Monday, August 31, 2009

He LOVES His Dogs...

I know this picture is horribly blurry, but I couldn't help but share it with everyone! I think it is so cute and shows just how much Alex loves his dogs!

I had the misfortune of taking the dogs to the vet today! Yes, all three dogs, Alex and I went to the vet! It was a long 2.5 hour visit, but surprisingly the dogs and Alex behaved. I have to thank the makers of the portable DVD player and Scooby-Doo for occupying Alex during the visit!

On the way to the vet, Buckwheat hopped over the backseat and climbed into Alex's lap. Alex was so excited to have a riding buddy :) Don't worry, I took this picture at a stop light...not while I was driving!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Birthday Dinner

Since my birthday fell on a Thursday, we decided that we would wait until Saturday to go to dinner for my birthday. Our original plan was to get a babysitter for the night and just the adults go out to dinner, but that fell through so Alex went with us! He was really good during dinner - I think he knew that we were celebrating my birthday :)

On Saturday night, we went to dinner at Stoney's on Solomon's Island Pier - a nice little seafood place.

Before dinner as we were walking on the boardwalk, we took a few pictures and I got a few pictures of Alex while we were at the table.

Larry and I before dinner - I love this picture:

Sheena and I before dinner:

Alex and I after dinner - he was too busy look at the boats to look at the camera:
Alex during dinner:

Looking at something so hard that it is making his eyes cross - too funny:

Park Time

We went to the park this morning with Aunt Sheena! We decided to show her our favorite park here in Maryland at the nearby elementary school.

It rained last night, so there were a few puddles inside some of the tunnels and on the slides. No worries, it did not deter Alex and he had a great time splashing in the puddles and getting soaking wet!

We took his four-wheeler and he had a blast riding it on the basketball court in the middle of the playground. We took a bunch of pictures - he was being quite photogenic. Enjoy!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Lucky Girl

As some of you may know, a couple of months ago I got the brilliant idea for Larry to play “30 Days Before 30”. The point of it was to celebrate my birthday….for 30 days. See, such a brilliant idea! At first, Larry did not think that this was as brilliant of an idea as I did. Eventually, he came around and he did such a great job with it. I told him at the beginning that I didn’t want anything big, just something small to surprise me each day! Every day for 30 days, he gave me something small, such as a card, candy or notes. I loved it – it gave me something to look forward to every day and definitely put a smile on my face. I could not have imagined any better way to celebrate my birthday!

The day before my birthday, Larry sent me flowers. It was by far the biggest, prettiest arrangement that I have ever received. He had them put in 10 red roses, 10 pink roses and 10 calla lilies – yep, 30 flowers!

Also, on the day before my birthday, Larry told me that I needed to go to Baltimore Airport to pick up a surprise visitor. I went to the airport just like he told me and was so excited to see Sheena there waiting for us.

On my birthday, Larry made us blueberry pancakes (one of my favorites). He stayed home from work in the morning, but had to go to classes in the afternoon.

Shortly after getting home from the Sprayground, I received a fruit arrangement from Edible Arrangements. Amanda, Josh, and the cats sent me a chocolate covered strawberry arrangement with a balloon. It was incredible looking and tasted even better. I meant to get a picture of it before I started eating it, but I forgot! I ate the first chocolate covered strawberry just a few minutes after I got it – no time for a picture. I have seen many commercials for Edible Arrangements, but had never got one. I highly recommend it for anyone that is looking to send someone something. So much neater than flowers and yummy, too!

On my birthday, I got several cards from family and friends. It was so nice to know that people were thinking of me and sending cards. By far, the best card that I received was from Alex. I think Larry drew the pictures and wrote the words, but Alex colored it and it is the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen. It is so special to me and I think I will treasure it always.

Thank you to everyone who made my birthday special. I was overwhelmed by the cards, presents, text messages, phone calls and Facebook posts. I am a lucky girl!

Construction Worker?!

Maybe he has a career as a construction worker...or perhaps a career with the Village People singing YMCA!

Sorry for the poor quality!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Birthday Cake

Alex loves ice cream birthday cake!

Larry got me a cake from Brusters - it was so yummy! It was yellow cake on the bottom, strawberries in the middle and birthday cake ice cream (with blue frosting) on the top!

After dinner, we had birthday cake and Alex really enjoyed it! We took a bunch of pictures of Alex eating my birthday cake, but for some reason they weren't on the camera when we downloaded them. Thankfully, Sheena had taken a few - here they are:


On my birthday, we decided to take Alex to the Sprayground. It is always a good way to let him get rid of some energy and provides lots of fun pictures! Today was no exception. He had a great time and I got lots of cute pictures! You know that you are getting older when one of the highlights of your day is going to the Sprayground!

We are struggling with a few basic concepts in public, especially at the Sprayground. I am really trying hard to work on him not being so aggressive with other kids. He doesn't mean to be mean, he just wants to play with them so bad that he doesn't realize that he may be pulling on them a little too hard. I am also teaching him sharing - that it isn't appropriate to just go up to another child and steal their bucket or toys...this is a hard concept when you are an only child and all the toys around you belong to you! I don't want him to be the Sprayground bully, but as of right now, it is kind of looking like he is! Part of the problem is that he is very outgoing and just doesn't know how to express it. I want to get him enrolled in a "Mother's Day Out" program - he needs more interaction with children.

Anyway, here are some pictures of Alex at the Sprayground:

Bye-Bye Balloon

In our house, we send balloons up to Grandma Kathy and Grandpa Jim in heaven. We buy special balloons on their birthdays and the anniversary of their death, go outside and wave good-bye to the balloon.

For my birthday, Amanda, Josh and the cats sent me an Edible Arrangement along with an "I Love You" balloon attached to it. The Arrangement came during Alex's naptime, so it was dinnertime before he saw the balloon. As soon as he saw it, he took it to the sliding glass door, pointed outside and said "bye-bye balloon". It made my heart smile that he knows what we do with balloons and it makes me really happy to know that eventually he will know the reason why.

After dinner, we took the balloon outside, let it go, told Grandma and Grandpa that we love them (or "buv you", in Alex-speak) and said and waved bye-bye to the balloon! I suppose that it was only appropriate to send up a balloon to my parents on my 30th birthday. I love that we have this special tradition and I love knowing that it keeps the memory of my Mom and Dad alive!

Here are some pictures of us releasing the balloon:

Alex and the balloon:

Watching the balloon float up the Grandma and Grandpa:

Showing Daddy where the balloon is:

In the middle of saying "buv-you" and waving:

Happy ME!

Happy Birthday…to Me!

Today is my birthday…I turn the dreaded 3-0! Actually, if I am honest, I really haven’t been dreading turning 30. I enjoy going into a new decade – I like checking off a new check box on forms! I know…I’m crazy!

My birthday is a bittersweet day, filled with memories of the past and hopes for the future. I remember today that no longer will I receive the wonderfully irritating phone call from my mom at 12:01 am wishing me a Happy Birthday and that makes me sad! But, I know that my husband will set his alarm for 12:01 am to wish me a Happy Birthday, regardless of what time he has to get up in the morning! I am sad because I know that my parents are no longer here to celebrate the day with me, but I know that I will be able to celebrate the day with my husband and son and that makes me incredibly happy! I know that there will be no cards from my Mom or Dad and that brings a tear to my eye, but a smile can’t help but come across my face as I read the words that my husband has so lovingly written in a card for me and read the card that Alex has attempted to sign! And while most of the day I will be smiling, I am sure that there are times that I will be crying as well. Definitely mixed emotions! I struggle with these bittersweet emotions on a daily basis, but they are never more apparent than on “important” dates! I know that from heaven my parents are wishing me the best 30th birthday ever and they are sending me so much love…I can feel it!

My 20’s were some of the most incredible, sadness filled, joy producing, life changing years and today, I am reflecting on the past decade!

~I turned 21 and brought it in, in style! There is little about the night that I actually remember, but I have pictures to prove that I had an incredible time. I had the 21st birthday that I always wanted – enough of a party, but nothing too crazy!

~I met, fell in love with, became engaged to and eventually married Larry. I had no idea that when I met him that he would turn out to be “the one”. What a sweet surprise! While I didn’t know it at the time, I was so incredibly blessed the day that he walked into my life. Throughout my 20’s, he has proven to be the love of my life, my best friend, my rock, my biggest supporter and one of the most amazing men I have ever met. We have never claimed to have the “perfect” relationship, but we have a relationship that works perfectly for us and for that, I am eternally thankful!

~I had my dream wedding. I could never thank my parents enough for fulfilling my every wish and want. They made my little girl fantasy wedding a reality. The day was perfect because of all that they did for us. We were surrounded by our family and friends, the people who mean the most to us in the world, and we were able to share our love and celebrate it with everyone! We had an amazing time, one that I will never, ever forget!

~I went through the most heartbreaking event EVER on October 22, 2005! My parents were killed and it felt as though my world came crashing beneath me. I will never forget the moment that I found out about my Mom and Dad – it is a memory that is forever etched in my mind. The days and nights surrounding their death are foggy and filled with sadness, but it was then that I learned that I had a wonderful group of family and friends – once again showing me their love! In the years since losing Mom and Dad, I have had to deal with becoming a new person – a person without them and a person learning to go on. For obvious reasons, their death has had the greatest impact on my 20’s!

~Because of their death, the night of October 21, 2005 has also become permanently embedded in my memory. That was the last time that I saw my parents alive, the last time I felt their warm embrace and the last time I said “I love you” to them in person. I hold that day in my heart and will remember every moment of it.

~I have reconnected with my best friend. In the midst of tragedy, comes joy. If my tragedy was losing my parents, my joy was finding Jenny after losing touch with her. As kids, we had a great friendship, but now, as adults, we have an amazing friendship. She is the sister that I never had and I am so thankful she is back in my life! My wish for everyone is to find the type of friendship that I have with Jenny. I read once that sometimes in life your soul mate isn’t your spouse, it is your best friend. I whole-heartedly believe that is true with Jenny and me!

~I became a sister-in-law! This is something VERY big for me! Never having siblings, it was exciting to suddenly have 2 brother-in-laws (with a 3rd added in October of 2008) and 2 sister-in-laws! I love all of them so much and I am so lucky that my siblings-in-law accepted me so well into their family. I am even luckier that within my sister-in-law I found a best friend!

~I gave birth to a beautiful, incredible and amazing little boy. Our son, Alexander James Cothren is my light at the end of a very dark tunnel! He is the happiness in my life that I thought was lost after Mom and Dad died. There is so much that little boy has brought to my life, more than he will ever know and/or realize. He gave me a reason, when I felt like I had no purpose left in the world. He makes me smile on days when my heart is hurting so very bad. He shows me unconditional love when I feel so unlovable. He reminds me of my Mom and Dad during the times when I need it most. He is so much like the both of them, it is scary! Each day, I find so much joy in watching him grow and change. He is no longer my little baby, but a growing and learning toddler. A toddler with a brilliant mind and an eager heart! He is talking, running, meeting milestones and amazing me every step of the way. I am so proud to be his Mommy and I know that having Alex was my proudest moment of my 20’s!

~In my 20’s I have made quite a few moves. I have moved from Cullman, Alabama to Huntsville, Alabama to Enterprise, Alabama and finally to California, Maryland. For a girl who never really moved when she was growing up, this is a lot! Moving to both Enterprise and Maryland has challenged me as a person. I was taken away from my comfort zone and I think I did pretty well!

~We acquired (and kept alive) 3 dogs! Our Pomeranians, Spanky, Rascal and Buckwheat came into our lives at different times during my 20’s. At times, they might annoy us a little, but I really don’t know what life would be like without them.

~I have lost my two grandfathers during my 20’s. In June of 2006, my grandpa Bob, passed away and more recently in July of 2009, my grandpa Virgil passed away. Both of my grandfathers were men of character and dignity. They lived their life with grace, purpose and love. Both men hold a special place in my heart and I miss each of them dearly. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of them. They have each left a legacy on my life that I will honor and remember!

~I was honored to be a part of two different weddings in my 20’s. The first was Kari and Barry’s in July of 2007, where I served as a bridesmaid (Alex actually was a bridesmaid as well, since I was six months pregnant at the time)! Never having been in a wedding before, it was an incredible experience and I was so happy to be a part of it! The second was Sheena and Trey’s wedding in October of 2008. I was so excited when Sheena asked me to be her Matron of Honor and consider it a huge blessing to have stood beside her on her wedding day!

~While I always knew that my Mom’s family was close and important to me, it became even more apparent to me after my Mom and Dad died. My Aunt, Uncles and Cousins have provided me with a support system – calling and checking on me frequently! They have celebrated my joys and supported me in my sorrows, never forgetting to show me the love that they know I have needed. My grandma has been by my side every step of the way. She has be the one that I am able to turn to when I need advice, she waited by my bedside before I went in for my C-section and was there after I delivered Alex, she has taken care of me when I have been sick, scared and needed someone. I can’t ever begin to thank her for all that she has become in my life – I am so lucky that God made sure she was here when he took my Mom from me!

~In my 20’s, I have strengthened existing friendships, made new friends, lost touch with friends and reconnected with friends (thanks to Facebook). My life is enriched and greater because each of these people has been a part of my life. Thank you, friends, for being part of my life and for making my 20’s even that much more special.

All-in-all, this past decade has been one of growth, strength, love, loss, joy and sorrow! The events of the past decade have brought me to where I am today and for the most part, I like where I am and I like who I am!

So, goodbye 20’s and HELLO 30’s :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Corn on the Cob

Alex had corn on the cob for the first time tonight! We aren't sure if he enjoyed it or not, but I got a few cute pictures!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Test Drive

We went to Toys R Us in Annapolis today and let Alex run wild in there.

One of his favorite parts was test driving the battery powered cars. Unfortunately for him, they didn't move, but that didn't stop him from having a blast.

I got a few pictures on my cell phone and thought I would share them here:
Grandma Kathy and Grandpa Jim would be so proud! His favorite, by far, was the motorcycle :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mr. Photogenic

I told Alex to say "cheese" and the following is what I got:

I think he is becoming quite photogenic :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Who Knew?!

Apparently, you need to wear your swim goggles to eat dinner! Who knew?!


In his rainboots...INSIDE the house. You can't ever be too prepared :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Early Birthday Party

On Saturday night, my Aunt, Uncle and Cousins came down to my Grandma's to visit and brought with them a fun birthday cake for me (my birthday is August 27 - I will be the big 3-0)! I loved being able to have a mini-birthday party with my family in Florida...and it was so nice to know that they wanted to celebrate my birthday!

Here are few pictures:

I can't be sure, but I think Josh was trying to demonstrate his "jazz-hands" routine...I'm slightly scared of it (notice the look of fear in the smile on my face):

Amanda and I...with my Uncle Mike and Josh acting crazy in the background:

Amanda and I...without the guys messing up the picture:

Family Time

On Saturday, my Mom's cousin Scott (I guess that makes him my second cousin), his wife Melanie and his two kids, Tyler and Jordan, came down to Florida on vacation. They rented a nice condo in Clearwater and invited everyone down to the pool. Grandma, Alex and I went, along with my two Uncles Darron and Michael and Michael's two kids, Austin and Emily.

The pool was beautiful! Alex loved being around so many kids and the kids were so good to him. Austin and Tyler spent so much time with him, throwing the football with him and helping him swim - it was so cute to watch!

It was nice to spend time with everyone. I loved watching Alex interact with everyone - he is so comfortable with them, regardless of how much time passes between visits!

Here are some pictures of our time at the pool:

Friday, August 14, 2009

Definitely My Son

Fact: I love Publix cupcakes!

I love them so much that everytime I go anywhere near a Publix, I have to stop in to get a six-pack of vanilla cupcakes. I have been known to eat them all myself and not share them with anyone around me! There is just something about that buttercream icing and that moist yellow cake that I LOVE!

I got cupcakes when I was down in Florida and saved a vanilla one for Alex to try! Yes, I actually shared them with him! Oh my goodness, there is no doubt about it...he is my son! He loved the cupcake and devoured it! He was messy and as he was eating it, he kept saying "YUM"...and I couldn't have been prouder!

Here are some pictures - I took them to show Larry just how much Alex loved the cupcake, too!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Aren't little boys in overalls the cutest things ever?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Alex LOVES Lily...

...and Lily plays dead around Alex!

As most of you know, Larry and I are highly allergic to cats (Larry much more so than myself - he actually started sneezing when I showed him the pictures of Alex and Lily...I'm just kidding!)! Alex, however, LOVES cats!

At my Grandma's house this week, all that Alex wanted to do was play with Grandma's cat. Grandma's cat did not want anything to do with Alex. He would run away from him and hiss whenever Alex came towards him! When you now ask Alex what a kitty says, he used to say "meow" he hisses at you - so funny!!

Fortunately, at my Aunt and Uncle's house Lily allowed Alex to hold her! Kristy was able to catch Lily and as soon as Lily noticed Alex coming toward her, she started to play dead (went limp and everything). Lily let Alex hold her for a few minutes and Alex LOVED it. He was so gentle with her, petting her and smiling so big when she was sitting in his lap! It really was quite cute!

Unfortunately for Alex, we are will NEVER own a cat!

Here are a few pictures of Alex and Lily...enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Alex was so excited to go to the pool in Grandma's neighborhood, that he started running! He was carrying a few pool toys and running in crocs - not a good combination for MY child (if you didn't already know - I am a bit of a klutz)! Alex fell down on the sidewalk and skinned up his knee. You would have never known though because he picked himself right up and started running again towards the pool.

The next day, Alex had me sit on the couch next to him and put my hand on his knee. Yes, he was milking his injury for all that it was worth! As I was holding his knee, I asked him if he wanted to take a picture of it to send to daddy and he said "YES!" in the most pitiful voice ever. I took a picture of it. I also decided to post it here because it is a sad picture, but such a cute story!

Pool Time

Alex had a blast at the pool in Grandma's neighborhood. He loved swimming - we are almost convinced that he is part fish :)

He did so good swimming. He was kicking his legs and swimming around the pool by himself (well, with the help of his swim vest). Grandma had gotten him a kick board, which Alex really enjoyed! When we were in the pool, he would sit on the kick board and make me push him around - all while he was yelling "YEE-HAW"! The kick board quickly became known as his "yee-haw" board!!

Here are some pictures of Alex in the pool:

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Scared...But Can't Look Away!

We started watching Jurassic Park at my Aunt and Uncle's house when I was in Florida this week! I wasn't so sure if it was a good idea with Alex around, but decided to see wait and see his reaction.

He was so FUNNY! He could not stop looking at the TV screen, even when he was a little bit scared. At one point, Amanda (my cousin) snapped this picture:

I just love this picture and think it is so hilarious!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Child Labor?!

Alex has finally started earning his keep around here:

As I was getting his breakfast ready today, he pulled out the broom and dustpan and started sweeping the floor. He thought it was hilarious and I was happy to have the help!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Silly Kid

Alex was being so goofy today! He had me laughing most of the day - which is a VERY nice change of pace lately!

At one point, he put one of his pans on his head and looked at me and said "CHEESE"! I never thought he would leave it on long enough for me to take a picture of it with my cell phone, but figured I would try. Much to my surprise, he left the pan on his head, posed AND said "cheese"! The result of my picture-taking is below:

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Park Day

Alex, Larry and I finally had a day to just spend together and relax! Larry is in between reports at school and had a little bit more downtime this weekend than normal!

Before the rain hit this afternoon, we went to our favorite park in the area! We brought Alex's four-wheeler and let him run around on the playground! He loves to be outside!

Here are some pictures from the day! Oh, and for those of you that are always asking where the pictures of Alex and I are...there are a few in this slideshow! I finally got out from behind the camera :)

Future Photographer?!

Perhaps he will be a future photographer?! He sure did show an interest in my camera at the park today :)