The countdown has begun

In exactly ONE MONTH, the Haze and I will be boarding a plane bound for Pennsylvania (Jake will be following a few weeks later with all of our possessions). We will be leaving Oregon and starting a new life in Venango County. I am SO excited! Our move to Oregon was always meant to be a 3-5 year adventure before returning to PA. We've only been here a little over 2 years and I've loved it, but I am definitely ready to move back.

Jake was the one who settled on Venango County, the place where I was raised. Initially I was shocked, but we lived there for 2 years previously and fell in love with the area, being near some family, and have a group of amazing friends there (more precisely, within a 2.5 hour radius).

Yes, I will miss the ability to quickly travel to numerous ecosystems (coast, desert, high mountains, valley, vineyards ;) , however I'm trading that for the ability to get to a gorgeous hiking trail in 5 minutes! Living in the Willamette Valley, you have to drive at least 45-minutes to get anywhere stellar to hike. That's not ideal for a couple who avoid their car like it's a nosy neighbor.

Oh, I'm leaving those behind too! NO MORE NEIGHBORS says this hermit housewife! Yes, we like our neighbors and even have shared dinners with the Mexican family across our back fence without understanding each others' languages. However, I'm sick of having to close blinds, I'm a little freaked out why someone knocked on the door last night when the car wasn't in the carport and after I yelled "I'm coming"- no one was there, I'm tired of all of the sirens, I need some SPACE!

Our plan is to live in an apartment on my parents' property for awhile while we shop for our dream property. Living on one income, it may be a little difficult, but we are ready to settle down. Jake NEEDS land to farm (though he has done an impressive job with our tiny city lot!) and I NEED to own the walls that protect us so that I can paint them COLORS! I'm so tired of rental white, cream, beige... My walls are going to be ridiculously colorful for awhile :)

I find it a bit amusing that I'm moving back right before winter. Winter has been the number 1 thing I've been happy to be far from. However, the idea of spending an evening next to my parents' wood stove, mug of tea in hand, with the outside lights on to watch the snow fall... well, that sounds like heaven!

Yes, our life in Oregon was awesome. We have been very lucky to meet a lot of amazing people. However, there's been a big void in my life since moving here. I think I didn't really commit to the area because I knew it was temporary. Plus, there's the issue of everyone we meet has their families near-by and many other friends. So most of our dinner parties have been with people over 50. Not that I mind the age gap, I don't. But, I miss the frequent dinner parties we threw while living in PA in which a dozen old and new friends show up (some younger than 50) and we enjoy good foods, games, gossip, and indulgence!

Most of all, I'm looking forward to Hazel spending time with her 6 grandparents, 3 great-grandparents, uncle, and our close friends. There's nothing more important than family and apart from my sister and b-i-l, everyone near and dear is on the east coast. It's where we belong!

Here's a pic of where I'll be this winter. The photo is a little drab and somewhere I have some gorgeous photos of my parents' house lit up from the inside with icicles glistening outside. However, this more accurately reflects a PA winter :)


twenty.eight and life is great

Not to be all Suzy Sunshine, but this year for my birthday, I got everything I ever wanted! How often can an American consumer say that?

The Kosker's took their first family camping vacation over my birthday and look what fell out of the sky on the anniversary of my birth...

So glad that Jake was a cat in a previous life and still has those reflexes! To top off that gift from heaven, look what I found when I was unwrapping my present...

"Happy bday MOM"

So, since I was a closet Catholic school girl growing up, the only thing (if we're talking extremes here) I ever wanted was to be a mom! (It's possible that getting married was a more important goal than getting a college degree, but I will never confirm that. Yes, for me being married was a given if I was ever gonna be a mom. Who's a prude?) Since her butt said "Happy Birthday Mom", I figure that I get to keep her! WOW!

Crater Lake NP was gorgeous, but definitely only a 2-day event. I mean, how long can you look at the same lake? It was really hot during the day and the surrounding area was high dessert, so not too appealing for exploration. I love this next pic 'cause it catches Jake looking serious- didn't think that was possible! Also, please note that Jake is wearing my orange Life Is Good yoga tee. He packed ONE tee-shirt for this trip (P U!).

Since Hazel was being such a great camper, we took her for some killer (literally, ask my glutes) hikes around Crater Lake National Park . Check out the pristine water...Then Jake decided to show me his manliness and jumped off of a huge cliff. He tried to talk me into it, but since I finally have everything I want, I didn't want to risk leaving this earth.

This sweet girl and I hung-out at the base of Crater Lake while Jake tried (ouch, that word has to hurt his ego!) to fish. This pic makes me think of the ole Bible School classic "I've got the whole world, in my hands...".

For dinner we had foil packs stuffed with marinated chicken (rooster to be exact, guess how I know?) breasts with peppers and onions. We also had rice as a side dish, but I forgot to pack a pot (I also forgot an axe, extra water and matches. We looked like mega-inexperienced campers!). So, Jake went to a near-by camp site and asked a nice family if we could borrow their pot. Turns out they were from Switzerland (as is my grandfather). This made me excited and I walked over to tell them about my heritage and relatives that are in Switzerland. So, I guess to thank us for borrowing their pot and in honor of my Swissness, they gave us a HUGE bag of Swiss chocolates. Best birthday cake EVER!

Then our trip continued to Grants Pass where we spent 2 blissful days with my 2nd cousin, Becky and her hubby (I didn't get permission to post pics of them and I'm in the mood to abide by some internet etiquette today). Finally our trip ended with a swoop down to California so that I could hump a redwood....

I wouldn't joke about a thing like that.
I'll end this mega-post with one more picture of sweet Hazel. Check out her awesome hat (the pic doesn't actually show all of the cute details, but you get an idea!) made by Sarie...


two months... already? only?

2 months stats
Weight: 7lbs 11 oz (started at 5lbs 11 oz)
Head: 14" (started at 12.5")
Height: 20.7" (started at 19")
She's itty bitty (still doesn't fit in all of her "newborn" clothes!), but growing at a good pace!
This pic doesn't do justice to those baby blues. They started out more navy and continue to evolve. They're so gorgeous...sigh.
Yes, the lighting was way too bright, but I wanted to get these pics done TODAY and while she was in a good mood...WAIT. What happened? I think that it's fitting for her 2-month pic to reflect what our life has been like lately :) Actually, "the beast" as I sometimes call her, has really improved the past 2 days. Yesterday was her first (and likely only) day at Day Care and my dear friend who has the business- CURED her! Honestly, I don't know what she did, but Hazel's been more agreeable since. Yeah, she got a little upset during the photo shoot, but twice today she's napped ON HER OWN! She's been sleeping for the past hour without a pacifier and without her mama's chest to nuzzle into. For $3.20 an hour, I might spring for miracle Day Care again ;)

Still doesn't do her eye color justice, but gives you a better look at her eye and hair. This is how she fell asleep and is currently napping. I propped her 1/2 on the Boppy pillow because I'm paranoid that she's not working her neck muscles enough. I quickly grabbed the camera because she was using her arms and pushing way up, but then she collapsed and within seconds was sound asleep. Well, at least I found a nice nap position for her! (please don't warn me that she's gonna suffocate by sleeping on her belly. she's not. and I do check and kiss her frequently... no wonder she wakes up a lot!)


eliminating the elimination

Update on the elimination (AKA: starvation) diet:

I'm SO over it! I lasted 2.5 days on rice, rice products, pear juice, and fake oreos. I was hungry, dissatisfied, and grumpy. Last night, the 3rd night of this craziness, was Hazel's worst night in weeks! A change in diet should be a least semi-noticeable within 36 hours. I'm gonna remain light on the dairy because that seems to be the most common problem for little ones, but I've eat a small amount of cheese TWICE today! YUM!

As I type this, she's pushed herself back in the Sleepy Wrap so that her head is resting on my inner elbow as I type. She's studying my chin so intently while showing me her repertoire of mouth movements. How can I even think that she isn't this calm, adorable, and sweet all of the time?

And... cue sad face... add whimper... and now the cry... (off to stand, bounce, and hope that something entertaining is on my one tv channel!)


What I did for love...

the flood gates opened, and this mama grabbed the camera instead of the baby ;)

For the past 24 hours, I have been on what is called: THE ELIMINATION DIET. Also for the past 24 hours, I canNOT get that song from Chorus Line out of my head (refer to Title of post). You see dear Koskereaders, Hazel has the official COLIC stamp of approval from our Doctor. To quote from the internet site of Dr.Sears: "Colic is a five-letter word for 'I don't know'." After reviewing numerous articles about colic, I'm not sure that Hazel fits the bill. She is fussy A.L.O.T., but it seems more related to being held and bounced (or more accurately, the absence of).

Oh well. I'm relieved to know that this isn't normal, maybe I'll consider breeding again in the future. I also still love her, it's my husband who has been on the chopping block when I'm exhausted and cranky myself ;)

Now I will complain about the elimination diet. I'm going to try it for a few days to see if it has an impact on this little goddess. Is it horrible that I kinda hope it doesn't? I'm not eating wheat OR dairy! Life without bagels, ice cream, cheese? Ideally, we'll discover that only one of those things is causing the fussiness. I could give up one, but both!?!?!?!

Here's what I ate yesterday:
B: oatmeal, heavy on the brown sugar and raisins
L: rice and sliced boiled potatoes with olive oil and rosemary
D: rice tortilla with a few pieces of free-range turkey, squash, pear juice, and 6 (indulge much? don't judge.) fake oreos

Here's what life was like this morning:

her new hair product is P.yuke. only high-end stores sell it. don't even bother trying to find it!

Hazel is just as fussy as before. Darn, I was hoping for immediate results! She sleeps well through the night, but needs to be held, cuddled, and bounced continuously upon waking in the morning. I did get her to play under her gym for a few minutes. She even swung her arms around and was rewarded with the movements and clanging of the pieces of the gym! Hopefully soon she'll be able to do that on purpose. After those few minutes, the flood gates opened and her screaming began. All I had to do to soothe her was pick her up and PRESTO- she's calm! I was still exhausted, so I took my calm babe back to bed with me for cuddles and a nap. I awoke to a chest smeared with vomit and laughed at her 'cause it was all in her hair!

Now she is snuggled in her Sleepy Wrap on my chest taking another nap. Thank goodness for this wrap! She cannot fuss in it longer than the time it takes to get her in it. Currently, she's breathing out her nose loud enough for the cat to keep walking over to check on her. Very cute!

we still love each other, but I'm taking apps for a Nanny position (will pay only in P.yuke products)


I covet, but not my neighbor's wife

I came up with a unique idea the other night while trying to decide how to get the word out on things that Hazel needs (a relative term). Now, this pint-sized princess doesn't need much thanks to the abundance of the wonderful WELCOME TO THE WORLD gifts she's received, but nonetheless, word is that there are people still wanting to buy her gifts and as my mother has informed me, Christmas is coming! (those last three words just excited my sister more than is reasonable. that girl LOVES presents!)

Since my blog is accessible to everyone and really only read by my mom and sister (I dare you to leave me a comment and prove me wrong!), I will be posting the things that Hazel and I are currently drooling over. My hope is that this will be used by the people who buy us gifts to get ideas of our tastes. As always, I'd prefer second-hand and HOMEMADE gifts. So, if you look at something (the owl for Hazel) and think "I could make something owl-like for her"... that would rock Hazel's socks off (yeah, she could use some more of those too).

If you think the list is greedy, well then just don't look at it! If you're worried about more than one person buying a gift- don't! I doubt anyone will actually use this list. Jake for one refuses to buy me anything off of my yearly "birthday wish list". I continue to make them regardless! If you're still worried, just contact Jake regarding gifts for me or either of us regarding gifts for the Hazel-nator.

Tuna Out!