Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lucky Number 14

The day of April 14th is just as important or special as the day of April 11th. Although Cooper was born on the 11th, many miracles happened on April 14th. We adopted sweet little Cooper on the eve of April 14th. We also witnessed the self-less sacrifice and love of a birth mom, a birth day, and birth grandparents. It was such a bitter sweet day for everyone involved. I look back on pictures that we took from that day, and I become flooded with all different emotions.
Bryce and I will be forever grateful to a birth mom and birth dad who decided to place their baby boy for adoption. They have both been so loving and supportive over the past 7 years. We have grown to love and appreciate them more and more with each passing year. They are amazing people and we love them dearly.

Back to the day of April 14th....I am often asked the date of Coopers birthday. Many times I answer, "April 14th". Then, it hits me that I am wrong once again, and then I have to try to explain to people that it is really the 11th and that I had a brain lapse. I guess the 14th is just a special day for me. Clayton was born on the 14th and 14 was my basketball number all through high school and college. Now you can see why I love the number 14!!!
This year, it just happened that the 14th hit on a Saturday, so that is when we had Coopers birthday party. We held his party at Bryce's workplace. It was perfect for the party. We didn't really have a theme, but Cooper wanted a Wild Kratts birthday cake. I googled birthday cakes and got a few ideas for the party.When the kids all arrived for the party, the first activity we did was go on a nature scavenger hunt. The kids had a bag, pencil and the list of 15 different items to collect outside. Some included sticks, rocks, litter, grass, etc. The kids had a fun time working alone or working in teams to come up with all the items! The next activity was making bird feeders. I got most of my ideas off of Pinterest. Anyway, the kids took a toilet paper roll and smeared peanut butter all over it. Then they rolled it in bird seed. Bryce took hangers and attached them to the inside. The kids were able to take these home and put them in their trees.The third activity was the pinata. I had a hard time deciding on which Pinata to buy. There were so many to choose from. I wanted one that was a decent size and that looked sturdy enough to take a good beating. I ended up going with the Pinata and Cooper loved it!The Pinata ended up making through all 9 older children and also Landon and Clayton. The kids had a great time swinging that bat. Bryce and Jared had to patch the Pinata up a few times so that everyone got a chance at the bat. Our neighbor, Tyler, ended up being the last one and we let him finish it off.

We had to keep reminding the kids to stay back, especially when the candy started falling out of the pinata. Tyler had his blind fold on and he was still going to town on the pinata. He finally busted it open and then all the kids were able to collect the candy! Afterward, we let Cooper take many swings at the pinata. He actually did a good job and connected every time he swung the bat!Cooper was surrounded by kids wanting him to hurry and open their presents. He received many nice gifts, but his favorite present was a "Happy Napper" monkey that Jordan and Tyler gave him. My favorite gifts for him was the Wilson Glove and baseball from Jacqui, and the Nerf Football and Aerobie Frisbee from mom and dad! Now, maybe he can be a little more active and work on some of his athletic abilities!The last, but most important part of the birthday party, was the cake and ice cream. Cooper successfully blew out his seven candles. We cut the cake and the kids enjoyed it with ice cream. We decorated the cupcakes with Wild Kratts creature power discs. This was a hit with the kids. Overall, it turned out to be a great party. The kids had a great time and we did activities that were unique and fun. I enjoyed decorating the cake and planning the activities, but I was so exhausted when it was all over. Bryce brought pizza home at 6 and I told him I wanted to spend the rest of the night in front of the TV.....and that I did!

Happy Birthday Dear Cooper

I woke Cooper up on his birthday by singing to him. He smiled and said, "I love it when people sing me "Happy Birthday". It's one of my most favorite things about my birthday." So, for the rest of the day, if anyone called him, I would hurry and say, "make sure you sing to him." He had many phone calls, texts and comments on facebook made on his behalf.

At school that day, Coopers class won a pajama and popcorn party because they collected the most box tops. I also dropped off 2 dozen glazed donuts for his classmates to enjoy! When Cooper got home, we had some precious conversations about his adoption. He is such a special boy with such a mature spirit. We are so blessed to have him in our lives. He amazes me all the time!Later that evening, we made Coopers favorite food, TACOS! Cooper recieved a really cool treasure chest with real gold dollars in it and a pocket knife. His birth dad and family got this for him. He has been so excited about the pocket knife. He always tells his friends, "I have my very own pocket knife." I taught him how to whittle a stick and then we talked about the safety rules when handling a knife.

Bryce really wanted to give Cooper a BB gun for his birthday. When Bryce was 7, his dad gave him his first BB gun. Anyway, after Cooper opened it up, we let him hold it, told him the rules about the gun, and then Bryce put it away in a high "unreachable" spot.

You might wonder why we let him have a pocket knife and a gun, but I think Cooper will follow our rules about both. He can't use either one unless we are with him. Plus, Cooper is really responsible and careful with his things. Hopefully, these are items that he can safely enjoy while we are camping this summer!

Nancy Mitchell -Happy Birthday to our first miracle boy;-) love him and you guys!!!

Rachel Ellsworth Moyes- Happy Birthday to a sweet and awesome boy Cooper!!!!!

Sean Hatch -Tell little Coop Dawg happy birthday from all of us! We sure love him!

Keva Call Walker- How blessed for you and for him! You are such a wonderful family ♥

Monday, April 16, 2012

Easter Sunday

On Sunday at church, we did The 12 Easter Egg Presentation to help the kids remember the true meaning of Easter. I really like this activity because the kids get to find the eggs and then the item in the egg represents something that happened during Christ' life. I think its a good way to teach the children about the Atonement and Resurrection.

As with all holidays, it is hard to get the kids to focus on the true meaning of the holiday. But we try year after year, so hopefully it will start to sink in. After church, we drove up to Wellsville to have a Easter lunch at grandma and grandpa's house.Grandma cooked turkey and ham. Every year, someone brings deviled eggs and they are gone before lunch starts. This year, three of us brought the eggs, so there was plenty for everyone. The weather was very nice on Easter Sunday, so some of us went out and layed on the blankets in the front yard. After lunch, we had a small Easter egg hunt for the younger kids. Clayton, Addey and Cooper had a great time hunting for the eggs. Jaden and Ty helped Clayton find some of the eggs. Steph and Addey gave Cooper and Clayton some little stuffed animals...frog and chick and the boys thought those were awesome!

Alpine Easter Egg Hunt

This was the 2nd Annual Alpine Easter Egg Hunt and Lunch. Alpine provided yummy subway sandwiches and everyone else pitched with sides and drinks. The food was great as usual and all the kids were excited about the "hunt".
Again, they split the different age groups and there were plenty of eggs, candy and bubbles for everyone to have full baskets. Clayton understood it a little better this year. He knew there was candy in the eggs, so he was happy to get many eggs. He also got 4 money eggs, so he ended up with $4! Do you like his purple basket?
Cooper was in the older group. Bryce and I watched him as he picked up the eggs. We thought it was funny, because he would only pick up certain eggs and he would step over others. He still ended up with a basket full. He just likes the thrill of the "hunt", because he doesn't care about the candy!After the Easter egg hunt, Denise had a birthday party for her cute little one year old, Bentley. Denise is Bryce's partner at work. There was cake and icecream and all sorts of goodies. I think we were all stuffed when it was time to head home.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter Baskets

We decided to do the baskets on Saturday before Easter. The boys were excited to run outside in the backyard and find their baskets. Bryce had been out working in the yard. He came inside and told the boys that he thought he saw Yoda chasing a bunny in the yard. They ran out to see and that's when they noticed their baskets. Cooper: "Is the Easter Bunny real?"

Clayton when asked who brought him the basket: "Santa"

Spring Break Adventures

Cooper was out of school last week for Spring Break. It was so nice to have him at home. I really enjoyed watching him and Clatyon interact more and spend time together. Cooper read him books, they helped me cook and clean out the refrigerator, and we did many fun activities. We spent the first day at the park. The weather was in the 70's and perfect outside. We met Derek and the girls over at the West Point Park. The second day, we dyed Easter eggs with the kids. Jacqui and I made these colorful "Deviled Eggs" from Pinterest. They turned out so pretty and Easter-y! So, I am loving Pinterest and all the wonderful ideas that I get from it. During the week, we let the boys get into the bathtub with glow-in-the-dark sticks. They thought it was so cool to be in the dark while the water was glowing! They played in the tub for quite a while.

We also let the boys make colorful ice cubes. I filled up some ice trays and then the boys put drops of food coloring in each cube. I asked the boys to put only one drop in each cube, but Claytons little hands would squeeze the bottle and 3-4 drops would come out! So, his ice cubes were very "dyed". The next morning, we pulled them out of the freezer and dumped them into a tub of cold water. The loved to watch the colors mix with the water and create different patterns as they melted. I don't recommend letting the kids get into the water unless you do less food coloring or don't care if they come out green!We also took the kids swimming to the Clearfield Aquatics Center with Reese, Jaxson, and Landon. It is an indoor swimming pool and park. The kids had a blast playing in the water. The older kids enjoyed the small "whirlpool" pool and the slide. I love the fact that Cooper is tall enough to stand in all parts of the pool now, so I don't have to worry about it as much.
Clayton and Landon had a great time playing in the kiddie pool. Reese spent lots of time playing with Clayton! Landon kept going down the slide over and over again. Clayton spent most of his time playing with Cooper's snorkel mask. I took Landon and Clayton down the big slide a couple of times and they thought that was great!

The kids were hungry because we went to the pool right at noon when it opened. Clayton kept coming over to Jacqui to get warm and to eat fruit snacks and gold fish. We ended up leaving a little early because the kids were starving. It was alot of fun to spend time with them in the pool and to let them enjoy the water. On Friday, I took Cooper and Jaxson to the movie theater to see "The Chipmunks". We went to the Kaysville theater which has discounted tickets and concessions! We spent $12 total on the three of us, and that included drinks, popcorn, and candy. Yay!!! Cooper loves going to the movie theater, so I made sure we did that for Spring Break!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Eggs-Celent Coloring

Aunt Steph gave the boys a egg dye set for Easter this year. They were so excited to use it. We boiled bunches of eggs and then headed to Jacqui's for the annual "egg dyeing" event. We put the older kids at the table and the younger ones at the bar.
It was fun to watch the kids get creative with their eggs. Afterwards, Clayton ate three of his eggs! Gotta love boiled eggs and tiny colorful fingers!

Picts in Paradise

Cute Cousins! Tawni is always so nice and loving to Clayton! I wish he would reciprocate it back to her every once in a while!

Park Time

While we were up in Cache Valley, we were able to go to the park a couple of times. I got the boys some sand toys and they had a blast. I figured it was a good $5 investment since we will be visiting the park at least once a week this summer!
We also went to Willow Park where Jocie took our family pictures. The boys had a great time playing on all the equipment! Even Bryce had a fun time taking Clayton for a "motorcycle" ride!

Visit From Uncle Tyler

My little brother, Tyler, just got home from his two year mission in Guatemala. We have been so excited to see him since he lives in Texas with mom and dad. He came and visited us for a few days. I took the boys down to the airport to pick him up. Of course, we enjoyed our many trips up and down the escalator till we saw him. Cooper was so excited to see him and Clayton wasn't so sure at first. We came back to my house and had dinner that night with some of the Whettens. I made Frito Pie for everyone and it was nice to have Tyler back in our home. Clayton warmed up to him quickly and the boys had a great time playing with him. Clayton kept saying, "where's Uncle Tyler". The next day, we took the boys and Tyler and headed up to Cache Valley. We stopped at Grandma's and Grandpa's for a couple of hours. We went down to the barn to feed the cows, climb on the hay and take a few pictures! Afterwards, we went over to Paradise to stay at Jocelynn's for a few days.

While Tyler was here, we: froze at Ty's soccer game ( a storm moved in and the wind kicked up and it was so cold), we ate Texas Roadhouse baked potatoes (yum) , we went shopping into Logan like 4 times, we went to see "This Means War" in Brigham City, we consoled a "drunk" out in Paradise, and we spent lots of time visiting and just hanging out on the couch!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Second Hike of the Year

Last weekend, we thought it would be fun to take the kids on another hike. Last time we hiked, we ran into ice and snow and we weren't able to make it to the waterfall. Clayton has been talking about waterfalls and so we thought we would try a different trail this time.
Jacqui and Jared and their kids came with us this time. We went to a place called Waterfall Canyon up in Ogden. When we started the hike, it was pretty windy. The temperature was perfect. Cooper and Jaxson were running up ahead and we kept telling them to slow down or they would be tired....funny how parents seem to be right most of the time!
The hike was supposedly 2.6 miles up to the waterfall. About half way up, we stopped and ate lunch. We were all hungry and the kids were warm and tired. Baby Cohen was not happy with his cold bottle, so Jared took him and Landon home. The rest of us kept on trucking.The second part of the hike was the most difficult. It just climbed and climbed and never leveled out. Bryce carried Clayton on his shoulders for most of the hike. The kids enjoyed stopping along the river to throw rocks. For the most part, they did a really good job on a hard hike. When we reached the top, the waterfall was spraying down onto a bed of melting snow. It was a light waterfall and the kids had a great time playing in the snow and water. It was definitely worth the hike to the kids. They had a blast playing at the base of the waterfall. I took Clayton and started heading down the trail, so that the kids could play a little longer, and so I could get a head start. We told the kids that they needed to be careful when they started going down the trail. We also told Cooper and Jaxson to not get too far ahead of us. Well, they didn't listen and ended up way down the trail. Cooper twisted his ankle and had to sit and wait for us. Bryce took Clayton (who was very sleepy) down to the car. Jacqui and I took turns carrying Cooper on our backs, after he tweeked his ankle again.
We definitely got our exercise that day! I had a great time spending time with my family and friends. I also enjoyed watching the boys be so excited about the waterfall and snow. I am not the most avid hiker, but I keep telling myself that it is good for me. I've gone on more hikes in the last two weeks (2), then I have our whole marriage. Yeah to me!!