Wednesday, September 5, 2012

This site has moved to a new home at  in a few weeks this blogger wont exist.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

swim until you can't see land

I think one of the reasons we love newborns is because they help us forget the unimportant things that don't hold any real value.  As soon as a new soul enters this world we stop focusing on the mundane day to day activities that absorb and demand all of our attention and we instead focus on a perfect flawless love that can only come from Yahweh.  Instantly we are no longer the center of our own universe, and all of our hopes, fears and goals are instantly replaced with an entire new set. 

I love Sarah more than I ever thought possible, but when I saw the way she loved our son from the very first second he entered this world naked and screaming, I discovered an even more incredible love.  Even though he's only a week old, Sarah talks to Deegan, loves him, and holds him like she's known him her entire life.  I think the phrase "love at first sight," must have come from a parent upon seeing their child for the first time.

The very first night we brought him home, he didn't want to sleep.  He only wanted to see how loud he could scream.  He kept us up until 6:30 AM.  Sarah and I took 1 hour shifts throughout the night.  One of us would sit in a rocker and hold him while the other tossed and turned on the couch or recliner and pretended to sleep.  Finally at 6:30, he had gotten quiet enough to put back into his crib.  I laid down on the couch and within 30 seconds he had begun wailing again.  I laid there and was so exhausted that for the next 2 minutes all I could think of was "please stop, please, please, please let me get some sleep. please stop."  Finally he stopped, and my very first thought was "Uh oh, is he still breathing?"  So I got up from the couch, ran over and checked on him.  He was fine, but it dawned on me that for the rest of my life I'd have someone to be worried about.

I don't want to sound like a fatalist, but when I look around at the current state of the world I have to admit that sometimes I feel like saying "What are we fighting for?"  We know that this world is meant to fall apart.  It's meant to be a temporary home, and sometimes no matter how strong our faith is, we feel like we're fighting a losing battle.  It feels like we're patching the Hoover Dam by sticking our fingers in the holes. This world is crumbling before our eyes, but we fight because we're told to.  We fight because we know that in the end it isn't a lost cause.  We fight because we want Deegan to have a chance and a choice.

Sarah and I are blessed beyond reason and rationalization.  Sadly, because we're human, we'll eventually lose purpose and direction, however temporary, and focus on houses, clothes, jobs, etc...  But we're here for one purpose, and thankfully the birth of a child will always remind us of that. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

tomorrow is a long time

37 weeks and 3 days along...the countdown has been going fast and yet slow; great and yet miserably; exciting and yet strange.  It's almost time and Beau and I are ready for the little guy to get here.  However, I make no promises as to Deegan's due date.  I've had requests from certain friends/family that he be born on their birthday or when they are going to be in town.  I can guarantee they will not all line up.  However, I will do my best to make sure as many requests as possible overlap.  I will add though, that Granddaddy has promised me a silver dollar if Deegan is born on his birthday, so I will possibly be shooting for that.

Carrying this baby around has been the most amazing experience.  Here's what I've learned so far:

First Trimester:  Some morning sickness while also feeling hungry all the time
Second Trimester:  No more morning sickness, still hungry, face gets broken out like a teenager
Third Trimester: No more broken out face, still hungry, heartburn, swollen feet, tingly hands
All 9 months:  Best thing ever to see/hear/feel my baby grow.  I can not wait to meet him!

I am planning to stay home with Deegan instead of going back to teach again.  I will still be coaching Jr. high girls basketball, doing my photography, and I've even recently become a Premier Designs Jeweler!  Lots going on, but I'm so excited about all of it!

Beau has been driving to Addison, AL. recently for work so he can help them with their water system.  He stays busy, and loves his job.  I have to brag on him because he does all this mapping stuff that I don't think I'd ever be able to fully understand, even though I pretend to.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy hearing about his adventures at work, but there's a reason he's the GIS/GPS/mapping expert and I'm not.  He's just so talented :)

I know I'm not the best at keeping this blog updated, but I will try to update fairly soon. Probably the next update will be after we have a baby.  Whoa!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

the river is wild

Protip: you can always click on these pictures to make them larger.

We (Hodge and I) put our kayaks in the water at 12:30 PM, just after a lunch of sandwiches and granola bars. Had we known what was ahead of us, we'd have packed & ate a lot more food, and wouldn't have left our grill in his truck.

We had a 15+ mile trip ahead of us that we assumed would only take a few hours.  We knew that as long as we averaged 4MPH, we would finish around 4 or 4:30 PM.  What we didn't count on was how shallow the river was going to be.  At times depths would reach 5-6 feet, and at other times, the times we had to carry our gear, the water wouldn't make it past our ankles.  It's not a stretch to say we had to get out of our kayaks and drag/carry them 100 times.  This is not an exaggeration, if anything it may be an underestimation.  
In addition to the times we had to get out and drag everything we'd brought with us, there were another 100 times where we were too stubborn to get out of our boats.  We pushed and pushed with our paddles while we were stuck on sandbanks, essentially turning our kayaks into gondolas.  Over the course of an afternoon, this would eventually wear us out.

Hodge "Gondoling" down the river.

At 3:00, an unexpected thunderstorm rolled through, thoroughly soaking any dry areas left on our bodies.  We were at least smart enough to keep our tents/sleeping bags stowed away in dry bags.  Around 4:30, I pulled out the GPS, checked our maps, and realized we weren't even halfway to the end point, the place we had all of our food and remaining supplies.  If we were going to make it by nightfall, we needed to paddle faster.

Around 6:00 our arms had turned to rubber and we had no idea how much further down the "river" we needed to go to get to the truck.  The water was as clear as any we'd ever seen.  If there was something below our boats, we could see it.  We saw copperheads, fish, turtles and birds all along the river, but we never saw another person.  After 7 hours of continuous paddling we began to wonder if we had taken a wrong turn, perhaps we had branched off into another fork and were lost somewhere in Bankhead.  But there was nowhere to go but downstream.

You can see just how shallow the river was.

One of the many areas we had to get out and drag our gear.

By 8:30, it was getting pretty dark, and dangerous to portage.  One step in the wrong direction could result in a broken ankle. We had to make a decision to camp, or continue on in the dark.  After weighing our options, we agreed that continuing on would be a mistake.  We found a place to set up camp, tied our kayaks off, and tried our best to dry out.  One piece of information I wish we had known about the Sipsey beforehand is there are no places to camp.  It's a river that's cut a gash through the North Alabama limestone and created canyon walls anywhere between 50 & 100 feet high.  The campsite we settled for, was a flat rock jutting out onto the edge of the river.  It was flat because most of the year, water flows over and smooths it out.  However, since the water level was so low, it was exposed enough to set up camp.  It was just big enough to for a pitched tent to fit, and only inches from the water.  If the water level rose in the middle of the night, which was a real possibility given the thunderstorms that had passed to our north, we risked waking up soaking wet and losing all our gear.  We laid out our clothes to dry overnight, climbed inside the tent, and attempted to sleep.

Steep canyon walls.

Nope, can't camp here.

With humans usually being in short supply, the local bullfrog population had no reservations about approaching us, or giving us an impromptu concert.  If I had to guess, this particular breed of bullfrog was prone to vices such as smoking because they were extra hoarse, and extra loud.  Sleep finally came around 11 and lasted until midnight.  Once you finally figure out a way to comfortably lay on a rock, it becomes uncomfortable, and you toss and turn all night, and you listen to bullfrogs sing about flies and crickets.  I flopped all around the bottom of the tent until 5:15 the next morning.  It was one of the longest nights I can ever remember.

At 6AM, after all of our gear was packed, I located my clothes.  They were as wet as they were the night before, and it was 20 degrees cooler outside.  I hadn't packed a change of clothes because I had assumed we'd get back to the truck before we made camp.  This proved to be a bad decision on my part.  I had to will myself to put on soaking wet clothes on a 59 degree morning, wade through the water and paddle an unknown distance on virtually no sleep and no energy.  It was awful.

We set off downstream, and much to our dismay, found deeper, faster flowing waters.  It was the easiest mile and a half of kayaking I've ever done.  This is where we should have put in to begin with.  It was frustratingly easy.  We pulled into the sandy beach where we'd parked, dragged our gear and kayaks up a 100 foot incline, loaded up and headed out.

My only real regret is not taking enough pictures.  Everything was so wet, and I was afraid of ruining my phone.  Reading over this, and describing it to other people, it sounds miserable.  But I can't wait to go back.  This time 20+ miles, and with more people tagging along.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

now my feet won't touch the ground

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for keeping my dad in their prayers.  There's a couple of things that are certain in this life, one of them being that anytime your phone rings at 5:00 AM, you know it's bad news on the other end.  I've gotten too many of those lately... but hopefully this will be the last for a long, long time.

This morning we left Houston at 3:30 AM and headed to Memphis to see my dad.  We arrived just after 3:00 PM.  I'm not sure if it was the long car ride or what, but Sarah's been feeling pretty bad today.  Hopefully she didn't catch something while out in Houston.  We headed up to see my dad, and he looked tired and weary, but also very confident.  I think more than anything he's just ready to go play golf again!  We visited with my parents for a little while and finally reached home at around 7:00 PM, 15.5 hours after we first piled into the Xterra this morning.

I feel like I needed to finish up our mini-Expidition with a final rundown since we haven't updated since Monday.  We visited Minute Maid Park (home of the Astros) where we walked on the field, hung out in the dugout, saw the clubhouse, and saw some pretty neat stuff that not too many other people get to see.

We swung by the Houston Aquarium, which in addition to fish, also had a White Tiger exhibit.  They have four total Tigers which they rotate every couple of hours.  This particular Tiger was obviously underfed.

If not for the protective glass, Sarah might be an only child.  They also had a Sting Ray petting area. Weird, but I definitely had to partake.  Sting Ray's enjoy being petted, who knew?

We also stopped by the Houston Museum of Natural Science, where they had Dino Bones, Mayan Artifacts and stuff they'd drug up from the Titanic.  They even had a Crystal Skull similar to the one from latest Indiana Jones film.  The History Majors in Sarah and I always push us to this type of stuff.  It never disappoints.

That's about it from Houston.  It was a great trip and we met some great people.  Glad we finally got to see where Joe calls home.

Enough can't be said about how blessed and thankful we all are for the prayers extended out for my dad.  He obviously is a little discouraged about being in the hospital again, but we think being at Memphis will really help get to the bottom of what's wrong.  Whatever the outcome may be, we can't say it enough, THANK YOU for your thoughts and prayers.

Sarah and I go in for our 3D/4D Ultrasound on April 3rd, and when we get done, I'm sure Sarah will be back to post the first ever pictures of Robert Deegan Cooper.

Until next time...

Monday, March 26, 2012

galveston, oh galveston I still hear your sea waves crashin'

I figured the title for this post was appropriate, considering Beau and I went to visit Galveston, TX this morning.  Not only that, I drove Beau crazy singing the Glen Campbell song pretty much the whole time we were there.  I think the thing that probably made it worse though, was that I only actually knew one line.

Beau and I left for Galveston this morning after my "happy" breakfast of cuties and a banana. (picture to follow) We decided that Galveston had some pretty cool tourist attractions, and was actually very well prepared for the whole beach/vacation thing.  The only thing they were lacking was a beach.  You may ask, "But I thought Galveston was a beach city, how could they not have a beach?" Well, technically I guess it can be called a beach because there is a coastline and a little bit of sand, however, we have apparently been spoiled by our Alabama beaches because there was no comparison.  It made me remember that our state has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, so I guess it's not really fair to compare.  I do have to give Galveston credit for what looked like a pretty great water park called Schlitterbahn.  It's known for being one of the best water parks in the country.  Beau was also excited to see that the local elections had him running for Mayor of Galveston.  We would appreciate your support in this campaign.  

After Galveston, we came back to Houston and had lunch with Joe at a place called Ninfa's on Navigation.  Apparently, you have to eat at the one on Navigation or it's not even like eating at the same restaurant.  Even though it's a Mexican restaurant, it's known for having the best burger in the entire city.  It's called the Fiesta Burger, and instead of ground beef, they use fajita steak.  As for the best burger in Houston?  I've only eaten this one, but it would be hard to beat.  They do have plenty of authentic Mexican dishes as well.  I compare it to a local Rosie's Cantina like we have in Florence, except this place was good.  Sorry to those of you who like to eat at Rosie's.  I'm about to burst your bubble:  Rosie's is not good.  This place however, was very good!  We were also able to go by the church after lunch and meet all the people Joe works with.  

Tonight, we all went to see The Hunger Games.  It was great!  I think it may have even convinced Beau to read the books.  :)  Imagine that, the first books Beau will have read since High School!  Tomorrow, I think the plan may be to see the zoo and the aquarium.  We're just kind of playing it by ear.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

sounds like hallelujah

Beau has been updating the blog for the past couple days, so I suppose I'll give him a break.  This morning we visited Joe's church:  Christ the King Presbyterian.  It was great to finally see where Joe works and plays.  And when I say play, I mean play.  It must be great to have a job where you spend half your time testing out fun games and ideas.  We enjoyed the service and being a part of the youth group for Sunday School.  It's great to see Joe do what he loves.

Here's a quick run-down of the events of today:

- After church, Beau, Joe, and I ate lunch and drove around Houston for a tour.  Joe said Sunday was a good day to do this because we'd be able to avoid the usual weekday traffic... but I still saw lots of cars
- We found out where Roger Clemens lives and drove by his house.  It was easily recognizable from the giant C on his front gate and the giant Texas Longhorns flag fluttering above his front door.
- After the tour, we caught up on some NCAA basketball we had recorded on the DVR.
- Later, we went back to the church for the evening youth activities.  We watched everyone play a game called "GaGa" which is actually Israeli Dodgeball.  Then, we listened to Joe's second lesson of the day, both of which were very good!  
- After church, we picked up some chicken wings from Wing Stop.  Mine were the garlic parmesan flavor so I could avoid the inevitable heartburn that would surely follow buffalo flavored wings.
- We then caught up on the rest of our basketball games.  All three of our brackets are basically worthless now,  Thanks Tarheels.  

I know this has not been very long or overly entertaining, but I am very sleepy and it's past mine and Baby Cooper's bedtime.  Tomorrow, we're headed to check out the beaches of Galveston, and possibly the Houston Zoo.