Monday, September 30, 2013


A great 33rd birthday is:
Waking up on your own because the in-laws had the boys spend the night.
Having your friends treat you to a bagel sandwich & coffee before they leave for work.
New compression sleeves for my achy legs after long runs (thank you Kaaren).
Fancy dinner with Ben Dow (no kids & no yoga pants).
 … AND a brand-new yoga mat (after Julie discovered my sad-sad, holes-worn-through mat)
(Laura with her breakfast burrito)

and then Greek Feast hosted by Laci the following weekend.
 The night basically consisted of us (Sarah, Julie, Laura and I) gathered around Laci's bar, watching her cook and devouring everything she brought out.  It was amazing. 
Homemade pita, hummus, falafel, tzatziki sauce, tabouleh and baba ghanoush.  
She could literally open up her own Greek restaurant here in town- she's that good.
...and per my request, she made pie.  Salted-carmel-apple-hand pies.  
 Oh. My!
 I LOVE birthdays!
(and my awesome Amarillo friends!)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cook Family Reunion, 2013

We briefly made our way to downtown California for the Ham & Turkey festival.  
The boys got to bounce in the bounce house, eat Kettle Corn (I think this is the real reason I took them) and pet animals at the petting zoo. 
I was happy to see this Theatre downtown though.  This is where my grandma & grandpa Cook went on their first date back in 1940(?) to see Gone With The Wind.  
 Hard to see, but letting Owen pet a rabbit.

That night everyone went to Henrietta's farm for a potluck dinner and the bonfire/hayride.
Owen was mesmerized by the giant fire. 
 "Hot!  Hot!"
Wishing I had some pictures from the hayride, but it was too dark to get anything decent.  
Owen LOVED riding in my lap and kept pointing and commenting on the moon. 

 Driving down highway 50

 And, of course, you know we are going to hit a Waffle House if we are road tripping with dad...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ham & Turkey Festival 5K

I didn't really think about signing up for a 5K until Dawn texted and basically said that the whole family was participating in the run/walk this year.  I barely mentioned it to Kaden and he was stoked about "running a race" with mommy.  Why not?

 We technically registered as "walkers" in order to get a 15-minute head-start.  I figured we needed all the time we could get since Kaden had never walked this far… ever.  

 Dawn, Pat, Brayden, Kaden and I made quite the walking team.

 The runners catching us...
 Dustin easily cursing by.

 Uncle Steve & Stephenie pacing each other.

 To illustrate our pace, Dustin looped back when he finished his run and walked with us for a bit (remember the 15-minute head start?)
I'm pretty sure that riding atop Dustin would have been a big reason for us getting disqualified.
 During the last 200M, Steve started walking with us and gave Kaden a bit of a pep talk.  His words words were somewhere along the lines of, "Kaden, we're going to run as hard as we can and you are going to beat Dawn across the finish line… Let's GO!"
 Off we went, sprinting for the finish line.  The LAST people among ALL of the walkers/runners taking off for the finish line before they rolled up the mat. 
And guess what???
I was quietly informed that we were disqualified… 
because we signed up as "walkers" not "runners". 
 But Kaden didn't know that… 
During the awards ceremony, Stephenie placed her medal around Kaden's neck and told him that of all the people there, he won a medal for being the "fastest 4-year-old."
 Kaden and his "FASTEST 4-year-old medal.

 Pictured from left to right:
Kaden Dow, Kristin Dow, Stephenie Kern, Dawn Cook, Brayden Kern (stroller), Steve Cook, Dan Cook, Dustin Cook, Andy Nichols, and Pat Nichols. 
I'm pretty sure the Cook family was the biggest group there. 

 Owen chilling with grandpa during the morning festivities.
And the best part about Kaden jogging/walking 3.1 miles?
He crashed for about 3.1 hours next to Owen that afternoon. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Warrenton, Missouri

 The animals in the back did relatively well on this 12-hour drive…
The Prius, however, has had better days.  About the time we hit Oklahoma a piece from the (ground effects) of the car fell down.  As long as we were cruising along, it didn't seem to effect us but anytime we slowed down or made a pit stop (and there were quite a few) there would be a horrible scraping sound and people would turn & stare.  And then I would get out, crouch down and punch up the front piece of plastic… which would last a few minutes while we crept out of the parking lot.  
Thank God handyman Drew fixed it as soon as we got to mom's house.

 Owen in his element.  Chasing cats around grandma's yard.
 My favorite spot of the week was on mom's porch swing.  
I think that Missouri's best weather is in the fall- the mornings are cool & crisp, the bugs disappear, and it is just beautiful all around.  This fall was no exception.  I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the rain from the porch swing on more than one occasion.
 Roasting dozens of tomatoes...
 We (Kaden, Owen, mom and Kyle) made a trip down to St. Louis one afternoon and visited the City Museum. 
 I can really see this place being an awesome spot for the boys once they get a bit older.  There were so many places to crawl and hide that is was overwhelming for Kaden.  
There was also a 3-story slide inside the building. 
 Kaden & mommy at City Museum.
A rainbow inside a rainbow…
LOVED seeing this!
We drove to the Delmar Loop for dinner at Pi (delicious Chicago-style pizza joint).  

Friday, September 6, 2013

Feeding the Ducks

The boys really enjoy taking our old bread sacks and feeding the ducks at Medi Park.  
Kaden filled his backpack with all of the bread sacks and then had the great idea of packing a lunch for us so we could have a picnic.
 Owen about the same size as the geese.
 We had a few friends join us on Friday afternoon-- Abby (my friend) brought her girls, Katie & Erika.

And when the swings are big enough, who needs their own?!
Owen & Katie swing alongside Kaden & Erika.
 This lasted at least 15 minutes and they had the best time!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Boys Ranch Weekend

 We spent a big portion of this weekend out at Boys Ranch between the beginning of school and Ben working on his lesson plans, the football game on Friday night and the Rodeo all day on Saturday.
 First Boys Ranch football game of the season.
One of Ben's students had pom-poms that she let the boys play with. 
We made it through the first 1/2 before getting tired.
I am really impressed with the boys' ability to sit still and watch a football game.  I think they paid more attention to what was going on than I did.  Maybe it's a boy thing?

 Every year Boys Ranch has their big rodeo over Labor Day weekend.  Since all employees have to help with some part of the event, we decided to drive out to the ranch with Nonnie & Papa to watch the rodeo with Ben.  While we were there, we also got to see Dave & Kaaren Price.
As you can see from this picture, it was quite HOT on Saturday afternoon.
The boys seemed to enjoy the rodeo and Owen sat & watched the events unfold.