Friday, February 28, 2014

cooper as luigi

Cooper really loves to dress up and pretend he's Luigi.

He wears Florida Gator hat because it's his "Ice Luigi Hat."

He wears his brown boots because Luigi wears brown boots.

He wears a fake mustache.

And, he throws around this koopa shell at the bad guys. 

He even has a particular way he runs when we plays as Luigi.
"Mom, come see all the Mario characters."

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Boy Genius and his Wii U

Friday was a big day for Cooper. 

1) He had his 4 year well visit. 
We switched pediatricians and this was our first time seeing the new dr. Upon the first few minutes, he told me, after asking Cooper some questions, that he wasn't able to understand Cooper as much as he should, and that he might need speech therapy. He also told me about some tips I could do at make sure he annunciates. I just kind of laughed about it, and knew the idea was bogus. 

Fast forward 10 minutes. Cooper has opened up and is chatting the dr.'s ear off. The dr asks him routine questions "what's your full name" "can you draw these shapes", etc. When it was done, the Dr looked at me and said "You can forget about me ever saying anything about speech therapy. Apparently, he's a genius." 

Cooper had to get 2 shots. Polio and Chickenpox. He hated it and cried quite a bit.  But, he got a donut after. #4yearoldwin
We are really thankful for him.
For his health. 
For his growth.

2) Cooper got a Wii U
Cooper loves Mario. He has been wanting some of the new games to play on the wii. However, we had an old wii and the games he wanted to play wouldn't work with our old system.  So a few months ago, I told him that if he saved enough of his money for half, we would pay for the other half. 

I expected this goal to take about a year.

In actuality, it took about 3 months. Christmas and birthday money for the win!

Friday night we headed out to Target to get his wii. 

We are really proud of him. 
For saving. 
For having a goal. 
For meeting his goal. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

when a son teaches his mom.


Needing a break.

No break in sight.

It's late.

My husband is away for the night.

It's well past bedtime.

I'm trying to brush Cooper's teeth.

He keeps crying and whining.

I loose it.

I yell.

I hurt his feelings.

After I finish brushing, I tell him I'm sorry for hurting him. I tell him I'm sorry that I yelled. I ask for his forgiveness.

Once he is ready for bed, I ask if I can just hold him. Holding him and being still somehow made it all better.

I wanted this to be another teachable moment for Cooper. I want him to know that I can't do things on my own. I want him to know that I need Jesus. So, a conversation began.

"Cooper, mommy had to tell Jesus she was sorry tonight."


"Because I've not been nice to you or daddy this evening. I'm tired, and I've said and done things because of being tired." 

Cooper's response: "but you do so many things for us."

That was the end of the conversation. Instead of teaching my son, he taught me.

My character with Cooper is consistent. My "loosing it" moments don't happen very often, and when they do, I always tell him I'm sorry. Because I do so many things for him, it's easier for him to let the bad moments slide. I had a moment where I didn't do well at loving my child, but he still knows I love him. He knows I'll continue to do things for him. He knows I will still take care of him. That brought me so much comfort.

But how much more God cares for us! How much more he loves us!

Cooper reminded me about God's character tonight. He reminded me that God's character is consistent. Not just consistent - it's perfect. He reminded me that God does so many things for us. When I'm feeling upset with or angry at God, I need to remember all He does for us. Everything will be ok, because God still loves me. He will still take care of me. The more I remember the good of God, the less I question the circumstances that surround me. The more I remember all God does, the less I doubt. The amazing thing is that I can't love others perfectly, but God can. His love for me is perfect. His love for me is great. His love for me is unfailing.

As I pondered all of that, I relished in the moment of my child comforting me. He was hugging me, he was patting me, he was showing me God's love in a moment I needed it most.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever."
Psalm 118:1

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dear Cooper.

Dear Cooper, (aka. "Coopy", "Coop", "bug", "buggy") 

This past year has been the funnest one yet! You have hit milestones and grown in many ways. 

You mastered potty training (hallelujah!!!). After a stressful year of potty training, you decided that 3 was a good age to figure it all out.  Not only are you potty trained during the day, but you are now diaper free at night! 

You now communicate a lot and can tell detailed stories. And the expressions you make when you talk; you are so animated! There have been some great conversations with you. We've been able to start teaching you more about the "why" behind things. Talking with you is one of mine and daddy's favorite things to do. (Well, if you don't whine while you're talking.)

You are gaining some independence - whether you like it or not. I currently have to convince you to do some things on your own. Some days you fight for independence and some days you fight for me to pull up your pants. 

You live in the world of imagination. All day you are pretending to be a train traveling the tracks in Sodor, a ninja turtle fighting some bad guys, or in a Mario game battling to get the end of the level. Speaking of trains, ninja turtles, and Mario - those are you three obsessions. You focus on each one, rotating them in and out of focus every 2-3 months. 

And while you have grown in many ways, there are some cornerstones of you and your personality that I think will always be a part of you. 

You are funny. You always find a way to make people laugh and smile. Whether it be you telling a joke, talking funny with your animals, making silly face, or shaking your booty, you conquer making people smile. You love to be funny. You have said so yourself.

You are handsome. Four years later, and your looks still mesmerize me. You've got the clearest, brightest, bluest eyes. Your dimples stand out when you talk or smile. Together they are a killer combination. 

You are creative. You love to draw, paint, build things with blocks and legos, make up words, and you create story lines with your turtles, trains, and Mario. For example, today you said, "Mom, wouldn't it be fun if there was a toilet power on Mario and you could throw toilets at the bad guys?" 

You are encouraging. This is probably one of my most favorite things about you. It's quite heart-warming. You are quick to say "great job, mommy!" or "thanks for making this food, mommy!" or "you did a great job doing that, mommy!" You are one of my biggest fans. Thank you for lighting up my life with kind words.

You are smart. In fact, I have stopped "formally" teaching you because I want you to have something to learn when you start school. You are able to understand and pick up on things quickly. You can pretty well do/understand/recall things after it being shown or spoken to you one time. I marvel at the way you can write, color inside the lines, hold a writing utensil, count, recall letters, pick out letters in a word, and count. I love your brains.

You are athletic. This past year we tried swimming, t-ball, and soccer. Your ability to play sports is spot on. While your sportsmanship and teamwork leaves a lot to be desired, you can hit the balls, catch the balls, kick the balls, and swim well. You definitely improved from beginning to end in each one. 

You love to dance. You are a boy after my own heart! I love to dance with you. I love to hear you say "mom, this is one of my favorite songs." Then when I look at you and you are dancing your heart out after uttering that sentence - - - it makes my day. 

You make me smile. Your laughter, your silliness, and your desire to be funny all make me laugh. When I look at you sleeping, I smile. When I see you throwing a fit, I smile. Watching you grow and learn and try new things makes me smile. When I think about your future, I smile. When I think about the past 4 years, I smile. Every day I get to smile because of you. 

You are God's. This is one of the hardest for me to grasp sometimes. It's so easy for me to think that you are mine. But you aren't. You belong to God. You are His. He has entrusted you to me while we are alive here on earth. This year will be a new struggle for my mommy heart. I will watch you start preschool this fall. I will watch you spread your wings some more. There are so many fears that come with that, but knowing that you belong to God gives my mommy heart some rest as I watch you grow. My biggest prayer for you, one of my heart's deepest desires, is to see you take this truth into your own belief one day. I want you to live your life for and because of Christ. 

Cooper, your dimples, your blue eyes, and your vibrant personality still captivate me, as well as anyone who knows you. You are a very special boy with a bright future. The sky's the limit for you. I often ponder what you'll be like when you're older, what your interests will be, the relationship we will have. One of the most exciting things about you being another year older is getting to see the next steps this year. I'll get to be witness to sneak peeks of your future.  This year is sure to give us a bigger window into the man you are becoming. I'm looking forward to seeing what God has in store for you this year. 

Happy birthday, Bug. I love you. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

20 questions at 4.

Cooper is going to be 4 on Tuesday! Can you believe it?! While some days and stages with Cooper seem to drag on and are slow, these past 4 years seem to have flown by.

I thought it would be fun to start a new tradition and play 20 Questions with Cooper around each birthday. So, here's Cooper and his favorites just a few days before his 4th birthday. I videoed the questions and have posted it at the bottom of the post. 

1. What is your favorite color? 
- green

2. What is your favorite toy? 
- Thomas

3. What is your favorite fruit? 
- oranges

4. What is your favorite tv show?
 - Curious George

5. What is your favorite thing to eat? 
- goldfish

6. What is your favorite outfit? 
- what he was currently wearing, a red sweater. 

7. What is your favorite game? 
- Chutes and Ladders

8. What is your favorite snack? 
- pretzels

9. What is your favorite animal? 
- a cat

10. What is your favorite song?
 - "tractor" by Andrew Peterson

11. What is your favorite book? 
-Elmo (seek and find)

12. Who is your best friend?
 - Mickey Mouse

13. What is your favorite cereal? 
- Cinnamon Toast Crunch

14. What is your favorite thing to do outside?
 - skateboarding

15. What is your favorite drink?
 - orange juice

16. What is your favorite holiday? 
- Valentine's Day

17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? 
- beary, monkey, heart, scarf, mickey, and simba

18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? 
- cereal

19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? 
- peppers with bread on the top and bottom

20. What do you want to be when you grow up? 
- a doctor

Here's the video, but it's in three parts. When I got to question 17, the battery on my camera died. So, I started to finish the video with my phone camera. Andrew called in the middle of that. So, finally after the third try, all the questions were answered.




Also, a great big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my brother, Aaron! 
We love you! 
Wish we cold celebrate with you in person. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Hearts Day

Happy Valentines Day, Friends!
We love you.

Here are some pics from our love week - doing things we love.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Picture me drizzling honey onto a half piece of bread for a little boy who loves Peanut Butter and Honey sandwiches.

A three year old {almost 4} running into the kitchen and exclaiming "My scars! My scars!"

I set the honey down and turn to look at Cooper. "What about your scars?"

"Mom, look! Feel! This foot is smooth and this foot is smooth, too! My scars are gone! Isn't that awesome?"

Cooper had a scar on his heel for a few weeks. I can't even tell you how it got there. I just know that every time he took a bath, or put lotion on, I was reminded to be careful because of his scar.

-Cooper, that is very awesome!

"Why are they gone, mom?"

Enter: Teachable Moment.

-Because that's the way God designed our bodies.


-God knew that sometimes we would get hurt. He knew we would need those hurts to go away. So he designed our bodies to have cells that help heal us when we get hurt. Isn't that awesome?!


. . . . .          . . . . .           . . . . .

Oh the depth that little teachable moment can have. Hopefully it was a seed planted that
will sprout at the right season of his life. 

My dearest Cooper, my dearest friend or family member reading this, 
     God knew we were going to get hurt. He knew we would need a way to take those hurts away. He gave us Jesus. Jesus helps us heal from our hurts. He can take the pain away. 
     That's love. God loved us enough to give up a great treasure for us. God loved us enough to make a place for us to rest our scars. A place for us to find healing from our hurt. God loved us enough to give us Jesus. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Love Languages

One day I asked Cooper for a hug. As I was holding my arms out ready for that great embrace that he gives, my hopes for a hug came crashing down.

Cooper scrambled away with a loud "No."

My first instinct was to get angry. To get huffy and say "well, if you won't give me a hug, then I won't give you___." 

Then I remembered that touch is not Cooper's love language. It's not how he feels most loved. Me giving him a hug isn't nearly as important to him as playing a game with him. I literally spoke out loud to myself. "Don't get mad. He doesn't want a hug. That's ok. Love him in a different way."

It's amazing to me that at just three years old Cooper's love languages are apparent. 
  • Words of Affirmation. I think this is how Cooper gives and receives love. He loves to be praised. He loves it when we affirm him with "great job!" or "proud of you!" or "you are really great at that!" He also speaks words of affirmation a lot. "Thanks for making my lunch, mom." or "Great job, mommy!" or "I love you, mom." If you are wondering if Cooper loves you, listen for affirmation you receive from him. If you are wondering how you can show Cooper you love him, affirm him with words.
  • Quality Time. I think this is the biggest one for Cooper. When I'm doing something with him is when I get the most "I love you" phrases from Cooper. Every time I wrestle with him, play a game with him, do a puzzle with him, play legos or blocks with him, play ninja turtles with him, take him somewhere fun or special I will always hear "Mom, I love you." Taking time out of my get things done routine to spend some one-on-one time with Cooper makes him feel loved. 
Knowing the love languages of those around you will help you build great relationships. Not just in your dating/marriage relationships, but in your parenting and friendships as well. It will help you show love in a better way. It will help those you love really know that you love them. 

So, because I've declared it to be love week, I'm taking some time to do special things for my boys that involve their love languages.
Maybe silly faces could be added as one of Cooper's love languages!

Do you know your love language? What about your spouse and your children? Do you know their love languages? If so, how has this helped you?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

wedding rings

This week as I was helping Cooper get dressed, my engagement and wedding rings accidentally scratched him. It stirred up some {fake} tears on his behalf. But it also stirred up a fun conversation.

"Why is it a wedding ring?"
    -It's a ring that daddy gave to me when we got married. It tells other people that I am daddy's, and no guy can take me away from him. Daddy has one, too

"He does? Why?"
     -For the same reason. It tells others that daddy is mine. That tells other girls that they can't take daddy away from me.

"What happens if a girl takes daddy away?"
      -That means we wouldn't get to see him like we do now. He wouldn't live with us anymore.

"His ring means no boys can take him, either, right?"
     - {while laughing} Right.

This LOVE week, I'm thankful for a husband who gladly wears his wedding ring. I'm thankful for a husband who shows others his heart is taken. I'm thankful for a faithful husband.

Monday, February 10, 2014

LOVE week

I've decided to declare the week leading up to Valentines day as LOVE week.

Celebrating love shouldn't be just dedicated to one day. It really shouldn't even be dedicated to one week. Love should be something that we choose to celebrate every day, especially the love God has for us.

"God promises to LOVE me all day and sing songs through the night." 
Psalm 42:8

"Trust steadily in God. Hope unswervingly. LOVE extravagantly.
The best of these three is LOVE."
1 Corinthians 13:13

"I've LOVED you the way my father has LOVED me. Make yourselves at theme in my LOVE. If you keep my commands, you'll remain intimately at home in my LOVE."
John 15:9

"His LOVE never runs out."
Psalm 107:1

"LOVE from the center of who you are; don't fake it...Be good friends who LOVE deeply; practice playing second fiddle."
Romans 12:9-10

To celebrate LOVE this week, we are going to bake some cookies, write out some valentines, make some special things for Andrew, read some good valentine books, and draw some hearts in the snow. I hope you choose to celebrate God's love this week.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

florida on my mind. #2

Our friends were a huge part of our life in Florida. Trying to fit everyone in is kind of tricky at times. However, my second week there (while my mom was working) I visited with some friends. By this point in the trip I was slacking with my pictures, so I've not captured them all.

My friend Stephanie and I have a tradition of Rita's. We went to get some and waited at the window way longer than I'd like to admit before we realized there was a sign on the window. They were closed because it was "cold."

However, my time with each one of them was good for my soul. I was able to catch up, have some deep conversations, share about life, and pray with them.

Spending time with these friends this trip I've realized how much their hearts have changed. It was so neat to see how God has been answering our prayers for them. Prayers we prayed before we moved away. Prayers that we still pray. They are being answered. It was a humbling moment for me to realize that I didn't have to be there to be a part of the journey of their changed heart. God did that all without my help and without Andrew's help. It was one of the best take-aways from the trip for me. 

Oh, and I took in a drag show.

Friday, February 7, 2014

florida on my mind. #1

This past Thanksgiving I got homesick. Really homesick. Andrew and I tossed around the idea of us going to Florida the week between Christmas and New Years. We landed with Andrew wasn't going to go, but I might. Then my brother visited one weekend in December and I realized just how homesick I really was. So  I announced I was going to drive to Florida with Cooper, by myself. And I was going to. It would have been completely worth the long drive.

Then my mom found a fantastic deal on a flight, but I had to stay in Florida for 2 weeks instead of 1. 

The first week I was there my mom did not have to work. So, that week I pretty much dedicated to my family and Andrew's. 

We did Christmas together.

We lounged.
Mom found this little monkey in the garage and put it in Cooper's stocking. It was supposed to grow in water. He obsessed over it a couple of days. When we finally put it in water, it never grew. 

Mom and Dad now have fancy couches.
Cooper fell asleep while Gramma read to him one afternoon.

We saw a Christmas light spectacular.
Coop rode up front with Grampsy

Mom and I rode in the bed of the truck.

We went to Bush Gardens.

We played on some bounce houses.

We cheered on UCF. They won!

We went to the aquarium.

We played lincoln logs.

I took Gramma shopping.

Cooper played with trains.

We went to the beach.

We played with cousins.

We went to the park.

We took in the glory of the sunshine.

Cooper took this picture, but I think the sun shining is perfect.

We ate some publix cake.
If you have not had publix cake, do yourself a favor and have some next time you are around a publix.

Our time with each other and our family was wonderful. It filled the homesick holes in my heart. It gave us some good vitamin D. It reminded us how much we have to be thankful for.