Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Not too much new to report since I blogged about what we have been up to this summer. Just a couple of quick things:

- Last week Kuma got neutered. He did very well, although when they called to say he was in recovery he had already been given a "cone of shame" because he was licking his stitches before he was completely out of anesthesia. That's a lab for you! Here he is post op day #2. I am glad to report that he only had to wear the e-collar for about 3 days. Thank goodness. That thing can be more dangerous to us humans then it is bothersome to him:

Wednesday night I went out with some of the girls (mostly friends from PTA at Jake's school last year and a dear friend from the kids preschool). It was exactly what I needed. Good food, good conversation and knowing that even though Rose has moved away (big fat boo), I still have good friends I can count on close by.

- Sunday we went to see Cars 2. The kids really enjoyed it. I, honestly dozed off somewhere in the middle of it but not necessarily because it wasn't good, just because I was tired. The plot is very different from the first one but you get plenty of cute banter and jokes from Mater and McQueen and some cool new characters. My favorite part? The short film before the movie featuring the Toy Story characters!!! Makes it a must see.

- Sunday was my idea of a perfect summer day. I got work and chores done in the morning, went saw a movie together as a family, went for a short swim in the pool and then had friends (Cruz and Tara) over for a BBQ.

- Since the kids have been spending plenty of time outside, in the evenings after dinner, we have been relaxing and watching all 6 of the Star Wars movies. In fact, we will be finishing with Return of the Jedi tonight. This was something on our summer to-do list that I didn't anticipate knocking out so early but it has been fun watching all the movies again. I don't consider myself a Star Wars geek but I saw them repeatedly when I was younger as my brother Tony was OBSESSED. I have major problems with the prequels but it is frustrating because they could have been so good. The premise is so intriguing to me, to see cute little blonde hair Anakin turn over to the dark side. I do think that despite their many shortfalls, they do add something to the original 3 movies. If any of my Star Wars geek friends want to add thoughts on this, I would love to hear them.

- And speaking of Anakin, Jadyn has stepped it up a notch. You may recall her telling me she liked one of Jake's soccer teammates because "she liked his face". Well this last week she told Joe that she liked Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) because she liked his face AND he had a nice body. Really? She is five. I don't know where she gets it but I fear we are in BIG trouble.

Friday, June 24, 2011

So far.....

So far in just 2 weeks, we have put a pretty good dent in our summer to-do list.

We have....

- been swimming in our pool
- started swim lessons

- blew bubbles, which Kuma likes to jump after and try and eat
- tried out glow in the dark sidewalk chalk
- had friends over to swim and spend the night
- watched movies together as a family
- visited Rose and family at their new house and used a Slip and Slide for the first time
- went to the library to check out books and sign up for the summer reading program

By far the most precious summer memory so far occurred on Wednesday night. Jake especially really wanted to reach the first week's goal of having read 90 minutes. Jadyn gets minutes for reading or being read to so they laid down on the couch together and Jake proceeded to read a 5 chapter, 64 page book about frog and toad while Jadyn cuddled up to him listening intently.

And my heart melts. Along with everything else as we are finally in high 90's, about to reach 100 degree summer weather.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Warning this story does not have a happy ending

I like being able to teach the kids true life lessons, even if sometimes they are tough. I think they have a pretty good grasp on the circle of life and have unfortunately experienced already the deaths of 3 pets - our poor kitten that we think was taken by a coyote back in November 2009 and then the passing of both our dogs this last year. They have seen some of the little creatures that the cats sometimes catch, especially now that it is spring. Jazz and Friday have caught some lizards, mice, birds and a couple of desert squirrels.

Last week however, I found Jazz running through the backyard with a baby bunny. That is one animal that I have always had a hard time with because when the cats catch a bunny, it is almost always invariably a baby and second of all, baby bunnies are about the cutest thing ever. Anyway, I managed to get the bunny from Jazz and after checking it over briefly, it appeared to possibly be okay. There was no blood or visible wounds.

Jadyn was witness to all of this. She knew the possibility that it might be too late for the bunny but after looking it over and it seemingly being okay, Jadyn asked to hold it and I consented. So she and I and even Jake held the little bunny, tried to calm it down, petted it and gave it some love.

After a few minutes, I told her it was time to let the bunny go and I went outside to set it free. The only problem was (and this is where it gets hard), it couldn't walk. And it wasn't just one bad leg It appears that when Jazz captured the poor thing, she damaged it's spinal cord. There was no hope and I am not one to let an animal suffer. So Joe did what he had to do and without going into details, we explained what happened to the kids - that it was better to put the bunny out of it's misery, that it couldn't live a happy life with it being injured the way it was and that we did the best we could for the bunny by giving it lots of cuddles and love and then doing what had to be done. It was a good learning experience for all.

Jadyn didn't take it well at all. She cried for quite some time and was visibly upset the rest of the day. I felt so bad for her. She has such a big heart and especially when it comes to animals. Joe was a little upset with me that I let her hold it and get attached to it but honestly, I was the same way as a child. I don't know that I wouldn't do the same thing again but I think I would be more careful to make sure the animal was in good condition first. And again, once Jadyn was over the heartache, I still think it is a good lesson in doing what is best, even when it is hard and the circle of life.

And now to make everyone else suffer with us, here are the pictures I took of the cutest baby bunny that ever lived with Jadyn holding it. Rest in peace little guy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Snuggling with the dog

Remember this cute picture of Kuma sleeping with the kids where everyone commented that Jake was in a precarious position in the event Kuma broke wind?

Well Thursday night as a treat for school getting out, I agreed to let Jadyn sleep in bed with Jake and Kuma, all on his own decided to join the kids. Wow, what a difference a couple of months makes! My how he has grown:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Another season for the record books

Jake finished another season of Little League, ending last Friday with closing ceremonies. It was his first year in this league (since moving) and his first year NOT playing t-ball. He had a rough start getting used to the pitching machine and playing with slightly older kids who have a more advanced skill set BUT he had a great group of teammates, a really good coach and by the end of the season he was really upping his game, hitting every at bat and really starting to get the feel for fielding. It almost made me wish that the season was just a wee bit longer but hopefully it is foundation he can build on for next year.


On base:

Running home:


Receiving his trophy and a congratulatory handshake from his coach at closing ceremonies:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Our Summer To-Do List

Last summer I mostly flew by the seat of my pants and then I recall in August feeling really ready to go back to structure and routine. So, to help me this summer, even though I do want to enjoy it and have more time for fun and relaxation then we do during the rest of the year, I am also setting the groundwork to ensure I don't feel so frazzled as I did towards the end last summer.

But the most fun part of the planning was sitting down with the kids on Friday (our first official day of summer vacation) and making a list of all the cool and fun things we want to do this summer. So here it is:

- swim in our pool as much as possible
- go to the spa pools
- swim lessons
- go to the beach
- go to the river with Kuma
- attend a baseball game (most likely minor league, but an Angels game would be nice too)
- stay in a hotel
- go to the library to check out books and participate in the summer reading program
- read books
- go the park (Sunburst, Community, Knott Sky)
- See Cars 2 and the final Harry Potter film in the theater
- concert in the park
- play hide and seek
- play with bubbles
- play with the water table
- watch all the Star Wars movies again for family movie night(s)
- play board games more often
- have friends over to play and spend the night
- see fireworks
- BBQ as much as possible
- visit the kittens at the shelter

And to make sure we got started on the list ASAP, Joe set the pool up on Sunday (seriously with the mild spring we had this is the latest we have EVER set it up). The kids really enjoy playing in it while it is filling up.

We all went back in for a swim later in the afternoon when it was complete. We spent the rest of the day napping, watching movies and having breakfast for dinner. It was the perfect preview of a lazy summer day at home with the family. I am not sure what will get checked off the list next but am looking forward to hopefully checking off each and every one of the items on our list.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I am very fortunate to be in a position to volunteer to help at the kids' schools and with their various other activities. Sometimes I really want to, like with Jake's classroom. It helps me get to know his teacher, his classmates and get a glimpse of how he is doing in school firsthand. Sometimes, I do it because although I really don't mind, no one else is willing. This was the case with me being the team mom for his baseball team this spring. Other times I do it because, well I was specifically asked to, like being one of the two backstage moms for Jadyn's recital. Again, I really didn't mind as long as still got to see her performance, which I did.

And even though I really want to be involved and don't mind volunteering, it is still nice when the people you are volunteering for, take the time to acknowledge and recognize your contribution. In the past, there has been some appreciation but right now I am feeling very overwhelmed with the gratitude I have received.

Jake had his end of season party last Sunday (closing ceremonies are Friday and then I will write a wrap-up post of the season). I was very surprised to be recognized by his manager, Coach Mike and presented with a famed picture of the team, which all the players signed. How sweet is that? Then earlier this week, Jake's teacher asked me to stop by the classroom and I was presented with a vase filled with candy. What is hard to tell in the picture was that all the students also signed the vase. How cute is that? Finally, an email went out from the owner of the dance studio Jadyn attends thanking all the volunteers from the recital last week and letting us know that as a thank you, we would each be receiving a free DVD of the recital. How cool is that?

I don't do it for the accolades, truly I don't. But is nice when your time and effort is appreciated and acknowledged. I am very touched.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What's new with Jake

Such a whirlwind time for Jadyn between preschool graduation, her 5th birthday and last weekend's dance recital that I thought I should let everyone know what Jake has been up to....

Winning an award at school for reading at or above grade level during the last trimester:

Being named an outstanding author at the school's annual Authors and Artists showcase:

Getting his picture in the paper while playing basebal (that's him running the bases in the top set of pictures)l:

Receiving a belated but much beloved birthday gift from Cruz; his very own set of military camis. Cruz even had a name tape put on them that says "Jake". He loves to dress up and play "soldier":

Having a blast at his school's field day. I was so excited that his new school does this as I have very fond memories of end of the year field days from my days in elementary school. I volunteered to help and got to man the miniature golf. They also had an obstacle course, tug-of-war, splash basketball, jump rope contest, frisbee throwing and much more. It's a great way to celebrate the end of the year:

Three more days of school and Jake will officially be promoted to second grade! He has done so well in school this year. I am so proud of all he has accomplished, I just wish I knew where the year had gone. It flew by!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Jadyn's first recital

It seems like both Jadyn and I have been preparing for weeks, her learning the routine, me learning how to get her hair in a decent ballet bun but after a studio day rehearsal, picture day, and dress rehearsal, the big day of her first ballet recital had finally arrived this last Saturday.

As her mom I suppose I am a little biased, but I just thought she looked beyond adorable in her costume and she was just positively thrilled at the chance to dress up, wear a little lip gloss and blush and have sparkles sprayed in her hair. She did a really good job on stage, not smiling a whole lot because she was concentrating but not exhibiting any signs of stage fright either. She definitely said she liked being up there and wants to do it again.

I am sure she didn't mind all the attention she got either. Grandpa and Grandma Fenenoz, Great-Grandpa and Grandma Stevens, Aunt Leigh and cousins Aidan and Lilly all joined Daddy and Jake in the audience. As the backstage mom, I was with her until she lined up to go on stage and then got to sneak into the front row to watch her perform. At intermission Jake gave her a bouquet of mixed carnations and she got her final birthday gift - a recital bear as a keepsake of the occasion.

Striking a pose on the day of her studio dress rehearsal:

Taken in her room before leaving for the dress rehearsal:

Group photo:

Start of the dance:

Such concentration (or she was looking at her teacher in the wings, LOL!)

Butterfly turns (one of her favorite parts):

Bowing at the end (one of my favorite parts):

With her bear after the night of the recital:

Needless to say it was a big day for Jadyn and she fell asleep half sitting up on the couch clutching her new bear. She made us all very proud.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Birthday Party Salvaged

I will have to post separately about Jadyn being 5 and all the changes we have witnessed in her over the last year. We had quite a weekend. You may recall that it was supposed to be Jadyn's special weekend. Preschool graduation Friday, professional ballet pictures on Saturday and then her birthday party on Sunday. Well Saturday she started to not feel so well. We managed to get pictures done and relaxed the rest of the day, hoping for the best. Our hopes were dashed on Sunday morning when she began throwing up. Time to cancel the party!

The good news was that Jadyn was too sick to really be all that upset that she wasn't having her birthday party. The bad news is that this is an extremely busy time for everyone and trying to reschedule something was next to impossible.

By Sunday night she was feeling better so as a treat on Monday I took the kids to see Kung Fu Panda 2 (really cute, maybe even better than the original). On Tuesday, the day of her actual birthday Jadyn woke up and excitedly asked when all her friends were coming over. I tried to explain the difference between her birthday and her party and how it is a week day and everyone is really busy but to a "just turned 5 year old" girl all she really understood was disappointment. It was heartbreaking.

I had planned to take her to Build a Bear on her birthday all along as our gift to her and so while still managing to accomplish this, I also managed to find a few friends who were able to come over in the evening for games and cupcakes, including one of her best friends from preschool Autumn, our new neighbors, Cruz and my friend Lyndsey with her two kids Chloe and Ryder. I understand why so many people couldn't come but I will forever be grateful for those that did come and help us celebrate Jadyn's birthday and give her the party that she so desperately wanted (and frankly so did I as a lot of planning had been put into it). I couldn't have asked for it to have turned out any better given the circumstances. Major sigh of relief.

Here is the birthday girl with her newly acquired wolf pup from Build-a-Bear who she aptly named all on her own, Alaska:

Here is the invitation with personal info blocked out. Oh and the fact that the date and time are now wrong too but whatever, I thought it was cute. I couldn't believe how many people asked if the puppy was Kuma, which it is not. Just an uncanny resemblance:

The setup:

Brother and sister on her big day:

Family photo op:

The super cute cupcakes (thanks again to Rose):

Pin the paw on the puppy:

Pinata with "doggy bags" for the loot:

Singing happy birthday:

Opening gifts:

The gang of kids all together:

I know that Jadyn not having a party wouldn't have been the end of the world but as mothers, we try our best to shield our kids from heartbreak and disappointment. I realize that at some point it is a life lesson which they must learn and in those times we can do nothing but be there to comfort and support them. However, I am still very grateful that it didn't have to happen on Jadyn's 5th birthday.