30 July 2012

So about 5 minutes ago I was in my bedroom with the door shut, as I thought someone else was home. Apparently I am the only one home with the children, as I found Molly and Lucy in the living room yelling, "Mommy! Daddy! Where are you!?" I didn't hear them climb out of bed, but finding them all worried was nearly heartbreaking. I remember how scary it was when I used to think that my parents had left me when I didn't know where they were. Sweet, sweet little girls. They're both up in Lucy's bed now, to maximize snuggling. So cute.

Andrew is clearly out fishing while the children are wandering the family estate, so he missed out on the first "outside kicks" from his cute sons.

And why am I in bed while my daughters mistakenly believe I've left the property? I'm half-way through this pregnancy and my back is convinced that I'm nearing the finish line. I usually only lose one hip this early, but I suppose all bets are off with two in there, so I'm spending some QT with my heating pad. It complements the heartburn and backache so well.

29 July 2012


Found earlier this summer! Hope to find more!

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27 July 2012

I never thought I'd say this, but...

The Cooke house is in major upheaval. I am starting to feel the movement of two little boys who threaten to shake up everything we know, and I am so, so, so excited.

On the other hand, I'm trying to be realistic about what life with two tiny babies, one 18-month-old, one 3-year-old and one 5-year-old could possibly be like. I know people have dealt with more, but with Molly talking to her food and the walls and Claire trying her hardest to take the place apart brick by brick, I have to wonder how we're going to survive two nursing babies and a c-section recovery at the same time.

God would never give us a gift like this without the grace to see it through, so I'm not nervous in any way, but I do know that we're in for a whole lot of chaos. Chaos is good. Andrew and I love the chaos. We love the noise and craziness and general upheaval.

That said, I am so fully aware that I am going to have to let a few things go around here.

24 July 2012

Folks, I have two babies in my belly.

I know. Crazy. It absolutely doesn't seem like two people could be inside me, but whatever!

We have a super exciting summer to finish out, and then we'll be on Baby Watch 2012. With twins it really does happen just that fast. For instance, I'm supposed to have my hospital list and bag ready by 32 weeks. Riiiiight. I can't even have dinner done by 6.  I'm guessing that if I'm one of the unfortunate mamas who heads to an OB appointment and is sent straight to the hospital for a stay, I'll be emailing someone my list and working out the details on the flip side.

So in just a couple of short weeks we have a super-fun week of visiting family, followed very closely by a trip to Florida for Andrew and I, ALONE. mmmm-hmmmm....drinking on the beach and sleeping all day...going to be super fun doing all those crazy things we never get to do...oh, wait. I'm going to be house-sized and under strict instructions from my OB not to walk, move too quickly or enjoy too much warm weather. What was going to be our CRAZY second honeymoon without children will actually be a babymoon with two in tow. I'll be drinking ice water by the gallon while Andrew enjoys a whiny wife. Should be a fantastic trip! Andrew's parents are kind enough to have scheduled a 5 day layover in the DFW area, so they'll be chilling golf course-side with the littles while we enjoy one last vacation before we're officially a "large family."

Once our August trip is out of the way, we'll have about 11 weeks of school for Lucy before she finishes Kindergarten. We are very excited about taking a break! She'll be going to co-op with Molly through the school year, and Mimi will help us get started on First Grade in January as we transition from brand new babies to life with twins.

September will be nothing but waiting, waiting, waiting. Thankfully, with the beginning of the public school year comes cooler weather and a new year of meetings and busy-ness. That will help us as we get through the last of the second trimester. Andrew's papa, the Deacon himself, will be down for two weeks in September, to play with the kiddies and enjoy some QT with the Texas folk. Yippee! He likes to stay busy, so we're getting the Deacon-Do list together for him. So much fun he'll hardly be able to stand it!

And then, the third trimester!! Andrew's mom has graciously offered to spend my 3rd trimester down here in Texas with us, and we are SO EXCITED! The third trimester is going to be a LOT of stress, exhaustion, doctor's appointments and pain. The problem with twins is that they write their own calendar. We have had many offers of help, but we are most concerned about keeping the girls in some kind of routine amid the craziness of the numerous appointments, possible bed rest, probable hospital trips and definite couch time. It was very clear that we don't need help from all over but one steady source of stability. Having someone here at night is key, as we just don't know how my body will handle a twin pregnancy, especially with three c-sections under my belt as it is. If we need to duck out to Labor and Delivery in the middle of the night, we want to be able to let the girls sleep in peace without the added stress of locating a friend or neighbor to help.

When Andrew's mom asked me what kind of help we need and when, I was completely honest and said, "We have no idea and I'm completely afraid that it'll be at the wrong time." She swooped in like any wonderful mom and said, "Then I'll just come for all of it and we'll go from there!" Yahoo!

Now most women would think, "12 weeks with my mother-in-law? Gag." But my mother-in-law is a dream. This will not be the first time we've done extended time together, and we did great the first couple of times. She is a nurse, which is a major bonus, and the girls are SO excited about having "real" Grandma time as opposed to the short week we usually get. Lucy asked me only a week before, "Can our grandma come live with us like Stella's grandma does?" I was so happy to be able to say, "Yes!"

The thing we will need the most help with is the later part of the day when my back gives out and I just hit that horrible wall. Assuming I'm not on bedrest for some other reason, I should be able to do some morning activities, get dinner in the crockpot and spend a little time with the kiddies before I'm just out of commission. That is the hardest part of pregnancy for me, losing precious time with the kids. I am hoping to gather some great library books and create a place where we can color, read, build Legos and chat while I'm laid up in the afternoons. (that would mean paying my $30 fine at the library. sheesh.)

I have just rambled for far too long.

Monday morning outside

I am sitting on the patio while Claire plays in the sandbox. It's about 8am and 80 degrees. The breeze feels REALLY good after cutting the grass. Claire loves to sit on my lap and ride around while she screams over the noise of the mower.

Lucy and Molly are inside, missing out on what might be the most perfect time of a Texas summer day. Lucy and Daddy like to make coffee and hot cocoa early in the morning and sit outside on the patio. Warm beverages kind of freak me out*, so that's their special time.

Stone is at Stay-and-Play today, which is just wonderful for us. He usually goes on once or twice a week from 7:30am to 5:30pm, leaving us with a nice, long stretch of puppy-free time ahead of us.

* Yes, she has a long, odd list of things that freak her out. Just ask me sometime, I can give you a handful :-) - A

Heard Around The House

Mommy: Hey Molly, will you please throw away this diaper?

Molly: Ahhhhh....Why I have to do everyfing around here?!?

Yeah. Thank the good Lord we have a three-year-old to do everyfing around here.

Lucy: I know now that the words are "Jesus is a-knockin," and it really does make sense to me...but I don't think I'll ever change the way I sing it. "Jesus is a napkin" just goes really good. 

Sing it, girl. He knows your heart, as they say...

Mommy: Molly, did you unravel all that twine? 

Molly: No. I did not. I did not unrabble a fing. But if I did I would be so sorry. I would be bery sorry and I would nebber do that again. I would promise. I would so promise. Kay, Mom?

Kay, Mo. All I was looking for was a little transparency. Molly for President! 

Molly: Hoocy, I am so sorry I ripped your book. 

Lucy: Oh, that's okay, Mo! I'm pretty sure this is the one that was really fun to rip apart together. Remember when we did that? 

Molly: Oh yeah. I love ripping. But I'm also so sorry.

Library trip...canceled. 

21 July 2012

Molly Sings The Muppets!

Yardwork in July.

It's supposed to be 108 today. That, my friends, is bananas.

Our lawn is still looking very pretty and green, which is fantastic considering it was completely brown by this time last year. We have been very, very fortunate this summer and are enjoying normal temps. Last summer was the hottest summer on record and I think we're probably STILL recovering from that. We also had a very moderate winter with pretty high temps, so our yard is just full of critters, weeds and strange things that didn't die off over the cold weather. The lizards are enormous, the snakes are everywhere, the winged stingers are plentiful...sigh. The good news is that they're the busiest when it's really hot, which is usually when we're hiding inside. 

This morning was "my morning" to get up with the kids, as Andrew usually sleeps in* on Saturdays and I take Sundays. I tied the dog in the garage and brought everyone outside for a little yardwork. It's so pretty and quiet in the morning that we just have to get right out there and remind our neighbors how lucky they are to have us. 

I cannot imagine having to live next door to us. Our kids are always crying in the driveway or escaping the house naked, we rarely do yardwork in the summer and we really don't care if our garbage cans ever come back down the hill. We love working outside, but having all of these pasty, screaming children out in the July heat is pretty much impossible. So we wake up at 6, start the mower and get moving! Yes, we're that neighborly. 

This morning was no exception, friends. We got plenty done before the sun came over the hill, mowing, weedwhacking, sweeping, watering, tantrum-throwing, barking, golf-ball-winging, sand-eating and so on. Claire likes to ride on my lap while I mow, so she sat happily and screamed all sorts of baby talk over the noise of the mower while Lucy and Molly filled a cooler with water and "swam." (Of course we don't have a kiddie pool. Those things are for rich** folk!) 

Andrew does the scary yardwork while I do the lazy work. I prefer to mow the flat parts of the yard while he does the tippy parts. (Read: parts of the yard that may cause the mower to feel like it could tip over and kill me.) He also does all the weedwhacking. We both hate it, so we only do it before we have out-of-town guests. You think I'm joking. Why do you think we encourage so many visitors? It's the only thing that promotes responsible home-ownership in our household. 

Ooh, I have to go help Andrew. He's "organizing." I'm about 30 seconds away from total domestic confusion, so I'm going to go see just what's going on in there...baby update to come in a bit!

* By "sleep in"... I was out of bed at 7:15 with my cute little redhead pulling on the sheets saying "Daddy, time for yard work! Stretch those arms and shake those legs!"
** and trashy

18 July 2012


Okay, this was funny. We started working on the short "I" sound in Explode the Code today. Lucy was sort of getting it, but EtC will occasionally add pictures of super random stuff that a 5-year-old would never get. Like, "wig." She asked me, "What's a wig?" I said, "Oh, it's fake hair. To make you look different." She looked at me like I was nuts, but said, "Okay, that's nice!" and moved on. 

On the next page, I told her to work alone for a few minutes. Eventually she said, "Mommy? I know it begins with "F" and ends with "E," but I don't know what's in the middle..." I came over to the table and said, "What are you talking about?" She looked at me like I was the crazy one and said, "Fake, you know, for fake hair?" 


The Battle of Jericho

Slid and Slide Fun!

Poolside Cookies

13 July 2012

Breathless Love

(this is probably terribly disjointed. I just get carried away and can't put it all in a sensible place.)
It has been said many times that marriage is a preview of the happiness we'll have in Heaven, while we're still on Earth. I believe this 200%. I adore being married. When I look at Andrew, I see my very best friend. We spend so much time laughing and enjoying our life together. Andrew never speaks an unkind word and he really delights in being married to me. I would imagine that his love for me is close to the love that Christ has for me. When he talks to me, I can tell that he just loves being near me, listening to me, laughing at me, much like I should love being in the presence of holiness. He and I were born to love each other, just like I was born to love my Creator. When I see Andrew pop up on my cell phone, I know that I'm going to share a few minutes with the person whose voice I always love to hear. I'd imagine that God thinks the same thing when I get around to saying hello. "Oh, there she is! What a sweet girl that Laura is." When he walks through the door at night, I know that several hours of happiness lie ahead of me, spending time with this wonderful person and the children we love so much. Doesn't our Lord waiting for us in the tabernacle think the same thing on Sunday morning?

It amazes me that I don't see this parallel more often. Going to Mass on the weekend often feels like such a task with three small kids in this stifling Texas heat. But if I only had an hour a week with Andrew, wouldn't I arrive early, thrilled and excited to spend even an hour with him? Wouldn't I just JUMP out of bed on Sunday morning, ready to pretty myself up for just a smile from him? Wouldn't I stay late and walk away slowly, wishing for even more time?

I know that Christ loves me hundreds of times more than Andrew does, and I still don't give to Him what I give to the mirror of Himself that He's given me on Earth. My Earthly spouse in Andrew is a gift to me from my Heavenly spouse in Christ, and there are still times that I just can't see the forest for the trees.

The vocation of marriage is important because it's a foretaste of what we can look forward to with the One who loves our souls so intensely and who died to give us life. When a man and woman join together to create a life, they mirror the gift that Christ gives to us in the sacrifice of the altar. Wicked cool, right? That's how NFP gets you in a Catholic marriage. Once you truly understand what a child is, you can get carried away so easily!

I suppose that He looks at me and thinks, "Sheesh, I suppose she's really living that vocation when she falls asleep cuddled up with him instead of praying to Me." And isn't that a prayer in itself? Living our vocation throughout the day and exhausting ourselves with laughter and love is what Christ expects of us in marriage. We fail our vocation when we treat each other as objects and disregard the gift that we've been given in marriage.

The gift of marriage should remind us every day that He is waiting for each of us breathlessly, so anxious to welcome us Home. When I greet Andrew at the door after work, shouldn't it be something close to the way Christ would welcome him into Heaven? "I've been waiting so long, and I love you so much!"

If marriage has taught me anything in these short years with Andrew, it's that we cannot even fathom how much we are loved by our Creator. If marriage is a tiny sliver of that love, I'll be first in line at the pearly gates.

Friday Art - Canvases

Molly's work - she says, "it's a picture of shirts and it's garjess!! "

Cheddar? Brie? Havarti? Claire?

11 July 2012

Music to my ears

Last night I spent like $30 on some Motown music from Itunes and loaded up an old ipod we have for Lucy. This morning, I handed it to her and she accidentally selected (we're still working on how-to-navigate w/ her) Kid Songs play list. She quickly looked up and said, "No Dad, I want the Motown" :-) :-) :-)

There's hope for Lucy after all :-P

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07 July 2012

Dear Lowes, Thanks Again.

Well, we made a 2-hour visit to Lowes and lived to tell about it. That one was hairy, to say the least.

Our house is 35 years old this year! Happy Birthday, house! Tomorrow will be the one-year anniversary of our Old-House-Home-Ownership. As a result, we look forward to updates galore. Our house is really a renovator's dream. One reason we bought out house was because we liked how versatile the rooms were. We have a rancher with a lot of room to spread out and build on, but I think our most current plan may help us do away with a $100k addition.

It will really all depend on the sex of the twins. If we end up with 5 girls, there will be some changes. If by some chance we have boys or even one boy in there, we may just end up squeezing into what we have now. Should the twins be girls, we're talking about turning our back deck into a dining room and using the great room as an actual great room, leaving us with less of a need for a family room, so we could give the girls a very large, dorm-style bedroom with an attached bath far, far away from the Master Bedroom. Sigh. That would be plan A.

We don't really have a plan B, because it's all "down the road," as they say.

We do, however, have a few things that NEED to be done before we welcome two more lambs into the flock.

  • Utility Sink with sprayer. We're going to be cloth-diapering THREE children at once. That's a whole lot of diapers to launder. As we have a very, very large laundry/utility room with a toilet and several water hookups, we're adding a utility sink and changing station IN the laundry room. That way diapers can go straight from the booty to the sink to the washing machine without stopping in between. Not having diapers in other parts of the house is key to my maternal happiness. So we trekked to Lowes this morning and bought a nice, big sink that will be perfect for all sorts of large-family messes and will really help out with the whole diaper thing. I personally hate cloth diapering, but we really see no alternative with 3 under 2, you know? So anything we can do to make it as seamless as possible is what we're about right now. 
  • Painting a few rooms. Nothing fancy. I just anticipate spending more time than usual in our bedroom, and I'd love to make it feel a little more luxe than it is. We haven't had a painted bedroom since...2008. It's high time we turn the master into some kind of escape. We're going with Valspar's Spa Pool, even though Andrew is all, "hmmm...it's dark...." I'm trying to impress the whole jewel tones + neutrals + dark wood = gorgeous upon him, but he's always had trouble with the initial vision, and he can't really see blues anyway, so he decided to just trust me and buy the paint.  

04 July 2012

It's a Gebra!

Even Gebras (Molly's version of "zebra" apparently also applies to giraffes) having a fun 4th of July!

Happy Sunny Independence Day

Soaking up the sun with my lovely ladies!

02 July 2012

My Texas-sized chihuahua

Stone after a full 10 minutes of exercise! :-P

Compare this to his 'baby' pics from posts back in March, early April... whoa baby.

Happy Day!