I always said that if I had 4 kids, I would dress them up as something fun for Halloween. Something matching. Since this is (probably) the only year I will get to do it, we did!
Now I must admit, I chose the costumes. The kids had no idea what I was talking about when in July I started talking about Halloween. We had to rent the movie and watch it. They kind of got into it.
Butterfly decided it was a great costume when I showed her the ruby red slippers I was thinking of buying her. She was a big push for her brothers to come on board.
Professor decided it would be a good costume when I asked him if he wanted to be the Tin Man or the Scarecrow. He really liked the idea of being all silver. So he was THRILLED with the costume when it came. You can’t really tell in these pictures because he was feeling a little sick that night.
Pirate never really came on board with the idea. He just didn’t really care. His costume also was the one that didn’t really work all the time. He kept rubbing off his nose, loosing his hat, and complaining it was itchy.
I like this shot even though it’s out of focus. It shows his latest tooth fairy visit and it makes him look so impish. I love it!
Cowboy, well, didn’t have a choice. He was ADORABLE as the lion. Except it was hard to keep his mane on, and then when he discovered his tail, that was hard to keep on too. The big kids kept roaring at him and by the end of the night, he would growl back. Too cute!
Juice dressed up as his Dread Pirate Roberts again, and I went as a dead “mummy” with my friend Lala. It was a crazy day of running around and trick or treating and then we topped the day off with free doughnuts at Krispy Kreme.
So I’ve been thinking about my blog a lot the past little while. I feel bad that I’ve kind of neglected it. I’ve been trying to learn a little bit more about web design and word press so I can fix the look of the blog. It makes me feel sad that my blog is all shabby and has lots of bad code. But, it is what it is and so here I am. At November 1st. And a month of blogging is hopefully going to start! My mom rejoices!
Here’s the overview of the last few months. Cowboy is almost 10 months old. He’s about 18 lbs now. He is army crawling. He keeps his right foot up in the air when he does it, and so he pushes himself around with just one leg. It’s adorable. He really is quiet the cutie. He also does not nap well during the day. It’s a huge bummer. No naps makes me not able to do as much during the day that I’d like to. I thought I’d have all this time to do more during the day. But I don’t.
Professor is excelling at school and kindergarten. He has beautiful handwriting. He was the Tin Man for Halloween. He remains a sweet and helpful boy, unless things aren’t going his way. He does really well on the monkey bars and for about 2 weeks, he had big blisters on his hands all the time because of them. Now he doesn’t and he LOVES recess!
Pirate is struggling with school and kindergarten. First, it was that he couldn’t finish his work in class because he got too distracted. Next, he started being sloppy and rushing through things to be able to finish his work in class. Now, he is not doing well with his handwriting. It’s stressing me out a bit to see him struggle so much. I worry that he will hate school. He loves gym and recess and I wish that they had more time in those subjects for his sake. He has lost 3 teeth and it makes him so adorable!
The twin thing in school is interesting. I insisted that they be in the same classroom together and that is working out well. They sit across the room from each other and rarely play with each other during their free play. Or even at recess. They don’t gravitate to sit with each other on the carpet. It’s like they are not even with each other!
Butterfly is doing well in school. I’ve just gone through the gifted and talented try outs for her, and we should see soon if she made it or not. She and I are learning cursive at home, although her teacher made time to teach them at school too. A change from other schools in the area, I’ve heard. She has gotten so tall and so grown up!
Our biggest stress is Juice’s job. It is ending in 2 months. We don’t have anything lined up. We do have 5 very probable options, but we are waiting for offers from them. He’s been interviewing around the country. We will be moving in 2 months. Where to? I’m really not sure! Hopefully next week we will know more.
Until we know, I’ve been kind of tearing my hair out with stress and research. Where do we go? Where will we live? What kind of school should we do? Country or town? And I’ll probably only have 4-6 weeks to pack our entire house to move.
And then the whole house thing. We can’t sell our house. Oh I’m not saying that we CAN’T, I’m saying that we won’t because we owe more on it than we can sell it. We want to rent it out. And that opens it’s own can of worms. Stress stress stress!
I’m honestly not going to be a great blogger in the next few months. My life is one big messy ball of stress and sleepless nights, and kids and no fun. Honestly, I’m not liking what goes on in my head and what comes out on paper. It’s messy. And harsh. And jumpy. That could be because I’m out of practice. But frankly, I have NO interesting content. Unless you count on my stress freak out being content. I am.
Butterfly is 8! This week has been a whirlwind of family, fun and food. And it was all leading up to Butterfly’s baptism.
On her birthday, we were able to take donuts into her class, just like last year! We came first thing in the morning and enjoyed donuts with her class during Cougar TV (the monthly annoucements for the school).
And once school got out, the fun started! We met all of our family at the American Girl store in Virginia and had a really great dinner with everyone! It all started with being met by the store manager, and having Butterfly’s crown put on.
Then of course we had to have a picture with this year’s American Girl, Saige.
We were seated at our table (wow, it’s a lot of pink there!) and greeted by our server.
The menu’s had “Happy 8th Birthday Butterfly!” on the top and things that she picked out for everyone to eat. The food there is SUPER yummy. Everyone loved their choices and the pink lemonade that she picked.
After a fun meal with everyone and asking questions from the box of question on the tables, we were able to sing to Butterfly and have her blow out some candles. I can’t believe she is 8 years old!
This year I decided to interview her and here are her answers:
Butterfly’s 8 Year Old Interview
1. What is your favorite color? yellow-orange
2. What is your favorite toy? Uni, her unicorn pillow pet
3. What is your favorite fruit? mangoes….
4. What is your favorite tv show? Special Agent Oso, H2O
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? fresh made macaroni and cheese
6. What is your favorite outfit? pink heart dress with purple sparkly pants
7. What is your favorite game? computer games like Wild Kratts
8. What is your favorite snack? popcorn or apples or bananas
9. What is your favorite animal? cheetahs, jaguars and dolphins and draco lizards
10. What is your favorite song? This Land is Your Land, the chorus
11. What is your favorite book? Redwall: Mattimo and The White Dolphin (really any book we’re reading right now and the most recent one)
12. Who is your best friend? Vinny
13. What is your favorite cereal? (she didn’t know this one…) Coco Pebbles
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? play soccer with Dad
15. What is your favorite drink? orange juice
16. What is your favorite holiday? Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, my birthday and Christmas
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Uni
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? cinnamon rolls at school on Friday
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? American Girl Store!
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? 1/4 scientist, 1/4 naturalist, 1/2 something else
It’s hard to believe that I have an 8 year old! She is such a fun, sweet, helpful girl. She has a very kind heart and feels everyone’s pain. She is also a good organizer, and often organizes games for everyone to play or do. She is also quite the artist and has been featured in a few art shows. I’m loving talking to her
(This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Graco. Graco provided the stroller, I provide the words.)
I am a stroller junky. I have had 5 strollers in the past 8 years of being a mom. Plus one I use semi-regularly at my mom’s house. I’ve gotten to know the ins and outs of good strollers and bad. And boy am I picky in what I like in a stroller.
I was a little sad when my kids out grew their stroller but couldn’t really justify pushing around a double stroller just for our little Cowboy. So when I was asked to review Graco’s new FastAction™ Fold Jogger Click Connect™ I jumped at the chance. Let’s see if strollers have improved in the past 5 years! And make some new friends in the process!
It arrived in one big box of glory. There were very few pieces to put together, although Juice did have to read the instructions to put the child’s tray on it. As it stood in my living room, the first thing I did was ask how to fold it. I was holding Cowboy at the time, and reached over to pull the stroller closed. Wow, one handed and SUPER smooth. Then it surprised me. It stood by itself with a built in kickstand! I was sad that that is a feature I will rarely use, only because we have no garage. Our strollers live in the back of my van.
The next thing that stood out for me with this stroller is the parent tray. It has 2 very generous cup holders (they don’t fit my big Camelback water bottle, but really, am I going to be the one using the cup holders? Not with my twins around! The cup holders will fit a normal sized water bottle, I just have a huge one.) and a VERY cool little clip for your smart phone. You can secure your smart phone at the top of the stroller, for when you want to do some jogging and listen to tunes. Or maybe you get lost downtown and need to look at a map while trying to sight see. I loved it. The compartment under the smart phone clip is very generous and fits my wallet and keys.
I clipped my car seat into it. I love the Graco Click Connect™ Technology because that means that my car seat will fit into any Graco brand base or stroller. Plus there is a nice resounding “click” when the car seat is installed properly. Although I haven’t used the kid portion of the stroller yet, I see it’s very roomy and has a 3 or 5 point harness and a reclining seat.
The tires are big and air filled for a smooth ride. It also goes over gravel great, and handles our daily walk through the field behind our house just fine. It also handled a jaunt through the woods by the lake by our house. The path was FILLED with roots and even several natural stairs, and it did just fine. I don’t think I’ll let the boys push it around, though because it does seem a little tippy with the car seat in it. I do have to admit that it’s not QUITE as easy to push one handed as my big ol’ BOB but I’ll take it.
I like how everyone’s stroller is the same but it’s unique to what they want to do.
We were able to meet up with several bloggers in the area and talk about how awesome our strollers are. I do have to admit, this is not my first jogging stroller. I never used my BOB for jogging, and I probably will never use this stroller for jogging. I learned that it does have a jogging strap (that tucks away nicely, I had no idea it was there), a locking front wheel, and reflectors for low light visibility. But for moms like me who DON’T jog, this is still a great strolling stroller. It’s the stroller that will go anywhere you’d like it to. Or anywhere big brothers want to go.
Easy to open and close
Parent tray with smart phone clip
Great sun shade, and big too!
Works with any Graco Click Connect car seat
Not as easy to push as my double BOB
Storage basket underneath is big, but doesn’t fit my bag (the double BOB didn’t either, don’t feel bad Graco)
A little top heavy and tippy with the car seat in it, no one else at the event seemed to notice theirs tipping, but I was one of 2 that had tiny babies there, also pretty sure no one else took theirs through the woods and the really bumpy path
It doesn’t fold as flat as my BOB
I still have to take off the wheels to fit it in my trunk. Sigh.
I do have to admit that taking the wheels off the stroller is my biggest pet peeve. I had to do it to my BOB too, so it’s nothing to do with the stroller. Those nice big tires make the stroller…wide. I’m glad that they have included quick release tires that come off with a push of a button.
In all honesty, I do have a love affair with my BOB, but I’m sure with extensive use (and it will get EXTENSIVE use) I will come to love my Graco just as much.
Graco’s NEW jogger is the ultimate crossover stroller, combining all the comfort and convenience features of a traditional stroller (FastAction Fold and Click Connect Technology) with performance and maneuverability of an all-terrain jogger.
As an added bonus, Graco’s innovative one-second, one-hand FastAction™ fold automatically locks & is self-standing.
Today was a momentous day in the Cooper household. Why? Well, it wasn’t because I threw all of our plans out the window and stayed home (unusual for me on a Saturday) and it wasn’t because we actually cleaned out our shed.
It was because Butterfly learned how to ride her 2 wheel bike with no training wheels!
Way to go Butterfly!
She got this bike for her 5th birthday. (See here! I happen to have that post open because I was working on the boys 5 year old post and was curious how Butterfly was at 5.) But she just didn’t have the balance to get it. Plus, the training wheels couldn’t handle her weight.
So we worked on her balance. She rode horses. She got a scooter. We played balance games and feet games to get her a little more coordinated. She grew.
And when Juice saw her riding her scooter down a hill and making the turn and slow herself down, he declared her ready to ride her big bike. And she was!
Today the boys turned 5 years old. 5! I just can’t believe it. When people told me as babies that it would get easier, I almost didn’t believe them. But I can honestly say, 5 years later, it’s much, much easier. Pleasant even. So much so that I’m a little sad for Butterfly and Cowboy that they don’t have their own twin. Because twins are just so much fun!
This one is ALL boy. And mischief. And destruction. And kindness. And happy. And tenderness. He’s probably going to hate me for the last one as a teenager but he has a very kind and tender heart. I hope he never looses that.
His favorite thing to do is play games on the Wii. Or on the iPads. He LOVES Pikmin and that is his favorite game of all time. (So he tells me.) He also likes Spyhunter, Plants vs. Zombies, and anything with cars. He’s actually amazingly good at these games. Better than I ever could get!
He also loves to play outside with Butterfly. Professor is okay to play with, but he LOVES to play with his sister. Their current game is wearing their capes outside and playing “Eon Kid” which is a tv show they watch. Not sure what happens in those games, but watching them it involves Pirate having a weapon (like a bow and arrow or a gun) and doing whatever Butterfly says.
He likes to ride his bike. And he’s actually quite good at it! The problem that we are having is that he is so tall, that little kid bikes aren’t really his size. And he’s too big for a big bike. He has a push bike that has been really fun for him but he won’t be able to ride it much longer.
He is interested in going fast. He has GREAT dance moves. He gives great hugs.
His favorite food is tacos. He could eat tacos all day long. But only if they are made the specific way. And that way is with refried beans (we call them painted beans because Butterfly liked how you could paint them onto your taco shell), sour cream and cheese. That’s it. And he’s super picky about how you make it and how it goes onto the soft taco shell.
Besides tacos, he likes waffles, frosting, cheese, and macaroni and cheese. He is not the biggest eater right now and dinner time is a struggle. He says, “Yuck! I hate this!” with every meal and it gets old. After a few bites, he often likes what we are having. But he wants his food to be pretty. And we don’t eat pretty food here.
He weighs 47.5 lbs (about the 75%) and is 48 1/8th inches tall (97%). The nurses at the doctors were joking with him and saying how skinny he looks! The doctor says he probably doesn’t have an ounce of fat on him. One long and skinny boy!
He had his big school check up and he passed the eye test with flying colors. His hearing test is within normal, but on the higher side of normal. They said that he is hearing fine, but that he might be congested or have build up that messed up the highest range of hearing. Good to know that he is actually hearing something. Sometimes I wonder!
He got 2 shots, and is one healthy boy. Active, happy, and busy. That’s my boy!
This one is a dreamer and a thinker. He plays so well by himself. Sometimes he doesn’t play as great with others. But I recognize that from my own childhood and try to encourage a balance between the two. I like it because if he doesn’t want to play with Pirate and Butterfly, he’s fine playing on his own.
I frequently find drawings around the house done by Professor. How do I know it’s him? He writes his name ALL over it. He is a lefty so often his name is backwards, but it’s very legible. I didn’t teach him how to do this, he somehow figured it out own his own! Smart boy! He recognizes only the letters in his name but can count to 100 and recognizes numbers up to 30. Thank you big sister for that one. She often counts in the car to keep herself occupied and he picks up everything.
He is always very curious and clever. He also loves to play games and ride his bike outside. He has a push bike and while his feet never leave the ground, he is very deliberate and never reckless. He has taken a few crashes, though.
He got 3 shots at the doctor’s office. Why 3? The first shot was defective and the vaccine leaked all over after the needle was in. So he had to have another. He complained all day about his owies and refused to use that arm all day.
He loves to eat anything except chocolate. And if he doesn’t like something, he says there is chocolate in it! He does like white chocolate, though and other candy. He likes ice cream, and cake and waffles. He loves oatmeal (which he calls Ort-meal) and yogurt.
He weighs 36.5 lbs (about the 10%) and is 43 and 3/4 inches tall (about 75%). We were a little surprised at his height measurement, only because Pirate is SO tall that Professor seems short compared to him. But he’s really fairly tall. The doctor said that for his height, he is in the less than 3% for his weight. Another super skinny and long boy. Seems we have a theme going on!
I get a lot of people who don’t believe me when I say that these guys are twins. Pirate has a good 5 inches on Professor, and a good 10 lbs. They are very different. But they are saying things like, “We are five!” and “We’re the same age, and that age is 5.” So they get that they are the same age. And they get that they were in mommy’s tummy together.
(Did I write this one down? I can’t remember so I’ll write it again. It’s worth repeating. When I was pregnant with Cowboy we talked about the baby and how Pirate and Professor were babies in my tummy at the same time. Pirate says, “Yeah, when I was in your tummy I kicked Professor in the head!” Professor says, “Yeah, and I didn’t like it!” Pretty much sums up my pregnancy with them.)
They play well together. So well. But they also do fine by themselves. They aren’t super competitive with each other, although Pirate is on a winning kick right now. But he wants to win over EVERYONE and not just Professor.
They have a lot of the same interests but I think a lot of 5 year old boys have these interests too. They love video games, Pikmin, superheros (specifically Iron Man and Hulk but they’ve just discovered Batman on Netflix so we’ve been watching that) and cars.
It’s hard not to do comparisons on them, only because they are the same age and do like a lot of the same things. I know a lot of twin books say never to compare them, but I’ve chosen to ignore the books. They are twins. They will get compared. I try to emphasize their good parts, and also their parts that go together. They are twins. They always will be one of 2. And I’m glad for them. And for me.
I can’t believe that 5 years ago I was huge and in pain and excited to meet my little guys! Not so little anymore!
I am much more active on Facebook and Instagram lately. So I thought I’d combine them for those of you who don’t get instagram!
We were in Utah for the beginning of March and they actually had snow! So we went to play in it! I sent Butterfly off to get ready with her snow pants and then she went walking around the house with her dress sticking out the sides. Cute!
I took this late at night in Utah. We were enjoying some time together before Juice had to go back to Maryland.
After much searching online and watching hair braiding videos, Butterfly picked this hairdo for her upcoming baptism. Holy cow hard! But I did it!
Not my instagram but just a picture to announce that I’m an aunt again! I’m thinking of calling her Song on here, but I’ll wait and see when I meet her.
One of my favorite pictures. The baby was upstairs and I was doing something downstairs. I heard him crying and had to finish what I was doing. (Maybe I was cooking? I’m not sure.) I got to the bottom of the stairs and didn’t hear crying anymore. That was unusual so I went upstairs to investigate. This is what I found. Butterfly had stopped playing and came over to talk to him and keep him company. Aww…
The Easter Bunny dropped off the goodies and we put them all together. Or rather, Juice put them together because I was stuck under a baby.
It’s hard to believe that Cowboy is now three months old. I seriously thought at the end of my pregnancy I would be pregnant forever. But look! Here we are, 3 months after.
Cowboy is one portable baby. He goes everywhere and anywhere. And boy do we go a lot of places! I know I am ruining his sleep by carting him to every event. But there is nothing to do about it. So far he’s been to 5 (!) states (Maryland, Illinois, Utah, Virginia, and Washington DC) and to sisters school, church, stores, barn, etc. As long as I am around, he is very content. And he LOVES his wrap and being held. He had his very first stroller ride this Monday.
He is a terrible sleeper. I mean terrible horrible. As long as he is on top of me or next to me, he sleeps great. But any time I try to put him down, he wakes up 10 minutes later screaming. And not just fussing, all out high pitched screaming.
It makes me very, very tired. And I know I’ve done it to myself. I would hold him all day every day if I could. But sometimes mommy needs to have a break! I just pray that things are going to even out. He has slept the odd few nights in a row but then goes back to his horrible up every hour and a half schedule. That one he keeps with ease!
He is 13.9 lbs, and 24 inches long. His head is about 16 inches around. Comparing that to Professor and Pirate, he is exactly their same length but a little over half a pound heavier. Cowboy is not rolling over in any way shape or form. He’s also not doing much tummy time. He’s just so portable right now that I don’t often spend time on the ground. He will push his face into the floor and stand up on his toes and scream though. That part of tummy time is always fun.
He is the talkiest baby. He sighs, coos, chats, and ahhs almost all the time. We call it singing. He just chats and chats and chats! Here’s a sampling of what we get almost 90% of the time he’s awake:
He is a thumb sucker. Since I have pictures of him sucking his thumb while in my belly, it’s no surprise. Although he does forget it’s there if I am hanging around. He does fine with it if Juice is holding him.
And I think his eyes are going to stay blue. What do you think?
Easter this year was so much fun! Baby Cowboy got his own basket and the Easter Bunny and Nana really gave the kids some fun in the morning.
And boy did they have fun. Yes we ate Candy for breakfast. Yes, it was good!
Even Cowboy seemed impressed with his “haul” (which was this little alligator, a bee book and another board book).
It was also Juice’s birthday on Easter. We celebrated! Kind of! He opened his present when the aftermath of Easter kind of died down. I got him some supplies to clean his swords, and the kids gave him a box to keep it in. They also drew all over it. I traced their hands on the top and it’s totally adorable.
Juice is 34 this year!
This is what happens when you give a 4 year old candy for breakfast.
He was very excited about that bag of jelly beans.
After church and some normal food, we had ice cream cake and blew out candles. Juice was able to Skype with his family and mine which made him really happy. He misses them. We all do! But it’s fun that we have technology to be able to see each other in real time. I just keep thinking of those pioneers who left their homes and never saw their families and parents again and went west. Courage!
Speaking of church, here is the picture of the kids in their Easter clothes!
I love how all the boys match each other. Butterfly is wearing my old dress. She gets her baptism dress this year and she’ll be wearing that to church, but it’s not made yet. Looking forward to seeing it soon though!
This is a better picture of the clothes. And your not drawn to Pirates crazy smile so much. I think he might have had too much candy.
As I mentioned in my last post, my grandfather died on February 26, just about 6 weeks after Cowboy was born.
I was close to my grandpa and it made me sad. Sad to know that I won’t see him in his cool chair every year at his house. Sad that I won’t see him enjoying his kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. Sad that he won’t see his 15th great-grandchild, my little Cowboy. Sad because I know how much my mom loved him. Sad because I know now if I’m lost in Utah, I won’t have my personal map to call. Sad because he’s gone and we won’t see him for a long time. Sad because I didn’t get to say goodbye.
But in a way, it made me happy too. Okay, maybe happy isn’t the right word. Relieved? Released? It’s a complicated emotion that I’m not sure of the word. But we’ll go with happy now. It made me happy because I think he was ready to go. He was looking for his father and has for sure seen him now. Happy because I got to see everyone in my family. I miss them so much sometimes. The ache for family togetherness is greatest for me around when I have a baby. I so want to show him off and have everyone in the family meet him. And Grandpa’s funeral gave me the opportunity to do that. So I thank him for the opportunity for my family to ooh and ahh over my baby. For the memory of my uncle walking into my Nana’s house not knowing that I was there and dropping everything he was holding so he could hold the baby. For seeing my whole family walk into the church and know that EVERYONE was there. For knowing that Grandpa passed surrounded by those who love him.
The funeral was lovely. My brother and his wife sang (I could listen to them all day) and my mom, aunt, and uncles shared memories of him. There was a bag piper at the grave (which I totally want at my funeral) and the honor guard from the army was there to salute him.
Taps was played by a guard standing alone in the snow with the mountains in the distance.
All the grandkids got flowers to place on his coffin after the service. I saw my Nana exhausted and sad but welcoming the guests to the viewing and the funeral and the luncheon after with grace and dignity.
I think my favorite memory of Grandpa is of him driving. I have been a passenger on many road trips with him. Trips where we drove in his big silver van with a TV and a VCR in it. That was a big deal when you are 10. He drove me to Canada (twice), California to visit his sister and her swimming pool, Washington State to visit his brother, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Montana, and all over the west. Disneyland was amazing. I remember sleeping in the car at least 2 times because we couldn’t get a hotel for some reason, and I remember running out of gas and walking to a station with my aunt. I remember long roads of corn, sleeping in the back of the van, and watching a lunar eclipse out the window while he drove.
I lived with my grandparents during 2 moves. Their house was the second house I ever lived in. I still have the address and the phone number memorized. I turned 12 in that house. I almost turned 16 there too. I remember the diet coke in the fridge in the garage. I thought that was SO cool. I remember when their back porch was nothing but fake grass and had a grape vine growing up a trellis. I remember when they put in their great room and took out that back porch. I remember smacking my head on their short short stairs. I remember listening to Grandpa snore in the middle of the night. I remember how proud he was of all of us. And then I saw the delight he took in the babies that came into the world.
Miss you Grandpa. You were and are dearly, dearly loved.