Wednesday, December 26, 2018

tj turns 8

has it really been only a year since we last celebrated a tj birthday? this kid is growing, or should i say, maturing at a very rapid rate. he is wise well beyond his years. and not just in a smarty-pants academic way, but in a genuine understanding of the world around him and the people in it. he is an observer. he pays attention and he catches the slightest details. in fact, often times he pays attention to multiple things. i don't think there are many things that get past his keen senses. he rarely comments on what he notes but when he does i'm usually amazed by all he captures. in fact, he often catches my mistakes and helps keep me on track. i don't know how we would get by without him. truly, he has saved more than one of our lives, just in the last few weeks. twice, he has stopped brothers from walking in to the street as a car was approaching. and i love the gentle way he does this. he doesn't panic or yell, instead he quickly puts his arm up to blockade his brother and protect him from harms way. he is a natural protector. he has the best interest of his friends and family in mind. he is just about as sweet as they come. he has a heart of pure gold. and he's got me wrapped around his finger. his tender thoughtful ways are usually the highlight of my days. tj is a friend to all. i don't think there's ever been a person that didn't either like or love tj. he's just so lovable.

tj is the most mild mannered of the watkins team. he is pretty easy going, a natural peace maker, an introvert, and an all around chill guy. he is rarely phased by things and just goes with the flow. except when it comes to sports, let me clarify, except when it comes to sports that involve his brothers. he is very passionate and very competitive about his sports when he feels comfortable enough to let his emotions out. the only times he ever acts out, and i mean ever, are when he is playing madden or fifa or when he is playing soccer or football against his brothers. then my sweet little tj disappears and his hidden beast emerges. i love that he has a passion that he feels so strongly about. and i love that he can control himself 99.99% of the time. 

tj is on it. he is responsible and capable and just so well put together. i worry so much about my boys. constantly. but i worry the least about my tij. he just seems to handle life so well. i've found that i can truly trust him in most situations. and when there is a situation that is too tough for him to handle on his own, he seems to know just when and how to reach out for help. what more could a mother hope for? how about snuggles? tj is my snuggle bug. and i love soaking up all his hugs. especially at school. every day when we get to school his brothers rush out of the car and take off to their classes. not tj. he patiently waits for me to gather my things. then we walk hand in hand through the parking lot and down the first sidewalk. as we begin to approach the student population he lets go of my hand but he walks me all the way to the office. and no matter how late we are, he always gives me a little hug. then he waits for me outside of his class so that after i check in to the office we can share another little hug on my walk to my class. i tend to sneak over to his table during lunch and snag one more hug if i get a chance. and if i'm really lucky i will pass him at some point during the day and i will get a big hold you close hug. these moments fuel me through even the toughest of days.

fortnite party decorations

tj loves sports. mostly soccer and football, depending on the time of the year. up until recently there wasn't anything in his life that tj loved anywhere near as much as he loves sports. then he discovered fortnite. it's his current obsession. he loves fortnite so much he opted for a fortnite party. he planned out the details and i put it together (in less than 48 hours, i might add).

fortnight party supply drop favor boxes

we picked our favorite little known & rarely used park. it is a beautiful spot in wailuku heights with the most incredible views of the whole island. we gathered boxes & wood pallets & set up forts around the park. each fort was labeled with a different fortnight location (tomato town, loot landing, etc.) we had a full battle royal with squads, pvp, and duos. there was a supply drop (complete with guns, bullets, v bucks, safety googles, and maps), med kits, bandaids, chug jugs, bombs, v bucks, fortnite style axes, and even a storm. we had a llama piñata and a treasure chest piñata. tj insisted on having the same cake from fortnite, i tried. the boys battled and had a little dance off. it was hilarious.

fortnite party

his auntie stina gifted him a skull trooper mask and he wore it all day. like, even to bed. tj loves a good disguise. tj is pretty lucky to have such a solid group of guys in his life. and we are pretty lucky to have him. happy birthday, tij! we love you so!!

fortnite party cake decor

1.  tj's best friend: kaimana
2.  tj's name: todd edward junior watkins
3.  tj prefers to go by: t.j.
4.  tj's favorite animals: llama
5.  what does tj want to be when he grows up: a football player and a fortnite youtuber
6.  tj's favorite movie: nfl football
7.  tj's favorite song: "natural" by imagine dragons
8.  what makes tj happy? playing football and fortnite
9.  what makes tj sad? going to school
10.  tj's favorite food:  five layer burritos and crunchy tacos at taco bell
11.  tj's favorite place: target
12.  tj's favorite color: really, really light blue
13.  tj's favorite game: football
14.  tj's #1 wish right now: "that i can be a football player when i grown up & play wide receiver for the LA Rams. i want to be #19, like big Todd."

Sunday, September 16, 2018

cooper's lucky #11

what could i possibly say about this boy that i haven't said a thousand times? he is just incredible in so many ways. he has more natural talent in his 55 pounds than i have ever known. most things tend to come easy to him. and when it doesn't he always has his dedicated & hard working drive to push him to excellence. he is a writer, a reader, a mathematician, a scientist, a researcher, a technician, an engineer, a logician, an analyzer, a soccer player, a basketball player, a football player, a runner, a swimmer, a body boarder, & so much more. i've always been limited by my abilities, he is only limited by his time & interest. 

i live in constant amazement of this boy. he is the hardest little worker. and he has an ability to push himself beyond what i have ever been comfortable with. that's how i know he will accomplish anything & every thing he puts his mind to. the only thing that could ever stand in his way is himself. right now it's cross country season. cooper consistently wins every race by quite a distance (he has his daddy's speed). rather than hang back & just try to win, he sets his own goals & tries to beat himself. last week he ran a 5:29 mile. he's working harder & harder to run a mile in less than 5 minutes. he says that win he runs he gets in a zone where he feels like he's flying & his body seems to move effortlessly on its own. i have never felt that kind of feeling-it fills me with such joy to imagine him in such a state. i watch him run & i can't believe what i see. every time i think he can't possibly keep up at his quick pace he somehow does. that's just the kind of kid cooper is. it's something that sets him apart & something i only wish i had. when things get tough, he gets tougher.

cooper is fun & such a joy. he is starting to build a competitive side & it's fun to watch. he hates to lose & will fight so hard to win. but he's pretty good at accepting defeat when he knows that he gave it all he has. cooper seems to have inherited the best qualities from all of his family. he is a walking encyclopedia, just like his grandpa. he is a wealth of knowledge & i am constantly learning from him.  he is incredibly athletic-like his daddy. he has my love for learning & his grandma's analytical mind. and somehow he's still got his own sense of self that sets him apart from everyone around him. 

he's growing into this tweenage phase with only minor bumps & bruises. he needs a little more sleep  & a little more food. he's sometimes a little more moody, but he's pretty quick to pull out of the attitude funk. he's already up to my chin & his feet are only half a size smaller than mine. he's killing me with how quick he's growing. i have been subbing at the boys' school a lot this year. and it makes me smile every time i spot one of my boys on campus. but nothing makes me happier than seeing this big guy. it breaks my heart to think that next year we won't all be in the same place. like, literally, i have cried over this almost weekly since the start of his fifth grade year. i know he is going to conquer the world, i just wish he would slow down a little bit.

cooper, we love you more than words can say. you are such a great example to your brothers. you are a kind kid with a good heart. you are a leader, a teacher, & a friend to your brothers. they are so blessed to have you pave their way. i feel so blessed to know you, let alone have the honor of raising you. you are my sonshine. happy 11th birthday, cooper. we love you. 

**this year cooper opted out of a proper birthday party. instead, he decided to take his friends on a paintball adventure. i packed them a picnic lunch (complete with layered cake in a jar) & sent them on their warmongering way. they were a little intimidated by the big guns at first but they quickly settled in & had a blast. literally.**

1. cooper's best friend: rex & jameson & sam
2.  cooper's name: cooper j watkins
3.  cooper prefers to go by: cooper
4.  cooper's favorite animals: 
5.  what does cooper want to be when he grows up: a professional soccer player, a dad, a scientist, & an author.
6. cooper's favorite movie: avenger's infinity war
7.  cooper's favorite song: natural by imagine dragons
8.  what makes cooper happy?  when I get things, going to the park, reading, & playing video games.
9.  what makes cooper sad? when he feelss left out.
10.  cooper's favorite food:  five layer burritos from taco bells & del taco bean & beef burritos
11.  cooper's favorite place: utah, coronado island, & hana
12.  cooper's favorite color: dark blue
13.  cooper's favorite game: soccer & fortnite (his favorite non-game activity is writing)
14.  cooper's #1 wish right now: to be a successful scientist & make helpful discoveries. 
15: cute cooper quotes: 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

mylo makes 6

oh, mylo. what can i possibly say? you are the most rewarding and most difficult thing i've ever done. you make me want to snuggle up & scream all at the same time. you are a constant array of emotions & an endless source of energy. and although you have given me more gray hair than i count you have also added to so much depth to my smile lines. mylo, what would we possibly do without you?

i used to wonder where your wild ways stemmed from. that was, until uncle rob visited maui last year. seeing you two together made it obvious. you are 100% jones. you follow in the footsteps of so many of your fantastic forefathers. you remind me so much of some of the men i most admire including my uncle rob, my uncle spencer, & my grandpa max. oh mylo, i hope you recognize how special that is to me. these men that you take after are some of the most caring, most successful, most thoughtful, and most fun men i've ever met. sounds, just like you, doesn't it? they all have their own mischievous and meddlesome mannerisms that left a wake every where they went. they often tested their mothers & terrorized their siblings. but they all have hearts of gold. just like you. they all used their endless energy & drive to become successful both in their jobs & in their families. i have no doubt that you will continue to make me proud in all that you do, just like their mothers were forever amazed by the things they did. 

mylo, you are a social butterfly & a true extrovert. you have a thirst for human interactions that often takes a crowd to quench. you know the names & details of all your classmates, teammates, & friends. you go out of your way to great people & to include everyone in everything you do. you are so tremendously thoughtful. you are always making sure we help others & you almost always insist on buying something for someone other than yourself when we stop by the store. you love gifts. it's your main love language. it doesn't matter if it's fancy & expensive or simple & homemade you just love the act of giving &, of course, receiving. you often bring me fresh flowers picked from your walk home from school & you're always making cards for your family. your love knows no bounds. you are fiercely loyal to those you love. you are the most popular of our crew with friends every where you go. but you hold a special space for your closest friends & family. you will defend & care for those in your inner circle through thick & thin. 

you are hilarious. and so silly. and so much fun. you bring an incredible amount of joy to our home. it's impossible to be in a bad mood around you. if you ever notice me grumping you come up with something silly to do to pull me out of my funk. you are my daily dose of happiness. you are my bestest buddy. you are a major snacker, just like me. you'd rather have small meals to squeeze in more room for your snacks. and you're the only boy that will willingly run errands with me. i love our quality time grocery shopping or target runs. you always find a way to make even the most dull store fun. you can't go in to macy's without spraying every perfume & you have to try every free sample at costco, at least once. you get so chatty when we it's just you & i. you tell me all about your class, your brothers, your dreams, your fears, your plans, i love listening to all the wonderful & witty things you have to say. and boy, do you have witt. your sense of humor amazes me. you are just so smart. you see things clearer than most. you have an amazing ability to understand people & situations. you can read a room & ease any environment. you have an impeccable memory. when you put your mind to it you can ace any first grade test. but you are often unconcerned with school work. you seem to understand the value of other. you recognize that while addition & handwriting have their place they aren't nearly as important as the people in your life. 

you are mr. independent. you can do more for yourself than most & you would rather struggle through figuring out something new than ask for help. you are so determined & resilient & brave. you are fearless! you love a good challenge & will rarely back down. but i have learned that you like to be in control. you will climb up & jump off of anything i will allow you but you are terrified of roller coasters. you prefer to be behind the wheel when seeking your thrills. and boy, are you a thrill seeker!? you are going to give me a heart attack, mr. you usually have a plan on how to accomplish things & you are set to do things your way. your way is rarely my way, & we sometimes but heads but i usually let you take the reins & be in charge of yourself. you almost always accomplish what you set out to do without any help. it's pretty dang amazing.

mylo, we are so blessed to have you in our family. you bring so much light to our lives. wea re forever grateful to call you ours. we love you more than you will ever know. happy birthday, bud!

mylo's best friend: august & mosiah
2.  mylo's name: myles watkins
3.  mylo prefers to go by: mylo
4.  mylo's favorite animals: turtle
5.  what does mylo want to be when he grows up: "i don't know, yet"
6. mylo's favorite movie: hollow
7.  mylo's favorite song: believer by imagine dragons
8.  what makes mylo happy?  playing video games 
9.  what makes mylo sad? not having friends to play with
10.  mylo's favorite food: taco bell bean burrito with no onions & added sour cream
11.  mylo's favorite place: home, mylo is a total homebody
12.  mylo's favorite color: green
13.  mylo's favorite game: chess & exploding kittens
14.  mylo's #1 wish right now: a lamborghini & a million v-bucks (fortnite money)
15: cute mylo quotes: we were spending the weekend at the Grand Wailea & while your brothers & dad went on the big slide you & i were cruising through the lazy river. you & i got separated for about a minute & when i found you you were so angry & you said, "that's why i told you i need a phone!" The other day you came down stairs with a patriots shirt, green shorts, red socks, & bright blue shoes. you saw me eye your outfit & you said, "i don't like matching. i like rainbowing." you are so cute & colorful!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Mylo's Mynecraft Party

after taking a blogging hiatus i happened upon my blog & spent hours searching through my old posts. it filled my heart with so much joy to look back on my boy's smiles & marvel at all the memories that would be lost if it wasn't for this little blogosphere space. so, i am re-inspired to take to blogging, if even just a few times a year. so here goes my attempt at a catch up.

mylo turned 6 (like forever ago). and as always, i let my boy plan his party. i suggested every party theme i could think of. from a beach party to a movie party to a trampoline park party (notice a theme here? i was really hoping for a minimal effort party anywhere but home). but mylo knew just what he wanted-typical. as a video game enthusiast & true homebody he opted to have a minecraft party at home.

when mylo asks for a minecraft party, he gets a mynecraft party. i made sure to have all of his favorite things incorporated in his party. and because video games are not my thing i tried to keep the screen time in check. 

the boys played creeper tag (a spin off of infection) in the front yard while we waited for all the guests to arrive. cooper was a huge help & led this part of the party while i set things up in the backyard. in true watkins fashion, the creeper tag quickly turned in to a good old game of soccer. after all the invitees were in attendance the boys set off to search for materials in the backyard. they had to hunt for wood, iron, diamond, and gold blocks that they could use to craft their weapons. they had to get the right combination of materials to craft their weapons of choice. and of course once the boys had weapons in their hands the scene quickly turned to a battle ground. it was war. i'm not sure who won, or there were even teams. it was a flash of swords and axes and little bodies everywhere. but we couldn't end their. we had to incorporate a little tnt. so thanks to a kid friendly science experiment we had explosion after explosion. which ended in mylo & rex taking turns chugging mentos filled coke straight from the 2-liter. 

after they'd exhausted all their energy the boys needed to replenish. mylo loves mixing sodas. it's ridiculous. no one can share a drink with him because he is always putting every crazy combination in his cup. so he was pretty pumped about the potion brewing station. we had every type of soda available with different potion labels plastered on front. the boys were able to mix (or not mix) their drink of choice. gross, yes. but so fun. they ate all of milo's favorite minecraft foods. and of course, mylo insisted on a massive dessert bar. he had frosted brownies, cookies, popcorn, candy, ice cream, & a two tier cake. after slicing the cake & distributing it to his friends mylo took a fork to the bottom layer & polished off a good portion himself.

after the boys had expelled all their energy & filled their bellies. we turned on the video games. todd set up two tv's side-by-side with eight remotes. it was mylo's minecraft dream come true. they played until their parents forced them out the door. 

it's safe to say mylo loved his mynecraft celebration. his highlights include hanging with his favorite friends (he's a social butterfly & true extrovert), treats all day (beginning with brownies & frosting for breakfast), mixing sodas, watching the explosions & chugging more soda, presents (gifts are his love language) & all the attention. mylo, you loved being celebrated. but we loved celebrating you even more.

and then there's this incredible video compliments of milo's most thoughtful & incredibly talented auntie stina.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

april fools day 2017 & 2018

april fool's day is when of those days that makes parenting so much fun. before kids i never celebrated april first, in all honesty, i didn't think about it more than march thirty-first or april second. but now that i have a house full of silly boys i can't help but put a little effort in to making the day memorable.


i have to say, april fool's 2017 was probably the height of my prank pulling days. it's going to be tough to beat it. things started off small, i used a marker to give the boys freckles while they were asleep. then i told them i was sorry & i got them donuts to make up for the stunt. and this is where the joke got good. check it out…

it was hilarious & heart breaking all at the same time. after a few tears & fists thrown my way i brought out the box of real donuts & all was forgiven. 

the boys were all about pulling pranks after that. we grabbed a few more boxes of donuts & went door to door tricking all our friends. then at tj's football game mylo had the idea to move todd's car while he was on the field. he had no idea & may have suffered a minor heart attack when his vehicle wasn't were he left it. it was hilarious. that mylo is already a little trickster.


april fool's day 2018 fell on easter. my favorite holiday. i struggled for weeks to come up with a plan that would allow us to celebrate both without compromising the festivities of either. before the easter bunny made it to our house i set up a faux egg hunt & trick baskets. take a look…

the boys opened the door to find baskets full of baby items, cleaning supplies, & girl toys. they were ticked. then they went searching for eggs only to discover they were filled with empty candy wrappers & pretend money. i think the best tricks end in smiles so i made sure the easter bunny brought extra awesome baskets & filled their eggs with super special stuff when he stopped by later. i'm not sure how i'm going to surprise them this year, i'm just hoping they don't try to trick me!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

tj turns 7.

you know that old saying, "one year & wiser, too," well, that totally doesn't apply to my tj. he's one year older & about five years wiser. he may only be 7 but he's a well put together seven year old. he amazes me on the regular.

tj is not just smart, he really is wise. he just gets things. he understands life, people, the way the world works. he's a numbers guy. math in all forms is just his thing. he memorizes everyone's license plates.  he's always counting & adding & subtracting. he's even figuring out the basics of negatives & fractions & multiplication on his own. he just thinks about the world & what goes on around him numerically. it's fascinating really. his teacher says that she always calls on him last when searching for a math answer because she always knows he will get it right. and she likes to try to trick him with tough questions-but it never works. tj's memory is a steal trap. that guy remembers every detail or everything that anyone ever said or did. he remembers every where he's been & how to get there. again, it's fascinating. until he's correcting me on every account. then it's humbling.

tj is mature. he is reliable & responsible. i always know i can count on a tj. he is conservative & cautious. he never pushes his limits. he is intuitive, empathetic, aware, & thoughtful. his heart is so big that i amazed it fits in his little chest. he is understanding. he never wants to put anyone else & he is always so content with what he is given. he's always telling me, "it's ok," & ensuring me that my mistakes actually worked out for the better when i get things wrong. he is a peacemaker. he gets along with everyone-but that doesn't mean that he likes everyone. he cracks me up. he plays with every kid that comes his way but at the end of the day he really prefers to be around nice people. he really doesn't care for rude, grumpy, or snotty people. he is kind & good. tj has an incredible sense of right & wrong. and he truly likes to choose right. he really just likes to be a good person. but he does have one weakness…swear words. the kid loves to curse. and i figure if that's the one bad thing he does, i'm totally ok with it. plus, it's pretty damn funny. he always considers others, to the point that it can make his life unnecessarily hard. he wants to include everyone, make every thing fair, & help everyone he passes. especially babies. he has a real thing for babies. it's adorable to see this shy guy around an infant. first, he'll spy the baby & stealthily watch it from across the room. then he'll slowly inch his closer. after a few minutes, he's suddenly next to the baby. he'll discreetly start rubbing the baby's hand or foot while maintaining a neutral stance focusing else where in attempts to hide his excitement. and when no one is looking he'll start kissing baby's forehead & rubbing his cheek on the baby's. it's hilarious. i always tease that he has two weaknesses, babies & balls.

this kid loves sports. he will play anything with a ball. i'd dare say 90% of his free time is spent in a sports related activity. really, nothing excites or frustrates him like a sporting event. tj is really the most chill child. he is so easy to please & cruises through life. until a ref makes a bad call in the game he's watching or his brother makes an unfair foul or his video game character commits an error in a game. then my little angel turns in to a total beast. he never throws fits, ever. unless a sports game is involved. i guess that's true passion. his favorites are still football & soccer but he switches things up & throws in some baseball, golf, tennis, & basketball on the regular. he doesn't just have incredible physical abilities, oh no, this kid has quite the mental game. he understands the rules, plays, & ongoings of even the most complex games. he puts me to shame. he will call plays before they are run, & he's always coming up with better alternatives than what the coaches call. and that's why we call him "coach." it's kind of his calling. he doesn't have the best work ethic, he prefers to exert the minimal amount of physical & mental effort to accomplish menial tasks. but when it comes to sports the kid just won't stop. there is nothing worst for a tj than having to quit a game early. or even on time. he wants to keep playing until long after the sun has gone down.

tj is quiet, until he's not. we always tease that tj has two volumes, he's either making my heart swoon with his tender raspy voice or he's making my headache with his high pitched squeals & screams. his teacher says that she never hears him talk until free time, when he gets so caught up having fun he forgets he's in school. then he's suddenly loud, like real loud. he loves to be with his brothers & friends but he really cherishes his alone time. he's the best snuggler the world has ever seen. nothing lights my life like his surprise kisses, his cheek rubs, & his bear like hugs. tj, you own me. he loves art. he is often found with paper & crayons doodling away. he loves music & warms my heart with every note he sings. he is a sucker for oreos & milk. he is a guacamole master, no bowl of guac leaves our kitchen without his critical approval. he'd eat mexican food for every meal if i'd let him. he's mad about race cars & dreams of owning a corvette one day. he's a friend to everyone, but his bff's are his brothers. 

tj, we love you more than words can say. you've had a pretty awesome seven years & i am pretty excited to see where these next twelve months will take you. there's nothing you can't do. you're going to do big things one day, tj. you just wait & see. you fill our hearts & our home with so much joy, so much peace, & so much love. we are forever grateful for you. happy birthday, tj.

tj insisted on celebrating his big day with a soccer party. no big surprise there. i decided to combine his three loves soccer, flags, & trophies to put together a world cup party. he was totally surprised & loved every bit. he invited his closest friends & played soccer until we literally ran out of drinks & were near dehydration. his only party requests were soccer, a milk bar style birthday cake, & flags. tj, we love every excuse to celebrate you. 

1.  tj's best friend: kam (he had a tough time answering this. he hates to make anyone feel left out.)
2.  tj's name: todd t.j. watkins jr.
3.  tj prefers to go by: t.j.
4.  tj's favorite animals: penguin
5.  what does tj want to be when he grows up: a football player
6.  tj's favorite movie: college football games
7.  tj's favorite song: "watch me" by silento
8.  what makes tj happy? "when cooper & daddy go with me to the park to play football"
9.  what makes tj sad? going to school
10.  tj's favorite food:  joe-joe's & pancakes & eggs
11.  tj's favorite place: football fields & football stores
12.  tj's favorite color: really, really light blue
13.  tj's favorite game: football
14.  tj's #1 wish right now: "to have my own real football helmet. i would want to play for auburn & have a football helmet & jersey."

Friday, August 18, 2017

cooper makes 10.

cooper, my cooper, is 10. double digits. a full decade. it is bittersweet. i am so proud of the young man he has grown to be through his short life span. i feel so blessed to have spent 10 years with this sweet guy. but it breaks my heart to think that the years with him under my roof are quickly dwindling. can time please slow down?

cooper is incredible in more ways than one. i could brag about his brilliance in the classroom. I could boast about his abilities on various sports fields. i could rave about his reading. i could gloat about his goodness. i could even puff about his pleasant personality. but that's all true cooper form. that has been in his being since the beginning. instead, i'll focus on some of the new ways cooper has blossomed over the past year.

cooper has become quite courageous. he has always been a pretty shy guy but he has really shed his shell over the past year. there are very few signs of the timid tot he once was. he's not just brave in social ways, he's also pushed himself to try new things and set new limits. i love it. he was once afraid of the unknown but lately, he has welcomed new scenarios, new scenes, and new challenges. like basketball. he gave it a shot a few years ago and really wasn't a fan. and he hasn't picked up a ball since. so you can imagine my surprise when he asked to give the sport another go this past summer. i was so proud of his willingness to try. going in to it he said, "it's going to be hard going from being one of the best players in soccer and football to being one of the worst in basketball." i was amazed by his honesty, humility, and perseverance.  couldn't believe how much effort and how great his attitude was through the entire season. starting out he was hands down the worst on the court. but he never stopped trying, he never gave anything but his best, and he thrived. he learned so much during that season. not just about basketball, but about life. i am so proud of this brave boy.

this has been the year for so much emotional growth as cooper slowly transitions from boyhood to teen. i am so amazed with how well he handles most everything. he is pretty good at understanding his needs, wants, feelings, and body. what amazes me most is how he chooses to talk to me about any & every big thing on his mind. this is an honor i do not take lightly. i strive to answer all of his questions & concerns with as much honest fullness as i can. he isn't loving this new transition. he likes to cling to his childish ways. and i don't blame him so we don't rush him. he has his whole life to be grown, i think he deserves as much time as a kid as he can possibly get. he is not as mature & a little more naive than most his friends. in my mind, that is a really great thing. i'm learning to loosen the leash a little & give him more control over himself (with plenty of coaching & encouragement, of course). like his room. he is a natural tornado & always ends up with a stream of messes behind him. he's pretty good about cleaning up with instruction but i'm trying to let him take charge of his own space (which is torture for my OCD).

he isn't a very flexible kid. he loves predictability & structure. he thrives with a full nights sleep. he does not like when things disrupt our family time, especially movie nights. he is an extroverted introvert, so as much as he loves hanging out with friends he needs his quiet time. and that's ok because four out of five watkins teammates are natural introverts so we all depend on a little me-time.

cooper has big dreams & i do not doubt he will make all of them come true. he wants to attend college, play professional soccer, live in europe, own a corvette, be a husband and a father, become an author, and make it to heaven. he is practical in everything and he knows that these are all attainable things. we finally made a year long dream come true when he opened his first bank account last week. he takes his financial situation very seriously. he is a saver.

he loves nothing more than playing soccer at the park with his mom, dad, & brothers. his favorite treats are chocolate chip pizookies & insists on having them every time he is in charge of movie night dessert. he is a major bookworm & always has a book in hand. he loves playing fifa & watching soccer videos. he is always down for an adventure & can never get enough of the outdoors. he has more energy than any child i've ever known. in fact, the only things i can think of that he truly hates are steak, shopping, & sleeping.

happy double digits, cooper! you are going to rock this being a 10 year old thing! we love you so much. more than you will ever know. you are the leader of our pack, our team captain. you started our family off & in so many ways you have been the glue that's held us together. you are so wonderful in so many ways. and we are forever and ever grateful to call you ours.

1. cooper's best friend: Rex & Jameson
2.  cooper's name: cooper watkins
3.  cooper prefers to go by: Cooper
4.  cooper's favorite animals: Megaladon
5.  what does cooper want to be when he grows up: A professional soccer player, a dad, & an author.
6. cooper's favorite movie: Wonder Woman
7.  cooper's favorite song: Believer by Imagine Dragons
8.  what makes cooper happy?  When I get things, going to the park, & playing video games.
9.  what makes cooper sad? When he is left out by his brothers.
10.  cooper's favorite food:  Five layer burritos from Taco Bells & omelets from Koa's & McDonald's Pico de Guacamole burger
11.  cooper's favorite place: Utah & Hana
12.  cooper's favorite color: Teal
13.  cooper's favorite game: Soccer
14.  cooper's #1 wish right now: To be the best soccer player of my time.
15: cute cooper quotes: while playing their real life version of the game of life (they act out the board game by finding books to match their career, buying cars, houses, & even wives & children) tj offered cooper a wife & coop asked, "is she the prettiest lady in the world?" and tj said, "yes." then cooper said, "yea, but is she the smartest lady in the world?" and tj said, "she's the second smartest lady in the world." then cooper said, "ok that's pretty good. but is she good at soccer?" he knows what he wants in a woman!