Michael & Leah's Continuing Saga...2010

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Ever since we moved to Alaska, we have stayed in touch with friends and family through email. We've put together this web site to journal our letters and put pictures to our stories. We enjoy hearing from everybody, so stay in touch!


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Sun, 26 Dec 2010

Hello Everyone!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are gearing up for a Happy New Year! We are all doing great...except for a head cold that all three of us have had for the past week or so. But other than that, we are awesome! We took Cooper to go visit Santa last weekend and he wouldn't smile for the camera, but seemed to have fun sitting on Santa's lap...no, he didn't pull on his beard...

Christmas was a blast...and Cooper is at such a fun age now to watch. He came down the stairs and went straight for the presents, of course. Bows immediately started to fly. Michael and I were wondering if Christmas was going to turn into a 48 hour event or something because when he was unwrapping his birthday presents, he would tear off a strip of paper and hand it to you, tear off another strip, and so on...very meticulous, but it didn't take him long to speed up the process. It took us about three rounds to finally finish opening everything...Cooper just wanted to start playing with some new toys. It was kind of funny because I peeked around the corner from the kitchen one time after a lull in the opening, and apparently Cooper decided to start again without us. All you saw was his little butt sticking out from under the tree cuz he was trying to get the stuff in the back...I'm so bummed I couldn't get a picture of it! He got lots of new toys...including cars and car tracks, books, table and chairs, cell phone, drawing table and bench, took kit, he is spoiled (but not rotten!!) Michael got a new color GPS unit and I got another camera and some scrapbooking stuff among other things.

Pregnancy is going good...I'm now about 16 1/2 weeks along...still haven't felt the baby move yet, though.

Other than that, today Mike had to work a shift, and me and the Coopster are playing with all his new toys and I'm trying to find a home for everything. I think I need to find another storage bin and filter out some of the older stuff he's not paying much attention to. Anyhoo, that's about it for now...I hear Cooper waking up from his nap so that's about it for the email!!!

Talk to you all soon! Love you bunches!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Baby-to-Be


Sun, 12 Dec 2010

Hey Everybody!

How are ya? We are trying to stay warm, but otherwise, doing great! Lately the temperatures have been in the negative 20's. Although the week of Thanksgiving our temperatures got above freezing and we have a number of days of freezing rain. Made travel extremely hazardous and my boss even called me and told me not to come into town. Mike was able to make it home but couldn't get back up our hill even with chains on his tires. And, on top of all that, our power was out for most of the two days before Thanksgiving. We were totally fine...had the fireplace keeping us warm, had propane lanterns for light, just had to find a way to entertain an almost two year old. At the moment we only have about 3 1/2 hours of daylight...but on the 21st, the winter solstice, we'll be gaining daylight!! Yahoo!

Let's see...we put up the Christmas tree...and have re-decorated it everyday since. Cooper loves it. At the end of the day, there are ornaments from one end of the house to the other. I made sure to only put on ornaments that won't break...and so far so good. Although, slowly but surely, the tree is looking less and less decorated at the bottom and more and more on the top. Everyday when Cooper comes down the tree, he makes a beeline for the tree wanting the lights turned on.

My pregnancy is going good so far. Have another baby appointment tomorrow morning...hopefully I'll actually get some ultrasound pictures this time. My baby's scrapbook is already severely lacking! I am deemed a high risk pregnancy because of my age...sheesh! My doctor says that wins me a trip to Anchorage to see a perinatologist and have a special ultrasound when I'm 18-20 weeks. Had an early glucose test to see if I am a gestational diabetic this time around as well. So far my sugars have come up fine...they check again later.

We celebrated Cooper's two year birthday a week early this year. Yesterday, we had his party at a place called Gymnastic, Inc. and had about 30+ people there...and it was AWESOME!!! I think the adults had just as much fun as the kiddos. We did everything in robots...even his birthday cakes! There were lots of different trampolines, a zip line, bouncy equipment, balance beams, slides, you name it...it was a ton of fun and Cooper had a blast! He slept really well last night!

Guess that's about the gist of things here...hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season so far! Enjoy the pictures!

Love you all, miss you bunches!!!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Baby-on-the-Way


Sun, 21 Nov 2010

Hey Everybody!

Yes...we are alive and well...sorry it's been sooooooooooooo long since we've written...I think it was before Cooper and I went to Texas and Mike went to Colorado on his hunting trip...which was sometime in October...so, yeah...it's been awhile!!!

Cooper and I had a ton of fun in Texas. We stayed with my brother and his family (my parents have a full house once again!) and Cooper had an absolute blast playing with all his cousins. It was amazing just to see his speech improve and how he acted in the two weeks we were there. It was awesome to see the whole family again...haven't seen my sister in ages. We all went to the El Paso Zoo on one day....relaxed on some others...and shopped a lot! :) Good times had by all...

Unfortunately, Michael and his family got skunked on their elk hunt. But, not all was lost...I know his dad went on another elk and deer hunt and was successful...so they won't starve!

It seems ever since we came back from vacation, we've all been sick with something. Mike came back with the flu. I ended up getting a bad head cold...and I have a cough that is still lingering. I've even managed to crack a rib from coughing so hard...not a whole lot of fun since I can't do anything about it since I'm pregnant. Definitely fits in the "this completely sucks" category. Cooper had a double ear infection...then got a full body rash...but I think we are all on the mend...(I hope!)...

My pregnancy is going really well (except for the cracked rib part). I am just short of a few days from being 12 weeks along. No morning sickness....yahooy! Have a baby bump...and Michael thinks I'm a hot mama...what more can I ask for?! Had a couple of ultrasounds so far and everything looks good. Got to see the little munchkin doing the baby boogy in my tummy, kicking his/her arms and legs around. I tell Cooper that mama has a baby in her belly, and he'll pull up my shirt and look at my belly and give me a quizzical look...and then pull up his shirt and look at his belly...too cute!

Cooper was Tigger for Halloween.

Trying to get Christmas shopping taken care of early. Cooper's birthday is a week before Christmas, so to reduce the stress this year, we are having his birthday a week early. This year we are having it at a place called Gymnastics, Inc. It's a huge gymnastics gymnasium and they have tumbling equipment for two year olds on up. You tell them the ages of the kiddos coming to the party and they set up the gym accordingly. I think it should be a lot of fun for all the kids. I'm doing a robot theme...made all his invites by hand...all 24 of them. Found some robot party stuff on line and am having a robot cupcake cake made...I can't wait!!! (I may have more fun than everyone!)

We've gotten a ton of snow lately. Currently, Mike is waiting for the ATV to warm up enough in the garage so it will turn over so he can plow. Otherwise, he said we'll be stuck in here until spring! All the snow sure is beautiful, though... Cooper absolutely loves going out and playing in the snow on his sled...

Cooper starts to transition into the Toddler classroom this week from the Wobbler classroom. He's definitely ready. I really like his new teachers, but I'll really miss his old ones!

Mike, Cooper and I are going to have Thanksgiving down at the base this year. I'm kinda excited about not cooking this year...just too busy, feeling tired cuz I'm prego, blah, blah, blah...

Well, guess that's about it for now...hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! Love you all so much...miss you...!


Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Baby-to-Be...


Sun, 10 Oct 2010

Hey Everybody!

Hope you are all doing well. We are all doing pretty good. We are trying to get the house in order and pack for me and Cooper to go to Texas and Mike to go to Colorado for his annual elk hunt with his family. Cooper and I leave on Tuesday and Mike leaves on Thursday (red -eye wed evening). We are flying the red-eye out of Anchorage so keep your fingers crossed that Cooper will want to sleep on the plane!!! I'll just be going to Texas this time around with Cooper...Mike doesn't have enough leave left for us to make a big trip between the two places. But, sometime in the next couple of months he *may* do a three week TDY (temporary duty) down to Colorado Springs and then Cooper and I will come down for some of that to stay in Colorado. We'll see if that one pans out...

Winter is in full swing here...it's been snowing on and off for most of the week...SNOW! Cooper's not sure what to think about it still...but he is looking out the window and saying "No!"...his version of "snow". The house is winterized...boat's stored in the garage...winter tires are on the cars...so I guess we're as ready as we're are gonna get.

My pregnancy is going good so far. No morning sickness...hold on, gotta find a piece of wood to knock on...okay, done! I'm about 6 weeks...have a doctor's appointment on Tuesday and an ultrasound scheduled for when I get back from Texas. Had Michael go down in the crawl space today to snag all my maternity clothes...I know, still early, but I just can't wait to start wearing them again!

Mike's moose hunting trip he went on a few weeks ago was a success...OK, this is Mike. I bagged a moose during our hunt trip. My hunting partner and I took my river running jet boat up a river that's notorious for being only accessible by air boats this time of year. When we boated in, it was very challenging on my skills as a river jet operator, but we got to camp with almost no real trouble. HOWEVER, during the week, the river water level dropped A LOT! By the time we were headed out, there wasn't enough water in places to even float the boat. Enter the hand-winch and braided wire. Although it took only an hour and some to get up the Wood River (once we got to the mouth), it took two full days of pure manual labor to get out. You'll see in one picture there wasn't enough water to wet your Nike's!

Back to Leah...

Guess that's about it for now...wish us all safe travels in our trip!


Leah, Michael, Cooper and Baby-to-Be! :)


Mon, 27 Sep 2010

Cooper has something to say.....!!!

Hee hee!!!


Leah, Michael, and Cooper


Sun, 12 Sep 2010 20:05:07

Hey Everybody!

Hope you all are doing well...we are doing pretty good. Mike's getting ready for a week long moose hunt out on his boat with a friend of his starting next weekend. I'm just working and trying to get caught up on some scrapbooking here and there. Cooper is awesome...he's a week shy of being 21 months old. We snapped a few pics yesterday while he was outside playing in the autumn leaves. Getting into the 30's at night and the 60's during the day here...autumn is in full swing here. We winterized the gardens but the greenhouse is still going strong. Not much else going on...just wanted to say hi!

Miss you all...love you bunches!


Leah, Michael, and 'lil Cooper

Bonus Cooper Pics: Cooper 1, Cooper 2, Cooper 3, Cooper 4, Cooper 5, Cooper 7, anchorwords


Mon, 30 Aug 2010

So....fyi...this email was written about a week ago but wasn't sent until now...better late than never, right?

Hey Everybody!

I know, I know...long time, no talk! Sorry...we are back from our Minnesota vacation and just getting back into the swing of things. Wow...so much to talk about!

Before we went on our vacation, Mike, Cooper, and I went on an awesome hike up to Angel Rock (out by Chena Hot Springs) with our friends, Tammy and Steve. We plopped Cooper in his backpack and off we went...Mike says he felt like a pack mule...and he pretty much was! He sure got his workout that day...carrying Cooper (who is now hitting about 24-25 pounds) plus our water, food, diapers, yadda, yadda, yadda. It was a beautiful, warm sunny day and the views from up high were spectacular! Cooper did really awesome...and on the way down we found lots of wild blueberriesto munch on. Cooper got really good at saying, "more, more, more"...all the way down!

So lets see...our vacation to Minnesota was awesome! Our friends Matt and Wendy drove out from Michigan (used to live in Anchorage) with their two 9 month old Labrador puppies. So while we were waiting for them to drive over, we took off to the Lake Superior Zoo. A couple of high school kids were painting faces and whatnot as a fund raiser, but Cooper wouldn't let them paint his face. He did allow the girl to paint paw prints up his leg though. Cooper liked the "little kiddo" part of the zoo the best...with the bunnies, and ferrets, and Guinea pigs, and whatnot because they were in low cages and he could peer into them. He didn't seem all that interested in the petting zoo part either...I think he was just happy to be able to run around. So, the zoozoo was nice...but it was just so HOT!!! I almost thought we had taken a detour to Florida when we got off the plane with all the heat and the humidity! Matt, Wendy, and the puppies made it in safe and sound. We all went out to a super awesome Italian restaurant for dinner and then took a walk out by Lake Superior.

On Thurs, we all spent the morning at Spirit Mountain playing on their alpine roller coaster. Good times had by all. It's a roller coaster built on the side of a mountain with 1-2 seater coasters. Then we all went our for a nice lunch. Mike and I went off to do some shopping while Matt and Wendy went to go visit some other friends that were in the vicinity.

Friday was spent with me and Wendy leaving Cooper with Matt and Mike and us girls took off to the mall...yay! Shopping spree! Then we all went out for some barbeque and a nice long walk along the boardwalk along Lake Superior. I was pleasantly surprised with the area of Duluth. I loved being by the Great Lakes area and the fresh water. When you got out of the industrial area, it was all really beautiful.

Matt and Wendy drove back home on Saturday and Mike and Cooper and I drove about an hour away to the Two Harbors area to a resort on Lake Superior. We checked in and unpacked and instantly loved the place we were staying. Paula's wedding was that evening. She and Dave (her new, wonderful hubby) had a beachside ceremony in the evening. Her dress was just gorgeous and everyone in the wedding party looked beautiful!!! I really was trying to remember and listen to their vows, and they were just so beautifully spoken. After the ceremony, Paula and Dave had to throw some of their good humor our way, by making their grand exit in a canoe ride along the shoreline (in her poofy wedding dress and all!!!)...it was so awesome, and so them! Then we had an outdoor barbeque. Her wedding was sort of split between Saturday and Sunday. They definitely wanted to be married on that Saturday because it was also the same wedding anniversaries as both of Paula's and Dave's parents. I thought that was pretty neat.

On Sunday, Michael and I took Cooper swimming at the pool at the resort. He loved it...I think he'll definitely want to be a water baby. He was so tuckered out (and us as well) that we went for a big nap afterwards. Paula's wedding reception was that evening. Their reception was awesome and beautiful and so "them" as well. They made their grand entrance in the canoe as well...for everyone to see who wasn't at her wedding the day before. The whole wedding party walked underneath canoe paddles and hockey sticks as they were introduced...like in the military where the bride and groom would walk underneath the swords lifted high. Obviously, they are big into canoeing, kayaking, hockey...very outdoorsy people. Their cake topper was Superman carrying Lois Lane (who was actually dressed in white and looked like a nurses uniform)...fitting since Paula (and Dave) are both nurses. Cooper owned the dance floor...he just kept having to shake his little booty all night long.

Monday, Michael, me, and Cooper went exploring and sight seeing. We visited the Split Rock Lighthouse and climbed all the way to the top. It's been fully restored to it's glory days and is still fully functioning. It was, however, that morning very, very foggy. When you looked over the cliff that the lighthouse was on, you couldn't see the water below. We went back to the resort for Cooper to take a nap, and by that time, the sun had burned the fog off. Then we went to Gooseberry Falls...wow!!! What a beautiful, beautiful place!!! We didn't know you could actually go swimming at the falls, otherwise we would have come prepared and spent the whole day there!!! What a completely awesome place. There were three sets of falls, upper, middle, and lower. At the middle falls there were big pools of water that people were swimming in and climbing on the rocks and up the falls. Again, I am so bummed we didn't get to go swimming, but Michael did take Cooper wading around in the water...and I took pictures. Later that night, we went and hung out with Paula and Dave by their little beach house and had a bonfire on the beach and toasted some marshmallows to make s'mores.

We left on Tuesday. It was a good three and a half hour drive back to Minneapolis and we hit REI to do some shopping before we headed out to the airport. By the time we got to the airport, Cooper was tired of being made to sit in a car seat and stroller...and we still had a six hour flight ahead of us. The flight attendants were awesome and kept playing with Cooper and let him run up and down the aisle. They even let him sit in the cockpit of the plane where I could take pictures of him when we landed. Go Delta! Phew...what a vacation! I keep catching myself smiling as I'm writing this email.

We had a very nice surprise waiting for us when we came back. My Aunt Jan (my dad's sister) made Cooper an absolutely wonderful and snuggly quilt. It has nursery rhymes on the fabric and she even put his name on it. As soon as we got it out of the box, Cooper put his head down on it and snuggled right in. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Aunt Jan!!! We love it!!! One of Jan's daughter's, my cousin Debbie, just recently had a baby boy, Jonah. He just went through heart surgery and is doing pretty good. But, if you could send some prayers their way, I'm sure it would be greatly appreciated!!!

Let's see, what else. Last weekend (now over a week ago), it was 91 awesome degrees outside here in Fairbanks. We filled Cooper's pool up outside and we all played in the pool throughout the day. And now only a week later, there are yellow leaves on the trees. It is just so sad!!! Our thermometer said it was 38 degrees yesterday morning...sigh...I'm not ready for our beautiful summer to end. But, I'll look forward to some more warm and toasty days in October when we head down to El Paso and Colorado for Michael's annual elk hunting trip.

Our greenhouse garden is still going strong. I'm eating about 20 tomatoes a day!!! We also have green peppers, strawberries, and cucumbers galore!!

Well, guess that about does it...sorry this is so wordy, but...that's just me! :o)

Talk to you all soon! Love you bunches!

Leah, Michael, and 'Lil Cooper :)


Sat, 17 Jul 2010

Hey Everybody!

How are ya? We three are doing pretty good...I feel like it's been forever since I've written...probably because it has! Let's see, I think I left off the last time at the very end of June. Cooper and I went down to Anchorage and had a totally awesome trip. Cooper did really well on the trip down as well as the trip back up. He learned how to play his harmonica even better! We saw lots of friends and shopped! Thanks again, Jana, for letting us stay at your place. Amy and Casey, you threw a beautiful baby shower for Emily!!! Emily, you and your baby bump are lookin' good! Leslie and Brian, your house is marvelous!!! Thank you so much for dinner and entertaining my little Coopster...we had a blast! And, Paula...you are going to make a beautiful bride!!! It was so wonderful to see all you again!

Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July...Michael and I lit off a few fireworks for Cooper...but he wasn't all that interested in them...probably next year. Although, maybe it being light out at night had something to do with it...hummm.

Had my friends, Tammy and Heather, over last weekend to scrapbook. I made a special cupcake dessert. It took me a while to frost my cupcakes...mainly because my kitchen was so darn hot and the frosting kept melting...so I had to wait till the morning when things cooled off. I finally got better at it after a while and was pretty proud of myself when they were done. They were chocolate cupcakes frosted with green frosting, then the sunflowers had an Oreo center and a ladybug made out of an m&m. Wish I could say I came up with the idea on my own, but I pilfered it out of an awesome cupcake decorating cookbook. Jennifer, I had such a good time making these, I think the next time I come down to Texas, you should give me a cake decorating lesson!!! :)

On Friday, Mike and I took the boat out to the Salcha River out past North Pole...what a beautiful area!!! The river was so nice (even with it raining on and off throughout the day). The salmon were reported to be there, but Mike just got a few nibbles here and there. As for me, I laid in the hammock and read my book. I'd like to go camping there sometime, too...

Let's see, what else...Mike, Cooper and I were going to hike Angel Rock this morning out by Chena Hot Springs with a couple of my friends...but the rain put a halt to our plans. It's been raining a ton all day long and the forecast said it's supposed to be that way all week long. I took Cooper into town for a quick jaunt today and it rained and hailed so much my windshield wipers couldn't keep up. The streets were flooded and decided we were just better off at home...sheesh! Although, Cooper seemed to get a kick out of the hail bouncing off of the sun roof in my car.

We're going to get Cooper's pictures taken tomorrow...it was supposed to be his 18 month pictures...but, as of tomorrow, he'll be 19 months. Just seemed like every time I wanted to get his pictures taken...life happened, or he had a bite mark somewhere on him or a bug bite...whatever. But, tomorrow is the day no matter what!

Our greenhouse is a jungle...I have to bend down and essentially crawl to get to the back of the greenhouse. This is our first year in trying to figure out things...my broccoli was looking awesome, and then almost over night it seeded out and became flowers...who knew?? My zucchinis start to look awesome and then decide to keel off....have no idea on that one. We've started leaving the doors open so it's not so moist in there. I have a gazillion tomatoes growing...I'm sure they'll all mature on the same day. Oh well...any hints, send 'em my way! My flowers are looking awesome...my delphiniums are blooming as well as my lilies; my wild irises are done and gone...and almost all of the perennials that I planted last year have come back...and then some. I even have some flowers blooming that haven't bloomed in the previous years that we've been here...like my columbine. Love it!

We have our reservations and flight tickets to fly out to Minnesota at the beginning of August for Paula's wedding. Matt and Wendy and their two puppies are going to drive from Michigan and meet up with us a few days before the wedding to hang out...yay!!! I am so super excited for everything!!!

Guess that's about it for now...talk to you all soon!

Love ya lots!

Leah, Michael, and Cooper


Wed, 23 Jun 2010

Hey Everybody!

How are ya? We are all doing great...First of all, since Mike got me my new Netbook, I've had to revamp my email address book...soooo, some of you may find that this is the first "Family and Friends" email that you're getting, or you used to be on it, but then things got screwy and I lost you for a bit...but anyhoo...here you are. If you don't want to get the emails and pics from us, just email me back. You can also visit our website at www.michaelandleahscadden.com if you've been out of the loop for a while.

We've had a ton of rain the last couple of weeks and the the sun has finally broke through the clouds the last two days...ahhhhh! But, at least I haven't heard too much going on with the forest fires lately.

And, for all my Anchorage peeps...just wanted you all to know that Cooper and I are going to be driving down next Wednesday (June 30th) for Emily's baby shower. We are going to be staying at Jana's house (you're the bomb, Jana...thank you, again!) and will probably be staying through Saturday. Friday night is my buddy Paula's bridal shower so I was so excited to see that I could be in town for that, too. (Although, Paula...since I have the Coopster with me, we'll make an appearance at the bridal shower...but won't be able to make it to the bachelorette party). Mike and I (and Cooper...but, probably not the people on the plane) are so stoked about coming to your wedding in Minnesota in August...yippee...vacation! And we get to see Matt and Wendy, too!! Smile emoticon

This past weekend was the summer solstice...and that's a fun time to be up here in Alaska! Fairbanks does a number of different activities throughout the weekend...most of which are under the "midnight sun". There is a Midnight Sun Fun Run...it's a 6K run that starts roughly around 10pm and then there is a huge block party afterwards...people in costumes running...all that good stuff. Then there is also the Midnight Sun Baseball game that started at 10:30pm...and is played entirely without artificial lighting...this year was the 105th year that it's been going on...pretty cool huh? This past Sunday, Cooper and I took a stroll downtown...they close off a good portion of downtown and have tons of different food vendors, games for the kiddos (complete with a "mechanical fish ride"...think a mechanical bull ride...but we do fish up here in Alaska apparently), people selling anything from jewelry to t-shirts and everything in-between, and lots of different bands playing some good music. The only sad thing about the whole event is now that the summer solstice is over, we start losing daylight now...we've had close to 23 hours of daylight...sigh.

So, let's see...what's going on on the home front...Cooper just turned 18 months old...I can't believe he is a year and a half!!! He is just a barrel of laughs. Talking more and more...his favorite words are "daddy" and "kitty". And we were going to get his 1 & 1/2 year old pictures done...but, a little girl at daycare decided to get a little too frisky when kissing Cooper and bit him on the side of his face. The bruise almost looks like a lipstick kiss...so now I just need to wait for that to fade...as well as the other two bite marks on his arms...poor little guy is getting gnawed on!!! And, he has two skinned knees as well. He colored on the walls for the first time...Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are the bomb. He likes to sneak his hands in my spice pull-out cabinet (even with the baby locks on it) and pulls out my spices one by one and stacks them like blocks...although, one wasn't sealed tight enough and I had garlic salt all over the floor...he thought it was hilarious. I got him a harmonica that provides him endless amounts of fascination...he's getting really good at hyperventilating on it and gets the biggest smiles when the sounds come out of it. He loves, loves, loves being outside. I just love watching Michael and Cooper out the window when I am making dinner and watching them play...anything from Michael giving him wheelbarrow rides to throwing dirt on each other. Cooper painted a picture frame for his daddy for Father's Day at daycare and they put a picture in it of him...and made him a card, too.

Oh what else...our flowers are looking good and our greenhouse is even more of a jungle than before...gotta tell ya, that midnight sun is an awesome thing! We've already gotten strawberries and lots of lettuce...tons of flowers on the cucumbers and zucchini...and the tomatoes are growing. Herbs are going crazy...everything else is trucking along.

Still going to the gym 4-5 days a week and working with my personal trainer...who would have ever thought I'd get to a point in my life where I'd feel guilty when I couldn't go the gym. Mike has no idea who's invaded his wife's body...ha ha ha!!!

Well, guess that's about it for now...talk to you all soon!


Leah, Michael, and Cooper


Sunday, June 06, 2010 11:14 AM

Hey Everybody!

How are ya? We are doing great! Last Saturday Mike's parents came up for a visit and we've just been on a roll! We've had a really nice visit. We went to church with his parents on Sunday...and while sitting in church, Cooper decided to try out for the Major Leagues and practice his pitching arm. I brought "quiet" toys with me to try and keep him entertained...and he was entertained...by chucking his toy two pews away...not once, but twice. Luckily, he didn't hit anyone...although I think they were leery of handing the toys back to us. I was laughing so much that I think I forgot to be embarrassed...oops!

Let's see...the weather was so beautiful on Monday that we took the boat out to Birch Lake to do some fishing. Cooper did really well on the boat. Michael even put up my hammock that he found fits the bow of the boat. Is it safe? Nope. But it sure is nice lounging in the sun while the guys are fishing. Other boaters either thought we were either really cool...or really stupid...but it sure didn't stop us! We had a good time that day...but for some reason...we just didn't have our heads together. When we called it quits for the fishing, we hauled the poles in the boat and took off for the shore. However, we forgot to pull in the stringer of fish that we had caught (I say "we", but I didn't fish cuz I was watching out for the munchkin)...anyhoo...when we reached shore, Mike's dad pulled up the stringer of fish and there was only one lonely fish left on it. All that hard work...! And then, we later realized when we got home that we left some camping/folding chairs on the dock. I'm sure they'll find a good home. I was saying that we still needed to come up with a name for the boat. Given that we always come back with a story of a close call or a dumb decision every time we take the boat out, the name "Pack of Retards" best captures it. Mike says, "You don't get to pick the name, the name picks you." I still don't think "Pack of Retards" is what I want to see on the side of the boat!

On the way home, we made a pit stop at the Santa Clause House. Mom got a kick out of it...she got to sit on Santa's lap for a picture...and me, too!

Then on Tuesday we went on the Riverboat Discovery Tour. We plopped Cooper in daycare for the day...I think he needed a day of rest from being out with us the day before...and I didn't want to go chasing after him all over a paddle wheel boat! We had a nice, enjoyable cruise down the Chena River and learned more about Alaskan native culture, dog sledding, filleting salmon, fish camps, tanning hides, and how they made their fur parkas and whatnot.

On Wednesday we went out to Chena Hot Springs and hard boiled ourselves in the springs. We cooled off in their indoor pool. We went on a tour of their Ice Hotel and saw all of their ice carvings. We took a leisurely stroll around the grounds and had a yummy lunch. Then we got a tour of their one-of-a-kind geothermal power plant and greenhouse. Their greenhouse was pretty darn cool...they grow lettuce, herbs, and tomatoes all year round using only geothermal energy.

On Thursday, we all went down to Mike's base to take a tour of Clear Air Force Station. Yes, this is the first time that I have actually been inside my hubby's work since he began working there a number of years ago. You have to have a sponsor to get in the door. Anyhoo...I finally know what my hubby does now. The tour was very interesting and Michael did an awesome job of explaining what he does. For those of you that want to know...see the attached link of Michael...he just got an award not to long ago, too! Go Mikey! http://missiledefenseadvocacy.org/web/page/1074/sectionid/798/pagelevel/3/interior.aspx

Later that day after we got back from Clear, Cooper's daycare was having a special day where his teacher wanted family to come for their "Camping Day". She set up a tent inside the classroom and read camping stories. He even got all the stuff to make s'mores...that was Cooper's favorite. He had so much marshmallow fluff around his face, it looked like shaving cream. I'm glad Cooper's grandparents could come and see his daycare and see all his little friends.

On Friday, we went on the Eldorado Goldmine Tour. Cooper had a good time sitting on the train and watching the conductor/host play his guitar and sing to us. We learned all about how the miners searched and panned for gold back in the day and also how it's currently done. We then got a chance to pan for gold as well...we didn't strike it rich...but the five of us combined got 16 grains of gold flakes worth about $75...not too shabby, unfortunately they wouldn't buy it from us...but at least I can put it in Cooper's scrapbook or something. We also stopped by the Transalaska Oil Pipeline roadside stop on the way back.

Later that Friday afternoon, Mike and his dad worked out in the yard to haul all the trees that were (unnecessarily) cut down from the winter debacle of changing our satellite internet. I'm so glad Mike's dad was able to help him out...they made a nice dent in clearing the area. (I'm pretty useless in the heavy manual labor department...but, hey...I'm lifting weights now at the gym!). They worked until we got some thunder and lightning...which was the "two minute warning" for the huge downpour that followed. We had some really great warm days at the beginning of the week and then it progressively got rainier as the week went on...which put a damper on the fishing opportunities...but it's great for the lawn.

Saturday, Mike and his dad tootled around the garage and did some more stuff outside. Coop, Grandma, and I enjoyed a day of rest. I played out in my greenhouse for a bit while they took naps. My greenhouse has turned into a JUNGLE!!! From just the few weeks that I wrote the last email, all my itty bitty plants have exploded!!! I even picked some lettuce last night and we had a really nice salad to go with our dinner...it's like the plants are on steroids!! So cool...my green thumb is definitely improving...! Yippee!

Well, let's see...we took Mike's parents to the airport last night. We've had an awesome visit and Cooper had fun playing with his grandpa and grandma. I think the next time we'll see them is October when Mike makes his annual Colorado hunting trip and Cooper and I will see my family as well.

Well, guess that's about it for now...talk to you all soon and enjoy the pictures!!!

Love you bunches!

Leah, Michael, and Cooper


Sunday, May 23, 2010 10:40 PM

Hey Everybody!

How are ya? We are doing awesome! Sorry it's been so long since we've written...for the most part we didn't have internet service for a while...again...and then when we finally got it back, summer was upon us and we've just been busy, busy, busy!

Wow...we've just done so much, I don't know where to begin!! I guess I'll just start with whatever comes to mind first. Michael built my greenhouse as well as the planting boxes. He did such an awesome job!!! We have everything planted...pumpkins, zucchini squash, rhubarb, cucumbers, 5 different kinds of tomatoes, lots of different kinds of herbs, red and green peppers, jalapenos, snow peas, beans, okra, artichoke, eggplant, watermelon, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, and red cabbage, oh yeah, and strawberries and more raspberries. So far, so good...everything looks perky and I haven't killed anything yet. . With our 19+ hours of sunlight we have a the moment, everything looks like it grows about two inches every day...so cool. This is pretty much our trial year to see what grows well and what doesn't...we're developing our green thumbs. And speaking of green...the grass is finally turning green and all the leaves are on the trees...love it!

We've also planted all our flowers and uncovered all of my perennial flower beds. I always have visions of what I want my flower beds to look like...maybe this year things will be full and lush like I imagine it. Michael made me a really cool flower pot arrangement to plant stuff in, too. Michael was giving Cooper wheelbarrow rides when he was pulling all the leaves out of the fern beds in the back of the house. Cooper had a ball, of course. About a month ago, the snow was melting on the roof, but the gutters were clogged and overflowing. Cooper thought it would be a grand idea to stand underneath the water...I know that water was so cold...but he just didn't seem to mind...boys will be boys.

Cooper is now just over 17 months old. He sure is a hoot. He is babbling more and more...and he carries on these whole conversations thinking I know exactly what he is saying. Every day when I pick him up from daycare he is covered head to foot in sand. Playing in the sandbox is his most favorite pastime. And, for whatever reason, he likes to pour the sand over his head. Oh well, as long as he's having fun...he can have at it. He just loves spending time outdoors...our weather has been in the 70s lately. We go to the park to play quite a bit, too. He finally got his first haircut a couple of weeks ago, too! He did so good...I sat in the chair and then placed Cooper on my lap. My hairdresser, Sally, squirted his hair with some water and he latched onto the squirt bottle and wouldn't let go. He found out how to work it and kept squirting water into his face...he thought that was the most hilarious thing. Sally was able to cut his hair quickly because he was so preoccupied with the water...whatever works!!

Yesterday we took Cooper out of the boat for his maiden voyage!!! I had bought some ear protectors for him because of the engine noise. I didn't think he would keep them on...but, he surprised us all and just sat in my lap with his little lifejacket and ear protectors on and was totally content. Halfway through the boat ride we docked at a park on the Chena River so Cooper could play on the swings and the slide...then we were off again. He did so much better than we thought he would...the boat didn't scare him at all...I see many, many boat rides in the future.

Michael saw a fox in our yard not too long ago...I was so bummed I missed him.

Work is going pretty good for the both of us. Michael has been trying to stay at the base two nights a week so he'll work 10 hour days...that way he can have a three day weekend. Doesn't always work out perfectly...but we have been spending lots more time together and getting stuff done. I'm still working three days a week...hopefully we'll be getting a new pharmacist in June and then I'll go back to my two days a week.

I have buckled down again and have joined a gym that has personal trainers. I have been doing really good in going to the gym 4+ times a week...and I'll meet with my trainer twice a week. I can't believe I am paying someone good money to torture me, but...I'm motivated and excited about it and seeing good results. Michael has no idea who has taken over his wife's body...hee hee hee!!!

Michael's parents are flying up this coming Saturday for a week long visit...it will be good to see some family once again...and have Cooper re-meet his grandparents.

My dad is going into surgery this coming Monday to have a second knee replacement done...please keep him all in your thoughts and prayers...he's pretty excited about the surgery...hopefully it will alleviate some of his pain. Good luck, daddy-o!!! Love you!

Michael got me a netbook computer for Mother's Day...I love it! It's just so cute and tiny and I can fit it in my purse and take it with me wherever I go. Cooper made me some artwork at daycare for my Mother's Day. They had him step in paint and walk on some paper and there was a really nice poem on it about walking in mommy's footsteps. It was just so precious and it brought tears to my eyes...

Well, I suppose that is about it for now. Hope all is well for you...talk to you all soon! Love you lots and miss you bunches!!!


Leah, Michael, and 'Lil Cooper


Saturday, April 17, 2010 3:08 PM

Hey Everybody!

How are ya? We three are doing awesome! Hope you all are, too!! All of us have just been busy little bees lately...

My boss is still gone from her surgery and will not be returning until about the middle of May...argh! I guess I would feel better about working if I only knew how much they want me to...i.e. I only have my schedule through next week and I'm tired of working basically full time...I know, I know...can I have some cheese with that whine? And this summer we have two full time pharmacists leaving our store and I just don't want to be forced into working full time...bleck!

Last weekend I had five gals over to scrapbook at the house...we had a lot of fun. Michael stuck around to keep Cooper entertained...and he had to pull an extra table out of the garage and put the legs on so we could all have more room to spread out. And, as you can see, Cooper was a big help in putting the table together...he had a ton of fun hanging out with his daddy. I have no idea what was so funny, but Cooper was just all giggles. I needed to run the vacuum after the party ended to pick up all the little bits and pieces from scrapbooking, and Cooper apparently thought he needed to take a ride on the vacuum machine. He's so silly...

Cooper just graduated up into the Wobbler room at daycare. He'll be there until he's about 2 years old and then go into the Toddler room. He just loves, loves, loves it! I could tell he was getting really bored in the infant room being the biggest kid in there...we were just waiting for a space to become available. The teachers in the room are fantastic and Cooper's little buddy, Skyler, is in there from the infant room and they are just two peas in a pod. There's more "big boy" toys in there, more craft time, they get to go outside 1-2 times a day (Cooper's favorite), they sit at a table with little tiny chairs to eat, the kiddos are taught to take their cups/plates over to the sink when done, they brush their teeth...I could go on and on. Usually, they give the kiddos two weeks to make the transition, but apparently Cooper wanted to go there so bad, he made the transition in three days. They would take him back and forth between the two rooms when time allowed and I was told he would just pitch a fit when he was taken back to the infant room. When we've picked him up from daycare in the evenings this week in the new room he'll start to cry when we leave...I guess he just loves it so much there. Michael and I are trying to not develop a complex because when he sees us come in the room he'll start to cry. Cooper is talking more and more...we just have no idea what he's saying...just a whole bunch of gobbly-gook.

Let's see, what else...I'm hosting a baby shower for a pharmacist that I work with next weekend. Mike's work is good. The weather is getting warmer, although, sometimes it's just not sure it wants to get rid of winter yet.it snowed a bit yesterday...helloooo!!!! Middle of April here, people!!!! We are all ready to see some green stuff outside and start the gardens.

Today we are going to go to a park with Cooper so he can wear himself out. We are also going to go to the Outdoor Show and have a look-see around...something to do.

Oh, and by the way, out internet is not working...again...so we're back to taking trips into town to Barnes and Noble to check email and whatnot. So...if I don't get back to you, that's why...it'll get better sometime, at least that's what I keep telling myself...

What else, Mike's mom and dad and possibly his brother, Brian and wife, Vanessa, are going to be coming up for a visit during the end of May and first bit of June. Trying to figure out when I'll go to Texas again and all that good stuff.

Anyhoo.guess that's about it...talk to you all soon!!!

Love you bunches,

Leah, Michael, and 'Lil Cooper


Monday, April 05, 2010 7:46 AM

Hey Everybody!

How are ya? We are all doing great...the weather is warming up and we have sunshine till about 10 at night now...whoo hoo! The temperature is getting into the 40's and 50's during the day so all our snow is finally melting...it's making for a big, wet, sloppy mess...but that's okay...it'll dry out in a couple of weeks.

Our trip to Anchorage was short, but sweet. Cooper did great in the car and slept most of the way down and up. We saw lots of friends at Emily's birthday party...I wish I had more time to visit with everyone. But, now that I know Cooper does fairly well in the car, maybe I'll think about making a longer trip down. We stayed overnight at Elmendorf Air Force Base in a suite for $40 a night...totally beats $150 or so in town!!! Cooper was in hog heaven being in a new environment. He just kept running from one room to the next and before I knew it, the whole place was toilet-papered. He doesn't get to go in the bathroom here at home because of the baby gate (unless it's bath time, of course) so I don't have to worry about it here, but boy, he just latched onto the toilet paper and was off and running. He also emptied the tissue box...oh well. He was just having so much fun and was giggling up a storm...

Cooper had just finished with his bath one night and the baby gate wasn't put up fast enough apparently. Cooper got a hold of the kitty food bowl and dumped it into the water and then dumped all that out as well. Needless to say, he needed new PJs and I needed to clean up another mess...I'm sure I'll have many, many more to come...

Yesterday we took Cooper to Pioneer Park. It's still full of snow in most parts...especially in the park area so Cooper didn't get to play as much as I'm sure he wanted to. But, we did go for a ride on the Merry-go-Round. I even broke down and bought one of those little kiddo backpacks with a leash on it...I never thought I would ever put my kid on a leash, but now that he is running around, I now know why parents do it. Cooper was actually pretty funny when I put it on him for the first time...he was struttin' his stuff. Now that it's warmer outside, that's where he wants to be. He is all into exploring the world around him. At home, we put his snow boots on and let him roam around outside...his favorite is splashing in the puddles of melted snow. Michael was proud of me...I even let him play in the dirt. I am trying to let him get messy if he wants and not rush him right back into the house and wash him off. At least he wasn't putting him hands in his mouth. I know I gotta let little boys be boys and one of the things they do best is get messy. This morning was Easter...by the way, Happy Easter Everybody!!! Cooper dived right into his Easter basket that the Easter Bunny put out for him. He is a huge fan of chocolate and Peeps. He doesn't get sweets very often, but you better watch your fingers when he does get some, because he may just bite them, too!!!

Well, I have two more weeks of working (almost) full time...Monday thru Thursday. I am so not used to working this much anymore...and it's even tougher with my head cold that I have...occupational hazard, I guess. I know, I'm whining...I just feel so discombobulated between running to work, getting Cooper to day care, doctor's appointments, and all that hoo-ha. Hopefully I'll have a somewhat clean house this weekend for when the girls come over for a day of scrapbooking...yippee!

Guess that's about it for now...talk to you all soon!

Love you bunches and miss you all,

Michael, Leah, and 'Lil Cooper


Friday, March 26, 2010 10:17 PM

Hey Everybody!!!

How are ya??? We three are doing really good...we've been so busy lately and so much has gone on that I don't know where to start!!!!!

But, first of all....just wanted to let all my Anchorage buddies know that I am coming down to Anchorage for a short visit...really short...this weekend. We are driving down Saturday (tomorrow) morning and then driving back on Sunday. We are going to Emily's birthday bash on Saturday night so we hope to see you all there!!!! We need to make a pit stop at REI and Gymboree, but other than that, we have no plans!!!! Call us!!! Cell 907-687-7863....

Well, let's see...one of my technicians at work just got married this past weekend. I was helping her a lot in the wedding planning..she only got proposed to a month ago!!! So, it's been a whirlwind finding her dress and alterations, doing decorations, reception stuff...and everything else in between. Cooper even wore his little suit to the wedding...he just looked so handsome!!! I threw her a bridal shower last weekend...it was nice to finally throw a party at my house and have people over...we all had a good time. I was surprised at how many people came to the party...and everyone who walked in the door said the same thing....Wow, you live OUT here...yup, we do live a bit out of town...he he he!

I went to a scrapbooking retreat about three weeks ago and had a good time...although it wasn't as boisterous at the ones I've gone to in Anchorage!!! I sooo miss you ladies!!! It was at a big B&B down in Healy. There were a couple of ladies there doing massages and facials as well...I splurged and got my very first facial...heaven!!! Oh!!! And Michael bought me a Gypsy to go with my Cricut machine...yahooy!!! Anyhoo, got a lot done, but I'm still just so far behind. I'm having about 6-7 girls over to my house on April 10th for my own scrapbooking event as well. Can't wait!

It was my first time ever being away from Cooper while I went to the scrapbooking retreat...Michael called me periodically throughout the weekend just to let me know that he and Cooper were doing just fine. I think we all did better than I expected...hee hee! Michael took Cooper to the Ice Carving festival that weekend. Cooper wore this totally awesome hat that my Aunt Jan sent him...it's a fish trying to swallow his head!!! Everybody asks me where I got it...it just seems so Alaskan...! We are finally back to over 12 hours of daylight now and the weather is getting a bit warmer. On the warmer days, we'll take Cooper out to go play in the snow...he just loves it...his little cheeks sure turn rosey though!

Wow...let's see what else...there's an indoor pool up here and one of my friends had her kiddo's birthday party there...so I took Cooper swimming for the first time. He just loved the water and didn't freak out about anything. Cooper just turned 15 months old. He's trying to run now and isn't taking so many diggers anymore. He's mimicking a lot of words, too. He is just a hoot and a mini tornado...we just love him so much. We need to get him his first haircut...he seems to have permanent bedhead now with his hair being so long...but I want Michael to come along so he can take pictures or hold him down or whatever...cuz, you know, have to document everything....but just getting all our schedules to match up lately isn't going so well. My boss just had some major surgery and will be out for a month...so I am working pretty much full time this week and for the next three weeks...I feel like I am so busy and don't know if I'm coming or going...oh well.

I had a scare on my last physical about a month ago. Both my doctor and I had found a lump...anyhoo, had to get my first mammogram (i.e. torture session). But, I had to wait to see if I was pregnant or not before I was able to get the mammogram...I wasn't...but all the waiting around for everything was killing me. The mammogram and ultrasound said it appeared to be normal tissue but I was to go get a biopsy and all that hoo-hah done...but, met with the surgeon today and we couldn't find anything to biopsy...so, I guess that's good, right? Guess my prayers were answered...!

Well, guess that's about it for now...talk to you all soon! Miss you!

Love you bunches!

Leah, Michael, and 'Lil Cooper


Saturday, February 13, 2010 4:01 PM

Hey Everybody!!!

How are ya? We are all doing pretty good...Cooper has a bit of a cough, but is otherwise his normal POD self...that stands for "Path of Destruction"....he sure is all boy...I just have to laugh because it's becoming more and more evident to me every day that no matter how many times I clean or pick up things, it's pretty much useless...five minutes later, a little Cooper tornado happens....I just love it!!! We've baby proofed pretty much everything...except I let him get into my pots and pans and Tupperware cabinets...he has to amuse himself somehow while I'm in the kitchen, right? He just loves leaving me little presents in my pots that I always find later...pacifiers, balls, plastic Easter eggs...you name it. He's developed this great belly laugh...and nobody can get him going like his daddy. I just found him the cutest slippers, too...they're monster feet!!! I think he should wear them at daycare...! He is such a joy to us!!!

Well, let's see...we can cross one more item off our To-Do list for things we wanted to get done around the house. We have a bigger sized refrigerator that we didn't want to give up when we moved into the house, but because it was so big, it stuck out from the wall by a good 7-8 inches. We kept thinking of different things we wanted to do to hide the back end of the fridge and we finally tracked down a guy that made us a custom piece that fits our house perfectly!!! We just got it delivered today. This guy Jamie lives down in Wasilla but has family up past Fairbanks, so luckily we didn't have to pay for any kind of shipping. He made it in less than a week and he did an outstanding job. It's a wood carving of a couple of bears in a waterfall catching some salmon to eat...he named it Bountiful Waters. It's now anchored to the wall just to protect it from things like earthquakes and little Coopers. He's done some really great custom pieces like fireplace mantels and whatnot...you should see his website...www.bigwoodchainsawcarving.com. I have two smaller pieces of his that I got years ago when we lived in Anchorage and he was at the State Fairs. Anyhoo...what do you think?

Well...everybody else in the US seems to be getting dumped on with snow except us. We only got an inch of snow in all of January and just a dusting this month...what is going on??? Send us some snow!!!! I always hear from people that they have these nice snow machines that they would just love to put to some use, but can't!

Well, I just found out three of my friends are pregnant...congratulations Emily, Seisin, and Marilyn!!! I wish I was in on the baby boom...Michael and I are going thru all the fertility mumbo-jumbo again...hopefully it won't take me another four years to get pregnant like it did with little Cooper...keep your fingers crossed for us!

Guess that's about it for now...talk to you all soon!

Love you bunches!

Leah, Michael, and Cooper


Sunday, January 31, 2010 7:16 PM

Hey Everybody!

How are ya? We are doing great...Cooper is walking better and better every day. And, did I mention I love his daycare? They are so awesome...like I said before, they do all the messy stuff that parents don't want to do at home! This past week I took Cooper in just as they were starting arts and crafts time. They stripped the babies down to their diapers and then put a bib on them and plopped them in their seats at the table. They taped some white paper down and then dropped dollops of paint on the paper for the kiddos to rub around with their hands. Well, Cooper, being the adventurous sort that he is, decided he wanted to have blue hair that day....so he pulled the paper up from the table and plopped it on his head. I was taking pictures with my phone...in-between laughing at him...so the pictures aren't the greatest...but you get the idea. He had so much fun....I called Michael and told him that he would need to give Cooper a bath that night cuz he had blue hair (in which he responded, "Cool!) but he said they had hosed him off pretty good because he didn't have any blue paint left on him by the time Michael picked him up.

Michael and I went to go watch Avatar while my automatic starter was being put in my car....yahoooooy!!!! I am so excited that I will have a nice, warm and toasty car to get into without having to bundle up before hand and go start it 20 minutes early before I go and do anything....I'm still learning all the little buttons and they don't seem to work like I was shown all the time...but I am sure it is operator error and I'll get it figured out eventually...

Well, I have found a group of gals to scrapbook with up here in Fairbanks...and one of them even hosts scrapbooking camps a couple of times a year down in Healy. I'm still new to the bunch but I am glad that I have found a group to hang out with and I'll get more scrapbooking done. I am going to a camp at the beginning of March...don't worry my Anchorage buddies...you are all still the best!!!! :) I just finished a big scrapbook for Michael's mom. It was a pretty neat history lesson as well. Remember back in 1986 the Challenger spacecraft that exploded that had the teacher Christa McAuliffe...on it? Well, Michael was in boy scouts at the time and most of the other boy scouts in his troop all belonged to the same church. Anyhoo, their scout master had an "in" with NASA and basically got the troop's American flag to be flown over the capitol and be sealed and then put on the Challenger spacecraft. Well, of course, in the explosion, everyone thought the flag was lost...but, when the wreckage was found at the bottom of the ocean, the flag was found...perfectly intact. NASA returned the flag to the boy scout troop and it was all a big thing for them. All the boy scouts were flown out to Pennsylvania to be in the Constitutional Gala as well as the Bicentennial Parade. Pretty neato, huh? The bishop of Michael's mom church had asked Kathleen to do a scrapbook of the whole event...but seeing as how I am the scrapbooker in the family...she asked if I could do it for her.

Other than that....not much else going on. Have the fireplace cooking away and Michael took Coop into town for a "boys" afternoon at Sportsman's Warehouse or wherever else they end up...I think I am going to go read a book....:)

Talk to you all soon!!!


Leah, Michael, and Cooper


Monday, January 25, 2010 9:35 PM

Hey Everybody!

How are ya? We are doing great...we are now FINALLY back online!!! Yippee!!! Let the emails and internet commence!!! Boy, you never know how much you miss the internet until you don't have it anymore!!! I have like a gazillion emails to go through, so bear with me while I go through them all...and on top of that, I seem to have fried the computer and Michael needs to rebuild a part of it...oops. I've written a number of emails but the computer likes to turn off now whenever it feels like it and then I lose the emails...sooooo, we'll see how long I can make this letter....and keep saving it after every few sentences...just in case...!

Michael is in the middle of a big inspection at work for a week and I'm sure he'll be glad when it's over...as will me and Cooper!! It ends this Tuesday, will hopefully wrap things up on Wednesday and then he'll have a four day weekend. We're even going to have a "date day" on Friday since we can take Cooper to daycare...wow, when was the last time that's happened!!!??? :) Things sure change when you have a little munchkin running around....!!!

And speaking of munchkins....Cooper is just a hoot!! I love this age that he is at...just over 13 months old...he's learning and doing new things everyday. We have rearranged the baby gates in the house so he now has pretty much the whole bottom of the house to roam around. He loves going up the stairs but we don't let him unless "supervised" because they're slick. Michael's been teaching him how to back down them. He can't get into the pantry, bathroom area...and where the cat's litter box is...phew...that would just be some icky trouble! I let him poke into the pantry and everything ended up on the floor in a jumbled mess, so we put an end to that...he sure was unhappy about that...cuz he just had so much fun rearranging things. My Tupperware cupboards are no longer organized, but who cares...he just loves playing with them. He likes sticking his little hands in the VCR...I'm sure I'll find a toy stuck in there before too long. He's pretty inventive. He likes to push his bigger toys up to the couch so he can climb on them to get on the couch, then move the pillows so he can climb on them to get to the back of the couch to sit/stand on the windowsill. He's so funny when he does that...he just loves to bang on the window and give it kisses. He is getting better at walking, although he still would rather just crawl because he knows he can get wherever he wants to go faster. But, just today we noticed a HUGE improvement with his walking...when Michael walked in the door from work, I put Cooper down and he walked all the way over to his daddy...a good 10 steps or so! He sure can crawl fast...and no one can make Cooper squeal with laughter like his daddy. Michael will chase after him and he'll just scamper as fast as he can until Michael catches him and then he just collapses on the floor in giggles. It's just hilarious. I love watching those two play together. Cooper got a wagon for Christmas and instead of putting toys in it, Cooper likes to crawl inside of it. Michael was pulling him around the kitchen a few days ago and they were just having the grandest time. My kitty just doesn't know what to do about Cooper...sometimes she walks just outside the reach of his little hands...flicking her tail at him like she's teasing him...but she's learning quickly after a few lost handfuls of fur that Cooper can move much faster than he used to...poor kitty...!

Cooper still just loves daycare...they really do such a great job taking care of him and the other babies. And, they do the really messy stuff there that parents don't like to do at home. He's done finger paints and they'll sit the babies at the table after stripping them down to their diapers and let them play with jello...which, of course, gets everywhere! They'll even bring in snow from outside to let them play with it. Last week they had "water play"....they put the babies on the linoleum floor, rolled up towels as a border and put different sized buckets of water with toys in them and let the kiddos splash away in them. They take pictures of everything and put them up on the door for the parents to see. Cooper was drenched from the top of his head down to his tippy toes and having a blast. I told Michael about it and he said, "Wow, I want to go to daycare!!!"...I think he was having a bad day at work! :)

The weather has been just butt cold...although for the past few days we have been getting a reprieve. For a while it was staying in the negative 30's...and yes, that is our bedroom window with all the frost on it...on the inside of the house. Yesterday it was 9 degrees but today we are -8...it just can't make up it's mind. So, when it got a little warmer, I had a lot of mopping up to do around all the windows. Someday we'll get new windows in the house...but for now, we just look at it as adding to the house's personality....hee hee!

My friend, Paula, came up to Fairbanks over this past weekend from Anchorage and Cooper and I got to hang out with her. We had so much fun. We all went to the Cookie Jar Restaurant and Cooper made a huge mess of his grilled cheese sandwich...I felt so bad for the person who had to clean it up...I left a big tip. Then we went to a hockey game and Cooper just loved watching all the hockey players skating back and forth. He would even put both hands in the air and cheer with the rest of us!

Let's see...my dad and my brother drove out to North Carolina to pick my sister and her son up to move them back to El Paso. They made it back safe and sound. Noelle and Brian are getting settled in at my parents house and Brian has started in his new school. Things sound like they are going pretty good...even my sister's cat and my parent's dog seem to be getting along. Woo hoo! It will be nice that I'll be able to see them when I go back home to visit every now and then, too! :)

Anyhoo...guess that's about it for now....and hot diggity, look at me, I got a whole email typed...before the computer crashed. Woo hoo!!! Guess I better save it before I lose it!!! Talk to you all soon!!


Leah, Michael, and the not-so-little-anymore Cooper :)