Monday, April 26, 2010

Super Six

So much has happened in the last week that I have decided to start with the most recent and go backwards and hope that by the end of this week I can get caught up.

And so we start with not only the most recent but the most significant - Jake's 6th birthday. I know it gets old to hear it but I just can't believe how quickly children grow. It seems like yesterday I was holding my newborn baby in my arms, in awe that I had just become a mother. And now here he is - smart and funny, one of the most thoughtful people I know (child or adult) and possessing the most infectious smile and laugh. He is our Jake. And in only the first few days since turning 6 he has already deemed himself stronger and better at his videos games because he is a year older, not to mention our mutual decision that he may be getting too big for me to carry (totally not true but it is ongoing joke between us).

On Friday, which was his actual birthday I surprised him by bringing cupcakes to his school during lunch. He shyly grinned as the entire cafeteria sang him happy birthday before he passed out the cupcakes to his classmates. After school, he got to have his best bud Sam over for a sleepover, his first non-family sleepover (further proof that he is growing up way too fast). We had a pizza picnic on the living room floor followed by pretzels and M&M snacks while watching the movie "Cars". Fortunately, the kids were all tired enough that they went to sleep with minimal fuss.

Saturday after his t-ball game, Jake, Jadyn and Joe all took turns playing Super Mario Bros on Jake's new Nintendo DS. I seem to be the only one in the family not addicted to video games.

Sunday was Jake's big Super Mario Bros party and thanks to all the friends and family who were able to attend, it was a overwhelming (albeit exhausting) success.

The set up inside:

The bounce house (and Easter egg bonus of Utah) outside:

Here is Jake with his TWO best buds, Sam and Gavin:

Check out Jake's face during the Coin Battle tournament I set up on Super Mario Bros Wii. Jake went on to win but I made him give the prize to the runner up.

We did have a little glitch with the pinata, which was a pull string that I thought we could got ahead a whack at anyway. It was a fail as the candy spilled out on the first good hit. Good thing the kids quickly forget they didn't get a turn when they saw all that candy!

Since the stores didn't have a Super Mario Bros cake, I had a NASCAR cake converted by adding my own remote control Mario Kart and fondant mushrooms and stars courtesy of Rose. I think it turned out super cute!

Pictures of the birthday boy, Jadyn and Sam in the bounce house:

Check out the faces Jake and cousin Ethan were making as he opened his gifts. Tons of Hot Wheel tracks and another game for his DS. Major score!

The family as the party was winding down:

The party kids (minus two):

Me and my "not so little" boy.

This morning after we took Jake to school, Jadyn asked what party theme Jake would want to do for his birthday next year when he turns seven. I looked at her with wide eyes and mouth agape as I responded, "Let's give Mommy a chance to adjust to the idea of him being six before we start discussing next year's party.". Please.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Any chance I could party like a rock star?


I don't think I ever mentioned it but for my birthday in February Joe got me a 3 day pass to the local Coachella Fest. Not too many exciting things happen in our neck of the woods but over the last several years, Coachella has turned into a music and arts event that rivals Lollapalooza in my book. I wanted to try and go last year but it fell on the weekend of Jake's birthday. This year when I found out Muse was headlining the festival Saturday, it became even more apparent that I wanted and needed to be there. And so now the weekend has arrived. The weather is gorgeous and although I am not sure where a 36-year old mom whose last concert was Chris Isaak while 4 months preggos with her first son will fit in with this indie/alt rock fan crowd, I am still super excited to be seeing bands like Them Crooked Vultures, Band Of Skulls, MGMT, Phoenix, Matt&Kim and Mutemath. And of course Muse. Did I mention how much I love, love love, Muse?

Speaking of my birthday, if you recall, my friend Solinda planned a surprise birthday dinner for me and therefore I did not have my camera to capture the moment. Well Solinda made sure to get photos for me and so better late than never, here is me with some of my closest friends: Lindsay and Rose (my partner in crime for this weekend) standing and Ali, Solinda, myself and Maria sitting.

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend. No doubt I will.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Happy Trails

Friday the kids had off from school so I braved the pollen-filled air and we met with The Beyer Family for picnic, play and a trail at the preserve. This is one of my favorite places because when you are surrounded by all the trees, you can seriously forget you are in the desert. It's beautiful. We took some time out on the trail for some pictures, some sweet and some silly. Rose was playing with my camera as she has a Nikon.

I am so glad she forced me to take my sunglasses off for this picture with Jadyn:

My attempt at a group shot. Gavin's little brother isn't even in the picture because he fell backwards into the brush before I could take it. He wasn't in a picture taking mood after that:


This picture can give you a good idea of why I love this trail so much.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I don't know what a Muckdog is but Jake sure does make a cute one.

Picture day and hit-a-thon for Jake's baseball team. Jake went 25 for 25.

Here he is with his bestie Sam:

Hanging with some of his fellow teammates:

In case the professional picture doesn't turn out:

Action shot:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's All Happening

Alternate titles for this post: Cat’s out of the Bag and We’re Moving on Up.

So some people might be wondering what the real reason is that I have suddenly dropped off the face of the earth – at least when it comes to online social networking via Twitter, Facebook and my bloggity blog. You might have surmised that I have just been busy, what with work and the kids, which would be true. Between school schedules, t-ball practice, ballet and tumbling, we are always driving to get to or from somewhere. You may have presumed that the kids and/or I got sick and yes my allergies have been kicking my butt, but it is still not the reason for my absence. I would love to say we have been enjoying the warm spring weather but actually we got a teaser and were then struck with chilly temps and ridiculous wind. Then again you may not have missed me at all – I mean I have at least been able to post to the blog about once a week.

But the real reason for my lack of internet time is because it’s all happening and now it would seem that the cat is out of the bag. We are moving on up.

You see when we bought this home 6 years ago, Joe was still planning to be a lifer in the military and we were just going to spend 3 years here and then move onto our next duty station. Then I started working from home, we had another child and Joe decided to get out of the military and join the civilian sector not to mention the fact that with this new job came a need to also maintain a home office. So while our house met our needs at the time we bought it, we really didn’t think about how those needs might change and grow and now we are literally busting at the seams. My "office" is a desk backed up against the sliding glass door of our master and Joe's office is mobile, sometimes setting up shop on our kitchen counter and other times utilizing Jake's student desk in his room. Not exactly ideal.

But we are happy and comfortable and we make it work. With the market the way it is now, it is a great time to buy, but not such a great time to sell and so we figured that we would just have to wait it out. But, we also thought it would be a pretty awesome opportunity if we could take advantage of the market and buy now, while holding onto to our existing house and turning it into a rental. Another factor that has weighed heavily is the fact that we somehow continually find ourselves gravitating toward the next two towns over - I drove first Jake and now Jadyn there for preschool. Jadyn's tumbling and dances classes are there. Our doctors are there. Most of our friends are there. Add to that the fact that it already takes an hour to get to the highway and then another hour to visit family or 30 minutes minimum to the nearest real shopping and restaraunts.

Well we started looking into the feasibility of our little scheme and the stars must have all been aligned just right because in the span of the last two weeks we have been pre-approved, had our offer accepted and opened escrow on a home in Yucca Valley, not to mention the fact that we already have renters for our current home. After years of talking about moving to Yucca Valley and getting a bigger house, it would seem that our dreams are coming true.

And because everything has so far fallen into place, I have been a little skeptical and afraid to get overly excited. In today’s housing market 50% of home purchases that enter escrow end of falling through, usually because of the stricter rules of lending. However, at this point I am starting to gain confidence that this really is going to happen.

So the house has everything we really wanted – 3 bedrooms plus a den, open floor plan where you can see the family room from the kitchen and vice-versa, indoor laundry room, master bed/bath with walk in-closet and separate shower and tub, 3 car garage, fenced back yard on almost ½ acre of land and within the boundaries of one of the better schools in the district. Then there are the nice extras like granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and custom porcelain tile, not to mention we are at higher elevation and will likely see snow a couple times each winter. We are super excited.

Of course with all the reasons that we want to move, there are things that we are going to miss – like the friends Jake and our family have made at his current school, especially his best friend Sam, although we will only be 30 minutes away.

The next couple of months were already going to be busy with spring activities and the kids birthdays but now we are going to throw purchasing a home and moving into the mix. I will be lucky if I get to blog at all. Then again, these days luck seems to be on my side. I better go knock on some wood.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Over the Hills, Through the Desert, Past the Sea and Across the Interstate

To Grandmother's house we go!

We did a lot of driving to make all of our destinations this past Easter weekend. It started off Saturday with a trip to Oceanside to visit friends still in the Marine Corps, Cruz and Tara. They were having a going away BBQ because Tara is deploying to Afghanistan for 13 months. After that we drove to Grandma and Grandpa's house in Upland where we stayed the night and were visited by the Easter bunny. Here are the kids with their Easter baskets:

And showing off their excitement at some of their new treasures. Jake got a new set of Army men:

And Jadyn just loved this kitty cat notebook:

After getting dressed in our Sunday best, we drove to Joe's sister house for Easter brunch.

Here is Jadyn with her cousin Lilly:

Jake and Jadyn with cousin Aidan (aka Bubba):

Jadyn showing off her Easter dress:

And finally after hunting for Easter goodies there, we drove up the hill to Victorville to visit with my Grandma and Grandpa Schexnyder, as well as several of my Aunts, Uncles and cousins. The kids got to participate in yet another egg hunt and spend some play time with second cousins they don't get to see very often.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to get any good action shots of dyeing eggs Friday before the weekend OR from any of the egg hunts. I am such a kid at heart, I am right there with them coloring eggs and helping them hunt for eggs, so I can't really photograph the occasion too.

Needless to say, by the time we got home, we were all exhausted and tired of being in the car but it was all worth it to visit with so many friends and family and have a great Easter weekend!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Breaking for Spring

The kids are on spring break this week. Of course Joe is still working and going to school and I am still working, but it's nice to have a break from the hustle and bustle of getting Jake and Jadyn to and from school as well as other extracurricular activities so it kind of feels like a break for everyone.

It's also a great time to do things and see people we don't get to see that often because of school schedules. On Monday for example, I took the kids down the hill to get Easter pictures done at Sears. I debated on just skipping this yearly tradition since Jadyn had just had some pretty good pictures done at school and Jake has school pictures the week we return from break, but with my Super Saver card if I go on a weekday I get buy one, get one free sheets, a free 8x10, not to mention the coupon I had for a free character collage so I decided to take advantage.

It was the best picture taking trip ever. The kids are old enough and used to it enough that we went in, they posed and smiled and cooperated, I picked out the pictures I wanted to buy and we were on our way. I didn't even take the stroller inside the mall. And as we were walking inside the mall heading to the play area to release some energy before the drive home, I couldn't help but notice all the stares and smiles the kids received as they followed my lead, hand in hand. It was a proud mommy moment.

On Wednesday we visited my friend Rose so Jake could play with his old preschool pal Gavin. His younger brother Hayden and Jadyn also go to preschool together now. We were there for other reasons, but I will be getting into that in a forthcoming post.

Later that day, we got to have our niece and nephew come over for a sleepover. Jake and Jadyn LOVE their cousins and since we both celebrate Easter with other family, I decided to throw together some Easter activities the kids could do together. It's kind of nice to have the kids be at an age where having more kids in the house is actually less work because they keep each other so well-entertained.

Here they are getting ready to dye eggs:

The crafty girls are hard at work:

The mischevious boys couldn't stop making each other laugh.

The same theme rang throughout the visit. Here are the girls cuddled up watching a movie before bed:

And the boys being super rambunctious fighting each other on the bed. And don't worry, Jake didn't get the best of Ethan. There were plenty of times where Jake was on the receiving end of blows like this:

The next day I took the kids to the park so they could have a little Easter egg hunt. I tried to take a group shot beforehand but it is obvious they are all thinking, "Yeah. Yeah. Take the picture so we can hunt for eggs!"

Jadyn takes it SOOO seriously:

Here is she is telling me that she only found 5 eggs:

But her brother and cousins shared what they also found so it all evened out in the end.

They finished off the afternoon with some playtime at the park and were all thoroughly exhausted by the time Joe drove Madison and Ethan home. It was a fun time and quite heartwarming to see the kids get to spend some quality time with their cousins.

And our upcoming weekend promises to be even more busy than the week. So I guess I better rest up. After all, this is supposed to be a break.