Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Introducing Bailey

Sooooo, pretty much since Kuma turned a year old but especially after I started working outside the home again, I have been advocating to add another dog to our family. First of all, I love having as many pets in the house as I can get away with and secondly, I really felt Kuma needed someone to hang out with in my absence (other than the cats, LOL!)

I started pleading my case pretty hard this past fall after we had settled into a new routine with the school year and I even got Joe to visit the local animal shelter a few times but we didn't find any dogs that really stuck out as being a good fit for our family. Then over winter break our friends Cruz and Tara brought over their new Great Dane puppy resulting in me having a huge bout of puppy fever. I convinced Joe to go to an adoption event a nearby rescue was hosting on a Saturday and that was all she wrote for the whole family. We fell in love.



 At first the rescue told us she was a 3 month old lab/Greyhound mix but she is listed on their website as being a Fox Terrier mix. To be honest, we don't really know what she is but she is ours! We do know mom was about 40 pounds so we are expecting the same medium size for her.

As for her name, I spent the whole first day looking up and throwing out name ideas. Bailey just fit her. There is no other way to explain it.

The first few days with her home were honestly a little rough. Despite being around other dogs all the time, Kuma is used to being the only dog in our household and he was a little bratty and unwilling to share with our new addition. However, each day he warmed to her more and more and now they are fast friends, playing together and snuggling together a good majority of the time.



The first few days were a little rough for us too. It's easy to forget how much work a puppy can be between potty training and preventing them from chewing on inappropriate objects. However, in just the last 2 weeks since we first brought her home, Bailey has come a long way She is super smart and I can not recommend crate training enough.

Bailey has a great personality and watching her play with Kuma is extremely entertaining. I think getting a puppy was the best way to ensure a good fit for our family and I felt comfortable going through a rescue group that does amazing and tireless work to help find homes for unwanted pets. I know that for us Bailey has found a home where she is definitely wanted.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Jake Version 9.75 (yikes!)

Jake is all boy, 110% boy.

He loves to play video games and organize Nerf wars and build with Megabloks and Legos. He has to be reminded about everything, usually multiple times. Unless of course he is doing what needs to be done to earn video game time. Then he gets everything done quite efficiently.

Jake walks through life with blinders on. If it doesn't directly affect him in that moment, don't expect him to notice. Sometimes I don't know how someone so bright and smart can be so oblivious and yet I fully admit he probably gets that from me.

Jake is at an age where everything revolves around being with friends. I am sure this is only the beginning. I should be thankful that he is so social since he was so painfully shy when he was younger but sometimes we just want to spend a nice family evening together. And we can and we do but it usually begins with a protest followed by a lecture. There seems to be a lot of lecturing at this age as Jake constantly test the boundaries of what he can get away with.

Yet with all the frustrations of this age (and it has been a very trying one for sure), Jake is a good kid. He earned Dean's List at school for 1st trimester by getting all A's and one B.


A few weeks later he was recognized at Friday Flag by his teacher for exhibiting responsibility, one of the six Character Counts traits as well as earning a place in the 10 mile club for running at least 10 miles at the after school running club.


After another great soccer season, he made the under 10 boys All-Star team. I love watching him give it his all on the soccer field and was happy to see his season extended.


Jake is thoughtful and kind and funny, a great big brother to Jadyn and thankfully still not too old to snuggle on the couch with  mommy and watch a movie. He has an infectious giggle that can make anyone pause and smile, not to mention distinctive enough to pick out of a crowd.

This is how you are most likely to find Jake, with his best friend playing games and dressed in tons of camo:


I can't believe that this April, Jake will be TEN years old. I am having a much harder time dealing with him entering the double digits then the fact that I will be 40 next month.

Yes, Jake is all boy and even with the frustrations that brings, I couldn't love him more or be more proud.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Winter Break

Ah! We did some new and fun things over the break but not the traditional activities of winter break because we have been experiencing the exact opposite of most in the country - an extremely warm winter. No snow. Anywhere. Also, in looking at the pictures I snapped I once again have very, very few of Jake. He spent almost all of break playing video games, building Megablok sets and laughing and playing with his best friend Dominic. But anyway, I digress......

Whenever we go to the county fair or a pumpkin patch Jadyn always wants to go for a pony ride. And given that we know someone with horses,  I can't believe this is the first time she really got to go horseback riding but she did and of course, she loved it.


We also all went shooting for the first time. I didn't take pictures because I wanted to focus on the kids and safety but it wasn't nearly as daunting as I thought it would be. We all enjoyed it and I foresee us doing this activity as a family more often in the future.

Jadyn got a few new Lego Friends sets (the cruise ship and the high school). Her and I spent some time organizing her Legos and using an old train table as her "city":


Santa brought Jadyn new bedding for her room (which she desperately needed) so we also spent Winter Break repainting her room, redecorating it and cleaning it out (my favorite part!). Just more proof that she is no longer a baby girl:




The kids also built a fort in Jake's room:


Overall, we had a nice relaxing break and we got a lot done. But it still went by way too fast.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Ringing in the new year

We had a lovely time ringing in the new year with friends. Of course we started things off with the traditional smashing of the gingerbread house, a tradition I stole from LauraC. and will always be grateful for because the kids look forward to it every year.



The Millers and Cruz and Tara came over for dinner, we had a bonfire in the fire pit with drinks and S more's and everyone made it to midnight (just barely).



A lot happened in 2013. It wasn't all bad but it definitely had it's challenges. I think everyone was ready for the new year.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 6th Blogiversary!

I'm still here!

While my blog limps across the finish line from 2013 and into the new year, I could be super critical of all that did not go on the blog. I could get down on myself because I wanted to get MORE personal and MORE reflective and ended up being lucky if the major events of our family's year got documented at all.

But that's okay and here is why:

Because good things happened this year. 

I found a very fulfilling job outside the home that has given me a lot to think about in terms of what I want to do with the rest of my life. It's also kept me busy!

More and more I found myself living in the moment and for me, THIS IS HUGE!

So I don't know what the future holds. I realize that when I blog and I only skim the surface, it is still a great tool for recording family memories and allowing friends and family to "stay in touch" but it can be a tad boring to some. It may not be all that it could be or all that I want it to be but something is better than nothing.

And you know what? I'm totally okay with that.

And so I officially leave 2013 (albeit a day late) with the professional pictures our family had done at Whitewater Preserve, several of which I used for our holiday card.

Twentynine Palms Photography - Whitewater Photography - Children's Photography - Family Photography - Fenenoz Family Mini Session

Twentynine Palms Photography - Whitewater Photography - Children's Photography - Family Photography - Fenenoz Family Mini Session

Twentynine Palms Photography - Whitewater Photography - Children's Photography - Family Photography - Fenenoz Family Mini Session

Twentynine Palms Photography - Whitewater Photography - Children's Photography - Family Photography - Fenenoz Family Mini Session

Twentynine Palms Photography - Whitewater Photography - Children's Photography - Family Photography - Fenenoz Family Mini Session

Twentynine Palms Photography - Whitewater Photography - Children's Photography - Family Photography - Fenenoz Family Mini Session

Twentynine Palms Photography - Whitewater Photography - Children's Photography - Family Photography - Fenenoz Family Mini Session

Twentynine Palms Photography - Whitewater Photography - Children's Photography - Family Photography - Fenenoz Family Mini Session

And may everyone enjoy a happy and healthy 2014.

My Books of 2013

There were good portions of 2013 where reading took a backseat while I adjusting to working outside the home again. Therefore, while last year I read a total of 30 books, this year I only read 23 and a good portion of those were re-reads to prepare for final installments in a series and/or movie versions.

I have seriously lost count of how many times I have read The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay and enjoy them equally if not more every time I read them. I started and failed to finish re-reading The Host and Ender's Game, remembering that while both books were enjoyable, they really didn't warrant a re-read (I think Ender's Game is such a good book because of it's ending).

The Divergent series, in which I loved, loved, loved the first and really liked the second, came up very short for me in it's final installment, Allegiant, leaving me very disappointed.

The Legend series, which was good but nothing amazing ended with the final installment, Champion, my last read of 2013 and I have to say I really, really enjoyed the conclusion.

I didn't give any books 5 stars this year. I'm pretty picky about handing that rating out apparently. However, there were several stand alone books this year that definitely stood out to me as favorites and I would feel comfortable recommending them to almost anybody. They were:

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (4.5 stars)
Where'd you Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (4.5 stars)
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (4 stars)
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight (4 stars)

As I have stated before I usually don't finish reading books that would ultimately end up with only a 1 or 2 star rating. However, 2 books I did read and give low ratings were:

The World Without You by Joshua Henkin (2 stars)

I really thought it would redeem itself but by the end I just found myself thinking, what was the point? All of the characters were unlikable and not in an interesting/good way.

Requiem by Lauren Oliver (2 stars, Delerium series)

The first book in this series was really good, the second one just okay. I read the third one because many times the last book in a series picks up the pace and rounds out the series but honestly, I can't even remember what ended up happening in this book nor do I care.

Reading is one of my favorite hobbies and I hope to devote more time to it in 2014. One thing I will definitely be focusing on is discovering new books and new authors and while I love YA dystopian series, I am ready to spend more time reading other genres.

Happy reading and if you are not on Goodreads, I highly recommend it.

Kuma turns THREE!

Christmas Day is significant in our family not only because it is a holiday but also because it is our youngest family member's birthday. Kuma turned 3 years old. I can't believe it!

To mark the occasion, I got Kuma a boxed set of stuffed dog toys and he thoroughly enjoyed them as well as reminding us why we don't buy them more often. Stuffing everywhere!


And here he is cuddling with Jadyn's Build a Bear dogs, technically Golden Retrievers but she has named them Zuma and Buma because they look so much like Kuma:


Our friends Cruz and Tara have recently suffered great losses when it comes to their furbabies and it has served as a sober reminder to cherish the time we have with our furry companions. They give us unconditional love and devotion and add so much joy to our family.

I wish I could articulate the importance Kuma played in helping me through a particularly difficult time in my life personally but suffice to say, we are very blessed to have him as part of our family.

Happy birthday Kuma!

Santa Claus Came to Town - Version 2013

We once again celebrated early on Christmas Eve day with the extended Funny Nose clan at Grandma Anita and Ken's house. The kids got to open a few presents after having lunch but more importantly, they got to enjoy a gorgeously warm So Cal day outside with their cousins Aidan and Lilly:


We then went home to prepare dinner and the house as were hosting Christmas Eve dinner for our friends Cruz and Tara and the Miller Family. Here are the kids and I before everyone arrived:


We had so much fun that night. So much so that I unfortunately did not take any pictures of the festivities. Suffice to say that a good time was had by all. We indulged in green chicken chili and homemade taquitos, all the baked goods and some very sweet Moscato wine. Not only did the kids exchange gifts but the adults did a gift exchange as well including personalized gag gifts. While I cannot share all the gifts that were received, I can tell you that I got a Tahoe repair kit so the next time I bang it against the garage while backing out, I can duct tape and super glue it back together. And then of course, after our guests had left, the kids quickly set out cookies and milk for Santa, sprinkled reindeer food in the front yard and excitedly went to bed so Santa can come do his magic:


This year's wake up call was not the earliest ever but 4 a.m. is still pretty darn early. And then the chaos of Christmas morning commenced. For once I have more pictures of Jake than Jadyn and not the other way around. Apparently this is the way to get some genuine smiles out of him:





 And in a flash the scene looked like this:


With nowhere to be on the actual holiday, our family got to spend a glorious and relaxing day in our PJs eating monkey bread (tradition), watching The Christmas Story, taking naps (yes multiple), and putting together tons of Lego Friends and Halo Megablok sets. After a fun but whirlwind and busy few weeks, it was the perfect way for us to end the holiday.