Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011

JOY!
I hope everyone's holiday was merry and bright, just as ours was!  We filled the days leading up to Christmas with holiday prep, but we made it fun!   The kids' school was closed and David took a little time off work so we spent the week mostly together.  One day we divided and conquered...Mom and Penny grocery shopped for the two meals we would be serving at our house while Daddy and Cooper ran some "secret" errands.  On Friday morning the four of us went out for breakfast together.  Afterwards, Mom and the kids made jokes in the car while Daddy shopped in a thrift store to find an ugly Christmas sweater.

On Christmas Eve Eve, we kicked off the weekend with what we call "Friends" Christmas.  We recognize that most (us included) reserve the holidays for family.  We like to have a chance during the holidays to acknowledge our friends by including them in our holiday celebration too.  Many of our good friends came over for fondue and an ugly Christmas sweater competition.  (Congrats, Becky.)  The kids ran wild up until bedtime, after which the adults played giant Jenga.


On Christmas Eve, Daddy prepared the chili to be served with tamales that evening (a South Texas tradition) while Momma made dessert to take over to Grandma's the next day.  The kids took luxuriously long naps and Nonnie arrived in the early afternoon.  We spent the latter part of the afternoon relaxing, and the kids watched the fluke $5 Christmas song DVD I picked up over and over.  Ma-Mas, Pa-Pa, and Uncle Clint came over, as per tradition, to help us eat tamales and play elf...Uncle Clint put together the new playhouse, Daddy set up the electric train, and Momma stuffed the stockings. We fell into bed tired but satisfied with what was sure to come the next morning.

The Elves' hard work...
Christmas Day began early...as in 5:45 a.m. to be exact.  (The song doesn't go, "All I Want for Christmas is Some Decent Sleep" after all...especially with little kids in the house.)  With the video camera rolling, both kids seemed overwhelmed by all the splendor at first and didn't seem to know where to start.  They quickly figured it out and dove in.  Both kids seemed happy with both their gifts and each other's gifts.  We had many, many hilarious moments that I couldn't sit and describe because it would take all day.  It was just simply a sweet, magical morning.

A Thomas train that moves by itself!
New playhouse!
Penny was skeptical...
It was cold Christmas morning!
Cooper enjoying Nonnie's (er, Santa's) gift...He has already mastered the crash move.

After we  had tried out all the new toys and gotten dressed, we all trooped over to Ma-Mas and Pa-Pa's house for more presents and Christmas dinner.  We received a lot, gave a lot, laughed a lot, and ate a lot.

Coop takes off on his shiny new fire engine.
Again, Penny is skeptical...
Uncle Clint shows the kids a thing or two on the keyboard...
Our cups ran over this year and we are truly grateful.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Holiday Season is in Full Swing!

The last week has been COLD and has left us little to do but get ready for Christmas.  We have spent quite a bit of time indoors, visited Santa and attended a family Christmas party at the Ranch.  Cooper is getting really excited for Christmas and keeps asking us where his toys are...We keep reminding him that not only does he have to wait until Christmas, but he has to be good!

Shots from our recent activities:

Why play-doh is an indoor activity I will never know.  When I asked  Cooper what happened, he replied, "The engines are hauling the play-doh, Momma!" (like, duh!)
A visit with Santa!  Not everyone was happy about it...
Little peppermint face after her harrowing ordeal with Santa...
It was COLD and rainy at the ranch but we had fun anyway! 

Coop takes his digging job VERY seriously.

Cooper and Owen: partners in crime!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Walk in the Park


Generally speaking the weather in South Texas is terrible...hot, humid, and in the spring, irritatingly windy.  We are prone to droughts but sit in the middle of a big red target for scary tropical weather.  Relief ensues with the cool fronts we receive in the fall, though the pleasantness quickly reverts back to warm and sticky in between them.  Lately I have been aware of one perk to the climate we endure here.  In the winter, we have bouts of cold but they never last more than a few days.  I feel for those that live in the north, where once winter begins, it goes on and on and on.  We have had to bundle up a few days before venturing outside, but it has alternated with nice, warm days where we donned flip-flops and shorts and could enjoy the outdoors.  Here are a few pictures from one particularly pleasant Sunday at the park.

Contemplating...
Penny loves to swing!
Penny loves to do anything her brother is doing!
Case in point...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fall in a Nutshell...

Football!
Penny at the school Thanksgiving feast.
Hanging with Dad right before bed.
Who can resist sweet sleeping baby pictures??

It's almost Thanksgiving, and we can't believe it!  The last two months have been a blur!  Cooper and Penny now go to school three days a week since Mom went back to work part time. On the weekends, we have been doing various home improvement projects (as usual) in between watching the Aggies lose in the second half game after game.  So far we have painted our kitchen and breakfast room, our master bathroom, changed a light fixture in the kitchen, built a fence in the front yard, and started the very long process of painting the outside of our house.  We are looking forward to the break from work, school, and home improvement this Thanksgiving holiday.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

 This year Coop and Penny really got into Halloween.  Cooper chose his own costume and happily wore  it to go trick-or-treating.  He thought it was so fun to be Mickey Mouse, and we thought he was the cutest!  Penny protested her lion costume a little bit when we put it on, but she soon accepted it and seemed to wear it with pride.  We trick-or-treated in our neighborhood at a few houses, then headed home to hand out candy.  Cooper LOVED handing out candy!  Every time the doorbell rang, he would yell, "I'll get it!!"  Both kids ran wild with their sugar highs, but both crashed accordingly at bedtime.  It was a fun night!

Hi!  I'm Mickey Mouse!
Little lion.
Trick-or-Treating with Nonnie.

Relaxing and waiting for the trick-or-treaters.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mother Goose Fair at School

On Halloween, Cooper and Penny's school has a nursery rhyme themed fair. After reciting nursery rhymes with their class, the kids get to participate in the fair.  Cooper enjoyed most of the booths, which was a significant change from last year.  He even allowed his face to be painted and his picture taken! Penny enjoyed the duck pond the most, when last year she was only 8 weeks old, she slept through the fair.

Penny at the fair!

Who needs a net??
Cooper finds himself more amusing than Penny does.
Digging for an egg at the Humpty Dumpty booth.
Cooper really liked having his face painted.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cooper-ese and Penny-speak


We talk all the time about the cute things our kids say now and about the cute things they used to say.  It occurs to us on a daily basis that there are things we have forgotten, so I thought I would take a minute to jot down some excerpts from our current conversations with Coop and Penny.

Penny:

"gook" (rhymes with look people!) = book
"ma-mote" = remote control
"ker-ker" = cracker/cookie/snack
"go-gur" = yogurt
"uh, uh, uh!" = I want that!
"wo, wo, wo" = Row, Row, Row (your boat!)

Cooper:

"I can't got it!" = I need help!
"That's not the thing!" = You are irritating me.
"I need cake, it's an emergency!" = I am HUNGRY and I want a granola bar!
"Daddy, where's the big shirt?" = Dad, put on your robe so we can go downstairs and start the day!
"Bust my buffers!" = Oh my! (the expression comes from Thomas the Train, but he has always used it in perfect context)
"Give me a hug." = Self explanatory, but he says it just so sweetly!
"I want the orange one" = Fill in the blank with a color and he uses this phrase to ask for something he doesn't know the word for.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cooper is Three!


On October 4, 2008, David and I were thrilled to welcome our first born baby boy into our lives.  Sweet Cooper has changed our lives so profoundly and the last three years have positively zoomed by!  While we have always adored him, we are reveling in this great age he has reached.  We have watched him grow and his personality shine in just the last year.  Some of the differences in our now three year old from last year:
  • He can speak in full, articulate sentences.
  • He has recognized his ability to be funny and intentionally makes us laugh everyday.
  • He loves school!  He actively participates in school, when last year he was mostly too shy and kind of did his own thing.  He also has lots of friends at school and talks about them at home all the time. His teacher tells me he is quite the social butterfly.
  • He knows all his letters and numbers (1-20) by sight and is starting to grasp the concept of what they mean.
  • Cooper sings!  Around this time last year he would just ask us to sing his favorite songs.
  • He has memorized lots of his books and will "read" them to you.  He enjoys going to the library or bookstore and picking out his own books.
  • Cooper still very much enjoys his collection of Thomas the Train toys, books, and movies.  It is amazing to me that he honestly knows over 100 different characters.  We were in Toys-R-Us the other day and I pulled several new train characters off the shelf that I had never heard of and we didn't have at home or at Grandma's...he could tell me who they all were.
  • He is a great big brother!  Coop does get irritated with Penny when she messes up whatever he is playing with, but he told her just this morning, "I love Penny!"
  • While I would still consider him to be a somewhat picky eater, he has opened his mind to trying lots of new things.  We are most amused that his favorite food is rib-eye steak.
  • Cooper is potty-trained!  Most of the time I don't even have to ask/remind him to go potty...he is already in there flushing by the time I realize he has to go!

For Cooper's birthday this year, we opted for a family dinner at home.  Ma-mas, Pa-Pa, and Libby came bearing gifts for grilled pork chops and birthday cake.  Cooper had a great time helping make the cake and icing, though I decorated it while he napped. Cooper loved his cake, mostly because it had a Thomas the Train ensemble on it, and liked his presents.  Penny had to help him open his presents because he got so involved with the first gift, he didn't want to stop playing to open the rest!  He received some Mega Blocks Thomas building sets, a miniature train set, an ant farm, kids' binoculars, books, and some shirts.  Overall it was a great birthday!

Party Pics!

So excited about these Thomas sets, we had to coax him to keep opening gifts!
Pa-Pa and Coop playing with his mini train set.
Coop's and Mom's creation.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...

A morning walk.
Exploring...
Penny helped Cooper with his dirt pile.
Penny did not want to be carried anywhere...she preferred walking, even though with her stride, she has to walk twice as far.
Ralph was just happy to be there.
Ma-mas was happy to oblige when Coop needed a ride.
Early Sunday morning sight.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Beginning to Feel the Thrill of Early Fall

Gig 'Em Aggies!
Lately we have been enjoying the slight, shy onset of Fall.  This is my absolute favorite time of year!  I revel in those first few cool fronts, football, and of course, our family's birthday season.  Though we still hide out inside during the day to avoid the heat, we have been able to enjoy many cool evenings in our own backyard.  David and I sit and enjoy the view of Nueces Bay (or I sit while he waters the yard...go away drought!) while the kids eat popsicles, dig in the sand box and climb around on the playhouse.  Cooper's current favorite backyard activity involves two-fisting dirt from under the deck to the playhouse, where he then spreads it around.  Penny thinks this is hilarious, so her favorite activity involves following Cooper around and seeing what funny thing he is going to do next.

Popsicles!
Yum!






Down in the Dirt.
 We have taken the idea that Fall means change to heart by hitting a new wave of home improvement.  The noisiest and most obvious change is the new metal roof being constructed on our house as I type.  We have also been updating our master bathroom and kitchen with paint and new hardware and fixtures.  David is also in the process of building a fence in the front yard so the kids have a shady place to play during the day.  Once those projects are complete, I suppose we will paint the breakfast room and clean out and organize the garage.  (During roof construction, our garage ceiling inadvertently collapsed, blanketing EVERYTHING with insulation and dust.)  I suppose once some projects fall into the "completed" category, I can post some before and after pictures.
The dogs have been enjoying some indoor time, while our roof is under construction.

Happy Fall, everyone!  I'll try to keep the blog posts rolling through birthdays, Aggie Football, Halloween, and of course the holidays!