Thursday, August 28, 2008

First Day Back at School

Jake had his first day back at preschool on Wednesday. I can't believe it has been a year since I first dropped him off that faithful morning. I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was so nervous. However, he was so excited to be in this big classroom with all the new toys, playing with his classmates. I'm not sure when he even took note that I had left. And I recall going shopping with Jadyn afterward, slightly teary-eyed and feeling as if I had lost an appendage. It was so weird not to have him there. When I went to pick him up there was no sign of abandonment on his face as I have half expected. Instead his face lit up and he ran to me, excited to tell me all about his new experience at school.

Well obviously there was little nerves on Wednesday. I knew he would do fine and Jake had been asking to go back to school ever since the 4th of July. Here is a pic of my lil man before taking him to class. He is growing up TOO fast. I was sorting pictures out from last year to put in albums. When did he lose that baby face?

And here he is looking too cool for school:

Since Jake had his backpack, Jadyn of course had to wear hers as well. However cute this was, my attempt at getting a cute picture of her with it on failed miserably:

So upon arriving at school, Jake ran in to greet his teachers and show off his new backpack before diving into the play area with his familiar classmates from last year. At one point, the teacher brought a new student over to introduce to the group and Jake eagerly offered a welcome, "Hi, my name is Jake!". And this coming from a child who was once painfully shy. Jadyn wanted to stay and play too. So much so that when it was time for us to leave I had to drag her out kicking and screaming. I guess there is little doubt that she will do just fine when she starts preschool next year.

Jadyn also had her first day of Kindermusik this week (now last week, sorry I am so behind on posting). Here she is excited as ever to go to "music class".

I am pretty excited about her new semester of Kindermusik. The theme centers around helping around the house. The first song we learned was called, "Dust, dust, dust!". While Jake was at school on Friday, Jadyn and I sang the song as she helped me "dust" the living room. It came in handy as keeping her occupied with Jake gone is not an easy task.

And so we are setting into our new fall routine. However, since it is still warm and summer is not yet technically over, we have had some new recent water adventures. And that I will save for my next post.


Okay so I have several blog posts in my head and no time to get to them but my fellow Twihard, Emmettalie Baseball from London's Calling has tagged me, so while you are waiting for pictures of the first day of school, chew on these little tidbits about myself (I am pretty boring actually. Sorry!):

A. Attached or single? Attached, permanently
B. Best friend? My husband!
C. Cake or Pie? Cheesecake, it's called a cake but I think it's a pie. LOL!
D. Day of Choice? Sunday
E. Essential item? Bottled water.
F. Favorite color? Green - all shades
G. Gummy bears or worms? Bears
H. Hometown? Upland, CA
Indulgence? Ben and Jerry's Oatmeal Cookie Chunk
J. January or July? July!
K. Kids? Two and they are my world.
L. Life isn't complete without? Family. And a box of chocolates.
M. Marriage date? August 20, 1998
N. Number of brothers and sisters? One younger brother
O. Oranges or apples? Apples
P. Phobias? Earthquakes, and yet I live in California.
Q. Quotes? "At the beep, please leave your name, number and a brief justification of the ontological necessity of modern man's existential dilemma and we'll get back to you. " - Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites.
"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we're uncool" Philip Seymour Hoffman in Almost Famous
R. Reasons to smile? Growing Up Cullen. My husband and kids.
S. Season of Choice? Spring
T. Tag some peeps: Erin -Redfern Family and Julie - My Life with Roundface
U. Unknown fact about me? That I am completely obsessed with a fictional character. Oh, wait I don't think that is unknown. How about the fact that since reading the books, I have two new nicknames - Esmilse (Twihard nickname) and The Reporter (Twilight Mafia Moms name)
V. Vegetable? Spinach
W. Worst habit? Interrupting people.
X. X-ray or Ultrasound? Ultrasound
Y. Your favorite food? Mizithra ala Homer with brown butter or white pizza.
Z. Zodiac sign? Pisces

Monday, August 25, 2008

Update on Mother's Day Resolutions

As some of you may recall, back in May I had wrote about what I perceived as my shortcomings as a mother. You can refresh your memory here. As it has now been a little over 3 months, I thought I would update everyone as to how those resolutions are coming along. And for the record, I really appreciated all the support I received after that post. It took a lot of courage on my part to share my insecurities and admit where I wanted to improve but I have to reiterate that I do know I am a good mother. I just did not feel I was being the best mother I could possibly be to my kids and I think my kids deserve nothing less than the best of me. With that said.....

1) Computer time (work related or other) is restricted to before the kids wake up, nap time and after they go to bed or designated times when Joe is home to watch them.

While I do find myself getting my file started in the morning while the kids play independently, I have learned when to call it quits and join them in their fun. As for limiting my computer time for personal use, that initially turned out to be much harder than I anticipated but I am slowly finding myself less and less dependent on checking in on my usual sites and limit it to a couple times a day. Overall, I would consider this resolution accomplished.

2) Follow our routine to include educational activities, arts/crafts time and outside time every day, especially days without structured activities like school or play dates.

This became extremely important at the end of May when school ended for the summer. It also became a little complicated because we had vacations, illness, day trips and intermittent activities (like swim lessons) throw into the mix and while I admit to originally envisioning an updated version of my schedule chart I had for Jake back in the day, the kids generally know what order to expect things to come in. And we have definitely been doing a lot of fun activities while at home - play-doh, finger painting, coloring with both crayons and markers, reading books, completing hidden picture puzzles together, singing and dancing to Kindermusik CDs, playing Candyland and Chutes and Ladders. Jake has been learning how to write his letters and is picking it up at an amazing pace. Jadyn is fascinated with trying to draw shapes and she loves the Play-Doh. I would also consider this resolution to be accomplished and think once our fall schedule begins, things will fall even further into place.

3) Work on having both kids fall asleep on their own in their own beds at a reasonable bedtime.

Again, not to make excuses, but we have had a lot of events that would hinder accomplishing this task and we still have the rare day when the kids are so off schedule we just take them both to our bed and we all fall asleep together, but this is rare. Considering it does not even start to get dark until 8pm, and is usually too hot to play outside until after dinner, I would consider a summer bedtime of 9pm to be reasonable. Honestly, most nights it is closer to 9:30, sometimes pushing 10pm but generally speaking they both start the night off in their bed. Jake still requires that you lay down with him but he is getting much better and sleeping longer stretches before wandering into our room. Jadyn is very hit and miss. Some nights she won't fall asleep without us in the room, other nights she is fine to be left alone. I would say about 50% of the time she sleeps the whole night in her room, while the other 50% she cries to come to bed with us around 2am. It seems to go in spurts. I did not, like I originally planned, start sleep training them once school got out. Again we have had a lot of disruptions. So while I can not check this resolution off on my list, at least we have made some improvements.

4) Work on weaning Jadyn off the pacifier.

I did not have a clear idea of how quickly I wanted to wean Jadyn off the pacifier at the time I wrote these resolutions. I just knew that there had been a time when she basically only used the paci for sleep and long car rides and it had since become far to easy to just give her the paci whenever she was whining. That has stopped. For Jadyn, the pacifier is very out of sight, out of mind. So, we started having her put it under her pillow before getting out of bed and then putting it up. I can happily report that she NEVER asks for it during the day unless she is getting ready to take a nap or go to bed at night. I have even been trying to limit it in the car unless she is due to sleep BUT having said that, I am a very easily distracted driver so if she is whining a lot and specifically asking for it AND we are going to be in the car for more than 10-15 minutes, I give it to her. I would like to see her give her pacifiers to the binky fairy as soon as I feel she would really be able to comprehend what I am asking of her. I am thinking maybe at 2 1/2 unless she shows sure fire signs of being ready sooner. Since her paci use is so limited now and her speech is fine, I am not going to worry about this one for now. Resolution accomplished.

5) Reread 1-2-3 Magic and consistently apply to both kids for discipline.

I did re-read this book and cannot recommend it enough. I read it thinking specifically how I could apply it to Jadyn (since Jake was 3 when I originally read it for him) and how I could tweak my use of the techniques to combat Jake's bouts with attitude (and can I say how surprised I am at how much attitude can come from a 4-year-old, LOL!) and sibling squabbling. We have seen a difference both in the kids behavior and in our patience level since we have a plan of attack when they act up. And the reality is they are both pretty well-behaved kids. This resolution is accomplished.

6) After a morning cartoon while I shower, the TV is off for a majority of the day. Jake has his video game time during Jadyn's afternoon nap and Joe and I can watch our shows after the kids are in bed. After all, that's what TiVo is for. LOL!

My blog does not allow for detrimental comments about my beloved so I shall tread lightly on this subject. Suffice to say, that 98% of the time, I have definitely been following this one. Some days the kids do not even watch a cartoon in the morning and although they have been watching Letter Factory daily, that is often their only TV. Most days, the TV is turned to music until Joe gets home from work (except for Jake's video game time during Jadyn's nap). I only watch my shows late at night after the kids are in bed. That is not to say I don't have the occasional emergency, where in an effort to get a file completed I allow back-to-back episodes of Thomas or Diego but it is the exception and not the rule. And in all honestly, Joe has been really good about keeping it on music when he is not actually watching TV. So that is progress. I guess I can consider this resolution accomplished.

These resolutions are still a work in progress. All of them can still be improved upon or at the very least take effort to keep up. It has been very helpful to know that I am accountable not only to myself and my family but that at some point, I was going to want to blog about it. With Fall activities resuming this week, I would like to add a few new resolutions. I am not much of a "new year resolution" type of person but there is something about Back to School time that puts me in the mood to form new habits. Most of these resolutions are less mother related and more personal and most relate to organization.

1) Start potty training Jadyn. Did I mention she went pee-pee on the potty last week? She just needs some consistency on my part and I think she will get the idea pretty quickly. I should have done this over the summer but I didn't so I will have to do my best considering we will be running around to activities a little more.

2) Strengthen the kids daily routine. I have already updated the typed out schedule for the kids with pictures to keep them in the loop. I LOVE making lists. Now I just need to stick to them.

3) Meal planning. Again I updated our master grocery list and created a 2 week dinner menu. Now I just have to stick to it.

4) Cleaning. I updated my cleaning schedule to mesh well with my work schedule and the kids schedule so if I stick to it, I should never feel overwhelmed by the state of the house or need to clean the house top to bottom in one day.

5) Work on educational time with Jadyn (since she is not doing YMCA), craft time for both kids on non-school days and continue working with Jake on his budding reading skills (again probably concentrating on non-school days).

6) Start exercising more regularly. The heat is starting to die down so no excuse not to take the kids to the park and walk. It is built into our routine for Tues/Thurs mornings. On alternating days I would like to do the WiiFit and then walk either by myself or with the family once on the weekend.

7) Complete end-of-the-month tasks to include going over the budget, uploading pictures to a third party site, ordering said pictures and backing up my blog. Gotta preserve those memories!

Okay it is time to end this marathon post but I will keep you udpated on my progress and appreciate the support. Happy Back to School (I love this time of year so much I feel like it should be a national holiday! I am weird or what?)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Out With a Bang

I know that summer is not technically over until September 22nd and believe me when I say that here in the desert it does even start to cool off until October. However, with school and other activities resuming next week, our family still had one last mini-trip to make. And it has been so busy with work and back to school preparations (not to mention the kids both coming down with colds) that I am only now getting the chance to recap LAST weekend.

It started off on Friday with Jake's T-ball ceremony. Then on Saturday we headed to see Joe's family so we could all go to a Rancho Cucamonga Quakes game. They are a high A class minor league baseball team and a farm team for the Anaheim Angels. We had heard that the minor league games can be more fun for the kids than major league games because they have more activities and you are closer to the action. This turned out to be true. The kids had a blast! Jake was quite taken with watching the game up close and Jadyn fell in love with the Quakes mascot, Tremor:

Here is a picture of the action:

And here are the kids and I enjoying the game:

On Sunday, we packed up and headed out to the river. It's hard to believe that this is the first time we took the boat out all summer. Having said that though, I think you will hear about us going more frequently come next spring because now that the kids are older it is SO much easier and they enjoyed it SO much more. Jake of course not liking loud noises, plugged his ears when we were on the boat but he did not complain about the wind and although Jadyn did not particularly enjoy the boat ride, she buried herself in my chest and was comfortable. So comfortable in fact, that when we rode all the way up to Laughlin, she fell asleep. That's right, she fell asleep despite the winds whipping through us and the large hum of the jet motor. I couldn't believe it. Once beached, the kids swam around with their life jackets on and threw pebbles in the water. Even better, our hotel was right on the water and had it's own pool, which we took advantage of multiple times when not on the river.

View from our room of the pool and river beyond:

Playing on the beach:

Swimming in the river:

Plugging his ears on the boat:

Kicking back on the boat:

Time flies when you are having fun and we have certainly had our share this summer. It seems like it was only yesterday that I was planning all the kids Fall activities, something that seemed so far into the future. Now here we are preparing for Jake to go back to school on Wednesday. And our niece Madison will start kindergarten on Monday. That just blows my mind. It seems not so long ago that her and Jake were rolling around on a blanket together learning how to crawl. Like I said, time flies when you are having fun.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mister T-Ball

As I had mentioned in a previous post, Jake took part in a baseball summer training camp in Joshua Tree where he attends preschool. Jake has always had an affinity for baseball; both watching the game on TV with Daddy and playing it. In fact, we got him his first little t-ball set for his second birthday and within 2 weeks, Joe was pitching it to him sans the t-ball stand. The leagues out here don't let them start t-ball until age 5 so I thought we were going to have to wait another year when I found out about this training league for ages 4-6. It was perfect introduction for him and it is obvious Jake will be playing sports for years to come.

Watching this age group learn and play the game is immensely entertaining. The first time they ran the bases, Jake's eyes lit up like a Christmas tree and then in an effort to win the race, he started cutting corners and completely missing the bases. When they were in the field Jake and another little guy would run to wherever the ball was hit and tackle each other. It did not matter if Jake was playing third base and the ball was hit into right field - he went after it. Once when he was supposed to be running the bases after a single, he actually stopped running and tried to field the ball. And every time he made it home, Jake made it a point to slide into home base, even though they a) were not keeping score and b) were technically not supposed to slide. But the best part was watching Jake bat. His coach would help him perfect his stance and hold on the bat and then run quickly out of the way because as soon as he was given the green light, Jake would whack the ball as hard as he could. He even hit what was considered a home run once, smashing the ball into the outfield. I was of course, quite the proud parent. Who wouldn't be?

Here some pics of Jake's team and Jake in action:

The season concluded on Friday with an awards ceremony in which Jake was presented with his first trophy. He was so excited. He has been asking for a trophy for months since he watches the drivers being awarded their trophy at the conclusion of every Nascar race. When it was Jake's turn to come up to the podium, Coach Jessica described Jake as "Mister T-ball, always ready to go and always had a smile on his face".

And here is the video of him hitting a homerun. (Note: if you subscribe to my blog, you will have to visit the actual blog to be able to view the following video.)

Next up: Soccer.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Decade of Marriage

Ten years ago today I did not know what the future held, but I knew I wanted Joe to be a part of it. And so I stood in front of the pastor, in front of family and friends and said, "I do". I remember it clearly - racing up the tiny hill, pulling my brother (who was walking me down the aisle) along with me and everyone smiling, some sort of laughing as a) I did not like all the attention on me and b) I simply could not wait to be beside my groom.

And as some may not know the story and someday the kids might be kind of interested, I thought I would share the story of how Joe and I came to be a couple.

I cannot really say exactly when we met because truth be told, I do not know. Was it elementary, Jr High or high school when my brother would have first brought one of his best friends home to hang out? I just know that at the time and through all the years of school, he was nothing more than one of my brother's geeky friends.

Fate would change when after high school Joe sprained his ankle, rendering him unable to join the Marine Corps reserves as planned. Joe then signed up for some classes at the community college and took a job as a cashier at a video store. The same video store where I happened to work as the manager. It was here that we became friends in our own right - aside from the fact that he was one of my brother's best friends. I was attracted to him from very early on but I was not in a good place at the time. I was not ready for the kind of relationship I knew I would want with him and so not knowing whether he felt the same, we continued to become friends, hanging out with our circle of friends outside of work, flirting with each other when we worked shifts together. We both dated other people during this time. And here is the fun part of the story.

Joe was getting ready to leave the video store for another job but during his time there, he had been promoted to crew leader. He was dating one of the cashier's from the store, something that according to policy was not allowed. He had a little too much to drink at the company Christmas party and it became obvious to the powers that be that he was involved with the girl. The owner then came to me as the manager and asked me to let Joe go early. Later on this turned out to be a big joke because he will tell people I fired him due to my uncontrolled jealousy.

It would be about 5 months after that Christmas party that Joe and I would finally admit our mutual feelings toward each other and began dating in April of 1996. And for the record, I made the first move. LOL! It got intense pretty quickly and although our friends (my brother included) never saw it for more than a passing fling, we endured. Two years later, after a rough spot in our relationship, I realized that I could not live without him and he realized that he still very much wanted to be a Marine. We decided to take the journey together, getting engaged before he entered boot camp and marrying only several days after he graduated.

Our journey has taken us places we never imagined. We spent a year in Okinawa Japan, made life-long friends while living in the trailer park at Camp Pendleton just minutes from the ocean and I traveled to Hawaii to greet his ship returning from the war in Iraq. But it was at this point in our marriage, that our lives were altered the most, when Joe gave me something that before meeting him I never even thought I wanted - a family.

And so I look back on the last 10 years, I look at the man I married, the man I still love and to Jake and Jadyn and the family that we created. I never knew what the future held, but if I could have had my wildest dreams realized, I don't think I could have imagined it any better than this.

Happy Anniversary Joe!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I have readded a music playlist to my blog. For those who may not want to listen, I have kept it at the very top of my sidebar so it is easily accessible to pause. I had taken the playlist down awhile back so people could listen to the audio on some video clips I had posted. Music has always been a huge part of my life but I do change what I listen to depending on my current life situation. I have discovered some great new artists (and songs) as well as re-discovered some music I once loved through Stephanie Meyer's playlists for the Twilight Series. I absolutely love how the music inspired her writing and it makes me feel even more connected to the characters and stories that I have been so inexplicably consumed with.

I remember quite distinctly telling everyone that as soon as I finished the fourth and final book of the Twilight Series, my obsession would be over just as quickly as it began. Boy was I wrong.

I really debated posting about this. But in the end I think there is enough of my blog buddies who have or are reading the books that I can probably get away with it. And maybe if I talk about it enough, some of my friends in real life will pick up the books so I can have someone to discuss them with in person. LOL! At any rate, if I am boring you or you have no idea what I am talking about then you can skip this post. I won't be offended.

You know you are obsessed when it starts to creep into your every day life. At the wedding last Friday, Joe saw something in the ocean and made a comment about the Loch Ness monster. I started laughing hysterically. He looked at me like I was crazy. The only response I could muster was, "You wouldn't understand, it's a Twilight thing".

And finally for THOSE who have or are reading the books, I am declaring myself:
I know it seems silly being that I know how the story turns out but after re-reading New Moon and Eclipse, I have a newfound need to remain neutral.

So with that, I return to my every day life. Enjoy the music!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


The chance to celebrate love and marriage abounded for us this weekend as we attended two wedding events. On Friday, one of Joe's co-workers and friends had chosen this very specific date (08/08/08) for his nuptials. And his now wife had her heart set on a gorgeous gazebo setting overlooking the ocean in Laguna. However, not being the only one with this idea in mind necessitated that they have the wedding at a sort of unconventional time - 10am. So we drove up to the in-laws Thursday night to make the trek shorter the following morning and were therefore very conveniently able to have Grandma and Grandpa watch the kids so that Joe and I could celebrate the romantic occasion by ourselves. It is however, only days away from a pretty big celebration of our own. But I think I have mentioned once, twice or maybe more how our TEN YEAR wedding anniversary is fast approaching. I digress.

The wedding was beautiful. The rooftop reception overlooking the beach was quaint and lovely. Here is a couple of pictures of Joe and I. While I normally would not share boring pictures of just us (sans kids), I cannot remember the last time we both got dressed up. I do wish the one at the beach would have turned out better. Such a beautiful setting!

Saturday afternoon we attended a wedding reception for our friend Deanna (whose bachelorette party I had recently attended). She and her now husband Billy had wed in Vegas the weekend before. It was quite a party! The kids had a blast swimming, Jake even jumping off the diving board "all day" as he put it. The most memorable portion of the evening was the tearful toasts and funny ancedotes. I have to retell my favorite and Deanna, if you are reading this I really hope you don't mind but it is so cute!

So Deanna reminds us how much she (as many of us) hate it when Mom is right and her Mom used to say to her, "You are not going to find your husband in a bar" to which Deanna would reply, "Well Mom, it's not like he is going to show up on my doorstep".
So here is the punchline - Deanna and Billy met when he came to install cable in her new place. How is that for irony!

So to Deanna and Billy, we wish you nothing but the best. And here are a few pictures of the kids enjoying themselves in the pool.

Cheers to the happy couples!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

We've Come A Long Way Baby

Awhile ago, Laura C. asked a few of us what it had been like to go from having one child to two. Seeing as how she had twins, she had had two children straight out of the gate and had pondered on the similarities and differences of the two scenarios. This was my response:

I have been screaming to anyone that would listen that having kids 2 years apart is much harder than I expected. My brother and I are 2 years apart, Joe and his sister are 2 years apart. Plenty of people PLAN to have kids 2 years apart so we started trying for baby #2 when Jake was 15 months and got pregnant on the first try.
Our family was prepared in every way possible and it was quite simply the hardest experience of my life. Jake actually adjusted really well, it was me who almost had a mental breakdown. I felt pulled in every which direction - I felt guilty for not having more time for Jake, I resented Jadyn for needing so much from me, then I felt guilty for resenting her. I lashed out at my husband because even though he helped, there was so many things that only Mommy could do (like nurse in the middle of the night) and I resented the fact that he got a break every day when he went to work. I was awkward when I went out with both kids, chasing Jake in a parking lot while carrying Jadyn in an infant seat, tying to change his poopy toddler diaper while holding her because it was the only thing that kept her from crying. LOL! Oh, the memories.
But slowly, it got easier and easier. It was much better at the 6 month mark, even better at the year mark and now at the 2 year mark, I am reaping the rewards of having my kids 2 years apart. They can literally play together and keep each other occupied for hours with very little intervention from me (an occasional diaper change or trip to the potty, a minor toy squabble, asking for a snack, etc). I think the reason people say that it is easy or nice to have kids 2 years apart is because they remember THIS - the nicety of how it now and hopefully will be from now on but they quickly forgot how hard it was in the beginning.

At first, I was ashamed at the way I had felt, like it somehow had made me a failure as a mother. I remember discussing my fears with moms of two or more before having Jadyn and quite a few of them had said that adjustment of having their second child was easier than having their first. What had I done wrong? What was wrong with me?

But then, and I remember this as if it were yesterday, I can recall when Jake was around 3 years old and Jadyn’s first birthday was just around the corner. I had gone to see the lactation consultant (a goddess in her own right) on base, just to say hello because she had played such an important role in the kids’ early lives. My visit coincided with her weekly breastfeeding moms group so the room was filled with new moms and their babies. One mom in particular seemed sort of awkward as she attempted to nurse her newborn son while fishing a snack for her whiny toddler out of a diaper bag. We started chatting, realizing the age difference between our kids were the same, only mine were now a year older than both hers. She looked at me with a sigh and said, “How did you do it?”

I replied with brutal honesty as I had above about how hard the first 6 months were and shared my feelings of guilt. At some point during my little speech I glanced over and realized that she was crying, tears streaming down her face. When I finished speaking, she was so overcome with emotion that she could barely speak and although I was of notable distance from her in the circle of women she simply whispered, “Thank you”.

It was at that moment that I stopped being ashamed because I realized that by not being honest about my experience, whether it was with myself, my best friend or a perfect stranger, I was only committing a grave disservice. While some adjust just fine, I was not alone in my experience. And the best way for me to help those who are or are about to go through that experience, the best gift I can give them is to let them know that they are not alone and that it will get better.

Now, when I think back to when Jadyn was first born, I think only of how much I loved her, how much Joe and Jake immediately loved her and wanted to protect her. I think of how much she completed our family. I barely remember the struggles, the sleepless nights, the constant feeling of being pulled in 20 different directions. It all seems so distant now. It actually seems insignificant. I could see myself accidentally misrepresenting those first months, simply because of all the benefits I reap now. But I will continue to push those struggles to the forefront of my memory, because it is the honest truth and I know that by speaking it, I can assuage the fears of other second-time moms who are now in my exact same shoes. And I know that like me, no matter how hard it might get, they would not trade being a mom to their kids for anything in the world.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Month End Report: July

To pay homage to the roots in which this blog was created, I thought I would add a monthly summary of what the kids and our family have been doing, more similar to the monthly updates I would provide on the kids websites. Here ya go!

Jake: For some reason, Jake always has this learning explosion that occurs every summer. It was the summer after his second birthday that he finally started singing his ABCs, it was the summer after his third birthday that he really started talking in sentences and this summer has been no exception. With the help of Letter Factory and Hooked on Phonics, Jake is now learning to sound out words and recognize them and he can write all the letters of the alphabet as well. He has been obsessed with coloring, drawing and practicing his letters all summer. It is truly amazing - not only that he can do it but that he shows such a love for it.

As I had mentioned briefly, Jake is playing a summer t-ball training league and is really enjoying himself. He is working very hard to improve his throwing and catching skills, but when he is up to bat - everyone better look out cuz he can knock them out of the park. Then he beams from ear to ear as he runs the bases (although he often cheats by cutting corners, LOL!)

Here is a pic of him at first base after hitting a single (I promise to take and share more pics of him playing t-ball at a later date):

I also signed Jake up for an additional session of swim lessons, since he missed quite a few days when he got sick in June. He is now in the next class up and can almost swim completely on his own, definitely with a life jacket on. He has also FINALLY gotten over his fear of jumping off the diving board (something I am frankly still afraid to do).

Jadyn: This is such a fun age to continue to watch her little personality emerge. She still is quite taken with her stuffed animals, baby dolls and little people. The other day, Joe caught her putting a couple of little people in time-out. She also loves to "cook" elaborate meals for everyone with her kitchen and accessories and puts all her babies to sleep. Taking a cue from Jake, Jadyn has also been learning her letters and astonishingly, her letter sounds as well. Since the YMCA let out in May, she has mastered her shapes, and colors (save for black and white maybe). She also has been very interested in coloring and drawing, especially stars. She is obsessed with stars. If I hear Twinkle Twinkle one more time. No wait actually it is so cute I almost never get sick of it. She also continues to play dress up - not actually the clothing part but she loves accessorizing; sunglasses, hats, purses, necklaces, bracelets, shoes. She always looks so cute with the combos she comes up with:
I just wish she would get over her newly acquired aversion to dresses. Every time I try to get her to wear one, she cries, "No dress, I want shirt!" She did however wear a dress to a birthday party Saturday. The trick? Mommy wore a dress too!

Last summer, my friend Jen decided that Jadyn would become an Olympic swimmer after seeing her take to the water like a fish during swim lessons. Now I believe that she will compete in the Olympics someday, but I am convinced it will be in track and field events. Jadyn loves to run. She will actually ask to go outside, just because she wants to run. She runs up and down the sidewalk on the side of our house and demands that we start her off with a "Ready, set go!". She gets in position and places her arms like she is a superhero ready to make a mad dash, her grin spreading from ear to ear as she yells, "ZOOOMMMMMMMM".

The family/The events: As you all know, July was a busy month. We spent the 4th of July with my family, celebrated birthdays with Joe's family the following day. I went to Palm Desert for Deanna's bachelorette party and then took the kids to visit my old friend Marilyn. We finally got to go to an Angels game and spend the weekdays busy with play dates, t-ball and swimming (whether in the pool or our yard during a summer rain). I got myself hooked on a new series of books and we all got in on the action of our new WiiFit.

Here are the kids enjoying a summer rain storm:

Somewhere in there, we encountered another first that I had not found the opportunity to blog about: I took the kids bowling with our play group. It was really fun and both kids seemed to enjoy it.

So with July behind us (where did the time go?) and August promising to be just as busy (t-ball, weddings, river trip, school starting), I am confident that there will be plenty of blogging material, both for the kids and myself. Until then, I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and finding ways to stay cool.