Melissa Kaylene: December 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012

Carpe Diem

It's the last day of 2012. New Years Eve. I worked all night, and am now headed up to Vancouver to visit Grandpa Howern and it very well may be the last time I see him in this life.

Life doesn't stop, or slow down for anyone; anything.

But I've got three beautiful kids that look up to me; a husband that loves me; a roof over my head in a house that's all mine.

So I'm going to ride through the ups and downs in life.

And as for today?

"Carpe Diem."

"Seize The Day."

~ Melissa

Resolutions and Life/Bucket Lists

As we ring in the New Year many of us are busily creating our New Year's Resolutions - loose that last 10lbs, exercise more, spend less, etc. I do not make resolutions -as I feel those just become broken once the champagne has worn off.

I set goals.

But I feel maybe I do need to dream a little, and this is where a bucket list would come in great.
I'm sure you've heard of them - and perhaps even seen the movie. It's a list you create of all the things you want to do/accomplish before you die. I hadn't really thought about bucket lists much until a friend of mine asked for help to check off one of his items.

On his list was to buy and try a bottle of Dom Perignom. Not wanting to shell out the $140+ dollars for the bottle, he approached a couple of us to see if we would like to all go in together on one.

Hello. Of course I said yes.

We purchased; we tasted. He checked one off the list, and I got to thinking about mine.

The wheels in my head began to turn.

We only live once, shouldn't we want to and strive to be able to try things/do things to make us happy?

But the list I am creating isn't a list of things to do before I die. My list is a list of things I want to do that will ultimately define my life.

If you know me (by any minuscule amount by now) you've probably guessed it by now.


I encourage you to sit down for 30 minutes and think of your own.

And how was the Dom Perignom you might ask? Good. I personally don't think I'd shell out the full amount for a bottle, but I'm glad I had the opportunity to try it.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Top 12 Posts of 2012

Thank you so much for supporting my blog in its first year. I'm heading into my 9th month of blogging and I'm loving every minute of it. Here's a little re-cap of my 12 most popular posts in 2012. I'm looking forward to 2013 as I strive to simplify my life more and more. Cheers!

                                                              #1 Girls Sleepover Craft Ideas

                                                                   #2  31 Fun Kid Activities

                                                         #3  31 Fall Must Dos/Fall Bucket List

                                                                   #4  Baked Zucchini Boats

                                                                   #5  How to Make Pickles

                                                           #6  Creating.Simplifying.Inspiring.

                                                           #7 30 Days to be Thankful

                                                         #8 Summer Strawberry Lemon Drop

                                                               #9 Easy Fall Branch Decor


                                                            #10 DIY Bean Bag Toss

                                                                  #11 Blueberry Tart

                                                         #12 Princess Polk-a-dot Banner


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Instant Instagram

Hey everyone :) Hope you are all enjoying this last weekend of 2012. I wrote a post yesterday on my blogger app and for the second time it literally just froze in the middle of publishing, and I cannot retrieve it! It is the most frustrating thing to write everything down and then have it lost! And the photos are such poor quality when they are uploaded from the app... disappointing. Luckily my husband isn't using his net book very often at work right now, so guess who is borrowing it? :) Its SUPER slow, but worth the wait.
Ever since my poor old trusty laptop died, (You can read about that here.)  I've been using Instagram more on my phone. Its an easy way to share photos and projects. My user name is MelissaKaylene, and I'd love if you came and found me so we can check out each others pics.
I've been working on my first quilt. It will be one of eventually three that I make (one for each of the kids). The first one is for Emma, whose birthday is coming up in a couple weeks. I have been saving all of the kid's favorite baby and toddler clothes that they grew out of, and have been wanting to make a quilt for quite sometime. I've cut the squares out and have begum assembling it. Below is a photo from when I was arranging them into a pattern. I'll post more when its finished.
In other news, Grandpa Howern has been placed on hospice care. The cancer is just spread beyond repair. They moved him into a facility in Vancouver to help manage his care. We plan on making the trip up there in the next couple days to visit. I'm unsure whether I will have the kids come or not, and I'm not sure when and how to explain things to my eldest daughter. The little ones I think will need not know until the time comes, but I'm not so sure about a 9 1/2 year old. Ah. Life.
I have been working on not resolutions per say, but goals - mainly financial for the new year. I need willpower. I have wrote out a financial timeline for the next 24 months that should get us completely out of debt (minus the mortgage) along with building up a three month emergency savings, as well as enough to take my dream vacation to Italy (if you have read around here before the topic comes up often, my goal is to go for two weeks for my thirtieth birthday!) I'm not sure as to how much details I'll post regarding finances, but its nice to have them written out, and accounted for. Things will be tight the next year at least, but the reward will be so grand.
What are your goals for the new year? I have others, but shared my number one. Remember, a goal without a plan is just a dream...and goals need to be realistic and achievable. Little by little, slowly but surely, that's the way to go!
~ Melissa

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Crazy Christmas Week

     Well, the presents are unwrapped. The chaos is done. We are watching one last Christmas program before the kids go to bed with their new blankets and stuffies. Tomorrow is Wednesday but will feel like a Monday.

     We visited Grandpa Howern in the hospital yesterday. He had surgery to remove a tumor on the left side of his brain behind his ear.There are other tumors.They are unsure whether they will continue with radiation or chemotherapy or not.

     I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. Hold your love ones tight, cherish every moment; you never know when it may be someone's last.

<3 Melissa

Monday, December 10, 2012

Yes, I'm alive.

No, I promise I didn't disappear, I'm still here; I haven't forgotten about you! Things have been so busy lately, so much busier and more chaotic then just your normal holiday activity hustle and bustle. I had a couple great posts written several days ago, and this Blogger app doesn't work well at all! It froze the blogs during publishing and I have been unable to retrieve them. Super frustrating. So it has taken me until now to attempt to write on this app again, and I do hope this one will be published. (As most of you recall my computer motherboard went out several weeks ago, and I'm now stuck using my phone for a while). Do any of you use the Blogger app? I have tried to just post from my phones internet, but for some reason it won't let me upload pictures from that way.
Well, the kids have all had their Christmas programs and the big day is nearly here. I'm not so ready this year, but that's okay....we will make it as special as we can for the kiddos.
I sat down with my husband and had THE talk. You know, finances. Ours were not looking so hot and we had to strap down and really tighten up our budget. We are both going to work really hard to spend less, stick with the budget and our goals. Tis the time of the year to start fresh after all! I will go into more details later, but for now here's a glimpse at my financial goals for 2013
1. Pay off our dental bills by Feb.
2. Pay off our car by April
3. Pay down the obscene amount on our credit card by the end of the year
4. Start adding to our savings every month in April.
If we can accomplish this, then we can start saving for my dream goal: Italy for my 30th birthday ....which is 2 1/2 years away.
We have had other changes around here, we have had a house guest for a few months now, and now my sister recently moved in as well until she can get back on her feet. So its a pretty full house at the moment!
Project wise I've been busily de-cluttering the house, and I'm proud to say so far four garbage bags full of things have been donated. I'm also working on a quilt for Emma. Her 5th birthday is next month and I've taken all of her favorite baby clothes and am attempting to create a little masterpiece for her.
In other sad news, my stepmom just  lost her job, and her father who has been battling cancer for a few months took a turn for the worse, and he had a stroke. Turns out the cancer has metastisized and he has tumors on his spinal cord and brain. We just found this out today. He is currently in the ICU at OHSU and we are not sure whether they will operate or not.
Life is short. Make the most of it. Love every day. You just never know <3
                                - Melissa 

Friday, December 7, 2012

I'll Choose To Make Lemonade

Just when I least expected it, life throws some more curveballs your way. Literally within minutes of publishing my last blog post, my trusty laptop that I used nearly daily for the past four years decided to cross over to the point of no return and the motherboard gave out. Needless to say I was slightly devastated.
It seems as if timing is everything, and this was no exception to the rule. Wayne had a terrible abcessed tooth that had to have a root canal, and he only had $200 left on his insurance. The work ended up costing more than originally quoted and totalled up a whopping $1700 dollars. There goes my dreams of a new laptop out the door for a while.
So here I am on my phone attempting to use the Blogger app for my Android, and I'm not really loving it. But I thought I'd give it a whirl and see how this works :).
The week hasn't been only frustrations....there has been good things too. Emma had her preschool Christmas Program last night and it always puts a huge smile on my face to watch them try their hardest up on the stage.
Anika got her first report card and after a struggle the first half of the term, she's stepped up her game, turned in all of her papers, and is doing well.
I've been trying hard lately to get the house back into order still, first I'm working on going through and picking up and cleaning each room and then I hope to go back through and organize things better.
Tomorrow will be a full family day, starting off with breakfast with Santa and our towns Christmas bazaar. Anika has two basketball games, and then we plan on finally getting our tree and 'trimming' it tomorrow evening. Sunday Wayne and I both have to work, so we are squeezing the whole weekend into one day! 
                                            - Melissa

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I'm Back....and ready to roll....

Anyone miss me? :) It was quite an eventful couple of weeks around here, with Thanksgiving, Black Friday and then our week long trip to Seaside, Oregon. It was really our first long family vacation with just us.
The weather was nice the majority of the time and we tried to relax as much as possible with three kids. :)
We climbed the Astoria Column. The view was magnificent.
We took the kids bowling for the first time. That was fun....and tiring.
We went to the Seaside Aquarium and surprisingly the kids loved their little touch tanks where they held a little starfish and hermit crabs.
And then there was the pool...the kids are always obsessed with the pool. :)
And how could I forget the beach?
It was great.
I'm starting to get back into the swing of things around here. My to-do list today was a mile long today. But I've accomplished a lot.
Tomorrow I'm heading to a wedding, Thursday is Emma's Christmas program, and Saturday is full of Christmas activities and basketball games.
'Tis the Season.
I'll be back soon, I promise....


On top of the Astoria Column

On top of the Astoria Column, overlooking the ships crossing from the Columbia River into the Pacific Ocean

Astoria Column

Sassy Looks