Wednesday, March 6, 2013


transpose (v) 1. to reverse or transfer the order or place of; interchange.

a word ive recently added to my vocabulary.

Its been nearly half a year since my last post and I decided to finally transpose my ideas, memories and updates onto my blog again. while its not a top priority right now and i rarely even think about it, i do miss blogging. a couple weeks ago I thought maybe i would print all the previous posts I have done and delete the whole thing. but then I go and stumble upon an amazing blog and get inspired, knowing that I am going to want to look back on this time again... so here i am.

lots have changed since i last wrote in October... most importantly being Gavin got a job in December that he had been interviewing for almost three months for... and for the sake of my blog being public we will just refer to it as 'very much worth the move.' and an incredible opportunity. he is living in the central valley (modesto) 2 hours away while i finish my final semester of school. call us crazy, i know i do. for the most part Kenley and I drive to him on the weekends when I get out of class on Fridays.. and he comes up to us when he can. we are in a cute little apartment that we love and have had fun getting settled in.
did you see the bed made from pallets that Gavin's dad ("Grandy") did?? ...... in love with her little space.

 i may only speak for myself when I say that the weekdays apart arent as hard as it sounds. we are both so busy that the days seem to fly by. with 8 weeks left until i graduate (but whos counting?) its just been A LOT of driving... good thing i love my new car! i am beyond ready to start our life together, in our new city.

confession: i love school. being able to finish up my last two semesters has been an amazing experience. the best part is that it makes all worth it too: the three summer school classes from my freshman to junior year... the fall i took anatomy and basically camped out in the library for a whole semester... heck, the 120 units and 3.5 years of college that I almost wrote off.
i love my major and the people in it. i have my last three classes with about the same 30 people and i seriously love all of them (and even my professors).
so anytime that i start to feel unmotivated i just think about all it has taken to get me here and the village of people making it possible for me in finish.
probably the most important part of all is the vital message it sends to kenley about the value of education.... a college degree, one of those things no one can ever take from you... and i will always feel a sense of pride that gavin and i are able to be that example for her.

extra proud about this.

....give me just a couple years and ill be ready for grad school ; )

one of the things i will definitely miss most about not being at ssu anymore is that kenley wont be a dandelion  :((( the children's school program at sonoma state (aka the happy hippy school) has exceeded my already high expectations. what toddler wouldnt want to collect chicken eggs every morning... followed by sensory play, fine motor activities, gathering fruit and veggies from their garden, circle time, & books.... every day is something new, presented by enthusiastic/intelligent/caring teachers and student-teachers. i will miss everything about it and attribute a huge part of kenleys personality and smarts to it. ive said it before.... i dont know how i will ever find another school for her that measures up.

i feel like its impossible to capture kenley in a blog post. she changes every. single. day.
her vocab is blowing everyone away, including me. its so strange being able to have a full on conversation. for the most part she is so well behaved and while she works on her patience, i work on mine. some new words in my current day-to-day are: no empty threats, positive reinforcement, mirrored behavior... blah blah blah...none of which clinically proven, yet seem to help.
kenley puts up with a lot. she spends a huge part of her week in the car, getting toted here there and everywhere. one day shes with her grammy, the next with grandma, sometimes at school... modesto, napa, cloverdale.... like i said, everywhere.

i wish i had really awesome video editting skills like my favorite blogger bleubird . if you havent check out that amazing blog, DO IT. most of the time i see her blog and think... can i be you?!? witty, creative, smart, stylish, homeschooler to four adorable kids. anyway... she does an interview with her 2 year old every month or so. so candid and cute, i might need to give it a novice attempt.

we are looking forward to so much in the next couple of months: moving, trips to so-cal, weddings, graduations, birthdays, SPRING and hopefully keeping better track of all of the above.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

"autumn is a second spring when a leaf is a flower"

I hoped it wouldnt be two months by the time I posted again but... here we are.

(and I hope you like the subtle Halloween/Fall vibe Ive got going on this month.)

but I do love it. I could go on and on about what our weeks consist of but I not only do I not feel like reliving it nor do I want to type it all out. Mon-Thurs are a blur for us and when Friday rolls around there is no looking back. I do have to say I feel great about how Im doing in my classes though. I definitely had to put in a little extra work in the begining, just because I had been out of the game for so long. I would not suggest to anyone taking a two year break like I did, especially in a major like this. My physiology class is by far my biggest challenge but I am still managing to keep up (even got a B on my first test last week... proud mama moment!) I have also met some awesome people. I have a major major gap in my schedule on Tuesdays and Thursdays (10am-4pm) which has become my (forced) time to go to the gym and study.

Midterms just ended so I have a little time to breathe. Either way we ususally keep it pretty simple on the weekends. Gavin is working 50 hour weeks doing some harvest work at Sutter Home winery and the hours are a little whacky (2pm-10pm Sunday being his only day off). I am usually asleep by the time he gets home (Tuesdays and Thursdays Kenley and I are out the door at 6:45 am) so we only see each other on Friday and Saturday mornings.. and Sundays. He is currently in pursuit of a couple different jobs that he can put that UC degree to work in! (not all of which are in the area.. but Im totally open to leaving again!) :::fingers crossed::::

and Kenley LOVES school. And I cant say enough positive things about her preschool whenever someone asks. I get an email with a collage of pictures from her day every.single.evening. ...which I appreciate SO much. She is total mess by the end of every day. When I come pick her up she is always covered in a layer of some kind of paint, food or dirt.
Last week during one of my breaks, I came in and volunteered for a couple hours and I helped make salsa (all with veggies from the garden) with the kids and they all had their own little pair of kid friendly food cutting scissors... too cute.
Kenley is always talking about her little friends. I really feel like she is so happy reassuring.

Wednesdays we dont have to leave the house until 8 (woohooo) so I usually try to dress Kenley (and sometimes even MYSELF) in something a little cuter than usual. I am going to try and take a picture every Wednesday on instagram and hashtag it under #whatsheworeonwednesday (thats "what she wore on wednesday)... that way we can also see how much she changes throughout the school year. I also will try and name where each piece of her outfit is from (which is always fun when people ask me because I would say at least 80% of it is either hand-me-down or thrifted... maybe Im just getting good at putting it all together :)

Like most nights, its a race to hit the hay. I know the second I fall behind on sleep its all going to fall apart!

hope all is well with everyone else too!

<3 jess

Sunday, August 19, 2012

preschool, worries & oatmeal...

Kenley starts preschool tomorrow.

I have so many different feelings about this... most of them totally positive, combined with  a little apprehension.

She has been with me practically every day for the past two years so it will definitely be an adjustment for both of us.

I think I would have more concerns about it if we werent sending her to what is supposed to be one of the BEST preschools in the area. (I have to admit that I didnt even realize how widely recognized the SSU Children's school was until Kenley's orientation on Friday... I just picked it merely out of convenience .... and did a little extra research of course). It was so cool to hear the returning parents and staff talk about what an amazing program it was. One mom expressed how hard it was finding an adequate Kindergarten class after her daughters experience at the SSU Children's school and the high standards that it set for her.

I think I mentioned in a previous post a little bit about the school and Im sure I will have more specifics once she has been there for a little while.

its just so cute!! if you cant see it, above Kenley in the bottom right picture is her name above her coat hanger :)

...In order to properly express how I'm feel about leaving her tomorrow I have to sound like the crazy parent that thinks that child is perfect for a second... so bear with me.

Because Kenley hasnt spent a ton of time with other kids (especially in a large group) she is still...

:::Im having trouble phrasing this:::

She is still "sweet"... for lack of a better word. She has been doing so well with her sharing and the word "MINE" is still foreign to her. I just worry about what she will learn and bad habits she will pick up.

But to be honest, from what I could tell, she was probably one of the most verbal in the bunch so who knows...hopefully she wont be the one "teaching." haha!

One of my favorite parts about the school is the fact that she has one "master teacher" and the rest of the assistant teachers are students of Sonoma State (all majors of early childhood education and human development)... so they are all young, energetic and are studying exactly what they practice every day with the kids.

Im sure Kenley will be just fine. I feel SOO lucky that she is right there on campus with me and I can go peek on her any time I want! Seriously, how nice is that?!?

Well... the craziness that we have been anticipating begins tomorrow. I am so excited to be going back to school and able to finish up what I began. It's going to be organized chaos so if you feel like you are losing track of me, dont be offended.

Today has been full of tasks that Im hoping will help the week go as smooth as possible.

Right now I have an "Oatmeal Bake" in the oven... and it smells amaaaazing. Three guesses where I got the recipe and the first two dont count...

Anyway, hopefully it will be easier to run out the door with than a messy bowl of something!

Here is the link for it...Oatmeal Bake!

and here is a pic of mine!

After a crazy week we get to end it by going to the BRAVES vs Giants series... (its a Santora thing)

and weekend after that GAVIN WILL BE HERE! we miss him so much.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

this is the sound of settling

It's my second Thursday not closing Kissui.
sure, I worked other days during the week but I almost closed the store every Thursday evening from the time I began working there. I love the closing shift on Thursday's because I had "regulars." Thursdays are Market Night in downtown Redlands and people come from all over. I would say I had about 10 different moms/families that I could count on seeing those days.
I couldn't tell you who is working tonight but I hope they enjoy it as much as I did. I already miss it.
Tonight I'll be the one enjoying a different farmers (chefs) market with Kenley and some friends in downtown Napa :)
I havent been to Chefs Market since the summer before we moved when Kenley was born and toted her around as an infant... I mean DAYS old... we will see how she does!

This week has consisted of getting settled ie: change of addresses, final Riverside bills, new pediatrician visits (soooo happy with her new dr!) unpacking, seeing family and friends and a visit to Kenleys new SCHOOL!

Happiness is: driving with Kenley from Napa to Sonoma State on a Wednesday morning listening to Sarah and Vinnie...
We arrived at her little school (right on the SSU campus) where we met my MIL Patty around 10am. We first got a little guided tour by the school director. It was so nice because we had an appointment with her to sign paperwork and Kenley was able to explore without anyone else there! (I think they might do it like that on purpose)
So during the hour and a half that I met with the program director, Patty and Kenley got to play with toys, read books, explore each room and became aquatinted with what will be here new little "place."

I'm obsessed.

It might be the cutest little school I've ever seen. It is "sustainability" based... Meaning that the kids help grow in the garden (right in their play area) all the food that they eat! There is even a chicken coop that they collect eggs from every day. Kenley is fed all of her meals there... I don't have to pack anything! The whole place is set up so perfectly, I know she is just going to love it. I left so excited and relieved.

Kenley is adjusting well to all of the new changes going on and I hope she continues to do so when our schedules really pick up in a couple of weeks. I know she misses Gavin and we both can't wait to have him up here too... I know I will be feeling much more complete :)
Luckily he is flying up for his cousins wedding this weekend... And then back down to Riverside until he finishes summer school the first week of September.

My family has been nice enough to let Kenley and I stay with them until he finds work up here and we can then decide whether Sonoma or Napa county will be a good fit for us while I finish school.
As of right now Kenley has a little corner in what used to be my old room. She loves it and has been sleeping through the night! (which is a far cry from what she was doing right before the move)

Besides Gavin not being here yet, I can't think of a time I have been happier. I'm surrounded by beauty. I can breathe on my morning runs! I watch Kenley interact with the people I love most. I leave the house without her occasionally. I'm at peace.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

the shack that built me

we often refer to our little home down here in ol' Riverside as "the shack".... in reality thats pretty much what it is. Its not an apartment, its not a house, its not a condo...

what use to be a group of old army baracks now stands as the ONLY family housing complex at any UC in California. This complex consists of every race, religion & class you can think of. We have made Chinese friends, Indian, TURKISH, black, white... you name it.... most of which we have very little in common with.

In this heat, everyone makes their way to the park right in the middle of the complex just as the sun is setting. For most, this is a time of relief... because by this point, our "shacks" are about 20 degrees hotter inside than it is outside (this is no exaggeration). Most of us stand around and chat while the kiddos entertain themselves and burn off some energy. Ive gotten to know so many people's "stories."
 and its still amazing to me that almost everyone is so different.

I will miss the community that this complex has provided, even if it wasnt exactly what I pictured. If it was what I had pictured I would have made lots of friends my age, with the same interests and dare I say, undergrad?? We were one of FEW families within the complex that were in the undergrad progam (the rest of which were in pursuit of their PhD). One thing that everyone that we met in here DID have in common is that was that they were all very intelligent
.... But what fun would have that been.. hanging out with someone exactly like me?

But with all of that said I would have to say that the real change in me took place within the four walls of this little place. I coulnt help but reference Miranda Lamberts song "The House that Built me" for the title of this post. If you arent familiar with the song, it basically speaks to the fact that the first house that she lived in shaped the rest of her life. I would have to say the same for our shack.

I have learned so much about myself here. Sometimes I catch myself thinking about how much EASIER it would have been to just stay closer to home, both get jobs or have Gavin finish school somewhere much closer. BUT then I think about all of the opportunities this has presented, all the AMAZING people we have become friends with and I know we will be friends with for a lifetime, and all of the lessons about parenting and marriage that I got to learn on my OWN. I know for a fact I wouldnt have made some of the decisions that I did had I had the imput of all my family and friends at home. Some decisions worked out and some didnt, but I get to take credit for each of them.

 Maybe I am able to say this because we leave in three days, but I am so grateful for our time down here. Some of you know the personal details of our lowest of low points down here and can imagine how hard it is for me to truly express a general positivity about our time down here. But its true, these past two years have been so good for me, so good for Gavin and I and for our family as a whole, and not just from the standpoint of Gavin getting his degree. We needed this time to grow.... all-on-our-own.

As I type the words "these past two years" Im baffled. I remember bringing three month old Kenley through the front door for the first time, trying to imagine what two year old Kenley would be like when we were done here. It felt so far away.

But it is here.... and I dont feel one bit of hesitance when I say that I am so proud of what we have accomplished.  

To those of you that have read along and been part of our adventure... I thank you.

This blog has been my direction, just laying it out there. Its therapeutic. Refreshing. Like an evening at the park in Canyon Crest family housing after a hot day. I guess thats all we need, really...just to voice our thoughts, helps us make sense of them... get a grasp on what we are feeling.

The "goodbyes" of this past week have been REALLY hard... and less for me, and more so watching people say goodbye to Kenley. I will most likely be the same version of myself by the next time we visit our friends down here, but Kenley will be completely different.... which is why I PROMISE to keep up with this blog as much as I possibly can while Im in school. I have to imagine that our first weeks up north are going to be a little crazy but know that I am missing and thinking about each of you and will do a post when the moment presents itself.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

updates and countdowns

I find myself with a little extra time this afternoon to do a post while Kenley and I sit on the porch, locked out until Gavin gets home from work.
... well that's not entirely true, I could get in the house if I really needed to, but he will be home any minute and Kenley is sound asleep next to me in her stroller.
We had the best day.
We left the house around 9:30 to catch the bus at University Village (about a mile away) and rode it all the way downtown to make it to the farmers market.
I originally wanted to go since I was in dire need of some raw local honey for my allergies (which totally helps by the way).
seems like such a simple thing, but have you ever read a public transit schedule? may be not as easy as it sounds! ...... so basically if anyone needs to know the Riverside bus schedule Im your gal.... which I realize is a really valuable skill to have.
There is definitely an eclectic crowd that rides the bus and some were very interested in what Kenley and I were up to, yet all completely harmless.
It was a fun little adventure while Gavin was at work and we were car-less.

And I got all my local yummies for under $10! (figs, tomatoes and honey)

Totally unrelated I have some good news....

the most important being that on Thursday we found out that Kenley has been accepted to the preschool at SSU! I guess all I needed to do was to a blog post saying how worries about it I was.
I am so beyond excited about this. Like I said, so much depended on whether or not she got in and now I feel like we can move forward with the rest of our plans.

In other news it seems we may FINALLY have Kenleys rash under control. I am summarizing to a fault when I say that I am beyond frustrated with how THREE different pediatricians handled this situation with her. After four visits in two weeks (the most recent one being yesterday) we were finally given the prescription she needs and they are finally giving it a name....
Kenley has a secondary (meaning as a cause of something else, and in Kenleys case was a diaper rash) superficial (meaning close to the very top most surface of her skin) staph infection. So if you didnt catch that it's a "secondary superficial staph infection".... which my mother instincts told me all along and I can't BELIEVE took this long to diagnose.
After tracking down $100 worth of prescriptions (which she is taking FOUR times a day) she is finally looking a little better today.
I feel so bad this has taken so long to be taken care of. Poor Kenley... If you have seen pictures of what she is going through you can imagine just how painful and annoying this must be for her, yet she barely has complained about it.
We are hoping for a quick recovery and hopefully no scarring.
This has truly been one of the most frustrating things I've ever gone through and I'm so glad my mom will be here in two weeks for her follow up appointment. She is just as ready to give these doctors a piece of her mind as well.

I realize everyone makes mistakes but it's hard to have much compassion when they've seen this rash not change much in several months and refused to call it anything until yesterday.

here's to a quick recovery!

we are ending today with a birthday party for one of our newest little friends in family housing named August. He, his little sister Nola and parents Ashley and Truman just moved here from New Orleans. Every time Gavin and I have seen them in the past couple of weeks we end up saying to each other, "of COURSE we would meet them right before we move..." They really are some of the best people we have met in family housing... not to mention just a stunningly beautiful family.

It really is funny how even in the past month we has become closer friends with people we have known here and even formed new friendships. It really just does go to show that it takes a while to grow your roots somewhere and get settled.



Wednesday, July 11, 2012


this is the first post from my iPhone! So far the blogger app seems to work pretty well but I'll definitely be double checking this on my laptop after :)
Being able to do a quick post from my phone I'm hoping will come in handy.
I know I say that I started this blog as a way to keep everyone at home in the loop during our adventure in so cal but I'm blessed enough to say that we have met a handful of amazing people down here as well that I know have been reading along too.
I plan on keeping this going as a way to keep track of Kenley and her many milestones. I know this will be so fun to look back on.
As we close in on our final weeks down here I can't help but think about how much a will miss our little shack. As much as I have probably complained about it, it was our first home together and where Kenley went from baby to toddler. It will always have a special place in my heart because of that.
Every day I've done my best to pack up one closet or room or space... Just so it isn't as crazy at the end.
I'm coming across so many odds and ends.... And I do have to say it feels so good to get rid of some of this stuff. One of the great parts about moving!
I also have to say that one of the things I am looking forward to the most about moving home is spending time with my beautiful Goddaughter Addie. When her mom (my friend Molly) asked me to be her Godmother, it was one of the biggest honors I have ever been given. In some ways I feel like I have let them both down by being down here and not being able to stay in touch as well as I would have liked. As a single mother, I know Molly understands better than anyone what life has been like down here and will hopefully cut me some slack :)
But I honestly can't wait to see Addie and Kenley interact and become friends. The two of them remind me so much of each other!!
Anyway... the countdown is on and there is so much to look forward to.
I need to be granted some serious patience to make it through these next few weeks...
Just 18 more days.