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I am a God-loving, husband-adoring, mybabyboys-hugging, mind-reeling, photo-taking, life-documenting, yummyfood-cooking, garden-planting, country-living girl. Writing about life, with boys, in the sticks...
this is life... with boys... in the country...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Mountain-Uni Man

It’s not every day you see a guy riding a unicycle.  Let alone a unicycle through the woods, jumping onto logs, and off of rock-walls. 
Unless you’re at my house.  Then you see it every couple days, whenever Dad needs to clear his head and challenge himself.   Nov-14-2010_6320
Several, several years ago, Matt saw a show on Mountain Unicycling and the guys being featured said it’s a sport for 30-something guys who’ve done the mountain biking thing and need a new challenge. 
Enter, my husband.
Uni1 Uni2 Uni3He’s always up for a good challenge, so I satisfied his curiosity of this sport a few years back and got him (per his careful, detailed instructions) a Mountain Unicycle.  He practiced a few feet at a time in our basement and now can hop onto it with the ease that you or I sit down into a chair.  And, he rides for miles.  Along roads, hills, and trails and through brush and across terrain I don’t want to walk across.  I don’t even remember the last time I road a bike and he’s tootin’ around here on one wheel like its nobody’s business. 
And I love that the boys think its no big deal.  Like, every body’s dad does this.
I, on the other hand, still totally get a kick out of it and it never gets old to watch him ride.  
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He doesn’t know that I’m posting this, and when he sees it I’ll get the “Ahh, Mom…” response (suggesting his embarrassment over me talking about him), but oh well.  My blogging purpose is to document and share the goings-on and that’s a what I’m doin’. 
So, here’s to getting off your two-wheels and challenging yourself to something new.  

Monday, November 29, 2010

Decorating for Christmas

I look forward to decorating for Christmas all. year. long.  I HAVE to wait until after Thanksgiving to officially start, and will not allow any Christmas music or movies to be played until this time, too.  I suppose I like the build up and then BAM!  November 26th and its ON!  Christmas TIME! 

Well… this year, so far, has been a bit bah humbug.  Despite Gage’s pleas to make Christmas cookies and to start decorating on the 26th, I had to put it off until I was in the right mood.  Illness and messes and other distractions made thinking about transitioning into Christmas-time hard.  Bless his little heart – Gage was bummed.  So, Friday night, I prayed about it and thankfully felt good enough to start decorating on Saturday.  But something told me Scrooge may try to hinder our jolly-good time.  

Gage eagerly helped me bring up the box of garland and carefully hang it in the exact way we do it every year… 

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… only to realize that 2 out of the 4 strands of lights were burnt out.  Score one for Scrooge. 

Kaden helped by climbing the stairs over and over again, and then needing to be rescued from the top.  He LOVES this game. 

ChristmasDecorating1Then we brought up the ‘treasures’ I have stored in my hope-chest.  I don’t have much in the way of Christmas decorations because my home decor is a bit Christmasy as it is – greens, browns and creams, and even a few red accents.  But we do have the same ‘ol same ‘ol we get out each year and to my pleasant surprise, Gage remembered exactly where each little figurine went…  

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… except for this one.  He handed me the box and said “What’s this one, Mama?”  “Oh, Gagers. That one is very special,” I replied, as I started opening the lid. “This is a Snow Baby and it was your great-grammie’s.  She had a whole collection of them and this one is …”  I trailed off as I pulled it out… “broken.” I finished.  The little fishing pole broke off. Sigh.  Score two for Scrooge. 

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Determined to power through and enjoy the experience I got out the little Swedish Star Chime.  And I watched and observed as Gage tried to assemble it, just as I did when I was a little girl.  I knew what he was thinking – looking back and forth between the dainty gold pieces and the picture.  Knowing it was like a puzzle, knowing he could figure it out… but couldn’t resist the urge to ask for my help several times.  I encouraged him to do it and retreated to get the final few pieces of decorations from the basement. 

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And when I returned, I found this…

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HA!  Score one for the jolly-good timers!

And then, Cooper woke up.  Oiy.  He’s not been feeling well and adding him to our festivities made things interesting.  We’d saved the nativity scene for last, so that he could help, but he really wanted no part in placing the wise men with baby Jesus. 

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So, he did this… 

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… and this…

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… and then threw up, ALL over me.  Score three for Scrooge. 

BUT!  The Christmas Spirit lives on… my wonderful husband fixed the lights on the garland, I still love my Snow Baby, broken fishing pole and all (and my wonderful husband could probably fix that as well) and Cooper felt much better after unleashing his innards onto me.  So, there, Scrooge. 

I am SO determined to make this a festive, Jesus-focused, happy, enjoyable, warm and cozy time for my kiddos… we may be off to kind of a rocky start, but we’ll get there.  Next up, the Christmas Tree!  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On Being Thankful

Its easy to face adversity and get frustrated and down.  I am very guilty of this.  I see the snow outside and get upset at the danger it poses for us driving anywhere.  I see Cooper, right now, laying in my bed with a fever and weak from spending the night throwing up and I just think “Doggonit… Gage is finally on the mend and NOW Cooper gets sick??” I shake my head knowing that the season of illness, seclusion, canceling appointments (I was supposed to get my hair done today) and swiping my card at the pediatrician’s office is upon us.  And now, Thanksgiving is on hold for us, too, and I feel sad wondering if our holidays are EVER going to get back to normal. 

Instead, I KNOW that I should look at the snow and be thankful for its beauty and the quietness it blankets us with.  I should be thankful that I don’t HAVE to drive anywhere in this weather but can stay home, in our warm house and be protected from the frigid cold. We have food stocked up and enough wood to last 2 winters… what do I have to complain about?  I should look at Cooper and thank the Lord that he doesn’t have an illness that is threatening his life … what do I have to complain about?  I should be thankful that we have insurance to pay for their doctor care, that seclusion means bonding with my children and board games and movies and book reading.  What do I have to complain about?

I should be thankful that we have extended family that we could be spending Thanksgiving with … and that even if we don’t actually see them on November 25, there’s always the next day or the day after that.  Its not the date on the calendar – its the spirit of the holiday that we celebrate.  And if we have to reschedule, or eat 15 pounds of turkey by ourselves, that’s the way it is.  What do I have to complain about?

I could let myself complain about a lot of things, but where does that get me.  No where… and if we know the Lord, we know that complaining is an insult to Him.  He blesses us day in and day out with little things, such as the space heater blowing on me, and big things, such as love, family, health and safety.

I’m preaching to myself… I need to see these thoughts and words because honestly, this is something I do struggle with.  I need to hear myself say “What do you have to complain about??” and recognize that the answer is extremely clear… nothing

I’ll leave you for the long holiday weekend with a few photos of my boys during healthier times…    Oct-25-2010_4393BW2

And in color…

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So I wish you a very thankful Thanksgiving, free of stress, anxiety, and worry.  Just enjoy the flip-side of every adverse situation… because in every negative there is a positive.  Something to be thankful for.

ETA:  I’ll be back soon to share some photos of my One-Wheeled Wonder… Matt on his unicycle! 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Trusting Family… {Molalla, Oregon Family Photographer}

… to let me photograph them for 2 hours.  As I’ve discussed before, I get pretty nervous before shoots.  I think I’m allowed, since I’ve done enough to count on my two hands.  And leading up to this one was no different.  I can assure my ‘subjects’ that I am confident with my camera but interacting, posing, and the like is still something I’m working on. 

Before the S-Family arrived at my house, I had locations all planned out.  It was overcast, so we had lots of options and I was pumped.  Then as I saw them driving up the driveway, the clouds parted and on any other day this would have been joyous… but dealing with harsh overhead sun on a photoshoot is anything BUT joyous.  I was a bit panicked, was dealing with a hang-nail but no ban-aid, and I needed to quickly decide where to pose this adorable family.  Without appearing like I was nervous.  I kept reminding myself that “Such-n-such ProPhotog said she gets nearly sick to her stomach before shoots… Lacey, you are okay!” 

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I think we ended up doing okay.  :)  As is normal, it took us a bit to warm up, but allowing the kiddos to get goofy brought out their sweet personalities and genuine moments. 

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I sincerely hope they’ve found some images they enjoy from our time together…

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… thank you for trusting me to capture your wonderful family! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Have a Picky Eater on My Hands.

Kaden used to eat anything put in front of him.  Now, he’s so picky.  At what age do they all of the sudden have preferences?  I certainly didn’t think it would be 10 months. It should have been an indicator to me, that I had a headstrong boy on my hands, when he completely wrote off nursing on my left side at 6 months. 

And now, this boy will take one bite of something and if its a no-go he’ll make a face.  If I try again, maybe it’ll get into his mouth, but is soon pushed back out by his deciphering tongue.  He does this will all of his past favorite veggies including squash!  What baby doesn’t like squash??  He refuses to eat pre-made baby food dinners (like, chicken, veggie and rice). 

So, that leaves me with very few options, I fear. I try a lot of things at mealtime (I don’t immediately give in to his pickiness) and we end up with lots on the floor, lots on the high-chair between his legs, some on the wall and often times, some on me.  Very little in his tummy.   

Except for crunchie things.  That’s what he’s into.  Like, these.  Aptly named, “Lil’ Crunchies”.

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Who wouldn’t like these?  They taste like pizza flavored Cheetos!  Kaden will refuse other foods at meal time, over and over, but then I put these on his tray – handfuls go into his mouth.  Same with MumMums, Puffs, and ArrowRoot Cookies.  And toast.  He loves toast!  I’m hesitant to put what other things he loves… but rest-assured, at least he’ll eat pears and bananas.  So its not all hot dogs and chicken nuggets junk food.

**ETA: Gage is doing much better.  His doctor prescribed a steroid for him to take for 5 days, which is meant to relax his airway.  Apparently it tastes horrible and I have to plug his nose and poor it down his throat.  Which he quickly chases with water and then his gummy vitamins.  His fever is gone … and I learnt that his doctor doesn’t consider it a ‘fever’ unless his temp is above 100.3!  Anyway, little man lost 5 pounds in 5 days and I’m praying his re-gained appetite soon rectifies that.  Thanks, again, for keeping him in your prayers!   

Friday, November 19, 2010

Five on Friday

1.  First, I want to thank everyone for your comments on my blog posts.  I receive an email each time a comment is made, but unless a specific question is asked I’ve barely ever popped in to acknowledge your acknowledgment.  I’m not sure what proper blog etiquette is regarding comments, but I actually feel rude for having yet to even say ‘thanks’.  So, thank you.  I usually type my posts as if I’m journaling in my scrapbooks – not directed at anyone in particular.  So, when I get comments {let alone comments from people around the country!} I get pretty stoked.  Oh, but this isn’t to say you HAVE to comment!  I follow lots {lots!} of blogs and RARELY comment.  But, I just wanted to say thank you to those who have, and yes, I read and appreciate, every one of them. 

2.  Speaking of comments… my sister-in-law, Marilee asked about that green chair you may have seen HERE.  It isn’t a chair from my childhood, but rather one I purchased from my friend, Kathleen.  You can check out her blog, Faded Charm Cottage, and one of her adorable daughters HERE and HERE.  When I need a prop, I’ve been trying to use items I have around the house {blankets, baskets, chairs, etc.} and SO much of my home decor has come from Kathleen.  The majority of my dining room, I’d say.  But I’m already feeling the itch to collect more props, specifically for photography.  More specifically, NEWBORN stuff!  More baskets, blankets, hats, bowls, and the like.  I think I need to get a job to fund my photography. I can justify a few new baskets to hold things around the house, and blankets to keep us warm, but I don’t think Matt will go for me strategically placing knit beanies and headbands around our house for decoration.  

3.  Gage is still sick.  You can check out how this week began for us HERE. Not to be a downer on your Friday, but he’s still doing breathing treatments and although I thought he was doing better yesterday he had a fever of 100.2 in the afternoon.  His nurse Pam {‘Ham’, if you’re Cooper} told me that yesterday should have been a turn-around day and the antibiotics should have been working.  Since my fear is that they are NOT, I’m taking him back in this morning for his pediatrician’s evaluation.  Poor little guy is scrawny as all get-out.  I made him eat pizza last night for dinner (he managed only one piece) and a cookie during the day – hoping some of the calories would stick.  He’s scheming about designing and building a wooden airplane with Matt this weekend, so maybe he’s starting to feel better.  I’ll post an update tomorrow in case you’re curious.  And thank you for your continued prayers for him.

4.  It goes without saying that it is hard to have a sick child.  It is terrible to see that child ill… but what is also very difficult is caring for the other children who aren’t sick.  By God’s grace, Cooper is holding strong {yet, much to his disappointment… he desperately wants to try the nebulizer}.  He’s coughing and has a snotty nose, but compared to Gage, he’s golden.  However, since I am preoccupied {literally and emotionally} by Gage’s condition, it is apparent that little Cooper is struggling for attention. In addition, Kaden is not feeling well + teething + experiencing separation anxiety, so I’m caring for Gage while carrying Kaden and Cooper just sits around watching or picking fights or doing things on his own.  OR, climbing up the banister, hoping I’ll see him.  {really, he did that yesterday}.  I recognized this earlier in the week and have been trying to compensate as much as possible.  But I think this is why he wants to be sick, too… just to get more attention.  :(

5.  On a brighter note, I watched a buck pursuing a few does in our backyard the other day!  Not to be insensitive to the situation discussed above, but this was pretty exciting!  Especially considering Matt’s hunting season opens back up TOMORROW.  I immediately called Matt to tell him and he says this: “I’ve been in those woods 30 years and I’ve never seen that! You’re looking out your scrapbook room window and see it in broad daylight! And you don’t even have your camera!**”  I struggled to decipher humor vs. true annoyance in his voice.  I didn’t have to remind him that he missed out on seeing the cougar, bear, and numerous herds of elk, too.  FORTUNATELY, the buck was in hot pursuit, and once Matt got home he and the ladies made 2 more passes by our back yard.  This could {praying!} be an exciting weekend…

6. {A bonus!} *** You may have noticed the above comment of “you don’t even have your camera”… I sent it to Irvine, California on Monday for servicing.  The focus system is struggling and it keeps freezing up during shoots which is SO frustrating when the pose is finally perfect… the kids hold it for 1/1000 of a second… and the camera DOESN’T WORK! There have been countless moments this week when I’ve gone to reach for it, and miss it.  But its a good break and I seriously hope it comes back fixed. 

7. {Another bonus!}  I may have mentioned that I’m in the process of having my logo done for a possible photography business.  If anyone cares to check out the designs I’ve narrowed it down to, you can go HERE.  I’m 90% sure those are the colors I’m going with, but we’ll see!

Have a great weekend… 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

More Grace to you, and Peace… {Molalla Oregon Children’s Photographer}

I’ve mentioned it before that I have a difficult time choosing a select few images from a session to share and it was especially hard for me with these of Grace.  Probably because it was my most favorite session yet.  I’m sure I could attribute a lot of that to the fact that I adore this little girl.  I was in the waiting room of the hospital when she was born and have watched her grow into the little sprite she is today, at the age of 2.  She’s energetic, strong, feisty, and holds-her-own with her big brother and my three boys. Oh, and she loves Cooper.

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Anyway. So, when her mama put me up to the challenge of photographing her, Grace proved what a little doll she is.  For a little over an hour we moved around their yard playing and shooting.

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Most of the shots were spontaneous captures following me putting her in a position, running back to mine, and saying “Gracie! Where’s Cooper??” And she’d look at me and smile. 

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Sheesh.  Did I mention she’s goofy, too??

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I’m so happy to share these with you, and so thankful Gracie’s mama let me borrow her for practice.  It was a blessing! 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Have A Little Grace in Your Day… {Molalla, Oregon Children’s Photographer}

I don’t know about you, but my day could use some brightening.  So here’s my gift to you… a little bit of Grace… and a whole lotta cuteness.  21
{Oh, and it has to be pointed out, that that first smile, was for her daddy.}
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I’ll be back with more photos and hopefully more energy tomorrow.  Ah.  I could look at that last photo all day!  Sweet! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

That Was An Interesting Night…

I took Gagers to the doctor yesterday morning because his fever just wouldn’t quit.  I thought Cooper was going to have to be examined, too, because the night before he sounded like a seal, but by the morning his cough had broken up and was considerably better.  The boys are always excited to go to the doctor’s office, particularly to see Pam (who, this time, Cooper repeatedly and totally seriously, called “Ham”) the nurse.  After examination, Dr. Clarke determined that Gage had a double ear infection and a sinus infection.  I had obviously known something wasn’t right with him, but was surprised at this diagnosis because he’d only complained of pain in his ear a few times when he coughed. 

Anyhow, when we got home Gage napped for three hours.  Upon having his first dose of the antibiotic, Cooper threw a fit that he didn’t get any.  He said, as he stomped off angrily “JUST GREAT!  I didn’t get to talk to Dr. Clarke and I don’t get PINK MEDICINE!  JUST GREAT!”  He’s honestly wishing he were sick too! 

Gage sat on the couch all evening watching The Land Before Time movies and Matt left around 6:30pm to go work on a bow.  I took Kaden up to get ready for bed at 7 and around 7:30 Gage kind of crawled into the room and told me he was having a hard time breathing.  He laid down with his head in my lap, and I tried to coax him into relaxing.  As I got more and more concerned I could feel his temperature and heart rate increasing.  He didn’t want to stand and actually started whimpering when I told him I had to get up to put Kaden to bed. 

Fast forward a half-an-hour and I’m trying to keep Gage awake, Myrna (Matt’s mom) is here to stay with Cooper and Kaden, Matt’s on his way home and I’ve talked to two on-call doctors who have both encouraged me to take Gage into either an ER or Urgent Care because of his temperature and breathing with retraction (when they breath and their abdomen tucks up under the rib-cage).

As soon as we stepped outside into the cool air, I could tell his breathing got better, but this was absolutely one of those situations where I could hear “it is better to be safe than sorry” ringing through my ears. 

At the Urgent Care Center, Gage snuggled into a rather lifeless ball on Matt’s lap as we waited an hour to be seen.  Gage lifted his head a few times to acknowledge that he was glad he wasn’t “that kid” who was in the neighboring room SCREAMING about having to have shots.  And he was glad he wasn’t the kid who was getting stitches, too.

When we were finally seen, Gage’s temperature was 102.9, it was clear that each breath exhausted him, and his lips had gone from rosy to purple.  They didn’t hear pneumonia in his lungs. They checked his oxygen and it was very low, so after giving him IB Profen AND Tylenol (did you know you can double those up together??) for his fever and verified that his ears were very infected and his breathing was VERY labored… they did a breathing treatment with a nebulizer and we watched the life come back into him.  They say its like a shot of caffeine for a little kid and I concur! 

They sent us home with a nebulizer, which we’re to use every 3 hours for the next two days, along with the antibiotics and IB Profen/Tylenol regimen.  We were told that when the constriction goes down and starts breaking up in his lungs we may find that there is ‘a little pneumonia in there’.  Hmm.  Whatever that means.  But, we’ll be watching and waiting.

At that point, even though his fever was still 102, Gage was feeling so much better that we went through the drive-through at McDonalds (don’t tell Cooper!) before heading home.

Bed was a welcomed sight to us all, but Kaden had a different idea and woke up about a half-hour after I fell asleep.  And then again at 5. And Cooper crawled into my bed at 6 (because “he missed me”).  And I heard Gage coughing on the couch at 7.  So we’re up for another day and I think Gage is going to get very tired of me hugging him and asking if he’s okay, today.  Because I get a bit nauseated every time I remember his little voice whispering “It’s hard to breathe, Mama…” I’m going to hover, a lot. 

I am so thankful for my husband, my mother-in-law, the doctors who cared for Gagers.

I am eternally grateful for each breath my little boys take.          

Monday, November 15, 2010

FUNFUSION!!

No, I’m not talking about a dance craze from the 80’s… I’m talking about another great, calm activity to do when the kiddlets are under-the-weather, as mine are.  We’re on the brink of letting them sit on the couch and watch movie after movie, just to get them to rest, but every now and again they need a break from that.

And creating with Funfusion perlerbeads is just the ticket.   Funfusion1If you’ve not done these before with your children, I think these photos will pretty much sum up the process…

First you build… you can create your own design or go off of their idea books which I think are awe-some. 

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When you’re done with the design, you place the provided piece of waxy paper over the design and iron.

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The perlerbeads melt together just enough to fuse together.

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And CREATE! Could they look any happier??

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WARNING: if you are anything like me, these can actually become quite addicting.  Oh, and use tweezers… much easier! These can be found, I’m assuming, many places that sell arts and crafts stuff, but ours came from Craft Warehouse.  Happy Fusing!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Five on Friday

1.  Guess who’s here??

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My mom surprised us by coming down yesterday!  You should have seen the look on Cooper’s face when she popped out from around the corner!  Priceless! 

2.  Kaden is thinking  the stairs are the place to be lately.  He heads toward them, and as soon as he knows we’re on to him, he crawls faster and starts laughing. 

3.  I received proofs of a logo designs for my future photography business.  I have a ways to go until I am where I want to be with photography, but I have learned that “branding” myself is an important early step to take.  I am working with Annie of Annie Bananie Design and she is so sweet to put up with all my questions, concerns and visions.  And she’s patient, which is exactly what I need. 

4.  Do your kids like to spend time in laundry baskets?  Mine do.

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5.  Last Sunday we were woken at 4:30am by Bosley (our golden retriever) barking.  I was thankful for the wake-up call and got up to work in my scrapbook room.  His persistent barking didn’t, therefore bother me (and I couldn’t really hear it over my lovely little space-heater) but after several attempts to shush him through the window Matt headed outside to rectify the situation at 6:30.  Oh, I just realized I was about to put this on the internet… and I’m not sure I should.  Sometimes I forget that I’m not just writing to myself.  OOh… and I just realized I made it sound like Matt was “taking care” of Bosley. No, but he did make a country-boy decision about how to make the barking stop.  And then left the evidence of that decision right by where I was holding a shoot the next day. Nice. 

Confused??  Haha.  Me too. It was actually a pretty funny story but I suppose I’m still getting a feel for what’s okay to post and what’s not.  :) 

6. (An bonus!)  Gager’s slowly getting well.  He’s mostly bummed this means we won’t be going to church on Sunday.  Bless his little heart.  He’s still got quite a cough and every time I tell him to go get a cough drop Cooper’s eyes light up, he lets out his best attempt at an impromptu cough, and then looks right at me.  So far, I’ve caved and let him have cough-drops, too.  Is that bad??

Have a great weekend!