Super Cooper!

On the 4th of July we welcomed our newest nephew, Cooper into our family! My sister had her second baby and on the 8th we were able to head down to Iowa to meet him. Love when a plan works out! 
Nothing like brand-new-straight-from-Heaven babies!!
 The shadows in this picture make his hair look dark but actually he was born with a full head of blonde hair! So sweet, we loved being there to welcome him and to have a few days to just hang out with my whole family. It seems like yesterday and not a year ago already, that the kids and I were making the same trek down with a newborn Walker, while Trav was off to Peru! 
 Since we would all be together and because we didn't get to celebrate Walker's first birthday with any family, we made the most of the opportunity and had a little ice-cream cake in honor of the new 1 year old!  My Mom ordered it for us and had them do a little mickey mouse theme, Walker isn't really "into" much yet but he does recognize and react to Mickey Mouse, courtesy of his siblings love for Disney cartoons every morning  :) 

 The 5 mouseketeers! 
 We took his cake outside to share with everyone, after we got our pics inside. 
The lit candle was a surprise to Walker...
 ... so much so, that he tried to touch it and Ava saved the day by stopping him! 

 We tried to get Sawyer in on the action, but he wasn't as thrilled with the hat as we hoped, ha ha!
 Most of our afternoons were filled with these two in the backyard, playing in all kinds of water! It was beautiful the first few days we were there, but then it got crazy hot and humid, making the slip n slide and the local water park a necessity!
 Who could be bothered with sagging shorts when there is fun to be had??

Even Oliver came outside to see what all the fuss was about!
Stacie and Jesse flew in to meet little Cooper too, which was a bonus for all of the rest of us!
These two were twinning!

 Four generations! 
My grandparents came over one afternoon to see all of us and I can never resist this picture! Plus, I think Walker has inherited my Grandpa's cheeks when he smiles.  You can't tell here, but he reminds me so often of him!
And Cooper got in on the 4 generation-throwback fun, too!
 Grandparents and granddaughters. When we were little, they used to buy the three of us beautiful and fancy, matching dresses every year for Christmas. We got to order them from a special catalog, which we thought was thrilling, and often we had our pictures professionally taken after we got them. They loved seeing us all dressed up as much as we loved being dressed up!  We don't dress alike anymore, but we still like those sister pictures  :)  It is amazing to me how the passage of time is especially reflected in a visit with grandparents. While they must look at us and think the very same thing, it's a interesting and kind of sad time to wonder how many visits we will share in the future.  I'm glad we could get one in! 

Meanwhile, Cooper continued to sleep the visit away in somebody's arms at all times. 
I don't think he minded!

 Walker thought he would be brave and crawl right into the freezing water like his siblings, but he quickly realized the gravity of that choice! He was not a fan! 
Daddy to the rescue  :) 

 But, even after all those tears, he couldn't stay away  :)  He is an Armstrong male if I've ever seen one! The thrill is just too much to walk away from!
He slowly made his way right back to the water and decided he could handle it, one small dose at a time!

 I love those little water bugs!
 Super Grandpa took all four of these grandkids for a walk after dinner one night.  It was crazy humid and my camera could not stop fogging up from the thick blanket of moisture in the air!  He deserved a medal for that! 
 Cousins and two peas in a pod. These two are already double the trouble when they are together. If one of them isn't into something forbidden, the other one is :)  I can't imagine Christmas! When they are in confined spaces! And around all things breakable! We'll all need a padded room by the time we part ways! 
 Travis had to go back to Minnesota a few days after we got there so it was up to me to take over the swimming duties! We enjoyed a neighbor's pool one night, which was a great way to stay cool!

 And the uncles came to my rescue and helped me with all three of my kids too. 
 We joked the whole time about Jesse being our "manny" because he totally entertained Ava and Carter for me. He took them to a water park in town, twice, and created a giant waterfall with the hose suspended from an antenna near my parent's roof! It was hilarious to see and the kids went wild for it! I never would have survived with my sanity somewhat in tact if it weren't for his energy for them. It was so hot out but he helped all of us enjoy it! 
And on our last night, after we were ready to say good-bye and go to bed, we realized we never took a picture together all week  :) Something about having a newborn and 4 other kids that got in the way of our shopping, eating out and late-night game playing ways of the past! Oh how kids are changing the game, of course in good ways  :) 
It was wonderful to love on Cooper and to just be with our family for a week. I am thankful we could come down to see everyone and escape the summer grind at home. The next time we are all together, this little guy won't be so little! Welcome to the family, Cooper  :)  

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