Sunday, June 29, 2008

Swimming Like Fish

Besides Jake getting sick and us going to Vegas, the other thing we have been busy with in the last two weeks is swim lessons. Nevermind the fact that we had to miss several days due to illness, the lessons went really well this year. Jake went straight to his new instructor and never looked back. Well, he was not too thrilled about jumping off the diving board but other than that..........

I am very proud of what Jake accomplished this session. He is moving his arms better, going under water without being afraid and is very close to being able to swim on his own. An added bonus was that Jake was able to have his buddy Adan in class with him. It was so cute how every day, Adan would be kicking and screaming as the instructor took him from Mommy to put him in the pool and then he would see Jake on the platform and immediately start smiling. Both Jake and Adan were promoted to the next level but the instructor stipulated that they had to be in the same class together.

Jadyn and I had a lot of fun together in her Water Babies class, although I have to admit to being glad that this will be the last summer I have to get in the water. And honestly, she is ready for the next level if she could only get over her fear of having someone else hold her. She could hardly contain her excitement, giggling during the entire 30 minute class on most days, begging me to catch her as she jumped in or kicking about chasing her favorite turtle bath toy.

We might do another 2 week session later this summer if scheduling permits. It's a great way to beat the heat and for Jake especially, it would be great to participate in a session at the next higher level. Until then, we will be spending a lot of time in our little pool and enjoying the lazy days of summer.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Against the Odds

We tried to get the most out of our remaining time in Vegas. We really did. But it would seem that much like gambling, the odds were against us. While we were correct in our notion that there is plenty to do as a family in Vegas, Sin City is not necessarily designed to allow you to get a lot accomplished in a short amount of time. Crowds, traffic and walking distance all impeded our efforts.

Ever since our trip to Vegas in February when we missed seeing the pirate show at Treasure Island, I have been explaining to Jake that not only would we be back to Vegas in June, but we would be staying at the hotel that has the pirate ships. As guests of the hotel, we are even allowed VIP access for the show. So,after dinner Sunday, it was 8pm. The next show was at 10pm. We figured we had PLENTY of time to head over to M&M World next to the MGM Grand. Well let me just say that by the time we got over there, parked and walked across to where it was, we were rushing to see all the unique colored M&Ms and horrifically overpriced M&M souvenirs. The kids still enjoyed it and somehow we managed to leave without purchasing a single M&M. How is that for irony?

We then jetted back over to TI, parked, walked through the maze that is the casino AGAIN (which by the way Jake thought every slot machine was a video game he should be playing) and found our way to the VIP bridge. We then waited, waited and waited until they finally had to cancel the show due to high winds. Disappointed but not down, we headed over to the arcade to let Jake play a few kid-friendly games, only to find it closed at 10pm. And here I thought Vegas never slept.

After going back up to the room and getting Jadyn to sleep for the night, I attempted to salvage the evening by taking Jake BACK downstairs 1) to retrieve his race cars from our vehicle in the parking garage and 2) to see if there was even the slightest chance that the 11:30pm pirate show would be kicking off but this was all in vain. When they announced that the last show was also being canceled due to winds, Jake said "All done pirate show". Apparently after going down there and staring at the ships amidst the crowds of people, Jake had mistakenly come to assume that looking at the ships was the show itself. While cruelly funny, at least he did not understand what he was missing. I think I was more disappointed then he was. At that point he was just tired from walking around so much.

Monday morning, we had breakfast with the family before heading over to Circus Circus. While they did have plenty of kid-oriented rides and games, it was fairly overpriced, so we kept it to a minimum and then went on to the Sahara Casino, home of the NASCAR Cafe, something we had promised Jake the entire trip. I have to admit that the race track table tops and race car displays were pretty cool and the food was not bad either.

With nap time for Jadyn looming, we started to make our way out of Vegas, but decided to make one last stop at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, a huge 2 story department store that carries every imaginable necessity for outdoor hobbies and sports. I am pretty sure Joe wanted to stop to see all the boats and dirt toys, but he claimed it was because he heard they had an nice aquarium.

And I realize that there is a disproportionate pictures of Jake compared to Jadyn. Let's just be polite and say she was not being very photogenic that day instead of going in to the details of how overtired she was and how we are now convinced she is vying for the crown of Miss Drama Queen. (and yes I will be immediately making a deposit into her therapy fund after finishing this post).

Overall, we really enjoyed Vegas, especially getting to see all my family. But I do not suspect we will be planning a return visit with the kids anytime soon. However, at some point I would really like the kids to see the pirate show at Treasure Island. Someday.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Vegas Birthday Surprise

Sunday we went to Vegas for the day to celebrate my Aunt Bunny's 70th birthday. The reason you had not heard about this momentous occasion beforehand was that the party was a surprise and my Aunt happens to be one of my loyal readers. In fact there were several occasions when I thought I might accidentally spoil it. But I didn't. Phew!

So Joe, myself and the kids along with 30 other relatives on my mom's side of the family who came from all over the country managed to surprise my Aunt at a dinner Sunday evening. She was blown away to say the least. And the really cool part for me was seeing all these relatives, many of whom I have not seen in so long, they had never met Joe (never mind the kids too) and one cousin even commented that he swore the last time he saw me I was in a stroller. You know what? I believe him!

Here is Jadyn dancing with her second cousin Sydney:

Here is my mom with her brothers and sisters from right to left: Uncle Skip, Aunt Bunny, my mom Kelly, Aunt Janet and Uncle Larry. My mom has one other brother, my Uncle Bob who has passed on:

Here is the ENTIRE crew from dinner. The waitress was kind enough to take all our cameras and take pictures for all of us:

Here I am with the guest of honor:

And my Mom and I during dinner. After she is done in Vegas her and hubby George are coming to our house for their annual summer visit:

Of course I wish I had gotten more pictures of us with all the family but it was very overwhelming for me, Joe and the kids. Overwhelming and yet so fun.

But our adventure in Vegas does not end at the dinner party. So stay tuned.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Blah Bowl

This is not for the squeamish.

As I mentioned swim lessons started Monday.

This fact turned out to be incidental to our week.

Well unless you consider that it was AT swim lessons that we confirmed Jake was indeed not feeling well.

You see, Jake woke up Monday morning complaining of a tummy ache. This is progress as Jake is not very good at communicating his aches and pains. I however, assumed he was just hungry as neither of the kids had eaten a very good dinner and were still recovering from our week away from home. To be sure, I had him eat a piece of toast instead of his usual pop tart. Afterward, he said he felt better and so we suited up and covered ourselves in sunscreen for the first day of lessons. Jake's first day went really well - he went straight to his teacher, got in without incident and followed directions well. I then set him up to sit under the shade canopy on his towel with snack and Leapster in hand so he could relax while I took Jadyn in the water for her Mommy & Me class. During class I noticed Jake had set down the game and layed down on the towel. At one point, I even got out to check on him at which time he assured me he was just tired. After Jadyn's class we were all drying off and packing up when Jake's breakfast and snack made a return appearance as he puked all over the pool deck. I felt awful to say the least - first for pushing him to come when he obviously had not felt well and secondly for bringing a contagious sick child to infect all these other kids. Oops!

Once home, I layed blankets over the couch and layed him down to rest comfortably. I brought him a big yellow mixing bowl and explained that if he felt sick again, he could "blah" as he calls it into the bowl thus not making a mess all over me, himself, the carpet, the couch, etc. etc. This is the first time I felt Jake was capable of this and something I remember doing when I had the flu as a child. Well Jake took my words so literally, he would not move without making sure his "blah bowl" was right there with him. It became like a security blanket. Even when he somewhat started feeling better and got up to play, he carried it around with him. Here is about to fall asleep with it almost attached to his face:

He seemed to have just had an upset stomach. He ate some things that agreed with him and some things that didn't. And even with the bowl right there in his hands, he still managed to puke all over the kitchen floor while I was cheering him on, "The bowl Jake, use the bowl. That's what it is there for!" This continued until Wednesday morning, at which time we thought he would be feeling better, when instead it became worse. I won't get into details. Suffice to say he had a full blown bout of the stomach flu. But here he is late Wednesday evening, finally feeling better and eagerly anticpating his first full meal (noodle soup and popcicle) since getting sick:

So Jake is better. He missed 2 days of swim lessons, which is disappointing but what can you? Is there ever a good time to get sick? If it was last week we would have been on vacation. If it was the week before it was Jadyn's birthday and his promotion. It never would have been good timing. So we are all treading cautiously here at the Funny Nose House. So far, so good but the other shoe could drop at any moment.............................

Monday, June 16, 2008

When the kids grow up

The other day we were watching a segment on Nick Jr where some kids were talking about what they wanted to be when they grow up. Jake quickly jumped in exclaiming "I want to be a race car driver!" No surprise there right? That is why it is so neat that I found this cool blinky:


But here is the kicker. Jadyn who was also watching the segment on TV and after hearing Jake's pronouncement replied, "I want to be a baseball player" and I just love that she came up with that by herself. And you know what, maybe that is exactly what she will be when she grows up.

And speaking of what to be, when we were in the car the other day Jake asked if his birthday was coming and I rattled off all the months that were to come before he had another birthday. Sensing his disappointment, I started talking about all the neat holidays and seasons we had coming up and during this I mentioned Halloween and reminded him of how much he loved trick or treating last year. I then asked him what he wanted to be for Halloween and NOT quite understanding the question he replied, "chocolate". Upon clarification he eventually told me he wanted to be a race car driver. Again no surprise.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Exploring Scottsdale

After arriving in Scottsdale early Sunday evening we checked into our room and then quickly went back out to find a place for dinner. Joe asked me if I wanted to go exploring to look for a restaurant and never missing a beat Jake replied that we could be just like Dora. So after eating a delicious meal at the Macaroni Grill (for which the kids favorite part was getting to draw race tracks and color the paper tablecloth) we decided the kids needed to expend some energy after sitting for so long, first in the car and then at dinner. Before long we find a beautiful huge park for them to run around. It was here that we came across a unique situation when the always regular Jake announced that he had to go stinky. You could see the urgency on his face. Joe takes him over to the restroom but much to our chagrin, it is locked. I could not possibly expect a 4-year-old boy to hold it while we travel back to the hotel nor was he ready to leave as we had scarcely been at the park for 15 minutes. So I took Jake around a corner where he would have some privacy and told him to pop a squat. I thought he would protest but he managed just fine. Of course, we have supplies since Jadyn is still in diapers and honestly I am surprised we have not found ourself in that situation before since we are always on the go but it makes for a pretty funny story even if slightly TMI for some.

Throughout the week the kids impressed us with their ability to adapt, especially when it came to eating. While it came to little surprise that Jadyn chowed down all the pasta and rice she could get her hands on, Monday when we dined at PF Chang's she literally devoured my cup of egg drop soup. Meanwhile, Jake not only came close to finishing an entire adult serving of their honey chicken, he even used the chop sticks to feed himself. Then on Tuesday at the Fox Sports Grill, Jadyn munched on spinach artichoke dip and on Thursday at TGIFs Jake requested carrots with ranch as his side in leui of french fries. Needless to say, I got plenty of new menu ideas for home watching them experiement with all our eating out (a major feat, especially for the ever-picky Jake).

Tuesday evening we took the kids to the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, a local attraction I had read about prior to our trip. This had to be the coolest place ever featuring a 5/12 reproduction of a Colorado railroad that takes you on a mile long track around the beautiful grounds of the park. While waiting to board the train Jadyn kept exclaiming that we were going to ride the train and then throwing in the sound effects - choo choo! I think Jake's face during our ride says it all:

On top of that, the park also has a carousel, something the kids had up to this point not had the opportunity to experience. Needless to say, they both enjoyed this as well. In fact, Friday before leaving Scottsdale we made a return trip to the park for one last train and horse ride.

Wednesday Joe had a lot of work so the kids and I went exploring on our own and found ourselves at Cracker Jax, an amusement park offering mini golf, go karts, bumper boats and video games. Now normally I would stay away from a place like this because Jake is not tall enough for most of the attractions. However, it just so happens that this particular facility had a mini go-kart track, which Jake happened to qualify for. Here he is before the big race:

And during:

Unfortunately, Jake could barely reach the pedal and although he could go, he could not go as fast as the other drivers and therefore he got a little frustrated as he watched the cars lap him. I think his Tony Stewart car at home goes faster than this car but he did think being on a track was neat and once inside both kids did enjoy the video games and skee ball.

So as one can see, we all had a lot of fun in Scottsdale and feel that we really made the most of the trip. I can definitely see us going back the next time Joe gets sent there on business, especially if he gets to stay at the same resort!

I hope everyone enjoyed celebrating Father's Day (Joe got extra time to play his new video game and cards from me and the kids). Tomorrow we start swim lessons so there will be more pool pictures to come. I love summertime.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Soaking in the Sun in Scottsdale

After sifting through 150+ photos, I narrowed it down to the following, which I think best represent the trip. I was so busy trying to get good pictures of the kids, I kind of forgot to take pictures of the landscape (LOL!) but you can see pictures of Scottsdale and the resort by googling either right?

So here are a couple of pics of the kids on the "beach" side of the adventure pool. I would encourage you to click on a couple of the better photos to see it in all its glory. While still no master photographer and despite the obvious challenges of a bright sunny day and the water, I think I managed to take a couple really good photos:

And a few more of us swimming, including one of me and the kids tubing down the lazy river:

And here is Jake perfecting his golf swing (the putting green which was right below our second story balcony:
So in my next installment, I will add a few more pictures of some of our adventures outside the resort. And boy, did we have some adventures!

Home Again

I realize I am not saying anything profoundly new but wow; one really does need a vacation from their vacation before going back to the daily grind. We made it home from Scottsdale late last night and awoke to a very large to-do list. Unpacking and washing a week's worth of laundry for four, cleaning a house that you left clean but invariably did not stay that way, a checkbook that has not been glanced at, let alone balanced in way too long, pictures to download and share, toenails that need to be polished after spending too much time in pools, toddlers and preschoolers who are sleep deprived and off schedule therefore throwing more tantrums then usual. Oh, and did I mention both Joe and I are working our paying jobs this fine Saturday? Where to begin?

Ah, but to reminisce about all the fun we had this past week. Now I know why people take vacations. I tried to remember the last time I went somewhere for longer than a weekend or the occasional 3 day trip down to San Diego when Joe gets sent there on business. I could not recall a time I have been away from home for this long. You actually get into a routine, even while on vacation. You sort of get settled into your new home away from home. Even the kids occasionally slipped and instead of it calling it the "big hotel" would refer to it as home.

We started each day at the big resort, stopping first at the Pumpkinville playground where the kids would climb and slide and get all sweaty in the already sweltering heat. We would then head over to the adventure pool, which the kids called the beach because it had a wading pool that crested up against sand and slowly got deeper the further you went out. The pool then fingered off in several directions, never getting more than 5 feet deep. Just across a small bridge was the lazy river, where I somehow managed to board a tube and then have the kids jump on top of me so we could all float around and under waterfalls. Around lunchtime we would head back to our room for lunch and Jadyn's nap, during which time Jake still got his video game time, giving me a chance to dive into my book on the balcony (usually with a pint of Ben & Jerry's by my side). After waking, we would all get suited back up and venture out to our villas' putting green for a short round of put-put, followed by a dip in the kiddie pool and possibly (if Joe could join us) we would wander into the family pool, which had a volleyball net, basketball hoop and rock slide. Surprisingly enough, Joe convinced Jake to go down the slide with him once. However that would be the only time since Jake did not particularly like going under, even if briefly after the initial drop off. Finally in the evenings we would get cleaned up and explore the city of Scottsdale with its various restaurants, shopping and places of entertainment - a treat for us to have all this at our disposal since it is such a drive to get anywhere from where we live. Of course, all this fine dining (not to mention the Ben & Jerry's) has left me feeling like I surely gained back some of that 20 pounds I had recently lost but atlas - I was on vacation!

My only complaint (if I even have the right to) is that I wish Joe was there on vacation too and not stuck at work for most of the day and even still some evenings in the room after dinner, dilligently working on his laptop. While I would have really wanted him there just so he could be relaxing and having fun as well, selfishly it would have seemed more like a vacation for me too if he had been there with us (read: 2 adults + 2 kids = divide and conquer). At any rate, we had a blast, would go back in a heartbeat but are glad to be home. Even if it means tackling that ferocious to-do list, it's still nice to be home. Pictures to follow!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Fenenoz Look-alike Meter JADYN

MyHeritage: Family tree - Genealogy - Celeb - Collage - Morph

Fenenoz Look-alike Meter JAKE

MyHeritage: Family tree - Genealogy - Celebrity - Collage - Morph

From Desert to Desert Resort

Joe's company is sending him to Scottsdale Arizona this week on business and since the kids and I have some free time before swim lessons kick off, we decided to join him. The hotel we are staying at boosts a water park, playground and kids club, not to mention an outdoor shopping mall across the street so I doubt we will even leave during the day but we do have a few plans for the evenings when Joe finishes up his work. So I may not be around much this week but I assure you that I will be updating everyone on all our adventures when we return at the end of the week. Happy trails!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

And the winner is... Monkeys and Pirate Ships

Jadyn got so many wonderful things for her birthday and she really does like them all. But there does appear to be a clear-cut winner for her favorite birthday gift: Her new baby monkey, which came with her own adorable swing that lights up and plays music. Thanks Tom and Karen!

And while I erroneously claimed that birthday season was winding down, we were at another birthday party this weekend. Our friend Aden was turning two and his parents went all out with a pirate theme. The kids LOVED it. Jake actually wore his pirate hat, colored a treasure map and both bounced in the pirate ship, hunted for treasure out of the pinata, pinned the eye patch on the pirate and ate homemade skull cake with marshmallow fondant. A great time was had by all. Thanks Scott and Ashley and happy birthday Aden!