Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Traditions

I know it is too late to pass these on for others to use this year. But give me some slack - I have moved twice this year - once being the last 2 months. So here is our Halloween traditions. We don't do a ton of special things for Halloween - at least not yet - maybe more later, who knows. But for now:

Each person has a special treats plate. Brady doesn't yet because I waited until this year for him to pick what he wanted and I haven't made it to the place to paint it yet - so next year. The kids love these!!!

I love my candy corn topiaries. (yes one of the foam pieces fell down) If you are interested in how to make them let me know. Also, the calendar is hand made though I got the idea from pottery barn kids last year. Our plan for this calendar has not come to fruition yet. Probably next year. I just did not have time and the boys really weren't old enough to understand how to do it. But what we are going to do is pray for whatever our children decides to be for Halloween. Like this year (which had we done it would have been a stretch) we would have prayed for truck drivers and Engineers that build robots. I got this idea from the book Redeeming Halloween. So we will try again next year but for now it was just a cute calendar that the boys loved.

Hope you had a great Halloween!!!

Happy Halloween!!!

Bumblebee and Optimus Prime (Transformers)

Tonight was hands down the best Halloween the Cook's have had to date. Our neighborhood is WONDERFUL!!!! There are tons of families with small children and they celebrate holidays together. So tonight the boys trick or treated in the neighborhood and then we all met back at a families house for hot dogs and dessert. They hung a big sheet on the side of the house and had Charlie Brown The Great Pumpkin and Pooh's Humphalump Halloween Movie Playing. There was a blow up slide also. There were at least 25-30 kids my kids ages. We got to meet alot of the neighbors. When we were walking home John said "this was the best Halloween ever and Jake said YES it was!!!!"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

who am i?

Who am I? - "mommy"
How do I feel about you? - "you love me"

these are the two questions that John and I began asking our children before we discipline, correct, train or make decisions for them. We once heard Mark Driscoll say in one of his sermons that he ask these questions to his children. He wanted to remind them "in the midst" of the hard things that he is their father and he loves them dearly - too much to let them go their own way. Sometimes this makes a difference in their response and sometimes it doesn't. But today was one of those days that it made a HUGE difference. Last night we drove to Reform (1.5hrs) to visit our old church and attend their Fall Festival. We had a blast but we got home really late. Today, Jake was really tired and I knew it. When we got home from Bible Study we had to have a discussion about his patience's and he had gotten upset. After the talk, I went to the kitchen to fix lunch and he came to me crying and said "mommy, I can't stop crying." At that moment I absolutely knew what he needed - a nap. He does not take naps these days and normally he doesn't need them but today he did. So before I told him that he had to take a nap I ask him these 2 questions to remind him that I love him and he was not being punished. this was mommy making a wise decision for him. He of course became even more hysterical because he did not want to take a nap. At this point, I told him he needed to calm down so that he could eat his lunch and he just couldn't. so I offered him a few crackers and told him to go to bed. He wouldn't take the crackers he was too upset. So I put him in the bed and lovingly (never during all of this had I lost my temper) told him that I loved him and his body needed rest. So a few minutes later he is screaming at me - very angry. So I took him 2 slices of cheese and a tablespoon of peanut butter and a drink. I walked into his room and sat on his bed. Again, I ask him these two questions and he answered them. Then I said, Jake you are not being punished. sometimes the very best thing for us is not what we want. I love you enough to make you rest your body so that you will enjoy the rest of your day. I do not want you to be angry with me but even if you are you will still take a nap because I am your mom and I love you and I know what is best. Do you understand? "yes ma'am" His next response made me know that he got it - I love you mommy - will you lay down with me for a minute? ABSOLUTELY!!!!

Sometimes I think it is so much easier to change the behavior and ignore the heart. I knew that I could have gone in there and threatened to spank him if he did not stop crying and you know what I have done that on many occasions. But today, today God was gracious to me and he was strong when normally I am weak. And I got to see his heart bend toward me right before my very eyes and it was priceless!!!! thank you God that i get to be a part of this journey in their life.

Week 6 Update

Lost 4lbs - I did not go to the dr until today. We had people in our house for a week straight and while I feel like I made decent choices when I ate real food - I still ate alot of real food. I wanted to give myself a few days before I weighed in. So I am happy with 4lbs.
I went to get dressed yesterday and I cleaned out literally 2/3 of my closet before I found something that wasn't huge on me. It was a GREAT feeling. The red sweater in this picture that I wore 3 weeks ago swallows me whole now. I look like I had wings when I put it on.
Ever since my "kick butt" exercise week that put me on the couch for a few days - I have not been feeling well at all. I have had zero energy and I feel like I could sleep at any point of the day. I have spent lots of afternoons on the couch which is very unlike me. Well this week my bloodwork showed that my thyroid levels are way off again. My doctor told me that it was like my body was running on a half charged battery. This made me feel tons better. So it will take about 2 weeks to see if the new meds will work. Please pray that it will.
I wish you could know how much your encouragement has meant to me through this journey. I am so thankful for all of you!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Father to the Fatherless

I just read this blog post and it stirs my heart so much. As you kiss and hug your children today that have been apart of your life for so long pray that God brings parents into the lives of the parentless.

Monday, October 26, 2009


One of our Fall Traditions is to go to the Alabama Homecoming Parade with the boys. This is the 4th year we have done it and it is alot of fun. This year Nana (who is recently retired and we are sooo glad!!!) joined in on the fun. And for a special treat John, Nana and the boys actually went to the game. They said the seats were terrible but they still had a blast. Here are some pics from the day.

it's blurry but the only family pic from the day

This was Brady's favorite thing in the parade - the very very tall football player

We had got up to leave the parade (been there 1.5 hours and it was freezing and almost over) and I looked down the road and saw this coming our way. So glad I did. Jake had a fit - he was so excited!!! This of course was his favorite part of the parade.

Moss Preserve Hike

A few weeks ago we went for a hike at Moss Preserve in Hoover. It is a wonderful place right smack in the city of Hoover. There are several trails out here and a rock climbing area. We had a blast!!! More and more I am enjoying being more active with my boys.

I love this picture of Jake - he did not know we were watching him. He is a very loud and rambunctious boys when paired with his brother but this very much captures another side of Jake - very contemplative. I love it!!!

They were learning how to balance and walk by themselves across the log. It was a huge feet for him to do it by himself. Of course we picked a log with no water underneath for practice. :)

This place is beautiful. John had cell phone coverage here which kinda made me happy because I might come up missing one day and venture out here all by myself to enjoy the waterfalls. A cell phone will be nice just in case you know :):) how spoiled we are!!!

Tinker Toy Fun

These are some of the boys tinker toy creations from the summer. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Amy the Oxymoron

I have struggled of late to continue this blog. There are several reasons, overwhelmed with life the last several months, somewhat singlemomin it gives me little time, and there is so much going on in my heart that I am having a hard time articulating it without lots of babble. John and I have talked several times about this blog. He has really encouraged me to keep it up. One thing I have realized over the last few years is that writing is good for my soul. Up until this point in my life I have had little problems with my life being an open book. John and I aren't really afraid to say we struggle, we mess up, we make stupid decisions and we learn. I want this to be true of our life. Mainly because most of the time it is really easier to live this way. If you aren't afraid of admitting failure (not in the I don't care what people think mentality but the I don't have it all together mentality) then you don't have to try so hard to be this person you think others want you to be. Also, being open and honest about these things makes Jesus more real in my life. Our culture seems to think that being a "good" Christians means putting on this persona when you walk out the door and keeping all your junk behind close doors. Then it becomes a work based salvation and Jesus and His perfect life and death for our imperfections becomes in vain. What I want people to know is that I mess up alot and I am so thankful that Jesus - my Jesus came and lived a life void of mess ups and He allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross for all of my mess ups so that I could be restored to my Daddy forever. I could talk about this for days but there really is more to this process of thinking.
One of the major reasons that I have stopped writing lately is because I feel like an Oxymoron and I am really struggling with being honest about this. Some of the really hard things that God has been revealing in my life this year completely contradicts everything that I wrote above. I have realized a pattern of relating to the people "behind my closed doors" that makes Jesus death be in vain. I have come to realize that it is 100% easier for me to bare my sin on this blog for most of you to read and be encouraged and spurred on by than it is for the people I love the most to see my heart. Most of the people who read this blog are sweet friends of mine that I am so thankful for so don't hear that I don't love you - but you know what I mean :)
I have never really thought of myself as a people pleaser. When it comes to the outside world I am fairly thick skinned and laid back. I don't get my feather ruffled much and I am not easily put out by people, and I don't get my feelings hurt much. But what God has shown me this year (though it has been YEARS in the making) is that I have dug for myself broken cisterns that do not hold water. My worth has been so wrapped up in my mom and John loving me and approving of me. In April, I was talking to one of our mentors and dear friends. As we talked about some of the hard things God was showing me regarding a specific situation he said "Amy do you realize that the root issue is the same with both John and your mom? Your world falls apart when you fear you have failed them and you perceive that they are in some way withholding love from you." This was REVOLUTIONAL to me!!! Because what I have since seen in my life is that my mask are most often needed for those closest to me rather than the outside world. And I have seen that this issue in my life is like an onion with sooooo many tiny layers that have to be pulled back. This has been such a hard realization in my life. I have wanted to write specifically about it but I knew that in order for me to write about the journey I had to overcome the fear of being honest about the fact that I have mask even though I am NOT of fan of mask wearers!!!!
I want to share more about the specifics of what I am learning but I must confess that I am only scratching the surface of this issue. But I know now that my obedience to God has come up against a wall that must fall in order for me to continue toward a deeper intimacy with him. Idols are anything in our life we love more than Him and He is jealous for my whole heart. I can not serve two masters - I want to experience and understand true and complete love and acceptances in Him so that I can be free to love my family.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Around the Corner

Can you believe it is only 9 weeks till Christmas? I had a great post waiting on me this morning in my handy dandy google reader that I wanted to share with you. I am still working on Thanksgiving traditions and such but just yesterday read in our church's bulletin that Operation Christmas Child boxes were due mid November. We did this with the boys last year and it was fun for them. So that being said, I wanted to share this post with you to help stir some thoughts on ways our family and yours can step outside ourselves this holiday season and serve others. Hope you are inspired: Give to the community Post

Also, my plan is to spend next week preparing for November traditions and then in November to finish up my Jesse Tree Ornaments. So if any of you are interested in join in with me to make these ornaments and want to order the book you can get it here But don't wait too long or it will be sold out. For those of you who are not super creative and want to do it, I promise to give easy instructions.

More soon!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Week 5 Update

Lost 1.2lbs this week. I am proud I did not gain. It has been a challenging week - mainly just life. I was out of town for a few days - no gym and some eating out. Then we had family in town with some eating out. But I knew going to weigh in that it would be a slow week. I have to say that my lesson this week is that sometimes life doesn't go as planned and I can do one of 2 things:
1. Improvise when possible - like go for a walk where I am, make best possible choice of food if I am eating out, etc.,
2. If I make mistakes see the next meal or opportunity to exercise as a new day or a new choice. I don't need to wait until tomorrow to start fresh. and if I do I just need to make sure that I keep going.

The desire for me is a lifestyle change. So some weeks will be worse than others but I don't in anyway see last week as bad. I ate out almost everyday last week, went to the gym only 2 days and still lost a pound!!! GOOD FOR ME!! :)
Oh and I forgot to mention that a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts resided in my house this weekend and I did not even take a single nibble!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Week 4 Update

Lost 6 lbs this week!!!! This was week 4 so in 33 days I have lost 24lbs!!! I am very pleased with my progress. Last week was physically hard for a few reasons. The 2 days of 5 minute running (did my 20 min intervals also) KICKED my butt!!!! I was not in pain or sore but I physically felt completely exhausted. By Thursday, i could not function so I spent the afternoon on the couch and took off Friday. It made such a difference. My body just needed a break. I couldn't believe that 5 minutes could do that to me but I still have so much weight to loose and I just pushed a little too much. So for now I am gonna just stick with the interval training for a few more weeks and work up gradual. It also made me really hungry. But the weekend was a good recovery and we are back in groove.
I am completely finished unpacking. There are many things I want to do to the house but no more boxes out. The decorating will be my therapy for some time ahead. I absolutely love love love this house. I sit in this living room almost every day and ask God to let this place be a haven for our family - one that fosters healing and restoration for my (our) very weary souls. I would love for you to come see it and sit on my couch and enjoy the view with me - it really is a beautiful place!!!!
Thank you all for being so encouraging through this journey!!! Now that my house is unpacked I am going to try and tackle some Holiday traditions I have brewing in my head - so get ready for more than just my weight lost updates. However, it won't be this week!!! My sweet sweet mother in law is coming to enjoying the view with me for a few days, go to the Alabama Homecoming Parade with us and the boys (one of our yearly traditions) and as of today going with John to take the boys the the actual game. We could only get 4 tickets so I will be sitting this one out at Barnes and Noble enjoying some peace and quiet and a good book. Hope you guys have a great week!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Week 3 update

I weighed in today and I lost 8.8lbs!!!!
I am so excited but i must confess something else happened this morning that rivals the excitement of the pounds I loss!!!
I told you I was starting to train for the 5K in February. I am doing the Couch to 5K training. This is start of week 2 for me. Yesterday, John wanted to go to the gym and so I went with him. Normally I want go on Sundays but I just went with him. He was running beside me and after I walked my 5 min warm up I started my intervals. I was suppose to run 90 seconds and walk 60 but I just heard him running beside me and I got set in a rhythm and before I knew it I had run 5 minutes!!!! I was so excited and proud of myself. Remember I am trying to loose like 100lbs and I just ran 5 min. I stopped at 5 min because I couldn't get control of my breathing. Then I went ahead and did the rest of my intervals. BUT this morning, I was so motivated!!! So I walked my 5 min warm up and then did 15 of my 20 min intervals. When I hit minute 20 I put on what has become a theme song in my life right now (Free by Ginny Owens) and I decided to push myself and see if I could run the last 5 minutes of my intervals. I DID IT!!!!! I had run 15 minutes of intervals and THEN I ran for 5 minutes straight!!!! And surprisingly I was still breathing fairly well!!! I stopped because I wanted to enjoy the moment!!!
So yes, I am excited about the weight loss but I am just as excited about the fact that I am pushing myself to become who I know I want to be and learning that I can do it!!!