Saturday, December 29, 2007

On to the new year

Well, Christmas has come and gone. We spent Christmas week with Jen's mom in Yuma. Where we played at playgrounds, Elia's favorite gifts were "Cinderella" from Ethan and a package of hair elastics (which she proceeded to use as bracelets) from Grandma. Ethan tried to taste everything and was very tolerant of the help received from Elia in opening his gifts. Elia gave him the bead track (second picture). Both kids received "footed" pajamas from Grandma. We had a very nice Christmas. Ethan also received his second front tooth just in time for Christmas.

One of the highlights from our trip was happening upon a "parade" of lighted cars. During one of our drives looking for Christmas lights we came upon about 25 or so highly decorated antique cars, golf carts, dune buggys and regular cars too. These cars were loaded with lights. We had a great time watching them drive past.

We also had a great time playing Settlers of Catan with Jen's mom. We totaled six games in the week we were there.


On the 28th we flew up to Logan, and other than waiting an extra hour to take off and having our bags being delayed for three hours after we arrived in Salt Lake, our flight was fine. Luckily we had dinner plans with Eric's sister Karen in Salt Lake, so we didn't just have to wait around for our bags to come. Elia has been fascinated with the snow and even though it is cold outside, she is not used to wearing a coat and tries to weasle her way out of wearing one, though we make her everytime she goes outside. Luckily, she has cousins here who were kind enough to supply all of her snow gear during our stay.On Saturday we got together with a bunch of Eric's high school friends. We had a great time catching up and seeing what everyone was doing.
Well, I know I've posted a lot of pictures, but there is so much going on! Next week we're planning to go sleigh riding at a local elk wintering ground, sledding, and have a family get together. And, since I'm not as preoccupied with other stuff, I'm hoping to post more! So, until next time, Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Happy Holidays

Well, it's been really busy around here as you might have guessed considering we haven't made a post in over two weeks! Eric has been absorbed in finals (which he finished Thursday!). He is very excited to have only one trimester left and without the demands of Student Government he's wondering what he'll do in his free time (Ha!). This is what he's been doing lately -- to catch up from all the napless days during the trimester. He's been taking naps almost everytime the kids do. Of course Elia loves having him around too.

I've been keeping busy with my photography, doing about two sessions a week, which is just perfect balance. Eric and the kids come along when they can and walk around while I take pictures. One favorite spot is Sahuaro. This morning I took a family's pictures, but before they arrived, Eric and Elia had some fun feeding the flocks of birds.
We've had two Christmas parties this week to keep us busy too. One was a friend party and white-elephant gift exchange. Eric and I came away with a very nice paper towel holder (a discarded wedding present) and some treats like strawberry syrup, Goobers (chocolate covered peanuts), and beef-flavored soup mix. Last night was our church Christmas party complete with a visit from Santa. When Santa asked Elia what she wanted, she told him that she would like a candy cane... Guess what? In the treat bag, there was a candy cane... I guess Christmas is done!

Ethan was a little tired and not too happy having his pacifier taken out of his mouth for the picture, but it looks like he's smiling. (I'm sort of experimenting with subtler colors in my pictures. I kind of like the antique feel, so I decided to do one of these like that) Well, we have until Thursday to get our house more organized and get rid of some more stuff. Then it's off to Yuma for Christmas with Grandma then on the 28th, we head to Nana and Grandpa's.
Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Let it rain, Let it rain, Let it rain

Well, we aren't expecting a white Christmas, but today, while at our former home it is snowing, we are experiencing a downpour. It is a fun change (though I couldn't do a photography session today) and Elia gave me a good laugh:
You know you've lived in Arizona too long when your kid says,
Elia: "Mama, what are those?"
Me: "Those are windshield wipers."
Elia: "What are they doing?"
Me: They are wiping the rain off the windshield
I guess all that singing of "The wipers on the bus go, swish, swish, swish" didn't prepare her for the real thing. It got me wondering, "Just what does she think about when she sings that song?"
Another thing that cracks us up about Elia is her infatuation with these princess shoes I bought at an after-Halloween sale. She insists on having them put at the end of her bed at nap time (she'd wear them if we let her) and when she wakes up we hear this "clop, clop, clop" as she makes her way through the kitchen. She loves wearing them (though we don't let her go out of the house with them) and has them on almost every chance she can.
In Ethan's world, things seem to be much better. Though he might never be a doctor because he now has a fear/hate of things over his nose and mouth and so would never want to wear a mask, the breathing treatments are finally done and he seems to be better. Tomorrow we come out of our quarantine (though it isn't officially that, it has sort of felt like it). I've had to rely a lot on people to help with Elia so that she wouldn't go crazy being cooped up in the house with us. I usually drop her off at the determined activity, take Ethan away, then rely on someone to bring her home, or I go and get her at the end. He's finally sleeping, which is a miracle because when he was on that medicine, he would sleep for about 30 minutes the whole day! Eric liked this sceen and insisted I take a picture of just his arm sticking out of the slats (left side).Yesterday, Ethan's tooth finally sprouted! So far, it's only his right one that has pushed through, but the left bottom one looks like it is close behind. I wonder if there is any correlation between which tooth comes through first and something like personality... I bet that would make a good dissertation for someone.
Today I spent from 10:00 until 2:00 (with a break at 10:40 for flue shots) making two "Super Saturday" (Church craft days) crafts. I couldn't make it to the real activity, so I had to find time to make the crafts. The girl who was in charge of all the crafts kindly spent four hours helping myself and two others who also missed the event. One of the crafts was a family home evening board, and one was this cool antiqued clock:
Elia was extremely patient for those four hours and Ethan took a nap part of the time. It helped that there were three other kids there to provide entertainment.
Tomorrow, Eric leaves us for two days to go to one of his best friend's wedding in Salt Lake. I'm supposed to do two photography sessions (if it doesn't rain), one baby shower, take Eric to the airport, and I want to go to this mini christmas-boutique where a friend is displaying some cool vinyl-lettered tiles that are for sale. Let's see. Is that it? I hope so! I'll let you know if I make it through the weekend!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving

We had a great Thanksgiving weekend with my mom, who came up from Yuma. We relaxed a lot and got to spend a lot of time with Eric, which was great. We also played a few games of Settlers of Catan (my mom's favorite).In spite of our best efforts, we still cooked a rather large, but delicious, dinner which (much to Eric's dismay) we will probably be eating for a while. We really do have so much to be thankful for and in the spirit of the season, I thought I would mention that I am really so thankful for my wonderful family: my supportive and always encouraging husband and our two beautiful kids who keep me smiling (and on my toes)! What more could a person want?
On Thanksgiving, Eric got together with a bunch of people (t-birds and people from church) for a turkey bowl (football).

Ethan is pushing up two little white teeth on the bottom. They haven't poked through yet but there are definite bumps and he's been pretty fussy. We expect them any day now.
In other news, after two weeks of persistent coughing, we took Ethan in to the doctor today. He has bronchiolitis.

For all of you who are curious, here is the difference between bronchiolitis and bronchitis (I didn't know, so did a little research):
Bronchiolitis is a respiratory disease in which the lower airways in the lungs become inflamed and swollen. It is an acute viral infection of the bronchioles seen mostly in infants and young children, caused most frequently by the respiratory syncytial virus.
What's the difference between bronchiolitis and bronchitis? bonchiolitis should not be confused with the better known bronchitis, which is an infection of the larger upper airway in the lung (the bronchi), and mostly affects adults, particularly those who smoke.
The result of this is that Ethan is now on breathing treatments of Albuterol every four hours (even in the middle of the night)! Considering he screamed for the almost ten minute duration of the first treatment in the office, this is going to be a fun two nights. The doctor said it's likely he has RSV, but he doesn't know for sure and the treatment is the same. He goes back in to the doctor on Monday morning, but the doctor said if he gets worse to take him into the ER. We are definitely hoping he improves with the treatments. Here's a pic of him with his little mask prior to treatment. We didn't think a picture during treatment would be possible because it takes two of us to hold him still! Man he is strong when he is mad! However, the third time we did the treatment, he gave up and went to sleep. (Bottom picture)I guess I should write something about Elia. She is just growing and getting smarter and more independent. When there's a semi-crisis, like with Ethan's sickness, it seems he gets all the attention, but really, Elia is so great. When Eric went to play football on Thanksgiving, I went with him and played soccer with a group there. For about an hour and a half, Elia entertained herself by playing in the dirt and climbing on things on the side-lines. She is also doing a lot better staying in her bed at night, though one morning, we found her laying outside our door with her blanket on. That's a new one. As always, she is Ethan's care-taker and will remind us by saying, "I'm in charge of Ethan!" How could we forget! During the break, she especially loved playing with Papa. She loves it when he takes her swimming because he does all sorts of fun things like this:

video

Eric had fun too, though was a little annoyed with the water dripping off Elia into his eyes. (At least he hopes it was water:). Last time we went swimming, Elia even did a little version of the butterfly stroke. She wants to be just like her Papa and wants HIM to buckle her and HIM to push Ethan and HIM to... I guess second place to Papa isn't too bad. :) At least Ethan prefers me, though I'm not sure if it's me or the food.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Busy Bees

Well, it's been sort of crazy around here. Eric has had a crazy week at school -- it seems like every class has had a paper or group project due last week. I've been busy too. I did three photo sessions last week (you can see them on my photo blog (http://www.pettyphotography.blogspot.com), but here are two pictures of our two loves: ... then on Saturday taught a cake decorating class at church. Actually, Saturday was really crazy. We went to a church service activity at 8:00 in the morning, I taught my class at 10:00 (meanwhile, Eric went to a meeting for one of his projects and didn't get home until 12:30). My class lasted until about 11:30. We went home and I got the kids in bed. Eric went to school and studied, then at 2:00 we all went to a tour of the University of Phoenix stadium (where the SuperBowl will be held next year). We went with two other families from Thunderkids. It was pretty impressive:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Belated Halloween Project

Well, first things first... Our sleeping arrangements are working out great. We have a new thing with Elia. Instead of getting into bed at 7:30, we get her ready earlier and put her in bed by about 7:10. She can then read... or rather look at books by herself while I feed Ethan and get him ready for bed. I put him to bed and she can read about 5 more minutes while I pick up a little. I then go in and tell her it's time for bed. She looks at books for about 20 minutes! She stays in bed and is quiet! It is working like a charm. I feel she is more willing to go to sleep and I feel less hectic too. A victory for the parents!!! Yeah!!!

Our friends Craig and Lynette left yesterday. We went by their house yesterday evening, but we missed them (Sorry guys!), but before they left they gave us this Halloween gingerbread house kit. Today, we attempted to make the kit with Elia (Lynette, be glad you didn't do this) :)!

Below you'll see what we were trying to make and what we did make. Of course Elia was more into the frosting. Here are the results of her beater licking:
Doesn't she look cute with her mustache and goatee?
We both tried to help make the house. She wanted to squeeze the frosting onto the gingerbread herself...
But after a while, decided to go straight for the frosting:
So the results? Here is what our house looked like compared to what our vision was. So, we didn't quite make it, but we had fun (and made a mess). No more orange and black frosting projects! And, so Ethan doesn't feel left out, here is a random bath picture of him. He is moving even more and pulling up on things. Danger! We're really going to have to start baby proofing. He's been sick again (story of his life), but when I took him in the doctor said his nose and lungs sounded fine. Now, though he's developed this hacky cough. Hopefully it will go away soon.
Well, not much new for Eric and I, we're just staying busy with the usual things. Eric is definitely looking forward to this tri to end. He'll be done with student government and be done taking an overload of classes like he had to do this trimester, plus he's so distracted about this job stuff. Go figure. Pray for us to find a good one!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A trip to the zoo (No, not the one that happens every day around here)!

Well, last night wasn't a total flop. Elia was so excited to have Ethan sleep with her and they both went to bed great. In the middle of the night however, we ran into the same problem we've had before... Elia doesn't want to sleep in her own bed. She came into our room and wanted to go back to sleep in the portable crib. So, I guess we've half reclaimed our room. We'll see what happens as time goes on. Now we just have to reconvert the toddler bed that was Elia's crib back into a crib for Ethan so we can get rid of one pack 'n play. Then we'll have one dresser for each kid and one sleeping place for each kid. Yes, that room is pretty crowded, though less so, now that the love sac has taken over the living room again.

Today we went to the zoo. Thunderkids was taking a trip, but I wanted to go earlier because they weren't going until 10 and I wanted to get back in time for the afternoon nap. I called a friend, Katie Taggart to come along. After several detours (we were talking too much) we finally got there. We had a great time walking around looking at all the animals. Sometimes I think I'm getting a bit bored with the zoo, but Elia never does and her excitement keeps me going.
Ethan, who is usually the happiest baby on the block, has been under the weather with 100 degree temps (and sometimes more) he wasn't happy almost the whole day. It always seems worse when your baby is fussy around other people.
Two monkeys:
The best part of a day at the zoo is spending two minutes on the carousel watching your daughter with the biggest grin on her face. Every time around she waves to her audience (in this case Katie) and never stops smiling. Although it costs $2 (what a rip off), we do it every time and she wants to ride on the shark every time! I think it is because of this shark book that Eric used to read to her all the time.

The zoo goers:
Back at home. Daddy's girl:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Into the unknown night

After a very fun weekend which included the America's regional night at Thunderbird, we have again revised our sleeping arrangements. Yesterday I sold the green and wood rocking chair I bought before I had Elia and bought a toddler bed and dresser. I sold the rocking chair for $75 and bought both the bed and dresser for the same! I pretty much feel like I scored! Plus, the dresser is really cute and both seem really well made. (I'll include pics next time). So tonight, Elia was really excited about this new bed... and really excited about sharing a room with Ethan (I've been working on this hype for about two weeks now), so we moved both of them in together. Cross your fingers, we'll see how it works. So far, Elia went to bed about 5 minutes before Ethan. She called Eric in once and told him she wanted Ethan to come to bed too. I finished wrapping Ethan up and put him in there too. He complained for about 10 minutes, then went to sleep. So far (one hour later) we haven't heard from either of them. I'll let you know next time how it worked, but we are ready to reclaim our bedroom!!!
Back to the cultural night, we had a great time eating cuisine from Latin and North America (One of the items was fried chicken. The school ordered 800 pieces, which was the largest order any Fry's store has had in its history!). Then they had entertainment complete with traditional Mexican dancers, salsa performers, hip hop dancers and a fashion show from around the U.S.
After America's night we went to some friends house for games and cake to celebrate our other friend (Erika Hanks)'s birthday. (Happy Birthday Erika). We love going to play games and we're glad our kid status hasn't excluded us. The reason this is, is because Elia and Ethan can go to bed anywhere. Elia just climbs in an extra bed and we put Ethan to bed either in his car seat, or if available, an empty crib. We're grateful for such flexible kids! Let's just hope they'll both be flexible tonight!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!! We got back from our trip just in time to go to a school party last night and a trick or treat around the campus with Thunderkids today. As with all three-year-olds, Elia wanted to be a princess. I put braids around her head, which she promptly took down, but she still looked so beautiful.She would look so grown up and elegant... if it weren't for her insistance of Hippo being in the picture! Another note on Elia, it was interesting to see her choosing candy during our trick or treat parade. She loved Smarties and would choose them over Snikers or Reeses (is she crazy?) and when one guy held a tray with full-size candy bars and small pieces of candy, she chose the small candy. It made me wonder when we get the idea that bigger is better. Maybe it isn't. As some of you know, Eric and I have been doing a no-sweet challenge for the past three weeks. It has really been interesting to evaluate treats and say, "No big deal, I'm not really crazy about that anyway." Once I was tempted too far by a Lofthouse cookie, but I just asked Elia if I could have a bite of hers instead of eating my own. Fortunately, she obliged. I feel so much more in control of my sweet tooth and I've asked Eric if after Halloween if he wants to do it again until Thanksgiving!Ethan stole everyone's hearts with his too-cute lion costume. He was a good sport considering I don't think his costume was intended for an Arizona Halloween. I got hot just holding him.
It was a little too big (remember Elia was playing with it a month ago) and inhibited his movement a little, but it fit him surprisingly well. He is really moving all over the house now and is even trying to pull up on things. I am considering using the costume as a movement regulator in the future! Our house is far from "baby-proof" and we're going to have to do something soon!
I had to include Rachel and her too-cute costume. She definitely gets my prize as "most original"! She was a little bird in a nest. Way to go Joy! You are so creative!
Happy Halloween!!!

The end of the hike

Well, we had a great trip and visit to St. George and then Las Vegas. On Friday, we took a trip over to Zion National Park. Elia has turned out to be a great hiker and we took several hiking trails through the park. The leaves were just turning and the colors were pretty. We even got to see a deer on our hike. Elia loved the water at weeping rock...
As well as Dad's binoculars...
She also loved seeing and playing with her cousin Nathaniel and always asked where he was when he was gone to daycare. She pushed him on this little car up and down the sidewalk. I had the hardest time taking a picture then running in front to get another shot. Of course, they were typical playmates, that is, not really caring about a toy until the other wanted it, but they had fun and it was nice for them to spend time together since we really don't see them that often.
After all is said and done, we did about nine hours of long drives. It's nice to be home and not have to go anywhere... besides trick or treating!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A trip to the Grand Crayon

On Thursday, Grampy (Jen's Dad) and YaYa (which is Grandma in Greek) came from New Hampshire for a visit. On Friday, we all drove up to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon or Grand "Crayon" as Elia called it. It really is impressive and could have been made by a huge crayon there were so many colors! On of my favorite spots was this lookout tower at the south east side of the canyon.
We spent all afternoon Friday and Saturday morning there before driving to Page, Arizona where we met my sister and nephew. In Page, we took a trip to Antelope Canyon which was very beautiful. It was kind of windy and we all had to take showers when we got back to the hotel because the sand came down from the top and got all over everything, but it was a great trip.
Our last stop was a visit to the Glen Canyon Dam on Lake Powell. It was amazing going inside. This dam holds back the second largest man-made lake in the United States. It was very impressive. Right now, I am spending the week with my sister in St. George and once again leaving Eric to fend for himself! He does alright at it. I am sad to miss his birthday, which is Friday, but we never celebrate birthdays on the day anyway! P.S. Honey, your present is hidden somewhere inside the house! Do you think you can find it?