Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What's Gonna Work?


And that is exactly the mantra I was singing in my head (from the Wonder Pets for those not familiar) when I took this picture of the kids using the pooper scooper to rid the yard of dog waste last week. It was a team effort:

And they did the entire yard! I am so excited to have my little helpers. One of the phrases I have heard quite often lately is, "I want to help!" Jadyn is very into helping with tasks she sees me engaged in and although it doesn't interest Jake nearly as much, her willingness to help is contagious. They love to help me throw out the recycling, load and unload the dishwasher, sort laundry, dust, cook meals and set the table for dinner. And this leads us to a subject I mentioned in my last post; the subject of money.

Every time we have to spend the day shopping, I reward the kids by allowing them to buy a small toy such a new hot wheel or small toy dog. But recently it has become an issue when they want something bigger or expect something on the occasion we make multiple trips in the same month. SO, while this is obviously geared more towards Jake, I did some research on how to approach and teach preschoolers about money and we have started giving Jake and Jadyn an allowance. They each earn a dollar a day for doing certain chores (as the ones mentioned above) and now when we go shopping, Jake is quickly learning the difference between instant gratification or saving for something he really wants. And despite our reservations, he really seems to get it.

So while I really wanted to blog about my little helpers anyway, I was also hoping this might start a conversation with my fellow bloggers about how they have or plan to approach money issues with their little ones. The books I checked out from the library gave very little advice for children under 5. However, to help those who have a vested interest in teaching their kids how to be money smart, I would recommend both books. The first is Raising Financially Fit Kids by Joline Godfrey and the other is Raising Money Smart Kids by Janet Bodnar. I am also open to suggestions and comments on the subject.

Finally, I have to add that as much as I love both kids eagerness to help out, the reality is that at this age, their "help" usually makes most tasks more difficult and/or time consuming then if I just did it myself. The exception was them picking up the dog poop and I will be more than happy to pass that chore onto them permanently.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Magoomba Monday #3

Oops. I never intended Magoomba Monday to replace an entire week of posts. I just got really really busy with some projects and never found the time to blog last week. But never fear - all is well on the Funny Nose front.

1) Things are very well in fact. Joe is finally home after spending 4 out of the last 5 weeks in North Carolina. And he will be home for awhile, thank goodness.

2) The projects I mentioned - organizing and preparing for both kids birthdays (its just easier to order for both at the same time), spring cleaning, FINALLY ordering photos from the last year and yard work. With Joe gone so much lately, I took on one of his usual tasks and hula-hoed (if that is even a word) and raked 75% of the yard as well as pulled a multitude of weeds along the fence line. Out here in the desert, we may not have a lawn or landscaping but you wouldn't believe how much better the yard looks with no weeds and freshly raked dirt. Now I am sore in places I didn't even know existed.

3) I made a trip to the library to research some subjects that have come up with the kids lately. And when I say kids, I am mostly referring to Jake but obviously his interests and vocabulary rub off on Jadyn. Those subjects include what the words dead and dying mean, religion and giving them a head start on becoming financially savvy. Whew! Can you say heavy? Why do they have to grow up so fast?

4) Despite the emergence of some pretty heavy subjects lately, I am still in love with this stage of parenting. The kids are now old enough to be in our completely fenced front yard riding their bikes, blowing bubbles or drawing racetracks and letters with sidewalk chalk while I watch from the kitchen while preparing dinner. I am just in love with all this outdoor time and warm weather.

5) With our first free Saturday upon us, the Castillo Clan, Scottie and Ali and the kids and I went for a hike up in Joshua Tree. We went to the southern border of the park to check out an area known as Cottonwood where the wildflowers are already blooming. We ran into a problem when we couldn't find the 1 mile loop we were planning on taking and decided to explore a longer trail. In the end, we hiked Mastodon Peak, a trail which totals 3.6 miles and takes you to an elevation of over 3000 feet. While this would be perfectly fine if it was just us adults, it presented certain challenges with 4 children under the age of 5. I have to say however, the kids did awesome, we all enjoyed the hike and on top of seeing wildflowers blooming in oranges, yellows and purples, we also got an amazing view of the Salton Sea. Pictures will be coming soon.

I am going to try my best not to stay away the entire week again. Frankly, there is just too much blogging material to pass up!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Magoomba Monday #2

So I dropped the pile from the name and decided this is how I was going to start off each week; with an assorted variety of happenings from the Funny Noses. Because honestly, I usually have a lot I want to blog about at the start of each week but very little time to do it. This will ensure I don't miss anything important so here it goes......

1) Jake's thumb is doing MUCH better but this last week was very trying on me. We had to endure twice daily dressing changes, which needless to say did not go well but we are finally past the need for dressing and it has healed enough for him to wear a couple of Band-Aids. He seems to do everything he wants/needs to do now that he no longer has his "big thumb" but the poor guy keeps asking me when it is going to heal. I keep telling him it will get better everyday and around the time of his birthday, we should see a decent amount of his nail starting to grow back.

2) I lost my voice! Not completely but since Thursday I have been in and out of varying degrees of hoarseness. It makes yelling (um I mean scolding) the kids quite difficult. LOL!

3) I haven't forgotten that I owe everyone a post on Jake's new language. Still to come.

4) Jadyn has moved on from having an imaginary dog to actually pretending she is a dog. She crawls around the house barking, begging for treats and bones and keeps one of her play bowls next to the dogs real water dish. She yips, barks and pants. I play along. I love that she has such a vivid imagination. I think it is cute.

5) We had another busy weekend with a baby shower and birthday party. Even though I was pretty run down from being sick, we had a good time at both and are happy to have been included in these celebrations.

6) We had quite a wind storm Sunday. Jadyn was looking out the window and literally started crying because she feared for her wildflower bush that grows through the fence. She cried out, "My flowers, my flowers. But I love them and I don't want them to blow away. Then I can't pick them and smell them!" I calmed her down by explaining how strong they were and thankfully they held up to the winds. I will definitely post some pictures with her flowers as well as a few of the photos from last year.

7) For those who even had to wonder, YES I already got my copy of Twilight on DVD. Although I wasn't willing to drag my kids out at midnight to get a copy, a very good friend made sure I had my copy to watch by Saturday night. I must say however, I was really kind of disappointed with the extended and deleted scenes. I thought there would be more.

8) Joe will be home this Sunday. I can't wait to have him back home and hopefully not traveling for a little while. He will have been gone 4 out of the last 5 weeks. That is 4 weeks too many in my opinion and I am ready to have him home.

9) And finally, this Monday was the last Kindermusik class for Jadyn and it was quite bittersweet. Ms. Heather who has been a friend and the kids music teacher for the past 2 years is getting ready to move to Virginia with her family. As of now, she has not found someone to take over the program for her next year. While I hope the program is able to continue, regardless it will not be the same without her. Here is a picture of Jadyn and I with her class today as well as a picture of Jadyn pretending to be a vehicle going through a tunnel.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lucky Me

So what if the kids and I are still getting over a cold virus, Jake is injured, Joe left again for another 2 weeks and I am buried in work? It doesn't change the fact that I still feel incredibly lucky and blessed to have the life I have, to have family and friends whom I adore. And I may not have any Irish in me but Joe does and therefore so do the kids. Besides, what would the Funny Nose blog be without some random pictures of me and the kids in our "matchy match" holiday themed attire?

So without further adieu, here is a St Patty's Day Montage:

2007 when I couldn't get the kids to cooperate together and I was 25 pounds heavier:

2008 sporting a darker green and much chillier weather:

2009 They are growing so fast. And the weather is gorgeous - sunshine and highs hitting 80 degrees. The forecast looks bright:


Monday, March 16, 2009

Jake's on the DL

And baseball season hasn't even officially started yet!

Last night the kids were playing when they thought it would be funny to keep each other out of Mommy and Daddy's room. Things quickly went from funny to frantic when Jake's left thumb got caught between the door and the door jam on the hinge side as Jadyn continued to try and push it closed. Without realizing that Jake was getting hurt, Jadyn got within 2 inches of accomplishing her goal and the end result was an immediate trip to the ER. X-rays revealed a tiny crack at the top of Jake's thumb but the real damage was sustained to his nail, which after some local anesthetic came completely off. The worst part: Having him cry and plead with me as the doctor administered the local. The best part: Seeing him in good spirits and feeling no pain once back at home:

So what's next? Twice daily dressing changes, the first of which did not go so well and a place on the disabled list for the next 3 to 6 weeks. He seems to be taking it all in stride though. When I told him he wasn't going to be able to play baseball for awhile he replied, "But I can still play soccer. I just can't be the goalie because of my big thumb".

Even when he's hurt, he can still put a smile on Mommy's face.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Memorable Kid Quote

Jadyn just informed me that her toy cat pooped spiders out her butt onto my bed and Jadyn then ate them and they tasted like blueberries.

Things that make you go Hmmmmmmm.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Busy Busy Busy!

Last year, I wrote about how we seem to have so many birthdays in our family and circle of friends around the months of March and April. I have linked the post here:

Birthday Season

Well basically birthday season is in full force again this year only it seems to have started even earlier with the big hoopla I made over my birthday in late February. As well, with this being Ali's first time living in California and Joe traveling so much lately, the kids and I have been doing all kinds of fun things to show her around. When you add up all these outings you get one very busy family! So here are some random pics and explanations from some of the memorable outings we have been on lately.

About two weeks ago we went to the Living Desert, which is the zoo and botanical gardens to which we have a membership. This is also where we go for Wild Lights in December and where the outdoor model train display is located. This last visit we focused on showing Ali all the cool desert animals including this bighorn sheep she spotted way up on the hill above us:

The kids had a blast searching for different species of butterflies in the pavillon:

Jake on a Mexican Wolf statue:

Jadyn riding a giant turtle:

Towards the end of our visit on the way to view the giraffes, Jake complained about how slow I was pushing him in the stroller and he mocked me when I tried to explain that I was tired. My solution was to see how well he could handle our roles reversed so I told him that he could push me in the stroller. I am just really glad I didn't break it!

After leaving, we ran a few errands and while in Toys R Us I showed Jadyn a bike with training wheels as I think that is what we are leaning towards for her birthday. While she did like it:

She eventually got off and I suddenly found herself pretending to drive this:

She is definitely Daddy's little girl

Saturday February 28th, we went to Andrew's birthday party (he is the son of my friend Kimberly). The kids had a blast bowling, so much so in fact that I am pretty sure this is what we are going to do for Jake's birthday next month.

Check out Jake's face when he throws it down the lane without the aide of the helper device:

Sunday, we had yet another birthday party for Michael, a classmate of Jake's. Here he is with the birthday boy:

It was then last Tuesday that we went for a walk up in Joshua Tree, producing the pictures from yesterday's Wordless Wednesday. I have to say one of the few (and I mean few) advantages of living where we do is the fact that we have a National Park in our backyard and this year now that the kids are older I vow to finally start truly taking advantage. Here are a few close up shots from our trip through Hidden Valley (our personal favorite trail). We went back today and did the Barker Dam trail and I am sure I will be posting pictures of that soon enough as well.

Saturday the kids got to hang out with their pals Andrew and Allison and Daddy who was fresh off his 2 week trip in North Carolina while Mom went out for a farewell/birthday dinner for Kimberly who will be leaving to join her husband in Virginia next week. We will miss them so very much and our sad to see them go. Here I am with Michaela and Kimberly before heading out for a wonderful dinner at Cheesecake Factory:

So this last week has been busy as well, catching up and enjoying having Joe back home. But it is short-lived because this next Monday he will be leaving again to spend another 2 weeks in North Carolina and in the month of March alone we have at least 3 more birthday parties to attend including our niece Lilly's FIRST birthday on Saturday. Not to mention the fact that Jake is going to be starting t-ball in the next few weeks. So if I thought the last few weeks have been busy, I better brace myself because it looks to be only the beginning of what is shaping up to be a very busy spring.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Jadyn's First Concert

Jadyn is ALWAYS singing and making up songs but whenever I try to take a video clip of her in action she clams up. So this time I snuck up on her while she was singing in her room and playing with her dollhouse:

This is a an original song by Jadyn. The words are as follows:

La la la la la la la.

I am singing a song and

I love my Daddy

All around.

And I love my Daddy

All around.

And I love my Daddy

And I love my Baby

All around.

And just to be clear, she usually includes Mommy too but I did not seem to make it into this rendition. I think it would be really cool if she ended up to be musically inclined, especially since her Grandpa Tony (my Dad) was a musician. I guess we will have to wait and see. Until then, I will just keep enjoying Jadyn's singing and song writing efforts.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My 35th Birthday Party: Red Carpet Style

First and foremost I know this post is ridiculously late but I just cannot forgo documenting what a wonderful birthday weekend I had.

As if going to Nascar qualifying, having dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, going shopping and most importantly being with my family and great friends wasn't enough. Joe helped plan a little party for me on Sunday the 22nd that was ultimately an Oscar party. I have been a huge fan of the awards circuit since working at a video store, even though after moving to 29 Palms and having kids I admittedly seldom have seen most of the nominated films. I still love all the pomp and circumstance. The bonus this year was that over President's Day weekend, Ali and I had the opportunity to go see Slumdog Millionaire and we were both heavily rooting for it to win big at the Oscars.

The evening was complete with ballots for everyone to guess the winners, a fondue themed dinner including an over-the-top chocolate fondue desert with yummy items for dipping including Vanilla Bean cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, assorted fruits, marshmallows, pound cake and graham crackers. It was simply heavenly. We all got very competitive with our ballots and Hugh Jackman ran a very entertaining show. Although I technically won with 16 correct guesses out of the 24 awards (seriously who has heard of some of these animated shorts or documentaries?), it was Ali coming in closely behind with 15 correct that won the prize. And yes we did have a prize - a popcorn bucket with movie theater tickets and assorted goodies. Here I am with Scottie and Ali and their prize:

I only wish I would have created a booby prize for the person with the least amount correct, which by the way would have gone to Danielle's husband Andres who sadly only had 4 correct.

Here are a few pictures from the evening:

Jake enjoying the chocolate fondue:

The spread for dessert:

The kids table:

The girls (I wish I had a better picture of all of us but it was during a commercial and we had like 4 cameras going off simultaneously):

And finally can I just say Whoo Hoo for Slumdog Millionaire. It was the Little Engine That Could picking up 8 Academy Awards including Best Picture. I have not seen the other nominated films but I cannot imagine any of them being better than this inspiring tale and the little kids who played the main characters when they were younger were so cute jumping around and smiling on stage. For anyone who has not seen it, I highly recommend it.

And instead of thanking the academy for a prestigious award, I would like to thank my amazing husband, friends and children, not to mention family near and far for making my 35th one of the most memorable birthdays ever.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Magoomba Pile #1

Magoomba is a word that I think my Mom first taught me and I am not sure where she got or how to spell it but to me it basically means junk. For example Joe has a basket that we call his Magoomba pile. He is allowed to throw whatever he wants in there and I don't hassle him. Not at least until it starts overflowing with stuff. Well that is what this post is going to be - my version of a magoomba pile - an assortment of odds and ends. It is my version of something similar to Lindsay's Crawford Gumbo.

1) I am ridiculously behind on blogging. With Joe gone, I have tried to keep the kids and I as busy as possible and mission has definitely been accomplished there. Problem is even though I have plenty of blogging material, I have little time or energy to blog. I still want to blog about my birthday party but it was over a week ago. It's starting to seem irrelevant but I am going to attempt to catch up this week. It probably doesn't help that when I did have a free moment Saturday, I chose to blog about the Bachelor but I really needed to get that off my chest.

2) Joe's Grandma was in the hospital all last week for some heart irregularities. We have been so worried about her. I am happy to report that she is home with new medications that are better controlling her heart rate and blood pressure and that her heart and lungs are in good condition. We are going to try and visit her next week.

3) I have once again become addicted to the WiiFit. With Joe in North Carolina and after eating my way through my birthday week, I have been attempting to add the WiiFit into my exercise routine along with the treadmill but I am now obsessed with trying to beat Joe's high score for every one of the balance and aerobic games. I am happy to report that as of now, I have surpassed his scores for 7 out of 10 balance games and all but 2 of the aerobics and I still have the rest of the week to accomplish those. My personal favs are the soccer heading game and the snowboarding.

4) Jake has developed his own language. I have nicknamed it "Jakanese" There will be an entire blog post devoted to introducing you to this unique form of communication. Meanwhile I spoke with his teacher today about his Kindergarten readiness and her only suggestions were working with him on holding his pencil correctly and because he has such a common first name, maybe starting to teach him to spell and write his last name. She said otherwise he is good to go.

5) Jadyn has an imaginary dog. His name is Anthony. He frequently sleeps in the palm of her hand and drinks lots of water. I have accidentally sat on him twice now. I think it is the cutest thing ever.

6) While many of you are experiencing an unusual snow and cold front (including my hubby), the temps here in the desert got up to 88 today. That's right folks. We are currently in t-shirts and shorts. I only wish I could say spring was here for good but March can be particularly cruel in taunting us with warm weather only for it to be replaced by cold and rain in the blink of an eye. And speaking of spring, don't forget that Daylight Savings is early this year - this Sunday March 8th. (yeah for an extra hour of sunlight. Boo for losing an hour sleep and trying to get the kids readjusted with their sleep).

That's it for now folks. Look forward to future editions of the magoomba pile.