Friday, December 21, 2007

School-related Christmas festivities

Mrs. Meyer and Katie creating ornaments

Decorating a Christmas cookie with guppies (an off brand of Goldfish)

At Cooper's party today

Cooper and Mia

Cooper and Cade

Monday, December 17, 2007

No loss for words

Do you ever feel at a loss for the right words when someone you know is going through a tough time? I sometimes do -- nothing seems to adequately express the empathy or sympathy I feel.

I compiled this far-from-inclusive list of just some of the most beautiful words written to Steve and I the past week. This doesn't even include the supportive spoken words from others. We somehow have the world's most poetic, compassionate and giving friends and family members. These words are incredible gifts.

We stand ready to help with meals, errands or anything else. Just say the word. Your family really, really are in our prayers and our thoughts.

I’m here if you need anything.

I hope you can feel God’s loving arms around you.

We're pulling for you all and wish you strength during this tough time.

I know God is capable of things we can never begin to wrap our minds around.

Please let me know when I can do anything else. If you ever need to get away you know where I am.

I know you're not one to ask, but I don't want to bombard you with calls, so PLEASE let us know what we can do.

We are all connected in this world for a reason ... right now support, love and hope are surrounding you and your family.

I just want to give you a big hug.

We serve a God of healing – I hope you can both cling to that during this time. You’re both strong individuals, and your faith will bring you through this.

I'm sending positive vibes your way.

Know that you have friends that are here for you at a moment's notice.

I want you to consider me "on-call" for you starting right this minute.

I just want you to know that you guys are thought of all the time and we are praying each day for God's help and healing.

My prayers are going full throttle for all of you.

You are both in my thoughts and prayers, surrounding you all in healing light.

Stay positive, stay strong!

Your love for and devotion to one another has always been so apparent. That alone will get your through many dark periods in life.

We love you guys.

(I rediscovered this photo tonight while getting some images together for an upcoming Cub Scout project. Cooper was Harry Potter again for Halloween this year.)

Saturday, December 15, 2007


I'm keeping a blog for friends and family who want updates on sweet Steve's condition:

Monday, December 10, 2007

Youngest St. Nicholas I've ever seen

We enjoyed our Heritage Village visit this weekend. Because the park celebrates life in the late 19th century and early 20th century, there was no Santa Claus as we know him today. Instead, there was St. Nicholas in the gazebo, who looked to be about 18 or 20 (and not too happy to be there). In addition to visiting St. Nick, we toured some homes, listened to a choir and some bands and watched the costumed docents and volunteers cook, eat and visit. In the saloon, Cooper beat a Webelo Scout in a game of checkers while Katie stacked dominoes.

The kids and I had been to the park a few weeks ago as part of my Fodor's research. The PR lady gave us a great tour and let us ride the donkey-drawn carriage. She even let the Cooper & Katie sit on Nip & Tuck. For Katie, it was the next best thing to a pony ride.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Christmas card photo outtakes 2007

This year hasn't been much easier than last as far as getting a Christmas card photo. But we sure have had fun! (And don't you just love Katie's red patent leather shoes? She wants to wear them with everything, when she doesn't want to wear her pink cowgirl boots.)

Friday, December 07, 2007


  • Most importantly, Steve is having some health issues that worry us. Please include him in your prayers.
  • Katie and Cooper are enjoying the Christmas season. The Adolphus Neiman Marcus Christmas parade last Saturday was a great kick-off to a month of activities. We also had the Advent festival at church Sunday. We hope to attend the Candlelight event at Heritage Village this weekend and continue driving around in search of awesome light displays.
  • Katie's clavicle is officially healed, according to the most recent X-ray, and she's been cleared for playground activity. There's a reindeer with its head down in the front yard of a nearby house. Katie thinks it's sad "because it had to have a picture taken of its collar bone."
  • Cooper's Destination Imagination team has chosen its name -- the Titanic Finders. And its topic -- the Great Wall of China. Jackie, any fun tips or facts you want to send about the wall would be great! Another mom and I are taking the first-graders to a DI workshop tomorrow.
  • I've been buried in another Fodor's project, ignoring piles of laundry, stacks of papers, nonwork-related phone calls and e-mails and who knows what else.
  • In other Fodor's news, a brief review I wrote of Fearing's is online for a week or so. My last name is misspelled, though -- Damn. I've requested a correction.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007


Cooper woke up Thursday morning with his first loose tooth. He obsessed over it all day Thursday and just a little bit Friday. Then he excused himself from the morning assembly, marched to the nurse's office and asked her to pull it. (Katie and I were at the assembly, so after Katie noticed her big brother leaving, we just followed him out of the cafeteria.)

The nurse convinced him it wouldn't hurt too much or bleed too much, and then she pulled it. He was allowed to choose a tiny plastic treasure chest to hold the tooth. At home, we put the treasure chest in his Tooth Fairy pillow, then put the pillow under his bed pillow. He was thrilled to find four shiny quarters Saturday morning.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Celebrating with crazy hair

The Red Sox swept the World Series, as you probably already know. This was big news around here this morning, as Cooper is a huge Boston fan, dating back to our trip in April 2006. To celebrate, Cooper wore his favorite Red Sox shirt to school this morning.

It's also crazy hair/hat day at school, as part of Red Ribbon Week. Steve relied on his past crazy hair days (no school-sanctioned theme day required) to create this look for Cooper. He needed just some hairspray, a blow dryer and a patient subject.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Big weekend

Steve took a vacation day Friday and spent some time at school. He was one of a few dads to help with Pumpkin Math, a fun hour the first-grade teachers had planned. Steve worked with four kids, including Cooper, to estimate the weight of a pumpkin, estimate its circumference, count seeds, design the pumpkin's face and then carve the pumpkin.

After the 1-mile run Saturday morning

The four of us ran in the Gary Burns Fun Run (well, Katie was in a stroller) on Saturday. The Bledsoe team had at least 200 people, and our school won the spirit award and award for most participation.

Cooper and Steve went to a big Cub Scout event in McKinney, where Cooper created a bird house, shot a BB gun and did other scout sort of things. Their first camping trip is this weekend.

Steve sang a beautiful solo at both services Sunday. Our choir joined another UMC's choir and performed a Schubert Mass.

Before church Sunday

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Q&A with Cooper D

Cooper practices at his first chess tournament two weeks ago. He won 2 out of 5 games!

  • Favorite color: Red
  • Favorite food: Ice cream
  • Favorite song: "Use Your Words" by The Sippy Cups
  • Favorite show: Magic School Bus
  • Favorite movie: Return of the Jedi
  • Favorite book: Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire
  • Favorite drink: Apple juice
  • Favorite car: Baylen's monster trucks
  • Favorite friend: Cade
  • Favorite animal: Hippogriff
  • Favorite state: California
  • Favorite baseball team(s): Boston Red Sox and Frisco RoughRiders
  • Favorite comic book: Spiderman
  • Favorite magazine: Lego

Q&A with Katie

As answered this afternoon:

  • Favorite color: Pink
  • Favorite food: Maple syrup (Perhaps because we read If You Give a Pig a Pancake this morning?)
  • Favorite drink: Apple juice
  • Favorite car: Mommy's silver car
  • Favorite show: Super Readers (She means Super Why)
  • Favorite song: ABCs
  • Favorite animal: Pony
  • Favorite friend: Noe
  • Favorite book: Barnyard Dance

Monday, October 15, 2007

More from Mackinac

Arch Rock, a natural limestone formation, on the back side of the island

The beaches are rocky, and the views are beautiful.

Katie would jump right in if we let her. She loves the water.

One of the many colorful gardens on the island

Taking a break from our eight-mile bike ride around the island

Steve & I took a sunset cruise our first night there. The five-mile Mackinac Bridge, which is 50 years old this year, is behind us.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Pumpkin patch

Katie & I and Reese & Allison met Friday morning at a nearby pumpkin patch. It was Reese's 2nd birthday, with a Hello Kitty party to come.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Four months later ...

Some photos from our fabulous stay on Mackinac Island, Michigan! Steve and I celebrated our 13th anniversary, and the four of us plus Jim, Betty and Jim celebrated Cooper's 6th birthday and the Fourth of July together. Cooper and Katie want to return as soon as possible. I expect we'll go back in a few years -- it was super relaxing, beautiful, perfect weather plus all the ice cream and fudge you can eat.

The island is the "Land of the Great Turtle." This turtle was in our hotel lobby.

The island is in middle of Lake Huron, between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan.

For Cooper's birthday, we ate at The Woods, a restaurant run by the Grand Hotel.

The turtle was a popular photo spot.

We spent a few hours on the 4th at Fort Mackinac, where docents were in costume and a huge picnic dinner was served.

I think we all had at least one scoop of ice cream a day. Thankfully, there are lots of opportunities for biking and hiking!

This is one of the lookouts at the fort.

Spirit night

Katie's preschool had spirit night at Chuck E. Cheese yesterday. We sat with families from her class, ate and ran around. Steve had the tough job of keeping Katie off the playscape (or Habitrail, as he calls it), as we're still protecting her injury.

I don't really love Chuck E. Cheese. It's sensory overload for me -- the lights, sounds, smells, the mediocre pizza, all the people, the animatronic mouse with fading, unraveling fur. And a few years ago my wallet was stolen from my purse during a birthday party there. (We were celebrating Jeff's 50th -- he reasoned he'd never had a big deal party when he was little, so he made up for it that year. The thiefs went through a McDonald's drive-thru twice and then tried to buy a big-screen TV with one of my credit cards.)

Cooper and Katie, of course, love it -- especially the lights, sounds, pizza and the animatronic mouse.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

An A-J reunion of sorts

I worked at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal for three and a half years. About two weeks before I left, Stacey began in the sports department. I vaguely recall her being there -- mostly because of her curly hair and the relative novelty of a woman in the A-J sports department.

A few years later, after I had been at the Morning News for a while, Stacey and I started working together on the CCI pagination project. We learned we shared a number of friends and loved discussing the legends of the A-J (some of whom are still there, Stacey reports).

Then, she moved on to the Washington Post, where she works with the two Michaels (Taylor and Ramey), also from our CCI project. I last saw her two years ago -- until this weekend. A group of us met for dinner -- all of us Lubbock exes except her friend from junior high. Three of us are NT Daily alums, too. It was great to catch up with everyone. Beth is now a Morning News reporter. John, who I worked with on the Regional desk, has a fancy job with NEC. And John's wife Caren, who I didn't meet until Dallas, is with JCPenney. (Caren is tall and apparently handy to have around, especially during confrontations!)

Stacey, Caren, me, Beth and Matt (John left early for a camping trip)

Monday, October 08, 2007


Cooper was MVP of Saturday's soccer game. It's always a surprise to the chosen player, but the parents know in advance -- we get a schedule at the beginning of the season. Each boy gets a turn. The MVP rotation coincides with the snack rotation, so I'll bet one of those boys will catch on soon.

When they do win, it's as if they've won an Oscar or the Heisman. So much jubilation! Our coach does a wonderful job praising the MVP and selecting specific qualities from the game to highlight. Cooper was singled out for his great defensive action. He is an awesome, scrappy defender, taking it personally each time a goal is scored, though there are no goalies yet (that happens in U09, I think). He doesn't really try to score goals, leaving that to his teammates. He's been that way since he started at age 4.

The game Saturday was messy, as you can see from the boys' white shorts. It rained the first half, and all those cleats beat up the field. As Katie would say, they were a messy mess. (More than one mom has remarked that a dad who doesn't do laundry obviously selected this season's uniform.)