Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cooper's Firsts: Swings

Suzi had a dentist appointment and that left Cooper & I to our own devices.  The truck wound its way over to Stephens Park for a brisk walk, talk with a dog and swings!  Cooper had never been in a swing before and the wind in his face quite tickled his fancy.  And no, he wasn't wearing shoes... it's hard enough keeping socks on this boy.

On Batteries and Such

A few weeks ago, my mouse button started sticking.  Then my MacBook's frame didn't sit right.  And then I popped the battery off and realized it was time to go shopping.  The seal had popped on one of the cells and it was expanding faster than my waistline.  It was actually creating so much pressure internally that the touchpad wasn't working.  Apple, like most manufacturers, is pretty proud of its products and thus labeled my untethered productivity with a $129 price tag.  Happily, they shipped it for free, but I walked around with a cord and empty bay for a few days.

And that's my news for the day. Tada!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cooper's Firsts: Wide Swaths of Giggles & Disappointment

This weekend we had all kinds of Firsts for Cooper, but to begin I must say, we haven't had much in the way of web access, so it's hindered our transparency.  We'll make up for it this week!  We were in the second week of a giant purge-fest in my grandfather's garage in St. Louis and this weekend, the Pack of Three stayed down near Forest Park to hang by ourselves for a couple of days after the cleaning was done.  So, a list of Cooper Firsts:

1. Dinner on The Hill (Happy Birthday Aunt Margie!)
2. Staying in a hotel (Gotta love free stays on points!)
3. St. Louis Bread Co (a Community Cafe at that!)
4. Fire Fighters in Action
5. Service at Winds of Pentecost
6. Missouri Botanical Gardens

Now, I want to set the stage here for a moment.  We'd had a great Saturday with the family digging through the remains of Grandpa's garage-cum-hardware store and an evening of celebration on The Hill.  Sunday we visited Winds of Pentecost in St. Charles and picked up some Bandana's for dinner.  Monday morning dawned cool and sunny, nary a cloud in the sky.  We packed up our bags and Cooper's, um, semi-trailer load of gear and walked over to Bread, Co for brunch.  About mid-way through juggling Cooper over a cup of Chicken Tortilla & Bacon Turkey Bravo (Pick Two!), the manager comes running all in a tizzy about a building on fire.
Yep.  A big one.  To the tune of 6 different engine companies, a snorkel and a raft of EMS... throw in a news chopper courteously hovering overhead and you can understand how brunch got cold pretty quick.  Let it be known that before I wanted to be anything else in life, I wanted to be a fireman.  Of all the blue collar professions on a city's payroll, there's no cooler job.  Sure, cops get to carry weapons and yell at people, but when it comes to downright unbelievable gear and a warrior glint, a bunker coat and axe headed toward towering infernos just cuts the mustard every time.
Do you see why I had my 5 month old son on the street pointing out Rescue Squads, Captains and air tanks?  Why, when the street filled with smoke from the rooftop, it was so difficult for me to step into clear air away from a prime viewing spot?  How thrilled I was when one of the St Louis Hook & Ladder guys offered to hold Cooper while I TAKE HIS PICTURE IN FRONT OF THE TRUCK!?

You'll also understand the depth of my disappointment when I realized I didn't save the picture on my phone.  Yes, while we're a world away from 35mm cameras with forgotten film loads or overexposed pictures, it seems LG must create a phone that asks you TWICE if you want to save the picture you JUST TOOK.  And just like that... a memory to cherish a lifetime has no physical evidence.  There's a moral to this story, but I haven't worked through it long enough to conjure one up.  I will say that as we plunged into the rest of our day, the thought that kept me from tossing my LG into the Mississippi was that I got to talk it out with all you.  So, I leave you with this... the precursor to the coolest shot in Cooper's life:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cooper's Firsts: Shopping Carts

Cooper & I dropped off Suz for a dentist visit in downtown Columbia and did some running today on our own.  Hyvee opened a new store off Providence and I hadn't been by for a visit.  They've got the best tortilla chips, bar none.  But, that's not the news.  Cooper got his first shot at riding in a shopping cart and that means my li'l guy's all grown up now!  He sat up straight and pondered the world as it rolled backwards past his throne.  Not once did he lean down to take a chomp of the handle, which considering the impending teething, is quite miraculous.

Cooper Alexander, ladies & gents... He's a big boy now!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Quickie... 'Cause It's Too Good To Keep

We take pix of Cooper on his birthday each month (don't ask how long we're gonna keep this up... we're kinda wingin' this whole parenting thing...).  Today we shot some pix that'll get edited down to 4 from the 250 I just logged.  Cooper also ate some rice cereal for the first time, but that's a whole entry unto itself.

Anyway... while I was culling shots, I hit this one and my heart just stopped, melted and ran out my Merrells.  What a sweet baby boy... I'm totally sold on this kid!

Monday, September 13, 2010

SUZI: Cooper's Dedication

Cooper was dedicated to the Lord at our church on Sunday, September 5.  It was a special time when Scott’s dad prayed over him and asked the Lord to guide his footsteps and bless his life.  We were wearing  traditional Arabic outfits – Scott and Cooper in matching dishdasha and I in a thob (dress).  It was a nod to the place Cooper was born.  There we were…the pack of three, standing gracefully and calmly before the church and the Lord.  

But there's always a back-story…

I was trying to figure out what Cooper should wear for this particular event.  We had been offered an all white little suit for him.  It was cute, but it just didn’t seem to match him.  At the last minute, I remembered our Jordanian clothes, so that somehow seemed like a better fit.  I was trying to find some shoes for Cooper to wear and found some sandals he had.  Upon trying the sandals, I found that his darling feet (a.k.a. “Hulk Feet”) wouldn’t squeeze into them.  However, with some adjustments to the sandals (cutting out one of the straps that goes across the foot) I managed to make them fit. 

[Cooper normally does not have shoes on those feet of his for several reasons:  1) Cooper’s thick feet don’t fit easily into shoes  2) He greatly dislikes having them on and rubs his feet together until they fall off  3) He’s four months old…does he really need shoes?  He’s going to have to wear shoes his whole life.  Why can’t his feet have a break for now?  Yes, they look cute, but because of reasons 1 & 2, I usually skip even trying.  I sometimes get the “Cooper, where are your shoes?” question upon which I usually just lift up a foot for inspection and ask: “You wanna get shoes on these feet?”  Cooper has socks that look like shoes, but I’m finding that he’s not even very happy with socks.  But I digress…]

So the morning of the dedication, I tried to time everything just right so Cooper would be fed, changed and dressed in time for church.  I hoped he would at least last through the dedication.  Of course, waiting for the last minute then caused us to be several minutes late.  On the way, he was wearing a bib in case he spit up.  The shoes didn’t go on the feet until we got to the church.  We were finally seated in our pew for mere seconds when we realized Cooper was especially energetic.  He was bouncing about and flailing his arms and we were pulling out stuffed puppies, pacifiers and all sorts of distractions.  One pacifier was soon  launched over the pew in front of us, but being the neurotic mom that I am, there's at least one backup of everything.  Cooper started rubbing his feet together.  I would reach over and pull his sandal straps back on while Scott did his best to hold onto to what he affectionately called "a 19 lb hand-tossed pizza."  Cooper let out a warning grunt to let me know that if those shoes didn’t come off his feet immediately, the Wail would come next. 
The shoes came off. 
And then, just after removing the protective bib, Cooper spit up – all over the front of the cute little dishdasha that I had managed to keep clean.  I looked at Scott and we both laughed: “Ok…now it’s perfect.”

It was finally our time to go to the front for Cooper’s special prayer.  Scott said that Cooper continued to bounce and squirm to the point that it took all of Scott’s concentration to keep him from bounding out of his arms (EDIT: Scott remembers absolutely nothing of the ceremony except thinking, "Don't drop him, don't drop him!").  But Cooper flashed his beautiful gummy smile at everyone and all was okay.

Thankfully for us, the Lord blesses whether your son is sitting still while wearing shoes and spotless clothes or not!  His presence and touch comes to fill hungry hearts, not perfect ones with perfect appearances.  The most important thing is that the Lord’s hand is on Cooper and us and we couldn’t be more thankful for that.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Pledge

This afternoon Suz & I were at a church picnic and met one of our blogfans (thanks Angie!).  It made me realize all over again how many people are reading this inspiring drivel we crank out.  I have to admit there's many times I'm writing just to capture my thoughts or an event and you guys just happen to be along for the adventure.

So... I'm feeling inspired having just run through a blog that had mongo amounts of posting on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis.  Here goes:

We're gonna give you more.

Not Crazy-Amounts-Every-Week-More... just more regular entries each week.

NOW... Suzi's gonna say (since she's not here spying over my shoulder), "Why are you committing publicly to more work?"  Baby, It's all about the accountability... and besides, it's fun in the short-term and historical in the long.  We've been talking about it, so let's make it work.  You do a few pieces, I'll do a few and, bada boom, we'll be done!

BTW, if you're on FB, click on that Follow This Blog button from Networked Blogs right over there and tell us you're out there.

And finally, here's an obligatory Cooper Shot...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

SUZI: Slowly...

Now that I've started contributing to this blog, I've realized that most of what I've written has been about parenting. I suppose that's because my day is usually consumed with being Cooper's mom. I'm sure in the past I've probably rolled my eyes at those who do nothing but talk about their children. But here I am, talking constantly about my baby boy and how he has affected my life. (Feel free to roll your eyes at me.)
Today Cooper and I drove around running errands, and I suddenly had such an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for having him with me. I was so happy just to be his mom. I feel privileged that I'm not working a job right now. I feel like this time with him is a special gift for me. I know I am blessed beyond words.
One of the things on the to-do list today was to dig a small table out of our storage unit. Scott and I discovered it was toward the back...under a pile of boxes. So a quick trip to the storage unit turned out to take a bit longer than expected. We ended up being a lot dustier and sweatier than I had hoped, which meant more clean up than I had planned to do before church. I got Cooper ready and was quickly running out of time for myself.
Scott volunteered to take the little guy and go ahead to church so I could have a few minutes to finish up. As I heard the car pull out of the driveway, I suddenly felt my body relax. I wasn't having to trim any microscopic nails, wipe a squirming face, break into song and dance to bring some entertainment to a diaper change, or run as fast as I could upstairs to replace a lost pacifier (which I just had to do while I was writing this!). It was just me. As much as I love Cooper, my body and mind eased when I knew I had a few minutes to myself. Unconsciously, I slowed down. I realized it was taking me forever to get finished, but I just couldn't quite make my body speed up. I was a few minutes late to church as a result, but as soon as I walked in and saw my sweet baby boy I felt my energy jump back up. I just needed a little bit of time to recharge - I hadn't even realized it before.
Now, just so I can say that I write about more than just being a mom, what if we applied that same principle to our lives in general? What if we took just a little bit of time and did nothing? How much better could we do everything else if we just spent a little time on nothing at all. The Lord says "be still and know I am God." I think He's trying to let us know that we all need a little down time...a little time to just sit and be still, not thinking or trying to figure anything out. Perhaps a little rest would make us better parents, friends, children, workers. That break will never come our way if we just keep running 100 miles an hour...we have to force ourselves to stop for a bit. Not an easy task, but one that probably has results greater than we realize.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Rollin' Cooper-Style

Yesterday, Cooper had a fun event called "Nurse Jackie Pokes Me With a Needle & I Scream Like a Banshee."

These are times that just shouldn't be missed.  Having not had enough of them in my life, I joined the fray to play Dad-Soother of Sobs.  Suzi's role was Mom-Arranger of Torture and Keeper of Official Papers Detailing Torture.  I like my role better 'cause it makes me look all comforting and sensitive and gets me points in the mother-in-law column.  Who doesn't need those?
Prior to the vaccination mini-vacation, Cooper got his vitals checked and weighed in at 19 lbs and 25" long.  Cooper was terribly interested in his results and where he stood in the percentile rankings.  He scanned the feedback sheet with a serious expression and then promptly tried to eat it.  Yellow must just taste better than white. 
Let me add while on the subject... We love, love, love Nurse Jackie & Dr. Misra on the Blue Team @ MU's Green Meadows Clinic.  Jaime & Heidi are using them, too, so there's this whole family banter thing that happens which puts mom & dad at ease.  They don't mind the endless list of questions, they tell you how they're treating their own kids (or grandkids) and they take time to bond with Cooper.  Plus, we rarely have to wait in the lobby... which goes a long way when, in that muted environment of blank, 1000-yard stares and magazine flipping, Cooper fills his shorts in Niagara proportions.  And then laughs out loud.  Yep, we'll be needing that examining room right now.

"Clean Up at Seat Six!" 


A few weeks ago I told this story while preaching at my Dad's church... now sharing with all of ya'll who weren't there.

Recently, I was grumbling about some insignificant issue.  I consider myself an Optimistic Realist, but sometimes that gets construed as a Cynical, Bitter Pessimist.  I know most of you think I'm just a happy-go-lucky, cheerful li'l pup, but I do have the potential to let out some steam.  And as I was ramping into a full-bore rant, this thought innocently bubbled up in the froth:

"What would Monty Showalter Do?"

Now, if you've never met Monty, let me tell you, I love him (and the rest of the Showalter family for that matter).  Monty is just so blasted happy all the time.  You can call him in the midst of an all-out typhoon of chaos and he'll say, “Man, isn’t God so good!?”  He's the positive to your negative every time.  He's a roving, international evangelist who can go into a country and reach out to people in such a simple, sincere way... showing the true love & compassion of God.  The only time I've seen him close to bent out of shape is when he saw missed opportunities at helping people.  Needless to say, my rant lost it's fizz and I was back on the uphill slog toward perfection and joy; all sunshine and rainbows.

I'm sure some of you reading today have a bracelet tucked away next to the yellow Live Strong one that asks, "What would Jesus do?"  Now, I get what Charles Sheldon was asking, but I’m not Jesus.  You see, from my chair & according to the Book I base my belief on, He’s God incarnate; the end and the beginning wrapped into One; He's the Word who become flesh and made his dwelling among us.  He’s the peace of storms and the healer of disease.; the Savior and Redeemer; the true friend who will never leave you or deceive you; the Lamb from whom shines the light of the Heavenly City...

On the flip side, I’m Scott McGarvey.
Son of Vernon McGarvey
Husband of Suzi
Father of Cooper Alexander
And according to the Psalms 51, I was built from birth in the exact opposite of Him. Really, I'm not even close.  I’m just not gonna naturally do what Jesus did.  

But I wonder what Jesus would do THROUGH me? What am I capable of when I allow Him to work in my life?  Peter would not have shown up under normal circumstances in Acts 3 to extend healing to that man at the Gate Beautiful. No way... he’d been on the Sea of Galilee with a fish on the line.  He wouldn’t be looking for ways to give God glory; before he met Jesus, he was looking for nets to mend and fights to pick.  He would have just as soon stabbed you as debate you!  But along the way from Capernaum to Jerusalem, Peter decided he loved Jesus more than anything else he'd encountered before and that made all the difference.
You don’t have to wonder what Jesus would do.  If you seek Him first, He’ll show you.  And you'll experience Life in a whole new light.