Thursday, February 27, 2014

Playdates Galore

We have started to really enjoy our time with our friends.  We are in a great rhythm and Harper plays so well with these kiddos.  She talks about her friends all the time and gets so excited when she gets to play with them.  We miss our play group from Highland Village a ton, but we are so thankful to get to see them every other week at Mom's Inc.  This past Monday, we grabbed some Chick Fil A after for lunch with the Hunt's and the Long's and had the best time.  The kids sat at a different table like grown ups and then they played for over an hour in the play area.  Us girls talked and talked and talked some more.  Clint even made an appearance and reminded us it was way past lunchtime, but it didn't matter.  We had a great time and it was just what I needed!  

The next week, we had a playdate with our new play group.  It was a polar bear theme and the kids got to make a craft out of shaving cream and glue - pretty cool.  These kids are also such sweet kids and they all get along so well.  

Our last play date was a mom's only - and it was SO necessary!  The mom's from our new play group up here decided we needed a night to get together, hang out, talk, eat, and craft for as many hours as we could stay up.  We decided to do a pallet project so Kristi and MaryRuth and I spent the day before sawing the wood and prying the pallets apart with a crowbar.  It was super fun!  We all painted our signs a little different to match our diverse houses.  I had wanted a sign for the hallway and was so excited to finally get a chance to do it.  I was going to do a scripture, but a did a song phrase and love it.  Plus, now I am constantly singing that song every time I walk through the house.  The other girls did a great job too and we stayed up till midnight.  And they only left because Cody finally came in from the barn because he wanted to go to bed.  We laughed and talked all night long and it was such a great girl's night. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cold January

January has been cold. And dreary.  And boring.  We have been in our house a lot this month.  This winter has been mostly 40 degrees and under, mostly cloudy, and somewhat windy - which means that we are stuck indoors.  Plus it has iced, snowed, and sleeted and has made it hard to even venture to errands or friends' houses.  Harper has been a good sport but our creativity was put to the test with things to pass the time.  We used up some of her new crafts that Krissy got her for Christmas.  On really boring days when I just can't figure it out, I pour a bag of rice in a bowl and give her lots of different kitchen tools to play with.  We have been playing Barbie's a lot too.  I now know why they are always naked - those clothes are too hard for little girls to get on and off.  So either I do it every time, or I let Harper try and she ends up snapping Barbie's head off.  But she loves her Barbie's and she is getting seriously into make believe.  She can talk for an hour to herself, or to Barbie? about who is playing and what they are doing.  

Cody has had a great month.  His school has been good since they have had some snow days.  Plus, when it's decent weather, he gets a chance to do work outside.  He spent 8 hours one day chopping, moving, and burning down dead trees.  He shot some a really pretty bird while hunting one day.  Dixie almost got a huge treat while I was taking the picture, but no such luck.  He was also Mountain Man for most of the winter, but I'm guessing I finally complained enough and he shaved early for me.  He has also been the best dad ever.  Harper can't wait for him to get home from work and play with her - he is way more fun than me.  He chases her around the house long after I've quit.  He lets her jump all over him and dress him up.  Sometimes he even forgets and wears bunny ears for longer than necessary.  :)  He reads her books at night after bath and then lays with her for a few minutes while she settles into bed.  She loves talking to him during that time and they are so cute together. 

Harper has been doing so good.  We have rounded a corner in the "terrible twos" saga.  We are still working on things, but she seems to be listening better and not throwing terrible fits anymore.  She is enjoying preschool stuff, like letters, numbers, songs, and crafts.  She isn't napping still, but she is doing an ok job of staying in her room during "rest" time.  Sometimes her room is a complete disaster when she gets up, but it's working for us.  She likes to change clothes a million times a day.  Usually she puts on shorts and pj's, I think they are easy to put on.  She always wants to wear her boots.  She does go naked some, but that's not unusual.  She is kind of becoming a picky eater, but as long as it is something good that Cody or I would eat, she will most likely eat it.  Or as long as it is a carb - those she eats like crazy.  We have been trying to get her to drink juice, including prune juice and it was an immediate no go.  But in general, she's growing a lot, talking all the time, and such a sweet girl.

Harper knows a lot more than we ever imagined.  If I'm on my phone, she asks me who I'm texting.  When I take pictures, she immediately wants to see them and tell me how cute she is.  She is constantly jumping on our laps and climbing all over our faces.  She is always telling me, it's ok momma.  She is such a lover of people, wanting to make sure everyone is ok and loved.  She has gotten to taking awesome selfies and individual pictures of friends.  

Harper is going to be an arts and music major in school.  This girl is constantly drawing, painting, coloring, and writing on my stuff.  She is also ALWAYS singing.  Like, always.  Songs she knows, songs we sing with her, or songs she makes up.  She can sing random words and make it into a song that goes on for 30 minutes.  She sings in the bath, in the car, running around the house, playing with her toys, etc.  She is also big into dressing up into her dance costumes.  She likes to dress herself, but usually changes within minutes - some are itchy.  But she does dance around the house like she's the best ballerina in the world.  She jumps, hops, skips, spins, and leaps with the best.  She likes to always start on the flower on the rug, not sure why, but it's her spot.  And we listen to Pandora and dance the morning away.  It's so fun!

This sweet face came to see us on MLK day.  He is 4 months and he is always smiling and laughing.  He is so happy!  I'm sad I live so far away and don't see him more often.  But isn't he cute?  At least Jessica and I can still talk about everything since somehow we still have the same lives.  Miss my twin!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Uncle Jim

On January 9th, my Uncle Jim passed away from a courageous battle with Alzheimer's.  He was diagnosed about 7 years ago and had gotten progressively worse, but we knew that his time was coming to an end at the end of the year.   He was one of the most fun uncles and a fabulous man.  He grew up with a fabulous family and was a great brother.  He fell in love and married his high school sweetheart.  He was a lieutenant in Vietnam.  He has 4 kids, 4 inlaws, and 17 grandkids.  He was a fabulous outdoorsman, loved canoeing, and came up with the perfect stroke for canoeing called the J Stroke.  He never met a stranger, his postman even came to the funeral because they were such good friends.  He spent his whole life loving every minute and making people laugh.  He was such an incredible man.

As his Alziehmer's took more of my Uncle Jim away from his family, my Aunt Barb did a fabulous job  taking care of him.  She made him a scrapbook about his life so on his bad days, he could read the book and remember how great his life was and how much he was loved.  It was absolutely amazing.  It had pictures and stories of how Jim and Barb met and fell in love, my grandparents and aunts and uncles, and his whole family.   They love spending time with their grandkids and they all love each other a ton.  

My Dad, Kristi, and the girls drove up Saturday and Kristen flew up Sunday.  Eric and Dane plus Cody, Harper and I drove up Sunday evening and didn't get in until the early hours of Monday morning.  Well, we got there at 1am, went straight to bed at Grandma and Grandpa's.  Eric and Dane should have been there right after us, but they stopped at the casinos in Oklahoma, made some money, and didn't get into town until 9am.  Typical, but they made it on time and were well dressed, so I guess they did good.  

We missed the family visitation Sunday afternoon, but Kristen said it was a great time for the family to spend together celebrating Jim's life.  It was a good chance for them to remember what an amazing man, husband, father, and grandfather he was, and a chance to say goodbye.  They went to Barb's afterwards to hang out and just relax.  My grandparents have held up really well and although they are going to miss their son everyday, they are surrounded by family and friends who love them tremendously.   

Monday morning, we went to the visitation.  Kristen and I sat by my grandparents and made sure that they were doing ok.  My dad, Pat, Sharon, and Larry, as well as Barb and her kids, stood in line and greeted the masses of people who came to pay their respects.  It took hours to get through the line.  We had the funeral after the visitation and it was a great tribute to my Uncle Jim.  My cousin's Jeff and Ryan spoke, as well as Julie's oldest, Cody.  They told great stories about Jim and reminded us of how much Jim loved life and would be celebrating in Heaven.  

After the funeral, they had a grave side service and a family lunch back at the church.  It was a great chance to catch up and spend time with my family.  I miss them and hate that we only see them once or twice a year.  We left around late afternoon and went back to Grandma and Grandpa's to get our stuff and head home.  Eric and Dane came too and we spent a little time going through memories at their house.  The old yellow stool.  The blue bike we used to ride of Sharon's.  The spiragraph.  The typewriter.  The pancake bowl, lemonade pitcher, juice cups, and owl cookie jar.  There are so many things that remind me of Carl and Gladys.

Even though it was a rough weekend, it was a great weekend.  We mourn for our loss but we celebrate that Jim is no longer suffering and he is dancing in Heaven.  

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Day at the McCool's

We are finishing up classes to be foster certified.  The classes have been all day Saturday and Sunday for two weekends.  Each grandparent got to watch Harper for one day.  That left an extra and we pawned her off on my sister.  Since we have so many grandparents and they are always so willing, the McCool's have never actually babysat Harper.  We have only babysat Grayson two or three times when he was a baby, and Reese the one time they went to Hawaii.  But I know these cousins love spending time together, so it was awesome to let them have a whole day just to play and have fun.
Grayson was really excited Harper was coming over. Right now they kind of have a love hate relationship. He loves to boss her around and she hates it. It's pretty funny because Grayson tries to boss Harper around and she ignores him and Harper tries to boss Reese around and she ignores her (more so because she's so young she doesn't really listen to anyone). They also do not share well with each other. But occasionally they play well together and Grayson will sometimes say "Harper's my best friend". Or on Sunday I heard him saying, "Come here best friend. You're my best friend but you're not listening to me!" Hilarious.

Cousin Lunch - such big kids all sitting at the table!

Playing with Reese's doll house. They were yelling because they would each drag the dollhouse closer to them.
Kristen put Reese down for her nap and read books to the G & H in Grayson's bed. Then she took Harper downstairs to her room because she doesn't really nap. She has been on a nap strike for a good 6 months but I make her have quiet time for two hours. Kristen gave her a ton of books but when she tried to leave Harper said, "Issy don't leave me" and it was the saddest thing. She laid down with her for a little bit and then left her. She cried and Kristen tried to channel her inner mean-mom AJ and told her "no crying Harper, it's quiet time."  It didn't work and she had to kiss boo boos and fix a blanket and make sure to not shut a door and Harper was totally playing her. But there's something about being okay when you're own kids cry and not being okay when it's someone else's. So she ended up letting H watch TV for her quiet time. Oh well!

The girls each had their purses - and they were all ready for the park!

We always try so hard to get a cute picture of the cousins - but it NEVER works! I literally don't have a single one worthy of a frame!

Aunt AJ's here! Reese was smiling and squealing with delight to see AJ!  Oh my goodness, this was the best welcome I have ever gotten!