28 February 2011

Happy Birthday Song!

a sunday walk

Yesterday was positively gorgeous, so we got outside to play! 

 Andrew and Lucy wanted to fish, and Molly and I were determined to soak up some sunshine!

 Daddy's first catch of the season! Hooray!

 The girls were determined to help Daddy catch one more fish...

 ...and here is Mommy, flying a kite.  Yeah, I'm that good. It was a $1 kite from Walmart, but it did the trick! The girls were just stunned!

Molly's Birthday Bash!

 We held Molly's 2nd birthday party on Saturday at her gym and she had a blast! We invited ten of her friends for a couple hours of sliding, bouncing, balancing and most importantly, eating! 

 (That incredibly large belly is mostly baby, not cupcake.) 

 I'm not going to include a bunch of friend pics for privacy reasons, but I had to share this one of Andrew and Addi - buddies! She's such a sweet little thing! We've missed her so much since we've moved, and now that we have gymnastics with her once a week, we're starting to get little Addison fixes here and there again.

 Mo had a great time in the pit, sliding and crawling.

 Action shot! 

 I think Mo's favorite part of the party was the parachute. Everyone sat under it and sang "Happy Birthday," and boy was she impressed! 

 At first glance, you'd almost think they liked the cupcakes...

 ...but no. Lucy, Mo and Addi all licked the frosting off and jumped down to get back to playing!

 Molly's friends gave her some wonderful gifts, and boy was she tickled! It doesn't take much when you're 2, but babies and animals sure help!

We came home after a couple of hours of fun and the entire family passed right out for a very long nap. Molly had a wonderful day and is still chattering about her party! 

Happy Birthday, Mo!

Tea Party!

Lucy threw a tea party the other day, using her Legos, her Winnie the Pooh books and all of my kitchen spoons. I was not invited. Nor was Molly. We pretended not to care.

Conditional Love...

28 Feb 2011...

"Now Molly, I love you, but only if you do exactly what I say. Once I knew a little girl who pooped in the bathtub, and it was very bad. So don't do that."

25 February 2011

praise and enthusiasm

So Lucy and I were talking about good behavior yesterday. Somehow the conversation turned to sitting still and listening attentively. Lucy then brought up the old "criss cross applesauce" thing, which I'm told is something they use at the church nursery as well as the gym. "Miss Leigh Ann always says to sit criss cross applesauce!" Lucy chirped.
"Oh yeah?"
"Yes. And sometimes we chant and cheer!" (keep in mind that most of what happens in a three year old's mind is usually a product of their imagination...)
I replied, "Wow! What do you cheer about?"
Lucy replied, "Oh, well, Jesus stuff and things like that, I think."
Prepare yourself. The following chant should follow the old "2!-4!-6!-8!" cadence.
So I ask curiously, "Will you show me one of your cheers?"
Lucy positively lights to her feet and prepares to chant.

"Criss! Cross! Applesauce!
Jesus died, on a cross!"

Side-eye from mommy. "Really?"

Lucy is glowing. "Yes! And it rhymes!"

"yes. It sure...does."

I really have no idea if she cheers and chants at the church nursery, but her storytelling sure is enthusiastic...

23 February 2011

ADDITIONALLY: That is the scariest picture I've ever seen of Molly.

Gym TIme 2

Also, Mommy is now incredibly large.

Gym Time!

Molly @ Pizza Hut 22 Feb 2011

If you give your 2 y/o daughter a large mountain dew... she WILL turn out like the monster in this picture! This picture captures a common side of Molly. She constantly runs around and says "ROAR!" in a scary voice way too deep for a 2 y/o little girl. We say, "What does a birdie say?" and she replies (loud, deep & sinister), "ROAR!!!!" Bewildered, Laura & I look at each other and laugh so hard that we cry. We even try mixing it up... Duckie, Doggie, Elephant, Mommy, Daddy... apparently we all say ROAR!


A : "What about Dorian?"

L: "I like it, but I think of Dorian Gray."

A: "There was a picture or something?"

L: "I do remember that."

A: "Maybe it showed his real age?"

L: "I thought he was always young. Wasn't he always young?"

A: "No, I think the picture had something to do with that."

L: "Mmm. Okay. We should find out."

Thanks to Netflix Instant, we intend to.  For now, "Dorian" is off the list.

But seriously...

Grandma Susie always sang, "Enjoy yourself, while you're still in the pink..." and she was right. I have never seen two people enjoy themselves quite like Grandma Susie and Grandpa Dick. Or course, Grandma Susie comes from a long line of hang-loose, fun-loving "enjoyers." Her parents, Grandma Maggie and Grandpa Weaver, were also so acutely aware of how quickly we pass from this life to the next. I don't remember much about Grandma Maggie, because she passed when I was very young. But I do remember her laugh. She was always laughing. I remember her as being so big. I realize now that she was probably average sized, but everything inside her was larger than life. Her laugh was always contagious and always moving, and Grandpa Weaver found all of his joy in enjoying her.

Andrew and I enjoy each other. We're still very new to this marriage business, having just celebrated 5 years. It's not always perfect, but it IS always fun. Our faults are laughable and forgivable. Andrew married me for life, and knowing that I'm always forgiven and cherished makes it so much easier to present the real me to him. There are no outs, and there is no emergency exit. (Except for killing sprees. I think we both agree on that one.) Knowing that we truly do have a lifetime, it feels easier to let the little things go. Most of it is just far too small to worry about when you're living big, you know? Andrew isn't a big forgiver, because he finds so little in me that needs he feels needs forgiving. (Truth be told, there is so much. I am so flawed and he seems to just bubble over with patience. My best example of true love is him - how anyone can put up with this and still find me endearing is truly a testament to the power of sacramental marriage.) I feel like I'm always a work in progress, married to someone who's embodied his vows from Minute One. (Minus the tumbleweed thing. He won't let it go - apparently it found him and they're destined for great things.)

I have laughed more in the 5 years I've been married than I have in my entire life. My husband is ridiculous, fun-loving and he always picks up on my humor. (Some people don't. I hope you don't know how that is. It's a bummer.) I am very blessed to have married into a family full of witty people. I couldn't be happy without that.

I think that having children has only added to the laughter. Well, that's a guarantee. Our girls are so weird and witty. I love it when Lucy says something off the cuff and I think immediately that Grandpa Dick would just die if he'd heard it. I hope that my children can someday look back on their own lives and think, "Wow, I've just laughed my way right through..."

22 February 2011

Wild West?

Andrew went out for a jog the other night and without about 75 minutes, I heard the door open. In walks Andrew with a giant bush. I stare blankly.

"it's a tumbleweed!"


"it was tumbling down the street so I brought it home!"

"mmm. Okay?"

"the best part was on the way back this guy was in his yard and he was like, 'hey dude, nice tumbleweed" and I was like, "thanks!"

"you don't say..."

"yeah! So great!"

Lost and found

Well, I tell you what. I am pooped. I have a birthday party coming up on Saturday morning, and I have lots to do before then! I have a playdate in the morning, and lots to do before then! I have a baby coming out of this sore body in about 9 weeks, and lots to do before then! You get the picture...
Molly will be 2 years old this weekend! Our pesky, perky, rise-to-the-occasion girl is two?!?!? Amazing. She's such a sweet little nut; I know her party will be lots of fun. Just a matter of getting the cookies baked, the cake done and the favors set aside!
I have so many little things I want to get done before baby Tex arrives - so much sewing, many little crafts, lots of activities...busy, busy. I'm so sore and exhausted at the end of every day, but my energy during the daylight hours is just boundless right now.
Andrew and I just celebrated our 5th anniversary, and I am happy to report that we're still blissfully in love - although my feminine wiles weren't strong enough to keep him home from his run, which is why I'm blogging from the couch and watching a TLC show about the Royals...parrrrrtayyyyy...
I think that I'm going to promise you a real blog post tomorrow at naptime. My evenings are SO hard to use for blogging right now, because at the end of the day it's just incredibly painful to sit at the computer. The top of my belly just burns by about 7pm, so once the kids are in bed, it's all I can do not to wail into my stupid heating pad. I think that the pain at the top of my belly is by far the most likely reason my kids are spaced as far apart as we are - it's just indescribable.
Now that I've complained sufficiently, I'm going to take a break to wail into my heating pad.

20 February 2011

Gracias? Chinese?

"Gracias. That means 'Hello' in Chinese."

"Molly said 'Hola'! That means she said 'Thank you' in Chinese!" 

Just two quotes from Lucy before noon today... It's gonna be one for the record books here @ the Cooke house!

18 February 2011

Poppers Singing 18 Feb 2011

Explanation & Prelude to the Tumbleweed...

And NOW, I feel like I (Andrew) should explain. My wife goes to extreme measures to make sure she's kissable 24/7. Little does she know that I actually have to sleep for about 6-8 hrs a night. So, being kissable in "real life" (vs. in dreams) is not  necessary* at 2, 3, 4am.

However, I will confess that the first warm, cozy, cuddly, sleepy kiss in the morning is my absolute favorite.

*not necessary according to the 80/20 principle.

I feel like I should explain. I apply copious amounts of chapstick every night before I go to sleep. They fall off the headboard. Andrew gets the job of fishing them out on a monthly basis. And then he complains and makes fun of me, all the while NOT complaining about how soft and kissable my lips are. Fail.

Monsters? Under the bed?

Yes. In this master bedroom they go by the names Blistex, Neutrogena, the Lipsmacker Quadruplets and the Chapstick Trio......

That's nine (9) monsters if anyone is paying attention. That's a very high bed/lipstick monster ratio.

Lazy Friday...

About once a week, Andrew gives me orders to stay at home and relax. He knows I'm going to use my day in clean and organize, but it's so nice to stay in my jammies all day and just get some work done. We've had such a busy week this week, and I know the girls will be very happy to just stay in and do absolutely nothing. Molly is currently playing with a toy horse and Lucy is watching a Care Bears movie - all she's wanted to do all week is "sit on the couch and watch TV" so I know she's very happy just letting her little mind melt into Care-a-Lot. I think Lucy is having a little pre-baby anxiety and is starting to get a little stressed out, so I'm letting her lead the way on a few things around here. I think she's a little concerned about what will happen to Molly once the baby gets here. She and Molly are incredibly close and I get the feeling that she's thinking that Molly will be out of the picture once baby gets here. It's so hard to explain these things to little people. So we're spending a lot of time just cuddling, talking and playing with Mo.

Andrew and I are talking over the possibility of a little road trip before baby gets here. I can't decide if it's a good idea or not...we'd like to take the girls to New Orleans to see some of the parades and the like, but I'm a little concerned about the drive, as it's about 8 or 9 hours on the road. No worse than our Outer Banks trips, I suppose, but Molly is not the traveler that Lucy was! It'll depend on Andrew's time off and that whole money thing, but I'd love to get one last adventure in before we have a tiny baby to think of again. I suppose we could do it after baby, but that would probably push it back to September or October, knowing the weather in these parts...just tossing it around...

17 February 2011

Tiny Things

I saw this post this morning and it really struck a chord with me. So many tiny things in my life. Nothing I do is "big." I don't make big sales, I don't have big meetings, I don't make a big commute every morning, I don't work in a big building...

My life is so, so small. Tiny people, tiny shoes, tiny bows, tiny voices, tiny kisses, tiny hands, tiny projects, tiny beds, tiny words. It can be so hard to think big with so much "tiny" around me.

I'm not a small person. I talk big, think big, laugh big, plan big, dream big and love big. My life has always been bigger than I deserve. Making the move to tiny was a little difficult at first. My first year of tiny was a little like entering a silent convent without a prayerful decision to do so. I felt so trapped and tired.

But with the help of the women who've gone before me, tiny became so much more fulfilling than I could ever put into words. We make small steps around here now, but every moment is so delicious and filling. I don't have to be big to everyone else now, because I'm larger-than-life to my tiny people. And let's face it. Life is pretty sweet when your boss believes every word you say and thinks you can move mountains.

Today we're going to put on tiny clothes, sit in tiny carseats, play with tiny friends and flip on tiny gym equipment. It doesn't matter to anyone but us. Nobody really cares that three more kids are out there in the world, but He notices. He sees what tiny can bring to a marriage, and what small can do for the hearts of strangers. I know that when Andrew and I kiss in the glow of their nightlight when we watch them sleep, He sees what He has created and knows how good it is. The tiny in our life is bringing us closer to each other, sealing our vocation and giving us a visible sign of our love. When our love feels big, we have more to offer to the world around us. And that, indeed, is very, very BIG.

16 February 2011


Is this fella cute or what?? Best smile in the world. If there's anything I love more than waffles and peanut butter, it's this handsome face I wake up to every day.

Baby Love

15 February 2011

Back to Normal...

Well, Suz is gone and Valentine's Day is behind us. So many things to smile about at Cooke house.

We had a great weekend with Suz. She got in on Friday and we started the fun with lunch at Rosa's and a swim at Keller Pointe - Lucy just loves that place and had so much fun. We got home late and made pilaf, because I'm pretty sure that's the whole reason Suz came to visit anyway.

On Saturday morning we all piled in the car for a short drive up to Justin to hunt for western wear and the like. I had no idea there were so many stores with the same name. It was incredibly confusing! Suz did, however, get her boots and even Baby Tex came away with something cute! We stopped on the way home to chat with some cowboys smoking beef on the side of the road. After some pictures and a couple sandwiches, we headed home to get ready for a night out at the Stockyards.

Having no idea just how crazy the Stockyards are on Saturday night, the five of us wandered the shops and fought our way to Cattlemen's for steak - Suz was thrilled that she could order her steak still mooing, and the girls were thrilled to have chocolate cake in the middle of dinner. Anything to keep them quiet...

Sunday was fantastic - full of wild animals and feed pellets. We drove out to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center so Suz could feed the animals. It was super fun, but it turns out ram saliva gives Suz hives. Curious, I know...We came home to lay around in the sunshine and grill kabobs; nothing but perfect!

Suz had to go home on Monday, which blew. Let's be honest - Suz is awesome. To console ourselves, the gals and I made a trip to the grocery store to prepare for Valentine's Day! We hatched a plan to make an angel food cake for Andrew, which is actually something I've never done. It worked, by golly!

Andrew came home a little early bearing all sorts of Valentine's gifts for his sweet valentines. The girls were given a new poster for their room, candy, Teddy bears, play-doh, and a rose for each of them. Lucy was thrilled - she yelled, "this is great! Now I can dance the tango!"
Andrew didn't forget about his big, squishy, gestating valentine, either! Cupid brought me a scrabble game, bath salts, a butter dish and windshield wiper fluid! Fantastic! Considering the pretty baubles I've received thanks to Andrew's latest overseas trips, I decided that a butter dish and a gallon of wiper fluid was outstanding on such a romantic day. (and really, a husband who gets through the night with sticking his hand in a stick of butter whilst looking for a drink is far more likely to be romantic otherwise...) Don't worry folks, Andrew found himself the lucky recipient of some Peeps and a super-sprinkled angel food cake. :-)
All in all, it was a pretty sweet day, surrounded by pretty sweet people. Pics to come soon!

10 February 2011

This is Lucy

Lucy doesn't "need naps anymore" because she's "ahmost fow." She never falls asleep within 30 seconds and would never fall asleep with a toy in her mouth. She is, after all, "ahmost fow." When you're that far into adulthood, you really keep it together. Especially at naptime.

05 February 2011

Typing in a comfy chair, y'all...

The snow is gone. Sweet, sweet freedom. We dashed out the door this morning, faster than the poor girls would have liked. But that's just too bad. Mommy needed to see the outside world.

We ran to Best Buy to pick up two online orders. A new video camera and an external drive, and while we were there we decided a month with a broken space bar was long enough, so we sprang for a wireless keyboard and mouse, too. (I know, I know...cabin fever will make you do crazy things, folks...)

We ended up getting a Flip Ultra HD video camera, which we already LOVE. And by love I mean passion and fireworks. I think I love the external drive, but it's not really doing a whole lot. Just sitting there, backing up my computer every 2 minutes, which does seem like overkill considering I haven't backed up my computer in...well, never. It is, however, blue. So that's a big talking point.

I think the keyboard and mouse might be my favorite purchase, however. I'm just tickled to death, sitting here in my cozy chair, reclined and typing!

So after Best Buy we ran over to Hobby Lobby, where God and the angels live. I got enough fabric to finish a couple of carriers, and resisted some awesome Elvis fabric. Andrew would probably kill me if I put Elvis' face on my baby's feet. Killjoy. I'm guessing the Elvis Mei Tai is probably enough for him. As if there's ever enough.

We met up with Lili and Mr. Cutestuff for lunch and then came home for naps. Mo is getting her two-year molars, so her nap was short and not-too-sweet. After naps we all went out for a walk to see the melting snow and float tiny leaves down the street in the runoff. The girls thought that was just incredible. We had a very nice walk and came home for some "noonohs" (mac&cheese) and sewing. I got my ring sling done and while it LOOKS amazing, it turned out to be more fabric that I bargained for and is a lot for the size of the rings, making it a little tough to adjust. I don't care, though. It's so cute I'll suffer and look amazing doing so.

Well, I am going to head to bed. I would type more, but I'm absolutely pooped. I'll post one more video before I head to bed.

Cooke Family Sumo Wrestling 5 Feb 2010


04 February 2011

Language Style Predicts Romantic Chemistry - Discovery News



Language style affects long-term relationship strength and the compatibility of existing and would-be couples, suggests a new study.

Led by researchers at the University of Texas, Austin, the study -- featured in the journal Psychological Science -- advances our understanding of how language influences romance.

Online Dating Stigmas Dissolving

The group compared people's use of "function words," which rarely carry any meaning on their own, but help build context in conversations.

Content words, such as nouns, adjectives and verbs, carry an explicit meaning. Function words, on the other hand, vary in their use and help provide reference points in conversations. For instance, words like "the," "that" and "of" can act as function words.

The researchers conducted two experiments to measure language similarities. One setup involved 40 speed dating sessions among college students, where duos' conversations were recorded and transcribed for analysis. The study's authors found that people who used function words similarly were more likely to express romantic interest in seeing one another in the future.

A second experiment measured the use of function words in the online chats of 86 couples over the span of 10 days. The researchers found that couples that used function words similarly were more likely to still be together later.

Three months after the data were collected, the team discovered that 76 percent of couples with similar language styles were still together compared to 53 percent of other couples that lacked similar styles of speech.

Brain Takes Less Than One Second To Fall In Love

The findings suggest that romantic compatibility may not depend solely on saying the right things but rather whether they're said in a relatable way.

James Pennebaker, a coauthor of the study, comments on the natural tendency of these speech styles in a press release: "What's wonderful about this is we don't really make that decision; it just comes out of our mouths."

Photo credit: Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision


03 February 2011

I always wonder...

...who reads my blog. Everyone so often, someone I vaguely know will say, "oh yeah, I read that on your blog..." and I'll think, "yikes. Now they just know far too much. I wonder if they think badly of me knowing more about me than I know about them." I'm just a chronic over-sharer. I tend to think the same thing when I leave a playgroup, too. Why do I do that? I don't know. I really don't.
I've been contractiony all day. I can't decide what they are, exactly. They don't feel exactly like Braxton Hicks, but I don't think they're anything to worry about right now. And who knows- they could be BH, but I don't remember having them all day in my previous pregnancies. Tex has been very crazy and active today, so things seem fine. Just keeping an eye on things, I guess! Nothing regular, so I think I'll just keep the water coming and sit tight. As if I could do a whole lot with 3 inches of ice outside anyway...
Speaking of ice, I am going positively stir crazy. We've been in the house since Monday. Tomorrow is Friday. That's a lot. I am really running out of fun things to do with the kids. And eggs. And butter. And fruit. Running out of quite a bit, I tell you.
So, the plan for tomorrow? TV - Nick Jr and whatever I can stand. But only an hour or two. I'm reasonable. Sewing. Gotta finish a couple more baby things. Then I'll move on to things like toilet paper covers, rag dolls, handtowels, and any random crap I can possibly come up with to make me forget the ice.
We'll bake something. Without eggs or butter, of course...nevermind? We'll take a bubble bath, even though we're all incredibly clean with all these baths we're taking. We will...clean something. Maybe. We will make a grocery list for Daddy. We will vacuum. We will try not to kill each other. Yeah, it could kill us.
Well, it's 9pm and I'm going to wrap this up. I'll post a couple pictures before I head to bed. Lucky you!

02 February 2011

Mystery of the "other two juices"

Dole's Orange Strawberry Banana has in it's CAPS sub-label "blend of 5 juices" which begs the question... What are the other two flavors of this crazy beverage?!?! I know, RIGHT!

So I return it to it's refrigerated home and see that Dole's "Strawberry Kiwi" has a CAPS sub-label that says "blend if 4 juices".

Ack! Dole! What are you DOING to me???? And most importantly WHAT are the mystery two flavors?!

01 February 2011

Snow Day, y'all!

Well, Cooke House is in a definite whirl this morning. After hours and hours of incredibly noisy freezing rain overnight, we woke up to snowy grass and very cold temps. Thank goodness the weekend forecast is in the upper 50's.  It's the only thing that gets me through.

Today Daddy will be working from home, to avoid the inches of ice on the roads, and we'll be doing "cwafts" and cleaning the house while he works. In the meantime, that means we're going to start the morning with making beds, getting dressed and cleaning up from breakfast so we can get started on our fun! More to come!