Friday, July 26, 2013

Coming To You LIVE!

I have very fond memories of going to live theater productions in my youth and really wanted to introduce my kids to the joys of live theater too. Fortunately for us, we have a small playhouse in our area and every summer they put on a youth theatre production. I can't believe the kids are old enough for me to say that this is our 4th year in a row attending!!!!

Here we are before heading out:


This year, the production was two 1 act plays entitled the Perils of Goldilocks. The first act was an updated version of the classic tale of Goldilocks and The Three Bears while the second act was Goldilocks on Trial. This will explain why the main character is dressed in prison garb in this picture after the show, which Jadyn took with her and Baby Bear:


Needless to say the kids and I all enjoyed the show.

BUT, at the play we found out that the theater was putting on a free summer workshop the following week for kids interested in auditioning for future productions and as luck would have it, Jadyn was just old enough to participate.

Jadyn really likes performing and being a part of recitals and plays but she is also not someone who can just immediately jump on stage and break into song and dance either. She gets shy and nervous. I took her to the first day of the workshop and she was by far the youngest one there, along with one other boy her age. I was SO proud of her though. Despite her nerves she got up there on stage by herself and spoke, listened to the advice she was given and used it to go back up there a second time and improve her stage presence.

On the second day of the workshop, Jadyn participated in a mock audition that included a prepared scene and cold reads. We practiced, practiced, practiced the night before and she ROCKED her prepared reading, being one of only 2 children who were pointed out as being prepared and confident. The cold reads were a little harder for her but she got up there and did it.


On the third day they did music and dance for auditions, learning some choreography and how to prepare to sing for an audition. While I originally was thinking this would all help Jadyn when she tries out for future school plays, she is seriously considering trying out for the theater's next production, A Christmas Carol.

While the audition is not until September and she may very well change her mind, the workshop was a great experience for Jadyn. She truly enjoyed it, we both learned a lot and I could not have been more proud. It isn't easy to put yourself out there like that, and especially at the ripe old age of 7 but she did it. It was a great lesson and reminder as to the benefits of stepping outside your comfort zone.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

While They Were Here 2013 Edition

My mom, aka Grandma Kelly and her husband George came for their annual summer visit last week. Since they were coming from my brother's house, they brought our niece and nephew up for a visit as well. When Jake and Jadyn get together with their cousins Madison and Ethan they have a BLAST! I really wish we got to see them more than we do.

Here is Grandma Kelly posing with Jadyn and Madison after visiting their "beauty shop". In the same evening, they also created a restaurant complete with menu and entertainment. It is so fun to see them get creative:


Here we all are:


The next day after I got done with work, the kids and I took Grandma Kelly "down the hill". We were trying to escape the ash and smoke from a fire in the hills about 2 hours from us but to no avail. It was just as bad down in the Palm Springs area. Still, we tried to make the best of it. We went to the spa pools for some swimming and relaxation (really getting irritated with Jake's non-smiles). Also note the color of the sky. That is smoke:


We ate an early dinner at Ruby's and posed in front of the Sonny Bono fountain in the same plaza:


And we strolled by Marilyn Monroe Park and did the touristy thing by taking a picture with her:


Thursday was a good chance for Grandma Kelly and George to see what a typical day with the Funny Noses is like. They got to see Jadyn participate in her tumbling class, rush home to eat dinner and then head back out for an evening of BMX (and another 2nd place for Jake).

Friday, my mom handed down some treasures of my Grandmother's to Jadyn. She immediately redecorated her dollhouse with some of the old wood furniture and minatuare vases, which prompted our cat Friday to become immensely curious:


Before they left, we attempted to get a good picture of my mom, myself and the kids (Kuma decided on his own he wanted to be included). This was the best out of all of them, even though Jadyn is unfortunately blinking:


It was another whirlwind visit. Until next time!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Summer Snapshot Part II

We spent a majority of the long 4th of July weekend with the same group of friends; we had the Millers over for dinner on the 4th. Then on that Friday Cruz and Tara hosted an outside movie night complete with dinner and a bounce house for the kids. They always host really cool gatherings and this was no exception.

Jadyn enjoying the bounce house:


This just cracked me up. Cruz had created this page on Powerpoint to precede the "feature presentation" on the projector outside:


Here are all the kids watching the beginning of Men in Black III:


On Saturday night, the Millers had us and Cruz and Tara over to watch UFC 162. I'm not really into watching these fights but I went to enjoy everyone's company. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when the main event turned out to be pretty entertaining. It was fun!

We took Sunday to relax and it was good thing too because the following week was also jam-packed!

Jake attended a week long soccer camp for 2 hours in the evenings to get him ready for the fall season. Here he is with two of his buddies enjoying the pizza party on the last day of camp:


On Wednesday we went to see a magician for the summer reading program at the library. That night I caught Joe and the kids all reading in bed together but when I tried to snap a picture, Joe and Jake conspired to hide their faces. Stinkers!:


Thursday, we went with a group of friends to see Despicable Me 2. It hasn't gotten great reviews but I thought it was a very worthy sequel. The kids really enjoyed it and the minions are hysterical:


Later that same afternoon, Jadyn went to a tumbling/gymnastics class her dance studio just started and she fell in LOVE with it. I kind of suspected she would and I am glad. With her choosing not to play soccer this year, I thought she needed to take 2 classes and this will be the perfect compliment to her cheer class:


I don't work on Fridays so we took the opportunity to go to the water park with the Millers. This was our third visit so far this summer, which means we have officially paid for our summer passes. I haven't taken my phone into the park but plan to at least once this summer. It's just hard because well, it's a water park and I'm too cheap to pay for a locker. The kids had a blast. Nothing wears them out (and me for that matter) more than a day going down slides and playing in the wave pool.

So look at that. I managed to (sort of) catch up on my blogging. And right on time too because my Mom arrives for a 4 day visit tomorrow.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Summer Snapshot Part I

My attempt to catch up on my blogging and capture the essence of this summer so far.....

The first week after school got out, the kids did a week of swim lessons. Both Jake and Jadyn are Sharks now and this class is intense. They are introduced to several different strokes and work on their endurance and diving techniques. It was a little overwhelming for Jadyn in particular after not swimming much since last summer. However, by the end of the session they were both doing great.


To celebrate their hard work in swim lessons as well as the first official day of summer, we headed to Sonic for our favorite ice cream shakes:


That same week the kids also had friends spend the night, went to Knott Soak City water park to break in our season passes, had a special cub scouts meetup where the kids played kickball and got together with friends to watch The Lorax for a movie in the park.

As if all that wasn't enough, we also took another day trip to the river. Out of everyone, it's the dogs who get tuckered out the quickest with all that running, fetching and swimming. Here are Kuma and Harley resting in the boat:


And the kids having daddy throw them up as high as he can:



The second week of summer break, we didn't pack quite as much in, especially with me going back to work for summer school and Jake starting the Nature Encounter program but we did manage to go to the library for the kickoff of the summer reading program, cheer on some of our local All-Star baseball teams at the Little League fields (Jake's not playing this summer. I still have a baseball season post forthcoming) and make it out to the track for BMX where Jake surprised us after a long hiatus and won first place (this meant another trip to Sonic for shakes, a post about this development is also forthcoming).

And that concludes the snapshot of the first 2 weeks of summer break. Stay tuned for part II....

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Summer Nature Encounter

For the last 2 weeks, Jake has had the unique opportunity to participate in a special program at the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve called Summer Nature Encounter. It is in essence a day camp in which the participants get to explore science and nature with hands on experiments, games, crafts and hikes. If he continues with the summer program in future years it will segue into training to become a junior docent.

The program concluded on Friday with a family day, in which Jake got to present and show everyone what he had been working on and learning at the program. It was a real joy to see Jake so excited and engaged. The theme of this year's program was rock and water cycles and each group made their own streambed.

Here is Jake reciting his portion of his group's presentation:


And watching the effects of water on his streambed for the first time:


We got to eat a picnic style lunch with all the other participants and their families and then they handed out awards and certificates of participation. It was a very nice afternoon:


We also got to encounter some nature of our own as a family of bighorn sheep made it's way down the ridge. I have blogged many pictures and details from our frequent visits to this preserve and in fact, it is where we took our annual holiday photos last year:


And Jake showed us a neat little area with bird feeders, ideal for watching all the cool and unusual birds that make their way through the preserve. He had told me on numerous occasions over the last 2 weeks that watching the birds was his favorite part of each day.


Jake has already expressed an interest in continuing with the program next year and I couldn't be happier. Left to his own devices, Jake would probably be perfectly satisfied to sit in front of the TV playing video games all summer but with a little nudging, he can quickly immerse himself in more productive activities.

Because I am working summer school this year, I had to rely on friends and acquaintances to get Jake to and from this program for the past 2 weeks. It isn't easy for me to ask for and accept help but I have been quite humbled with the outpouring of generosity. Sometimes it is worth the effort to step outside your comfort zone and it was definitely worth it to see Jake enjoy this program so much.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Ode to the Red, White and Blue 2013

The last few years we have been very fortunate that the fireworks show in our town takes place at the high school, only a few blocks away from our house. We have traditionally hosted a BBQ with friends at the house and been able to watch the fireworks from the comfort of our front driveway. It's been great.

Well this year they are re-doing the football field at the high school so they moved the fireworks to the new sports park in a different part of town. I wasn't sure what we were going to do because I wasn't real enthusiastic about dealing with crowds and traffic to get close but at the same time, we have become quite spoiled in having a pretty good view. Jake's stipulation was that he wanted to be close enough to HEAR the fireworks. It was quite a dilemma.

Then we found out that the local BMX track was still going to do it's regularly scheduled Thursday night racing with a bonus; being only a block away from the new sports park, they were inviting everyone to stay after the races to view the fireworks show from the track. It was a perfect solution.

We still had friends over for swimming and a BBQ, ate a little early and then headed over to the track.



Jake placed 2nd even after crashing in the last run. He got right back up and kept going. I love his competitive drive in moments like this (brought the good camera and had a little too much fun with photo editing).




The view (and yes, sound and smell) of the fireworks was perfect!



Afterwards, we headed back to the house for dessert and sprinklers (as I accidentally called the sparklers). Everyone had a nice time.




I have said this in previous 4th of July posts, but this particular holiday is very bittersweet for me. Not only was it my dad's absolute favorite holiday, but it was at a fireworks viewing on the 4th that my parents, brother and I were together for the last time before he passed away. This year marks 15 years since he passed. I can't believe it has been that long.

I know my spiritual beliefs are ambiguous and non-traditional but I feel his presence all around me when I watch the fireworks. I think about how happy and proud he would be as a grandpa and although it does make me sad, it also brings me a sense of peace.

So while I celebrate America's birthday on the 4th, the holiday also means much more to me. It is a celebration of life and family and yet another of many reminders to hold those dear to you close.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

It's like a Heatwave

Well here it is July already and I have once again taken an unintentional blogging hiatus. While I don't like getting behind on the blog, which I use as a journal/scrapbook/photo album of our life, it also means we have been busy, having fun and most importantly, that I am doing a good job of living in the moment. Unfortunately, that also means less pictures and detailed stories. It's a balancing act.

But I digress. That whole topic could be a blog post in and of itself.  Instead, I'm just gonna dive right in.......

Although we live in the desert and expect the summer to be H-O-T, we were hit with triple digits a little sooner than usual prompting a week long excessive heat warning. Without the chance to ease into the high temps, the weather sure did seem excessive. However, once we hit the century mark it's all the same to me. Whether it's 101, 105 or or 117, it's too hot to be outside unless there is water involved.

So on the first day of the heatwave, we stayed indoors, opting to go as a family to see Monsters University in an air-conditioned theater followed by a casual dinner out. Super cute movie! Super fun day!

Saturday we headed to Upland to get my hair done and visit the grandparents. I wish I could say it was cooler there but they were experiencing the same heatwave. The upside to being in 100+ weather there instead of at home? Cousins to play with and grass in the backyard for some slip-n-slide fun.


Jadyn with cousin Lilly, both looking super cute as their brothers photo bomb:


And yes, it was still extremely hot outside when the boys dressed up to play military. When Jake gets together with his cousin Aidan, this is mandatory no matter the weather:


Sunday we really needed a day at home to relax and be lazy but we also still needed to beat the heat, so we spent a lot (and I mean A LOT) of time in our pool.


What I love about summer is that you can do SO MUCH! We have been super busy, Work for both Joe and I,  day camps and swim lessons (more on this later), play dates, sleepovers, trips to the water park and river. And yet, we still have time to chill out as a family, take naps (me), read books, play games and watch movies. It's exactly why I LOVE summer.

So bring on the heat. And bring on the platitudes about how time flies when your having fun. We still have plenty of summer left.