Friday, February 4, 2011

These are Priceless Times

 
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This last month has granted Scott the unique opportunity to have a brief stint of a stay at home dad role, or as we refer to it, "daddy daycare." At first the task took a bit of an adjustment period. Cohen is quite a handful, quite energetic, quite talkative, and quite busy. In short, he is a lot for any one person to handle. He is far too smart for his young age, quite determined, and has decided during this time to give up napping, which only means that many more hours throughout the midday for daddy to entertain/referee. It was a daunting task at the beginning and one that Scott wasn't sure he was cut out for. But as the weeks have passed, it has been awesome to watch the transformation. The boys have bonded so tightly, come up with a great routine, and worked their system out quite nicely. Scott has become Cohen's hero. In fact today as I got him out of the shower he was shouting "I want my favorite daddy!!!!" And his report that he brought home from his first full day of daycare today read that he told the teachers "My dad is wonderful- the very best!" How highly he thinks of his daddy now! They have become best buds, his hero. I have to admit there is a bit of jealousy on my part watching the fun that the two of them get to have together each day, but I know full well it isn't all fun and games, it is challenging too to be a full time parent. I am just thankful for this short time that Scott gets to have this experience that he will look back on and relish, and mostly I am just thankful that he is such an awesome dad, that has embraced his role so fully, that this is really no problem at all. I tease him and call him Suzy home maker but really I am just getting spoiled on days like today when he baked a delicious batch of homemade oatmeal, peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies, and cooked an amazing steak, Parmesan roasted red potato, and green bean dinner, I think I have it pretty good. I am also so thankful for my career, that the nursing profession has granted our family such flexibility, freedom, and financial stability to be able to provide for the family when needed. This is why I think there is no price one could put on this time in our life right now when we have the awesome opportunity to watch our little boy grow and learn every day and watch my boys create an unbreakable bond!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bye Bye Binky!



After flying back into town from a two week vacation, being two hours delayed sitting on the tarmac, carrying a sleeping Cohen IN his car seat off of one plane into the airport and then onto a new plane, we decided (or more so I) what better time to get rid of the oh-so beloved binky? Well to be fair, this was something we had spent much of the vacation attempting to prepare Cohen for, had talked multiple times about the plan, and had let him decide it would be a panda bear that he would put his binky inside of at the Build A Bear store. And with my work schedule we had to take advantage of the whopping two nights that I had off to be home and assist in the bedtime battle before returning to work and leaving daddy on his own. So since we had devised a plan, spent time talking to him about it, and really lets be honest mostly because once mommy makes her mind up about something, that is what we do, we decided this was the night. So a very nervous mom and dad and a carefree photographing nanny, and an unsuspecting 2 year old all set out at 7pm (30 minutes prior to bedtime no less) to the Chandler Fashion Mall Build A Bear store to follow through on the proposed adventure. Much to my surprise we walked in the door and told Cohen he could pick any animal and he walked straight over and pointed to the panda (which I wasn't sure he even knew what was).

So we promptly grabbed it and handed it to the nice lady who picked right up on the fact that this was a "binky bear" and proceeded with the attempted up selling efforts, before resigning to just stuff the bear, put the free heart in, and let Cohen shove the beloved binky inside, then quickly pulled the strings, cinched the sucker up and viol la bye bye binky!!!!!

Cohen was mostly clueless in the store, distracted by the displays, climbing on stuff etc, but did opt for the big cardboard box "house" for the bear and carried his new treasure (or enemy) out of the store straight to his favorite play area, where he promptly tossed it on the floor and headed onto the toys.

We let him play for a few minutes then took off for home to see what would happen next. After following our normal bedtime routine minus the binky of course, he realized it was inside the bear and exclaimed "I want my binky out of there!" at story time. But I just kept reassuring him that he was big boy now and didn't need it anymore and that it was inside the bear. We said a prayer about sleeping without a binky and then off to bed. He quickly started yelling about getting his binky back and when I went back in the room he had the bear flipped over and was digging at the back of the bear right along the stitching and there was a great deal of black hair tufts spread throughout the crib. I thought briefly that he had actually ripped it open, but he hadn't. So instead I gave in on three rounds of Cheerios, water, and lots of reassuring talk and convinced him to go to sleep. I heard a little fussing at 3:45am but no major disturbances. At his nap the next day I again explained that none of our big kid cousins or friends have binky's, that they are for babies and that he is a big boy now. After putting him down with Cheerios again of course I heard him on the monitor explaining to all his animal friends that "binky's are for tiny babies and that I am big boy now, I'm a big boy." The second night he told me he wanted to be a baby and have his binky back but I again reassured him and distracted him with Cheerios, snacks, prayers, and a chewing ring and sent him off to bed, to which he woke up at an ungodly hour in the morning then proceeded to skip his nap all together as he and daddy battled it out today while I attempted to sleep. So all in all I would say Cohen has championed through the binky farewell fairly well, we will see what tomorrow brings. Now his teeth can come back down into place and we can celebrate being rid of that darn thing!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Home

This last week we got the opportunity to go home for a week! Well Cohen and I a week, Scott 4 days, but none the less we were all there. Thanks to my great friend Ryan, his wedding was the original purpose for buying the tickets. But as luck had it we ended up getting to meet two friends brand new babies as well, so it was really a treat all around. The wedding was beautiful and he made the last of the group of us 4 best friends to get married, so of course a highlight for me was getting a picture together, finally, of us 4 and our wonderful spouses!

The trip as a whole was not relaxing in the least and of course I totally overbooked myself. But oh well I got to see lots of family and friends and that made it worth it! Shawna and Alyssa came home, so we took advantage of having all of the cousins in one spot, and Bethanie booked us a "cousins" photo shoot. Even though Cohen only smiled for one of the probably 50 photos snapped, it was still a success all in all, with some super cute pics as a result.


Ya ya, Aunt Jenny, and uncle Paul came for a visit on Saturday and that was so much fun. We needed a babysitter for the wedding as both my parents and us were going, so ya ya gladly accepted the request and came for the weekend. Cohen was so excited to show them all around the farm, the barn, the turret, his toys, and anything else he could find. On Sunday morning as I was loading Cohen's car seat up for church, a frog jumped off of it and into nana's car. So of course instead of just reaching in and grabbing it, I ran and yelled for my mom to come get it out. Luckily yaya proved to be the bravest of us all and dirtied her white pants to crawl around on the garage floor and car floorboards searching under the seats for the frog. Which she finally found hiding under the gas pedal. She snatched it out, threw it on the garage floor, and all 3 of us adult women screamed and jumped and danced around it as we shooed it and chased it out into the flower bed. The whole experience left quite a mark on Cohen because still today he said, "yaya caught the frog?" Every couple of days he brings it back up and we re-live that silly scene.

I had to work 2 shifts at Memorial while I was home (to keep my available status) so I worked Sunday and Monday evenings and mom and dad looked after Cohen. But it was fun to get to see a lot of my friends who I haven't seen in a long time and catch up there!
Tuesday I headed off to spend the day with my dear friend Kristen and her boys in Wenatchee and sneak in a quick visit with Nonni. The boys had a blast together as usual and Cohen ate every last raspberry off of Nonni's bush as fast as she could pick them.



The weather was nice enough that two of the days Cohen and I enjoyed swimming at the Hartmans and playing with the cousins. We are having an awesome time living here in Phoenix, but boy do we miss our Yakima friends and family!

The last night before heading home I was able to get some quality time in with our dear friends the Knautz and McCoys. I got to take advantage of some snuggle time with the McCoys newest addition, Luke, got to enjoy some adult visiting time, and got to watch all the kiddos thoroughly enjoy the sand, dirt, play structure, and yard. That gave another great reminder of the wonderful things we appreciate about Yakima. All in all the trip was a whirlwind of friends, family and babies but it was a great break, a ton of fun and such a nice feeling to be home.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Transformation


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What a transformation! Both Scott and I are amazed when we look at these pictures. What an accomplishment! Scott has lost nearly 40 pounds over the last 3 1/2 months and is a transformed man! Not only does he look awesome, he feels that way too. It has been totally amazing to watch and listen. He has more energy, more self esteem, more joy, more desire to exercise, more nutrition knowledge, and more discipline than ever before. He didn't even realize what the burden of extra weight was bearing on him until it lost it, and now he never wants to go back. Now he is just getting to enjoy all the benefits like buying a new wardrobe, not worrying so much about what he puts on in the morning, not having as sore of knees, being an example of health to his classmates, and getting to hear frequent compliments from people around him. The best was the other day when he was playing golf with someone he didn't know and they said, "wow you hit the ball far for a little guy!" Some other men may not take that as a compliment, but this time, we both had to smile at this comment! The pictures don't even do him justice, I am convinced the camera does add 15 pounds, like they say, but at least you get the idea. I am so proud of him and so happy to get to share life with a happier healthier Scotty!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Camping!

This last weekend we braved our very first camping trip with Cohen! I was so excited to give him this experience and was so sure he was just going to love it since he is the boy who constantly wants to be outside and playing in dirt, water, and rocks! So we planned a trip with Lindsi and Eric and headed out on Friday afternoon about 40 minutes past Payson, AZ up to forest and mountains! We found a great spot with an already built fire pit and about a 1/4 mile hike to Bear Lake, which was beautiful. The scenery and surroundings were peaceful and picturesque, and the closest feeling we have found yet to Washington. We promptly set up camp, handed Co a peanut butter sandwich and called it dinner, and set off to explore the lake. Then we hiked back up and started up a fire (which Cohen called a light) and made French dips and smores. After finally getting our air mattress blown up sort of evenly, we all 4 (including Stella) snuggled into the tent. Cohen was not having any part of actually putting his body into his sleeping bag, so he just laid on the air mattress and I kept covering him with a blanket all night. But for the first time he actually kept his head at one end of the bed the whole night and slept like a champ! Our other child is the one who proved to be ridiculous. Trying feverishly to squeeze onto the 6 inches left behind me on the edge, pacing, whining, shedding like mad, and finally figuring out that Cohen wasn't using up all the length of his spot in the middle, so settling into the foot of the air mattress between Scott and I. The next morning there was enough dog hair in that tent you could have made a stuffed animal! It was disgusting! So of course even though we didn't go to bed until probably 9:30 (way past Co's bedtime) he awoke with the sunrise and we were up and at 'em by 6am. We trekked down to the lake to find Lindsi and Eric already fishing away. After they had been at it an hour or so with no luck, Eric handed his pole over to Scott and on his 2nd cast he caught what turned out to be the only fish of the day for our party! We enjoyed blueberry pancakes over the camp stove and Cohen entertained himself with driving his trucks and scoops through the dirt, unloading the tackle box, throwing every rock he could find on shore into the lake, eating endless snacks and juice boxes, and once about every 2-3 hours declaring "I'm so tired" and asking to go lay down in the tent. So I would haul him back up the trail get in there, lay down for 5 minutes until he would decide "I not tired anymore, I'm awake." So we would get out and do it all over again. By 5pm we learned where Cohen's threshold ends for skipping a nap during the day. He was done and for the first time he was the one asking to go home, previously it was his dad asking incessantly. So we promptly packed up our campsite, said goodbye to Eric and Lindsi and headed home. Cohen was asleep in the car before we got out of the campground. So I guess 24 hours for our first camping trip isn't bad. A lot of work for a short time, but at least we got to do it! We made some fun memories and managed to capture a few pictures to remember it by too. All in all, glad we did it!




Cohen doing his best to help set up camp


Our Campsite

Lindsi fishing at the lake



Cohen LOVED being down by the lake!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The fun just keeps on coming!




Well the summer has arrived here in Phoenix and we have already had our first triple digit days. We now celebrate a day that only reaches the 90's! Poor Cohen is going to be hearing a lot of "no honey, it's too hot" in these next few months to come. But we are still loving our time here. It just means a little more creativity with indoor activities. Now Cohen is enrolled in a painting class and a Toddlercize class which our first one was last week. It was basically a bunch of 18 mo-2 year olds running crazily around amongst balls, balloons, bubbles, a parachute, and moms and grandmas, singing songs and stretching, and he of course loved the pure chaos of it all! Perhaps painting class will be a little more subdued. To list a few of Cohen's favorites these days:
Favorite toy: anything trucks
Favorite food: chicken nuggets
Favorite saying: "I'm a big boy"
Favorite show: Super Why
Favorite song: Jesus loves me
Favorite drink: apple juice
Favorite movie: Clifford
Favorite place: any park
He continues to make us laugh so hard on a daily basis. I am convinced he is going to be quite a funny kid. He says news things all the time, surprises us with the things that come out of his mouth, uses hilarious hand and face gestures, voice inflections, and pronouns and often finishes a sentence with "you got it?" He can be a naughty two year old from time to time, but he still shows his sweet side often saying, "you look cute mommy", or "I like your hair mommy." This week, anytime the word baby slips out of our mouth in reference to him, he repeats the sentence replacing the word baby with big boy. I guess he isn't our baby anymore, sad day!

This last week we enjoyed a 5 day visit from Shawna and Alyssa of which we packed each day full with activities. Monday was a wash because her flight was severely delayed. Tuesday we went to the zoo, came home and napped, then did a little father's day shopping, ate dinner, then went to our favorite yogurt shop. Wednesday I went to Bible study while Shawna braved the park with the 2 two year olds, went to the play area inside the mall, home for lunch and naps, then it was off to the spa for massages and poolside refreshments with Lindsi for us girls, followed by a brief shopping trip for Alyssa's birthday. Then Thursday we braved Sister's closet which at one point we had two fit throwing 2 year olds and us two mama's all jammed into one dressing room, followed by the Train Park where we all rode the train and carousel, had a picnic lunch and played on the toys, home for naps after getting lost for an hour on the way home, then aunt Lindsi came over for a mini birthday party for Alyssa. Finally, Friday we had to say goodbye and take them back to the airport. It was a blast and the two kids loved being together, even if they had to work through a few toddler sharing moments.

I couldn't be prouder of Scotty, who if you didn't know, has lost a substantial amount of weight recently, looks like a totally new man and feels like one too. It is so rewarding to watch him transform physically, mentally, and spiritually through this process. I am floored by the man getting out of our bed now at 5:45am and going to the gym to workout to start off his day, having a completely new outlook on nutrition, exercise, health, wardrobe, and life in general. He brings me much joy!

As for me, I am finding a new peace with my job finally, trying my best to focus on the positives. After a half marathon, a full marathon, and two sprint triathlons, I am taking a break for the hot summer months, before starting to plan for my next event. Although my co-worker has already invited me to do another half marathon in November, so I will see about that.

We are continuing to pray on hearing God's next plans for us and trust that He will lay out our path. It is exciting and scary all at the same time to have no idea what is in store next for us, but we will just keep enjoying to the fullest where He has us now.

New York





Well this is far overdue, but we should at least put on record our fabulous trip to New York. Let me tell you, it was pure bliss to be on our own agenda, with no set plans, no bed times, or wake up times, and just enjoy 5 straight days of together time. We pretty much covered all of Manhattan on foot. Covered Central Park, Time Square, little Italy, saw a Broadway show (which was fabulous), walked to Battery Park and ground zero, the financial district, the United Nations building, across the Brooklyn bridge, rode the ferry to Staten Island, and then culminated with the beautiful wedding followed by the most amazing reception on a rooftop in the shadow of the Empire State Building where we ate, drank, and danced to our heart's content. It was fun to get to see Scott so uninhibited and joyful amongst his dearest friends and their families. We learned the subway system, got to enjoy a few fabulous restaurants, take a few taxi rides, almost sleep through the continental breakfast most days, get in some good people watching, and just relish is pure freedom with each other. We both decided we would never choose to live in New York City, and may never even go back to be honest, but we made the most of our time there, and enjoyed the visit for sure!