Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sweet Life with Cambell

Today I had the pleasure of catching up with a good friend. As I recounted our conversation, I realized that I made it sound as if my life is a dreamland. As I thought further, I realized that I am absolutely in love with the stage our little family is in right now. I wasn't sugar coating. Yes, we live in a broken world and feel that brokenness on a daily basis, but there is so much joy in every day. I know that this stage will not last forever. I see daily foreshadowing of battles with my daughter as she has inherited my strong will. I know that as we have more children life will become even more hectic. I know I will not always be the favorite in Cambell's life. But right now I have a sweet baby that lights up when she sees me. She loves to cuddle with me and play. I can always cheer her up and make her smile. I honestly enjoy every second with her. I cherish every minute of this stage we are in. Graham and I are so happy. We love each other and we love our baby. I know this will not always come as easily as it does in this moment. I am so thankful for this stage. I hope remembering this stage will always keep me grateful for my sweet family, in times when the joy does not come as easily. I am grateful for the conversation and the friend which led me to realize my overwhelming thankfulness for phase of my journey.

Here is a clip of Cambell after we got home from dinner tonight. It shows how she babbles, rolls, rocks, and scoots backwards in our messy house filled with baby contraptions. Oh, how I love this child.

video

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Proof that Cooks Really Love Kisses!

That's right! Cambell solidifies the fact that Cooks Love Kisses! This precious girl is now SEVEN months old and is as curious as ever. She is rolling, scooting all around, and trying to crawl.  She gets up in crawling position but ends up scooting backwards. It is very frustrating for the little girl. I am so proud of her new found mobility, even though I know things are about to get a little more complicated. 

We have been a busy Cook family. The weekend before last we had the pleasure of working at the Mission Waco Toy Store with our Life Group. Cambell and I had to check out early because she needed to nap, but Graham had the opportunity to help people shop for toys their families that they would not be able to afford otherwise. Graham also feeds the homeless on Tuesday mornings at the Meyer Center, another ministry of Mission Waco. 

After the Toy Store, we met our dear friends, the Homeyers, in Salado to eat, shop, and catch up. It was a cold, yet successful trip! Cambell and I are shopping, while Daddy mans the stroller outside of my favorite store in Salado, Garden Spirits.
I just love sweet Kelley!

Last week we had a record number of Christmas parties and babysitters... 4 in one week! We survived the Christmas party season! Cambell handled it with such grace as well. We were proud. We ended the weekend with a special day spent with the Haynes kids! 
Cambell LOVES being with the big kids. She did not want to miss a thing... leading to a major protest of nap time. We decorated gingerbread men, played outside in the leaves, attempted to fly a kite (plenty of wind, not enough open space), colored, and practiced spelling out many words. I love these kids so much. 
More on Cambell's first Christmas adventures to come...



Friday, December 5, 2008

Sweet Potato Disaster of 2008 and Cows...


We spent this Thanksgiving with the extended Wilkes family at my grandparents' land in East Texas. It is seriously one of my favorite places on earth. I think it may be tied with Red River, New Mexico and Disney World. This Thanksgiving was an important one, as it was Cambell's first! My Mom's mom, Mimi, also joined us, making it even more special.














We were missing quite a bit of our clan this year, but it was still a wonderful time. Cambell and her little second cousin, Madeline served as our entertainment for the extended weekend... well, except for the times I served as the entertainment...
For example, here are my sweet potatoes that I contributed to the Thanksgiving feast.
After finishing making them at the cute little blue house on the property, I decided that they were missing marshmallows. We brought marshmallows from the big house and I sprinkled them on the top of my beautiful conncoction and placed it in the oven under the broiler. I stepped away to do something else and before I knew it the fire alarm was going off. Large flames were coming off the top of my once beautiful sweet potatoes! Graham removed the flaming yams from the oven and ran outside. The flames died down and the above picture is all that remained. Thankfully, my wonderful Mimi was there to salvage the sweet potatoes. We lifted the metallic top off, threw it on the ground for the birds, and made it look pretty again. They still got good reviews, but I think everyone was just trying to make me feel better. I was trying to prove myself as a good (C)ook, but failed. In fact, I had even been assigned the relish tray, but switched with my mom to prove that I could be trusted! The joke was on me.

Cambell had a great time discovering the animal we know as the cow. She rode with mommy in the cab of the truck all around the property and took in all of the sights. Several cows came within a foot of her and she just looked at them as if she sees cows all the time. No fear... only looks of complacency. Oh, how that child cracks me up.

Cambell LOVES her second cousin, Madeline. Cambell would unapologetically grab Maddie's face, clothes, and toys. Maddie even led Cambell into a cackling spree by simply clapping her hands. Thank goodness we had the video camera nearby. These girls are precious together!

After we left the farm, we went to Home Depot the next day as a family to pick out our real Christmas tree! It was cold, so Cambell and Daddy wore their matching Baylor hats.
We made it home successfully with our tree on our Sports Utility Vehicle :). That night we set up the tree, drank hot chocolate, and watched "It's a Wonderful Life". What a perfect ending to fall and beginning of our Christmas celebration! Pictures of our decorated tree to come...
To see more pictures of our Thanksgiving adventures, check out our Shutterfly website.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tagged!

I am a little behind , but Stephanie Cole tagged me! The rules are: 
1. Choose the 4th picture folder on my computer.
2. Choose the 4th picture.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag 4 people to do the same.

This is Cambell at a mere 2 weeks of life. She is stripped down to a diaper on her changing table. Look at how she had more hair then than she has now!

I am going to be wild and break rule #4!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Maryanne's Baby Shower

We are very behind on our blogging, and for that I apologize. I will post about our very eventful Thanksgiving weekend soon. I did not want to miss a chance to post about Maryanne's baby shower in Austin on November 15. Maryanne is about to have her second little girl, Mary Kate Liechty. Mary Kate's sister, Hannah is 2 and is one of Cambell's sweetest friends. We are ready for little Mary Kate to enter the world. The Liechtys live in Atlanta and we never miss a chance to see them when they are in Texas. We even missed watching Baylor kick A&M's behind to see them. That is love. It was wonderful to see not only Maryanne, but other friends we miss living close to as well. In fact, it was Brittany's (top left in picture below) first time to meet Cambell!



Here we are our last year at A&M celebrating Maryanne before she got married (minus Brittany). I miss these girls so much. It was exciting to watch Tara announce to everyone that she is PREGNANT! She is going to be such a wonderful mommy! I just can't wait to meet that little peanut inside her (and to know if it is a girl or boy peanut)!
Cambell got a little worn out with all the excitement and took a little nap on Stephanie.
And of course there is little Lauren. Cambell especially enjoyed the buttons on Lauren's jacket. Cambell and Lauren had some sweet bonding time. Even after the shower was over, we enjoyed our day in Austin with some of my favorite people. We look forward to meeting little Mary Kate!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Melinda is MARRIED!




My lifelong friend, Melinda Reynolds became Melinda Kirkpatrick on November 8. Melinda has been one of the most loyal, consistent friends I have ever known. While we have experienced some of life's greatest joys as friends, we have also grown together through some very dark hours. It is also special to add that Melinda was friends with Graham at Baylor before I knew of his existence. She kicks herself that she is not the one who thought to put us together. It is also important to add that I knew her husband, Steve, at A&M. Small world. 
Melinda was a VERY huge part of my wedding and was at the hospital a few hours after Cambell arrived. I cannot even believe how much she loves Cambell. We are so looking forward to growing old as, now, FAMILY friends :)

Here we are with the beautiful bride and groom at their reception at the Barfield Drawing Room at Baylor. The entire night was perfect! And now, Steve is an official member of the Red River Gang! We are looking forward to this summer! Melinda could not have found a more perfect man for her! 
Here is Cambell dancing the night away with her Pop, who officiated part of the wedding.  What a night!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bears WIN!

This Saturday the Cook family took a trip to Austin to see the Liechty's and celebrate the coming of Mary Kate (more on that to come...). To Daddy's dismay, we were unable to attend the A&M v. Baylor game. Mommy was grateful to have missed such a beating. I had a sneaky suspicion that Baylor was going to win, but I had no idea it would be so horrible! We received updates throughout the game and I have to admit that Graham was a gracious winner even surrounded by Aggies. He was much more gracious this year than he was four years ago on the infamous night Baylor beat A&M for the first time in many years. The aforementioned game occurred at a special time in our relationship. Graham and I were still in the "talking" stage before officially dating and he sat with my family at the game. It was fun to smack talk throughout the game and in the end I was glad to see him so happy even though it was to the detriment of my team. Two years ago we went to the game as a married couple and I was the one doing all the gloating. This year, although we were not officially at the game, we still got into the spirit and brought Cambell into that same spirit. Since Baylor is such a HUGE part of both sides of the family, I compromised by letting her wear Baylor clothing and A&M accessories. It worked well for us. She was quite a doll. More to come on activities from the past two weekends...


Friday, November 7, 2008

6 months!

Cambell is six months old today. I don't know how it happened! This whole baby experience is flying by and I can't handle it! Cambell is so sweet, cuddly and loving. She loves giving kisses by grabbing your face and pulling herself up to slobber your face up with the most precious kiss you will ever receive. Further proof that Cooks really do love kisses! 

Cambell is such a ham. The second we hold up the camera to our face she turns on the charm and begins smiling with her laughing face, as Matt Homeyer so lovingly puts it. She certainly charmed all of the volunteers at the voting site on Tuesday when she went to vote with Mommy. They even put an "I Voted" sticker on her shirt. She wore it through Baby Time (our little fun class at the library) but by lunch time the sticker was a slobbery, slimy mess and we had to part with it. No worries, though... Mommy saved it for the baby book!
Mealtime with Cambell is still an absolute mess. She is getting better about actually opening her mouth for some bites, but only about 50% of the time. The other 50% she likes to spit the food out while blowing her bubbles. It is quite lovely. This morning was one of the times she spit about 99% of what went in, right back out. It makes for cute pictures, though. 
Our biggest milestone as of late is Cambell's ability to sit up unassisted! She LOVES it. As do I. Especially while she is still immobile. This little girl is such a joy and I am so grateful for my sweet, laid back baby. Happy half Birthday, Cambell Grace!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Loving Fall

We have certainly been busy enjoying fall festivities in the Cook household. I apologize for our negligence to the blog during this crazy time. Our first fall celebration was in the form of a pumpkin carving party with our lifegroup from our church. We carved pumpkins together and baked the seeds for a fall treat. We came away with some pretty impressive pumpkins!

Earlier last week, we took a trip to a local pumpkin patch as a family. I was excited to share my love for all things pumpkin with Cambell, but ended up scarring her forever I fear. She has been pretty good about sitting up lately but she lost balance and fell smack on her pretty little face in the grass. Poor baby. She calmed down quickly when held, but lost it every time we tried to set her back amongst the pumpkins. She was so scratched up that evening, but thankfully the marks had disappeared by the next morning. Here is Cambell BEFORE the fall:

Here she is AFTER the fall. Poor baby.
On Friday, we dressed Cambell up as a chick/duckling (it's all in eye of the beholder and has been highly debated) hatching out of an egg! My mom saw a child wearing this exact costume at her church last Halloween and fell in love. Because she is a beloved pastor's wife, the chick/duckling's mother gave us this precious costume. All I contributed was the actual egg shell she is sitting in. She LOVED wearing and discovering her costume. It was a precious first Halloween. 
We did not actually make it trick or treating. We made a quick appearance at Trunk or Treat at our church before heading over to Baylor for Homecoming festivities. Below is Cambell with her sweet friend, Betsy Grace.

Baylor Homecoming is my favorite weekend of the year. I even made it a priority my four years at A&M. You can read more about our amazing friends in this previous post about the Red River gang. Cambell stayed in her costume for our traditional hang out time in the sub before Bonfire. She was quite a hit. I cannot believe that we brought our baby to Homecoming! It was so special to introduce her to a tradition that will be a big part of her life in the coming years. Below she is being held by Steve Sadler, who got married during the weekend!
Cambell had a great first parade experience. She was a bit tired from the late night before, but handled the overstimulation like a champ. I was so proud of her. We made the rounds to visit both sets of family and friends. Here she is giving Grandado a big Cambell kiss. Cambell kisses are the best kinds of kisses. We skipped out on the game this year so that Cambell could take a good nap. We sincerely regret missing such a wonderful game. We are not going to miss the Baylor v. A&M game, though! Saturday evening we went to Steve and Julie Sadler's wedding. It was amazing to see these two families brought together after all they have been though. God is so good! It was a successful first Baylor Homecoming as a family and we look forward to many more!



Monday, October 20, 2008

Cambell's Dedication

Sunday was a big day for our little Cook family. Cambell was dedicated at our church during a very meaningful service surrounded by our extended family. Any reminder of our role as parents to point Cambell to our Savior is beautiful. We are stewards of this precious life and yearn to raise our daughter in a way that leads her to an understanding of God and His deep love and purpose for her. We went on the stage as a family during the service and Cambell turned on the charm. She looked out at everyone as if she is used to standing in front of large crowds and gave a little speech. While our pastor, James, prayed for us, Cambell gave a little "Hallelujah" (at least that is how we are choosing to view it). She was precious and everyone enjoyed a good laugh. 

After the service, our extended family celebrated with lunch at our house. It was wonderful to be together as family and celebrate Cambell. We shared a lot of laughs and loved on our sweet baby. Below is Graham's side of the family, followed by my side of the family. 
We are so proud to be Cambell's parents and are grateful for the reminder of the wonderful responsibility we have been given as stewards of this little life.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Surely We Can Change Something...

To say that we are David Crowder fans is a complete understatement. We love his ministry and his music. His lyrics are very meaningful and often make us emotional. Our favorite song as of late is "Surely We Can Change" off the Remedy album. 

And the problem is this
We were bought with a kiss
But the cheek still turned
Even when it wasn't hit

And I don't know
What to do with a love like that
And I don't know
How to be a love like that

When all the love in the world
Is right here among us
And hatred too
And so we must choose 
What our hands will do

Where there is pain
Let there be grace
Where there is suffering
Bring serenity
For those afraid
Help them be brave
Where there is misery
Bring expectancy
And surely we can change 
Surely we can change something

And the problem it seems
Is with you and me
Not the Love who came
To repair everything

And I don't know
What to do with a love like that
And I don't know
How to be a love like that

When all the love in the world
Is right here among us
And hatred too
And so we must choose what our hands will do

Where there is pain
Let us bring grace
Where there is suffering
Bring serenity
For those afraid
Let us be brave
Where there is misery
Let us bring them relief
And surely we can change
Surely we can change Something

Oh, the world's about to change
The whole world's about to change

In his book Mere Christianity,  C.S. Lewis makes the point that sometimes words lose their meaning--such as with the word "gentleman" which once was a honorable description and is now carelessly applied to almost any male.  One of the reasons that we appreciate David Crowder is that is able to express theological truth in poetic fashion--without the tired cliches.  Psalm 96 says "Sing to the LORD a new song"--encouraging Israel to find new ways to honor God and to spread the goodness of his message to all people groups.  

We find in Crowder's lyrics this "new song."  Even in the title of his album--Remedy--challenges us by scrambling our vocabulary and forcing us to think of Jesus with different connotations.  Our generation faces unique challenges in that we are surrounded by people who think they have already heard what we have to say about Jesus--and say "is that all you have?"  We think there is more and are struggling to embrace the radical and life-altering way of being a disciple of Jesus.

Of course we wouldn't leave you without pictures of our girl...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cinco meses de Cambell

Today Cambell turned 5 months old (side note--Saturday Graham turned 341 months old-but nobody cares about that).  We celebrated with sweet potatoes.  Cambell did not like them.  Our little baby has almost daily developments that we notice and celebrate.  Lately she's been trying to eat her toes.  She also babbles and squeals--all happy noises.  Fortunately she still stays on her blanket when we put her there.  This means we still have a little while longer to baby proof the house.  


Here is Cambell wearing her new aggie outfit.  Her support did not help the aggies and she had a massive blowout.  Now we will have to bleach the aggie baby outfit.  The socks, however, did not get any poop on them.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Year Ago Today...

Today is the anniversary of our knowledge of Cambell's existence. I had been battling nausea and extreme fatigue for a few days prior to this surreal day, but never even considered pregnancy as the culprit. But, when something regular did not show up on time, I decided to take a pregnancy test to put my mind at ease that I was not pregnant as always (I take pregnancy tests often... my hubby makes fun of me).  I didn't even wait to take the test until Graham got home (this shows you how often and predictable these tests usually are). All of a sudden, there were two lines on the stick... this had never happened before. With my hand shaking and heart racing, I raided my trusty stash of pregnancy tests (I told you, I'm nuts), and got out a different brand to try. This test confirmed our wonderful surprise. I was completely shocked, and my first reaction was a huge smile that I could not wipe off of my face. I am so happy that my initial response to this unexpected pregnancy was sheer joy. I called Graham and said, "You know how I was late?" He did not respond because I am often late and thought I could be referring to a number of things. I then said, "I took two pregnancy tests and they were positive... Can you come home?" Being the wonderful husband that he is and the convenient time of day being close to his lunch hour he came home to his pregnant wife. While he was on his way home, the emotion of it all began to set in. I could not get a hold of my mom, and when I started to call my dad the tears came pouring down. Unintelligible blubber is all I could muster, leaving my dad very concerned and confused. 

Blubbering Mess: I took two pregnancy tests and they were positive.
Dad: You failed a test? Oh, It couldn't have been that bad, honey.
Blubbering Mess: No, pregnancy test.
Dad: Storey, it's OK. I'm sure you did better than you think. 
Me (a little more intelligible): POSITIVE PREGNANCY TESTS
Dad: Oooooh. Well that is wonderful. I've never been a Grandfather before. 

After my dad and husband were able to calm me down, I called my friend/gynecologist. I went in to her office, got some blood taken, and was confirmed that the tests were in fact accurate. The doctor's office gave me a diaper bag of formula and information, as well as a due date for the baby, June 7 (we didn't quite make it to that date). Our life changed that day in a way  I could never have predicted. Seven months and 21 weeks later, little Cambell is our favorite blessing. It is so wonderful to hold her and tangibly understand that she is who we were so excited about a year ago today. Her existence seemed so surreal while she was in my tummy. It didn't really start to sink in that a baby was really going to come until I found out I was having a little girl and we could call her by name. It became clearer still when I could feel her kick and move all around. She was very active in the womb. I daydreamed about what our baby would look like and be like my whole pregnancy. I never anticipated that she would be this precious and that I could be capable of loving something so much. She constantly amazes me and I feel so blessed that I get to be her mommy. I'm not biased, though :)