Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Grayer Wilkes Cook

Introducing Grayer Wilkes Cook
Sunday, December 12, 2010
5:06 p.m. 8 lbs 10 oz. 20 inches
Two and a half weeks ago, sweet Grayer entered the world and made the perfect addition to our little family. To say that we are in love would be a complete understatement. This little guy is worth the sleep deprivation. I am finding it difficult to come up with one word to describe our transition to a family of four. In so many ways it has been completely natural and filled with sweet moments I want to etch in my brain and keep forever. Other moments have left me feeling completely spent. Two days after coming home from the hospital with our little guy, Cambell came down with a vicious stomach bug. She has only had one other bug in her life that affected her as badly as this one. It was horrible for all parties involved, but the worst part was the emotional toll it took on all of us. Before the dreaded bug, the transition was perfectly smooth. During the dreaded bug, Graham handled most of Cambell duties to ensure that I did not get sick and Grayer barely left his room to ensure his safety. This really hurt Cambell's feelings and I regret ever letting it happen. Long story short, I took a lot of time reconciling myself with Cambell and within 48 hours, her stomach and heart were healed. I could do without that little glitch in our family history. Cambell is back to her over zealous love for her baby brother, and her mommy.
My sweet babies.
Little Grayer at the hospital...
We are so in love with this little guy. His little temperament is sweet and content so far. I love this cuddly boy. He is an exact replica of his big sister! I'm sure they will not always look exactly alike, but at this point they are identical.
Every day he is more alert and expressive. I forgot how much I love this newborn stage.
Two and a half weeks... and we can't imagine a world without Grayer!
I am so grateful for these precious little lives that have been entrusted to us. We feel so undeserving of such a gift.
Now we are enjoying a week with Daddy at home with us. I am loving life with my family of four... even though I have never been this tired :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Our First Sunshine...

To say that I am a sentimental person would be a complete understatement. In fact, my sentimentality often drives my husband and family members crazy. Papers and pictures are stored and overflow in our closets, traditions must be kept in the exact manner they were formed, and most mention of change is met with great amounts of grumbling. For a Mommy, this can be VERY distressing. These little ones do not stay the same long, and it is impossible to capture every movement on tape or record every anecdote worthy moment. As I said at the end of my last post, I am growing increasingly sentimental about these last days/weeks as a family of three. Cambell taught me how to be a Mommy. She is the light and joy of our home. Graham and I have only grown closer learning to be parents to her. I must say, she has made it pretty easy. We have of course had our tough moments... but for the most part, she is a compliant, sweet natured little girl and we are so grateful for who she is already at 2 and a half years of age.

This post is dedicated to making sure our first sunshine does not get overlooked during this exciting time and expansion of our family. I am going to be "that mom" and tell you all of the wonderful things I love about Cambell Grace Cook.

Cambell is SO loving and has a sweet, sensitive heart. Graham and I mention this often as something we appreciate and are grateful to see in our child. She is constantly telling us she loves us and asking if we are ok. I cannot even count the number of times she has told me today how much she loves me. Not only is she generous with affirmation of love, but also her appreciation of Mommy and Daddy. Little bit has a diaper rash at the moment. This morning after doctoring her little bottom she tells me, "Thank you, Mommy. Thank you for putting medicine on my bottom. It makes me feel much better. Thank you, Mommy. I love you, Mommy." This of course is followed by a big ol' Cambell hug. Her gratitude for the simplest of things blesses my socks off.
I also appreciate Cambell's sensitive nature, even though it can mean extra tears at times. She gets her feelings hurt easily, but with this comes a natural sensitivity towards others that melts my heart because it innate and not taught. Upon noticing a friend in tears, she will offer a hug, pat on the back, and "wha's wrong, (insert name-Cambell is VERY big on saying names, often more times than necessary)?" Her concern for others is one of the things Graham and I appreciate most about her. She especially hates to see Mommy upset. With pregnancy, comes unwanted tears at times, and Cambell has been the sweetest encourager.
I am so excited to watch Cambell become a big sister. Hopefully her obsession with babies will work to our advantage. I know that there will be jealousy, but right now she LOVES the idea of a baby brother. She loves being in Grayer's room and making sure his toys and things are in just the right place. Cambell sings to Baby Gway'r every night and loves to rub and kiss my tummy. The other day, completely unprompted, Cambell looked and my belly and told her brother, "Come on out, Baby Gway'r. Daddy's got a special room for ya." I put this on facebook, but needed to say it on the blog too to make sure it is adequately documented :). That moment completely melted my heart. When Cambell colors, she loves to have Mommy write out her name along with Mommy, Daddy, and Baby Grayer. It makes me so happy to have her already include her brother in our family without my having to remind her or push the issue.
I love this little girl. Not only does she melt our heart, she also keeps us laughing. Her facial expressions, squeaky voice, and wit are the perfect combination for comic relief. Here are some silly Cambellisms as of late (a few of which were on facebook, so please excuse the repetition :)):
- Cambell to Daddy after letting one loose: "Did you burp in your diaper? Are you poopy?"
On running errands: No Mommy, I want to walk to errands... pllllllease, I can walk to errands, not running errands!"
-We're driving as a family and Cambell is looking really sleepy. I turn around and ask how she is doing, and get a very enthusiastic "Gig Em, Gaggies", with pointer finger extended out of absolutely nowhere.
-Cambell changes her shoes no less than 10 times a day. She comes in and shows us, "Look at my (pedipeds/sandals/crocs/boots/ballets/whatever other brand shoe she happens to be sporting)".
-She says, "OK" as much as I do... which I consider a flaw :)... "Ok, Mommy... You want a carrot? Okaaaaaaay? Ok. I get you a carrot. Ok? Ok."
-Cambell is very big on knowing what is coming in a given day. "Where're we going today? Am I going to school to see Ms. Jackie and Ms. Donielle and my friends? Are we going to eat cereal? Are we going to dance to see Ms. Jenni and Ms. Tressie and my friends and do the choo choo train? Are we going to church to see my friends? Are we going to run errands? Are we going to see some friends? Where is ev'ybodee (arms out to the side in shrugged shoulder position)?" Notice a pattern? :)
-Cambell's versions of songs: Come Thou Fount-"Let thy goodness, like you better, bind my wandering heart to thee"
Dynamite (Taio Cruz)- "We gonna light it up, like it's time to Mike"
This chair is one of Cambell's favorite places. The child will read for an hour at a time in this chair, as content as can be. Another characteristic especially appreciated by her mother :). She memorizes her books, and sometimes makes up stories as she goes along. Her inflection is what tickles us. Up and down it goes, usually with corresponding facial expressions.
One night, I had Graham type out Cambell's rendition of Noah's Ark as she read aloud. A classic example of how she mixes memorization with her own little twist:
"Noah makes a big boat. Make a biiiiiig boat, God said. Yes, I will, said Noah. Noah loved God. It took a looooooong time. It rained, and rained and rained some more. The water went over the houses and over the trees. It went higher and higher and higher until there were no more people. And it’s time to say thank you. There are many animals on the boat. He took his family on the big boat. The water was all gone. God took it away. He made a rainbow. A rainbow is about God’s promise."

Lately, one of Cambell's favorite past times is pulling ALLLLL of the food out of her kitchen on the ground and calling it Party Time. "Come eat Pardee Time, Mommy and Daddy... PARDEE TIIIIIIME (with hands in the air as loud as she can)". Party Time basically means we all sit on the floor around her kitchen and pretend to eat what is handed to us. Today, I had the pleasure of getting a cupcake, a cookie, and a whole onion on my plate. Party Time happens a good 4 to 5 times a day in the Cook house :)

I am so grateful for these two and a half years as a family of three, and know we are only going to grow stronger as a family of four. Our family is not complete without little Grayer and we are so excited to meet him. I just wanted to share my overflowing love for our first baby before our second arrives. I'm not hormonal or anything ;) Today, I took Cambell for a lunch date just the two of us. I will miss our days of going as we please as I can take her pretty much anywhere. She is a sweet companion for this Mommy and I look forward to my heart only growing in love for my TWO little miracles.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Thanksgiving Adventure

So... this Thanksgiving will not soon be forgotten. My.goodness. It all started on Wednesday. I was feeling uneasy about heading to East Texas later that afternoon for reasons I could not put into words. I was nervous about the imminent temperature plunge and just felt like I needed to stay close to home an extra night. My understanding, flexible family decided to push back their trip to the farm an extra night and make a detour to Waco so we could be together. It was my sweet Mommy's idea. I was SO grateful to not be left out of the fun.

Lolli and Pop were first to arrive in time for a nice dinner. Soon after, Summer and Ryan appeared on the scene to complete our crew. We let Cambell entertain us and started getting desserts prepared to take with us the next day. My Mom required a few more items at 10:30pm, and being the nice, smart daughter I am, I joined her so she did not have to go alone. This is where things got interesting... The entire trip was laden with contractions. They were non-painful Braxton-Hicks contractions, but pretty close together. I thought they would dissipate with a shower and sleep, but instead only increased in intensity and grew closer together. I got in a few hours of sleep before they really picked up. By morning, the contractions were less than 5 minutes apart, lasting a minute each, really intense, and had been so for several hours. This is when they tell you to get on over to the hospital. We had my bags packed, got set to go to the hospital, filled in the family, and then... of course... the contractions slowed down. Since it is so darn expensive to go in to Labor and Delivery just to get checked and have them tell me that I am in fact, not in labor, we decided to stay home. Of course, conditions were not exactly ripe for riding in the car for several hours, and my precious family once again did not want me to be left alone on Thanksgiving day, SO we made our own last minute Thanksgiving in Waco.

Between the Wilkes, Cooks, and Duffies, we were only responsible for green beans, rolls, and desserts at the meal at the farm, which does not exactly make for a Thanksgiving feast. Thankfully, I remembered a sign from the night before that HEB was staying open until 2pm. Off we headed to pick up pre-cooked turkey breast, ingredients for stuffing, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce. I must say, the meal could not have turned out better if we had planned it weeks in advance. The team effort in our little kitchen totally paid off.An hour after coming home from the store, our Thanksgiving feast was served!
I am beyond grateful that my family stuck around and helped create one of the most memorable Thanksgivings ever. The rest of the day was filled with football watching...
turkey cookie decorating...consumption...
and wii playing...
By the end of the night, my contractions had come to a complete stop. After an uneventful night's sleep, we headed on over to our original destination in East Texas for 24 hours of family and serenity. It was cold and beautiful... my favorite combination out there. I was so grateful to be with my Grammy and Poppy and felt like we still got to have the full Thanksgiving experience. We spent as much time outside as possible enjoying the beauty of East Texas in the fall.Cambell enjoyed her little playmate, Maddie.
Poppy even had a hayride for us!
Little bit LOVED it, of course :)On the tour de farm, we made a little stop to feed the cows. The highlight was when the cows came up to the back of trailer and started eating the hay as we were moving. My ever observant daughter exclaimed, "The cows are eating the hayride!" I was proud of her bravery as the cows were mere inches away as they ate her chair.When the sun went down, we still found fun indoors.
I am so grateful we got to go to the farm. We are back in town and back in full force baby preparation mode. The nursery is now fully functional... not finished by any means, but I am grateful we have a place for little guy to sleep and have his diapers changed :). We are soaking up this time as a family of three. Not that we aren't SO excited to meet Grayer, because our family is NOT complete without him, but we have found this sweet groove in the past 2 and a half years with our daughter and I am clinging to it tightly in these final weeks. I am cherishing every little moment and conversation with my sweet Cambell. I have such a mix of feelings... readiness for our son to arrive and our next chapter as a family to begin... and overwhelming sentimentality about the chapter that is ending, hoping Cambell feels just as loved and cherished as ever with our new arrival. I so look forward to watching her become a big sister... if only I knew when it was going to happen :) We'll keep you posted!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Waiting for Grayer

I cannot believe I am already THIRTY-FIVE WEEKS! Cambell came at 35 weeks and 4 days. Even though I do not believe this little guy is going to be as early (or early at all necessarily), the fact that we are approaching the time Cambell arrived is enough to stress this Momma out! I wish I could show you a fully furnished and decorated nursery, but alas I cannot yet. Daily progress is being made which gives me hope, though! Whether or not the room is finished in time, we are so thrilled about meeting our precious son and embarking on our family's next chapter as a family of four. I think Cambell is the most excited. She looooves talking about "Baby Gway'r", giving him kisses, singing to him, and rubbing my belly. It makes my heart so happy. Every night (and often other times during the day) Cambell rubs my tummy while singing, "I love you, Grayer. Oh, yes I do. I love you, Grayer, and yes it's true. When you're not with me, I'm blue. Oh, Grayer, I love you." I hope little guy recognizes his sissy's voice when he gets here.

On October 3, these sweet friends below had a shower for me at Spice Village. Their efforts in celebrating Grayer meant so much to me.
My sweet Mommy and Sissssster.
I won't overdo it on the pics of the decor, but the girls did a wonderful job. I feel the cupcakes are worthy of note. One of Summer's former roomies from Baylor, Christie McCabe, has a little baking business in Dallas and is incredibly talented. Everyone commented on how wonderful they were. Christie featured these cupcakes on her blog. That girl can bake!
Ok, so just two more decor pics... The sign in table...
Adorable party favors...
The shower helped mobilize "boy mode" for me. I'm not going to lie... it has been such a change in mindset from girl world. I am excited (and terrified) to experience life as a boy mom :) Below are a few pics throughout the pregnancy. I have not been diligent in my documentation, but this is what I have :)
23 Weeks
27 Weeks
29 Weeks
33 Weeks
I feel it would be impossible to grow any larger, but it seems to be happening! My nesting urges are in full force, so hopefully I will have a nursery update soon!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pumpkin Partyin!

Our October was filled with lots of fun... and LOTS of pumpkins :) It all started in the middle of October with a playgroup trip to the pumpkin patch. Mommy was not on top of the social calendar, and scheduled family pictures at the same time. Total bummer. No time to change, we hightailed it to the pumpkin patch just in time to say bye to our friends. Thankfully, I was able to twist Deanna's arm to stay for a bit :)

Our little pumpkin princesses!I could just eat little Makenzie right up with a spoon!
Next, we celebrated with Cambell's dance class in costume. I love how much Cambell adores this little class. Adding to the fun, three of the other teeny ballerinas are in Cambell's class at school. Getting away from the Mommy and Me gig has been perfect. She is actually learning to dance and enjoying being a tiny ballerina!Cambell and Karlie, playgroup and school buddies, were both Minnie Mouse! Karlie is such a sweetheart and always good for a hug :)
Allow me to introduce you to "nother Campbell". 'Nother Campbell, as she is lovingly referred to in the Cook house, and Cambell Grace are in the same class at school and dance. These two Cam(p)bells LOOOVE each other. Our Cambell is now "Cambell Grace" at school and dance, which is not far off from her home life, so it works out well. Cambell Grace canNOT leave school until she has given 'nother Campbell a hug and a kiss. 'Nother Campbell is also a popular topic of conversation in the Cook house, including, but not limited to inquiries about where 'Nother Campbell is and what she might be doing.
We LOVE Ms. Jenni and Ms. Tressie! They take WONDERFUL care of my girl and make her feel so special.
We headed straight from dance back to the Pumpkin Patch with Cambell's other playgroup. Sadly, we did not get a picture of the group. It was HOT and Cambell (and Mommy) were quite cranky, making this trip short lived.

The next day, Cambell and Mommy had a super special Pumpkin Pajama Party. The party entailed baking pumpkin muffins, painting our family pumpkin, all while watching a pumpkin movie in our pajamas :). We do not have enough down time in our life right now. Thursdays are our only real morning at home and I have been guarding that time carefully. This particular week had been especially rough and ridden with sickness, so this was our reward for making it to Thursday!
My little helper...
Learning the joys of licking the spoon at the end while sneaking a peek at the movie.
While the muffins were in the oven and then cooling, Cambell painted our pumpkin. I would have loved to carve one, but knives, slime, and a 2 years old didn't seem to make the best combination in my mind. Painting seemed a little more on the safe side... plus, it happens to be Cambell's favorite activity these days.
I'm loving her left hand in this picture. She is a truly inspired artist :)
The final product!
After the completion of the pumpkin, we moved on back to the muffins to add the final touches. Normally icing does not accompany muffins, but this was our special pumpkin party, and Cambell pointed this icing out at the store, so we went with it.
Enjoying the fruit of her labor...
The next celebration was not so much about pumpkins as it was about birthdays, but it was very fall-esque and happened to be the Friday of Halloween weekend. Cambell's buddy Justin and his brother Cody shared a birthday party complete with hot dogs, cake, hay rides, a dirt pile, and a petting zoo. Cambell was especially excited about the animals.
Cambell, Piper, and Katherine checking out the ducks. I wish I had a better picture of all of the animals represented in the petting zoo. Cambell was extremely timid at first, but when she warmed up, the petting could not be stopped!
Cambell on her second bag of chips. After finishing her own, she moved on to a friend's. That, my friends, makes a party successful in the eyes of Cambell Grace Cook.
The next evening brought back our pumpkin theme. Cambell's friend Ella hosted a pumpkin party at her grandparents' house with pumpkins she helped plant! Cambell had a rough start at this party. I think she was all celebrated out by this point.
Everyone picked a pumpkin from the patch and the kiddos decorated them with stickers.
Cook family pumpkin #2.
Cute little friends decorating their pumpkins.
Hay ride!
Ella's sister, Lila. I am seriously OBSESSED with this baby. Cambell is too :)
The final activity of the night... Smores!
Cambell's first taste of the gooey goodness :)
That brings us to Halloween! We once again participated in "Trunk or Treat" at Harris Creek with our beloved lifegroup. Graham and I went as Juno and Paulie Bleeker complete with orange tic-tacs and a 44oz.
Once again, our little Mouse-ka-Cambell :)
Precious little friends! Cambell and Ainsley
Halloween 2010 was a success. Cambell loved going to all the cars saying, "Trick or Treat", and conning more candy than the owners were originally intending to give. Last year I was able to get away with Cambell not really realizing what candy was about, so this was her first taste of the true Halloween :) Her favorites were suckers, candy corn, and m&ms. Thankfully she forgot about the bag of candy after the second day, so her teeth are no worse for the wear :)As much as I LOOOOVE pumpkins and costumes, I was pretty ready to see this Halloween season come to a close. It flat wore me out. Now we are all about the turkey and giving thanks :)