Saturday, December 31, 2011

December Fun 2011

The Boys on Christmas morning- Cooper, Colby, and Carson
Jesus Birthday Celebration and Kid's Ornament Exchange
Making Christmas Sugar Cookies

Cooper making sugar cookies in his own style- underwear and boots only!!
Community Group Christmas party- Love these people!
 Seems like our December has been full of activities and has flown by at lightning speed!! Cooper had his 3 month MRI on the 12th to monitor the questionable lymph node that was of concern from his September MRI. We got the great news on the lymph node was unchanged, however, there was a new place in the original tumor area that showed up with the December scan. Thankfully, after a CT scan on December 29th, it was determined that this "new" concern is most likely dental in nature. We will go back in 3 months for another MRI and if all remains unquestionable, we will get to continue with 6 month scans again.

Cooper with his sweet cousin, Emma
Colby's class Christmas party
Colby making his Gingerbread house
Aside from all of that, we have had lots of fun with school parties, birthday for Jesus parties with friends and neighbors, ornament and gingerbread house-making parties, Christmas celebrations with family, making ornaments, visit to Opryland, bowling with friends, drives to look at Christmas lights, playing games, date nights, movies, making sugar cookies, and on and on!!! It has been jam-packed and full of JOY!!! We are blessed beyond words and thankful for all that God has given us.....especially HIS son!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cooper's 1st Trip to the Dentist

Cooper had his first visit to the dentist recently. He has gone to the dentist numerous times with his older brothers, so I thought it should be no big's not like it was something new to him. Boy was I wrong. Overall, it went fine, but he was very skeptical and wouldn't open his mouth until totally bribed. Thankfully, there were no cavities!
Take special note of the rain boots.....he would wear these almost every day if I let him. This particular morning it was sunny and warm, but I wasn't up for the battle. He also brings his little "men" with him everywhere. It actually turned out to be a good thing, as his little army man got his teeth "cleaned" first! Cooper even asked if his man could get a prize after we were done out of the prize drawer, (because, after all, he got his teeth cleaned too)!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pumpkins Galore!

 Well, we just wrapped up our 2nd annual Pumpkin Patch for The Cooper Trooper Foundation! A few words come to mind to describe what the last month of pumpkin selling has meant to me...HUMBLING, EXCITING, EXHAUSTING, FUN, FULL-FILLING, AMAZING, SPEECHLESS, BLESSED!!

For the second year, we held the foundation's biggest fundraiser - a "pumpkin patch" in Franklin, TN. We were honored to have so many individuals give their tireless efforts for almost an entire month supporting and volunteering for the cause! The Foundation raised over $25,000 this year, which more than doubled last year's total. We are thrilled to be able to touch many, many families impacted by childhood cancer because of these efforts.

Me and my amazing hubby talking to the first group of volunteers there to unload almost 4,000 pumpkins! I still feel speechless at the generosity of so many people making this all happen.

Unloading the first of 3 full semi truck loads we got over the course of the month.
Zach, Cooper, Nate, and Colby- working hard at the pumpkin patch!

Me and my biggest boy, Carson

LOTS of pumpkins!

This super sweet family was back for the 2nd year to buy their pumpkins....what's even better.....their girls received our Cooper Trooper Kits at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital after their sister was diagnosed with cancer! This is WHY we do what we do!!!
The JOYS of my heart....Cooper, Colby, and Carson 
The whole family!

It is truly a "family" event for the month and we LOVE it. It is such an honor and privilege to know we are giving back in some small way after our own family experience to hopefully touch the lives of other families going through childhood cancer. Praise God that our story is one that includes our little boy running and playing, cancer clear, in a pumpkin patch!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

September MRI

Cooper had his usual MRI Sept. 12th. This was the longest we have gone between scans, as we are now in the "6 month club".....getting to wait 6 months between MRI's. Cooper did great. When I woke him up that morning, he was happy, not even asking to eat and just content to take an early morning ride to the hospital (an answer to many prayers no doubt). Of course, the moment we went back into the Radiology Department, he realized where he was and started getting a little more cranky. Fortunately, he was distracted with his little superhero figures and they took him back fairly quickly, so it was fine.
 It's hard to describe the sinking feeling that overwhelms my momma's heart, each time we go in that place. It represents so many things to me and lots of memories come flooding back all at once, when we walk through those doors. On one hand, the magnitude of what we have been told, scans we have seen, pain that has been endured by our little boy, waiting for answers, sheer exhaustion, questions that couldn't be answered, and the fragility of life come rushing back.... making me want to curl up in the fetal position and block it all out. On the other hand, I am thankful beyond words for how our lives have been forever changed for the better. I am honored to have met, cried with, been hugged by, and even prayed with some of the most amazing surgeons, oncologists, and nurses on the planet. I am grateful to be coming back for MRI's as opposed to the alternative of not having the opportunity to come back, like so many families who have lost the fight against cancer. I guess walking through those doors will never again be just that....walking through the doors. There will no doubt, always be the emotions on each end of the spectrum that accompany that experience. I can only hope and pray that God uses that to soften my heart to others and keep perspective on HIS control of ALL things.

Not quite awake from the anesthesia
As for this MRI, we received encouraging news overall. There is no evidence of recurrent tumor (Praise God). They are wanting to monitor a lymph node that they have been tracking for a while now. Apparently, it is a little larger and different than they would like it to be and it has continued to grow over time. So, the plan is to go back December 12th for another scan to see what it's doing and then make a decision from there about whether or not to biopsy it. I am hopeful that it is nothing. I feel like they are especially cautious about everything with Cooper, which is okay with me too.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Beginning of School- 2011

Colby on his 1st day of Kindergarten
This was a big year for our sweet Colby, who started Kindergarten!! Thankfully, big brother, Carson is in 2nd grade at Trinity Elementary and is really good at showing little brother the "ropes"!! Colby has watched Carson get on and off the bus for 2 years now, and could hardly wait to do it himself. He told me he was a little bit nervous before the first day, but I think he was mostly just excited to be a big school boy!
Carson on his 1st day of 2nd Grade

Cooper really misses both of them a lot. He cannot wait for them to get home each day. He goes to Mom's Day Out twice a week and calls that his "school", so that will have to do for Cooper for now!

Carson was such a sweet, big brother and walked Colby to his classroom each morning when they got off the bus for the first couple of weeks. He also would look for him in the cafeteria and told me he always waved to him to "make sure he knows I am looking out for him"....I can only hope these boys continue to have each other's back as they get older! They also sit together on the bus, which is a big deal, because Carson could choose to sit toward the back of the bus with his buddies his age, but chooses to stay with Colby. This makes my mama's heart so happy! Don't get me wrong, they can torture each other, but they really do stick up for each other when it comes down to it.

Colby waiting to ride the bus for the 1st time!
My big Kindergartener, Colby, riding the bus!
Colby with Mrs. Norris

Carson is in Mrs. Sharpe's 2nd grade class and had a few friends from previous classes, as well as one of his best neighborhood buddies, Sam Carneal in his class. Colby is in Mrs. Norris' class. We are thrilled to have her and Carson informed Colby that Mrs. Norris is the BEST teacher he could have in Kindergarten! Colby had a few friends he already knew from baseball, as well as a few neighborhood friends in his class. Both boys are off to a GREAT start this year!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Family Trip to St. Louis

At the end of July we went on a little family trip to St. Louis, Missouri. My sister and her husband (Kevin and Lauren) ended up going the same time we were there to do Six Flags, so we got to meet up with them for a few fun things and Bunky and I even got a little date night for our 13 year anniversary while we were there. Even though Bunk had to work some, we did lots of fun things within a few days.

We went to the St. Louis Zoo and got to feed the sharks and see lots of animals, including my favorite (the penguins and puffins). 

Feeding the stingrays
Checking out the penguins
Uncle Kevin and Aunt Lauren swinging Cooper at the zoo

We went to The Magic House Children's Museum, which was so much fun for the boys. We spent hours there and truly enjoyed the wide range of hands-on things to do!
Carson with his Aunt Lauren at the museum getting their hair all static!
Colby having some fun with the floating balls

We went up in the St. Louis Arch, watched a movie on Lewis and Clark, and toured the Museum of Westward Expansion.

St. Louis Arch
The Museum of Westward Expansion
Looking out of the Arch
We watched the St. Louis Cardinals play! Carson and Bunky actually went to a 2nd game to see the Cardinals and Cubs play. We took the Metro to do this, which was pure excitement for the boys as well!

Colby and Carson with their Dad at the Cardinals game!
We really enjoyed it and will definitely go back for a family trip. It was very inexpensive for ALL the fun things we did! There are a lot of free and inexpensive family things to do in St. Louis.

Unfortunately, on the way home.....somewhere in the middle of Kentucky, our back tire blew out on the suburban (which we had bought only 13 days before- used of course). So, my rock star husband changed a tire in the 100 degree heat in the middle of nowhere! I am happy to report that Carmax DID take care of the expenses for the body damage due to the tire and replaced the tire at no cost after finding out it was a faulty tire. Thankfully, no one was hurt. We are the Cooks....we always got to have a little "drama" you know??!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cooper's 3rd Birthday

I's kind of sad that I am just posting about Cooper's 3rd Birthday, and it's now September! For Cooper's birthday this year, we had just a few of our neighbors over and his nonny and papa got to be here from Arkansas to celebrate. He was thrilled with that and it didn't seem to phase him that he didn't have a big party! He is really into little men (super-hero figurines) and anything Scooby-Doo. He absolutely adores everything about his 2 older brothers and does whatever they do. He talks non-stop and is truly one of the busiest kids I have ever seen. He is fearless and runs just about everywhere he goes. Cooper is a great eater (trying just about anything, and loves most fruit and vegetables) and sleeps good (unless he is having some of his respiratory/asthma issues- when we have those flair ups, we are pretty much up most of the night doing breathing treatments).

Overall, Cooper is just a funny, happy-go-lucky kid. He certainly has his moments of being super dramatic for attention, but is generally happy doing whatever he wants without a need for attention from anyone. He is tough-as-nails, and as if beating cancer wasn't enough in his short 3 years of life, he manages to hold his own with two older brothers who are relentless!

Alexandra, Zach, Cooper, Colby, and Carson

Our Family! 

Cooper with Tessie

Papa, Carson, Colby, Nonny, and Cooper
He keeps us laughing and certainly on our toes at ALL times. I cannot imagine life without my "Cooper the Trooper" in it. I am so thankful for the way God has used him to teach me so much about what is important in life. I know there are great things in store for Cooper Samuel Cook and I cannot wait to see his story unfold- I am one blessed mommy to be a part of it all. Happy 3rd Birthday!! YOU ARE LOVED!