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!