies (almost) all other cats that I have ever lived with before. He is W.I.L.D. He is a year old now and goes outside. However, without permission he has been leaving the yard in favor of adventure in neighboring backyards. He comes when he is called and never stays out for too long. But...out and about he is. Daily. This leaving the yard is a departure from (almost all) my other cats who have always been content to stay within the confines of the backyard. The exception was Taz....who is the one for whom I broke my back trying to rescue when she left the yard. Ironic that Taz and Zip both have crazy-ass names? No...not so much.

Anyway...he has been out and about for months without incident. Well. Until today.

It might be helpful for you to know that I leave the sliding glass door off the kitchen open a bit during the day so dogs and cats can wander in and out at will. Keep that in mind.

So.....I was busy working a while ago when I needed to get something from the back of the house. I went back there and, in the dim light of the hallway, I saw something all over the floor. And there was Zip - stretched out in the middle of the area between the three bedrooms. "What the....?!?!" I thought to myself. "Did Zip find the dryer lint?" I stood there feeling confused. Then I took a step forward and my eyes fell upon..........OH MY GOD! A dead bird! Right next to Zip on the floor. IN my house. A freaking DEAD bird! WHAT THE HELL?????

My mind raced. And froze. All at once.

How? Why? WHAT?!?!?!


I turned quickly and left Zip and his.......what? His prize? His victim?...on the floor. I had to think. I had to try to figure out what to do. Dead things and me? Not a good mix. Not at all.

I pulled my phone from my back pocket and hit the number that instantly connects me to Stephanie. She answered and I choke out "Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!" She listened to me as the story spilled out and then said with a small laugh in her voice "At least it wasn't a bunny." (She is used to dealing with dead things, living in the country and all.) Well - yeah. Good point. That would have KILLED me! (Bunnies are all over the place out at Stephanie's. Thankfully, they are not plentiful around here. I LOVE bunnies.) She gave her sage advice: pretend it's poop and pick it up with a paper towel and toss it in the garbage. Ugh. Yeah...I have to deal with it. And the massive amount of feathers on the floor.

I gathered all my courage, three paper towels and a plastic bag (because there is NO WAY I am risking touching that thing), took a deep breath and headed to the back of the house.

There was Zip. Tossing that poor dead thing around and pouncing on it. He was in dead-bird heaven....and I fought back the urge to toss my cookies. I scared off Zip, held my breath and snatched up the dead bird and raced it outside and tossed it into the trash. EEEEWWWWWW!!!!

I got out the vacuum and cleaned up the feathers.


This is the first time in the 28 years of living with cats that I have had to deal with a murder at the paws of a cat but I have a feeling this is not the last dead thing that Zip will drop on me in his lifetime.

Oh joy.


Anyone was to give a good home to a sweet, rambunctious, bird killing cat?

Just kidding. Sorta.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Random Ramblings

I have seriously had a headache for the past 4 days. Not just an irritating headache that can be easily ignored. A pounding, sometimes searing, eyes hurting, blurry vision, neck stiff and sore headache.

No - I don't have meningitis.

What I do have is syringomyelia. And headaches are par for the course. Driving for hours will set it into motions. Weather changes will set it into motion. Lifting more weight than I should will set it into motion. Hell- breathing, at times, can set it into motion.

It's swell.

What is it? In a nutshell, for those not familiar with my tale of woe, I have a syrinx that runs a good long distance of my spinal cord. They say it is trauma related but I am at odds about which trauma caused it. They say breaking my back 11 years prior to the syrinx discovery did it. I say the botched spinal for Kaylen's birth (months prior to symptoms and two years prior to definitive diagnosis) did it. Either way - it doesn't matter. It's there and it's no fun.

A syrinx is created by something puncturing the spinal column. The puncture allows spinal fluid to enter the spinal column and created a cyst type fluid filled cavity that changes (for the worse)based on many factors. The spinal column houses the nerves to your entire body. The fluid puts pressure on the nerves and cause a host of symptoms...and a whole lot of pain. Some days worse than others. The worst case scenario of syringomyelia? You know, besides death, is paralysis. There is no cure. It is so not awesome. (this is a photo I found on the web. That black oval shape in the spinal cord is a syrinx.)

Anyway - lesson over. Hit goggle if you want more info. :)

So the headache is making life challenging this week. I don't let it stop me. I can't. I refuse to. I know that some days I should, because resting will help settle down flare-ups but I just don't have the time or the patience to sit still for long. Sleeping with constant pain is hard to do. Being tired makes it hard to cope. A vicious cycle, but there it is.

This leads me to this point: I didn't sleep last night. Maybe an hour or two but nothing solid. So while I was laying there awake many thoughts traipsed across my mind. The normal stresses, of course, but also trivial things the house I finally end up living in (for what I would like to think is the rest of my very long life) I would really like to have something like quick step laminate flooring. I'm done with wall to wall carpeting. Sure, it's warm and cozy and reduces echo but I am so sick of carpet that holds onto stains - and smells. I want an easy clean wood laminate floor with area rugs. Want to change the look of a room? Switch out the area rug. Rug has a huge ugly stain? Change it out.

I have wanted wood laminate flooring for years and years. Imagine how much easier dog accidents would have been to clean up. Spilled milk from the kids. Muddy paw prints from the animals. All so much easier to clean. And maybe it's me but I think wood laminate floors make a house feel bigger.

Whenever I hear the commercials for "buy two rooms of flooring and we will do the entire house for the same cost", I always stop in my tracks and start dreaming. How much would that cost? It sounds so enticing. Not that I have the money but honestly? I'm willing to bet it would make this house easier to sell when/if that time comes.

My brother's house has wood laminate floors and I love it! Sure, you need to be sure everyone has slippers to keep their feet warm but still....the overall look and feel of a house with wood laminate flooring is really great.

So now you know....when I have a splitting headache and can't sleep, I think about really odd things. :)

And for the record, I'm really ready for this headache to go away.

"The moment you can visualize being free from the things that hold you back, you have indeed begun to set yourself free." -Unknown

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


Yep. Still here. Thanks for checking. :)

I've been busier than a bee but then- what else is new and aren't we all? I've decided that the faster time goes, the more stuff I have to figure out how to squeeze into my days. It's exhausting.

In addition to all my job searching and home-based work that needs to be done (Home-based work. I'm thinking of adding that to my resume. Maybe it will get me IN the door before I have to explain that it means laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, overseeing homework, constant pet care, constant child care......truly, being at home *is* its own little home-based business. Just one that I don't need a small business equipment lease to run.), I am also up to my eyeballs in PTO work. Thankfully, once this week is over, it should slow down for me a bit. You know..until the next week when there is another meeting. But it's all good. It gives me the feeling of being needed and successful outside of my parenting role. Both feelings that I neeeeeeed.

If only it paid.

But that's that.
Real life.
The hard stuff.

In the mix there, I also got to have some fun. We need fun to be able to survive, don't you think? Anyway.....Stephanie, all three kids, and I took a weekend trip to meet my 9 week old niece (who actually just turned 10 weeks yesterday). I haven't been up to see my family since the quick baby shower trip in June and it was good to "go home" again. I love driving through Seattle - well, you know, not the actual driving through, but I do love the feeling of being "home". But the best feelings? Holding that tiny miracle and seeing the kids holding a real miracle right in their arms. And introducing the woman I love to my family. Not necessarily in that order. :)

The kids had been brimming over with excitement for the week leading up to the trip and it was so cute to watch them fall all over themselves to scramble out of the car and race to the front door. They couldn't wait to get their hands on baby Madeleine. Neither could I.


The trip up was really good but, as always, way too short. Way. Too. Short.

And now it's back to reality. Back to the hard stuff. Back to trying to create calm in the chaos that is my life.