30 October 2010

2010 Alliance Airshow. Or, "How I got a terrible sunburn on Halloween weekend."

Well, I would say we ventured out, but driving 3 miles to Andrew's office is hardly a "venture." I suppose when you add 20,000 people to the picture, it becomes more venturesome. (Don't repeat that. I can't tell if it's really a word or not and I'm too lazy to check. Suz?) 

Alliance Airport held its annual air show today and we decided to brave the crowds to see the Blue Angels. It was crowded, but they had corn dogs. I got two so that we could all share, and Molly LOST. HER. MIND. at the thought of sharing her corn dog. So as you can see, we ended up splitting one between the two girls to avoid catastrophe. They were undeniably the best corn dogs known to man. I was all too happy to pay the $20 parking fee just to get a stinkin' corn dog.

 I was incredibly excited about seeing the Blue Angels, but they were slated to be the last show of the day. When we got there at 11:30, we had no idea just how long 4 hours in the bright sun would turn out to be.

The lemonade was also incredibly amazing. 

I thought the feet under the plane was cute. I mean, not CUTE, cause it's a bomber, but you get the idea. 

 Andrew and the girls under the wing of the B-52. Duuuuuuude.

 Psh. Like we don't hear that all the time...

Touching a plane! (Note the huge earplugs tenderly shoved into their tiny ears. They both actually left them in all day long without so much as a tiny whimper. We got the thick putty ones that you really have to puuuuush in and both girls were just peachy with them. Amazing.)

 Andrew and the girls checking out a bi-plane.

 The pink helicopter, however, was the true star of the show.

 In true Lucy fashion, she cooed "Awww! What a cute little tiny heddicopper!"

The 1,652nd bribe of the day. 

 Boys and girls, do you know what that little speck is? Andrew would like you to know that it's an F-22 Raptor. This is vital information. Andrew's days in defense contractor have turned him into an aviation nerd. He was fairly quivering when he got a look at the Raptor. It was like he was seeing Jesus. If Jesus were a fighter jet. I'm betting His Ascension was a little slower than the Raptor's.

Here's how this part went: "Ohmigosh. Did you see that?!?!? The bay doors were OPEN. They were like, completely open!!!" And then Andrew and 19,000 men wept. 

"Who's been eating my porridge!?!"

 A very tiny glimpse of the insane number of cars. Take, say, your local summer fair. Now multiply that by...400.

 So we left. Without sunscreen, Andrew and I were turning a deep shade of red. Without naps, the girls were turning into monsters. Without a constant supply of water, Tex was turning into a cramp. So we booked it out of there before the Blue Angels started their show and headed for a little piece of land where we could watch the action. We got a great show just outside of the airport and then headed home.

As it happens, the best shot of the day was actually the last 5 minutes they were in the sky as they buzzed over the top of our neighborhood and house. Sweet.

Cowgirl on her bike!

29 October 2010

I had never heard of Kathleen McKinley until about 5 minutes ago, but I think I'm going to like her!

Here's a post from her re: Ron Miller's "Negro Project" article. Oh, the state of this nation...I have so much to learn.

27 October 2010


Well, this has been irritating me for sometime, and then my brain twins handled it very well, so I'll let them talk and just wait for the comments to roll in about all of this. I was JUST spouting to Grandma Susie about this whole issue. Em, Jenna, take it away.

Emily says...

Jenna says...

25 October 2010

funky monday

Maybe I'm pulling out of my blogging funk. It's hard to tell. I'm pretty sure my queasiness is over, and it looks like I'm pulling out of the exhaustion phase as well. That would actually be good news for my different parts of my life. Making dinner, bathing the kids, talking to Andrew...reading books, seeing friends, remembering to pay the bills...vacuuming, attending meetings, dressing my children...everybody wins when Mama can stay awake.
I'm in the hotel business center right now. I wish I had a laptop, but not bad enough to actually budget and save for one. Let's not confuse exhaustion with laziness. I have to get on my shuttle for SeaTac in about an hour, leaving me with a little time to do important things. Can't WAIT to see my family tonight! Andrew has been handling things at home with nary a complaint, as usual. I didn't have to leave a single list, instruction or sticky note. He always takes over seamlessly and with a smile. He's truly the perfect coparent and it makes being a stay-at-home mom pretty cushy! He really knows how to take care of us and never has a cross word to share with me. I married a saint. I really did.

Our trip to Port Angeles was great. We spent 3 days sitting in front of the fire, taking walks and eating. It was the perfect retreat. Grandma is looking great, even though she'll argue about that. She was full of chatter and laughter all weekend and we had a great time cooking, baking, resting, watching movies and visiting. I'd love to get back there again soon!

I'm really not sure what's in store for us next. It sounds like Andrew and I need to have a little meeting and talk about all that yucky stuff - it's getting to Christmas time and the end of the year, and that means talking about our goals for 2011 and figuring out how to pay for the holidays. We also need to figure out what we're even DOING for the holidays. I'd really like to just keep it low-key and spend it at home, just the four of us. I think we talked about using Thanksgiving weekend to get the house all decorated and ready for Advent. Last Christmas really got away from us with all of the traveling, so I think this year we're going to really do it up right with activities, crafts, baking, Christmas carols and movies. Year before last was so fun - we mapped out a different Christmas "thing" for each day of Advent and Lucy and I had a blast "doing" our way through the season. From tiny things like paper chains and ornament-making to Christmas light tours and special day trips, we filled the entire season with fun. The Advent calendar I made with activities for each year disappeared somewhere, so I'll have to start over this year, but that's okay. I'm totally psyched anyway. I may do a Christmas ornament Advent calendar and wrap each one up for the girls; they can open a new one each day, and by Christmas we'll have a beautiful tree! Boy do I thrill myself. Good thing I have the entire month of November to prepare...

24 October 2010

Rainy Saturday

It started raining as we climbed into bed, and it'll probably continue all night, keeping us in a very deep sleep. With a metal roof above us, tucked into our flowery day beds, 20 years seems to have vanished without a trace.
Tonight we watched family videos. Christmas '88. Disneyland '92. Tangly hair and eternal highways. Endless beaches and empty diners. Waves and wind and laughter. Hot cocoa and sourdough toast. Snowshoes and tea parties. Mountain passes and canoes in the summer. Horses and shoetunes. Movie stars and nostalgia. A better childhood couldn't have been conjured by the best imagination.

Tonight as I lie in a bedroom decorated just for two darling girls, I know that our entire childhood was carefully planned, painstakingly guarded and lovingly tended. I know that because years of living were dedicated to our happiness, just as Andrew and I try to for our girls. We didn't know it then, which is why I can appreciate it now. Like elves in the workshop, our childhood was fashioned into an Alice in Wonderland world of fun by people who strove to make it magical, and we never even knew it. Maybe they didn't either.
It takes very special people to give a child a Willy Wonka world.
Innocent people who have the gift of appreciating simple pleasures. Only the greatest of people can stay innocent forever. They're the ones who never stop believing in magic. And they're the ones who can pass that magic on.
That why it always rains when we crawl into bed. Magic people never accept less.

23 October 2010

do SAHM's...

only survive by eating the leftovers off their children's plates throughout the day?

... amazing.

this stay @ home thing... I could get used to it. I'm thinking about quitting my day job. I totally rocked this Peter Rabbit during coloring time:

... And for those of you paying special attention; Yes. I did initial and stamp this work of art "1 of 1" in the lower right ;-)

22 October 2010


This farm is like a freshwater lake for my soul, breathing peace into my tired Mommy bones. The split rail fences lean into the fields like women kneeling at an altar, tired with the weight of sin. The big, red barn sags a little, too proud to give up after so many lifetimes of loving animals, giggling children and conversations between men. A few of the trees no bear longer fruit, but the moss on their trunks reminds me of the wrinkles on old hands. The pond is quietly waiting to be abandoned for the winter, the ducks waiting to fly south. The swing on the porch silently waits for someone to spend a moment in the sunshine.

This farm has held me from the moment I took my first breath. It seems to know everything as it waits for someone to breath new life into it again. I know how much it wants to feel tiny feet running down the drive again. I know because as I lie here in my childhood bed, I wish my feet were tiny again, running down the drive of a farm that hasn't yet begun to feel tired.

21 October 2010

I am a domestic God.

Dear family & friends who are largely about how this extended wknd will go in TX for me & the girls...

4PM pickup Raquel's (did NOT get lost on the way back from the airport!)

5PM walk around the block to "wook" at all the "scary" Halloween decorations in the neighborhood. Lucy brought some stuff animals to keep us "safe" whereas Molly simply ran into the yards and attacked the inflatable ghosts, chewed on a couple decorative bat wings and kicked over a plastic headstone (fearless)...

6PM Dinner (mac&cheese, a fail-safe kid CLASSIC, major hit!), 

630PM baths, 

7-730 beds. 

Diapers changed, dishes washed, no kids seriously injured, first night a major success. 

I am a domestic God.

Love always, the man of the house, Mr. Andrew Sean Cooke ;-) 

20 October 2010

Mr. Orangey

My father-in-law is so cute.

I regret to inform you...

You are in an eternal state of positively loopy! But, don’t get your hopes up for the trip. Rumor has it that you’re partially traveling with Nina who may need her hands wiped! J


(jk Nina I love you).


CC blog J



From: Laura
Sent: October 20, 2010 9:31 AM
To: Cooke, Andrew
Subject: Re: I regret to inform you...


Yes, well, I've heard her coffee-making skills are below par anyway...

I plan on sleeping in every single morning I'm in WA. This may be the only trip I take alone for YEARS. It's been...4 years since I traveled anywhere without a person kicking me from the inside or outside. I don't think you can even FATHOM how exciting the thought of flying alone is. Go ahead. Just TRY fathoming. That's what I thought...I'm not going to wipe any pudgy hands until Tuesday morning. That leaves me positively loopy.

On Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 10:19 AM, Cooke, Andrew wrote:

Holley Molley! $48! I’m in the wrong business. 8am? Fri? Ugh. I was going to sleep in and let Lucy make fresh coffee & french toast for everyone too!

 Oh well, there is always Sat, Sun or Mon morning ;-)

  From:  Laura
Sent: October 20, 2010 9:09 AM
To: Cooke, Andrew
Subject: I regret to inform you...

 ...that because I don't have a car today, Lucy's appointment was moved. Because Lantzy's always booked up solid, I took a cancellation to avoid a $48 fine. And that cancellation is for Friday morning at 8am. Welcome to being a stay-at-home Daddy. :-) Pediatric dentistry is FUN!

This message may contain DynCorp International Privileged/Proprietary information. If this email is not intended for you, and you are not responsible for the delivery of this email message to the addressee, do not keep, copy or deliver this email message to anyone. Please destroy this email in its entirety and notify the sender by reply email. Your cooperation is appreciated.

19 October 2010


I hate Halloween. I find the entire holiday to be cheap and in bad taste. I think it's a huge waste of effort, imagination and mind space. Seeing women dress up like harlots to party...cheapening women. Seeing dead bodies and tombstones on front lawns...cheapening death. See rows of polyester costumes in department stores...cheapening imaginations. I may be a scrooge, but I think the world has taken Halloween from a charming children's holiday to a ridiculous charade of morbid fun. Blech.

That said...I have children. Since toddlers don't know what "cheap" and "morbid" mean, I'm here trying to figure out ways to pretend the holiday is innocent and sweet. Fall is such a fun and charming time, everyone abuzz with thoughts of the holidays. I hate that Halloween is the lead-in to an otherwise wonderful season.

I don't stop the trick-or-treating or the celebrations, but I do insist that the holiday revolve around imagination and magical childhood things. I think 10 will be our cutoff for trick-or-treating, and until then, costumes have to be either traditional (pumpkins, ghosts, cats, etc) or entirely innocent. No 5-year-old serial killers and the like. I also HATE plastic pumpkins and cartoon character costumes. I feel like the only way Halloween won't spiral out of control is by assuming the innocence of bygone days. We stay out of the Halloween superstores, we avoid the Halloween aisle at the grocery store and generally celebrate Fall and the advent of Advent. I don't think this comes from a religious standpoint so much as I feel Halloween has always felt so focused on greed for me. Adults clamoring for attention at parties, children clamoring for candy in costumes, the whole thing has always left me feeling unsettled and "blah." Even as a kid, I loved the costumes and the parties, but trick-or-treating was always uncomfortable for me, going door-to-door to strangers' houses, waiting for candy. I just feel like waiting for Halloween robs the season of the charm of Autumn, and that makes me sad.

My own issues aside, we're very busy preparing for the big day! Lucy is excited and Molly is...confused? I'm very busy getting their cute little Halloween costumes put together and trying to construct adorable treat bags for the big night. I'm going to keep them a secret for now, but it'll be worth the wait! Can't wait to see them in their matching costumes!

18 October 2010


Ah... the innocence. Keep her fingers away from the fence!

-----Original Message-----
Sent: October 18, 2010 12:16 PM
To: Cooke, Andrew
Subject: Re:

They just left- I'll email you some pics of the baby- she's so cute! Jenny gave me the rundown on their weekend so you can make plans with them. The girls are in the backyard right now, running around and the neighbors dog is freaking out. I said something about how he should stop barking and Lucy says, "aww I hope he doesn't stop his cute little bark!" as he's snarling ferociously...LOL

On Oct 18, 2010, at 12:02 PM, "Cooke, Andrew" wrote:

> Love you. Boring Monday AM actually. Hope Jenny, Addi and Olivia are well! Tell them I said hi!

14 October 2010

Well, well. Yes. Very well.

Life in our world is nice this week. I have some pictures to put up, but will likely not get to that until....Saturday. Maybe Sunday. We're busy times busy to the Nth degree right now.

Today we had our little co-op meeting at our friend Lili's house. We're enjoying our Thursdays so much! Each Thursday morning, I meet up with 4 other homeschooling moms and their young kids (10 total) to play, visit and teach the kids a little something about playing nicely with others. After a rocky start and a few tears among the kids, they're all playing well and really enjoying all of the games and activities Miss Lili comes up with. What started as "an hour or two for the kids" has turned into 3 or 4 hours of wonderful conversation, a chance to distract the kids and a wonderful way to wind down after a long week of mommying. We laugh and laugh and laugh while the kids get into whatever they can find, and we part ways when the kids finally beg to go home. (Well, after they beg a few times.) Thursdays almost always mean a missed nap or random snacks for lunch, but it's so wonderful to relax, let off some steam and bond with my fellow moms. (And let's be honest: I'm just relieved that they continue to invite us back. I find myself to be so incredibly annoying, but the fact that they put up with me for several hours a week restores my faith in the forgiving nature of humanity.) Each of the women is so unique, kind, generous and committed to the vocation of motherhood - I know that whatever happens through the week, Thursday will refresh me and renew my commitment to caring for my family. And that, my friend, is what friendship among women should be.

As I type, I'm baking 70 or so cupcakes for an exciting event this weekend - can  you guess what it might be??? Tomorrow morning we're going to frost cupcakes until our hands cramp and let the kids go wild with sprinkles - stay tuned!

In other news, I'm going to be a mother again! A GODmother, that is. My dear, sweet, lovely friend Monica has a new baby, Nicholas Andrew, and she's asked me to be his Godmother. He's just the cutest little chunk of boy and he has "Priest" written all over him. And you know how hard it is to resist an Andrew! He'll be baptized on the 31st and I can't wait to begin my duties! 

Let's see...OH. You need this recipe. I made this for dinner last night and I've never seen a man eat so much pasta. It was very, very simple, even though I chose it because it seemed a tad complex. I love to cook and hate cooking the same old nonsense, and since I was craving a little Razzoo's Blackened Chicken Pasta, I was compelled to imitate it. This came close, but I know you can't replicate the masters.

Baby Tex is just cooking up nicely. I was able to get a prescription for Zofran, and today has been NICE. I'll be able to take it until I'm feeling less nauseous, which is GREAT. The nausea has been REALLY bad for the past week, and it's hard to keep up with everything that's going on when you just want to lie on the couch and moan. Now if I can just get past this horrible exhaustion...

10 October 2010


...I'm almost asleep..I glanced over the Pioneer Woman's Word Nerd Quiz and now I'm feeling a bit down because 1/3 of them puzzled me.
Andrew just bounced back to bed after a quick call overseas...Lucy fell asleep on the couch at 7, wiped out after a napless Sunday with Molly. Her day included sitting in the closet in the study and attending to her bear's medical needs, "cooking" Molly in what appeared to be a kitchen cabinet doubling as a giant microwave, did a somersault into the wall and taught an imaginary gymnastics class, got Molly to crawl on all fours at Church by calling, "here boy!" and ate white cheese with no color. So yeah. You'd be ready for bed by 7, too.

Home Gym???

So, Andrew and I have been going around and around and around about what to do about the gym.

We both love it, but we're having a hard time tailoring the class times to our schedules, and vice versa. With another baby on the way, my energy and pain levels sort of fluctuate, and I have to work out when I feel right. We're now 25 minutes from ANY gym. I'd be willing to pay more or switch gyms, if there was one closer. I want to get back to the gym right away when baby arrives, but having a nursing baby and trying to work out takes a good amount of finesse. In addition, I can't just throw THREE kids in the jogger. And trying to work out with even two kids in the jogger is a bit of a joke. I have to stop constantly to break up squabbles, pick up dropped items, find sippy cups, etc.

So, working out is getting more difficult. The thing is, we're not sure where to go from here. We feel bad dragging the girls to the gym every evening. That's our family time and we like to spend it at home. I'm not a runner, so I get very little reward from going out early for a run. I've never been good at it and I really don't push myself at all. That said, I'm not completely ruling it out.

So where do we go from here? I'm trying to figure out if it's worth the money to spend $500 on a Spinner bike for the house, and if it'll really be used. (And that's scouring craigslist for a used one - pricey!) I feel like I'm fast approaching the point that if I'm going to work out, I'm going to have to start training myself. That seems really challenging to me. I'm also in my first trimester, so maybe I'm just not thinking clearly? I'm REALLY pooped out these days. I know that a large part of how I feel has to do with diet, and that I need to concentrate on that too, but I want to stay physically active.

Is it worth putting together a home gym? Is this a wise decision for parents of more than a couple kids? How to people with large families concentrate on fitness when the demands of taking care of kids really ramps up?

Things I love:
Elliptical (although I get a better cardio workout on the bike)
Tough classes - although I find with kids it's hard to do the DVDs at home when the little folks are about.

I'm also interested in P90X, IF if can give me a full body workout without plateauing too fast - I don't want to spend the money on the DVDs only to find I get in better shape and then have no use for them - are there different levels within the DVDs?

Any ideas? I'm a dedicated gym girl, but moving so far away from the gym REALLY has me befuddled. I'd love to know what people with kids think and if anyone has any ideas about how to stay dedicated with a hectic schedule and a growing family!

Super Bowl or Bust.

It's football season, you know. That means a lot of whistles and false starts and offsides calls, doesn't it?

I get it. Some things are just too exciting not to jump in before the play actually starts. Everyone wants to be the first to get moving.

Such was the case with my miscarriage. Little did my very excited body know that the play hadn't actually started - just took off full speed ahead, hoping for a touchdown. A few days later, nature blew the whistle. What should have been a preseason win turned out to be a very short play.

After two short weeks on the bench, we started the season with a more committed player.

And nine weeks later, our star player is definitely an MVP. Strong heart, good kicker, passionately playing the game. Lots of locker room prayers and water breaks, but the coaches are pleased with the start of the season. The rest of the team looks forward to seeing our new player renew his or her contract in the spring! 

08 October 2010

I received an anonymous comment on my blog and while I'm not one for posting comments from people who don't identify themselves, I thought I'd touch on this once more.

Here's a link with a little more information on whether you can actually compare the German Holocaust to the abortion holocaust that's taking place in the world today.

Click here.

03 October 2010

40 Days for Life: Respect Life Sunday Life Chain, Keller TX

 Lucy and I ventured out at naptime to get involved and we had a great time! We met up with our friends Charlotte and Ava and stood at 377 and NTP for hour with about 100-200 other people. 

I like that the backs of the signs had guidelines for how to protest peacefully and prayerfully. 

Lucy was a fantastic little helper and had a good time scrambling around with Ava and watching the cars go by. 

As you can see, our chain just stretched on and on! We had a lot of support from cars passing by and not a single negative incident. This is, after all, Texas. They take freedom and rights very seriously here. :-)

Lucy spent the entire hour eating chocolate and reading books with her friends, very well-behaved and sweet. 

She was a wonderful little sign-buddy and I'm so glad we got to go together! 

If you're interested in 40 Days for Life or feel compelled to participate in the Right to Life movement, please visit 40 Days for Life here.   
Remember - the Holocaust was completely legal. Slavery was completely legal. 

Abortion is completely legal. And it's a tragedy that must be stopped.

Gymanstics Begins in Cookeland!

The girls started gymanstics last week and loved it! Lucy REALLY enjoying having an hour to herself with the big girls...
...and Molly? Molly just LOVED the movement! 

As you can see from the following pictures, it was almost too much for our busy, flexible girl!

After some gentle guidance and several attempts, Lucy figured out how to roll down the ramp and was just tickled!

Jumping from the spring board up onto the mat.

The beam.

Molly hijacks Lucy's class for a little more challenge. I can't even count the number of times that they had to run across the room and pull Molly off of something.

Case in point.

Having a great time on the beam! Lucy was so proud of herself for hopping sideways!

Molly on the parallel bars, lol.

Molly on the rings. She hung for what seemed like forever! 

This one is blurry, but you can still see Mo's face and the sheer joy!

Daddy teaching her how to pull her legs up. 

She finally got her turn on the beam!

Molly's teacher, Coach Gary. She did pretty good on this one, learning to step over the cones as she walked.

Lucy loved getting the parachute out at the end! 

And this is just an extra one of silly Molly.