Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Most Rewarding Job Ever!!

(Wrote this last night and then Blogger or my computer was having some issues, so here it is today! : )

Tonight's post comes straight from my most recent Facebook status: Why is being a mom so hard at times but also so rewarding? Riding her bike without training wheels one moment, not wanting to swim the full length of the pool the next! She got in and did it though. I am proud of her but almost in tears too. I will make it, I will make it!! : )
I love my children so much and would not trade anything in the world for them or the life I have with them! I sometimes wonder what my life would be like without them and I just can't picture it. (Well besides quiet and probably somewhat boring!) This afternoon when I got home from work, Adam and Mykayla went across the street and he was teaching  her how to ride her bike without training wheels. They were in a big grassy field and she was cruising! Daddy was holding on to the back, would let go after a couple minutes and then she was on her own. I stood at the dining room window (our house is literally across the street from Mykayla's school) smiling beaming with pride. I was so proud of how she fell and kept getting back up and on the bike. She will be doing on the sidewalk in  no time.  Fast forward an hour later and we are at swim where she refuses to get in the pool and do her lesson because she doesn't want to have to swim the length of the pool. I am frustrated and trying to bribe her in the water with a trip to the park afterward.  She finally got in, gave it her all and by the end of the lesson, had swam the length of the pool. It was during her practice that I was on the verge of tears thinking about the proud moments and the challenges that come with being a mother.  So within an hours time, I have feelings of pride and frustration with being a mom and realize that this is a tough yet rewarding job! And then there is Michael who has discovered how to climb on anything and everything he can (and he is so proud of himself). I pull him down, tell him no and get more and more frustrated each time. Soon after, he is looking at me with those HUGE brown eyes and beautiful smile and saying Mama. Yeah, all that frustration is gone! I think the moments of pride far outweigh the moments of frustration and therefore make my job all the more important and worth it. 
Mykayla and Michael-I am so proud of you and love you so much! Thanks for giving me the most rewarding job ever!! -Mommy

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Big Sister, Best Friend!!

I have been wanting to blog about my older sister Celia for some time and have been brainstorming what all I would write about. So many things came into my head: her generosity, her love for her family, her amazing scrapbooking,  her ability to keep a smile on her face even when she is hurting, the way she takes care of everyone around her, not just family and I could go on and on!! Celia is all of these and so much more and I am so lucky to call her sister and best friend! Celia and I share a special bond besides being sisters, we are also sister-in-laws (Most of you know why this is and the story behind it. If you don't, ask me about it.  It is a fun story to share.) It is so fun that I get to have my sister at my in laws family events also. I don't know many people that lucky : )

Celia is one of the most generous people I know!! She LOVES to buy and do things for her nieces and nephews. It is very rare for us to go to her house and not have a treat waiting for one or both of my children (or myself) If she sees something that reminds her of any of us or any other family member for that matter, she snags it up. Doesn't have to be a specific holiday or birthday, but just because! (If Patrick is with her, he also likes to get for people, no matter the price tag. Yeah, he bought me my first Coach purse and brought me a Coach wristlet wallet to the hospital when Michael was born. I also love my brother-in-law, whole different post!) If there is a need, Celia makes sure it is filled and then some and she never expects anything in return.

Celia has an amazing, unwavering, unconditional love for her family and friends!!

Celia makes amazing scrapbooks and if you have been to any of her parties, you know that she can throw a hopping shin dig and always has amazing food. Celia loves to entertain and can pretty much find any reason to throw a party.

I call Celia the ROCK of our family! When it seems like everything else is falling apart, she is always there lending advice, a listening ear or help. She knows when help is needed and just does it! In January of this year, Celia was having some problems with one of her eyes that required lots of testing and unknowns. One day,  she texted me that she was scared and I just about lost it! I have rarely heard Celia say something like that and it scared me because she has always been that rock in our family.  I headed north for the next couple days to help out and found that even in her weakest time, she couldn't sit still but had to lend a hand and never once complained!

One of my favorite Celia stories is from when we worked at Farmers together. We were at an event where we were eating and I apparently had something on my face. Celia licked her fingers and "washed" my face. One of our co-workers looked at her and said "Did you just lick your finger and wash her face?" and Celia and I were like "Yeah." Didn't even phase either of us!! This is just one of many examples of how she takes care of all of us. Funny story, but reigns so true to Celia's personality! She is a natural care taker and amazing one at that!

Celia always says to her boys, "What is my job?" to which they respond, "To keep me safe!" This is so true!! Celia keeps us all safe from danger, from being hurt, from being alone, from being scared and from going without.

I am so lucky to have the bond and friendship with Celia that I have and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!! I love you C and am so glad to call you my big sister and best friend!!

(Now don't get me wrong, Kattrina is also my best friend but in a twin sister, different sort of way!)  :  )

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I love nicknames

Our family has many nicknames and stories that go with! Thought it might be kind of fun to share how these names came about.  I think that giving and calling people by nicknames is a form of affection and way to show someone how very special they are.

I will start with mine...the one used the most for me!
and the story behind it is...Our family used to babysit two little boys, John and Paul (Who might I add here are both graduated from high school, taller than me and very handsome young men! And now I feel old!)  This name was given to me by them as I believe Maelen was too hard for them to pronounce.  Fast forward about 7 years and my oldest nephew Julian was born.  When he started to talk, this was what we taught him to call me and now 11 years (on Saturday actually!) later, the name has stuck and I am now called it by most of my nieces, nephews, family and friends. When Mykayla was little, she also called me MaeMae because that is what cousins called me and she didn't realize any different.  Some shorten it to Mae also. I LOVE my nickname and have to usually think twice if I am called Maelen by one of them : )

Next is my older sister Celia and probably one of my favorite family nicknames!
Auntie Cookie
When Mykayla was about 10 months old, Celia gave her an Oreo cookie. Not just any Oreo cookie, a Christmas one with red in the center. This was Mykayla's first cookie and Celia became Auntie Cookie. She has since given her other niece and two nephews (Well, not Brooks yet but I am sure it is coming!) their first cookie. I know Michael's was an Oreo also. When Michael was diagnosed with all his allergies, Celia made it her personal mission to find an Oreo type cookie he can have. I believe she is still on that mission! Celia recently re-did her kitchen to be Auntie Cookie's kitchen with a cookie theme including cookie jars, books and sayings.
 Auntie Cookie & her girls in their cookie jammies!

Next is my twin sister
Kattrina was given her nickname by our oldest nephew Julian. When he started talking, we tried to teach him Trina instead of Kattrina because we thought it would be easier. He pronounced it Nuni and it has since stuck! We have since just taught it to the rest of the kids that way. (Other forms of Nuni that we use: Nunifred, Noon, Auntie Buzzkill; oops did I say that one out loud : )

Next is my oldest nephew Julian, who has quite a few being the first grand baby on our side.
Bubba-One of Julian's first nicknames, not sure how it came about.
JMan- Probably my favorite, but again not sure how it came about!
J- His daddy calls him this one mainly.
Julian Mucca- Julian's middle name is Michael, after his Papa Mike. I believe that Mykayla and Christian both use to call him this when they were mad at him because they couldn't pronounce his middle name. Julian did not like being called this!! I do remember that!

Next is my younger nephew Christian
CDene-Christian's middle name is Dene after his Papa Barry. Guess we just put the two together and got this.
Bean-This one is my favorite of his! I believe that CDene just turned into Bean.
CMagnet-This is what Uncle Adam likes to call him.
Cushion Dene-Another one that I am not sure how it came about but has stuck!

And lastly Mykayla
Kayla-Her name was shorten when she was pretty little and she is referred to as that by most of our family and friends.
MyMy-Papa Barry gave her this one.
KayBaby-Christian mainly calls her this. Even now at 9 and 7 years old, he still calls her that every once in awhile. She will always be the baby cousin to him.  I love when he does, it is so sweet! (This has been shorten to KaylaB also)
Macockroach-Story behind this: Mykayla was a big Hannah Montana fan for a couple years. Hannah's rival on the series is another singer named Makayla which Hannah calls Macockroach. Adam started calling her this after seeing it on the show. (Other forms of it: cockroach, macoocaroacho, rochiebochie and just roach) I have a feeling something with this nickname is going in her high school yearbook : )

I am sure over the next couple years, Michael and Brooks will get their own nicknames too. That will be another post!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Photo shoot & editing fun

The location of the pictures in this post probably look familiar. It is the spray park that I wrote about in the post below.  We went again on Sunday afternoon with Trina, Jordan & Brooks and Jenny & Logan. (Like I mentioned below, pretty sure we will live there this summer!) As I walked chased Michael around the park, I discovered some of the best places to take photos and play with my camera. Ok, actually I didn't really "play". I kept it on the exact same setting I always do and tried to get some cool photos. Every time I decide to do this with my camera, I always say to myself "Maelen, just get out the manual for the camera that you got two years ago and read up on some of the neat stuff you can do." But instead I continue to just point and shoot, every once in a while something comes out : ) This afternoon, I went over to and uploaded a few of the photos I took and played with the photo editing. Here is the result...

 You can totally see his battle wounds from a run-in with sister on the swing at the park : )

 I made this picture black and white with a focus right in the middle to show color.

 This is called cinemascope. I love Michael's smile in this picture!

 Um...model material? 
I may be bias but how beautiful is she?
Can't remember what I all I did here, but I love how it turned out.

 This one is done with cross process (Probably my favorite function on Picnik) and also a focus on just her face.

 This one is done with cross process also.
.  She was on this spinning thing at the park and I caught it as she was coming around facing me.
I cropped it from vertical and just did a close up of her.

 This one is done with the 1960's function with rounded corners. 
She just lost that top front tooth on Saturday so I was pretty excited about how it turned out.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I think we will live here this summer!

Today we went to the new spray park and dry park about 5 minutes from our home behind the Norpoint Fitness Center. What a GREAT place!! Like my title says, I am sure this will be our second home this summer. It is a short drive or even walk from our house and best of all it is FREE! The grand opening of this new park was on Saturday and I have heard several people talking about it since. So when I left work and it was muggy with the sun slightly shining, I decided we would go check it out. As soon as Kayla got in the door after school, she ran and got her suit and we were out the door.  Mykayla found friends from school within a couple minutes and was off for the next hour and a half having fun. Michael was a bit hesitant about the water at first. I was amazed at how he could dodge dropping buckets of water and squirts from the ground to barely get wet. He enjoyed the dry 2 to 5 years park and then decided to try the spray park again. So of course 10 minutes before we are going to leave, Michael is soaking wet but having a great time! We ran into friends from Mykayla's school and Michael's school. (This is by far one of the best things about where we live. We run into friends in our neighborhood all the time!) I can't wait for our next trip there and am excited to take friends there that come to visit!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bon Voyage!

I made this today at work for this Friday's kindergarten and pre-kindergarten graduation. This week is always kind of bittersweet for me.  I love to watch my kids graduate and move on to bigger places, mainly kindergarten or first grade at the elementary level but I also hate to see them go. Many of them have grown up in our center from infant, toddler and preschool. This will be my fourth graduation since starting at Kindercare and every year, the kids have been around longer and longer.  Once they graduate, many of them I don't get to see very often again. Others I am fortunate to still see as they have siblings that still attend our center or they return during school breaks.  I am so glad that I have the opportunity to be a part of and hopefully make a difference in the lives of these children as they head out into the world.

Monday, June 6, 2011

My version of Extreme Couponing

Ok, so you are probably wondering why on earth I would be posting a picture of Nexcare Shrek band aids none the less writing an entire blog post about them, but I was so excited I had to share! So my good friend Ashley has encouraged me and given me lots of good tips on couponing. She is pretty good at spotting cheap, FREE or even $ making deals with coupons. Last week, we went to Albertson's together and used our Twice the Value coupons (Albertsons will give you twice the value of your manufacturer's coupon up to $1.00). We went just to use our coupons and I think I saved about $10 in coupons. She showed me some tricks and we both had a successful trip. She also introduced me to The Krazy Coupon lady and Fabulessly Frugal blogs for couponers. Check these out sometime if you want some good tips for getting started. They basically find all the deals for you, all you do is clip the coupons.

Ok, so the band aids...(at Target)
* Normally $1.84/box of 20 licensed band aids
* On Sale $1.70
* Store coupon $1.00 off (coupon in Target mailer week of May 30)
* Manufacturer's coupon .55 off (coupon from June 5 Sunday paper)
My final price-15 cents
and that is about as extreme as I get : )

It is actually kind of exciting figuring out how cheap you can get stuff. I have yet to get something FREE or make money but when I do, I will post for sure!

Just real quick, another example of some Banana Boat sunscreen I got last week...(at Fred Meyer)
* Normally $9.99
* On Sale $8.99
* In store coupon $4.00 off (hanging on rack with sunscreen in store)
* Manufacturer's coupon $1.00 off (coupon from Sunday paper)
My final price $3.99
Not free but $6 off, I will take that! I will be going to Fred Meyer this week too with the same deal on Coppertone sunscreen, stocking up for the summer. (Now if that sun will just stick around!)

I will hopefully be posting some more "extreme" deals soon that I can't resist telling someone about! Stay tuned, maybe you will be inspired to start!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011


What a beautiful weekend we have had in the great sunny usually rainy state of Washington! Yesterday we had beautiful blue sky's and that bright thing called sun in the sky. And if that isn't good enough, it was also warm!!
Jenny and I both took these pictures of the boys and within a couple of a minutes were sending them to each other on our cell phones.  We obviously spend a lot of time together and have the same ideas : ) (Plus we just like to show off our cute kids to each other)

Someone apparently was having fun with my cell phone

And this is the result...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

18 Things All About Me! by Mykayla

So awhile back, I did a post of Michael's 18 month birthday and wrote 18 things about him. Mykayla wondered when I was going to write about her and I said at your next birthday to which she said that is only going to be 8 things and it is still a long ways away from my birthday. So last night, she sat (completely unprompted) and wrote an 18 things all about me list. Here goes... (written as Mykayla wrote it)

1. I love to dance!
2. I am in the first grade
3. I have a brother.
4. I love to play dollhouse
5. I have a exterimly big family (I love this one!)
6. When I was little I had to get stiches because I cracked my eyeled open.
7. I love my family very much (inculeing my brother : )  (And yes, she put the smiley face icon at the end)
8. I love to camp
9. I am 7 years old
10. I take swimming lessons
11. I wear my hair in ponytails
12. I wear glasses
13. I have a Nintend D.S.
14. I love to play on the computer!
15. I am in a family of four
16. My mommy works at Kindercare for a kindergarten class.
17. My daddy is a polese man for Pierce Countey Sheriff's department
18. I just played the Queen of Hearts in my first grade play

There you go, 18 things all about me!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

What a fun & busy Memorial Day weekend we had starting Friday evening and lasting till Monday evening! We took full advantage of the 3 day weekend and had a great time!!

Friday evening we headed out to the "beach house" in Gig Harbor to hang out with the Brannon clan.  Kattrina's in-laws have a beautiful home in Gig Harbor on the water with a small beach house down by the water. It is a great place to escape for a mini vacation or just to hang out for the evening.

Saturday we hung out at home for the morning, cleaned, did laundry and packed to head north. Then we headed to the mall for a bit before a birthday dinner for Kayla's friend. We were pretty excited to try out the new kid cart at Target. They are pretty fancy! Our Target will have a grocery section starting the 5th, pretty excited about this!! One stop shopping for sure! We went to Red Robin for a birthday dinner for Cordell, Kayla's friend before heading north for the rest of the weekend.

Sunday morning, we went to church at MCN. Celia left about 10 min into the service because Michael was not so happy in the nursery. I actually REALLY enjoyed sitting in service all by myself and it was a great message on marriage! (Gotta love big sisters who realize when you need a break and don't say anything, just do it! Thanks C!) After church, we headed out to Lake Connor to hang out with the Dexter/Wojahn/Hopper clans for the afternoon.  They all own a "campsite" in the campground which they have put trailers on.  The kids ran and played the entire day and we relaxed, chatted and hung out around the campfire all day. What a great time! Definitely being doing that more often this summer!

Monday started out with some sister shopping sans children! Gotta hit up those holiday sales. Didn't find any huge deals but still had a great time just being together and of course, shopping! (Again, so thankful for family that will watch my kids so I can have a break. Thanks mom!) The boys men were at Pat & Celia's building shelves in their garage to make way for the boat they just purchased. (Guess what we will be doing every weekend this summer?) We ended the day with a BBQ and fabulous spread of chicken, potatoes, potato salad, bread and fruit. Yum!!

I'm back...again!

Ok, so I went MIA for awhile again.  Our laptop died over the weekend and I have not had access to a computer with internet until yesterday so I am back in business. Thanks to my dad for giving us the desktop that he had!!