Monday, January 24, 2011

A picture of our littlest snowbabe

(Photo taken January 8, 2011 at almost 12 weeks old)

Loving on this cute little snowbabe...
Enjoying life together as a family...
Catching and embracing each simple moment that we can in the midst of crazy, busy days...
Thanking God for our many blessings...

that's what we've been up to. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Layers of Winter

Winter in Minnesota brings about quite of few "layers of responsibility."

Layers of snow and ice to shovel, layers of clothes to put on every time a door is opened, layers of snow and ice to carefully drive on, layers of freshly piled snow to scrape off of windshields and vehicles...the list could go on and on.

Can I just say that the blustering, freezing temps to venture out in to grab a carton of milk or drop a parcel off at the post office has fared better on other days. This Southern gal has had just about enough of this 10 degree and below weather. From what I hear, the temps tonight will drop to -20.

I'll be honest; the last two days have been rough. Some great moments sprinkled --no, make that showered with-- frustrating occurances. I've decided this freezing cold weather has played a big part in it. Ok, seriously this is just the outerlayer of what I have to put on to go outside and get my mail. This for the girl that never even owned a coat (we never needed more than a jacket) growing up in Mississippi, until heading out on my first ski trip to Colorado with our youth group.'s mid-afternoon. Really?

Now don't get me wrong; I like to get my hands dirty. I don't mind hard work. But ok, shoveling our driveway every other day is getting a little old. Yes, sometimes it's not too's actually quite the workout, but having the longest driveway on our street and probably the only one who doesn't have a snowblower is getting a little frustrating.

I actually really enjoy the's just the darn cold that is so irritating. When hubby is home it's actually  not too bad and quite fun sometimes. We have exciting family adventures; however, when he's gone (which is A LOT) the snow, ice and cold is not something I am too fond of. I think it's actually the responsibilities that come with snow, ice and cold here that I'm not the fondest of. :)

I am very thankful though for our freshly stacked firewood that will keep us nice and toasty inside the house. (Thank you Nana and Poppie!) There is almost nothing as awesome as a warm fire on a cold night, pjs, fuzzy socks, a good book, family together...LOVE those nights!

Just so I don't have to venture out to the woodpile every hour, I have a nice little stack of prepared wood sitting right by the door so that the boots, coat, hat, scarf,  and gloves can stay right where they are...

Now, I may not be the fondest of the Minnesota winters, but my eldest son thinks it's the next best thing to Chuck E Cheese birthday parties. Yesterday, while I was trying to catch up on laundry (from the huge stockpile that had somehow accumulated in 2 days..seriously, how do we do that?) Parker got to go out in the backyard for a little playtime with his bucket and shovel. He was quite the happy one. Luckily hubby had shoveled the backdoor walk so that we could open it and not worry about 20 something inches of snow falling inside onto the floor. It was quite humerous watching Parker try to crawl/jump onto the snow from the lower level of pavement.

Another funny...seeing Parker turn around every couple of steps to look back at his footsteps in the deep snow. The snow seemed to get softer in certain areas and he would sink down to right below his waist which also made for some mid-afternoon humor. However, I knew the smiles and squeals of delight would only last a short time before the tired-legged, cold to the core, runny nosed toddler came wailing to mom to come get him. Therefore, the hot chocolate with extra marshmallows was ready and waiting for when the time came...tears dried up, and cold, pink cheeks grinned again. "Thanks mom," he said.  :)
And so, yet more sweet memories for my little man. I guess for that, the layers of clothes, the shoveling of snow and ice, and the cold are worth it. :)
Happy Winter All.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Can you guess this birthday present?

Have you guessed it yet?

Here are a few hints:

Every little boy (and girl in my opinion) needs one.
It can be made of paper, plastic, wood, metal, name it.
This particular "thing" has been known to turn into a ship, an airplane, a cabin in the woods, a hideout, a pirate's hold, and a trillion other imaginables in just a few hours.
When your child is playing with this object, please know that he might not always respond to his given name, but instead answer to names such as "Pirate Parker" or "Captain P."
Warning: if you start to misplace valuables or even not so valuable items, you might want to check here first.
Also, your child may disappear for hours at a time with this entertainment....he might one day even ask to sleep here.

Have you guessed it yet? :)

I don't know who had more fun assembling Parker's first fort...his daddy or Parker himself. It was such a treat for our 3 year old; he even got to stay up late one night this past weekend and help put it up. Though this picture is blurry, I love the story it tells. Parker was very serious in helping his daddy attach all the parts making sure everything was just right. "I big. I do it Daddy. No, no, let me do it. It does (for "goes") like dis."

After the first part of the fort was assembled, Parker wasted no time in running to grab toys to put in his new, very special place. Notice the little man blurred off to the side. ha ha. Out of the 70 something pics I took on this one night, I might have two where he wasn't blurry because he didn't stop moving the whole evening. He was a busy boy on a mission. It truly made my heart sing, though to watch all of this.
I remember growing up and the forts we had: the outdoor treehouse in our backyard that became a spy zone, a house, and a Little House on the Prairie schoolhouse all in one weekend. Or the play tent that Taylor got for Christmas one year that looked just like an outdoor fort, complete with "man's best friend" painted by the main entrance. We would spend hours upon hours in that thing, loading it up with our favorite toys that became real as soon as we stepped into the "fort." Our grandparents also had to have a treehouse for the grandkids to play hide n seek in when we'd all gather for family weekends and holidays. And of course there were the homemade forts built with mom's "old" sheets, the love seat and a few kitchen chairs. More happy memories and creative endeavors evolved from these little spaces. Imaginations became realities, big decisions were made and smiles never left the faces of those who played in the forts on 2068 Ruralia Dr.

I'm excited for our kids to have this too.

This particular construction building set can be found here. What we like about it is that you can make and do so many different things with it. For building: an airplane, a helicopter, a playhouse, a fort, a castle...anything you want basically. It's like a giant erector set! For learning and team building it has multiple uses too. How much fun would this be to set up in your backyard in the summertime and have different challenging activities for your kids and their friends to do?! If you go to the Toobeez website you can check out a variety of videos and examples of ways these sets can be used.

We were blessed to have a friend who gave these to us actually. She works at a children's specialty store in Minneapolis; the store was no longer carrying this particular product and were giving their store models away, so she snagged the giant set for us. (Thank you Jodi!!)

I'm so excited to have this to help us get through those extra long, super messy winter days this year where it is a little too cold for this Southern gal to get outside. :) Mama might just have to jump in and play with the boys on this one...I think girls are still allowed at this point.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

13 kiddos + Chuck E Cheese = extreme fun & extra long afternoon naps

Spent a lot of today (and the last several days) thinking about this incredible man who I miss so much.

Daddy would have been all up in the middle of the party at Chuck E Cheese today. Parker and twelve of his friends danced with Chuck E and played till their little bodies couldn't play anymore. :) Parents, you can thank me now for completely wearing your kids out for you just in time for afternoon nap...however, I will not accept responsibility for any tantrums prior to the angelic sleep. ;) 

This three year old had a very successful birthday party; he was so happy to have his friends with him to play. The ticketblaster was a comical sight; I'm sure you can get the overall picture from the photo below...he basically stood in the little tube with his eyes closed and an enduring smile on his face as the hundreds of little tickets flew all around him. His response when he walked out...with an unsure smile on his face, "Mom, I not do that at my next party." Then he walked back over to his table to have cake with ChuckE and his friends and then off to play some more. ;)

I think the dad's had as much fun (if not more) than the kids! ha ha!

Both of our kids will be sleeping really good tonight. Thank you Chuck E. :), naps for the boys, and maybe a little crafty time for mom. I'm in the mood to create something.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

a weekend touring our own city

Clay, Parker and I were so excited when we found out that Taylor and Fair were flying in for a weekend trip to Minnesota. Knowing that two days would pass by far too quickly, I typed up a tentative itinerary for the weekend. We actually got to check off everything on that list plus visit a few other places; believe it or not, we also had a little down time at the house on Friday too.

Here are just a few of the pictures and memories from the weekend...

Downtown Minneapolis

Taking a coffee break at Nicollet Mall downtown

Visiting St. Paul's Cathedral, the Capitol building, and Grand Ave

A kiss on frozen Lake Nokomis

Sledding in uptown

A visit to Minnehaha Falls at Minnehaha Park

This waterfall is one of our favs to visit in the spring, summer, fall and winter...with each visit you leave with a completely different view of it

I don't know how she did it, but Fair got a perfect pose with the little fellow!

It was late one night, but I snagged a quick picture of Taylor and me
I can't wait to print all the pics out from the weekend! It was so much fun for both families. Some of the coolest adventures are found when you become a tourist of your own city.

Taylor and Fair, thank you so much for coming and visiting us up North. I know with ya'll's busy schedules it was a huge sacrifice; we appreciate ya'll wanting to spend time with us though! It was a wonderful that we would love to repeat in the summer without the snowboots! ha ha! We love you two so much and wish you a wonderful season in your new home(s).   :) Once again, we couldn't be happier for ya'll. Until next time... 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

3 months and growing!

Today you are 3 months old...

It's hard for me to imagine that you are already 3 months old. When I see you start to do big boy things I think to myself, "No, this can't be right! You're my little baby! You can't do this yet!" Then I realize that each and every day both of our boys are learning, growing, and becoming "little men" by the minute just as they are supposed makes me happy and sad all at the same time. I understand now with two (and our busier days), how important it is to capture these fleeting moments as best we can. One day we will look back and be grateful for the time we took to record everyday memories and milestones.
At 3 months:

You are a very happy and very smiley baby
Like to coo and blow bubbles..sometimes it's like you're trying so hard to talk that your neck and head are practically coming off of the table as you coo and chat with me in your own little language
97th% in length
90% in weight
you are a big baby :)
currently (and have been for a few weeks now) wearing 6-9 month clothing
a good sleeper (for a few weeks you slept through the night from 7:30pm - 7:30am, now you're back to waking up once or twice)
laid-back; very relaxed
cute dimples in your cheeks
you like laying in your crib and watching and listening to your mobile
you have also laid on your playmat a few times and smiled at the lighted, musical flower that sings to you
have a strong grip; for about 2 weeks now you have been grabbing and holding onto things such as toys, links, mama's shirt, daddy's finger...
when sitting relaxing in your bouncy seat, mama and daddy's lap, etc, you often play with your hands and fold them over each other...very sweet
when big brother Parker gives you a kiss, you break into a huge grin
since you were born, you sleep best swaddled; it immediately soothes you
you enjoy having your paci when you sleep
if you are woken up from your nap, you are in a foul mood until you get to finish it :)
at two months: weighed 14 lbs, 2 oz   length 25 1/4"
a great eater...about every 3 hours during the eat your meals fast
still sleeping a lot during the day...wake up to eat around 5-6am then go back to sleep till around 9am. At 9 or 9:30 you eat, have some awake time then are down for your midmorning nap by 10:30 or 11am. more awake time, lunch and then your afternoon nap which typically lasts 2 1/2 -3 hours. More awake time and another feeding then a short nap in the evening hours. Most nights you are ready for your crib by 7:30...this schedule is not firm, but you tend to follow this pattern more often then not. 
Though you still sleep a lot, during your awake times you a quite alert and happy.
you will sometimes pose for pics...brownie points for you!!! :)
spits up a fair amount which produces a nice size amount of laundry for mama
you have good, strong neck muscles and seem to have good posture; you started holding your neck up for short intervals really early at only 2 weeks and seem to be headed towards sitting up on your own early as well
like when mama and daddy read to you
you like to be around others and enjoy sitting back and watching the show!
resembles more of the Thorne/Nolen side than the Rasberry/Jones side (although we think he has my nose and the Jones or Nolen head shape)
smiles and has fun during bathtime
will sit in your bouncy seat while mama cooks dinner and prepares lunch and enjoys swinging for a few minutes each day

Cooper, I can't believe how fast you are growing!!! One of the things I love the most is how your face lights up when your daddy, Parker or I walk in the room and start talking to you. It melts my heart. I love you! Happy 3 months my little Mr. Mr.!

Monday, January 10, 2011

our little man is THREE!!!

Three years ago today, my life changed forever. Clay and I were blessed to bring this little guy into the world, and since 6:08 p.m on that snowy day, we have experienced more fun, less sleep, more love and many more challenges than we had every faced before. With each and every day that goes by, Parker makes us smile at the "little man" he is becoming. I can't imagine our lives without him...or fathom what we'd do with all the extra amount of sleep we'd be getting..."what? You mean some people actually sleep past 6:30 in the morning?" ;)

I am so thankful for each and every one of our everyday moments together and can't wait for another fun year together as a family with this little man. seems like yesterday he was just a babe

"Boys are found everywhere - on top of, underneath, inside of, climbing on, swinging from, running around or jumping to. Mothers love them, little girls hate them, older sisters and brothers tolerate them, adults ignore them and Heaven protects them. A boy is Truth with dirt on its face, Beauty with a cut on its finger, Wisdom with bubble gum in its hair and the Hope of the future with a frog in its pocket."
-"What is a Boy?" Pamphlet distributed by the New England Life Insurance Co.

You are a helper...

You have your daddy's sense of humor--and use it every day to amuse others...

oh yes, you are quite the charmer...

...and quite the new big brother to this little fellow

You love the outdoors very much...especially playing in the snow

At three you are:
still just as busy and active as you were at two (if not busier)   :)
talking up a storm from sun-up to sun-down
very inquisitive
into Buzz and Woody, Cars, Callilou, Cat in the Hat, Thomas the Train, Trucks, and building things
you would play outside all day everyday...rain, snow, doesn't love all things outdoors
wearing 4T shirts, 3T pants and working on potty training
wearing 9 1/2 in shoes
a big helper to mama, daddy and baby cooper
loving life
asking us every other day if you can go skiing with year, sweetie
liking food and eating pretty much anything that is put in front of you (still eats very healthy...yea!)
if given the choice, would rather play than eat
organized in the way you line your toys up and play...very calculated
too smart for your own good :)
showing us your witty nature and using your humor to make your daddy and me laugh every day
enjoying playing ball everyday (football, basketball, baseball, doesn't matter)
ambidextrous, but left-hand dominant
singing the ABC's daily
liking us to read a bedtime story to you and then you want to read it to us
strong-willed personality with a confident opinion about everything
caring, loving and sensitive nature
talks with your hands
wise beyond your years
not a your ;)
is always up for an adventure
likes to get in the car and go
enjoys learning new things
timid at first with certain things until confidence grows then watch out! ha ha!
loving your bunk bed and new "big boy" bedroom
very social...will play by yourself a little each day but prefers to be around others
weight: 34 lbs
height: 37 1/2 in
likes to go see your doctor
thinks getting a haircut is relaxing
is like your mama in that when you play past the point of hungry you let the world know it with a meltdown
likes to "bisit" (aka visit) with the family till late into the night when we have company
a leader
laughs hard when you and your daddy rough-house together
other things that you have recently gotten into: playing with your animals and barn, boardgames such as Goodnight Moon, jamming with your guitar
takes good naps (thank you Lord) - anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3 hrs most days
have a serious and determined side that is brought out every day as we watch you concentrating on given tasks and activities 
still enjoying traveling and flying on airplanes as often as you can

Parker, thank you for all the sweet memories from the past year. Your daddy and I feel so blessed to have you as a part of our little family. We are proud of you and the little man you are becoming. Thank you for making us smile every day. You are so special and we couldn't be any happier than we are when you and Cooper are around. I hope that you always have the confidence to be yourself and will continue to live life to the fullest. Love the Lord first and always; look to Him for strength every day. Know that your family is always here for you when the world isn't.
We love you to the moon and back, precious boy.
Mama and Daddy

Friday, January 7, 2011

our special visitors this weekend...

Welcome to Minnesota Taylor and Fair!!!
 My brother and his new wife arrived last night for a weekend visit. We are so excited to show Taylor and Fair a little of "Minnesota in the winter."

Uncle Taylor got some cuddles from his nephews this morning before we headed out for a little shopping at the Mall of America.
Some weekend plans: Mall of America, downtown Minneapolis, a walk out on frozen Lake Nakomis, sledding at uptown, dinner at Sunset Wayzata overlooking Lake Minnetonka...and a list of other potentials to check off if we have the time.

...and of course, Parker is looking forward to some good playtime with his Uncle Tader and Aunt Pair.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It was a SpaghettiO's kind of day

Today was one of those days where clearly the length of my "to do's" outweighed the hours available to a matter of fact, it seems like that has been the pattern of my life over the last several days.

When the boys and I drove back into the neighborhood from running errands all morning, my mind was on lunch prep. I remembered that one can of SpaghettiO's that I bought several months back for emergencies. Out came the Campbell's can from our pantry. Within minutes (before Parker had made it back downstairs from washing his hands) SpaghettiO's and some fresh apple slices were plopped on the table by one proud mama. (Proud for whipping up something together so quickly after such a hectic morning and given my current circumstances). The guilt started to creep in though when I thought about the amount of sodium intake my son was going to ingest from this one meal, but I quickly shook that from my head and decided that every child in a lifetime needed to experience SpaghettiO's at least once. Parker skipped over to the table, saw his prepared lunch and said, "Yum!" After taking a bite of the pasta and sauce, he put his spoon down, looked at me with a childlike expression of disgust and said, "I not like this, mama. I not eat this."

Can you blame him really?

Oh well, at least I didn't have to worry about him skyrocketing his sodium levels for the week. ha ha! (in case you're wondering, I am one of those weird moms that calculates how many servings of each food type my child has had that least on general days)

...and a picture of cutie at 12 weeks. Wow. I can't believe how fast time is flying.

P.S. For those who care, my fridge and pantry are now stocked and better prepared for future "SpaghettiO's" type days...but this time without the SpaghettiO's.

Monday, January 3, 2011

mowing the snow

After his nap this afternoon, Parker told me that there was too much snow in the driveway and outside and that he needed to mow. I dared not get in his way; this little man was on a mission. ha ha!

through our window...

...I see big beautiful snowflakes drifting down, creating a whole new powdery layer on the already fallen snow. I marvel at seeing freshly fallen snow on bare branches of trees. It's one of my favorite things about winter here in Minnesota.
I especially love it when I can steal five minutes from my day to have complete silence, a cup of tea and a snowflake show from my window.
It doesn't look like I'll be getting the complete silence anytime soon, but I am kissing a very kissable 12 week old right now....that makes me smile.

Happy New Year to Everyone! I hope you had a safe and fun holiday. We spent ours with the kids until their bedtime, then it was comfy pjs, a warm fire in the fireplace and a movie for mom and dad.