Tuesday, January 26, 2010

who am I?

Last September, a group of blog-friends from our circle got together in New York. Afterward, they all wrote posts describing one another and what it was like to meet in person after only knowing them through their blogs. It made me wonder how people would describe me. I don't think I have a very distinctive personality or that one particular trait sticks out above the rest. One friend recently said that when describing me to his wife, whom I had never met he said I was a clean freak, opinionated and liked to shop. All true, although I would have to qualify the opinionated statement by adding that although I have strong opinions, I don't think I try to push them on others or judge those who don't share mine. I am also not sure those would be the top three personality traits that would first come up when describing me. Anyway, this is probably my most personal blog post EVER, but I want my kids to know ME. So this is what I came up with:

I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister.

I work in the field of medical transcription.

I have a college degree in psychology

But don't work in my field

And don't know if I ever will.

I love to shop but have no money

I have no money because I love to shop.

I love to read and write.

I love to walk.

Photography is my hobby

Even though I am not very good at it.

I love quirky TV dramas, indie films and alt rock

But appear to be the most mainstream type person you'll ever meet.

I have no style of my own

But am not ashamed to borrow it.

I am obsessed with vampires

But hate monsters

I am an animal lover

Who wants a million pets

And refuses to eat cows and pigs

But have no problem with poultry and fish.

I love to be in nature

But am the most unnatural person on the surface.

In high school, I was named the least biodegradable

Because I wore so much make-up and hair product

And yes it was a cruel thing for my fellow classmates to do

And yes it hurt my feelings

But I still don't leave the house without make-up on

And am addicted to my blond.

I don't drink much

Because I get migraine headaches.

If I didn't get headaches

I would probably be a lush.

I have done some things in my past that I am not very proud of

But I refuse to regret them because they shaped who I am today

Even though I am not always sure of who that person is.

I don't have a lot of friends.

I am not an easy person to get to know

But for those few who do

They know I am fiercely loyal

And would do anything to lend a hand.

I am a self-proclaimed neat freak

Who takes organization to an extreme

But can't be on time to save my life.

I love making to do lists

And the feeling when I complete them.

When I don't have the answer

I search until I find it

Which makes it frustrating

When I can't.

I wish I had infinite patience

But I don't.

Some may view me as uptight

But they don't want to see me unwound.

I love the beach

But don't want to live there.

I love the water

But can't really swim

And don't like to get my hair wet

because then it looks like crap.

I can be selfish

But love to give.

I need a lot of alone time

But crave the company of those I love.

I am a homebody

Who loves to explore new places

I want to see the world

But am terrified of flying

I don't believe in God

But am afraid to piss Him off.

And know I already have.

I am starting to feel old

But have never felt so alive

And so loved

And so blessed.

I am unique.

I am me.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Snow Day?

So big oops on my part - I let the kids play hookie from school on Thursday because the weather was miserable and then I get a call early Friday morning that school has been canceled for the entire district due to the weather. A quick peek outside the window verified what I thought the weather man had said the night before; the worst of the storm had passed. It was almost sunny outside. I was confused.

It seems to me that the powers that be should have canceled school on Thursday when we saw record rainfall and had flash flood warnings. When it was cold enough the next couple of towns over to see snowfall. When the winds were forecasted to gust up to 50 mph. My only guess is that they realized their mistake and/or had a ton of complaints from teachers and parents on Thursday and tried to rectify it by canceling school on Friday instead. But no matter, we had an unexpected 4 day weekend on our hands.

And if you are going to essentially give us a snow day, I want to see snow. So we drove over to Pioneer Town. Built in 1946 as a movie set for western films, not only it is a cool little tourist attraction but it is also just a little higher in elevation than Yucca Valley, which brought the promise of the elusive snow we were searching for. And not only did we find a good amount of snow on the ground, but we caught the last snowfall from the week's worth of storms. The kids were in heaven!

We all have our favored activities when it comes to snow. For Jadyn, it is eating snow, as anyone from last year's storm will remember:

And a rare picture, where she isn't eating snow:

For Jake, it is engaging in a snowball fight:

For me, it is getting pictures in what is clearly a novelty for us:

For Joe, it is indulging my need to have tons of pictures so I will put the camera away and just live in the moment (which I did, by the way):

But eventually the icy snow and gusty winds got the better of us, and not even a warm hug from big brother could keep us happy out in the cold:

Back at home with the rest of the weekend before us, I decided to play with some photo editing tools at Picnik and took a photo of one of the buildings up in Pioneer Town and played with it.



So that is our tale of the nonexistent snow day that turned into a real snow day and another fun family adventure for The Funny Noses.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Because That is How We Roll

Leave it to us Funny Noses to make an event out of a Southern California rain storm. It's been raining all week. I love the rainy weather when we can stay indoors but going out in it when there is possible flash flood warnings? No thanks. So I had the kids play hooky from school. Tuesday Jadyn had some mysterious (less than) 24 hour bug and to heck if I am going to drive her one town over in weather like this. With Jake their is less of an excuse but we certainly have been enjoying it.

First thing, the kids are so used to going out in the rare snow and summer rain storms that they just couldn't resist the lure of the rising mud puddles in the yard. So they decided to go for a drive in their power wheels while all bundled up for the wet and cold:

Back inside, it quickly became apparent that we would need to find another way to expend their energy so we allowed them to do some tricks off the couch, which led to Joe playing with the camera settings to "capture" the motion. Well he caught the motion, but Jake looks like a ghost!

A little tinkering and he caught Jake midway through a move he has labeled "the touchdown":

During the quieter periods, the kids have been playing with their "Fun Fusion" beads and I have been meaning to make a product placement for this greatest of great craft inventions. We initially got them as a good activity for when Jake patches his eye but the kids have played with them for literally hours on end. After you get the beads on the peg board in the design of your choice, you use the provided wax paper to iron the design in place. Then the kids can play with their creations. Pretty cool.

The rest of the day included comfort foods like homemade chicken noodle soup and chocolate chip cookies, popcorn and a movie and some family friendly competitive video games. Like I said, leave it to us to turn a simple winter rain storm into an event.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

This Should be Every Weekend

I have decided that every weekend should be a 3 day weekend like this one. That extra day gives everyone in the family enough time to get what they need to get done (like for me work and chores) and still have plenty of time for family togetherness and fun.

Friday we took the kids down to Palm Desert's Civic Center Park. This is the place where they have the pond with ducks and turtles that I have frequently photographed. This time however, we brought the kids bikes and let them ride around the numerous hilly paths and they had a great time. The idea was to wear them out so we could run some errands afterwards but apparently endless energy abounds because they ended up running around the sporting good store and even when contained in a cart at Kohls and Sam's Club, they were laughing and carrying on with each other like nothing. It was a very nice family evening (pictures to come)

Saturday night we had Scottie and Ali over for dinner and then Sunday we took the kids bowling. We have been bowling a couple times for play dates and birthday parties but this is the first time we went bowling as a family. It was fun. I only wish I could bowl as good in real life as I can on Wii Sports. Now we still have all day Monday at home to relax and get some stuff done around the house. I love 3 day weekends!

Now you may be wondering what happened with our trip to Phoenix to meet up with LauraC. Well lets just say that it was unfortunately not in the cards for us to make the drive out there and I would be SO disappointed if it were not for the fact that I will have a second chance to meet up with her again in 2 weeks so stay tuned for that adventure.

And I really wasn't planning on making this a magoomba post but it seems that mother nature didn't like me bragging about our warm sunny weather last week because now we are due for several storm systems in a row that will not only bring lots of rain but wind as well. Good thing it was nice out for my 10 mile walk Saturday.

Whether you have today off or not, I hope you find a way to enjoy your Monday!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Working it Out Wednesday

In January 2006 when I was several months pregnant with Jadyn, Joe ran the Carlsbad marathon and I was so very proud of him. I was also jealous. While I hadn't ran since I was a sophomore in high school, I love walking for exercise. I vowed that weekend that someday I would at least walk a half marathon. I guess you can kind of say it is one of those things that is on my personal bucket list.

Over the last year I have really been trying to exercise on a consistent basis and this was stepped up a notch in September when school started back up and the weather (kind 0f) started to cool down. But in November my wheels really started turning when LauraC invited me to join her in Phoenix over MLK weekend for the half marathon she was running. I was tempted. Really, really tempted. I started researching training schedules and finding someone close by who might be interested in training with me. It was during that time I discovered that both Scottie and Ali were thinking about running a half marathon locally in Palm Springs on Valentine's Day. I also found out that my friend Solinda (Jake's best friend Sam's mom) was very interested in training with me.

So to cut to the chase, although many of you already know this, I am officially announcing on my blog that I am training to walk a half marathon in February. I have been very reluctant to tell the masses about this endeavor, simply because I kept thinking that something would derail my efforts but after going on several of the distance walks now, I think I can safely throw my hat in the ring. I opted for the half marathon in Palm Springs for several reasons - more local means I can come home afterwards and recoup more easily, it was much less expensive and they didn't have a time limit on finishing, not to mention the extra time to train, which turned out to be paramount since I completely got off track during the holidays.

And although I am not participating in the half marathon in Phoenix, I just simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to meet Laura in person, so I am super excited that this weekend I am going to have my very first (and hopefully not last) blog friend meet-up.

Finally, to keep up my motivation after the half marathon, I also joined Laura and Erin's challenge to walk//run/bike/move 500 miles in the year 2010. So far, this has been a great kick in the butt to go on those walks and jump on that treadmill, even when I don't feel like it. I don't really plan on being a true contender for racking up the miles but if I can average 10 miles a week, I can reach my goal and do so in a super fun and supportive environment. And given that Laura and her friend Erin started the challenge and the fact that I pushed the whole half marathon to the back of my mind before Laura mentioned it, I owe her a huge thank you. I wouldn't be doing this if it were not for her and I cannot wait to thank her in person this weekend.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Performance Art

So over holiday break the kids starting putting on these shows; first for my mom and George during their visit (and you can hear them cheering them on in the video) and then again for Scottie, Ali and their family on New Year's Eve. This is not their best performance but it is the best I have captured on video. They have since added on an introduction and have perfected the bow. This was basically the reason I decided to put them in tumbling, because they both clearly like to move. Maybe they can be the next brother/sister duo you see on Dancing with the Stars but I will give bonus points to anyone who can correctly guess where they got these particular dance steps from because they did copy them from repeatedly watching something over and over.

And for my subscribers, if you don't see anything click the link that takes you to my blog so you can view the video. Sorry it is so dark.

Magoomba #26

1) For the last week or so while the rest of the nation (Florida included) is freezing, we have been enjoying some unseasonably warm weather with temperatures hovering in the high 60's and low 70's. It seems every winter we get brief intervals of this weather, only this time it seems to be sticking around a little longer. This bodes well for walking and playing in the park and lots of time spent outdoors on the new bikes. We know to enjoy it now because it won't last.

2) Utah had a followup appointment last week and is doing much better. Repeat x-rays still show a questionable area in the abdomen but the inflammation has gone down and although the diarrhea comes back if we don't give him the medication, the good news is that he can stay on the pills long term. So as long as his quality of life is good, it looks like we will have more time with our first baby.

3) Jake had a followup appointment with his eye doctor and while their has been some improvement, we will have to restart patching his left eye for 2 hours every evening after he gets his prescription adjusted for his glasses. While I am glad to hear we made progress over the summer and even happier we can still strengthen his vision in that eye, I feel kind of torn about making him patch his eye and do structured activities for 2 hours every evening after he already goes to school for 5 hours a day. We will just have to make it as fun as possible. Some of the activities they recommend during patching include connect the dots, mazes, stringing beads, spearing food with toothpicks and various types of target practice.

4) I decided that Jadyn and I needed more structured activities to do together on the days Jake is at school and she is home with me so on Wednesday we tried out a toddler time class at the library that includes music and movement, story time and a small craft - all of Jadyn's favorite things, plus then we can check out additional books, especially for Jake, our emerging reader. It is a win-win for everyone.

5) I also enrolled both kids in a tumbling class on Monday nights. Jadyn is clearly in need of an extracurricular activity but we all remember the disastrous results of her first dance class over the summer. So, I figure since Little League doesn't start until March for Jake, I could have them do the tumbling class together, giving Jadyn the confidence she needs to break away from me. It was truly a success. Both kids absolutely loved it. This week I think I am going to bring the camera and if it is not too much of a distraction, try and get some action shots of their sommersaults and balance beam work.

6) Despite having 2 carpet race tracks and various toy tracks, Jake's favorite track to race his Nascars on is a little construction paper number we put together one day. So, after he was watching his favorite diecast stop motion video on YouTube (don't ask!), we decided to construct an even better paper race track made of poster board. But geez, Jake can be really picky! He kept "showing" me the design he wanted by drawing it with his finger in the air. He wanted it to be a certain number of lanes, with a certain number of pit spots and a certain number of checkers on the finish line. While I love having a project to do with him, I cannot get over his eye for the details. Now he wants retaining walls, grandstands and pit crews. Sheesh. If I ever get it done, I will snap some pictures and post them.

7) With a lot of my TV shows on hiatus, I have had more time to read lately. Right now I am engrossed in "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett (thanks for recommending it Jen!) and I don't want to put it down. It's about 3 women living in Mississippi in the 1960's; the complexity of their relationships and the courage to do something about the injustices during that time. I haven't finished it and don't know how it ends, but right now I highly recommend it. Next I want to read Ron Currie Jr's Everything Matters but since the library doesn't have it, I might have to break down and buy it. I am also contemplating whether I want to see the movie version of "The Lovely Bones", which comes out this week.

8) And finally, speaking of books - my blog book arrived last Friday! I was SO excited. It is beautiful, all 432 pages containing the stories and pictures that comprise 2008. I did find some formatting issues I will differently with the 2009 edition and a few typos I didn't catch while editing but overall, I was very pleased. I basically followed the directions that LauraC mapped out in this blog post about how to convert your blog to a book but if anyone wants to hear exactly how I did it, please feel free to let me know. It is so worth the effort!

Front cover:

Back cover:
Inside pages:

Hope every one's week is off to a productive start!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Year - Same Stuff, Different Year

First of all we had a very lovely and low-key New Year's Eve at Scottie and Ali's, which also include Ali's parents and younger brother who were visiting from Florida. The kids got quite attached to GJ in just the few short visits we had with them, the first of which was at Jumbo Rocks in Joshua Tree and the then on New Year's. We ate homemade gnocchi (delicious) and chocolate fondue (also delicious), chatted, played video games and watched the ball drop at midnight.

Here is Jadyn helping mix the fondue:

Father and son:
Mother and daughter:

Joe and I with Scottie and Ali:

Second of all, I don't really do new year's resolutions. As I mentioned in the fall, I tend to set and start working on goals in September with the beginning of the school year and January is a time to tweak and renew those goals as we get back into the routine following the holidays. Therefore I have been back to eating on the South Beach lifestyle, going for my walk/runs, sticking to our monthly budget and cooking more meals. Boring, boring and boring.

I guess that is why I haven't felt much like blogging. I just feel like I am in a funk. Like it is just the same stuff but a different year. As much as I enjoyed the holidays, I am glad that they are over and glad to be back into a routine. But at the same time I don't particularly like having to wake up and get Jake out the door by 7:50 am every morning. I am not particularly looking forward to the added stress of PTA commitments and driving the next town over twice a week to get Jadyn to preschool. I can be an extrovert when I have to, but I am perfectly happy in my introverted little world where we can snuggle in our PJs every morning and leisurely play around the house for hours before doing anything productive. I guess if you want to call me lazy you can but I should also mention how many cabinets and drawers got cleaned out and organized over the last two weeks, or how my washer and dryer are now gleaming after being deep cleaned. I get a lot done when life isn't in the way.

So I guess I don't have much of a point but as I am pretty sure I wrote a similar post around this time last year, it really does seem like the same stuff, different year. And I am sure the post holiday hangover will lift eventually.

And I have to add I really wanted to use another word besides "stuff" so insert another S word in all the places I used "stuff" and the post will read more the way it sounded in my head.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Fearless Funny Nose Award

Somehow between Halloween and all the other fall activities that kept us busy, I never got around to posting about Jake's second season playing soccer. He had a blast of course and continued to improve his skills. He averaged 3-4 goals per game with the exception of one game where he went scoreless (and was not happy about it). He also occasionally played goalie and started learning how to pass and earn assists and how to play defense (major accomplishments for this age group).

At the end of the season party, Jake's coach (his best friend Sam's Dad) gave each of the kids an award based on their unique soccer playing personality. Jake received the Fearless Funny Nose Award for his unrelenting willingness to go after the ball. Pretty funny considering last year his coach called Jake both "fearless" and "insane". Apparently, that's just his style.

Here he is with his fellow Bandits on picture day:

Playing defense with a power kick:

About to shoot for a goal:

Catch me if you can! Dribbling down field:

Setting up for another shot on goal:

In some ways, I am glad when the season is over and we have our Saturdays free again but then in other ways, I wish the season was longer because Jake enjoys the sport so much, you just can't help but enjoy watching him.

Breaking for Fun

Winter break isn't just about the holidays. It's also a chance to do some really fun winter activities while the kids are out of school and Joe and I are both not too busy with work.

Believe it or not, in all the the times my Mom and George have been down here for visits, we had yet to take them into the park. So the weekend after Christmas, that is exactly what we did. The kids and I had done the Barker Dam trail last spring (which coincidently I believe I never got a chance to post pictures) but Joe had yet to experience it and it happens to be one of my favorites - mildly strenuous, tons of rock scrambling and some actual water!

A couple days later, we still hadn't gotten our fill of Joshua Tree so we went to the Jumbo Rocks campground for some super-sized rock scrambling.

On Wednesday we took the kids to play minature golf for the first time and it was just as fun as we imagined. Jadyn needed a little bit of help with her swing from Daddy and Jake immediately went into ultra-competitive mode but we didn't actually keep score. Trying to get the ball into the hole, the kids looked more like they were playing hockey than golf, but again the point is that we had fun.

And with that said, any extra time we have had on break has been spent as a family at home. We have spent a lot of time watching movies, playing video games (especially the new WiiFit Plus and Super Mario Bros) and playing outside on the kids new bikes (the kids, not Joe and I). And now, winter break is almost over. At least we can say we made the most of it!