Tag Archives: Arizona

swim lessons

22 Jun

We decided to put Cruz into swim lessons this year. I found a FANTASTIC instructor who is just simply awesome with the kids. Cruz started on Monday and it’s Wednesday today and he’s already making HUGE strides. No pun intended.

Except that he HATES it. And he screams the entire time. Poor kid.

And while it is kind of painful for me to watch him scream and kick and cry and BEG for MAMMA!!!!!, I do realize that this is not about me in any way shape of form. He HAS to know how to swim and he’s GOT to be comfortable in the water. More importantly, he needs to know how to get to the edge and to climb out should he ever fall in. Accidents happen way to often during these Arizona summers, and while I realize that we aren’t off the hook just because he can (or will) swim, it IS something that all of my kids will know how to do.

Scary stuff.

Anyways. He hates it. And he BEGS to sit by the towels the whole time. And he runs from his teacher when she announces it’s his turn. But it’s a two week class and I’m told that he will be swimming by the end of it! We will see!

I included a little video of it here if you want to check it out. I film him every time he’s in the water because I want to be able to see his progress. And I’d pretty much die if he accomplished something big and I missed getting it on film. AND the movie maker in me would LOVE to put all the clips together to document his first time having an activitiy in which I wasn’t really a part of.

Even though there is NO movie maker in me. That’s just wishful thinking. But maybe I’ll try it? No?

Anyways.

Check it out. Certainly don’t feel like you need to watch the whole thing. It’s two minutes long. But he screams the whole time and says some pretty funny stuff. Little does he know, he’s got SEVEN more days of swim lessons. Ha. Poor kid. But I don’t care. He’s gotta know how to swim.

It’s not an option.

Oh and don’t mind the ‘mom chatting’ that goes on. I mean, it’s what women do, you know?

bisbee trip 2011

14 Jun

This past weekend we were able to travel South to Bisbee, AZ for a rad photo shoot that we can’t wait to reveal. We went with some clients/friends of ours who were busting at the seams to do a 50’s inspired photo shoot at The Shady Dell. Have you ever been there?? Oh my gosh. It’s the coolest place ever. We stayed in a trailer that looked like this:

Rad. Seriously rad. They have a wide assortment of trailers, all of which are authentically decked out to the max to fit the 50’s perfectly. It’s seriously like a time warp as soon as you get there. I had NO IDEA this place was there until our friends asked us if we’d be open to traveling for the shoot.

UM YES.

So we ventured down there for a night and snapped our little cameras away! It was a blast. It was my first night EVER away from Rider AND the first time Jay and I have gone on a mini vacation/getaway with NO KIDS since we HAD kids.

Sad moment, huh? We’ve totally made a mental note to do that every once in awhile because it was great for us to have a break together. And while we were working the whole time we were there, it didn’t really feel like work. So that was nice. Up until now I’ve been spending 8-10+ hours a day behind my computer and can’t complain because I love what I do. But it was nice to leave the computers behind for at least 24 hours.

It was weird to have been away from Rider since he’s only 9 months old. I think Cruz was over one the first time I ever left him over night. But it wasn’t as hard as I thought since we had a blast! It’s always refreshing to get a break as a mom and to allow yourself to sleep in until 8:30 am once in awhile, uninterrupted. Yes, 8:30 is BIG TIME sleeping in for me. But it rocked.

Bisbee is SUCH a cool place! Have you ever been there?? I had NO IDEA the gem it was until we got there. The downtown area is kind of to die for and we ran into ALL SORTS of interesting things. To say the least.

Cool place that I never really paid much attention to. It was great to get away for work and I CAN’T WAIT to go back. You should take a road trip and stay at The Shady Dell and eat at Cafe Roka. OMG Amazing.

We’ll be revealing the two photo shoots we did with The Blackwell’s soon! I’m so excited to share them. We all had such a great time!

whoa.

12 Apr

Moving is kind of intense. But we made it and we are getting settled as we speak! We love our new place and I’m pretty happy that we won’t have to move again for awhile. At least that’s the hope! Internet is hit or miss because we are still waiting for ours to be reconnected. But once it is, I’ll be posting Tip #6 on my series for the Working/Stay-at-Home Mammas. So, stay tuned for that.

Until then, aren’t you enjoying this gorgeous weather that is AZ this time of year??? It’s going to get hot so soon!

But actually, secretly, I really love the summers here. I know, I know. Most people hate it. I’m an odd bird. Monsoons are my favorite.

I can’t wait for summer. And all that it always brings!

pen pals

11 Nov

I am proud to be able to say that I have had the same pen pal since I was in the fifth grade. How awesome is that? I met my pen pal, Carissa, when I was ten years old. Our fifth grade teachers were good friends, but lived in separate states. I lived in Arizona while Carissa lived in Illinois. Our teachers thought it would be a fun idea to pair up their classes and assign a pen pal to each student. We had a couple of assignments to write to one another a couple times, had certain questions to ask etc. And I’m not sure what it was, but Carissa and I just totally hit it off! And believe it or not, we’ve been writing to one another ever since!!

Her sister has an old friend who actually lives in Arizona, so almost eight years ago Carissa and her sister were able to come out to Arizona for my wedding and I met her IN PERSON! We had been writing for years and years, since we were little girls, and we were actually able to meet face to face! What a special meeting it was. Here I was, meeting someone who knew SO much about me, but who I had never seen in person. We had swapped pictures of course, but I had never even had a phone conversation with her. It was so special that she was able to come to my wedding.

This past September, the week of my due date with Rider actually, she was in town again! I was so thrilled that we were able to meet up once again and catch up on life IN PERSON. It’s only happened twice in our lives, and it’s always so special when it does. This friend is such a special friend to me. We’ve seen each other through A LOT. We’ve been life long friends since we were little girls. Now we are both grown and each have two little boys of our own and we are still in touch. I love it because I just know that we will always be friends. It’s truly a special friendship- a unique friendship that I don’t have with anyone else.

I mean seriously. How cool is that?

Carissa, it was so great to see you in September, even though I was bigger than big! Ha! Your friendship means tons to me and I’m so happy we’ve kept writing all these years- 18 years to be exact! Crazy, right?!

And I promise, one of these days I’ll come to Illinois to visit you! I promise!!

number 9- check!

24 Feb

Jason and I made a list several months back- you might remember it. It’s our 101 Things in 1001 Days list. I need to update the list again, because there are several things I can check off. But our most recent one is #9- Visit the Strehles! I’m so thrilled to say we can check this one off, because I didn’t think we’d be checking it off any time soon. I hoped we would but didn’t see it happening for a little bit.

Jason and I met Zach and Amber Strehle through the church we used to go to. I was on staff with the 5th and 6th grade program there and Amber and Zach were volunteers. They have 4 kids (FOUR!), two of which (TWINS!) were in the 5th and 6th grade program. Amber and I became fast friends and we had a blast spending time together. Then we discovered that we lived in the same neighborhood! We got to know them even better while we went through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University to get our spending habits and budgeting under control. I’d tell you what Amber used to call it but it’s not appropriate. HA! (Just kidding Amber… sort of.) They are the sort of people that you can be real with. And I’ve pretty much said it all to her and she still loves me! Ha!

Then they decided to move back to Washington, which is where they were from to begin with. Talk about a bummer! But ever since they’ve moved, Amber and I have actually kept in pretty good touch. We both started our photography businesses about the same time and we have a lot to celebrate together as friends and as artists. I so wish she lived closer.

Well, we DID have the chance to live closer since they live in Washington. So while we were visiting Seattle, we set aside a night to catch up with these two. It was nuts- they were getting ready to get on a plane to head to Arizona the very next day! I think they timed it. But whatever.

So we still haven’t been to their home or to check out the town that they live in yet, but that will have to be for another trip. A trip that we can take to Seattle and really get the chance to explore and do all the touristy things! But we can scratch it off the list since we did in fact visit them in their state. And Amber, we are both photographers- how did neither of us get a picture of us to document?? We were all just too excited to catch up and chat about life. And we were there interviewing and they were trying to leave town. So it was a little nuts.

But it’s always great to see good friends. And so we can successfully check off good ol’ #9!

endless energy & exhaustion

8 Feb

These are my thoughts exactly.

What an incredibly long day. What a long weekend.

Cruz traveled home a little better. It was still rough, but the airplane ride was way more tolerating than it was the way there. We had two flights today- the first was from Seattle to Sacramento. The second was from Sacramento to Phoenix. I think it helped Cruz that it was a little more broken up and that he was able to stretch his legs between flights. But the last stretch was kinda rough.

We are exhausted. It was a great weekend (exhausting and long, but still great!) and we are feeling pretty positive that we’ve made some decisions. No, I’m not ready to share them yet. We need to tell a few people what we’re thinking first before we go announcing a decision. Sorry! It will be soon, I promise. It feels good that we are at the beginning of moving into our decisions. I’m ready to make something happen rather than to just wonder about it and hope and think. We finally did get some clarity this weekend and so that feels good too. But it’s been exhausting.

Speaking of exhaustion, this whole ‘extreme fatigue’ thing that happens in your first trimester is really hitting me hard. I think that was a huge factor as to why this weekend was super difficult for me- that on top of the normal stresses of a trip like that. It’s so hard that I can’t just lay down and sleep until I feel better. When I was pregnant with Cruz, I slept my first trimester away I’m pretty sure. But now that I have to take care of Cruz, I can’t just stop and sleep all day. I know everyone gets through it because everyone has more than one kid usually and everyone is working it out. But it’s just hard to feel completely exhausted but to have to run around with an almost 15 month old- who has more energy than any little kid I’ve ever known. I mean, seriously. Geez.

Before we left the bed and breakfast this morning to catch our flight, I looked out the window and saw this:

That is Cruz’s toy camera that he decided to throw out the window at some point during our stay. In case you weren’t aware, it rains a lot in Seattle. So after I spotted it, I had to bundle myself up and Cruz and head around the house to go retrieve the toy camera. Which was soaking wet and struggling to work. When I got there, I found three other toys that he had thrown outside the window when I wasn’t looking.

Endless energy. I’m laughing about it now, but there are times when his endless energy kinda drives me nuts! Ha!

weary day

7 Feb

I’m not really sure what’s going on. But it’s been a very, very difficult weekend for Cruz. I mean, he’s been really acting up and just extremely difficult this weekend. And if you know my kiddo at all, you know that he is anything but difficult. Even Jay, who characteristically gives everyone the benefit of the doubt, agrees that Cruz is just kind of being a terror this weekend.

And we can’t figure out why.

He had a difficult time on the airplane and never really recovered since we’ve gotten here. He’s still his happy self at times, but just being really naughty, moody, fussy and difficult. Way more than usual. I can’t tell what the deal is. He hasn’t been eating well at all. Grapes. The kid has been filling up on grapes. But he doesn’t really want much else- even his favorites! He’s drinking a lot of milk and water, so that’s good at least, because I know he’s hydrated. And at least he’s getting some nutrients from the milk. He’s not sleeping super well. We were up and down with him last night and couldn’t figure out why. He has a small diaper rash. Is it his teeth? I haven’t ruled it out, but he’s not drooling like he usually does when his teeth are bugging him.

*sigh*

I’ve almost had a breakdown a few times while we’re here, I’m not going to lie. Traveling with a kiddo is an entirely different ball game. I’m exhausted from the weekend and I’m 8 weeks pregnant. I’m worried about Cruz a little bit, simply because he’s been acting so weird. I don’t believe in signs really, but is it a sign that we aren’t supposed to be here? Ha! When we’re outside and when he can run around, he’s a happy camper. I just don’t know what to make of this.

I’m just really exhausted physically and mentally. I’m praying for some clarity tomorrow (Sunday) because until now we seriously don’t have an answer either way as to what we want to do. Or what we should do. Or what God’s telling us to do. I’m just feeling completely overwhelmed and have to trouble shoot with Cruz like I’ve never had to before. All while keeping a smile on my face since we are in fact, being interviewed.

All I really want to do is take a five hour nap and watch HGTV all day long. Especially Color Splash. It’s my favorite.

So we are tired and running on empty a little bit. Please say a prayer for us if you think of it. I don’t remember the last time I’ve been this tired and anxious about our situation and really need some strength. It was just a long, weary day. And I’m ready to come home, know the plan and get working on moving. To either city we decide. I just want a decision. And to go to bed. And for Cruz to sleep all night long.

exploring

6 Feb

We had the whole morning to ourselves yesterday. It gave me and Jay some time to sort of debrief everything we’ve taken in so far, which was nice. We’ve had little pockets of alone time where we’ve just looked at each other and said out loud, “Can we see ourselves here?”.

Like I said in the last post, we are staying in the most awesome little bed and breakfast. It’s so wonderful. The food here is magnificent! I can hardly wait for it to be breakfast every morning just so I can have the delicious homemade quiche, banana pancakes and yogurt parfaits. It’s a different breakfast every morning, but those are some of my favorites that have been served here so far.

Yesterday, Cruz started stirring at about 5:30 am. Which is way too early for me. But we all finally got up at about 7:00 am. Cruz’s schedule has been completely out of whack since we arrived, so he’s been a little more moody than you may know of him. Honestly. So that’s been weird to navigate. But we got up yesterday and I made him breakfast. We don’t have a highchair or booster seat, so I thought I’d just sit him at the table like an adult. It was pretty darn cute, and I even managed to snap a picture. Then I turned around for .001 seconds to set my camera down and within the time that I looked away and looked back, he had managed to fall off the chair! He fell pretty hard too and of course cried and cried and cried. He was ok, I think it scared him more. Needless to say, we’ll be eating breakfast at the coffee table from now on. But the picture is priceless.

After breakfast we headed to the park that is across the street, called Woodland Park. The parks are amazing here. And very green, which is something you don’t really see in Phoenix. This park is right next to the zoo and we’re told that if the wind’s blowing the right way, you can hear the monkey’s at night! We haven’t heard them yet, but I hope we do while we’re here! We might even continue with a tradition that we started with Cruz and go visit the zoo while we’re here. We’ll see! But here’s a few pictures that I snapped in our morning exploration at the park. Cruz loved it. He kept finding sticks to carry around, just like a typical boy! He had a blast!

In the afternoon we were blessed to have a tour of the entire city with a real estate agent who goes to the church we are looking at. He was amazing and was so full of information about Seattle. He really helped us to understand the city and gave us a lot of financial information as far as pricing goes for housing. It was a lot to take in and we must have driven through no less than 8 or 9 different cities/neighborhoods in Seattle. But it was great to get our bearings and to get a small feel for the area.

For dinner we went to this amazing little pizzeria in Queen Anne. I can’t remember the name of it for the life of me, but it was such great food! We had great conversation with the lead pastor and his wife. It’s been so amazing that they’ve taken time to get to know us and show a real interest in who we are and if we actually are going to be a good fit for this community. I don’t feel like we are unrealistically being ‘wined and dined’ at all. It’s real food, real conversation, with real people. And they fully get it that we might actually decide to stay in Phoenix. So that’s been a huge burden relief in the sense that they aren’t pressuring us to do anything either way.

The only reason I wasn’t relaxed during dinner is because Cruz was a terror. Seriously.

So we’ve been having a great time here. I knew I’d love Seattle. It’s such a cool city with so much character and a beautiful climate. I’ve always wanted to visit here and it’s just been great to come check out this opportunity. The people here are just awesome. Is it the right fit for us? We still aren’t sure at this point. We are waiting to check out the services on Sunday, which will be a huge deciding factor for us. But the conversations Jay and I are having are hard, honest and real conversations that completely take out the ‘glamorous’ side of moving up here. We are really trying to set aside how awesome the city is and really make the best decision for us. Because the truth of it is, the opportunity in Scottsdale is a pretty amazing one too. With really remarkable people in another fantastic city!

Thanks for letting me process through all of this. I think my posts might be sounding a little redundant, but I’m not sure what else to say or share. No matter what, this decision is going to be very tough. And we still haven’t had the moment of clarity that we were hoping for. But we’ll see. Right now, we’re open to anything and we are just trying to stay focused.

first impressions

5 Feb

Yesterday was a whirlwind! It was a crazy day.

We all woke up pretty early to head to Seattle for the weekend. As you may or may not know, Jason has been in the interview process with a church in the downtown area and we have been flown out here this weekend to check out the church, city, people and to see if this is in fact, somewhere we could see ourselves moving, living and doing ministry.

It’s pretty crazy that we are even entertaining this idea. When we left the church we were last at, the idea of moving out of state sounded very exciting. And to have no limits to where we could go was exhilarating. But honestly, I didn’t really think we’d leave Arizona. I’m not sure why, I just didn’t think we would. And now to even be exploring this option is nuts and it’s totally an adventure for us too! I’m excited to be here and to check it out, because if we decide not to go, we always would have wondered had we not come and checked it out.

And maybe we are supposed to be here. That’s what we are processing. I find myself freaked out one minute and totally stoked the next. So it’s scary, exciting and every other emotion you can imagine.

Especially for a pregnant lady.

So we woke up super early and headed to the airport to catch our flight. It was Cruz’s first time on an airplane and I’m not surprised to report that he did not do that well. Ha! This kid was meant to be an explorer, I’m sure of it. He can not and will not sit still for very long at all. Luckily, the flight was only half full so we were able to bring his carseat onto the plane. We were hoping he’d fall asleep, but we weren’t so lucky.

Once we landed, we picked up our stroller and put Cruz in it to head to baggage claim. I’m not kidding, the minute we put him in his stroller he passed out. So he slept for about 15 minutes- from the plane to the curb where we got picked up. But he wasn’t that fussy, so whatever.

We headed to downtown Seattle and let me tell you- my first initial thoughts of Seattle are exactly what I thought they’d be. I love the city. I love the cloudy days. And it’s gorgeous here. Obviously, I’ve been here for about 5 minutes, so these are first impressions, but it’s a very neat city! And that’s what everyone has been telling me!

We grabbed lunch Red Mill Burgers, which we’ve been told are the best burgers in town. I haven’t had any other burgers in Seattle yet, but this place was SO good! And there was a line out the door the whole time we were there. Cruz loved the french fries, which were big and fat. I wish I would have taken a picture there, but I was so caught up in conversation that I didn’t think about it!

Then we headed to the bed and breakfast we are staying at. It’s called Chelsea Station Inn and this is possibly the cutest place I’ve ever stayed! Our room is more like an apartment, complete with a dining room, kitchen, two bathrooms, living room etc. It’s not huge, but definitely a perfect size and very comfortable. I snapped a couple pictures with my small camera, even though these pictures don’t do it justice.

So that’s really all I can say about Seattle this far. We just got here and we are just excited for the opportunity to explore our options. No matter what we decide to do, I’m happy with where God’s leading us- either in Seattle or Scottsdale. I kinda feel like there’s not going to be a ‘right’ answer. I feel like we are being blessed with two amazing communities to pick from and for that I am eternally grateful. I know I always say it, but a year ago I never thought we’d be here. I just feel very blessed and very proud of Jason. He’s such a good man and leader for our home and family. I literally looked over at him on the plane today (in between Cruz’s screams) and was overwhelmed with gratitude for him. There’s no one I’d rather be on this journey with than him.

So life is crazy. This journey is nuts. But I’m thrilled to be checking out all of our options so we can make the best decision for us.

Whatever that may be.