Thursday, July 31, 2008

Vacation Part 3 - Doctor Micah

When Raider hurt his foot most recently the doctor was deciding whether to put him in a cast or a walking boot (note - his foot isn't broken, just strained). Since Raider was going to youth camp the following week we decided the cast would be best to ensure he didn't hurt it any worse. That proved to be a good decision since the cast came back looking fairly thrashed, like Raider had played hard with it. Then, with vacation this week Micah got the idea that it would be much better if Raider didn't have a cast and crutches anymore. (It would take forever for him to get around places like the zoo, etc.) So... since we didn't have time to go to the doctor before we left for Seattle, Doctor Micah got the idea that he would cut it off himself.

First he started with some heavy duty scissors, but the cast proved to be stronger than he thought.
So he moved onto the hand saw. He said Raider squealed every time he thought he was getting near his leg - I would too!!!
Finally Doctor Micah was successful in removing the cast! Only problem was, later that night Raider hit his foot the wrong way and was laid out in pain. We were very concerned about him hurting it worse and I think Micah felt a little bad, because the next morning he went driving around to medical supply stores and finally found a walking boot - $150 later!! In the end it really was the best solution though. Raider has been able to walk all around and participate in vacation and his foot has been feeling much better, with the only complaint being that he no longer wants to wear the boot. We are going to wait for the real doctor to make that decision though!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Vacation Part 2 - Birthdays with Sarah

When I think about some of my most fun and memorable birthdays I think of my friend Sarah. She does such a great job celebrating others and always loves a good party. I can remember more than one surprise party that she threw for me; we were even reminiscing about my 16th birthday in which my dad took us camping and then later rented out a pool for all my friends (which is where Sarah recalls finding her Junior Prom date); we celebrated our 21st birthdays together on our first cruise, and last year Sarah and all of our girlfriends from highschool got together to celebrate our joint big 3-0. Our second night in Seattle was my birthday and Sarah put together the nicest little celebration! It was so sweet. We celebrated at a great pizza place where the kids could even play with their own pizza dough. Sarah invited a couple of our friends from highschool that also live in the area - Jason and his sister Jen and their families (all the girls except for me are pregnant). It was great to catch up with them and enjoy the company of old friends. After pizza we went back to Sarah's house for cake and ice cream. What a fun night - thanks Sar!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Vacation Part 1 - Seattle

I LOVE family vacation!!! Right now we are in Canada, in the middle of our trip and I wish it would last forever. We have had plenty of ups and downs, to be described shortly, but I love every minute of hanging out with my favorite people, exploring new places and finding fun activities that make everyone smile. Our trip began with a 13 hour car ride. We intended to leave on Friday as soon as Raider got back from highschool youth group camp (around 3 pm). When we called the church to make sure the vans would be arriving on schedule we found out the schedule was not as our son had informed us. The highschool group was actually to arrive back on Saturday at 1 pm!! After a little anxiety attack on my part :) we decided to head on with our trip and fly Raider to Seattle after he returned from camp. Thanks to my Dad for picking him up at the church and taking him to the airport!!!

Then we proceeded on our 13-hour car ride with Haylie and James. Apart from the potty - training 2 year old who had to go the bathroom every 2 hours, it was fairly calm. We arrived in Seattle on Saturday to stay with my good friend Sarah, and Haylie was so excited to hang out with Jack again. We had many adventures in Seattle and the poor kids didn't get much sleeping in! We did the "must-see's" like Pike's market and the Space Needle. We also went to the Seattle Zoo, checked out Lake Washington and walked along the Waterfront. All Haylie wanted to do from the moment we arrived was go to the park with Jack. Mommy and Daddy had much more fun activities planned but after a packed couple days Haylie was still talking about wanting to go to the park with Jack. So...the night before we left Seattle, we all ran up to the park around 8:30 pm. to grant Haylie's one wish. Later when we asked her about her favorite thing in Seattle - you can guess what it was - the park!

Sarah and I on the waterfront
Strolling around in Pike's market before Raider's flight arrived
Raider and his bird friend at the Seattle Zoo
My boys at the Space Needle
Jack, Haylie and I

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Little Things - When I Grow Up

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault

Raider - After reading last week's edition of "The Little Things" in which I talked about what each of the kids were meant to do, Raider decided he wanted to do some deeper thinking. He has started reading The Cure for the Common Life and using the tools in the book to analyze what he is good at. Interestingly enough, for the first time ever he has talked about being something besides an architect. He has decided he wants to be a missionary. Now instead of going to Cal Poly to study engineering / architecture, he has started talking about going to Azusa Pacific and learning more about being some type of missionary. It's amazing because he has come up with all of this on his own.

Haylie - Since Haylie has started using the potty she is now obsessed with washing her hands. I finally bought a stool for the bathroom so she could reach the sink and she will stand there for as long as we let her just washing her hands and playing in the water.

James - This week James has suddenly developed stranger anxiety. Pretty much every time someone else picks him up he starts screaming at the top of his lungs. It was quite difficult during our family reunion because others wanted to hold him and I wanted to go off and chat, but instead I had to be with him all the time. Poor guy - I wonder what he is thinking / seeing when that happens.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Coopers and Runners

We are back from Tahoe now and the Family Reunion is officially over. Every 3 years the Coopers and Runners have a big get together. The families are clustered between New York, Arizona and California so we alternate locations. This year was the CA turn and we held the event in Strawberry near the Runner cabin.

Quick family history: Micah's Grandpa is from the Runner family. The Runner family consists of 3 boys and 1 girl: Meredith, Waldo, Carol and George (Micah's Granpda). Micah's Grandma is from the Cooper family. The Cooper family also consists of 3 boys and 1 girl: Don, Gary, Kay (Micah's Grandma) and Bill. The interesting thing about the Cooper / Runner family is that George and Kay were married and so were Don and Carol. So Carol became a Cooper and Kay became a Runner, but together the family are all Coopers and Runners in one way or another! The families of all 8 kids (listed above) get together for the Cooper Runner Reunion - this year we had 16 families who came.

James was a big hit at the reunion because his whole name is James Cooper Runner!

From left: Carol, Don, Kay, Aida and Waldo (who is 93 years old and flew all the way across the country by himself to attend the reunion. He was even out playing baseball with the little ones. Amazing!!)

Haylie had a great time playing with 2 year old Cailynn - Haylie just wanted to play with her every second of the day - it was very cute.

The whole Cooper Runner Gang!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Family Reunion

We are in the midst of a several day long family reunion up in Tahoe. We started Tuesday morning at the State Capitol, so Micah's parents could show everyone around their offices. They went all out to welcome the Coopers and the Runners with a letter from the governor, special pictures on the Senate floor and they even put up a little message on the Senate marquee. I captured a picture of everyone setting up for the official shot. Then we ventured up to the cabin and have been playing, hiking and eating a lot! The last photo is a group from the reunion who braved "The River Hike" - a very difficult little hike that Raider discovered last time we were at the cabin. The group was exhausted but felt victorious. Lots more pictures and stories to come!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Daddy Time

Lately Daddy has had a couple evening meetings, so yesterday we convinced him to come home from work a little early to hang out with us. We LOVE when Daddy comes home during the day and we can all go hang out together. For some reason the weekends just get so busy, so its nice when we get a little afternoon together here and there. We ventured out to a little kiddie pool in the area. Unfortunately it wasn't open as long as we had thought so we only ended up swimming for about 15-20 min, but we had a fun time anyways. Since our swimming got cut off early we needed ice cream!! We headed over for fries and dollar sundaes at McDonald's - our favorite. We wish Daddy could come home early every day!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Half-way Through the First Year

James hit the 6 month mark today!! Very exciting times in the life of an infant. As I reminded Micah that James is turning six months he asked, "So when is he going to start doing stuff?" We had to look back through Haylie's 6 month photos and accomplishments to check out what she was up to. We found out it wasn't a whole lot, although she did have much more energy and zeal than our little Mr. Mellow. He is just as content as could be to be kick back and do nothing, as long as he is fed and dry.

James learned how to sit up this month, which was exciting enough for me! He topples over after a little while but he can sit for a decent amount of time. Also he stopped screaming in the car on a regular basis. James has been a pretty calm baby until you get him in the car. Up until this month he pretty much hated the car and screamed nearly the entire time we forced him to be in it (note: not the carseat, just the car!)

People often comment about how much he looks like Micah so I decided to do a baby picture comparison. Unfortunately I could only find a one year photo of Micah so this will have to do. I took the liberty to make James' photo look old fashioned to match Micah's:

And here are James and Haylie at 6 months (same toy)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Their "Bent"

In place of this week's "Little Things" I have decided to do some deeper analysis...

I have been thinking a lot this week about the unique personalities of each of our kids and what God designed them for. James turns six months tomorrow and as I was looking back over Haylie's 6 month photos and accomplishments I realized how different the two really are. The book I just finished (Cure for the Common Life) had a chapter called "Decode Your Kids Code." In it Max Lucado stressed, "Don't see your child as a blank slate awaiting your pen, but as a written book awaiting your study." He quoted C.S. Lewis saying, "In every child God places in our arms, there is a bent, a set of characteristics already established. The bent is fixed and determined before he / she is given over to our care...And the parents who want to train this child correctly will discover that bent." I often watch my kids and enjoy their little personalities but I have really been studying them lately to find God's gifts planted in them. Here is what I have discovered so far:

Raider - Raider is brave. He is bold enough to talk to just about anyone and doesn't spend a lot of time being concerned about what others think. Raider is GREAT with little kids. It's like an energy spark ignites in him when he gets a bunch of little kids together. He instantly starts coordinating games and making sure everyone is playing nice. He can't help himself but get involved and get the fun going. Raider also gravitates towards any type of project. He loves to build things and create things. Show him a piece of wood and he will get all sorts of ideas about what he could make out of it. And my favorite - Raider is an outstanding helper. He sticks around after practice and picks up for the coach. He jumps at the opportunity to help Grandma and Grandpa clean out the cabin every year and even when I am in the midst of getting mad at him for something, he is still getting Haylie into her carseat, or getting her juice or picking up and comforting a fussy James. Perhaps some day he will be a youth leader or a teacher. He says he wants to be an architect because he is good at Math and Science - I can't wait to find out.

Haylie - Haylie is very organized by nature (way more so than me). She cannot leave a drawer if there is something sticking out of it, or walk away from a room without closing the door; she loves to organize things, lining up all her princesses, doing puzzles, spending hours matching all the cards in her Memory games. Even more than organizing, she loves people and activity. She ALWAYS wants to go bye bye - anywhere and everywhere she can go. When we do go somewhere she wants to know who we are going to see. If it isn't someone she knows, she is satisfied as long as we will see "people." She LOVES to see "people." When she plays with other kids she is content to just be with them, doing whatever they do. She ADORES her cousin Kiley; she is so affectionate with her and would spend all day following Kiley from activity to activity if she could. I tend to get concerned because I want her to be a leader, but that is not her bent. She is happy to just be there and participate.

James - James is much more quiet and calm than Haylie was. At his age Haylie could not stop squealing, she was fascinated by everything and overwhelmed with expression about it. Whereas James is mellow about pretty much everything. He just hangs out, happy to lay on his back and hit himself in the face with his pacifier for 20 minutes. It will be so interesting to watch him as continues to develop his own personality.

Reading this chapter has really helped me realize the importance of encouraging those natural strengths in my children. It is so easy to squash their true potential by not paying attention - sometimes I get frustrated when Raider stays late after practice because I am sitting in the car waiting, whereas I should be recognizing him for being so considerate. The other day we went to a store where they had one of those toys on a table where you move the colored balls across the wire from one side to the other. We were in a hurry but Haylie could not leave the store without getting all of the balls together on one side. I was rushing her and at one point demanded, "Lets go." She stood there paralyzed in thought, she really wanted to follow directions but could not pull herself away. Realizing her dilemma I helped her move all of the balls to one side and we left, with Haylie thoroughly satisfied.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Too Young to Date

Haylie and Jacob have now gone to TWO movies together. They both went to their first ever movie theater experience together back in January, when the Veggie Tales Pirate movie came out on the big screen. Then, today we went to the Regal Free Family Film Festival and saw Wallace and Grommit. Haylie really enjoys playing with Jacob and couldn't stop talking about how much fun she had. Last week Jacob had called Haylie to say hi but Haylie was taking a nap. So when Haylie woke up and we went to call Jacob back, Daddy said he wasn't so sure about that: "Girls don't call boys!" He gave her this one exception. Boy Daddy has a long road ahead of him!
Veggie Tales - 1/08

Wallace and Grommit - 7/08

Monday, July 14, 2008

Is Anyone Safe?

The scariest thing just happened! And of course I felt the need to blog about it right away! :) I was sitting in the living room playing with James when I heard a quick knock and then our front door opened. I popped around the corner to see who it was (I generally tell friends and family no need to knock - just come on in) when I saw a strange man standing about 5 feet into our house. The following conversation occurred:

Me: "Hello?" (with a very puzzled / I'm sure a little startled look on my face)

Strange Man: "Oh ...(looking a little surprised to see me as well) you have some construction going on here...?"

(Currently our front yard is down to the dirt as we are in the middle of re-doing the landscaping.)

Me: "Yes, well some yardwork. (looking like duh - look around dude!)

Strange Man: "Oh...(stuttering on his words) I just saw a car driving by the house, stopping and looking at the house."

Me: "Well I don't know about that. What kind of car was it? (thinking why are you still standing in the middle of my front room?)

Strange Man: "It was a white Acura."

Me: "Oh yes, that's my husband." (He had just dropped off Raider after the doctor's appt)

Strange Man: "Oh, ok (finally stepping back). Well I just wanted to check if you had construction going on cause I saw the car... I live a couple streets over."

Me: "Where?" (OK seriously why are you in my house?)

Strange Man: "Just on the other side of those houses."

Me: "Ok" (thinking yeah right... or... ok I am pretty flexible but I would have liked to get to know you a little before you just open my door and invite yourself in)

Strange Man: (Now outside - finally!) "You know you should really lock your door, there are a lot of robberies going on."

Me: "Yeah thanks, I will!"

So I locked all the doors and called Micah. He had actually seen the same guy driving closely behind him in a green sedan when he dropped Raider off ,and then when Micah pulled into the driveway the guy did a U turn and went the other way. So Micah thought maybe it was just a paranoid neighbor. I wasn't really satisfied with that answer given that the paranoid neighbor was standing in my living room while I was at home by myself with 2 babies and a cripple :) I got off the phone with Micah and called his Mom to tell her about it when Raider's crutches fell and hit the floor. I swore it was someone coming in the door and freaked out... until Raider informed me his crutches had fallen. About 10 minutes later the front door opened and my heart dropped again but it was Micah - my knight in shining armor!! :) He had rushed home to protect us!!!

It is just scary- I feel like we live in a really safe neighborhood at the back of a big circle that only people on the street would be in. But you just never know. Perhaps it was a paranoid neighbor. Perhaps not. We will definitely be staking out the neighborhood for that green car for sure. But from the girl who always said our door is open - you might have to knock now because it will probably be locked. Let the paranoia begin!

Collecting Crutches

Poor Raider is back on the injured list!! Nothing broken, but he has "sustained an injury to the foot." The doctor said it is a typical fooball injury and just to ensure that Raider didn't damage it any further he put it in a cast. Not the most fun thing for Raider since he will now miss out on football practice the rest of the summer and possibly into the school year. In addition he has highschool camp in 2 weeks and we will be going on vacation shortly after that. Poor guy has to be crippled through the rest of the summer!

I thought it was funny that he now has 2 pair of crutches (one the doctor gave him earlier in the week and another that the foot doctor gave him today). He would have had 3 pairs (from his sprained ankle a couple months ago) but we had just dropped them off at the goodwill (which he was not very happy about!). This time we will make sure to keep a pair on hand since we seem to have established a new pattern.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Little Things - Potty Training

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault


  • We have not really tried very hard to potty train Haylie yet as she has been completely uninterested and it seemed way too difficult. Well this week I decided to put Haylie in some underwear and instructed her to tell me when she needed to pee. Sure enough she started telling me, "Mommy I need to go pee pee." I am so excited! I was hoping she would just potty train herself and now after a couple days with no accidents it seems to be working :)
  • This week I started quizzing Haylie on Spanish words (Haylie's nanny only speaks Spanish so Haylie has been getting rather good). I had no idea how much she actually knows but I was amazed when she knew the Spanish word for almost everything I asked her: arm, shoe, hair, paint, kiss, water, yucky, yummy and a ton more.


  • Not much new this week although Raider seems to have hurt himself at football practice and is back on crutches, hobbling around the house.


  • James is making progress with his vegetables. We have moved onto sweet potatoes now and he is liking them a little better than squash but still prefers plain rice cereal over anything else.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Good Deeds

This week Haylie's nanny gave her my new most favorite children's book. It is adorable! It's called "Secretly Do Good Deeds" by Melody Carlson (from the "Just Like Jesus Said" series). It's all about a sweet little girl who does nice things for people, anonymously, like sweeping the porch for her grandma or getting a cold glass of water for her daddy. Here is a little excerpt from the book:

"But one thing I've found that makes me feel right

Is something done well, but just out of sight.

To make someone happy , makes my heart just glow,

But it's oh so much better, when they do not know."

I love that. I want to raise our kids to be compassionate and giving - to see the needs in others' lives and desire to help them. In the book I just finished there was a great quote that summed this up: "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can!"

My latest book that I have been reading is called, "Raising Unselfish Children in a Self-Absorbed World." I am really loving the book and all the tips on ways to help your children focus on others and give back. At one point the author - Jill Rigby - tells a story about taking her boys into the dry cleaners to pick up some laundry. The ladies in the shop were sweaty and exhausted - it was terribly hot out and the air conditioner wasn't working. So Rigby took her kids to the little market next door where they bought cold water bottles and ice and promptly delivered them back to the dry cleaners. "The boys beamed as they handed out drinks and offered snacks...My sons haven't forgotten that day."

I really want to commit to demonstrating this type of compassion for our children and raising them to have a heart for others. That would be success!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I Have Officially Lost the Right to Cut Hair

I've never been very good at cutting hair. It seems like such a simple task to do a little trim, and I generally have enough confidence (ok that's the nice word for it) that whatever it is I can figure out how to do it. Well, I have found out that cutting hair is not one of those things. Way back when Micah and I were first married I tried to give him a haircut - just a small trim with the clippers, all over - can't mess it up. Yeah right - he had this big chunk out of the side of his hair and I was never invited to replace the barber's job again. Well I have trimmed Haylie's hair a couple times now because I hate paying $15 for something I could do myself - "look they just pull the hair straight and cut off the ends; i can do that." NO I CANNOT!
Today I tried to lightly trim her hair and I ended up chopping it. I was trying to even it out but it just kept getting shorter and shorter. I COULD NOT STOP! Let me tell you - IT IS REALLY HARD TO GET IT EVEN! So I finally stopped myself...and it is STILL uneven, but I just can't bear to cut it any shorter. Poor thing will be a little crooked for a while until I get the nerve to go to the hair salon, show them what I've done and humbly ask for them to help me fix it!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Dud?

Haylie came down with a 101 degree fever on Thursday night and wasn't feeling good most of the day on Friday, so we decided we needed to stay in for the night this 4th of July. It was a bit of a dud because we had to cancel all of our fun plans of swimming and fireworks with our Bible Study group. However, Raider was able to go hang out with some friends and although we missed out on the BBQ with ours we were at least able to get the kids down a little earlier and watch a movie - not something we get a chance to sit back and do very often!

By Saturday morning the kids were feeling better so we headed up to Micah's parents cabin along with our friends the Tyler's.
The BBQ died so grandpa had to cook the steaks in the fireplace. That was quite the adventure but they turned out really good!