Thursday, May 30, 2013

From Wolf to Bear

Jake had his last regular den meeting for Cub Scouts this week. Along with his fellow scouts, Jake roasted hot dogs and S'mores over a fire pit and moved on to the next rank.

Jake has had a very full schedule this year - soccer, BMX, baseball, not to mention excelling in school, adjusting to daily homework and participating in the AR reading program. The one activity he always looked forward to every week was Cub Scouts. He has learned SO much.

In addition to completing all the requirements to move on from a Wolf to a Bear, Jake also earned extra achievements known as belt loops. The belt loops he earned this year were for basketball and archery (both earned at day camp), soccer, baseball, swimming, bicycling, hiking, bowling and my personal favorite, video games (yes, you can earn a belt loop in video games, LOL!).

I was a little more prepared this time when I got called up to receive a special pin from Jake:


And here he is with his pack. Such a great group of boys:


 I have been friends with Jake's den leader Heather for several years as our kids attended preschool together. However, this year I have gotten to see exactly how much heart and soul she puts into various volunteer commitments such as scouts. I am in awe of her ability to multi-task and I just can't thank her enough for all the hard work she has put in to making this experience so beneficial and enjoyable for Jake. I can't wait to see what fun things he will be doing this summer and going into next year.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Memorial weekend 2013

Our Memorial Day weekend was filled with lots of traditional activities. Saturday Jadyn walked in our town's annual Grubstakes Day parade representing her dance studio. She had a blast!


After the parade, we headed over to the community fair to get Jake signed up for soccer this fall (Jadyn has chosen not to play). The rest of the day was spent doing a lot of running around - Jadyn attended a birthday party, Jake went to the Millers and spent the night and we went to Home Depot and purchased some new palms for the front patio (I finally killed the two we had for the past 3 years).

Sunday we went to a BBQ at Cruz and Tara's. I didn't take any pictures but it was a lot of fun - very relaxing for the adults, lots of good conversation and good food. The kids ran around the whole time and played with the other kids at the party. They were wiped out by the end of the day.

Monday Joe still had to go into work but the kids and I headed down to the Palm Springs Air Museum for their annual flower drop. This is our second consecutive year attending. It's a great way to honor all of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedom.

At the entrance:


Jake running a mission on a flight simulator:


Manning the gun on a Bomber:



Trying to stay entertained in the hot, hot sun while we waited for the plane to get flight clearance:


And so worth the wait!:


IMG_3850-001 IMG_3852-001


Hope everyone else had a nice Memorial Day weekend too! Although a lot of friends are already out of school for the summer, we still have 13 more days and they are filled with end of year activities both during and after school. Oh, and we mustn't forget that a certain little girl is having a birthday this week too!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I have been putting off writing this blog post all week. And you will soon understand why.

Last Saturday, Jake had day camp for cub scouts. He got to spend the entire day doing various activities with local packs and it was no surprise that he had a blast.

Meanwhile, Jadyn had her best friend Riley over to spend the night. We kind of somewhat celebrated Jadyn's birthday a full 2 weeks early because Riley was getting ready to move. Because her dad is in the Army and living in an area heavily populated with military, we knew this day was coming but I had hoped their good-byes wouldn't occur until school got out for summer. At any rate, there were a lot of giggles and yes, some tears. Jadyn and Riley have been best friends since the spring they were both 4, when they met during their brothers' baseball season. They have been very close ever since.

To help the transition, I had them make each other BFF charm bracelets and Riley gave Jadyn a Webkinz bunny so they could play with their animals online together. It was very bittersweet.



Deep breathe.

But the real shock came for us early Saturday night when we received a phone call from Joe's dad to give us the extremely sad news that his cousin Patrick had passed away from a heart attack. He was in his late 50's, took great care of himself and had no health concerns that anyone was aware of. Furthermore, he was in the Marshall Islands on business when he passed away, which has made funeral arrangements complicated. Both Joe and his dad Bob were very fond of and close to Patrick. He had a very kind heart and the banter between Bob and Patrick could keep a room entertained for hours. My heart goes out to his wife Rose, his father Felix, his sister Georgia and everyone who knew and loved him. He will be deeply missed.

Pictured here at a family reunion several years ago, from left to right Georgia (his sister), Rose (his wife), Patrick, the younger cousin Patrick and Uncle Felix (his dad):


It is a very somber reminder to live every day to the fullest because you never know when it may be your last.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bowling and Big Bear

A couple of weeks ago we were invited by the Millers to spend the weekend at a cabin up in Big Bear. While we personally usually only visit Big Bear in the winter to play in the snow, we had been wanting to go in the warmer months to take advantage of the various other activities that are available in this mountain community. It turned out to be even more fun and relaxing than we imagined and now we can't wait to go back.

But first, we had a last minute event delay the start of our weekend adventures. Both the kids reached their goals for the 2nd trimester Accelerated Reading program thus earning them a trip to the bowling alley. Furthermore, the bowling incentive had lured approximately 180 students (out of a 700+ school population) to also reach their goal, leaving the teachers and administrators coordinating the event concerned how they were going to pull this off.

The answer? Yet another reason why working at the school was the best choice for me. It allowed me to step up to the plate, work my hours and then head over to the bowling alley to input all the students names in their assigned lane and get everything else ready for their arrival. I then helped chaperon and while it was exhausting, it was a lot of fun too!

Not intentional, but Jadyn and I are almost twins!:



Once we arrived at the cabin Friday night we basically settled in and took advantage of the hot tub. Camo print is still real big among all the kids and I found Jadyn a bathing suit so she can join in with the boys!:


Saturday we woke up and headed out and went on a bike ride along the Alpine Pedal Path. Seriously, this was SO MUCH FUN! All 8 of us and both dogs, riding along a tree-lined wooded path with bridges and tunnels that eventually led us to the lake. I have no pictures of us on or during the bike ride but it was by far my favorite activity of the weekend. I did, however take some pictures of the kids and dogs playing by the shore of the lake:


After riding back from the shore and grabbing lunch, we went to another part of the lake and rented a pontoon boat. It was a little chilly and windy but the views were breathtaking:


 Having fun:


You would think this would be plenty of activities for one day, but no! Johnny also took the kids for short trips on a kayak:

And its a good thing we squeezed so much outdoor fun in one day because we woke up the next day and it was overcast and cold. We had breakfast, packed up and headed home with the promise of going back again real soon. Here are some pictures of the cabin:




Yep! We definitely want to go back real soon.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Happy Mother's Day 2013

So very far behind I am going to have to resort to starting with the most current and working my way back.

I had a fabulous Mother's Day weekend. On Saturday I went and got my hair done and did some shopping and then Jake had a late afternoon baseball game (a post on his season is forthcoming I promise!).

Sunday, I awoke to all sorts of treats - homemade cards, a magnetic bouquet of flowers with chores for me "pick" the kids to do, a recipe holder Jake made at Cub Scouts, a bouquet of my favorite flowers (Stargazer lillies), a Kindle gift card for summer reading and a hat I had been coveting. It almost felt like Christmas!


Everybody pitched in to get all the weekend chores done, got the pool up and filled (a Mother's Day tradition) and then Joe grilled chicken fajitas and we had the Millers over.



Of course the day was not without it's glitches. We had a clog in the septic (which thankfully Joe was able to take care of), found several significant holes in the pool liner( which meant draining, replacing and filling again read: not a cheap fix), and was keeping an eye on our littlest kitty Friday who had been limping for several days (he finally seems better after taking it easy a few days). Such is life.

Even with these glitches, when I look at the big picture, I feel incredibly blessed. I am so fortunate to have an amazing husband and two wonderful kids who really went out of there way to let me know that I am appreciated. What more could a Mom want?


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Seven Days of Spring Break 2013 Edition

Monday was Jake's birthday sleepover. As I had mentioned, one of the first activities after his friends arrived was some play time on the Xbox. They love their video games!


Tuesday was Jake's actual birthday, which meant more games, only this time it was at Chuck E. Cheese.



Wednesday the kids spent the day with dad so I could be with my best friend Rose down in San Diego.

Thursday we went miniature golfing, which was a spring break priority for Jadyn. We finished off the afternoon with an early dinner at our favorite spot, Ruby's!



With the weather being simply gorgeous, we went for a hike up in the national park on Friday.


Saturday we had dinner at Grand Bob and Grannie Annie's and then headed out for a Quakes game. Minor league baseball games can be so much fun, especially when you get thrown and catch the end of the game ball:



Sunday it was finally warm enough for some water fun but unfortunately the kids have (sadly) outgrown playing with the water table. The fun didn't last long and they were soon whining for dad to put the pool up. However, they would have to wait as that is something we traditionally reserve for Mother's Day weekend.


And you know what else didn't last long? Spring break! It came late and went by way too fast. Good thing we only have 33 school days left because if anything, it left us ready for summer.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Creepers! Jake turns NINE!

Jake's birthday again fell on the week of spring break. Luckily, we had decided awhile ago not to do a big party. This is the first year since he was born I have not planned a big themed birthday party. While it was great not to have the extra stress of party planning,  it actually felt really weird.

So the night before his birthday Jake had his two best friends Dominic and Kyle spend the night, along with Dominic's brother Michael who plays really well with Jadyn. The evening included video games, jumping on the trampoline, a Nerf war, general play, burgers and a chocolate cake with Grandma Anita's homemade frosting recipe. Yummy!


IMG_3582-001 IMG_3576-001


He also opened his present from Mom and Dad:


As the evening concluded, everyone settled down to watch Jake's current favorite movie, Battleship. They had been so active all evening that NONE of the boys made it to the end of the movie (and frankly neither did I).


The next day everyone had a big breakfast and we headed down to Chuck E. Cheese. Jake is really into Minecraft (the video game version of Legos is how I like to explain it) so that was the kind of, sort of theme for his birthday. At least, it was the villainous creepers that were on top of his cupcakes and displayed on his t-shirt:



Jake really wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese to play games, go in the ticket blaster and eat pizza but he honestly could have done without all the attention from Chuck himself. He was a pretty good sport about it though.




We finished off Jake's birthday that night with a car picnic at Sonic. The whole family including Kuma was able to celebrate. Although more low-key than previous years, Jake declared it his best birthday ever. Hearing that makes it all worth it.


I know this sounds really cliche, but I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the concept that our son, my baby boy is 9. While he is definitely ALL boy and has his moments of sulkiness, the one thing that hasn't changed is that he likes to end each day with snuggling with Mommy. I guess as long as that continues, I can get past the fact that time just goes by WAY. TOO. FAST.

Happy 9th birthday to Jake "the chocolate shake" Funny Nose. No amount of words can express my love.