Giving Thanks (inspired by)

Thanks be to God, Father, Son and Spirit, for the abundance of good things he pours on His children.
We are but few, but His blessings are many.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Surviving the last days of winter

We are all a little wiggly and cabin-crazy these days! Today it was all of 36 degrees out, but SUNNY, and we all agreed it was the perfect day to go to the park!

Not at all to my surprise, having a new puppy is kind of like having a newborn baby in the house! I must say Copper seems very smart, and we are having very few problems with the house-training. However, she just constantly wants to be with the rest of the family, and so she is still whining and crying during the night in her cage. It is a strange experience for me, as Josh is the one getting up with this "baby."

She is perfectly submissive to everyone in the family with one exception: Eldon. She seems to think he is a puppy just like she is. And the more Josh and I think about it, the more we understand how she could get confused. It is almost like those two are at the same developmental stage. They seem to like the same toys... And they get in the same type of trouble... I have said to each of them this week: "Don't eat dried play dough off the floor!" "Quit chewing on that shoe!" (Or piece of paper, or rug, or sock, or remote control...) They both fuss when they don't get enough attention, they love to be snuggled and carried around, and they can't seem to get enough of the older kids! (Though the older kids often have enough of each of them!)

Eldon has learned the baby sign for "dog," and is now constantly sticking out his tongue and panting. He has added his own creative touch in his excitement over the puppy- he is usually panting and flapping his arms at the same time!

Oh, Seth and his notions of propriety! We were watching ice skating the other night, and of course Lorraine was starry-eyed over the glitter and girly-ness of it all. Seth sat there with an ugly look, obviously thinking "I just don't see the point of this." I asked Lorraine if she thought she could do that (no mommy!) Then, Seth looked at me and said firmly, "Mommy, you may NOT do that!" He seemed to think it was something that I would attempt, so he made sure to forbid me in very strong terms.

Here's Marcus, using the letter L like it is a gun! Whatever it is that makes a boy a boy, I think Marcus got a double dose of it!

Black-eyed Aggie, once again! This time it was because she decided to get involved with the first graders and their pillow fight... perhaps they were a little out of her league. I didn't think they put rocks in their pillows but maybe I missed something!

Little Eldon and Enola- what buddies! I don't know if it is because they are so close to the same size or what, but when Enola is around I am constantly grabbing my camera saying "OHHHH they are SOOOO CUTE!!!"

I agree with the children, spring can come any time now! As Aggie says several times throughout the day, "DearGodPleaseMakeAllTheSnowGoAway. PleaseSendtheSunAndtheGreenGrassAmen." Amen, Aggie!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Our family just keeps growing!

I would like to introduce you to the newest member of our family: Copper!

She joined the chaotic Cook household just this afternoon. The kids are completely in love and willing to do any dog chore I ask (for the moment.) Marcus especially, who has always been our dog person, has been walking around with a silly grin on his face all evening long!

We are trying to help her through the trauma of leaving her wild little family and being plopped right in the middle of ours- I am sure it is pretty unsettling!

Welcome to the family, Copper!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

To Lorraine, on her seventh birthday...

To Lorraine, on your seventh birthday-
What a year it has been for our family! You have grown and changed so much this year I can hardly remember what last year was like! Last year at this time your little sister Aggie was having terrible seizures, and you were helping your mommy take care of her and the rest of the family (when you weren't busy at kindergarten!) You helped us welcome your cute little brother Eldon into the family in April, and your heart is still bursting with love for that little guy! You sat with us during Aggie's brain surgery and shared the joy of her recovery with us.

Last summer you learned how to swim, how to ride a two wheeler, and how to do flips on the monkey bars! You started first grade and have become an excellent reader, and of course, you love your teacher/Aunt Mary Anne! You were in you very first play and you sang your heart out in the Christmas program. You have tons of friends at school, and you had a blast with Katelyn, Mackenzie, and Bekah at your very first sleepover last night!
You have become quite a young lady, and I love seeing how God is helping you grow and change. You are extremely compassionate and helpful, and you often tell me “Mommy, I feel like doing work, what can I do for you?” You are a great friend, big sister, and daughter, and your daddy and I love you very much!
Happy Birthday, Princess!

Eldon loves birthdays this much!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's really real!

The new baby!

I don't care how many times I have done this before... it is SO amazing to see a child for the very first time! It is just so strange... I don't feel much different at all, maybe a little more tired now and a tiny bit queasy now and then, but here is this little miracle, kicking and squirming and dancing around like it's the most normal thing in the world! And as I laid there, I got to close my eyes and listen to that beautiful heartbeat! It makes me feel like I have so very little to do with this amazing work God is doing... but it is such a joy to be a part of it!

God is so good to us!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Snow day again!

We are buried in snow here again. It is beautiful! It feels like we are at my parent's cabin in northern Michigan!

Today I am feeling cheerful and grateful for these kiddos, even though they got me up before six again. It's been seven months since our ordeal at Cleveland- seven full months of seizure freedom! Thinking about that makes me a little less whiney about the stomach bugs and fevers that the kids have had lately.

Today's unanswered questions...

WHAT is Eldon's problem? (teeth? stomach bug again?)
Can I keep the kids happy with TV and toys all day, or will we they talk me into getting out the paints?
If we get out the paints, will Marcus find a way to use his guns while painting too?
Will the boys look tough in their new pirate tatoos?
Will we have school AT ALL this week?
Will any of you ever hear from me (by phone) ever again?
(Josh has been in the attic for an hour already today!)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentines Day Fun!

Tonight we enjoyed our traditional spaghetti dinner served by daddy!

He has given the cell phone problem a rest to spend time with his family. Don't worry, the victory cry will come soon. But even heroes have to eat!

Seth and Eldon are a bit out of sorts today. Eldon is teething, and Seth has a fever and will not eat or even get off the couch. I spent this morning snuggling them both. Poor guys!

The girls loved the chance to stay in their pretty church clothes all day in anticipation of the fancy dinner!

I made heart shaped brownies this morning. Note to self- next time you want to make brownies into shapes.... cut them out first, then frost! That should be obvious... but this morning it did not occur to me. My kitchen helper Eldon and I were equally messy when they were finally finished.

And of course, no dinner would be complete without guns...

And a wrestling match!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentines Day!

Above: Eldon and Enola- aren't they just adorable!

Last night Josh and I got to go out to dinner all by ourselves thanks to the youth group! The kids have been enjoying receiving some valentines in the mail and at school, and of course have had way more sugar than is reasonable already this weekend! We are looking forward to our family tradition of spaghetti dinner, made by daddy! (Either tonight or tomorrow night)

Mom, I must admit that pirate tatoos seem like an odd valentines gift for the boys, but somehow it fits so well! Marcus has been walking around the house all morning with his gun singing "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me!" It is scary how well that song fits him!

At the moment the kids and I are trying to lay low and stay out of daddy's way. As many of you know, we have been having some problems with our cell phones lately. Verizon decided to increase our bill by $20/month for no reason, so on principle Josh decided we needed to switch to another carrier. He found a better deal that will (of course) save us money in the long run. One minor problem- we seem to get no reception at all inside the house. While we can text, email, go on facebook, and check the latest headlines from our phones, we cannot seem to get enough reception to place a simple phone call. To add to the frustration, the phones seem to work perfectly as soon as we go up the small hill to the church parking lot.

We have 30 days to try out these phones and back out of this contract if we must. But to Josh, failure is not an option. He has been up on the roof, in the attic, and online on and off all week, doing his best to apply his mental super-powers to conquer this problem. He's been in and out of the house at least fifty times this morning, grumbling and pacing and staring at his cell phone, trying to get the antennae just a little bit higher so it works. Meanwhile, I am trying to answer the children's questions... like, "Why is daddy still outside? It's cold out there!" "Why does daddy need his drill?" "What is that long pole for?" "Why is daddy mad?" and "Is daddy going to make the ceiling fall down?"

The cold drafts and the chill of daddy frustration have us all under blankets and quiet, waiting..... waiting..... until we hear his victory cry.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rub a dub dub!

First it was the vacation, then the stomach flu, then the pastor's wives retreat, and then the snow days... with all these unusual events in a row, we just can't seem to get in a rhythm around here! But we are getting healthy again, and doing the best we can to keep things relatively organized and clean ....

I did enjoy the retreat last weekend, and the very strange experience of having nobody but myself to be responsible for for an entire day and a half! It was also a strange experience to go to a church service and not be out of breath!

I also learned some new things- one of which is how much my son Seth really, truly understands his mommy! On Saturday when Josh was on duty, he was getting the kids ready for their naps, and Seth said to him, "Daddy, while we take our naps, are you going to work in the kitchen? I want mommy to be proud of you when she comes home!"

Seth sure knows what makes me smile!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


When Josh and I welcomed Seth into the world, our third child in four years, our friends sighed a sigh of relief. "Oh good, you got your boy! Now you can be done!"

When Marcus came along, he made things "nice and even" so that we could be "done."

When Eldon came along, many people just shook their heads, and assumed, I guess because five kids in six years is pretty crazy, that NOW we must be "done."

So now, we joyfully announce the coming of our sixth little Cook into the world (early September or so), once again to gasps and amazement! (even screaming- with joy of course, right mom!?)

This may change, but as crazy as my life is, the word "Done" still seems to me like one of the saddest words on the planet.

We are very excited, and I must admit I am hoping to dust off my boxes of baby girl clothes this time! I do not expect to find that out for several weeks but as always, I will keep everyone posted!

(I am holding my breath a little bit as I remember Lorraine's Christmas wish as printed in her school cookbook. "I wish for a baby brother AND a baby sister!" Lord have mercy!)

Then Esau looked up and saw the women and children. "Who are these with you?" he asked.
Jacob answered, "They are the children God has graciously given your servant." Gen 33:5

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Catching our breath again!

We drove straight through that crazy storm on friday. We left florida at 10am, stopped only to grab food but made the kids eat in the car, and still did not arrive in Indiana until 4am Saturday morning! The ice started in Georgia and the bad weather didn't quit until we were about 1/2 hr from home!

I decided early on that I was probably not helping Josh by sitting in the front with my nervous energy, gasping and pointing every so often. So I tried to sleep in the back. Every now and then (I just couldn't help it) I would sit up and say helpful things like "WOW hon this is really bad!" and "Oh my it's even worse now!" and "It's up to you if you want to stop at a hotel!" "Wow, another car in the ditch???" Otherwise I tried to just shut my mouth and pray or sleep.

Josh not only put up with me but got us home safely, and somehow his hair did not turn white with the stress! The van looked like it had been through a war when we got home- mud and ice, at least an inch thick on the front!

At 400 we finally collapsed into bed. At 410 Eldon woke me up throwing up. He brought us a lovely stomach flu from Michigan, which we all got full force on Sunday night. It was a miserable day and a half, but today I think we are almost back to normal. So it is good to be home... it is even better to be home and healthy again! More later, including commentary on our big announcement at church on sunday! :)