Friday, May 27, 2011

Graduation Day - Bye-bye preschool!

Today was Jadyn's preschool graduation and thus for this family, we say good-bye to preschool as next year both kids will be at the elementary school. Jadyn did very good in front of the standing room only crowd, saying her line into the microphone, "We learned to write our names", singing the songs, dancing and approaching the podium to receive her certificate. Afterwards we snapped some more photos, ate sandwiches and cupcakes and bid farewell to the people who we probably won't be seeing very often anymore. It was a nice ceremony. I like that they do something but they don't make too big of a deal about it, which I also like. I think if you have too many graduations, it takes away from the importance of the ones that really count like high school and college. But I digress....

Here is the graduate before leaving this morning all dolled up. I painted her nails, curled her hair and even let her wear a dab of lip gloss:

And here she is marching into place at the beginning of the ceremony:

Performing a song:

Saying her line:

All graduated!:

With her lead teacher:

I coordinated collecting money and putting together these as class gifts after getting the idea from Angela of Utter Chaos who found it in Family Fun Magazine. Each of the cardstock flowers holds a gift certificate. We made one for the lead teacher and her 3 assistants throughout the year:

And here they are, Jadyn with Hayden and Stephanie whose older brothers all attended preschool together. It's been a fun 4 years for us Moms:

Show me the Mommy? Okay, here I am with both kids. Jake is actually home sick from school with an upset stomach. I think you can see it in his eyes that he is not feeling 100%:

I still can't believe that Jadyn will be turning 5 in 4 days and starting Kindergarten in the fall. When we celebrate days like today, it really starts to sink in.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kind of Magoomba

I was going to do my usual weekly Magoomba post but then I realized it would be extremely redundant. Things are really busy as so many things are about to come to an end - preschool, the regular school year for Jake, baseball and spring ballet. Meanwhile, we have Jadyn's birthday this weekend and are already looking ahead with sign-ups for summer swim lessons and fall soccer already happening in the next few weeks. And I found a group of dog owners that meet at a park every morning between 7:30 and 8:30am for doggy play dates so I have started taking Kuma a few days a week. Like I said, busy. But a good busy.

Between Kuma's puppy classes and baseball, our regular Friday family movie nights have been virtually non-existent until this last Friday. We watched Coraline and even though I really liked it, I have to say it was pretty scary. Jadyn wasn't a fan and this is coming from a girl who likes Harry Potter and Avatar.

Baseball is going better. The machine has been a little more consistent and Jake finally seems to be getting the hang of it. The last two games he went 1-2 but he hit the ball all 4 times and to me that is an important step.

Saturday after Jake's game, we went down the hill to run some errands, taking turns going into stores so that we could take Kuma with us. As a treat for their patience (both the dog and the kids) we went to Civic Center Park. I have mentioned this before, but this is a really cool park because they kind of have it all - bike paths, a duck pond, playground equipment, splash area and it's dog friendly. Still with all that, the kids favorite activity is running around the amphitheater. And Kuma really, really wanted to run after all the ducks and birds. We had fun.

Here are the kids relaxing in the shade after running around. Nothing like some genuine smiles:

And Kuma looking on as the kids fed the ducks and birds by the pond:

With all my TV shows winding up their seasons for the year, the only finale yet to air is Glee, which will be on tonight. Nothing to earth-shattering on any of my shows except I could kill ABC for canceling Brothers and Sisters without giving it a proper series finale after 5 seasons. ABC seems to be the worst offender when it comes to not giving shows notice and it is exactly why I haven't started watching any of their new serialized dramas. You get invested, they don't give the show a chance and after the season is over, usually with a cliffhanger, they cancel them. And even though I agree it was time for Brothers and Sisters to say good-bye, you would think with an established show they would have given them the notice necessary to shoot a series finale. Grrrr.

And with less TV to watch, I have had more time to read. I just re-read Mockingjay, the third and final in the Hunger Games trilogy and I liked it much more the second time. I think I really rushed through it the first time because I wanted to see how it ended and because I had two people waiting to read my copy. I still think Suzanne Collins hurried through wrapping things up after the action ended but it was still a pretty satisfying conclusion and I have been keeping tabs on all the casting news for the movie. I think it has the potential to be a really good movie franchise.

Oh and the cats have been busy. With spring in the air, they have been catching all kinds of critters, lizards, mice and desert squirrels but they both covet to catch the pigeons that unfortunately like our roof. Both of them stalk the birds from the windowsill but the other day they were doing it together and I thought it was super cute:

So that's all for now but their will be lots to report in the next few days as we prepare for Jadyn's preschool graduation Friday and her birthday party Sunday. So if you don't hear from me before then, hope everyone has a great Memorial weekend.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Show me the Mommy - With one of the Furbabies

Kuma and I after a 3 mile walk. He can't go running with me until he is older but eventually I would love to have him as a running partner as well:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sliding Doors

I know we have all thought about it. How one seemingly inconsequential decision can have a domino effect that vastly changes the outcome of everything that follows. When you really stop and think about this concept, it can really blow your mind. And that is how I feel about how we ended up sending our kids to the preschool we did and everything that happened because of that one decision.

You see all those years ago I had a preschool all picked out for Jake. I had researched it, visited it and had his name on the waiting list since he was a year old. It was within walking distance of our house in 29 Palms and came highly recommended. And then the time came to register him and he still wasn't potty trained, which was for this preschool a requirement. I was distraught. Sure, I was a work-at-home mom. Jake didn't technically NEED to go to preschool but he was such a mama's boy and super clingy and I really wanted him to have the chance to socialize with other kids and learn to listen to other adults without me being present. I didn't know what to do.

So I started calling around to other schools, at least ones that I hadn't heard horror stories from. Many in our area were either income-based, which we didn't qualify for or nothing less than a glorified daycare, which again I didn't need since I stayed home. Finally, I found a preschool program through the Parks and Rec department the next town over, Joshua Tree of national park fame. They did require their preschoolers to be potty trained but were willing to let me send Jake to school in a pull-up provided they wouldn't have to change it. Since we were potty training and I (ahem) knew his schedule pretty well, I was confident this wouldn't be an issue. Even better, this program was WAY cheaper than I was planning to pay at the other preschool, granted, it was a 20 minute drive away. Certainly not as convenient as walking distance. But it was something.

And what do you know, being around other kids his age who were potty trained, by winter break that year, Jake was also fully trained. He had adjusted well to being in school and I had no complaints, other than the distance. Still, my plan was to finish out the school year and then switch him back to the preschool I had planned on sending him to all along. However, during this year they had a major staffing and philosophy change and when we went for another visit I was not impressed to say the least so I resigned myself to send Jake to the preschool in Joshua Tree for his second year of preschool as a 4 year old.

Of course, then the following year, I was in a real predicament as now Jadyn was ready to start preschool and the one in Joshua Tree was really the only one I could see sending her to. She had friends from siblings in Jake's class. I knew the moms. I knew the teachers. I liked the program. The more time we spent in that direction, the more we longed to move closer, not just to the preschool but to the town and cities below that were more populated and had more ammenities and didn't have quite so many military families (because saying good-bye, watching people constantly come and go gets hard after awhile).

And so as everyone knows, last spring we bought a house in the neighboring town of Yucca Valley where I can get Jadyn to preschool in 10 minutes right after dropping Jake off at his school. We have so many friends here. Some of the best we have made while living in the area were made from the preschool. It's crazy to think that the whole reason we ended up in this house was because Jake wasn't potty trained that August he was supposed to start preschool. Who knows, maybe we would have decided to move anyway but it does make me wonder.

Boy oh boy, am I feeling nostalgic. Last week, we made our VERY LAST PRESCHOOL PAYMENT EVER! After 4 years! It felt good. But that's when it sunk in. This is it. After taking my kids to this preschool and being around all of these parents (some of whom have been there for the same 4 years), it's all about to end. Jadyn will graduate at the end of the month and then just like that, something that has been a part of my weekly routine for 4 solid years will end. It really is the end of an era. I know I will stay in contact with the lead teacher and many of the friends I have made there. I know that with both kids at the elementary school, big changes are coming are way. It's just another indication of how quickly time goes by and how fast the kids are growing.

Sending Jake to this preschool was like that sliding door. Was I going to make the train or not? And yet, honestly I can't imagine it having turned out any other way.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Magoomba Monday

- Since my Magoomba from last week was late, I probably could have added it in there but Monday of this last week Jake woke up with the tell-tale signs of pink eye. No idea where he got it. No warning whatsoever. But it certainly changed up our schedule for the day because instead of school and volunteering in the classroom, I took him to the doctor and then to get his prescription. Jadyn however, managed to still go to preschool and ballet as usual. And so far (knock on wood), no one else in the family has gotten the pink eye. Jake ended up out of school for two days.

- And then about Thursday I started to come down with a cold. I guess I was due. We had such a mild winter but still, no idea where it came from. Now I am hoping to get lucky in that that I don't pass that around to everyone else in the family.

- Friday turned out to be a great day for Jake. First he got the award for his class at the monthly award assembly for achievement in spelling. Look at my handsome guy:

-Then later that evening he had a baseball game. The machine was actually working fairly decent and he managed to hit a double. Go Jake!

Most of the rest of the week/weekend was spent just trying to rest up, recover and take care of this and that because things are about to get pretty hectic around here. The end of May is always a busy time.

Hope you are enjoying your spring!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Look who can finally swing all by herself! What a big girl. She is so proud:

Jadyn's paper chain link countdown for her birthday. She loved putting this together:

Some baseball frustrations for Jake. First of all each of the younger teams are given the chance to have one game on a Friday night, later than usual so they can play under the lights with an announcer. Pretty cool right? Jake's game was this last Friday night. It started late. They never got the PA system working properly and they cut the game short because they had scheduled the team to play again at 9 a.m. the following morning.

Not to mention the fact that Jake is having trouble adjusting to playing machine pitch. They have two machines. One is slower and meant for softball and the other is a fast pitch machine that averages 45 miles per hour. They keep going between the two machines because one or the other seems to always be broken, so it is hard for the kids to get used to whether the ball is going to be coming in fast or slow. Then on Saturday's game, the coaches agreed on where the pitching machine was calibrated and it turned out to be WAY too high. And poor Jake is already one of the smaller kids in the league. Here he is trying his best to make contact, but unfortunately he struck out:

I just hope that whatever happens this season, it doesn't turn him off completely to the sport. He has said that soccer is now his favorite.

And spoiler alert for the Amazing Race finale. Pretty much one of my least favorite teams won. Still it was a fun season to watch and something I really enjoyed watching with the family.

Till next time.....

Mother's Day

We had a very low-key Mother's Day per my request. I just wasn't up to braving the crowds to do brunch or anything like that. It was still a very nice day at home. But what really blew me away this year were my gifts because they all had very special meaning.

Joe surprised me with a new battery for my phone, which I needed desperately. It hadn't been holding a charge for even half the day. Huge pain in the butt. He also surprised me with a new travel coffee mug, something else I really needed since the two I use either always spill down the front of me or don't keep my coffee warm for very long.

Jadyn made a ceramic hand print and painted it. I remember making these when I was a kid and loved the effort she put into painting it:

Jake made me this card. The cover really shows how much he has started to enjoying coloring and drawing as you can see the care he took with it:

But it was the inside that turned me into a teary-eyed mess. It's amazing to get a look inside his mind and see what he considers the important things I do to show my love for him like reading him books and tickling him. He also said I tell him jokes, which I found amusing because anybody who knows me, knows I don't really tell jokes. He did also say he loves my great meals and the fact that I am so grown up (haha):

I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day and was reminded what a special job in being a mother.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Seven days of spring break

Day one - park with the kids' bikes and library to pick out books to read while on break.

Day two - spa pools (the kids have been begging me to go swimming) and even though it's been over 6 months, by the end of the day they were both jumping in and swimming to the side. This is definitely a sign of things to come this summer.

Day three - stayed home but played with our new bubbles, super soakers and color shifter set outside in the beautiful weather. PSA: I am going to have to give a big thumb's down to the color wonder bubbles. The bubbles themselves are cool and yes, everything is washable but it is messy. The juice in the bottle is very bright in color and gets everywhere (clothes, face, hands, shoes, concrete)!

Day four - miniature golf. Joe and I got a little competitive. I lost. The kids however, had a blast.

Day five - another park for playground and baseball fun, plus we took Kuma to this dog-friendly park and let him run around the baseball field. Later that night was Kuma's last puppy class where he graduated with high honors. Seriously, the trainer let us take pictures of them with caps and even played Pomp and Circumstance when he passed out their diplomas. He is still a puppy however, so he is not fully trained. But I have the tools necessary now.

Day six - we went to see Rio at the movie theater. The weather had turned kind of chilly and windy so it was the perfect day for it.

Day seven - yet another park with Daddy and a Transformers marathon and the only day I didn't snap any pictures.

So as you can see, we were busy but not too busy. It was a very nice spring break.


- We are back to the weekly grind after a nearly perfect spring break. We spent the time off doing something fun and different every day, but still had plenty of time to relax at home, play with toys and watch movies together as a family. Recap of what we did will be forthcoming.

- It's May, which means that Jadyn will turn 5 at the end of the month. I really don't know how I am going to make it through each day without crying as all the May 2006 babies from the birth club I belonged to each reach this huge milestone. Their moms are part of my tribe. They have each shared and supported and been with me on this incredible journey known as motherhood and I can honestly say I don't know what I would have done without them. Now some of them are writing these super emotional odes to the children their babies have become and well, all I can say is bring on the tissue!

Entertainment notes. Contains spoilers.

- Even though my Twilight obsession has waned considerably AND I have been horribly disappointed in all but one of the movies, I still got excited when my Entertainment Weekly featured a story about the upcoming Breaking Dawn movies.

- Fringe! When will Peter finally find out he has a baby on the other side? I am in suspense here people.

- Amazing Race - Super bummed that the cowboys got eliminated and in what seemed like a very unfair way too. The placement of the U-turn made it nearly impossible to even attempt to catch up and don't get me started with the cheating and giving other teams the answers. And then of course Jake and Jadyn were so disappointed I thought they might cry. They were all of our favorite team. At this point I am rooting for Zev and Justin but could really care less who wins.

- Water for Elephants - good movie, not great. Did the book justice. Tai (the elephant)stole the show, followed closely by Christopher Waltz.

- Fast Five. I really doubt many of you will see the newest movie in the Fast and the Furious franchise but if you do, take note. On our way to the river last summer, we passed through where they shot one of the most anticipated action scenes that involves a car going through a train. I have seen bits of it on the trailer and have to admit, it's kind of cool to know exactly where it was filmed, to have seen the cars and train on the side of the road and all the film equipment and setup. No celebrity sightings of Van Diesel or The Rock but cool nonetheless.

- We saw Rio over the weekend. Despite the fact that birds, the movie was really cute. I think I am developing a cougar crush on Jesse Eisenberg and Jaime Fox and were pure entertainment fun.

- Finally, I was able to read some over spring break and finally read the highly anticipated and newest YA dystopian novel, Delirium by Lauren Oliver. Despite the fact that at first I started to get confused, between the Ugly series, Hunger Games and Matched, this really seemed to be a mash-up of all of these trilogies, but after getting further into it, I found that it really came into its own. The only downfall about all these series is that now I am playing the waiting game since book 2 won't come out until February 2012.

Hope everyone is enjoying some pleasant spring weather!