Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Conductor in Training

The annual Christmas Concert for my church was on Sunday. I'm the chair of the music department there, so I was in charge of the production.

On Saturday morning, we had a dress rehearsal. Lizzy and Jenny wanted to come, so I couldn't resist bringing them.

As I was leading the children's choir, one of the other musicians shot this video (to my surprise). Look at Lizzy standing next to me.

You never know who's watching!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thank you

I just want to say "thank you" to the wonderful people who read my blog and leave such supportive comments! I know my life is probably not that interesting, but I really appreciate the kind comments about my family. Thank you so much!

Jake and Maia's awards

Today, Jake and Maia received awards at their school assembly. I am a terrible mother and forgot about it! (Actually, Maia told me about hers, but Jake forgot to tell me, so I didn't know about that one.)

I asked them how I could make it up to them, and Maia said "Five bucks." So now I'm ten dollars poorer and still feel like a bad mom!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"I not silly."

Labels stick, and nobody likes them--even two-year-olds. I found that out, yesterday.

It was a typical Monday morning. We were all sitting at breakfast, eating our cereal before school. Jenny did something funny (as usual), and I said, "Jenny, you're silly."

Jenny stood up on her chair to command attention. With her most solemn face, she said gravely, "I not silly. I not crazy. I not funny."

I suddenly realized that for the past two years, she had been listening to every word we had all said. Jenny, our funny, crazy, silly baby, didn't like the labels we were giving her.

"You're right, Jenny," I said. "You are good and sweet and nice."

"Yes," Jenny responded. "I am a princess."

I couldn't have said it better, myself.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Our Family Photo

After a hundred photos, we chose the very first one. Jenny simply wouldn't sit still!

Maia's Soccer Team Won the Championship!

Today was a monumental day. After five years of playing soccer, Maia team won her league championship soccer game! Here are some of the highlights:

* Maia ran her heart out on a left leg that was still recovering from a pulled muscle. Way to go, Maia!

* Maia's friend Pyper got a ball to the face and a bloody nose but kept on going! Way to go, Pyper!

* Jeff walked onto the field and argued with the ref when Maia was called off-sides. Way to go, Jeff! :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Headshots for Jake, Maia, Lizzy, and Jenny

I seriously cannot believe it has been so long since I have blogged. Every day I think, "I really need to put that on my blog!" Then, of course, I fall asleep--dead tired--while Jeff and I are watching T.V. (Sometimes I try to wake up and pretend I was watching all along, but Jeff never believes it. Apparently I snore!)

Recently, I enrolled Jake, Maia, and Lizzy in an acting class. My ultimate goal is to try to help them become more confident and conversational around people. They are super sweet but sometimes shy, especially around adults. One thing led to another, and I found myself getting headshots for all of the kids! I think they're pretty cute, so I thought I'd post them here.

We can't decide between two for Jake. Does anyone like one better than another? (Mom and Barb, you're good at this!)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

How did she do it?

Jenny . . . or should we say Houdini, has been having trouble staying in her crib. She needs naps--I mean, she really needs naps! But she has trouble settling down and ends up wandering the room and the halls during naptime.

Yesterday, I decided to put up the dreaded Crib Tent. This is a little mesh tent that goes on top of the crib. It's safe, but it prevents children like my Jenny to get out and wander around. Or so I thought.

Today, I put Jenny down for a nap, turned on the white noise, and shut the door. I didn't hear anything, so I put Lizzy down for a nap in my room and fell asleep for a few minutes.

When I woke up, I decided to check on Jenny and see if she was still asleep. She was sleeping peacefully, but she wasn't in the crib tent! Astounded, I inspected the crib tent--and it was still zipped up. I still have no idea how she got out!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Deep Thoughts, by Jake

Two days ago, Jake handed me a book and said, "Read my life skills book, Mom." There are some gems in there that I had to share.

Here's how Jake would communicate with an alien: "I would create a body language you would communicate with your eyes. For example, 4 blinks equals 'hot dog.'"

Here's what Jake would tell his stressed-out teacher to do: "I suggest she makes a schedule to keep track of all her work so she knows when she has free time. Another way I do it is to eat food when my blood sugar is low, because sometimes being hungry makes things seem a lot worse than they are."

Here's what Jake would do with a million dollars: "My mom, dad, grandpa, and grandma would have me save it. My sister Maia would probably try to get her a pie store. My friends would try to get me to buy new video games. I would save some, buy a tiny, and give all the rest away."

Here's what Jake would tell a unicorn with low self-esteem: "It's okay to be different, and actually you're similar to more animals than you know. YOu're super similar to the horse. You're also similar to the donkey. See? You are also very likeable. I bet you could make friends if you tried."

Those are great words of wisdom, Jakie!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Another bathroom story . . .

A couple of people commented on my last post that they wanted me to share my embarrassing bathroom story (now I know who you are, Anonymous!). At the risk of not being able to show my face again, here it is.

Two years ago, I was playing the violin for a benefit concert in Oceanside, CA. There were a variety of performers there, and I was scheduled to play the theme from Schindler's List and Orange Blossom Special. I had to go to the bathroom but thought I could wait.

The performer right before me was a pianist with a comedic streak. He had the audience in stitches, and he seemed to be enjoying himself--I decided that I could risk going to the bathroom quickly without missing my cue.

I ran to the bathroom with my violin, but there was no counter to lay my violin down upon. So, the next best thing was to lie it on the tile floor in the stall, right in front of the toilet. I was afraid of the germs on the toilet seat, so I gathered up my floor-length dress and squatted above the toilet seat.

I'm not sure whether I was in too big of a hurry or whether the gathered skirts messed up my aim. But for whatever reason, I completely missed the toilet and peed directly on my violin!

With a gasp, I corrected my aim and finished the job. Then I picked up the violin and gingerly wiped up the mess with toilet paper. With a quick wash of my hands and a quick wipe-down of my violin, I was back in the concert hall in no time and still had plenty of time to spare.

The violin seemed no worse for the wear--but if you ever notice a faint smell when I play, you'll know why ;).

Here's a link to the performance right after "the incident." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylm7wnAQgwI

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bathroom stories

On Monday night, I was driving Jake, Maia, and Maia's friend Kylie home from their acting class. Somehow the subject of incontinence came up, and I remembered a couple of good stories!

When Jake was four years old, I enrolled him in a karate class. I was trying to find a sport that he was interested in, and karate seemed like a good fit for a conscientious little boy who didn't have much natural inclination for balls but could follow instructions really well. Little did I know how well he would follow instructions! At the end of the hour, I noticed Jake was standing in a puddle of his own making. "Jake!" I cried. "Why didn't you go to the bathroom?"

Jake, equally panicked, said, "The teacher told me I had to stand in ready position!"


One day, I was picking up three-year-old Maia from preschool. As we were getting into the car, Maia said, "Mom, I have to go to the bathroom."

"Okay, Maia," I said, distracted. I was in a hurry to get home.

A few minutes later, Maia said again, "Mom, I really have to go to the bathroom."

Okay, Maia," I said. "We're on our way home."

Maia didn't complain about having to go to the bathroom for the rest of the thirty-minute drive, so I continued home. But when I opened the car door to get Maia out of her carseat, she was completely drenched.

"Maia!" I said in exasperation. "You're sopping wet!"

"I told you I had to go to the bathroom," Maia said.

I realized I was completely to blame for this one. "You're right, Maia." I said sheepishly. "Sorry about that."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Cute girls, bad habits!

Lizzy and Jenny have been experimenting with their tongues, lately.

Yesterday, Jenny and I were coloring in a coloring book. I have a bad habit of chewing on my tongue when I am concentrating (much to the delight of my tennis teacher, who would take the opportunity to poke fun whenever possible!). I noticed I was doing that while I colored. I looked over at Jenny, who was also concentrating on her picture. And--wouldn't you know it--she was chewing on her tongue, too! There's got to be some weird gene for that!

Then today, Jeff took Lizzy and Jenny to the mall to get some dinner. While he was ordering noodles from Mongolian Barbeque, Lizzy took the opportunity to lick the metal, cafeteria-style bar all the way up and down the counter--until Jeff noticed and cried out in horror!

Cute girls, bad habits!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

It's a . . . Girl!

I went to the Doctor, yesterday, and it is confirmed: We are having another girl! We are so excited!

I was a little worried that Jeff would be disappointed. He wants to have another boy, and one that will carry on the Cook name. But he was really excited to have another little girl, because he loves Maia, Lizzy, and Jenny so much. They're all so different, it will be interesting to see what this little girl's personality will be like.

It was fun to see the baby on the ultrasound, too. Even though she only weighs half a pound, it's amazing how all of her body parts are already developed.

We really like the name "Allie," but I'm not sure about "Allison." Could you call someone "Allie" if her full name is "Alicia" or "Alexis?" Are there any other good names that can be shortened to "Allie?" Or should we just name her "Allie?" So many decisions ;).

Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Yo my best fwiend"

Sometimes being a mother is a thankless job. You have to rally the troops to clean their rooms, argue with them until they finally practice their instruments, and insist that their hair is brushed "all the way through." Sometimes you feel like you're in a battle of wills--and the goal is to see who is the most stubborn.

Every once in a while, though, you get one of those moments where you realize your kids actually do love you.

Today, I was carrying Jenny into the Ole Hanson pool in San Clemente to watch Jacob finish his swim team practice. Jenny was pointing to things and saying them. "Mommy, that's a twee." "Mommy, that's a caw." "Yes, you're right. Good job, Jenny." was my response. I was only half listening.

Then, all of a sudden, Jenny wrapped her arms around me and said, "Mommy, yo my best fwiend." The hug lasted only a second, but it was long enough.

Those are the moments that mean the most.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Hor-Fed!

Lizzy is a three-year-old with a big vocabulary. But sometimes she'll say something that will help me to remember that she's only three!

A few days ago, Lizzy fell down and hurt her head. She held onto her forehead and said, "My hor-fed! My hor-fed!" As sad as I was to see her hurt, I couldn't resist laughing . . . just a little.

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's a . . . Well, we're not sure!

It's been a while since I've posted. That first trimester of pregnancy can really do you in. But I'm finally coming out of the fog.

We are so excited that we're having a little baby on March 9! When I was 11 weeks along, we got an ultrasound--and the technician said she "strongly leaned toward a girl." She said it's a little early to tell, though, so we're not sure. When I was in the first trimester with my last pregnancy, the Doctor said she was pretty sure Jenny was a boy ;).

Boy or girl, we are excited to have a new addition!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Feeding the Deer at Bryce Canyon

On our way back from visiting Grandpa and Grandma Osmond last week, we stopped at Bryce Canyon with all the good intentions of going on long day hikes, exploring the wildlife, and spending all day outdoors. Unfortunately, it rained almost the whole time!

The good news is that we found an amazing wildlife museum tucked away in Bryce Canyon. It was run by a man who had spent 44 years of his life hunting and stuffing 799 of the 800 animals featured there. Jake thought it was really amazing. Maia came out and said, "Mom, I feel bad for the animals!" I could sympathize with both of them.

While we were there, we were able to feed the deer, which was one of the highlights for everybody!

The only glitch in the plan was that Jenny started eating the deer feed. I about came unglued! Jeff tried to remind me that it was just corn, but I couldn't stomach the idea of Jenny sharing spit with the wild animals. Luckily, she didn't get sick.

At the end of the day, the sky cleared up enough for us to take a quick little hike at one of the lookout points. Lizzy said she needed to go to the bathroom there, but once she saw the port-a-potty, she decided she could wait (and she did, for hours!)

Bryce Canyon certainly is a beautiful area, and the scenery is breathtaking.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hi, I Jenny!

My little Jenny is probably one of the friendliest kids you'll ever meet. Either that or she's got a complex.

She introduces herself everywhere she goes. "Hi, I Jenny!" is what she tells the people at the grocery store. "Hi, I Jenny!" is what she says when I introduce her to my friends.

But she also says it to her family. Today, she ran up to her Grandpa Cook (whom she sees at least every week) and said, "Hi Grandpa! I Jenny!"

Yesterday, when Jake was getting her out of her crib after a nap, she said, "Hi Jakie. I Jenny!"

And two weeks ago, when we got together with her cousins (whom we also see frequently), she burst out of the car, yelling,

"Hi Annie! Hi Natalie! I Jenny! I have flowers on my pants!"

What she apparently doesn't know is that we could never forget our little Jenny!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Back after a fun trip to Grandma's!

This week, my family and I took a quick trip to Utah to (1) visit everyone, (2) promote Dad's book, Laugh Lines, and (3) introduce Uncle Jay's book, Stages.

One of the highlights of the trip was going to get ice cream at Baskin Robbins with Dad, Mom, Michelle, Grandpa White, and Grandma White. Here are a few pictures.

Gotta run now. Jeff has been reading "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" to me while I drove from Las Vegas home. I'm engrossed, and he's reading ahead without me!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"I don't sink so."

My toddler, Jenny, epitomizes both what we dread and what we love about two-year-olds. Today, when I picked her up from playgroup, I said, "Jenny, say 'thank you' to Mrs. Ferguson for the playgroup."

"No," she said stubbornly.

"Jenny," I warned. "Say 'thank you' to Mrs. Ferguson. That was really nice of her to have you for the playgroup."

"No," she said again, and added, "I don't sink so. I don't siiiink so."

With a nervous laugh, I quickly excused myself from playgroup, vowing to teach my two-year-old better manners.

Also today, Jenny saw a "Sale" sign at the store. She brought it to me, delighted that she recognized a letter of the alphabet. "A, B, C, D, E, F, G!" She cried.

"That's right, Jenny," I beamed. "Good job! Those are letters."

But Jenny wasn't finished telling me about her amazing find. "H I J K LMNOP!"

"Yes, Jenny, that's right. Those are letters." As she worked her way through the alphabet, the decibels got higher and louder.

"Q-R-S-T-U-V-W--X--Y--Z!!!!!" She screamed the end of her ABCs. As I quickly shushed her, I couldn't help but laugh. She may have disturbed everyone in the store, but there was something beautiful about a child getting so excited about something as simple as the alphabet.

As I am sitting on the bed writing this blog, Lizzy, Jenny, and Maia are in the bath--and things are going downhill.

"Mom!" Maia (8 years old) said just now, "Jenny's roughhousing!"

I guess I'd better go save the big kids from my toddler.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Jake's funny, sweet letter to his sisters

Jake has a pretty vivid writing voice--his sense of humor comes out more in his writing than anywhere else. I had to share this hilarious note I found at the bedside tables of each of his sisters. It reads:

My amazing sisters

For many of you brothers who think their sisters are idiots.

As you know, most brothers despise their sisters or are envious of them. Well, for me, they are not burdens, or pirates, or deadweights dragging me down. To me they are sweet angels that live with me. Many of you probably think I'm crazy, but I need my sisters around to keep me company. Surprisingly, they will play games I like to play like Pokemon or Star Wars. I love my sisters and so should you.

I love you girls!

Isn't that the sweetest thing you've ever seen a 10-year-old boy write to his little pesky sisters?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lizzy's First Crush

I always wondered when my daughters would get their first crush. Maia is eight, and I've been waiting for it to happen for a while now. Little did I know that my three-year-old, Lizzy, would beat her to the punch.

Lizzy's crush is her swim teacher, Brandon. Brandon is an eighteen-year-old boy with a deep tan, broad shoulders, and white smile. All of the moms at the pool agree with Lizzy--he is cute.

Every time we go to the pool for swim lessons, Lizzy says, "I think I have my same teacher." And she lights up when she walks in and Brandon says, "Lizzy!" She was sorely disappointed last Thursday when I took her to a make-up class and Miss Heather, not Brandon, was there to greet her.

Today, she was really looking forward to seeing Brandon, whom she called "Brownie."

"I think Brownie is my teacher today," she said.

"I think you're right, Lizzy," I affirmed.

Lizzy absolutely glowed as she saw Brandon and flitted her way to the shallow end of the pool in her favorite swimsuit--a hot pink, ruched suit with a bow at the top. With the demure look of a girl in love, Lizzy approached the pool and said, "Last time I had a different teacher. I like YOU."

Surprised but pleased by the assertiveness of my little girl (who doesn't love a woman who knows what she wants and states it clearly without apologies!), Maia and I left the swim area to make a quick run to 7-11 for Slurpees. We came back to get Lizzy 20 minutes later.

When we picked up Lizzy, we said the customary "good job swimming," and she responded: "I had my same teacher."

"Do you love your teacher?" we asked.

"Yes," was her unabashed response.

"Do you want to marry your teacher?" we teased.

"Yes," she again said confidently. "Next week."

Perhaps Brandon will still be an available bachelor in 25 years, when Lizzy is allowed to date. Regardless, Brandon the Swim Teacher will go down in history as Lizzy's first love, the one she would do anything for--even jump in the pool, head-first.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sweet Pictures for Father's Day

For Father's Day, the kids and I surprised Jeff with pictures. I have to include some of them (you're welcome, Mom and Barb!)--they're so cute! Of course, I'm partial.