It's been quite a few busy days. We just got back from Kathleen's birthday party. Two hours of four under four year olds. We started off with some playing and balloons. Fun was had. We then started some coloring and then presents and then cake and ice cream followed by a progressive game of chase which consisted of three little girls running around the living room in a circle.

We are now home, table and chairs put together again, assembled the train for the lego set and unboxed the keyboard. We now have a live concert going on lol. It's so cute.

We are on Day Three of No bottles and we seem to be moving along well. There may be a few bottles running around the house but they are not ones we've been using so they will just be trashed when they are found. Samantha is doing well. Kathleen still asks for a bottle and isn't drinking milk except for in her cereal. So we'll see how long it lasts with no milk. Bed times are going okay, Nap times seem to have vanished with the bottle, but Shea is home so that may be it too. We'll see when all goes back to normal.

My house still has not recovered from Christmas. Kathleen's birthday is tomorrow, we are having a final "party". Just the acknowledgment that it's her birthday with hopefully her brother being here. We have one final present for her to open and a card from Merma and Papa. We have left over cupcakes and ice cream that will finish our dinner of homemade mac and cheese (Kathleen's favorite and ONLY requested food).

It's time to get rid of the bottles for Kathleen so that means that Samantha has to go with out too. Sammi isn't that hard to wean from the bottle she'll drink anything out of her sippie cups, Kathleen on the other hand is a big deal for us to take it away. But yesterday was a great day. No bottles and they both slept well! More later have to go hang curtains.

Yesterday was a good day. We had to wake the girls up as Shea's folks were coming over earlier than I had anticipated. Kathleen only raised her head after Daddy told her that Santa had come. Everything else he had said resulted in an "ugh".

But first we must say that Kathleen slept in our room last night. Mostly out of fear of her waking up, and opening all the presents before it was time. She started out in the bean bag on the floor with her blankets but she woke up and since I was freezing I just let her in bed with me to keep me warm. However that resulted in me not sleeping well. But it was okay I lived cold and all.

We got up I set up the web cam, called my parents and the girls set to sitting in their bean bags, they got from Santa. And marching over the two step stools with hiddie hole drawer installed. We opened stockings and two DVDs were a hit. We've watched both already. They both loved their toy cameras and Kathleen is continually taking pictures today.

We opened up the bedroom stuff and clothes first, I knew once the toys were unleashed we'd never get through the rest of them. I had originally bought the entire Disney Cars play set for Kathleen and two Step 2 play sets for Samantha. We've since split up the Cars and given one set to either because Kathleen really wanted one of the play sets. I kinda figured that would happen anyway. The reason I hadn't done that originally was because all the Cars Kathleen likes weren't in the same package.

The biggest hit was once again Gramma T's gifts to the girls - The kitchen play set and additional food and cook stuff. They both really enjoyed it. They also received tinker toys and lincoln logs from Merma and Papa among some shirts that were a huge hit.

We hung around home until about 11:30 or so and then headed up to Shea's parents for the remainder of the day. Shea and his Dad had to go out and pick up his son. He broke down in the middle of no where with his pregnant fiancee with him. Oh the joys. When they got back we opened up presents. We gave the neices and nephews (and his son and girlfriend) a gift card and about $150 worth of my time each(for a custom made wordpress theme). I've set them all up space on my server for their very own website. It went over well I think. I'm going to send the parents an email again with additional information and to clarify what they can do. I also gave them as much freeware as I could so they could do their own learning, including a free ebook on how to code their own pages. So hopefully they'll take me up on the offer and/or learn themselves.

The girls got mostly clothes, but they did get the finishing off of their bedroom set - a lamp and curtains (however we have to take Kathleen's lamp back as it is not working.) They got two more DVD's both of which we have watched already as well. And Candy Land.

Kathleen also had one of three birthday parties, it was a simple cake and icecream deal with presents. She got a car sleeping set, clothes and shirt.

All in all we had a good day, Sam didn't get her nap and we had a crisis at bed time but it was a good day none-the-less.

We've had this new for quite a while now. I will share it below.

Shea is going to be a grandfather. His son and girlfriend are going to have a baby. I guess that'll make a step-grandma. lol.

Our daughters will be aunts before they are 5 years old. I just wish that they lived closer, it would be very cool to have them all group up together.

Just thought I'd share the news with everyone now that Shea's folks know.

WLOX-TV and WLOX.com - Building South Mississippi Together |South Mississippi blanketed with snow.

Well today it's suppose to snow. Apparently it's snowed elsewhere but not here. Holy cow!

Save the Children!

tutorial 9 is running a contest for charity called The Gift of Knowledge. Share your knowledge with others and you can win several cool prizes AND they will donate $100 to Save the Children Organization. They are trying to reach a charitable donation of $5000 as a community.

No one can explain themselves better than Save the Children. Here is an except from their web site.

Save the Children is the leading independent organization creating lasting change in the lives of children in need in the United States and around the world. Recognized for our commitment to accountability, innovation and collaboration, our work takes us into the heart of communities, where we help children and families help themselves.

Along with Tutorial 9 other famous people have selected Save the children as their charity of choice. Actor Hugh Laurie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Elizabeth Vargas, Ben Affleck, Jessica Lange, Myley Cyrus, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson are among those helping Save the children.

Save the Children has several programs they are working on currently - Economic oppurtunity, Education, Emergencies, Protection, Health, Hunger and Maluntrition and various US Programs.

All you have to do to help Tutorial 9 reach their goal is contribute a great post to be published on their site. It must fit in with the goals of Tutorial 9. The deadline for entries is Februray 1, 2009. You may enter as many times as you like, but only those entries that are accepted have a chance at a prize and will be the "hearld" of 100 dollars to Save the Children.

Go forth and write and save the children!

I love my existing theme, so instead of making a new one I just modified this one. I have made a season theme. Now I can make any type of theme that I want and use this as the backdrop of it by just changing three graphics and the colors needed to make it all look together.

It will change automatically with no help from me.

You can preview the theme however by following these links:

Winter Theme
Spring Theme
Summer Theme
Fall Theme

First an advertisment: I am currently hosting and running a resource blog. It is for an organization at Dragonmount.com called the Illuminators. The Illuminators are the creative side of Dragonmount, from Traditional Arts to Graphical Arts, Writing and Music but just about anything that is a creative "work of art" is consider in the Illuminators. I read over 140 blogs daily and I've been wanting to share these articles with folks and this is the perfect way to do so.

You can view Illuimations here: aliciawilkerson.com/illuminations.

Now to the bulk of what I wanted to write about my second Turkey! The first turkey I did last thanksgiving at Shea's folks house. I just roasted a breast since it wasn't the main course, but this year they are having to not fry food so all the seafood for the most part is not getting down, nor the fried turkey. So his mom wants me to roast a turkey. I've only done this once before so I decided to buy two turkeys, one for us and one for Thanksgiving. I made our turkey this Sunday.

I had been thawing it out since last wednesday, but it still was frozen in peices so I put the turkey in cold water for 30 mins like paper suggested, and it worked wonderfully, turkey thawed out.

I put it on a bed of onions, carrots and celery and put in the cavity those three things and some minced garlic. I roasted the turkey for 3 hours covered and broiled it for 5 mins and then let it cook at 400 uncovered for an additional 15 mins to finish of browing with out burning it. The turkey was moist for the most part, and the best thing is it was DONE! I don't usually have good luck with bone in peices of anything, but it did wonderful. I will probably do the same thing as before except this time I will uncover it 30 mins before the 3 hours is up so that the turkey browns with out any extra cooking.

I am thankful I have a meat thermometer to use. It definitely made cooking the turkey much easier. Shea carved the turkey with our new electric knife, I don't like them things so he did it.

I want to put up my Christmas tree this week so I need to clean my house. Fun fun! The girls most definitely match their nick name: The Twin Tornados. Shea's started calling them F3 and F2 and together they are F5. But my house definitely looks like a tornado hit it, two to be exact lol.

I went to the doctor the other day. While it wasn't a great visit, still have some pending things and need to see him back in 3 months, I did find out we have decent insurance now that covers birth control pills! yay! Five bucks for the generic brand, same stuff I was on prior to stopping while on the other insurance that cost me $31. So yay!

This is a big deal asside from the stopping pregnancy stuff. My cycle has been increasing in length since I stopped. This causes me major issues in daily life - hair loss, breakouts all caused by hormone imbalances. Though these things can be caused a thyroid problem too which the doctor wants me to have some tests done.

I might also have anemia. He has prescribed iron tablets and I have blood work to do for that too. They took a pin prick of blood in the office but he said that isn't always accurate so he wants to do a full test on that. So Friday I plan on doing that, I may have to do it with the girls instead of going by myself it depends on if Shea works or not. We'll see on Friday.

Now it's a waiting game.

You little ones having issues sleeping? Here is a webcast you can attend that might help you answer some of your questions.

No More Bed Time Blues.

Sign up and learn a bit about this issue.

I have been meaning to post this for several days, but I keep forgetting or running out of time.

This past weekend Shea and I were sitting in the office playing Warhammer, and Kathleen comes in saying "Oh my god, I'm losing my juices." You see, she has this bug bite and not matter what I do she keeps picking at the scab and it keeps bleeding. Thus she was losing her juices. But it's not that she thinks that blood is juice, but the kind of koolaide we have in the house is almost always red, and she calls that juice. I laughed for nearly 20 minuites about it. Her exclamation of it. She is a trip most days (when she's not making me mad lol).

We had an excellent night last night. Samantha went to bed at 8:30ish and Kathleen shortly there after as she was watching Mickey Mouse. Shea and I were able to get into bed by 9:30ish when he turned the tv off in the bedroom. Both girls slept well. Kathleen woke up at 3:30 and I gave her bottle and turned Mickey back on. I checked on Samantha at 4am after I made Shea's lunch - changed her and gave her a bottle. Kathleen and I went back to bed and no one was out of bed until 9am. Wow! such a late morning. But I needed it badly. Sick and headaches don't mesh well. Too bad I still have a headache, don't think it's a migraine, two days of dull ache and then later in the evening stabbing pain. Probably has to do alot with lack of sleep the past few days. Hopefully things will get back to normal soon. Though it's freezing now and I doubt that is going to help things either.

Wow I just read a post from last year. I've been taking Imatrix for over a year now, it's amazing. I've renewed my prescription for it twice since I started taking it for my bad headaches. So that's 20 pills. Usually I take two pills in two consecutive days, so that's about 10 headaches in the past year, give or take a few. I generally only get one every 5 or 6 weeks, and usually have it for two days.

I have very little headaches now but when I get them they are pretty major. I can deal with that instead of a constant ache and then it just builds up to a bursting point. Now it's just once every couple of weeks for two days instead of weeks on end.

I haven't been this headache free for almost as long as I can remember.

I finished the Girls Christmas present shopping. I'm still working on a list for other people and for what I get to spend from my parents. I know what my Grandma is getting them, but with out the money I won't order it.

This last Friday Shea and I set up the swing set that we bought them LAST Christmas. It was missing one washer and nut, but Shea thinks he can get it at work so that should be fine, it's to one of the slide ladder steps. It works for now so that's good.

Today I took them outside, let them run around and play, then we came in for lunch and a bath, and now they are both taking a nap. For Sammi that's not unusual for Kitkat it is.

My goal is to take then out every morning before nap time and let them burn energy and maybe again in the afternoon if its not too hot. I am thankful we have good weather 90% of the time and they can play outside alot even in the middle of the winter.

Is it too early to finish my Christmas shopping. The girls aren't old enough to write Santa yet, and I'm really not sure that the whole list thing is necessarily a good idea. Considering I'm seriously thinking that Santa is only going to bring stockings for Christmas, the food, candy, little items that come in the stocking etc. And let all the real stuff come from us. I think it would ease the whole learning about Santa thing. But I dunno. They really don't care yet, but traditions need to start somewhere.

What I'm getting for the girls is all mapped out, it's all in stock online and I have the money right now to finish my Christmas shopping. Yesterday I took the girls to Walmart for the sole purpose of watching their reactions down the toy aisle. And my guesses were naturally right. Kathleen adored the Disney Car items and the Princess/Mermaid/Tinkerbell stuff. And they both liked the toys with buttons on them lol but that's typical for them.

They aren't getting alot of toys for Christmas. Two sets from us and a few sets from my parents. From their aunts and uncles I don't know but I'm pretty sure that Shea's folks will go with the suggestions and possibly a few other things of their own choices. I'm anal when it comes to Christmas, I have a list with links for almost all things that are on the kids wish list (mostly things that I think they would like or that they need for upcoming redecoration of their rooms.) But not sure they'll get them, I gave a list first year and no one really followed it lol, so we'll see.

But I'm ready to be done. The only things I've not done are decide upon little Shea and Sydney, my parents, Shea's parents and us. I'm pretty much trying to allocate the money my parents give us and Grams T to buy Shea a new camera lens for his film camera. But I still have all that money to decide what I want to do with it. It would have been nice to buy a new wardrobe with it, but I'm not at my target weight yet. Still have about ten pounds to lose, but I feel good about myself again. So I'm happy with where I'm at even though the scale says differently. Either that or I might buy me an external hard drive or a new video card (but we'll see how the gift video card does for me when Richi has time to install it for me).

Over the past few weeks I have been increasing my portfolio. I have one return customer with three projects they want done and one new one who wants to have a winter project. So there is extra cash flowing in. And I get to increase my portfolio.

I'm putting more effort into my website for AliKat Designs. I want to start blogging about design more regularly. Like maybe once or twice a week. But this takes research for me, as I don't think I have a lot to say that hasn't already been said. I think I may start doing some free wordpress themes, or various other themes for third party software that I use. Like mybb, phpbb, wordpress, and zen cart once I figure that out. And start learning about wordpress plugins and various other things that can enhance and pull people to my site and to my business.

With this money I think I'm going to split it between Christmas and saving for the C# class I want to take so that I can finally get that done. I'm debating on whether or not to put the money I get from my parents and my grandma towards this class or buying a Wii for fitness reasons. My parents are using Wii fit and like it. I think that would be something very good to try for both myself and Shea and also have some added benefit of playing console games too (like Zelda).

We'll see I'm still setting up shopping lists and the like.

Since moving Kitkat to her own room in the playroom with the tv we've had a few rough nights, but in the over all scheme of things we are doing great. Shea and I sleep alone most nights, we have a few bumps in the road but most of the time it's a quick snuggle then back to bed. We've had to do some arranging though.

We had the monitor in with Kitkat, but it really didn't alert me to her movements so I moved it back to Samantha's room, since she was sleeping better with the door closed so that let me hear her better. Kitkat comes into our room when she wakes up so it's all good.

Everyone is sleeping so much better, even to the point of Kitkat going to bed with out being told to. She asks for a bottle, wants a movie in, and to be wrapped up in her blankie and then she usually falls asleep. She is even taking naps in her bed. Not regularly but still her naps are no longer on the couch or bean bag.

This was a really good move, my only regret is that we did not do it sooner. We need curtains for the window they've peelled the tint off the top most window that they can reach, thankfully no one can look in that window unless they are in the tree outside. When there is extra cash we'll get some curtains to hang for her. I'm much happier, getting more sleep and so is she.

I like mashed potatoes. I use to hate homemade mashed potatoes because I hate lumps in my potatoes. Just can't stand it. I know it's all potatoe but still.

I've found a fool proof way for me to get no lumps in my mashed potatoes. It's called the food processor. I love it. They turn out great and have very little lumps in them. I can deal with an occasional lump. But the flavor and testure are so much better than instant potatoes.

I've made them twice now and I am in love hehe. Shea loves them too. The girls not so much, Sammi will eat them but they prefer potatoes you can pick up with your fingers.

Last night I noticed my PC was doing something, little lights blinking and all, so I shut it down, it took to long, fearful of a hacker I turned it off manually. BIG NO NO! Today I turned it on and couldn't start it even in safe mode. Great! I rumaged for start up disks couldn't find mine, but had the laptops, they were same edition windows so I used that, it worked!

Unfortunately I lost all my files. Thankfully all my photos are safely on a disk and at my parents house. I'm glad I did that when I did I lost no photos whatsoever! I lost tons of work and stock photos and brushes etc but the good thing is I start clean for Warhammer when it goes live. No background processes that aren't installed by default. Until I install my software anyway. But hopefully I can keep alot of that down to minimum working standards. Which is generally all I start with anyway. Though I won't have nearly as many games and I'll have to try syncing my Zune for my music but other than that no big loss everything is all safe and sound except business files, which really aren't that huge of a loss. I have most of it on a server already. I don't have source files and I think this will teach me to make client cds but we'll see. I didn't last time I lost data.

Anyway now I'm reformatting, reinstalling and taking care of my PC. Thankful we have a second pc on the net. I may have to get the laptop out later to do other stuff while I sit at my desk but we'll see. Shea's PC works just fine.

Last night Kathleen went to bed in her own bed with out a fight. The new location has done wonders for that. She laid downed, drank her bottle and watched mickey mouse club house while I made Shea's lunch, crystal-lite and various other sundry things. I then waited for about 30 mins at my pc playing word challenge before going to see if she was asleep. She was out like a light.

She woke up about 2:30 and at that time I laid her back down and gave her a bottle and turned mickey back on. Unfortunately a storm went through and knocked our power out scaring the little girl to death. So she slept with us, and it was probably a good thing, she jumped about 20 times from a dead sleep cause of the thunder. She sleeps like her father, he wakes at just any little noise but the kids and the dog (go figure!).

But we almost did great last night if it weren't for the storm.

Well, a few days ago Shea went out to the shop and brought in the black window tint to put up in the play room. Today I have cut it. Hopefully this weekend we will get it put up, Kathleen's bed moved into the play room where she can watch tv to her hearts content. Will have to teach her the remote control for the dvd player, however we have to get one working with it. After Katrina we lost a good majority of the remotes and the universal doesn't always pick up the combo players. She won't be able to put in more dvds but she can at least start the same one.

I can not even get her into her room right now at bed time. I will have to move the monitor into her new room and move Sammi's crib to the corner Kathleen is in so that I can leave the door open for her while we sleep so I can hear her. We'll see how this works.

The tinting of the windows will be a good thing anyway even if she doesn't stay in there. We will have to see how she fairs.

We evacuated for gustav right? we took a few DVDs the girls would like to watch as long as there was power. I put them in a CD carrying case so I didn't have to find all the boxes and carry them around too. So now we've been home for more than a week and for the past several days we have been unable to locate all of the disks we had.

We have lost all her favorite movies, all of the disney dvd's etc.

I have moved the sofas, checked under the rugs and I think put all the junk from the floors in a pile (haven't sorted them yet) but I was watching what I was putting in the piles and still I see no sign of the dvds. Gnomes are either taking them, or the girls are very good at hiding them. Thing is though they were all here two days ago sitting on my desk and then Kathleen went through a spree of I want to watch this, now this, now this and I was busy so I let her do it. None of the DVDs made it back to me. So now we have nothing to watch.

Today it doesn't matter so much as Kathleen is going with out TV for pooring milk on it today.

I'm getting highly frustrated at this. Not only have the dvd's been misplaced but a ton of other things that are no longer where I put them. This is not good for me when I'm tired.

It's nap time now for Sammi...and she's being her typical bratty grump when it's time for nap lol. Time to put her to bed.

If you've been following me lately you've noticed I've talked alot about Kitkat's sleeping problems. With the hurricane and evacuation and the fact that Shea didn't have work all week we have a major hump to get over. Last night Sammi didn't go to bed until after 10pm (after Shea had gone to bed.) Kitkat didn't go to sleep until after 12am.

It being monday I had to wake up at 4am to fix Shea's lunch and lock the door behind him so they don't get out the front door. I then set my alarm for 7am. There was no way I was letting Kitkat sleep in late so we'd have another later night. Despite my trouble getting her down, and the fact that she slept in the bean bag on the floor of our bedroom she slept all night long. As did Sammi. Good accomplishment considering but not quite where things need to be.

Sammi was up at 6:45am so I got her out of bed, and I hung out at my pc till my alarm went off then woke up the other kiddo. They BOTH took a nap at 11:30am. Kathleen woke up about an hour later. Sammi woke up about 1.5 hours later because her sister opened the door and left it open. Now I'm hoping they both go down at 7:30pm but I doubt it. Kathleen is hard to get down if we aren't going to bed too. We'll see what Shea's up to then to see if we can do that.

I hate having to do this right now, but I'm too tired not to keep doing this. Maybe when I catch up on some sleep I can deal with the fustration of a poorly sleeping kid.

The only redeaming note in this is that I didn't sleep in my bedroom either around this age. But my parents taught me to sleep on the floor and not bother them. The biggest issue now-a-days is the monitor, my parents didn't have that. I'm still very nervous about not having that set up in their room. Maybe I would sleep better, but my paranoia takes over.

Ah well. We'll see how tonight goes.

BTW, Warhammer is awesome. Shea and I are playing on Kilborg with our guild Shady Lane on the destruction side. I'm playing either Alicatia or Alikatia. Shea'd be Amchosen or Amsham.

First the storm. Gustav came, and Gustav went. He only got us wet and a little windblown. Our house is fine, our backyard is a bog, but it always is when it rains. We did go to Shea's parents house and it was an interesting two days. Boring and tiring but it was safe. I think the girls enjoyed themselves.

Now to the first part of the title, picking locks. We have a guest bedroom, on this guest bedroom is a door that we keep locked to keep the girls and the dog from messing it up. Last night Shea locked it and about 20 mins ago I found both of the girls in it. I herded them out and locked it again. Two seconds later the door is open. Kathleen has figured out how to unlock said door.

Now mind you this door is not hard to unlock and anything can unlock it really but it's the fact that she's learned how to do it. You stick something stiff in the hole and your turn, that's all that is required to unlock the door. There is no key, there is nothing special about the door knob, but this means that we have to be extra careful now about that guest bedroom because she can get into it anytime she wants.

I will have to make sure all the christmas presents stay up high and out of sight I guess. Thankfully we only have one right now. But more will be coming in the future. I'm a very big advodate of gettng my shopping done way early. Like in time for thanksgiving early. But that's mostly habit and the way I was brought up. But we'll see. I do need to sit down and think about what is really something they need and if Kathleen is old enough to sit down and pick out her own. I think we will try, but I don't think she quite understands yet, but we will try.

Tuesday it look Gustav will be somewhere on the coast. Right now we are in the middle of it's path a little east of the center, so if it goes down the center we are in for the worst part of the storm.

So come this weekend we will be looking more towards what we need to do. Looks like we won't be going to our group meeting with friends this Saturday to save on the gas that we'll need to conserve until after the storm.

Shea's already starting to tie stuff down at work, and he may be sent home. THIS REALLY SUCKS!!!!! I have a house payment to make next week, and it's looking like I won't be able to make it. But we must be safe. If it's coming anywhere near us we will be heading north to Shea's folks house. I am not risking my girls on the off chance things will be okay. Nope, no way, no how. Even if Shea didn't want to I would take the girls. No way I'm leaving them in the hands of a storm a mile off the coast. Nope! Tropical Storm I could probably manage to live through, but a hurricane, nope. And Gustav is predicted to be a Cat 3 at least, a major hurricane!

Last night was a good night. Sammi went to bed at about 7:30 - 8:00 like usual. Kathleen and I watched some Foodnetwork until about 10pm where she fell asleep with me. I put her in her bed and she stayed, granted she was mostly asleep when I put her there. Samantha woke up once for a bottle, she was trying to get it half asleep, but it was wedged in the crib bars and empty, she throw a little fit cause I left with it but went back to sleep with out waking her sister up. yay! Kathleen woke up about 4:30-5 and came to stay in our bed and slept until about 8:15. Samantha woke up a little before 7 with a bottle she slept till 8 or so.

Today we had a lot of running around to do. We went to the bank to deposit our birthday checks. There we found out my name was not on the account. It was the last time I went there. It's the only account we use so it was a major concern for us. What had happened was when they entered my name into Shea's account as a joint holder they put my drivers lisense expiration in the joint account expiration instead of the place it was suppose to go specifically for it. So today when we tried to deposit it I had expired. Shea thinks it's a big joke now, keeps telling me I expired and giggling. "Happy Birthday, you expired!" lol.

Then we went to the DMV to renew our drivers lisences, were were #46 and #47. We got there at #25 *sighs*. Instead of waiting with the girls we went to the financing place to put the hosipital bills on the loan we currently had with them so that they were getting paid. Then we went and got fries and a drink. By the time we got back to the DMV we were ready to go up pretty soon. So we got that done.

We were suppose to go get Sammi's blood work done but they'd been through enough, so we'll do that this Friday and get her shots next Friday.

Yay for getting things done, but it wasn't a good day for the girls. I hope they nap well, and sleep tonight, they need a good rest. Tomorrow will be grocery day but that's normal.