Saturday, June 29, 2013

dear baby: 31 weeks

Sweet little Lauren,

At 31 weeks, you're 17 inches long (near your birth length!) and around 3.5 pounds already.  I wonder if you might be bigger, just based on how strong your movements are.  You are squirming constantly and some of your movements are big enough to catch me off guard a little bit.  I love feeling (and watching) you move, because it means you're doing well in there.  Sorry to tell you, though, that it's about to get too crowded to dance around as much as you've been doing.

Already the size of a pineapple, you're now starting your final growth spurt and your brain and nerves are busy developing.  All five of your senses are working, your digestive tract is almost mature, and your lungs now inflate properly.  Your fingernails and toenails are fully formed, and you're drinking/peeing up to 1/2 liter of amniotic fluid per day.

You and Daddy are in a race right now to see what happens first - your entrance into the world, or the completion of our house.  Either way, we are SO excited to meet you and welcome you into our family!

family fun!

With Wesley's wedding came some fun pre-wedding festivities, plus more family in town.

The rehearsal dinner was at the park, which worked perfectly for Collin and Abbie Rae.

They had a blast playing with Uncle Jadon!

We also had a fun morning at the park.  Grandpa Jeff and Grandma Susan brought a new rig for Collin - a miniature version of his gator.  He loves it!

This guy sure is lucky to have so many people who love him!

Wes and Bailee's wedding

Ryan's brother Wes got married yesterday!  We got all spiffied up for the event.

Are my guys handsome, or what?!

Collin and Abbie Rae had a very big job as ring bearer and flower girl!  Here they're waiting for the wedding to start.

Collin carried a sign that said "here comes the bride" and Abbie carried a basket of flower petals.

They weren't impressed by the large number of people standing between them and the suckers that were waiting for them at the far end of the aisle, but they were totally adorable doing their thing.

We were especially proud of our little mister and his fantastic attitude throughout the wedding festivities!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

29 months

Collin Cooper is 29 months old today!

Holding steady at 29 pounds, he's growing taller, but he's still a peanut.  His lack of weight gain has nothing to do with his food consumption, because he seems to be a bottomless pit, but rather with his pace of life.  Running and jumping and being a busy toddler burns major calories!  Of all the little boys in the world, how is it that we were blessed with such a cool kiddo?!  Seriously, he is so fun and interesting!

Creativity is a very common theme in Collin's day.  He loves to pretend and he's always elaborate with his imaginative play.  We spend a large portion of our day "fixing" and "working on" things.  Sometimes we use real tools, sometimes we're working on a real item, and sometimes it's all just pretend!  Collin is developing quite a repertoire of sound effects to go along with his fixing.  We also pretend a lot about sports, mostly baseball and golf, plus cooking and yardwork.  Collin has always been a hard-working boy, and his pretend arena is no different.

Collin continues to impress us with his memory and ability to learn quickly.  Just this week he told us a story about something that happened after his surgery, which was 4 months ago!  He catches small details from conversations that happen around him, and remembers what he's told.  It's important that we're hyper-aware of what he hears, because he'll notice and remember!

This week has been rocking Collin's construction-loving world, since he's spent a pretty substantial amount of time helping with dirt work for our new house.  He knows all the major pieces of equipment and describes what they do.  His favorite is the excavator -- "scoop out dirt, pour in dump truck."

Collin is detail-oriented and very organized.  He lines his construction equipment up in the same order every time he's done playing, all facing the same way.  Everything has a place, and Collin isn't about to leave something in the wrong spot.  Straightening things out seems to have a calming effect on him, almost as if tidying up has a sense of urgency we don't realize.  The other day we were headed upstairs when he said, "Uh oh, forgot to close door on big red barn!  Better fix it!"  He was much happier to go upstairs after the barn door had been closed.

Collin also really likes to play with toys with wheels (cars, trucks, motorcycles, construction equipment...), read books (he doesn't really have a specific favorite book right now - he just likes them all), do puzzles, and run around like a crazy guy doing silly things to make people laugh.

Music is becoming an interest of Collin's.  He likes to play his recorder and can turn anything into a pretend guitar.  He also likes to sing into his invisible microphone.  He turns it into a real show - "jumping on stage" and clearing his throat before he performs, then jumping back off as we clap for him.  His favorite songs are You Are My Sunshine, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (the song he sings to us at night), Five Little Ducks, Old MacDonald (which he calls E-I-O), Humpty Dumpty, and Five Green & Speckled Frogs.

As he gets older, Collin is becoming more and more comfortable with people.  He probably won't say "hi" when someone greets him, but if he has a minute to absorb the conversation first, he's likely to join in.  He definitely has his favorite people, which is really sweet.  "I really like" is a very common phrase used to describe people - "Go to Ethan's house?  I really like Ethan!"

With close family and friends, Collin talks constantly.  His speech continues to improve and he's becoming easier to understand.  The trickiest times are when he's excited or thinks something is funny, because that's when he's most likely to speak really quickly and be hard to follow.  He uses pretty good grammar and is really getting the hang of pronouns.  It's easy to notice the complexity of the English language when hearing it from a toddler's perspective...  "Mommy, you and me go?" "Yeah buddy, you and I are going."  "No Mommy, not me and you.  You and me!"

Always loving and affectionate, Collin loves to give hugs and kisses before he goes buh-bye.  He has great manners, even saying "excuse me" to his puppies and inanimate objects around the house.  He actually said "excuse me towel" yesterday when he scooted a towel aside to open a cabinet. :-)  He almost always remembers to say "no thank you" and he's getting good at saying "bless you" when someone sneezes.

Don't let the serious face in these pictures fool you - that's just the little mister demonstrating his ability to avoid smiling at the camera. :-)  He's a super happy kiddo!

We are so in love with our little guy and can't imagine life without him.  Every month keeps getting better and better!  We are blessed.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

we're building a house!

'Tis the season for big projects!  In addition to growing a baby, we're also building a house. :-)

We purchased 2.5 acres to build on.  This is the gorgeous place we'll be calling home.

 This picture was taken Sunday as a before shot.

After checking out our property, Daddy and Collin did a practice run in the backhoe.

Little dude loves his construction equipment!

Yesterday was the official groundbreaking!

Daddy ran the bobcat

while Collin and Mr. Dave ran the backhoe.

Collin was in heaven!!!

Little helper was happy to climb down into the hole

and use the "measure tape" to check the depth.

Of course he also spent time getting dirty. :-)

Amazing what a difference a day makes!

Can't wait to watch this process over the next few months!

Monday, June 24, 2013


These days, Collin is really into pretending.  He works through entire scenarios, and I've mentioned before that he's very thorough in his pretending...

"Mani, need help me?  No find my screw.

No see it?  Better get my flashlight.

See it?  Right there under couch.

Have to reeeeeeach!"

He almost had Grandma convinced that she should lift the couch so he could reach his screw.  I came into the room to see what was going on, and he told me the whole story.  I said, "Collin, is it a real screw or pretend?"  And he said, "pretend."  Ha! :-)

Another way he likes to pretend is with his own identity.

"Mommy, I not Collin.  I elephant."

He'll answer questions about himself, based upon his identity of the moment:  what he eats, what sound he makes, where he sleeps, what color he is, etc.

His favorite identities to assume:  sleepy baby, elephant, snake, monkey, bunny rabbit, lion, and owl.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

the fountain

Several weeks ago, Collin and I were at the park while the crew was getting this fountain started for the season.  Now we have to check the fountain out every time we visit this particular park! :-)

(It's such a bummer when I almost capture a great picture, but something is weird about it...)

Today Collin was really into splashing.
"Mommy, be ok I splash splash splash in water?"

"Mommy, ready?"

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day Fun!

Let me just start by being honest:  I did a phenomenal job picking a daddy for my precious kiddos! :-)
Ryan is a gem, and he is especially fabulous as Daddy!

We had the most lovely, laid-back family day today.  Nothing that we did today was over the top, but climbing back into this bad boy every time we finished an event made everything that much more fun!

(Meet Daddy's Collin's new yellow Jeep!)

Cool dude thought it was pretty awesome cruising around in the Jeep, feeling the wind blow through his hair!

We went to a park for breakfast and playtime,

then went home to pick up Collin's motorcycle before we picked up Abbie Rae and Grandma Lee to go to another park.

The kids were really good at taking turns today

and even made time for a quick drive together!

We dropped off Abbie and Grandma Lee, then headed home for lunch and naps (hooray for Sunday naps!).  We took another Jeep drive after naptime, then spent the afternoon and evening playing in the backyard.  I'm positive we'll all sleep well tonight after such a fun and busy day! :-)