Friday, May 29, 2009

The Last Time Milestones

AKA Goodbye Toddlerhood.

All the baby/parenting books I have read have there own method of covering all the major milestones from first smiles, first steps and first teeth. Those milestones continue well after the first year as your child continues to grow, develop and experience firsts and I would say that most books cover those topics quite extensively. But what about the lasts? Sure you read a lot of theories about how to get your child to sleep through the night in their own bed, take away the bottle and/or pacifier and potty train but do they really talk about how that feels or how you are supposed to handle it the last time you ever nurse or when you suddenly realize your house has no remnants of a baby or toddler save for the pictures that hang on your wall?

We knew Jadyn would be our second and last child and I am perfectly fine with that. I don't ever regret that decision or ache to have another baby. In fact, after Jadyn's first birthday their was very little I would miss about no longer having an infant. Sure they are a bundle of joy and I enjoyed (almost) every minute of it but Joe and I were both glad to be past the "baby" phase. Let's face it, babies are a lot of work!

It's hard to see your little ones grow up and especially when it seems to happen so quickly and don't get me wrong, that has always been the case with Jake. But Jake was his own beast and he held on to things for so long that when he ultimately quit nursing at 21 months, I'll I could think was FINALLY! When he ultimately learned to fall asleep without me next to him, I'll I could think was FINALLY! When he potty trained at 3 1/2 I'll I could think was FINALLY! Maybe part of me didn't get nostalgic because I always knew I had Jadyn behind him but really I think it was because I was genuinely relieved.

With Jadyn, it has been entirely different. I will never forget that faithful day on October 6th, 2007 when Jadyn gave up her last nursing session. I felt rejected, lost and sad. She was 16 months and I knew it was coming. It happened gradually and without a fight like any Mom would wish but despite knowing we were both ready, it was still a very hard last to come to terms with. The first morning I woke up and realized my night's sleep had not been interrupted by Jadyn's waking, what I should have felt was refreshed and triumphant but instead I'll I felt was fear and trepidation. It was almost like Jadyn no longer needed me. Just in the last 6 months, we have said good-bye to diapers, pacifiers and sippy cups - all telltale signs that you have a baby or toddler in the house. While I am proud of all we have accomplished, don't I get a chance to stare at the empty space in my cupboards and drawers and mourn for just a moment? With Jake it was always FINALLY but with Jadyn it seems more like a finality. A finality that happened WAY TOO FAST!

I know that part of my mourning comes from the fact that I really truly enjoyed the toddler years, probably much more so that infanthood. It makes it harder to say good-bye. I want to hold on to the cute little way Jadyn mispronounces the word refrigerator or leaves out the L sound in the word girl for as long as possible because experience has proven that before I know it, those little quirks will be gone. But then again, toddlerhood can be a trying time. I can do without the temper tantrums and whining and not understanding what in the world your child wants because they can't verbalize it. I am not sad that I no longer have to change poopy diapers or become paralyzed with fear because its bedtime and someones favorite paci is nowhere to be found. There is stuff that I am more than happy to say goodbye to.

The other day Jadyn and I were at the dollar store picking up last minute supplies for her birthday party when the checker commented on how cute Jadyn was and how she obviously had a birthday approaching. I kindly replied that yes, she was going to be turning three this Sunday. The checker grinned and then told me what has to be the WORST thing to say to a parent who is about to have her last child leave the age of two. She said: The terrible twos never really end. They just get worse and worse with every passing year.

And so I did what any parent of a child that is about to turn 3 would do. I just smiled and gave her a look that said, "You have got to be kidding me!" And no doubt each age and stage has its own unique set of hurdles (3 = defiance, 4 = why, 5= attitude) but I wouldn't really agree with the checker's words of warning. Because I also know that each age and stage also comes with its own unique set of advantages and triumphs and that while it can be sad and sometimes hard to let go, that most important thing is that with each passing day, week, month and year I get to witness my children grow up and be a part of this amazing journey known as parenting.

Here is a preview of the soon to be birthday girl with her first present; a litter of pug puppies from Grandma and Grandpa White. I thought it would be nice to get a picture of her as she usually is at the end of the day, with her pigtails a little worse for wear and enough energy to still ham it up at the dinner table. She is our little princess but our little toddler no more.

Since I didn't get this post published before heading off to Jake's graduation this morning, I am also including a preview of a few pictures of our little preschool graduate. He may be going off to Kindergarten in the fall but he was always be our lil guy.

And by the way, if you think I am getting overly emotional and nostalgic simply because Jake is graduating from preschool and Jadyn is turning 3 all in the same weekend, just wait until next fall when I send Jake to Kindergarten and Jadyn to preschool within the span of two days.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Magoomba Monday #8

1) As the spouse of a veteran and someone who has lived in military communities for the last 10+ years, I would like to take pause to remember and give thanks to those who gave their lives for our country. I know what a sacrifice it is for those who serve our country and their families and I am thankful for them everyday and on this Memorial Day, I especially want to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. You will never be forgotten.

2) Switching gears, you know how some people get baby fever? Well not me. Don't get me wrong. I have been aching to add to our family, just not in the form of another baby. Or at least not a human baby. I have pet fever BAD. I love our dogs. I love how much they enrich our lives. So much so that I have desperately been trying to convince Joe that we should get either another puppy (which I realize is highly impractical) or a couple of kittens. Joe likes to torture me by having us go down the hill to the pet store on a Saturday, like we did this last weekend when he knows they will be having adoptions events. He says he likes to pet and play with the puppies and kittens that are looking for a home and I don't doubt him. But all I want to do is bring them all home. We may have come home empty handed this last weekend but just you wait. One of these days................... In related news, I may not get baby fever but I have been mourning the end of toddlerhood in the Funny Nose house, a milestone that will be reached this Sunday when Jadyn turns 3. More on this to come.

3) Friday was a day of lasts. It was the last day Jake attended preschool in his regular schoolhouse and it was the last Friday Jadyn and I will be attending storytime at the library before they switch gears for the summer reading program. I think this has definitely added to my nostalgic mood. I took a few pictures of Jadyn at the library during show and tell and craft.

4) We made another day trip to the river Sunday. With it being Memorial weekend there was a stark contrast in the number of boats and water toys racing up and down the river so finding a good spot to park and hang out was a tall order. We went to our favorite sandbar before it was invaded by a multitude of boats, our favorite cove, which was crowded as well and finally drove for awhile down river until we could get some peace from all the traffic on the water. It was still a very nice relaxing day on the water. Despite how it looks, Jake really does like being on the boat, as long as he plugs his ears because he is not big on loud noises.

Hope everyone has a nice short week. Ours will be eventful and busy to say the least!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Play Ball

It seems like just yesterday we were anticipating opening ceremonies. Now we have Memorial weekend off and just ONE more game left of Jake's Little League season and honestly I am kind of glad. Coaching 5 and 6 year old boys and girls is exhausting! I would love nothing more than be able to go to game and just sit and relax and enjoy it. Jake however is still in love with the sport. This season he got to try out the position of catcher, complete with all the gear. Of course this made Joe proud as he was a catcher playing baseball throughout high school and college. So here are some pictures of Jake all suited up, catching, throwing and hitting the ball as well as a group shot with his teammates. If there has been one advantage of coaching, its been my ability to take cool action shots of the team from the field. Also, take note of the banner because Miss Not-So-Crafty team mom/assistant coach made that all by herself. LOL!

Farewells and Finales

In the Fall I wrote two blog posts about what I was watching on TV. (Fall Entertainment and National Stay at Home week) and I hate to admit it, but my shows are something I look forward to enjoying after the kids (and often times Joe) go to bed. It's interesting to go back and read my comments on shows just starting out in the fall and compare them to how I feel now that most of the shows have wrapped up for the season. And just in case you are not caught up on your Now Playing List, let this be a warning: Spoilers ahead!

Hands down the best season finale:

Grey's Anatomy. I was pretty lukewarm about this season of Grey's Anatomy from the beginning and then when Izzy started seeing dead people, I found myself rolling my eyes. Even when we found out the reason behind her hallucinations I was still pretty disappointed with most of the story lines (although I think McSteamy and Lexie make a cute couple). But the season finale got me - it had me on the edge of my seat and I was definitely shocked, so much so that I couldn't stop thinking about it the next day and even rewatched the last hour to see if there were any clues about what would eventually happen. I have to say that was darn good writing.

Can you say cliffhanger?:

I hadn't talked much about Lost before because it wasn't returning until February but it continued to engage me this year, although Joe is frustrated that they raise more new questions without explaining those that are still unanswered. I can't even say that I was that surprised that they would end the season with such a huge cliffhanger. By now you kind of expect it from this show but I am pretty eager to see how things will play out next year when they finish off the series. I have some theories for how I think things are going to ultimately end, but my argument for my biggest theory kind of lost steam with some of the events from the finale and honestly, I am kinda glad.

The award for "That was a season finale?" goes to:

Brothers and Sisters. I have nothing but love for this show and continue to feel that way but the season ender just didn't seem like a finale to me. I also continue to think that Dave Annable is HOT! Just sayin.

Most disappointing season finale:

Desperate Housewives. Before the season started I didn't know how I would feel about their 5 year leap ahead in the future but by the second episode, I was officially engrossed. And then the Dave plotline got dragged out as well as several other subplots and then it just got downright creepy in the last episode. So much so that by the time the episode ended I could care less who Mike was kissing up at the alter.

What's still on my DVR?:

A little embarrassing considering what a fan I am but I still have the last 2 episodes of Fringe to watch. Oops!

So what makes me laugh? Wait for it:

Pretty much the only sitcom I watch is How I Met your Mother. This show is smothered in its own awesomeness from the episode with Jesus' 3 day rule to the gang's interventions for one anothers quirky habits. Sometimes I forget the premise of the show simply because I am just too darn busy enjoying the gangs antics. It kind of reminds me of Friends.

Okay, let's talk reality, reality, reality:

So it's the day after the big American Idol finale and after eight seasons, they still know how to create the drama. This season had so much talent, which I think was appropriately represented with the final two. Kris was a favorite of mine from the beginning and not just because he is easy on the eyes and makes me feel like a complete cougar but also because he stayed true to himself and made every song uniquely his. Adam did the same thing and I looked forward to what he would do from week to week BUT his big voice was not always my cup of tea and I had trouble seeing him as a recording artist. I love Adam and would have been just as happy if he had won. Now I have talked to a lot of people who felt differently and were really turned off by Adam's style of singing and over the top performances and they also preferred Kris. So although I was surprised by the result, I could see how Kris took the title in the end. HOWEVER, I really don't want to hear that Adam lost for any other reason because I honestly believe that it had everything to do with people's personal taste in music and nothing else. And I have to say that I really didn't appreciate Hollywood trying to cram Adam down our throat. Seriously, no wonder it was such an upset. They had anointed him king weeks ago, even allowing him to grace the cover of major entertainment magazines. I never personally blamed Adam for it but pleazzze. And Simon, couldn't you have been the bigger person and stood up for Kris at the end? Your straight to the point attitude may keep people tuning in but that was just plain immature. He looked like a little kid sulking because he didn't get his way. Nuff said on that.

Dancing with the Stars
had a lot of talent this year too and I could have seen any of the three finalists winning, or so I thought. When they announced Shawn as the winner on Tuesday night, I felt disappointed. I guess I had hoped that Gilles would have won because frankly he was consistently good every week, put his heart and soul into it and he really, really (and I mean really) wanted it. On a positive note, I just heard that he got a role on Brothers and Sisters for next season. I wonder who he will play?

Amazing Race
was, well amazing once again this year. I still laugh at the thought of runaway cheese blocks and the contestants attempts at dodging them. I really want to see an all female team win, so much so that there was a moment that I was actually rooting for Jaime and Cara even though they had been un-PC and totally rude to the people they encountered on the race. But the team I really wanted to see win was Luke and Margie because I am partial to mother-son pairings. It just broke my heart to see Luke hit a wall in that last challenge. Especially knowing that as a fan of the show, he had prepared for it. Still, they went far and proved a lot.

And what about those guilty pleasures:

90210 and Gossip Girl are still on season pass and if they happen to make the spinoff of GG about Lily's escapades in the 80's, I will shamelessly watch that as well as I have been a fan of Britney Snow since American Dreams (which coincidentally is another show NBC canceled on me). On cable, I have to admit to still watching The Hills (but not after Lauren is gone), The City and the Real Housewives of Orange County. I don't watch any of the other Housewives series because I am still hanging onto the excuse that my only reason for watching the show is because I used to work in the gated community where the OC cast lives. LOL!

A moment of silence for those shows that didn't make it to a season finale or won't be returning:

My Own Worst Enemy, which is really unfortunate because it was really good and highly innovative. I am growing increasingly frustrated with NBC's unwillingness to give new or struggling shows a chance. We also said good-bye to ER and although it was definitely time, it was nice to see the series go out on a high note. The less medical drama, the better. I have enough anxiety about my health as it is.

So there you have it folks, and not that you asked but this is my recap of what really caught my attention during May sweeps. Now I have to figure out how to explain to my kids why my rantings about the boob tube is relevant to a blog that is supposed to emulate the inner workings of a baby book. What the heck, I'll figure something out.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pretty as a Princess

A couple weeks ago I did a little photo shoot with Jadyn in anticipation of her upcoming birthday. I got a couple cute shots but nothing I felt was frameworthy. So, I took her to get some professional pictures done today. I don't have the CD to post the pictures but you can click on the following link to view them:

Jadyn's birthday pictures

When I get the prints back in a couple of weeks, I will try scanning them and see how they look in that format but overall I was very happy with the result. As you might recall from last year, Jake has birthday pictures through 3 years old so I wanted to do the same for Jadyn. Next year, she will get school and extracurricular pictures done just like Jake does now so the birthday pictures will no longer be necessary. I have to give major kudos to the gal that takes the kids pictures at Sears because Jadyn was trying everything NOT to cooperate and she still got some really cute shots. I don't know why Jadyn does that because on the trip down there all she could talk about was how beautiful she looked with her pigtails curled and how much she loved her princess dress and how she was going to smile and not "cry smile" for her pictures. Jake also had to mention that since she was taking pictures with the big number 3 but hasn't actually had her birthday, that she had to "pretend" to be 3 for the pictures. I thought that was cute.

Anyway, I am including a few of the shots I got of Jadyn a couple of weeks ago. I can't believe my baby girl is going to be 3 in less than 2 weeks!

Magoomba Monday #7 (a day late)

1) Despite the fact that I am a day late posting my Monday roundup of random happenings, things were actually quiet this last weekend. For the first time in as long as I could remember we had no birthday parties, baby showers or other commitments to attend other than Jake's t-ball game on Saturday. I recall a post in December when things were kind of quiet as well, but I was anticipating that to change rapidly as we had a lot of holiday activities scheduled one right after another. I believe I called it the calm before the storm. Well this is definitely the calm before the storm because although we again have nothing big planned for Memorial Day weekend (and that even includes t-ball), the week following the long weekend is going to be CRAZY with Jake's preschool graduation (sniff, sniff), his last t-ball game and end of the season party and Jadyn's 3rd birthday. So right now I am trying to stay on top of things and brace myself.

2) This last week we hit triple digit temperatures and then had some scattered thunderstorms. I had to do a double take. This is the weather we usually see in August not May!

3) The kids and I did a little project where we replicated the greenhouse effect to start a small vegetable garden. We had a lot of fun transplanting our budding tomato, green bean and sweet pepper plants but I have to admit that with my black thumb, I did not have very high hopes. Well those hopes were quickly dashed when before the poor spouts even had a chance, some brave bunnies squeezed through our fence and ate them. On a positive note, it is nice to see the cute little guys hopping around even if I am still a little cross with them.

4) My Twilight obsession had waned quite a bit with nothing new really going on in Stephanie Meyer's universe. That was until they unveiled the new poster artwork for the movie sequel that is currently being filmed. I absolutely LOVE it. For someone who has never wavered in her conviction of being neutral (aka Switzerland), it is like a dream come true. Oh, and the rumor is they will be showing a clip from New Moon at the MTV Movie Awards on May 31st, which happens to be Jadyn's birthday. Esmilse is coming out of hibernation and once again squealing like a fangirl. Whoo Hoo!

5) This week I have three posts already planned showing you some cute pics of Jake playing t-ball, a photo shoot I did with Jadyn in anticipation of her birthday and some of thoughts on this season's TV now that finales are winding down. Speaking of which, this week will conclude the seasons of both American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. While I am lukewarm about who wins on DWTS (not because I don't like anyone but because I like them all), I am super excited about American Idol. While I think that Adam Lambert is extremely talented and cannot wait to see what he comes up with from week to week, I have been rooting for Kris Allen since very early on in the season and I am eagerly anticipating their showdown. I am also eager to have all these shows ending because I can only imagine how productive my evenings will become when there is nothing good to watch on TV. LOL! And true to my word, I am NOT watching the new season of the Bachelorette. I am done, done and done with that show.

Hope everyone is having a great week.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mommy of the Year Award

I was very, very honored when Mel from Mommy to 2 princesses - does this make me a queen? nominated me for a Mommy of the Year award. First of all, I have a lot of respect for everything Mel does with her two girls and I am absolutely blown away and jealous of how organized and prepared she is to start homeschooling. I have waited for the perfect time to accept my nomination from Mel and the week after Mother's Day, I am finally ready to give its accompanying questions the time and effort they deserve. I felt the timing was perfect because it was around this time last year that I wrote a very honest and heartfelt post that included some Mother's Day Resolutions. So, here it goes:

Rules for Mom of the Year Award:Admit one thing you feel awful about involving being a mom. Get it off your shoulders. Once you've written it down, you are No Longer allowed to feel bad. It's over with, it's in the past. Remember, you're a good mom!
This last year especially I feel incredibly guilty that I have not spent more time working with the kids on an educational level. This is especially true for Jadyn because at this age Jake had the YMCA program and now he is in preschool. Even though I kept Jadyn in plenty of activities this year, I really had planned to devote quality time at home with her every day and to a large extent that has fallen to the wayside. I know she is smart and is learning anyway, but I hate when I come up with a plan and don't follow through with it, just like how I purchased the Hooked on Phonics and never consistently worked on it with Jake.

Also, I know I am only supposed to admit to one thing but I would be remiss not to mention that I really wish I had an infinite amount of patience because I feel really guilty when I get frustrated or blow up at the kids. I know we all do it occasionally and that it is a normal part of parenting but I really wish it didn't have to be that way.

Remind yourself you are a good mom, list seven things you love about your kids, you love doing with your kids, or that your kids love about you. These are the things to remind yourself everyday that you Rock!

1) I think I am really good at getting out there and exposing my kids to various things and I can definitely see how they have benefited from it. I love to take the kids everywhere - whether it be hiking in Joshua Tree, sledding in Big Bear, boating at the river or laying on the beach. I love the traditions we have created by going to the fair every fall, the pumpkin patch every October and the zoo during Christmastime. I love having them involved in various activities like playgroup, music class and sports. Even when we are at home, I love watching the kids explore new things whether they are playing with play-doh, saving ladybugs or planting seeds that will eventually grow up to be flowers. And of course, I think I am pretty good at documenting all these adventures and explorations so they can look back at all the fond memories when they are older.

2) I absolutely LOVE the fact that the first thing both kids want to do when they wake up every morning is snuggle with Mommy.

3) I love Jadyn's imagination. There is not a single day that goes by that she does not put a smile on my face from the things she comes up with whether it is an imaginary pink puppy that is lost and needs to find its mother or a scary dinosaur lurking in her room that necessitates she run and hide.

4) I love how social Jake has become. I remember the days when everywhere we went, Jake would be clinging to my pant leg and demanding to be carried. It was painful for him to be around other people. Now when I take him to school, he can't wait for the moment when I give him a quick squeeze and tell him to join his classmates in play and when we go to the park, he is disappointed if there are not other kids to play with it. I think it is the sweetest thing when he tentatively approaches a child and says, "Hi, I'm Jake. What's your name?" It literally almost brings a tear to my eye.

5) I love Jadyn's singing. Whether she is making up a song about being a princess or singing Twinkle Twinkle for the 20th time in a row, I can never get sick of it.

6) I love Jake's ingenuity. He is incredible at making racetracks out of anything (even sugar packets at a restaurant), building complex train tracks and imaginative obstacle courses. At the age of 5, he can put together toys and trouble shoot things that are broken better than me and one of his favorite past times in the car or at the dinner table is doing math equations in his head. It blows my mind.

7) More than anything, I love how obvious it is that my kids love each other and I never have to doubt that they know exactly how much I love them.

Send this to five other Mom's of the year that deserve credit for being great moms and remind them that they are the best moms they can be!! Remember to send them a note to let them know you've selected them, and add a link to the person who nominated you.

I am going to break the rules here and only nominate one very special Mom:

Kaycee at Life as a Mom at 21

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

HOP with Pop Fox and Jakanese (FINALLY!)

Thanks to Leap Frog's Letter Factory, preschool and various other educational activities by the time Jake's 4 th birthday approached last year he was well-versed in the alphabet and the sounds they made. Therefore, I purchased Hooked on Phonics so I could help prepare him to read. Now I have a little mommy guilt that I have never been as consistent as I originally planned but between sports, swim lessons and the fact that he does attend preschool 3 days a week, not to mention the fact that I work from home and we are always going, going, going. - well not to make excuses but we never really got into a habit of doing it on a regular basis. Lately, I have been trying to rectify that, mostly because he is showing a lot of interest in trying to read and I want to take advantage of his eagerness.

The great part about the newest version of Hooked on Phonics (or HOP for short) is that it takes advantage of technology and has a mascot to guide us through. His name is Pop Fox. Each session starts with us following along with an audio CD and working in a workbook and ends with Jake getting to play CD Rom games based on the material he just learned. Because he loves video games, he is actually way ahead on the CD Rom. It keeps track of how many words he can read based on his ability on the games and he is up to 99 words. I have then added flashcards so he can start memorizing the sight words and as I have mentioned last week he read his first book entitled "Cat". I have also been getting emerging reader books when Jadyn and I go to the library and with very little help, he is reading those as well. I am very excited at how willing he is to learn and hope with the summer break we will have more time to work on his reading skills.

But what happens when Jake doesn't know the word for something he encounters? Does he ask what the said object or item in question is called? No, he just makes up words for it. This is what we have dubbed Jakanese. Now I dare you not to laugh and remember that there is a logical (or sometimes not so logical) reason for the labels he gives these items:

Hot pod: This is Jake's name for lava. He didn't know what it was but he knew it was hot and dangerous when he saw it on a cartoon or his video game. We were playing Mario Kart together one day (a favorite Mommy/son bonding past time) and he tells me, "Mom, watch out for the hot pod!"

Shoom Shoom: This is the name he has given to guns because I guess I have kind of subconsciously stayed away from introducing the word. Unfortunately, he naturally sees them on TV here or there and the kids at school play superheros versus bad guys. Hence, the name shoom shoom because that is the sound you make when you are pretending to fire at someone only he uses the word as a noun as in "We have to get the shoom shoom so we can take care of the mad guys". You heard me right, they are not bad guys according to Jakanese but MAD guys.

Here is the best one. Wait for it.

Sperm: I really, really don't think he has heard this word before but if he has, so be it. It is the after all the correct term for part of a males reproductive system. But for Jake, sperm is the name he has given to lightning bolts. Again maybe because of the sound? Resemblance? But I don't know where he would have seen a picture or cartoon depicting sperm and I would like to think I would know if he did!
I am not so sure where it came from but I kid you not. Again one day we were sitting there playing Mario Kart and Jake says, "Mom watch out for the sperm!" I looked at him at disbelief, asked him to repeat himself and then paused the game as I tried to understand what was going on. As it turned out, it was innocent enough. He calls lightning bolts sperm and despite trying to correct him for fear of how it might come across to others, he is still doing so to this very day.

As you know from a previous blog post, Jadyn has her own form of Jakanese only she takes a word that sounds like the right one and changes it, as in the time she had ankles in her hair instead of tangles. The other day she was admiring a pair of my underwear and proclaimed them to have "cocco dots" on them. The thing with Jadyn is there is no correcting her even when she knows she is wrong. I asked her if she meant polka dots and she said adamantly held her ground that they were indeed cocco dots.

Kids and their language. It's one of the best parts of having kids this age because they are constantly making you laugh and keeping you on your toes!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Save the Ladybugs, Save the World

The heat is on here in the desert and that is precisely why I had what I thought was a fairly simple request for Mother's Day this year. That request was that we go nowhere (because we have been so darn busy) and that Joe get the pool up so I can take the kids swimming and relax on the raft. That request turned out to be not so simple on many fronts and I won't bore you with the details. Needless to say, Joe jumped through a lot of hoops and put in a lot of work to grant my request and for that I am very grateful to him.

My Mother's Day actually started on Saturday, when after an 8am t-ball game, 12 noon hair appointment and 2pm birthday party, Joe agreed to take me out to dinner at the Macaroni Grille on the way home. The meal that included pasta and dessert was yummy and cheat-worthy but the best part was watching the kids faces light up when they remembered they could color and draw on the tablecloth. I think we counted at least 9 racetracks that Jake had created before we left and Jadyn drew a bed and bowl of milk for her Mama and baby toy kitties that accompanied us to dinner.

Here are some pictures of the kids helping Daddy fill up the pool earlier in the week:

After they got out, we all quickly realized it's still a little early in the season for an evening swim. They were fine in the pool, but freezing when they got out:

Now by this point you may be wondering what Mother's Day and the pool have to do with saving ladybugs. Well I am not sure why but the ladybugs are out in full force this spring, more so then I have ever seen them before. In fact, we can't get the kids to concentrate at t-ball practice because they are so busy collecting ladybugs on their hands and then watching them fly away. Joe said when he was watching Jadyn during practice on Friday, he stopped counting after Jadyn had found 20 or so ladybugs. It's crazy!

Well Sunday, it also became clear that the ladybugs are attracted to the pool and so we were continually finding them floating on top of the water. It became the kids mission to "save" the ladybugs by retrieving them from the water and putting them back on dry land. Of course I wish I could properly convey the drama that Jadyn in particular infused into this task because it made it all the more amusing but by the time we got out of the pool, the kids had "rescued" 32 ladybugs and decided that the last ladybug they helped would like to come inside the house and play with their toys. They then proceeded to "show" the ladybug their toys and give it a ride on both a hot wheel and a train car before I proclaimed that the ladybug needed to go back outside and find its friends. I figured at that point it had been tortured enough.

Here is a few pictures of Jadyn rescuing a ladybug:

And finally here we are multi-tasking as this picture serves as both a Mother's Day memory AND photographic documentation of our first swim of the season:

I never did get to relax on the raft. The kids were too interested in climbing aboard and tipping it over but that really doesn't matter. What does matter is that we had a great time in the pool together. I hope all my Mommy friends and family had a wonderful Mother's Day. Thanks to Joe and the kids and all the well-wishes I received, I know I did.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

River Rats

Joe grew up a river rat. I grew up with a best friend whose a river rat. And I do believe that this is the year the Funny Noses officially become river rats because it is early in the month of May and we already have our first trip to the river under our belt.

When we first got stationed here in 29 Palms, Joe was excited. Forget that we were going to be living in an isolated desert town. What used to be a 4 hour drive to the river from our hometown just got shortened to less than 2 hours. Joe's excitement was stifled by the fact that pregnancy and newborn babies don't really mix well with day camping in 100+ degree weather and cruising around on a jet boat. However, now that the kids are older and have developed a love for the water, it would make sense that we start taking advantage. So I do predict that this is the year our entire family becomes river rats.

The biggest news from this last trip isn't the fact that the water was not nearly as cold as we were expecting or that the kids took little time to start swimming around in their life jackets, picking up right where they left off last Labor Day. No the biggest news was that since there were very few people on the water Sunday, I finally decided it was time that I learn to drive the boat. So with Joe close by, I told everyone to hang on for dear life and took control of the wheel. It was scary. I don't really like the fact that maneuvering a boat does not produce an immediate reaction but it was not as hard as I thought and I drove for a pretty good stretch up river, even crossing under a bridge.

So here are some of the pictures that document our day. The first stop was a cool little sandbar we located where the kids (and Scottie is just automatically lumped into this category) enjoyed digging holes and engaging in a water fight:

Here is the family with our boat:

Once the water rose, we lost our sandbar, so Joe and Jadyn drove us back to camp to grab our lunch and then I drove us to a little cove that has become a location of choice because the kids can swim without the worry of the current or speeding water sporters. We were greeted at the cove by a pair of ducks, wandering from boat to boat in search of free grub. The kids were all to happy to accommodate them. It was here that we made friends for life as when it was time to leave, the ducks tried to follow us. LOL!

Jadyn loves to drive the boat:

Jake loves to be protected during boat rides and he keeps his ears plugged the whole time:

Me behind the wheel:

Ali and Jadyn enjoying the ride:

Swimming in the cove:

Our new friends:

Feeding our new friends:

Jake's hair after speeding up and down the river:

We spent all day on the water and as much as it was fun and relaxing, it was also exhausting. Have you ever seen a child so tired, she can fall asleep on a moving jet boat? Through all that noise and whipping winds, this was Jadyn:

And that about sums up our day - fun and exhausting and definitely a day that will hopefully be repeated many more times through the upcoming months. If we really want to be a family of river rats, we have to do the name proud.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Magoomba Monday #6

1) Jake had his 5 year well-child visit at the doctor's on Wednesday. He is 40 1/2 inches tall and weighs 39 pounds. Everything went well except that he seems to be having some trouble seeing out of his left eye so I will be taking him the optometrist for a general eye evaluation as well as consulting with a surgeon about the need for him to have his umbilical hernia repaired (he has had it since birth, as has Jadyn). Meanwhile, he was completely up to date on his shots, which made for a nice visit. We will be going to his elementary school this week to get him registered for Kindergarten in the Fall. I absolutely cannot believe that I have a 5 year old who will be going to school next year.

2) We have a birds nest in the underside of the roof at the back of the house and the Mama bird just became the proud parent of at least three little babies. They sure do make a lot of noise but are very good at staying pretty well hidden from sight. However, if I have our master bathroom window open and look out the window indirectly through the mirror, I can see all three babies awaiting for Mama bird to return and feed them. The second I try to approach the window to get a closer look, they dart further back into the nest out of sight. Joe was able to get a couple good pictures of the braver baby bird though. The kids are absolutely loving our bird family.

3) Ever since Jadyn gave her pacifiers up, her and Jake have been falling asleep together on Jake's bed. Most nights they go to bed without a fight but occasionally, Jadyn in particular likes to try her luck at stall tactics and most of you are familiar with the standards: I need to go potty, I need socks on my feet and I'm thirsty. However, Jadyn has invented a new one. She will kick her blanket off and then when she can't get it properly adjusted back around her she calls out, "My blanket is not working" and whines until we come tuck her back in. Cute but frustrating all the same.

4) I plan to devote a blog post about this but just in case I get busy, Jake read his first book this weekend. He was so excited and we are definitely proud of his accomplishment.

5) We took our first trip of the season to the river on Sunday. Again, I plan to devote an entire blog post to this but just in case, here is my favorite picture from our trip. My two little river rats chillin on a sandbar:

Hope your week is off to a great and productive start!