Monday, December 20, 2010

A Precious Phone Call

Tonight our phone rang at about 9:30pm, with a call from Dr. Jim Netterville, the amazingly gifted physician who did both surgeries to remove Cooper's tumor. I just had to write a little about this man, who truly is a "hero" to our family and so many others.

I have sent a Christmas card to his office the last couple of years from our family, not necessarily expecting that he would even see it. This year he opened our card and called us at home to thank us, ask about the family, and about what all we were doing with the foundation. We talked for 10 minutes or so, and I don't know if he will ever realize the profound impact it had on me and Rod, that he would take the time out of his busy schedule to call (keep in mind, it has been almost 2 years since he did the 2nd surgery on Cooper). He was so kind and encouraged me with these words, "how wonderful it is that you and Rod listened and obeyed God's calling to help others, when you were going through what some would consider hell on earth."

Cooper with Dr. Netterville 

I have had the opportunity to know quite a few people in the medical field, and I must say that this man is truly one-of-a-kind! Not only is Dr. Netterville the Director of Head and Neck Surgery at Vanderbilt,  an international leading authority on treating head and neck cancer, one of the world's experts in the treatment of skull base tumors and has a vast clinical experience, he is a man of God, humble beyond words, with one of the most caring hearts of anyone I know. I look forward to the day when Cooper is a little older and can personally thank him for what he did. God has gifted this man with an amazing skill, and I still thank the Lord for placing us in Dr. Netterville's care.

We will forever be grateful to this man for removing the sarcoma (which he himself referred to as "the size of a tangerine in an infant's head") through 2 complicated surgeries on Cooper's head/neck. However, the magnitude of our gratefulness for the "person" he is, and not just the "surgeon" cannot really be expressed in words. What a blessing to get this precious phone call tonight!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Cooper Trooper Foundation Pumpkin Patch Fundraiser

This year was our first year to do a Pumpkin Patch fundraiser for the foundation! We exceeded our expectations and are so proud of the success we had- the foundation raised over $12,000!!!! We will be able to help so many families whose world has been turned upside down by childhood cancer.... that is so exciting.
Cooper playing in the Pumpkins

On a personal level, I just feel so humbled and honored that so many people were willing to volunteer to help pull it all off. God has truly blessed our efforts to reach out and impact families, especially the young siblings, of those in the fight against pediatric cancer. It still amazes me how passionate so many, who have rallied around our own family during our difficult time with Cooper, have become in joining us to fulfill our mission of supporting other families. Words cannot describe the gratefulness I feel in my heart about that!

I think for me, the opportunity to get the word out and let people know about what The Cooper Trooper Foundation does, was really the most exciting thing. I had the opportunity of talking with so many families who didn't know what we did. One of the highlights for me was meeting a couple of families who have actually received our Caring and Courage Kits through Vanderbilt and hearing the impact it had on them as a family during a tough time. I also met several adults who were siblings of kids with cancer at one time- to hear how this experience impacted them and how thankful they were that our foundation was providing a resource now, that they never had the opportunity to receive was priceless!

Members of Page H.S. and JV Football Team, along with coaches who came to unload our first shipment of pumpkins!
Thanks guys!

 Volunteers- Elise, Tessie, Kim, and Will
Volunteers- Jeff, Hap, and Andy

Volunteers- Courtney, Suzanne, Molly W., Molly C., and Mark

 Carson and Colby at the patch

Volunteers for the 3rd shipment of pumpkins- we unloaded 2000 this day!

 Lots and Lots of Pumpkins!

Colby and Carson

 Some of the kids spelled out "PUMPKINS" with the small pumpkins

 Suzanne, Molly, Traci, and me

 Becca Lewis with her mom, Suzanne, and Cooper- Becca was a huge help with Cooper at the patch!
Thanks Becca!

The Sigma Chi Fraternity from Vanderbilt Univ. helping with clean up! 
They made this process go a whole lot faster!

We definitely plan to sell pumpkins again next year!!!
Thank you to everyone who volunteered and bought pumpkins this year.
A special thank you to Molly Westmoreland for coordinating the whole event!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Family Visits

This past weekend the boys Grandma got to come for a visit. Colby was proud to play baseball in front of her. Carson was proud to show off his bike-riding abilities, and Cooper was just proud to show off!! The weekend was complete with a trip to Wal-mart (one of their favorite things to do with grandparents) to get some new silly bands. Apparently, they filled her in on all kinds of things they want for Christmas as well! We watched football, played outside, read books, watched some funny Tom and Jerry episodes, grilled burgers, went to church, and just hung around the house. We were glad she was able to get a ride with some people heading this way, so she didn't have to drive by herself.

Bunky's cousin, Terry, also came in town right after Grandma left because he was here for work!

Two weekends ago the boys Papa came in town for a visit! Again, they got to go to Wal-mart and came home with remote controlled cars, which continue to make lots of noise and zoom all over the house. They have so much fun with them though. We also had our own little tailgate at the house and watched football. Plus, Colby got to play his first baseball game with Papa looking on. The boys also enjoyed wearing Papa's glasses! Thankfully, they didn't get broken. I couldn't get Cooper to cooperate for a picture with papa this time! :(

Colby's 1st Baseball Game

Colby is full "swing" into baseball and loving it! He has sat on the sidelines watching Carson play various sports for the last 3 years and is now feeling like such a big boy himself. He is so fun to watch and takes it very seriously. His papa came in town and got to watch his first game. Then, several of our neighbors came to watch him play his 2nd game. This past weekend his Grandma got to watch him play. He may begin to think that he should have his own cheering section at every game after all the attention.
Daddy getting Colby ready!

Colby in his Rangers uniform (notice how big the pants are)
He is our "little" guy and the small pants swallow him!

Colby and his coach (aka dad) before the game

Colby and Papa at his 1st game

Running home! Notice the serious face with the tongue out!

My Birthday

Well, September 6th was my birthday! It happened to fall on Labor Day this year, which sometimes happens. My dear, sweet husband had a Fantasy Football Draft planned for that night- so, I opted for celebrating ALL weekend instead. I got the better end of that deal!

My boys treated me like a queen- I got to go out to dinner with my best friend, who also happens to be my hubby!! Our wonderful neighbors kept our boys and had them all in bed when we got home. I had a terrific massage at my favorite spa, did some shopping, and didn't cook all weekend! It was GREAT!

Thanks guys for making me feel so special! You bless me beyond words!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekend Trip to Texas

This past weekend we took Carson and Colby with us to Texas for Camp John Marc's 20 year reunion. This is a camp that Bunky worked at during the summers while in college. He was on the staff the very first year, and has always talked of the impact that the camp had on him. The camp specializes in providing a fun, camp environment for children with various chronic illnesses. It is an amazing place and I was so glad I finally got to see it, meet a lot of people that meant so much to him, and allow our boys to see a place that had such an influence on their dad. They had a lot of family fun activities, such as rock wall climbing, zip lining, canoeing, fishing, horseback riding, water war, paddle boats, bonfire, fireworks, etc. It was action-packed.

Carson on the zip line
Hanging out at the bon fire
Paddle boats
Coming back from the pool

In front of the cabin we stayed in
Bunky with Camp Director, Vance Gilmore (such an amazing man)

The boys also got to experience flying on a plane for the first time! There was even an added bonus, as the pilot let them sit in the cock-pit and "play" with some of the buttons (we were on the ground of course)! I hope it is something they won't soon forget... I know I won't.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Colby's 1st Go at Sports!!

Colby will be playing fall baseball! He is very excited as this is his first sport- no more bat boy or watching older brother from the sidelines. His dad will be coaching his team, which consists of a very young team I might add (a wonderful challenge for the coach). In addition, Carson has decided to take a "season off", which is almost unheard of- he has done something, whether football, baseball, or basketball, EVERY season since he was 4. I think the heat of all-star summer baseball just wore him out a little and he is taking some golf lessons- so this is really probably a great decision.

It will most likely be the ONLY time that Colby will get total spotlight, since we have 3 boys who enjoy sports (Even Cooper prefers to play with any kind of ball over any other toy). So, we are all excited to give Mr. Colby lots of attention this season! He is super shy, so I am hoping this will help bring him out of his shell a little too.

Friday, August 20, 2010

First Tooth Lost

Carson, along with his brothers, was always later to get teeth in as a baby. Although, it was nice to enjoy those precious "toothless grins" a little longer, I remember wondering if they didn't have teeth at one point!

Needless to say, the dentist told us that the later baby teeth come in, the later they tend to lose them. Carson has been anxiously waiting to lose a tooth forever it seems. Most of his friends have lost multiple teeth, so this has been a topic of great concern for him for a while now.

Finally, Tuesday night he came home with a very wiggly tooth- which I am sure he played with at school ALL DAY! Dad pulled it out with tweezers pretty easily and he was soooo excited!! I wasn't sure what the going rate from the tooth fairy was, so I asked on Facebook. I got responses ranging from 25 cents to 20 dollars!!! I went with $3 since that was what my neighbor told me she got, as Carson and her are very competitive and I figured it would be brought up. He seemed super excited with it! I got lots of great ideas for the next lost tooth though- sprinkling "fairy dust", silver dollars, $2 bills, gold dollar coins, etc!!

Brother Pranks

Growing up with 2 brothers and 2 sisters was full of memories! One minute we loved each other and couldn't stand to be without each other, the next we were killing each other. I don't remember playing too many pranks on each other, as much as we liked to gang up and play pranks on our parents. Fun times! I have noticed over the last year or so the boys starting to play pranks on each other- whether it's giving each other wedgees or hiding favorite toys or pulling Cooper's diaper off- they are always up to something. The other night I went to check on the boys before bed and found Colby fast asleep with a pair of Spiderman underwear on his head! I had to grab the camera. I knew this had to be the work of his older brother Carson. Sure enough the next morning, I asked Carson about it. He said, "yes, I did it- I just thought it might help him keep his head warm"!! He is crazy! I am just amazed that he pulled it off without Colby even waking up.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

1st Grade

Carson started 1st grade this past week! I think we were all ready. He has Mrs. Cooper for a teacher (we won't have trouble remembering that name for obvious reasons), who also happens to live across the street from us! She has been teaching for a long time and is a super sweet person. We are really blessed! I told Carson he couldn't "play hookie" from school since she lives across the street- ha! He also has 3 girls from his Kindergarten class and another really good friend that has played ball with him!
Getting on the bus!

Unfortunately, boys are not much on giving all the details, as I have discovered early on! However, he did tell us something from his first day, which is seriously funny and I had to put in the blog!
He told us that he had one of the meanest kids in the school in his class, so I asked why he thought that. He then said, "well, he called me a dork right to my face". So, here I am wondering what his reaction would be to that- did it upset him? how did he handle it? I asked what he said and here was his response.....

"well, I didn't really say anything, it's all right, mom .... he will be workin for me one day!"

Needless to say, he must have gotten that from his dad somewhere, and all I could think about was how that was a better response than what I would have imagined him saying! He is one funny kid!
With his brothers while waiting on the bus

Poor Colby started asking at 10:00am if he could watch out the window for "Tarson" to get off the bus... they have really enjoyed the summer together, and for the most part, played wonderful together. He LOVES his brother and has really missed him while he was back at school!! One more year, Colby, and you will be getting on the bus with him!

We also have our "after school friends" Sam and Madison Smith, who I watch for a little while every day after school! This is them getting their snacks out of our snack basket!

Here they are again in their Trinity Tiger t-shirts after school. Sweet kids!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

12 Years!!

Today is mine and Bunky's 12 year anniversary! These last 12 years have certainly been a roller coaster- at times it feels like we have coasted along easily, but for a lot of these years we have been taken for a ride that wasn't always what we had wanted. Thankfully, God has carried us through those times that weren't what we would have planned, and has shown us that HIS plan is always perfect. We have grown a lot over these last 12 years, and our marriage has become more solid in the midst of it.

There is no one I would rather live life with, no one I would rather raise my children with, no one I would rather cry or laugh with than this man. Through heartache, loss, hurt, uncertainty, helplessness, joy, victories, through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows- He has always been right by my side. My love really does grow deeper with every passing day. He also keeps me laughing, which is one of my favorite things about him!

At Destin, Florida
We started a little "tradition" when we got married. We have written each other a letter every year that we read on our anniversary. We did this for each other the night before we got married and it was really special, so we just kept it up and do it each year for our anniversary. I keep them in a box and have them labeled for each year. I think when we have been married for 50+ years, it will be cool to go back and read them all!

On a hike in Asheville, North Carolina

Fun night with our Community Group! We went bowling and Bunk and I decided to show up in matching "Team Cook" bowling attire!

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the gift of an amazing husband! I am blessed beyond words!