Monday, January 26, 2009

Doodle Bugs

The kids are not much into coloring whole pictures from coloring books but they both love to draw. When it is not designated craft/coloring time, they usual like to doodle on their DoodlePros. This where Jake wrote his first word and since you can not keep the picture, the best thing you can do is take a picture of it. Therefore, when Jadyn came up to me and proudly exclaimed that she had drawn a bee, that is exactly what I did. Here is the result:

Of course, then Jake wanted his picture taken with one of the many race tracks he had drawn on his Doodle Pro so here are the kids posing together:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Warm Winter Weather

I don't know how this is going to go over with all my friends and family across the country who are in single digit temperatures and/or buried in snow but although we do get winter weather (remember the snow in December?), we also tend to be blessed with some warm weather spells, most notably occurring occasionally throughout January and February. This last week was one of those spells, so the kids and I spent lots of time outside enjoying sunny skies and temperatures in the 70's. The one day they even requested I fill up on the water table! I haven't been taking a lot of pictures lately but here are a few from one particular fun day outside:

With the water table:

Popping bubbles from the bubble machine:

Jadyn swinging(I think I had mentioned that both kids are in big kid swings now. Of course, they still need to be pushed but Jake has almost learned to swing himself):

And before you get too envious of our weather. It is starting to cool down and we have rain in the forecast, which is all the more reason why I am glad we took advantage of the warm weather as much as possible before it ended.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Getting into the Groove

Even though I have not been posting lately, I have been trying to keep up with everyone else's blogs. I seem to notice a trend emerging as we all struggle to get back into our routines. It is easy to find yourself in a funk as you emerge from the holidays and find yourself back to the everyday. It also means that there is less to blog about.

We have been pretty busy around here. Last week Jake started back up at school, we found ourselves traveling down the hill to visit the dentist and we welcomed back friends who we had not seen in quite some time. Saturday I went to the movies with my girlfriends to see "Four Christmases", which was very cute by the way. Tuesday we trekked all the way to ULCA for a second opinion on the cause of my droopy eyelid and yesterday I hosted a pajama party playdate for our group at the house. Yes, we have been very busy.

So the conclusion for my health is that the droopy eyelid has no neurologic or systemic cause. This is good news. The bad news is I may never know what caused the muscle to get stretched out, but it was most likely caused by an inflammatory process, either when I started getting allergies two seasons ago or this year when I had the conjunctivitis and then had a reaction to the eye drops prescribed to treat it. Now the choice is up to me whether to pursue surgical correction or not and honestly, the thought of having an elective procedure done to my eye is very daunting. I feel aesthetically speaking, it does not look that bad. Most people do not notice it until I mention it and I think I have come to terms with it.

On the other hand the neurologist who is treating me for my migraines convinced me that since my anxiety has not completely abated, the next best course of action is to try me on a course of anti-depressants. They are known to stabilize the serotonin levels and decrease the frequency of migraines and hopefully help with the anxiety too. So far, the side effects have been fairly unpleasant - I seem to waiver between being extremely tired or nervous and jittery but I am trying to give my body a chance to adjust and really hope that it will work out to be helpful in the end. I just really want to feel healthy again.

And on that note, I have forced myself to stick to my exercise program. I am not pushing myself, but I have to admit to feeling much more relaxed and energized after a good 30-40 minutes on the treadmill. I am also very proud of myself for continuing this program, even though I have not been feeling that great. The kids jump around in the bounce house while I am on the treadmill and then they stretch with me afterwards, which is pretty cute and quite a sight to behold.

Ever since mid-December when Joe was in South Carolina, I have been having the kids fall asleep in their own beds by themselves. It was much easier than I thought it would be as I explained that week since Daddy was gone that I could not lay down with both of them so I was not going to lay down with either of them. Now every night, they go to bed on their own, although they have become the master of stall tactics, whether they need to go potty, need a drink of water or have something on their bed that is tickling them. But the good news is that they are falling asleep on their own and starting the night off in their own bed. Jake still wanders into our bed somewhere between 2-4 hours after he falls asleep. Jadyn is more sporadic, sometimes making it the whole night in her own bed, while other nights she cries to come into our bed as early as 2 a.m. It is a work in progress but at least there has been progress.

And speaking of going potty, Jadyn's potty training is continuing and is going quite well. With little prompting she can stay dry a majority of the time when we are home and she is starting to ease into using public restrooms while we are out. She is still not going "stinky" in the toilet on a regular basis but she has on occasion and I feel that if we remain consistent it will not be long before she is fully trained. I am so excited and hope we do not run into any setbacks.

Jake's newest obsession is Legos. It started when Joe and him started playing Legos Star Wars on the Xbox and he would then make spaceships out of the Legos he has, but now is fascinated by them and of course he wants the super tiny real Legos. He seems to have outgrown the MegaBlocks and Duplos. I don't quite understand why the small original Legos are so much better but I love to see Jake immerse himself in coming up with unique creations or following directions to build such things as helicopters and houses. He really does have quite an imagination.

So that is the gist of what has been going on with the Funny Noses. We are getting into the groove after winter break and have many fun activities planned for the upcoming months. Thank goodness, because I need fresh blogging material. Of course, with all the fun and cute things the kids do on a daily basis, I could probably never leave the house and still have plenty to write about!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Why the Dentist said Quack Quack

On Tuesday after canceling their last two appointments (one due to illness and the other due to snow) the kids finally went to see the dentist for the first time.

The visit went pretty much exactly as I expected. Jake, although clearly nervous, followed directions very well. They were able to clean his teeth, take x-rays and have the dentist exam him During the time in between he was able to gallivant around the treatment room playing video games, Legos or any other numerous activities meant to help a child forget where they actually were. Jadyn was not as cooperative. Of course, in her defense she is only two but even sitting on top of me in the dentist chair she explained to the nice hygienist that she did not need her teeth cleaned. She had brushed them that morning. The dentist was able to look in her mouth, although she cried the whole time, I think we were at least able to make it from being traumatic and it will be good practice for next year's visit.

The verdict was that both the kids teeth looked really good. No cavities for Jake. His big boy teeth are crowed and crooked but the dentist said of course it would be too premature to worry about that. Jadyn's bite is off. I have been advised to make sure she no longer has the pacifier by the time she is 3 and the dentist offered tricks for making this happen. That was my goal anyway and she is slowly depending on it less and less. Overall, it was a pleasant experience considering it was the dentist. The kids left with new toothbrushes, floss, cups and toys handpicked from the treasure chest. Jake tells everyone new he sees how brave he was and I don't blame him for being proud. Then Jadyn chimes in and acts like she loved the experience too and tells you how she got her teeth cleaned. I guess I can blame her for trying to embellish. If that's how she wants to remember it, all the better for next time right?

As a reward for spending the morning at the dentist, the kids and I hopped over to Civic Center Park in Palm Desert, where as I have mentioned before they have a beautiful lake with ducks. This time we were prepared and so with bread in tow, we set out to feed the ducks. The kids really enjoyed themselves and even posed for some pictures. It was a very nice way to complete the day. Of course that was until it was time to leave when a huge white duck became thoroughly convinced that we still had food and started following us. As I tried to take a picture of him, Jadyn approached the duck and before I could warn her, it was too late. The duck had nipped her hand thinking she had food. Luckily she was not hurt, only very scared and all to eager to add it to her list of stories to tell with her dramatic flair.

Feeding the ducks:

Jadyn kept trying to get the bread pieces to this big guy. She was pretty excited when she finally succeeded:

Posing on the rock:

Right before getting nipped at:

So why did the dentist say quack quack? In an attempt to get Jadyn to cooperate upon learning we were planning to feed the ducks after our visit. It didn't work but at least he tried.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Coming and Going

There is one thing I really dislike about the military and now still living in a military community and that is having to constantly say good-bye to friends. Most people will come out here as part of the military and generally speaking will be stationed here for 3 years. I have been somewhat lucky in that the last really good friend I had leave was back in July 07 (my definition of a good friend would be somebody I stay in contact with after they have moved away). However, both Kimberly and Michaela will be leaving in the next 6 months or so and this makes me incredibly sad. I already don't make friends easily. It takes me a while to warm up to people and vice-versa and frankly, I am pretty picky about who I let myself get close to. Then when you add husbands, kids and busy lives, it's just plain hard.

It didn't used to seem to be that difficult. When we were in Okinawa Japan for a year at Joe's first duty station, we bonded with the people around us fairly quickly. For most of us this was such a new and unique experience and we were not only away from family but in a foreign country. We spent a lot of time together including holidays and we made some really good friends there.

But another thing you learn about the military, and particularly with the Marine Corps is that it is a small world and there is a good chance that down the line you will run into a lot of the same people. Since being here in 29 Palms we have had the good fortune of having two of our friends from Okinawa come here for extended training and in both cases we immediately fell back into being the best of friends. Scottie was one of those friends and he is not only close to Joe and I, but has always been a favorite of our rotty Utah, as well as someone Jake took an immediate liking to when he was still very ill at ease around others. We consider Scottie, although a grown adult, to be one of Jake's first friends. Here are some pics of there time together when Jake was between 12 and 18 months old:

Here is Scottie teaching Jake how to kick back and drink beer:

We even managed to make him an Angels fan while he was here (and yes he is actually going to kill me for posting this picture. All I have to say is that he VERY lucky the pictures I have of our time in Okinawa were not digital):

Here are the guys during our annual October trip to the beach at Pendleton:

And saying good-bye, happy birthday and Merry Christmas with Scottie before he moved on to his next duty station. The celebration was complete with a Blue Clues cake, which was a favorite past time that Jake and Scottie shared together (that was until later when a devasted Scottie found out that Blue is actually a female):

Saying good-bye is hard but it is with great pleasure that I announce that Scottie has once again returned to 29 Palms, only this time he is here for 3 years and this time he comes happily married to the love of his life Ali and we could not happier for them or for us. Because friends like this are hard to find.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ringing in the New Year

We had a very nice New Year's Eve gathering with a few friends at the house. Even with Jake's newly discovered ear infection, he seemed to forget his pain fairly quickly after our friends arrived, including 4 children between the ages of 2 1/2 and 5 years old. Joe grilled up his world famous fajitas while the kids jumped in the bounce house. Later, we held a mock New Year for the kids when the ball dropped in New York (9pm here in Cali) so they could celebrate with party hats, horns, streamers and poppers. We then settled them all into bed to watch a movie while the men played video games and the women had a little gab fest. All of the adults made it to midnight, although we were having such a nice evening, we lost track of time and missed the clock striking midnight. I guess it just goes to show that the evening was a success because time flies when you are having fun!

The older 4 kids posing in the bounce house:

Celebrating New Year's early with the kids:

Jadyn and Daddy releasing streamers:

Mommy and Jake:

Me and the girls (Michaela and Kimberly are the ones I frequently enjoy girls night with as I have mentioned before):

All tucked into bed. Kimberly said they looked like the "Whos" from Whoville:

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year, New Developments

Even with my recent epic posts about both Jake and Jadyn, I have breaking news on both of them.

1) Jake has his first ear infection of the season. Urgh! Poor guy. He woke up Tuesday in the middle of the night whining and complaining that his right ear hurt. It was pretty on par being that he had such a bad cold the week prior. So we woke bright and early the next day to make the ped's walk-in hours and as the doctor was looking in his ear he said something to the affect of "Ew, Ouch, He hasn't mentioned anything before last night?" Apparently, it was a pretty bad infection and his eardrum was bulging. In fact, for the first time we have been advised not to drive him out of the area because the pressure change could cause it to burst, which it might anyway. The doctor assured me that this would not be dangerous, just open him up to further infection and then of course since Jake is allergic to penicillin he has to take Azithromycin, which gives him tummy troubles. Double urgh! As we left the doctor's office, tears formed in my eyes and I asked Jake to please let me know sooner next time one of his ears start to hurt. I felt so bad. The funny thing was that his only concern was whether his friends were still coming over for the New Year's party, which thankfully they were able to to. It really seemed to lift his spirits and he is as of now, on the mend.

2) I *think* Jadyn is potty training. For the last couple of weeks she has been asking to go potty. Trying to be encouraging, we of course oblige but more often than not she does not actually go. We tried putting her in underwear, asking her every 20 minutes or so and thought maybe after a few accidents she might start to get the idea but it did not really seem to be working. However, over the last couple of days, she has been asking to go with a little more success. I broke down and bought the "feel and learn" pull-ups, which I wasn't going to bother with (per some expert mommys who swear they are useless) but my reasoning is this: She can pull them on and off when she asks to go but I don't have to clean up puddles of pee all over the house. For now we are taking it slow, continuing to encourage her and hoping for the best.

As part of her potty training, we are rewarding her with a few M&Ms. Well one day recently she REALLY wanted some M&Ms but she did not have to go to the bathroom. She was in her birthday suit waiting for bath time when I was suddenly called back into the bathroom. She had been successful after all. So after I clapped and praised her to no end and sent her off to retrieve some candy from Daddy I began the task of emptying her potty, only I noticed that the liquid was unusually clear. I bent over to smell it and found it to be odorless. After asking Joe for a second opinion and upon further questioning from Jadyn, it turns out she had found some left over water in the bath and poured it into her potty. Apparently, she REALLY wanted those M&Ms. What a little stinker! We will be watching her a little more closely from now on.

If anyone has any tips or advice about the potty training, I would be open to suggestions. Jake did not PT until after the age of 3 1/2 due a fear of the toilet and between Jadyn's younger age, being a girl AND it being necessary for us to leave the house more often, I feel like a first time mother trying to figure out logistics. It would be nice to have a diaper-less house soon however.

Hope everyone is enjoying the New Year and stay tuned: I have a few pics to share of the little gathering we had to celebrate the event.