Monday, May 19, 2014

Cooper: Week 37


Playing in the Tupperware drawer.
Don't ask me why this one is his favorite, but baby boy loves to get out all the Tupperware!
He is also very good at sloooowly closing the drawer with his fingers in it, 
fake crying, look at me with the "save me Momma!" face, pulling the drawer back open and beaming with pride look at me again for praise... right before immediately starting the process all over again at least ten times.

Packing bubbles!
Until they pop and then he's scared and over it instantly.

The "don't let Daddy steal your grapes" game.
Daddy is very funny!

The light and fan chains.
Daddy does the most fun thing ever - holds Cooper up so he can tug on the chains.
Have we mentioned that Cooper has Daddy wrapped around his tiny little finger?

Mommy is going to be in big trouble very, very soon.

Posing for Haley.


When everybody packs and nobody plays!!
PS: Check out those knee pads Mama Shawna bought him! Haha!

The carts at Walmart.
He waved at someone, then started clapping for himself and then promptly fell over straight onto the edge of the cart and skinned his chin. Mommy wanted to cry too.

Feeling yucky.
Poor baby had his room all boxed up, got a nasty head cold and is getting three teeth all in one day... Not fun. Daddy sent us to sit in a steamed up bathroom, that wasn't the most fun thing we've ever done either.


When I remember our home in OKC this is the picture I want to see in my mind...
My entire heart snuggled up in one big bed.


Day 253: There are very fun especially fun pictures this week as all we did was pack, pack and pack some more. Whomp whomp.

Day 254: On the bright side, we didn't have to pack the guest room up until the very end because our beautiful cousin, Haley, came to visit! We loved getting to catch up with this precious girl just a week before her college graduation (How is that possible?!) and hearing her big plans for summer (TWO a-mazing trips!) before starting the Speech Pathology Masters Program at OU (Yay!). We sure are excited to watch as Haley's incredible life unfolds!

Day 255: Pops and Mama Shawna came to OKC to help us pack some more. THANK GOODNESS! I don't think I would have ever got the kitchen packed without them! That night we took a quick break and met Uncle Awesome (and Scout, of course) for dinner. Cooper loves his cousin Scout!

Day 256: We were worn smooth out.... but we kept packing.

Day 257: Today was busy!! We went to our last music class, had a quick visit with Gramma, ran by the law school for lunch and then topped the night off with dinner with our dear friends, the Dudes. We have LOVED getting to do "parenthood" with this precious family... We told we were pregnant, literally, on the same night. We embraced prenatal yoga, milkshake cravings and rapid weight gain together. We brought them dinner at the hospital when Jackson was born and the next night we were in a different hospital eating dinner with Cooper! We shared in the sleepless night struggles. We compared notes, swapped suggestions and encouraged each other through all the new parent obstacles. We have laughed a LOT and cried occasionally too. We have watched our babies turn into boys and it's been really, really fun. We are so very thankful for their friendship and love... and look forward to many more fun times with our little men! After all, Jackson is Cooper's first friend - I'm seeing college roommates in their future!!

Day 258: We officially closed on our house (Thanks Grammy for getting us all taken care of!) and packed ALL day. I had no problems packing until we got to Cooper's room and then I could barely stand to take anything down. Daddy saved the day and carefully packed everything while I sat in the rocking chair and cried off and on. Our sweet boy was more than a little confused by all the chaos, but as usual, he embraced it and had great fun playing the imaginary drums on all the boxes. 

Day 259: MOVING DAY! Three trailers, six vehicles, eight men and quite a few hours later - we were loaded and shipped off to our new "home." I have way too many thoughts and emotions for just one paragraph... a separate post is coming soon. Good bye Oklahoma City! You have been so incredibly good to us...

Monday, May 12, 2014

My New Perspective: Cooper's First Boo Boo and Easter

**I have been struggling with this post since the week before Easter. I have written, backspaced, added and edited until I can't see straight and I'm still quite sure I haven't done the story justice. But alas, I hit "Publish" and have faith that God can use the message despite the messenger's inability to write a coherent sentence. 

You know how people always say everything changes once you have a baby... well, let me tell ya, they weren't lying. Yes, you'll most likely never enjoy a long leisurely shower again and running into the grocery store "real quick" will become a thing of the past and a wild night out on the town will mean you stay out past 8:30 pm - but that's not what I'm talking about. What comes to mind when I consider how my life has changed in the past eight months are bigger, more complex things, like how I have a completely new perspective on everything in life. 

Before Cooper I felt like my job was important... and now I look at this little boy who we are responsible for raising to be a kind, humble, compassionate, happy, loving, adventurous, generous, Christ-centered man. Now I understand what having a truly important job feels like.

Before Cooper watching or reading the news was something I did daily while basically brushing all the bad, scary stuff to the side and listening for anything that might pertain to or impact me personally - like a traffic report or ball game scores. Now the news of a child being abused or abducted strikes an absolute gut wrenching fear in my stomach. The story of a tsunami or mudslide or Heaven forbid, a sink hole, millions of miles away will leave me marking that destination off our "Travel To Do" list as unsafe. People, I've become a nut, I read recall lists like it's my job. 

Before Cooper, holidays were fun times spent with our families celebrating Jesus's birth or resurrection... Now the Christmas story brings tears to my eyes as I understand the miracle of childbirth and am in awe of the Baby Jesus. And Easter, oh Easter...

I am a firm believer that God uses different events in your life to mold you, shape you, teach you. It seems that Easter brings a new lesson my way annually. A couple of years ago, God used Easter and blogging to teach me a profound lesson on forgiveness (You can read more about my fight with forgiveness here). Last year, God used pregnancy hormones and a praise and worship service to teach me about the depths of God's love portrayed through the Easter story that I had failed to grasp before (You can read about that tearful experience here.) This year, God has used my precious Cooper and his very first little boo boo as a complete game changer for Easter. Here's the story...

The weekend before Easter Brandon, Cooper and I spent the night with my parents at their lake house. To be completely open and honest, Brandon and I had been having an on-going little feud for most of the drive that was only heightened by the fact that sweet Cooper had woke up when we stopped for a quick drive thru dinner and proceeded to scream bloody murder for the remaining two hour drive. It was less than awesome. We pulled in, unloaded the car with obvious frustration and I took Cooper back to the bedroom to change him into his pajamas so that we could bring this dreadful evening to an end. 

He was feeling much better - happy to be out of his car seat, happy to have the full, undivided attention of his grandparents, happy to be in his comfy jammies... Baby boy was feeling good, stretching out and kicking his little feet like a horse that had been kept in a stall all day and was finally free to roam the pasture. The only problem was his kicking was moving my laptop dangerously close to the edge of the bed. So I sat him up, grabbed my laptop, said "Don't move." and turned to stick the laptop back in my bag... 

Well, you know how this story ends... with a "thump" and then a screaming cry. 

The Little Prince had not rolled, but instead dove, face first off the side of the bed. (Let's take a brief pause to say thank you Lord for letting us be at the lake where the bed is low and the floor is carpeted unlike at our house with wood floors and tall beds. Amen.) I snatched the little tiny up so quickly he may have suffered from whip lash following the initial injury. My mind was racing frantically - "He's screaming - that's a good sign... but it's also a bad sign, is something broke?! All his body parts are moving frantically - good sign... All of his facial features seem to have remained in tact - good sign... wait, his nose!" His little tiny nose was beat red/blue and starting to appear as though it might bleed. 

"BRANDON!!!!!!!" It's really, really nice to have a daddy that is also a doctor... more so for the Mommy than for the injured child. Brandon and I met running down the hall. I spit out the highlights - "I turned around for one second (infamous words) and he fell off the bed face first and I'm dreadfully afraid he has broken his little perfect nose on the side board of the bed! Is it broke?!" 

Brandon instantly switched into calm doctor mode and gave Cooper a quick exam. He assured me, despite the blood curdling screams coming from our Little Prince, he was just fine and his nose wasn't broke... it is still made up of cartilage that hasn't turned to bone yet... blah-blah-make-Mommy-feel-better-talk-blah. 

As soon as I was sure Cooper would live and his little face would remain perfect (once the giant carpet burn on his nose went away), I fell apart. I covered my face with my hands and burst into tears! Brandon passed the still crying Cooper over to my mom and came into the bedroom to console me... Yes, I know, a clear forfeit of the already long gone "Mother of the Year Award." 

Well, needless to say, I out cried Cooper. Not one of my proudest moments. Once I got control of myself somewhat, I went out on the patio and took Cooper from my mom... I squeezed that baby tighter than I have ever squeezed him before. Tears poured down my face as his little body melted into mine. I rocked and soothed and hugged and whispered "I love yous" and "I'm sorrys" over and over and over into his little ear. 

You know how your parents always told you that when you hurt they hurt worse... I learned in that minute that they were telling the truth. My heart felt like it had been cut wide open. It was a different type of pain that I had never felt before. Instead of putting Cooper in his pack 'n play as we normally do, he slept wrapped up tight, safe and secure, in my arms all night long. 

The love a parent has for their child is one you cannot grasp until you become a parent. What you would do for your child is something you cannot understand until you look into your baby's eyes for the first time and see the way they look at you - trust you, love you, believe that you can truly make everything alright. When I think about how much I love Cooper,  I can't help but wonder how Mary felt about her sweet baby, Jesus.

The Bible tells us that the night Mary found out she was pregnant with God's child she was very afraid... I've always assumed she was afraid because she woke up to a gigantic angel in her room - that would make me afraid! But this year I realized there there were other reasons she was afraid... She had just been told that she was pregnant by God - try explaining that one to your fiancĂ©, not to mention the rest of the world. Maybe she felt the immense responsibility of raising JESUS, the Son of God, the Savior of the Universe - that is no doubt the most high pressure job of all time. What if she had the foresight to think of how her son would inevitably be met with hostility - criticized and mocked... Could she have possibly realized that the very people he had been sent to save would turn against him, spit on him, beat him and hang him on the cross? I hope, for her sake, she didn't think that far ahead... I hope she didn't ask the angel how it all would end... but as a mother, I know that worst case scenarios involving your child tend to occupy a large portion of your brain. 

I tend to put Mary in the "young girl in a barn with a sweet little baby Jesus" box, but this year it dawned on me that Mary was still the mommy of Jesus when he was hanging on the cross... and that changes everything. 

This Easter, I realized that I cannot begin to grasp the pain that Jesus went through for me. For my husband. For my son. For my family. For YOU... And that's what makes the gift of his life even more sweet - He did it for each and every one of us, just as He did it for Mary, his own mother.

I think it's safe to say, mothers as a whole, tend to struggle with guilt. Every time I saw that little red mark on my precious Cooper's nose, pangs of guilt hit me over and over and over. I should have never sat him on the bed. I knew better than to turn and put something away with him sitting so close to the edge. It's all my fault he fell off the bed. I could have prevented him from this pain. This year, I believe I had to feel pain so that I wouldn't take the sacrifice of the Son for granted any longer.

It is impossible for me to fathom the hurt that Mary experienced as she saw her baby hanging on the cross... I think about how much I hurt over Cooper's little skinned nose and my heart just begins to ache for Mary. The thought of seeing my son in that kind of pain makes me sick to my stomach to even think about, and then to pause and let it soak in that He died on the cross for her. He took the beating, the mocking, the lashings, the humiliation for Mary's sins, as well as the sins I have committed... To try to put myself in Mary's shoes just makes my heart feel like it's being ripped into a multitude of pieces. 

What I would give to take away any little tiny second of pain from Cooper... How Mary must have felt like she too was dying as she watched her baby hanging on that dark, heavy cross... and for her sins.  

To be completely honest, my mind still hasn't put all these feelings, emotions and thoughts into a logical order. I'm quite sure I haven't got to the bottom of what God is trying to show me this Easter as he has revealed the well known story to me from a totally new perspective, from the view point of a mother. 

But I do know this - seeing Jesus as Mary's baby made him much more real to me this year. Seeing Jesus as Mary's son made his pain, his sacrifice, have a much heavier toll on me. 

This year Mary showed me just how human Jesus was... 

Before this Easter, I had the tendency to envision Jesus just like the pictures in the children's books where his feet don't quite touch the ground and he has the big halo glow around him. This year, I saw a man who stopped to take care of his mother right before saving the whole wide world - past and present. 

This year, Jesus became real to me because I got to know his Mommy. What an overwhelming gift we have all been given... 

Jesus paid it all

All to him I owe
Sin had a left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow.

Be Blessed,

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Letter To My Son {Month 8}

Precious Little Prince,

I feel like, together, you and I (and your Daddy, of course) have learned a lot in the last eight months. Some things have come with very few hiccups, pretty much anything involving food you mastered quickly and efficiently, while other things, like sleeping through the night, took lots and lots of exhausting practice. Ironically, the thing I have figured out that I didn't realize before is this - 

As a mommy, the majority of the time you have no clue if you are doing a great job or a terrible job until it's too late to do much of anything about it.

This is so hard for me! My entire life I've been given feedback on how I've performed... In school I took a test and received instant feedback, I was given a grade. At my job, in addition to the annual university-wide evaluations we were all given, I met weekly to discuss my plans and projects with my boss. In sports, my coaches either praised me or pushed me to do things differently. You get my drift... But mommies, we don't really get any feedback other than if what we do results in crying or not and even that doesn't necessarily mean that you are doing something right or wrong. 

This is hard and frustrating because as your Mommy, I stress far more than I ever did about anything school, work or sports related. The job of raising you comes with immense responsibility. I want you to have every opportunity available. I want you to be able to dream these big, gigantic, over the top dreams and then go for them with confidence. I want you to be happy. I want you to always know you are loved immensely. I want you to have an adventurous little heart - not afraid, but brave and strong and courageous. I want you to be compassionate and kind. I want you to see the pain of others and allow it to break your heart so that you will be inspired to make change. I want you to know Jesus and seek after His will. I want you to be a really good boyfriend - one that dresses appropriately, has nice manners and takes the girl on a real date. I want you to be one of those people who has never met a stranger. I want you to have fun and laugh a lot. I want you to know that regardless of what is happening in the world, your Mommy and Daddy are ridiculously proud of you. I want you to be a good friend. I want you to always say yes ma'am or sir. I want you to believe you had the best childhood any kid could ever have. The list goes on and on... 

All of that is great in theory, but when you look at it realistically, you see that what stands between you and everything I dream for you is me. See, today you are this little tiny 8 month old ball of clay and it's our responsibility to mold you into the very best you possible. We're supposed to teach you all the little things and all the big things - how to walk, drive a car, lead the next generation of our family... It's a lot. It's overwhelming. It's intimidating. It's intense. 

So, let's just go ahead and rip this bandaid off - Your Daddy and I are going to screw some stuff up. It's inevitable. Matter of fact, we'll probably mess up more than "some stuff." I'm sure there will be times when we get more wrong than we do right BUT we are going to diligently and purposefully cover you from head to toe in prayer. We are going to have full faith that God is going to patch up all our blunders. We are going to know with confidence that He will guide, direct and protect you. And I'm going to spend a lot of time praying you forget my mistakes and only remember that I loved you like crazy. That's the best I have to offer you my Little Prince. 

Precious boy, know that your Momma loves you and has always, even when you were just 8 months old, believed that you could be or do anything that your little heart desires. Dream big sweet son of mine.

All my love,

Eight Month Milestones:

Eye Color - Hazel. Mainly brown, but with definite gray flecks.

Weight - Heavy. We don't know exactly (Mommy never replaced the battery in the scales since it went out while I was pregnant...) but we are guessing somewhere around 23ish pounds.

Height - Long. 

Clothing - 9 to 12 month clothes.

Nicknames - Little Prince, Coop, Squirmy Worm (because you NEVER stop moving) and Chunky Monkey (for obvious reasons).

Hair - You're hair is growing so much right now. You have this little duck tail that sticks out over your left ear because you seriously need a hair cut. You also have the perfect little storm up front - the widow's peak that runs into your natural part which goes the opposite of your cow lick - hot mess.

Teeth - Your bottom two have pushed all the way through now and we are now working on the top FOUR! At first I feared he was going to be a baby vampire but those middle uppers are finally starting to peak through! To be cutting four teeth at one time, you sure have been a happy camper.

Crawling - Well, it's not conventional crawling but you get where you want to go. You do the hand part right, but you never go all the way onto your knees. Your left leg is kind of in a squat, but your right leg is tucked under and just kind of is always prepared to help get you back into sitting position. I'm not sure why you do it that way but the best I can tell it must hurt your little chubby knees.

Walking - As long as you have one hand on something steady you can cruise. You now pull up on everything - the dishwasher, drawers, coffee table, my pant leg, the shower door - you are pretty unstoppable! I'm betting next month we will officially check walking off the list.

You have the best disposition of any baby I've ever known... You are so stinkin' happy all the time! This month we feel like we are starting to learn who you are - we are getting to see your little personality shine and oh, how it excites us! You smile the biggest smile and it comes so easily and our hearts melt every time we see it. We didn't think it was possible to fall more in love with you, but I think we do, you make us fall just a little bit more than we knew was possible with every big, contagious, joyful smile. Thank you for that sweet boy.

You learned lots of tricks this month - it was like one day you woke up and decided to show us what all you could do! We practiced waving and, well, you are not super interested in waving... so instead we tried giving high fives. You thought high fives were really fun!! The second we put up our hand and ask for a high five you start cheesing... You learned how to give a five in literally one day. So we started practicing clapping (you were still completely unamused by waving, despite my best efforts) and you looked at me and Daddy like we were crazy while we clapped and clapped over the most frivolous things. Then one day, we were standing in front of the mirror and the living room and you saw yourself, smiled really big and started applauding yourself whole heartedly! Crack. Me. Up. Now you clap for yourself often - every time we say "Yay Cooper" or you dump the Easter basket full of plastic eggs or really do anything that you find applause worthy. It's really cute and you know it. Now, Mommy and Daddy are still working the wave and you do it occasionally, but not enough to count.

 More swim lessons and music class - not too much has changed there! Your Daddy dunked you a couple of times and you didn't seem to mind then the next week, I did it and you acted like I was the meanest mommy in the world... I won't be doing that again any time soon. You are still loving music class and I am so sad that we won't get to continue it when we move. Your teacher is so precious and I can tell that you are responding and picking up the things that we do in class. You get so excited when she pulls the drum out and your rhythm, despite the fact that we are your parents, is surprisingly good! Go figure.

You are still talking non-stop. Non. Stop. When real words happen, Daddy and I will never get a word in. Ever. Lately you put one finger in the side of your mouth and then jabber, not real sure what that's about but you do it all the time.

This month you started using a fork much to our surprise... Everywhere we go people warn us that you are going to poke your eye out, but we assure them that you've got it under control because, well, you do! We load it for you and then sit it on your tray and you pick it up and stick it straight in your mouth. You are quite good at it! I swear since we've started the real food you've doubled in size! You don't play around, you eat! I ordered you your first kid's meal this month at Chickfila - you ate all three grilled chicken nuggets, the entire fruit bowl and while Brooks wasn't looking you stole the oranges off his plate! You are a growing boy and we are so impressed with how well you use your little tiny hands. Now if we can just figure out dipping... that's another story!

You had your first injury... You took a dive, head first, straight off the bed at Gabby & Pop's lake house! It was completely my fault - I had picked up the laptop which was about to fall off the bed when I sat you on it, told you "Don't move" and turned to stick the laptop in my bag just as I heard the crash. You had been sitting up so instead of rolling off the bed, you literally nose dived off... and you have the carpet burn on your nose to prove it! I snatched you up so quick and started yelling for your Daddy who came running... Your nose was obviously scraped and you were screaming so hard that your face was bright red. I was so worried I had let you break your perfect little nose, but your daddy assured me you were fine. Once I decided he was probably right, Gabby had to take you in the other room because I started crying and Daddy had to console me! (Mother of the Year, I know...) I eventually got it together and I am quite sure I have never held you tighter. You slept curled up in my death grip arms all night and I cried again the next morning when you sat up and smiled at me with the biggest scabbed nose I've ever seen. Bless your sweet heart. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Cooper: Week 36


Easter Bunny goodies!
Bath time drums, bunny ears, books, a personalized plate and sweet new shades... 
what more could a boy ask for?!

Riding in the boat.
I was a little concerned he wouldn't love the lifejacket but he didn't seem to mind one bit...
It held his cheeks up nicely and was apparently pretty comfortable as he passed smooth out as soon as we strapped him in!

Visiting the Easter Bunny with Henry!
These two stole the show at the Easter Bunny's little hut...
Precious Henry was a little thrown off by the button placement on the Bunny's vest and tried diligently to nurse! Haha! Lyndsey and I had just as much fun as the boys did!

Snackin' in the bathtub.
Momma can get ready in relative peace and the clean up is a breeze!

Jackson (5 days), Creede (2 months), Henry (3 months) & Cooper (8 months) 

Hanging out with his boys!
These four precious cousins are going to the very best of friends!
Bless the poor woman who gets them all in one kindergarten class... 

Jumping with Uncle Awesome.
Cooper was entertaining himself in his activity saucer when Zac came over. The next thing I know Cooper is laughing hysterically and I look over to find Cooper and Zac jumping up and down like a bunch of crazies! He sure loves his Uncle Awesome...

Going on an egg hunt!
He sure wanted to eat the eggs, but eventually he gave in and stuck it in the basket.
Oh my goodness, we couldn't have a happier boy!

Using his Johnny Jump Up to help him get into things!
Nothing is safe these days! I watched as Coop stood straight up in his Jump Up, use it to balance as he walked over to the bathroom cabinets and opened them right up! 
We are in serious trouble people.

Cooper has always loved facetiming with Brandon while he is at work, but this week we talked to Henry and Cooper was mesmerized! I cracked up as they jabbered back and forth to each other! What did we do before we had these cool phones?!

Banging the wooden fish together.
Cooper discovered the fish hanging on his closet doors this week. 
He thinks they are soooo funny!

Napping in Mommy & Daddy's bed.
How did my baby get so big!?

Playing with Daddy.
Cooper smiles nonstop when his Daddy is around.


Waiting on Momma to take his picture.
It's no fair for the Easter Bunny to come with a basket of goodies and then you can't dig in until Momma has the camera ready... Hurry up already Mom!

It's a rough day when three teething toys are necessary!
Cooper's bottom two teeth are completely in and have been for some time. 
He has upper fangs that are pushed all the way through (Vampire Baby!) and his top middle teeth are starting to peek out as well - four teeth at one time is the pits!

It's consuming all of Mommy's time, energy and attention.


Happy Camper.
Cooper was so happy to be enjoying the fresh air at the Ranch!
That smile makes my heart so happy...

My big happy family (minus my parents and brother).
I could not be more excited to raise my son surrounded by the love of these people.
We are so very blessed.


Day 246: We spent the night at the lake and got up extra early to go meet Daddy and Pops at the Cookson store for a yummy breakfast! Our boys didn't shoot any turkeys, but they had a really good time and then we topped it off by doing some fishing! We headed down to the lake, strapped Cooper into his life jacket and hopped on Pop's new fishing boat - the Little Prince was instantly rocked to sleep by the calm waves. We finished the night with an extra happy dinner with a whole bunch of cousins - Blake, Creede, Henry and Cooper! We almost had more babies at the table than adults... Our sweet boy had one seriously fun day!

Day 247: Lyndsey and I loaded up Henry and Cooper bright and early and hit the road to visit the Easter Bunny! The boys were as cooperative as they could be - full of smiles! First trip to the bunny was a smashing success!

Day 248: Cooper's first Easter! After a wonderful service at the Crossing Church, we loaded up and headed to the Ranch for yummy food, egg hunts and lots of giggles with the cousins! 

Day 249: My good friend, Libby, was home for the holidays so she came over to meet Cooper and his sweet friend, Loran. Loran's mommy, Britanny, Libby and I were roommates in college. It was so fun to have the girls all reunited! 

Day 250: A busy day - music class, weekly visit with Gramma and lots of errands! 

Day 251: We met Daddy downtown for one of our favorite events of the year - the Oklahoma City Arts Festival! We enjoyed lots of wonderful art, great music and delicious food... I was the big winner because I got to stroll around with the two most handsome boys in the whole place! (I'm kind of obsessed with Cooper wearing his new sunglasses! They are ridiculously adorable!)

Day 252: Can you find Cooper?! We picked up a few boxes for our move... thankfully Coop was asleep so he had no idea that there was an empty swing box in his lap the whole drive home! (PS - just a little heads up, keep your big toy boxes!! It's so nice to be able to put Cooper's large toys that we will keep to use for our next baby back in the correct box so that they are well protected in the attic until we need them!)

We are trying to soak up as much time with Uncle Awesome as possible before we move, but he refuses to help us pack because he doesn't want us to leave. The only practical solution was to delegate him the responsibility of child care... He and Cooper melt my heart.