Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This year we actually got to pick apples!

Last year we went to Oak Glen for apple picking and Jadyn especially was SOOO excited. However, due to the late spring frost that year, the orchards had less than normal yields. Although we enjoyed our time at the apple farm, we were not able to actually pick apples.

This year, the crops were abundant but I didn't leave it to chance. This last Saturday both kids had 8 a.m. games so as soon as they were done we went home and changed and then headed over to one of the apple farms, almost a full in month in advance of the normal time we visit. Yes, it was hot. It is hard to do yet another "fall" activity in 85 degree weather. But, not only did the kids get to pick apples a plenty, they also picked strawberries and a pumpkin as well.

Jadyn was definitely more into it than Jake and that was extremely clear by the pictures I got of our excursion, although he did get into the strawberry picking more than the apples.

 I would honestly still like to go back to the farm we went to last year just to go for a hike and buy some of their apple cider. However, maybe that can wait until it actually feels more like fall.

Monday, September 24, 2012

County Fair 2012

Over the years going to the county fair in the middle of the week (and playing hooky from school, shh don't tell) has become a family tradition and even though the temperatures are usually still in the 90's, we consider it our first activity of the fall season.

This year was no exception. It was hot. We saw all of our usual favorites, the farm animals, the garden and flower pavilion and the miniature train display. The kids dressed up like a princess and knight and rode tons of carnival rides. We did NOT eat anything fried, instead opting to wait until we left and eating dinner at Ruby's. I am sure my super burger with turkey meat and Oreo cookie shake was much better than a fried Twinkie or chocolate covered bacon, even if they are part of the "fair" experience.

Some highlights from this year included getting to see a mama goat birth two babies. The kids were interested and not nearly as grossed out as I thought. It was pretty cool to see them trying and succeeding to walk after being born about 10 minutes earlier.

We also went to a special reading exhibit where we watched a stage show for the Magic Tree House. The kids got to meet Jack and Annie and became Magic Tree House ambassadors, taking an oath to read 5 books and learn 5 new facts in a month and help someone learn to read. Of course being huge fans, the kids seemed to get a kick out of this.

But once again this year, it was the rides that really won them over - mazes and obstacle courses, swings, bumper cars, roller coasters and slides. The carnival rides were where it was at.

And with that, we give a proper welcome to Fall.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Another sign of the changing seasons

The air is not yet crisp and here in the desert, there is not a lot of mature trees with leaves that turn pretty red and yellow colors and then fall to the ground. Therefore, the change of the seasons is a little more subtle. The day times highs typical stop going beyond 100 but still stay in the 90's through a majority of September and October. However, the overnight lows start dipping lower so as I have mentioned in the past, even though it would seem to still be warm enough for swimming, the pool starts to get kind of chilly.

Of course, then there is also that pesky little problem of school and soccer practices, leaving little free time to swim anyway. What I am trying to say is that this week, it became apparent it was time to take down the pool. But we can't do that without a ceremonious "last swim".

Last year, the last swim lasted all of 5 minutes as the water was that cold. This year, the kids swam and jumped and played for at least an hour. It made me take pause and wonder if we should wait a little longer. They both love swimming so much! But there just hasn't been time and it makes it counterproductive to try and keep up with the pool maintenance.

This summer we saw tremendous growth in both the kids swimming abilities and I think that is what made taking down the pool harder. I so wish we had a year round option for them. But I guess on the flip side of the coin, because it is a seasonal thing for us, it makes it that much more special.

Goodbye pool. You have provided us with countless hours of summertime fun and many splashes and giggles. We will see you again next year.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Had to sneak one in

One last trip to the river that is....

Even as we settle into the school year routine and brainstorm our Fall bucket list (with outings on the list happening this week in fact), we couldn't pass up the continued warm temperatures and a Sunday with nothing on the calendar.

Someone is pretty excited to get there:

Seeing Kuma run, jump and swim in the water brings me such joy. He loves to play fetch:

But what I have really wanted to capture all season long is his favorite activity OUT of the water. He loves to roll around in the sand and dirt and give himself a mud bath (Kuma's AKC name includes Mud Bud from the Disney buddies movies). I still can't quite figure out the purpose of it but it is pretty entertaining to watch:

This trip we took The Miller family (Johnny, Tina, Dominic and Michael). Yes, the human children enjoyed the river too; swimming like fish, making up games in the water and playing with the boundless energy that only kids seem to possess:

It was so hard to leave the river knowing we won't be back until next spring. The river is our family's happy place. It's a good thing we already have those fall activities on tap to keep us from dwelling on the end of summer.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Off to a good start

The school year is getting off to a good start for the kids.

Jadyn is really enjoying 1st grade and is excited to finally have homework. Last week, she had the most points for good behavior out of anyone in the class and got 100% on her first spelling test. I have had the opportunity to volunteer in her classroom already and since Jadyn has the same teacher that Jake had for 1st grade, I was able to jump right in and help out.

Every Friday the kids attend a flag assembly with the whole school. Well it turns out that at the first one of school year, Jake earned an award for good citizenship and got to go up on stage. I love it when my kids do well in school academically but when they are recognized for character and behavior, I cannot help but be extra proud. And speaking of academics, we got the results back from Jake's first year of Star testing. He scored advanced in math and proficient in language arts (missing advanced by a mere 6 points). I know how hard he worked to prepare for the test and was excited to see his efforts paid off.

The one thing I can say is that I wish the kids had more free time during the school year. I hate that by the time they get off the bus, they have little downtime before I have to usher them through homework, dinner, soccer practice, showers, reading and bedtime. And that is with Jadyn dropping down to one soccer practice a week. The only other activity Jake is doing right now is Cub Scouts (did I forget to mention that?), which is mostly only twice a month. Jadyn will not be picking up any other activities until soccer is over. She needs time to adjust to being at school all day.

And to keep it real, even though I am happy with the kids teachers and the fact that the kids are doing well, I continue to find myself frustrated with the lack of school funding by the state and the decisions the district is making because of that. Sometimes, when I hear of all the programs and parent involvement that occurs at schools in other parts of the country, I get really discouraged. However, I do believe there are good people, good teachers and good administrators in our community and that no matter what challenges we are faced with, we can make the best out of the situation. Okay, I feel better having gotten that off my chest.

Here are my two Onaga Thunderbirds with their matching t-shirts on Spirit Day:

And here's to hoping the school year continues to go as well for the kids as it has so far!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


This last weekend we went to Whitewater Preserve for a hike. I have been waiting for it to cool down enough to go since we didn't make it in the spring. For a description of the preserve and some cute pictures of both the kids and Kuma when they were younger, you can click on the link, our first trip to Whitewater Preserve.

And well hello there big, DSLR camera that has been gathering dust most of the summer. It was so worth it to bring you to the preserve for some pictures!

Jake HATES me taking his picture but he asks me to take his picture when it comes to showing off a rock he has climbed:

Joe tried to convince the kids that hot dogs grow on plants. They didn't fall for it:

Kuma of course, was in heaven. He splashed around the stream and retrieved sticks:

The majority of our time there was spent by the stream where the kids found 2 plastic water bottles that were left on the trail. They kept floating them down the stream and then calling to their "water buddies" until they could be caught. We had them carry their "water buddies" off the trail with them and put them in the recycling bin before we left.

The kids also found this frog and chased it down stream, giggling every time it hopped:

Eventually, the frog hopped its way to the side of the mountain and the kids had to let it go. Can you see how soaked their pants and tennis shoes got?

After changing out of their wet clothes, I had to snap a picture with the trout farm and ranger station in the background. It was a very nice outing that we completed by going by Joe's Grandma's house to have lunch and visit. With the weather slowly cooling down, I foresee a lot more hiking adventures in our future.

Monday, September 10, 2012

An open letter to all our pets

Dear Friday,

We spend extra money on premium cat litter so we don't have to smell your crap. However, the litter cannot do its job if you don't take the time, like most normal cats would, to cover up your crap.


The one who has to go in the laundry room frequently AND clean out your uncovered poop from the cat box.

Dear Jazz,

One of these days we will find the second home you visit, as it is the only reasonable explanation for why you only come inside to eat and then promptly leave again.


The one who worries about you when you don't come in at night.

Dear Snickers,

Would you be so kind as to stop pulling hay out of your ball and then instead of eating it, spitting it out on the ground where you poop. This is clearly a waste of perfectly good hay.


The one who has to help Jadyn refill your hay ball.

Dear Kuma,

I would really, really appreciate the opportunity to sleep in past 5:30am. I realize when you start scratching at the slider that it is because you are eager to go on our daily walk/run and clearly not because you need to use the restroom. I know this because when I finally relent and get out of bed, I open the slider you have been scratching at to let you out but you don't go. Instead you proceed to follow me around the house. The problem is that we cannot go out until the sun starts to rise so waking me up early does you no good.


The one who thought she was done with early morning wakings caused by her children.

To all our pets - Friday, Jazz, Kuma and Snickers,

Despite having some habits that can only be described as annoying, we love you very much, consider you a part of our family and cannot imagine our household without you all.


One grateful mama to 4 furbabies.

Kickin It!

Soccer season is in full swing and going well for both kids.

Jadyn has moved up from the under 6 coed division to the under 8 girls division. She is becoming more and more aggressive at going after the ball and seems to have a propensity for defense, like her brother. I am serving as the team mom and assistant coach for her team and love being out there with the girls, although Jadyn is still trying to grasp the concept of me being coach and not mom on the field.

I took this picture on the day of soccer pictures. It's been awhile since I had her hair in piggy tails:

Here she is at Saturday's game getting ready to turn the ball around and send it up field. Although the Cheetah Divas lost to the Limenators, they played a good game:

Jake has moved up from the under 8 boys division to the under 10 division. It was supposed to be all boys too but because registration numbers were down, they had to put the boys and girls back together. It's been an adjustment for everyone and far from ideal but the coaches and players make it work. Jake continues to play strong defense. However, his coach is really working with him on playing offensive as well, my guess would be because Jake has some serious speed. He came really close to scoring on 3 separate attempts in his game Saturday but he gets nervous at the last minute and doesn't make the greatest shots. Although his team, Pride lost to The Aliens 2-0, it was a good game and the kids played well.

I didn't get a picture of Jake on picture day. I had to walk away so they could attempt to get a natural smile out of him. I was making him nervous.

But I did get this awesome action shot of him on Saturday playing defense:

When the kids are both playing soccer, it tends to overrun your life. This year the kids practice schedules are on opposite nights so we are at the field Monday-Thursday and then on Saturday for games. Jake has been helping out and practicing with Jadyn's team, so he is himself practicing 4 nights a week and absolutely loving it. And the truth is that even with the huge time commitment, I enjoy it as well. What can I say, I was destined to be a soccer mom.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Scrambled Eggs

Last week with the kids back in school, I found myself moving in a thousand different directions and my mind racing a million miles a minute with random thoughts. I was completely unfocused and lost. I know it will take time to settle into a new schedule and find my groove and am determined to do better. To do lists are my best friend.

However, right now even my ideas for blog posts seem scrambled and all over the place so instead of not posting, I am just going to go with it. So here are my scrambled eggs.

- And speaking of scrambled eggs, I am back on the South Beach eating plan. It seems to be the only way I truly lose and/or maintain my weight, curb my appetite and eat the most healthy. Eggs are a huge part of South  Beach. Two weeks in and it is going well.

- In conjunction with eating healthier, I am also trying to step up my workouts. To keep me accountable, I got a few friends to sign up with me for the Color Run San Diego on November 3rd. So here comes C25K Version 2.0 and some strength training to boot.

- I don't know why fall seasonal allergies started 2 weeks ago but I am not a happy camper about the daily sneezing attacks it has caused.

- I don't know if I will ever get around to devoting a whole blog post to this topic so let me just announce that Snickers the guinea pig we were watching has become a permanent part of our family. When the family who owned Snickers heard how much time and attention Jadyn was giving Snickers, they asked if we wanted to keep him. How could we resist? He fits right in!

- Soccer is going good. I have yet to take action shots of the kids playing after 2 weeks of games. Shame on me! In my defense, I have officially become the assistant coach for Jadyn's team, The Cheetah Divas, and I can't really take pictures when I am "directing" the players from the sidelines. I am not sure what my excuse is for Jake and his team, Pride but I will get around to it. For now, rest assured both kids are enjoying their seasons. Here they are the first week of games. Doesn't Jake looked thrilled at my wanting a picture?:

- We rarely make big plans for holiday weekends and we really needed the downtime to decompress after the kids first week at school so this long weekend included family movie night, video games, board games, play dates, and a BBQ with friends on Sunday. Joe unfortunately had to work on Monday.

- We went to the Home Depot kids workshop on Saturday and the kids again displayed their differences in personality when Jake's goal post had to be painted exactly like it showed in the picture and for the intended use while Jadyn mixed reds, pinks and purples and is currently using hers to display and store bracelets.

- Nerf wars are not my thing and utterly exhausting but the hugs of appreciation I received from Jake for participating with him made the whole thing worth it.

- Playing the game of Life on Saturday was quite eye-opening as Jadyn couldn't wait to have kids while Jake whined about why he had to get married and then proceeded to make his wife sit in the backseat. Joe of course, found this hilarious.

- While it would have been much easier to just buy Oreo cookie ice cream, the kids loved the Chocolate Creme Oreo milkshakes we made them to celebrate the completion of the first week of school and bid adieu to summer.

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend!