A Bit of Beach

Cooper had his first taste of the ocean this month.august6014august6005

In early August we were planning a day trip with our friends the Horkavys. After learning that a mutual friend of ours, Pastor Tim Sneeden had suddenly died of a heart attack, we decided to drive over to San Diego for a day to visit Tim’s wife Eileen.

Pastor Tim’s death was a shock to everyone, but it was a privilege to attend his funeral and to see God’s grace working in Eileen as she sung at her husband’s memorial service.

After the service, the Horkavys introduced us to Bull Taco for lunch. We sat on the cliff overlooking the ocean as we ate fish tacos and the most amazing burrito ever!august6001august6006august6004

Silas had so been looking forward to the beach, but when we finally got there, he decided a nap was the best idea.august6012august6008august6011 Cooper was loving the sand and water, and was even brave enough to jump the waves with Mommy and Daddy.august6009august6013august6007

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Keeping Busy This Summer

The desert summer heat isn’t over yet, but summer vacation is (at least for all those school kids). Here’s a little photo recap of some of the things we’ve been up to.august1009 We’ve been on the go so much this summer that it passed quickly this year—which was unusual. June was filled with swim lessons, vacation Bible school and family visits. august1003Then came the 4th of July (cookout with friends and a visit to the Goodyear ballpark for fireworks)august1001august1002and a whole month of swim lessons. Silas started in the beginners (white) level and then advanced to the red level. By the end, he even jumped off the diving board by himself with no help at all. I was shocked!

This summer we took advantage of the free lunches for kids served by our local public schools. We went with friends and joined in the fun activities the schools provided like a visit from some zoo animals august1008and water day with the fire department.august1006august1007 The local libraries hosted lots of summer events. The boys and I made our own ice cream at the Avondale library. I had no idea you could make ice cream in ziploc bags. august1004august1005The Challenger Space Center came to the Goodyear library to teach us about outer space.august1013So much cuteness and mischief fills our days. Cooper loves markers, damp towels and shoes.20140801_090739_Androida20140802_105933_Androida20140805_150750_Androida20140811_155652_Androida Summer days were filled with reading, watching TV, playing inside and outside. august1010august1011august1012august3004august2001Stephen even set up a shooting gallery for Silas to try his aim with his rubber band gun.august3003With the sweltering temps outside, indoor play areas make the summer months more bearable. We met some friends at Jubeelieve to try out their toys. Silas and Cooper loved it!august4005august4006

At the end of July we went camping for the first time since Stephen and I have been married. Our church group went to the Fort Tuthill campground near Flagstaff. The boys had a blast on their first camping trip and earned the battle scars to prove it! The first thing Cooper did when we arrived at the campsite was to do a face plant. His little baby feet aren’t used to navigating rocky hillsides. Poor Silas fell off the playground equipment, and a huge goose egg appeared on his forehead. Despite those mishaps, I loved seeing my dudes explore nature like little boys are supposed to do. august4002august4001We ended our camping trip with a visit to Williams, AZ and the Historic Route 66.  august4003august5001Love these three men and the time I get to spend with them!

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Daddy’s Birthday

~by Silas

My daddy had a birthday this week. He turned 33 and that’s really cool because 3 is my favorite number since I’m 3! Actually, I’m 3 1/2. Soon I’m going to be a teenager. Anyway, it was daddy’s birthday.
july2001Cooper and I gave him a Superman shirt. I love superheroes, so it was the perfect gift to give my hero. Mommy gave Daddy a Colts hat, and I helped Daddy open his presents with my strong muscles.july2003july2005

Mommy made Daddy a sugar cream pie, and I arranged the candles. I just used all the candles Mommy gave me. I liked all the colors.july3001july2007july2006I’m glad Daddy had a birthday, but the question I really wanted answered was, “How old am I now?”

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A Little Green Out Back

Announcing our new back yard! Yes, we finally bit the bullet and hired a landscaper to put in our back yard.

Here’s the before:july1006july1008

And the after:july1042july1046

In this desert, back yards are something you “put in” as they don’t just evolve on their own. We kept it basic and opted to wait until later to add plants and a tree. It was fun to go from a dirt patch to a finished yard in one week. I liked seeing the progression of each step. The guys from 5 Star Allscape Designs did a terrific job!

First, the paver pathway went in—connecting our driveway to the back patio and extending the patio a little. july1001july1016july1052july1017july1013Next, the curbing was laid to be the boundary between the rock and the grass. july1018july1025We did go ahead and have 5 Star install a drip line all around the back yard, so we’ll have easy access to water for plants later on. After the sprinklers for the grass were put in place, the rock came next. july1011july1036july1035july1041The final step was rolling out the sod or “carpets” of grass as Silas called them.july1039july1044

We still need to decide where we’ll put our sandbox. And once the weather is cooler, we might move our table and chairs onto the paver patio with white lights strung above the yard.

We’re excited to start using our yard!

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Cooper Love

Everyone needs a Coop. Everyone needs a Cooper hug. He doesn’t give hugs readily, but when the Coopster hugs you, you get a neck squeeze that makes your day.

Cooper made Aunt Rebekah’s visit to Arizona something special! He adopted her as his second mommy. june8021Cooper never really did warm up to my family during our Christmas visit to West Virginia. He was content to be left alone with his dry erase markers. But this summer visit was different. After being initially intimidated with all the new people around, Cooper quickly took to my family and LOVED hanging out with them.june8014june9002

Aunt Rebekah became his personal nanny and took such good care of him, that she won his heart! One of Cooper’s favorite things to do was to run to the front room and flop on Aunt Rebekah’s air mattress. Cooper would go back and forth between Rebekah and me, giving us hugs. He would even whimper and wiggle out of my arms to go to Aunt Rebekah. Giving toys was Cooper’s expression of love. Of course Aunt Rebekah needed toys first thing in the morning!june8018

One day, when the family was away, I asked Cooper if he wanted a snack, and he ran out to the front room looking for Aunt Rebekah. He knew who kept the snacks coming!june8017june8015june8023It made my mommy heart happy to see both Silas and Cooper love my family so!

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Silas Says…

Grandma’s a good sport. She got a lesson in “Grandma 101” (as my sister Charis put it) from Silas during her visit with us. Silas was just being his usual precocious self, but it was at Grandma’s expense!june12001

After helping Silas get cleaned up in the bathroom, Grandma put his dirty underwear in the “whites” laundry bag. When Silas went to check up on Grandma’s laundry-sorting abilities, he was appalled that she had not put his underwear in the “colors” bag. Aunt Charis heard him announcing, “Grandma put my underwear in the white section, not the color section. That’s the wrong section!”june8001june8002

While showing the movie Toy Story to the family, Silas sat next to Grandma on the couch. When the part with the naughty boy, Sid, came on the screen, Silas said, “Let’s be brave at this part!”june8004june8007

One day Aunt Ruth Anna was giving the boys a bath. She bathed Cooper and took him to his room to dress him. Meanwhile, Grandma thought she would help out by washing Silas’s hair. When Aunt Ruth Anna came back to the tub, she asked Silas if Grandma had washed his body yet. Silas explained that Grandma had washed only his hair. He told her, “Grandma’s not very good at this.”june8011june8012

Another bathroom incident occurred when Grandma thought Silas needed to wash his hands a little better, so she had him get a second pump of soap and re-wash his hands. That sent Silas into a tailspin since he’s been told to use only one pump of soap. He was so upset that “Grandma wasted water.” Clearly we need to work on Silas being a little more flexible!june8009

At least by the end of the week, Grandma did receive a compliment from Silas, but it was a long time in coming!

My mom—who claims to have no creativity—is the best at imaginative play with Silas. He adored playing make-believe with her. In this picture they are “watching” a movie they “checked out” from the library. june10001Cooper was even wanting to join the fun and loved being tickled and kissed with zerberts from Grandma.june8016

We celebrated an early birthday for my mom with a cookie cake, present, and artwork by the boys.june7006

One of the sweet Silas moments from my family’s visit was him singing Jesus Loves Me with Grandpa at church. I’m glad I caught this special duet on camera.YouTube Preview Image

There’s just nothing like the honesty of a little boy. He is who he is, and we love him for it!june11001

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West Virginians in the West Valley

Mom, Dad and my three sisters came to visit us for two weeks. june5008june5010During our first week together, we visited several attractions around the Valley—some that were new for me too.

One of the cool places we toured was the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale. june5002june5001It was huge and had musical instruments from all over the world! The headphones allowed us to listen to the instruments as we looked at the exhibits. june5003june5005I liked how the signs told you not only the instrument’s name, but also what materials were used to make it. june5004After seeing the many, many kinds of instruments, we turned into musicians ourselves in the “Experience Gallery.” june5006june5007This museum was a hit with my musical family!

The AZ SeaLife Aquarium was fun too. Indoor attractions during an Arizona summer are always a good idea! june4008june4009june4004We saw beautiful jellyfish, a sea turtle, sting rays, seahorses, and we even had a picture taken with Captain Barnacles and Kwazzi from the kids’ cartoon show  The Octonauts.june4005june4003june4007

The mall that houses the aquarium was full of fun things to do. The boys rode the carousel with Grandma and the Aunts and rode the train with Charis and Ruth Anna. june4010june4011

Later that week we enjoyed a puppet show at the Great Arizona Puppet Theater downtown. We watched the puppet story called “The Monkey and the Pirate.”june4020 The story was told by only one puppeteer, but she did a fantastic job! The people puppets had heads made of paper mache, so their mouths didn’t move, but the puppeteer could still express a lot with them.june4019

My family left for about five days to minister with a missionary on the Tohono O’odham reservation, and then returned for another week of visits.

While we spent a lot of time at home, we did make it to Chandler’s Rawhide Western Town.june6001june4014june4018 The gunfight shows were fun, and we even took a hayride. IMG_20140626_210612091aSilas and Cooper looked adorable in their matching red cowboy hats. june4017These two cowpokes have lassooed our hearts!

Family time is so precious. Silas and Cooper had a blast with “the aunts and uncles” as Silas called my family. We’re glad they could come all the way from West Virginia to the West Valley.june5009

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My First VBS

Even though I’m just 3 1/2, I went to my first Vacation Bible School a few weeks ago. My church was having a free VBS for kids, and the theme was Arrow Island. I got to be in the four and five year old class with Miss Roseanne. Miss Roseanne is a missionary to Haiti, and she and her whole family helped out for the week.june3004june3001

Each day I got to bring my friend from MOMS club to VBS with me—that was fun! Cooper was too little to come, so he spent the days with Miss Connie. I missed my mommy, but she helped out with the VBS snacks, so I could give her hugs and wave to her.june3003

We listened to puppet stories, made crafts, played games, ate snacks, learned Bible stories and verses, and had a great time with friends! The most important thing we learned was the gospel—that since we all disobey God, the only way we can be rescued and go to heaven is by trusting in Jesus. Jesus died on the cross to take away our sins, but He didn’t stay dead. Jesus came back to life. My mommy and daddy are teaching me about trusting Jesus.

I had so much fun at Vacation Bible School! june3002

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Special Days, Special People

My family drove all the way from West Virginia again this summer to come visit us. It’s a loooooong drive across the country! Dad was with us for Father’s Day, so Silas and Cooper celebrated both Grandpa and Daddy. Love you, Dad. Thanks for being my daddy.IMG_20140615_211932087a

Silas was so excited to give Stephen the superhero card he had picked out weeks ago. The card was really more for Silas than it was for Stephen. I had stashed the card in a drawer for safe-keeping until Father’s Day. One day I caught Silas sitting on the floor in my room just beholding the superhero card. He wrote his own message to Stephen and then decorated the card. IMG_20140615_171502015aStephen is an incredible father to our two little dudes. Thanks for being our superhero, Honey!IMG_20140615_194821229a

Sunday was extra special because it was Mom and Dad’s 35th wedding anniversary. Thirty-five years of being faithful to each other—what a milestone! We celebrated on Saturday with a steak dinner and flowers for Grandma.IMG_20140615_211900685a

Thanks, Mom and Dad for building a stable, loving Christian home for me and my sisters. We love you.

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Summer’s Here!

It’s summer, and the triple digits won’t let us forget it. We had a mild May, and this heat has kind of taken me by surprise. We’re melting! At least it still cools down overnight, but that won’t last.

Silas began the summer with swimming lessons at the Goodyear pool.june1001 Last summer, he was too young for lessons at the city pool, so we opted for Aquatots. I’m happy that he seemed to remember some of what he learned last summer. The past two weeks he practiced jumping in the pool from the deck, bobbing his head underwater, floating on his back, and doggie paddling while wearing a life jacket.june1002IMG_20140604_110018037b

A friend from MOMS club and I put our boys in lessons at the same time so we could switch off babysitting. It was great to be able to watch the big boys swim instead of refereeing the little guys on the bleachers every lesson.june1004

Swim, Silas, swim.

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