Monday, December 31, 2007

Resolve & Reflect

As 2007 draws to a close, I've chosen six goals for myself for the coming year (and, of course, it's another great excuse to scrapbook!). I hope these goals will help me achieve a healthier life in mind, body and spirit. The first page lists my resolutions and the second page will be left blank until the end of 2008, so that I can reflect on my progress in each area.

My resolutions for the new year include:
1. Invest in friendships...old & new (I need to be more deliberate about this!)
2. Do something creative every day (even if it's only for 5 minutes, I need that renewing energy that being artistic/creative gives me.)
3. Make healthy choices...meals & exercise (I want to change my's not just about the scale, but about feeling strong and healthy and setting small goals over the long-haul.)
4. Read the Bible in one year (I've been a Christian since I was 5 years old, but I've never read the entire Bible!)
5. Learn more about photography (this is a fun new hobby, but I really don't know much about it other than point-and-shoot, and I see so many cool photo ideas I'd love to be able to replicate...perhaps I'll take a class, get lessons from a friend, get a book on it.)
6. Be the best wife and mom I can be (this will be a goal for the rest of my life, but I want to be more conscious of giving 100% as consistently as I can to support Keith and Maddie in becoming the people God meant them to be!)

"resolve for 2008"
(click on photos to see close-ups)

"reflect on 2008"

Happy New Year, everyone! I love you all! :-)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Blanket of White--for Dana

Today we witnessed a very unexpected sight...a blanket of white! I looked out the window and all of a sudden it began hailing like crazy and then snowing! In Oregon, there's no telling how short-lived an event like this may be, so I ran and grabbed my camera before all the proof was gone...

P.S.--This post is dedicated to my sister, Dana, who is living in London and will be SO JEALOUS to see that we had snow! She's the snowbunny of the family, while I'm the one who gets anxious and panicky just at the *thought* of having to drive anywhere in it! I'm perfectly happy, though, watching it from a warm and cozy living room. :-)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas-Round 2

Here are some pics from the past few days of Christmas get-togethers. On Christmas Eve we went to church and then over to my Aunt Shauna's house with all the Cook relatives. We had dinner, opened gifts for Maddie and then had a rousing gift card exchange, "white elephant" style--where you can steal/trade other people's gift cards. It's a fun new tradition we started last year and people are getting good about picking a variety of gift cards...from REI to a chocolate shop to Home Depot to Victoria's Secret! :-)

On Christmas Day I made a special breakfast for Keith, Maddie and my parents and then we opened our stockings, which is one of my favorite parts of the holidays. Later that afternoon we headed to Uncle Barry and Aunt LeeAnn's house for the next big holiday meal and to hang out with the fam.

my grandma Marion and me

my sweet hubby :-)

Doesn't Maddie look so grown up in her dress?

Silly girl...she was apparently showing off her break-dancing moves! What a ham!

All of a sudden she's into baby dolls...oh, and cars! I guess she's trying to keep herself balanced.

The Knopf's, our family friends for 30+ years, had this sleigh in their living room and Maddie totally fell in love with it!

My Uncle Barry with Maddie and her cousin Bridger, who is only 3 months younger, but outgrew her long ago and even has 6 teeth! What an overachiever! :-) He's such a sweet boy.

Faces of Maddie

Maddie has become very expressive lately, both verbally and with her facial expressions. Sometimes she comes up with new ones all on her own that we've never shown her, like this one...

the "oh my goodness gracious!" look

followed by this one: "that was pretty cute and clever of me, huh?"

then this "aren't I hilarious?" cheezy grin

and finally the "I know you have my picture on that camera of yours right there, so let me see!"

Monday, December 24, 2007

Walking is SOOOO Last Week!

If you've been following my blog, you've read that our little Madeline learned to walk this week! What a big girl! Of course, as we are still learning, she has a mind of her own and some days she'll practice walking all day and other days she's all Jello legs and refuses to do it! It's totally up to her.

So apparently learning to walk just wasn't adventure enough and now she's on to CLIMBING! A couple seconds after taking this picture, Maddie actually *stood up* on the box! Oh dear, this is where life starts getting crazy for mom!

Ahhh, the joy of discovery! :-)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Eve #1

Since September, my sister Dana and her husband Travis have been living in London while Dana attends the London School of Economics for her master's degree. We miss them both terribly! Lucky for us, Dana was able to fly home and spend this past week with us, so we had our family Christmas Eve a bit early this year! It was a wonderfully relaxing change of pace! Here's the whole family at my parents' house last night... (click on any picture to enlarge it)

3 generations of Cook ladies :-)

Lisa, Keith and Madeline (almost 14 months old!)

Maddie loved her new car from Nana!

Cook family stockings...even one for Travis, who had to stay back in London. :-(

Maddie with her favorite Aunt Dana

Getting ready to practice walking again! Yesterday she was able to balance on the couch like this, then take off across the room and even catch her balance and change directions mid-stride!
Tomorrow we'll celebrate Christmas Eve with all the relatives on the Cook side of the family at my Aunt Shauna's house, then again with the family on Christmas Day at my Aunt LeeAnn's house. I'll be sure to post more pictures!

Merry Christmas everyone! :-)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Little Lady

This picture may not look like much, but I love what it portrays. Maddie is on a big learning streak right now and is soaking up anything new we show her. She got this baby doll play set from two of my aunts and uncles for her birthday. They just sat in the living room for a couple weeks, then she finally discovered them and now "Baby" is her new favorite toy! She gives Baby big hugs throughout the day. She pushes Baby in the stroller. She loops her arm under the bar and carries Baby in her carseat (too cute!). Baby is totally outfitted with all the necessary gear...she even has her own playpen, as you can see in the background. In this pic, my sister Dana was showing Maddie how to feed Baby food with a spoon and Maddie was very precise about getting the spoon perfectly in Baby's mouth. (Now, if only she was so precise when she fed herself!) This last thing is probably a total fluke, but for a long time now, whenever Maddie is seated in a carseat or highchair, she crosses her feet like a little lady...check out Baby's feet!! :-)
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Friday, December 21, 2007

First Steps

A day or two ago, Maddie took her first real steps! She's a perfectionist, so she's been waiting for just the right time to show off her skills. :-) Now, with just a couple days of practice, she can balance on her own and walk between Keith and me when we sit about 4-5 feet away from each other! She's super proud of herself...and we are too! Tonight we used the phone as a motivation tool and boy was it effective! Yay Madeline!!! You're getting to be such a big girl.
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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Traditions

Today marked an annual Christmas tradition...meeting Alli at Starbucks to indulge in yummy treats and exchange gifts...and, in recent years, the joys of wrangling kids in the process! Here are some pics of our cutie pie kiddos.

Alli with Ava...check out those legs on Little Miss Santa! :-)

Maddie has been enchanted with babies lately. She was dying to get down on Ava's level and pinch her sweet cheeks--Ava was getting a little anxious about that and was whimpering for someone to save her!

I bought Macy two of my favorite kids chapter books from the Junie B. Jones series. Macy is such a good reader and she dove right in!

Not only are Ava's Christmas booties adorable, I just had to get a close-up of those thighs! Oh, if only my own thighs could be considered "cute" in a similar state! :-)

This was at the end of our time together and you know how hard it is to get three young 'ens to all look good in a picture! It was so much fun to see friends and have some girl time today. Thanks Alli, Macy and Ava! Love you! :-)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Fend for yourself!

Monday @ 5:45pm--Rustling sounds heard in the kitchen. Parents peek in on briefly unsupervised 1-year-old. Pantry door wide open. Cracker box opened. Maddie chomping away. Apparently the girl is *starving to death* and she took mealtime into her own hands! HA!!
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Sunday, December 16, 2007

In Loving Memory

Today, December 16th, marks the 3 month anniversary of the stillbirth of our precious son, Nicholas Allen Frank. I had the pleasure of carrying him in my womb for almost 6 months and every day was cherished. Although I will probably always yearn for more time with him here on earth, I have peace that he never had to suffer and will spend eternity (right from the start!) in heaven with our Lord. We will never know exactly what happened, but our doctor did find out that I had a blood clot develop in my placenta, which caused a partial cut-off of blood, nutrients and oxygen between me and the baby. Eventually his heart just stopped beating. A random and very rare occurrence, especially that late into a pregnancy. Although the daily heartache has subsided, little daily events sometimes trigger the grief again, and of course anniversaries are tender times. But the Lord is healing our hearts and strengthening our souls, urging us to depend on Him even when His ways are not always understood.

We love you, angel boy! silently born on 9.16.07 * 12.6 ounces, 10.75 inches

This is a memory box I made for Nicholas, which includes his actual handprints and footprints which were pressed into clay.

This memorial stone will eventually become part of a water feature/landscaping in our backyard.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Look Ma, No Hands!

As I sat here checking my email, Maddie was quietly playing with craft supplies at my feet. I looked down at her and *BAM* she was standing independently! Super shocker!! Luckily I had my camera next to me and a few seconds later she did it again, so I captured these shots. Of course, she was so thrilled with her new discovery that she stood up about 5 more times after that too! Oh little girl, I bet walking is in your near future! :-)

get ready...

get set...


There you have it, ladies and gentlemen...SHE'S UP!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Snapshots of Life

I've been taking photos of Madeline every day during the month of December, to make into a mini scrapbook album. Here are a couple cute ones I thought I'd share...