Saturday, March 5, 2011

Stress? What stress???

I think everyone defines stress differently. For example, something that I would deem stress worthy (which is most everything- I may have a problem) may be totally insignificant to someone else (aka- Abe.) About a month ago I was at the doctor, and mentioned/asked about these reddish patches I had broken out with over most of body. The doctor declared them an 'eczema break out' and asked if I had been under any stress (evidently, stress is a major factor in these type of things- I did research.) I thought she was talking silly, then started thinking about everything that has happened the last few months---so here is a boring (and hopefully not too long) recap of our lives as of late.
  • Cole has been sick at least 6 more times- no joke. He has had two more stomach bugs (and successfully can make it to the toilet in time now- yea!) and 4 colds/respiratory infections- he's actually battling the latest one as we speak. This has meant lots of whining, sleepless nights, and trips to Urgent Care. After my last trip to UC when the doctor lectured me for no less than 45 minutes about when it is/is not appropriate to take your child to the doctor (the kid was running a 103.7 fever and complaining of "bugs in his ears"- I'm not that neurotic), what tests are/are not appropriate for diagnosis (this case, spinal tap is not necessary- really? jeez, couldn't have figured that one out on my own) and the benefits of socialized medicine in Germany- I've decided driving back to his pediatrician in Scottsdale (when possible) is totally necessary. Next year- I am NOT forgetting to get this kid a flu shot! (I'm totally blaming this rash of illnesses on that!)
  • We celebrated the big 3 holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years)and in between I turned 30 (BLECH!) Cole, of course, made out like a mad man, again! This year was SO FUN with him though, cause he totally 'got' the whole Santa thing, so Santa made sure to get everything on his little wish list! Abe's parents even came up and stayed the night Christmas Eve (my parents came up and took us to breakfast Christmas Eve morning) and got to experience the whole thing. It really was a lot of fun this year!
  • Cole and I survived his first Winter Break (barely) During his two weeks off, he got his second stomach virus, which totally interrupted my plan of potty training during break.

  • We POTTY TRAINED! I thought it would end up being the end of both of us. I have to say (after a tip from my mom of making him clean up his own messes) he's now a pro. I don't have to remind him, or ask if he needs to go- he just does it! It's been great not having to change diapers any more! LOVE IT!

  • We also have had several snow storms (FINALLY!- it took until the week of Christmas before we got ANYTHING!- which for this neck of the woods, is pretty rare)

This was Cole's first snowman of the season- he added that protruding nose himself! He was so proud!

Fortunately, our big storms were over winter break (finally, something to keep the Cole-man entertained!), so we didn't have to deal with Snow Days (yes, those exist in AZ!)

The first storm, we got about 6-8 inches, which we were pretty excited about- of course, it melted pretty quickly.Then, a few days after Christmas, we got the storm of our lives. Now I know some of you that live north of AZ, would probably find our 'little storm' pretty lame- but for this born and bred Phoenician, it was awesome! This was our backyard. I would say we even got a few more inches after that. I think we ended in the 18-20 inch range, which was record breaking for these parts.

So pretty! You can just make out Abe's tracks from leaving for work that morning. There was at least 4 inches that had fallen in them.

Cole LOVES it! Yes, that is him, waste deep! After this storm, we got him snow gear (my parents found it in Phoenix, of all places- there wasn't a single snow ready item his size anywhere in Prescott!)

That was my car- needless to say, Cole and I didn't go anywhere for a few days- it actually took more than a week for the city to clean it all up- of course, since we're county and Nat.Forest, we were plowed MUCH faster. I even (naively) told my family it was okay to come visit- which was a disaster- my dad slid/got stuck. I just don't realize how bad it is since I'm spoiled with 4WD.

Abe even broke down and bought a snow blower for the driveway/around the house!
Made all the difference.

We also got Cole his own snow shovel- he has to earn his keep!
  • With all that snow, its been cold. Like, we've even been below zero. Single digits plenty of times. Which means, we have been BURNING through propane. 700+ gallons to be exact (since October!) For those of you wanting to do the math- don't, it may make you nauseous- it does me! It also makes me MORE than angry- we were not in the least bit told this could be the case. With that being said...

  • We are more than planning on a move out of here. I'm already looking (which is a bit premature, but I picked this place, so I feel more than a little responsible to try to make it better) We definitely do NOT want to move again, but when your heating costs are this astronomical, it doesn't make sense to stay. We even offered to buy/install a wood stove (can you believe there isn't one?) and were told we could discuss it again in the summer (a whole lotta good that will do us!). Guess two and a half foot thick walls aren't that efficient after all!

  • I also have made several trips to PHX and Abe has gone on hunting trips. This normally probably wouldn't fall in the "stressful" range, except I always have great anxiety while driving south. (Again, I may have a problem) I always get anxious of the drivers around me- I don't trust anyone, nor their driving- especially semis- on those windy, twisting roads, going so fast. Which also means I worry about Abe when he's out. He has also been working on jobs all over the state- again, I worry!

  • I have also been dealing with one of those "everything I'm involved with seems to go wrong" periods in my life. Ever have those? I ordered the parts for Cole's "big boy" bed conversion (he has one of those cribs) and after waiting more than a month (and him sleeping on an air mattress) they arrived, and were the wrong color. Come to find out, they discontinued his color YEARS ago. Its really not that big of a deal (you barely notice them) but that was on top of buying the mattress set for his new bed, and then finding out we didn't need the "set" just the mattress- and of course, no refunds, store credit only. And to top that all off, I bought a ridiculous amount of fabric to make him a quilt for his new bed, spent an absurd amount of money, and then prewashed (which I never do!) and the green fabric bled all over everything. This was the same week I had to call to have the propane filled for the second time, to heat the house that I picked. That was after I had told my dad it was safe to visit, when it wasn't. It's just all been a bit much- I cried a little.

  • I also got to talk to my brother (who's in Guatemala) on Christmas day. I think I've been in denial. I've been trying to pretend like he's just not around when I've been visiting my parents. But after talking to him, I realized how much I truly miss him and how much it sucks that he's gone. That kid has meant so much to me in my life, and I've just taken for granted him being around (plus, I really am not a fan of where he is in Guatemala- way too close to Mexico if you ask me, and I have very strong feelings against Mexico) When I had to say good bye (my dad was footing the bill for the phone call and was being a bit of a phone nazi- just kidding dad!) I broke. I cried a lot that day- I'm crying now. I know its totally selfish, but I want him back. Seventeen months, and counting (I think!)

Well, I think that's been the most of it. I'm sure there's more, but likely my subconscious is blocking it out for me! haha! Sorry the pictures are a little lacking, Cole hasn't been doing near all the cute stuff he used to, now he just says funny/cute things (those will have to come later.) I'm totally blaming my little eczema issue on most of these things. Abe said it was just due to getting old (I instantly felt five more spots pop up!) Fortunately, I'm all better and hope to stay that way- especially since we have our first weekend away planned since before I got pregnant with Cole. Vegas baby! Although, I'm getting a little anxious at the thought of leaving Cole...and going that whole long distance......

I might need help.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cole's First Field Trip

Hopefully, someone out there is still checking on my poor, little, neglected blog. Now that we are moved, somewhat settled, and establishing our routines again- I will be writing again.

During the move, my camera suffered a tragic fall from the counter top totally busting the lens cover thingy so it wouldn't open and obstructed the lens- meaning my picture taking abilities have been impeded. Abe was very kind and generous and got me a new camera for an anniversary gift (yes, in all the craziness of the last month we celebrated our 6th anniversary!), however- with the 50+ pictures/videos I've taken with the new camera, I've liked about 3 of them- meaning I am taking that camera back and will try again (gotta love Costco and their return policies!)

In sheer desperation for Halloween pics, I rednecked taped up the lens cover on my old one (I wasn't going to risk not getting good pics with the new one) and loved every picture I took Halloween night (but I'll post those later.) With that being said, I have also promised pics of the new house to the blog, but hadn't been able to. Now that I have my "jerry-rigged" camera, I will try to get a few pics of the house up this week sometime.

In the meantime, we have had a lot happen so I have some catching up to do!

Starting with Cole's first field trip...

Cole got to go the County Fair with his preschool, and I got to go too! Here are some highlights of the day:

Being that his preschool is through the school district, we rode the school bus to the Fair. Cole wasn't too sure at first, but ultimately loved it! (He even got the coveted back seat!)
Cole sometimes has a hard time getting "involved." He is more of an observer
fortunately, thanks to his friend Austin, he did get a little involved... Here we were on the hayride- in case you can't tell, Cole wasn't too sure about the whole thing, and I think he was a little freaked out by the old yokel driving the tractor (oh wait, that was me! haha)

They also had this super cute set up for the kids to be "Farmer for a Day"
They picked carrots...

and potatoes...
gathered eggs from the "chickens"...
and plucked apples from the "tree"...

They then had to take their baskets to the "farm stand" and sort them correctly (as you can see, corn was an option- they had "corn stalks" made from PVC pipe and the corn sticking out, but Cole would have nothing to do with the corn since it was swarming with flies! Smart kid!)
After they turned in their "harvest" they got a sticker and a ribbon that said "I was farmer for a day"...yadda yadda yadda- definitely the highlight for Cole, minus the bus ride of course!
On the way back to school, the kids wanted to ride together with out the moms. As you can see, Austin is definitely Cole's buddy!
Sadly, Austin moved away two weeks ago, and I think it has taken its toll on Cole. Since Austin left, I have fought with Cole every day about going to school (and I think Austin's absence is a primary factor.) Poor little guy! Supposedly there is a new kid in his class that his teacher think will be a good "fit" for Cole (yes, even his teacher(s) noticed the change in Cole after Austin left), but only time will tell I guess.

On top of that, Cole got his first gastro virus. Yes, that's right, for the first time since he was an infant, Cole was throwing up (absolutely the thing I dreaded most about being a mother- puke!) He hadn't been acting himself for a few days and at midnight one night, woke up crying, just crying- so I took him to the family room, turned on a movie, and hoped he would fall back asleep. About 20 minutes later he started throwing up, and I ran and got Abe ;-) Abe, being the awesome guy he is, spared me having to clean up (though I did clean up, change, and comfort Cole). Cole and I sat up till about 4 am with bucket in hand (only had to use one more time) and finally got to sleep for about an hour or so.

The next morning, well- lets just say I was grateful Cole was still wearing diapers and anything involved immediately found its way into the trash can.

Silly me, thinking that was the last of the viral cycle entertained Cole's idea for lunch. He wanted a quesadilla from Taco Bell, and since it was the first time he was interested in food for 5 days, I took him to Taco Bell. He ate about half his mini quesadilla and then we went to his color blindness screening at the preschool (more on that later). He laid on the floor at school, and I thought he was just tired. We then went to a very crowded Papa Murphys to pick up pizza for dinner, and fortunately, I saw it coming in time to cover his mouth and keep the damage to covering just us two.

We left without dinner.

I took him to urgent care just to be safe and make sure he wasn't becoming dehydrated. The poor kid kept apologizing and saying it was an accident (he thought he would be in trouble for making a mess) and also started to ask to go back to his old house (which is sound reasoning for a 3 year old, he wasn't ever sick at the old house, so if he goes back, he'll get better) Abe then went hunting, so I went and sought refuge at my parents'. By the second day there, Cole finally started to act more like himself- it was a rough couple of days for sure (I think what cured him was the giant tree truck Grandma and Grandpa got him- it was the first thing he had really played with all week- which was really abnormal for him to not be playing with something constantly!)

Well, that's enough rambling for now. Like I said, I'll post more now that we're settled and I'll get pics of the new digs up soon!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Oh my goodness...where has the time gone?

I don't even know where to begin with all that's happened the last few weeks.

So I'll start with the "fun" stuff that I have pictures for:

Its been hunting season up here and Abe went out quite a bit in search of his elusive first kill (well, BIG kill anyway.) Cole and I even went "truck hunting" with him a few times- meaning we drove around down the highway into the mountains until we saw something, at which point Abe would get out and try to go do his thing, Cole would "hunt" from his car seat and I would play card games on Abe's phone and text my sister- it was actually more fun than it might sound.
We also learned that, after some HEAVY rain up this way, one of Abe's job sites close to the house had a puddle bursting with tadpoles. In our infinite wisdom, we thought it might be cool to take a few home and watch them turn into frogs. Well, we took home 7 tadpoles and by the time we went to release them...

...we had 5!!! Now, we didn't kill/let any of them die, just two of them became frogs faster than we expected and jumped the coop! After the second one got away (to who knows where!) we decided to take the rest and release them back to their puddle.

Cole did the dumping honors

While I had been taking pictures from the other side of the puddle, and positioning my child for a primo shot (which, of course I never got) ...

I noticed this little guy poised and waiting- obviously for all the frogs as they grew and left the puddle. Hopefully ours were able to stay away from him!

During this same little outing, Abe gave Cole this gift from one of his hunting buddies- his first gun! (It's just a pellet gun/air rifle, and we have discussed endlessly the rules pertaining to the gun...)

Cole was sooo excited- especially since he wants to do everything and have everything just like his dad!

Learning how to line it up:

He loves his new gun- especially when Dad would just shoot it for him. Its still a little big, but I know that thing will end up getting a lot of use!

Meanwhile, I have still been looking for houses. And I mean LOOKING. I check Craigs List at least 30 times a day, check the classifieds in the local paper every morning, all the property management sites...basically making myself crazy. I noticed one that posted while we were in Michigan (yes, I was making sure to check even while we were on vacation!) When we got back, it was still available (which was a shock considering the current rental market, and the reason why I check everything so often- the good stuff just gets gobbled up faster than you can believe!) but, it was going for a little more than we wanted to spend.

After a price decrease, I thought, aw- what the heck, I'll check it out. It was this stinking cute little house (well, smaller than what we're in now), on almost an acre, in an awesome school zone, and fenced! I took Abe out the next day, he liekd it and deemed it perfect- minus the location, we want to be in the pines after all. So, a day or two later (and panicking that this house would get taken) I went out with our realtor to see the inside for the first time, and it was even better. Put in an application and decided I wanted Abe to see the inside before we did anything definite. Took Abe out, he liked it, though we were still thinking how we really wanted to be in the pines, but this house met every other criteria we had asked for, and decided we would go ahead and sign a lease that Tuesday (it was Labor Day weekend and the PM was closed till Tuseday.)

However, as cute and perfect as all aspects of this house were, I just wasn't getting as excited about it as I had the other homes we have wanted. The reason why came Sunday morning of that Labor Day weekend. Like my daily ritual, I checked the classifieds of the local paper and the second house listed was a 4000sq ft home in the pines for less than what this house we were going to sign papers on was going for. I thought there must be a typo or something, because we have watched this area meticulously and there has been nothing decent for under $1600. I decided to wait until 9:00am to call- it was Sunday after all, and at 8:59 and 30 seconds, I called. I was the first person! (this is huge in the rental market, since they usually work on a first call, first served basis!) I set up a viewing for 1:00pm (Abe was out hunting till then) and, after talking to the owner, I knew EXACTLY which house this was. As I said, Abe and I have watched this area like crazy, we will even just go and drive through it on a Sunday afternoon- and on every one of those drives, we have made a comment about this particular house.

When we arrived we were totally stoked because, if anything, we were going to get to view this house that we have been so fascinated with. I didn't say anything till we were in the front door (but I could have said it before we even walked in), but I looked at Abe and said "just ask for the lease and sign it!" He waited till we were around the corner of the entry and then said "I'm just going to sign the lease" The thing is amazing- so much so we realized once we were home that we hadn't even looked at the bathrooms, but we really don't care. There are also some quirky things that were deal breakers with other homes, but this house is so amazing we decided we could make whatever quirks there are work. It is truly a piece of art, built with recycled materials (tires and pop cans) and concrete and adobe (which put at ease our concerns of heating a 4000sq ft house in the pines!) The space is amazing, the woodwork is custom and from the trees taken down to clear the building site, the back patio is gorgeous, and its on an acre in the PINES!!! We are still working on a few details, but as long as nothing CRAZY happens, we are moving in next week! Which means I have been packing and going insane! I'll post some pictures and talk about it more once we're in.

On top of all that, Abe took a trip to Alaska this past week to go moose hunting with his dad and best friend (his mom was along, too.) And to Abe's utter happiness and excitement, he actually got one (I will get pictures from him eventually, and hopefully they won't offend too many.) Getting home was an entirely different challenge, but he's here with his antler's and Cole couldn't be more proud of his dad!

Just before Abe left, I got a text at 5am on the 9th, that my sister had gone into the hospital (she was supposed to be induced that evening- so I had planned on getting ready and heading down that afternoon.) With our family's history, I knew I didn't have much time to make it, so I mad dashed around the house and the town getting ready and was out the door by 7am. After dropping Dozer off at my parents I pulled into the hospital parking lot at 8:37 and Miss Brylee had been born at 8:33! I made it just in time for us to go in and see the happy little family (well, mom and dad weer happy- Brylee, not so much)

Here is Brylee Dell Parks, born 9-9-10, 6lbs 3oz, 19in long.

She is absolutely tiny! Definitely the smallest baby to grace this family! (smallest head too, by far!- so not fair!!! haha)

Cole is smitten with his cousin. This is the only time he would hold her, he likes it better when I hold her and he can just come over and snuggle her

So, with Abe being gone, Cole driving me nanners, and this little thing to cuddle, Cole and I went back to Phoenix this past weekend. Which also means, I have an extreme amount of packing to do- so I need to get off the computer!

But seriously, check back for when I am able to put pics up of the new house! And if you're in the area, give us a call and stop by- we are hoping to be here as long as they'll let us {wink}!

Monday, August 23, 2010

My Latest Time Consuming Endeavor

Sometimes (a lot of times, actually) I find myself asking why I choose to (insist on, would be more accurate) pick projects and plan events that suck up so much of my time (and resources $$$ for that matter!)

Then I remember, its always for the best of reasons. Its for people I love and care about, I really, truly, deep down LOVE doing it, and I just flat out can't help myself.

My sister, Rachel, is expecting her first baby (a girl) really any day now. Months ago, my mom and I discussed giving her a baby I got planning.

After going through my fabric stash (which, surprisingly to me, is quite large) and purchasing a few enhancements, here's what I came up with...
and I thought, what would be better than a baby quilt.

The absolutely LONGEST part of the whole process was the laying out of pieces- couldn't have colors close to each other, had to keep patterns literally took twice as long as the actual sewing.

During all this time, poor Cole was extremely neglected and managed to find ways to occupy himself, including DESTROYING the house and taking a few fantastic photos (one of his FAVORITE things to do lately)

He took this one below, too!

The finished project! I am actually EXTREMELY proud of it (so much so, I debated keeping it and just going out and buying a gift!) It was my first attempt at "quilting" (I've always just "tied" quilts I've made) and I love it! I am already planning how I am going to convince Abe that Cole needs to move into his Big Boy Big Boy Bed (you know, a full size) so I can make another quilt. I'm thinking my room may need one, too. Ohhh, but how I am dreaming of a new sewing machine (I have a few models in mind- maybe for Christmas or I do have a BIG {gasp} birthday coming up- a girl can dream, right!)

I also pillaged the rest of my stash (and added a few supplements) and came up with this assortment of hair bands/flowers (all the flowers are on ribbon covered clips and can be switched out on the headbands)
I had to cut myself off at 12 (I do have limits, after all) mostly because, simultaneously, I was creating all this as well...

Paper Rose Topiary (no exaggeration, there are at least 35 mini glue sticks holding this bad boy together! It turned out so good though!)

I also sat and folded about 40 paper pinwheels, which covered my parents' house (I also found those polka dot stickers on the door at the dollar store- perfect! They, too, covered the house)

This was my favorite of the pinwheels. I went through (and spent 2+ hours organizing) my paper/scrapbooking stash (again, amazing to me how much paper I truly have- but can a girl ever have too much paper or fabric, really?), found these adorable letters and spelled out the baby girl's name. (In case you can't see it, it says Brylee)

I also made some of my favorite paper lanterns- I really do love those things!
My camera has been having some issues (possibly due to my budding photographer ???) so the best picture I got of my sister and the baby bump was this one (with her husband, Bobby)...
Like I said, it was all totally worth it, though I am glad its done. Now I can go back to paying attention to my son, my husband, and my house (which DESPERATELY needs attention right now since Cole has destroyed it, remember!?!)

Of course, that's until I find/start a new project.

Any ideas?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cole's a School Boy...

...well, preschool boy at least.

Cole started Preschool on Monday. Here he is sporting his new school clothes.
And making a goofy, fake smile while saying "cheese"

Walking up to the school...
Mommy and Cole (again! Darn it, I should have got one of Cole and Dad. Abe met us at the school for the big day.) It was a big day for me, as well. This is the first time we've left him with anyone that is not a blood relative! I cried for quite some time in the car after leaving him.
In front of his classroom...
Putting on his name sticker and checking out what's going on. He spotted a car wash (right there in front of him) and so Abe and I made a quick and sneaky exit.
When I went to pick him up, I walked in the room, he saw me, immediately stuck out his bottom lip, which began to quiver, and then (BREAKING my heart) he said "Mommy, I wost you!" It took everything in me to not start crying again! His teachers shared with me that he had been pretty sad that day. So, what better remedy than an In-N-Out milkshake?
He goes three days a week (M-T-W, which is a schedule that I LOVE!!! I love that we can have 4 day, uninterrupted weekends). Therefore, day two was worse than day 1. The director of the school, who was helping out in his classroom, had to peel him off me and I left the room to the most heart-wrenching cry. Again, I cried too, but not till I was out of the classroom and had my sunglasses on- I mean, who cries on the 2nd day of dropping their kid off at school?. Oh, the joys of being a mother. When I picked him up that day, there was some small pouting and about a dozen "Mommy, I missed you" (but in the cute, adorable way only Cole can say it) before we got to the car. The teacher said he cried for about half an hour, but then was a great participator and was the best helper cleaning up the play-dough.
Day 3? Well, what do you know- Cole started crying and at this point I was kind of over it, until another mom said, "oh, he's so sad, stay strong momma" and at that point I left just in time to put my sunglasses on! 3 days in a row! ...both of us ?...I know, pretty lame. But we survived the first week. My favorite part about Day 3, was Cole started BAWLING before we even left the house. I had been explaining to him for days at this point that I will ALWAYS pick him up and its just for a short time. Knowing that it was the last day of the week, I wrote on a piece of paper that he went to school on M-T-W and then was home with me for Th-F-Sa-Su. After this explanation, he proceeded to tell me that it was Saturday, not Wednesday. I would laugh and tell him that it was indeed Wednesday, to which he would say "no, Thursday, mom, Thursday." He then told me he NEEDED to go to the airport, and get dad, and go to the airport. I can't believe he is already coming up with excuses for not going to school! His teacher said he only cried about 5 minutes on day 3- though I still got (and still do get, actually) "I missed you at schoo, Mommy"

On a side note, when asked by his grandma if he liked school he said "Yes, I do" and then told her about all he plays and does.

Little stinker- I swear this kid plays me like a fiddle.