Saturday, October 31, 2009

Disney on Ice

Our weather was not cooperating for Trick-or-Treating, so Larry and I made the decision to take our Batman to the Disney on Ice show in Baltimore. We arrived at the arena and discovered that we had amazing seats. We were sitting right in front of the ice and could see the characters as they came out - not too bad for buying them about 6 hours before the show.

On our way to the show, we decided that when Alex had "enough" (parents, you know what I am talking about), we would leave. No pressure! He is only 2, so we didn't expect too much out of him! To our amazement, he sat and watched the entire show. He was wide-eyed, singing, dancing and LOVED it! From the moment that the characters started dancing, he was so into the show. He got a little restless during intermission, but once we gave him a lollipop and the show started again, he was good to go! We wound up staying for the entire show.

I had always heard that seeing things through your kids eyes' is like seeing things for the first time. I had really never experienced that...until this show! Watching Alex watch the show was worth every dollar we spent on it! It made my heart smile to know that he was enjoying himself and that he loved what was going on. I am so excited to experience so much more with him now!

We took a bunch of pictures...both of Alex watching the show and of the ice show itself. Enjoy them.



Also, here is a short video that I took with my cell phone of Alex watching the show! I know that it is dark and not the best quality, but it just shows you how into the show he actually was!


video

We know that we didn't celebrate the traditional Halloween, but we created memories that we will treasure forever. We have years of Trick-or-Treating ahead of us, but last night was something that no amount of candy could have replaced!

Hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from our family to yours!

Here in Maryland, it is promising to be a rainy, cold day. We decided to forgo the soggy trick-or-treating and take Alex to Disney on Ice in Baltimore! We are still going to let him wear his Batman costume and bring his coveted pumpkin candy bucket! We are really excited about the show! I promise to take lots of pictures of Batman and the Disney characters!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Few Cute Pictures

Here are a few cute pictures of Alex from today! He is such a ham some days :)

His cute pumpkin socks from Aunt Kristy and Uncle Mike:

Big Smile:

Such a serious face:

Another smiley pic:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Finger Painting Fun

We decorated our Pumpkins. This year, we took the easy way out - no carving! We bought Mr. Potato Head parts for one and then we were going to let Alex finger paint the other one. Unfortunately, the finger paint that I have didn't work too well on the pumpkin, so I am going to have to find something else!

But once we got the finger paint out, Alex was not about to let us put it away without creating some sort of mess! We put a big sheet of white paper on his high chair tray and he went to town! He had a blast...I'm not sure if it was the actual painting that he liked or the getting messy!

Here are a few pics of him finger painting! I think he has the potential to be an artist...what do you think?

Sleeping Alex

There is nothing sweeter than a sleeping Alex! I love him every minute of every day, but I think I might love him most when he is sleeping and cuddled up next to me ;) Rocking him to sleep everyday at naptime is one of the things I look most forward to!

Here are a few pictures I snapped today:


Fashion Sense??

This morning, I started to wash breakfast dishes, realized that Alex was being a bit too quiet and checked in the living room to see what he was doing. Well, he had managed to get out of his jammies (the footed, zippered kind) and his diaper! I quickly re-dressed him before we had an accident. I went back in the kitchen to finish the dishes and walked into the living room when I finished and this is what I found:


Backwards Atlanta Braves hat, Woody Boots/Slippers and diaper! I just let him stay like this. Eventually though, he started whining that he wanted his jammies back on. I put them on, but the outfit wasn't complete without his Boots/Slippers over top of his footed/zippered jammies!

I wonder where this kid gets his fashion sense and I pray that he it just gets better with age :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

More Presents...

Alex received another birthday box today! Our little boy is one loved kid :)

Aunt Kristy and Uncle Mike sent a box full of presents and Alex was so excited to get it! He got a Scooby Doo, Batman jammies, two Scooby movies, a harmonica (thanks a bunch), a Spiderman toothbrush, a Halloween flashlight and a pair of Halloween socks!

Here are some pictures of Alex opening his goodies:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Park Time

This afternoon, after Alex woke up from his nap, we went to the park! I know, I know - we were at the park earlier this morning! The weather here was too pretty to not take advantage of it and we love being able to let Alex run off some of his "boy energy". Plus, Larry and I are loving the changing of the leaves - we are so not used to it living in Alabama!

Here are a few pictures of our time at the park:

Picture Preview

Today, Larry, Alex and I FINALLY had some professional pictures taken! We decided that we wanted to take them in an outdoor setting (we realize that Alex is not at the age where he can sit in a studio and be "posed").

After looking online, I came across Liz Donovan Photography - http://www.lizdonovanphotos.smugmug.com/. I contacted Liz and we set up an appointment for today at 10:30 am at the Navy Rec Center at Solomon's Island. The Navy Rec Center has beautiful wooded areas, several playgrounds and a pier - the perfect setting for our family pictures. In fact, right now the leaves are changing and it is absolutely beautiful outside! The session went really great and we really liked Liz. She spent about an hour and half with us and told me this afternoon that she took 552 pictures!

We were fortunate that Alex was somewhat cooperative. Of course, he is two years old and doesn't want to sit still for too long, but Liz has two children of her own so she knew that she would have to chase after him to get good shots!

Shortly after we got back home, Liz e-mailed me two "sneak peeks" of our photo session. I asked her if it was okay that I share them with you all and she said "of course!"

Here are two preview shots of our photo session today. I can't wait until I can show you more!



Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

Even though it was predicted to be a rainy day, we thought we would brave the weather (or rather pray that it wouldn't rain) and take Alex to a pumpkin patch we have heard great things about. Lucky for us, it only started drizzling for a few minutes and we enjoyed a cloudy day the rest of the time!

We went to Bowles Pumpkin Patch in Leonardtown, Maryland! They had a petting zoo, barrel rides, a kiddie maze, a straw pit and corn pit for the kids to play in, a corn maze, wagon rides and of course, a pumpkin patch. Alex and rode the barrel ride together and he LOVED it! He enjoyed the petting zoo - he was making all sorts of animal noises while we were in there visiting the animals. He had a great time in the corn pit - seriously, putting corn in a sand box like contraption is a genius idea! We walked through the corn maze and he was a little unsure of it. We couldn't tell if he didn't like the sound of the wind rustling through the corn stalks or if he was afraid of the tractor noises in the distance. They were having a tractor pull right near the corn maze and it was a little loud (yes, apparently they have tractor pulls in the North also)! All-n-all, I think Alex had a great pumpkin patch experience and we had a great time watching him have fun!

Also, they had fresh baked pumpkin pies! I definitely bought one and we have definitely eaten some tonight! It is delicious!

Here are quite a few pictures from the Pumpkin Patch! Hope you enjoy them!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Blast From The Past

Can you guess who this cutie is?



Oh, the name patch probably gave it away :) It's Larry! Grandpa Larry sent me this picture today and I thought I would post it on here!

Hurricane Alex

How can one child make so much mess....before 11 am?

A game...kind of like "Where's Waldo?" Can you spot Alex in the next picture?

Yep, he is in the wood thing...hiding from me! He thinks he is hilarious!

Just Because

Here are two cute pictures of Alex the other morning:

He really doesn't have a double chin...I don't know why it looks like he does in the first picture :)






Thursday, October 22, 2009

Four Years


October 22, 2009...

Another year has passed. Another year of joys and sorrows. Another year of celebrations, milestones and mourning. Another year of growth and change. Another year of missing, longing and loving. Another year without them!

They have been gone four years … FOUR YEARS! It just doesn’t seem possible. There are days when it feels as though time has passed in the blink of an eye and other days when it feels like the hours, minutes and seconds are dragging on. Four years later, I can still recall every detail about that day and it plays in my mind like a (bad) movie! I miss them every minute of every day.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of them or wish I could call them. But today, on the anniversary of their death, it is even more apparent they are not with me. Today, I will live my life in the past, remembering exactly what I was doing four years ago today. I will re-live each agonizing minute, not because I want to, but because that is just what I do. I will remember watching the Alabama vs. Tennessee game, oblivious to the fact that my parents had left this life! I will remember the phone calls that I received, the people that were there to comfort me and the way that I felt. I will remember waiting in my car – knowing that my life was about to change, but trying to prolong it as long as I could. I will remember the exact words that the policemen told me and the scream that followed. I will remember throwing down my keys, running down the stairs and sitting on the curb near our apartment – I was breathing in the cool night air to keep myself from passing out or throwing up! I will remember the look of horror on Larry’s face the moment he told me that my parents had been in an accident and they didn’t make it. I will remember the crying, not just from me, but from everyone around me – people that loved and respected them so very much. I will remember feeling like I was living a nightmare and knowing for sure that I would wake up, but I will definitely remember the phone call from my Aunt the next morning reminding me that it was not a nightmare … it was my life!

This year has been difficult for me – something that is hard for me to admit! I don’t know if it is because we three (Larry, Alex and I) have gone through so much change, or if it is because I am watching my son grow up and realizing they will never be here to experience it or if it because I miss them … plain and simple! Regardless of the reason, the missing, heartache and hurt is still there, day in and day out!

I miss seeing my Mom’s beautiful face, hearing her sweet voice and calling her at any time of the day or night and her being there. I miss my Dad’s infectious laughter, his quiet and calming presence and his intelligence. I miss knowing they were there for me … always! I think too often in life, we take for granted what is right in front of us, never realizing what we had until it is gone!

My heart hurts knowing what they are missing out on. It hurts to know that Alex will only know them through stories, pictures and videos. No matter how much I explain it to him, he will never know what their embrace feels like. While he will hear their voices on video, he will never hear them say his sweet name. And of course he will be surrounded with pictures of them, but he will never SEE them and be near them.

My heart hurts knowing how proud they would be of Larry and all that he is accomplishing. I know that my Dad would be telling everyone ALL about TPS and all about his “son” being in it! I know they would be excited for Larry and with Larry. I know they would be celebrating this journey with us. What I wouldn’t give for them to be here!

My heart hurts for me. For all that I need them to be here for; for all that I want them to experience with me; and for missing them just as much as I do! While I know that life is never fair, this just seems especially unfair to me. It seems unfair that there was so much more life they had left to live, so much more they needed to be here for and so much that they are missing out on!

My heart hurts for my family. They are missing their daughter, sister, aunt, son, uncle and brother. We are missing such an integral part of our family – a thread that held us tightly together. Their loss is just as hard as mine and they are experience the same sadness I am. My family aches for the pieces that are missing from our lives – there is nothing that will ever fill the hole that my Mom and Dad left.

Every day I rock Alex to sleep at naptime. That is our special time together. I love singing him to sleep (while my voice is not that great – he loves it and that is all that matters). I love feeling him snuggled up on me. I love feeling his little body go limp as he falls asleep and hearing his breathing go deeper. I love smelling his sweet, toddler smell and giving him soft kisses. But today, as I was rocking him to sleep I started looking at the picture of my Mom and Dad that we keep in his room and started crying. And instead of singing sweet lullabies to my son, I was telling him all about his Grandma and Grandpa. Because Alex is repeating so much more of what we say now, he softly whispered “nandma” and “nandpa”, which made me start crying even more!

What makes me most sad? Alex is missing out on one of the biggest parts of his life and he doesn’t even know it! He will never know Grandparents that would love him more than life itself. He will never know the way they would spoil him, both with love and with presents. He will never know the safety and security you are supposed to feel when you are around them!

I know that they are always around me. I know that they are giving me signs to show me they are still very much a part of my life. And in my dark days, that gives me comfort! I guess I am just missing them today. I am missing all that they were and everything that they were to be!

I love you, Mom and Dad! You are such a big part of my life … today and always!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I'M BATMAN....

We tried his Halloween costume on him the other night...he loved it!

Here are a few pictures:

Alex's Cool Jacket

Last year for Christmas, Grandpa Larry got Alex a green jacket (like Larry's) and had patches put on it. It is a 2T and will be perfect for this winter. Last week Larry took it someplace and had three additional patches put on the back. He had a Blackhawk patch, the TPS patch and his class patch put on! We let Alex try it on when he brought it home and Alex LOVED it! The zipper has a little airplane on it, so he kept saying "airpane". He is also really into pockets right now and we later found one of his puzzle pieces in one of the pockets :)

Here are a few pictures of Alex in his super-cool new jacket:







The back of the jacket:


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Quick Update

UPDATE: My computer is back! I promise to work on post Alex's birthday pictures tomorrow! We took a bunch of cute ones and I can't wait for everyone to see!



For all of you that are anxious to see Alex's Birthday pictures, I have sad news to report. My computer has failed me and is out of commission. Currently, the "geeks" of The Geek Squad at Best Buy are working on it. If it is a problem they can fix, it will be just a few days. If they have to send it off, it will be longer! As soon as I get it back, I will post pictures!

Oh, I'm posting this message from my Blackberry.

And for all of you wondering what is wrong with the computer, the monitor went out on my laptop. The bottom seems to work, not so much the top!

Thanks...I hope to be posting again soon!

The Jump Yard

We decided to take Aunt Jenny, Kyle and Katelyn to the Jump Yard! It has been a dreary couple of days - raining and cold - and we thought that the kids could go do something to get some energy out! The kids loved it - at one point, Kyle ran by me and yelled "Thank you for bringing me here Aunt Sarah!"

Here are a few pictures from our adventures at The Jump Yard:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Birthday Party!

We decided to keep Alex's birthday party low-key this year! Since we are in an area we are not too familiar with, we thought keeping things small was the best thing! As a last minute decision, Aunt Jenny, Kyle and Katelyn were able to come spend a couple days with us and lucky for us, they were able to come visit over Alex's birthday.

We decided to have pizza, beer and a cake for Alex - well, the beer was for the adults, not Alex! One of Larry's co-workers, Rory, also came over for the fun! We ate our pizza, watched Alex open his presents, watched Alex smear cake all over his face (note to other parents: green icing is not the best choice for birthday cakes), enjoyed a piece of cake and then cleaned Alex up. We let him stay up way past his bedtime to play with all his new toys!

He was a very lucky little boy this year! He got a Shake 'N Go Racetrack from Grandma Karen, a Scooby Doo figure and blanket, croquet set, and bath toys from Grandma Becky and Grandpa Pete, a few new Alabama clothes from Grandpa Larry and Great-Grandpa Larry and Mega Bloks from Aunt Sheena. Larry and I got him a few small presents to open (Matchbox set, a car, kite and books), but for his "big" birthday present from us, we got him a tricycle! He was SO excited about the tricycle and helmet!

A little funny story: I got Alex the candles for his cake that spelled out "Happy Birthday!" Well, when I went to set them up and put them on the cake, I realized that they gave me the letters to spell "Happy Birthdby!" I was not happy. Lucky for us, we had two Test Pilot School students here (Larry and Rory) and they tried to fix it! They tried to melt off the line that was at the bottom of the extra "b". Unfortunately though, they weren't all that successful and Alex's cake said "Happy Birthdry!" You can clearly see it in the middle picture on the collage!

Here are a bunch of pictures from him opening presents and eating cake...enjoy!


Birthday Cake Collage

Here is a collage of the birthday boy digging into his birthday cake:

Happy 2nd Birthday, Alex!!

Happy Birthday, Alex!

Today our sweet, little man turns 2 years old! We have watched him grow from a newborn baby to a high-spirited, fun, adventurous, fearless, loving toddler! We have witnessed him hitting milestones and exceeding our expectations. He has learned to walk, run, talk and so much more! Every moment we have cherished, celebrated and loved!

I can’t believe that the past two years have flown by as fast as they have. It feels like just yesterday we were welcoming our son, Alexander James Cothren, into the world, listening to his first cry and holding him for the first time. I will never forget the moment that I first laid my eyes on those chubby cheeks and the instant surge of unconditional love that rushed through my body!

Alex is our greatest joy and the light of our lives. He is the reason for the smile on our faces and the reason we thank God every day and night. And while everything isn’t always perfect (as most of you parents know) and in spite of the tantrums, “no’s” and “mine’s”, we remind ourselves that those moments are fleeting and our sweet boy will soon return. For as frustrating as life can be sometimes, the joy and laughter in our life far outweighs it!

Our family of three has experienced so much growth, change and adventure this past year. Alex has adapted so well and nothing makes us prouder! He made himself at home here in Maryland without skipping a beat. When we have toured new areas, he watches with wide-eyes, enjoying every second. We have been able to provide him with so many opportunities this past year by embarking on this journey and while he won’t remember much of our life right now, we have taken plenty of pictures to show him!

Alex is learning new things everyday – he is a sponge and soaking up life around him! He is learning to communicate with us, something both very exciting for him and also very frustrating. He knows what he wants to say, but sometimes can’t find the right word that he is searching for.

He is so fearless and as his mom, I would be lying if I said that didn’t frighten me a little! He climbs on the playground without fear, climbs on top of his toys, runs up and down the stairs and wrestles with Daddy! I am so envious of the fearlessness and it is something that I hope he always holds on to (well, at least a little bit of it).

As so many of you know, Alex came into our lives at a time when we needed him most. He was sent down to us, bringing with him so much love, hope and joy and we couldn’t be happier. He will know just how much hope he has given us!

Today, we are celebrating Alex and these amazing past 2 years! We are celebrating the happiness he bring to us and those around him, we are celebrating his amazing spirit for life, we are celebrating the dreams and hopes we have for him and we are celebrating who he is!

Happy Birthday, baby boy! Mommy and Daddy love you so much more than you will ever know! We will always be here for you, always protect you, always guide you and always love you!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Birthday Presents...from Canada!

Since January of 2007, I have been a part of a message board. I joined when I got pregnant with Alex. Our common bond was that all of our kids were due in October (some came early, most came during the month of October and a few came late). There has been a group of women that have been there since the beginning and we shared the joys of finding out we were pregnant, our fears about pregnancy, celebrated the births of our children and have asked questions about raising toddlers!

Over the past 2+ years we have become friends. We decided to do a "birthday exchange" between our kids. We bought a gift for our "birthday buddy" and received a gift from another "birthday buddy". We got our gift in early September and couldn't wait to open it.

Jenn and Mia are from Canada and sent Alex such wonderful goodies. He got a Little People racecar and person, a Scooby Doo book, a Scooby Doo card, Canada stickers and a Vancouver Winter Olympics t-shirt! They sent something that was from their area and I loved that! I can't wait to have Alex wear his shirt! Thank you Jenn and Mia for thinking of us and sending Alex such special gifts! He loved everything!

Here are some pictures of Alex opening his gifts from his "birthday buddy":

Didn't Take Long...

...for Alex to figure out how to climb on the new shelf system!


I swear, this kid really is part monkey :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Clean Up, Clean Up!

Today, Larry and I decided enough was enough! We felt like our living room was being overrun with toys that Alex didn't play with that much, toys that were buried at the bottom of the toy box and a kitchen that was an accident waiting to happen! First, we went through the toy box and found a bunch of stuff that Alex didn't even know he had! Seriously, the bottom of the toy box was like a black hole! Then we decided what we wanted to keep, sell and give away. After that, I went to Target and got the "itso" brand cubes and canvas bins. We put them together, put the toys away and all of the sudden, we got a little more of our living room back :) Most of it was all done while Alex was sleeping, so when he woke up Alex loved the new set-up and was so excited to see toys that he hadn't seen in months!

Also, as if all that wasn't enough, we went through all of Alex's clothes. We packed up all of the things that he has grown out of and brought out a few new things that we had stored away. He is now mostly in a 2T or 24-month size for length, but his waist is still so skinny that he almost needs an 18-month in that. We have found that adjustable pants (or shorts) are a great thing! Unfortunately, since Larry and I aren't done having kids, I don't want to part with any of Alex's clothes. So for now, they are packed away in several bins, waiting to see if eventually Alex will have a little brother that needs the clothes!

As for what we are going to sell, we decided to part with the toy box, his Little Tikes kitchen set and a few little toys that he has outgrown. I first offered them to the families in Larry's class, but will probably just list them on Craigslist. We have kept most of his toys in great condition, so they should be easy to sell.

Today was just another step towards realizing that our baby is growing up and becoming quite the little man! All in all, we are quite pleased with the results!

Before (this is a bit extreme...normally it isn't THIS messy):



After:

Alex thought the door was a hiding spot for him! He is so crazy:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Buzz Lightyear

I got Alex new PJ's tonight at Wal-Mart. They have Buzz Lightyear on them and he loved them. We loved hearing him try to say "Buzz Lightyear"! As always, the kid was showing off and we took a few pictures of him!


Playing swords with Daddy:

Again, with the construction goggles:


"Cheese":

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Game Day - ROLL TIDE!!

It is Saturday, so that means that our TV is tuned to Alabama football. Today, they played the Ole Miss Rebels. After a good game, they beat Ole Miss 22 to 3....ROLL TIDE!!

As always, we all put on our Alabama jersey's...and as always, I got a couple of cute pictures of Alex!

Ready for the game to start:


"Cheese"...I just love this picture:
He decided to put on his construction hat and goggles:




And now he is wearing his construction hat and goggles AND his swim goggles:


Here are a few pictures that he wanted me to take with the camera...he kept saying "cheese":