Thursday, September 30, 2010

Epic, monumental and other adjectives of the sort

So I have absolutely no time to blog but I just couldn't leave for my big weekend in Vegas without first throwing out some sentimental cheesy lines about how excited I am for this trip.

For those who are no familiar, when I found out I was pregnant the second time around, I joined a forum on BabyCenter that was specifically created for women who were expecting babies born in May of 2006. Over the last 5 years, I have developed a special friendship with some of these women of which words can not truly describe. These women make me laugh, are there when I need to cry or whine about parenting or life in general, offer excellent advice, undying support and allow me to be 100% me without judgement. The only downfall of this friendship is that it has been 99.9% conducted either online or via telephone being that we live all over the country. Last fall a select of few of them met up for a weekend in New York and due to the success of that trip, another, bigger trip was planned this year for Vegas. No one had to ask me twice. I was THERE!

My blogging friends as I like to call them have wandered from the BabyCenter forum and now keep in touch via blogs, Facebook and Twitter. There are so many incredible women whom I admire that I would love to one day meet, some of them (particularly my WAHMies) who were not able to come on this trip. To them I say someday it will happen because other people may not understand, but you ladies are a very important part of my life.

For those who I am meeting in Vegas - I can't wait to meet you in person. After meeting Laura in person last winter (she is my 0.1%), I am not at all nervous. Just incredibly fortunate and excited.

And, also on the epic, monumental front, after 6+ years Joe and I have finally gotten our bed back to ourselves. If you remember it has been for some time now that the kids have both learned to fall asleep in their own beds but getting them to stay in their beds has been quite challenging. Frankly I knew what needed to be done but was very relunctant to give up nighttime sleep to accomplish it. However, after Joe traveled for so long this last time, once he returned it had gotten past the point of the kids interrupting his ability to get a good night sleep so basically the foot came down. And it was probably long overdue.

Jake had been sleepwalking, very motivated to earn his reward for staying in his bed all night but getting up and wandering to our bed without realizing it. I don't know what changed this time. I returned him to his bed maybe twice and once got up and slept in his bed with him to help him fall back asleep but other than that, he has stayed in his bed all night for 2 weeks now. And he is of course enjoying his bribe (a new Domino stunt set).

I am sure Joe and the kids will have an amazing and fun weekend while I am away. This will be longest I have EVER been away from the kids, previously only being away from them for 1 night at the most. And frankly, I cannot think of a better way I would rather enjoy the time to myself then with the girls who have gotten me through to this wonderful stage in my life as a Mom.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Destination Fall - County Fair

I don't know what it is like for other people in other parts of the country to go to their local county fair because having grown up in southern California, the LA County Fair is all I really know. And it happens to be the largest county fair in the United States and it also happens to be on the outskirts of LA county, which made it a 15 minute drive from the house I grew up in. It also happens to be something I have very fond memories of doing with my family every year.

And now, even though it is more like a 2 hour drive, going to the county fair is something I look forward to doing with Joe and the kids every fall. So this past Wednesday we pulled the kids out of school early and surprised them with a day at the fair and with the temps not even reaching the 70's, it was a nice change not to be in the blistering heat.

First stop was Fairview Farms where we got to see all the farm animals and gardens. It was a perfect opportunity to answer all the questions the kids have been asking us about where our food comes from. It was also, apparently a great opportunity to get maimed by a rogue goat that couldn't patiently wait for me to give the kids the food to feed him (check out Jake's expression during the whole ordeal):

I thought I was so smart, keeping the cup of food on my head:

Maybe not such a good idea after all:

Also in the farms, Jadyn couldn't pass up the opportunity for a pony ride:

We then headed over to the carnival portion of the fair where we bought a certain amount of tickets for the kids to ration on the rides of their choice. We then decided that next year the kids would be tall enough and old enough that it would be worth it to just get the carnival wrist bands and let them go crazy. Jadyn is quite a thrill seeker, not being afraid of the speed of a roller coaster or the heights of a ferris wheel.

After the rides, it was time to check out the permanent Garden railway, which is a super cool miniature train display. I tried to replicate this picture I took 3 years ago for a compare and contrast but I couldn't quite get him to cooperate:

Here Jake is marveling at the train at age 3:

This year, same spot:

It was then time to go through the Flower and Garden Pavillion, which features gorgeous themed displays followed by an extreme dog stunt show (the kids went ballistic for this and not only did I love the stunts but I also loved that EVERY dog in the show was rescued from a shelter. How cool is that?)

You simply cannot go to the fair without at least one trip down the giant slide:

And what would a fair be without a parade?

By this time we were exhausted. We had spent twice as much time at the fair then we remembered in past years. A good reminder to ourself that as the kids get older, the more there is for them to do at the fair. We still had all the indoor exhibits to go through including the medieval themed "A Time Long Ago" where Jake was able to try his hand at archery and the kids both loved playing in the historic play kitchen:

Then on to Jurassic Planet featuring life size mechanical replicas of several dinosaurs. I took this especially to show Joanna and her son over at Sidewalk Chalk and Sippy Cups but seriously? The kids were so fried by this point they really were not up for cooperating. It is worth the giggle to click on this picture so you can see especially Jadyn's expression:

And finishing off at the Princess Playhouse where Jadyn was able to dress up and play princess in a house full of pretend play toys. Exhausted as she was, we still had to pull her away kicking and screaming. She could have stayed forever.

Literally, this fair is like visiting an amusement park. There is so much to do and see and this year we had the most fun ever. For what it is worth, I managed to refrain from any of the fun fried fair food. I am not sure which was more tempting - the chocolate covered bacon or the fried Oreo but I rather enjoyed my lobster tail at Outback where we stopped for dinner on the way home. Not exactly traditional fair food but we definitely continued the tradition of having fun!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Real life

I remember back in the day when I would let the kids watch a few cartoons in the morning. I loved Noggin. It had zero commercials. But then they grew out of it and now they watch shows that occasionally take commercial breaks so even the DVR can not shelter them from the constant advertisements of toys, clothing and food items.

I also remember taking the time to talk to the kids about commercials and about how they make things look so much more fun then they sometimes really are and the difference between wanting something and needing something. I didn't expect Jadyn to really get it but for Jake, on some level it seemed to sink in.

Flash forward to a couple of weeks ago when I brought Jadyn home a new pair of sneakers for fall - my goal is always to go with cute, stylish and maximum usage ability based on what will go with the largest number of outfits, not to mention that she got Joe's Fred Flintstone feet and still needs wide width, which almost always means her shoes are from Strite-Rite. So I take the shoes out of the box and show them to her for approval and she says, "I love them Mommy. They look just like the Sketchers I saw on TV!". My jaw dropped to the floor. I guess I never realized just how much information they retain from the commercials, especially apparently her.

Then the other day, she had just finished watching an episode of Dora and was getting ready to turn the TV off when a commercial for Moon Dough came on. She promptly stopped me from turning it off and said, "Look Mom! This is the dough that doesn't dry out!".

I simply thought to myself how well she will do when she has to start memorizing stuff for school.

This last week, Joe got bit by the nostalgia bug and bought the game of Life for us to play as a family. The kids got a kick out of it and Jake can pretty much play along and "gets it". We knew Jadyn probably wouldn't understand all of it but of course there was aspects she enjoyed. Joe cheated a little and gave her the career card to be veterinarian, since that is what she wants to be when she grows up but when we told her what her job was going to be, she got upset and said, "No I changed my mind. I want to be Mommy!". Imagine her surprise when we told her that she could choose to be both a vet AND a Mommy. Her face lit up and she squealed in delight and then went on to completely by chance, end up with 5 kids in the game, while Joe and I both only had one baby and Jake remained childless (as well as insisting on calling his wife his girlfriend for whatever reason).

Sometimes you just have to laugh at it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Our life in soccer and Legos

The weekend after Labor Day the kids had opening ceremonies and first games for soccer. Friday night we went to the opening ceremonies where to my surprise, the kids had a blast playing all the fundraiser games like the bean bag toss and dart throwing at balloons but after practicing for weeks what they were both really excited about was to be finally playing a game, although Jadyn was also quite nervous.

I am pleased to report that with Jadyn, it is going better than expected. When she is on the field, she sort of chases the action and tries to avoid actually having to kick the ball unless it ends up right in front of her but at least she is running around on the field. She is trying. She is most aggressive when playing goalie, truly wanting to stop the other team from scoring. I don't know if soccer is something she will continue to want to play past this season but for now she is having fun and I couldn't ask for anything more.

Here she is following the action on the field:

Stopping a goal:

Kicking it to her teammates:

As for Jake, he is so fun to watch out on the field. He is turning into quite a good defender being as how he can pull off legal slide tackles at such a young age. The only problem is he needs to learn when it is to his advantage to use it versus staying on his feet. It is odd to see my "baby" boy, who is almost always the smallest one on the field, play so aggressively. I love it.

What I don't love is the typical desert September weather. After months of hovering near the 100's and with school in session and the pool done for the year, it just doesn't seem right to be watching the kids play soccer with temperatures still in the 90's. Soccer is a fall sport meant to be played in milder fall weather. Of course I sound like a broken record because it is always hot here until we get closer to Halloween.

Thankfully on Sunday of that same weekend, we were fortunate enough to be able to escape the desert and join the kids friends' Gavin and Hayden at Legoland where they were celebrating both the boys' birthdays! We have definitely made good use of our season passes.

Jadyn got to take a picture with a life-size Lego guy:

And Jake loved posing with his own light saber and a life-sized Lego Darth Vader.

This last week was more of the same, school and soccer only we added another activity as Jadyn started her pre-ballet class on Mondays. And we took Friday on Thursday (how odd does that sound?) to get fixed. Between Jadyn's preschool teacher expecting in November and trying to explain why we don't want the cat to father a bunch of kitties, I am getting asked a lot of questions about the birds and bees. Thankfully, Daddy came home Friday night from almost 3 weeks of straight traveling so he can help me address those questions. Oh and as if this last week wasn't busy enough, Thursday night was also Jake's back-to-school night. Since I volunteer in the classroom weekly, I probably could have skipped it, but Jake was actually excited to go to his school at night, so we went anyway. Then over the weekend, we had soccer games on Saturday and a birthday party at the bowling alley on Sunday.

Phew! I am getting tired all over again with this recap. Looking forward to my girls weekend in Vegas, which is fast approaching.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Last Swim

When we had those thundershowers come through a couple of weeks ago, it put an unexpected end to our pool days at home. For those who have an above ground pool, you know how hard they are to keep clean. Well, we didn't have enough chemicals in the pool and the rain basically turned the water into a slimy green mess. Time to drain it! And honestly with the cooler temperatures on the horizon and the kids busy with school and other activities, we probably only would have made in the pool a handful more time. But still, it made me a little said because I usually make a semi-big production the last time we go in the pool before putting it up for the year.

Soo, to make up for it, the Friday of Labor Day weekend I took Jake out of school a little early and took the kids down to the Desert Hot Springs Spa Resort (now only about 30 minutes away). They have a variety of 8 different cold and hot mineral pools and spas and for a small fee, you can utilize them for the day. This was only our second visit this summer and is definitely a winning hot weather outing.

Jake is basically swimming on his own and Jadyn can keep herself from drowning but her above water stroke is still a little shaky so Jake proclaimed himself Jadyn's "protector" whenever she needed help. I snapped this picture on my camera phone when he had his arms around her in the pool and it turned into one of my favorite pictures of the summer:

We spent almost 3 hours swimming that afternoon and we had an absolute blast. When it was time to leave, the kids were pretty worn out so I decided to put a movie on for the ride home. But of course they couldn't decide on a movie so I offered to play "eeny meeny miny moe" if the person who wasn't picked promised not to give me any attitude.

Well, Jake won and I put on Peter Pan and started driving home. I heard some noises from the back and then Jake whining, "Mom, Jadyn is attituding!". How can you do anything but laugh at that? He turned the word attitude into a verb and it is quite fitting.

And I have to say, it has caught on. Now the whole family calls each other out when one of us is "attituding".

The rest of our Labor Day Weekend was fun as well. We had a BBQ with friends over on Sunday after relaxing on Saturday and then Monday we took the boat out for one last trip to the river. I purposely left the camera at home so I could just enjoy our day on the water, although I did take one picture of myself with my camera phone to use as my new profile pic on Facebook. I guess the point is that Labor Day weekend felt like the official good-bye to the summer and that makes me both sad that it went by so fast but also excited for fall.

Then again, if the weather continues to be this warm much further into September, it might not end of being the last swim after all.....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Like an Old Pro

Jadyn went back to her preschool the week after Jake started school and it could not have been soon enough. She asked all summer when she could go back to school but after seeing Jake getting back into the swing of things, she could hardly contain herself. I took her back to school shopping for closed toe shoes and a new backpack (even though she doesn't really need a backpack and she picked Hello Kitty, which is the cutest thing EVER!). If there is one thing that Jadyn and I do well together despite often butting heads, it is shopping! She definitely takes after me on that one.

So anyway, there were no nerves or tears during that first drop off. There was hardly a time for a backward glance. She went straight to all her friends and her favorite toys and excitedly said hello to her teachers and the guinea pigs and I was left standing there wondering when she became such a confident and social girl. I am pretty sure when she starts kindergarten next year, the tears will be coming from me.

And as someone who is a work-at-home mom with a husband who has been traveling a lot lately for work, I wish I could say that after I dropped her off I was able to to something fun or productive by myself, but instead I hurried off back to Jake's school for my first day volunteering in his classroom. I gave his teacher the choice of Monday, Wednesday or Friday (the mornings Jadyn has school) and she immediately lit up at the prospect of having someone to help her get the weekly homework folders ready. I have to admit to being a little sad to give up my Monday mornings, a time I can usually devote to weekly cleaning and planning including most of my blogging for the week but the time I spend in Jake's classroom has proven invaluable in giving me a glimpse of his school day, his teacher's methods, his classmates, what he is learning and how he is doing. The short answer is almost all positive but I will save that for another post.

I will conclude by saying that Jadyn had a wonderful first day and week back at preschool and we are all fully immersed in the back to school/fall routine.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I didn't know they had made a comeback

But apparently The Ninja Turtles are all the rage again.

Both the kids are playing soccer this year and in a crazy twist of fate, both the kids have the same color uniform and the same jersey number. Even more crazy both their teams decided to call themselves The Ninja Turtles.

Picture day was Saturday and they looked so cute in their coordinating uniforms I just had to pose them for a picture myself!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: This is where it all happens.....

Bonus Wordless Wednesday: Look what I found in my inbox: