Monday, October 31, 2011

Coffee Date Monday: Happy Halloween!!

Today I've got creamer, no worries! And for whatever reason my coffee today is quite delicious.

If you were over today, I'd probably hand you a rag and the pledge and ask you to help me dust. Mondays are my dusting days, and my back is killing me. Usually when my back hurts it hurts in the lower region. Not so today. It's the upper part of my back, and i have no idea how it started hurting. It just did. I've also got dishes soaking in the sink. Wanna help me with those, too?

Today I would undoubtedly talk to you about the weather. How boring and old-lady-ish, right? Some days the weather is quite refreshing. The crisp air feels wonderful. When the sun shines the color in the sky and on the trees is beautiful. (A lot of trees, actually, are without leaves). However, when the sun doesn't shine, it's not as refreshing. It just makes you want to stay in bed. Something I'll just have to get used to, I guess. With the cold weather coming, we've discovered some things we need to get. An ice scraper, flannel sheets (our sheets are so cold when we get in bed at they make flannel crib sheets?), and some electric blankets.

Cooper got a package in the mail from his great Gramma and Grandpa this weekend. They are TowMater slippers (the tow truck from cars). He loves them. He prances around in them and lines them up. Cooper can't say the sound yet so when he says it he says, "S"owma"N"er.

Yesterday Andrew was on a run and Cooper and I had a dance party. When Andrew walked in Cooper yelled "Dance Party". During one of our dances, Cooper stopped and hugged my legs hard.

Today is the 6 year anniversary of Andrew' dad's death. I can't believe how much has changed since then. Sometimes Andrew and I talk about how much his dad would have loved Cooper.

I am so happy to be in Ohio. There are a few reasons, one big one is that here I get to stay home with Cooper. The other really big one is that we get to be a part of a wonderful, healthy church family. It is a breath of fresh air to us and it is helping us heal. Each sermon it seems I hang on every word that Dwight preaches. I take lots of notes, and I don't throw them away. I reference them and study them throughout the week. The women I've gotten to know are down to earth, caring, and just overall awesome. They are the type of women I know I can learn from and look up to. The church is also doing a wellness program with the staff. Today Andrew is getting blood work done, and he is going to get an individualized plan of health over the next 6 months. He is very excited because he's never had this done, and he's excited to see his health change in the coming months. In the past few weeks he has lost 18 pounds! Yay, Andrew!

Today is also....Halloween! Cooper is dressing up this year, and we are actually going to try our hand at trick-or-treating with him. So far he has highly enjoyed pumpkins (although he hated touching the inside) and movies, and his costume. I hope he enjoys trick-or-treating, too. This year we have to make sure he is warm enough under his costume.
As you can see from the pictures, Cooper is going to be a sock monkey. Pretty fitting, right? His new favorite thing is Curious George. One of the movies is on Netflix and he asks to watch it at least 3 times a day. I have memorized the movie by heart at this point. He also carries around his own stuffed monkey. They play together, take naps together, eat together, and go "night-night" together.

What are your plans for Halloween?

Well, the dishes are still in the sink and the house is still not dusted. Off to be productive!

Love you.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Freeze" for All

I was inspired by my friend Erin's blog post this week. Erin in Indiana. *Insert tangent here* I have a lot of Erin/Aaron's in my life. I have to clarify which one often. If I say "my brother" or "A"ron, then people know who I refer to. I have two very good friends named Erin, and I can't put their end initial at the end, because they are both Erin S. So, this post was inspired by Erin in Indiana, or Erin as in "Fred and Erin". It's quite tricky, I know.

Anyhow, she talked about how there are many moments she wants to freeze with her baby girl. It got me thinking. That's part of my vision for this blog. To freeze special moments in time somewhere. I don't know if it's because I'm home with Cooper now, or if it's because so much in our life has changed this year, but I am noticing more and more how much Cooper is growing and it makes me more sad than it has in the past.

Andrew and I are trying our best to parent with the end in mind. Instead of trying to make it 'til they go to college, we're trying to build a family atmosphere that when they're 26 and we're 51, or when they're 51 and we're 76, they still WANT to be around us and share our company. So, with the end in mind, I've tried not to get so sad about Cooper getting older. And for the most part I've done well with it. It makes me excited to know he can verbalize with me more, and it's awesome watching him "draw". And as I look to our future I do look forward to and get excited about the things we'll be able to do with Cooper that he can't do now.

I do want to remember all these special moments along the way. I don't know that my brain will be able to hold it all. So, since the posts in this blog will last longer than my memory (probably) I'm going to do some "Freeze" for alls each week. I hope you'll share some of your "freeze it" moments as well.

Today I would freeze:
Cooper singing "Tractor, Tractor"
Cooper telling me "hi" and "bye" as he enters and exits a room
Cooper thinking he needed to be the center of attention at the library, which resulted in him jumping up and down (facing everyone), and laying on the ground.
The sweet kiss and hug Cooper gave me before bed.
The way Cooper prays, and when he says "amen", he whispers it.
Andrew bringing home a clean dish from his lunch, so I wouldn't have to wash it. Someone remind me of this later when I will undoubtedly think he doesn't do anything.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Coffee Date Monday: Life is Precious

I am not drinking coffee this morning as we are out of creamer, and I just can't do coffee without good creamer. So, I hope you're enjoying yours well enough for the both of us.

I had a lot of cute/fun things to share today, but recent events have taken this post another direction. A lot will come out of my mind in today's visit, so get comfy.

Andrew and I have this week learned the difficulty of being away from family, but not the difficulty like, "we wanna hang out". More so the difficulty of "we need to be there to help". Our prayer life has increased a lot due to situations where we can't be there. We're not able to be close, give hugs, hold hands, but we are able to lift our requests to the Lord, who can be in Florida with family, and in Ohio with us.

Last week Andrew's mother was admitted to the hospital. She has liver issues, and is need of a transplant. She wasn't feeling well, and when she went to the doctor, he told her to go straight to the hospital to be admitted. Lots of thought and emotions on our part, but trying to stay hopeful. Yesterday she came home (yay!) but is still not able to function at a "normal" level. Maybe never again, which make my stomach twist. So, we've been praying, and will continue to pray for Andrew's mom.

Last night as we were laying in bed, drifting off to sleep, we get a call that Andrew's brother-in-law was being rushed to the hospital. They weren't sure what happened, but it was bad. He fell on his face, on the ground, turned purple, and didn't have a pulse. At the time they were thinking a massive heart attack. So, after we got off the phone, and came to grips with the fact that we couldn't rush over, we prayed. Then we got another call saying that he didn't have a pulse and they were working on him. So, we prayed again. HARD. The thought of this man dying is not an option in our minds. It scares me to think that God might have something else to say about that. It took Andrew and I a long time to fall asleep, with thoughts of how life might be different from this point on. Thought about the kids. Thoughts about his sister. Thoughts that hopefully people close to them would step up and help out. Eventually we did fall asleep. This morning we read an update that stated he is in a medically induced coma. His blood work looks OK, so they don't think it was a heart attack. They are currently running tests to figure out what happened. Friends and family are staying with the kids, and at the hospital.

So, if you were here with me, I would ask you to get on your knees and lift up Andrew's family in prayer. And we'd pray together.

Then we'd probably talk about how precious life is. How God can take any one of us at any moment. How it's so hard to live life like today's your last. How life changes fast. How Cooper is not going to fit in my arms forever. How he's not going to have the laughter he has now forever. How I need to tell Andrew I love him several times a day. How I need to go to bed each night knowing I did everything I could to let my family know I loved them, and that their mom/wife cherished them with every breath she took. Because one day I might be gone from their life, or they mine, and those things need to be known daily. I'd tell you about how last night Andrew and I talked about how it is so important that we are healthy for our family. Having a healthy lifestyle will benefit Cooper because he'll be healthy, but also because he might have us around a bit longer.

Then I'd probably talk about how I'm glad I have hope. How I'm glad I have a God who loves me and who uses hard times, scary times, and dare I say it, death, to bring about his goodness. God has a plan for me, and you. His plans are for good, not disaster. His plans are for a future and hope. I'm glad that even though hard times come, and people come into this life and leave it, that God's love prevails. And right now my hope is that God's love and goodness shines through, and that he comforts Andrew's family.

So, thank you for coming over today. Next week I promise to have yummy creamer on hand. I'm sure that at some point in our visit, Cooper would have tried to make us laugh and then show us a cute little squinty face and said, "Sunny"...which means funny.

As you leave, please remember to lift us, and Andrew's family in prayer.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

20 months

Today Cooper is 20 months old!

I can't believe 20 months have gone by since Cooper was born.

To celebrate, we had our first pillow fight. He was "helping" me change the sheets on the beds today, and I decided it was time to teach him about pillow fighting. I was funny because he could barely lift the pillow....which means I won. He laughed every time he got hit.
I always wondered when children discover how to pick their nose. For my child it happened around 20 months. I will find him many with his finger up his nose and then he'll say "yucky". So, in case you ever wonder, you could probably expect it with your child around 20 months.
Happy 20 months, Cooper Lee.

P.S. We are thankful for our friends who generously give clothing to us. Two special friends provided us with one of my favorite outfit days on Cooper in a while. Thanks Heather and Mary!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Coffee Date Monday: Candy Corn COOKIES

So, I've been thinking about changing up my blog a bit. I would like to do some weekly posts on certain days, about certain things. Today is the first: Coffee Date Monday.

Every Monday I will have a coffee date with none other than....YOU!

It is no secret that I have come to love coffee. I have always enjoyed it, but ever since the birth of Cooper, it has become a morning staple. Not just mornings, though, some afternoons and evenings, too. And, it's really hard to resist a coffee date with someone. It is hard to do coffee dates right now because 1)There's no coffee shop close and 2)The people I would really like to have a coffee date with are far away. Most of them, anyway. So, welcome to my remedy. On Mondays, I will drink some coffee as I write, you can drink some coffee (or tea, or water, or pop, or whatever you like to drink) as you read. So, take a comfy seat, kick off your shoes, and let's chat about what's on our hearts.

If we were on a coffee date, this is what I'd share with you today:

I would tell you about how Cooper is starting to talk more and more with 3 word sentences. "I want some" and "sit on it" were the two most frequented this morning.

I would tell you about how Cooper likes to "help" me in the kitchen. Great because it entertains him, also crazy because I'm pretty good at making messes, and when he "helps" an even bigger mess is sure to be made.
I would tell you about how Andrew and I talked the other night about how one day Cooper is going to move to another state across the country.

I would tell you about how I am really trying to savor each moment in each phase of Cooper's life, because one day he'll walk out our door to live a life of his own.

I would tell you about how God and Satan are battling in my mind. Doubts about where we are and how I long for good friends here.

I would tell you about how God usually kicks Satan's butt because I quickly remember that Andrew works at an amazing church, in a position that seems like was made just for him. I remember that being here allows me to stay home. I remember that being here is refreshing to my soul because there is not one Sunday that has gone by that I haven't walked away challenged by the sermon. See? God's winning my mind's battle.

I would tell you about how Andrew and I are working out, running (even I ran last night) and eating healthy again.

I would tell you that every time I tell Cooper I'm going to vacuum, he runs and sits here.
I would tell you that I don't really like candy corn. I will have a piece here and there, but it is not something I get excited about in the fall. I do, however, love cookies. So, when I saw this recipe for candy corn cookies on Pinterest, I knew I had to give it a try. Cooper helped me today, and they turned out pretty cute, and tasty!
I would tell you how much I love you, how much I value you, and give you a great big hug as you leave.

So, now it's your turn to share.

Looking forward to next week's date.

Monday, October 10, 2011

"That will never happen to us"

....or will it?

You know how most people see a situation that other people go through, and you utter the words "That will never happen to me/us" in your brain. Well, I've done it. This weekend I realized that one of the things that my brain had decided was never going to happen, could, in fact, very realistically happen.

Are you ready for the scenario? Here we go.

Situation: Kids go off to college, leaving mom and dad in a house all by themselves for the first time in 18+ years.
Result: Mom and Dad don't know who each other are anymore, resulting in a lost marriage.
This weekend, Cooper was in KY with my grandparents. This allowed Andrew and I the amazing opportunity to spend some time together. This has happened many times before. We've had weekends together, date nights, and outings many times because we don't want the above situation to happen. This weekend there was something different in the air. It was almost as if we were lost without Cooper. Andrew makes a point to spend time with the family before Cooper goes to bed. Now that Cooper's not here, what is he to do? I'm always caring for, cleaning up for, preparing something for, loving on, or playing with Cooper. Now that he's not here, what am I supposed to do?
Resentment kind of filled the air as the hurt of being "lonely" in the world of Ohio hit both Andrew and I. I am used to having a great group of women around me who listen to me, and pour words of wisdom into me, helping me get through a situation. Andrew's used to being pre-occupied with a number of things, from youth stuff or hanging out with the guys. In Ohio, our world is different. I don't yet have the same type of friends to go to. Andrew does't have a youth group, or the group of guys to hang out with yet. We were forced to spend time together in a very different way and boy oh boy was it rocky at points.

As we were driving to church that morning I realized how easy it would be for us to end up the empty nesters who just can't hold the marriage together, because for the past 18+ years they have spent way too much time and attention with/on others rather than each other. Do you know how scary that thought is?
While we were at church, during worship, I said something to Andrew, expecting a problem-solving result, and instead I got a smart comment from him. My world came crashing down and I went to the bathroom and cried. When I composed myself to return, I sat down to a message about dealing with difficult people. Andrew is a difficult person. And I am a difficult person. Especially right now as we try to adjust to a completely different way of life, with completely different people around us.
I have to continually ask God for help in my marriage. I pray for God to move in Andrew's heart, but I also pray that he moves in mine more. I have to force myself not to say "It's not fair that I have to wash everyone's dishes" and instead say "I am loving my husband and child when I wash their dishes."

The weekend ended on a higher note. We talked it through, each came to our own acceptance of who Christ needed us to be in our marriage at that moment, and moved on with the day. We saw a movie, ate some grub, shopped some, and smiled together.

I decided this weekend that one day I would love for Andrew and I to renew our vows. I'm positive that when we got married we didn't really know. Our heads were in the clouds. Now we know just how much work it takes, for us to invest in each other, to not become like the situation listed above. And now that we know, how much more awesome will our vows mean the next time we commit and make promises to one another.
Husbands: Take hold of your wife. Wrap her in your arms. Tell her you love her OFTEN. Tell her the things you admire about her OFTEN. Tell her you appreciate her OFTEN. Lead her the way God designed for you to lead her.
Wives: Lift your husband up, in words TO HIM, in words to others ABOUT HIM, and in words TO GOD IN PRAYER FOR HIM. Don't drop hints about situations. Be honest about your needs, and speak clearly when identifying them. Respect him and his authority as the leader of your family the way God designed you to submit.

"And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God's word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy without fault. In the same way, husbands out to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself." Ephesians 5: 22 - 28

Andrew, I love you. I choose you daily. I'm devoted to you. Do you wanna' re-commit one day?
To the rest of you: I hope you enjoyed the many styles and looks we have sported in our years together. They are in chronological order, by the way.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

In the mood

We have wonderful sunshine today. That along with a warmer temperature, and beautiful trees changing color, has put me in the mood to blog a bit.Today I took Cooper to a lap-sit story time at the library. With puppets, songs, and books, who wouldn't love it? He had a great time. We checked out some books and a couple of DVDs as well. It was great to meet some other moms and kids Cooper's age. We will go every week, and I'm excited about it.

Cooper was asking for his friend, Tyler this morning. "Ti-yer". So, he got some play time with "Ti-yer" after our time at the library at the park. Thanks for the fun time, Mary!

This past weekend I was hopeful for some fun times at a yearly festival, called the Swiss Festival. They are known for their apple fritters and fried cheese, yum! But, from Friday until yesterday afternoon it rained, and was gloomy. Because of the cold and rain we went to the home of a wonderful family here, the Miller's. I'm sure our time here will allow a whole blog devoted to this family, so I'll delay an explanation of them until a further date. The next day there was a break in the rain so we decided to go for it. As soon as we pulled into Sugarcreek (where the festival was) it started pouring. SO, we didn't get the fresh air, yummy food, and photo opportunities that we had hoped for. Instead, we were just stuck with this picture of Cooper, on the way to the festival. The bright side: I have a whole year to work up and appetite for apple fritters and fried cheese on a stick!

We are putting Cooper through the phases of becoming a "big boy".

Step 1: Big Boy Haircut

Andrew cut Cooper's hair, and Cooper did well. He was really scared of the clippers and the sound, so I had to distract and hold him still as much as I could. I was only able to get these pictures.
Step 2: No Pacifier

These pictures were taken the night before we started taking the pacifier away. He has started laying on the sweet. Anyhow, we are cutting the pacifiers a little bit at a time until he's done with them. So far, so good. He doesn't want them in his mouth, but does hold onto them. Nap times are the hardest, but he has been sleeping through the night well.

Step 3: Potty Training. This is a world we have not yet entered, but will be in the next few months.

Yesterday I got two packages of clothes in the mail. So nice to have some weather-appropriate clothing.