Friday, November 28, 2008


We had a fun trip to the firestation with Cooper's class. Gunner is so cute to just tag along with the other kids too. They sang cute songs, had "911" graham crackers, toured the firehouse, and trucks, and had a lot of fun.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gratitude Attitude


An excerpt from my letter this week to my brother, Spike, who is serving a mission in Brazil

"Sitting here so thankful for you.... thankful that my boys have an amazing uncle to look up to. Thankful for your choice to serve a mission so that we all can be blessed and receive the fruits of your labors. Thankful for the gospel in my life... and that you are trying to share the "good news" with everyone around you. Thankful for the opportunity I had to grow up at 1632 E. Canfield Ave., with 8 siblings and great parents. Thankful for every opportunity I had to tell each of those 10 people how much I love them, and even more thankful for each time they told me the same. Thankful for our free country... and all my friends who are single moms while their husbands are overseas defending that freedom. Thankful for the beautiful earth we have to live on, and for a dad who made sure we knew all about it. Thankful that that same dad worked to make sure we always had everything we needed (and more), and a mom who made sure that happened.

I just love this holiday. I am sure your list of "thanks" has grown immensely over the last 12 months... and here you are already HALF WAY THROUGH! On the home stretch! Make it worth every minute. May we all not only be thankful for all of our blessings this Thanksgiving, but
show gratitude for them by BEing the people that Heavenly Father wants us to be.

Love you tons Spike! You and me both will spend Thanksgiving and Christmas away from the fam... but, our hearts are knit together.... forever."

Family Home Evening with the Bells. Talked about the things we are thankful for, and how to show gratitude for those things... with Tom the Thankful Turkey. Then made these cute turkeys (thanks for the idea Kendra). The boys actually stayed focused and on-track for this activity... definitely not the norm... a great treat!

"Tasting Party" at  preschool. Got to try different parts of a Thanksgiving meal. We were assigned a food "unique to our family". We brought rainbow jello, and it was a HUGE hit. Andrew has had it ever year for "as long as I can remember". Got to hear them sing a few cute songs, read a few books, and ride the Mayflower. Very fun. Once again, Gunner was so excited to join Cooper at his preschool. 

To add to my letter to my brother... I am also so thankful for a loving husband. So grateful he works so hard for us. So grateful he is such an amazing daddy. So grateful for the Spirit in our home. Grateful for 3 wild, crazy, cute, cuddly, inspiring, exhausting, adorable, special, energetic, irresistible boys. They are my life, and I love my life. So grateful for each of YOU, and how you have touched me. It is because of those interactions with each of you that I am who I am.

Enjoy your day! 

Friday, November 21, 2008

BECKETT [Half a Year Old]

Beckett Leo Larson
6 months old
16 lbs. 10 oz. (40th percentile)
26 5/8 inches (75th percentile)

Over the last month...
  • Started sitting up.
  • Eating more solids (at least once a day). Love pears and rice cereal best.
  • Started using a sippy cup at meal time... and even manage to get some apple juice out of it. Once you tasted it, you were hooked, but still haven't mastered it.
  • Peek-a-boo gets you giggling like crazy.
  • Roll all over the living room. Prefer to be on your tummy with a toy. You do the excited "beached whale", where you get something you want, then lay on your tummy and kick super fast out of excitement. Recently started getting up on all fours and diving to toys. You definitely find a way to get what you want, and it is only a matter of time and you'll be crawling.

  • Started chewing on your feet.
  • You rarely cry, but when you do, you do a cute coughing sound.
  • Still love your thumb.
  • You sleep between 10-12 hours at night. In the morning, you love to lay in bed with mom and just talk and sing and play. 
  • You started loving books this month. You will talk and giggle and get so excited when we read to you.
  • Your new trick is slapping our hands when we say, "Gimmie five!
  • You settle down when I whisper in your ear. 
  • You shared  your half birthday with Cooper's 5th birthday.
  • Love swimming, and did a great job in the water at the indoor waterpark.
  • You were a skunk for Halloween... although you are the furthest thing from a stinker! This past month was full of Halloween festivities, pumpkin patches and parties.
  • Got your first haircut. Not sure I would call it that... maybe just a "back buzz"? We just got rid of your little mullet in back.
  • You are always so content to just hang out in  your car-seat. I feel bad I don't take you out more, but you are always just happy in there.
  • Went to the UCM homecoming parade. Loved the beads, and had your first sucker.
  • Cooper and Gunner love to make you laugh. Cooper loves to have you hit him, and then he pretends to be really hurt. They love to squeeze your arms, pinch your cheeks, squish your belly, and shake your feet... pretty much anything that I think you'll hate... BUT, you are always smiling! They also make a big deal out of you doing "pukers" on the living room floor. That and poopy diapers seem to make them silly. 
  • Loving going to the park. Love watching the other kids play, and going on the swings. Made your first trip down the slide.
  • Had your first trip to the Fire Station with Cooper's preschool class.
  • Ate your first waffle fry and the TREX cafe.
  • You make friends with everyone you meet, because you are so smiley and social. 
The other day Cooper kept yelling, "Mom! You gotta come see this!" I went into the living room, and Cooper said, "Look! It's a SUPERBABY!" I totally agree! We all do. Beckett, you are just the most super baby ever, and we love having you around!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Figuring things out in this world

In the St. Louis Magic House Children's Museum, they have random facts around the wall. One fact was,

"The average 4-year-old asks 436 questions a day."

I have a feeling, in Cooper's case, it is not going to slow down now that he is five. He has been so curious about everything! The other day we had to explain the universe, planets, night v. day... so... here was a conversation today.

Cooper: "Does everyone on earth have bums?"
Dad: "Yes."
Cooper: "But the earth doesn't have a bum, because it's just round."

Too funny. Also, everything is "interesting". Like the other day when I had only got around to putting one shoe on Beckett. He said, "Mom, look at this. I found something so interesting. Beckett has a shoe on this foot, but not on the other one. That is just so interesting."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Our Coop at FiVe-YeArs-oLd!


Foods: broccoli, mozzerella sticks, pizza, chicken, string cheese, pears, bananas, eggs, cereal, Gummy Lifesavers, apple juice, spaghetti, tacos, fruit snacks, Ritz snack mix, cookie dough, ice cream
TV Shows: Phineas and Ferb, Sponge Bob, Scooby-Doo, America’s Funniest Home Videos
Movies: Spidermans, Indiana Jones, Kung Fu Panda,
Toys: Legos, light saber, bike/scooter, balls, board games, Tech Deck Dudes, swords, nerf guns, Cranium Carnival Clubhouse
Video Games: Wii (Lego Batman, Lego Star Wars, Lego Indiana Jones, Sonic, Guitar Hero – beat it on “easy”, Wii Sports, Mario Party 8), Leapster (Sonic Math, Letter Factory), Nintendo DS (Playground, Madden Football, True Swing), PlayStation 2 (Ty the Tazmanian Tiger, NCAA Football)
Songs: Scripture Power, Called to Serve, I’ll Follow Him in Faith, I’m Just a Kid (Simple Plan), Alvin and the Chipmunks Soundtrack, I Won’t Back Down (Johnny Cash)
Friends: Gunner, Dad, Mom, cousins, Scott AFB (Emma Whittle, Logan Wilson), Whitman AFB (Zander Bell, Bryce Cochran, Drew Bolardo, Kambree Peterson, Brian Young)
Teachers: Mrs. Lesa Carroll, Mrs. Lowry @ Sacred Heart Preschool; Sister Little in CTR 5
Things to do: Preschool, go to the park, baseball, basketball, soccer, obstacle courses, video games, bike rides, swimming, “fight” with Dad and Gunner, board games, cooking with Mom, treasure hunts, coloring, reading, pretending
Books: Book of Mormon (won’t let us forget!), Alexander and the…. Very Bad Day, really anything we will sit down and read to him
Color: green... and now brown too!
Dislikes: Stir Fry, going to bed, having to be quiet, holding still, spiders

Cooper, you are such a friendly outgoing kid! You LOVE learning and preschool. Your teacher calls you "a leader", and you are often the "planner" for what goes on amongst your friends. You are VERY social, often getting in trouble for talking too much at school and church. You just "always have something to say", as your preschool teacher puts it. You are a story-teller. Love to tell stories to everyone you meets, and draw stories. Every important event is counted down in the number of "sleeps" left. Also love to cuddle, wrestle, fight, and anything that involves touch. You are a very affectionate kid, and like to make sure no one gets their feelings hurt. You love to help with your younger siblings... especially playing peek-a-boo with Beckett, letting Beckett hit you, potty-trained Gunner, and play constantly with Gunner. You still nap about 5 days a week, falling a sleep to a movie with Gunner in Dad and Mom's bed. You also LOVE your Dad, and ask all day how long until he gets home from work. You asks Dad every night if he has to go to work tomorrow. You especially love to play baseball games, wrestle, go on bike rides to the park, treasure hunts, build/fix things, and play video games with Dad. With Mom, you love to help clean, cook, read books, play on the computer, cuddle, and go places. Every night you ask me, "What are we doing tomorrow? Where are we going?". Once again, you love to plan, and you love to go places.... especially where there with be "friends" to play with. You also LOVE the gospel. You love to sing in church, read the scriptures, go to class, memorize scriptures, say prayers, and have Family Home Evening. You are very proud of your knowledge and testimony.  You have a great sense of humor, and love telling jokes and scaring people.

  • Learned to swim. Can now jump off the diving board and swim the whole length of the pool.
  • Started preschool (besides joy schools with mom).
  • Went snow-skiing for the first time and loved it!
  • Took off your training wheels! Just this week! You said you would do it when you turned five, and we held you to it. :)
  • Moved from St. Louis (Scott AFB) to Kansas City (Whiteman AFB).
  • Played basketball (first organized sport).
  • Got a new baby brother... Beckett on 5/13
  • Have now been to 13 Major League Baseball parks and over 60 games!
  • Went to the batting cages for the first time.
  • Started sounding out words.
  • Started drawing people and more objects.
We love you so much, Coop! We can't imagine our life without you. You are the best. Thanks for all your help around the house and with your younger brothers. You really are growing up!

5-year-old birthday -- COOPER STYLE!

I think Cooper's birthday was about the most rewarding thing I've done in a long time. He was SUPER excited, wanted to be SURPRISED about everything (wouldn't even tell us what he wanted, cause then it wouldn't be a surprise if he got it), and had SO much fun. The look on his face made it all worth it!

**The Day Before**
Cooper brought treat's to preschool, since he wouldn't be having preschool on his birthday. He didn't want to bring cupcakes (good thing, since it was also another girls' birthday, and she brought cake), he wanted to bring his "favorite snack". 100 calorie packs of Ritz Snack Mix, "the red ones"... and Indiana Jones fruit snacks.
Gunner, Beckett and I surprised him by showing up to his school at snack time. I got to see him get his crown, hand out his snack, and get sung to. 
Then we stayed for "share time", since Wednesdays are his "share day". He brought this picture and showed himself growing up. 
He said, "This is me when I was 1, this is me when I was 2, 3, 4, and then my mom put a super big 5, because I am going to be 5, and this is the coolest picture, when I was 1, because I am holding a baseball." It was so fun. Then we stayed for story-time before it was time to leave. Gunner loved being part of the class, and sitting on a big-boy carpet. 

**The Night Before**
Cooper was so excited in anticipation of his birthday. We had told him over the last month, or so, that we were going to "the coolest place ever" for his birthday. Andrew told him the story of his birth, and what we were doing 5 years ago tonight. It was fun to see him get excited about when he was a baby. He insisted that when he woke up, he would walk into the living room, and we would yell, "surprise!".  

Cooper walked into the living room through streamers to balloons, sill string, and us yelling "surprise!". He was SO excited. He completed a TREASURE HUNT through the house (one of the boys' favorite things to do with Dad), to find his first present (Sonic Math for the Leapster).

**Clue #2**
Preschool, where we had to go for his parent-teacher conference. He played outside with Gunner, and found his next clue on the playground.

**Clue #3** 
A picture of his buddy, Zander Bell, who was on his way to the preschool to deliver the next clue, and join us for Cooper's day of fun.

**Clue #4**
Picture of SONIC, Cooper's favorite place to eat. We went to lunch there. He got his favorite... mozzarella sticks and chocolate milk. In his bag of food he found the next clue.

**Clue #5**
A picture of the GREAT WOLF LODGE!!! An indoor waterpark on the other side of the city. He was SOOOO excited! Especially when he found out we already had his swimsuit, and stuff to stay the night in the car. 

We checked in to the motel. They have a military special of $109/night for 2 days of swimming for up to 5 people, and your hotel room! We started swimming and the boys were in HEAVEN. Cooper immediately started running around doing all the slides. It is so fun that he learned to swim this summer too. He even got to the point where he was carrying his OWN TUBE up all the stairs, and riding the biggest slides BY HIMSELF! We were so proud of him. It took Zander and Gunner a little bit to warm up to the slides, but they each, eventually, did them ALL! Gunner's favorite were the tube slides.

The Bells (Zander's parents, sister, and Grandma) joined us too! Beckett loves the water too! It was SO much fun.

We ordered pizza and had dinner and a party in the hotel room. It was a "swimming/water/fish" theme. I made this snorkeler cake.

We also had swedish fish, sour octopuses, goldfish crackers and pretzels, and whale crackers.

We opened presents, had cake, and played a fishing game for prizes. The boys loved the noise makers too.Taking a bite of the cake is a tradition in our family. 

Thanks to the Waites and Sinemas for the Star Wars Lego sets! Thanks to both sets of Grandparents and Greats for their $$money$$! He has already bought some Indiana Jones Legos. Thanks to the Bells for the Hulk boxing gloves and the tool set! Thanks to Gunner for the Bumblebee Transformer! Cooper also got a Razor scooter, his own set of scriptures (paperback with his name engraved), a couple games, Lego Batman for the Wii, a nerf football.
The next day the boys were excited to get back out there! We swam from 9am-3pm straight! Cooper loved swimming the lazy river today too. 
Before we headed home, we ate at this really neat restaurant. Our table was INSIDE a Triceratops! There were tons of aquariums, HUGE dinos, bugs moving all over, lava flowing, fire burning... it was just too cool. Cooper loved being sung to. He picked out a cute dino pen and notepad, and Connie (Zander's Grandma) got him a souvenir plate too! 

As if we hadn't had enough fun, we stopped at Cold Stone too for Cooper's free birthday creation.

Thanks for the greatest time ever, Coop! You make everything so fun! I can't wait to see how fun Christmas is with a 5-year-old!

Saturday, November 15, 2008



yesterday in the city. 

Made driving to St. Louis to the temple on Tuesday more tolerable (6-hour round-trip). 

And made the few hours of driving to/from the GREAT WOLF LODGE for COOPER'S 5th BIRTHDAY heavenly. More to come on that later.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Cooper was selected as the Cutest Kid of the Month in the November issue of Connection Magazine for Whiteman Air Force Base. As the winner, he got presented a certificate and a $25 visa gift card. We were so happy for him, and it was really cute to see him get excited too. He loved seeing himself in the magazine, and brought it to "Share Day" at school too. 

Getting presented his award.

Here is the winning picture. You can submit 1 "candid" shot the month before their birthday month.

Dad took him, and Gunner, to Walmart to pick something out with his money. He bought a $20 Sonic Wii game, and a Tech-Dek Dude for Gunner. 

We are so proud of Cooper, and we think he is a cute kid too. Not only for his "award-winning" smile, but for his sweet personality, friendliness, and simple testimony.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

SpOOky SyNOpSis

We had SO much fun this past month with our "Air Force Guy with a gun" (Cooper), "Indiana Jones" (Gunner), and "Skunk" (Beckett). Lots of Halloween festivities. Lots of fun. Cooper said today, "Mom, I just wish Halloween could last forever". 

*HaLLoWeeN pLAyGrouP*
Lots of fun food. At the church. Cookie decorating with LOTS of sprinkles. Mini cupcake walk. Great company.

*mOnsTEr MaSh*
At the club. Free "kid-friendly" food (a.k.a. deep fried buffet). :) Dancing to fun kid-mix. Strobe light. Balloons. Glow sticks (boom-a-rangs to my kids). Beckett--Dad's dance partner.

Powell Gardens. With our friends, the Bells. Walked along a path of fairy-tales acted out. Lit with hundred's of jack-o-lanterns. Cooper's favorite part: Peter Pan. Gunner's favorite part: a Lion. Beckett: the sleeper (especially after I let him borrow my thumb... we forgot his bink). Fresh popped popcorn and hot chocolate. Trolly ride back. 1 1/2 hours. Too long for adults, not long enough for kids. They LOVED every minute, were enthralled, attentive, and happy!

*SeeLinGer'S SpOOky FaMiLy HoME EveNIng*
Fun freaky foods. (eyeball taco salad, worms, slime, gravestone brownies, putrid punch, spider-web chip dip, hand and foot sandwiches, and more!) Great company. Bonfire.

*BasE bOO BaSH*
Haunted military tent (braved only by Cooper and Zander). Halloween carnival games. Cash cage (Gunner's fav). Bingo. Free food. Cliff and kids as company.

*FauLkNer'S FaRm*
Animals to feed. Hayride. Horse swings. Rocking horses. Washers and horseshoes games. Obstacle course. Bouncy caterpillar. Pumpkins. With the Bells. Dinner after at a Summit BBQ Pit. Celebrated Jaime expecting another GIRL!

*PuMPkIn CarViNG*
Read the "Pumpkin Prayer" for FHE. Toasted pumpkin seeds. Scary face and one-eyed monster jack-o-lanterns. Cooper getting more brave, Gunner still grossed out. Beckett loved the entertainment.
*CoOpEr's PrEschOOl pARtY*
Stood in middle of circle to say costume and favorite part of costume. Cooper said, "I don't know what I am, but I look like an Air Force guy. My favorite part of my costume is my gun, but you wouldn't let me bring it to school." (no weapons). Costume parade down hall. Parents invited. Yummy treats. Gunner got some too. Pumpkin walk. Made spider webs with plates. I wrote the names of Cooper's "favorite friends" on the picture below. 

Cooper and Gunner WAY excited to have Drew and Zander (with their families the Bells and Bolardos) over for dinner. Chili, worm hot dogs, homemade oreos, and putrid punch. Trick-or-treated on base. We could hardly keep up with Cooper, Gunner and Zander. Talk of the neighborhood for giving out toothpaste samples after our candy ran out. Boys obsessed with all the decorations... especially the "super scary skeletons coming out of the ground". Lots of candy, lots of fun.

Now instead of counting down the days (or sleeps) until Halloween, we are counting down the days until Cooper's 5th birthday on November 13th!