3rd Birthday for Cooper

Cooper was such a good brother to Silas by being excited for Silas’s 5th birthday presents. That’s just another window into Cooper’s tender-hearted soul. But the day after Thanksgiving was Cooper’s turn to celebrate. He turned 3!Dec4017

On his birthday eve, Stephen and I blew up balloons and filled his bedroom with them. In the morning, both boys loved rolling around in the balloons. Dec4001We marked Cooper’s height on our growth chart. He is 3 ft. 4 in.—the exact height Silas was at 4 years old.Dec4002Dec4003

Since Cooper isn’t the party animal that Silas is, we thought we’d celebrate with Cooper’s best friend, Connie (aka “Tonnie” as Cooper calls her). Cooper even said to me one day, “I want you to drop me off at Tonnie’s house.” He must have been lonely for his friend.Dec4004

The Goodmans treated us to a day at the Wildlife World Zoo aquariums. The zoo was surprisingly empty when we arrived at 10am, and the weather was perfect!Dec4005

We spent our time in the aquariums visiting the fish, sharks, stingrays, eels, gigantic lobsters, turtles, and piranhas—just to name a few. Dec4006Dec4007Dec4008I’d recommend the Wildlife aquarium over the Sea Life aquarium any day. To finish up our morning, we went to the sea lion show where we had a front row seat.Dec4009

Back at “Tonnie’s house” Stephen grilled hamburgers and hot dogs while Connie made the rest of our lunch. I had baked a Dusty airplane cake for Cooper. Dec4019After opening presents, Dec4012Dec4014Dec4013Dec4016we donned our party hats, and sang to the little 3 year old man. Dec4021Dec4018Cooper loved to sing with us whenever the birthday song was sung. The Coop had requested red ice cream that tasted like chocolate, so we had red velvet ice cream along with our Dusty cake.Dec4022

Cooper has a few signature phrases he’s picked up. We’ll often hear him say, “No way,” “I don’t believe it,” “I can’t handle it,” “Is that cool?” He loves to tell us that he loves us. In fact, one day in the car, he was telling me that “yesterday” (that magical word that includes any time before right now) he forgot to tell me he loved me, so he wanted to be sure to get it in today. Such a sweetheart! He’ll randomly hug our good friends—just to brighten their day. He even caressed Connie’s hand once and said, “You so pretty!” Hugs and kisses are Cooper’s specialty.

The tricycle Cooper inherited from Silas is one of his favorite toys. He’ll don one or two capes and ride around in circles on the back porch. As you can tell from these birthday pictures, Cooper is also into wearing hoods.Dec4015

Over the past year Cooper has been convinced that his sneakers are light-up shoes that “don’t work anymore.” Although we’ve told him that they aren’t light-up shoes at all, he remained unmoved in his assertion that they just didn’t work anymore (or recently, that they lit up only on the bottom of the sole.) For his present, Stephen took Cooper shopping for his very own pair of light-up shoes. They were even Iron Man shoes—Coop’s favorite super hero. Happy birthday, Coop!Dec4020

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Thanksgiving Weekend

Our Thanksgiving weekend was full of get-togethers and activities, so we reserved Thanksgiving Day for just us five at home.Dec1007

Wednesday night was the annual Pie and Praise at church. I took my signature sugar cream pie, and we remembered how last year’s Pie & Praise was the first service we held in our new church house. (The church had just gotten the keys to the house that day, and we were locked out of the middle school, so to the new house we went!)Dec1003

Thanksgiving morning was spent cooking and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I loved explaining about the marching bands and the balloons and floats to the boys. They’ve been to a few small parades, but not ones they would remember.Dec1008

Our big dinner was served mid-afternoon, and—while it was a lot of work—I was having fun making some recipes from scratch for the first time.Dec3001Dec3002 Dec1012I made green bean casserole, including the mushroom cream soup and the fried onions from scratch, and stuffing waffles. Dec1013Yes, stuffing waffles. Stephen had sent me this link about making stuffing in the waffle iron, so I decided to give it a go. I’d say it was worth repeating. Stephen doesn’t normally eat stuffing, but he liked the crispy outside of this variation on stuffing.Dec1011

We tried something new this year and asked the boys what they were thankful for. I wrote down their answers on foam maple leaves and hung them around the kitchen doorway.Dec1021Dec1020

After lots of football watching all day, we visited the park for a little bit of fresh air. Dec2001Dec1017My mom had sent the boys a collection of cool paper airplanes, so we took those along to test them out. Dec1014Dec1016Then it was back home for pie and some cozy hot chocolate.Dec1019

Friday was Cooper’s 3rd birthday, and it was an all day celebration. On Saturday, we met the Flores family at the Goodyear park for a picnic lunch. Dec1025It was a beautiful sunny, cool day. Silas wanted to sit by Ruben II, and Cooper wanted to sit by Ruben I. Good thing there were enough Rubens to go around!Dec1023Dec1022The Floreses hold a special place in our hearts, and as of September, they are now our neighbors—just two minutes away!

Our celebration weekend ended with family pictures taken in Verrado (the community where Crossroad meets). My friend, Jen Barnes, is a talented photographer who does beautiful work. So glad she could capture our little family at this moment in time.Dec1015

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A Nursery for Baby Girl

If you’re reading this blog, you’ve already seen a picture of the beautiful mural Dad Moody painted for Brynn’s nursery. June3016Today I thought I’d give you a tour of the completed room. (Please forgive the many shades of blue that the walls appear to be. They aren’t changing color, it’s just a glitch called “Elisabeth is not a photographer.”)

After looking at nurseries online, I had decided to decorate with the colors aqua, coral and mustard yellow. Nov5002I found that it’s a tricky combo to get just right, and couldn’t find any fabric with all three colors to use for making curtains. Although the nursery didn’t turn out as I had envisioned it, I like the room, and the personalized touches are precious. Nov5003Nov5004Nov5006

Of course the walls are aqua, and the gorgeous birdcage/tree mural is the focal point. Nov5010I love geometric patterns and maybe went a bit overboard with all the repeating patterns in Brynn’s room. The aqua curtains are from Target, and the coral rug is from Urban Outfitters. Nov5005Tiny splashes of yellow come in the form of Brynn’s toy basket, stuffed animals, and some linens (not pictured). In looking around her room a few weeks ago, I decided to rearrange the furniture more to my liking. Nov5001Rearranging did help the room come together better, but there was still something missing.

When Stephen returned home from Grandma Myers’ funeral, he brought a quilt Mom Moody had made for Brynn. It was the missing puzzle piece! Nov5011Mom did a beautiful job, and incorporated my colors and my pattern preferences into the quilt. I love the way it ties everything together. Nov5007

Printing Brynn’s birth facts in all three of the colors also helped complete the room. Nov5009Little Brynn Kathryn has been sleeping in her nursery for almost two months now. Nov5001

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Remembering Grandma Myers

On November 1st, Stephen’s Grandma Mildred Myers went home to be with Jesus. She was 95 years old.Nov4011 Nov4008Stephen flew home to be with his family, support his mom, and attend Grandma’s funeral. He also got to be Uncle Stephen for the first time as he met Brooklyn, Stephanie & Jason’s baby girl.Nov4009

While I didn’t know Grandma Myers well, she had come to our wedding reception in Anderson, Indiana back in 2006. Nov4002I love this picture of her with Grandma Moody.Nov4003

Also, on Memorial Day in 2007, Stephen and I drove up to visit Grandma Myers at her home in northern Indiana. We picked her up and drove her to the cemetery in Terra Haute where her husband, Floyd Myers, was buried. Nov4013It was special to see Stephen caring for his grandma.Nov4004Nov4006Nov4007

My favorite Grandma Myers story that Stephen tells is when he or one of his siblings was riding in the car with Grandma at the wheel. She had cataracts, so she couldn’t see well at all. She ended up hitting someone’s mailbox and knocking it over. Grandma stopped the car, popped the trunk, shoved the damaged mailbox in her trunk and drove off! Problem solved! Mailbox? What mailbox?

While Stephen was away, Silas—the man of the house—took care of some of handyman jobs for me. Nov2022But we were all very excited to have Stephen return home (and get the presents he brought)!Nov4010

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Silas is 5

My firstborn is now 5 years old. Nov2010As an emotional mommy, I kind of wanted to feel sad because it’s what mommys do. But, Silas was so thrilled to be five that I couldn’t help but be excited and happy for him. He had a great 5th birthday!Nov3002

On the Saturday before his birthday, Silas and Stephen went to the hardware store to pick out Silas’s first set of real tools. They came home with a hammer, tape measure, wrench, screwdrivers, level, pliers, and a brand new kid-sized tool box. Nov2021Silas was such a little workin’ man when he showed me his tools. Stephen got a piece of scrap lumber out of the garage for him to use as practice for hammering nails and tightening screws. Silas even got an electric screwdriver.Nov2001

November 2nd started with me decorating our kitchen with Spiderman stuff. Nov2018Nov3001Spidey Silas measured 3 foot 6 inches on our growth chart. Nov2005Nov2006The Goodmans came by to give him their present of a book all about the human body. Silas has been interested in organs and skeletons and learning about our bodies. With all his grandparents far away, Silas was blessed to have a visit from his “adopted grandparents.”Nov2007

That afternoon, I made my first attempt at a decorated birthday cake and was reasonably happy with how it turned out. I used Wilton sugar sheets to cut out Spiderman’s eyes and to wrap the cake in a city skyline silhouette.Nov2008

After a supper of beef, pasta, and carrots (per Silas’s request) we opened presents and ate cake and ice cream. Nov2009Nov2004Mommy and Daddy bought him a toolbelt to go with his new toolset, and he also received $5, the game of Operation, and a Batman costume. Nov2011Nov2003The Snap Circuits from Grandma and Grandpa were an instant hit. Silas and Stephen built their first circuit right away. Nov2016Nov3003Grammy and Grampy gave him a children’s version of Pilgrim’s Progress, which he’s been really getting into when we read it before bed. We let Silas stay up late the night of his birthday, and he and Stephen built a fort out of the new Lincoln logs from Uncle Ben.Nov2017

The next day, Silas’s best friend and family came over to give Silas a Spiderman punching bag. The boys had a superhero battle in the back yard.Nov2020

The excitement didn’t end there since we hosted a birthday for Silas at Sundance Park in Buckeye this past Tuesday. I rented an Avenger bouncy house for him and invited his friends for a hot dog cookout. Nov2023The day was beautiful, but the wind was relentless. In spite of the wind and cold, the party was a success! Nov3004Stephen and Ruben grilled hot dogs over charcoal (a first for Stephen) while the kids jumped in the bouncy house and played on the playground. We ate supper, sang “Happy Birthday,” and ate cupcakes while trying to stay warm. Nov2024Nov2025It was too windy for candles and opening presents, but Silas loved the bouncy house and playing with his friends!Nov3005Nov2026

At home that night, he opened his presents to discover Legos, superhero puzzles, calendar, and activity books, a squishy human body toy, books, clothes, and other toys. Nov2027Happy 5 years old, Silas Clark! You are Mommy and Daddy’s treasure.Nov2015


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Bubbles & Giggles

“Brynn-y-boo” (as Cooper loves to call her) is 5 months old. She’s drooling like crazy and gnawing on her hands as if there’s no tomorrow. Brynn has discovered her hands and entertains herself by watching them and then trying to grasp things. One day she purposefully reached out and touched my face as if to say, “I love you, Mommy.” Love that little girl!Nov1001

Brynn had been sleeping through the night, but she began waking up a lot and has gotten fussier—even growling at us sometimes. So, I’ve started her on some baby food. She’s tried oatmeal, bananas, fruit combos, and Stephen even gave her a little of Silas’s birthday ice cream. (She didn’t like it.) Now she’s sleeping a little better and is excited to practice eating. That little tongue of hers seems to keep getting in her way.

Silas and Cooper love to talk to Brynn and tell her how much they love her. Silas said the other day, “I need a smuggle with Brynn.” Big brother “smuggles” are the best.

This week has been super busy with Stephen’s Grandma Myers passing away on Sunday, Silas’s 5th birthday on Monday, car troubles, etc. so the only pictures of Brynn that I managed to take today are of her in her little seat. Nov1002

Yay for 5 months, Brynn-y-boo!

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First Fishing Trip

Oct6013Each summer we take a day trip with the Horkavys since they’ve declared an annual holiday of Stephen’s birthday called “Statewide Stephen Day.” This year, our original plans changed, so Ryan invited us to drive up to Prescott to go fishing for the day in early October.Oct6006

We adore Prescott, and the little city was charming as always. Prescott was in the middle of its Great Outdoors Festival, so the town square was filled with vendors booths and people. We wound through the historic Victorian and Craftsman homes. Made me want to move in.Oct6010

Stephen chose Goldwater Lake, so we unloaded our picnic lunch and ate among the trees in the cool outdoors (at least it was cool to us). Oct6004Oct6003Ryan scouted out a fishing spot for us, and we set up by the water’s edge.

I say it was the boys’ first fishing trip—which means that they fished for about all of thirty seconds (Coop) and three minutes (Silas). Oct6014Oct6012Oct6011I would’ve loved it if Cooper’s vacant fishing pole had caught a fish!

Ryan spent most of his time getting the fishing lines ready for everyone, but in the end both he and Elizabeth managed to each catch a fish. Oct6008Oct6009The boys loved playing in the water and climbing on the rocks with Ben. Little boys should be out exploring in nature.Oct6015Oct6002

Afterwards we walked around the historic town square and found a burger place for supper. Oct6018Because our rescheduled date for Statewide Stephen Day was closer to Ryan’s birthday, the holiday morphed into “Regional Ryan Day,” and we celebrated Ryan’s birthday at supper. Good memories with good friends.Oct6016

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Firehouse Tour

Oct5003Goodyear Fire Station #181 gave our MOMS club a tour of their facility last month. Their station was decorated with all sorts of firefighting gear, decor, and even burned household items serving as a sobering reminder of the realities of a house fire.Oct5002

I was impressed with the public education “Fire Pal” as she related well to the kids and instructed them on the steps to take if a their home ever caught fire. Oct5001The boys were able to sit in the fire truck and make a Sparky the Dog craft. Oct5005Oct5007I love these educational opportunities for the boys!12092556_810294872414324_571553226_n

{photo credit Jen Barnes}

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At the end of September we slipped away to San Diego for a mini family vacation. Oct3021I had too much fun planning snacks and activities for the road trip that I was probably having more fun than the boys while we drove.

One of my favorite things was this cool idea to help the boys visualize how much longer the drive was. I taped a piece of string across the top of our windshield with a printed picture of our Rendezvous sliding on it. As we traveled, I slid our “car” along the string from one side to the other.

The best idea I discovered was to bring my miniature cookie sheets—one for each boy. This gave them both a coloring surface, a magnetic board, and a lipped table for crafting or puzzles. I bought dollar store sticker sheets, pipe cleaners, puzzles, glow sticks (for after dark), and silly string (for the park). There are lots of free printables online, so we were ready with travel bingo and scavenger hunts. All three babies did so well on the trip over to So*Cal!Oct4001

Silas was enamored with our hotel room. We had accumulated three free nights at a Hyatt, so we were able to get a suite at the Hyatt House that had a living area, kitchenette, and two queen beds. Silas kept worrying that the hotel would give our room to someone else while we were out having fun. Later when I asked him what his favorite part of the trip was, he said, “The beach and the hotel.”Oct3036

Thursday we visited the San Diego Zoo! As we were unloading our gear to head into the zoo, a couple pulled up in their car and asked if we had tickets yet. They gave us some coupons that were about to expire that gave us 50% off an adult ticket and 20% off a child’s admission! We were happy to add those to our AAA discount.Oct3002

Since—at this age—the boys have trouble spotting small animals and birds, we focused on visiting the larger animals like the giraffes and tigers. Oct3004Oct3011The koalas were a lot cuter than I had anticipated. I told Stephen that they looked like little Brynns curled up in the trees sleeping! Oct3006We managed to see the panda bears fairly early in the day. They were walking around, eating bamboo, and cooling off in the water. Oct3009After eating our picnic lunch, we saw the mama and baby hippo napping underwater. Every so often, they would lift their noses up above the water to breathe.Oct3010

The boys enjoyed watching the gharial, a type of Indian crocodile, as it caught and ate fish.Oct3012 We found the playground where the boys worked out some wiggles while I fed Brynn. Oct3013Then we rode the aerial tram up to the polar animal area at the top of the hill. Oct3017The polar bear was resting in the shade, but Silas liked the ice burg play area.Oct3015Oct3016

Stephen noticed the several areas with flamingos and said, “What I’m getting from this is that if you have a small area, and you don’t know what else to do with it…..FLAMINGOS!” My thoughts exactly.Oct3005Oct3018 Finally, we finished the day with a ride on the bus where the boys fell asleep, exhausted.

Oct3019That evening we watched the sun set over the harbor on Coronado Island at the same spot we had visited with Silas when he was 9 months old. Oct3020Oct3022Oct3023Silas made some new friends, and the kids played in the golden light. Perfect ending to a happy day.Oct3024Oct3025

Friday was beach day at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. We toted our playtent, umbrella, blanket, picnic lunch, swim gear, sand toys, and books in our wagon and made a day of it. Oct3026Silas loved “crashing” the waves as he ran headlong into the ocean and then tried to beat the waves back to shore. Oct3028Oct3029Cooper did go out in the waves with Mommy and Daddy, Oct3030but he preferred the sand. I was happy to build a sand castle together. Oct3033Oct3035Brynn got her first taste of the Pacific as I took her out in the waves and dipped her in the ocean. She tolerated it—didn’t love it, didn’t hate it. She was adorable in her swimsuit though! Stephen and I both took turns reading on the blanket with Brynn and then playing with the boys in the water and on the shore. Oct3031We even took a little family walk down the beach. There really weren’t any shells to find, but we saw lots of seaweed. The three little people passed out in the car at the end of our day, so Stephen and I enjoyed driving through the quaint beach towns with the windows rolled down (something rare for us desert rats).

Stephen found the most amazing Middle Eastern restaurant called The Kabob Shop. Their lamb/beef rotisserie plate was extra delicious after a day in sand and saltwater. I loved their caprese salad with cherry tomatoes—will have to try making that one myself at home.

Oct3037Before heading home on Saturday, we took a harbor tour with Hornblower Cruises. The boys were able to see the sea lions in the north harbor. Oct4003Then we made the long drive back through the mountains and the desert to Home Sweet Home.

Unfortunately, we all managed to come down with colds on the trip, and Stephen and I both got very sunburned. Between the physical taxation and a disruption in the kids’ sleep shedules, we had a rough transition back to our daily routines. But, it was worth it to make some happy family memories!

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The Moisturizer

There’s a new superhero in town, so watch out, big brothers. Little Brynn Kathryn is making her move!Oct1005

Superhero: The Moisturizer

Secret Identity: Brynn K. Moody

Super Power: making things moist (look at that chin!)IMG_20151003_172026356b

Age: 4 monthsOct1002

Favorite Hobbies: drooling, sucking hands, smiling

Cuteness Index: cute as a buttonOct1004

Skills: giggling, sleeping through the night—she sleep-trained herself! (Mommy doesn’t know what to do with such an easy baby.)Oct1001

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