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.
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...
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.
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!
"Cooks love Kisses"--?? While we were on vacation in Red River, New Mexico in July 2007, we came across this little sign in one of the gift shops--an absolute must have. We are two preacher's kids who met in a providential sort of way and married two years later. We are now in the process of forging a family identity of our own. These are moments along the journey.
----Graham, Storey, Cambell, and Grayer