Thursday, October 15, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Many weeks have passed that I don't even know what to blog about, so I'll give some brief updates and be a little more entertaining the next go around. Here's what has been happening in the Cook household these past several weeks (okay months):
1. Mary Ellen has adjusted to school fairly well, but rarely makes it a full week without catching a cold or a fever or whatever else is floating around.
2. I have so far survived school and even completed a full course during the whole 10 weeks of my sickness. I don't remember the course, but I apparently I passed!
3. I have not yet caught the swine flu and I work with many, many young snot-nosed munchkins - who I love, as long as they don't give me the swine flu.
4. My little sister, Molly, was married recently and we survived the road trip to Georgia with plenty of Barbie and Thomas the Choo Choo Train movies and snacks.
5. Brannon has taken over as our Sunday school teacher and I couldn't be more proud of him for stepping up to the plate. Love you babe.
6. I'm finally able to sing in choir again and didn't realize how much I missed it these passed 10 weeks.
7. I am getting fat much faster than I did with my first pregnancy. Fabulous!
8. I want to sleep ALL THE TIME!!!!!!!
Take care all. I am feeling better and promise to update regularly now. Hugs and Kisses!
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
I know she will be fine. I really like the place where we are sending her. In fact, I used to work there and know the staff and the inner workings of the place. Being in the "know" smooths things over for me. lol. NO really, my nervousness is just my unwillingness to let go of the ropes a little - to let someone else have some control. Come to think of it, this may be harder for me than for Mary Ellen. And I know she will be getting a good start to her education (she will follow a curriculum and go to chapel twice a week, tee-hee).
Keep a lookout for a future posting of our first day, which is August 10th. There will be plenty of pictures taken on that day! Although those pictures may be of me and her crying.
Friday, June 26, 2009
I was informed that Brannon was a big crier. He apparently cried so hard when being dropped off at kindergarten that his daddy would just bring him back home, leaving it to Momma to have to take him right back and do the dirty work herself. Uhuh. As the southerners say - that's just like a man.
I was a crier, too. In fact, most of my baby and childhood pictures are images of me wailing, snot-nosed and all. I didn't cry out of separation anxiety, though. I cried because my feelings were always hurt or because I did not get my way. Wait. Am I talking about now, or when I was a tot? I still cry when I don't get my way. Just kidding. I just passive aggressively make everyone else's life miserable until they come around and see that I was right all along.
All joking aside, I do hope Mary Ellen grows out of this crying stage. I am often reassured that she stops crying two minutes after I leave the room. I really hope they aren't lying to me. They are church people, too, so you know, lying wouldn't look so good on the resume. :) I am also reassured that all this crying is a very normal phase that begins around 9-15 months and can last throughout toddler hood. Given her gene pool, we may be lucky if she quits crying by the time graduates.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
I was a little nervous about the car ride. Okay, I was a nervous wreck. The trip is about 5 hours and I just couldn't imagine keeping Mary Ellen in the car that long without her flipping out. To make things worse, our portable DVD player "busted" right before leaving town. Fortunately, my mother-in-law found the receipt from last Christmas (they can find anything, I swear) and was able to exchange the DVD player for one that works. Well, Brannon installs the thing Thursday night, only for me to find out Friday morning that it does not work. I'm freaking out by this point because if little Miss Mary Ellen does not get to watch her Wiggles on the way to Georgia, I just didn't know what we were going to do.
I left work early on Friday and took my car to Advanced Auto thinking it was a blown fuse.
Fuses are good.
By this time there was nothing else to do. We were leaving for Georgia by noon on that day and I came to accept that we were gonna have to deal with the drive the old fashion way - you know, before portable DVD players, cell phones, texting, and portable video games. To think of it! This is tragic I must say!
Brannon pulls into the driveway and I tell him of the awful DVD news. Brannon simply opens up the back door to the car, takes a quick look-see at the DVD player, pushes something and says, "There. It works."
Apparently, nervous mommies can't grasp the concept of trying the ON/OFF BUTTON!!!!! This is so embarrassing, but too funny not to share. I went through all that panic and mayhem, and I simply forgot to turn the thing on! So now I'm thinking nothing was wrong with the old player that we took back to the store.
We were able to watch the Wiggles and Curious George and Mary Ellen was and angel - both to and fro. She was such a good girl. She never fussed, not once! We played puppet show, read stories and snacked the whole way. It was kind of fun!
Next trip, however, I'll be sure to check the on/off button. I make my parents so proud. LOL!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I have one more final exam to finish on Monday and this semester will be through!!!! This means I will have a three week break before classes pick back up for the summer. I really cannot wait to be through. I have one more year of grad classes and an internship and then I'm home free. I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Mary Ellen had her third photo shoot with Mark Broadway on Friday and I cannot wait to see the pictures. He is so talented and Jeannie, his wife, is so sweet and has a real knack for dealing with people. They are just people you want to be around. Even Mary Ellen thought Mark was silly. She rarely giggles at men, but she had herself a good time tearing up their studio yesterday. I hope it was okay that I let her tear it up. Ha! Hey, they said they wanted natural pictures, so there you go. Mary Ellen was just naturally being a curious toddler.
We have plans to go to Georgia this month to visit Mommom (my mom) and my grandparents who will also be visiting. This will be the first time my grandparents get to meet Mary Ellen. They live in Pennsylvania and it is difficult finding time, and money, to visit with everyone. I am very excited and cannot wait! (Please say prayers for the 5 hour drive with a 17-month-old, however).
I hope all is well with everyone! I still love you!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
It was a large cardboard box that once housed some household item that had no relevance to the hours of fun it provided me. My box was no ordinary box. I had artfully decorated not only the outside, but the inside with all types of colorful designs. I measured and cut out a hole large enough to slip my head through (think of the opening to a dog house) and two holes on either side to slip my arms through. I placed this box on my top bunk and secretly snuck in a flashlight, some books and some more art supplies. When it was time to go to bed, I found a way out - a loop hole to my parent's dreaded rule to "go to sleep" at a decent hour! I could slip my head and two arms through the box holes, turn on my flashlight, and read or draw or do whatever it is kids do with a large, used box. The possibilities were endless. My imagination took over and it was just me and my box.
"Ah-ha!" I thought, "I don't have to go to sleep. No one will ever know that I am awake because I have this box."
It turns out I really wasn't that clever. Mom knew of my plan and thought it too funny to ruin my little hideout slash anti-nighttime plan. She even knew about the flashlight. My box looked like a flying saucer on my top bunk with a beam of light seeping out of the bottom. And there I was, being abducted by my own crafty cleverness with my head stuck securely inside a brown box.
This sounds weird to most of you - okay all of you - but here is the cool thing: It wasn't weird to my mom. She could have easily flipped out and yanked the box off of my head and thrown it in the dumpster. Who wants a daughter who sleeps with her head in a box? It's not something you share with pals at work or church. Outsiders may even view it as child abuse.
"Geesh, Judy," the would say, "It's kinda mean to let your kid sleep in a box. I mean, what if she suffocates."
My younger sister Molly didn't find it odd either. She slept in the bunk beneath me. She was used to my artsy antics. Nothing phased her.
I think of this story every now and then when I watch my own daughter play. I was reminded of my childhood when she excitedly hurried over to the long, rectangular cardboard box her daddy threw on the ground after unpacking it. At only 15-months-old, I watched her "ooooh" and "aaah" at the size of this box. She opened and closed the lids, tried to slip inside, and eventually realized it was much more fun to place Mommy's Tupperware inside of it. She would have played with that box for hours, except it was soon time to go to bed.
NO! I did not place the box inside her crib. But I did think about whether I would allow it if she were a little older. Am I going to be a cool mom and allow my daughter to sleep with her head in a box? Will I recognize her for who she is and know the difference between "weird" and "artistic"? Will I know my daughter as well as my mom knew and knows me? And if I do, will I go against the grain to give my daughter that outlet that she needs, such as painting the inside of a box and placing it on top of her head? My mother knew this was odd. Even my grandfather asked one night, "Judy, you do realize that Ann-Marie has a box on her head?"
"Yup," she replied.
"Are you going to let her do that?" he asked.
"Yup, she's not hurting anyone."
You see, my mom knew that I was different, and never once made me feel silly or weired for being so. On the contrary, my mother encouraged my behavior. I think she knew that if she did not allow me to explore my creative side in healthy ways, I would have rebelled in an unhealthy way. I was a kid, for example, who liked to play by herself. I would play in my closet - with the door closed - so no one would bother me or interrupt my imaginative play. Mom simply cleaned out my closet so that I could play in there. When I was a teenager, I liked to wear combat boots and dye my hair a different color every week. Mom allowed me to do this. Her reasoning? I made honor roll, had decent friends, did not do drugs and overall was a pretty good kid. What type of child would I have been if she repressed any of this?
I am a lot more controllive as an adult than my mother. I am type A and Mom is type...Z. Will I be able to recognize Mary Ellen for who she is, and more importantly, will I allow her to be her? Will I let go and go against the grain if I truly feel it is in the best interest of my child? I sure hope so. I hope that when it comes down to it, I will allow my daughter to sleep with a box on her head.
Maybe I'll even provide her with the flashlight.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
I'm the person who will walk around the department store with items hand for an eternity. Then one by one the items return to their homes on the racks. I end up feeling way too guilty about buying that I just can't do it. The guilt outweighs the want. I'm a salesperson's nightmare.
If an item or two does make it home with me, buyer's remorse usually sets in the next day, after the shopper's high wears off. I am getting a bit better at this. I have learned not to beat myself up as much, especially if I find a heck of a deal. The bottom line is, I don't like to spend. I'm frugal, probably borderline cheap. I was always like this. I remember saving my coins and allowances as a child, only to have my older sister beg me for some cash because the girl never could hold on to a penny.
"You got holes in your pockets, Michelle," my parents would say.
I know I should loosen up a bit, but I don't like the feeling of being strapped for cash. Been there done that for way too many years. Living and surviving on your own is tough folks. I really did eat hot dogs and Ramen noodles for weeks at a time. I couldn't afford anything else. I remember wearing clothes that were too big or too little. I couldn't furnish my first apartment until months after moving in. I had to say "no" often to friends asking me to go see a movie or go out to eat. Those were luxuries I had to save up for.
When I lived in Florida, my mom found a great web site called The Dollar Stretcher that offered some great tips. The site is still up and running and has grown. Google it. It offers sound money-saving advice from people who like and need to save. Check it out.
Now that I've made myself sound really, really cheap, please note that Brannon and I are working really hard to get out of debt - completely. It is our dream to one day be mortgage free and student-loan free, and not 30 years from now. This means making that dollar stretch.
(I'm not eating Ramen noodles this time, however. Sacrificing health and sanity is not an option).
As Dave Ramsey says, "Live like no other today so that one day you can live like no other."
I love it!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
"Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Mommy!"
"No. I'm Momma. Momma. Say it...puulleeez!"
This is a typical daily conversation between Mary Ellen and I. Oh, alright. It's not a conversation, but me begging our 15-month-old to say my name. I cannot wait for the day that she utters a word that does not begin with the letter "D," preferably "Momma" or "Ma." The sound of the letter "D" is her sound of choice. Every word that she attempts to say usually ends up with a hard D on the front. Her favorite word is "Doy," pronounced like "boy." I don't know where this came from or what it means, but she LOVES it. Everything is "doy, doy, doy." It is adorable, but I'm ready for my little girl to expand her repertoire.
I have to admit that I have been a little concerned over the past couple of weeks about Mary Ellen's speech, or lack there of it. I read - probably too much - information that says she should know at least a dozen words by now, and at least two dozen by 18 months.
Mary Ellen knows "Doy."
She has started saying "Do" (pronounced like "go") whenever we let the dog outside to run, and I think she is beginning to say "Duice" for juice. She can say Dada, as well, but I'm tired of that. I'm ready for her to look at me and yell "MOMMA!"
Friends and parents tell me not to worry, that Mary Ellen is just taking a little longer to develop in this area. I hope they are right. I started talking to her as much as I can, but I feel that I am saying so much as it is. I started reading to her more, even if she is playing and not sitting on my lap. A good friend suggested this method. It can't hurt, plus I love to read to my girl.
We have a 15-month check-up soon and I cannot wait to bombard the doc with many developmental questions. I know deep down inside this is just Mary Ellen's way. She has always been a little slow to develop, and this has truly never bothered me. I just want to make sure that if there is something I can be doing to help her along, then I want to know what that "something" is.
Until then, I will continue with my pleading and Mary Ellen will continue assigning "D" sounds/words to different objects. She (and I) will get it one day.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Thursday, January 1, 2009
1. The health and growth of Mary Ellen. She has blossomed into a beautiful toddler. Wow - it truly does go fast. She now weighs 21 pounds and I estimate her height is around 24 inches. Gone are the bottles, baby foods, teeny-weeny onsies and days of propping her up in a seat to play. This has all been replaced with sippy cups, pickier eating, baby talk and baby chasing.
2. We have not been hit by economic hardships to the extent of others. We have not lost any jobs - thank you, Lord - and continue to work hard to live the "Dave Ramsey" way, as we call it, which simply means "out of debt." Keep helping us with this goal, Lord. With You, we can do it!
3. Brannon and I were able to take a couple get-away vacations - alone! We went to the beach one weekend and on a cruise. It is always wonderful to "runaway" for a little while with the man of my dreams. It's a great way for us to stay connected and remember to put each other first, even before children.
4. Since I am speaking so lovey dovey, Brannon and I celebrated 5 years of marriage this year. Hooray for us! Hooray for God's hand!
5. Although leaving a church family is very difficult, emotionally, we have been blessed with even more friends and fellowship since joining HBC. HBC is where Brannon grew up and where his family has attended before he was even born. He has really matured spiritually and continues to lead this household, which in turn is helping me mature spiritually. I am so, so, so thankful for this. Thank you, Lord, for speaking to my husband's heart. Thank you for speaking to mine to be obedient.
6. I have been able to spend more time with my mother since she moved to Georgia to become a missionary. She has been willing to travel almost every month or two to come play with her granddaughter. If she still lived in Pennsylvania, those trips would be extremely less in amount. I'm so glad Mary Ellen has her Mommom close by.
7. School and work went very well for me in 2008 because of the awesome support network Brannon and I have. With the help of his family, I have been able to continue going to school in the afternoons and work in the mornings. I know that I am very fortunate to have this.
I look forward to even more blessings in 2009. It is always uplifting to think back on all the things God has granted for us, considering we do not deserve any of it. It's really hard to be down and negative when you thinks of blessings, isn't it? I challenge you to make a "blessings list" of your own. What happened in 2008 that made you smile? What happened in your family, in your life, that made you see God's work? Once you make this list, thank Him for it!
He is good. He is faithful. Thank you, Lord!
Love you all. I look forward to more fellowship with you in 2009.