Monday, October 5, 2015

Coop on the run

coop opted to take up a new sport & joined his elementary school's cross country team. i can't imagine a better fit for that skinny speedster. he was only able to compete in three races since he was off island for the others. he took 2nd, 2nd, & 4th out of 180 other elementary school boys from around the island. he had a lot of fun & learned so much. he ran his heart out & we couldn't be prouder. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

cooper turns 8.

this boy stole my heart the second the doctor first laid him in my arms & he's had it wrapped around his finger ever since. i've spent the past 8 years just trying to be worthy of him. he is truly some kind of special. he's my best friend. he is smart & inquisitive with an unquenchable thirst for more knowledge. his questions are never-ending & ever-evolving. he challenges my intellect on the daily. for a long time i struggled to come up age appropriate explanations for the advanced concepts he yearned to understand. i would get frustrated & he would get frustrated. then smarty little coop came up with a solution. he requested that i give him the complete unmodified answer to even the most difficult of his questions. i obliged. sometimes the answers are so far over his little head & even though he doesn't understand he appreciates my honesty. sometimes he comprehends bits & pieces & comes up with his own limited conclusions,.& many times, he just gets it. he is so much smarter than i understood. 

he is growing up much too quick. when we got to the top of campus on the first day of his second grade he turned to me & said, "i can take it from here, mommy." my jaw just about dropped. i couldn't believe how mature he sounded. & although i wanted to hold his hand all the way to his new seat i knew that what he said was true. he is so capable, so smart, so mature, & so aware. he really "could take it from there." his new aspiration is to walk the 200 yards from school to our home alone. baby steps, coop. we'll get there soon enough. he's taken on new roles around the house that correspond with his continually growing need for independence & responsibility. he takes out the trash, fetches the mail, feeds godzilla, folds his own laundry, packs his own lunch, & cares for our plants. despite his maturity, he still hangs on to a few of his baby phrases like calling sneezes "bless yous" & instead of saying what time is it he says "what o'clock is it?" i love it all. & i will hold on to my little guy for as long as he will allow.

his creativity is starting to shine. he loves playing the uke & i love listening to him strum & hum. he's even started writing his own songs. & they are too cute for words. my favorite is titled, "your beautiful face." he is an amazing story teller. he has a beautiful imagination. he is very sensible & his stories are often very practical & almost always end with a moral. i love reading over his schoolwork. especially on fridays when he brings home his writing notebook with a special note for me. it helps ease the emptiness of being without him all day. i almost feel like i'm almost a part of this big chunk of his life. he has a tendency of using a vocabulary rather similar to mine. adjectives like incredible, outstanding, & fantastic often pop up in his writing. it's probably because i often use these words to describe him.

he's a goal setter. he loves to dream & works hard to accomplish anything & everything he puts his little mind to. on the short term, he wants to run 3 miles at one time, read the book of mormon & the bible from cover to cover, & save another $100. his long term goals include, going to college, getting degrees in biology & gemology, becoming a scientist, owning a museum, writing a book, being a really good husband & dad, & winning the super bowl. i don't doubt he will fulfill every one of his dreams.

coop loves a full agenda. in fact, i have to remind him to chill & ensure that he has time for unstructured & imaginative play. between club soccer, cross country, & ukulele he is pretty busy. and that's after i had to cut out rugby & swimming for the fall because it was just too much. he is eagerly awaiting the next flag football season. and practices running plays with his dad & brothers almost nightly. he can call & run plays like a mini tom brady. his favorite position is wide receiver. just like his daddy. but i think he has a natural knack for quarterback. i swore my boys' wouldn't play football until high school, but you try telling him no.

he is truly a wonderful big brother. don't get me wrong, he teases & torments his brothers like any good big brother does, but he loves them. he worries about them when they are struggling with something, he cares for them when they are hurt, he helps them all throughout the day, & he is constantly teaching them. he is often the first person to offer aid when they are hurt & they fight over who can have a sleep over in his bed. they are so blessed to have a coop in their lives.

his lengthy prayers are so heartfelt. this kid has some serious faith. he expresses sincere gratitude for all the great things that happened in his day. & his requests are always valid needs, not only for himself but also for his family. twice in the past two weeks he had specific prayers answered. i just have to record this one: he saved up & ordered a brett farve trading card online. & three days later he eagerly ran to the mailbox with high hopes. i warned him that it was too soon. come on, an envelope just can't travel from indiana to hawaii in three days. this faithful little guy immediately bowed his head & said a sweet little prayer. the entire time i was panicking. how would he handle the disappointment when he opened the mailbox to find it empty?  how would i explain that some prayers just don't get answered when & how we expect? would this shake his faith? but there was no need for any of that. his prayer was answered & his faith confirmed when his trading card was waiting for him.

per his request we had an early breakfast of ham & bacon omelettes, & chocolate peanut butter smoothies. he opened all his presents before heading off to school. last night, he helped me bake & wrap his favorite treat (one that we have adapted over the years to contain as much sugar as posssible) super cookie brownie sandwiches (homemade chocolate chip & m&m cookie bars covered with a layer of oreos & smothered with homemade brownies & topped with sprinkles) to share with his class. he also helped me bake homemade funfetti cupcakes to share with his soccer team. mylo & i will be taking him taco bell & vitamin water for a lunch date at the school caf. then he wants to play with his new toys & watch super bowl highlights before soccer practice. then it's fun factory & ruby's diner for cheeseburgers & milkshakes. not a bad day, little man. he opted to trade in his birthday party for a special trip to utah with daddy. awwww, he's such a man! (he also wants to take homemade oreo layered cake to church to share with his class on sunday.)

coop, we love you. so very much. more than the sun. more than the moon. and more than all the stars.  you are a vital piece to our family & we would never be complete without you.

1.  cooper's best friend: alec, keawe, titan
2.  cooper's name: cooper j watkins
3.  cooper prefers to go by: cooper
4.  cooper's favorite animals: siberian tiger
5.  what does cooper want to be when he grows up: a football player & a dad
6.  cooper's favorite movie: wild kratts & lego movie
7.  cooper's favorite song: "i know i can" by nas
8.  what makes cooper happy? when someone says a very funny thing & boxing with my daddy & brothers
9.  what makes cooper sad? when i'm having a lot of fun & i get injured & when i get scolded
10.  cooper's favorite food: omelettes, german pancakes, taco bells, & pizza
11.  cooper's favorite place: sydney opera house 
12.  cooper's favorite color: turquoise 
13.  cooper's favorite game: football & soccer
14.  cooper's #1 wish right now: to get a super bowl ring 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

back to school 2015

after a fun filled summer break we are back on the grind. all of us-ok, maybe not me. but hey, someone has to pack those lunches & wash those uniforms!

todd is starting the second & final year of his mba program. and despite the constant struggle of juggling family, work, & strenuous schooling he is ready to get back at it. he had an incredible first year, working hard & pulling off grades well beyond expected. he was able to spend three weeks in asia as part of his business program. he visited south korea, china, vietnam, & indonesia. he toured major companies & checked out the surrounding areas. to say this was the highlight of his year would be a grand understatement. 

cooper began second grade. he is a big man on the lower elementary side of campus. it's amazing to see the transition that has taken place at the commencement of this year. he craves independence & responsibility & he fulfills his roles like a champ. he loves being in charge & rarely abuses his power (hey, he's seven, he isn't totally perfect). he is so comfortable & confident in school. he knows most of the staff & students & loves the social side of school. he insists on getting to campus at least 30 minutes early so he has plenty of time to play. and he is trying to convince me to let him walk the 200 yards from school to our home solo. i miss his constant presence around the house but i love school-coop. he loves the school & is so much happier when he can break up his day by spending some quality time with friends & teachers. he is proud to be a pea. and he is eager to take part in every school activity. any time there is an extra project to be done he does it. and he cannot wait to enter upper elementary so he can take part in all the extra curricular. for now, he loves running on the school's cross country team. he is always one of the best behaved, hardest working, & smartest in his class. he makes me proud in so many ways. 

tj started preschool. like, for real, legit preschool. and he loves it. he goes two full days a week & begs for more. but this is the last year i have with him before he enters the public school system & will be absent from our home 5 days a week & i wanted him home full-time. so two days was the best compromise we could come up with. when he first started school the plan was that todd would drop him off on his way to work & i would pick him up early. when i showed up on the first day he told me, "i'm so happy to see you, mommy. but next time can i just stay until daddy comes." i was shocked. so now he is at school basically the same hours todd is at wortk, so like, forever. tj has always been the shyest of my boys but he walked in to class on the first day & sat right down grabbed some toys & started making friends. no hesitation. he has yet to remember any of these friends' names but that's part of being a pre-ker, right? he loves his teacher, loves the school, & loves his friends. he is most excited to have his own place to go each day & to have a little extra time with daddy in the car. he insists on wearing football shirts/jerseys every day & carrying his football lunch bag. he is totally ready for preschool socially, emotionally, & mentally. in fact, he should probably just jump in to kindergarten. he knows all the letters & their sounds, he can count & identify numbers well over 200 (i have yet to test how far he can go-my a.d.d. sets in around 150), he can read a digital clock, & add & subject single digits. yea, he's a genius. just like his brother, but he's doesn't have any desire to show off his skills. if i didn't ask i would never know just how much he understands. he is sweet as sugar & i hope his school realizes just how lucky they are to have him.

as for mylo, he's my only pupil these days. he recently sparked an interest in letters & numbers & i am rolling with his lead. his attention span is short so we usually spend 30 minutes or less on learning activities, lessons, & games. he digs it & i dig him so it works well for both of us. he doesn't love taking directions so when i start to notice him resisting we usually pack up & are pau. his favorite things to do is read, sing songs, & play board games. so i find ways to jam as much educational value in to these activities as possible. mostly, i just love seeing a different side to this rambunctious little guy. it's nice to take a few moments to sit down one-on-one & quietly explore the world of education with him. he hates when his brothers are both at school. it usually takes a solid 30 minutes for him to come to grips with the fact that he is the only boy at home when he wakes up & his brothers are off at school. and even then, he asks to pick them up about 100 times an hour. he may not be totally smitten by all the quality mom time but, i on the other hand, am soaking up every moment of my quality time with my baby. 

as for me, well, i'm kind of on vacation. after a high-energy fun-packed summer i'm kind of enjoying a quite-ish home & plenty of time to get things done. i'm finally getting done all the things i've put off for the past few months; home improvements, exercising, & reading here i come!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

a ninja(go) party for the mighty

after weeks of contiplating between a wild krats party, a lego movie party, & a ninjago party mylo finally opted for the latter. well, we're calling it a ninjago party despite the lack of yellow lego figures spinning around. while scouring the internet for ideas & party supplies mylo chose ninja over ninjago every single time but still insists on keeping the ninjago label. whatevs.

sticking to true watkins fashion i let the birthday boy do most the party planning. and why not? it's his party. my only goal is to ensure his complete & utter happiness on his special day. that's it. i did have to nix a few of his more out-there ideas like flying on dragons, attacking ninjago city, & eating "a whole lot a lot of cupcakes." but all in all, i think mighty was pretty pleased. mylo's party hihglights were opening presents, using his spinjitzu moves on the ninja dummy, the ninja cupcakes & dojo, & the entire ninja training course. in fact, he ran through the course a good dozen times before his friends showed up laughing the entire time. it truly isn't easy to wipe the smile off that kid's face. 

 we planned to have a real ninja come teach the kids moves but he bailed last minute. instead we set up a ninja training cours. included were a balance beam, jumping through ropes (or "lasers", either way), a ninja crawl, shuriken target practice, breaking boards, mylo teaching his friends spinjitzu & sword practice on the ninja dummy. cooper & the older kids competed for the fastest times & the little kids were content just trying to complete the course. after eating the played pin the sword on the kai (the one & only piece of ninjago at the party).

for food we stuck with local classics, spam musubi & spam fried rice, fruit snacks, & ninja power up waters. i let the kids give chopsticks a shot before bringing out the spoons. mylo helped me make fortune cookies, rice krispy sushi, & cupcakes to satisfy his constant sweet tooth. sticking to the theme the keiki sat at short chabudai tables to eat. it was adorable.

before heading home mylo gave each friend a take out box full of ninja favors including paper dragons, tattoos, shurikens, ninja lollipops, & senbei cookies to go along with their swords & headbands. mylo was most excited to pass out the boxes & finally open one of his own.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

mylo turns 3.

mylo is 3 & my baby really isn't a baby anymore. well, not technically but i don't think he'll ever relinquish the title. although he is my most independent child he has absolutely no desire to grow up. he is perfectly comfortable maneuvering furniture to acquire things beyond his 40" reach & he aspires to one day cross the street alone he is still perfectly content using his baby potty seat & allowing his mommy to spoon feed him oatmeal every morning. a part of me wants to usher him out of his remaining infantile habits but i just can't bring myself to. i'm ok with allowing him to be my forever baby. 

mighty is a walking contradiction. it's impossible to label this boy. he loves to run, he is constantly moving as fast as his little feet can carry him (which is remarkably fast for a toddler) but he also spends more time in my arms than the other two ever did, combined. he is a total fraidy-cat, honestly, the kid gets scared far too easily. but he's never been one to allow his fears to stand in his way, rather he constantly addresses & conquers them. like on halloween when a giant frankenstien statue sent him running into my arms in tears. after a quick 30 second cry he wiped his eyes & went charging at the statue fists blazing. he's also a thrill seeker. he loves things that challenge & terrify. he loves spooky stories, high jumps, & any & every form of monster. he begs me to take him to haleakala so he can fight zombies & creeps (he believes all things spooky reside on the top of the mountain) & he constantly tries to convince me to allow him to ride in his car seat sans straps. he things he can swim & i love watching him try. he bravely jumps off the step in the pool & confidently kicks his legs & strokes his arms but the poor boy has his dad's natural ability to sink so despite his best efforts he usually doesn't make it more than a foot before running out of air. regardless of how far he makes it he pops out of the water proud as a peach as if he made it across the pool & back.

i wouldn't say he's my most obedient child. it's not that he doesn't obey it's that he will not obey for sake of obeying itself. rather, he needs to understand why you are instructing him to do or not do something. then once he decides the request is valid he is more than happy to comply. yes, he is wise well beyond his years. and although his stubborn nature drives me batty i have the upmost respect for his thought processes. i don't mind spending an extra few minutes explaining my reasoning because once he gets it he rarely needs to be reminded. he has respect for reasonable rules & sticks to them.

he is my wild. mighty has the most active imagination. it is just beautiful. he truly believes that by strapping on a cape he can fly. and he is pretty positive that when he spins in a circle as fast as he can he looks exactly like a ninjago ninja performing spinjitzu. he constantly tells tales of what lives in the jungle or what his daddy does at work or my personal favorite are the stories about jesus. like how a big hurricane was coming to maui & jesus ate the storm to save us. he loves learning. he could read books & put together puzzles all day. he loves to draw, count, & practice his numbers & abc's. he is rather reasonable for a toddler. he just gets things & comes to conclusions that constantly amaze me. 

he is a button-pusher. he has an innate ability to understand people. i've seen him use it for good but he's often found enjoyment in using his unique skill to get under the skin of those around him. like his current obsession with turning off the lights. usually it isn't that big of a deal but when i'm chopping raw chicken or i'm in the shower & the lights go out in a can be a little frustrating. i've found that when he starts pushing buttons it's usually his way of saying he needs a little attention. so we try to make special time for mylo when he starts getting a little naughty. quality time is definitely his love language. & physical touch. he is a big time snuggler. he loves being in his parents arms or cuddled up to a brother. he runs to cooper & gives him the biggest hug & kiss every single day when we pick him up from school. personally, i love his check smushes. ever since he was a baby he has the habit of smashing his cheek up against mine whenever he's in my arms. it makes my heart melt. he is incredibly thoughtful. he plucks a flower from every tree or bush he passes especially for me. he never passes up a piece of beach glass or seashell because he knows how much i love them. and every time he is given a treat he makes sure to get extras for his brothers & friends. 

he is the happiest child i know. not that my others aren't happy. it's just that mylo has a natural fun-loving nature. regardless of the situation you can guarantee mylo has found a way to make it enjoyable. he doesn't waste time complaining, rather he gets creative & gets happy. mylo finds humor in everything & he constantly wears a smile. and did i mention that he has the most infectious laugh? running errands with him is one of my favorite things. he usually laughs the whole way through the store & even the strangers around us can't help but adopt a little of his joy. he loves people. well, let me clarify, he loves people he knows well. he is happiest when surrounded by his entire family & cries every time his brothers go to school, he asks almost daily when his grandparents will visit, & he insists on seeing his friends every chance he gets. he is quick to forgive & even quicker to apologize. he is always the first to say sorry. he loves saying prayers & they are rarely less than 3 minutes long. he has to include every person & thing he can think of. they are very heartfelt & usually intune with our actual needs & environment at the time. he loves his church class, it is probably the highlight of his week. up until last month he insisted i spend most of the two hours in the room with him (which i didn't mind one bit-but i am happy to graduate to relief society after 3 years of hanging with my babies in nursery). he has a habit of adding the l sound in random words like "flamily," "fluffly," & "flavowite". it gets me every single time.

we love you, mylo. more than you can possibly understand. you bring so much life & light into our lives. you make the darkest days bright with your bouncy blonde curls & unfailing smiling. you have stolen our hearts & we are so blessed to call you our baby.

1. mylo's best friend: mosiah & august
2.  mylo's name: mylllllo dames
3.  mylo prefers to go by: mylo
4.  mylo's favorite animals: turtles
5.  what does mylo want to be when he grows up: santa or hulk or jesus, he's still debating
6. mylo's favorite movie: how to train your dragons 2 & cloudy with a chance of meatballs
7.  mylo's favorite song: "every thing is awesome" lego movie & old mcdonald had a farm-in mylo's rendition old mcdonald has a hulk, a storm, a batman, an emitt (lego movie), & a policeman. 
8.  what makes mylo happy?  board games, running, playing with his friends, & treats
9.  what makes mylo sad? being left out of anything. even boring things like school or baths.
10.  mylo's favorite food:  strawberries, bananas, oatmeal, & chocolate
11.  mylo's favorite place: the beach & the maui tropical plantation
12.  mylo's favorite color: green aka "hulps smass" (hulk smash) 
13.  mylo's favorite game: cariboo, connect four, & clumsy ninja
14.  mylo's #1 wish right now: to eat cupcakes all day every day & buy every thing at the toy store. 
15: cute mylo quotes: "daddy, feel my bum! see! no diaper!" -on day 2 of potty training, "what da fench?!"

Saturday, June 13, 2015

kahakuloa relay

in mid april my athletic & super runner friend, krista, invited me to run the kahakuloa half marathon relay with her. i had to contemplate the offer for a good 48 hours but i finally said yes. and i am so glad i did. i'm not a runner. i think running is cool, but it just isn't my thing. i've never been able to get in to that groove that some runners reach. oh no, with each & every step i'm feeling every piece of my body scream & i'm wondering why the hell i'm out there & how much further until the end. but i do appreciate a good challenge & i was definitely lacking motivation to get up & moving. so thanks to krista's constant encouragement & motivation i went from dragging my aching body through 2 miles to confidently & comfortably (well, relatively comfortably) completing 8 miles. yes, i ran 8 miles at one time & didn't die.

the race was awesome. definitely a highlight of things i've done on maui, actually it is one of the coolest things i've done in my adult life. the race was a half marathon & since we did the relay we each ran 6.5 miles. it began at d.t. flemming & ended at kahakuloa. i thought i was smart offering to take the first leg but i was so off. the course was 80% hills & i had the three biggest inclines. but i did it, & again, i didn't die. the views were incredible. sure, i've driven that road a few dozen times but running it was a completely different experience. i was able to really take in the beauty & feel of that peaceful & pristine piece of maui. after running my leg i opted to finish the last mile of the course with a few friends. meeting my boys at the finish line was my favorite part of the day. after years of chearing todd on it was pretty cool havin the roles reversed. this was an amazing first, & probably last, race. i think it's time to hang up my nikes. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Reading 101

coop finished off 1st grade a proud as a peach. he couldn't wait to bring home his 8 notebooks & read every single page of completed school work to me. yes, even the math problems. in fact, he was so proud he asked me to help him type up some of his writing passages from his reading class on here to share with his family. since, he decided to take up typing this summer we opted to make it a joint effort. so the two of us worked together to bring you two of his favorite assignments. it may seem like we're showing off but since he reads this blog more than anyone i just had to appease my biggest fan what he wanted. and you know me, i'm a sucker for that kid. plus, it's nice to have these things permanently stuck on the web, for preservation purposes. he learned so much this year. i can't rave enough about his incredible teacher & the entire school staff. his school's curriculum is based on the 7 healthy habits. i love hearing him talk about synergizing, putting first things first, being proactive, making win-win solutions, & beginning with the end in mind. it's so comforting sending him to a place that isn't only teaching him his ABC's & 123's but instilling good character & inspiring him to build a strong foundation.

this post is brought to you by cooper:

highlights from this year: 1. My teacher uses the app class dojo to send weekly behavior reports to the parents. i only had two negative marks all year long. 2. I won awards for being proactive & beginning with the end in mind. 3. I was picked to present my class's work for the parents at  ho'ike. 4. I built a bottle rocket & won first place in my class. 5. I had five class projects but my favorite was my tiger shark presentation.

Happy Birthday USA
by Cooper Watkins

Whiz! Boom! Bong! That's the sound of fireworks that tear through the air. Colors light up the sky. Bands play and crowds roar. It's the Fourth of July! Each year people celebrate the birthday of the United States. It is a day for us all to share. We enjoy parades, fireworks, and picnics. This kind of party has gone on for over two hundred years. But how did this holiday begin? In 1775 our nation was small, it had 13 colineas. Today our nation has 50 states. More then 302 million people live in the US now. When it was 1719 there were only 19,000 people in the USA. In 1859 there were 3 million people living in the US. In 1999 there were 302 million people in the US. In 2015 there are 302 million 4000 people in the US. Do you know when there was first Americans? When England took control of the USA. That was in 1524 when there was so little people in the US. Let's go in to 1524 when our nation was very little or tiney. When it was 1673 George Washington led the army agaenst England. They won! But with nobody to lead the nation George Washington was the president. He was a very nise president.

some of mommy's favorite sentences from cooper's spelling notebook this year:

9/2/14   What was the presint? It was a saperise! I wander what it will be. A boat. What if it was a remote boat or a big toy moater boat? Now it is nite time. I wock up and it was a big remote boat. It was my forst gess! Yessss!

9/9/14   I only like to kiss in kolig.

10/15/14   I like to help my mom wen there is bevy stuff to hold.

10/30/14 My mom winks at me if I do a good thing.

12/17/14 My nose is very cute because it's the shape of a cube and it has very nise manners.