31 May 2010

Glorious, Glorious Texas.

Texas is unique. The pride here is palpable. The hearts here are as big as the state. The hands here are a little rougher than most places. The smiles are contagious and the heat is exhausting.

Our Memorial Day was spent hunting for used furniture (score! a very old, bulky dresser will soon be a sunshiney entertainment center with spankin' new black pulls.) and getting ready for a cookout/pool party with friends. We drove to Burleson and enjoyed stories of far-off lands, splashing babies and a low country boil in the scorching afternoon heat. I met some new stranger-coworker-friends and fed my baby watermelon until she fairly popped.

I spent the evening sanding the Beast and retrieving paint colors from Lowes. Tomorrow I'll be heading back in to actually buy the paint and a few little accessories for bringing our family room from "eh" to "you can't handle the amount of style in this place." It's going to be epic.

For now, I'm going to get an epic night's sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a very, very busy day. Meeting, cookie order to fill, drawers to paint, children to feed and a house to clean. :-) Busy, busy!

30 May 2010

Just to hold you over until I can write a real post with pictures from the weekend, here's a picture of a very naughty little girl who was caught in the middle of the dining room table, shoveling muffins into her mouth while Mommy had her back turned. She destroyed about four and ate two before I could get to her. And it was fast!

And worse yet, there was very little discipline when I found her. She's so doggone cute, it was all I could do not to just leave her there in her joyful moment!
Hi everyone! Girls (all three) are napping! Great relaxing afternoon before our night out!!!

- Posted with love from my iPhone
What a fabulous weekend it's been so far. We started by picking up our shiny new van and we spent last night eating sloppy joes and watching Mad Men til we passed out. This morning Andrew slept in and then we went our separate ways, each with a girl. Andrew and Lucy had a date to do some birthday shopping and the Mo and I went out searching for furniture. We all reconvened back here around naptime and Molly and I had a GREAT afternoon siesta.
I picked up our babysitters at 5 and the Husband and I had a great night out on the town. We bought cigars for him and shoes for her and ate on the roof at the Flying Saucer. We grabbed a couple of little chocolates at Schokolad and wrapped up the night with drinks and live jazz at the Scat Lounge. Perfection.
There was this couple whipping out some mean moves on the dance floor at Scat. Imagine if you will, the ghost of a robust oil tycoon circa 1917. Perfectly trimmed hair with a bit of a combover, bowtie, smart hat and well-groomed face.
This guy knew he was all that and a bowl of hummus. Normally, the role of the man in a pair on the dance floor is to show off the woman. Not so for Joe Tycoon and the Missus! He was just going to town. I so wanted to enjoy the music, the two of them living it up Mad Hot Ballroom style was absolutely distracting to the nth degree. So strange.

Also, I saw a weird sign today. It was a business sign. "Bail bonds by a fireman."

No joke. And with that, it's my birthday!

Happy Birthday to me, happy birthday to me. Happy birthday genius, beautiful, funny lauraaaaaa...happy birthday to me! (aaaand manyyyy moooooorrreeee...)

In the morning, Church! And then we're going to nap and play until Concerts in the Gardens - we're going on a birthday picnic to see the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra's big band night. And fireworks! So excited! Pictures to follow!

- Posted with love from my iPhone

29 May 2010

Today was...not a fairytale.

I harvested a strawberry from my garden! It may be the only thing that comes out of the garden, so I was particularly thrilled and emailed this picture to about a zillion people.

I created this gigantic variety for a delivery yesterday and it was so great! This business seems to be taking off!

I melted a plastic lid to my cooktop. It's still there. I'll deal with that at some point in the future!

Got a super sweet sparkly new van for my birthday! Makes my little heart sing to have two cars again!

And surprisingly, I'm not pregnant yet! Settle down, now. You'll be the first to know, of course. Well, Hot Stuff is taking one kid shopping and I'm taking the other, so we've gotta get moving!

- Posted with love from my iPhone

28 May 2010

Photo log FTW Zoo Trip 5-23-2010

These pictures of Molly just killed me. She'll walk around with that hat over her eyes longer than you'd think! This girl...
Molly will be 15 months old in a few minutes. 15 months! 

Let's talk about that. 

Molly is now saying a variety of things.  Here's a little list. 
Daemoo - her light-up seahorse - I have no idea. 
Mo (Molly)

She's not really putting words together yet, but we got a "Mo bye" out of her the other night in her "I need to go fishing, too" tantrum. 
Molly is incredibly one-track-minded, but she's not very stubborn. She'll try and try and try, but once you re-direct her, she'll usually find something else to do without a fight. 
Molly is still sleeping right through the night, from about 7pm to 7am, most nights. She very rarely wakes up in the middle of the night and requires a large collection of items in her crib. Several blankets, Daemoo, her water bottle, her pink dinosaur and her noise machine next to the crib. It has to be completely dark, both at bed time and during naps. 
She's still climbing absolutely everything and is known both nurseries she frequents as "the climber." Molly also loves to clap and dance and will do anything for a laugh. She's the President and CEO of the Association for Sisterhood Equity and even at 15 months, things have to be perfectly equal and matching at all times. 
Molly just oozes character. She's absolutely the most charming, silly, funny little person. I adore every inch of her tiny little person. 
She weighs 17 pounds now, and is gaining very, very slowly. But you'll remember we had that problem with Lucy, too, at this age and there was really nothing to do but wait it out. She's very strong and healthy - just a skinny little chicken!

Tomorrow night, I'll post about Lucy at 3 years and a month - what a little lady!

In other news, we signed on a car tonight and will be going back tomorrow to pick up our beautiful 2009 Sedona! I was hesitant about buying a minivan, but let's face it. It's incredibly practical, roomy and versatile and as a young family, we need something that will work with us and not against us. There's a reason they've been around so long and I think it'll just fit us well. I appreciate the fact that the minivan shape has changed somewhat and is looking more "car" ish. I'll post more pics when we have them!

26 May 2010

I haven't blogged properly in ages. I will do that soon. We've been car-shopping, baby-tending, toddler wrangling, church-going, year-ending, gym-Attending, spouse-snuggling, house-cleaning, furniture-waiting, cookie-selling, room-decorating and sunshine-enjoying. Very, very busy! I'll be back soon. In the meantime, here's a cute kid eating churros at a car dealership!

- Posted with love from my iPhone

23 May 2010

Be Still My Heart... Tonight was the night.

I type this blog with a tear of joy streaming down my left cheek. Tonight friends, family and world o' blog, my 3 year old Anna Lucille Cooke conquered my world. She caught, on her adorable Disney Princess fishing pole (which was a bday gift from our awesome neighbors) a catfish at the Marine Creek Lake. For historical purposes here are the following facts:

Date/Time: 5/23/2010  7:37 PM

Location:    Marine Creek Reservoir
Locale:       Eastern shore, about 200 ft south of the trees on the waters edge
Bait:            Live worm (Canadian Nightcrawler)
Gear:          Fishing rod, see details above.
Tackle:        Hook (size 8, tiny, old school, not barbed).
Mood:         A very chatty patience yet absolutely determined
Witness:      Andrew Cooke
Prize:          Channel Catfish
Length:       Approx 5"
Action:        Catch & Release or as Lucy says... "Putting him back so he can go swim with his Mommy"

For the mystery and enchantment on her face; THIS is why I have fished my entire life and have just began a life long fishing journey with my 1st daughter... I hope you all enjoy the following pictures as much as I enjoyed being with her on this monumental occasion!!!

Picking out the right tackle!

Worm & Hook. Old School. Good choice girl! Daddy is proud!

One-handed casting! All on her own and all night long!
(picture cute but very misleading... Daddy helped a LOT with casting tonight)
A must-have in every fisherman's tackle box... Patience:

Another handy talent? Being able to talk to the fish!  
 Picture below went something like this: "Fiiiiiishieeeeees Come eat my worms I will forgive you for eating my worms I just want to see you tonight I saw your friends at the zoo and I want to see you please bite my worm there is a hook so be careful but I will forgive you for eating my worm and Daddy and I are going to be SOOOOO happy to see you eat my worm and if you are a little one you can go with Molly and if you are big one you can go with me! Spin, Spin, Pull, Pull. Worm dances in the water hurry fishy the sun is going to sleep........................."
Fishing? Who needs fish? Let's sing & dance... 
The bobber wasn't working out to well (although she "loved the pretty orange" color) so we switched to a weight instead. I taught her the "spin spin pull pull" technique. This technique "makes the worms dance" in the water! She loved it and sang (loudly) "Spin Spin Pull Pull Dance Dance Dance" for about an hour and a half.
It was a race against the clock and the beautiful sunset when suddenly....

BANG!! The prizes! 
Her prize: the joy of the first catch! That little fight she felt on the other end of the line! The  OH MY GOODNESS she shouted when she knew what was going on (which took a solid minute or two between dancing and singing)! My prize?... The mystery, enchantment and sense of accomplishment/celebration on her face:

Look at that adorable nervous left hand perched back tugging at her shirt. She had no idea what to do with that catfish wiggling all around! Afterall, he needed to quickly "go back to swim with his Mommy"!


This morning while cuddlin' (realllly cute when Lucy says it) I started tickling Lucy and she said "Get your hands off me!" with a grumpy, furrowed brow. It's hard to catch that grumpy face with our camera but I'll see what I can do in the near future... it's just too cute.

Laura was in stitches laughing.

get out stinky people :-)

Laura: "Come on Lucy. We need to take a shower so we can go to the zoo?"

Lucy: "Why?"

Laura: "Because they don't let stinky people in to the zoo. They say 'Get out stinky people! Get out of our zoo!'"

Lucy: "Get out stinky people."

Laura: "That's right. So let's get in the shower so we can go to the zoo."

She is going to be so confused someday :-)

love, dad.

22 May 2010


Fly-in houses near our house- so neat! Also, watch out for land mines.

This is a very normal morning sight. I've all but given up on civilizing her.

Lucy and Molly riding the horses at La Hacienda Ranch- highlight of their very long shopping day!

- Posted with love from my iPhone

The tutu was for Miss Addy, who just got a purple room and is just a tad obsessed with princesses and the like.

AND, it looks like I'm going to be making a FOURTH tutu, because Addy's baby brother-to-be turned out to be a baby sister-to-be this morning! Jenny looked a little shocked for a good part of the day, but seems to be recovering nicely! So exciting - nothing better than a sister!

Purple Tutu Madness!

It's 1am and I stayed up far too late assembling purple tutus for three charming little girls. Who is the third, you ask? Well, she just got a new purple bedroom, just like Lucy and Molly! When I decided to buy tulle to make tutus to hang in their room, I thought, "Well, I think I'll just have to make three!"

Can you guess who the mystery fairy is?

21 May 2010

Extreme Space Mural Makeover: Lucy Edition

Here's what we were up against:
What on earth does one do with a space mural? Unless you're Josh Beck, the answer is, "uhhhh...."

So we decided to paint. It's incredibly hard to muster up the motivation to paint a room when the rest of the house is without a honey-do list. Who really cares? Our weekends are too precious! We finally came across a weekend without any plans, so we grabbed a gallon of "Easter Basket" purple and got to work.

How much does she look like Alison in this one??

Curious about the final results? You'll have to wait for the big unveiling! This room is our gift to Lucy for her third birthday and it's coming along beautifully! She's never even HAD real furniture, so we had a lot to do, buy and plan - tomorrow is our big trip out to find bedding and curtains and the finishing touches. Once the backordered furniture is in, we'll put it all together and show you how it looks!

19 May 2010

Ohhhhh the neglect....

...I've been busy. Too busy to blog. Too busy for Shoesday. Too busy for Wednesday. My house is a mess. My dayplanner is a mess. My Etsy store is busy. My dinner menu is scattered. My hair is dirty.

And yet...I can't for the life of me tell you what I've been doing. Just stuff! Lots and lots and lots of stuff. Meetings, dinners, book club, Church, playdates, work and toddlers. Bathing, feeding, changing, dressing, walking, biking and cup-filling. So, so busy.

My birthday is coming up. Did you know? End of May, y'all! All I want is a date with my beloved and to finish Lucy's room. And a few home decor items. And new bedding for our neglected bed. And a Kitchen Aid. And a baby. And a vacation. And a new Coach bag. And more sleep, without toddler legs over me. And a finished guest room. That's really it. Really. Ooh, and some plate stands. Definitely want some plate stands.

18 May 2010

Mother Mary Speaks To Me

How can you explain the love you have for your mother?

My mom always calls and leaves me voicemails. But every single time, she leaves me the exact same message. No information, really. Just, "Hey there, it's Mom. Just calling to see how things are going. Call me back!" Every time. I don't even have to listen to them anymore, but I do because I like the way she announces herself, as if I don't recognize her voice. So predictable.

We love our mothers the same way throughout our lives. They soothe us, comfort us, reduce us to tantrums, reassure us, encourage us and remind us of where we come from. A child's tie to his mother is the strongest tie there is.

When God chose Mary to be the Mother of God, He wasn't choosing her to give birth and let him go. She truly mothered him. She nursed Him, disciplined Him, rocked Him to sleep, carried Him on her hip, kissed His skinned knees, taught Him to be respectful to others, sang lullabies at night, fed Him, watched His persecution and eventually His death. She was His mommy, and we all know what that means to a child.

As Catholics, we believe that Mary sits with God the Father and Jesus, her Son. 

 This link is a good start - here's an excerpt.

Pope Pius XII, in 1950, defined the Dogma of Mary's Assumption thus: "By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory" (Munificentissimus Deus, no 44).

That is, at the end of Mary's life, Jesus took her, body and soul, to heaven, just as He will for all of us at the Final Resurrection, and just as God did for Enoch and Elijah in the Old Testament. There's an important distinction to be remembered here. Mary was assumed into heaven, unlike Jesus, who ascended to heaven. The difference is this: while Jesus rose to heaven on His own power, because He is God, Mary was brought up to heaven by God, and not by her own power.

This Dogma is a fitting conclusion to that of Mary's Immaculate Conception, for physical death was a consequence of Original Sin. Since Mary herself was free of Original Sin, it was impossible that death should hold her. Whether or not Mary did, in fact, die, is unclear from the definition. The oldest traditions, however, hold that she did. Being free of Original Sin, this death, it seems, would be unnecessary, but Mary chose to die in order to more fully imitate her Son, Jesus.

The confusion comes into play when people assume that the Catholic Church worships Mary. Well, that's just silly. She's not God, is she? Mary is a model of love, peace and motherhood to the entire world. She knew that her Son would be taken away from her in a brutal and horrifying way, and because of her love for the world, she wept at the foot of the Cross as He died. She didn't make demands or yell in the Heavens. Her path had been laid out before she was ever conceived and she accepted her vocation and God's plan for her life. We as Catholics may not worship her, but we adore her and love her as our own mother.

At the Wedding at Cana, Mary told Jesus that they had run out of wine, presumably to encourage Him to "do something" about it. He told her that His time had not yet come and initially refused her request. And yet, the wine multiplied and the feast continued. We all know how difficult it is to refuse a request by our mothers, don't we? Jesus may have been God, but he was still a man who listened to His mother. As Catholics, we pray to Mary because of that maternal bond between Mary and her child. Who better to intercede on our behalf? Who in Heaven could lay our requests at His feet and get the best results? And who can teach us to accept our path when our prayers aren't answered as we'd like or expect? 
Many people speak internally with the souls in Heaven. When a grandchild says to her friends, "I know Grandma sees me from Heaven and is proud of me," it's really no different than knowing that the Blessed Mother sees us. We feel a strong connection to the woman who carried Christ inside her, just like we're called to carry Christ in our hearts. Of course we should imitate her! Who better to model ourselves after than someone conceived without sin and chosen to life a life worth imitating? 

So that's just the "why" of Mary in a nutshell. We love her because she's our Mother, chosen by God to carry His son. We love her unfailingly, just as Christ loves her. And it's no wonder we pray to her, crown her in May, lay our intercessions at her feet and dedicate liturgical feasts to her. Anyone with a mother like her would celebrate Mother's Day all year long!

12 May 2010

An Email Exchange

Between Andrew, Lisa & Laura

I had the weirdest dream last night. I lost a credit card on a really
busy day where I'd been to like 8+ different locations and Lisa (Hi
Lisa) kept calling me like every 3 minutes (for 2 weeks) telling me to
call American Express and cancel the card b/c it'd been stolen and
someone was stealing my identity. I checked all over, couldn't find the
card, but no charges were being made to it, so I never cancelled

Turned into this huge Steven Spielberg / Tony Scott flick wherein an
organization really WAS trying to steal my identity for, let's just say,
less than humane reasons.

INSANE, right!? I know.............

ummm yes, rather insane.   ...what do I say to that? I'm honored I was able to help you realize someone was stealing your identity. LOL

you're so funny. i love you.
- Lisa

The plot thickens…………. It was YOU stealing my identity! Yeah, insane. Turned into like a Michael Douglas The Game kind of ending where I thought the whole world was out to get me [after a serious of LONG international adventures] and actually you and Laura were playing tricks the entire time.

Sigh………… Thank God real life can be so…. Normal!

This is just got creepy and weird. Can I blog it?

Blog away.
I wish I were actually that crafty.

A Life Apart: Part Four - From Grandma Susie

Grandma Susie sent me this link and I'll admit, it sat in my inbox for longer than it should have. I read it just now and it's really good! Very short and definitely worth a read. :-)

11 May 2010

A Life Apart: Part 3 - You Must Be Catholic

 This wonderful post comes from Suzanne at Classically Catholic Suzanne is a Catholic homeschooling mother of 11 who can always be counted on for a word of encouragement and straight-shootin' honesty. Her inspiring family blog can be found here. I asked Suzanne to write a guest post because her family is a beautiful example of what happens when you listen carefully to the Holy Spirit and give the Lord room to work in your life. 
(And all those underlined, bold statements? - fabulous links!)
"You Must Be Catholic."

You must be Catholic or madly in love,” said the gas station attendant as I escorted 7 sleepy children past the candy isle to the restroom. It was 2:00 am and we were only halfway to our destination.
“Both,” I replied with a wink and a grin. It was a pleasant change from the stale comments I usually get from strangers in public places:
“Don’t you know what causes that?”
            Duh- yeah, I think we’ve perfected it.
“Haven’t you got a TV?”
            Yes, we have a TV. But we have an even better marriage.

But this nameless gentleman at the Quick Stop was right on the money. I am very much enamored with my husband and my Catholic faith, because both are teaching me how to live richly in the fullness of love.

How I wish those lessons had been well received earlier in life!  You see, even at the rebellious know it all age  tender young age of 16, I was well versed in the pop culture version of counterfeit love and feminism.  I knew how to define my own standards of right and wrong and be fiercely independent. I was totally free from those guilt trips and social constraints that shackled generations before me. Funny how, after a while, all that freedom began to weigh on my heart, like an anchor dragging me ever deeper into the Culture of Death. Somewhere at the bottom of all that muck, I found my soul and decided that I wanted to live- REALLY LIVE! A wisp of a voice within was urging me to break out of the cycle of using and being used- of manipulating and being manipulated, of narcissism and daring to be my own god.  All I really wanted was what everyone desires; to be understood, accepted, and loved just for my own sake. From then on, I chose life- -
the Culture of Life.

Like the prodigal son I took the long way home, and found that love was waiting for me the whole time. I met my husband along the way and we learned from the Master Lover together. After all, the essence of God is Love. I don’t mean the Hollywood version you hear about on the Top 10 song charts, but the “lay down my life and sacrifice everything for you” type of love. That is the beauty of our Catholic faith. We are not called to obey an arbitrary set of do’s and don’t’s to please an oppressive ruler. We are called to be united; body, mind and soul, to love. United to the lover who sacrificed everything for us. It is in the marital embrace that male and female become the image of God. All of creation is ordered to that end. Every relationship I have brings me closer to the realization of that ultimate communion. We were meant to live for another; this truth is engraved on our very bodies. Even the unity I share with my husband in our marital embrace reflects an attribute of God, Himself, and foreshadows that union which He has planned for His bride, the church. That is why our marriage must be loving and life giving, not selfish and sterile.  Nothing artificial can come between us if our love is to be authentic. No manipulative games, no pretense, no latex or chemicals. Just the 2 of us, giving ourselves as a gift for the other. We give everything--all of our love, our fidelity, our trust, our hopes, our dreams, and yes- even our fertility ….au naturel.

Is it always sweetness and nice? Hardly. We’ve carried a lot of baggage into our marriage from those earlier years of living in the muck. There is also that pesky original sin business that keeps getting in the way of perfect harmony. Weeding out the selfishness in our hearts is difficult and often painful. But growth and maturity come with those growing pains. How many couples never experience the real deal because at the first difficult struggle they bail out of the relationship? Sure we all enjoy the Joyful Mysteries of life, but if we refuse to work through the Sorrowful Mysteries, we can never reach the Glorious

Dear Husband and I have learned so much over the years:
·        He has learned to respect and appreciate the natural rhythm of my body and psyche. Our union is both procreative and unitive by God’s design. It is a beautiful thing. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder. Mark 10:9
·        I have learned that a man who has mastered his passions has a strength about him that it is extremely attractive and desirable.
·        We’ve learned patience during times of continence.
·        We’ve learned that NFP is very effective for postponing pregnancy, when practiced; though it is a joint effort which requires delicate charity and frequent communication about the most intimate things.  *Not to be confused with MGDNFP, which is much less effective for spacing children.  Large quantities of MGD (Miller Genuine Draft) has a significant impact on NFP decision making skills.  
·        We’ve learned that children are a gift from God and not the scourge of society that many would have us think.  There is no need for us to protect ourselves from sugar and spice or snakes and snails. They are all made of love. And what better way to understand what it means to be created in His image, than to behold our own features and mannerisms in our children? Each one is a unique, unrepeatable creation, yet so much like us at the same time. And in case there is any doubt, know that love in a big family is never divided. It multiplies.
·        We’ve learned that taking God (Who is Love) out of the bedroom, has undeniable consequences:  Male + Female - God= No love.                        Do the math. If you don’t believe me, just Google the stats.
I have no doubt the man at the gas station had been well schooled in these love lessons. He knew that I needed a word of encouragement especially at 2:00 am, in this world which can be oddly hostile to the Culture of Life. I remember him every time I see a young mother balancing an infant carrier, a diaper bag, a purse, and her purchases, while trying to hold onto a toddler or two. That is my opportunity to pay it forward. 

Sincerely, Suzanne @ Classically Catholic

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