Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The End of another Soccer Season

I can't believe the soccer season is already over. I know I sometimes complain about the 4 nights a week we spend at that the field for practices and the early morning Saturday games but truth be told, I love it. I love soccer. I love being a soccer mom. And now that the season is over, I am a little sad.

For Jadyn and I, this season has been a roller coaster. Jadyn moved up to the all girls under 8 division. She found it difficult to adjust to the higher level of skills and bigger field, which means a lot more running. While she loved playing defense and was quite good at it, she refused to play offense, which caused quite a struggle. I was frustrated and embarrassed at her refusal to listen to her coach. I wondered if I wasn't assisting coaching, if she would have acted so insubordinate. It made the whole experience very bittersweet because while I LOVED being involved with the team, I do believe that IF Jadyn wants to continue playing next year, I will probably need to take more of a backseat. I guess we will have to wait and see.

Here they are, The Cheetah Divas. I have loved getting to know this great group of girls. They have made me wring my hands in frustration, made me laugh and have been a joy to watch out on the field.

Since it is so close to Halloween, we put temporary color in the girls' hair for the last game and I got a decent action shot of Jadyn clearing the ball. I don't know why but with her pigtails all pink/orange, she reminds me of Punky Brewster.

Later that afternoon, we had our end of season party where I presented Coach Sarah with a photo book and all the girls got their trophies. I think despite our ups and downs, Jadyn and her coach ended on a good note:

I was also surprised with a Starbucks gift card from the team and a beautiful scarf from Coach Sarah. While I don't do it for the recognition, it is certainly nice to know my efforts are appreciated.

Personally, Jake had a great season. Having moved up to the under 10 division, we were surprised to see him come into his own and score a total of 4 goals. He really learned a lot from his coach and gained the confidence to use his speed and play offense. Although his team took some tough losses, they were able to end the season on a good note, squeaking out a 2-1 victory.

Here they are after their win on Saturday:

If you can't tell from the team picture, Jake also got into the spirit and let me put turquoise and black in his hair:

Jake also had an end of season party at a local park. The team played a game of kickball and were presented with trophies but unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures. Even more fun, at his last practice the coach had the team play the parents and it was a BLAST! I held my own and was complimented on my soccer skills by both the coach and two of the dads but the next morning I was so sore I could barely move!

Suffice to say, Jake really loves soccer and while he is still getting into BMX, we are also exploring opportunities for him to play soccer beyond the fall recreational season (and I think sadly, he might be done with baseball).

Meanwhile, I think we found Jadyn's next extracurricular activity. While she decided to give up ballet last spring, she still loves to sing and dance around the house so Friday I took her to a trial cheer class at her old dance studio and she LOVED it. Looks like we may end up with a cheerleader in the house:

Yes, never a dull moment for the Funny Noses!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Weekend before Halloween

The weekend before Halloween was busy, busy, busy with lots of fun Halloween-themed activities!

Starting with the annual Flashlight Scramble. The lights go out on the ball field, the flashlights go on and we scramble for candy and other goodies. We were well represented by almost all branches of the military. And then of course there was Jadyn, the blossom fairy. Doesn't she just fit right in?

While Saturday was all about the end of the soccer season (and will be reported on in a separate post), Sunday was all about pumpkins! First, we headed out to the high school pool for the Pumpkin Splash!

And with the blow of the whistle, Jake dove in along with a handful of other brave souls. He swam to the perfect pumpkin he had scoped out earlier and got it to the side of the pool as quickly as possible. He said the water was cold. They don't call it a polar plunge for nothing! (although in all fairness, the temp outside was near 80 degrees. Yes, us Californians are wimps when it comes to the cold).

Jadyn on the other hand plucked her pumpkin out of the water from the safety of the side of the pool and a little help from Daddy.

Fast forward to Sunday evening. It's CARVING time!

I always get stuck gutting the pumpkins but I did make the kids each take out a handful themselves. Jake was super wimpy about it (and please don't ask why he had to wear his terrorist mask in order to do it):

We challenged Jadyn to pull out more pumpkin guts than Jake. She assured us she was up for the task:

Jadyn drew her own design and carved a good majority of her pumpkin. Jake picked out his design but let Joe do most of the work. We also did our potato head pumpkins too. The kids are always super goofy when we carve pumpkins. It's sort of become part of the tradition.

And now we are all ready for the main event - trick or treating on Halloween! Can't wait.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Trying something new on for size

Soccer season is almost over (I know, I know! Cue all the cliches, "It just started", "The season went by so fast", "I can't believe the last games of the season are Saturday"."

But anyway, the kids are both deciding what activities they would like to pursue next. Normally, Jadyn would be in dance and Jake would wait until baseball season starts in February BUT, we all know Jadyn has given up at least ballet for now and Jake is not so sure he wants to continue playing baseball.

And even though he just learned how to ride without training wheels at the beginning of the summer, Jake has gotten very into riding his bike and really wanted to try out the BMX track that is near by. Funny side note about BMX, around the age of 8 or so, my brother got really into BMX and yes, I even gave it a whirl for awhile. I was never very good but my brother had a collection of trophies, many that were taller than him. My point is that BMX is a sport that I am actually somewhat familiar with.

Right now, Jake is just going for practice sessions. He is not quite ready to race. He has been using a tester bike and helmet they have at the track but we are very close to committing to buying him his own equipment. I am excited at the prospect of him pursuing this sport and can't wait to see where it takes him.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall School Pics

After last year's infamous "someone just farted" face that led Jake to have to participate in make-up photos, I am happy to report that both the kids fall school pictures came out great this year. No make-up required!

And I love that they show off their toothless grins!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Jake's First Pack Meeting

Jake started Cub Scouts back in September. He has a den meeting at least twice a month. He has really enjoyed the activities both at the meetings and at home. I can't say he loved memorizing the Cub Scout Promise or the Law of the Pack but he did it and was very proud to earn his Bobcat Badge at his first pack meeting Wednesday night.

I loved seeing how nervous he was when he was called up to the front. I was then surprised to be called up myself, as apparently moms are given a special pin by their scout when they earn rank.

Here is a picture of Jake and I after the program.

Jake is very excited to start working toward his Wolf badge and earn belt loops. He will be getting his neckerchief and slide at the next den meeting. And after seeing how many belt loops and pins the boys earned at summer camp, he can't wait to go himself next year. Yes, I think Scouts is going to be a great thing for him.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pumpkin Patch 2012

It has become tradition to visit Live Oak Canyon pumpkin patch every fall and for the last 2 years, the corn maze has been a highlight of the trip. This year, they made the maze even more challenging and it did not disappoint. I don't know if I should be admitting this or not, but it took the kids and I an entire hour to complete the maze. We had to find 4 hidden posts, write down their corresponding number to create a password that led us through two secret doors into a second maze. We then had to find 4 more hidden posts with a new password in order to exit the maze. We were rewarded with souvenir bracelets that read "We conquered the maze!"

The best part was observing how both the kids handled the situation. Jadyn ran through the maze dramatically declaring that we were lost and would never find our way out. Jake methodically looked for clues, including using a balloon high in the sky to track our position. Ultimately, it was his abilities that got us through the maze. We had a blast!

After the maze, Jadyn went for a pony ride:

While Jake opted to ride the quads:

 The kids also jumped, bounced, ran and slid on several bounce/slide/obstacle course inflatables. We then took some fun pictures:

And picked out some cute mini-pumpkins:

And just to be sure I don't give you the wrong idea, no the kids do not always cooperate for photos as evidenced by this failed attempt while they were on top of the hay castle:

By the time we were done with all these activities, the kids didn't even want to actually run around the u-pick patch. I guess it's a good thing we had kind of already done that when we went apple picking.

So we prepared to head out to dinner at where else but our favorite, Ruby's (where in keeping with the theme of the day, I enjoyed a pumpkin milkshake)!

But not before getting just a few more pictures to mark this year's outing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

For the love of soccer, new parks and Snow White

That about sums up our weekend.

Saturday both kids had soccer games. It is hard to believe that the season is already winding down. Jadyn had a good game. I think I mentioned we had some issues a few weeks back with her refusing to play certain positions and not listening to her coach. Things have been much better the last few weeks. I still have yet to get some really great shots of her in action but here we are together after the game:

Jake has had an amazing season. I love seeing his growth as a player and just giving it his all on the field. I think his team is capable of playing better than they and therefore they have suffered a fair amount of losses but at least they are having fun:

Saturday night we created our own unconventional movie marathon choosing to watch both artistic takes on Snow White from this past summer, Mirror Mirror (family-oriented, fun) and Snow White and the Huntsman (dark and artsy). While Mirror Mirror is okay, I really felt that the Huntsman version was odd and pointless. I think I would just watch the Disney animated classic and call it a day but it was a nice family movie night.

Sunday, we went to check out the new park that just opened in our neighborhood. It is technically within walking distance although because of the road we would have to take to walk or bike there and the fact their are no sidewalks, I don't know that we ever will. Still it is nice to have a park so close. And the best part is that it features the town's brand new DOG PARK! Kuma had a blast.

And the dog park is right next to the playground equipment, which will make it much easier to have both Kuma and the kids playing at the same time. The kids loved the new park too.

Just another weekend in the life of the Funny Noses!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Better late than never!

Our Fall 2012 Bucket List

With plenty already marked off!

county fair - done
apple picking in Oak Glen - done
pumpkin patch - done
camping overnight (at least once) - done once
Whitewater preserve (at least once) - done once
family bike ride (somewhere on a bike trail)
nature walk at the preserve
hike/scramble up in the National Park
visit Civic Center Park in Palm Desert
visit somewhere with changing colors.falling leaves/leave collecting
high school football game
carve pumpkins
Pumpkin Splash! (new this year)
Flashlight scramble the weekend prior to Halloween
Halloween at Cruz and Tara's
Knott's Berry Farm during November
holiday card photos
celebrate Thanksgiving

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

First "finally felt like Fall" weekend

This past Friday was Joe's birthday. We celebrated with the kids giving Dad a gift, a Lego helicopter that he had wanted. Of course the kids both helped put together the set and played with it afterwards.

Jadyn also baked Joe's favorite, chocolate cupcakes (2nd only to his Grandma's chocolate cake). Jadyn did everything but frost the cupcakes. I love watching her excitement when it comes to cooking and baking. She certainly didn't get that from me!

We finished off the evening by having some friends over for dinner. Of course, Joe being the chef in the family cooked for everyone but he enjoys every minute of it and don't let him tell you otherwise.

Saturday both the kids had soccer games and GrandBob and Grannie Annie came out to see the kids in action. Jadyn had an awesome game playing defense (after a VERY rough game the week before, which we won't go into details about) and Jake played a fairly solid game, although his team suffered a pretty big loss. After lunch and a nice visit with Grandpa and Grandma Funny Nose, we proceeded to spend the rest of Saturday relaxing, opting for an Avenger themed marathon including Captain America, Thor and Avengers of which no one made it through the whole movie. Jadyn still has yet to see the movie the whole way through.

Sunday we woke up bright and early and went out to breakfast at Carrow's. Jake had earned a free breakfast after receiving the handwriting award in his class (two years in a row now).

We then went to the Gem and Mineral Show in neighboring Joshua Tree. We discovered this show last year when Jake's 2nd grade class visited there on a field trip and Jake FELL in love with all the different stones. He has built up quite a collection. We walked around, purchased a few treasures and ran into Jake's teacher from last year and Jadyn's current teacher this year. Of course, the kids got a kick out of it.

We came home and Jadyn completed her fire truck from the Home Depot kids workshop. Joe had been able to take Jake Saturday morning during the beginning of Jadyn's game and they were nice enough to give us a kit for Jadyn too. The kids have continued to enjoy these monthly projects. Jadyn especially enjoys painting them.

As the weather (finally, sort of) starts to cool down, I have to say this past weekend was of my favorite variety. We packed a lot in but still had plenty of time for friends, family and relaxation. And as we sit down to complete our Fall bucket list, I look forward to special outings AND weekends just like this one.

PS - Sunday night we watched the Avengers from where Jadyn fell asleep Saturday night and she finally saw the end. So we can all rest easy now.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Overnight at Jumbo Rocks

It really is quite sad that it took until now for us to finally go camping, especially since we have a National Park within a 15 minute drive of our house. I never really thought of myself as a "rough it" kind of gal and we definitely wanted to make sure the kids were old enough but other than that there really is no excuse. And now that we have gone and had such a wonderful, amazing, fun experience, I am confident that this last overnight trip will NOT be our last!

We went on this trip with our good family friends, The Millers - Johnny, Tina, their boys Dominic and Michael and their nieces Juliana and Cecilia. Around the corner from our camp ground, we took the kids for a short nature walk and gave them a chance for some serious rock scrambling:

Love this pic of Jake with his best bud Dominic:

A view of the moon, which had risen before the sunset. It was just about time for some burgers and hot dogs:

The kids loved the fire. Even before we roasted marshmallows and made S'mores  they had fun just burning broken branches they had found:

Jadyn didn't want to get TOO close:

And we had to tell Jake to be careful because he was SO close:

Sliding down rocks can be fun but I think Jake is laughing and saying, "Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch"

It's certainly not good for the longevity of jeans (or boxer briefs for that matter!)

A view of our campsite. With the rock formations behind us, the kids could scramble without us even leaving our spot and the dogs got to run around:

Okay so yes, we had this motor home (belonging to our friends' parents) but despite the conveniences it afforded us, I still "roughed" it and slept in the tent:

Before leaving the campsite the next day, Joe took this family photo. Remember the chocolate lab we almost adopted but instead she found a home with our good friends? Well here is Harley sneaking in our picture. Her and Kuma are the best of friends now. I love it when we can include the dogs on our family outings. It makes me so happy:

Come to think of it, everything about this trip makes me happy and I can't wait to do it again.