A Cowboy Valentine’s Trip

Tombstone, AZ was our destination for a day trip as we stepped back in time for some cowboy history on Valentine’s Day. February4003February4004Tombstone was impressive since so much detailed history is known and preserved. We walked along the boardwalk with our two little sheriffs. February6001At the OK Corral we learned about the famous shootout and the story of Tombstone.February6002February4001February6004 Then we watched a gunfight in the street before taking a trolley tour around town.February4002 On the tour we saw Wyatt Earp’s house, the original county courthouse, and Boothill Graveyard which we later went back to explore on our own. Most of the graves were marked “Unknown,” but there were some interesting epitaphs too. February4005February5001

My valentines were so handsome at dinner that I couldn’t resist a picture. February4007Though it was an unconventional way to spend Valentine’s Day, there’s nothing like being with the people I love most!February6003February6005

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Valentine Hearts

Ever since we were given our first onesie for Baby Girl, Cooper has been noticing hearts and pointing them out to me. At first, hearts were just for Baby Sister since the onesie has a heart on it. With Valentine decorations everywhere, hearts have been easy for him to spot.

I found these adorable felt envelopes in the dollar spot section of Target. February3002I had seen something similar online and had been wanting to make them, so these were a great purchase for only $1 each! Originally, I was wanting to hang them on the back of our kitchen chairs, but little grubby hands keep our chairs very sticky. So, I added ribbons to them and hung them on our bedroom doors for me to tuck valentines inside.

Last week was very busy and wore us all out, February3001but we managed a candlelight dinner on the back patio one night. (That is, until Cooper blew out our candle.)February3004I tried a new recipe called Crispy Baked Pasta with Mushrooms, Sausage, and Parmesan Cream Sauce from Serious Eats. The sauce alone was worth it! Such a complex flavor that I couldn’t wait for Stephen to get home to try it.February3003

Friday was our Valentine’s date. Silas and Cooper are enrolled in a private daycare, so we dropped them off for three hours while Stephen and I went downtown for Food Truck Friday. February3005February3006Each Friday, various food trucks gather in the Phoenix Public Market Cafe parking lot and offer lots of options for lunch. I had a four cheese grilled cheese sandwich, and Stephen chose the wood fire pizza. February3007February3008Then we split a Reuben-style hot dog and a raspberry cheesecake. Yum!

Baby Girl and I are now 23 weeks along. She’s developing some muscle to her kicks and squirms. Next year, we’ll have another sweetheart to celebrate on Valentine’s Day.February3009February3010

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Train Time

February weather in Phoenix has been beautiful—a little too warm for our tastes—but still beautiful! Two Sundays ago we thought we’d take advantage of the free train rides offered by the Maricopa Live Steamers, a train club north of Phoenix.February2003

Stephen and the boys took train, straddling one of the tiny cars. Stephen said the boys were so quiet, just taking in the experience. Cooper was especially enamored as he is our mechanical guy. Anything with cars, trucks, airplanes, or trains gets him excited. After a 10 minute ride, the guys explored the tiny train museum, and then boarded the train for the 10 minute ride back to the station.February2002

Since I couldn’t ride the train due to baby girl, I sat at the station and talked with one of the train club members. Their set up is pretty impressive with 18 miles of tracks, a playground, garden train, indoor train display, and a western town facade.February2001

Silas and Cooper drove a practice train in the club’s “Engineer’s School.” Cooper struggled with the lever, but did manage to drive the train up and down the track. After a little playtime on their wooden train playground, we finished off the afternoon with custard from Culver’s.

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A Four Year Old’s Perspective

Now that Silas is four, he tells me stories about ”when [he] was a little boy—when [he] was three and a half.” His questions are plentiful, and it’s fun to see him sort out his world. Silas is very quick to share what he’s learned with Cooper, instructing him on how life works.February1002

Here are just a few glimpses into the mind of S-I-L-A-S.

At a restaurant, the server commented on how the boys’ ice cream was “letting Mommy and Daddy enjoy their meal in peace.” When the server left, Silas asked, “How did she know your names?”

After pulling into the garage one night, I was very tired and sat in the car. Stephen teased and told me to go in the house. I teased back, “Yes, Father!” Silas quickly said, “He’s not your father, he’s your daddy!”February1001

While coloring at the kitchen island, I overheard Silas offer his coloring picture to Cooper. Cooper yelled, “NO!” Then, in a sincere attempt to be kind to his brother, Silas came back with, “This picture isn’t very cool, and you like things that aren’t very cool, so you can have this picture!”February1003

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The 50 Yard Line

With the Super Bowl right around the corner, this blog title seemed appropriate. Baby Girl and I are halfway through this pregnancy. We hit the 20 week mark this past Friday!January4001

Our kind friends are already beginning to shower us with pink outfits for our little girl. I think the clothes have helped Cooper realize that a baby really is coming. He kept finding the girl onesies and bringing them to me saying, “Baby has clothes! Baby has clothes!”January4002

On Sunday a friend surprised me with four boxes of second-hand baby girl clothes. Some of them are brand new and still have the tags on them. Wow! God uses all sorts of means to provide for us.January4003

I’m dreaming of a nursery that’s aqua & yellow with coral accents. We’ll see how much of that actually happens.January400420 weeks down, 20 to go.

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Little Man Coop

I’ve learned something. And that something is how my little boy says, “I love you.” Cooper’s “Hi, Mom,” can mean lots of different things.January3001

When I’m laying down next to him, he’ll pop out with, “Hi, Mom,” several times just to let me know that he likes being with me.

After he’s disobeyed, a “Hi, Mom,” is his way of reconciling—of saying, “I’m sorry.”

Other times his, “Hi, Mom” is a plea for affection. IMG_20150124_115242687a

“Hi, Mom,” is the new, “I love you.”

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It Really IS a Girl

The big headline this week is that we are expecting a girl! Stephen and I are thrilled and surprised. Of course, we were hoping for a girl, but it was still a bit of a shock to discover that baby actually IS a girl. God is gracious to grant us the desire of our hearts—an undeserved gift.January2007

Thursday morning was our ultrasound, and Stephen was able to come with me. It was so sweet to find out that the wiggly little munchkin in my tummy is a baby girl. She will be the first granddaughter on the Manka side, and a close second on the Moody side. Stephen’s sister and brother-in-law are expecting a girl in May—so Stephen and I will finally be an uncle and aunt, the boys will have their first cousin, and our daughter will have a girl cousin just her age.January2005

This past Sunday I started feeling baby kicks for the first time. They are very gentle nudges, but Stephen even felt them a little.

We wanted to tell the boys about their sister together, so we had to wait until after Stephen came home from work and after our dinner guests left for the night.January2001January2002 Here’s a little video of us telling the boys. YouTube Preview ImageYou might remember these baby girl shoes from my pregnancy announcement to Stephen. I can’t believe our baby can actually wear these shoes! January2006

Silas understands quite a bit about the baby and keeps asking when the baby will be the size of a pumpkin. He is fascinated with how the baby eats through “that rope” (umbilical cord). Cooper, on the other hand, thinks he and everyone else in our family has a baby in his belly.January2001I guess we’ll have to think of a better name for the baby than “Stoody.” Silas decided he wanted to call the baby “Stoody” since Daddy tells him bedtime stories about “Milas Clark Stoody”—a play on Silas Clark Moody. According to Silas, “Stoody” could be either a girl name or a boy name.January2002

Welcome, baby sister!

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Simple Holiday

We celebrated Christmas with just our little family of 4 1/2. I was happy to not be traveling this holiday season, but it was nice to have some video chats and phone calls with family on Christmas day.January1001

In the month leading up to Christmas, we used a Jesse Tree to celebrate the first advent of Christ when He stooped to become human like us. Each night (or at least most nights) we would have the boys open a little paper box with chocolates and a paper ornament inside. On one side the ornament pictured a symbol, and on the other side was a scripture passage to read.January1002

It’s a festive way to teach our little men about the ancestral line of Christ, prophecies pointing towards Christ, and the story of redemption. Isaiah 11:1 refers to Jesus as being a “rod out of the stem of Jesse,” which is where the Jesse Tree gets its name.

After reading the scripture or telling the Bible story, Stephen would have one of the boys hang the ornament on our branch, and then we would sing O Come, O Come Emmanuel. January1003We love the longing of that song because it reminds us how we should hope for Christ’s return. Now—just as Israel anticipated the Messiah’s first coming—we can anticipate His second advent.January1004

Christmas morning began with hanging our final ornament on the Jesse Tree—the Star of Bethlehem. January1005Then the boys opened their presents while Grammy, Grampy and the uncles watched over video chat. January1006January1007Silas and Cooper are now equipped with just-their-size camp chairs for our next adventure, an indoor play tent, a grill, new pots and pans, a kid-sized broom set, a Lego/train table, and so much fun stuff!January1008January1009January1011January1012

Mommy and Daddy gave the boys a bunk bed, so Daddy spent the evening putting it together. Since our dudes are still so small, I wanted something low to the ground. Cooper’s mattress is on the floor—which works well since he periodically rolls out of bed anyway. Silas’ bunk is only about 4 feet high, so all four of us are adjusting to having two boys in the same room. They didn’t fall asleep until 11pm Christmas night!January1013

It’s easy at Christmas to be distracted from the reminder of hope that Christ’s incarnation brings. A simple holiday helped to prod my heart towards the truth—however feeble my steps of faith might be—that Christmas isn’t about me. It’s about God and His grace that reaches down to me.

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The Pepper

Cooper has learned to say his name, but it comes out more like “Pepper.” He’s been pretty possessive of his name. When we call him anything other than Cooper—or a variation of Cooper—he insists, “No, I Pepper!”December5001December5002

I’ll say, “Are you my treasure?”

“No, I Pepper!”

“You are a big boy.”

“No, I Pepper!”

One day Silas was telling Cooper that he was young. Of course it was very upsetting to Coop, who retorted, “No, I Pepper!”December5003

He’s also very possessive of his age. He can’t manage to put two fingers in the air, so he smashes his fingers together and holds up both hands to tell you that he’s 2.

Silas—the great life-thinker in our house—was trying to explain to Cooper that one day Cooper would be 4. It was very disconcerting to the little man who emphatically started saying, “2! 2!”

That little “Pepper” is just too chubby-cheeked for his own good!

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Merry & Bright

Our boys are into Christmas lights this year. Silas has recently learned who Frosty the Snowman is, so it’s exciting for him to see the blow-up snowmen as we drive through neighborhoods. Cooper will look out his car window and say, “Christmas! More Christmas!”December4004December4003

The other Saturday we drove over to Scottsdale to see a free light display at a private home. There were lights and decorations everywhere.December4005 December4008December4002Silas was thrilled with the “snow” that was really tiny soap bubbles falling down on us. He’s learned that it doesn’t snow in the desert, but when he saw snow on TV or in books, he said, “Mommy, it snows in THEIR desert!”December4001

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