Saturday, September 27, 2008

Silver and Gold

On Sunday, we set off on yet another day trip out of town, this time to none other than Sin City. The drive was made for a very good cause. Our old friends John and Cyndi whom we met when both newly married and newly assimulated into the Marine Corps were vacationing in Vegas from Florida celebrating both their 10 year anniversary and both of their 30th birthdays. These are each huge milestones in and of themselves but quite monumental when combined.

John and Cyndi were our neighbors at not one, not two but three locations while in the military. First in 29 Palms when we both lived in "Ghetto Palms" as it was so aptly nicknamed. Then again in Oceanside we had apartments in the same complex while Joe was sent to Okinawa. Of course we all know I ended up going to Japan with him but 7 months later when we both returned, John and Cyndi were one house down from us at the trailer park at Pendleton. It was here that along with a few other couples, we made the best friends we ever had, having the time of our lives and on one particularly drunken evening, received the honorary name that I appointed to my blog, "The Funny Noses".

It's funny when you part ways with friends like John and Cyndi. Of course we have always kept in touch via phone and Internet and they came to see us once before when they were in Cali for a wedding. But after not being together for the better part of the last 5 years, it is amazing how easily you just fall right back into the friendship when reunited. Sunday we had a blast reminiscing about old times, catching up with what has changed in our lives over the last 10 years and just generally having a nice time. We spent a majority of the day in their hotel suite but we did venture out to catch the dancing water show at the Bellagio and saw the gorgeous Fall display in the hotel's arboretum. We also ate a wonderful meal at Diablo in the Monte Carlo where they were staying.

The kids were troopers finding various ways to entertain themselves while we were caught up in conversation, taking in the sights at the Bellagio and even taking a dip in the jacuzzi tub overlooking the strip inside John and Cyndi's suite.

The bad part about a visit like this one is that it is always too short and it makes one sad that we live on opposite coasts. Our lives had so many parallels from marriage, military, moves, kids, pets, deployments to Iraq. We shared so many bonding moments through our time together it is not surprising that we have been hard pressed to make friends that we are as close to as we were and are with John and Cyndi. And so I am reminded of an old girl scout saying (and no I was never actually in the girl scouts) but it goes, "Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and one is gold." For us, John and Cyndi are both silver and gold.

Here is a picture of Cyndi and I in front of one of the fountains at the Monte Carlo:

And Joe and the kids waiting for the water show to start at the Bellagio:

Inside the arboritum, the display for fall was really cool:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Funny Nose Knows

#22 The meaning of the word contradiction.

Jake had long ago decided to be a race car driver for Halloween but we are still at an impasse with Jadyn. She is still deep in her dress aversion and yet every time I ask her what she wants to be for Halloween she says a princess. When I gently remind her that princesses wear dresses she says she does not want to wear a dress. Hmmm. Someone suggested Jasmine from Aladdin who is a princess but does not wear a dress. However, I have yet to find a Jasmine costume I like and I don't sew. So we are still at an impasse.

#23 How to butter mommy up.

The other day I was reading both kids a bedtime story, after which it was time to lie down for bed. Joe usually puts Jake to bed while I put Jadyn down. Well Jake informed me that tonight he wanted to lay down with Mommy to which I reminded him that he normally lays down with Daddy and that Jadyn needed me.

When I then asked him why he wanted me to put him to bed on this particular night his response just melted my heart, "Cuz your so pretty mommy" as he reached out to give me a big hug and gave me a sly unsure grin.

Of course, this worked like a charm and he got his wish. We switched for the night so I could put my lil guy to bed. He may not be clingy and shy like he once was, but he is still a Mamma's boy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mom&Me Meme

For the first time in a long time I have been short on time and ideas for my blog so I am very thankful that I have been tagged by both Laura C. and London for this Mom&Me meme:

First, post a picture of you and your kid(s):
Nothing too recent with both kids and any good pics I have of me and the kids would have been posted numerously already as they are so rare. So with Fall upon us, how about a trip down memory lane to this picture (pre-blog) of the kids and I shortly before Halloween:

1. How many children do you have?
Two kiddos: Robert Jacob (Jake) and Jadyn Ashley

2. What are their ages?
4 years and 2 years.

3. What time do you start your day?
Roughly between 6:30 and 7am.

4. What do you eat for breakfast?
I am creature of habit: Coffee with low-fat creamer and Splenda and then usually whole wheat toast with peanut butter and a banana.

5. Do your kids watch TV?
Yes – one cartoon in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. They switch favorites between Dora, Diego, Letter Factory and Curious Buddies, occasionally watching Backyardigans and Sponge Bob. We are a Nick Jr. family.

6. What are their favorite activities?
Jake loves his cars but he also loves to complete mazes, color and practice writing his letters. He also loves video games, trains and sports. Jadyn is really into playing mommy to her babies and stuffed animals, making meals in her kitchen and doing whatever big brother is doing. She also likes to color, draw and have books read to her.

7. Do you get a break during the day for some you time?
Yes, usually in the morning I have about 30 minutes before the kids wake up, then again during Jadyn’s nap time and Jake’s quiet time and finally again after the kids are in bed BUT 5 days a week those breaks are usually spent working. The other days I am reading, catching up on TV shows or blogging. I am very fortunate in this department but it took a long time to get to this point.

8. How do you end your day?
See above – either reading, watching TV shows or surfing my favorite sites on the internet.

9. What is your best parenting advice or tip?
I think parenting is all about balance. I am a better and more focused mom because I make time for me to do other things I love. I think it is extremely important to try and have alone time with each child when you have more than one. Children thrive on consistency and routine. This can be harder for stay at home moms who don’t have a set schedule but planning things out to a degree makes a huge difference. Kids behave better and thrive when they know to expect one thing to follow another. You cannot let the kids jump on the couch one day and then tell them it’s not okay the next. LOL!

Tagging people: Hmmm…. Who has not done this yet?


Monday, September 15, 2008

It's Official

It's official: I have been calling myself the epitome of a soccer mom for the last year and half as I shuttled the kids to preschool and their various other activities. Now I can officially claim the title. I am a soccer mom!

Jake had a meet-n-greet with his coach and teammates Saturday as well as a demonstration on how to play the game. He was a little disappointed that they did not get to kick the ball around more but he ran in and out of bounds with a silly grin on his face the whole time. I have little doubt he will love playing soccer just as much as he enjoyed t-ball this summer and I am sure it will be just as entertaining to watch.

It's official: Our children are now destined to become river rats. My proof? These pictures of the kids each driving the boat with Daddy during our day trip on Labor Day. Photos courtesy of Mr. Danielle:



Thursday, September 11, 2008

Weighty Issue

I don't think I ever really went in to many details about the diet/lifestyle change I made this last year. Then again, until recently I had not really spoken too much about personal issues that did not directly involve the kids. I think that change signals a trend, not only in my blog but in my life as well. You see for the longest time I had little time in my life for anything that did not involve the kids. Most of my free time was spent working on the computer or watching an occasional TV show. Now with the kids older and more independent, I find that I have both the time and desire to have more things that are for me. I think it is a natural progression. Ever since I started reading again, it has somehow peaked my interests elsewhere as well, interests that were always there, just a little bit more on the back burner as I immersed myself in motherhood. Now I think I am striking a balance. More time for "me stuff" but still defined, and rightly so first and foremost as the mother of my children. Ah, but I have digressed so far from my point, which is SO insignificant in comparison to the epiphany I just shared.

In October of last year, Jadyn weaned herself at 15 months. I realized that while I was within 5-10 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight after Jake, this time around I was nowhere close. The weight simply had not come off from just nursing, walking and kind of watching what I ate. Now that I was no longer nursing, I could justify a drastic lifestyle change - I chose the South Beach Diet. From October to January (mind you through Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas) I followed the diet religiously and lost 15 pounds. In January, I started to cut myself some slack but still managed to lose an additional 5 pounds. I now consider the diet more of a lifestyle change. I limit sugar and white processed flour in favor of Splenda sweetened coffee and soda and whole wheat pasta, bread and tortillas. However, I also indulge in my favorite breaded chicken and oatmeal cookie ice cream on occasion. I have managed for the most part to keep the weight off. I highly recommend the South Beach approach. The first 2 weeks are hard but after that it is not so bad and I loved that you were never supposed to let yourself be hungry. It was just about making better choices.

I still have not gotten to my point. I just really wanted to share something I was really excited about but I guess I was a little embarrassed to be bragging about myself so I thought I should explain first. Anyway, Tuesday we went shopping and I wanted to get a new pair of jeans for Fall from Old Navy. Last year my jeans ranged from size 10 to 12 so imagine my surprise when the size 8 I tried on were too loose. I needed a size 6. Woo Hoo! That was a happy day.

My next goal is to get into better shape. I am never going to be supermodel thin or have a rocking body. I just want to be at a healthy weight and decent shape for my age. I would love to someday walk at least a half marathon if not a full (I have never been much of a runner) but for now I am just content to revel in my accomplishment.

Maybe I will wear my new jeans to my next girls night in tonight.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Funny Nose Knows

#17 Her Body parts.

Jadyn often dances, shaking herself from side to side and singing, "Wiggle wiggle. Wiggle wiggle". It is really quite cute. Well the other day she was running around the living room and banged her hip up against the coffee table. Starting to cry we asked her what happened to which she responded, "I hurt my wiggle wiggle!". Here she is on the day this happened:

#18 How to be a true Funny Nose:

This was taken with Jake's V-Tech Kidizoom digital camera, which Santa brought for Christmas last year. It takes pictures, video clips and lets you add funny accessories and backgrounds. This is the first time I have actually downloaded any of the pictures. LOL!

#19 How to take advantage of a late summer rainstorm:

#20 How to bounce back from disappointment.

Okay so the host cut Rob off from talking at the VMAs, which incidentally were not in the least bit entertaining to watch. Both True Blood and the new 90210 have proven to be HUGE disappointments (although I will probably hang on to find out who Kelly's baby daddy is. My guess is Dylan.) However can I just say FRINGE, FRINGE, FRINGE!!! Did you watch it? It was freakin amazing. The pilot did not disappoint or fail to thoroughly suck me in. My post high school crush on Joshua Jackson AKA Pacey Whitter came rushing back as he was able to infuse his dry wit into a sci-fi drama that rivals the X-Files. This is definitely the show to be watching this fall.

#21 How to get into the groove.

Our new routine and my new resolutions are going okay. The biggest success has been the dinner menu. The biggest challenge has been the cleaning schedule, since it has come last after the kids activities and my work, which by the way has been more consistent and busy as ever. Did I mention that in addition to transcribing my usual orthopedic doctors, I have now been assigned a urologist? Um, yeah so you can imagine the types of aliments I am typing. Hey, at least it is a change from knee replacements and broken bones.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Day Trippin

When we went to the river last month the kids really enjoyed themselves and we found it much easier to have them out on the water all day. So on a whim, we decided to take the boat out to the river for a day trip on Labor Day (yes I am THAT behind on posts, LOL!) We also invited our friends, the Castillo clan, of whom you have mostly heard and seen pictures of Jake's best friend Adan. A good time was had by all and a few pictures to prove this point:

Here is Jadyn swimming in the water with Daddy:
And Jake and I right before going out on the boat - notice he is plugging his ears:

Jake splashing around in the water:
My absolute FAVORITE. Jake takes such good pics when he is with his little friends. Here is Jake and Adan playing on the shore:
Jadyn "driving" the boat:
Looking like the diva that she is:
This is the best we could get of me with Jadyn:
We are hoping that we might be able to squeeze one more day trip in before it cools down and we are already looking forward to many more trips next spring and summer now that we know the kids are destined to follow in Daddy's footsteps and become river rats. LOL!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fall Entertainment

I gave up my subscription to TV Guide when I had kids but since I have TiVo (and cannot imagine life without it), I still manage to watch my share of TV. And as far as TV Guide is concerned, I still splurge every year to get the fall preview issue and highlight the shows I intend to watch on their schedule grid. I have to say after last year's writer strike left the spring pretty sparse of new episodes, I am really looking forward to some of my shows returning and although I am not allowing myself to get sucked in to tons new shows, there are a few I am most looking forward to checking out. I am also really contented to see that my shows are fairly spread out throughout the week so after getting the kids to bed, I should have ample viewing material every night. And yes I realize that a good majority of the shows I watch are not very intellectually stimulating to put it politely. But I consider TV above any other form of entertainment my guilty pleasure. So here is what I will be watching this Fall.

Mondays - Dancing with the Stars (although not too impressed with the cast this year), Gossip Girl and My Own Worst Enemy (Christian Slater has still got it!). And we cannot forget How I Met your Mother (Joe and I watch that one together).

Tuesdays - Dancing with the Stars results, the new 90210 and Fringe. I am probably more excited about Fringe than anything else. JJ Abrams (Felicity, Alias and Lost) with Joshua Jackson (where have you been?). That is quite a yummy combination! I just hope that Jackson get a chance to put some of that Pacey Whitter charm I love into his new character.

Wednesdays - Private Practice and Lipstick Jungle. Lost will come back mid-season and Joe and I cannot wait.

Thursdays - Grey's Anatomy and ER (last season, boo!)

Fridays/Saturdays - Nada. It's the weekend!

Sunday - Amazing Race, Desperate Housewives (questionable, I am not sure about the new direction it is taking this year) and Brothers and Sisters.

So there you have it folks. I can feel brain cells dying as we speak. LOL! Now as for movies, Joe and I can count the number of times we (or should I say I) have been to the movie theater since having kids on one hand. However, there are a few movies coming out this fall that threaten to exponentially increase that figure starting with the most highly anticipated - the movie version of my new favorite book series of all time TWILIGHT! I am as giddy as a school girl about this one and not ashamed to admit it. I take one look at the trailer and my pulse starts racing as I swoon over Edward Cullen. I have even wrangled two unsuspecting accomplices (who haven't even read the books but I am working on that) to come with me to a midnight showing on November 21st. Looking past that however, have you seen the preview for Burn Before Reading? That looks really good. I love the Coen brothers comic fare and who can pass on a movie with Pitt, Clooney and Malkovich? I also really want to see Body of Lies with Leonardo DiCaprio. I don't think he has ever been in a movie I did not really like - even The Beach. Then of course the kids are already begging us to go to see the sequel to Madagascar.

This weekend we went to our little town's old school drive in to test the waters for future visits. The kids really enjoyed the atmosphere and fell asleep early into the second movie. I can foresee us making more trips in the future. It is something I have fond memories of as a child - watching the first, usually family oriented film and then falling asleep in the hatchback with my brother so my mom and dad could watch a good drama or action flick. It may not be the reclining stadium seating Joe and I got accustomed to in the OC but it's an economical and strategically sound plan to see some of the great movies coming out this fall.

T.V. Overload

We have a busy Sunday planned. Most of it revolves around the T.V.

First of all today is the first Sunday of the regular NFL season. Joe's Redskins already played (and unfortunately lost) Thursday and the Packers are on Monday night. However, I am sure with our NFL Sunday Ticket we can find a good game or two. Maybe we will watch the Jets/Dolphins game, assuming I can bring myself to watch Favre in a Jets jersey. I guess I will have to get used to it because in the end, I am still a cheesehead.


Secondly, weather permitting the stage is being set for the NASCAR Chase for the Cup series in Richmond today. Jake and Joe are Dale Jr. fans but really we would be happy just so long as front runner Kyle Busch does not win.

Thirdly the MTV VMAs are on tonight. Honestly I cannot sit through this entire show but thankfully I have TiVo to forward through the less than desirable segments and numerous commercials. I am just as giddy as a school girl though because the cast of Twilight (Rob Pattison in all his hotness included) are going to be presenting AND I am very curious at to what Britney will do this year.

And finally, since we got HBO free with the Sunday Ticket, I am going to check out their new series True Blood that starts tonight. It is of course about vampires. Maybe I will like it because of Twilight and the Anne Rice series. Or maybe I will hate it for the same reasons. At any rate, I am curious.

I guess I better go get the laundry and other chores done so I can park my rear on the sofa. Everyone needs a good lazy Sunday now and then.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

End of the Month Report: August

Before I can properly recap August, I have to ask where did August go? It seemed like I was just posting the July recap and now here it is time to do a new one!

Jake: Our lil man finished out his t-ball season and was awarded his first trophy. After a few weeks off from summer activities, he went back for his second and final year of preschool. However, the big news continues to be his love for the alphabet. Not only is he very close to being able to read, but he can write all his upper case letters. After seeing how much the kids had learned about letter sounds from Letter Factory, I purchased the next installment called Talking Word Factory and we have sporadically been working on Hooked on Phonics throughout the summer. He can "read" over 20 words now. But imagine my utter surprise when he shows me this on the DoodlePro:

Needless to say, I was pretty impressed.

Jadyn: She is quite the fickle young lady. I call her a contradiction. Joe says it is typical "female" behavior and yes feel free to strangle him for that one. Jadyn continues to refuse to wear dresses except for her super casual summer ones that I have tricked her into by calling them swim cover-ups. However, despite this dress aversion she is suddenly completely infatuated with all things princess related and wants to be a fairy or butterfly for Halloween. Somehow I don't see her putting up with wings and a tutu. LOL!

Jadyn has also surprised me this summer. As a result of watching Letter Factory repeatedly, she can now rattle off all her letter sounds. Here is proof (please note you will need to pause my playlist AND if you subscribe via email, please visit my blog site to view the video):

We kind of tripped over each other at the end there around U, V, W but I decided not to try and re-record the moment since I thought it was cute she sang some of the letters.

Jadyn has also proved to have quite the imagination, granted some of it comes from the adventures of Dora and Diego. The other day she found two baby chicks from a craft we did at a playdate awhile back. She proceeds to introduce me to mommy and daddy chick and explain how they are lost and we need to help them find their home. Then today she started scrapping at the carpet singing, "dig, dig, dig". Then she would scoop up the imaginary dirt and tell me it was too heavy for her to carry. At the river on Monday, she would yell for Daddy to rescue her and hurry because she was in trouble. Today she was running through the house claiming a bear was going to get her. Big brother jumped in and rescued her from that. It really is amazing. Hare are some pics I took of the kids at dinner the other night. I took the picture of Jadyn because I had tried a new hair style on her and thought she looked so grown up. Then Jake insisted I take his picture too. I realized that in the pictures from back to school, you can clearly see they are both still recovering from the colds they had the week before. They look much healthier here:

The family/the events: August was even busier than July! We had the weekend with the two weddings, the weekend where we went to both a minor league baseball game and then the river, not to mention t-ball and school starting. While we had a wonderful summer, we are looking forward to things slowing down as we settle into our fall routine and anticipate somewhat cooler weather ahead. Of course the fall means the county fair and the pumpkin patch so I am sure to have plenty to report in the coming months as well. And who knows what the kids will be doing next. I cannot wait to find out myself.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hot, Hot Hot!

Last week was incredibly hot. The reality is it probably was not any hotter than most of the summer (100 degree temps coupled with some humidity) but since we were running around to school and playdates instead of swim lessons and pool parties, it just seemed hotter. Tuesday, determined to stick to our new routine, the kids and I went to the park so I could walk a few miles. Jake can now ride his bike, which means I could push the umbrella stroller with Jadyn instead of the double stroller with both of them (an entirely different workout, trust me). I decided that due to the heat and the fact that I am out of shape, Jake and I could slowly build back up our endurance. We went a mile and half and then I let the kids play at the park. By 10:30am it was so hot, all I wanted to do was go home and jump in the pool.

Thursday, I woke up and took the trash bins out. It was already blaringly hot and Jake was not even awake yet. I decided there was no way I was going walking, so we decided to go to the splashground park instead - kind of a last hoorah since they close during the week after Labor Day. We went wtih the Castillo Clan (Jake's best friend Adan, his sister Adalia and my close friend Danielle) and the kids had a blast.

And as it turned out, our summer activities were not even close to over yet. So stay tuned to hear about our Labor Day weekend.