Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cohen is 21 Months Old!

Dear Cohen,

12 days ago, you turned 21 months old. I cannot believe I let that day pass me by. I feel like each day with you is filled with so much fun, but those days are over before I know it. And then I find myself 12 days after your 21 month-day wondering where that past month went.
Gosh, kid, you are so much fun. I never thought a toddler could bring such excitement and happiness to my life, but that is exactly what you do. Your energy and curiosity brings such life to any situation. Your smile softens even the hardest faces that pass by. Your sweet raspy voice exclaiming "Hi!" to every stranger makes them stop in their tracks and return your greeting.
You are quick to make friends -- both with kids and adults. Your friendliness never ceases to amaze me. You must get it from your daddy because I certainly am not comfortable approaching strangers and striking up a conversation the way you are. It's just one more way you are such a perfect kid -- you teach me. You have a group of best friends, and you love playing with them. When I tell you we are going to go play, you immediately ask, "Ukas (Lucas)? Why-der (Ryder)? Oooie (Zoe)?" You want to play with them every day, all day. When we go to the park, you are very patient with younger kids, but all of your attention is devoted to the Big Kids. You want to be just like them. If they climb up a wall, you're determined to do it, too. If they flip over a bar, you try your best to flip.

Your vocabulary exploded in the past few months. Exploded. You surprise me with all the things you say and how you can string words into complete sentences. And it's just crazy to me that you pretty much understand everything we say to you. We have legit conversations, kid. Sometimes I talk, sometimes you talk. And you remember the things we talk about. It blows my mind. People comment all the time about how well you use words and how you can communicate. I am very proud of you.

You still can't say "sheep" correctly (and I still think it's hilarious), and recently you've started saying "boo bus" when you see a school bus. Those are my favorite. You call our dog Harvey "Rarvey". You know all your animals, you know the difference between football and baseball (and to Daddy's delight, you are obsessed with baseball), you can count to 10, you can sing the ABC song (you don't get all the letters, but you know the tune!), and you are working hard to learn your colors. And every day you surprise me with something else you know.
Singing is one of your favorite things to do, and you know many songs. Your favorite songs are Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Deep and Wide. Most of the other songs you sing will somehow morph into those 2 songs. Our church lets the babies sing on Sunday nights, and you love that. Whenever we go to church, you walk right into the sanctuary and sit on your little step and wait to sing, even when it's not time to sing yet. I love your enthusiasm and sweet spirit. You really are such a gift.
You're still a great little eater, although some days you go on meat strikes. You still love your bananas and nutrigrain bars. You love pretzles and Goldfish crackers and graham crackers. You will eat anything with cheese on it, and you eat ketchup with a spoon. You want anything I'm eating, and you will drink a gallon of water if it's in my cup (if it's in your cup, you could care less about it). You love juice, and you're crazy about your milk.
You are an affectionate little boy. You love to snuggle sit in my lap. You give some of the best hugs I've ever had. Your little arms wrap around my neck so tightly and perfectly, it makes me melt. You love kisses. You love it when I attack you with kisses -- you bunch up into a little ball and squeal. You usually only give bye-bye or night-night kisses, but sometimes, out of the blue, you'll kiss me when we're playing. Talk about turning me into a giant pile of mush.

You are very attached to your family. You love your "Mamama" (grandmama) and "Annnn-daddy" (grandaddy) to pieces. You look for them when we go to church, and you get the biggest smile on your little face when you see them (they give you chocolate milk and pancakes with syrup!). You get so excited when I tell you you're going to visit Nana and Papa and Tori and Drew and GGMa. You never want to leave when we visit with family. You fit right in and make yourself right at home, and it makes me wonder how we all managed to live life with you.
Every day I thank God for giving you to me. I don't know why He thought I deserve someone as precious as you, but I am so thankful He did.  You are a joy, and every day with you is the best day I've ever had. I love your laugh, I love your big blue eyes, I love who you are. I love how happy you are, how busy you are, how loving you are. I love the way your little hand reaches up to find mine when you're not too sure of a situation. I love how my heart feels like it's about to explode every time you smile. I love you, little boy. So very much.
Until next month,

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A WW Consignment Brag...

Consignment shopping:

Also purchased (and already packed away until Christmas): 5 board books, 6 puzzles, a bag of cars, a trailor that carries some Matchbox cars, a small Tonka truck, a giant Tonka truck, a Cars racing toy, Tickle Me Elmo, a Cars play set, 2 packages of plastic animals,  a hardhat/toolbelt/goggles set, and a big Home Depot tool bench complete with battery-powered drills, saws, and other tools I don't know the name of <---- most exciting purchase!

Grand total: $193.00!

Thursday, August 9, 2012


At this very moment, our internet's home page is set to The surprising thing is that I am not the person responsible for this change from our ever-faithful MSN homepage to Pinterest. And the reason? Not because Travis or I (or Cohen, for that matter) are terribly interested in adding a little more craft to our lives (although I do love a good PinterFest). No, we abandoned MSN early last week when Travis became downright enraged that our homepage delivered up-to-the minute coverage of the Olympic games ... in real time... and thus effectively ruining all surprise later in the evening when we actually got to watch the events.

Because, according to Travis, if you already know what's going to happen, why bother watching it?

I think it was around the time of the Men's Team gymnastic competition, as I sank into the couch with my third spoonful of cookie dough, that I began to realize that I don't handle the stress of the Olympic games all too well. As I watched each athlete prepare to jump, flip, and propel their way to the medal podium, I anxiously wondered if they would do well or, you know, screw it up ... for themselves, for their teammates, for AMERICA (!!!), and I could just feel the ulcer begin to form in my stomach. I just couldn't handle the stress.

The next afternoon, while Travis was safely at work, I crept onto the MSN homepage and scoured the site until I read that the American women would win gold later on that evening. Was I ashamed to be such a wuss? Oh you bet, but come time for those girls to vault, balance, dance, and swing, I was the picture of cool, calm and collected.

Because I knew there was nothing to worry about.

Every day since then, I have checked the reports way ahead of time in order to learn what happens and have time to be OK with it (because apparently I'm a bit too into the Olympics). So when the commentators wondered if Phelps would win that final gold to make him the most decorated Olympian ever? Oh you might have stressed about it, but I was cool. When poor John Orozco failed to do anything right (it seemed -- I actually was super proud of him and wanted to do nothing more than wrap him up in a big mama-hug and tell him how awesome he is) in the men's all around? I had already dealt with that loss.

Travis calls it cheating, but I'm just fine with being a spectator cheat. It has been such medicine for my anxiety to know ahead of time what is going to happen. To process it. And later, to expect it.

How seamlessly that little tidbit of my Olympic viewing habits translates to the way I live my life. As I live out my days, I frequently find myself wishing I could just know what's going to happen. Sometimes I catch myself as I pray asking God to just give me a glimpse of how all this is going to turn out. I feel like, if I knew what the outcome is, I could handle the journey just a little more gracefully. If I knew how things would pan out in the end, I might be a little more patient with the present.

But God? That's not the way He works. It never has been.

It's all about control. I want it; He wants to strip me of it and have me rely solely on Him. He is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105), providing me with just enough light to take my next step. When I find myself alone in the dark, with just the next step illuminated, and I go that way instead of going the way I want, I begin to trust the Lord. How do I know I'm not walking toward a venomous snake or a giant hole? I don't; I must trust that if that is the place where God leads, He will protect me when danger arises.

How many times have I called out, "Just turn the lights on for 5 seconds so I can get my bearings!" and in turn have shown my distrust of the Lord? Because, if I'm honest, it's hard to put my trust in God. My human nature doesn't allow for it. Instead, I would much rather go about my own way, trusting in myself. I think that''s why it is so important and why He continuously tells us to trust in Him -- because it goes against our nature.

How nice would it be to see into the future and know all the steps before I take them? I imagine it might be quite pleasant, until I see that the path leads somewhere I don't want to go. Then I could safely say I'd change that path. Because sometimes God leads us through unpleasant times. Does that mean He is less good or less God because I go through difficulty? No, it means He knew the life I would live before I was even alive, and every step, every tear, every disappointment is designed to teach me and grow me into the person He has designed me to be.

And is there any better person to be than the one the Lord designed you to be?

So I'll probably continue to be an Olympic cheat and find out the results prior to seeing the events, but that's about as far as I want to take this need for control.

2 Samuel 22:31 “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.”
Psalm 118:8 “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."