Saturday, February 13, 2010

From My Valentine

Yesterday Corey ran to the store and came home with Valentine treats for all of us. Allie and I received flowers, and the boys got giant Hersey's Kisses. I love that my flowers are tulips, and I love that they are red! I took a photo of them yesterday outside in the snow (much more on the snow to come) and last night in my sleeplessness, I played with that photo with a new app on my iPhone. I love the way that the altered photo turned out!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Most Awkward, Hilarious, Embarrassing Parenting Moment I've Had In A While

Tonight Corey took the kids to a special NBA event in Dallas. He was working down that way today, so instead of him coming all the way home then going back into the city, I met him for dinner then he and the kids left for their special night together. We were at a restaurant in a swanky, corporate (not too many kids) part of town where we were seated at a big, circular table. We all had placed our order and just as the waiter was writing down the last thing, Cooper leaned up on the table, looked the waiter straight in the eye and in a serious voice with a serious look on his face he quoted a favorite movie line...

"Keep the change, you filthy animal."


I felt like I was paralyzed! I was sitting across the table from him and could not really do anything except sit there and pray that the waiter had not heard him. But, he laughed... so I know that he did. I think that it was an "I don't really know what that kid just said to me." kind of laugh, and I'm pretty sure he didn't speak English very well, so hopefully he was not offended by my little movie quoting boy! All 4 of us - Corey, Allie, Jack, and I - were doing our best to not laugh at him. None of us succeeded! We were all so embarrassed and thought he was hilarious at the same time.

This boy! He is going to keep me humble.

All 3 of my kids are "quoters". That is the language that they speak. Movie lines and dialogue from shows. They even like to recall some real conversations over and over again. So, I should not be surprised that Cooper spoke a line from the movie Home Alone to the waiter tonight... but who would think that I would need to coach him on when he can and cannot use his terrific memory of all movies that he has ever seen? Until tonight, I'd never thought of such a thing.

I did tell him, after the waiter walked away, that not everyone understands our family's jokes... I have recently had to start teaching him this concept like, for instance, when he went into his brother's school last week and announced to the principal that he got a "pull my finger" toy for his birthday... (You might want to keep that to yourself, little guy.) I'll keep trying to teach him what is appropriate, but knowing him, he now has a new laugh-getting tool in his arsenal that is going to be tough to tame. 'Cause getting laughs... that is the important thing in life when you are 4 and your name is Cooper.

I'm scared. Very scared!

So, I'd like to take this opportunity to go ahead and apologize to all who will come across his hilarious and wildly inappropriate jokes in the future.

My dad says he needs to become an actor... and I'm not sure that he is wrong.


Cooper's "Best Sports Ever"... This Week, Anyway

Cooper was so cute bowling at Jack's birthday party on Monday night. I think that it was the first time that he has ever tried that sport - except for on Wii - and he LOVED it! And I LOVED watching him do it! He was so funny as he heaved the ball into the lane, squatted down to watch it roll, twisted around in delight to make eye-contact with us to see if we were watching him and his bowling ball, jumping in the air to celebrate the pins that fell, and proudly walking back to the chairs. Just watching him made me smile! He exclaimed, "This is the best sport ever!" and "I LOVE bowling!" and has asked repeatedly when we can go bowling again.

And yesterday, he began "swimming class" as he calls it... not "swimming lessons" because, as he says, "I already know how to swim". (Which he does not!) He was SO excited about starting swimming class and told several people (some he knew, and some he didn't) throughout the last week the details of where and when his classes would be. When the teacher opened the door to the indoor pool and called the 5 little swimmers in, he was not apprehensive at all. He marched right in and did all that they asked him to throughout his class. He would turn around to me and give me 2 thumbs up and tons of smiles during the class, and when he came out to me at the end, he exclaimed, "That was wicked awesome!" I am so thankful that he will enjoy the process of really learning to swim. Hopefully, he will be like a little fish by summer.

Allie: If She Must Research, At Least She Can Photograph Too

Last week, I took the kids to the library. Allie is working on a research paper, and the boys and I did homework together while we had to be out of our house for a couple of hours. Allie is doing her research paper on the history of Times Square in New York City. (How do you think she was inspired to do that?) Evidently, she took a break from looking at the books to photograph them with my phone... and I think they turned out really cool!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

From The Vault: Our 10th Anniversary/ Alaskan Cruise

In June of 2002 Corey & I celebrated our 10th anniversary with an Alaskan cruise. We did not have much of a honeymoon and had not traveled to very many places at that point, so this was our first "big trip" together. It was the first "big trip" that either of us had ever taken, for that matter. I remember being overwhelmed with the beauty of Alaska and Canada... I think I'd have to say that it was the most beautiful place that I have ever seen. We loved the experience of being on a cruise and seeing so many places in the same vacation. We had never left Jack before, and it was one of the first times that we had left Allie. I remember that both of us missed them terribly, but the trip was a great time to spend together rekindling our romance and remembering why we had gotten married 10 years before. There are tons of pictures from this trip that I love. Some of them may make their way out of the vault at a later date. For now, here are 3 of my favorites of us together on our trip to Alaska.

~ College Fijord ~
~ Seward, Alaska~

~ Formal Night on the ship ~

Jack's 10th Birthday Party

Remember Jack's surprise sleepover on January 29th? That night, we gave Jack a gift of a birthday party with several friends, and yesterday was the big day! Jack had invited 10 friends to join him, and we took them to a place in town that has Bowling, Laser Tag, Glow Golf, Video Games, etc. We only had 2 hours for the party, and we squeezed as much fun into those hours as we could. By the end of our time, we had a bunch of happy, sweaty boys on our hands, and Jack felt very celebrated and loved.

~ our birthday boy ~
~ bowling ~
~ Jack getting a spare ~
~ bowling brothers ~
Cooper LOVED bowling! I think he liked it so much that he will get a post of his own with photos and exclamations of his love of it!
~ Jack & Allie ~
In between turns, Cooper spent some time in Corey's lap.
~ buddies ~
(and a couple of little brothers)
Allie's friend, Katie, stuck around too. They both enjoyed bowling!
moving on to the next thing...
~ cake time! ~
Happy Birthday, Dear Jackson!
~ eating cake ~
After the kids ate cake, they all played Laser Tag. I was not allowed in the gameroom with my camera, so there are no photos of that, but they all loved it! After Laser Tag, parents showed up to pick up their kids, and we said bye to Jack's guests. We stuck around for a bit longer to let our kids play Glow Golf, another round of Laser Tag, some video games, and another game of bowling with the Rector kids.

~ Jack & Kirby playing Glow Golf~
~ Cooper putt-putting ~
~ Jack & Mom ~
~ Dad & Jack ~
It was a great finale to our long celebration of Jack's 10th birthday!

Oops. (I forgot to push "Publish Post")

I wrote a post on Sunday night called "Taking 4 Kids To The Aquarium (and living to tell about it)" that I evidently forgot to publish. If you are interested in it go back a few posts from here, and you will find it.

1 Holiday, 3 Mommies, 6 Kiddos, 3 Years, 1 Sofa

It is unofficially official... my friend, Randi, cannot ever get rid of her blue & white couch... and must always host a Valentine Party for these 6 kids. At least until they all go to college. Right, Randi?

Without really planning it, this sofa has become the place where time is measured for these six little buddies on Valentine's Day. When we started our Playgroup in the fall of 2007, it was out of a need to socialize, celebrate, and sometimes commiserate with friends that had babies that were going through the same things as we were. Through the years, we have seen our little ones grow into playmates that truly are friends. Our conversations have moved from how to move a baby from a crib to a big bed, to potty training, to choosing preschools (or not), to kindergarten plans. We have talked about how to get our kids to eat and sleep and share. We have found encouragement in each other as we all do things a little bit differently, but we all have a desire to raise Godly, kind, thoughtful kids. I am thankful for the women that I get to call my friends. These 3 - Cheryl, Emily, and Randi (among others) - are my teamates in this mothering thing as our kids grow - and we grow - up together.

Here is how our little ones have grown from year to year to year...

~ 2008 ~
~ 2009 ~
~ 2010 ~
~ The Playgroup Mommies ~
(This is one of the only photos of the 4 of us. It was taken last July.)

Playgroup Valentine Party '10

Yesterday was our annual Playgroup Valentine Party with Cooper's little friends. My friend, Randi, hosted us at her home and as always, it was decorated with the perfect little festive touches... like these "circle of love" doilies. (She talked about making them here on her blog.) She is a good balance for me. While Cooper showed up to the party with store-bought valentines with tacky Nerds candy, her kids had wonderfully crafted homemade valentines. I love her for that... but more than that... for the fact that she doesn't look down her nose, not one little bit, at me, the anti-Martha Stewart... whereas she is Martha in the making. :) I say all that to say... I love you, Randi. And thank you for opening your home and making our little parties so special!

We all brought a snack to share.
~ snack time ~
~ Claire & Joshua ~
~ Jonathan & Lila ~
~ Cooper and Luke making sacks to hold their valentines ~
~ Cooper's sack ~
~ Claire Bear & her sack ~
(I think that it is funny to compare her girl-sack to his boy-sack. He stuck a couple of stickers on it and was done... ready to move on to "the good stuff".)
~ the crew ~
We have taken of a picture of our kids in this exact spot every Valentine's Party for 3 years.
I love that my niece (and now my nephew) are part of our Playgroup!
~ pretty girl ~
~ sweet boy ~
Jacob and Tate (Randi's baby) are the 2 new additions to the group. Yesterday it became official...
She gave him this adorable banana valentine...
... and he accepted with a kiss.
(Or an attempt to taste her head, I'm not sure.)
Happy Valentine's week! Hope you all feel very loved!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

From The Vault: Cowboy Jack

This is one of my all-time favorite photos of Jack. I had never shared it on my blog before, so tonight I decided to take it out of the vault. This was a day last February when our family went down to Corey's place to do some work - the place where he has very fond memories of time spent with his dad when he was a boy, and the place where he is making many fond memories with his son. I love to see my little boy that has been raised in the city wearing cowboy clothes and working with his daddy. Jack is learning so much from Corey as they spend time together at The Place, and I am thankful that Corey has land to take him (and someday Cooper) to and the desire to teach him how to be a man the way he does. He will be hard working, smart man someday... and a lot of that has to do with his daddy. Thank you for loving my sons and teaching them well, Corey. I am thankful for you, and I love you! And Jack... there is not a cuter cowboy on earth than the one in this photo! I love you too!

Taking 4 Kids To The Aquarium (and living to tell about it)

Off and on this weekend, we spent time caring for my niece, Claire, while her parents were on a mini-vacation to the mountains. We had a great time spending some one on one time with her. She is a cutie and made us laugh a lot! On Friday, my kids, Claire, and I went to the Dallas World Aquarium for the afternoon. (I love this about homeschooling - we get to go on field trips at times when places like aquariums are not too busy.) We have absolutely loved having a membership to the aquarium this year! While it seemed like a costly investment at the time that we joined, it paid for itself in 2 visits and we have gone 5+ times so far... and we are members until June. Each time that we go, we see something new, and we love it. We have gotten to go as a family and have taken several trips where we invite friends to come along. This was one of those times.

~ Jack & Cooper looking at the penguins ~
~ 2 manatee ~
~ anteater ~
This was the first time that we have visited that the anteater was in his exhibit.
~ Allie, Claire, and Jack ~
This is where Claire hung out most of our trip through the aquarium - on Allie's hip.
~ another new exhibit - a baby croc ~
~ the girls ~
~ Cooper, Jack, Allie, and Clarie ~
~ by the big tank ~
~ by the big tank ~
(with a flash)
We ate lunch in the restaurant in the bottom of the aquarium. Good food, SLOW service, fun atmosphere.
I like this photo of my girl!
Claire took this one of Cooper and Allie. I think it is a cool shot!
~ Beautiful Claire ~
~ Photo of Mom & Jack in the restaurant (by Cooper) ~
~ Claire & Allie through the aquarium ~
~ in the shark tank tunnel ~
~ Coop & a shark ~
~ Jack & some sharks ~
~ Claire and a shark ~
~ look to the left ~
~ leaving the aquarium ~
Oh, and by the way... it really wasn't that hard to take 4 kids to the aquarium (and live to tell about it). With Allie's help and 3 other kids that were really good, we had a great time!

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