Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Memories

Can it be that each Christmas is better than that last? Perhaps because this one was so relaxed and so focused on exactly what it should be- family, simple traditions and the real reason for the holiday.

I made lots of alterations to my routine this year...I downsized, simplified and focused on my family and the things that we love the most. I made cookies, whipped up a batch of seasoning to use as a homemade gift for my teammates, neighbors and friends and planned easy meals so that I wasn't slaving away and could enjoy the togetherness of the day. Cooper and I decorated a gingerbread house and sugar cookies for Christmas Eve and a visit from some friends. I felt so prepared and so calm- able to enjoy the season and my family. Hooray!

Here are a few of the moments that we shared, and loved.

christmas collage

Merry Christmas to All!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sick Chick

That's what my mom would always say when we were growing up and one of us was sick.

"we have a sick chick"

Well, we have a sick chick- and it's pitiful. Poor little thing. He's so sick that he's sleeping on the kitchen floor because that's where the dog is and she is the only thing that makes him feel better.

sick kid 2

We thought he was faking last night (yes, I'm aware that I'm not winning any awards here). He thought that there was a program at school today and he wasn't quite ready to make his 1st grade stage debut. I assured him that the program wasn't until next week and he'd be fine but he still insisted that he didn't feel well. He ate some dinner and was on the sofa until it was time for bed. He asked me to carry him- ok, I'll play along....as we got to the bottom of the steps, he looks up and says- "go back, go back" and then...he got sick all over the place. I.FELT.SO.BAD.

We had a long night- that resulted in probably 3 hours of sleep for each of us (well- Jon slept soundly, as did Savannah). It's been a long time since he's been this sick.

No school for the Coopster- and 5 of his closest 1st grade buddies. Apparently, something is going around.

I'm hopeful that it's just a 24 hour thing....and so incredibly thankful for his general good health.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Save the Toys!

This made me so sad....and so I wrote to my congressman and signed the petition. I have such great memories of the very toys that will be no more if this bill is passed as it was initially written.

Save The Handmade Toys

Visit the above link, or this one and take a look.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What are the odds?

On Saturday my river friends came to the big city and we went to the Bizarre Bizaar. It's sort of an area obsession and if you can fight the crowds, they really do have a wonderful selection of gifts, Christmas decorations and things you probably won't find anywhere else. We had a super time (although they were lost for 30 minutes before I finally figured out how to get them there) and everyone came away with something special. My favorite purchase is a small snowman made from a 1930's quilt. He's holding a tree made from a piece of 1950's lime green chenille. LOVE IT! Anywhoo- this is not the point of this post.

After leaving the show, I wanted to show them some Richmond-ness and so we drove down one of my all time favorite streets- when Jon and I first got married, we looked at 2 houses on Seminary- and although I could have moved into both, we decided to buy another house in a different neighborhood. I never had any regrets about that decision but I still adore the street. As we were driving, I saw something out of the corner of my eye that seemed odd, and then it made me stop the car.

"Is that a white squirrel?" It was- a completely white squirrel- just minding his own business and gathering acorns for his nest! So- what could be better that this? A trip to the Biz Baz, a tour of Richmond and a white rare white squirrel- STOP THE MADNESS!



I forgot to tell Jon and Cooper about the sighting until I was taking Cooper to school on Monday. When I told him that I had seen a white squirrel the kid almost jumped out of the seat. He could hardly wait to tell me all about the "albino squirrel". I am not sure how he got to be such an expert- but his facts made sense.

I didn't get a chance to tell Jon, and last night at dinner he says- "You're never going to believe what I saw today in Chester....."
Yup- a white squirrel!!

What are the odds???
(after doing some research, there are pockets of "albino, or near albino squirrels" in the US- and a small group of them have been reported in Richmond!!)

Who knew?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Dear Santa....

dear santa

This is the copy from the letter being written above (with exact spelling included)-

Dear Santa-

I have ben good this year. I wood like a double shooter NERF gun ....and a Star Wars battles droid ship. I wood like it brown. Also a Rubiks cube, some Army men and a model car (any kind).

Thank You! (the exclamation point is a thick bubble type deal)
Your friend,
Cooper


I love the magic of being 6!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

They're Home!!

My parents are home and I'm SO thrilled! I do worry when they are gone. They had a fantastic trip- met wonderful people, ate good food and saw amazing sights. Cooper has been getting postcards from them for the past few weeks and it's really hard to fathom that the places that he's been obsessed with for the past year are actually real and they have been there. I can't wait to hear the details and see some actual photos.

I talked to my parents tonight for an extended time and had a conversation about Christmas gift ideas. This is an actual conversation between my mom and I.

Me: So, what is on your Christmas list? Anything special?

My Mom: You know, I've been thinking- I'd really like one of those tape recorders that you use headphones to listen to.

Me: (after replaying her response back in my head twice to make sure I heard her correctly) Mom, are you talking about a WALKMAN??

My mom: Is that what they're called?

Me: Yes, and they stopped making them like 25 years ago!! MOM- why in the world do you want one of them?

My mom: Well, I thought I could use it when I went to the Y. Everyone has one.

Me: MOM! You cannot have one- I simply cannot let you go to the Y with a Walkman. Everyone else has an iPod. Do you want one of those?

My mom: Oh no, that seems much to technical for me.

My dad: Yes, your mom really isn't technical at all.

Ya think?? A walkman- hilarious!!!

I sure do love those crazy kids (it will drive my mom nuts that I've called her that- but I simply couldn't resist.

Welcome Back Mom & Dad!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wonderful Holiday Weekend

Such a fantastic Thanksgiving- quite easily one of the best I've ever had (the best was when Jon's parents invited my parents come share the day so that I'd have my family with me and wouldn't have to spend my first holiday without them).

We went to be with Jon's sister. She now lives in the house where they all grew up- and there are so many memories of holidays past. Lolo loved a party and she would have loved this day! Kathy is great at including everyone and is amazing at handling a crowd. Final count was 21 and the family tree was sprouting like crazy!

Kathy, Mike, Wade & Katie
Me, Jon & Cooper
Kathy/Jon's cousin Cindy (on their dads side), her husband and 3 kids
Mike's mom and her boyfriend
Mike's sister and her boyfriend
Mike's aunt and uncle
Jon/Kathy's aunt and uncle (mom's sister)
Niki- Joe's daughter (Kathy/Jon's brother in Arkansas)


Wade, Katie & Leslie

Cooper, William, Elena & Natalie

I love this one of Cooper & Niki!!

Cooper's place mats and turkeys were a big hit and the food was delicious. The whole house was filled with so much love and laughter- it brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion.

Elena & Natalie told us that on the way to Kathy's they had been talking about things that they were thankful for and the one that they were most thankful for was being included in our family celebration- because otherwise, they would have been alone. I'm certain that when we all sang America the Beautiful in the kitchen that they did have their doubts- but I'm SO glad they were there!!

And that's what this day is all about. Being with people, celebrating our relationships and the countless reasons that we have to be thankful. I felt so blessed to be be a part of this family and to be able to share that gift with Cooper. It is incredibly important to me that he experiences "family"- not just us, but the extended family and the love that comes with them.

The day was filled with smiles, love, good food and so many reasons to be thankful (which do not include the part where Jon let Cooper climb up a 10ft ladder by himself to adjust the target that they were using to shoot bb's....but that's a story for another day).

It was almost perfect- I wouldn't have changed a thing!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Funny Kid

Conversation this morning as I walked past the flowers that Jon gave me.

Me: "I just love those flowers, don't you think they are so beautiful?"

Cooper: "Yes, they are pretty. Are they sewn?"

Me: "Um, ask me again, I don't understand."

Cooper: "You know, are they real, or are they sewn?"

Me: "Ohh, they are real- not sewn"

Where does he get this stuff?? Hilarious!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Lessons on Monday-

On any given Monday, I'm glad to just make it until 5pm. But this Monday, I learned so much!

1) I like raisins- actually oatmeal raisin cookies to be exact. I never thought I did- in fact, I've been picking them out of my cookies for probably 30 years. I'm not opposed to a raisin in say, a broccoli salad or even a green salad of sorts but for some reason, I have been avoiding them in cookies. Not sure what made me try it- it was actually sort of a desperation type move- but no matter, I did and I loved them! (Mental note- this is exactly the reason that I have never tried a milkshake. That seems like nothing but trouble to me.)

2) My husband, although he is more conservative with "treats" than I might like, does truly want to make me smile as much as possible. These beautiful flowers arrived for me at work- just because. I was speechless. I do love him so.



3) My mother has elves who do good deeds while she's on the other side of the world. When the mail came today, it included 2 Thanksgiving cards. One for Cooper and the other for us. They were from my parents. That's the kind of person that my mom is (and perhaps why I'm so fond of a treat!). She also magically sent an anniversary card to my brother and his wife. Hers arrived on time. The one I sent was a tad bit late. Her kindness is legendary and I adore that about her.

4) Super Glue is an amazing medical supply. I've heard it said, but haven't ever tried it myself. I tore my nail down past the quick and it was killing me. I resorted to Super Glue and I am SO glad that I did. I haven't felt a thing since the glue dried. I'm healed!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Weekend Fun-

A weekend with very little planned always seems to bring out the best in all of us! I cannot even recall what filled our Saturday morning, but I know that I slept until 9am. Ahhh- I so needed that!

Cooper was invited to Sarah Clay's 8th Birthday Party and could hardly wait to get there. Sallie is the greatest at a theme and this year was no different. It was a Leg0 party and this is what the table looked like when we arrived.



I'm sure that the Leg0 filled vase of sunflowers was lost on the screaming girls, but I noticed and it was genius! Cooper was 1 of 2 boys- the 3rd was a no show. They didn't seem to mind and everyone had a super time. The 3 Leg0 race was a riot and Leg0 charades brought about some incredible creativity. I'm not sure who had more fun- me or Cooper!

We had a low key evening on Saturday and woke up on Sunday with a definite need for a visit to the grocery store. Jon was headed to the river for some rockfish fishing and Cooper and I prepared for Thanksgiving at Aunt Kathy's. We started making place mats- you know the kind when you grate crayons all over leaves and press them between 2 sheets of waxed paper with a warm iron? Yes, easier typed than done. We've completed 5 (we're aiming for 22- but that seems like a VERY ambitious goal).

Since place mats seemed stressful, I decided to tackle some super cute turkey treats that made an appearance at the Boy Scout Father Son Fall Bake Off. Did I mention that Cooper rec'd his Bobcat Badge during this event in a very symbolic ceremony? Take a look.

DSC02158

He was so nervous and his Den Mom thankfully exempted him from any speaking parts. He mustered up all of his strength and somehow made it through unscathed. Jon and I held our breath the whole time- but that little kid did great! He's now a Tiger Cub with a Bobcat Badge (I really want to call it a Badger Badge- and have been for months, but now that he actually has it- I really should honor the actual name)

DSC02160

Back to the turkeys....anywhoo- I saw them at the bake off and searched for them on the web. I found this on Flickr- and figured, no problem. These will be ADORABLE.

Instead, I'll have to settle for hilarious and really, the absolute best we could do. Wow- I am SO NOT A crafty decorator when it comes to food. They are cute in a pitiful sort of way, and Cooper loves them- so that's what matters. We worked on these for the majority of the afternoon and they will be making the trip to Aunt Kathy's where I'm sure they will occupy a prominent spot at the Thanksgiving Day table. That's what Aunts are for!!

turkey pose

I'm looking forward to a wonderfully short week at work, and cannot wait to see everyone on Thanksgiving. Kathy has invited all of the arms of the family and it promises to be a day full of family, fun, amazing food- exactly the way it should be. We are all counting the days!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Best Paper Airplane

For some reason, Cooper has become obsessed with being "on the internet". Clearly, he doesn't get that he already is via my blog...but I don't think that's the point for him.

He's been asking me to make a movie with him....and I've sort of blown him off. On Sunday he was very persistent. And so, after some experimenting with making a movie, here it is. Cooper's 1st movie.....actually I believe that it's a bit of a documentary- a how to of sorts.




I'm really quite proud of him. Proud that he completely ignored my prompting at the beginning, proud that he did it all in one take (except for the flying part) and proud that it was all him. He has mastered that plane and even added a folding step to the wings that makes it all his own. He was so determined- and not afraid at all. Hooray! I must give props to Alex- the creator of the plane. We've visited his site many times and Cooper never tires of it.

I'm not proud of the various and sundry items that are sprinkled around the living room, but- I suppose I'll live. The point is that a movie was made and his confidence soared.

Mom and Dad- if for some nutty chance you're able to see this in Egypt, I hope it will give you a Cooper fix for at least a week! We sure do miss you.

Helping Our Troops

Update- So, this is a great idea.....but not entirely legit. My friend Diana read my blog and told everyone she knew about this....and one of her friends sent her this link. Apparently, we can still do this- just via another group. Thank goodness for friends and for the Red Cross!!!


I got an e-mail with this idea and thought it was such a good one.

As you're sending your Christmas cards this year, take one card and send it to a recovering US soldier. A simple way to let these incredible men and women know that they continue to be in our thoughts and prayers and that we appreciate their sacrifice.

I'm thinking that this address would also work for general cards, letters and the always appreciated pictures from kids on an on-going basis.

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington,D.C. 20307-5001

Sunday, November 16, 2008

RIP Lipstick Jungle

Update- You can help!! Just read this on the website- There’s a last ditch Save the Jungle campaign underway: Send a tube of lipstick to Mr. Silverman (any shade will do) at the following address: 100 Universal City Plaza Universal City, CA 91608. And pray.

*it just so happens that I bought a new tube of lipstick last night at Target and when I got home realized that someone put the wrong shade in the slot- hmmm- I know JUST what to do with it now.



When I heard the news, I thought it wasn't true. Then I read this...... and it is.
NBC has canceled my favorite show.

I loved you so, Lipstick Jungle. You were the wind beneath my wings.....a breathe of fresh air in the middle of the week to carry me through to the weekend. And then they moved you to Friday- and I was saddened, but could still DVR you and watch at my leisure.

And now, you are gone.
I will miss you-

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Catching Up!

It's Saturday morning and the leaves are blowing around, the wind is warm and the colors are amazing! Cooper is playing on the floor in the family room and Jon is working on an exam for his class. Me? I am enjoying the quiet and loving the peacefulness that is my family this morning.

We ended our week with a family outing to the movies to see Madagascar 2. We don't go to the movies that often and for some reason, Cooper looked so little in the seat- staring up at the giant screen, engrossed in what was happening. He was obsessed with sitting in the 9th row before we got there- we actually sat in the 5th row (counting from the back). About 40 minutes into the movie, I realize that he's looking all around and thinking. And then he leans over and says, "momma, we're only in the 5th row, can we move to the 9th row instead?" I got so tickled- there were people in the 8th row and I couldn't help but think how crazy they will think it is if we move to sit directly in front of them when there are only about 25 people in the whole theater. Tickled to the point that I'm laughing hysterically and I cannot stop. Jon thinks I've lost my mind and Cooper is ready to pick up his lemonade and change rows. We get ourselves together and stay put for the remainder of the movie. After it's over, we walk up to the 9th row. Turns out, one of Cooper's friends had lost a ball in the 9th row when he went to see Madagascar and Cooper told him that he'd look for it. Sweet kid. (and nope, no sign of the ball)

The fall has been incredible- and a rite of passage for every child has to be jumping in the leaves. Don't you remember how much fun it always was??





I didn't do my Thankful Thursday post this week, but there are a few I wanted to mention.

My parents left this week to go to Egypt- the trip has been planned since last year and my mom's accident left them wondering whether they'd be able to go. I'm thankful that she's back to almost 100% and that she felt strong enough to go. They are both excited and this trip is an amazing one- Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Israel. They've only been gone for 5 days but already I miss being able to talk to them. It's going to be a long month!

They aren't the only people traveling this week.....Dana & Brian (and their son Kaneu) are headed to Korea to meet their little girl (and sister)! Am excited for all of them- and thankful that they are able to expand their happy family.

Say some prayers for safe travels for all of them.

Cooper has had a better week- I am thankful for the resilience of children and for some fantastic parenting advice that I sought out and am using.

I was able to spend some time out with the girls on Thursday. As a thank you for the Auction success at Cooper's school, Kristin treated the rest of the committee to dinner at PF Chang's. Love that place! I'm thankful for some girl time and the opportunity to continue to build new friendships. We laughed and stuffed ourselves with lettuce wraps. What could be better!

We're off to the river to relax and recuperate. Cannot wait-

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Jon!

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Today we celebrated Jon's birthday. He's not a fan of anything huge or festive on his special day but I feel like it's really important in our little family to make a big deal out of things. Wade came for dinner, I made Spaghetti Carbonara, Cooper decorated cupcakes and we brought out the celebration chair. We sang to him, he blew out the candles and then opened the cards that he's received over the past few days. Sweet "party" for a good dad!

Happy Birthday honey- we sure do love you!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Blur

That is what this week has been. A blur.

elections, celebrations, disappointments, parties, friends, trauma, work, illness, sadness, hope, busy, hungry, lonely, tender moments, fear, a kind word, frustration, spoiled milk, a new recipe using only what's on hand, deadlines, patriotism, change, prejudice, tears, lack of sleep, tons of errands, proud, inefficient, nervous, angry, loved.

Not enough bold this week.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween, Weekend in Review & 7 Weird Things

Denise tagged me to tell 7 weird things about myself, and before I follow the directions and play along I want to talk about Halloween- and my 1st weird thing!

Cooper opted out of Halloween this year. I'm a fan of Halloween- not necessarily for myself (because I can never think of a really good costume- and no, this isn't my weird thing) but for little kids because they are so darn adorable in their outfits, and because it's such fun to decorate the house! Anyway, when I asked Cooper what he wanted to be this year, he said that he didn't want to be anything. Huh? But you're 6, and there is candy (to this he said that he didn't want his teeth to rot) and it's so much fun.....

Nope, he wasn't having it. I figured that he'd change his mind. Everyone tried- strangers, friends, family, even his teacher. But his mind was made up. No costume, no trick or treating.

Weird thing # 1- my child didn't go trick or treating! To make myself feel better, because everyone else has adorable pictures of their kids on the big night, I checked out his costumes of old. That kid makes me laugh!

cooper_tree
1st Halloween- Christmas Tree

cooper-crab
2nd Halloween- Crab (I actually put a sign on his back that said, "please don't feed me candy- it makes my mommy crabby")

cooper-banana04
3rd Halloween- Banana (who carried a monkey)

cooper-bob2006
4th Halloween- Bob (with Pilchard...that kid LOVED Pilchard)

cooper-vampire
5th Halloween- Vampire
pumpkin carving
6th Halloween- Pumpkin Carver... I stressed about him not going out all week. We saved our pumpkin so that we could carve it on Halloween. He worked so hard- he scooped it out, separated the seeds and sketched the face that he wanted Jon to cut. And when it was all finished he said, "I love carving the pumpkin, it's the best part of Halloween."
And that's when I realized.....he was right.

The rest of our weekend continued on that high note. Cooper and I took part in the Scouting for Food program that collects food for our local food bank. Saturday was the bag distribution day- and next week other scouts will go back and pick up the filled bags. The experience was so great- he had a super time and seemed to be proud that he had helped to make a difference. I know that I was.

Our friends George & Jess have a Halloween Party each year for the kids, and this year the theme of the party was Peter Pan. The kids were adorable (nope- no costume for Cooper this time either) and the party was so much fun. Jess had all sorts of Peter Pan themed activities and games and all of the pirates and tinkerbells had a ball. Jon was a part of the festivities and took all of the kids on a hayride with his tractor. It was so much fun- we must have looked so silly- but nobody cared and it was picture perfect!

Saturday night took us to dinner with Lolly & Chris and some other C!rcuit C!ty alum for a reunion dinner. Great food, great friends.....lots of memories and tons of laughs!! Thanks Lolly for getting us rallied.

Today was a catch up day.....Jon and Cooper detailed our cars, I cleaned and we all played catch in the cul-de-sac. The weekend was the perfect combination of fun, family and friends!!

Wow, long post....last but not least- I've Been Tagged!


Here are 6 other weird/random facts about me.

2) I can't sleep on Sunday nights. Ever. I don't know what it is, but for the past year (at least), it has been impossible for me to get to sleep on Sunday- I toss, turn, read, watch tv, blog- and might get 4 hours tops.

3) I scare/startle extremely easily....it drives Jon crazy- I can't help it. I think it's because I get really engrossed in things and lose a sense of what is around me. Typically after I've been scared- I burst into tears. Yup, crazy. I know.

4) I have a weird finger thing. Some people notice particular things about others- like maybe eyes, or shoes...me- fingers. I am fixated on hands.

5) I pull my eyelashes out when I am stressed. I fill in the gaps with mascara and eyeliner. My friend Laura (Lolly) inspects me each time we're together- she can tell how stressed I am by the number of gaps. I've been doing really well as of late- until recently.

6) I like the flavor of certain fruits, but not the fruit itself and vice-versa. So- watermelon flavor- good. Watermelon- no can do. Cherry flavor- good. Cherries- nope. Grapes- love them. Grape flavor- no thank you. Oranges- yup. Orange flavor- can't take it.

Ok- perhaps that was too much information...but isn't that the point?

Hmm- who to tag? I don't even know 7 people who blog....I'll just have to be non-compliant on that one!

To make up for it, here is a preview of what will be happening at our house on Tuesday night. Election Day for Presidential elections are a big deal in our family. Cooper is getting a head start on the festivities!
coopie- with leis

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Our week has been good!

I am thankful for (in no particular order):


Diet Coke (terrible, I know)

Jon and I being completely in sync this week- we needed this!

Cold weather- although I complain, it's so nice to be able to smell fall.

The time that Cooper and Jon have spent together this week- starting with the Homecoming Parade last Friday. How great is this picture-- and how important does our 6 year old feel being a part of the gang!



Some quality family time playing games (Jon is teaching Cooper to play chess and he is completely into it). Checkers is more my speed.

A safe arrival in Iraq of Christopher...and the peace that his sister is feeling because of it.

A reprieve for Angela- time away from her older 2 to take some time for herself & Rory. We had a great chuckle together and she sounded terrific.

Looking forward to the weekend- a big play date for Cooper since there is no school on Friday, a Halloween party on Saturday and a night out for Jon and me with some dear old friends.

My walking neighbor- I am enjoying this time (albeit very early) so much.

Quiet time at T*rget earlier this week.....those aisles are therapeudic!

Rats- I just realized that it's only Wednesday......does that tell you anything about where my brain is?? Oh well-whatever the day, I am grateful for each one that I have!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

There is good....

When you read things like this, it helps to reinforce the fact that there are kind and decent people in the world. There really is good all around us.

I'm not sure that I would have done this. I couldn't have managed it financially for one- I also would have had so many doubts, and questions and second thoughts.

I need to remember- there is always a plan!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Funny Kid

The Coopster has a great sense of humor and lately has made me belly laugh quite often. These are the 2 most recent.

Story 1-

I called Jon yesterday to tell him that I was on my way home. Cooper answered his iPhone, so I talked to him instead.

Me: Hi Little, what are you doing?
Him: Just playing
Me: Oh good. I just called to say that I'm leaving work and will see you soon.
Him: Ok. Momma?
Me: Yes?
Him: Can I buy a football?
Me: Do you have any money?
Him: Yes.
Me: How much do you have?
Him: Four dollars.
Me: What kind of football did you want to buy?
Him: Nerf.
Me: Do you know where they have those?
Him: T*rget.
Me: When did you think that you'd go to T*rget?
Him: Tonight.
Me: Who is going to take you to T*rget?
Him: Daddy
Me: Really? Daddy is going to T*rget tonight?
Him: Well, he doesn't know it yet, but he is.
Me: (laughing because I know there is no way that Jon is going to T*rget for a Nerf football on a random Tuesday night) Buddy, if you can get Daddy to take you to T*rget tonight, I'll give you the money for the football myself.
Him: Ok, hold on a minute
Him: (yelling) Hey Daddy, Mommy said you need to take me to T*rget right now!

Hilarious!
The Result: There was no trip to T*rget last night.

Story 2-

Cooper stayed home today because he had a bit of the runs. Poor kid! So the entire day he's dying for a trip to T*rget....and finally at 5pm, I give in. He has $4 that is burning a hole in his pocket. But, it's sort of hard for me to pull myself away from the computer and so the kid hears 'we're leaving now' probably about 15 times. He got frustrated...and rang the doorbell, knocked on the door, brought me my purse, my keys and all but shed a tear to get me to move. I finally say- Ok, ok and start to get myself together. Since I'm now physically moving, Cooper goes down the steps and apparently gets in the car.

I'm sort of oblivious to the fact that Jon has come home during all of this, but he has. I hear some scuttle and then him talking to Cooper. So I go downstairs, say hi to Jon and let him know that we're headed to T*rget. He seems good with that (especially since it doesn't involve him) and we're off.

As I'm backing out of the garage, Cooper says, "Momma, I'm glad you weren't ready to go right away because I had fun scaring Daddy". Huh?? Then he says- "Daddy didn't know that I was in the car waiting for you and I hopped out when he came into the garage and it really scared him to death."

Ok- I'm DYING!!

I am picturing this- Cooper goes downstairs, gets into the car and is calmly waiting for me to come to take him to T*rget. Jon is clueless about this and pulls into the driveway, unloads his supplies and walks into the garage through the door with supplies in hand. Cooper is excited to see his dad, so he opens the car door- at which point Jon freaks out and thinks that someone has been hiding in the car and is now coming out to attack him. He reacts, jumps 2 feet and is ready to take on his attacker- who happens to be his now hysterical 6-year old son!

I couldn't drive out of the driveway, I was laughing so hard. Jon comes over to the car, because he realizes that Cooper has relayed the story and he says- He's killing me. Honey, I could feel hair standing up on the back of my neck I was so scared. (Now, I can hardly breathe!) Oh, how I wish I had film on that one!!

**Please note that I am laughing so hard right now I can hardly see!!**

Lots of laughter- lots of love!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fall is in Full Force!

My parents came down for the weekend and we had such a fantastic visit! They arrived on Friday night- just in time for all of us to crash after a looonnnngggg week.

Saturday brought cooler weather and what better way to celebrate than with a trip to the Pumpkin Patch. Ever since Cooper was a baby, we've been going to a nearby church that has a great selection of pumpkins. We have the big farm type patches, and Cooper has been there on field trips with hay rides and giant characters, etc. Somehow, this place feels like our very own. I've got such great memories here, and although he may not remember being there the 1st time....but I sure do! Couldn't you just eat him up?!!

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We had just as much fun this year- leaving with one big pumpkin & one tiny one. I love the pictures that we took- my dad had his camera and it's one I dream about. The colors are so sharp, bright and true, just the way that I saw them that day.

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Jon worked in the yard all day, and we're one step closer to completing our project- grass! Such a simple word....not so simple to get some in our yard. Jon's been working so hard, and we've been helping as much as possible. We had some gravel delivered earlier in the week and Jon was spreading it (not as simple as it sounded). He edged the whole driveway in landscaping timbers and it looks fantastic. I'm thrilled. Sunday means mulching- fun for the entire family!

Another milestone for Cooper- his 1st sleepover. One of the boys in his class wanted a sleepover for his birthday, and he was allowed to invite 2 boys. Cooper was one of them. I was a wreck. I know the mom really well- we used to work together ages ago, and she was once my boss. She's great and it was as perfect a 1st sleepover scenario as could possibly exist. Cooper was excited, and then nervous. I was sure he'd never make it and we'd get a phone call in the middle of the night. Truth be told, I was dying for that call. It never came-

That little kid spent the night somewhere else, somewhere away from us, and his home, and his dog. He was so brave and so big- and he was so proud of himself. I am proud of him too- but am hopeful that his next sleepover isn't for at least 6 more months.

While Cooper was growing up, we had a birthday celebration dinner with my mom and dad for Jon. They'll be in Egypt and this was a perfect opportunity for us to have a great "adult only" dinner. We had Vietnamese, and it was delicious. Diana gave me a tip on a secret, off the menu item and it was divine! Jon had her other suggestion and I ventured out and it turned out to be the perfect dish. My parents loved their meal too and the evening was a success!

Today we all spread mulch....and the quest for grass continues.

Wonderful visit with my parents, a milestone for Cooper, quality time together, lots of hard work and some really good food.

An A++ weekend!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Prayers for Christopher

I received an e-mail today from my sweet friend, Diana. I would be so grateful if you'd include Christopher in your thoughts and prayers. It is because of the brave and dedicated men and women like Christopher that we are able to enjoy our freedom. For this, and for them, I am thankful.

As many of you know my younger brother (he hates when I call him that!) is leaving tomorrow for Iraq. If you feel so inclined, I'd love your prayers for him and for the rest of his soldiers. This is his 2nd deployment and he'll be there for 12 - 15 months.

For those of you who don't know all the details, Christopher got out of the Army after his 1st deployment and had a little taste of civilian life before he decided that the Army was where he belongs. He rejoined last year as an Army Captain knowing that a deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan was inevitable. He loves the Army and loves serving his country and knowing this, makes this deployment far easier for my family and me. We will of course be worried for him, but we know how exceptionally well trained he is, how good at his job he is, and..most importantly...that he's protected by the One that loves him more than we do.

I'm a firm believer in the power of prayer and if you feel inclined to pray for him, please do! Please just pray for Christopher's safety and the safety of his unit (he's deploying with the 25th Infantry Division).


Here is a picture of Christopher we took just over 2 years ago when he was home from Iraq for the first time. I know it helps to have a face to pray for!

Love,
Diana


Monday, October 13, 2008

The Weekend in Review

Such a great weekend! I got a ton accomplished- the only things on my list that I didn't get done were going to Sam's Club (had to do Wal-Mart once the boys were home) and re-organizing the hall closet. Not too shabby! I caught up on some sleep, spent a fantastic night with the river girls, de-cluttered all sorts of spaces and was anxiously waiting for my boys to return.

When they arrived, I had to laugh out loud. I spent most of my weekend working on cleaning things up- it seemed like they spent an equal amount of time doing just the opposite. Cooper could hardly wait to tell me about the weekend. Before he could finish even the 1st story, I was clicking away to try and capture the sheer filthiness of the situation. Here is a sample:
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You'll note the huge amount of dirt on his hands and face. Those are hands that didn't come near water for almost 50 hours. Don't even get me started on the red tongue and teeth that hadn't seen a toothbrush in the same amount of time. The clincher was the wound under his right eye. When I asked about it, he shrugged it off and said, "what momma, it's not a big deal". Who are you and what have you done with my sweet child?? The tube-like apparatus in his hands is a homemade corn shooter. Glorious!!

Jon sent this picture to me while they were gone- a tiny glimpse into the conditions at camp.
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Bottom line- they are safe and they had a wonderful time!

We all did!

Friday, October 10, 2008

No Gloom & Doom!!

It's Friday- and I have been looking forward to this weekend for a while! My post from yesterday seemed to be so sad- and I'll admit, that's how I felt when I wrote it- but I have decided to get back to living in the moment and so, here I am!!

Jon and Cooper are away for the weekend- at Indian Guides. I know, it doesn't conjure up the most politically correct visions, but these dads are not your average Indian Guide type and so I don't let it bug me. Bottom line, this group of dads and kids have a camping outing twice each year and it's really all about the kids. By sheer luck, and a very down to earth friend, Jon & Cooper were invited to join this tribe (?). I have been planning my weekend ever since the date was finalized. Here are my plans/goals:

Friday-
1) leave work by 4 (I am fried!)
2) buy something yummy for dinner & snacking
3) do laundry so that every item each of us owns is clean, folded and put away
4) watch 4 hours worth of recorded programming (Lipstick Jungle, Project Runway- 2 episodes, and Gray's Anatomy)
5) remove clutter from dining room table

Saturday-
1) sleep late (this could be hard since the dog is still here, but I will try!)
2) eat a pumpkin muffin from Einst*in Bagels (they have them with and without cream cheese frosting- please use your imagination to determine which I will order!!)
3) remove the piles that have accumulated in our bedroom
4) de-clutter the hall closet
5) go to Sam's Club (this could turn into Wal-M*rt, based on time)
6) potentially meet Diana at 0ld Navy for some fashion assistance
7) drive to the river to pick up the "river girls" for a girls only celebration
8) eat dinner at a fun restaurant (tbd)
9) shop
10) shop
11) shop!!!!

Sunday-
1) sleep late (again- the dog will be an issue)
2) come home
3) continue operation de-clutter until my beloved family returns!

I. Cannot. Wait!!

I'm not sure whether you can tell or not, but Cooper's tongue is sticking out through the space that was created by his latest tooth loss. He's also got his Cub Scout uniform on and he looks adorable in it!! I love this picture- it makes me smile. Hope it does the same for you!
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Hope your weekend is as fantastic as I'm thinking mine will be! Jon and Cooper have perfect weather for their camping trip, so I've got no worries about them getting frost bite and I've got the perfect plan for a relaxing, yet productive weekend. Everyone's a winner!

Hugs!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thankful Thursday

A simple list today of some things that I am thankful for. Simple because everything else in the world seems so complicated and uncertain right now.

For Jon & Cooper
For my parents & my brother & extended family
For the family that is now mine through marriage
For the friendships that make our lives richer
That I am able to provide for my family
For our good health
For our freedoms
For laughter and smiles
For memories

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Lost Tooth (#2)

I got home from work yesterday and before I could even turn into the driveway, Cooper was flying across the yard, waving his arms at me. I stopped the car and rolled down the window to see what the excitement was all about. Turns out, his tooth fell out! It had been loose, but I didn't think that it was anywhere near ready- but what do I know?

I went to play Domino's with friends last night (we had a great time), and so wasn't home for bedtime. When I got back, I went to kiss him goodnight and take care of my parental duty. Next to the tooth (carefully preserved in a zip-lock bag) was a note.



There are a few things that made me laugh at this-
1) the fact that he would even think to write a note
2) that he knew, deep down, that there was a pretty good chance that he wouldn't get $5 for this tooth (the Tooth Fairy was very kind and left $5 because it was his 1st tooth)
3) the way he spelled 'last'- just like it sounds- lastime (love this!)
4) that he felt confident enough in his ability to write a note in the 1st place
5) how much that kid really wanted $5

I crawled in bed and nudged Jon after reading the note and he delivered the kicker- Cooper wanted to make sure that I saw the note, but he was worried that I wouldn't get home before the Tooth Fairy came. So he made a 'copy' of the letter so he could show me. That little kid wrote 2 notes- 1 for the Tooth Fairy & 1 for me.

He woke up this morning and came in to my room with the $2 that had been left in exchange for his tooth (after all, it was tooth #2). In his other hand was the copy of the note that he had written. He was so proud that he had thought to make a copy, and told me the whole story (even that he made sure that Jon took a picture of the actual note- not the copy!) He seemed a little let down- but that was quickly replaced by a burning question.

"Momma, I've been wondering. Where do you think the Tooth Fairy gets her money?"

Hmmmmm, that's a good question!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Funny Kid

The weekend came to a close with an early bedtime for Cooper. Our routine has changed lately- and now, Cooper reads stories to me. He gets so excited as he turns the pages and realizes that he knows what they say- and so irritated when he stumbles on a word and I'm quick to provide the solution.

I'm getting better about that- but for days, I've been trying to provide hints to help. My "old stand by" has been- when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking. And until tonight, each time I say it- he reads the word correctly. So tonight, he's reading and the word is read- and he's stumped.

So.....I tell him the rule and he turns and looks at me straight in the eye and says, "you know momma, I really don't get it- why are you talking about the vowels walking?".

He does make me giggle

Saturday, October 4, 2008

New Arrival

Saturday morning had us heading to the river after a lazy Friday night of pizza and movies. We were looking forward to an afternoon of no real plans. A typical Saturday to us, but not for our friend! Ang & her husband welcomed their 3rd child early on Saturday morning. A little girl named Rory. Both mom and daughter are doing well and the big sister & brother are ecstatic about their new roles!

Welcome Rory- we can't wait to meet you!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Have had a long week away from home. I had to go to TX this week for a series of meetings. It has been a long four days and I am glad to be back. As I walked across the parking garage to my car after getting off of the plane, the moon was a crescent and the sky was striped pink and blue. It was so beautiful and so unexpected that I stopped for a second just to take it in. So much to be thankful for....

The week was a good one- an opportunity for me to meet some of my new partners, and to get more engaged in the depths of my new role. There were times when I felt like my presence was inconsequential, but there were also times when the light bulb went off and I started to feel as if I was making an impact, and closing some gaps. That was good and I am thankful.

Coming home, I saw the grass that we planted almost 3 weeks ago peeking through the straw. So exciting! I pulled in the driveway and saw a little head at the window and could hardly wait to hug that sweet kid. So heartwarming! I walked up the steps and was greeted by my sweet husband asking whether I needed any help. So comforting!

I brought Cooper some Mexican Jumping Beans and a small armadillo. I've started the practice of bringing something back from each of my trips. Usually, it's a t-shirt and a small trinket- I'm a sucker for a smile brought by a treat from a far away place. The jumping beans were a huge hit and the armadillo went to sleep with him. I'm thankful for the ability to bring that smile to my child, not only with a treat, but with all the love that transfers between us when we curl up and read bedtime stories and I tuck him him and kiss him goodnight. There is nothing better.

Things are not all peaches and cream though....I could have used some restraint and some understanding toward Jon after tucking Cooper in tonight. I left a list of things for Jon that I thought would be helpful while I was gone. Am I overprotective- probably. Could he have done it without the list- probably. Would Cooper have had everything that he needed this week without the list- probably not. Would that have been the worst thing ever- probably not. I made a specific request that I didn't think was too much to ask- and it didn't get done. And it threw me over the edge. And I made it perfectly clear how upset I was. And it didn't go well. I'm thankful that there will be another day, and that it will be better. I'm thankful that even when we're angry, we believe in each other and in our relationship.

Tomorrow is Friday- TGIF!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Butcher, The Baker....



Haven't posted a picture in ages...and I found this one on my camera. I took it a few weeks ago while we were making brownies to take to a friends house for dinner.

The dinner was the result of a last minute call to our friends George and Jess. I wanted to do something fun and that turned into an impromptu dinner at their house with a new experience- Indian food. So exciting, and really tasty! Cooper and I decided that we should make some brownies and I happened to have everything we needed. He was hilarious- and insisted on doing everything himself. He was so proud of himself and his baking skills.

Great night, great friends, great food- great brownies!!

PS- Happy Birthday Mom!!! Hope your day is perfect-

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's the Little Things-

I went to Cooper's back to school night last week. The children had worked so hard on making the classroom "ready" for their parents. Each desk in the classroom held a packet of papers, a cute paper monkey (they're doing an animal unit), a science notebook and a blank piece of paper that said love note at the top. Each parent was supposed to write a note so that they'd know we had been there and it would greet them the next morning. Cooper knew all about it and was excited to tell me what would happen.

I visited his classroom and wrote him a note. I was careful to use words that I knew he'd be able to read and wrote in my best 1st grade handwriting. I told him how his work made me feel (the book about you made me happy, the monkey made me laugh, etc) and let him know how proud I was of him for his good work. I signed my name with some hugs and kisses. Parental duty complete, I didn't think about the note again.

This morning he opted to have me walk him into the classroom instead of going through the carpool line. When he opened his locker to put his things away I saw the note! He looked up at me and said, "There's your note Momma. I put it there because I liked it. Isn't it a good locker decoration?". I melted and my heart swelled up into my throat.

A note that I didn't give a second thought to is now decorating my little boys locker. It's the little things- it always has been.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I am at home, with my family and doing things that are important- making dinner for my husband, washing the laundry, feeding the cat, and most important of all, tucking my baby into bed. I am thankful that things are returning to "normal".

On Tuesday, my boss told me to take Wednesday off. I almost cried. I told Cooper that I'd pick him up from school and we'd go on an adventure. I figured we'd go to Dick's and look at the camping supplies and maybe eat some ice cream. Cooper had a different idea. He wanted to go on a real adventure, "somewhere that we've never been before". And so I figured out a plan. I'd pick him up from school and we'd take a trip to a rock store. He could choose a treasure from the store and then we'd go for ice cream. I am thankful for the perfect plan!

When I picked him up he was beside himself. He had a book that he could hardly wait to read to me. His reading is amazing! It just all started to click for him and each time he picks something up, he's amazed with his own skills. I am thankful that he loves to read, and that it's coming easily to him. On the way to the rock store, he read the story of Sly Fox and Red Hen. His little voice warmed my heart.

The rock shop couldn't have been more of an adventure if I had wished for it! The building is a little cottage, sort of run down and standing alone on the side of a busy highway. I was a little nervous about going inside but figured- how crazy could it be? The place was covered, stacked, piled, layered, balanced and just chock full of stuff. Not just rocks and stamps- but postcards, buttons, rocks, gemstones, bones, teeth, jewelry parts, magazines, fossils, snake skins and beads. We wandered around and the owners were so gracious. They answered all of our questions and showed us anything that we wanted to see. There was a woman who had to be at least 108 sitting at a desk separating stamps. People came in and out with all sorts of requests- and Cooper was mesmerized. We left about 90 minutes later with the following:

1 alligator tooth that glows under black light
1 fossil dating back at least 3 million years
1 arrowhead made from obsidian
1 stingray tooth (valued at 20 cents)

Total bill- $4.60
An afternoon spent on an adventure with my son- priceless
I am thankful for this time, for the unconditional love that we have for each other and for the look on his face as he arranged his treasures on the shelf in his bedroom.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sprinkles.....Really?

Have been out of touch, simply because I have been crazy with work. I've also been extra cranky and would prefer not to remember this time when I look back months or years from now!

So, another hurricane....and my company again throws lots of resources to make sure that folks in harms way are taken care of. This is the reason that I love where I work and this is also the reason that I'm struggling right now. I miss my family.

I needed to travel last week, and so was out of town beginning on Tuesday. I returned on Thursday night, thankfully in time to tuck Cooper into bed. I wasn't supposed to get in until later but was able to take an earlier flight.

As I was cleaning up the kitchen, I noticed a bowl full of sprinkles. I wondered about them, but figured that they had had ice cream and Jon decided to add sprinkles for some extra fun.

The next morning at breakfast, I asked about the sprinkles. The conversation went like this:

Me: Cooper, do you know why there are sprinkles in that bowl?

Cooper: Well, while you were gone I got really hungry and I wanted a snack. I asked Daddy for one and he told me to get something myself. So I looked all around and I could only find sprinkles.

Me: So, you ate sprinkles- plain sprinkles- for a snack?

Cooper: Yes. I was still kind of hungry though. I'm really glad you're home Momma. I missed you.

I simply cannot ever leave again!




Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Remember my new job.....well, something I didn't realize was that "disaster recovery" is a part of my job description. And this week, a region of the company experienced a disaster- GUSTAV (I can't stand that guy!!). So....I gave up my holiday weekend to help prepare to assist in making sure that our friends further south were ok. I worked on Sunday, for 14 hours on Monday and late each night this week. I also took a conference call before seeing Jimmy Buffett....but I drew the line and hung up exactly at 6pm. I do have standards! That being said, I did come home each night to a cool house with bright lights burning and my sweet, sweet family anxiously waiting to welcome me.

I am thankful that the storm was not worse, that lives were spared and that I work for a company that truly is concerned about the well being of its associates. I am so blessed and I know that- but part of me struggled so much with leaving my family and was irritated that I was making a sacrifice. I feel so crummy....so many people made larger sacrifices- and still are.....


Jon and I had the BEST TIME EVER at the concert- seriously, the BEST TIME EVER. Our seats were fantastic- we were actually in the 10th row (2 rows better than I thought). I took some pictures, but need to figure out how to get them out of Jon's iPhone. We felt like we were royalty- and couldn't stop giving each other high fives and saying, "can you believe this??"!!
At one point, Jon leaned over and said- I can see the hairs on Jimmy's legs! So great.
I am thankful for the joy that we shared, for the time that we had together and for the memories that we have from that night.

There is a story about how Paula Deen met her husband that I can't get out of my head. She was really sad and lonely, and so she said a prayer over and over. God, please send me a neighbor. And He did. She met her husband when she was walking her dog on a route that she had never taken before. Anywhooooo- I've been praying for a neighbor. Not necessarily because I'm sad and lonely, but because I once had a neighbor who was/is also an amazing friend, and I miss that. And because there are 2/3 lots behind our house that have been vacant since 1960 and now, 1 has been sold and the others remain on the market. And a neighbor may bring a fun 6 year old friend for Cooper and all sorts of possibilities.

Last week, I was talking to one of our neighbors from further down the street and something made me ask her whether she walked in the mornings. And she did! I asked her when she walked, and she said 5:30-6:15. That is the only time that I can walk in the morning- Jon leaves at 6:30 and I cannot possibly wake up before 5 (I'm SO not a morning person). I asked her whether I could join her- and she said- Sure! And so, I am thankful for God's answer to my prayer.

Seems like this weekend may bring a relative of Gustav's to our parts.....I am hopeful that we won't be needing any disaster recovery. Stay tuned-

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Funny Site-

My friend Sallie and I have horrifying stories of birthday cakes that we've purchased over the years for our children. We do it to ourselves- by ordering every year without fail from the same bakery. And every year, we call each other from the parking lot, or on the way home, to lament about the disaster that we've paid dearly for!

I think we've both finally wised up....but this blog made me realize that we weren't alone for all those years.

The Barbie cake description made me laugh out loud. A definite mood lifter......enjoy!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thankful Thursday

So much to be thankful for...

We have not had rain for ages...it is so dry that the trees are going into shock and dropping their leaves. Our grass is non-existent to the point that it's sort of embarrassing. I am thankful that we've had rain for the past 2 days. It's been the best rain- the soaking kind that ensures that everything gets a nice long drink. Today everything was a little bit more green and a lot more alive.

In our old house, we entered and exited through a french door in the family room. Then we walked across a patio (that I loved) and to the driveway where the cars waited in the rain, snow, sun or pitch dark. I am thankful that our house now has a garage- and that we can walk down the staircase and into a climate controlled vehicle. It is such a luxury!

I am thankful that the first week of school has gone so smoothly. The difference between this year and last year is huge. Lots of contributing factors, but whatever the reason- it's an answer to many prayers. Having a happy, well-adjusted child is a gift.

I decided to really try to be much more in control this school year. No more running out the door and playing beat the clock- I'm waking up without pushing snooze (a big deal) and am working on getting into a manageable routine. 4 days- things are going well. I am thankful for some increased will power that seems to have taken over me.

When we were on vacation, Jon visited the local ABC store to buy some "adult beverages". While he was there, he entered a contest to win Jimmy Buffett tickets. HE WON!!! We will be attending the Labor Day Weekend Show. If you're a fan...you'll get this- if not, it's the 1st line of his song, Come Monday.


Song lyrics | Come Monday lyrics

We have seats in the orchestra- 12 rows away from Jimmy! I am so looking forward to spending this time with Jon (um, and Jimmy). We had so much fun when we went to see the show for my birthday and I never dreamed that we'd get to go again- let alone being to sit in these AMAZING seats!! Jon was beside himself when he got the call- and really thought that it was a joke at first. We held our breath until the tickets came- but they are here and they are real. I am thankful for this little pick me up as the summer comes to a close.

My new job is challenging. I've been feeling sort of overwhelmed- like there is so much to get done and not enough time to do it, or worse, that I'm not able to do it. I had a meeting with my new boss and she was so great. She let me know that she thought I was doing exactly what I needed to be doing in this stage of the game. I am thankful for those words, and for her support.

A while ago, I said that I was thankful for a friend who was pregnant with twins. I went to visit her over the weekend, and saw her 4D pictures of her babies, currently being referred to as A & B. They are doing great at 12 weeks and her doctor is pleased with her progress. Hooray! I am thankful for her continued healthy pregnancy.

Hope everyone enjoys their Labor Day Weekend- be safe & have fun!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

100 Things About Me

Lots of bloggers do this and I challenged myself and this friend to come up with the same. It's harder than it seems, but at the same time, fun!

  1. I am approaching 40 (and it freaks me out a bit)
  2. I regularly religiously have my hair highlighted
  3. My parents have been great role models for me and I owe them more than could ever be repaid
  4. I am addicted to Diet Coke
  5. I got married when I was 30. My mother later told me that if I hadn't been engaged at the time, she and my dad would have had an enormous surprise birthday for me (umm- consolation prize?)
  6. I chose to attend college in the south because I wanted a southern accent
  7. I am a Kappa Delta (from Alpha chapter)
  8. I have a weird thing about nicknames for certain people
  9. I started calling my mom Babs when I was in jr. high. My extended family thought that it was disrespectful. My mother adored it and that's what I call her to this day (I alternate with Ma, Mom & Grandma)
  10. I call my brother Henry although his name is Eric. My dad doesn't approve. Not sure about my mom.
  11. If I could live on just one food for the rest of my life, it would be pizza.
  12. Homegrown tomatoes are a close 2nd
  13. I fell in love with Jon before I had spoken to him even once (we worked in the same department).
  14. My friends & co-workers thought I was nuts.
  15. My friend Laura sobbed through our whole wedding because it was a dream come true and she was there from the start.
  16. I am terrible at managing my money- TERRIBLE
  17. If I could have plastic surgery, it would be a toss up between having a nose job or my knees altered
  18. I am opposed to Botox (for myself, but accept that it may work for others!)
  19. I adore my son and am probably definitely a bit over the top at times when it comes to his well being and every whim
  20. I haven't always felt that way and struggled with postpartum symptoms after he was born
  21. I have met only one person who had these feelings too (and was willing to share). She made me realize that I wasn't alone and inspired me to keep going. I don't even know whether she knows how big an impact she had on my life, and on Cooper's
  22. My favorite color is blue (no specific shade)
  23. I love to sing, and until I used a karaoke machine, thought I had a pretty good voice.
  24. I think that Kraft Mac & Cheese (original blue box) is delicious!
  25. If I could choose my profession again, I'd be an architect and specialize refurbishing old homes so that they kept their character
  26. I am against new construction as a rule and would never live in a brand new house or organized neighborhood
  27. I have a huge issue with front doors that do not match the integrity of the rest of the house. A repeat offender is the one with the oval patterned glass. It must be the cheapest door available at Lowe's-
  28. I love Junior Mints
  29. I love the color combo of red, white and blue. It's crisp, clean and inspires me.
  30. My family went to church/Sunday School faithfully when I was growing up. I liked my church family and have fond memories of the time we spent together and of church in general. I wish I had this now.
  31. I think my mom has a direct line to God and she constantly says "little prayers" for everyone. I love this about her!
  32. I prefer a traditional church with hymns and organ music.
  33. My favorite flower is a zinnia. I also love violets (the wild kind that are really weeds)
  34. I think Curious George is a great example of positive programming for children.
  35. I despise Y-7 shows that model crude behavior and make it ok to tease or put down others (ie- SpongeBob etc,).
  36. I am against violent shows for children and forbid them to be seen in our house.
  37. We have a single television in our home (and just recently upgraded to high def).
  38. None of us will ever have a TV in our bedroom
  39. I think that I am probably ADD (Jon agrees!)
  40. I have a ton of rules that other people probably view as strange, prudish and not necessary
  41. Rules give me the structure I crave
  42. We purchased a 2nd home at the river when Cooper was 15 months old
  43. It's the best thing we've ever done and is the glue that keeps us all together and sane
  44. Our neighbors at the river adopted us and we are considered extended family. We adore them.
  45. It's very difficult to maintain 2 homes. We manage because the benefit far outweighs the stress.
  46. I have a fear of exercise, especially exercise in front of others
  47. I get the best feeling- that I can't describe- each time I spot a rainbow.
  48. DVR has changed my life
  49. I love accents, especially, British, NY, deep South & Canadian
  50. It bothers me when people say pacifically instead of specifically
  51. I took sewing lessons when I was little
  52. I wish I retained some of the knowledge. I can thread a machine and sew straight lines
  53. It drives me nuts that Jon leaves his clothes in piles on the floors.
  54. My piles don't seem to bother me as much
  55. I love music from the 80's
  56. George Thorogood went to my high school
  57. My dad is a retired teacher- Joe Biden used to come to his class to talk to his classes. He's searching for a picture....I'll post if it exists!
  58. As I've gotten older, I've developed a fear of the ocean.
  59. I used to love it- and have great memories of floating for hours on rafts and riding the waves!
  60. I used to make "dribble sand castles"
  61. 9 years ago, I passed my skill to an adorable 4 year old. His mom recently told me that they still make them after all these years because of me.
  62. I had a cousin who was an Ice Cream Man when I was little. He worked for King Midas. All of my friends liked the Jack and Jill Man better. It was sad.
  63. Today, the Ice Cream Man seems a little odd downright creepy.
  64. I adore flip flops in the summer
  65. I cannot live without Danskos in the winter
  66. My friend Angela was obsessed with them for years before I ever took the plunge- I owe her so much!
  67. My husband has the best sense of humor- I wouldn't have married him without it.
  68. My younger brother lives in California and his life couldn't be more different than mine.
  69. He's one of the happiest people I know.
  70. His lifestyle throws me into cardiac arrest but I love him dearly
  71. It's difficult to put this list together.
  72. I'm ok with using generic brands- except for q-tips, toilet paper & cheese
  73. I wish I wasn't so fashion challenged. I know what is good on others, but can't get it just right for myself!
  74. I'm a Miracle Whip girl
  75. Jon absolutely must have Real Mayo
  76. Cooper won't eat either
  77. I've just realized that all of these things aren't really about me.....huh- oh well, too late now!
  78. I am left handed, as is Cooper
  79. I really need to lose 15 lbs. 25 wouldn't hurt me
  80. Sustained motivation is a struggle for me
  81. The mud slinging of politics drives me crazy
  82. I love antiques. Simple pieces made of dark wood and incredible craftsmanship
  83. I collect blue transferware and white ironstone pitchers
  84. I always thought having a Christmas village was a bit over the top- until Cooper became obsessed with them. We now have one and yes, it's sort of over the top (see #19)
  85. I worry constantly and have been working on leaving behind things that are out of my control.
  86. No matter how hard I try, I cannot get used to the new light bulbs. I try to reduce my carbon footprint in other ways.
  87. I love a bargain- Jon says that since he's known me, I've never bought anything that wasn't "on sale". (that's not quite true....)
  88. I took a quiz last week to identify countries of the world and failed miserably. I don't think that I'm smarter than a 5th grader
  89. Blogging has been so good for me!
  90. I am incredibly opinionated, which sometimes gets me into trouble.
  91. My first job was at a drug store called Happy Harry's. I had the BEST time!
  92. Music impacts my mood and can pick me up instantly. P!NK's Get This Party Started never fails!
  93. Family traditions are incredibly important to me- mine from when I was growing up, and those that we create for Cooper
  94. A friend of my moms once told me that parenting only 1 child isn't really parenting. That bothered me then, and still does. I work hard to be a good mom and I think that I succeed. I'm realistic- which is something that escapes some people.
  95. I would love to improve my photography skills.
  96. I pick mercilessly at my cuticles and eyelashes. It's problematic.
  97. People always ask- "where were you when....." In my lifetime so far, there are 5 events that I can answer that question without even thinking 1) Space Shuttle Challenger disaster 2) 9/11 3) the wedding of Princess Diana and 4) the day she died
  98. I loved everything about my wedding day, except my makeup.
  99. The first thing I notice about people are their fingers.
  100. I'm quirky for sure, and I do have a mean streak....but really, when it comes down to it, I'm a kind and loving person with a few more insecurities than normal, a great sense of humor, the ability to tell a fantastic story, and lots of hopes and dreams.

Monday, August 25, 2008

1st Day of School



Hooray! Today was Cooper's 1st day of 1st grade....and he did great. There were no tears once we left home (a few on Sunday night and a few early this morning). We are so proud of him.

I am so thankful for our brave little guy, and for the sense of community at his school. All of the moms from his kindergarten class were pulling for him and his "old" friends were excited to see him. There are a few new faces which gives a possibility for additional friendships too. His new teacher, Mrs. B is calm and positive- everything is good!

*thanks for your prayers!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Crust

Cooper woke up at the crack of dawn, and I was completely comatose. Jon was a trooper and went downstairs to make him some breakfast and get him settled into some cartoons so that we could enjoy a bit more slumber (does that make us terrible parents?).

When Jon came back he said to me, "there was a little issue with the bread (ie- mold) and so I had to disguise 2 hamburger buns as toast". I chuckled and wondered how that would go over with a finicky child who's not easily tricked.

Fast forward an hour when Cooper came upstairs and crawled into bed with me (Jon was up and getting dressed). He said. "Momma, I'm so hungry". I said, "Really, didn't you eat some toast that Daddy made?" He told me that he had fed it to Savannah!

Me: "Buddy, why in the world did you give your toast to her?"
Cooper: "Well Momma, something was wrong with that toast Daddy made, it had 300 pounds of crust on it!"

Jon ran into the closet to laugh hysterically and I tried my best- sometimes, it's just not possible.
He's funny!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Catching Up

Busy, busy week! A friend at work once told me that saying that you are busy gives the impression that you are not organized, and so instead you should say that your days are "full". I'm the first to admit- I lack organization (but crave it desperately). We were BUSY!

Wednesday night was our 9th Anniversary. 9 whole years- hard to imagine, but certainly a great feeling. We celebrated with dinner at Ruth's Chris Steak House and had a delicious meal. I was thrilled to see that my current favorite wine (Alamos-Argentinean Malbec) was on the wine list. I was not as excited to pay 4X the retail price, but it's our anniversary so who's really counting dollars? Our evening was wonderful with tears shed by both of us as we replayed our history- both good and not so good.

Thursday was Cooper's 1st grade orientation- and my hope was that he'd be tear free. Not so. He lost it when they announced that the parents needed to leave the children. Thankfully, the Admissions Director (I could not love this woman any more- she's amazing) came right over and peeled him from me and somehow got him consoled and calmed down. When the kids came into the classroom to join the adults, he was the same smiling child that had walked in the front door when we arrived. Whew- crisis averted.

Prior to orientation, Cooper had decided that he didn't want to go to 1st grade- and because he had only mouthed the songs at kindergarten graduation that he really wasn't worthy. After stifling laughter, I let him know that indeed he is going to 1st grade and that not singing isn't reason to be held back. He passed with flying colors and his new teacher could hardly wait to meet him. He wasn't convinced.

What did convince him was the fact that his teacher is a Skittles lover. At the end of each day, if the class follows the rules, they receive a Skittle. What she could not have possibly known is that Cooper will do just about anything for a Skittle. Seems like the year could have potential!

Please say a little prayer that his first day goes smoothly, and that he is brave and filled with confidence that he needs to get him through without any tears.

After we finished at school, we hit 95 N to visit my parents. After a trip that took 3 hours longer than it should have, we arrived safely. Our visit was perfect- full of love and laughter and TLC for both of us. My mom is doing so much better and was able to go back to school shopping on Friday! (Thanks Mom for the Lands End treats)

My dad has an amazing crop of heirloom tomatoes and I could not get enough! Mr. Stripey, Mortgage Breakers and something else that I cannot remember all tasted like the nectar of the gods. I LOVE a homegrown tomato.

My dad and Cooper really had a ball together. He taught Cooper to play badminton and they had a blast!

They also played in the rocks in the back yard, picked veggies, and played cars. It was really special to see them deepen their bond and on the ride home Cooper said, "I had so much fun playing with Pappy". My mom and I had so much fun watching them together.

Our trip was really quick- but long enough to spend some quality time and make sure that my mom is doing well. Mission accomplished.

We were off today to a birthday party that Cooper was hesitant about, but in true Cooper form had a great time once he got there. We ended the evening with a family bike ride at the James River- Jon gave me a bike as a surprise and I'm super excited about it. We had a great time! Thankfully it seems that what they say is true- it's like riding a bike, you don't forget how to do it.

Gearing up for the start of the school year will take up most of tomorrow. It's always exciting to have a fresh start and I'm determined to spend less time being busy, and more time with full days! We'll see how far I get......

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Crush On You!

Last night we went to see The Boss- yes, that's right- Bruce Springsteen. I am still recovering from the experience- it was FANTASTIC!!

I bought tickets for us, and added 2 for Wade so that he could celebrate his birthday at the show. The seats turned out to be behind the stage (mental note- do not assume you will be in front of the stage when the computer says "best available"). Well, one thing lead to another and we ended up getting 2 more seats that were lots better from a friend of mine- which was great. Our final Bruce group was me, Jon, Wade, my sorority sister Jackie (a HUGE Bruce fan), our niece Niki and a friend of Wade's. We had a complete blast!

So many highlights of the show- but the one that sticks out is that Bruce took requests. You could bring a sign with the name of the song that you wanted to hear and he "might" play it. Needless to say that there were many, many signs. One in particular made Bruce stop and have a conversation with the woman holding a sign that had an Orange Crush logo on it. He asked her whether she wanted to hear Crush On You and then told her that this was officially the worst song that they had ever recorded. And he went on and on about how bad it was- and she was insistent that she wanted to hear it. So- he played it! I haven't thought about that song in years- but I think it's a happy little diddy and was thrilled to hear it along with Bruce's true feelings about the song. At the end he said- that wasn't that bad, was it? Nope- it sure wasn't!

Thanks Bruce for an amazing concert- a night that I won't forget for a long time or maybe ever!
And yes- I've got a (teeny little) crush on you!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I am blogging on the road- doesn't that sound so technical? I'm actually in New York for business and cannot wait to go home!

Things that I am thankful for, in random order:

-I am thankful for the opportunity to travel with my company. It gives me the chance to enjoy some time by myself (in a hotel with room service!). It also allows me to build new relationships with people that I don't often get to see face to face.

-I am thankful that I work in an office that is business casual. The New York office is business professional, and that means wearing heels. I really think that wearing heels for more than 3 hours should be considered illegal. My feet are killing me.

-I am thankful for some wonderful friends (you know who you are!). I needed fashion advice prior to my trip and so brought 1/2 of my closet for a fashion show. It was a desperate attempt to look professional- and thanks to them, I think I succeeded. Truth be told, I simply couldn't wear the orang-y shirt even though you guys all loved it. I promise to take the white one back- honest.

-I am thankful that I have a husband who willingly accepts that I need to travel at times. It's not always convenient, but it pays the bills. I love that I don't worry for a minute about Cooper while I'm away.

-I am thankful for a new baby, born on 8.8.08 to my dear friend Heather, and her husband Ben. I wish that we lived closer to each other- I miss her terribly! Mom and baby are healthy and happy (so are dad and big brother).

-I am thankful that my mom read my blog (for the first time), and had such inspirational thoughts to pass to me. Thanks Mom!

-I am thankful that I have a support system. People who probably don't realize how much they mean to me or how important their friendships are. It makes a huge difference in my life.

-I am thankful for the funny things that my child says and does. He went roller skating today for the 2nd time. Last time, you may recall, he had a bit of an ordeal in the bathroom. He wasn't quite coordinated enough and fell down in the stall. I asked him whether he had trouble this time and he said, "no momma- i just held it even though i had to go really, really bad." Sweet little kid!

-I am thankful for the voices (the tiny one, and the big one too) on the other end of the phone when I call to say good night to my boys. I love to imagine Cooper's face as he's talking to me- he warms my heart and makes me smile.

-I am thankful for a good nights rest, sleep always brings a new outlook for which I am glad!

Monday, August 11, 2008

I LOVE the Olympics!

Is there anything more awesome than the Olympics? Since Friday night, I have been immersed and I can't get enough.

The opening ceremonies were fantastic- Cooper and I watched (he fell asleep before the parade of athletes but he gave it his best shot). I was crying before they even played the Olympic theme song. Cooper looked at me and sort of rolled his eyes. "You're crying because you're happy, aren't you?" "How come you always do that, Momma?"

How come you ask? Because I am quite possibly the most emotional & sentimental person alive when it comes to patriotism and realizing dreams. And in case you don't know me that well, I also cry at Hallmark, Kodak, McDonald's and all of the inspirational Olympic commercials and whenever I'm scared or overcome with pride. I wore a paper cupcake flag pinned to my shirt every day for a more than a month after 9/11- until it literally disintegrated. I'm THAT person.

And so tonight, with the help of my trusty DVR, I watched the men's 400 freestyle relay team win the gold from an over-confident French team again, and again and again. And I cried.

I love the Olympics!


PS- can you imagine how proud Cullen Jones' mom is after tonight? First the commercial, and then, Olympic GOLD! I bet you anything- she's crying!