31 December 2010

And from now on...

All pics of my adorable Godson Benjamin will be blurry! :-)

High sugar new years

Will the sugar in the chocolate pie below be enough to keep her up until midnight??? :-) happy new years all! Love a very sleepy Lucy and daddy. Mommy is blogging and Mo crashed hours ago :-)

Office picnic!

I LOVE midday picnics @ the office w/ my loves (incl. the photographer not pictured below!!)

I also love 70 degree weather in Dec :-)

Love dad

Molly "morning stretch" Cooke

So. Cute. Complete with cereal and a milk sippy cup. So. Cute.

27 December 2010

26 December 2010

all I want for Christmas is a chest X-ray...

 Merry Christmas from Texas! 

So let's see...after sleeping for the entire day on Christmas Eve, recovering from one very nasty stomach bug, I decided I was feeling good enough to head to 4pm mass with the littles. (Of course, 20 weeks pregnant, not having eaten a thing in 24 hours, 3k people in a church, standing room only, incense burning, that all seemed like a great idea at the time. And I have a degree in planning. Right.)
So we got all gussied up and used the new tripod to take a family picture. It came out gorgeous of course. Lucy having just thrown a massive tantrum, Molly shoving goldfish in her mouth - we clean up great!

 Kissed a little in front of the tree, grabbed the kids and dashed out the door! Mass was completely chaotic and packed. I sat behind a column on the floor reading If You Give a Pig a Pancake until both legs fell asleep, and then Mo and I took a walk to the bathroom to stare at a fellow mama while she used her "BOOOOOBEEEEEE" to feed her wailing infant. Molly loves breastfeeding. Better than the cinema.

We then traveled to Target to pick up a few items, frozen pizza included, and hurried home to get our cranky little crumb-crushers to bed.

 Daddy got everyone into their "softies" while I whipped up some cookies for Santa.

 Lucy was actually generous enough to give up her "before bed" milk for Santa - and believe me, as he was watching Love Actually and eating a dozen cookies, he thoroughly appreciated the sacrifice!

 The tree all ready for Christmas morning.

 Both girls slept til about 7am, and woke up confused and shy. Andrew and I were all excited, but it took a little doing to get them in the holiday spirit!

 ...until Mo saw her new baby. Once she realized baby moved her face and sucked on a paci, all bets were off. Santa Claus really IS magic.

 Lucy worked into things slowly...

 ...while Mo approached the Sit-and-Spin like an ape who's been given a milk jug with a quarter in it.

We thought maybe starting Lucy off with "The Gift" would be enough to get things moving in the right direction...

 ...and we were right. She about lost her mind when she realized that she wasn't on the Naughty List this year. Proof that first-borns really do have fun but once a year!

In addition to Mo's "real baby," Grandma and Grandpa C gifted them with an easel. So far we have chalk and magnets everywhere, but they're loving the opportunities to draw at will...on everything...but really, what can you do but encourage these things? Talent must be nurtured! (And that's why we rent. Far easier to nurture talent when you've paid a security deposit instead of a down payment.)

 Molly got a ball. Can't you just see her ticking off all the opportunities for breaking things? Island candy bowl...check. Nativity set...check. Candles in master bedroom...check. Guest bath soap dish...check...

 They opened a few more gifts and then we gave them their gifts from Mimi and Papa. Talk about confusion.

 Molly was just about hornswaggled over a board book the size of her peers. She thought it was about the neatest thing in the world.

 Everytime Lucy glances in the general direction of the books, she throws a look like, "You're got to be kidding me - who makes a book that big!?" It'll be so nice to have them once the Christmas toy fever settles down and they can actually open them and look at all the pictures. Grandma Susie and Grandpa Dick had these same books out at the farm and boy, did they get some use!
Mimi and Papa also sent the Rodgers and Hammerstein Collection for the girls to start watching, and Lucy was just enthralled by the Sound of Music today! I had completely forgotten that it takes three hours to hide a family of nine from the Nazis, so Lucy was a little bored after all the "fun" music was over. I think tomorrow we'll tackle State Fair. (Does anyone else hear the title and think, "Our state fair is a great state fair, don't miss it, don't even be late!"? Could just be me. Usually is.) She loves Oklahoma!, but I think we'll hold off on Carousel - talk about depressing. Nothing like getting knifed at a clambake to remind you of your mortality.

Molly also got a set of chunky trucks, and she's been "errrrrrmmmm"ing them all over the house! 

Here is my handsome man, proudly showing off his new game of Risk. Silly boy is so psyched about beating me. We're going to play tonight - I chose the red guys cause I think the color of blood will subconsciously intimidate him. Yes. I'm a warrior. 

Andrew gave me a bee-yoo-ti-ful jewelry set - "cause I know you like turquoise and everyone makes fun of you but you don't have any turqouise jewelry and I'm just trying to encourage it and I'm a good listener!" He's such a cutie. I dig it. So does Molly. She spent most of last night pulling on my earrings and saying, "Peeeeedy....wiiiiiite??"

Needless to say, it was an awesome Christmas....

...until Molly smashed Lucy's snowglobe against the entertainment center and spread tiny shards of glass across the house. Other than that, magical!

Stay tuned for Christmas Night - the holly jollies don't end with broken glass!

23 December 2010


 Is there anything cuter than a little girl pretending to sleep?

 Pretending to dream?

Pretending to be a snarling wolverine? (Obviously we need to work on the meaning of, "close your eyes!")

22 December 2010

The Birth of the Anti-Fragment

I spend so much time lost in thought over the future of education in this country. It's terrifying. Not only are we failing the children we've promised to nuture and tend, but we're living fragmented lives, thinking fragmented thoughts and speaking in actual fragments.

To be honest, we haven't 100% settled on homeschooling. I don't think you can fully commit until you start to see the fruits of your labor. It's hard to "leave" mainstream thinking and assume a role that other people usually play from age 5.

But when I look at these little people scooting around my house and asking me questions, it occurs to me that the human mind is so powerful and capable of so many great things. The world we live in today is automatic, simple, user-friendly and connected. So why do I feel so disconnected? Why do I feel like my once-busy mind is so stagnant?

I grew up in a rural area, surrounded by adults. I was exposed to many, many ideas and thoughts, raised in a family of thinkers. I spent the entirety of each day reading. If we did watch movies, we watched old movies. Moral characters, well-spoken antagonists, polite children. We really weren't aware of what was really going on out there, but we were blissfully happy. I went to public school until 5th grade, and my mom decided to homeschool us from middle school on. I was fine with that. I found public school to be complicated and busy. Our homeschool education was quite different from our public education. We spent a lot of time reading, memorizing and discussing. So much memorization. Most of what I remember from middle and high school was intense English, literature and history.

When I think of my childrens' future, I'm scared for them. Without a strong foundation, what on earth will they have? The dearth of manners, good judgement and the three R's is frightening. Not just the lack of knowledge, but the lack of discipline. People always seemed shocked when the girls flip around and wait for instructions when I snap my fingers. It doesn't require punishment or anger - it's just a very simple consistent request for respect, and they get it. I thought it was so silly when the Baby Whisperer book suggested saying "please" and "thank-you" to your baby when you changed his diaper. Until I had babies of my own. Children really are like sponges. They soak up what's around them, and they can only give back what's been put in. You give them a little squeeze and they spill out what they've been exposed to. Easy as pie. (And you should give them plenty of squeezes.)

God gave me two (three!) very beautiful little minds to fill. I almost think He'd be disappointed if I didn't stretch those little minds to capacity. Without filling them with everything available to me, how will I ever know what they're capable of? The human mind hasn't changed. It's just simplified itself so much that the art of thinking is disappearing. People used to revel in leisure time. A time to rejuvenate, to to refresh, and most of all, to think. Great minds came up with their greatest thoughts in times of quiet thought. Our time for thought is filled with email, Facebook and tv. How truly sad, to think of the loss of such a powerful tool. Until very recently, I really felt that my degree in Parks and Recreation was so useless. I'm learning now that the knowledge I have of how people choose to spend their time and where we've come from as a leisure society is really, truly important.

My New Year's resolution is this: While I may not know exactly where our homeschooling journey is going, if it's going anywhere, I do know that I have exactly one year to figure out what sort of education I want to give them. So this year, 2011, I'm going to spend the entirety of my year working on facilitating whole thought and encouraging the art of thinking. We're going to focus on keeping the tv off, the music on and the art supplies out and ready. The girls love to color on the kitchen floor, so I'm going to fill the art cabinet to capacity. When I shop, it'll be to buy books, bookshelves and old movies. We're going to spend at least an hour a day reading aloud and talking. That's enough for preschool this year. I just want to nail down the habits that will stick with them for life. Picking up a book before picking up the remote. Speaking in complete sentences and learning when to be quiet. Learning to enjoy a peaceful corner and the art of doing nothing, if only to encourage original and complete thought. If homeschooling is ahead of us, conditioning our leisure time to create open minds and thoughtful children is the first step in a very, very long journey.

2011. The year of the Anti-Fragment.

21 December 2010

my bets are on hamm.

I felt Baby Tex kick tonight!!!!! Three (3) times!! In addition to several strong rolls!!!

Of course Laura & I began debating immediately whether it felt like a "Mia Hamm" kick or "David Beckham" (ie: girl or boy) kick! :-)

Either way..... WOOHOO! The baby has at least one fully functional limb! :-P

love, a very excited dad who cannot wait to get his hands on Cooke baby #3.

ever baked with a skeptic?

Molly's first time rolling out gingerbread cookies

 doesn't she look incredibly underwhelmed and put-upon?

do you ever get the feeling she's done thing before and seen the disastrous results?

 being the good sport she is, Molly chose to smile anyway to appease the parents.

she's incredibly symmetrical until she smiles. then it all goes crooked.

this is Molly's "no" face. no, i don't take it seriously either. 

 decorating like her life depends on it, Lucy stays focused and on-task.

 and when you decorate like your life depends on it, you need to shove your entire forefinger into the depths of the the cookie.

once you impale the cookie, we recommend a handstand.

 while the cookies baked, we enjoyed some chicken and rice on our filthy table. well, Mo enjoyed my chicken. she dumped 4 tablespoons of salt on her plate while my back was turned.

when the cookies came out, it was very clear that things went horribly wrong. they were crap. for once, i was willing to believe that maybe Molly has done this before. the results? disastrous.