Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy 4th blogiversary!

Looking over all my posts from the last year, I really think my favorite post was my blogiversary post from last year - 3rd blogiversary

The reason I like the post so much, even now a year later is because I feel so much of the same sentiments about this last year only magnified. This year had its share of challenges - my anxiety issues returning, having one of my closest friends move away, finding out I needed surgery, trying to accept the things in life that I cannot change no matter how much I wish I could and just really living in the moment. And there were so many really great moments - getting a new dog, seeing Jadyn graduate from preschool and start Kindergarten, watching Jake continue to excel in both school and sports, holidays to celebrate and personal accomplishments for me like running both a 5K and Warrior Dash.

I am still trying to figure out who I am beyond a wife and mother and what I want from this stage in my life and beyond but one of the biggest things I did this last year was learn to rely on others and to really truly open up to people, those that I trust and know I can share my most innermost thoughts with and not be judged. I have continued to learn to just be me. I don't have to be perfect. I don't pretend to be and frankly I don't want to be. I just want to feel comfortable being me. And that was in large part what this year was about for me.

And as per the tradition, I read through all the posts from this last year and am including my personal favorites. The interesting thing I honed from this tradition is that the posts that end up being my favorites usually are not the ones that include a lot of pictures (even though there is always the exception). My favorite posts are the ones that are sentimental. They make me tear up and smile at the same time because I imagine what it will be like for my kids to read these words when they are older, possibly even having become parents themselves. I think some of these words and the moments that inspired them are the greatest gift I can and will ever give to them.

Sweet Kisses

And of course, I thank each and every one of you for your continued support and sharing this journey with me.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Semi Wordless Wednesday -Santa Hat Revisited

Jake at 6 months

3 years
4 years
5 years
6 years

7 years

Jadyn 6 months

1 year

2 years
3 years
4 years:

5 years:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kuma Turns ONE!

I would be remiss not to mention that Christmas was Kuma's birthday! Of course we did not get him until February 18th when he was 8 weeks old and could be away from mama but he was born on Christmas. Happy first birthday Kuma. You have been a blessed addition to our family!

Our first picture of him at 5-6 weeks when we picked him out:

At 8 weeks when he came home with us:

We knew we had a water dog from early on but our trip to Whitewater in April when he was 4 months old sealed the deal:

At the river in July, at 7 months:

And now at 1 year:

Kuma may have grown a lot in the last year, but he is still a puppy and will be probably for the next year. Case in point: Santa left him a present in his stocking, which he left alone but I had left out a few gifts ON TOP of his kennel that the kids had picked out for him as well as two toy mice, one for each of the kitties. On Christmas morning we found all the toys on top of the kennel missing. He had taken them in the middle of the night and brought them in Jake's room to play with them, including both the mice for the cats, which did not survive Kuma's aggressive chewing. He has gone through a dog rope, rips anything stuffed to shreds in minutes in order to find the squeaker and eats the felt off all the tennis balls. I have tried the Kong toys and ones specifically marked for "strong chewers" but have yet to find something he both likes and can last past a few days.

But that was not my point. My point was that he is a great dog - smart, loyal and loving and as I mentioned the perfect addition to our family. The last year has been great and I look forward to many, many more with Kuma by our side.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Santa Claus Came to Town

It was the day before Christmas and all through the house, all the creatures were stirring and scurrying about. We had to prepare for one last party before we could get ready for Santa's arrival.

So we gathered all the presents and we got all dressed up and we took take after take to get just the right shot:

Then we went to Aunt Leigh's and ate some tamales and let the kids play with their cousins and open more surprises.

When we got home, we were quick to prepare, ccokies, milk and letters to Santa, sat next to Jelfie our elf on the shelf. There were carrots and reindeer food for Santa's faithful pets. And tearful good-byes to our own scout elf.

One quick look at Norad, the big guy was in Wyoming. This convinced the kids that he really was coming. Then the kids were all snuggled sound in their beds while us parents wrapped presents and did all the rest.

Christmas morning came to soon, 3 a.m to be exact but with coffee and excitement it was hard to be mad. The kids declared that Santa had done great. Getting them just what they wanted they played to their hearts content. (Side note about the early waking. Joe had told the kids anytime after midnight they could get up and go through their stockings ONLY. They were not to wake us up to open gifts under the tree until at least 5 am. I happened to wake up and went to watch them and "accidentally" threw a toy grenade that "Santa" had so thoughtfully put in Jake's stocking. That pretty much woke up Joe and well, since the whole family was up, we figured we might as well get Christmas morning started right then and there.)

We made a grand breakfast including my first attempt at monkey bread (YUM), evil potatos with bacon and toast and a special Santa pancake for Jadyn.

Mommy got two beautiful Onyx and silver necklaces from the kids, a Kindle and scented lotion from Joe and a candle and movie from Santa.

Daddy got the Lego Harry Potter Knight Bus, shirts, a book, Scott Pilgrim on Blu-Ray, a Nerf Vortex gun so he can now fight with his son and from me - a boat anchor that I think was able to truly surprise him with.

Jake got MegaBlocks legos, a tank, some Magic Tree House books, PJs, a rock tumbler and some cool stocking stuffers. I think he was excited to get what he wanted:

Jadyn got the Calico Critters townhouse with accessories, an art and craft bucket, some early readers and PJs and this - Mommy Fennec the Fox from Grandpa and Grandma Funny Nose (Build a Bear) she named Desi (short for desert, which is it's natural habitat) and a baby Fennec in her stocking she named Sahara. We have seen these super cute small noctural creatures at the local zoo and they are just as cute in person:

Throughout the day we played with all our new toys and gadgets and we all took naps at some point. We then went to Cruz and Tara's for Christmas dinner, good company and a look at their beautifully decorated home.

It was truly a Christmas to remember.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Final Kick of Pre-Holiday Cheer

Wednesday Jadyn worked on some rock art with Grandma Kelly and was very proud (as she should be) with how her ladybug turned out:

Later in the day, Joe and Jadyn started baking with fudge and chocolate chip cookies.

Somehow, I got caught in the flour throwing fight:

Later that evening we went for a drive to check out Minerva's Candy Cane Lane in Cathedral City. I am sure most areas have that one or maybe two neighborhoods that go all out with the lights and displays. This is ours and it was worth driving down there and walking down the block and back again to see the beautiful homes all decked out. A few of my favorites:

Friday, it was my turn to bake sugar cookies and decorate them with the kids. Our neighbor Adriana got in on the action:

This is what we ended up with up once all the baking was done.

We packed up some goody buckets and Joe and the kids delivered them to a few of our neighbors, which was quite welcomed. I am so glad we decided to make that extra effort this year. Meanwhile, I made final preparations for the holiday party we were hosting with some friends. The evening was so much fun. The food was delicious, the company delightful and if you ever want to know how to get a great picture of 9 kids, make them pose BEFORE having them do their gift exchange. Easy-peasy!:

The kids and I:

And the ladies, my neighbor Shami, Solinda, me, Teresa and Maria. It's funny that with the exception of my neighbor we all met while doing PTA at Jake's old school before we moved and even though now TWO of us have moved to Yucca a few towns over, this group of ladies have been a constant in my life ever since our initial time together several years ago.

Finally, our pre-holiday cheer would not be complete without a look at what Jelfie has been up to. The kids woke up Friday to a Lego traffic jam compliments of our scout elf:

They woke up Christmas Eve day with him trying to smash our gingerbread house, another fun tradition we started about 3 years ago compliments of LauraC. Jelfie left them a very nice note saying that he had enjoyed his time here, was sorry he would miss the smashing of the gingerbread and looked forward to coming back next year. Joe wasn't too happy that the sneaky elf had gotten into his tools without asking for permission first:

And so with all the pre-holiday activities stuffed into the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, we readied ourselves for the big holiday.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It was bound to happen sooner or later

We have been incredibly fortunate in the illness department since school started in late August, especially considering Jadyn was being introduced to a new germ pool with her starting kindergarten. But atlas, Thursday night Jake started with the tell-tale signs of a cold and by the night of Jadyn's recital, he was clearly not feeling well. Luckily he was able to make it to school Friday for the "day before Christmas break" festivities.

Sunday we had plans to all go to Grandma Anita's to learn how to make her world-famous and most delicious fudge but not wanting to spread germs to her especially, Joe took Jadyn while I opted to stay home with Jake. And that turned out just fine as I was able to spend some very rare quality time with my favorite little guy. And so it was not very surprising when later that night, I started not feeling so great. Actually, I was glad to just get it and get it over with. I couldn't and can't afford to be sick next week with my upcoming surgery.

The unfortunate part of me getting sick was that we were expecting company. My mom and her husband George arrived Monday evening for their visit and we also had my Grandmother and three Aunts - Clara, Cindy and Phyllis over too. We had a nice visit but by the end of the evening, I was wiped out.

Despite not feeling 100%, we did manage to take a trip to the park to feed the ducks and see the turtles as well as go to see Arthur Christmas (cute Christmas movie!). Here are the kids and I at the park:

I also managed to have Joe take pictures of the kids and I in our casual holiday attire. I have to laugh too because Kuma just spontaneously decided to join us and actually sat and cooperated like he totally understood what was going on. Originally, I wasn't even going to try and have him in the picture!

So no surprise that while Jake and I are feeling better, poor Jadyn is now sick. I am pretty sure that she will be on the mend soon and we will all be better right on time (or maybe that is just wishful thinking) for a weekend of holiday gatherings and of course Santa's big visit, but I think we will all be sad to say good-bye to Jelfie. Waking up to his daily antics and/or hiding spots has been a big hit this season.

Here he is after gathering some holiday bears for a late night game of Candyland:

So here is to the last big push of holiday cheer and to hopefully getting and staying healthy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Like an old Pro

Jadyn had her winter recital this past weekend. She so enjoys getting to wear her costume, having me do her hair, letting her wear a little makeup and spraying glitter all over. She wasn't nervous in the least.

Jadyn has actually learned a TON this last semester in ballet now that she has moved up past pre-ballet. In the interest of being honest, I do think the routine was a little too hard for the group of girls and it didn't look very polished (not that you would necessarily expect it to at her age range) but they spent A LOT of the time on stage looking sideways at their instructor who was performing the routine out of view in the wings. Still, they were all absolutely adorable and Jadyn's stage presence and lack of nerves just blows my mind. She was born to perform!

Here she is before leaving on recital night, posing by herself and with me:

Here are the pictures I took the night of dress rehearsal. There is no flash photography the actual night of the recital so I don't have pictures of the night of the performance. I videotaped it instead but I was fairly far back and it's not worth posting:

Group photo:

Entering the stage:

And after the recital with her congratulatory flowers. She was so excited and proud: