September 26, 2005

What Are You Doing This Halloween?

Well, our family will be involved in the ordinary Halloween activities of course. From school parties to our annual block party to the kid's favorite, trick-or-treating. However, in addition to all of the fun stuff, I think it's important to take advantage of Halloween night in another way.....Trick-or-treating for Unicef. I remember doing this every year when I was a child. Our BYF (Baptist Youth Fellowship) group would canvas the local neighborhoods in hopes of filling our orange boxes with as much change as possible. People were always so kind and gave something. In the case of Unicef, every penny really does count. Did you know that:

  • $30 provides lifesaving antibiotics for a child suffering from pneumonia.
  • $1immunizess a child against the deadly disease measles.
  • $2.50 buys basic school supplies for one child.
  • $10 provides enough high-protein biscuits to feed three hungry children for one month.
  • $150 pays for a small well to provide clean water for an entire village.

Isn't it just amazing? For less than the price of a can of pop you can help a child with pneumonia? If you would like to participate in this years trick-or-treat for Unicef campaign, I know they'd be grateful. It couldn't be easier to do either. Just visit their website, request your free box(s) and collect. They also provide simple instructions for forwarding the money to them. In addition, they even go so far as to tell you what to say! How much easier could it be?

Another worthwhile cause is collecting used eye glasses for Sight Night, a project that donates glasses to countries in need. Having worn glasses myself since the age of seven (27 years), I couldn't imagine having to go without them. The sight night website provides easy to follow instructions to request the necessary free material.

We'll let you know how we do. Happy Collecting!

September 24, 2005

What Have I Done to Myself?'s never an enjoyable experience. This fact is especially true when you're the parent and you're the one dishing it out. I absolutely hate to punish our boys. I realize, however, that it is a necessary part of parenthood & childhood. They have to realize that there are set rules that we require them to follow. Our "rules" are quite simple:

  1. Don't stand in the middle of the road
  2. Don't eat worms
  3. Say thank you & please
  4. Tell us where you're going

Now, most recently Tater Tot (5 years old) broke rule #4. He asked to go to a friends house (3 doors down) and play. I told him he could go. Then, 30 minutes later when I needed to go somewhere, I went to get him and no one was home. I knew immediately where he'd his other friends house a few houses in the other direction. I went over there and my hunch was confirmed. He's been told time and time again to let me know if he's not going to be where he initially told me he'd be. I even asked him what he did wrong and he told me exactly. Therefore, he knew what he'd done was wrong. This required a punishment, there was just no getting around it. I grounded him for the rest of the day (it was 2:00 when this happened). When they're grounded that means they're not allowed to step foot outside of the house unless it is on fire.

Keeping this in mind, I will digress to yesterday when Darrin and I grounded our oldest son, Bubby, for two days. He was told specifically not to do something and did it anyway. Of course being the drama king he is, he tried to wiggle his way out of being punishment every way possible, to no avail though.

Now, just sit back and picture our house this weekend. Hubby works until 6:00pm both Saturday and Sunday. I, on the other hand, am the one home with two confined boys for the weekend! I am about to pull my hair out! I love them dearly but what have I done to myself? What was I thinking? I know they need to be punished but why do I have to be? They have been right on my heels all day. I go into the bath room, sit down, look up and there they are staring at me. I'm thinking there's got to be a better way. How do I get the point across that we expect them to follow the rules we have set for them and keep my sanity at the same time? Who came up with grounding anyway? I sure would like to talk to 'em for a minute or ten.

September 18, 2005

"But you've already made the cupcakes!"

Okay, so it's the day before my youngest turns 5 years old. He's sitting on my lap and we're just cuddling and chatting. He's just so precious. I'm having a hard dealing with the fact that he's growing up. I look at him gently and with all sincerity say, "I don't want you to turn five. I just want you to stay four." He makes one of his smirking faces and replies, "Sorry, but you've already made the cupcakes....I have to." Already made the cupcakes? Now if it were only that easy to keep him four, I'd destroy those things in a flash!

Our "Tater Tot" (his nickname from almost day one) is chock full of "Taterisms." I'm never surprised what comes out of that child's mouth. For instance....."Do you know who the boss of all of us is," he asked. "No," I replied. He matter-of-factly said, "GOD!" Well, I guess I sort of knew that but just never really thought of him as the "boss."

I recently asked him if he had blown out a candle that I had lit and sat on the stove. He said no, he didn't. I proceeded to ask Garret, my oldest son. His reply was the same. Okay, then who was it? The dog? Tater thought a moment and said, "Well, if it wasn't Bubby, I guess it must have been me." He's not directly admitting to doing it, therefore he avoids getting in trouble, right?

Every morning when I tell him to get dressed for school (preschool) he wants to know if he can wear "cool clothes" or "dumb clothes." To him "cool clothes" consist of basketball type shorts and any shirt that has a number on it (see picture). "Dumb clothes," on the other hand, are say khaki shorts and a non-numbered shirt. And, if he's going outside to play, it's mandatory that he wear his "fast shoes." Oh no, ordinary tennis shoes will not due and sandals are out of the question. He has to have a certain pair of tennis shoes that have been deemed, by him, as "fast shoes."

He, his dad and older brother wrestle almost every evening at some point. If he finds that he's not getting equal time "on top" or isn't happy with the outcome of a match he breaks out the "arm kit pooties." This all started a while ago when he discovered that daddy has hair under his arms. How gross he thought at the time. Then, dad would give him arm pit cooties to get a rise out of him. Well, now he retaliates by smirking, pulling his arm into his shirt and slowly taking it out the bottom of his shirt. Then, after a brief pause, he does it......he lifts that arm straight up to the sky and comes at you with his "arm kit pooties." (it got a little twisted around in his translation huh?)

This week we're dog sitting for some friends who are on vacation in London. We have two Yorkies of our own and now, for a week, we have three. She's as sweet as can be and we all just love her. Anyway, while walking the dogs the other day he came up with an excellent idea, or so he thought anyway. "Hey, mom" he said, "I know what we can do.....let's buy some paper and write 'If you're leaving bring your dog to our house' on it. Then, we could put them up everywhere. How about that?" So, now we have a little entrepreneur on our hands. I always knew this kid was smart.

He's a very thoughtful boy too. He has told his dad on several occasions that when he gets big he's going to work for him. When asked why he said, "so he can spend more time at home." Awwww, isn't that just precious? One of his favorite foods to eat is "China Knees" (chinese). This seems so strange to me since during my pregnancy with him I developed my dislike for it. This little gift that God saw fit to bless us with five years ago is truly that.......a precious gift. Thanks a million, boss!

September 16, 2005

Tater Tot's "school" work

The work that Tater's doing at preschool has finally started coming home. Each day I eagerly check in his backpack anticipating a new creation. Finally, today I found not one, but three! I was ecstatic to say the least. I got them out, oohed and aahed over them. Tater then began to explain each one to me. There's no way I "could just look and them and know what was going on," he said. I was more than happy to oblique. He's only been a member of his "class" (of 11 children) for three weeks now. However, he's already keenly aware that his teacher knows everything and mommy just doesn't have a clue. I'm used to that coming from Bubby, but it's all new again coming from Tater. For the past 4 3/4 years I've known all there is to know, as far as Tater was concerned anyway. It's sort of hard giving that up now, you know? But all of the little babies have to leave the nest sometime I suppose. At least mine is only away for 3 hours a day for now. Next year, when they're both gone all day, this nest may be a lot cleaner but nowhere near as happy!

We're off to Gatti Town

This evening we took the boys to Gatti Town. We're usually partial to Chuck E. Cheese's but, since we'd never tried the Town, we thought we'd give it a try. They offer an all you can eat buffet which would have been really nice had the food been better. The dining areas are pretty cool though. You can pick from three huge rooms. One is a normal diner style room. Another is like a theatre but with tables that face a huge screen. Tonight they were showing the Incredibles. The other room has a TV theme. We got to enjoy none other than SpongeBob Square Pants, which is the boys all time favorite, while we ate (the second time). Then, you have to purchase a game "card." They don't use tokens, which is much easier I think. The one major advantage of the Town were the bumper cars. The boys rode them twice at $2.00 a pop, per child. I'm glad we gave it a try and took the mystery out of it. But, it's official (3 to 1) from now on we'll stick with the mouse! For more pics go to flickr.

September 13, 2005

Open House

This week we attended Bubby's school's Open House. I always look forward to this evening. This year they had arranged for all of the children to go to a multi-media room (with adult supervision) and watch a movie. It was so nice to be able to actually hear what the teacher was saying instead of tending to the boys. We learned all about their daily routine and what was expected of them. Now, when Bubby comes home and tells us about someone having to "pull a frog," we'll know that's not a good thing! It's his teacher's discipline method actually. You start the day with five frogs. For the first infraction you "pull a frog." If a student has to pull the fifth and final frog, it's off to the principal's office. Ouch!

There was a nice ice cream social afterwards which was nice. We were able to meet some of Garrett's new friends and say "hi" to a few from last year as well during this time. Their new $11 million dollar school is wonderful by the way. All of the kids are so proud of it as well. We're looking forward to an exciting, fun-filled year of second grade.

September 11, 2005

Remembering 9/11/01

As hubby and I sat this evening and watched "The Flight That Fought Back" on the Discovery channel, we were both touched. We reflected on that fateful day four years ago. We weren't together when the tragic events took place. He had left early that morning for a job interview in Pittsburgh, PA. I had awoke early as well to get me and both boys ready for WISH, a women's bible study I attended. We had just been dismissed from our worship time to go to our chosen classes. Our class finished our introductions and began to pray when someone gently knocked on the door and asked us to come back out. It was about 9:30 at this time. We had no idea the horrible news we were about to hear. We were told that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I think at that point most of us thought it was a freak accident. We immediately began to pray for all those aboard and their families. Soon after we were informed of the second plane. We all knew then something was terribly wrong. I wanted nothing more than to hold my boys tight and to know that hubby was okay at that point. We immediately left and went straight home. The boys were only four and two at that time. What did I tell them? How could I explain how upset I was? I just remained quiet during the ten minute ride home, reflecting. I had no way of getting in touch with hubby. He wasn't flying that day and was no where near an airport, but that didn't matter that day. I just wanted to hear his voice. As I sat in front of the tv watching the events unfold, I was numb. This was the U.S., how could this happen? I had never felt threatened in my own country before.

When the fourth and final plane, flight 93, went down in Shanksville, PA, I was especially touched. After all, we lived in Morgantown, WV at that time. That was only 85 miles from Shanksville. I first thanked God that my family and I had been spared and then immediately lifted up those 40 people on board. I'm going to list a link that was on the movie this evening. So much has been said about the planes that hit the Trade Centers and The Pentagon. This flight was important as well. After all, they saved countless lives with their actions.

Happy Birthday, Tater Tot!

On Saturday, Sept. 10th, a crew of pirates washed ashore at our house. They came to help us celebrate Tater Tot's fifth birthday. Everyone had a swashbuckling time! We had good grub too....Octopus (weineers cut and boiled to look like them anyway), worms (of the gummy variety), multi-colored fish (gold fish), and to top it off crocodile blood (Sprite with frozen cherry kool-aid ice cubes). He had a little trouble blowing out the candles of his pirate cake though (thanks to mom's trick candles!).We made "oceans in a bottle" and spy glasses. Then, they went on an exhaustive treasure hunt to find their loot. I can't believe my baby is five already, time truly does fly. Happy Birthday, Tater Tot!

September 9, 2005

Newspaper article about my brother.....

My family and I are originally from a sleepy little town in the hills of West Virginia called Oceana. There are no stop lights but there are two stop signs. That's how small it is. It was a great place to grow up though. We left our doors unlocked and everybody knew everybody else. We knew all the kids in our school by name. No mega schools there, thank goodness. Friday night football was a big deal too. All the things that make a small town a great place, we had.

There's a small newspaper in our county, The Independent Herald, that is published weekly. It covers all the important goings on in our scores, church news, birthdays, etc. So, when you make it into the paper you know you've done something right. Well, guess what? My big brother, James Lee Roy Blake Cook has made it into this weeks edition! I'll stop right there and let you read it for yourself at this link. In addition, here's the link to their home page. I do want to add one more thing......I am very proud of my big bro!

September 6, 2005

My baby's gone

Today I experienced a first. In the 8 1/2 years that I've been a mom this has never happened before. I knew the day was coming, eventually, but today? I really just wasn't ready for it.

This morning after sending my eight year old off to school I had to get my baby ready for school! Okay, it's only preschool, but still! He's going to be gone five days a week from 9:00 am - noon. On Tuesdays, he stays until 2:00! It's so strange having the house all to myself. I'm sure I'll quickly adjust and maybe even learn to enjoy it.

To make matters worse, Tater Tot was a little clingy when it was time for me to leave. Bubby all but shoved me out the door his first day of preschool, but not Tater. He kept asking me to stay "just a little longer." How could I refuse those pleading brown eyes? After finding his "cubbie," taking tons of pictures, doing a few puzzles and playing with play-do, he was finally ready to let me leave. As I walked down the long hall to the exit door, I kept looking back. I kept expecting him to come running after me. Thankfully, however, he didn't. I cound't help it, after all he is my baby.

I'm leaving in about 20 minutes to go pick him up. I can't wait to see what he has to tell me about his new world.

September 4, 2005

Praying for Katrina's Victims

Our family went to church this morning for our normal worship service. However, the Lord had laid something very special on our Pastor's heart. After the hymns and praise choruses were sang, he spoke about Hurricane Katrina's devastation. The congregation then prayed silently for 15 minutes. It was amazing. I could feel the Lord's presence and knew he was listening intently. As our pastor said, "Man will not be able to save themselves, only God will be able to do that." I hope you remember Katrina's victims in your daily prayers. If you haven't helped in some capacity yet, but feel led to do so, please don't hesitate. Give all you possibly can.

For those who have people missing in the wake of Katrina: SATERN - The Salvation Army's Team Emergency Radio Network has been activated. To send a health and welfare request regarding family and friends you otherwise are unable to locate click here.

September 3, 2005

Thank You for Giving to the Lord

This is one of my favorite songs ever. It instantly brings to mind images of my grandparents. This song could have been written specifically about my Mamaw, Lucille, and Papaw, Otis. Before his death in May of this year, my grandfather gave all he could to everyone he could. Even when/if he didn't really have it, he would manage to share what he could. My grandmother is still doing the same, just as she always has. I only hope that as my life draws to an end, I can look back and apply this song to my life as well. I dedicate this to my precious grandparents.

"Thank You For Giving to The Lord "
(Words and Music by Ray Boltz)

I dreamed I went to heaven and
You were there with me
We walked upon the streets of gold
Beside the crystal sea.
We heard the angels singing
Then someone called your name.
You turned and saw this young man
And he was smiling as he came.

And he said, "Friend you may not know me now"
And then he said, "But wait"
You used to teach my Sunday School
When I was only eight.
And every week you would say a prayer
Before the class would start.
And one day when you said that prayer
I asked Jesus in my heart."

Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave.

Then another man stood before you
And said, "Remember the time
A missionary came to your church
And his pictures made you cry.
You didn't have much money
But you gave it anyway.
Jesus took the gift you gave
And that's why I am here today."

One by one they came
Far as the eye could see
Each life somehow touched
By your generosity.
Little things that you had done
Sacrifices made.
Unnoticed on the earth
In heaven now proclaimed.

And I know up in heaven
You're not supposed to cry.
But I am almost sure
There were tears in your eyes.
As Jesus took your hand
And you stood before the Lord.
He said, "My child look around you.
Great is your reward."

(Chorus twice)
© Copyright 1988 Gather Music/ASCAP All rights reserved.

To hear a small portion of this song performed by this amazing song writer/singer go to Once at his site click on the song title, "Thank You." Then click on the button beside the title. Enjoy!

The Broken Chain

I saw this poem in a Best to You catalog that I received today. It's such a beautiful piece of poetry and I wanted to share it. It immediately brought precious thoughts of my Papaw.

The Broken Chain

We little knew that morning
God was going to call your name.
In life we loved you dearly.
In death we do the same.
It broke our hearts to lose you,
you did not go alone;
for part of us went with you,
the day God called you home.
You left us peaceful memories,
your love is still our guide;
and though we cannot see you,
you are always at our side.
Our family chain is broken
and nothing seems the same,
but as God calls us one by one,
the chain will link again.


Where's the gas?

It started two days ago, August 31st. My mom and I were at Wal-Mart and I got a call from Darrin telling me to be sure and stop on the way home and fill up my car. What? Is he nuts? He went on to tell me places were running out of gas! Sure enough, I got to Sam's to fill up and there was a line four cars deep at every pump. Even though the price per gallon was $3.45 that didn't stop them from lining up. Since I had 3/4 of a tank I really just didn't see the need to fill totally up. Now, two days later, I'm down to 1/2 a tank and most gas stations around our area are OUT of gas! The ones that do have gas are getting over $4.45 a gallon. I never dreamed. Guess I should have listened to my hubby, huh? Needless to say I'm cutting way back on my running around until this shortage is over.