Thursday, August 28, 2008

Office Humor

My old boss grew up in a rural, mountainous region of Vietnam where he had an unusual childhood- including owning a pet monkey that he used to wrestle and box.   


One day, he and a coworker were arguing over who would go do a field repair on our product for a customer in Thailand. My boss reluctantly agreed to go, to which my coworker taunted, “You had better watch out--I hear they train monkeys as pickpockets.  


“It is a good thing that I am the one who is going,” my boss said, “because I am the only one with experience fighting monkeys.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back to School

I (Graham) begin my first week of my last semester of seminary tomorrow. It is my 8th semester at Truett...18th semester at Baylor....  Joining me in the back-to-school rituals are:
  • Gene (Storey's daddy) who is teaching Ph.D./Master's students at DBU and B. H. Carroll
  • Kim (Storey's mommy) who is teaching math at Plano Senior High School 
  • Summer (Storey's sister) who is teaching early childhood special education in Plano (her first year)
  • Ron (Graham's dad) who is teaching M.Div./D.Min. students at Truett Seminary
  • Sara (Graham's mom) who is teaching 1st graders at Robinson Primary 
  • Claire (Graham's sister) who is teaching/working on a Ph.D. at Mizzou
  • Marshall (Graham's brother) who is a senior at Baylor
As Ron always says, we are a family that is "fighting back ignorance."

The seminary experience has been a long, hard, and rewarding journey.  Almost the whole time I have been working as an Engineer and for almost 1/2 the time I was a youth minister on top of that.  I can't imagine life just going to work and then coming home to my wife and daughter (and our "never ending project" house).   It will be nice to have time to devote to ministry opportunities.

I leave you with a picture of my girls--

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cambell Grace Cracks Up

Last night Graham and I had completed out Tuesday night ritual of watching reruns of The Office on tbs and were sitting on the couch talking to Cambell. She was WIRED even though it was after 10 because Daddy let her sleep for an hour and a half while Mommy went to see the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (he had good reason, in his defense). So as we are sitting and enjoying our daughter, I noticed that it looked like she was trying to do motorboat with her lips. I in turn started to do motorboat with my lips and it apparently amused Cambell. She started cracking up. She has giggled before here and there, but never like this. By the time we got out the video camera she had already been giggling for several minutes! Oh how I love this baby.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to the Grind...

Vacation is wonderful, refreshing, and did I mention wonderful? It is good to be away from the monotony of every day life for a little while and be with loved ones... BUT unpacking and returning to the routine is horrible. Not that our everyday life isn't an adventure. We love our life. But it certainly isn't Laguna Beach. 

We were away from home for 8 days. Along with the piles of laundry, a major repercussion from returning home is my now spoiled daughter. She was held or entertained every second of every day. She also slept on the run a lot and therefore did not have to sleep in a crib. Now, she is not loving to sleep in her crib for naps, or nap at all for that matter. It is also difficult to get anything done because she really doesn't want to let go of that whole being held every second thing. Now in her defense, today was much better than yesterday. She has allowed herself to be entertained by things other than Mommy, but the napping issue still remains. I should not be complaining. I love this little girl. Holding her is one of my favorite things. I know she will return to her angel self in a matter of days. But this laundry...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Cambell in California

Cambell took her first trip to California at the ripe age of 3 months.  Starting with the plane ride, Cambell handled the transcontinental journey like a seasoned traveler.  We were so proud of our little munchkin.

The purpose of our trip was to celebrate 80 years of Grandmother Cook's life. She is a wonderful woman and I feel blessed to have married into her family.
All of Grandmother's children and grandchildren gathered to celebrate and at the same time enjoy what southern California has to offer.  

Grandmother Cook with her four grown children:
Grandmother Cook with her grandchildren:
Our first day in town, we all went to church together followed by Grandmother's birthday lunch at The Hacienda in Santa Ana.  Graham and I shared a date later in the evening. We enjoyed the sights and sounds of Downtown Disney as a couple. Our times out and alone together are rare and treasured.

One of the first days, Graham, Cambell, and I had the precious opportunity to steal away to Laguna Beach while the other youngsters went to Disneyland. Cambell had a great first experience with the Pacific Ocean.  She was a little timid at first with the water. We placed her feet in the sand and let the water come up to just above her knees. The cold water frightened her a little, but she got over it quickly and just fell asleep.
Cambell took a nice little nap under our umbrella. Being at the ocean is apparently quite tiring for a baby. 

The other days were spent with our extended family. We took at visit to the original restaurant at Knott's Berry Farm where Grandmother Cook was carded in order to be able to use the seniors menu. All of Grandmother's children worked at Knott's Berry Farm at one time or another. It is a special place for the Cook family.

That evening, we went to The Pageant of the Masters at Laguna Beach. Words cannot do this experience justice. I will use the description from the website to explain this remarkable event.

"Ninety minutes of 'living pictures'- incredibly faithful art re-creations of classical and contemporary works with real people posing to look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces. An outdoor amphitheater, professional orchestra, original score, live narration, intricate sets, sophisticated lighting, expert staff, and hundreds of dedicated volunteers have won recognition for the Pageant as the best presentation of its kind."

It was truly amazing. I wish I could have taken pictures. You can see pictures of the event, here, if you are interested.

On our final full day in California, we visited The Getty Center in Los Angeles. Like the Pageant of the Masters, it was a breath taking experience. To see the beauty of the buildings and grounds themselves is an experience in and of itself. They have an extensive collection of western art that is quite impressive. We would have liked to see more of the exhibits than we had time for. Still, it was a wonderful experience and Graham and I hope to return.

The rest of our trip was spent eating lots of cake and enjoying the company of family. Cambell did as well on the plane ride home as she did on the plane ride there. My parents picked us up from the airport and we celebrated 55 years of my precious Daddy. His birthday was earlier in the week. Graham and I spent a relaxing weekend in Plano with my family before heading back to Waco. We reluctantly get back to our routine tomorrow morning. We are so grateful for the chance to have gotten away to connect as an immediate and extended family in such a beautiful place. 

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Vacation All I Ever Wanted...

Guess where our little three month old went on her first vacation ever???

Hint: It's the home of happy cows, Beach Boys, and the Governator...

To be continued... We'll give you ample time to guess.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Three Months!

I cannot believe how these three months have flown. Cambell has brought so much joy to Graham and I's life. It is crazy to think that if she had come on her due date, we would be celebrating her two month birthday. I feel so blessed to have an extra month of life with her.  Plus, getting out of my last month of pregnancy wasn't so bad!

 It has been amazing to observe Cambell's development. At the beginning of her life she slept ALL the time. Premies tend to do that. We feel incredibly blessed that she has been so healthy despite her early entrance into the world. It was wonderful as time passed to go from working hard to keep her awake during the day, to working to get her to sleep during the day. 

We love our happy, smiley, squishy little baby. Her little temperament is sweet. She only fusses if there is really something wrong. She LOVES to be held and converse with Mommy and Daddy. She loves looking at books and finger puppets. She can roll onto her side, but is scared to go any further. She loves to swing, admiring herself in her mirror that is attached to it. She loves talking to her fish in her aquarium bouncer. She loves her paci when she is sleepy. She loves playing with her hands. Most of the time her hands are in fists. Her absolute favorite activity is dancing to her mobile. She kicks her legs and moves her arms all about while watching Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet circle above her. She wakes up in the morning and talks to them before Mommy gets her up. The only thing that rivals her love for her mobile is her love for being around people. If people are over, she will not sleep in her crib. She doesn't want to miss a thing. She loves really studying new faces. She loves being held up on the shoulder so she can look around. Bouncing on the knee is also a favorite. I love that she has her little preferences. 

We love our little girl. The baby stage is moving too quickly and I am trying to hold tightly to every second. Happy 3 months, Cambellina Ballerina! 

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cambell and Friends

Cambell is quite the little socialite. I wanted to share a little about some of her closest friends who have come to play with us this summer from near and far. Her first friends were Hudson, Avery Anne, and Sawyer. They are very special to our family and watched "baby Cambell" grow inside my belly for the entirety of my pregnancy. They first met Cambell in the hospital on her second day of life. Since then they have played many times. Here is a picture from their first visit to our house to play with Cambell.

Hannah is another sweet friend. She came all the way from Atlanta to meet Cambell! She has a baby sibling on the way who Cambell is already asking about :)

Elliana lives in Waco. Cambell would like to see more of her though because she lives far across town. Elli still speaks Cambell's language, which helps in their interactions. Cambell is jealous of Elli's curls, but tries not to let it get in the way of their friendship.
Samantha is Cambell's cousin. They played at the pool together, but Cambell missed most of the experience due to her sleepy nature. Cambell just sat on the side of the pool with Mommy. She still loves her cousin, though. 

Sawyer is Cambell's best bud. These two love spending time together. Sawyer makes sure Cambell ALWAYS has a paci near by. Cambell loves to watch Sawyer's every move and gives him lots of smiles. They even have matching blankies. Sawyer is so special to me because I have closely watched his two and a half years of life. I love that he and Cambell are so close in age. They are precious to watch together. 

Hooray for such sweet friends... and at such a young age :)