Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Stella B and Stella D

Q: What is almost as good as a sibling but better than an imaginary friend?
A:  Stella's look-a-like rag doll.  AKA, Stella D.
 

*Stella B = Stella the baby
*Stella D = Stella the doll



Stella D


For one whole day Stella D was at the bottom of her "toy box" also known as a wicker basket that was formerly used to hold blankets.  Stella B seemed a little off that day and I couldn't quite put my finger on it.  It wasn't until they were re-united that night and I saw her hugging Stella D for 10 straight minutes that it all started to click.


Don't ever scare me like that again!  You hear me!?




Here is a pic of us singing a song we made up called "We Wuv to Kiss and Hug."  It's Stella B's favorite!








I love me a good Stella sandwich.


Stella D does all kinds of funny things that make her Stella B's BFF.  She plays peek-a-boo, she has a 24/7 smile on her face, she has really yummy pig tails that Stella B loves to chew on,  she has her name embroidered on her dress so we can't lose her, her favorite color is pink, and she loves Stella B.


Stella reading to Stella, pre-nap time.
I don't think I'll ever get sick of watching them together.  When Stella B sees Stella D from across the room, I highly recommend you GET THE HELL OUT OF HER WAY!  Baby 'speed crawl' is on a mission!

Stella B loves people a whole heck of a lot and no one can make her laugh harder than her bro and sis.  However, when they are at school and mom is watching The Bachelor Grey's Anatomy Intervention Modern Family her baby play, she prefers Stella D.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Twin cousins

Meet Stella's twin cousin, Mayzie.  She is my sister, Mandy's, youngest M.



Yes, they are holding hands! :)

In the coming years, this dynamic duo is going to do some serious damage in the entertainment business. 
'American Idol' meets 'So You Think You Can Dance.'  Stella's natural turn-out and point definitely means she will be ready to hit the stage around age 3 while Mayzie sings live.


Maybe I'm wrong but you do you think this looks promising?


It's not perfect but she was only 7 months old in this pic so cut a baby some slack


On a more serious note (even though I was totally serious before) they LOVE each other!  They giggle as soon as they see each other and if you mention Dayzie Maze's name around Stella she starts searching the house like a lost puppy.  It's precious.





Oh I could just eat them!  BTW don't mention the "e" word (eat) around Mayzie.   It's clearly her favorite past time.  Stella is tiny, active, a woman on the go, and in love with Mayzie.  Mayzie is chubby, laid back, in no hurry what-so-ever, and in love with Stella.  They are a perfect balance.


        Stella:  This is a joke right?  I'm ALWAYS the leader!
     Mayzie:  Mom, I can't figure it out. Can I get a push?
Stella:  AUNT MANDY!? This is a joke right!? 


Side note:  We like to think Mayzie (AKA: baby Adele) has a really deep voice when we put words in her head.  It just seems fitting.  Stella talks super fast.  Also fitting.  Read the captions like that and it is much more entertaining.

                   Stella:  Much Better. This is what I'm talking about! YEE-HAA!
  Mayzie:  Just go slow.  Uncle Gage, can I get a spot?
 Stella: HOOOOLD ONNNN MAAAAYZIEEEE!




Every time this duo is together they fall deeper in love.  Speaking of duo's: there will not be one.  There will be a TRIO!  While amongst friends 3 may be a crowd, amongst cousins it's a triple threat.  Pippa is doing a little growing while in North Carolina which is outstanding because by the time she gets here she will be ready to rock it out.  Basically the only thing Stell and Mayz are missing is Pippsqueak.  Life is ALMOST perfect. We were thinking she could ride the pegs on the back of the pony?  We can't wait for that chick to get here!!!!

                                       Stella: So I was skyping with Pippa yesterday...
      Mayzie: WHAT!? That's no fair!
 Stella:  I told her you said hi.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gramps

My poor dad was dealt a hand of 4 daughters and 6 grand-daughters.  He knows far too much about menstrual cycles, pregnancy hormones, pedicures, and dance drama.  He has learned well how to 'walk away' when he hears the words: nail polish, boobs, bikini, thong, PMS, tampon, ovulation, gynecologist, or any others of that sort.  He's a good man.

Because the good Lord knew he would be hearing those words quite frequently he blessed him with one son.  All a guy needs!  When that one son grew up and moved out, this good man was blessed yet again.  With one grandson.



Sammy loves my dad a super crazy amount.  It melts my heart to see them together.  Their relationship is simply precious.   My dad has a very dry humor and likes to joke around.  All the time.  Sammy, bless his heart, not so much.  He takes everything very serious and literal.  Good thing he is forgiving as well.

Last summer my dad gave Sam a fake ONE MILLION dollar bill.  He told him he only had 2 and he wanted Sam to have one.  With eyes wide and jaw dropped, Sammy simply told him:  "Wow, grandpa!  I can't except that.  I don't think my parents would want me to take that much money from someone."

Amazing, son.  It warms my heart to know that we have raised such a humble little boy.  For the future, whenever someone offers you $1,000,000 you ALWAYS accept it. 

Dad?  You suck.  While this would have been a very funny prank on you when you were a kid, you should be counting your lucky stars that Sam loves you no matter what.  Sammy don't do pranks.  He's already dreading April Fools Day.



Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ask and you shall recieve

One week ago my facebook status said this:

KU vs. MU Feb 25th in Larry town. Who has 2 tickets for me? I'll be your best friend!
 You know why I wrote that?  Because I love basketball and am dying to see this game!  Jk.  I can't stand basketball.
My boys love it.  I thought maybe I could weasel my way into getting 2 tickets and surprise them.  I realized within minutes that I was delusional.  Those tickets are currently selling for around $500 a piece. 
As luck should have it, my bro-in-law won 2 tickets to this weekends game from the radio station in Wichita and can't use them.  I'd say that's the next best thing.  Ask and you shall receive.   Gage and Sam are so excited they can barely breathe.  They are decked out in blue and headed to Lawrence!


 
Dear Sammy,
I bleed red.  I am a born and raised Husker fan.  However, over the years my Cornhusker loving spirit has been stifled to barely nothing by your Jayhawk loving father.  Yes, I did attend the University of Kansas.  Why, you ask?  Kansas seemed like a nice state and I rolled down there one weekend to ask them if they had a dance team.  They laughed at me.  Apparently their dance team is a big deal there.  I asked when try-outs where and they said "next weekend." I told them I would be back.  As if they cared.  I went back and made it.  The end.
Cool story, huh?
I'm pretty sure God put me on that dance team so your dad could have bragging rights.  You see, the almighty Crimson Girls are much cooler in his eyes than they ever were in mine.  I loved my fellow CG's very much and am thankful that they were a part of my life but lets get real.  I'm no cheerleader.   I know you want more than anything to also attend KU and we promise to support that.  Your dad will tell you that KU is perfect in every way and that the city of Lawrence has no flaws.   My experience was not as rosey as his but in my defense it was a big adjustment coming from a football crazed state that barely recognizes basketball as a sport.   

Reasons I loved KU:
1. I made great friends and still Facebook stalk keep in touch with them.
2. I met your dad.   (In no particular order, Sweets.  You ARE #1!)
3. Wesco beach!  Complete with preaching hippies and no water, this is a great hang out. 
4. Mass Street: Yummy food and cool stores.  
5. The Campus really is beautiful.  The buildings are breathtaking and I sometimes miss looking at them. 
6. Late Night with Roy Williams.  Sorry, Roy is not there anymore and you will never get to see how obsessed a city can be over one human being.  Please don't listen to your dad when he tells you I'm wrong here.  HE WAS ON THE COVER OF THE PHONE BOOK!

Reasons I found KU annoying:
1. Their football team sucked bad.  No one went to the games that I was required to attend.  You won't have to worry about that when you go there though.  So I've been told.
2. I hate basketball.  The squeaking of shoes on the court and constant running gives me a migraine.  Not to mention how I feel claustrophobic in the crowded stands with no fresh air.  Please continue to pursue your love of baseball.
3. Rush or die.  The motto at KU, I'm pretty sure.  I'm even less of a sorority girl than I am a cheerleader.

4. The buses stink.  Just sayin'.
Okay, so I guess the pros outweigh the cons.  I have no doubt you are going to fall in love with KU as soon as you step foot on that campus.  Although the Kansas/Missouri rivalry is historic and I wish you could witness it first hand, at least I don't have to worry about the fans wearing their Muck Fizzou shirts.  I'm pretty confident your dad would tell you exactly what those mean.  When you walk into Allen Fieldhouse and you feel like peeing your pants, just remember what I told you: breathe if you hate Missouri.
Rock Chalk!
Love, Mom

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The great debate

Heads up: This is long.  If you like to read and enjoy a good debate, this is for you. Read only if you must.


Deep prayer and years of frustration with the little boy that I love most in this entire world has brought me to the greatest debate of my life.

He's smart and complicated. He lives in his own little world. God love his teachers for putting up with him but I'm kinda over them all. Yes, they do start out trying to meet his needs but it all ends the same. They give up on him half way through the year. Truth is, I honestly can't blame them. He's a tough pill to swallow.


We are 2 years into DI (Destination Imagination) and HAL (High Ability Learner) and they are not helping. Wouldn't life be simple if your child worked hard for good grades, achieved them, and got proud of himself for doing so? Not his guy.







In his head he will never measure up, never be good enough, be the dumbest kid in class (even when he has straight A's), have no friends (also not true), and will always ALWAYS hate school. But one thing IS true: He loves to learn. He frickn' LOVES to learn. Books, books, books, and more books. He will read until his eyes pop out and if he comes across a word he doesn't know? Simple. He reaches over to the encyclopedia that he sleeps with and looks it up. Duh! Don't you?


A teacher friend best friend of mine once told me that its my job for the rest of my life to teach his teachers how to teach him. If you are reading this JuJu, thanks for opening my eyes to the importance of getting to know my gifted child.  This is slightly annoying because I can only explain so much in the short time I have.  It's frustrating as a mother to sit back and watch someone else deal with your kid completely wrong.  Sammy is such a difficult child to deal with that sometimes it takes unconditional love that only a mother has.  You feel me?


He doesn't think like his peers. Programs that were created for kids like Sam are starting to make him mad. Why? In a nut shell, because other kids are there. His words: "I can't follow their ideas so I just zone out."

Perfect.

A book I read called "Raising your Gifted Child" claims that the qualities sometimes mirror autism. He is academically ahead and socially behind. His overstimulated brain is trapped in a socially awkward body. He doesn't understand simplicity. If you want to reach his brain, the more complicated the better.  If you want to reach his heart, take him to the bookstore.  He has a near photographic memory but struggles to order his own food at a restaurant. It's Awesome.

NOT!

Here is something I read in an article called "Gifted Kids, Bad Behavior."

"One of the big myths about gifted children is that they are well-behaved teachers' pets. Many get bored in class, and while some bored children just get quiet, others act out or call attention to the fact that they find class boring. Some whose social skills are less well developed may ask obnoxious questions, call the teacher or other students "dumb" and otherwise make general pains of themselves. It's hard to imagine anything more annoying than a kid who persists in humming while other children are trying to work."



That's my boy! Tap tap tap tap. Knock knock knock knock. Whistle whistle humm humm. Kill me now.




So here's the debate.

I need one simple solution. I just wanted something that fixes everything wrong and enhances everything good. Something that takes the distractions away and fills his brain with positive loving education. Something that I will look back on when he's all grown up and smile because I KNEW I gave him everything I could. Something that will make him feel good about who he is. Something that will help him find himself rather than try to fit into someone he's not. After several painful weeks of crying out for help in this area, I've come to the conclusion that ONE simple solution does not exist.

The topic of Home School has been popping up in my life for 2 years now. I usually laugh it off and say "not for me. Thanks though. What's plan B?" After lots of tears and extra strong convictions I finally started taking it into serious consideration. Maybe that's all God wanted me to do. Just put my pride aside and focus on what is going to help Sammy. Who knows. I wish I did.

We are currently weighing all our options and taking every little detail into deep consideration. Like I said, he just doesn't learn like others. It took me 3 years to figure that out, 5 years to accept it, and I don't want to waist 1 more dwelling on it.  Every time I said "NO" to homeschooling and followed up with a good reason why, that reason is immediately confirmed to be neither here nor there.

Example: I fear he is already smarter than me. No worries.  A kid like Sam basically teaches himself with these programs all laid out for him.  I was told if I can read, I can teach.

Example: I worry that he will not be involved socially and always struggle around his peers. No contrare my friend, there is an overwhelming amount of social environments with amazing and wonderful kids in our city. 



I realize now that some kids are just cut out for this style of learning. Holly would die without her friends. She NEEDS school. I get her. When I was a kid I always felt sorry for home school kids. I mean, the only cool part of school is being with your friends!  Yes, Gage, I was one of those kids.  For Sammy, the distraction of his peers and the awkwardness of trying to fit in are actually hurting his education. I've never been more convinced of that as I am right now.


I said we are taking Homeschooling into CON-SID-ER-A-TION but leaning towards HELL NO.  Right now we have lots of helpful ideas for him while in school but no permanent answers.  Yet. He has a great teacher, principle, and school counselor that care deeply for him and his education.  I'm very thankful for them.  Gage and I are giving this one to God while continuing to do our research on this topic. I'm sure everyone has their own strong opinion one way or another. I'm done complaining about the punks in his class and the lack of focus he has in school. After conferences with his teacher last week I realize his current grades and behavior are a cry for help.  It's hard to paint a full picture of who Sammy is.  He does not have ADHD nor does he act like someone who does.  He's actually extremely calm.  Most of the time.  He has an explosive temper but has gotten much better.  He's shy.  He's polite.  He's VERY tender hearted.  He's not a sneaky kid at all. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and couldn't keep a secret from us if he tried with every cell of his being. I love that about him.  I mean he literally doesn't even get a drink of water without asking.

No, we are not Drill Sergeant parents.  Trust.   Have you met Holly?  That's just Sammy's heart.


Back to the debate...
It has been consuming my every thought for weeks.  Maybe just 5th grade? Maybe only Middle School? Maybe just a little summer school at home? Maybe this idea all together is crazy?  Defiantly homeschooling!  No way homeschooling!  I can do it.  I can't do it.  He needs to be home with me.  He needs his friends.  He needs more structure at home.  He needs Valentine parties at school!  One thing we know for sure is that we are going to do everything in our power to build him up into the amazing person God intends him to be. Smart, strong, and confident Sammy Cobb.  The past few weeks have been eye openers for Gage and I.  We can do this.  Whatever "this" is.  I'm excited for his future.

We have definite concerns either way. We don't want to devastate him socially. Honestly, that could happen if we take him OUT of school OR leave him in. It's the constant battle in mind. 24/7. He's so smart and I know he would thrive on learning at his pace. He would eat it up. That part only excites me.

The great Sambino has high hopes for his future and so do I. He plans on playing baseball in High School and being a professional drummer, as well as professional athlete.  (!)  He wants to be a husband someday and have of a son of his own so he can name him Bob. Bob Cobb. He always was a big dreamer.  It's my duty as his mother to bring out the best in him and to believe in his dreams.  

If I didn't bore you to death you can look forward to more posts on his progress and our ultimate decision for this next chapter of our lives.  This was healing for me.  Thanks for reading. 

This video just made me laugh.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My funny Valentines

This year Gage and I made the kids Valentine's and wrote out all (a few) of the reasons we love them. It was a hit this morning.





Some of my favorites were: To Holly, Mom- because you will always be the oldest girl in our family and all the little girls look up to you. Dad- because you are the only girl I know who can freeze their balls off. Mom- becuase you give the worlds best hugs and I love praying with you at night. Dad- because no one makes a better 6 oz bottle for Stella.
To Sam, Mom- because you are the sweetest big brother to Holly and Stella, they are so lucky! Dad- because without you we wouldn't eat bacon on the weekends. Mom- you are the only one with brown eyes and I melt when I look at them. Dad- you are my only son and my best buddy.

They loved it!













Stella got a Valentine too. She actually fell in love with Minnie Mouse at Target yesterday and threw a minor tantrum when I put it back. Don't worry Stell Bell, mama has your back.





This picture cracks me up. She is looking at Sam and Holly and you can almost hear her thinking "see guys, all you have to do is give mom one of these looks and you get exactly what you want."
This Disney classic is now a part of our family.






In case you are wondering, Stella got that hat yesterday around 2:30pm and has been wearing it since.



Obviously, the joy of showing my kids some love is enough for me today but it doesn't end there. Sammy made me and Gage a Valentine too. Behold...






Origami hearts! They are incredible. Precious beyond belief. When you squeeze the back they actually beat! Be still my heart. The real one.













Gage and I also have a Valentine tradition that we started 2 years ago. Get your mind out of the gutter this is a family blog!

Anyway, we don't need a fancy dinner. Just 2 slices of Cheesecake Factory cheesecake to go and we are happy campers! We decided to have them last night since I work late tonight. I'm actually embarrased at the size of my slice but feel a little better about myself that I was only able to eat half.







Don't worry about me. I'm sure I'll figure out a way to finish it up.

Even though our time together as a family today was short, it was full of love. Off to work for Gage and school for the big kids. Stella is napping and this paparazzi room mom is heading up to school later for Valentine parties. My heart if very full! Only thing missing today is a normal picture of all 3 of my kids.









Friday, February 10, 2012

S(no)W fun

SnoW fun. I debated if I should call this post 'snow fun' or 'so fun' or 'no fun' or maybe 'now fun.'
Maybe it's all of the above.

This has been a "winter" that will go down in history for us. Is it so hard to just give us one flippin' snow day? I don't mean wait till I leave town and pile on 6 feet of snow that cancels all fun activities for my kids only to have it all melt the next day. Not what I mean. I want at least ONE legit snow day. The kind that keeps us all home from school and gives me an unexpected night off work.

I mean last week we were doing this:


Beautiful spring like weather at the park.



And this week we are doing this:




Leftover snow from last weekend but not nearly enough to give us a blessed snow day.

I mean what the heck is this winter anyway? Whatever it is, I'm totally over it. Bring on the Spring! I just signed Sam up for a hitting camp and I can almost smell my sweaty little baseball player. We are ready to ring in the next decade of Sammy's life when he turns 10 next month! Stella Rose is moments away from taking her first steps and Holly is as ready as she'll ever be for competition season to start.

The snow is only fun for so long anyway.





You rock that bedhead Sammy Boy.





My Snow Angel loves the snow. Shocker.





There ya have it. We now have official memories that it was winter for a few days this year.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Real American Hero

My bro. Tommy 'the machine gun' Mickells. He's a real superhero. No jokes here. Everyone that knows him knows he's one of the coolest people to ever live. He is tougher than nails and has muscles bigger than Texas. He's got the driest humor (my personal favorite kind of humor) in town. He may not smile a whole lot but he wouldn't hurt a fly. Except when he sometimes eats flies. Funny, huh?

He went into the Air Force after High School and that was super cool of him. What's even cooler than that? Being a Combat Controller for the Air Force. He is the equivalent to a Navy Seal. He started CC school with over 200 people and graduated with 11. Stud. The end.







They don't sell those red berets at the BX.


Today my brother deploys for 3 months. He has deployed twice with the air force already but never as a Controller. (is it okay if I abreve it to 'controller?') He has trained for 3 years for this day. He has hundreds of thousands and probably millions of dollars in government funding wrapped up in his training. For this day. He is 100 percent ready to fight for nothing but his Country. He knows exactly what he needs to do to push past the physical and emotional pain of leaving his family behind. He has tunnel vision for the United States of America. He has no idea what kind of contact he will have with his family until he gets there but he's still focused.
Tommy Gun only fights in the ring.










Sometimes I think about what horrible things must go on that we don't know about. We can't deny the fact that there are TONS of Americans still deployed and fighting for us on a daily basis. Selfless heroes. I am one proud sister and American today to say that someone as amazing as my little (although much bigger than me) brother is one of those people. He is a real hero and I have no doubt that he is going to witness and be a part of horrible things. However, on top of that government funding and intense training I know God will be surrounding him at all times. There are so many people who love Tommy that there may literally be someone praying for him every moment of those 3 months.

My brother is not competitive and he's not prideful. I once heard that the reason so few people actually succeed in Special Forces is because they are in it for their ego and they want to be the best. Tommy just loves his country. That's why he succeeded and that's why he's ready for this. That's exactly the kind of person I want fighting for me.

Now Tommy Gun, get the bad guys and get your a@@ home!!!!!!!!