Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Like Father (and older brother), Like Son

Cooper loves "playing" the guitar just like Daddy & Jack.  I just couldn't resist taking a picture of him as he was serenading the new pigeon babies.  He even wrote them a song.  Yep - I know, I know - he's cute!  :) 

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mommy (according to her kids)

Yesterday as Cooper and I were just talking, I thought, "I have got to record what he is thinking and saying these days!" and this questionnaire that I had seen on other people's blogs and Facebooks came to mind.  After interviewing all three kids, I was glad to have their thoughts documented.  Some of their answers were obviously off the top of their heads and not really thought about, but I think that they are hilarious!  I'm so glad I asked them these questions! Here are their answers...

1. What is something I always say to you?

A - I love you.

J - I love you.

C- Like when I'm in trouble? (When I answered, "Not just when you are in trouble. Anytime.", he couldn't think of anything except the reasons that he gets in trouble.)

2. What makes me happy?

A-Peaceful and happy children

J- Roses

C- When you call me your baby... and I don't like it.

3. What makes me sad?

A- Conflict

J- When we're bad

C- When I do some stuff that is bad

4. How do I make you laugh?

A- Hard

J- I laugh when you help me because you make it funny.

C- When I tell funny jokes. (He didn't quite get that the question was about what I do - not him.)

5. What was I like as a child?

A- Smart

J- You had a pigeon named Lottie, and you slept with her in your sleeping bag.

C- Little

6. How old am I?

A- 35

J- 38

C- Eleventeen hundred (Almost!)

7. How tall am I?

A- A little taller than me

J- 7 feet tall

C- About this big? (He held up his hands about a foot apart.)

8. What is my favorite thing to do?

A- Sleep and read

J- Scrapbook

C- Watch grown-up shows (Let me clarify that by saying that he means shows that he is not allowed to watch... like LOST.)

9. What do I do when you are not around?

A- Clean

J- On Tuesdays you go to Playgroup with Cooper, and on Thursdays you clean. 

C- Go to meetings

10. If I were to becomes famous, what would it be for?

A- Drinking the most Sonic drinks

J- Movies because you sing terribly

C- You would get a golden crown for doing a "master puzzle".

11. What am I really good at?

A- Making me laugh

J- Scrapbooking

C- Being quiet, being good, going on Facebook, playing "blocks" (He is talking about the only video game that I play - Tetris.)

12. What am I not very good at?

A- Dancing

J- Singing

C- Playing Wii

13. What do I do for a job?

A- Mom

J- Being a mom

C- If there is a messy house you have to clean it up all by yourself. And I'll help you. But if I have to do something else, I'm done. (That pretty much means, he'll help clean the house if there is nothing better to do on the entire planet...)

14.What is my favorite food?

A- Italian

J- Chocolate

C- Sour cream with salad (I have absolutely NO idea where this answer came from.)

15.What makes you proud of me?

A- You are an awesome mom.

J- You are nice.

C- When you drive me to go swimming

16. If I were a cartoon character, who would I be?

A- Cleo from Clifford the Big Red Dog

J- The girl in Popeye

C- Hoppy Doppy Doo...  I made that one up.

17. What do you and I do together?

A- Talk, laugh, and shop

J- Pretty much only clean

C- Play

18. How are you and I the same?

A- We are both sentimental.

J- We have the same color of eyes.

C- We love each other.

19. How are you and I different?

A- I am quiet. You are not.

J- You scrapbook.  I don't.

C- I'm a boy and you're a girl.

20. How do you know I love you?

A- You spend time with me.

J- You pretty much want to hug and kiss me every single second.

C- You turn my movies on.

21. What do I like most about Daddy?

A- He is diligent.

J- He loves you.

C- He's your husband and your boyfriend.

22. Where is my favorite place to go?

A- The computer

J- Target

C- God & Heaven

So there you have it.  The Official Questionnaire About My Kids' Mommy.  I've got to say, this job as their mommy brings me more happiness than anything on earth. To read their answers, well, it just makes me smile to know that they know how much I love them.  

Friday, April 24, 2009


This month has been full of markers on the timeline of life that are hard to pass by. It marks the anniversary of three of the most impacting losses that I have ever known. Though I have been contemplating this irony all month, I have not been able to collect my thoughts well enough to articulate a post worth writing... and to be honest, I am still pretty sure that I haven't... But tonight it has been heavy on my heart - the remembering - and I feel the need to write.


Spring has arrived and the earth is blooming with new beginnings, but I don't think that I will ever have another April where I innocently watch the trees and flowers bloom without thinking of things that are not flourishing and growing like they naturally should be.

I don't think that I will ever see another Bluebonnet patch without thinking about my nephew, Brooks. Two years ago, on a day in April, we had his funeral. He was only 19-years-old. There were Bluebonnets in bloom. My kids played near them as I sat and looked at them and marveled at how beautifully and innocently life goes on at the same time as life tragically and abruptly ends. I was in a whirlwind of emotion as I tried to reconcile all of that in my head. Some days I still am.

Only two weeks after Brooks passed away, on another April day, I was with a dear friend in a delivery room moments after her premature son, Zachary, did the same. Nothing about that process was natural. It grated against everything in me. I walked away from that hospital that night confused and heartbroken. Some days I still am.

Only 18 months after that, another of my nephews passed away. It was unbelievable that our family had lost another nephew. Another 19-year-old nephew. This month marks 6 months since that horrible day that we lost Gabe. The day that I received the call that he was gone I was in shock. Some days I still am.

So, what do I make of all this? All of these heart wrenching anniversaries that fall in the same month. I am not sure. 2 years later, I am still not sure how to make sense of it. Maybe I am not supposed to. And somehow, I think that is okay. It is probably how it is supposed to be. Because of my complete inadequacy, I have only one person that I can look to for comfort. He is the creator of the universe. The one that holds all of the months of the year in His hands - including April. There is so much that I don't understand about loss. I do know this though. Through all of it, God remains sovereign. My job is not to understand Him. It is to trust Him. And I do. Though so many things don't makes sense, I have faith that He is in control and that He has a plan. None of this surprised Him. Psalm 139:16 in The Message translation of the Bible says all the stages of our lives were spread out before Him, the days of our lives were all prepared before we'd even lived one day. He knew that these events would happen. He knew about my Aprils - my emotion and confusion and brokenheartedness and shock. He knew how I would feel them then.... and 6 months from then and 2 years from then. Still, I believe without a doubt that He loves me - He loves us, and that if we are willing to let Him, he can work the tragedies in our lives together for good. Not that that is painless. Not that that is not confusing. Not that it will ever feel normal or natural. But I believe that if we can hold on long enough, we will see that He has brought good from the most horrific and bad situations.

We can cry with hope.
We can say goodbye with hope.
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end.
And we can grieve with hope.
'Cause we believe with hope.
There's a place where we will see your face again.
From the song With Hope by Steven Curtis Chapman, 1999

Brooks and Zachary and Gabe,
Because of your lives, my life is changed.
Every day, I still am.

Baby Birds

In February Jack received a pair of pigeons from my parents for his birthday. (Look here for the whole story.) Their names are Romeo & Juliet. The first week of April we discovered that Juliet had laid 2 eggs.

Yesterday, while the kids were gone to golf lessons, I went out in the backyard, and I discovered that the eggs had hatched... Adam & Eve had been born into the family. I watched the bird-parents instinctually take care of their babies for a while which was fascinating, and I could not wait for Jack to get home to find his new baby-pets. He was just as excited as I thought he would be.

Just like she should be, Juliet is being very protective of her little squabs, but here is a photo that I got while she was letting us take a peek as she fed them. Yes, they are really ugly when they first hatch but kinda cute at the same time.


This week, Cooper could be found dressed like many things besides a little boy... thus, he was the kind of little boy that is my favorite!  The kind that is full of imagination and dreaming and playing in a pretend world that is 100% real to him.  Most days this week, he could be found in a "costoon", and his alter egos have ranged from Buzz Lightyear to a cowboy to Robin to a lion to a Power Ranger to a pirate to Peter Pan to a firefighter.  I captured a few of the times that Cooper was in a land far far away... The kind of land that Peter Pan, himself, was so fond of. 

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I downloaded photos from my camera and found that Allie had had a photo shoot with our family dog.  This is my favorite one of Miss Milly Moo.

When Allie was about a year old we would sit out in our front yard in the evenings, and she would run and chase and point and "ooh" at the neighborhood dogs.  It was so cute!  It was then that I started thinking that having a dog would be fun.  Around that same time, our neighbors took their new dog (an Old English Sheepdog) out to play in the greenbelt in front of our house, and I fell in love with the idea of having a dog like theirs.  I had always loved Old English Sheepdogs, but I had never seen one in person.  When we saw this fluffy one out the window, I think that we pretty much dropped everything and ran outside to meet it. and we soon learned his name was Rags.  After a little thinking about it and a little research, we decided to go get a Sheepdog of our own.  When we saw the little black and white fluffy puppy, I knew I had to have it. Corey bought her for me then and there, and I held her like a baby all the way home.  We decided on the name for our fur ball.  Milly.  And in the spirit of her parents' names and of her showdoginess, we gave her a fancy schmancy name too - Allie's Millionaire. 

She has been a part of our lives for 11 years now.  She has been ridden like a horse and "stabbed" and "shot" when the boys have played knights and cowboys.  She has been laid on like a pillow and snuggled and cuddled.  She has been dressed up and photographed.  She has brought us comfort on dark, scary nights as she guards us.  She has herded all 3 of the children as they have grown up together.  She is our "Nana" from Peter Pan.  And we love her.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Claire Days

Last week my niece, Claire, came to stay with us while her mommy and daddy went on a "babymoon" cruise... one last getaway before their baby, Jacob, comes in June.  Claire was sure that she was clear on where her mommy was while she was spending time at MiMi's house. When asked, she said, "My mama's workin' on a boat."  It was a fun few days. You may have seen Claire's post to her parents on Friday... and the quick little "Night Night" post that night, but I have not had much time to post since then. So, here goes...

Jack was doing homework, and Claire wanted to get in on the action.

~ Shirtless Spaghetti Night ~

That night, after dinner I gave the kids this plate of alphabet cookies.
(a fun new snack that I recently found)

Claire quickly discovered that we had no princess costumes, princess band-aids, or princess sippy cups, but she was happy with her Spider Man sippy as she and Cooper toasted at breakfast.


~ Bath Time ~

~ loving on Allie ~

~ happy girls ~

~ Allie Cat & Claire Bear ~

~ tickling Jack ~

~ buddies ~

We loved having Claire Bear visit and look forward to many more special times with her in the future.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Playgroup, Free Ice Cream, The Color Orange, & American Idol

Today has been a good day.

Twice a month Cooper and I meet 3 mommies and their 5 kids that are close to his age for Playgroup, and today was one of those days. It was a low-key Playgroup day. The kind where the kids just play in the backyard and eat a few Goldfish crackers while the mommies visit and eat hummus... and we all become a little better friends. I love these ladies. (one of them just happens to be my sister) Together, they make up a puzzle piece that fits perfectly into my life right now. I don't know what I'd do without them.

After Playgroup, Cooper and I did a bit of shopping for a little upcoming trip that I have on the calendar. Have you heard? I leave for a Mexican beach vacation in 3 weeks and 12 hours (give or take a few minutes --- but who's counting?). It involved swimsuits. And yes, it was horrible. So, after I picked Allie up from school, we did the only logical thing...

...We went to Ben & Jerry's for Free Ice Cream Day. (I'm not sure if that is what it is called, but I am officially naming it that.) We arrived at the ice cream shop with the rest of the after-school crowd, but it was worth the wait. We ran into several friends, and Jack joined us there with my precious, life-saving, carpooling friend, Donna. The ice cream was delicious. The company was great. And the kids enjoyed playing in the fountains after our snack... an activity that doubled as a necessary shower for Cooper after his ice cream created a chocolate mustache (and beard) which caused young children to point and say, "Look at that little boy, Mommy! He's very dirty." Imagine that! My angel-baby-boy. Dirty?!?

Throughout this day, my mind has been constantly on a little boy that I don't know but that I love. Hearts are crazy like that sometimes. I've talked about Baby Stellan before. The fact that he lived beyond birth is a miracle in-and-of itself, and over the last several weeks he has been hospitalized with a heart defect. Last week he was flown to Boston because of a heart doctor and a children's hospital that are there. He and his mommy are there while his daddy and 3 young siblings are back home - several states away. Today, little 5-month-old Stellan had heart surgery. In support of him, his bloggy friends were going to wear orange. To my dismay, I found that I did not have anything orange to wear. However, I have been thinking "orange thoughts" for Stellan all day! He still has a long way to go, but his surgery went well! Please continue to pray for him and his family as you think about it.

And now, my friends, it is the time that Allie and I wait for every Tuesday... American Idol just came on. Let's all say it together, "GO DANNY & KRIS!!!!"

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Best Thing I've Read Today

There is a blog that I look at sometimes called Soule Mama. It's author, Amanda Soule, is so cool - like the hippie, vintage lovin', baby havin', photographer, great writer that I day dream of being. I don't think that I could ever pull it off, but I like the idea of it... If I was ever able to do one of those "life swap" kind of shows, I would want it to be with someone like her. Anyway, her husband, Soule Papa, guest writes on her blog sometimes. The last thing that he wrote was so sweet. (Check it out here.) It's just the kind of thing that a stay-at-home mom wants to read. (or probably any mom, for that matter) It made me smile... and that is always a good way to start the day.

Friday, April 17, 2009


It's been a good day!

A Message From Claire

Hi Mommy & Daddy, 

Don't tell MiMi, but I broke into her blog... I thought that it would be fun to send you a little note and a couple of pictures while you are on your getaway and I am here at her house.  

So far, I have had a great morning.  I have played hide and go seek, played outside, watched a Star Wars cartoon (That is crazy stuff, I tell you.), and my favorite - I have played with Allie's "pets" and MiMi's special doll, Polly.

It was fun to talk you on the phone earlier, and I didn't get sad at all when we hung up.  I've been a very happy girl all day.  To tell you the truth, I think that MiMi thinks that I am hilarious!  When I am pretending and talking to myself, I hear her kind of giggling under her breath.  I know, I know... I'm cute!  

I better wrap this up.  We have to go take Allie & Jack to art class.  It's raining like cats and dogs (What does that mean, by the way?), so it may take us a while to get there.  I'll try to send you a message from MiMi's blog again later.  I'll have to see if she'll take some more pictures of me.  I tried reverse psychology on her this morning... acted like I didn't want to take a picture which just made her want to take more of me.  Tricky, huh?  I hope yall have fun!  Don't worry about me.  I am having a lot of fun!

I love you, 
Claire Bear 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Because, to be honest, I Can't Help Myself

to say that I adore him is an understatement

Just The Two Of Us

This week Cooper and I have spent most of Tuesday & Thursday (the days that the big kids are gone to school) at home.  Just the two of us.   

For the most part, I'm not a every-Tuesday-I-_______, every-Wednesday-I-_______ kind of person.  I can't be with 3 kids and all of our activities.  We have a diverse and busy schedule.  It varies from day to day and week to week.  I juggle.  A lot!  Like a lot of moms.  I love it, and I would not have it any other way.  While I enjoy getting out and doing things with the kids and I love spending time with friends, this week it worked out that our schedule was pretty clear during the days that the big kids were in school, and instead of filling it with fun play dates or errands or even many chores, I filled it with Cooper.  

It dawned on me this week that we only have a few more days, just the two of us.  Once the kids get out of school for summer, we will all 4 be together most days.  Then, in the fall Cooper will start preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays while Jack & Allie are at school, so truly we are down to about 6 days of him-and-me-time.  Some of those days are full of appointments and play dates already... and I think that I will guard the others just for us.  So, thinking on all of that --- I am so happy that this week was slow.  It was no plan of mine... just a little blessing.  I am happy that Cooper and I got to have sword fights, and play games, and watch movies, and read books, and have battles, and give zerberts, and play in the backyard, and speak to each other in his made up language, and sing songs, and give kisses & hugs, and take long baths, and snuggle & cuddle, and talk about God and the color of our eyes and our family and babies, and use our imaginations with a big box, and have snack time on the patio, and do nothing and everything together.  Just the two of us.      

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What Books Do You Love?

I am beginning to think of all of the things that I am going to do (and not do) while I am on vacation next month. One thing that I am excited about doing is reading. I was not a big reader growing up, but in recent years I have really grown to love it. I am wondering what books that you (my 15 loyal readers :) ) think that I should take with me to Mexico. What have you read that you just love? What books are all the buzz these days?

I like all kinds of books. My favorites are probably stories that involve real life circumstances. I don't like them to be sugar-coated, and I don't have to have a rainbow at the end... sometimes that is nice, but if it is too predicatable I will stop reading it. I like biographies, fiction based on history, stories about relationships between girlfriends and sisters and mothers & daughters. I can take a love story if it's not too ooey gooey or (again) predictable. I get bored easily, and I don't want to have to concentrate too hard. I am not going to read anything about parenting or marriage or self-improvement on this trip. I've got plenty of those books on the shelf. I want to read something fun. Somthing that I can lose myself in for a few days, and I want to know what books you have read that have captivated you.

Get your recommendations to me as soon as you can. 4 weeks from this very moment I will be laying on the beach... and I might just be reading the book that you suggest. :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter '09 - Part 3

When we arrived home on Easter evening, we still had a very important Easter tradition to complete.  Dying eggs.  This was the first year that Cooper has really gotten into it, and it was a fun time for all of us! 

I love the love that these 2 have for each other!
~ the finished products ~
Corey made this blue egg.  It is my favorite one.  :)
After we dyed eggs, it was time for dinner.  That morning I had put dinner in the Crock Pot before we left for church.  We had roast, potatoes, carrots, corn, rolls... and of course deviled eggs (or "Angel Eggs" if you grew up in my family).  After a very rainy day, the weather outside on Easter evening was perfect, so we ate on the patio and shared a great Easter dinner and summer vacation dreaming with our kids.  It was the perfect ending to a great day.

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