Christmas 2011 & Happy New Years!

I've heard that Christmas "feels" different when you have children.  I didn't expect that "feeling" to actually feel the way it did...

We celebrated Christmas in Kansas City this year.  Since it would be the last time we'd be celebrating Christmas at my parents house in Kansas City, we went up several days early.  My dad, who is working in Dallas during the week, flew Cale back to Kansas City with him, so that he didn't have to make the 9 hour drive.  That benefited Adam and I greatly - we were able to have 9 hours of uninterrupted conversation - something that was MUCH needed!  
As Adam and I drove, we found ourselves talking about what we wanted Christmas to look like in our family.  It seems as though Christmas is becoming a secular holiday in our world, even though Christmas is celebrating Christ's birth, which is not a secular concept at all.  Christmas is a time to rejoice in the hope that God has given us through the birth of His son.  It is a time to reflect upon the irony of Jesus, the son of the Holy God, being born in a dirty, cold barn, with rags for his clothing.  It is a time to remember that kings from afar traveled great distances, just to admire Baby Jesus - for they knew the great gift that had been given to them and the rest of the world, that night.  It has become so easy to get caught up in the shopping, and parties, and food, and Santa, and presents, that we forget what WHY we are celebrating.  Adam and I do not want to lose sight of that.  We want our children to be filled with wonder and awe as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior on December 25th.  Of course, presents are a part of the celebration, but we want to be careful to not make that the focus of Christmas.  As Cale gets older, and we have more children, God willing, we plan to anticipate Christ's birth for the entire month of December by having an Advent wreath in our house.  We want to use an Advent calendar to count down the days until Jesus' birth.  We will read the Christmas story, and set up a nativity set for our children to look at and play with.  And we will celebrate with presents...minimally.  It is so easy to go overboard with gifts - especially when it comes to buying for children.  I found myself hard to control this year, even though I knew that Cale does not understand the idea of a gift yet.  I did manage to constrain myself.  Adam and I have set boundaries for what we will spend and what types of gifts our children will receive.  
So, as I prepared for Cale's first Christmas, and my first Christmas as a parent, I became excited with anticipation to watch Cale open presents, but even more, I gained a better understanding of God's love for His people.  As I watched Cale open gifts and squeal over some new toys, I felt full of joy and contentment...and then I realized that that was probably the feeling that God felt when His son, Jesus, was born into a sinful world.  For He knew that He had just given all of His people that greatest gift they would ever receive.  A gift that would bless them for eternity.  A gift that would close the gap, which sin had created, between God and His children.  
The "feeling" I felt this Christmas season was of indescribable gratefulness.  If I can love Cale as much as I do, how much more does God love me?  His love is perfect.  It's unconditional.   It's unfathomable.

Back to Kansas City...
We arrived Tuesday night to a house decorated like this...

It was such a treat to walk into a house "decked" for Christmas, since I didn't put up any Christmas decorations this year.  Because we were gone for Thanksgiving and Christmas, it was hard for me to be motivated to put up Christmas, just so I could turn around and take it down a few weeks later without even being at our house to enjoy it.

The day after we arrived, we went on a family outing down to the Plaza to eat dinner and take a carriage ride to look at the lights.  Cale LOVED the 30 degree weather and loved looking at the lights.

In the days leading up to Christmas, we spent a lot of time lounging around the house and visiting friends.  My parents kept Cale several times so that Adam and I could meet up with friends or go shopping.  
Cale enjoyed learning how to use his walker and climbing the stairs...

By the end of the week, Cale was a pro at the stairs!

Finally, Christmas Day arrived!

It all started with a yummy breakfast of cinnamon toast, raspberries, and yogurt.

After breakfast, we positioned ourselves in the living room, and awaited the grand entrance!

As soon as Cale spotted his toys, he made a bee-line to them!

He just loved going through his stocking!

It didn't take long for Cale to spy the presents under the tree....

He loved opening his first few presents!  He unwrapped his gifts, played with each toy for a minute, and then moved on.  Then, he helped everyone else open their presents!

Once he found my mom's new cup with a straw, he was occupied for a while.  
He is very into straws right now!  

Mickelson had fun unwrapping presents, too!

The morning of the 27th, we loaded up our car (it was a VERY tight squeeze), and headed to Northwest Arkansas to visit some of our very best friends.  Cale did great on the trip, napping for a good chunk of the way.  Once we got into town, we unloaded our luggage at the hotel and then loaded back up to head over to the Bradley's house.  

Unfortunately, this is when we had a change of events...

Of course, Cale was fussy when we put him back in the car to head over to the Bradley's, since we had already been in the car for over 3 hours.  I gave him a DVD case to look at while we made the 5 minute drive to the house.  When we pulled in the driveway, I got out and started to take Cale out of the car seat.  That is when he started choking.  We was coughing and gagging, and it was obvious he was having a hard time breathing.  We tried to help him cough it up, but things were not looking good.  I went to the Bradley's front door and told them what was happening.  Chris came out to assess the situation, and we decided we needed to get Cale to the ER before his airway was completely blocked.  I jumped into the back seat with holding Cale, while Adam drove and Chris gave direction from the front seat.  Cale continued to get worse, so Adam turned on his emergency flashers, laid on the horn, and inched his way (safely) through intersections.  When we got the hospital, we jumped out and checked in.  Immediately, the nurses checked his oxygen level, and thankfully, it was at 98%.  Because he was choking, and not turning blue, the nurse ordered x-rays, but we did have to wait.  About 15 minutes into our wait, Cale finally calmed down.  He stopped choking, and stopped crying.  Soon, it seemed as though nothing had even happened.  I called Allison to have her confirm what I was suspecting Cale had choked on.  The DVD case he had been playing with had the sealer sticker still attached.  Somehow, he managed to chew a 1/2 inch strip off of the case, and swallowed it.  I'm sure it was stuck in his throat and took a while to to down. We ended up not needing x-rays, but the doctor did listen to Cale's breathing and had him drink some water.  She told us to be watching for that piece of plastic tape to pass within 48 hours....don't worry, it did. :)  

As you can imagine, after spending 2 hours in the ER, we were exhausted!  What a way to start our visit in Arkansas.  We went to the Bradley's for dinner, and called it a night.  The next morning, once we were a little more rested, we went back over the Bradley's and played for a little bit.  
The kiddos adored Adam, as you can see...

Later that afternoon, we headed down to Fayetteville to stay with the Hunters.  Cale LOVED playing with the older boys.  He fell in love with Stevens (5), and Stevens was so great with him!

We woke up the morning, had yummy breakfast sandwiches, and hit the road.  It ended up taking us about 7 hours to get back to Dallas (a lot of stops are required when traveling with an infant and dog!), but we finally pulled into our driveway at 4pm.  As much fun as we had on our 10 day excursion, we were so thankful to finally be home.  

As we quickly approach 2012, we look forward to the new year and all that it will bring.  2011 was a year full of rich blessings, and we are grateful for the Lord's faithfulness in our lives.  


2011 In Review

It's been a big year in the Cooper home!  We are thankful for all of the blessings we have received & the trials we have endured, as both have strengthened us, sharpened us, and renewed our faith in our Living and Holy God who is constantly reminding us that He IS in control.  All the time.  In everything.

2011 started out with the excitement and anticipation of Baby Cooper making his or her (we didn't know at the time) debut in the coming months.  January was busy for me at work, as the teacher who eventually took over my class (when I had Cale) started training in the classroom.  It was a blessing to have her in the classroom as my tummy continued to grow and it became harder for me to menuver around the room!  
In February, I celebrated my 29th birthday - the last year in my 20's!  This was also my last month to teach.  It was a bittersweet goodbye, as I was leaving my "family" of five years.  I'm happy to say that they have found little jobs for me to do from home, so I do manage to stay connected at Providence...it makes my heart happy to still feel a part of that precious place....BUT, I am SO thankful to be at home with Cale full-time.  I cherish our days together - as I watch him change on a daily basis, I am reminded that these moments are fleeting and I try to soak them all in!
In March, we welcomed Cale Richard Cooper into this world.  We had lots of help with friends and family in and out of our house and I didn't have to think about a meal until May - our church provided meals for us for almost 2 months.  What a blessing that was!
In April, Adam & I celebrated our 6 year anniversary by going on a date, with two-week-old Cale in tow!  He barely made a peep, and we loved having him with us to celebrate!
In May, Adam celebrated his 30th birthday.  Since we had a newborn in the house (if you've read the previous blog posts, you know that this was right around the time all chaos broke loose in our house with Cale), this birthday celebration looked a little different than in years past, but we did celebrate, nonetheless!  We also traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas to watch my sister, Courtney, graduate from the U of A!
In June, Adam begin his fourth and FINAL year of Pharmacy School.  The countdown had begun!  We also traveled to Kansas City and Cale made his debut to all of our friends there!  He also took his first plane ride!
For most of the Fall, we slowed down a bit, as Adam's school work picked up.  He spent many hours on rotations, studying for tests, and doing school projects, all while trying to find the balance of spending time with his family.  He did a great job of dividing his time and attention, as it was NOT easy for him to be away from his family!
In November, we traveled to Mississippi to spend Thanksgiving with Adam's family.  We planned to spend several days there, but our trip was cut short because of illness, and we were sad to have to return to Dallas sooner than expected.  I did manage to hit a few of the 12am Black Friday deals though!
On December 16th, we celebrated the fact that Adam has officially finished his final FULL year of school. In 21 weeks, he will officially be Dr. Adam Cooper, PharmD (but who's counting!).  We are so thankful for the two week break that we have together before diving back into the home stretch of school.  We are spending Christmas with my family in Kansas City this year.  This is a bittersweet trip for us, as this is the last Christmas that we will spend together as a family in Kansas City.  My dad started commuting to work in Dallas this past March, and my mom and dad will be moving to Dallas in April.  My sister is currently in graduate school in Kansas City, but we're hoping that she will end up in Dallas after she graduates!  What a treat that would be!  
We are approaching 2012 with excitement, as we have many big events on the horizon!  Cale's first birthday, my parents move, and of course, the most anticipated event in our family, Adam's graduation!  We hope that your 2012 is filled with joy, and that above all, you see Christ's work in your life.  We would love to hear from you - please leave a comment or send us an email!  

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
Adam, Kasie & Cale Cooper (and Mickelson, too!)


12.16.2011 - Nine Months Old

Silly Boy!

Weight:  20 lbs (50th percentile)
Height: 29.25 inches (85th percentile)

What a big boy we have!  Cale is definitely transitioning from baby to toddler.  I know we have a few more months before we can officially call him a toddler, but he has adopted some toddler tendencies this past month!  He has started babbling a lot more and often likes to join in on any conversation that is happening around him.  He has become very social and LOVES going to the YMCA childcare every morning while I work out.  He has made friends with all of the workers in there.  He has definite opinions about a few things - like having his diaper changed...he does NOT like it.  He gets very frustrated when I tell him "no".  He knows exactly what "no" means, and SOMETIMES chooses to obey, sometimes not.  I told someone last week, Adam and I are really having to parent now!  Cale is showing us his little will and he likes to exert it often!  So, here we go.  The start of "training him up in the way he should go"(Psalm 22:6).  Above his bed, I painted a canvas with the verse, "Teach me Your ways and direct my paths, for there I will find delight"(Psalm 27:11).  As we enter a new season of Cale, Adam and I are praying that we can direct Cale to the path of righteousness, and that he will see, at a young age, his need for his Savior, Jesus Christ.  

And now, for some pictures...

Cale has been crawling around like crazy.  Sometimes it's an army crawl and sometimes it's a full-on crawl, but none-the-less, he is e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.  It's been fun and exhausting, all at the same time!  Recently, he's starting pulling up and climbing on things.  He's taken a few tumbles, but he shakes it off pretty easily, thank goodness!

Bath time is still one of Cale's favorite times of the day!  When we turn the water on, he gets so excited and crawls into the bathroom!  Then, he stands at the bathtub, waiting for the tub to fill up.  He can't get into the tub fast enough!

Cale's active nature even carries over to his sleep.  The positions he sleeps in are hysterical.  Recently, he fell asleep sitting up... I don't know how that was comfortable!

It's gotten a little chillier here in Dallas, and so he's been bundled up during the day.  He loves his hat...and I think he looks pretty cute in it! :)

Cale has starting recognizing himself in pictures and videos.  He loves to see pictures of himself, look in the mirror, and watch videos of himself.  In this video, he realized he's watching himself and starts to make faces - it just cracks him up!


A Thanksgiving To Remember

Disclaimer:  This post does not have any pictures.  Due to the sequence of events, no pictures were taken.  This post is mainly for our family to remember the craziness of Cale's first Thanksgiving.

We had grand plans to spend Adam's entire Thanksgiving Break traveling to Arkansas and Mississippi to visit family and friends, and were very excited to introduce Cale to extended family members this year!  Logistically, we were jumping through a few hoops, thinking it actually make things go a lot smoother.  Looking forward to the break, we were optimistic and excited to have a school-free five days as a family.  Funny.  New thoughts:  Traveling with an infant is often very unpredictable and almost never goes as it is envisioned.  Also, life happens.

The Sequence of Events:

October 2011
Stacey, Adam's step-sister, invited us to come and spend Thanksgiving at her house in Mississippi, along with the rest of Adam's extended family.  We had never been to Stacey's house and were excited to see everyone, since it had been a few years since we had all been together last.  We quickly started talking about logistics and Adam found out that he would not be released from school until 5:30pm on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  Since our destination was 8 hours away, we decided it would be best to make a stop mid-way there.  We also opted to not start our trip with Cale being put into the car at 6pm and driving until Midnight, only to get up first thing Thursday morning and continue driving 2.5 more hours.  He doesn't LOVE his car seat and he really doesn't sleep well in his car seat, so the thought of starting our trip out that way did not sound enticing.  We have great family friends who live in Little Rock, Arkansas, and have a little boy who is only nine weeks older than Cale.  I checked with the Carroll's to see if it would be okay to stay with them overnight, and then booked Cale and I a flight into Little Rock.  

November 20th, 2011 (Sunday before Thanksgiving)
We got a phone call from the Carroll's letting us know that they had a family member who had passed away and would be out of town for the funeral until after Thanksgiving.  They insisted that we still stay at there house, but would not be able to pick Cale and I up from the airport.  

November 23rd, 2011 (Wednesday before Thanksgiving)
Luckily, my sister's roommate from college was in town visiting family, and was able to pick us up.  We decided to continue with our plans, and arrived in Little Rock after an hour long flight with a VERY active little boy.  (Up until this age, when we have flown in the past, we coordinated our flights with Cale's nap schedule, so e spent most of the plane rides napping.  Not the case these days.  If there is action going on around him, he feels the need to be apart of it.  Needless to say, there was no napping on this flight!!)  I was exhausted and thankful to see Mal's face when we arrived in Little Rock.  She dropped us off at the Carroll's and I put Cale down for a nap.  All was peaceful that night, and I was feeling pretty good about the trip that lay ahead of us.  Adam arrived at the Carroll's around 12:30am, and we repacked the car so that we could hit the road early in the morning...

November 24th, 2011 (Thanksgiving Day)
Adam and I woke up around 6am and got ready before waking Cale up.  By 7:30am, we were loaded in the car and ready to get on the road....that is, until Adam realized he had left his glasses inside and then realized he had also locked us out of the house.  Lovely.  We tried calling the Carroll's to find a hidden key outside, but couldn't get a hold of anyone.  We decided to go ahead and leave, knowing Adam would be REALLY missing his glasses by the evening.  About 20 minutes down the road, the Carroll's called us back.  They told us where the hidden key was and we turned right back around to get Adam's glasses.  Same scene, take two.  Back on the road and heading towards Mississippi, we were already an hour behind our "planned" schedule.  Oh well, if that's the worst thing that happens....

November 25th, 2011 (Friday after Thanksgiving)
12am - I wake up and head to Target.  Make my purchases and finally leave after standing in the wrong line for two hours.
2:30am - Creep back into the hotel room, only to hear Cale crying.  I crawl into bed and Adam leans over to whisper that he has been fussing on-and-off for the past 45 minutes.  Great.  
3:00am - Cale finally settles down and we all sleep.
7:30am - Cale wakes up and I pick him up.  He is BURNING up.  After waiting 15 minutes for him to cool down (thinking it might have been because he was bundled up), I send Adam to Walgreen's to buy a thermometer.
8:00am - Adam returns with the thermometer and we realize Cale has a 101.5 degree fever.  We call our pediatrician, who tells us to keep him on Tylenol to see if it comes down.
8:30am - We call Adam's family to tell them we are going to lay low at the hotel to see if Cale feels better after his morning nap.  We find out that Adam's mom had been up sick most of the night.  Lovely.
10am - After knowing that we are not going to go over to Stacey's house and expose Cale to whatever illness Adam's mom might have, and after deciding that the thought of being stuck in a hotel room for two days with a sick baby sounds miserable, we decide to pack up and head back to Little Rock....less than 24 hours after we had arrived in Mississippi.  We were so sad to leave so early, since we felt like we had barely spent anytime with the people we had come to visit.
12pm - Head back towards Little Rock.  Realize that Cale's temperature has still not broken, and that it's only getting higher, we decide to make an appointment at an "after-hours" clinic in Little Rock.  I called what seems like every clinic in Little Rock, only to come to the conclusion that the only clinics that are open the day after Thanksgiving are the ones at the hospital.  I hear "cha-ching, cha-ching" in the back of my head, as I make an appointment for Cale at Children's Hospital.  Who knows what our insurance will cover at an out-of-state hospital - oh well.  It was important the have Cale checked out.
3:30pm - Arrive at Children's and get right in to see the doctor.  He looks like Santa Clause, which Cale finds hysterical.  Even though he wasn't feeling well, Cale managed to laugh every time he looked at the doctor, which made us all laugh.  Diagnosed with a virus, we are told to keep Cale on Tylenol and Motrin.  Hopefully things will turn around sooner rather than later.
5pm - Arrive back at the Carroll's (who are now home from traveling).
6pm - Put Cale to bed early, since it has been a long day and he isn't feeling so hot.
9pm - We fall into bed, praying it won't be a rough night for Cale.

October 26th, 2011 (Saturday after Thanksgiving)
7:30am - Cale wakes up, and I am thankful he only woke up one time during the night, and after some Motrin, he went back to bed easily.
9:00am - Put Cale down early for a morning nap and pack up.
10:20am - Cale and I leave for the airport (we had originally planned to leave the following Monday, after staying to spend time with the Carroll's, but when Cale got sick, we bagged that plan.  I called Southwest to see if there were any flights available on Saturday, in which I could use the pass I planned to use on Monday.  I got the last "pass" seat on the plane.  Thank You, Jesus.  I know he was completely providing for us in the midst of the chaos.)
11:30am - Finally get through security after being thoroughly scanned and having Cale's bottles and sippy-cup checked and re-checked.  I thought we'd never make it through security.  I looked at the monitor to see which gate to head to, and notice a the word "boarding" next to my flight number.  Since my plane was leaving from the very last gate at the airport, I decided that I was going to have to sprint if I was going to make it.  Imagine:  Me, sprinting through the airport with a sick baby, a car seat on rollers, and a over-sized diaper bag.  Trucking it....and it's a good thing I did.  I was the last person to board, and walked all the way to the back of the plane, only to realize that there were only middle seats available.  Really?!?!  A sweet girl scooted over to let me have the aisle seat - I think she felt sorry for me and Cale - we did look pretty pitiful by the time we made it on the plane.
1:15pm - We made it back to Dallas, and I was exhausted.  
I mean, flat-on-my-face E.X.H.A.U.S.T.E.D.
4:30pm - Adam gets home, and we both just look at each other, not believing what we had just done.  Four Days.  Three States.  Two Flights.  Eighteen Hours in the Car.  One Hospital Visit.  One Hotel.  Three Very Tired People.
Happy Thanksgiving, Cale.  We hope that the eventfulness of this holiday will not continue in the years to come, but I am holding it lightly.  Isn't it ironic - the title of my blog is "A Woman With a Plan", I should add to that title, "Who Is Learning To Hold the Plan VERY Loosely!"


11.16.11 - Eight Months Old

Time flies when you're having fun...and we sure are having fun!  Cale is in a really fun stage right now (I hear that will probably not be the last time I say that), and I love getting to spend all day, every day with him.  This past month, I feel like he has become extra curious, very focused on new things and wanting to touch, hear, and see how everything works.  I love watching his eyes, because he gets very focused on something, and it's almost like I can see his brain processing the new information.  I guess this is the beginning of the "sponge" years.  I better watch what I say and do!  

Cale is scooting himself all over the place.  He can get where he needs to go and he does it quickly.  He has been getting up on all fours and moving his hands forward, but then he goes to his tummy and scoots himself the rest of the way.  I have to admit that I am completely okay with his method of moving right now, because he still stays in his general vicinity.  When he figures out that crawling will get him places at a faster rate, I am going to be in BIG trouble, so I'm not going to push it.  He recently has started pulling himself up on things - he definitely prefers to be standing...I think he likes the view better!

He has six teeth now!  Well, four of them are still working their way down, but his bottom two are officially in, and all four top teeth came at the same time - talk about a few killer nights!  Cale was such a trooper though, and I think we're through the thick of it though.  Now, only about 22 more to go!

He has also gained some independence - he has officially become opinionated about being fed.  He doesn't like it.  He wants to do ALL BY HIMSELF!  I have a feeling this is just the beginning...  His new selection of foods include waffles, yogurt (still likes it, thankfully), diced peaches, pear, and banana, strawberries, peas, diced carrots and potatoes, and his new favorite is Ritz crackers.  I think we're only a few weeks away from cutting our "grown-up" meals into tiny bites for Cale to eat with us.  That feels very grown up to me.

We made a BIG change in our house last week!  For the past eight months, Cale has slept in the "third bedroom" of our house, which is a great sized room, but with one BIG problem - the only way to get to the master bedroom is to walk through it.  Pictures below...
 (Side Note:  The floral valance is no longer there...this picture was taken before Cale was born, so we were prepared for a boy or girl!)

Well, before Cale was born, I had decided that we were going to keep all of the window blinds open so the sun would shine into his crib, we would keep his bedroom door open, so that he would hear all of the noise and get used to it, and we would walk freely back and forth through his room, and he would have to get used to that too.  Now, I just laugh at myself.  Really?  What in the world was I thinking?  I mean, the first month, it did work.  For one month.  Until Cale started screaming 23 hours a day and I would do just about anything to get him to sleep.  Like use black out curtains and a sound machine.  And I wouldn't dare enter his room while he slept, for fear that the crying would resume, and I really did not think I could take much more of that.  That lasted about three months, but when the crying finally subsided a bit, Cale all of a sudden became acutely alert.  Of everything.  Like the door quietly opening, or the creaking of our hard wood floor we tried to tip toe across.  I am embarrassed to admit that there were a few nights where Adam even decided to sleep in our guest room so that he did not have to walk through Cale's room at 6:45 in the morning and wake him up early.  Oh, and one more detail about Cale's room - his closet is where our washer and dryer are.  Imagine trying to coordinate laundry with a LIGHT sleepers nap schedule.  Well, after eight months of the craziness, Adam and I decided to take the plunge and move Cale to the guest room and the guest room to Cale's room.  I thought I would regret "losing" the guest room, but it turns out that I didn't really lose the guest bedroom at all.  And, after Cale's AWESOME naps that he's been taking since moving to his new room, I really don't think I'd care if we had a guest room at all.  This has been life-altering...and I am NOT being dramatic.  I was able to get all of our laundry done in 1.5 hours - that hasn't happened in 8 months!  Needless to say, we are all three very happy with Cale's new room.  The ONE downside - we left his striped walls in the other room.  These walls just seem so plain!  Oh well, I don't miss them enough to repaint them...talk about HOURS of labor!

Introducing: Cale's new room!!

Last weekend, we attempted to get a family Christmas picture taken.  A dear friend of ours met us at a local park and took A LOT of pictures - I think we did end up with some pretty great pics!  After the family shoot, I tried to get a few of Cale.  I think we were able to get a few "framers".

 This is a total Adam face!

While we were at the park, Adam took the opportunity to teach Cale about ducks...

Recently, I've become addicted to Pinterest.  There are so many great ideas on that website - if only I had time to do them all!  Well, today, I did get a little bit inspired...

Pretty Hysterical!