2012 In Review

2012 has been a great year for the Cooper family.  We have experienced growth in many areas, and have experienced joy beyond what we could have imagined.

In March, we celebrated Cale's 1st birthday!  It was a sweet day.  We fed the ducks, ate lunch, took naps, and enjoyed time together as a family.  The next day, my parents, sister and Brett came over to eat lunch and celebrate the birthday boy.  He was in heaven with his cupcake and trampoline!

In April, my parents both officially moved to Dallas.  It has been so much fun having them here this year.  Cale loves getting to see them on a regular basis.  They are so close to moving into their new house, which happens to be less than a mile from ours!  When summer hits, they will be wishing that we weren't so close - we will be living at the pool in their backyard!

In May, Adam graduated from Pharmacy school.  That's right, we have a doctor in the house.  This marked the first time in his life that he would not have to study after coming home from work.  We anticipated this to be a positive change for our family, but we really could not begin to imagine how wonderful it has actually been!

In June, we went to Vail with the Kreul family (+Brett).  It was a fun family trip, and having a 15 month old definitely added a new dynamic to our vacation.  We enjoyed being in the mountains,  hiking, biking, and exploring the village.  Cale was enamored with all of the fountains.  

In June, we moved out of our house for renovations.  In July, we moved back in.  We also bought a car and a house within 24 hours of each other.  Ouch.  The house purchase was planned, the car purchase was not.

In September, my sister got engaged!  We are now in the throws of planning a May Kansas City wedding.  We are so excited -  in a few months, be looking for pictures of the cutest ring bearer alive!

In October, we went to visit Adam's family in Louisiana.  This was a great trip, and it happened to be Cale's first visit to Adam's old stompin' grounds!  We enjoyed seeing family and friends.  Cale LOVED all of the land that he could roam around on - like father, like son!

November and December were busy with holiday festivities, but have been pretty routine.  We've enjoyed our "new" life with Adam at home more.  We are thankful for all that we have been given and all that we have learned this year.  We are cherishing these sweet moments with Cale.  I am more thankful than ever to be at home each day with our boy - he is learning so much and I am having a blast watching him grow up.  We are looking forward to 2013 with anticipation.  We know that the Lord is always good and we are trusting him to draw us closer to Him in the coming year.  

We are thankful for our friends and family, who we could not do life without.  For it is all of you who hold us up and help sharpen and encourage us to press on towards the goal.  We are blessed.


Christmas 2012

Well, here I am again, posting late.  Better late than never, right!?  Christmas was so much fun this year, as Cale loved passing out gifts and opening his presents.  I had always heard that when people become parents, Christmas (and holidays in general) becomes even more fun -- the delight that comes from watching Cale discover and experience these new moments is priceless!!  

The days leading up to Christmas were quite eventful.  I'll do a quick recap.  On 12.22, just a few hours before my sister came over to babysit while we went to Adam's company Christmas party, we noticed that Cale was getting pretty whiny and pulling on his ears.  Thankfully, our neighbor is an ENT at Children's Hospital, so she came to our rescue.  She checked him out, diagnosed him with a double ear infection, and called in some pink medicine.
The afternoon of 12.23, Cale woke up from his nap rubbing his eyes and acting like he was hurting.  We thought an eyelash in his eye, but upon inspection, found nothing.  We were perplexed, and Cale was becoming more and more uncomfortable.  Since it was a Sunday, doctor's offices were not open.  We called our pediatrician, who was on call, and she seemed to believe that Cale had scratched his eye.  So painful!  I asked her if we needed to take him to the after hours clinic and she said "absolutely not!  if we did, we would definitely come home with the flu!"  So, we endured the rest of the day (so sad), but thankfully, Cale slept well that night.  Christmas Eve morning, he woke up and would not open either eye... talk about a scared mama!  I called the pediatricians office and they got him in.  After putting dye in his eye and looking for scratches with a black light (not so fun for a one year old), our pediatrician noticed that Cale had scratched his eye in not one, but TWO places!  Ouch!  She gave him pain medication, and sent us home.  We were so happy when Cale woke up from his nap happy and acting like he was feeling much better.  We headed to church for our Christmas Eve service and then hunkered down to get ready for Christmas day!!

On a side note, as part of our Christmas traditions this year, we did the Jesse Tree with Cale.  It was such a blessing to us, as we had an opportunity to teach Cale about the Old Testament and the major stories that led all the way up to Christ's birth.  Cale loved listening to the stories, and was even more excited about putting the ornaments on his very own, Cale sized tree!  I'm sad that I didn't get any pictures of us in action, but for more information, visit www.thejessetreeproject.blogspot.com.  One of my sweet teacher friends wrote a devotional for children, and I hosted a Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange - so so fun!

Christmas morning, we woke up and fed Cale.  My parents and sister came over at 9am, ready to celebrate Jesus and open presents.  Cale was so excited to have them come over - he didn't know the fun was just beginning!  Brett, Courtney's fiancĂ©, had given Cale a Mr. Potato Head on Christmas Eve.  Cale was thrilled to show Honey how it worked.

Unwrapped and under the tree was a barn and all of the barnyard animals.  Since Cale has become fascinated with horses of all kinds, he could not get enough of this little farm!

After he had explored his farm for a bit, he heard the front door open, and stood up to check out the scene...

Oh my gosh!  He was so excited!  Coming through the door was a monster truck from Honey and Chief!!  He was in heaven.

Prying him out of the monster truck to open presents that were under the tree was almost impossible.  After he saw us open a few of our presents, he started to get into it.  

He was such a helper passing out all of the presents.  It became such a game to him that he started squealing and jumping and hopping over presents - silly boy!

Once we had opened a few presents, we Face-Timed with Nana and PawPaw.  Cale opened a present from them and they were able to watch!  We are so thankful for Face-Time!  We are able to talk to them and see their faces often, even when they are 10 hours away!  Cale loved getting to see them and show them all of the excitement that was going on!

Since it was Christmas, and all rules had gone out the window, Honey gave Cale a cookie - at 10:30am.  He loved the red and green sprinkles...a lot.

(notice the shirt that is over his pj's.  this was a gift he opened and wanted to wear immediately.  
he wore it all morning.  ha!)

Since he wanted to play with every gift he opened, gift opening lasted until 6pm that night.  I loved it.  It won't be long before he will master the art of speed-unwrapping (like most kids do).  I love that he savored each one of his presents and had to stop and play at that very moment.  
Finally, he received his last gift.  Cale now has his very own kitchen.  He absolutely loves it.  Eventually, it will move over to Honey & Chief's house, but for now, it's been a fun addition to our living room!  Cale makes great eggs, pizza, and soup.  And, he loves to serve us milk. :)

A few days after Christmas, we left for Northwest Arkansas to spend a few days with some great friends.  We returned to Dallas and were excited to get back into our "normal" routine, when we were hit with the tummy bug.  By the end of the week, it had passed from Cale to me to my mom and my dad.  Thankfully, it missed Adam, but I think my mom took the hit for both of them - she landed in the ER twice because of dehydration.  We are all up and running again, and we are going through A LOT of Purell!! :)


10.12 - 12.12: A MAJOR Catch Up Post!!

Well,  it seems as though I fell off the face of the earth after my sister got engaged.  The truth is, I did not fall off the face of the earth, I sprinted all over the earth and had NO time for blog posts!  Fall has been B.U.S.Y.  There are several things I want to document, so I will try my best to go back to October and remember as much as I can!

I returned home from Kansas City after my sister's proposal to host some of our best friends from Northwest Arkansas at our house for the weekend.  We had a great weekend with them and Cale had an AWESOME weekend with their boys.  Cale thinks these guys are his best friends.  He could not get enough of them!

As they were packing up to leave, their youngest got sick...bummer.  That night, Adam, Cale and I were on our way to dinner, and Cale got sick....major bummer.  So started our family adventure with the stomach bug.  Adam woke up that next night totally sick.  I woke up sick two days later.  At one point, with Cale and Adam in S.L.O.W. recovery and me just beginning to go downhill, Adam and I ranked our nauseous feelings on a scale of 1-10 when we woke up each morning.  Whoever was feeling better, relatively speaking, would be the one to get up with Cale.  All I can tell you is that it was an experience.  A doozie, really.  I was starting to sweat bullets, about our trip that we were planning to take to Adam's hometown in Louisiana that following weekend.  I was praying that we would ALL be able to make that trip, but our tummy bug was edging right up to the trip date.  Thankfully, we all woke up the morning we were supposed to catch our flight feeling much better.  Whew!

So, the first weekend of October, we flew to Louisiana.  Cale had never been to Louisiana, and we were excited for him to meet some of Adam's family and friends that still live there.  Adam was able to take some time off of work so that we could make it a four day weekend, and spend some good time there.  We enjoyed seeing Adam's parents, as well as some extended family that we had not seen in a while.  Cale really loved getting to "explore" the land that Adam's parents live on, and Adam spent a lot of time refining his bow shooting skills.  It was laid back and low key - a great way to spend our time there.  The last day we were there, Adam's mom invited many friends over for lunch.  It was great to visit with everyone and be able to keep Cale on his nap schedule, making for a very happy little boy!
One of the mornings that we were there, we were able to go and visit Adam's grandmother, Cale's great-grandmother!  I'm so glad that we got a picture of the three of them together!

We were having so much fun that weekend, and I handed camera duties over to friends.  I don't have any of those pics yet - sad!

We returned back to Dallas, and had just a few days before we welcomed Kiplyn, my best friend from college, and her little boy, Cooper, to our house for the week!  Her husband, Derek, was on a work retreat near Dallas, so they rode with him and were dropped off at our house!  Having people in your home for an entire week can be exhausting...unless it's your best friend and sorority roommate!  We had so much fun just living life together for the week.  The boys had a great time with each other, and we went on several fun "field trips" while they were here! 

We went to the mall...

We had a picnic at the Arboretum...

And we did a whole lot of laughing!  It made me sad that we don't live closer...and that won't be changing anytime soon - they are moving to Colorado Springs in February to plant a church.  I guess it will be a great excuse for a ski trip! Ha!

A few hours after they left, I got a phone call from another friend who lives in San Antonio.  She and her two boys were traveling through Dallas on their way to Little Rock and needed a stopping place for the night.  Of course we were so excited to have them bunk with us!  Once the boys went to bed, Randi and I got to catch up - so fun!!  Robby (her oldest) is only six weeks older than Cale, and they are VERY similar!  They had a fun breakfast together before heading on to Little Rock!  Their visit was short, but sweet, and we're hoping to make a trip to Sea World with them this Spring!

After that, my sister came to Dallas for a wedding extravaganza weekend, and I helped with renovation details in the house my parents will be moving into soon.  Have I mentioned that their new house is less than a mile from ours?  We're not worried - boundaries are not an issue with them! :)  If anything, they might have to tell us to stop coming over...since there will soon be a sonic ice make residing in their kitchen, their house might become my new sonic.  They might even have to enforce the Sonic happy hour times! :)  

Anyway, we ended up having a few weeks that were not so full, so we decided to take advantage of the days that Adam had off and went on a few outings!  First, we had to take our annual trip to the pumpkin patch at the Arboretum.  It was so much fun to see Cale running all over the place, as fast as his little legs would let him go!  He loved all of the pumpkins, the petting zoo, and the ponds that were crowded with fish!  Cale is at the age where everything is so interesting and exciting, because it is all new... such a great stage!

The next week (Thanksgiving week), the Dallas Zoo had "dollar day", and we (along with the entire city of Dallas) decided to take advantage of the discounted admission.  Cale had never been to the zoo before, and we were eager to see what he would do!  The first thing he saw was the carousel.  He loved watching it from afar, but the second that we stepped on it, he clung on for dear life and would not let go of me.  He was so brave - no tears, but he was happy when we got off the ride!  We headed to see the kangaroos, rhinos, and other African animals.  Cale was in total awe.  He just stuck his little head through the fence slats and watched in total amazement.  So sweet.

As we were walking along, moving on to the giraffes and elephants, Cale found something walking along side him.  He was very amused.  He spent lots of time watching his shadow and making different movements to see what it would do.  He thought it was so funny that it did everything he did. Ha!

We stopped for a snack break at a little park in the center of the zoo.  There were stone statues of animals, which Cale loved to pet...

It didn't him long to find a stick and begin to dig.  This was not taught, people.  It is built in to every little boy.  Sticks can be made into shovels, swords, guns, etc..., and dirt is the MOST fun to play in.

And, because we have an awesome zoom lens on our camera, I was able to get some good pics of the animals...

We spent a great morning at the zoo, and Cale took an even better nap that afternoon!  Such a fun family adventure!

Thanksgiving was low key at our house.  Adam had to work the next day, so we stayed in Dallas.  My parents came over and we also had some family friends come over for lunch.  It was easy, no big deal, and maybe even relaxing.  I love Thanksgivings like that!  Sadly, the only picture I have from Thanksgiving Day is of Cale helping get the beverages...

No, I did not employ him to do this job.  He took on the responsibility all by himself.  Look at that face..."what?!"  

Thanksgiving night, around 10:30, my mom and I hit the stores (for the third year in a row)!  This year, we did something that I think qualifies us as "extreme professional black-friday shoppers".  We braved Toys R Us.  At Midnight.  And, it was worth it!  We hit several stores that night, but I made it back to our house in time to be in bed by 2am.  Since, Adam was working on black-friday, I still had to function for Cale that day!  My dad was generous enough to keep Cale so my mom and I could continue our black-friday shopping.  We picked back up at 11 and finally called it quits at 6!  I have to admit - I LOVE black friday!

The next weekend (first weekend of December), Kiplyn and Allison came in town, we got a hotel in Dallas, and went on a Christmas shopping mission.  I am happy to report that I finished all of my Christmas shopping that weekend!  That is the earliest I have ever finished it (although it is all still not wrapped and laying on my guest bed).  

And to bring us up to current date, last weekend I made dinner for a church group of 30 on Friday night and we had a successful garage sale on Saturday morning!  The rest of December is just one party after another!  I just love the Christmas season! :)

Now that I've posted our happenings, I need to record some key things about the nineteenth through twenty-first months of Cale's life...

He is a crack up.  He loves to make people laugh.  He is very spirited about most things, almost swallowing his tongue when he sees anything that excites him...which is almost everything.

He is a helper.  An engineer.  He loves to use a screwdriver, a tape measure, a hammer.  He likes to put keys into doors and into car ignitions.  He will spend hours in a parked car, pushing all the buttons and figuring out how everything works.  At this rate, he'll probably be driving by next year.  He loves projects, especially with his dad, and is very determined.

He plays hard.  He thinks that every time someone comes over, it is show 'n tell time in his room.  He will literally pull every thing out of his bins to show his toys off.

Notice the double-layered shirt.  He is almost two.  We are in the throws of declaring independence.  He wants to do everything by himself...including picking out his clothes.

He is a climber.  A runner.  A tumbler.  A wrestler.  He can scale the rock wall at the park playground in less than a minute.  It is a little concerning.  He loves to wrestle with his dad after bath time each night.

He is an organizer.  He loves to put things in order.  This day, I had left the fridge open for a second and walked into the other room.  About forty-five seconds later I came back to find this.  Cale is organizing Adam's beers on his table.  He was so proud of his work.  Lovely.

I need to follow that last picture with this... 
He loves to read.  Most importantly, his Bible.  Particularly, the bible with the picture of a horse in it (he's kind of obsessed with horses right now).  I can walk into his room and find him in his rocking chair with 5-6 books in his lap, just reading as loud as he can.  I'm not really sure what he is saying, but he says it with total confidence, so I am convinced he knows what he is talking about. :)

He is a mirror.  A repeater.  A mimicker....for better or worse.
In BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) that we attend on Wednesday mornings, we are studying Genesis.  Cale has been learning about Noah and the Ark and the covenant that God made with Noah after the flood, being symbolized by the rainbow.  One day, as I was getting ready in the morning and Cale was playing in my bedroom, he noticed the rainbows flooding my bedroom floor from the lead windows.  He got so excited (and almost swallowed his tongue) and ran over to them and began pointing to each one, saying, "bow! bow!"  We sat down among all the rainbows and talked about the promise God made to Noah and what that means for us.  It just made my heart smile!  I hope that it is these things that is being impressed in his little memory, and not my sinful actions that I'm sure he sees on an everyday basis!  Lord, please help me to set a good example of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control!

He is big. Old. Too Old.  When people ask how old he is, I still refer to his age in months because saying, "Almost two." is way too hard to speak.  In fact, I might refer to his age in months for his whole life.  That might help me swallow the fact that there is nothing I can do about it.  He. will. grow. up.  {sob}