Wednesday, December 31, 2008

15-Month Check-Up

Our original 15 month appointment was scheduled for January 26, 2009, but when we found out that we were moving I called Dr. Whitaker’s office and I was able to get Alex’s appointment changed to December 31, 2008. We love Alex’s pediatrician and all of the nurses, so we wanted to be sure to get in before the move!

We had another EARLY morning appointment. I love appointments first thing in the day because I know that they are usually on time (or close to). When the nurse came in, she took her normal weight, height and head measurements. His 15-month stats are:

Weight – 22 pounds (20%)
Height – 32 inches (85%)
Head – 17 5/8 inches (10%)

He is growing right along the same curve that he has been since birth. He has a small waist and tall legs. Both of which make it difficult to find pants that fit! He can wear 9 month pants around the waist, but he sure does look like he is waiting for a flood! The 12 month pants are just a little too big around the waist, but fit pretty good length-wise.

The doctor came in to talk to us and we told him about our trip to the After-Hours Pediatric office in Florida. He was happy that the doctor there told us just to treat his fever and didn’t try to diagnose him incorrectly with something. Dr. Whitaker made sure to look in Alex’s ears (which were clean), look at his throat (which was slightly irritated, but nothing major) and listen to his chest (which was clear). Because Alex did have a fever of 103 degrees the night before (December 30), Dr. Whitaker did not feel comfortable giving him his shots! I was glad about that because I didn’t want Alex to have to work through a sickness AND work through feeling yucky because of shots. We were told to come back in a week for a nurse visit and shots – as long as his fever was gone!

As always, Dr. Whitaker talked to us about his development. He said that he is doing great developmentally – both physically and mentally. He said that our little boy looks great and we are doing a great job with him! That is something that every parent enjoys hearing!

We let Dr. Whitaker know that we are moving to Maryland and he wished Larry luck and told him congratulations! Alex and I plan on going back to Enterprise for his 18 month appointment on March 31. We figure that it will be a great time to check on the house and go to the doctor. We are going to find a doctor in Maryland “just-in-case” we need someone, but we really like the relationship we have established with Dr. Whitaker and his staff.

I will let you know how the shots go on January 7, 2009!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sick Little Boy :(

Larry and I were able to have a “date night”, since Grandma Karen was nice enough to watch Alex for us! We decided that we had better take full advantage of it because once we move to Maryland, our schedule is not going to allow for too many date nights! We had a great dinner at Ruth’s Chris and went to see Marley and Me. It was nice to be able to out to dinner with each other and enjoy and nice, hot meal!

When we got home, Alex was sleeping. I bent down to kiss him and noticed that he felt warm. I am not usually got at feeling if he has a temperature, so I asked Grandma if she had a thermometer. She did and I took his temp underneath his arm and it was 101.8. I got him some Motrin, which really didn’t bring it down all that much.

The next day (Monday), he battled the fever all day. It would go up, I would give him Motrin and it would go down to about 100.8. I called our doctor and told the nurse about his fever, the fact that he was putting his hands in his mouth and tugging at his ear. My first thought was teething, but the nurse told me that was too high of a fever to just be from teething. GREAT!! She advised us that it would probably be best to take him to a local pediatrician to get him check out. After calling around, we discovered that the only place that took visitors and children as young as Alex was the After Hours Pediatric Care.

We got to the After Hours place right as it opened and we were third in line! They eventually took us back and weighed Alex. Once we got back in the room we told the nurse his symptoms and she took his temperature. She took it rectally (poor Alex) and it was 103.3! No wonder why he was sleepy and grumpy! Larry and I could not believe it was that high.

When the doctor came in, she listened to us explain his symptoms and she suspected that he had an ear infection. She looked in his ears and was amazed when she discovered NOTHING! She listened to his chest and it was clear. His throat was a bit irritated, but he was having a little drainage from his nose which could be the cause of an irritated throat. All in all, she could not find the root of his fever – he had nothing wrong with him that she could see. She told us that it was possibly the onset of an infection, but nothing that could be treated without any signs of illness. She told us to get Children’s Tylenol and treat the fever. We are to give him the Tylenol every 4 hours (even to wake him up during the night) and make him comfortable. She also told us to follow up with our doctor if he wasn’t better in 3 to 5 days – luckily, we have an appointment set up with Dr. Whitaker on December 31.

It is so sad to see Alex not feeling well. He is definitely not acting like his normal, happy self when he is feverish. I am glad that nothing is seriously wrong with him – the worst really does go through your head when you see your child have a fever that high!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

We hope that everyone has a great day filled with love and laughter!

The Cothrens

Monday, December 22, 2008


We have big news…and no, I am not pregnant! We are moving!

I am so proud to announce that Larry has been accepted to attend the Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Maryland ( Naval Test Pilot School). As part of the process, he will be sworn in as an Army civilian engineer on January 5, 2009 and we will be reporting up to Maryland around January 12, 2009. He will be involved in a rigorous academic schedule until the 2nd weekend in December – 11 months of intense classes. He was selected by a board of previous Test Pilot School graduates at his work and was told of his acceptance on December 11, 2008. Not too much time to plan!

Alex and I will be joining Larry in Maryland. He will be extremely busy with school, but the downtime that he does have, we want to be able to be with him and spend time with him. I will be holding down everything on the homefront to allow Larry the chance to focus primarily on his school work. Last week, we (Larry, Alex and I) went to Maryland to find a house to live in for the next year. Luckily, we found a very nice rental townhome. We are renting from a great couple – the husband just graduated from Test Pilot School two weeks ago! The townhome is 3 floors and 3 bedrooms/2 full baths/2 half baths, it has a cute little fenced in yard for the dogs and a deck out back. It is right near a Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Old Navy and is only about 10 minutes from where Larry will be going to school. We are moving to a town called California, Maryland!

This is such a great opportunity for Larry and I am so proud of him! Larry will be in TPS class 136, his class will have roughly 30 pilots and 3 engineers. After finishing this course, he will be a few classes short of his masters (something that I have wanted him to get for quite some time)! At Larry’s work Christmas party this past Friday night (December 19), his boss was telling me about TPS. He mentioned that when Larry walks into the building that classes are held, he will notice a bunch of plaques on the wall. On those plaques are the names of previous TPS graduates – some of those names include Neil Armstrong and Alan Sheppard (among several other historical figures). In December, after graduation, Larry’s name will be among some of the most influential people in Aerospace history! I can’t even begin to tell you how proud of I am of him and all that he has accomplished and continues to accomplish in his short professional career!

It will be a big change for our family – a big move and getting used to a new town, but we are doing it with open minds and eager hearts! I think this opportunity will be what we make of it and I see nothing but great things that will come out of it!

We welcome any visitors in Maryland this next year! Larry will be super busy with school work and won’t have much time to spend with anyone, but Alex and I will be excited to have visitors! We are about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Washington, DC (I can’t wait to see the Cherry Blossoms in the springtime), about 1 hour and 30 minutes from Baltimore and only a 2 hour train ride from Baltimore to NYC! Alex and I will be taking advantage of the great sights up there and can’t wait to show them to anyone that comes to visit!

Wish us luck and keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we prepare for this next big adventure in our lives!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas with the Kritner's (and Worley's)

This year we had Christmas with Larry’s family on Saturday, December 20, 2008. Sheena and Trey got here on Friday (to watch Alex for us while we went to Larry’s work Christmas party) and Becky, Pete and Josh got here on Saturday around noon! Becky, Pete and Josh got here right as Alex went down for his nap, so Larry and I thought that would be a great time for the adults to exchange Christmas presents. We figured it would be a good idea to open presents without having to worry about Alex running around and getting into everything ;) We gave our presents to everyone – I think everyone was happy with what we got them!

After presents, Larry and I got to cooking! We had turkey, ham, cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole, corn, orange jell-o and rolls. Like I always, I make enough for a small army (another wonderful trait my mother instilled in me)! We didn’t eat until after Alex woke up – I didn’t want him to miss lunch!

Once Alex woke up, we let him open his presents. He was hysterical! He would rip a piece of paper off a present and say “OH!”, hand me the piece of paper, and repeat the process. We can definitely tell that Christmas morning is going to be a SLOW process! Alex got four sets of Little People, three sippy-straw cups and four outfits from Aunt Sheena and Uncle Trey, a pair of Superman pajamas from Uncle Josh and a tool kit from Grandma Becky and Grandpa Pete.

Since we were opening presents, we let him open his present from Aunt Jenny, Uncle Keith, Kyle and Katelyn – they got him the Little People Raceway! He loves it! He will sit and watch the cars go around and around. He also opened a present from Karen, Tony, Xavier and Jesse Soto – they got him a Fold and Go Train! The little train goes around the track and makes all sorts of “choo-choo” noises! Another hit!

After lunch, we all hung around for a little while watching Alex and his latest antics. He sure does know how to keep a crowd entertained! He would run from person to person and from toy to toy! He loves attention – I certainly don’t know who he got that from (wink, wink)!!

Becky and Pete left around 5 – but, they let Josh stay for an extra day! It was nice to just have the siblings here, hanging out together. It is something that we don’t get too often and something that we treasure when we do get! The boys had a great time playing Xbox together and Sheena and I had a good time hanging out! PJ didn’t come home for the weekend and he was greatly missed.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Larry's Work Christmas Party

Larry and I had a chance to get dressed up and go mingle with other adults – it was his annual Christmas party! The attire for the party is formal, so I was able to wear my bridesmaid dress from Sheena’s wedding. Since it was a red color, it was absolutely perfect for the holiday season!

We had already planned to have Christmas with the Kritner’s (and Worley’s), so Sheena and Trey came down early on Friday afternoon to watch Alex for us Friday night! It was nice to not have to worry about Alex – we knew he was in great hands!

It was fun to be able to go and hang out with other adults and have “adult conversation”! We got the chance to hear great advice about Test Pilot School and have a bunch of laughs! We had a great meal, had some pictures taken and we were even able to share a dance! We had a great night!

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Busy Weekend

Two years ago, Larry and I went to the Gaylord Palms in Orlando and toured the ICE Exhibit. Everything was made out of ice - we thought it was absolutely amazing! This year at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, TN, the theme of the ICE Exhibit was "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". We decided that it would be really neat to take Alex (especially since this is the last year for the Grinch exhibit).

On Friday, December 12, 2008, we travelled up to Nashville and stayed a night at the Opryland hotel. We were able to walk around and look at all the Christmas lights throughout the hotel. Alex was amazed by all the lights. He kept saying "OOK" and "THAT" and pointing at all the lights. We would tell him "lights" whenever he would point, bt he was too amazed to even care what the word for them was. He really enjoyed himself and looking at everything.

On Saturday morning, we woke up and waited on Aunt Sheena and Uncle Trey to get to Nashville. Once they got in the area, we took a shuttle bus to the exhibit. We put on Alex's winter hat, gloves and parka and the end result was a very bundled up, but unhappy child. He did not like the parka - we thought he looked super cute though :) After looking at the exhibit, we went back to the Opryland for lunch and to walk around a bit more. We said goodbye to Aunt Sheena and Uncle Trey and headed to Huntsville for the evening.

Saturday night, we had dinner with Barry, Kari and Andy. We went to our favorite spot in Huntsville - Wings! After dinner, Kari and I ran a few errands and the boys (with Alex) went to the mall to finish up some Christmas shopping. Apparently, a pretty famous Alabama football player was there, so Alex got a signed picture from George Teague (the football player). Once we got done with errands and shopping, Barry, Kari and Andy came back to our hotel so we could put Alex to bed and hang out with them for a little while longer. We had a great time hanging out :)

Sunday morning, Grandpa Larry and Great-Grandpa Larry came to our hotel for breakfast. We were able to spend a little time with them before we left the area - we were also blessed to be able to share our "big news" with them in person (moving to Maryland). They were so proud of Larry! We headed to Barry and Kari's for a quick visit to meet their new puppy, Maggie! She is so cute and very lovable! After Barry and Kari's, we headed to Grandma Becky's and Grandpa Pete's house. We were also able to share our "big news" with them in person as well!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Off to see Santa

We went to Dothan this afternoon in hopes to start some Christmas shopping and to let Alex visit Santa. We went to the mall first and decided to head straight to Santa. As we walked up to Santa, we saw the most horrendous line ever. I told Larry to forget it - I did not want to stand in that line just to get up to Santa and have Alex freak out! Luckily, we discovered that the LONG line was for Iron Bowl shirts and not for Santa. Alabama fans had lined up to purchase their Iron Bowl victory shirts!

We got in line for Santa and were happy that the line was moving quickly and it wasn’t too awful long! While waiting in line, Alex ate a snack of Kix cereal and Cheerios and kept pointing happily at Santa! We hoped that was a good sign. By the time we finally made it up to Santa, Alex was pointing and waving at him – surely that was a good thing! I put him in Santa’s lap and he started clapping and smiling. He even looked back at Santa and smiled at him – GREAT!! We were going to have a successful Santa visit! Oh no, that was not in the cards for us today. After Alex sitting in Santa’s lap for a minute or so, one of the teenagers working as an “elf” let us know that the printer had run out of paper so it would be a minute. The suggested getting Alex out of Santa’s lap so he didn’t get bored just sitting there! I did – he was still pointing at Santa and waving. After what seemed like forever, the girl finally came back with paper for the printer and told me to go ahead and put Alex back in Santa’s lap – I did. He was a little bit leery at this point. Although, I was able to get a smile out of him for at least one of the pictures that the “elf” snapped. My heart dropped when I heard the “elf” tell me that the picture didn’t take. He told that me that I should probably take Alex out of Santa’s lap while they fixed the camera. I took him away from Santa for the second time. When the teenaged “elves” finally fixed the camera and told me to place Alex in Santa’s lap for the third time, Alex slightly clung to me and did not want to go back to the man dressed in red! I walked away and Larry and I noticed the look of fear in his eyes – we knew that we were not getting the smiley child and Santa picture we had hoped for! We were able to get one picture of Alex and Santa. As you can see in the picture, there is fear in Alex’s eye and not much of a smile on his face. We are lucky that the camera did not capture any tears though! We ordered the package in which we got the picture saved to a thumb drive and the “elf” told me that I was able to get three images on thumb drive – I told him that I was not putting my crying child on Santa’s lap again! We walked away with only one picture!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Our Christmas Tree is Up

Not only did we watch a great football game today, but we were also able to put up our Christmas tree after the game! We decided that this year we would put the Christmas tree up in the living room as we have done for the past three years, only this year, the Christmas tree is cage in! We bought a gate to go completely around the Christmas tree – to keep little hands away from it. We also decided that it would probably be in our best interest to only decorate the Christmas tree with lights, garland and our angel! We have a bunch of really special ornaments (some that Larry and I have acquired throughout our years together and some from my Mom and Dad) and it would absolutely kill me if anything happened to some o f the ornaments!

Alex seems intrigued by the lights – he loved watching Larry put them on the tree! Once the tree was up and the lights were on, he went and stood by the gate and just stared at it – it was so cute to watch!

Iron Bowl 2008 - ROLL TIDE!!

Today was a big day in the Cothren household…it was the Iron Bowl! The Iron Bowl is the long awaited and anticipated football rivalry game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers. An important game that allows one team in Alabama to bragging rights for the entire year. In our house, there is no mistaking who we cheer for; we are Tide fans through and through!

Alabama is having an amazing year. Going into the game, their record was 11-0 and they were #1 in all the NCAA football rankings! The Iron Bowl did not disappoint and was just as great of a game as we hoped for (well, only if you are an Alabama fan)! After 4 exciting quarters, Alabama defeated Auburn 36 – 0!

Alex was a little more awake for this year’s Iron Bowl! Last year, he pretty much slept through the game, but this year he was running around like a mad man. He would cheer wildly when Daddy and Grandpa Pete would cheer and he would throw up his arms for a touchdown (and sometimes it would actually be because Alabama scored). He wore his Alabama jersey and jeans and we were even lucky enough to capture a few pictures with his Alabama hat on! Alex had a great second Iron Bowl.

It was a great day to be an Alabama fan! We could not have been happier with the way that the game turned out!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

Larry and I are so thankful this year for Alex and everything that he brings to our lives! We are blessed beyond measure! We have a strong, smart little man that is learning and growing everyday. He is the light of our lives and the joy in our heart! He has filled our lives with so much love - more than I ever realized was possible!

We hope that everyone has a day filled with family, food and fun!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Update on All Things Alex...

It has been quite a while since I have given an update on what Alex is doing developmentally. There are so many things to update on!

Alex has three words in constant rotation (along with his “normal” babble).
1. "HI" - He can plainly say “HI” and often overuses this word. He says “HI” nearly a hundred times a day – that is not even exaggerating! In the beginning, he was saying it ALL the time, regardless of the situation! However, he now says it when he is greeting someone. He makes it a point to say “HI” to most everyone – people that come in the house, daddy when he gets back from work, the dogs, random people at restaurants and stores, etc.
2. "NO" – thankfully, he is not using this to be defiant…yet! He hears me tell the dogs “NO” when they start barking, so now he has decided that he needs to be the one to tell them “NO”! He is very clear when he is yelling NO at them and it is very cute! He has yet to understand that NO can be used in many different situations, but I am sure that one day he will learn it!
3. "OOK" (for look) – he ALWAYS points at things, so Larry and I have been pretty diligent to say “LOOK” when he points to things. We are trying to teach him that is the appropriate time to say “LOOK” and he is slowly learning it!

Alex is officially a walker (and has been for about a month). He much prefers walking as his method of transportation. If he happens to fall down when he is walking, he gets right back up and continues on. He is fearless when it comes to falling down (or anything really).

Alex is into EVERYTHING! This child cannot be left alone! He opens cabinets and pulls everything out (we are in the process of baby-proofing the cabinets). We have to keep all the doors closed and for the most part we try to barricade him in the living room.
He is active…so very active! He is constantly on the move. I really don’t think he ever sits still (and if he is too quiet, you know he is into something). I now know why he is only in the 20th percentile for weight – he is burning off calories just as fast as he is putting them into his mouth!

He is eating real food, three times a day! He loves most everything that we give him. He has a habit of letting the food that he doesn’t like fall out of his mouth. I guess that is his way of letting us know that he does not want anymore! He also only gets whole milk now, no more baby formula! He drinks juice out of a straw cup – he never really took to a sippy cup! And one of the most enjoyable things for him to do during any meal times – SHARE HIS FOOD WITH THE DOGS! He takes delight in throwing his food down and watching the dogs scramble to get it! He laughs so hard when they run around his high chair waiting for his handouts! Oh, don’t worry he is plenty fair – he makes sure to throw enough food down for each of the THREE dogs!

One of his favorite new games is to turn off the TV. He enjoys pushing the button and running quickly from it! We are trying to teach him not to do that, but so far we haven’t been very successful!

He LOVES Wheel of Fortune! Sad, I know, but so darn cute! When he watches the show, he will stop whatever he is doing and clap for the contestants. We think that it might be the lights and the wheel that attract his attention! Needless to say, every night we turn to Wheel of Fortune at 6:30 and laugh at Alex clapping along!

He is loving the game “peek-a-boo”. He will put a blanket up over his face and wait for you to say “Where’s Alex?” before he pulls the blanket down. As soon as you say “peek-a-boo”, he starts belly laughing. It is so much fun. A few times, he has put his hands in front of his eyes instead of a blanket.

One of the most special and sweet things that he does that absolutely melts my heart – he points out Grandpa Jim and Grandma Kathy’s picture. When you walk into his room and ask him where Grandpa Jim and Grandma Kathy are, he immediately points to the picture that I have up on his bookshelf. I never taught him to do this and neither has Larry, which makes it even more special. One day I ask him where they were and he pointed at them - I firmly believe that he knows who they are and that makes me so incredibly happy!

He is getting to be such a big boy. Sometimes I look at him and wonder where my baby went! He looks so grown up and even though I might be a little biased, he certainly is handsome! He is doing so many things and each day I am amazed at what he is learning. This age is difficult – they get into so much and they are not comprehending the word no when they are doing something they shouldn’t, but nevertheless it is such a fun age

There are so many more things, but that is enough to brag on for one entry!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, Grandma Kathy!

Happy Birthday, Grandma Kathy!

Today is Grandma Kathy’s birthday. She would have been 50 years old – WOW!! I’m sure she would not enjoy the fact that I just shared her age with all of our readers…oh well! Today, as is the same with every birthday, we will sing her “Happy Birthday” and send her a balloon up to heaven. Sending balloons is something that Larry and I have done every year since they have been gone and something that I hope Alex will look forward to as he gets older.

As I did on my Dad’s birthday, I am going to try to use this day as a day to celebrate my Mom and the life that she lived. My Mom was an incredible woman. A woman with the kindest heart and warmest embrace. She had a welcoming spirit about her – I really believe that she never met a stranger. Those who knew her instantly became her friend. My Mom loved with her whole heart, she loved her husband, daughter, mother, sister, brothers, nieces and nephews more than words can describe. For those of us that she loved, we never had to doubt it or wonder because she ALWAYS made sure to let us know how much she cared for each one of us. My Mom was my best friend – she was someone that I always knew my secrets were safe with, someone I knew I could confide in and someone I could be me around. She comforted me on days that I was down, gave me hope when I needed it and believed in me when I ceased to believe in myself. My mom is the person that molded me into the woman that I am today. I am so lucky – I have an amazing woman that I am honored to call “My Mom”!

I cry today for all that is missing from my life. I cry for the birthdays that we no longer get to celebrate, for the holidays that we are no longer a family. I cry for the days that seem to drag on and on. I cry for the days that I just want to pick up the phone and call my mom – gosh, there have been so many days within the past 13 months (Alex’s age for those of you that are wondering) that I have NEEDED her and NEEDED her advice. I cry for the fact that Alex will never know the incredible people that made me, me! I cry that he will never feel their kisses or hugs or have sleepovers or be spoiled rotten by Grandpa Jim and Grandma Kathy. I cry because for as much as I want the days to get easier, they aren’t.

And when I feel like I have no more tears left, I smile! I smile because I was able to live 26 years with my Mom and Dad. I smile because of all the memories that I have – the memories that will allow my Mom and Dad to continue to live on. I smile because I know that when I feel like giving up, it is my Mom and Dad who are lifting me up and forcing me to continue on! I smile because I watch our crazy son throw toys across the room and know that my Mom and Dad would be here egging him on and laughing right along with him. I smile because I watch Alex and know that they sent him to me. I see glimpses of them in him all the time and nothing makes my heart smile more!

I love you, Mom! I love you more than I ever knew possible! I hope that you and Dad are having a wonderful 50th birthday celebration. You deserve the best and I am positive that Dad is making sure you receive nothing but the best. You are missed here, not just today but every day. Alex will always know you and know how much you love him. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Total Teeth - 8

For those of you keeping count, our little man has 8 teeth!

Two new teeth popped up overnight - or at least it felt like overnight! The two next to the center bottom teeth are in the process of coming up! So he now has his front four teeth on both the top and the bottom! Our little man is growing up...before we know it, he will have a mouthful of teeth!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Three Years

October 22, 2005.

Three years.

1,096 days.

It feels like a lifetime ago, yet the pain is still so fresh and raw. I can remember every detail of “that day” and recall every emotion that I felt.

In the past three years, I have grown and changed in ways that my Mom and Dad will never see. I have become so much more than they ever knew me as. I have become a better wife, a home owner and most importantly, a MOM! It makes me sad to know that they will meet the person that I am now – for it is now, I feel like I have become so much more than I ever gave myself credit for!

These past three years haven’t been easy. There were so many times that I have wanted to run and call them. I have needed to share with them the good news as well as the bad. I have picked up the phone and dialed their numbers, forgetting for a moment that they wouldn’t answer. There have many times that I have cried out to God and wondered why me!?! I have wanted to turn back the hands of time so many times – if only I could persuade them not to go out that day! There have been so many moments in the past three years that I would have given anything to have them back for, even for just a day! There have been many days where I have felt like giving up and it was in those days that my Mom and Dad inspired me and gave me the hope to continue on. I knew that as my angels they would see that for every sorrow I was experiencing, I would also experience a joy. I have taken heart and found strength in knowing that they would find a way to make sure I felt whole again (or at least mostly whole).

These past three years have been incredible, emotional, heartbreaking, amazing and unbelievable. It is crazy to know that I have pretty much felt every emotion under the sun! I have experienced unspeakable sorrow and unimaginable joy. I have picked myself up through my darkest days and I was rewarded with one of my happiest days. I have watched two of the most important people be taken from me and was given the gift of another.

Three years ago, I was not a mom – today, I am! My Mom and Dad provided me with the joy I needed and I see it every day in Alex’s eyes!

While I am proud of myself for overcoming the past three years with strength and perseverance, my eyes often fill up with tears for the future. As hard as these past three years have been, it is heartbreaking to know that I still have to live a lifetime without them. I will never be able to experience so many things with them. Things that other people that for granted. My Mom and Dad will never be able to hold my child(ren). My child(ren) will never be able to experience a life with Grandma Kathy and Grandpa Jim. If there was one thing in life that my parents were looking forward to, it was becoming Grandparents. I know that they would have taken that role VERY seriously. It hurts to know that there is so much of my future left and so much of my time here on Earth left without them. There are often times when that thought is so overwhelming and it actually feels like my heart is aching – a true and hurtful physical pain! However, it is in those times that I am gently reminded that I need to face my future, just as I have faced my past – ONE DAY AT A TIME!! It is with the strength of my husband, son and parents that I will carry on.

Someone recently asked me if I was happy with my life. The answer is so very bittersweet! I am happy with the person that I have become, the man that I have married, the son that I am raising, the home that we have created and the life that I am starting to live! However, there will always be a missing part of my life. The person that I am today, I don’t know if I would have been if they were still alive and after three crazy years, I can finally say that I like me and I like who I have become! So, the answer to that question… “Am I happy with my life?” Yes, mostly! I wish my life was exactly like it was today AND my Mom and Dad were still a part of it!

I pray every day that I am growing into a woman that they would be proud of and a woman that they would be happy to claim as their daughter. I pray that they are happy with the way that I am living my life. I pray that they continue to watch over Larry, Alex and I.

1,096 days.

Three years.

October 22, 2008.