Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring Break 2010: The Backyard

We are very thankful to be living in a home that has a pool and hot tub for the first time ever.  We moved into our new house at the end of February, and we have spent a ton of time in our backyard so far.  Over Spring Break Adrielle, Skyler, and Chloe stayed with us for a few days, and we spent some time having fun in the hot tub (with a few CRAZY jumps in the pool by the kids).

~ Jack and Sky-Bo ~
~ Jack, Skyler, and Allie ~
~ Cooper and Skyler having a serious conversation ~
~ Skyler drying off ~
~ the boys drying off on the hammock ~
~ Corey's favorite place to be - sitting outside by the fire ~
~ Jack spent a lot of time reading over Spring Break.  This is one of his (and my) favorite places to read.

Spring Break 2010: The Dallas World Aquarium With The Cousins

This year, for Spring Break we stayed close to home.  We got to spend quite a bit of time with our family, and on this day we went to The Dallas World Aquarium with my sister-in-law, Adrielle, and her girls, Skyler and Chloe and with my sister, Emily, and her kids, Claire and Jacob.

~ the cousins ~
~ Allie and Baby Jake ~
~ Jackson ~
~ Adrielle & the girls ~
~ Claire and Cooper ~
~ Jakey ~
(I love this photo!!!)
  Cooper loves his baby cousin!
~through the aquarium ~

~ in the shark tank ~

After the aquarium, we walked over to the Spaghetti Warehouse for lunch.
They are SO funny together!
Chlo couldn't make it through lunch,  Sweet baby fell asleep right there on the table.
After lunch we walked over to an office building that has lots of fountains.  It was crazy-windy, but the kids had fun.

Jack is so good to play with his little cousins.
~ Sweet Claire ~
~ Jacob was next to nap ~
~ Jack videoing all the fun ~
~ more Claire ~
(She must have been feeling photogenic.)
Allie took this super-cool picture of Claire through a hole.
~ wind! ~

Cooper At Preschool

Recently, Cooper's preschool had a carnival fund-raiser.  Here are a few pictures that I snapped of him that day.  The first three are of him riding on the Boogie Woogie Choo-Choo.  My kids have been riding on this local overall-wearing, train-whistle-blowing man's train for years.  I think these pictures of Cooper screaming with delight are so fun!
~ Cooper riding a pony at the carnival ~

Today is a "school day" for my kids.  2 days a week, for a few hours, all 3 of the kids are gone to school.  (Some days those hours seem very few!)  Ironically, today, on this day when I was really excited about maybe - just maybe - working on my blog, Cooper is home.  He has had an allergy attack this spring like none he has ever had.  Last night, he literally looked like he had been punched in the eyes.  See?

So today, as I was sitting in the parking lot of his preschool about to walk him in, and I thought, "Why does he need to go today?  Why not take him home and to rest?  You are only 4 once, after all."  So that is exactly what we did.  We came home.  We have spent time together, sat on the couch and snuggled, and watched a show on the Disney channel.  And now, as I have snuck off to blog - about his preschool, coincidentally - he is singing the Little Einstein theme song in his scratchy little voice (followed by a cough) in the other room.  Yes, I made the right decision.  Some days, you just need to stay home and be comforted and taken care of by your family.  Today is that day for Cooper.

But the other day.... he went to school.

And Corey, Allie, and I went with him.

His preschool class was in charge of chapel that week, and I was so thrilled to watch him and his little 4 year old classmates lead the rest of the preschool in the pledge of allegiance, a prayer, and some songs.  Then, they all showed a picture that they had drawn about Spring and his teacher told a story.  It was so cute!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fishing Buddies

Yesterday Corey took Jack fishing.  There are many things that Corey is good at, and being a daddy is at the top of that list!  He loves all of his kids with a passion and devotion that I am honored to get to observe from an insider's point of view.  Corey's father passed away when he was 13, and I think because of that he has a perspective on fatherhood and the way that precious things can slip away and the importance of seizing the moment that many people do not understand when their kids are little.  He had a great relationship with his dad.  They shared some very good times together, and most of Corey's happy memories from childhood involve his dad.  While I know that Corey's dad had to have made mistakes, when I met 18-year-old Corey you would not have known that it was possible from the way that he talked about him.  I never got to meet my father-in-law, but I am pretty sure that he has a lot to do with the man that I get to be married to.  I just bet that all of those hours that he spent with Corey when he was a little boy teaching him to hunt and fish and be kind and resourceful and a hard worker made him into a man that is a good daddy like his own.  And yesterday, he was a good daddy... teaching his little boy to live a good life through spending time in the great outdoors like his dad did for him.  He took time away from all the work that constantly awaits him to invest in Jack and make memories with him... just like he's been doing for years.

~ Corey buying Jackson his first fishing pole ~
May 2003

~ their first time to fish together ~
Jack was 3 years old, May 2003

My little fisherman is growing up! 
~ March 2010 ~

Thursday, March 18, 2010

From The Vault: Spring Break 2006

This week is my kids are on Spring Break.  Four years ago, the kids and I spent a few days of our Spring Break visiting my sister, Emily, and her new husband, Allan.  At the time, they lived in Austin.  I love how sweet (and little!) my babies look in this picture.

Moving On

Soon after the snow days, our family packed up and left this little house. This is the last photo that I took of the place that our family has spent most of the last 2 years of our lives together. It is a place that held many memories of many kinds. While we had some good times here, we also shared some sorrowful times, some times of regrouping and catching our breath, some times of figuring out where ground zero was... it was a place to begin rebuilding. We moved into this house in a blur of emotion and sadness and chaos. For me, this was the place that I was taken to be stripped of much that I held dear. It was a place to discover what is truly important and a place to learn about contentment in the midst of a storm. It was a place where, I believe, God placed me so that I could learn more about who He is. What this life is really about. How I fit into the grand scheme of things. And how He is the grand scheme of things. I didn't find all of life's answers while I lived here, by any means... in fact, I was taught that I will certainly never find all "the answers" in this lifetime, but I found some theology to rely on when life is full of unanswerable questions. This house was a place where our faith was tested and our resolve to be a family that loves each other and honors God, no matter what, was reaffirmed. It was a place where horrible news was delivered and a place that we clung together as a family as we processed it. We moved into this house with 2 kids and a baby that was still in diapers and was still sleeping in a crib, and we moved out with 3 big kids that can read and play video games and tell jokes and ride bikes. We celebrated 10 of our birthdays here. We hosted holidays with more people than could logically fit into the space that we had here. Our baby began his relationship with Jesus in this house. The children were homeschool here. Corey maintained a business here. My respect and love for him as he fought hard for our family grew here. And many spiritual lessons were learned for all of us here. So, all in all, it was a place that contained some challenging times and some good memories. A place with ups and downs... a place like life. This snow day was one of those good times... kind of a farewell and a reminder that there were some beautiful things that happened in this house.

Snow Day #2 (February 12)

Day 2 of The Most Amazing Snow In Texas...

Corey woke early and took this photo of the trees in the front. It had snowed most of the day before and into the night.
~ the same tree when the sun came up ~
On Day 2, we were all able to play in the snow and were smart enough to get the ski clothes out of the attic. First activity on the agenda: make a snowman.

~ Corey and Jack in the street rolling up a snowball for the snowman ~

~ the kids and "Walter" the snowman ~
~ our family with our snowman ~
~ Cooper loving on the snowman ~
Cooper and our neighbor Kenny had fun playing in the snow together.
~ Cooper making a snow angel ~
~ sometimes you just have to lay in the snow ~
~ Allie taking a break ~
~ my 3 ~
~ me and my girl ~
The woods near our house were absolutely beautiful when they were covered in snow. I can honestly say that I had not thought that they were pretty the entire time that we lived here, but snow has a way of making everything pretty.
We went for a hike into the snowy woods together. I love this photo of Corey!
~ Allie ~
~ Jack in the woods ~
~ little boy in the big woods ~
~ my kiddos by the creek in the woods ~
~ Corey & me ~
When we got back home, the kids built another snow fort.
We found the sled, and they had fun pushing each other in the backyard on our very small hill.
~ Sleddin' Jack ~
~ happy boy ~
(an all-time favorite picture of Cooper, for me)
~ Cooper playing in the backyard ~
That night as the sun was going down, we realized that we had not taken a photo of the snowman that Jack had built by himself in the backyard. He and I ran out - me in flip-flops, him in shorts and no shirt - to get a picture.

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