Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sad Neighborhood News

Last night, the kids and I learned the sad news that Kelton's best friend, J,  (from across the street, commonly referred to on my blog as the neighbor boy) lost his mom.  A child losing their mother is a difficult concept for me, as an adult.  It's been downright impossible for the kids to wrap their heads around.

It was bedtime when we heard the news.  Needless to say, my two little ones wanted no part of being out of my sight while they absorbed the news that their friend no longer had his mom to kiss him goodnight, hear about his day, or wrap her arms around him to keep him safe.

It was a tough little while.

But no where near as tough as I imagine J, across the street, was having.

We read stories and I snuggled them off into their beds with a lot of "I love you's" and "It's going to be ok" statements.

I put myself to bed and laid there, thinking.  Worrying about J.  Wondering how losing his mother at the tender age of 10 will affect the rest of his life.  My heart ached for him.  I didn't sleep for hours.

As a mother, my heart ached for his mother.  Knowing that she was leaving her baby boy.  In a way, I hope she didn't know.  But does that make it better?  Easier?

God help me but I never want to know.  I never want to be in the position of my children being without me when they are still children and needing their mother.  Yes, they have two mother's but we are not interchangeable.  The bond I have with them is completely and absolutely different than the one they have with their other mother.  Both are strong.  Vital.  Necessary for their development.  But they are completely different. 

J has spent a good deal of time with us recently, and he is here again today.  I'm glad he is here.  I think it's good for him.  It lets him get out of the grown up talk and hang out with Kelton.  I talked with him, light and easy, just a bit ago.  He opened up and I sensed he wanted to say more but Kelton came into the room and J stopped talking.  I told him I am here any time. 

J's dad isn't in the best of health. Has never been in the 10 years we have lived across the street from them.  This morning, Kelton asked if we could adopt J if something happened to his dad.  I told him that J has family, aunts and uncles, who would probably take care of him but yes, if there was no one to take care of him, he could live with us.  When I was telling Stephanie about the conversation, before I even got to the point of telling her I had said yes, she jumped in with "Tell Kelton yes.  We absolutely would take J into our family."  (Is it any wonder why I love her so?)

I doubt it would ever come to that but I think it gives Kelton some sense of it being a safer world for J without his mom knowing that someone will be there to take care of his friend.

A child losing his mother.  It just breaks this mother's heart into pieces.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The One Where She Says GoodBye

Today was the official beginning of the end.  About 20 minutes ago I handed off 98% my PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) duties to the Vice President.  Within the next couple hours, I will be removed from the bank accounts and then all that is left is answering emails and questions as the board begins preparing for the new school year.

If I wasn't so excited about the direction my life is heading, this could very well be one of those times that requires airbrush makeup to make me look as if I haven't been crying my eyes out.  Seriously, Crestline and the PTO have been part of my every day for the past five years.  I started out volunteering in Kelton's kindergarten room and the next year jumped, with both feet, into the PTO.

It's been a great experience.  I have learned so much, made amazing friends along the way and was able to use so many of my skill-set which kept me from losing my mommy-muddled brain.  It kept my people-skills limber and kept me prepared to jump back into the "real world" after being out of it for so long.  I am more relaxed in the work I do now because the PTO and the school gave me the ability to do projects without feeling like it HAD to be perfect (something I struggled with in jobs before the kids.  I kept myself to a ridiculously high standard but over the past 10 years, with kids and whatnot, I have learned to relax the standards and you know what?  I enjoy life a whole lot more.  Of course, I guess that could have something to do with the fact that I'm 47 and hitting the "I don't really care what you think about me - I think I'm pretty fantastic." phase in my life.).

I'm sure the finality of it all will hit me down the road but right now, I am excited about the changes and looking forward to my new life.  There is so much to think about, dream about and do that I am still plenty busy.  :)

Good-Bye, PTO.  I have loved every minute of know, except for those minutes when I didn't.  :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cleaning Cleaning and More Cleaning

While the children played this afternoon and evening, I spent hours catching up on personal paperwork and then diving into clearing out and organizing cabinets.  The thing about working inside cabinets is that no one really sees or appreciates all the hard work that goes into it.

And believe me - it was a lot of work!

I started by cleaning up the computer desk area (because it is where I sat to work on my paperwork and I couldn't help but notice that it needed attention).  That took me to cleaning out my PTO binders, which lead to me to the bi-fold closet in the kitchen.  That took me to the cabinet where I keep vases and alcohol.  Goodness knows that needs to be cleared out.  I bagged up a bunch more stuff to send with Dakota.  They will drink it.  I never will.  From there I moved to the cookbook cabinet.  Who am I kidding?  I don't need all those books because I don't cook.  :)

From there I meant to go get the kids' sheets from the dryer and remake their beds but as I passed their art cabinet, I couldn't help but open the door and clean it out.  Which lead to another cabinet.

By now it was closing in on 7:30pm and I needed to get the kids beds remade.

But by now, I was exhausted.  I was wishing for a warm night on the porch watching some cool  water features as I rested and relaxed.  Too bad for me because there was still work do to.

I remade the beds and straightened up their rooms.  By now it was 8pm and time to end the Uno Attack game, say goodnight to the neighbor boy and get my two into their jammies and under their covers.  Oh but wait - they both needed to get in their 20 minutes of reading.  *sigh*

I just returned from tucking them in.  All is quiet and it's a good thing because this mommy is ready to call it a day.

And what a day it has been.  A very good, very productive day.

Life is amazing!

The Tree House

It was early release for the kids today so it was a long afternoon filled with tons of playing and having fun.  Kaylen went to a friends house for a couple hours and while she was gone, the neighbor boy came over to play with Kelton.  By 3pm, I had all three running around.

We have a tree house in the back yard.  It's not so much a traditional tree house but more a play structure with a playhouse on top - complete with working electricity.  The people who originally owned the house built it for their boys.  It was a swing, monkey bars and a two person swing on the lower level and then you climb a ladder, open the door, and enter a playhouse with windows and a look out.  It's actually pretty cool - if one liked heights, which this "one" does not.  I've never actually been *inside* but I have seen what it looks like from the ladder. 

Anyway.....the kids have moved some toys and the old swing cushion into the tree house and they love to just hang around in there.  Honestly, I think they are more of the "someone stands below and throws things up to the people inside the tree house while those people are pelting the person on the ground with things".  They have fun, yes, but it is far from quiet fun.  Mommy has to yell "Knock it off!" many times for various offenses within the course of an hour.

Tonight, the kids had come inside and were playing Uno Attack while I cleaned up the kitchen.  I noticed the glasses they had taken outside where not back inside so I sent them out to find the glasses.  They did so and then returned to their game.  I noticed the tree house door was open.  *sigh*

I went out there, climbed the ladder, grabbed the door knob, and prepared to close the door.  That's when I saw it.  A bag of potato chips.....and the mess of about 50zillion smashed pieces.  UGH!  I grabbed the bag and closed the door.  I returned to the living room and calmly said "Tomorrow, after school, you two will take the small vacuum cleaner and go up into the tree house and clean up every piece of chip on the floor.

WHY?  They whined.  Because, I calmly stated, food will bring mice, ants, squirrels, raccoons and possums to the tree house - none of whom I want to have to deal with.  (One a side note: this is exactly why I do not have compost bins in the yard.  I know there are ways to keep the vermin out but I don't know enough about it at this point to try.  Once we are out in the country, I might venture into the land of composting.)

Can I just say that I'm not looking forward to tomorrow afternoon either.  Standing watch while they do what needs to be done just doesn't sound like big fun for me.

And who thought taking food up there was a good idea, anyway?  *sigh*

Random Thought for a Wednesday

I am starting to see small signs that the financial tide is slowly, ever so slowly, starting to change in the area.  Today I noticed that a business has opened up in a building that has vacant for the past three years.  I take that as a good sign.  Possibly one of the first real signs in a long time.

I also have noticed that houses for rent are renting in the area.  The ones that are for sale, are still for sale.  Not much is moving in that area just yet.  I'm not seeing as many "bank owned" signage or foreclosures which I think is a really good sign.  The houses that are for sale are either "by owner" or by a real estate company.

I saw, and felt, the tides shift back in 2005.  I feel like I've been holding my breath ever since.  Could it be that we are call start to breathe a bit easier?  I hope so.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Coffee Maker, Coffee Maker...Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

Something very, very sad happened this morning.  I can barely stand to being myself to talk about but I suppose I must so the healing can begin. 

Let me set the scene for you:

My alarm went off at 6:45am, which I should have taken as a sign of things to come.  I hardly ever sleep all the way to my alarm.  Sleeping is for wimps....or at least for those without sleep issues of all shapes and sizes.  :)  Anyway....after my alarm went off, I stumbled out of bed, wiped the sleep from my eyes and attempted to get my bearings.  I left my room and headed down the hall.  I could hear Kelton already up and playing a computer game.  With bleary eyes, I made my way to the living room; turned off the porch light  and pulled open the blinds on the windows.  I passed the couch and straightened up the cat bed and then rounded the corner into the kitchen.

Coffee.  Coffee.  Coffee.  Beautiful coffee was waiting for me.


No it wasn't.  What the...?????  I stared at the empty coffee carafe in disbelief.  My eyes shot up to the program features.  Green "timer" light was on.  The red "on" light was on.  WHY WASN'T THE COFFEE READY AND WAITING?  What just happened here? 

I checked the contents.  Water?  Check.  Coffee grounds?  Check.


Is this really happening?  It can't be.  This must be a nightmare.  I couldn't quite fit the pieces of the puzzle together for I wasn't yet know....I HADN'T HAD ANY COFFEE YET!!!

I double checked that the coffee maker had power.  Yes..the clock was on the the lights were lit.

CRAP.  Now what?

No extra pot because I gave it to Dakota when she moved out.

I went back to my room and climbed back into bed.  What to do, what to do? 

I Facebooked, of course.  A friend of mine posted back asking if I had a French Press.  Did I?  I couldn't remember.  Then it hit me!  I DID!  It is a teeny tiny one that came as a gift with something ages ago but it would work in an emergency and this was definitely an emergency.

I boiled water, put coffee grounds in the press and waited for the coffee to turn the right color.

I poured it into my waiting cup.  And then made another press-full because that one?  It didn't even come close to filling half my cup.  I added the second press-ful to my cup and added my creamer.  I took a drink.

BLECH!  I apparently don't like French Press coffee.  I did what any solider would do, though.  I sucked that puppy down and waited to start feeling human.

Yeah.  Not so much.

I got the kids ready for school and sent them on their way and then headed over to Stephanie's because I *KNEW* she would have coffee and I also knew she would have an extra coffee maker in her cabinet that I could borrow until I got a new one (in moments like this, I'm very glad she holds on to stuff.).  I walked in, barely said hello, and went straight to the coffee pot.  BLISS!  I made a giant cup and sat on the couch and drank it.  Every drop.  Then I turned to face Stephanie (who was already hard at work on business stuff) and sweetly said "Good morning!"

She laughed.  At me.  :)

Two additional cups later - I was feeling better. 

This afternoon I scoured Amazon, Target, WalMart and Overstock to see what I could find in the way of good coffee makers and I think I found one that will work out.  It's another Cuisinart but sadly, only a 12 cupper instead of my beloved 14 cupper.  I think it will do, though.  And it was price comparable to other machines on the market.  Shoot me but I have a problem with Mr. Coffee machines.  I don't know if it's the name or what but it's something and I just can't go there.  I looked at a Kitchen Aid maker at Target....for the price I would expect better.  MUCH better.  Passed on that one.  The Cuisinart I found wasn't any more expensive that a Mr. Coffee.  How long will it last?  I don't know but considering I have had this one for .....four years?  And I have worked it hard...I think I will get my money out of it.  And then some.  :) will take two days to get here.  Until then, I have the old dusty one from Stephanie's pantry.  Yes - it may take 20 minutes to brew a pot of coffee but there WILL be coffee in the morning.  And that is very, very important.

Monday, May 21, 2012


After fifteen amazingly beautiful days, the rain returned on Sunday.  I have to admit, as much as I love the sunny, warm days, I do enjoy the rain.  Which is good - you know, since I live in the Pacific Northwest and all.  :)

We had a slow start to our morning but thanks to little Miss Motivation (who was fever free and feeling much better than the day before) Stephanie, Kaylen and I were hard at work by 9:30am.  Where was Kelton, you ask?  Curled up on the couch playing a computer game.....of course.  :)

Anyway - the three of us got to work sorting through boxes separating their contents into garbage, garage sale and keep piles.  Oh yes - the massive clearing out of stuff has begun and I am here to tell you that we have a crud load of stuff to sort through between the two houses.  And honestly, sorting through things and paring down is probably the most time consuming of all the projects to be done.

We found tons of well as a small army of carpenter ants who are busy making a mess in the garage rafters. in the country.  All those trees around means you are bound to run into vermin and wood eating insects.  We tracked down their route from outside to inside and sprayed the area but are definitely going to have a company come out and do a complete house-wide job.  Did I mention I live in the Pacific Northwest?  Carpenter ants are just part of the deal.  And did I mention it was the country?  Mice, bunnies, and baby birds learning to fly (but getting snatched up by two dogs only to be rescued by Stephanie and reunited with its mommy and daddy.  The bird, I am happy to report, seemed ok and we watched him fly onto the relative safety of a low branch after being lovingly checked over by its parents.  None the less - it was a bit TOO much country for this not-yet 100% country girl to see.  *shudder*  I know dogs will be dogs but wow.  That was intense!) are also a big part of life.

Anyway.....back to the garage, we found all sorts of things. Nothing as exciting as silver bullion bars (which sure would come in handy!) but I did round up more than $10 in loose change.  Every bit helps and it sure is better than a poke in the eye....or a head slamming into the attic rafter as I pulled stuff down to sort through.  :)

We worked the entire day away and finally stopped around 6pm so we could make the kids dinner (and take a much needed shower!).  When I complained of being tired, Kaylen was quick to point out that SHE did most of the work.  She did do a TON of work but mostly, it was her motivation to keep going that kept us hard at work all day long.  She is a trooper, that's for sure. 

Kelton?  He came out to check things out a couple times, helped a bit but mostly cheered us on from his comfy place on the couch.  The place I surely would have liked to have spent a rainy Sunday as well.  I'm glad someone got to rest....and I'm really glad we got so much accomplished.


Saturday was a nice day, here in the Pacific Northwest and as people are meant to do on nice days (which are few and far between for most of the year), we spent some time outside.

Stephanie had to go in to work for a few hours and Andrew had a school thing to do so the kids and I were on our own for a while Saturday.  I had noticed on Friday that there was a weekend neighborhood garage sale up the road a bit (in the ritzy neighborhood) so I loaded the kids into the car and we went to see what sort of treasures we might find.  As it turns out, not many.  Kelton picked up a couple small items (grand total for him ran about $3.00 for the day) and Kaylen picked out a few articles of clothing (her grand total was $5.00).  As usual when I am shopping, I found nothing I needed or wanted.  I always try to put a positive spin on that by telling myself (and the kids) that my life is pretty darn good for I want or need for nothing. 

After we checked out the sales, we headed into town to get gas for my car (oops - I had really needed to do that on Friday.  Silly me!) and then back out to Stephanie's.  I did some chores while the kids played and within a couple of hours, Stephanie arrived home.

We had planned to just go sit on the front porch for a while and enjoy the afternoon but it didn't take long before Stephanie had pulled on a pair of gloves (where they tillman gloves ?  I may never know but I do know they were mighty fancy and nice.) and was working on weeding the front garden.  Kaylen wasn't feeling well (running a fever and just cranky as all get out!) so Kaylen cuddled in my lap while Stephanie and I chatted as she worked in the garden.

The afternoon flew by and before I knew it, it was time to make dinner for the kids.  From there, it was a hop, skip and a jump to bedtime - for all of us.  I have to say, I have never ever experienced time moving so quickly as I do when we are out in the country.  It seriously FLIES!  We get up by 8AM every morning and two blinks later, it's 9:30PM and we are heading to bed, completely exhausted from our day.

But what days they are.  Good days.  Amazing days.

Totally loving life.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Slow Down - Hurry Up

My life is a crazy contradiction right now.  One side of my life is urging....screaming....DEADLINES!  GET MOVING!  GET IT DONE!  WHY ISN'T IT DONE YET?  LOOK AT ALL THIS THAT MUST BE ACCOMPLISHED NOW!  The other side is kicked back, relaxed and saying "No worries.  It will get done.  Everything in its own time.  No rush - we have time."

I'm feeling off kilter and honestly, exhausted from trying to balance it all - the needs, the wants.  What I really want to do is install one of those fancy indoor outdoor ceiling fans on the porch and just sit back in a comfy chair with a cold glass of lemonade and just "be".  Maybe the voices in my head (and the voices coming from all directions outside my head) would slow down, maybe stop, for just a while.

But there is too much to do.  Too much that must be attended to.

And so I put the dream of a cold lemonade on hold and get ready to go to an all school field trip tomorrow.   Because, you know, what's not relaxing about 530 children at Dozer Days?

Soccer Mom

I didn't want it to happen.  Believe me. it turns out, I'm going to be the quintessential "soccer mom" minus the stupid mini-van.  (Yes, I know some of you love your mini-vans but I am not a van loving person.  Sorry.)  Kaylen has recently decided that she MUST, simply MUST, play soccer.

Oh joy.  All the things I love *she says, with sarcasm dripping heavily*.  Outside.  Mud.  Dirt.  Standing in the rain. Standing in the cold.  Sports.  Why yes...bring it on.    But while all of those things I *don't* love, there is a little girl who I definitely DO love and for whom I would travel to the ends of the earth...or at least a soccer field.

So soccer it will be.  And after all the day camp registration and fall league registration and figuring out how to get all the gear she needs (I don't know.....does she need uniform name tags?) .....she better LOVE it.  :)  Something tells me she will.

She is my little athlete.  My go-getter.  My "I have to be outside as much as I can, as often as I can" girl.  I've always known this about her.....I called her my TomBoy Princess because there she would be: decked out on her prettiest party dress splashing in a mud puddle.  From the time she could crawl, she would get herself to the sliding glass door that leads to the backyard and pound on it - begging to go outside.  Or she would bring me her shoes and say "SIDE SIDE SIDE!" which I knew meant OUTSIDE OUTSIDE OUTSIDE!

She is still like that.  Outside is where she lives.  Where she wants to be.  She doesn't care if she is out there alone - as long as she is outside.

So soccer.   Wow.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Life...or something like it

I decided that I should write something - anything - tonight.  It's been days since I put pen to paper, or in this case, fingers to keyboard, to do anything other than make To Do lists or a grocery list.  That doesn't make for a very happy Casey. 

So what am I doing right now?  Funny you should ask.  I'm eating the crust of my daughter's frozen cheese pizza that she had for dinner.  Oh heck - let's just say "I'm eating dinner." because, let's face it, that's all I'm having tonight.  Honestly I usually just eat their leftovers (or, more often, eat nothing) and call it dinner.  I don't so much see the point of cooking a meal that I would eat when I know the kids won't.  Judge me all you want - the kids eat kid food (pizza, chicken nuggets, mac-n-cheese, pasta, etc.) and I'm ok with that.  I don't enjoy cooking anyway so more power to the microwavable food that they will eat.

I will cook food for myself but rarely ever *just* for myself.  When Stephanie and I are together at breakfast or dinner times, I will cook for us (or rather, most often, we cook together) but just for myself?  That just isn't happening.  And I am more than ok with that.

Sure, sure...I know most people would rather slam their heads into a wall than go without meals but I am happy to say I have no need for a Nolan N43E helmet because there is no head slamming into walls here. 

Anyhoo.......I bet you are all eager to know what I did today, aren't you?  Well - for starters, I got the children up and ready for school.  Yay me.  Then I had to deal with a melting down child who is suddenly complaining that *ALL* her shoes are too small except for a certain pair, which could not be located...FOR THE SECOND MORNING IN A ROW.  I found them the morning prior tucked into a backpack she had taken to a friend's the afternoon before (crisis averted) but this morning was a bird of a different color.  I could not find those suckers *anywhere*!  I even climbed into the tree house (which I detest.  I don't enjoy heights.  At all.) to see if she left them there when playing yesterday.  We retraced every step she took, and some she didn't take.  She was melting down.  I started to melt down.  The clock had long since struck time to leave.  I finally found them wedged into the far corner of her closet - which of course was a mess - which of course led to me accidentally knocking it off the track.  ARGH!

Mommy meltdown for one.

After saying my piece about how they both have too much stuff and swearing to God above that I will go into their rooms with a big trash bag and throw out everything that doesn't have a place to be......we were finally on our way to school.  I saw them off to their classrooms and took care of the PTO stuff I needed to get done and then I went to Wally World to do some long overdue grocery shopping.  Waaaaaay too much money later, I packed up the car with all I had bought and headed over to Lowe's to return something and pick up something else.  From there I went home and put away groceries (which never seem to be enough considering how much they cost), started the dishwasher, took care of the laundry and called my (former) mother-in-law (she says I am still her daughter-in-law, and always will be, because she didn't divorce me.  Oh how I love that woman!).  We have been trying to get together for the past couple weeks but schedules never seem to work out.  This was true again today.  I had a couple hours before early release whereby I could squeeze in a visit but alas, she did not.  We caught up a bit on the phone and said we will try to work soemthing out again next week (the rest of my week is booked).

I did some cleaning and fixed Kaylen's closet door and then.... I plopped myself down to watch an episode of Judging Amy.  OH YES I DID!  I love Judging Amy and it is on GMC every day at 11 and 12.  I record it daily but I never actually go back to watch it so if I am home, I will make sure to catch at least one of the episodes.  After all these years, it's still one of the best shows around.

Before I knew it, the kiddos were home so I was wrapped up in them until everything settled back down.  Kaylen had a friend come over (she has turned into a social butterfly these past few weeks and is never without a play date after school) so while Kelton played in his room and Kaylen played outside, I got to work in my room cleaning things out.  It's always a good thing to get rid of clothes and items you no longer need and today was no exception.  Four bags of clothing and purses I no longer need are bagged up and waiting a garage sale and I went through a bunch of old keepsake boxes and trashed 95% of the contents.  Moving forward, and all that.

Then, I cleaned a cabinet in the kitchen because the state of the contents had been driving me crazy.  Leftover containers seem to take on a life of their own.  I matched up lids with containers and tossed out everything that didn't have a match.

By then I was running out of steam so I had a cup of coffee (left over from this morning) and played a few games of Scramble...which I have become addicted to.  I never seem to win but it's fun just the same.  I find I move through the games as I tire of them.  Words with Friends turned to DrawSomething and now I'm hooked on Scramble.  Gotta wonder what's next.  Or maybe I shouldn't wonder.  :)

And now I am wondering what to do with the next few hours.  I have a book I am wanting to read ('s not 50 Shades of Gray.  It's a parenting book based on the Love and Logic theory) but wanting to read and sitting down to read are two entirely different animals.  My eye sight (because of the syringomyelia) makes reading challenging during the best of times so at night it is especially difficult.  My sight is fine for *seeing*, it's just reading print that is hard.

Kaylen is in the yard wandering around and playing on the swing set  - coming in every few minutes to share something about her day, or her life, with me.  Kelton is watching TV (for the first time all day).  It's a quiet evening - my favorite kind.  No kid arguing.  Just quiet.  Gotta love that.

Maybe I'll go sit on the patio and think about life.  There is so much to think about these days.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Lost in Time

Because I am apparently in a "lost in time" mood, I have been watching the video montages I put together years ago.  They make me both sad and happy.  Lifetimes ago indeed.

Do me a favor, give me a few mintues of your time and watch the first years of my babies lives.  I can't believe how much they have grown.  Or how much things have changed since those days.

My babies.  The best of the best of what my life was, is, and will be.  I am a lucky mommy - I made some pretty damn amazing children.  :)

Kelton's First Year
Kaylen's First Year
And keep reading - there are two more posts from earlier today.  :)

I Think I Figured It Out

I was sitting here, reading through years gone by on my blog when I clicked on April 2007.  Why yes...yes...there IS a reason I am feeling uncomfortable in my own skin.  Friday is the 5th anniversary of my mom's death.  This isn't news to me.  I know the date by heart.  Stephanie and I have talked about it being this Friday.  I guess I just hadn't consider it to be a contributing factor in how I am feeling today.

Five years.  Almost impossible to believe but then again, not impossible.  It's been a lifetime....and it was just yesterday.

I scrolled through the posts and was immediately transported back in time.  Kelton turned 5 years old the day the kids and I moved into a hotel north of Seattle for our 5 week stay.  Kaylen was just over 2 years.  Somehow, even today, those are the ages the kids are stuck at in my minds-eye.  I see them in the photos and I think "OH!  THERE you are!  Where have you been?"

I came across this video montage I made the week before the kids and I made the move up there for the long stay.  We had gone up to visit for Easter Weekend, we all (my brother, sister and I) knew the time was dwindling - we just didn't know how quickly.  It makes me sad to see my mom in these photos.  A shell of who she was but all too soon gone forever.  The one of Kelton, standing beside my mom (his cousin standing on the other side of her) brings instant tears.

My kids don't remember her at all.  Kelton has memories of the hotel, the wheelchair, being with my family...sketchy memories, at best, but he doesn't remember my mom at all.  It's sad to me.  I wonder often what life would have been like had she never been sick (she had a progressive neurological disease (PLS) )....if she had gotten to know my kids.  If they had gotten to know her.

I guess it makes complete sense that I'm feeling lost today. 

Five years.

That's the thing about life - it just keeps moving forward.

Blah ....but still a decent day

I'm feeling kinda down and out today.  Not too bad but just enough to feel uncomfortable in my own skin.  I do not like feeling this way.  And especially when I can't pinpoint the reason. I have thoughts about it bouncing around my head but nothing specific I can reach out and grab.

It might be because I am working on 4 hours of sleep and I've reached the point of being too tired to cope.  Why didn't I get more sleep?   I stayed up too late watching TV and texting with Stephanie but by 11:45pm, it was lights out and I quickly fell asleep.  4AM arrived and I had a coughing fit (yep - another cold.  Lovely.  Feels like we have had a cold circulating for the entire winter.) and once I had that under control, I was wide awake. know, until 6:30 when I suddenly was *very* sleepy.  Of course.

Too bad for me - it was time to get the day moving.  I had a cup of coffee in a silent house (which has become a nice part of my routine) and then went to wake the kids.  The kids, I will add, were also up too late though they were both sleeping by 9:30pm.  I got Miss Kaylen up easily enough but Kelton was having no part of it.  I left him sleeping and Kaylen and I hit the shower.  After I was dressed and ready, I woke up Master Kelton.  Not an easy task but he was finally up and stumbling around.

We all ate (and I sucked down another cup of coffee) and were quickly on our way to the school.  I had some PTO business to attend to and it was a teacher appreciation event morning so I stayed and chatted for a bit.

I headed home to wait for Stephanie.  She had a medical appointment that I attended with her and then we grabbed a late breakfast/early lunch.  Since it was early release Wednesday, and the day was waning, we decided to run some errands and then head quickly back to the house to be there for the arrival of the school bus.  The kids and Stephanie spent a few minutes together and then Kaylen was off to a play date with a new friend who lives around the corner and Stephanie headed back to her house.  Kelton settled in with a computer game and I did household chores and then went out and mowed the lawn.

Kelton and I hung out for the afternoon which was really nice.  It's always good to have one on one time with the kids.  It's something I don't often get so I cherish it when I have it.  When it is just one of the them and me, they confide so much in me and ask my opinion and advice. I love it.  It makes losing them as "my babies" easier to take because we have a new relationship that is developing.

A few hours down the road, Kaylen came home and brought her friend with her.  After talking with the grandmother, we arranged for the friend to stay and play here for another half hour.  I love that Kaylen seems to make friends so easily.  I wish Kelton did.  I worry about him - he tends to be a loner while Kaylen thrives in groups of little girls.  Night and day, they are, day and night.

Finally it was just the three of us again and I prepared dinner.  It has since been cleaned up and the kids are irritating each other watching tv in the living room.

It's an early bedtime tonight.  Beside the fact that we all need to catch up on some sleep, Kelton has his final MSP (state mandated test) tomorrow and I want him at his best.

I hope tomorrow finds me feeling more comfortable in my skin.....and I'm hoping like hell this cough will be improved.  I'm so very tired of it and it wrecks havoc on my syringomyelia (and then symptoms thereof). 

Sleep.  I need sleep.  Please let me sleep tonight.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Seriously? Monday? Again?

Do I only post on Monday?  It can't be true but it sure feels like it because I seem to want to post the title as "Monday, Monday" but I know I have used it before.  Recently.  Oh well...not that it's important to know exactly when I post...only that I do, indeed, post.  I'm not sure why it is important, but it feels like it is. 

Long gone are the days when I spun tales of what the children were doing, day by day.  With both in school, my time with them is limited and even when we are together, they are more likely to have their head in a video game, a book or a dress-up make believe game that I am not privy to.  Instead of days when I changed diapers, arranged play dates, attended playgroups, and entertained for hours on end my days are filled with conversations of who is said what at school, who likes whom and who is "so over" whom.  Who got the lead in the grade music show and who wishes they did.  What butterflies hatched this week or which days the MSP test is scheduled.  I pack lunches, make meals, clean up, make sure everyone has clean clothing, clean bedding, that their rooms aren't condemned by the board of health  (Kelton - are you listening?  No matter how many times I clean your room, or stand over you while you clean it, you have to make an effort to KEEP it clean on a daily basis.  Really, my child, it isn't that hard to put your stuff away or make your bed!  Calling yourself a "mini hoarder" isn't really that endearing to me...the person who detests clutter but has had to learn to lower my standards on the issue once I had children.).

I get my work done, the chores, the errands...keep it all running as smoothly as possible.  All of that is hardly post-worthy but it's something.

I miss the days of sharing stories about Kelton and his obsession with water (which, by the way, hasn't changed ONE. BIT. in the past 10 years.  Just this afternoon, Kelton, Kaylen and the neighbor child asked of they could wash my car.  Sure, why not.  No harm, no foul.  Except........*sigh*  When will I learn to limit his access to water?  Probably never.  I keep hoping he will outgrow his need to spray everything and everyone in sight.  I seriously doubt it will happen.), or how Kaylen would have tea parties with all her dolls every. single. afternoon.  Or  how they would sit and intently watch every second of Blue's Clues or Dora.

How did they grow into these children with lives of their own?  Their world no longer revolves around me and I know this is just a taste of what is to come in the years ahead.  My days no longer revolve around their minute by minute needs (though is still absolutely revolves around them).  No naps to figure into the schedule.  No craft project to do in the mornings.  No play dough squished into the carpet.

Sometimes I read back through my archives and it makes me sad to know those days are over.  But I am so glad I have a record of them.  The silly things they said and did.  The heartbreaking moments.  The days that had me wanting to yank out every hair on my head (Oh I still have a few of those every now and again but they are different.  Looking back - those times were easy compared to the hair pulling days of now.)  I miss those days and while I love the people they are now, I absolutely miss the babies they were then.  Life felt hard - I think it always does in the moment - but looking back, those were some precious and amazing days (and let's not forget terrifying with all of Kaylen's health issues and whatnot).  And I know that given the passage of time, I will feel the same way about these days.

Life just keeps moving forward.  Breath by breath, moment by moment.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

An Unexpected Surprise

It's been a long week and it's only Wednesday.  I've been putting in a lot of hours and trying to keep up on the kids and the house.   I gave up on groceries earlier this week but decided that tonight I really needed to replace the milk that expired on April 27th and pick up a few other things to keep us going until I can do a real shopping trip.

The kids and I piled in the car and headed off to the grocery store.  We got what we needed and as we started to head home, I decided that I really wanted to spend some much needed time with my kiddos instead of rushing home to put away groceries, make dinner, clean up dinner, etc., so I suggested we go to Red Robin for dinner.  I knew it would be a hit to my budget but it's been months and months since the kids and I have had someone else make our dinner and clean up after us.  Who knew that going out to eat would become such a huge extravagance in my life.

We pulled in, parked, and within minutes were being escorted to our table.  On the way, we passed a familiar looking face - a teacher from the school, who was having dinner with her daughter.  We waved at each other and the kids and I took our seat at our table.  I turned my attention to the kids and they took turns sharing about their day at school and various other tidbits of information.  We placed our orders and then went back to talking.

We had a very nice dinner and were completely enjoying our time together when it came time to pay the check.  The waitress came over and handed me what I thought was my bill.  At the top it said "Thanks, Casey!  (heart) K. Morgan"  I sat there completely confused - wondering how the waitress knew my name (and not connecting at all who had signed it).  She jumped in and excitedly said "It was all very top secret at the time but your meals have been paid for."  Then it hit me: K. Morgan.  The teacher! 

Tears immediately filled my eyes.  The kids sat there in wonder and started peppering me with a million questions.  What an amazing gift!  It is truly stunning to me how many people I have touched with my work at the school and through the PTO and even more stunning to realize how much my work mattered over the years.  It's so easy to get stuck in the day to day and not see the impact I have on those around me and now, as I am slowly starting to say my goodbyes to the school: the teachers, the staff, and the students; who have become my family over the past five years, I am finding that people are reaching out with their thanks and love.  It's a fantastic feeling to know I mattered...and to know I will be missed.  Because heaven knows I sure am going to miss all of them.

Thank you, Ms. Morgan.  You made my day and thank you just doesn't seem like enough.