Thursday, May 31, 2012

Happy Birthday G!

My sweet, little nephew turned 2 years old!  I just can't believe it.  He is getting so big right before my eyes.  I have to say - I think he is the sweetest, cutest, funniest little boy I know.  I am biased - but I just love him so much.  So his birthday is definitely something to celebrate!

At the hospital when Grayson was born

Grayson had a joint birthday with 3 of his buddies who were all born in May 2010 as well.  They had a barnyard party with a petting zoo and it was so fun.  My sister, Kristen, did an amazing job decorating for the party.  She was like a pinterest queen.  Besides being crazy hot, it was a great party.

Rustic Barn Theme

2 years old and party favors - so fun!

All 4 birthday boys

Grayson in the petting zoo.  He loved it!

Grayson and the ducks

Harper and I in the shade - it was hot.


 Meeting Campbell.  Campbell's mom, Candice was very helpful because she had lots of the same problems as a baby as Harper.

Grayson trying to put Harper's shoe back on.  She hates shoes (it's probably because her feet are too chubby to fit in any shoe).  

Giving kisses to "Baby Parper".  He loves her so much.  

All the birthday boys lined up to get sung to and eat their birthday cupcakes.

Kristen and Grayson

Grayson asking his buddy Cason for some of his snack.

The Boettcher family was my second family growing up.  They are amazing people and I love getting to see them.  My friend, Carol, lives out of town.  But I got to visit with her parents and grandmother.  Such a sweet family.

On Grayson's actual birthday, we went to my sister's house and celebrated with the family.  We had fun hanging out and teaching Grayson everything about the number 2.  Grayson helped make the dip while I was dealing with slicing off part of my thumb.  Such a good helper!  Then, we sang Happy Birthday to him and he danced to the "Cha Cha Cha" part.  He opened presents and got lots of boy stuff.  Tools, baseball, golf and soccer stuff.  And he was all about those boy toys.  



Showing Pop his 2 dollars

He has this awesome new shy face and laugh.  He's so cute! 

He got golf clubs, a soccer ball and goal, and a new tee ball.  And I have to brag just a little because that kid has some good hand eye coordination.  He hit the ball on his first swing and slammed it right into his momma (he actually hit his baby sister but it was a wiffle ball and didn't hurt).  



Playing soccer with his new ball and goal.  He scored once against Harper before she quit.  

My sweet nephew is 2 and such a great kid.  Love getting to celebrate him.  
Happy 2nd Birthday Grayson Henry McCool!



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

11 Months and So Big!

Harper is now 11 months old and is becoming a toddler right before my eyes.  We have learned lots of new things this month and can't wait for our birthday party next month.

We are finally learning to say "mama."  It's cute to see her try the "m" sound.  Her new favorite thing now is trying to talk over us in the car.  Cody and I will be having a conversation and suddenly she is talking, very loudly, and very continuously.  And of course she is so stinking cute we just smile and laugh at her and ask her what she's talking about.

Playing with her new book in the car

She is walking...ALMOST!  She started standing up right after she turned 10 months.  Each day she would stand a little longer and a little longer.  At first, she immediately sat down.  Then, she'd enjoy standing for a second or two but would still squat pretty quickly.  Now, she just stands there doing whatever she wants and doesn't realize she's standing on her own until about 30 seconds.  Then, about a week ago, Cody and I tried the walking thing.  She really didn't want any party of it.  She would just fall forward from one person to the next without even moving her feet.  So a few days ago, we were so proud when she finally walked 1 step from me to the couch (she really wanted that remote).  Since then, she will take a step or two a day.  I'm sure she'll be walking in no time.  

Standing - It's blurry because she was taking a step!

Her food is pretty much the same but she has added snacks to her daily diet.  She has puffs and juice for her midmorning snack and a nutrigrain bar for her afternoon snack.  And usually she scarfs down every bite of snack I give her.  She likes people food way better than baby food, that's for sure.  Last week, she was throwing food to the dog, so I got up to put the dog outside.  But Maggie was quicker and had caught the food in the air before it hit the ground.  This of course delighted Harper and her sweet laugh was contagious.  So we sat there and laughed together while Harper threw her bites of food and Maggie caught them.  Then of course I realized what a nightmare I was creating and that ended quickly.

Throwing food to Maggie

Eating her granola bar

Our house is constantly in a state of chaos.  No matter how quickly I pick things up, she is capable of taking everything back out just a quickly.  No more folding clothes, there's really no point.  No more worrying about books being torn or pages ripped - she's going to get them no matter what.  So now we just play and live in chaos.  It's more fun for her that way anyways.  She is also getting taller.  She is now able to reach the 2nd set of drawers in her room and the kitchen.  She now enjoys playing with the tupperware and the ziplock baggies (300 in one box means hours of fun).

Playing with a box of 100 trash bags means tons of fun

Harper is still one of the happiest babies ever.  Every stranger that meets her loves her.  She still acts bashful but eventually comes around.  And she will still pick Mom over anyone, but she is used to her grandparents and Aunts.  And she always loves other kids.  They are just her size.

Sitting in a wagon (for the first time) with her friend, Avinley

Drinking from their own cups got boring, so they switched

The only bad part of this age is the fact that she has started wanting to have her way all the time.  In the movie, Dumb and Dumber, there is a scene where they are in this car driving to Aspen and Jim Carrey asks "Want to hear the most annoying sound in the world?"  And proceeds to shriek "Eeeeeeeehhhhhhh" for about 2 minutes.  It's horrible.  But I would say Harper can do a pretty good impression of that.  When she doesn't get her way, she just whines until she is distracted or gets what she wants.  Such a turkey.  And of course she cries when we tell her no.  Which is a lot these days.  Either she'll get used to it or I'll go crazy and just give in.

Playing at Mimi's house (she never gets told no there)

But I feel like she is just turning into this amazing little girl.  I pray every night that she would be different.  Stand out.  But a light in a dark world.  That others would see some difference in her that they can't explain.  That she would get to tell others about Jesus because they see His joy in her life.  So we are already excited about seeing what God has in store for her.  Because our sweet baby is becoming a toddler.  And that's gonna be some fun years ahead.



Monday, May 28, 2012

Seniors 2012 Graduation


I have now served 5 years with my growth group bible study girls and they are graduating and moving on this year.  I have enjoyed getting to know them and spending time with them every week.  It's funny that I was the one serving, because I definitely got a lot back from them in return.


They taught me that there are kids these days who love Jesus and choose to live for Him every day.  Sometimes we get bogged down with all the crap in the world that we forget to praise the good things kids do.  And I will stand behind the fact that I had an amazing group of girls who were able to show me Jesus many times, even as young adults.  They chose to come to church when school, work, and life were crazy busy.  They chose to serve others, to invite friends to come, to love on friends when they had bad days.  They knew that Jesus was the reason.  They knew that Jesus meant more than anything else, so He had to become their priority.

I have loved getting to know these girls so much.  Some I have known all 5 years.  Some have come and gone.  And some are new.  But they have all brought joy, personality, craziness, and friendship into my world.  They make me laugh constantly.  They make me feel young again (which is impressive these days).  They make me wanna strangle them and then hug them all in the same hour.  They make me want to be a better Christian so that I can help lead them.  They make me want to cry because I am so proud of the women they have become.


Here are some things I have learned over the years...
1. You must pray with your head bowed, at a 45 degree angle, eyes closed, hands grasped firmly in front of your face.
2.  Food is a good way to bribe people to arrive on time.
3.  Thinking someone is fit and has nice abs is not lusting.
4.  Most people play jenga on their honeymoons.  What else would they do?
5.  Sometimes raising your hand doesn't get you called on so you just need to talk over all of the other people who are conversing.
6.  Even if someone is trying to make a serious point, surely there is a pointless tangent you can start talking about that is way more fun.
7.  Camping out is fun, even in the backyard.  #andhashtagsarecool
8.  You are a downer if you have two lows and no highs.
9.  You can only pray for someone if they are directly related to you.  No aunt's sisters' boyfriends' hairdresser.
10.  Once you pick a seat, get used to it.  It's gonna be your seat forever.  Because it gets weird when someone else is next to you or on the wrong side of you.  It just throws you off.  So go back to your original seat and be happy with it.
11.  Even if you are tired, busy, or had a bad day, go to growth groups.  Because it always helps.

So to all my sweet, sweet girls...  I will miss you dearly.  I am proud of who you have become.  Don't let other people change who you are.  But make sure that God is your priority.  Your life is to praise Him.  To glorify Him.  To serve Him and His people.  Never let the world get in the way of being a child of God.  No matter where you go or what you do, He will be with you every step of the way.

Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9

I love you girls.  I will miss you.  But I can't wait to see what's in store...
AJ



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Oh Harper Elizabeth

Harper is one funny little lady.  Here are some funny things she does these days...

She loves to sneak her food.  She hides it in her highchair so Maggie can get it later.  Or, she'll watch me and wait until I turn around and fling food to the dog.  She would do anything for that dog.  Of course, when I tell her no, she smiles sweetly and continues to her food like she has no idea what I'm talking about.

She loves to play hide and seek.  If she hears someone coming, she screams really loud and jumps into my lap giggling really hard.  It's the best sound ever.

She is learning to stand on her own as we try to teach her to walk.  However, she knows that we get really excited when she stands and we tell her "good girl."  So when we stand her up, she automatically drops down and looks at us laughing really hard.

She thinks there is some conspiracy to her not being able to get cabinet doors open.  She keeps pulling on them and they keep falling closed and she just looks at me and whimpers.  I have to admit, I think that one is pretty funny.


She loves to take everything out of her dresser.  She has also gotten tall enough to take things in and out of her laundry basket.  I know have to be very mindful of what she's doing or I'll be washing clean clothes multiple times a week.


She has learned to play fetch with Maggie.  She gets a toy, usually one of hers, and holds it up to Maggie and babbles something like, "Are you ready?"  Then she throws as hard as she can, and the toy falls about 5 inches away.  Maggie of course runs to get it and Harper giggles some more.  Then, Harper reaches into Maggie's mouth, all the while our ferocious dog is growling.  It doesn't even phase her.  Eventually Maggie lets go and it starts all over again.


video







Sunday, May 20, 2012

Our First Mother's Day Together

Since it was our first Mother's Day, Harper and I decided we wanted to spend the whole day together as a family.  We slept in, till 6:30 of course, and then spent some time lounging in bed.  Harper isn't 100% good at just lounging in the morning, she definitely thinks it's playtime.  But that was one of our favorite things to do pre-baby.  So it was nice for Cody and I nonetheless.

We had a big breakfast and enjoyed a relaxing morning.  We then went and ran a few errands and stopped at IKEA to get ideas for the house (we are repainting!).  It was a wonderful, easy going, beautiful day.  I have enjoyed being a mom so far.  Definitely one the most challenging and rewarding things I have ever done.

The day before we celebrated Mother's Day with my mom and stepmom.  We had brunch with my mom in Addison while the kiddos played outside.  Then, we had dinner at our house with my stepmom and sisters.  It was a great weekend, our first "holiday" that wasn't too crazy.  Such a nice change!

Brunch with my Mom 



Harper and Grayson playing on the playground



The McCools (My sister is 24 weeks pregnant here and she's so skinny!)




Dinner with my stepmom


Waiting for Carleigh to arrive


Pushing Harper in her swing


Uncle Brian laying down the law


Grayson and Pop playing with his new ball that his Aunties got him