Graden Cooper

Can’t Believe How Fast They’re Growing

I can’t believe how fast my children are growing.


  • Is now a senior in high school.  Seems like yesterday she was cutting her own hair and playing in the mud.
  • She is taller than I am.
  • Going on dates
  • Has a Job
  • Responsible


  • Getting taller
  • Voice is getting deeper
  • His boyish looks are changing into being manly
  • Drives my truck around the church


  • Putting logical thoughts together
  • Using more and more words
  • His ability to reason, (when he wants to)
  • Independence (I can do it)
  • No lock, latch, nor gate that can hold him.  He could escape Alcatraz!!
  • Shy
  • Loves Octonaughts
  • Can make Jackson so mad
  • Always wants to “drive” my truck


  • Using more and more words
  • She carries on conversations
  • Tells you what she wants
  • Get’s upset when you don’t do it.
  • Always calls out DaaGee when I open the door
  • Loves to take a bath
  • Will show you the finger she has DaaGee wrapped around


  • Independent
  • Talking more but not as much as Sophie
  • Loves his Mimi
  • Shorter than Sophie
  • Looks so much like his daddy at that age.
  • Beginning to sing along with radio.  Favorite song, “Mean” by Taylor Swift
  • Refuses to go to bed until he is ready to drop
Categories: Erica, Family, Graden Cooper, Jackson, Noah, Sophie Grace, Twins | Leave a comment

15 Things I Love About Being a Dad

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It’s 2:15 in the morning and I am posting a blog because Graden (18 months) refuses to go to sleep.  Lay him down and he screams so loud that I am convinced he is trying to wake up the other 5 people who live in this house.  So, I’m sitting here watching Barney, thinking about a cup of coffee (and would I be able to sleep once G dozes off), and thinking about how much I love being a Dad.  Let me share with you some reasons why:

  1. The screaming of Dada, Daddy, and ajodinelnse (That’s what G says) from my kids when I walk through the door after a long day of work.
  2. The way they hold onto you when they are sick.
  3. The belly laugh when you are tickling them.
  4. Their favorite place to sleep is on top of you.
  5. The privilege of teaching them the things they will need to know in life.
  6. Bath Time
  7. Nap Time
  8. Their little dances when a good song comes on.
  9. Sitting in my lap drinking their bottle.
  10. Falling asleep on my chest
  11. Hearing, “I love you”
  12. Holding my hand as we go on adventures
  13. Watching them bond together
  14. Seeing them worried about their sibling when their sick
  15. The joy on their face when they learn something new.
Categories: Family, Graden Cooper, John Personal, Lessons I've Learned as a Dad, Noah, Sophie Grace, Twins | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

What a Weekend

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.  Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.” Hebrews 4:9-11

I’m a self-professed work-a-holic.  I enjoy my work and when I enjoy something, I put everything into it.  I would work 12-14 hours/day and 7 days a week if I’m not careful.  After all, the work that I do is important.  It’s Kingdom work, right?  However, I must remember that it’s not all up to me to do.

I believe this is why it’s been said that 90% of the work and financial giving to a church is done by 20% of the people.  I know people who work, work, work and before anyone realizes it, they are burned out.  We put people who are on fire for God on every committee, every team, baking all the cakes, and working the nursery.  Let’s ask ________ to do that.  He/she never says no.  It doesn’t take long until they are not on fire but burned out.

We all need a break and contrary to what we may think, it’s not going to fall apart without us.  If it does, we built it upon ourselves and not God.  We must practice following in the footsteps of Jesus who “got away from the crowds to pray.”  We need that time and without it we become useless. So, I encourage you to take some time for just you and God.  Slow down and take a breath.  You’ll be more productive and excited about your ministry.

Here are some pictures from my long weekend with my family:

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Categories: Church, Family, Graden Cooper, Jackson, John Personal, Noah, Sophie Grace | 1 Comment

Favorite Photos

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Categories: Erica, Family, Graden Cooper, Jackson, Jill, John Personal, Noah | Leave a comment


Jill had a photo session last night .  Here is what we came up with:

Categories: Family, Graden Cooper, Noah, Twins | Leave a comment

Ordination and Uncle George

Helping George blow out his Birthday Candles

Me and Uncle George at my Grandmothers

This past year, my family lost a good man.  He was my Uncle George and was my mom’s brother.  My Uncle George was a true American Hero and served as a Marine in Vietnam. He was seriously wounded and doctors said he would probably not live.  He did.  Doctors said he would never see.  He did.  Doctors told him he would never walk without a cane and on his first trip home, he placed the cane above the front door of my grandmothers home and never used it again.

Uncle George was one of the people in my life who took on the role of dad for me.  As an infant, George would put me on his chest, sit in his recliner and watch Dark Shadows.  He would take me most places he went.  He gave me my first taste of tobacco (Redman, which I promptly threw up)  he forgot to tell me that I was not supposed to swallow.  He was the person that mom would take me to when I needed some discipline that was above what mom could do effectively.  All she had to say was, “I’m going to call your Uncle George.”  That would usually straighten me right up.

My Uncle George passed away last year.  The last time I saw him was at my Grandmothers funeral.  He gave me a great big hug and told me how proud he was of me.  When Jill became pregnant and we found out that one of the twins was a boy, we thought it was pretty fitting to name him after my Uncle George.  My uncle’s name is George Graden Bounds and that’s where the Graden came from.

I just found out that the day of my Ordination service when I become an Ordained Elder in the UM Church will be held on Uncle George’s birthday.  I think it is so fitting for this to be the case.  I know my uncle will be looking down and be so proud.

Categories: Family, Graden Cooper, John Personal | 1 Comment

Wow, What a Week! (part 2)

Toward the end of the week, Sophie was doing much better with no temp and back to her loving self.  On Saturday, Graden began vomiting and I’m not talking a little spit-up but projectile.  This didn’t happen just once but every time we would feed him, it would come back up.  Milk or water, it didn’t matter.  Once again, we called the doctor on call and she was very concerned about a condition “Pyloric Stenosis). This is where the stomach gets blocked and requires surgery to correct.

She told us the next time he does it to take him to the ER immediately.  He made it through the night but when I got home from church on Sunday he did it again.  This time, we packed a bag because the doctor said there was one surgeon in Huntsville who would do this surgery and he was out-of-town.  If Graden had this condition, we would be immediately sent to Birmingham.

Back to the hospital and the same thing happened.  We bypassed everyone in the waiting room to be rushed back and met by nurses and doctors.  After he was poked and prodded, they sent him for an ultrasound.  However, to make a long story short, everything came back looking good and it appears he just had a stomach bug.

We are so thankful that both of these incidents had a great outcome but it sure does add a whole bunch of stress/fear/worry/anxiety to our lives.  I can’t imagine raising our kids without our faith.  It is during these times that I truly see my weakness as a person and His strength.

Categories: Graden Cooper, John Personal | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Photo’s w/Sophie and Graden

All these photos were taken by our daughter Erica who was there for the entire birth process.  I’m so proud of her as she has become quite the photographer and even under the pressure of babies being born, she still took some great shots.

Categories: Erica, Family, Graden Cooper, Photo of the Day, Sophie Grace, Twins | 1 Comment

The Chair

Me and Noah enjoying "The Chair"

When I moved to Latham I didn’t realize that there would be a piece of furniture that would have such a dramatic affect on my life and become such a piece that I bought it from the church when I was appointed to another church.  The chair is not that special in what looks like or how it’s made.  It’s a Laz-e-boy recliner which is light brown with dark brown.   accents.  However, this chair has been a place of relaxation, prayer, thinking, and contemplation.

The chair was a place that I would relax upon coming home from seminary and study for the test of the week.  It was the place I would sit during long phone conversations with Jill as we were courting.  It was the place where i would sit and pray for my mom after her car accident.

When Noah came home for the first time, it served a very special place in the household as it was the chair that I would hold him and rock him to sleep.  It still is used for that purpose.

Tonight was a special moment in the life of the chair as I rocked both the twins in the chair tonight.  It is a great feeling of rocking them to sleep and memories continue to be built that contain the chair.  It’s funny how attached to a simple piece of furniture I have become, yet I guess it’s not as much the piece itself but the memories that it holds and have been built around it.

Categories: Graden Cooper, John Personal, Noah, Sophie Grace, Twins | Leave a comment

My Prayer

Thank you God for two beautiful babies.  Thank you for all their fingers and toes and thank you for their smiles (even though I think it is brought on by gas).  Thank you God for the way Graden opens one eye to make sure Dad is still holding him and thank you for the way Sophie holds onto my finger.   Thank you for the privilege of raising them and loving them.  Jill and I will do our best to be the parents you have called us to be.

Thank you God for a wonderful partner in Jill.  She is strong where I am weak and loves me so much.  She is the best mom in the world and I thank you for bringing her into my life.

Thank you God for the most beautiful step-children in the world.  They are the best big brother and sister that I could have ever hoped for and they love the twins and Noah without reservation.  I thank you for that.  I ask that you bless them in ways that boggles their imagination and also that you bless them with this feeling that I have right now.  The feeling of becoming a parent. (Just not too soon).

Thank you God for Noah.  I thank you for his love, his trust, his innocence, and his love of life. I thank you for the way he wraps his arms around my legs to give me a hug and holds onto my finger when we are walking.  I thank you for the way he curls up in my arms when he is tired and the way he smiles at me when the door to the van slides open and he sees me.

Lord, you have blessed me and my family in so many ways and we give you all the glory.  May we never forget where these blessings come from.  Amen

Categories: Erica, Family, Graden Cooper, Jackson, Jill, John Personal, Noah, Sophie Grace, Twins | Leave a comment

Hospital Trip

Wow, what an intense couple of day’s it has been!  Yesterday, Jill had a Dr.’s appointment and he sent her straight to the hospital.  She was having contractions and the doctor wanted them stopped.  So, off we go to Huntsville Hospital and Jill gets hooked up to all the monitors.  They tried a two shots at first but it made her heart rate zoom up and so they then started another drug and actually let us go home.  When we got home, she continued to have contractions and we called the doctor back.  After waiting for 30 minutes and 3 more contractions, he sent us back to the hospital.

They once again monitored the contractions and tried to get them to stop with little progress.  However, in the middle of the night, they started to decrease and it looks like we’re going to be able to go home today if she maintains this level of inactivity.  We have to stay until at least noon.

Categories: Family, Graden Cooper, Jill, Sophie Grace, Twins | Leave a comment

Jill’s Ultrasound

We went for an ultrasound today and got to see the babies.  They are both about 3 pounds and are doing very well.  We took all the kids, Jill’s mom and dad, and the Godmother for this appointment.  It was an exciting time for all and it looks like we will be having an ultrasound every week from now on.  Please keep Jill and the babies in your prayers that they stay in longer.  They’ve still got some cooking to do and we don’t want them to come before they are ready.  I’ll be posting a photo of Sophie later and some of the video, so stay tuned.

Categories: Erica, Family, Graden Cooper, Jackson, Jill, John Personal, Noah, Sophie Grace, Twins | Leave a comment

Jill’s Dr. Appointment

Jill had an appointment this morning to check on the babies.  I saw an expression on the doctor’s face that I’ve only seen once before and that was when he walked in the room as she was about to have Noah and told her not to sneeze.  She has really progressed and he essentially put her to bed.  She can do some things but not much.  Walking is a NO-NO.  The doctor now wants to see her every week and next week he is going to do the 4-D Ultra-sound.  This morning we got to hear the heart beats and when the nurse was trying to get the reading on Graden, he kept kicking the wand.  He would kick it so hard that it would actually come up Jill’s stomach.  We got a laugh out of that.  I think Graden is going to be like his brothers.

We called my Mom and Jill’s mom and we hope to get both of them up here next week for the ultra-sound.  My mom seemed really excited about it and that makes me really happy.  I told her that I would come pick her up on Monday and take her home whenever she wanted to go.  Maybe we can make that happen.

Categories: Family, Graden Cooper, Jill, Sophie Grace | Leave a comment

Hospital Run

This afternoon as I was watching qualifying for Daytona, Jill entered the room and said, “I’ve just gotten off the phone with the doctor and he wants me to go to the hospital.”  After that, a mad dash to get dressed, call my 2:00 appointment to make other arrangements and then get a babysitter.  Then I put the driving skills that I had learned watching Daytona qualifying into use as I drove to the hospital.

It truly is amazing how fast you can get a room when you have someone who is pregnant with twins.  No waiting!!  They hooked her up to so many wires and monitors.  It was amazing.  After much checking it was determined to give her a shot to stop the contractions and then send her home.  I was glad because I was not ready to meet Graden and Sophie today.  Let’s wait a couple of weeks.

Categories: Family, Graden Cooper, John Personal, Noah, Sophie Grace, Twins | Leave a comment

Where Did We Mess Up?

This afternoon a 14-year-old 9th grader was shot in the head outside of the Biology classroom by a fellow 9th grade student.  Click HERE for NEWS LINK. Preliminary news reports state the shooter just walked up behind him and shot.  I just breaks my heart to think that two teen age lives are now ruined.  What happened?  I ask this question for 5 reasons (Erica, Jackson, Noah, Graden and Sophie).  I have been around school shootings some in my life (my highschool was the site of the first school shooting several years after I had graduated) but since becoming a Dad, I think about it more.  I pray tonight for both sets of parents and what they must be going through.  I realize that no one can understand what they are going through.

As a Chaplain for the Huntsville Police Department, I have been put on call for the first part of the week to be one of the support resources for the students at the school.  This is one of the reasons that I became a chaplain but I’m not looking forward to getting that call.

Please God, be with these families and all those affected by this great tragedy.  Let them feel your presence and know the comfort that only You can bring.

I just heard as I was writing this that the young man has died.

Categories: Erica, Graden Cooper, Jackson, Noah, Police Chaplain, Sophie Grace | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Felt Graden Move

Last night was pretty special. It was the first time that Graden kicked Daddy.  Graden seems to be facing out and Sophie must be going toward the inside.  So, all of Graden’s kicks and movements are seen and felt.  Tonight was the first time that I really felt him move and it was the most incredible feeling.  I had forgotten what it was like to feel a baby move and this was truly special.

Sophie doesn’t move very much in the day, but she certainly makes up for it at night.  It seems she tries her best to keep her mom up all night.  It’s kinda funny how right now, mom can’t sleep and I’m snoozing away YET, when they are born, I will probably be the one up with her most nights.  I hope she likes Dirty Jobs.

Being a dad this time is full of emotions that I don’t know really how to describe.  When it was Noah, I was scared, nervous and excited all at the same time. There is a great deal of each of those going on just not for the same reasons.  It’s not going to be boring, I can assure you of that and we just rely on God to give us what we need to survive.  I now that we be enough and we put it in His hands.

Categories: Common Everyday Stuff, Faith Journey, Family, Graden Cooper, John Personal, Sophie Grace, Twins | Leave a comment

Diapers for the Twins

Noah and I had a “Man’s night out” tonight and went to Sam’s.  We got a case of diapers and wipes for the new babies.  Mom went out to eat with Aunt Tammy and did some Christmas shopping.  It was quite fun.

Categories: Family, Graden Cooper, Sophie Grace, Twins | Leave a comment

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