Monday, March 28, 2011


- So Friday was Kuma's first puppy education class. Would you believe me if I told you that there are 3 puppies in the class and one of the other ones is a yellow lab named Kuma? And here we thought we had found a somewhat unique name. Bah.

- Saturday Jake had a game. They changed pitching machines and the the one we are now using is a little bit more the speed I was expecting. Jake went 3 for 3 and even played catcher one inning. How cute is he in all that gear?:

And up to bat:

- When Jake and I got back from his game, Jadyn was over at the neighbors playing with their little girl, who it turns out is in third grade, so not too terribly older then our kids. Her and Jadyn were getting along famously. Then the ice cream truck came by. These two events may seem rather ordinary to many but for us, it was just further proof that we made the right decision when we moved. Night and day from our old neighborhood. Not to mention the fact that the ice cream truck would not be coming by unless we were finally having SPRING weather so yeah for that too. Because this is how we were dressed for the first game of the season on Wednesday night. Seriously cold, windy and absolutely miserable for the spectators and players alike:

- Later on Saturday, I drove the kids down to spend the night with their cousins Madison and Ethan (thank you Uncle Tony and Aunt Tawnya). They had a blast going to a make your own pizza dinner party and having a bonfire with smores. Apparently Jadyn wouldn't go to sleep that night and is still insisting that she stayed up the whole night (mind you it was only her second night staying away from Joe and I).

Jadyn and Madison making pizzas (photo courtesy of Tawnya):

Jake and Ethan enjoying smores (photo courtesy of Tawnya):

- Meanwhile with the kids gone, Joe and I decided to have a date night in. We got Thai take-out from a local place I have been meaning to try for ages and we watched The Town with Ben Affleck. The food, the movie and the chance to hang out sans kids were all good.

- Sunday, Joe went to pick up the kids and then took on the large task of putting together the new swing set that is serving as both the kids birthday presents. Yes, they are getting it early so as to be able to fully enjoy it for the entire spring. Putting together these things takes an enormous amount of work and by the time the kids were home from school on Monday, it was ready for them to test out:

- But back to Sunday for a moment. Anyone want to guess what time Jadyn passed out on Sunday evening after not sleeping all night Saturday? That would be 5:30 p.m. and she slept straight through until 7 a.m. Monday morning.

- Jadyn also had a her costume fitting on Monday for her dance recital. She looked adorable. The costume is adorable. I.simply.cannot.wait.

- And another thing I have been waiting for is fast approaching. Warrior Dash is (gulp) this Sunday. I know it will be a blast. I am still nervous. I am not an obstacle, jump over fire and get dirty kind of girl. Some moments I wonder what the heck I was thinking when I signed up. Then other moments I just can't wait.

- I know everyone is probably so sick of hearing me say this but Fringe! Fringe! Fringe! Just when I think it could not possibly get any better. Bam! Throws me for another loop and I am on the edge of my seat. Why are you not watching Fringe?

And with that, begins another busy, fun-filled week. At least the weather seems to be cooperating.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Move It 2011 Budget 5K Race Report

This budget race did its job. I went out and ran this morning and if it weren't for me having the race on my calendar I probably wouldn't have. My allergies were acting up, it was a chilly 38 degrees and Jake had a baseball game starting later in the morning.

But run I did and I am so glad for it, because not only was I able to beat my target time of 37:00 minutes, but I hit a personal record completely the 3.1 miles in 33:59 minutes. This may still seem slow to some but for me to see the progress I have made in my running over the last 3 months was very rewarding. It felt good to push myself, give it 110% and see results.

And speaking of results, guess who fit in her size 6 jeans from Old Navy that I couldn't have hoped to button and zip at the beginning of winter?

Yes folks, progress indeed.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Funny Nose Knows

Jake received the star reading award for the 2nd trimester in a row for reading at or above grade level. I am super proud of all the progress he has made in the language arts this school year. And let this picture serve as a reminder to me that he desperately needs a haircut:

One of the phrases that Jake has been saying a lot lately is "I need to wake out of it". He means essentially that he needs to snap out of it, like when he is doing his nightly reading and misses a word because he is tired or not paying close attention.

One of Jadyn's favorite phrases right now occurs when she is asked to wait her turn to speak or Jake talks over her. She will whine and cry and exclaim, "You made me forgot my words!" She is so serious when she says it, really truly upset. But I can't help but smile. Oh, the drama of having a little girl.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


This is considered progress and so far it only seems to be happening with Friday (the younger of our two cats):

I know it is progress because 1) Friday IS playing with Kuma. He bats at him but his claws are not out and he will run, jump up somewhere and then swish his tail back and forth as if to say, "Come on, come get me!".

As for Jazz, she still has her claws out and she is still hissing. If only you could explain to Kuma not to lunge after them full speed, maybe she would come around quicker.

Poor Kuma, he only wants to play. He can't really be around other dogs or places strange dogs have been until 17 weeks of age when he will have been fully vaccinated for 1 week. Until then he can only be around dogs we are 100% sure are healthy. He has met my in-laws dogs and Grandma Anita's dogs who are all smaller breeds and older and not interested in playing with a puppy. Then of course we had Cruz's Great Danes here and they too are older and not interested in having a puppy nipping at their heels. Even the dog at the vet the other day when Kuma was getting his 3rd set of shots, put up with him momentarily and then let him know he too was not interested.

But tomorrow, Kuma starts puppy education classes and I am so excited. First of all, he will be in a class with 7 other puppies, all of whom have been verified for health and vaccinations and so finally Kuma will have someone to play with who has the same energy level he does. Also, I have very fond memories of taking Utah to obedience class. I really feel like it strengthened our bond and I can't wait to start teaching Kuma new things (he is already sitting for me pretty well).

And speaking of vet appointments, Kuma has gained a whooping 5 pounds in the 2 1/2 weeks between appointments. Can you see how much he has grown:

Things are going good with Kuma. When the weather is decent, he is pretty much 100% housetrained. When the weather is bad or we have company and he is extra excited, he tends to have some accidents and he is still not used to be in the crate when we are gone but Kuma is smart and loyal and loving, exactly what we hoped for. Progressing, growing and capturing our heart more and more with each passing day.

Monday, March 21, 2011


So to give you an idea of how busy I have been, here are the pictures I took on St. Patrick's Day with every intention of posting them on Friday. I actually forgot about them until I went to download pictures off my camera. Yikes!

And our attempt at including Kuma:

-speaking of St. Patty's Day, Jadyn had the second of three appointments to take care of her cavities and she has become such an old pro at the whole ordeal that she was awarded the MVP Patient of the Day necklace from the technician. Now I don't know if they really only give this to one child a day, but she has never gotten it before. Truly she was a real trooper.

- As I have mentioned Jake is playing baseball. So why does that suddenly mean that I am all-consumed with everything Little League? Thursday night, Jake had practice during which I handed out information and uniforms to all the parents. Friday, Jake had machine pitch practice (his first time, he did okay connecting with the ball twice). Immediately following that I had a team mom clinic, where I got to find out all the fun things I signed up for by agreeing to the title, which included finding a scorekeeper for when our team is home. Since I don't know if I will be able to find someone, I then attended the scorekeeper clinic to learn how to do that in case I have to (and in all likelihood, I will). Saturday morning we woke up and attended opening ceremonies for the league. Thankfully Jake did not have a game that day and so we got a little bit of a reprieve.

- The reprieve included me taking the kids out on a date Saturday night. Jake chose McDonalds for dinner because he loves the indoor play area. I wasn't too thrilled with his choice so I sneaked in a sandwich from neighboring Quiznos. But then I forgot it is March and therefore McDonalds has shamrock shakes (yum!) so I splurged on one of those for dessert. Jadyn chose for us to all go see "Mars needs Moms". Really cute movie. Yes the premise of loving and respecting your mom can sometimes feel like a really long public service announcement but since my kids are 4 and 6 and I am, well a mom who wants to be loved and respected, I kind of didn't mind.

- Sunday, I chose to go for a run instead of getting my grocery shopping done (I blame the bad influence of my MoveIt 2011 tribe) before we headed out to visit Grandma and Grandpa Stevens and then the kids I continued on to cousin Ethan's 6th birthday party at a pizza place. Jake was in heaven since the theme of the party was military (Call of Duty Black Ops to be precise and precisely what Jake's birthday theme will be this year too). We all had a really good time.

- Back to the whole baseball thing (again, I know). I am feeling somewhat guilty because Jadyn had said she wanted to play t-ball back in January when I was signing up Jake and I kind of talked her out of it because I really didn't think she would like it and it was really hard in the fall when she was still doing ballet and they were both playing soccer. But now I see her looking at the younger kids practicing when we are there for Jake and I kind of wonder if I should have just let her try it out. Maybe next year if she is still interested.

-In the meantime Jadyn continues to entertain me with the songs, dances and stories she makes up, not to mention watching her when her favorite song comes on - The Neon Trees 1983. I see a Kids Bop CD in our near future.

-So it's spring right? Well not according to the weather here. It is cold, windy and today it was even rainy. We are supposed to remain in the 50's this week. I want sunshine and flip-flop weather people! And no for those of you from other parts of the country, 50 is not suitable flip-flop weather.

-No time to read lately but was very disappointed in how the Bachelor ended up. From the looks of things, Brad and Emily are headed to Splitsville, although the honesty during the after show was refreshing. Either way, I am back to boycotting that series. There is a fine line between guilty pleasure and waste of time and I know where that show falls for me. Meanwhile last week's episode of Glee was AMAZING and Fringe really threw me for a loop (there is no end to the range these actors can pull off).

Nice, how if you are friends with me on Facebook, you basically just got the extended version of the last week. Can we say lazy?

Just another Manic Monday

Confession? I used to love Mondays. I could see Joe off to work, get the kids to school, come home and have the house to myself to do all the things I can't do over the weekend when everyone is home; I could clean, and I mean really, really clean. I could sit on the computer and download pictures, and blog and catch up with my online friends. I could make all the necessary phone calls I needed to make, pay the bills and update our family calendar. For someone who thrives on organization it was pure bliss.

Last fall a series of events caused this all to come crashing down. Jake's teacher really needed someone to volunteer in the classroom on Monday mornings so I stepped up and Jadyn got moved up to pre-ballet which is on Monday afternoons. It seems ever since then, I loathe Mondays. There is never enough time to get anything done.

We do the usual morning scramble, drop Jake off at school, drop Jadyn off at school and then head back to volunteer in the classroom. Once I finish up my work there, I sometimes have to do the weekly grocery shopping (if our Sundays were busy with other commitments), run home and put the groceries away, clean up the dog (see * below), and go back out to pick up Jadyn. When we get back home, I make Jadyn and I lunch, finish whatever of my magic minimums are still undone (see ** below) and then get Jadyn ready for ballet, pick up Jake and rush to ballet, which starts 5 minutes after Jake gets out of school. After ballet, it's home so I can make dinner and before you know it, we are doing the bedtime routine. Where did my day go?

* So we all love Kuma and I don't regret getting a puppy by any means but let's be honest. It isn't always easy or fun. Mondays are hard on Kuma as well. He is still getting used to being in his crate and especially after having us home for the majority of the weekend, if he is going to have an accident while we are gone, it usually happens on Mondays. He is by himself for 3 hours in the morning and then another hour in the afternoon. It is something we are working very hard to rectify.

** I have a list of what are called magic minimums. They are the minimum amount of chore-type tasks that need to be done on a daily basis in order for the house to remain fairly clean and orderly. They include things like emptying the dishwasher and reloading it with the breakfast dishes, taking out the trash, making the bed, cleaning out the litter box, making sure the pets are fed and watered, etc. etc. Many of these are being slowly transitioned as chores for the kids, but even then, they still have to be reminded and supervised.

There are several bright sides to all of this. For one, not every day is this hectic, so even though it drives me crazy, I am usually able to catch up on things by midday Tuesday. Secondly, it is almost April and school will get out in June. With that will be the end of manic Mondays. Although Jadyn will still be in the same ballet class for the next year, I am really hoping neither of the kids teachers ask me to volunteer on Mondays next year. I will be avoiding that at all costs. Thirdly, Kuma will only be a cute, adorable but sometimes pain-in-the-butt puppy for so long and I would rather be putting in the work now then dealing with an untrained adult dog.

They may be manic, but at the end of each Monday, after the kids (and usually Joe) are in bed, I usually partake in dessert, watch one of my guilty pleasure shows and relax. I don't know who named the calling stay-at-home mom because I am anything but that; however, I wouldn't trade the chance to be Mama Taxi for anything in the world.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Living Desert

Friday the kids had the day off of school for teacher's in-service. I personally like when the kids have extra time off from school and especially when the weather is so gorgeous because it gives us an opportunity to do something we otherwise wouldn't have time to do and the luxury of not having to squeeze it in on the weekends when everyone else is off work and school.

Before Jake started kindergarten and was in school 5 days a week, we had season passes to the Living Desert, a local attraction of plants and animals all native to the worlds' deserts. I would take them to run around, wear them out and then get some shopping done while in civilization. Of course now, not only do we not have season passes but we haven't been in over a year, not counting our nighttime winter visit for the lights during Christmas (yes, that is the same place!).

What I really loved about this trip was that now that the kids are older, they can really start to learn and retain information about various plants and animals and their environments. You can see the fascination and curiosity on their little faces and it is just priceless.

While getting ready that morning, I sent to the kids on a "mission" to pick out hats and glasses for the trip. They came back, BOTH having raided Jake's dresser drawers exclaiming that they were twins for the day:

Of all the times we have gone the mountain lions, bobcats and cheetahs are always hiding somewhere sleeping (apparently you have to get there super early in the morning to see them at their best) but the leopards rarely disappoint:

We were also able to see a pack of bighorn sheep, including this one, climbing up the side of a rocky hill:

In the African village, the kids had fun banging on the drums. Jadyn entitled this performace, "The Day of the Shoe":

Oh, and of course we can't forget the LG model train display. Still one of Jake's favorites!
We rounded out the weekend with a BBQ on Saturday and a trip to the park on Sunday while also fitting in work (for me), schoolwork (for Joe), chores and yard work. Having that extra day really seems to give us a good balance of work and play and you could definitely sense that spring was in the air.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Funny Nose Knows

Jake wrote me a note at school yesterday. It read, "I love you so much Mom. I want to sleep with you." Of course he was alluding to be allowed to cuddle up in our bed with us, but still I had to laugh. It was very sweet.

On the way to baseball practice last night, Jake was naming off classmates who want to come over and see the puppy. Out of the blue, Jadyn says she wants H from Jake's soccer team to come over. I had to take pause as we have not seen this child since soccer season ended in November and he was not particularly close with Jake during the season. When I asked Jadyn why she wanted him in particular to come over she responded, "because I like his face". If this is a sign of things to come, I am in BIG trouble.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Shocker: Our lab likes water

Kuma wanted desperately to join the kids on their recent bath when they were testing out their newly acquired snorkel gear:

And, just so you know, he succeeded in actually getting in the bath with them. However, I had to set my camera down, get him out and deal with a a very wet dog.

Afterwards however, he gave kisses to his fellow pups, much to their delight:

I can't wait for river season.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Magoomba Monday

And its actually Monday!

- We were FINALLY rewarded with a weekend of gorgeous weather. It was glorious.

-Okay, I get it. That pic of Kuma sleeping with the kids did kind of show that Jake was in a major danger zone. Man, and puppy poots are the worst. Good thing Jake is a heavy sleeper.

- Friday night for movie night we watched Bambi. Yes, it had the Kleenex moment I remembered but honestly? It was kind of boring. Jadyn of course loved it because of all the animals but even Jake seemed fairly disinterested.

- Saturday we went to Home Depot for their monthly kids workshop. This month was right up Jake's alley as they build a NASCAR! The kids have really started to look forward to this every month, not only the finished project but adding the cute little pins for their aprons, which show all the projects they have completed. Very cool free activity for the kids.

- With the picture-perfect weather, I had to take advantage and take the kids to do a trail in the park. I choose Hidden Valley because it is one of my favorites. I love the views from inside the valley and their is plenty of scrambling for the kids. I can't wait for spring so we can do more trails and check out the wildflowers.

- Sunday I went for my longest pavement run yet, 4.08 miles. And it's a good thing too because Joe baked homemade chocolate chip cookies and grilled his world-famous fajaitas for dinner. We also managed to pack in lots of outdoor time, including some yard work and plenty of playtime for the kids and Kuma.

- Speaking of Kuma, his little personality sure is emerging. He loves playing soccer, fetching balls and his favorite toy, chewing on sticks from outside and playing tug-a-war with his toy squirrel tail. We also (knock on wood) had a breakthrough on the house training front, which the weather also seemed to be a huge boost as we were able to leave the screen open to give him easy access. Still, even now when it is closed, he is learning to scratch at the slider and let us know he needs to go!

- Fringe! I was catching up on my DVR and I don't know why Fringe is always one of the last shows I watch, but man is it GOOD! I will be so sad if it gets canceled. It has really hit its stride and is one of the best serialized dramas in the vein of Lost and X-Files. The best part about Fringe? Well besides Joshua Jackson, it actually gives you answers.

- On top of our regular schedule of school, ballet and baseball, this week Jake is going on his first field trip, which also means his first bus ride. I think both Jake and I would be incredibly nervous if it were not for the fact that I am one of the parent chaperons. Jake insisted that I volunteer to go and since I know that their will come a time, probably all too soon where he doesn't want me around, I jumped on the chance to go.

-Windy weather on tap for this Monday, but hopefully after that we can go back to the warm and sunny (sans windy) weather we had this past weekend because it just simply puts a smile on my face.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Magoomba Better Late than Never

I still want to devote an entire post to my birthday. Hopefully that will happen before next February. Yes, it seems life has been moving that fast.

- No surprise, having a puppy is time-consuming, both a lot of work and a lot of fun. At the end of the day we are all pretty exhausted. Not to mention the much earlier wake up call we get in the form of licks, nibbles and kisses:

- Then to add to the mix, last week our good friend Cruz had surgery on his knee, so we watched his two great danes, Summer and Gage. Kuma loved having other dogs around as I still think he misses his brothers and sisters. The danes, who are both 8 years old and the size of small horses, were not to sure what to think about this energetic little pup nipping at their feet (like how Summer took over Kuma's bed? It was like musical beds all weekend):

There is no doubt what the cats thought about the danes. The look on Friday's face says it all:

-To complicate matters, we had another storm come through that promised more snow. It didn't really deliver much but it was cold and wet and muddy outside so having 3 dogs and 2 kids going in and out was well, let's just call it interesting.

-The kids were disappointed that we didn't get enough snow to play in, so on Sunday I drove them up the hill to a part of the park called Black Rock. Unfortunately, the snow was still just a little higher but the kids had fun playing hide and seek in the bushes (you can see the snow on the hill behind them):

- This past week was extra busy. Jadyn had ballet (they are gearing up for the June recital), Jake started practice for the new season of baseball (Go Red Sox!), Jadyn had her first of two appointments for her cavities (and was super cooperative and brave, so proud!) and Kuma had his first vet appointment (not so cooperative and brave, but what can you do?).

- The weather has been mild enough that I have been able walk/run an average of 10 miles a week. Now I just need to catch up from the beginning of the year, and I will be on track to complete 500 in 2011.

- I finished reading the book "Little Bee" by Chris Cleave. For me, it did not live up to the hype. I liked it. The first half was definitely more engrossing then the second half. It really makes you appreciate what we have.

- I watched the Oscars last week and like everyone else was a little disappointed in the hosts. I thought Anne Hathaway overdid it and was annoying. James Franco just phoned it in but honestly that didn't bother me nearly as much. I haven't seen the King's Speech so I was disappointed they won so many awards. Maybe I will feel differently when I do see it but I was hoping that The Social Network would get a few more than they did. I thought Natalie Portman, was not only deserving but looked radiant.

- Super excited that the Amazing Race is back on and with an all-star type season of returning favorites, I can't decide who I am rooting for (well, actually I do seem to be favoring the cowboys). Even more exciting is that the kids watched it with me and love it. All week they ask me when the race around the world will be on again. I love that it provides opportunities to talk about cultures other than ours. It has been quite a learning experience.

I think that about catches me up (except for my birthday of course). Much better weather on tap for this weekend so I am hoping we can spend some quality time outdoors. Hope everyone enjoys their weekend!