Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stuff to Share

A few 3D ultrasound pics from our most recent appointment last week... cute little foot, eh? And above is his face at the left and an arm up beside his head at the upper right. He is measuring and weighing in the 77th percentile and the doctor said he did expect this baby would be bigger than Cooper was. But otherwise, both the baby and the placenta are healthy. I guess we just have to be grateful for all the technologies and methods that make high risk pregnancy even possible! :)

Playing with some fun pictures Stephen took of Coop and I recently...

Monday, June 29, 2009

We Live in a Cool Place...

The small towns of Hazelton and Eden, where we live ourselves, and the outer area of Hunt, are most often referred to as "Valley," as though the whole area was one town. If we tell people we're from Valley, they know what we mean and it doesn't seem to matter if it's actually Hunt, Eden or Hazelton. There's something I rather like about that- makes it more country I guess... Anyhow, Valley puts on an Independence Day celebration during the weekend before the actual fourth of July each year. There is a parade, carnival and fireworks- pretty big goings on for a small town if you ask me!
Just as the parade started, a little girl on a bike plowed into another girl sitting not too far from us and then into Cooper! Nothing like a front tire in the gut to ruin the fun... He got over it pretty quick and was really into collecting candy off the road by the time the parade was over- Stephen wasn't about to just let him watch from the sidelines and not get into the thick of it :) In the meantime of the bike accident, I personally missed seeing new cub scout Nathaniel riding in the parade! I was bummed because he was so excited! Oh well, no doubt they have one and that certainly matters more! :)

Probably Coop's favorite part of the whole parade was the old style tractors- he just stared and pointed as they went by! And turned to make sure I as just as excited as he was, of course :)

Our very favorite part was the fireworks- they were great for a small town! Cooper did awesome through them- just sat on my lap and leaned his head back to watch. He kept pointing out the bright colors- green, blue, red. :)
Nothing like fireworks, friends and family to make us grateful for our country and the cool place we live. We knew when we first saw our house in Eden that this was where we were supposed to be and it's so nice to so often have simple things that reaffirm us of that. We are so grateful for our small town lifestyle, for being surrounded by good people, and for our country's freedoms that make it all possible. :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Catching Up to Father's Day

While not too much exciting has been happening in our world lately, I do have some cute pics to post of our general goings on. I love this one above of all three boys- this particular morning, the boys were on the living room floor and Keaton hollered to me that I should come take a picture- I was glad he did!
Cutest little guy ever on the tramp :) These make me smile...

Cooper is fond of pulling pans and bowls out of the lazy susan in our kitchen and playing with them while I'm cooking. This last weekend Taron decided he would join in and built multiple towers- so typical of him! He is a creative dude :)

We recently brought my keyboard home from my sister's and Cooper loves playing on it...

Cooper randomly decided that his ride-on toy should have a trailer, so our awesome Daddy tied his little block wagon to the back and he has been hauling tractors and books around ever since! It's funny all the places he thinks he can manuever this big rig into- he has yet to get the hang of driving with a trailer :)

When Coop wants to play hide and seek he goes to a place and announces "Hiding!" That tells me that I should start counting and then he'll jump right back out :) So fun... this is him hiding in our bathroom towel cupboard.

So Taron and Keaton just couldn't stand waiting to give their Dad his Father's Day present and made him open it on Friday night. They get that from him- there have only been a few times he's let me wait until the actual holiday to open a present he's gotten me! The boys and Stephen are all great gift givers. Anyhow, part of the present was this adorable tie the boys had made at a primary activity. It had "Dad" spelled out in toothpicks, little flags and pinwheels, some stickers and buttons- all kinds of fun. He wore it with pride yesterday :)

Homecoming Weekend

Even though I'm a bit behind, I wanted to post some fun pics from our weekend at home for Conner's homecoming report. When we first got there and Cooper saw Conner in the kitchen, he stopped and seemed a bit hesitant. I explained to him that "Conner lives here now" and then he went right to him and was fine the whole weekend. Pretty cute.

There was a lot going on at once all weekend it seemed, but we also spent some good catch up time with Conner too. He chose a unique hymn that he likes and asked all three sisters to sing it with him as part of his report in sacrament. I don't think the four of us have ever sang all together and it ended up being a neat little addition to the day. Conner's talk was great and anyone can sense that his testimony is so powerful. It just feels good to be around him- it always has. As always, a great visit home.

Papa has decided he needs to get Cooper more interested in the motorbike than the backhoe, since "it's cheaper to run." :) I don't know if he's more interested yet, but he definetly loved the motorbike rides! I like the look on my Dad's face in this one... these two are buds.

I love every time Quincy and Cooper are together- it's so fun to see cousins play and I'm not sure these two could get any cuter. :)

My cousins Kelly and Cody also returned from missions recently and this was a fun pic with their Dad's, my uncles, and them. These Dads should all be awfully proud for sure.

Coop and Quince ready for church...

This is Cooper's favorite spot at Grammie and Papa's house- he loves to play on these bottom few stairs.

Playing cars on the floor with Papa...

It finally warmed up on Sunday afternoon enough to let the kids play in Grammies pool. I think little kids in just diapers are so cute!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Favorite Summer Salads

These are some of our favorite summer salads! The last several times I've made them, I've gotten asked if I could share the recipe, so I thought I'd post them here- enjoy! These were not originally my own, but I have altered them quite a bit and the directions here are the versions I usually make :)

Best Ever Pasta Salad
1 (16 ounce) package dry penne pasta
2 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced, then half again
1 can large olives
1 package bacon
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1 Tablespoon dried dill weed
2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
2 Tablespoons lemon pepper

Boil penne pasta 8 to 10 minutes or until done as you like; drain. At same time, cook bacon until crispy and then crumble or cut into small pieces.
Combine mayo and sour cream, then add combination to pasta until well coated. Add seasonings, mix well. Add cucumbers, olives and crumbled bacon. Serve as is or chill for a bit. Note: If you're traveling with this, save the cucumbers to add at the last minute- they get softer than we personally prefer after the second day or so.

Yummy Strawberry Spinach Salad
1 bag spinach, small leaves with stems
3 cups sliced strawberries

1/2 thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1 bag sliced almonds
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cube butter or margarine

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Set oven to moderate broil. Toast sliced almonds by laying in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place them in the oven and watch close- they burn fast! When lightly toasted, cool slightly and pour into gallon size ziploc bag. Melt 1/3 cube butter and pour over almonds in the bag. Add 1/2 cup sugar to bag and toss together until coated.
Toss spinach leaves, sliced strawberries, sliced onions and raisins (if using) in a large bowl.
Dressing: Whisk or shake together all ingredients. Pour over the salad mix and toss to coat. Add almonds last as topping, mix lightly.

Note: This salad does not keep as a leftover when mixed all together. If you want to make it last longer, add dressing to each individual serving instead :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Conner is Home!!

As I've edited these, I've decided they speak for themselves. They bring tears to my eyes and smiles to my face- a GREAT day!

After the airport, we traveled to Lundyn and Josh's for a BBQ and chance to relax better. I was impressed again that Conner has been such an honorable missionary. He followed the mission rules perfectly and received the protection and success that he knew would come from that. His mission broke their previous baptism record in just the month before he left and he was able to be part of two of them- what great icing! He was also still comfortable and easy going to be around and even ventured to try a hand at Guitar Hero before we all left. We are so proud of you Conner and can't wait to spend more time with you this summer!
P.S. I've also decided yet again that we have the greatest parents- it's worth noting that my Mom and Dad have been such amazing support for Conner while he's been gone. They have sent him things even before he knew he needed or wanted them. They have been able to say what he needed to hear just when he needed it. I remember writing him once and telling him, "You do realize that Mom has you on the brain literally 80% of the time?" :) I know that really has been true for them- they rock. :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Cooper Conner Turns Two!

This last Saturday we celebrated Cooper's second birthday with family, friends and fun. THANK YOU to everyone who came to support- some of you from quite a ways. We set up some water toys at the back of the yard and the kids played and played. We had a yummy BBQ and Cooper got so many presents it was literally like Christmas! He is in love with all of it and has been playing with everything ever since. :)

I have to confess it's a little bitersweet for him to have another birthday... I can see myself having a hard time with my kids growing up! Cooper and I are really attached and I just pray that at least part of that continues as he gets older. I know sooner than later I'll be more attached to him than he is to me, and that I'll so miss him coming and asking "Mommy, hold you." Come what may, we sure love this little guy- he is our whole world!

How Many Big Things Can We Squeeze into a Week?

Things have been rather rapid fire in our world lately- our time is filled with some really big milestones all crammed together. My youngest sister, Cyndel, graduated from high school, Cooper turned two on Saturday and my brother, Conner, is coming home from his mission tomorrow!

We were so proud to go and support Cyndel as she graduated from high school last week- she was one of only two kids in her class to have high honors. I could hardly keep the tears out of my eyes as I took in how grown up she seems! I remember so clearly when she was born, I remember getting her out her crib in the mornings and her soft kissable cheeks, I remember riding my Mom's bike with her in the bike seat, I remember watching her and Conner play in the ditch together, I remember her baptism... so many childhood things that seemed far away as she graduated. We are so proud of you Cyndel- you deserve and are capable of anything you want in this life!
As for Conner coming home, I could hardly sleep last night thinking about it and tonight will no doubt be the same. Gosh, we miss him! It seems like it's been a long time somehow. While I am excited to see him myself, I'm more anxious for him to meet Cooper. I will be ready with the camera at that moment for sure (and tears streaming then too no doubt- it's just who I am these days :) Kinda funny that I was pregnant when Conner left and am pregnant now- hopefully he can still remember what I really look like! More to come on our day with Conner later this week :)

Ya know, I truly feel like both Conner and Cyndel are a cut above in this world. They are what it means when we hear "saved for the last days." I'm so excited for what they will make of thier lives- I know there are amazing things in store for them both and that they so much deserve to be happy. They are already role models for my own kids and I am looking forward to great memories to come!


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