Happy Birthday, Mommy!

A Happy Birthday note from Gabriel

Dear Mommy,

Happy Birthday! I am so happy that I am going to clap many times for you today.

I love you very much, which is why I start to miss you in the middle of the night! It's also why, since I learned to crawl, I like helping you organize the kitchen! I don't know if you knew this, but there's a lot of space to put stuff on the floor. You don't need to keep everything in the cupboards and drawers. Also, your paper bags are much too dry; but I've got some drool to help you remedy that problem.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to voice some concerns to you: First, I do not like other babies being up in my space, especially in my own house. There's one little girl who comes over who is especially abusive. Please fix that. Second, you keep closing the doors to the bathrooms. I want to help you organize the toilets in there, but I can't if you don't give me access.

Most of all, I want to let you know how happy you make me. You're my best friend, by far. Sometimes I take issue with always smelling like your perfume or deodorant, but most of the time it gives me comfort in knowing you are always close by.

Love, your son,


PS: More rice puffs.

PPS: Please teach Rose the proper way to feed a baby.


Days with Rosie and Gabey

Time spent at home with Rosie and Gabriel is a joy. I love our weekly routines, and occasionally happening in on a sweet moment between the two of them. Rose is at an age when she's putting her thoughts to words, and the outcome is often hysterical and precious. I try to write down her Rosie-isms when they come. There's been a lot of questions about sin, heaven, hell, the devil and Jesus lately (you know, light topics). After one such discussion she was alone, playing with her toys, and I heard her whispering to herself, "Jesus, please forgive us our sins, and the resurrection of our bodies..."

Another day:
Rose: "You know, Santa, Jesus and Rocky remind me of friends."
Me: "Hm, what do you mean?"
Rose: "You know, they seem like they would be friends."

It's actually not off the wall that for Rose, Rocky's status is up there with Jesus. David went through a season of asking to play "Training Montage" from Rocky IV over and over and over. I got a lot of questions like "Is Rocky good?" "Why is he good?" "Why is Drago bad?" "Are the devil and Drago bad?" You can see the progression of reasoning...

Rose helps me reign in Gabriel, who rolls and scoots everywhere now.

"Mom, can you take over?"

A bike ride with friends on a warm day.

Real food for real babies, Mom.


It's alive!

Yes, this blog still exists.  For those who haven't been 'splained to about why this blog stands so neglected, it's the fault of all our Apple devices. Pretty much every photo around here is shot with an iPhone or iPad, and transferring those pictures to the blog is too much for my old Apple laptop, which can take 10 seconds to load for each click it receives. That, plus Blogger seems to be outdated. There aren't any options for directly transferring photos from Apple devices to Blogger, that I know of. If I'm wrong, please tell me! I'd love to keep this blog going instead of solely posting photos to iPhoto photo sharing (which the Cooks can see, but the Farrs can't!). Anyway, on to some pics taken with my good old-fashioned camera.

Maria cuddling St. Gabriel on his baptism day!

What not to do with a Spanish omelet.

Jumping forward six months to Christmas, which was absolutely lovely. Aunt Nat and Uncle George, Lola and Lolo all joined the fun Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. Happy birthday baby Jesus!

Lil' Irish. Thanks Uncle George!

Princess Rose, thanks to Aunt Hilary!

Our new 16-person tent, which we're planning on taking outside eventually :) Thanks Lolo and Lola!

Beautiful Christmas morning, waiting to go to Mass.

A surprise from a neighbor Christmas morning. So sweet!


Aunt Kate and Uncle Jeff's "Fairy Garden" is a success!

Visit to Train Exhibit at U.S. Botanical Gardens (where Grandmommy's art is hanging!) A couple days after Thanksgiving, when Teresa broke her thumb. Ah, memories :)

Merry Christmas!


May Recap

Frankie's 9th birthday party fell on a rainy, chilly day, disrupting our plans for an outdoor event involving water. So, instead, Dave came up with the idea of a cake contest. Each girl made her own two-layer cake (yes, this really happened) and Dave and Lolo got to judge which was the best cake at the end of the party. The girls were thrilled, and the party theme was right up Frankie's alley. Good work, Dave.

Dressed to impress, we went to a black tie wedding last weekend, and my, was it glitzy! It was in St. Peter's Catholic Church on Capitol Hill, which is really beautiful. A nice chance to go on a formal date before baby Cook arrives.

Pool season is upon us! We're going to try swim team this year- Francesca, Teresa, and David will don their team suits (oh, little David in a speedo) and head to practices and meets this summer. We'll see how this goes.

The count-down begins....one week until my due date! Again, prayers for sleep leading up to the grand event would be most appreciated. We're doing a novena to St. Gabriel the Archangel (have we mentioned officially that he'll be named Gabriel Thomas?). Gabriel means "God is my strength." The Archangel Gabriel acts as God's messenger throughout Scripture, most importantly announcing the Savior's birth to Mary. We're confident he'll be a powerful patron for our little guy.  Thomas is after my dad, Pop Pop, who will be another loving patron, no doubt. Happy Feast of the Sacred Heart!


Photo ops: Cinderella, Confirmation and baby brunch

Some cute ones of Rose and Lola dancing to the score of Roger's and Hammerstein's Cinderella. "Do I love you because you're beautiful, or are you beautiful because I love you?"

The lovely Maria and I posed before heading to church for her big night. Maria is suddenly a young woman, as beautiful and mature as she's ever been, but with a certain growing gravitas.  It's an honor to be her god-mother and Confirmation sponsor!

Some dear friends from Queen of Apostles took me and Audrey (sitting next to me) out for a brunch to celebrate our impending bundles of joy. Audrey is due exactly two weeks before me.  Baby Cook's god-mother, Michelle, is in the blue. She, Erin and Amanda put together these adorable diaper cakes. Such a lovely group of women! Thanks, Aunt Hilary, for holding down the fort at home while I was partying :)


This Easter Season

 I spilled water on my laptop several weeks ago, and ever since then my mouse has taken on a life of its own. It's gotten better thankfully, enough to allow me a quick post spanning the last month or so.  So much to record!

Rose's 4th birthday! Princess Rosie awoke to balloons and nutella crepes (leftover from Easter, but she doesn't need to know that)

David decorated Rose's cake like a champ.

Daddy and Rose do a birthday craft. What a good daddy.

Lots of baking this month. David may have a future here.

Hilary and Natalie accompanied me (and a bulging baby Cook) to our school's annual auction. 

Yes, we bought a Deere. It takes Dave a little over an hour to do the whole lawn with this thing. David frequently sits on his lap on Cloud 9. 

It took about a month, but our neighborhood has been completely repaved, providing hours of entertainment for our little truck enthusiast.

Watching deer down in the gully behind our back yard. Our first spring has been magical: seeing what flowers pop out around the house has been fun. We've got mulberry trees, a gorgeous pink dogwood, forsythia, lilacs, Chinese snowball viburnum, and a crabapple to name a few specimens. 

Frankie huddles at one of her soccer games. She's done really well for her first stab at the sport- she's very good at hustling, and I think the coach appreciates that. They haven't won a game yet, but not for lack of trying! 

Celebrating a trifecta of occasions: Maria's Confirmation, Natalie's birthday, and Mother's Day. 
I'm 36 weeks today and very much looking forward to meeting our new little guy. He's like a perfect basketball sticking out in front of me- I don't recall such perfect rotundness with previous pregnancies. Dave and I were marveling yesterday at how God made the female body to house another human being...it really is awe-inspiring, especially when it hits me I have 4 more weeks of intense growth to go (can it be possible to expand more??).  In the meantime I hope to be able to do more frequent updates. Your prayers for a smooth and happy labor and delivery leading up to June 10th are much appreciated!


Preparing for Easter

We dyed our eggs on Wednesday and made matzo on Thursday in preparation for our Seder meal Holy Thursday night.  I should have taken a picture of the kitchen after four children were done making matzo... just think "flour explosion". I also wish I had taken a picture of the spread- it was delicious and meaningful, as always. This lamb recipe never disappoints. We were happy that our friends Michelle and Daniel Jacobeen, who we've asked to be Baby Cook's godparents, were able to join us this year (before Michelle rushed off to sing and direct music for the Holy Thursday service).

Our little guy had an adventure Good Friday, right after Lolo and Lola arrived. He fell off his bike and landed right on his little knee. Stitches were necessary. So thankful Dave was here to whisk him off immediately to our local Urgent Care. Of emergencies, it went as smoothly as it could have.

As you can see, he's no worse for wear, grinning in a new Easter suit compliments of Lolo and Lola. We're waiting for a call from Ralph Lauren's modeling department.

We've got huge forsythia bushes in our back yard- so lovely! Instead of fake ones I was able to use real branches for our Easter egg tree.

Counting down to the pinnacle of the liturgical year, only hours away, when Our Lord rises. So much hope with this feast, yet it's hope tempered by the realization that we're not there yet. Life's struggle continues. Tomorrow is a lovely foretaste, though, of that final repose with Christ that we all long for. A blessed Triduum and Easter to everyone!


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