Friday, December 2, 2016

tj turns 6

today tj turns 6. and it's about time, too. he's been claiming the age for over a month now. he's mature, intelligent, & sizable enough to pass, too. tj is an absolute delight. he brings so much joy to my world. he is a natural caretaker, peacemaker, & friend. he is thoughtful, kind, & sweet beyond compare. he is aware of those around him, and their feelings.  he likes to make sure that everyone around him is included, cared for, & happy. he has a big heart & he isn't afraid to use it. he is a major snuggle & up until this past month only todd & i reaped the rewards of his boundless bear hugs & sweet snuggles. but during our trip to the mainland he was handing out loves left & right to his aunties, uncles, grandparents, & cousins. he truly loves his family. and their dogs. tj is a major dog lover. i would argue to say that he is more in love with the dogs we visited than the people. tank & lola being his favorites. tj is shy, the shyest of all my guys. he's cautious with people, and very observant of their actions, and aware of their natures. but once you break through his walls & earn his trust, he will love you something fierce. and you will witness the immense emotion & energy that he hides inside. he is silly & wild & a real crack up once you get to know tj. he is absolutely hilarious. but he is a bit of an introvert. he enjoys his friends & family but he does get overwhelmed at times & craves alone time. he could play football by himself for hours. speaking of which, this kid's love for football has only grown since his last birthday. i would dare say that he is obsessed. he wakes up & plays football. gets home from school & plays football. talks about football. watches football. reads about football. and according to his accounts, he dreams only of football. he has a natural eye for the game & understands so much more than i do. his physical skill is nothing compared to the mental game this boy masters. tj just completed his first flag football season. he started out a bit reserved but quickly let his skill shine. he scored touchdowns, ran plays, & pulled flags with the best of them (which is pretty rad considering he was the youngest on his team.) he has crazy good running skills & made some pretty incredible jukes to dodge defenders. but he is just as incredible in the classroom as he is on the field. tj is excelling in school both academically & socially. he is sounding out words, performing basic addition and subtraction, & solving pretty complex critical thinking. he is a natural leader & the kids in his class recognize it. when asked to choose someone to take charge they always vote tj. they recognize that he is capable & fair. his teacher is always sure to call on him because she knows (what we have come to understand around our house) that tj doesn't speak up a ton but when he does he has put a lot of thought in to what he has to say & you should pay attention. tj earned the pueo award for "beginning with the end in mind" which didn't surprise me in the least. tj is a bit of a rebel deep down inside. don't tell him i told you, but he secretly loves saying swear words. i don't know why, there's no explaining it, but he has had a love for bad words since he was only two. and he has been known to walk the line on house rules on more than one occasion. 

tj we love you more than words can say. you are such an incredible blessing to our family. you bring so much peace, joy, & love in to our lives. watching you grow has been a true pleasure & i can't wait to see all the things you accomplish as you continue on your adventure we call life. you are great in so many ways & greatness is a natural part of you. we love you, tijjy buns. inside & out.

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."

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cooper's 9.

Yes, you read that right. Cooper is nine. Nine! That's half-way to adulthood. The empty-nest syndrome has already kicked in & I am dreading his uncontrollable growth. He almost reaches my shoulder & it's only a few short years until he's passed me up completely. And i'm not just talking about height. This kid's intellect is leaps & bounds beyond anything I understand. He's a brilliant little star. He read the entire Harry Potter series in 2 months. He taught himself how to multiply. And he has a memory like a steel trap. He can watch, read, or hear something once & it is forever committed to his memory. No joke. His comprehension is off the charts. He understands concepts, theories, ideas, well beyond his tender years. And the best part? He loves to learn. He constantly asks to go to the library & he can never get his hands on enough books. His favorite subjects are history, geography, geology, & science. But this little bookworm has had a new distraction…video games. He loves video games (what 9 year old boy doesn't?). His favorites are Star Wars & FIFA. He would play all day if I let him-but I don't.

Soccer is dominating this little athlete's life lately. After winning his first (and second) tournament(s) this summer he has been a little soccer obsessed. He prefers to wear soccer jerseys, he loves getting outside to practice his skills, & he wants to learn everything there is to learn about the sport. His favorite players are Messi & Pele. This year he will be playing flag football & running cross country in addition to playing soccer. I know that sounds like a lot, but trust me, he loves it. He is happier when he is busy doing what he loves. Without school & sports for a month this summer he was going stir crazy & he is more than ready for a busy fall. Coop is a big ball of endless energy. Seriously, I think I've heard him say that he was tired maybe 5 times in his 9 years. He is my Energizer bunny that just never quits.

Cooper is really such a gem. He is a good kid. Always has been. He's never gotten in trouble at school, sports, church, or with family or friends. He's never been scolded by anyone other than his parents. In fact, he is always praised by teachers, coaches, & other adults. He just listens, obeys, does his best, & has a good attitude (ok-he doesn't always act like this at home, but hey, nobody is perfect! I'm ok with a little rebellion in the comfort of your own home). We've really lucked out with this guy. He sets a great example for his brothers. He really is just so good. I love knowing that I can trust him in most any situation because he never fails to be good. He has turned in to a big boy in the last few months. He's lost some of his sweet innocence & taken on a new fascination for everything gross like bodily functions & messy foods, & bugs. But, that's just boys, right? I hope it's all a phase. He's also taken to teasing. This is a new one for us, but his little brothers roll with the punches pretty well & are pretty good at giving Coop a taste of his own medicine.

We are so blessed to have this big guy as the leader of our pack. He is strong, curious, brave, obedient, observant, persistent, energetic, responsible, smart, & in so many ways purely fantastic. He sets the bar high with his endless expectations but his hardworking attitude helps him achieve his dreams no matter how big they are. He pushes me to always be better & do better. He's never satisfied with mediocre. He's always setting new goals & striving to achieve them. He teaches me so much. He melts my heart with his genuine smile, his joyful laugh, & his sweet "the amos" at the end of every night. He is a leader. He is so wonderful & we love him so. Cooper, we fall more & more in love with you every day. You are my very best friend & there is no one I enjoy talking to more than you, Sonshine. Thanks for being you. We love you more than words can possibly say.

**I asked him if we could take his annual birthday pictures. He wasn't keen on the idea so we made a deal. He agreed to take the pictures as long as he could wear a soccer jersey & play soccer while I took pictures. I'm not at all surprised. And I love how these shots show the true Cooper in his element.**

1. cooper's best friend: TJ
2.  cooper's name: cooper watkins
3.  cooper prefers to go by: Cooper
4.  cooper's favorite animals: Spinosaurus
5.  what does cooper want to be when he grows up: A professional soccer player, an inventor, a dad, a lawyer, a president, & that's all.
6. cooper's favorite movie: The Hobbit 3
7.  cooper's favorite song: You Can Count On Me by Bruno Mars & Hey Soul Sister by Train
8.  what makes cooper happy?  Having fun. Playing sports, reading, playing on the PlayStation, seeing new things, & exploring.
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
11.  cooper's favorite place: New York
12.  cooper's favorite color: Blue
13.  cooper's favorite game: Soccer
14.  cooper's #1 wish right now: To invent a time machine to study history.
15: cute cooper quotes: "buenos nachos" he's been learning Spanish & hasn't quite mastered "good night." But that's partly my fault, I refuse to correct this cuteness. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Mylo's Minion Mayhem.

Mylo decided on a very appropriate theme for his birthday, again this year. Minions! I really couldn't describe his curious, wild, & silly character in a more perfect way. I felt awful going in to this party because I was pretty swamped coming home from a long vacation to a lot of lose ends that needed tending. Normally, I would have started his birthday prep long before but this year it all came down to the last minute. Due to time restraints I limited his celebrations to a movie party. I outlined all the movies that would be playing the week of his birthday & I wasn't the least bit surprised when he picked Minions (a dollar movie, nonetheless. Score!) Mylo wasn't the least bit bothered by the last minute party prep. He was just happy to have some new toys, his "buddies," & a belly full of goodies. He is really such a sweet & easy-to-please guy. His only party requests were 1. Squirt guns 2. Pizza 3. Banana pops 4. Bingo 5. Friends. Totally doable.

We went to the movie to watch Minions. We brought goody bags full of some of Mylo's favorite snacks (juice boxes, fruit snacks, lollipops, & "minion munch"). & of course, some Minion glasses for all the guests. After the movie we went to the fountains so the kids could play while eating their pizza, minion-ade, chips, banana-pops, & cupcakes (all per Mylo's requests). We played Minion Bingo, had a Minion-ish language lesson, played with Minion props, & the kids got their own "anti-gravity" serum, & "sting ray" guns to use in the fountains.  Everyone seemed to have fun, but none more than the birthday boy. He was so happy to have the spotlight. He loves being boss (or as we call him, Mr. Mylo) & he loved his birthday boy role.

Birthday parties are often exhausting, but Mylo makes them easy, light, & fun. We sure love you Minion Mylo. We loved making your special day a little more special. We can't wait to celebrate with you again next year!

**Oh & I totally forgot my camera for the party. Go figure. So ignore the poor picture quality & focus on the adorable little birthday boy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

mylo turns 4

mylo is four. he is growing so quickly & even though he is the most independent of my boys he still manages to be my forever baby. it's a tricky combo that this sweet little man has mastered. he loves doing things for himself & for others. he is usually eager to help in the kitchen, he can make all his favorite snacks & only needs a little help heating things up, he bathes himself with very little assistance, & he gets himself ready daily by picking out & putting on his own clothes, brushing his hair & teeth, packing a backpack with snacks & toys, & getting his breakfast ready. but don't let his independent ways fool you. deep down in side he is still my little baby & he clings to some of his more infantile habits for a bit of comfort. like, he can prepare his own oatmeal but insists i spoon feed it to him every morning. and he has two speeds, either he's moving in a full sprint or he is insisting to be carried. he is a total oxymoron. he is climbing trees, jumping off rocks, & boogie boarding waves one minute & insisting i hold him like a like a little koala the next. and i love it. i love how he is so fearless, so brave, so determined, & yet so sweet & tender. 

he really is a sweet kid. he loves the people close to him fiercely. like his brothers. he cannot get enough of his brothers. it is so sweet it's almost sad. his heart breaks every time they leave for school & he anxiously waits for them to come home. i offer to spend the school days doing whatever he wants but all the ice cream, lego wars, & beach trips don't compare to the joy he feels when his brothers walk in the door. and he doesn't leave their sides for the rest of the day. his other best buddy is his "little brother" tave. he is obsessed with tave & begs to have the one year old over daily. he loves playing big brother & helping tave with his bottle & food, tickling tave, playing with tave, & teaching tave  he considers those around him & loves to help. like today, he had a friend over & when i asked what they wanted to do mylo insisted on taking his friend to target & spending his own money to buy his friend a hot wheels & some popcorn. and he loves to help me prepare my food & pick out my clothes. often times he reminds me of little details i forget. he is always keeping me in check. he feels deeply & doesn't always know how to handle his big emotions. he always makes sure that everyone is involved in whatever is going on. and if anyone is left out he finds ways to include them. like when daddy misses out on a special treat because he is at work mylo saves him an extra piece & he always picks an extra flower for grandma even though she's all the way in california. his heart is big.

he is a smart. too smart. he just gets things in ways well beyond his short years. he often amazes me with the connections & correlations & observations he points out. things that i don't even pick up on he has all figured out. and he sure knows how to get his way. he knows that he is strong & smart, & he uses his inherit skills to make things happen just how he wants. like how he reminds his brothers that they aren't allowed to play "dying games" on the play statin on sundays mostly because he doesn't like the "dying games" so it forces his brothers to play his favorite games. or how he frequently puts words in my mouth by telling his brothers i have created some rule restricting them that i never said. mylo is tough & rough, & wild. he is not afraid to use brute force to get his way, mostly with his brothers. the boys' rugby coaches can't wait to get him on the field. there will be no stopping that speedy little devil. todd often teases that he is built to be a line backer. mylo often reminds tells me, "i'm stronger than you" when i attempt to discipline him. in fact, no form of discipline is all that effective on mylo. he is too strong willed, too smart, & too independent. he will willingly obey as long as you explain the rules & the reasoning behind them. but if they don't make sense it's pretty tough to get him on board (that's where bribery comes in handy. a little candy goes a long way with this guy). he has a major sweet tooth. he used to ask me 20 times a day for a treat. but now he knows how to get them himself & usually just bypassing the permission request. he is a major fan of candy, chocolate, cookies, ice cream, cake, brownies, all of it. in fact, i can't think of any form of sugar he doesn't enjoy. but he's pretty well balanced. when he isn't eating sweets he is usually downing fruits, yogurt, whole grains, or some form of protein. no wonder he is "stronger than me". he has an incredible sense of humor & loves to make people laugh. he is quite the class clown. 

his hugs are like chicken soup for my soul. and his love knows no bounds. he knows how to make me smile regardless of the mood i might be in. he can always brighten my day & bring a smile to my face. mighty, you are a dream. you bring an immeasurable amount of life, light, & love in to our family. and we weren't complete until you joined us. you fill us up. we love you more than all the stars in the sky. happy birthday, mr. my.

1. mylo's best friend: mommy & tave
2.  mylo's name: mylo james watins
3.  mylo prefers to go by: mylo
4.  mylo's favorite animals: "i'm not telling…ok, it's a elephant."
5.  what does mylo want to be when he grows up: "football player & that's it"
6. mylo's favorite movie: ninjago & harry potter
7.  mylo's favorite song: "baa baa baa baaaaaa" (a silly song he made up)
8.  what makes mylo happy?  "playing screen (playstation) & catching waves on the boogie board & picking up tj & cooper from school & that's it."
9.  what makes mylo sad? "not playing with my brothers & when daddy drop off my brothers at school & their school's super long & that's it."
10.  mylo's favorite food:  pizza, strawberries, oatmeal, & most any sweet
11.  mylo's favorite place: target & the little park
12.  mylo's favorite color: green
13.  mylo's favorite game: bingo & candy land & the hobbit lego ps4 game 
14.  mylo's #1 wish right now: "to be an elephant and kill a t-rex."
15: cute mylo quotes: before i left for new zealand mylo asked, "you can bring me a pet from new zealand? mmmmmmm, how about a bear. a polar! is that allowed? it might bite tj's leg off. oh, i have a good idea! we can lock it in our back yard! then we can ride on him in the back yard! just this way (pointing to the left) not that way (pointing to the right). i don' t want a penguin, though. that's not a riding animal."

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.