Thursday, February 24, 2011

So yeah, we FINALLY got snow

There has been several times this winter when we have been forecasted to have some fairly decent snowfall. However, every time it ends up being a really cold rain or it will snow, but it is just isn't enough to stick. Not very fun. I realize there is a lot of the country that had more than their share of snow this winter but here in the desert of California it is definitely a novelty.

Now this past weekend we were forecasted to have a pretty substantial rainstorm with potential flash flooding and heavy winds. Never once was the possibility of snow mentioned for our area. So it was a quite a surprise when we looked out the window Saturday early evening to see snow falling and even more of a surprise when a few hours later it snowed again and created a decent blanket on the ground.

Of course, the irony is that as much as I love the occasional snow, having it occur the first night you are trying to housebreak an 8 week old puppy may not be ideal. They recommend taking him outside every 30 minutes in addition to shortly after eating, drinking water, taking a nap or heavy play/training so yeah, we are taking him out there A LOT. He didn't seem to mind:

And neither did the kids:

Me on the other hand? I just wanted a picture to remember the occasion by:

By morning, we still had some snow on the ground but it was a very light covering. Not really enough for snowball fights or a snowman, just enough to make the desert look gorgeous:

Then it melted and Kuma earned the nickname Mudbud (from the Disney air buddies series). I wish I had captured the moment he dove in a mud puddle, stuck his snout right in there and came up with a pile of mud on top of his nose. It was priceless. And the perfect time for his first bath. I did however, catch Jake playing fetch with him using one of his crocs. He is a retriever after all:

What do you think, is he going to like coming to the river with us? Because after this set of storms and cold weather, I am definitely looking forward to spring and summer.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Trading Places

I have a kid who thinks she is a dog and yes the night before we got Kuma, she fell asleep and stayed asleep in the crate the whole night:

I have a cat who thinks he has a place set for him at the dinner table. For real:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Introducing Kuma

I have so much to talk about from the long President's Day weekend - Friday Vegas, Saturday snow and Sunday my birthday but first things first. Allow me to introduce the newest member of the Funny Nose family, Kuma:

For those of you wondering about the name, Kuma is bear in Japanese. The puppy's daddy goes by the name Griz, short for grizzly bear and obviously Nago was named after a city in Okinawa Japan where we got her. The name definitely seems to suit him well. He is 8 weeks old, born on December 26th, 2010 and is a full bred yellow labrador retriever.

So far, he has proven to be very smart, eager to please and highly entertaining. The cats however, think otherwise and are very slowly coming around. The kids adore him and love to play with him and wear him out. We are confident that Kuma is going to make an excellent addition to our family.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Show me the Mommy - Before I was a mommy

At least before I was mommy to human children.

This picture was taken right around my 26th birthday (and obviously before we had a digital camera). Joe and I were living in Japan and I was getting ready to leave to go back to the states. Both Utah and Nago were just over a year old. Prior to me leaving, we had an awesome party for both my birthday and going away. That was 11 years ago this weekend and I really don't care if you do the math and conclude that I will be turning 37 years old in a matter of days.

But it is precisely because of how much Utah and Nago enriched our lives, how much a part of our family they were, how much they were loved that the only thing I want for my birthday this year, is to bring another dog into our home. And so it is with much pomp and circumstance that we will be doing precisely that this Saturday when we pick up the newest addition to our family. Be prepared for the picture overload that is sure to take place by early next week. Until then, here is a sneak peek of the little guy, taken a few weeks ago:

I conclude already that he is going to be the BEST birthday present ever.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Young Picassos

The kids tend to go in and out of phases where they draw and color a lot, Jadyn especially. Some weeks I feel like we could go through an entire ream of copier paper. Considering Joe and I do not have an artistic bone in our bodies, I think Jadyn is very creative and talented and I love to see what she comes up with.

In these two pictures, she has drawn a house with bats hovering around it. She wrote all the members of our family, including Utah and Nago (her printing skills are really coming along). In the bottom picture, she has drawn herself with two of her friends dancing on stage with sunflowers in the rain:

She also, no surprise loves to draw animals. Here is one of her famous square cats and a portrait of Nago that she drew for me:

Jake has a very finely-tuned skill of drawing amazing cars, race tracks and mazes.

And we have a special place in the office dedicated to their favorite works of art. It changes frequently:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Showing the Love

Yes Valentines Day is highly commercialized and yes we should make sure the ones we care about know how much we love them always and not just on a specified contrived day. However, I still really like Valentine's Day. Because how it can be wrong to celebrate love and do something a little extra special for the ones closest to your heart?

Even before kids, Joe and I usually didn't make too big a deal about Valentine's Day. If we did celebrate we would maybe go to a nice meal a couple days before or after. No sense in dealing with the crowds on the actual day. Plus, my birthday is so close, it just doesn't make sense going overboard twice within a week of each other.

But aren't these two of the cutest Valentines that you ever did see?

Or maybe two of the funniest Valentines:

And aren't they even cuter when they have just woken up and are completely surprised by their Valentine's bags from Mom and Dad, each with a small token and some candy hearts?

How about after passing out Valentines at school, coming home and sharing their loot with each other before eating themselves into a sugar coma?

We celebrated as a family by baking homemade chocolate chip cookies and eating our favorite fondue themed dinner. Yes, Valentine's Day certainly may have changed since having kids but I don't mind at all.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cross another one off the bucket list

With as much as I have been talking about it, I doubt anyone missed the fact that I was running my first 5K this past weekend. It felt really good to accomplish running 3.1 miles straight in an organized race environment, even if the only person I was competing against was really myself.

And unlike last year when I walked the half marathon, running a 5K left me wanting more. I don't know what distance I will build myself up too. There are a lot of factors that would go into determining whether I eventually end up doing a half marathon or not. Right now I would like to work up to a 10K and improve my 5K time, which by the way for this race was 37:04. Plenty of room for improvement!

But the best part of the whole experience was having Joe and the kids there to support me. Not only did they wake up at 5am and make the drive down there, but seeing their smiling faces as I was rounding the final corner to cross the finish line was priceless.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Show me the Mommy - Reading Edition

I have to send a big shout out and thanks to LauraC for one of her posts this week. One of her sons had a breakthrough with reading (congrats Nate!) and it served as a reminder that it had been awhile since I had assessed Jadyn's willingness to learn to read. Or maybe I should clarify.

Jadyn is very eager to learn to read. However, she has not been very willing to learn to read from me. She knows her letters (still confuses b and d) and her letter sounds but beyond that she does not want to work with me on stringing those sounds together. If I take out a book, she would much rather look at the pictures and make up what the words are on the page. It's just easier. This has been perfectly fine by me. I am in no hurry. And frankly, her way of reading has been quite cute.

So anyway, I took out our Hooked on Phonics workbook the other day and we sat and worked on stringing sounds together for awhile and then, she read her first book! Only one book is not enough for Jadyn, so she read 1, 2, 3 more books. Four books in one day! I was so proud. She was so proud. She also re-read a book to Daddy and Jake. It must be hard to be the younger child when it comes to reaching milestones. Jake kept saying things about how easy the book was, like it was no big deal but we set him straight and made sure that Jadyn had her moment.

So what does this have to do with show me the mommy? Well one of my favorite parts of the day is reading with the kids. Of course usually that entails me reading to them. Right now they are just absolutely in love with the SkippyJonJones books. They crack up at this little Siamese cat who thinks he is a chihuahua. I just don't have the sense of humor to "get" these types of books. But I digress. More often now, I am not the one reading. Jake's abilities have really taken off this year and he is reading almost at a second grade level. Now, Jadyn is starting to read and very excited to show everyone that she can do it too.

As someone who has always (well, almost always) been an avid reader, seeing my kids reading and enjoying reading has been really exciting for me too. But even when they can read it themselves, I will always be willing to read SkippyJonJones (or whatever they are into at the time), if it means getting to spend special time with them like this:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sweet Kisses

Sometimes the best traditions are the ones that start spontaneously. They are not born from anything premeditated. They just happen. You don't remember exactly when it started but now you can't imagine the day you wouldn't continue it.

Jake is a very affectionate little guy. He loves to cuddle and hug. He is however, not big on kisses. One night at bedtime in order for him to accept multiple bedtime kisses from me, I started naming each kiss. He got one kiss that represented each year of his life, except instead of numbering them by his age, I named them by the stage of that year - one kiss for baby, one kiss for toddler, two kisses for the years he was a preschooler, one kiss for kindergarten and one for first grade. He seemed to like this so it became part of our bedtime routine.

But of course not long after this started, Jadyn caught wind of it and wanted special kisses for herself and so she started receiving four kisses, baby, toddler, preschool, preschool. Things snowballed one night when Jadyn wanted to give me kisses in return. She asked what she should name them. She eventually came up with kisses for being a mommy and working. I thought it was cute.

Occasionally on Friday nights after our family movies, we let the kids sleep with us in our bed. On one such night, as we were settling down for sleep, the kids asked for their kisses and I jokingly asked for mine in return. In addition to giving me kisses for being a mommy and working, Jadyn also gave me a kiss because Nago died. Now some people might find this sad, but I thought it was the sweetest thing because it showed me Jadyn understood what Nago had meant to me and wanted to find a way to comfort me.

Since that night, additional kisses have been added in both directions for a multitude of reasons. Jake gets kisses for losing his first tooth, running a mile in 9 minutes and saving me from falling off the bus (long story short, when we took the tram bus to the aerial tram station in Palm Springs we were really packed in and Jake kept his arm around me so I wouldn't fall off the bus onto the street). On one particular night Jake asked for an extra kiss because he had a bad day at school. Jadyn gets extra kisses for helping me cook a meal, drawing me pretty pictures, and going on shopping excursions with me. Jadyn likes to give me kisses equal to the number I give her and love to hear the reasons for my kisses every night. Jake on the other hand, gives me one solitary kiss in return for all of the ones I shower on him and that is fine by me because that one kiss is followed by the words "be my mommy". He came up with that all on his own and it's not a question. It is a statement. My heart swells every time I hear it.

And this is why I blog. Because I want to remember things like this. Who knows, the kids could be getting ready to graduate from high school and I could still be giving them kiss after kiss after kiss at bedtime for every year of their life (wishful thinking right?) The tradition could end just as spontaneously as it began next week, next month, next year. Regardless, I want the kids to read this and remember, even if only through my words. Sure, I want them to be able to look back and see and read about all the fun things we did as a family but I also want to capture the every day. Because sometimes that is where the magic of family and kids really lies. Every night ending with our sweet kisses.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday Tunes

As many of you know, in the last year I have taken up running. It has not come easily to me. Every extra minute or portion of a mile I manage to run without breaks has been hard fought and I am still slower than a penguin. However, I am beginning to actually like it. When I have to run on the treadmill (either due to weather or because I have Jadyn with me) I like to watch past seasons of Big Bang Theory but I really prefer getting to hit the pavement (and sometimes dirt). Especially now that I have finally found a course that avoids the huge hill we live on. On Saturday I managed, finally to run 3 straight miles on pavement. Finally.

I am all ready for my first 5K this Sunday. It really brings me full circle as this is the same event that I walked the half marathon for last year. Now I am running it, albeit only the 5K. Who knows, maybe next year I will be running the half marathon. That seems a long way off.

Anyway, I wanted to share my playlist. I have kind of an odd taste in running music, or so I have been told, tending to gravitate towards alternative. And it is very rare that a song makes cut after cut when I change up my playlist but I do have some old standbys (The Killers - Mr. Brightside will always be my go to song).

Cameras - Matt&Kim
You've got the love - Florence and the Machine
Starlight - Muse
Infinity Guitars - Sleigh Bells
Neighborhood #3 - Arcade Fire
Something is not right with me - Cold War Kids (also check out Louder than ever from them, maybe not for running but a really, good song)
Camera Talk - Local Natives
Boots of Danger - Tokyo Police Club
Howl - Florence and the Machine
My Body - Young the Giant (seriously, the lyrics as I am about to hit the 3 mile mark "My body tells me no. But I won't quit, cause I want more" I don't think he's talking about pushing himself to run further but it certainly worked that way for me)
Crown on the Ground - Sleigh Bells
Howlin for You - Black Keys
Dog Days are over - Florence and the Machine
Tell Em - Sleigh Bells
Mr. Brightside - The Killers
Rock that Body - Black-eyed Peas
Electric Feel - MGMT
Spiraling - Keane

If you have a favorite running song that I should have on my playlist, please feel free to share!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Our low key weekend

Real quick update on our weekend. Very low key. Friday night is our family movie night and we watched a double header of sequels - Beverly Hills Chihuahuas 2 and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (because you know, we haven't seen it already a billion times).

Saturday we took the kids to Home Depot for their monthly kids workshop. This is only our second time but the kids really do enjoy building and later painting their projects. This month was a really cute heart shelf and peg. We will paint both of them to put up in Jadyn's room:

Joe spent the majority of the weekend finishing up the retaining wall. Now he just has to finish leveling all the dirt. That is 177 feet of bricks stacked four high that individually weigh at least 50 pounds each. Now that Joe has done the hard part, I get to start on landscaping the planter area between the wall and the fence:

Sunday was of course Super Bowl. Cruz came over so we could watch our teams duke it out. Turns out I had tossed my Favre Packers jersey a few years back (I wonder why) so I sported my Green Bay beach towel:

And after Green Bay won in what turned out to be a heck of a game, Cruz had to sport the beach towel and use the pic for his profile on Facebook for 24 hours. Gotta love winning a bet:

Sometimes low-key is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Show me the Mommy - Silly Edition

Just a typical Friday Evening at the Funny Noses. Photograph courtesy of Jadyn.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


And it is definitely not Monday. Where did the week go?

1) My friend Bridget made it through surgery and is recovering very well so far. It will be some time before we know if the surgery will alleviate the pain she has been living with for far too long so please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers. My apologizes for not updating everyone sooner. I wasn't thinking about those of you who only know me from our group and wouldn't have gotten any other updates.

2) Last Saturday Jadyn and I went on a date just the two of us. We fed our addiction at Starbucks (I am now in love with the Skinny Caramel Macchiato) and then visited the animal shelter, you know just to torture ourselves.

3) Sunday, I took Jake shopping for Valentines (he settled on Transformers since shockingly, they don't make soldier/military themed ones) and then I helped him pick out a birthday gift for his best friend from school, Kyle. This was suppose to be my date with Jake but then when I took him to the party, I was the only parent that was planning on staying. When did Jake get to be so big that I am dropping him off at birthday parties now? Anyway, I stayed for awhile and chatted with the parents and then (sniff, sniff) left and came back later to get him. The good news was I got the house to myself for a few hours as Joe and Jadyn had gone to Home Depot and to run some other errands.

4) No we have had any crazy amounts of snow but it has gotten pretty cold here again. After our gorgeous weekend in Carlsbad, I am ready for spring. Midweek, snowpocolyse did manage to affect me however, when I did not get my normal workload for the day. You know, since the doctors and patients I would normally transcribe for couldn't leave their houses in the Chicago area.

5) I finally watched The Social Network last weekend. I loved it! Very well done and very well acted. I know it is based on a book that has been criticized for exaggerating the truth so therefore I was pretty surprised to see that, at least in opinion they were pretty fair to Mark Zuckerberg. I didn't walk away feeling like he was necessarily the "bad guy". It was definitely more complicated than that, which is why it made such a great movie.

6) I am currently reading Water for Elephants and really enjoying it. I didn't think I would like it at all since I am not a circus fan. I don't like the conditions and treatment most of the animals are subjected to. And the book definitely addresses that issue within its story. I will have to update everyone when I finish.

7) And speaking of animals, our kitty Friday presumably got himself into a cat fight and ended up with an abscess on his face. One night Joe noticed a chipmunk cheek on the poor lil guy and a trip the vet confirmed that he had a fairly high temperature from it. Luckily we got it down with antibiotics and it broke open on it's own a few days later. Now that he is back to his frisky little self, its a wonder we didn't notice his lethargy earlier. Glad he is on the mend though.

So I guess that is it for now. No big plans for this weekend other than the Super Bowl on Sunday (Go Packers!). We have some big things planned over the next couple of weeks though (first 5K, Valentines Day, my birthday and of course birthday presents) so I will most certainly have more excitement to blog about in the near future.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thoughts and Prayers are appreciated

Thoughts and prayers are appreciated as my friend Bridget, one of the gals that I went to Vegas with last Fall, undergoes brain surgery today to have a tumor removed.

She is one of the most down-to-earth, funny as all heck and courageous people I know. She loves her two little girls will everything she has got. I know she has the strength necessary to get through this and I will be thinking of her today as she is dear to my heart. If you could spare some thoughts or prayers yourself, they would be most appreciated.