Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cooper and Penny at Cody and Katie's wedding rehearsal, pt. 1

Penny takes notes for two decades hence (poor baby was just starting to get treatment for her right eye infection) ...

Monster trucks can go anywhere! ...

Our little stud ...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cool Cooper

Summer Lovin’, Havin’ a Blast

My submission for the Summer Vacation Series ...

Our noble founder has asked us to contribute suggestions for summer vacation fun.

Ah, yes, those summer days, driftin’ away, to uh, oh, those summer nights. To which you reply, “A-well-a-well-a-well-a, tell me more, tell me more, was it love at first sight?”

Well, that’s none of your business, but instead of recommending the beach or the bright lights of the big city, I invite folks to explore the amusement, peace and relative inexpensivity (is that word?) of our Tennessee State Parks, specifically Chickasaw State Park near Henderson.

Why Chickasaw? Because Darling Valerie’s extended family has vacationed there every year for so long that she and her cousin are still on the cover of the park brochure, though with a picture taken when they were about 14 years old. Meaning, of course, only about 10 years ago *cough*. Love ya, babe!

The family rents a number of the 13 cabins in the park – some sleeping up to six comfortably – all within walking distance of each other. We lollygag to each other’s cabin to share meals, play Scrabble death matches or find babysitters so the parents can sneak into Henderson ten minutes away or Jackson less than an hour away to watch a movie, shop and eat out.

This will be Penny’s first year at Chickasaw (unless you count being in her Mommy’s belly last summer, of course), and Cooper’s third (or fourth if you use the same criteria).

They’ll both enjoy swimming in Lake Placid, which so far as I know has no alligators. But it does have sand on a beach, which Cooper quite enjoys. Maybe this year we can succeed in building more than just lumps out of a bucket and try our hands at something more complicated, like twobucket lumps.

Cooper also has fun on the playground and there is a lot of room to run around outdoors, lasso the deer and ride them like ponies. You know, ho-hum normal vacation activities. Either way, Val and I like that he wears himself out enough that we can all take some wonderful naps during the week.

Just so we don’t waste any time between meals and naps, we’re going to totally flaunt societal laws. Not only will we not make our children wait an hour after they eat to go swimming, we’ll insist they eat lunch while they’re in the water.

Even though we do this annual trip in the summer sauna season, for some reason being smoking hot on vacation is not the same as being outside at home when it’s “sweltering” and “so ridiculously hot that it might as well be a SyFy movie.”

We don’t follow the “National Lampoon’s Vacation” method of on-the-go travel, instead spending a lot of time outside the cabin, at the bridge on the lake or in the chairs watching the grass grow.

To make sure the kiddies don’t end up redder than turnips we apply 125 SPF sunscreen, which I’m told doesn’t exist by “scientists” with “degrees,” but that guy selling stuff out of his trunk along Winchester promises it works, and why would he lie?

If your idea of spending time outside involves getting angry at a little dimpled ball for hours, then the Godly Daddy looking to get away can find solace at a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courseright next door.

You might also be one of those weirdo families who like “the great outdoors” and have six bottles of skeeter repellant in your trunk, so you’ll enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, paddle boats on the lake and horseback riding. And if you’re one of those masochists who goes camping, then you’ll find plenty of areas for that, too.

Sure, you may say, this is the summer and I want to wade into the ocean or ride a roller coaster, and that sounds like a blast, but don’t overlook a little shoo-bop-bop, shoo-bop-bop at the state park, too.

It’s not cost-prohibitive, there’s lots to do for the kiddies, there’s plenty of room for Mommy and Daddy to get away from it all, and hey, what’s the summer without a few extra insect bites on your legs?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Cooper and Penny at Melanie's baby shower

Melanie and Roger of the Jackson Gang are expecting Baby No. 2, so we all gathered for a baby shower at Chad and Meredith's church to celebrate! Cooper and Erica - Melanie and Roger's daughter - Erica, particularly had fun running around the church:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Poor Precious Penny

Poor Penny. She started having a fever Monday, and then we noticed that her eye was getting squinty. We just thought she was rubbing it too much or it was related to her being sick.

By Thursday morning we needed to make an appointment to figure out what was going on. Turns out she has what the doctore called Preseptal cellulitis (also called Periorbital cellulitis).

It's a bacterial infection and can be quite serious if unchecked. Hopefully between the shot she got at the doctor's office, an oral antibiotic and eye drops we can nip this quickly.

The doc said that if it gets worse she'll have to go to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. So far this morning Val says that Penny is about the same, so we'll monitor closely and call to make sure we don't need further treatment.

Last night Penny was in bad shape. She got very angry during her bath, so much that she was throwing up, and quite miserable. She settled down, though, and went to sleep OK, but didn't drink her bottle, so it's not surprising she woke up hungry at 1:30 this morning.

Here are the pics I took of her and us in the office Thursday:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cooper and Penny's visit from Tracy and Carrie, pt. 1

Val Pals Tracy and Carrie came over Friday night to Valfrey Estate, Tracy with hubby Craig, and Carrie with hubby Miguel, their daughter Lila and baby boy, Fisher. Cooper especially enjoyed playing with Lila, who is 3 ...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Penny's big blue eyes

This would be Cooper in Penny's little saucer. Silly!

A few pics from last month, including Cooper enjoying cake for his Mommy's birthday ...

Cooper riding in the Lowe's cart with his Mammaw and Grandaddy ...

Painting and Chick-fil-A, good times!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Treat Mommy Right!

My newest entry for ...

Early in the week a foul stench descended upon Rushing Estate.

No, it’s not “Hamlet,” but it is a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions for our bushy-tailed friends who like to visit our attic.

Being that it’s Mother’s Day week and “Take Care of Gross Stuff” is No. 4 on my list of Things a Godly Daddy Should Do For a Godly Mommy, it is my responsibility to figure out how to fix the situation. (See below for the complete list, which obviously needs to include: “Fix hole over garage where squirrels get inside.”)

As I wrote on Darling Valerie’s Facebook about the event, I peeked into the attic and didn’t see anything in the distance, but I did see a few squirrels kneeling over a tombstone that said “R.I.P. Squeaky. He didn’t get that last nut: 2011-2012.”

One of the little guys perished somewhere around our kitchen, and now the entire front of the house is a fine mixture of dead varmint and Glade’s “ocean breeze” scent, which I’ve never figured out because what does a breeze on the ocean smell like, anyway? Seaweed? Whale gas?

Since I’m not brave enough to crawl through our attic to try to pinpoint the problem and I don’t feel like breaking down the walls to narrow it down, either, I shall follow a time-honored male tradition that goes back to King Saul letting little David fight his war for him: Hire someone braver to complete the task, and then take all the credit and reap the rewards.

It certainly worked for Jimmy Stewart in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” He didn’t actually take out the outlaw from the title who “needed killin’,” but he did get the fame and the girl, while John Wayne let Stewart be the hero and then died sad and alone. When Stewart gets the truth off his chest, a reporter declines to publish it, telling him, “This is the West. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

If you want to have a legend as a Godly Daddy, one of the surest ways to insure – though without a guarantee – that your children grow up with the right views of love and marriage is for parents to love one another and show it often.

My own mother I treat as a saint and would never speak ill of her or allow someone else to. She has raised four good kids, and that is a lot of diapers, kissing boo-boos and preparing school lunches.

Now, I don’t know how much research my Darling Valerie did before we got married, so hopefully she didn’t marry me based solely on the study that says the best marriages are those in which women pick men who are less attractive than themselves.

It surely wasn’t for my prowess with fixing things, clubbing mastodons or looking great in a Speedo.

But there are other things that will keep her excited to be married to me, so long as I follow through:

This is my Top 5 Things I Can Do To Show How Important Mommy Is To A Godly Daddy:

1. Be a spiritual leader – I need to be better about leading family prayers, especially at mealtime, and starting a Bible study with Val. Other than saying “God help us,” we are awful about not praying in front of our children.

2. Treat Mommy like No. 1 – I adore my kids dearly, but Val has to come first. If our mini Cooper has to wait a few minutes while Daddy and Mommy talk, even though he thinks it’s the end of the world, he’ll recover. Unless I’m in trouble, and then I need to go because, hey, he lost his Grave Digger monster truck and we have got to find it right now!

3. No vices – She doesn’t have to worry about me getting into alcohol or drugs, but I also need to stay away from that ultimate nachos at Buffalo Wild Wings. And wings and pizza from Papa Johns. And the Tour of Italy at Olive Garden. (You get the idea. I’m not fat because of a disorder or mental block. I just really, really like food.)

4. Take care of gross stuff – Diapers, vomit, bugs. So far Val has to take over for the former two because I need a gas mask to deal with foul odors, but I’m getting pretty good at the latter about not squealing like a middle aged woman who embarrassingly squeals like a teen girl at a Justin Bieber concert.

5. Treat others well – Be polite to everyone, including strangers and even (*shudder*) other drivers.

So Happy Mother’s Day to my Special Someone, and thank you for laughing at the same jokes over and over, staying home to raise our adorable children and encouraging me to be a Godly Daddy!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cooper making Penny laugh

Cooper was jumping up and down on the bed as if sneezing (hence the "achoo!"), making Penny laugh and laugh and laugh.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Cooper and Penny at Chick-fil-A

First, a very happy Penny shopping at Target, which makes her Mommy equally happy ...

Next, Cooper playing in the Chick-fil-A playground at our Wolfchase restaurant. He has a blast ...

This is a picture of a picture, so I apologize for the poor quality. It's of Penny and Cooper in the Millington Chick-fil-A with second cousins Daniel and Bailey a few weeks ago ...