Tuesday, January 5, 2016

coop's 8th "party"

cooper was hoping to have a soccer party for his 8th birthday but when the opportunity to forego a party & take a special daddy/son trip arouse he took it. todd had a work trip to utah & coop tagged along. according to him, it was the best trip ever (i'll try not to take that personally). they spent 10 days on the mainland between utah & san diego. my heart could barely take his absence.

they had a pretty memorable time. in utah they toured byu, went down on the field at the byu vs. boise game, hiked timp cave, enjoyed all our favorite byu eats (j dawgs, chipotle, beto's, chic-fil-et, etc.), & spent almost every minute with their dear cousins, kam & rylie. during the week todd had to attend some work meetings so he spent most his time in salt lake. coop was a total trouper, he hung with the becks the whole time without the slightest aching for home. it helps that his auntie lys is the absolute most caring, giving, thoughtful, attentive, loving aunt to ever spoil her nephew. she spent the entire week catering to cooper's ever want & need. she made sure he had all his favorite meals, even going out of her way to make him omelettes & cheesy eggs. she took him to all the best utah sites including the dinosaur museum, the museum of curiosity, the movies, boondocks, & his favorite place, the dollar store. in between all that she spoiled him with gifts & treats. plus, she let her kids stay home from school for some extra quality time with coop. he loved spending every moment with his cousins. he learned all about big kid games & loved it. they played lego wars, nerf wars equipped with fort building, stunt & trick shows, xbox, soccer, football, & auntie even let them watch movies until they fell asleep. he was in heaven. 

after all that they flew in to san diego for a couple days with his grandma cindy, nana, grandpa great, & auntie tiff. they grabbed fish tacos & went to mission beach for some roller coaster riding. seriously, can you imagine a better non-birthday-party?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

coop's baptism

so i'm a little slow on the blog-front. eh, what can i say? life's been busy. but i do need to make special mention about a very special day for a very special boy. 11.l8.14, cooper j was baptized in to the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints. this was a choice he made after plenty thought, study, & prayer. todd & i worked together to teach him about the lds church in comparison to other Christian churches. he spent countless hours reading the Bible & the Book of Mormon. ultimately, he prayed about it & felt like he should be baptized in to the lds church. he bore his testimony, met with the bishop of our local ward, & spiritually prepared himself for the big day.

he decided to wait until his papa came to maui so he could perform the ordinance. he asked that his dad pray, his mom give a talk on baptism, & the attendees sing "book of mormon stories." his good friend, titan was baptized at the same time. he was so happy to have his buddy there.

it was such an incredible experience for cooper & our family. i am so proud of this little boy & his big spirit. he is so persistent, so dedicated, so faithful, & so good. although he is often timid he has a hidden bravery that allows him to always make good choices no matter how hard they may be. he is  a light & a leader in our family & we are so grateful for him. 

(excuse the poor pictures. my sd card with the baptism pictures off my dslr broke so iPhone it is.)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

t.j.'s nfl party (giants vs. falcons)

tj opted to celebrate his 5th birthday with a football party, big surprise, i know. i'm used to cooper planning his entire party from the activities to the goody bags. tj is much easier to please. he had three simple requests, hot dogs, a chocolate-oreo-football-field cake, & a football game. in fact, the football game was the only thing he actually insisted on. i think we could have skipped the food & decor & he would have been just as happy with a few friends playing at the park-but since we do that at least a few times a week i had to up the to make the day a little something special. and i am so glad i did. i don't think i've ever seen my sweet guy so happy. football truly is his happy place. 

watching the little boys passing, running routes, kicking, punting, tackling, & calling plays was the best entertainment for us spectators. i we even had a few cheerleaders on the side lines routing for their favorite teams. i barely saw tj the entire party. it was hard to tear him away from the football just to get him to open presents & blow out his candles. he played hard & happily even after the sun was long gone. his favorite part was passing the ball to the inflatable receiver & kicking field goals. oh & presents, what kid doesn't love presents?

coach todd really took charge on this party (rightfully so, it is his scene). he planned most the details & set up for the big day. he led the kids in football drills & refereed a falcons vs. giants game (giants won by 7). he also manned the grill & took care of most the food. and my jaw nearly dropped when he took care of the clean up. after missing the last 3 of ti's parties he really pulled his weight with this one. cooper was the best big brother. he helped with the party prep & set up. and when the kids started to show up it was cooper that led the first few football drills. i wanted to eat him up when i heard him say, "come on kids, who wants to learn about field goals?" then he ushered all the kids to the goal for a quick lesson & some practice kicks. he has such a good heart & he is such a kind leader. mylo upped his play at the party. he was really showing off with some sweet kicks, jukes, runs, & of course, tackles. he was on present patrol. he made sure every guest brought a gift & he was sure to peek in every bag before taking it to the designated spot. that kid!as for me, this was the easiest party i've participated in. most the planning was covered by tj & todd. i put together a few little decorations, baked the cake, & put together a nachos bar. then i spent the day of munching, chatting, & soaking up my sweet birthday boy. i definitely think these parties should be more of a team effort from here on out.

ti's day was easily made. he is such a sweet, easy going boy. he was so happy to have his favorite friends, favorite food, & favorite game. we are so grateful for our dear friends that joined us in celebrating our favorite football fanatic. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

tj turns 5

today, my little boyfriend turns 5. and i still can't decide how i feel about it. sometimes i feel like he has grown in the blink of an eye & other times i'm surprised he isn't older. 

it's probably because he is so versatile. he's good at playing up to cooper & acting like a regular school-aged kid & next thing you know he's back down at mylo's level. he's a people pleaser-in a good way. he loves to make others happy-but he never does so at the expense of his own happiness. he has an awesome sense of humor & isn't afraid to use it. he is a charmer & he definitely has his mama wrapped around his little finger. he is passionate & he loves deep. he is the best snuggler, hugger, & hair stroker i know. he has a heart bigger than his little body can hold. he has the most genuine smile that always makes my heart burst. he is thoughtful, caring, empathetic, & aware of those around him. he is a problem solver, & a true thinker. he is my closet genius. he is smart. like really, really smart. at his parent-teacher conference his teacher suggested ways he needed to improve academically (none socially since she raves & says he is the best behaved student she's ever had). i laughed to myself because everything she suggested were things he's already mastered-as far as a 5 year old is concerned. counting? he can go well beyond 200. oh & he's already adding & subtracting. letters? not only does he know upper case & lower case, he can read. when i asked him why he doesn't speak up more in class he simply said, "i already know the answers. why should i tell them?" he is confident & has absolutely no need to prove himself to anyone else. i love it. he is obsessed with football & can almost always be found with a ball in his hand. his favorite team is the miami dolphins & his favorite player is todd watkins, duh. his favorite thing to do is run plays at the park with his brothers & his daddy. or harass siri for up to date information on the latest scores & team rankings. he knows routes & has some incredible jukes. he's developed a few nicknames on the field, "tackle tj," "tj watt," & "coach." he is my best helper & is always down to cook & clean when no one else will lend a helping hand. he loves being with his family & is always sure to include everyone. he is shy & reserved but his wild side comes out when he's around his brothers. i tease that he has two volumes, hushed or hollering. he has a silent strength that amazes me. he  inherited his mommy's sweet tooth & his daddy's dislike for fruits & veggies-but he is developing a liking for some fresh produce, especially broccoli. oh, & he can never get enough nori. if given the option, i'm sure he would eat oreos & taco salad daily.  he takes after both of his parents equally but i think he reminds me most of his auntie lys. he has a heart of gold-just like she. he is silly. he comes up with the most wild ideas that make me giggle on the regular. he brings so much peace & so much joy to our family. we are blessed beyond measure to have him in our home.  we love you more than all the sand on all the beaches.

he really is a cruise little guy. his only birthday requests were to stay home & play with his new presents until todd was pau hana. then he wanted to go play family football at the pit. he wanted to eat donuts for breakfast, tacos for lunch, taco salad for dinner, & Christmas oreo milkshakes for dessert. i'm used to long detailed birthday wish lists so it felt like a special treat to have such a chill day to relax & soak up the birthday boy. he did love being the birthday boss & making little decisions like who gets to say prayer, what show to watch, & when we wrapped up football. he was so excited for his big day, he had a count down going for the past 54 days. today, he would spontaneously bursting out, "it's my birthday!" 

1.  tj's best friend: tave
2.  tj's name: t.j. watkins
3.  tj prefers to go by: t.j.
4.  tj's favorite animals: sharks
5.  what does tj want to be when he grows up: a daddy & a football player
6.  tj's favorite movie: wild kratts
7.  tj's favorite song: "i like to move it, move it"
8.  what makes tj happy? playing football at the pit with his brothers & daddy
9.  what makes tj sad? going to school
10.  tj's favorite food:  taco salad
11.  tj's favorite place: the pit
12.  tj's favorite color: blue
13.  tj's favorite game: ncaa football on the playstation
14.  tj's #1 wish right now: to go in the t.v. & play on the ncaa football game

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!