Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wonderfully Made

Cooper is napping and I just finished my quiet time this morning. I wanted to write this down while I was thinking about it. This blog is a collection of my thoughts during this time in my life, Cooper's first year of life, and some/most of the things that I record are things that I want to remember for him. An addition to his baby book, of sorts. A collection of things that I am thinking so that he will know how much he is loved and adored, special milestones along the way, and for him to know my heart - really know my heart. This is one of those such "heart" posts.

I had not planned on what to say when I looked into the face of our child for the first time. I had thought about it, of course, over the course of the 9ish months that I was carrying him but had not really come up with anything profound. We didn't know if it was a boy or girl so imagining the face, and the love I felt when I held him for the first time was a little foreign.

When I looked into his sweet little face for the first time, with tears brimming in my eyes, Sean by my side, the first - and only - words that came to mind were, "Cooper you are fearfully and wonderfully made." I said those words from the very pit of my soul in a half sob, half whisper into the face that I had memorized in an instant. I had not planned those words but those are the words that we have repeated countless times in the months since. Those words have become his verse. Those words were given to me by God to be spoken over him, to affirm him, and to show him that he is loved and adored not only by his parents but by his heavenly father as well.

I was reading my bible today and again read over that verse - Psalm 139:14. The rest of the verse states, "Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Cooper was made in God's image, pieced together the way that God wanted. God's works ARE wonderful. Not just sometimes, for some people. Your works are wonderful. Period. Whether we understand them or not.

Cooper, please remember that You ARE fearfully and wonderfully made and that God's works in you ARE wonderful - all the time - I know THAT full well.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas!

We had a great Christmas and hope that you did too! Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday and I couldn't wait to spend it with our little boy. There is absolute magic in a child at Christmas. We spent Christmas morning here at our house:

Santa brought a basketball goal, a push toy, and a Noah's Ark book

In addition there were stocking gifts of stacking cups, a play remote, a taggie book, a new teething ring, and a pippity poppity train
Fun playing at our house on Christmas morning
Then we went to Waynesville to visit my family on Christmas Day evening. Cooper loved the paper and bows this year, as expected, and squealed with delight when he opened a bounce and spin pony.

The day after Christmas we went to Weaverville for the Giese family Christmas.
Smooches from Daddy and Uncle Aaron. I have a picture that looks just like this on my wedding day. Must be a welcome to the family tradition. :)

A Lightning McQueen Chair (and a drumstick from the baby band set in his mouth)

Cooper's first Nalgene

Then it was back to Waynesville for my extended (McCall) family Christmas. It is the only time each year that all 27 of us are together and I look EXTREMELY forward to it. We are a VERY close family and I love having everyone together all at once.
Addison was a bit jealous for the first time during this visit. Nana had to hold them both at the same time. They do Love each other though (I just missed the kiss).

Presents, Presents, and more Presents... (insert panic from us at how we're going to ever fit 3 Christmas celebrations worth of gifts into the car! - we made it... barely!)

Cooper (8 mos.) Nanny (88)
The Great-Grandchildren. This was the best picture that we got.

Front: Nanny, Cooper, Addison


Back: Allie, Lydia, Mahlah, Hannah, Emma with Lane, Sherah

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Have Yourself A Very Merry Christmas!

This Christmas is especially Merry for us! Just a small view of why... (Christmas pictures 2008)



Sean had to work today (Christmas Eve) but went to our Christmas Eve service at church at 4:00pm today, had a nice family dinner, bathtime and bedtime for Cooper. We should probably go to bed so Santa can come and visit... BIG day tomorrow! I can't wait!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Giving on a Budget

One thing that I love to do is to share with others what God has given to us. I get very excited by doing little things to help out someone who is in need and honestly have to rein in my giving because I would give to everyone and everything if I could.

No matter how you slice it though, going down to one income this year has made us tighten our budget even more. Other than our tithe and missionaries that we support, we have very little left in the "giving" section. I couldn't resist an extra "holiday gifting" for our local food pantry and found an easy way to do this without straining the budget. I thought I would share so that you might be encouraged about your own giving.

A few months ago when our local food pantry had only peanut butter and green beans on their shelves, I heard on the news of this way to help. They suggested picking up only one extra item each time you make a trip to the grocery store and begin your own collection box at home. When it is full, you take it to your local crisis control, food pantry, or Christian ministry.

I thought that was a GREAT idea, compeltely do-able, and an easy way to give to others without breaking the bank. So....over the last few months, I have picked up an extra item at the grocery store each time I went. I tried to make the item $1 or less. So I would grab a box of spaghetti, a can of soup, a box of jello... It was almost fun searching for just the right item to include in our box, imagining the family that would use it.

And yesterday, Cooper and I went to our local grocery store and placed our box in the bigger box that they have set out for the Holidays (I wish I had a picture but didn't think about sharing this on the blog until later). Our plan was to actually take it to the food pantry but the food collected from the grocery store goes to the same place and was a more convenient drop off location. See how easy that was!?

I would love to hear from you about other ways that you and your family have "given on a budget." Merry Christmas!

Deut. 15:7-8 "If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Two Graduations and One Baptism Later...

It all started on Friday with my Master's Ceremony from East Carolina University. I technically finished my course work in August but had to wait until the December ceremony. I just can't seem to get away from the purple and gold... :)

Cooper LOVED the tassle

Picking up Auntie from the airport and dinner at Olive Garden rounded out the day.

Then Aaron (Sean's brother) graduated from PA school on Saturday. Cooper and I stayed here to let him rest from the long day on Friday while the rest of the family went down to Fayetteville to celebrate with Aaron (and Rachel who also graduated with her Master's in Education but did not attend her ceremony to go to Aaron's). Cooper and I did meet the rest of the family for a Japanese dinner though when they got back to Winston-Salem for the night.



Since all the family was already in town, we decided a while back that this weekend would be the perfect weekend for Cooper to be baptized. He was a star and looked adorable in his tie, if I do say so myself. He totally wowed the crowd at church and "awwww" was said collectively a number of times. He's such a charmer (must have gotten that from his daddy, wink, wink)!

L to R: Papaw Johnny, Nana Kathy, Addison, Sean, Cooper, Christal, Aunt Keisha, Uncle Spunky



L to R: Grandma Lillian, Uncle Aaron, Aunt Rachel, Sean, Cooper, Christal, GrandPat, Auntie E

L to R: Elder Kelly, Pastor Alan, Cooper

What a blessed weekend we've had!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Deck the Halls...

Picking out just the right tree...
Cooper hanging (ahem, trying to eat) his first ornament...

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Floor Time, Bath Time, and Family Fun Time

Some recent photos for your viewing pleasure. Cooper has begun anticipating the flash and closing his eyes so eye-open pictures are tricky to come by and may explain some of the weird looks that you may see in the pictures below.

Cousinly Love

L to R: My sister(Keisha), Cooper, my mom, and Addison having a little fun at Nana and Papaw's house!

Two bottom teeth are now absolutely visable, although not so much in this picture. Maybe if you look really closely....

Hanging out in Cooper's Crib (he, he) with Grandma (AKA: Sean's mom)


Warm and cozy after bath time...


Dad and Cooper always have special time playing during bath time
Posing with Papaw.... see what I mean about the eyes...

Cooper's great-grandmother, Nanny Ruby. He is the ninth great-grandchild that she has.
Gettin' some Nana lovin'
Gotta love playin' at Nana's

Thursday, November 27, 2008

It's Thanksgiving!


YEAH! (His newest trick!)

video


Since Sean is working today and tomorrow and Cooper and I are heading home for Thanksgiving festivities, we had our own little feast on Tuesday night. He will join us tomorrow evening for our third (counting this one) Thanksgiving meal with his family.

Small feast but yummy: Lemon Garlic seasoned turkey breast, stuffing, green bean casserole, cinnamon apples, tea and water



Got a whole box of these candles for our wedding as a gift. They are perfect for occasions such as this.

First Turkey Hand Print - 7 mos. You should have seen me trying to trace Cooper's hand while he was trying to grab the paper with the same hand. This was hanging on the door when Sean came home from work - the dinner was a surprise to him.

I think the thing that we are most thankful for this season is health. As Cooper and Sean have been in the hospital for various reasons in the past two months and currently Cooper is battling an ear infection, I am grateful for the Great Physician and the healing that he provides. Knowing that he's got it all - in the good times and the bad - is such a comfort.

May God Bless You on this Thanksgiving Day and don't forget to remember Whom we owe our Thanks!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tagged

My friend Alison, tagged me...so here goes!



1. In high school I actually went to National Competition for Future Homemakers of America - twice! This was a really cool club in my high school, I promise! I competed in the division of creating an educational program for children. This makes sense if you see my sewing skills (or lack thereof)!

2. My feet don't tan. I don't have to use sunscreen or anything on them and can have them in the sun all day without any effects - trust me, I've tried. I have a permanent sock line in the summer time.

3. One of my all time favorite things is thunderstorms. LOVE them...thankfully, Cooper and Parker don't seem to be scared of them either.

4. My pinkies are crooked. With my palms facing me, I can place my hands side by side and the tops of my pinkies don't touch. They've never been broken - I was just made like that!

5. I really love tomatoes. Not the yellow ones, only the red.

6. I collect angels. Sean gets me one each Christmas and has since our first Christmas together when we had been dating for only a few weeks and he didn't even know that I collected them.

7. I have a thing for tacky Christmas Lights. Not on our house, but on everyone else's. We spend lots of time driving around in pursuit of these during the Christmas season.

People that I tag:
Katrina
Brooke
Sarai
Heather
Rachel
Kimberly
Kalley

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Recovery and teeth

So Cooper is a little champ! He is acting as if he didn't even have surgery two days ago. He is eating, sleeping, peeing, pooping, and playing so well. Kids rebound so fast! He is still getting tylenol every 4-6 hrs. as prescribed by the doctor for another day but really has not appeared to be in any pain.

He now has his first tooth confirmed by mom, dad, and grandma. We can all feel the little sharp edge poking through on the front bottom right. We actually found it on Monday and it was a sweet little reminder that he is still our very healthy baby boy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Update

Cooper is out of surgery and we are back at home. The anesthesia went well and Cooper is currently napping and not in any pain that we can tell. He is his normal happy self. They put some numbing medicine in his incisions that will last 4-5 hrs. and we have already given him one dose of tylenol and will keep giving this regularly for the next 3 days.

The surgery itself went well - as planned. The outcome was not as good as we had hoped but God is in Control, God loves us, and Cooper is fearfully and wonderfully made.

I know this is really vague but just keep us in your prayers as we are dealing with some raw emotions right now. Thanks for all of the prayers and support that has gotten us to this point. We appreciate it more than you know.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Tomorrow

Tomorrow Cooper is scheduled for surgery at 7:00am at Brenner's Children's Hospital. The surgery is supposed to be outpatient, only lasting 1-2 hrs. The nurse that called Friday said that hopefully we will be on our way home by 10:00 am if everything goes well. It is supposed to be a fairly simple and common procedure, nevertheless, we do ask for and covet your prayers. Said like the fiercely protective parent that I am, "It is still surgery and it is still our little boy." Although we do know and proclaim that God is in Control, He is the Great Physician, and He knows and wants what's best for Cooper.

I will update the blog as frequently as I can tomorrow. It helps to calm and organize my own thoughts when I can see them here in black and white. Honestly, I know in my head and heart that "God's got this" but my inner sinful self is still anxious.

Specific requests:
1. Complete healing for Cooper
2. Uncomplicated surgery/anesthesia
3. Speedy recovery process/pain management
4. Ease of nerves for Sean and I
5. Rest for all tonight - including Cooper who can't eat after 2:00 am

Thanks so much for partnering with us in this walk.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Our Little Lion and the Hot Dog











Happy Halloween!

A view of years past....

2005 - Super Parker

2006 - Darth Parker


2007 - Jack Parker (AKA: Jack Sparrow the Pirate)
Everyone always said that we needed to have kids because we even dress our dog up and take him trick or treating (seriously, the neighbors have dog biscuits for him - he loves it)! Stay tuned for tonight's costumes...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bethabara

Today we went for a visit to Bethabara Park, here in Winston-Salem. We took a picnic after church and spent time walking around the grounds - mostly enjoying the perfect sunny and 60ish weather.


One neat fact that we learned was that the park has a community garden. For a small (like $35 annual) fee, you can rent a small plot of land and grow your own veggies. The park supplies the gardening tools but you can plant whatever you want and take home whatever you grow. We actually got to talk to some people tending their gardens and it was so neat to see the passion with which they grew their food, took care of their little piece of the garden, and befriended one another. They were all just sharing tools, helping others plant and dig up, and having a great time! Here are some pictures of their beautiful gardens.