Saturday, January 26, 2013

Costume Week

This past week was in-class dress rehearsal at Jadyn's dance studio. She will be performing in the recital next week with her new cheer class. I snapped some pictures because flash is not allowed on recital night and you never know if you will get any decent pictures of the performers on stage. Jadyn is really super excited and I am so happy to see her performing again. Even though she can still get a little shy, I really think this is her element.


Ready, begin!




Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Taking Advantage!

We finally had a weekend with weather that is more the norm for a SoCal winter - highs in the 60's. I sure did welcome it. Even better with school out Monday for the MLK holiday, it was a THREE day weekend. We were lazy and productive at home for a good part of Saturday and Sunday, although we did go to the dog park and BMX track.

Monday however, it was just too beautiful not to do something outdoors so the kids and I went with Tina, Dominic and Michael and drove into the park to hike the Barker Dam trail. The kids had been asking to go to a trail that had good rock scrambling and this is one of our favorites. It was a little disappointing although not surprising given our lack of precipitation to find no water at the dam but we still enjoyed the trail.


So rare for me to get a good picture of Jake with a genuine smile. Love this one!:



Kids forming a conga line along the trail. They are so silly when the four of them get together:



The kids are monkeys on the rocks. Jumping, climbing, laying out on them. You name it:




We finished off with a picnic lunch at a neighboring campground (Hidden Valley) and then headed home for a short play date with the kids. It just made me even more excited for winter to start giving way to spring so we can go on even more hikes. I can't wait!


Sundays at the track

During the colder winter months, the local BMX track switches from a week night race schedule to a Sunday afternoon race schedule. While I absolutely appreciate eliminating the need to sit out in the cold on week nights, I don't know that I am overly excited about giving up my Sundays - the one day a week we generally used to stay home all day.

However, the other positive about being at the track in the afternoon versus nighttime is that I am better able to take pictures of Jake on the track.

Coming off the gate during a qualifying race. Jake is in 2nd place with the blue helmet:


 Going through the rhythm section of the track:


This was last week when it was still really COLD. Slow day at the track. The main event was Jake's best friend Dominic (in first), Jake and Dominic's little brother Michael:


Before crossing the finish line. He never could get close to Dominic on this particular day. Second place!:


And in other sports-related news, we have been taking the kids out back, practicing throwing and catching and it was enough to remind Jake that he really does enjoy baseball. Therefore, he is going to play again this year. I am very pleased as I really felt strongly that he needed to give it another season before making any decisions about whether this is a sport he wants to continue to play. He had such a great season last year and this year he will be in Minors, which is peer-pitch as opposed to that awful machine. While Jadyn enjoys going outside and playing catch, she still has no interest in playing softball even though she did enjoy t-ball last year. I am comfortable with this decision as she loves her cheer class and is talking about trying out for the school play this spring.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Party for a Princess and I don't like good-byes

Even though Joe is not in the Marine Corps anymore, we still live in a military heavy community, which means that families come and go, whether they are active duty, veterans, retired and/or any way involved with defense contracts. My point is a lot of people are not from here and many of them don't stay. This is part of the reason why I don't always find myself with a lot of friends, because 1) I don't make new friends easily and 2) some of the friends I do make inevitably end up moving.

One of my more longtime friends is Solinda. We first met when Jake and her middle child Sam played t-ball together at age 4 and as they became best friends, enjoying swim lessons, kindergarten and soccer together, I too grew closer to Solinda. When we moved two cities over from 29 Palms to Yucca Valley, not being closer to their family was my ONE single regret about moving but I tried to console myself that we would still see each other. We are after all only 30 minutes away from each other. And I have to say, that 3 years later, although it is sometimes hard to coordinate our schedules, we do still see each other and talk often and I value her friendship VERY much.

I can't believe that when we met, Solinda's youngest child, Sariah was an infant. Over time I have had the pleasure and honor of watching her go through toddlerhood and especially in the last year or so, become a playmate and friend for Jadyn, even with their 2 1/2 year age difference. Sariah, no longer a baby, has become a little girl.

So it was Sariah's 4th birthday this last weekend and she had the most adorable and fun princess party, complete with all the girls dressing like princess and getting their nails and hair done. Jadyn declared it the best birthday party ever. It was really super cute and sweet. Here is a picture of Princess Jadyn and Princess Sariah together:

Picture 275

Okay, so now that I have surely made one friend cry (happy tears I hope), let's keep my streak going.....

Over the last 2+ years, I have had the pleasure of getting to know our neighbors, the Guerreros. For the majority of the time they have lived next to us, it has just been Shami and her 10-year old daugther Adriana while dad was deployed out of the area for work. Both being the wives of former Marines and current contractors, Shami and I connected on several levels. I could come to her to talk through a problem, borrow a cup of sugar or ask her to check on the pets while we were gone. We bonded over our triumphs and struggles to be the best wives and moms we could be while still doing things for ourselves. We shopped, ate out and enjoyed midnight movies when we needed a break. We have had many a discussion as to what we want in the next stages of our lives. She has made me laugh and feel much less alone during some tough times, and I think and hope I have been able to do the same for her in return. Adriana is an example of how I want my kids to be as they get older - smart, well-mannered, thoughtful and sweet. I simply adore her.

Jadyn and Adriana passing out candy this past Halloween:


And Shami and I after the Color Run in November. Such fun memories!:


So it is with great sadness, that they have decided to move back to their hometown in Texas and much sooner than we originally thought. As a matter fact, we scrambled to put together a going away dinner for them Saturday night after the birthday party we attended so they could have a proper send off with some of our other friends. I know we will stay in contact and maybe even see each other again but it just won't be the same not having them right next door to us. I wish them the very best in the next stage of their family's adventure and know that this decision was made in that best interest. However, it doesn't make me any less sad to see them leave. I am not good at good-byes.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Baby, it's cold outside!

And I mean really, really cold - at least for this little corner of the universe.

Last week the kids went back to school after the winter break and Joe resumed a more "up tempo" at work. We settled into a new routine, which leaves us with A LOT more time on school nights. While I love that we have time to enjoy real sit down family dinners and are not rushing through homework to get to soccer practice or the BMX track I have to admit, it felt strange.

However, if there is one thing that will probably always stick out to me about the last few weeks, it is the weather. As a native of Southern California, daytime temps in the 50's are cold to me. So when our daytime high is barely hitting 40 and we are waking up to 18 degrees that feels like 6 degrees with the wind chill, it's a little hard to handle.

And that is probably why I think it is so stinkin cute to see the kids all bundled up with coats and hats and gloves ready for school, because it isn't something we do ALL winter long.

photo (55)

But no matter how cute the kids look all bundled up, personally I am ready for it to WARM up.

Monday, January 7, 2013

All-Star Soccer Tournament

I was so excited when Jake made the all-star team for soccer. He has always really enjoyed the sport and he truly did have a great regular season. There is no doubt in my mind that Jake deserved to make the team. However, if I am being totally honest and it pains me a great deal to say this, but Jake did not play like an all-star in this past weekend's tournament.

It's very hard to watch your child and know how they are capable of playing and then watch them not play to that potential. It didn't seem like Jake was giving it 100%. Talking to him about it later, the problem seemed to be that he was intimidated by the fact that now everyone on the field is playing really good and much more aggressive and instead of it motivating him to do the same, he kind of just backed off. And to be fair, he wasn't the only one not playing their best. I think for Jake especially, the coaching makes a huge difference and it kind of seemed like the players never really had a chance to come together as a team, at least not on the field.

So as you might guess, the team didn't do so well in the tournament. They lost all 3 games but put up a pretty good fight in their second game, which they only lost 2-1. Also, it should come as no surprise that the second game was the nicest weather of the three. We are in California but it is still January and both Saturday and Sunday's morning games were bitterly cold - temperatures in the 20's, grass covered in ice and on Sunday we had the addition of the wind. As a spectator, it was not the best experience let me assure you.

On the bright side, it was still a good experience for Jake and the rest of the team. I am very glad that Jake had a chance to play beyond the regular season and I am very proud of the time and dedication he put into the extra practices all throughout the month of December, especially during winter break.

A group shot of the team:


 Jake coming in for a slide tackle:


This photo really illustrates how much smaller Jake is than some of the kids his age:


With soccer now over, Jake is going to be concentrating on BMX and is still deciding whether he wants to play baseball this spring. He is so athletic that I look forward to seeing which sports he eventually decides to focus on. I have little doubt that soccer will continue to be in the mix. The next big activity for the family is coming up in February as Jadyn has been preparing to perform a cheer routine at the winter recital for her dance studio.

Never a dull moment!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Keeping it Real

I do believe that January is my least favorite month of the year. It is still the middle of winter but you have no holiday cheer to temper the cold weather. Everyone has less money and more weight from all the overindulging at Christmas. We have very few fun activities on the books. I don't do New Year's resolutions and any projects seem daunting instead of the feeling of motivation I get in August/September when the new school year starts. Every year if you look back on my blog, January usually has the least amount of posts but there is always one with me talking about how I am in a funk.

I am sorry to anyone who has a birthday in January but can we please just get to February? You know the month with Valentine's Day, the long President's weekend and of course MY birthday. Then again, this year I am going to be 39, which is just one year shy of the big 40 so I am not too sure I am excited about another birthday either but still. It's better than January.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Santa Hat Revisited

Jake at 6 months

3 years
4 years
5 years

6 years

7 years

Jake 8 years


Jadyn 6 months

1 year

2 years
3 years
4 years:

5 years:
Jadyn 6 years:


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ringing it In

The week between Christmas and New Year was full of lots of lazy days where we often still found ourselves in our PJs at dinnertime. We watched movies, read books, played games (both of the video and board variety) and ate lots of leftovers. There were a lot of moments that looked like this:


The kids have been told that when they return from winter break, there will be limits imposed on the amount of time they play on their iPods, but for now we are being pretty lax about it.

I did take the kids to go see Rise of the Guardians. I am SO glad we saw it in the theater. It has been one of the best family/animated films I have seen in a long time. We all really enjoyed it. I also took some time to be productive and take down down all the holiday decorations and get the house back in order.

New Year's Eve brought the annual smashing of the gingerbread houses and the kids could.not.wait. They love, love, love this tradition.



That night,we had some friends over for dinner and I don't know when, how or why but it has become somewhat of a tradition that we bundle up, Joe gets a bonfire going and we make S'mores (we also usually do a fondue themed dinner but this year we broke with tradition):



 Even though are friends left before midnight, this is the first year that BOTH kids managed to stay up until midnight but they just barely made it; Jadyn was already dozing off and we all went to bed literally seconds after watching the countdown on TV.

Being bundled up on the couch, surrounded by the kids, Joe, and Kuma. It certainly is drastically different from how I used to celebrate New Year's but honestly, I wouldn't want it any other way.

Here's to a happy 2013!