Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I think all of summer went by without a single blog post! And it's definitely not because we had a dull and uneventful summer, or due to lack of effort on my part - I've tried uploading Jaden's T-Ball pictures about four times now. In this case, I hope the fifth time's the charm!

Anyway, Jaden's been wanting to play on a baseball team pretty much since conception. Unfortunately for him, my softball days were long gone while I was pregnant, so he didn't get to play in utero. And another bummer for him - there aren't any newborn to 3 yr. old T-Ball teams in Las Cruces. When he was three years old, I remember us driving past a field where a little tiny T-Ball team was practicing and he begged us to stop and ask if he could be on the team. Sam stopped to ask, but they said he had to be four. Imagine the disappointment on my little baseball fanatic's face.

Well after recruiting me, Sam, Elijah, Nana, Papa, aunts & uncles, and any other willing participant to play on his backyard baseball team, we were all very excited when Jaden was finally elegible for the city's real T-Ball league. And nobody was more excited than he was! His team was the Dust Devil's and he was ecstatic to have a "real" uniform - jersey, cleats and all! We got to pick his jersey number, and we chose 18 because of his birthday (Jan. 18) and his idol baseball player's number (aka Uncle Jeremy).

I loved everything about T-Ball season, for us and for Jaden. I was so happy for him to finally get to do something he had been anticipating for years - literally. And I think there are so many wonderful lessons that kids can learn through organized sports or activities, like the rules of teamwork, being a grateful winner (and loser), trying their best, never giving up, and just having fun! And for me, T-Ball season felt like the beginning of a new family chapter and family traditions. I remember growing up, my brother, sister and I always had sports or other activities going on and my mom and dad were ALWAYS there in the front row - our biggest supporters - all the way until my dance performances in college. My mom said that her and my dad agreed that we could do any extracurricular activity we wanted to, and that they would be there for every game, performance, or show. And I always remember them being there. So I loved getting to start this special tradition with Jaden, and hope it's something he will remember and cherish in years to come. Who knew a simple T-Ball team could be so sentimental!

The Dust Devils - aren't they cute! Jaden's on the bottom right.

There's my little catcher! They don't really have official "positions" in T-Ball, but Jaden was the catcher for most of the games.

Batting was his favorite part of the whole game (other than snacks after). He was a really good hitter - too bad he wasn't the fastest runner. Getting tagged out broke his heart.

There's his biggest fan!! (Along with Nana and Papa, who came from El Paso for every single game)! Such a lucky boy

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Yes, I Have...

I found this fun survey on my cousin's blog - Instructions with this are to bold the ones you've done, leave the others in normal type. So here goes...
  1. Started your own blog
  2. Slept under the stars
  3. Played in a band
  4. Visited Hawaii
  5. Watched a meteor shower
  6. Given more than you can afford to charity
  7. Been to Disneyland/World
  8. Climbed a mountain
  9. Held a praying mantis
  10. Performed in front of an audience
  11. Bungee jumped
  12. Visited Paris
  13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
  14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
  15. Adopted a child
  16. Had food poisoning
  17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
  18. Grown your own vegetables
  19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
  20. Slept on an overnight train
  21. Had a pillow fight
  22. Hitch hiked
  23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill (teehee!)
  24. Built a snow fort (what snow?)
  25. Held a lamb
  26. Gone skinny dipping
  27. Run a marathon
  28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (does the Venetian in Las Vegas count?)
  29. Seen a total eclipse
  30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
  31. Hit a home run
  32. Been on a cruise
  33. Seen Niagra Falls in person
  34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
  35. Seen an Amish community
  36. Taught yourself a new language (Gibberish)
  37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
  38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
  39. Gone rock climbing
  40. Seen Michelangelo's David
  41. Sung karaoke
  42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
  43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
  44. Visited Africa
  45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
  46. Been transported in an ambulance
  47. Had your portrait painted
  48. Gone deep sea fishing
  49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
  50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
  51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
  52. Kissed in the rain
  53. Played in the mud
  54. Gone to a drive-in theater
  55. Been in a movie
  56. Visited the Great Wall of China
  57. Started a business
  58. Taken a martial arts class
  59. Visited Russia
  60. Served at a soup kitchen
  61. Sold Girl Scout cookies
  62. Gone whale watching
  63. Gotten flowers for no reason
  64. Donated blood, platelets, or plasma
  65. Gone sky diving
  66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
  67. Bounced a check
  68. Flown in a helicopter
  69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
  70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
  71. Eaten caviar
  72. Pieced a quilt (just a paper one with my students)
  73. Stood in Times Square
  74. Toured the Everglades
  75. Been fired from a job
  76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
  77. Broken a bone (or 5...)
  78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
  79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
  80. Published a book
  81. Visited the Vatican
  82. Bought a brand new car
  83. Walked in Jerusalem
  84. Had your picture in the newspaper (and on a billboard, in fact)
  85. Read the entire Bible
  86. Visited the White House
  87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
  88. Had chickenpox
  89. Saved someone's life
  90. Sat on a jury
  91. Met someone famous
  92. Joined a book club
  93. Lost a loved one
  94. Had a baby
  95. Seen the Alamo in person
  96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
  97. Been involved in a lawsuit
  98. Owned a cell phone
  99. Been stung by a bee or wasp

In summary, it looks like I've got some traveling to do!

Your turn...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Elijah's Second Birthday!

My sweet Elijah turned two years old in April...TWO! Where has the time gone. It's so much fun to watch him follow in his big brother's footsteps, while becoming such a little person all his own. His little personality has really shone through this second year of his life and it's neat to see the person he is becoming. He loves humor and laughs very easily at silliness, which Jaden works very well; he is a rough and tumble little guy and likes to just pound on things, including people at times; he's also very sweet and gentle, and will randomly walk up to us for a hug. He is very strong-willed and knows what he wants; he is always on the go until the second his head hits the pillow, and then he's out. He has become quite the little parrot, repeating anything and everything that anybody says (Sam forgot this the other day and was holding Elijah while telling me a story about a coworker who was "pissed." Elijah repeats, "He's pissed! He's pissed!" Oops, daddy)! And he's at that fun age where there's a nice mixture of terrible and terrificness -perfect example: he'll get into something he's not supposed to and make a mess with it all over the floor; then give the most heartfelt "Sorry mamma" and rush to get a towel to clean it all up. Just so precious. Fortunately for us, the scale weighs heavier on the terrific side. And even if it didn't those puppy dog eyes of his can keep him out of any kind of trouble!

Two Year's Ago...

Happy Second Birthday, Elijah Norman! We love you so much!!

Elijah's second birthay happened to be over a weekend and Jaden convinced us that there was no place Elijah would rather wake up on the morning of his birthday than Nana and Papa's house, so we loaded up all of his birthday goodies and headed to El Paso! I think children's birthdays are so special and I am always excited to stay up late making all the special preparations and finishing touches for the next morning's surprise. I encouraged Sam to join me in my enthusiasm, so he and I stayed up late wrapping his gifts, blowing up balloons, hanging banners, stringing streamers from one end of the house to the other, and putting together Elijah's big gift, which was the super adorable Little Tikes Neighborhood Market!

Elijah's such a sleep-lover that we weren't sure if his birthday surprise would take place in the morning or the afternoon by the time he finally woke up; but he must have known something was up and didn't want to miss out, so he woke up bright and early for a change. He loves the "Happy Birthday" song and was so excited for us to greet him as we serenaded him with his favorite tune. And as soon as he got downstairs, the excitement(and sugar-high) began.

Once he discovered that one of his gifts was a little bag of cotton candy, nothing else mattered but that bag of fluffy blue sugar. It's your birthday and you can eat cotton candy first thing in the morning if you want to!

Once the cotton candy was devoured, Elijah finished opening his presents and checked out his Little Tikes market! It was an instant hit!

Jaden was his personal present opening assitant, and was just as excited (or more) about the presents Elijah got!

This new red balloon is the best surprise of all!

For Elijah's birthday dinner, we stayed at my parent's house and ordered takeout from our favorite Chinese food restaurant. We had some family over and the kids just played and had a fun time!

Happy Birthay to you! Don't you just love those cupcakes! They were so much fun to make! And when a 2-year-old can tell right away who they are, you know they look authentic!

Happy birthday to our sweet Elijah! You are such a special part of our family and it is such a joy to watch you learn and grow! You make us laugh every day and always keep us on our toes! You are a bundle of endless energy, but also have a calm easy-going nature about you. I love being your mom and look forward to the new adventures and learning opportunities that each day brings! You are so much fun!

Here are some things we want to remember about you at 2-years-old:

- You weigh 30 lbs. (66 percentile) and are 34 in. tall (31st percentile).

- You are Mr. Independent and think you can do any and everything, All By Yourself!

- Your hands and mind always seem to be busy discovering and exploring.

- You love to talk - sometimes it makes no sense, and sometimes it makes perfect sense. It's fascinating to watch you as you are trying to put your thoughts together to make sentences and really communicate.

- You LOVE to eat and there are very few things you doesn't like.

- Due to Jaden's peanut allergy, you have not yet tried peanut butter.

- You absolutely love books and being read to. Story time is one of the few times you will sit and allow us to cuddle with you. It's one of my favorite parts of our day.

- You love to suck you thumb while holding your lovie blanket.

- You carry your security blanket with you most of the time, but especially in the car and at bedtime. You'd cry nonstop if you didn't have it at night. You currently have three and will accept any one of them at a time, as long as you have one.

- When asked, you says you are "four" and that your name is "Jaden."

- You love to pretend like you are talking on the phone, and just about anything turns into a phone with you - a shoe, a block, a pen, a spoon - you name it! You hold it between your shoulder and ear, hands free, and just walk around talking.

- You are a major backseat driver and shout out orders and directions if we are not driving the way you thinks we should be going. I think this mainly started because you know the way out of town to get to Nana and Papa's, so any time we weren't headed in that direction, you'd get upset and say, "No, that way!"

- You can play very contently with the same item for a long time. And you and Jaden play very nicely together.

- You have quite the imagination- you point at clouds in the sky and identify what object they are; and you take bites out of pieces of food (like watermelon pieces or chips) and turn them into new objects (which actually do look like what you says they are).

- You love to randomly count things and can count up to 14. Any any time somebody asks "How many.... are there?" you automatically say "onetwothreefour," like it's one word.

- You love riding in daddy's truck.

- You love going to Target for an Icee and popcorn.

- You frighten easily with loud noises, like the vacuum cleaner or the garage door opener.

- Your favorite song to sing is "Happy Birthday" and you will break out in song anywhere we are that you see the slightest symbolic representation of a birthday. So if you see a candle, cupcake, cake, balloon, streamer, or're singing...and not quietly!

- You absolutely love to dance and also love having an audience while you perform. If you don't like a song that's playing on the radio, you say, "not that one;" and it's so funny to watch you as we flip through the channels because as soon as there is an upbeat song that you like, your body instantly starts moving and you say, "yea, that one!"

- You love playing in water, whether it's the bathtub, swimming pool, water table, or with a squirt gun.

- You run pretty much everywhere that you go.

- You are obsessed with the idea of using the potty and will say you need to to go, and end up sitting on your little potty several times a day - you have yet to actually go in it though.

- Mommy Maru (babysitter) informed me that you are one of her best behaved little guys and that you plays so well with all of the other kids.

- You love to pose for pictures and always want to see them after. Then you say, "awwww, cute" as you admire yourself.

- If there's a bottle of lotion left within his reach, you can guarantee it'll be all over you. We have to watch you big time!

- I had to call Poison Control recently because you tasted nail polish remover.

- When it comes to housework, you're a big helper and always say, "I clean;" but when it comes to putting your toys away... not so much.

- You love to be loud and scream, just because.

- You love to pretend you are a cowboy and will put on a cowboy hat and hop onto any available back or leg to go for a horsey ride.

- You have the most adorable, contagious laugh.

- You are a very good sleeper and can take a 3 hour nap, and sleep up to 14 hours at night. Thank you for that :)

- Everybody says you look just like mommy.

- You love to play outside, no matter how hot or cold it is.

- You love to be on a tall stool at the counter helping whenever I am making dinner. You're a very good pourer, stirrer...and spiller.

- You love Yo Gabba Gabba - still can't quite figure out what it is about that show.

- Your paranoid mamma does not have you up-to-date on your shots. Instead you're on an alternate shot schedule that your doctor and I decided on together.

- When Jaden was playing T-Ball, you loved hearing the sound of an ice cream truck because you knew it meant a treat for you; now you have an ice cream truck radar on at all times.

- You love coloring, painting, and anything messy. And even things that normally wouldn't be messy, end up being messy with you.

- Your favorite part of saying grace before a meal is "AMEN!" And then you follow it with "Yaaay!"

- You are very friendly, and maybe a little too friendly to strangers.

- You are a very good haircut client, always sitting very still and cooperative.

- You are getting over a phase of being scared of the dark.

- When we put you in your bed at night, you like to have a lamp left on so that you can lay and look at books. It's the cutest thing ever.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I'm Still Here!

In case you've been wondering where I disappeared to, just wanted to let you know that I'm still here! And I've got a lot of posting to do, including Elijah's Birthday, Elijah and Aubrey's Birthday Party, Easter, T-Ball, Father's Day, and a whole lot of cuteness in between all of those occasions.

But before all of the cuteness begins, let me fill you in on the not-so-cuteness that's been keeping me from my blog for the past month... extreme water damage in our house. It all started with a little tiny dixie cup that was accidently (yes, it really was an accident) flushed down the toilet in the boy's upstairs bathroom one evening. The water didn't overflow at that time, so I told the boys to leave it alone and we would figure out what to do about it in the morning (Sam was out of town, of course :). Well, morning comes along and I awoke to the bathroom in our room completely flooded and moving into the bedroom carpeting; then found the boy's bathroom and hallway to be flooded as well! I rushed downstairs to grab every bath towel, washcloth, beach towel - pretty much anything I could get my hands on. And on my way, I heard bloop...bloop...bloop coming from the kitchen. Sure enough, the water was leaking through the ceiling and onto the kitchen floor and livingroom carpet. Further investigating also lead me to dripping water in the downstairs bathroom area. I went into panic mode quick, especially since the toilet had little boy "business" in it. I called for backup and my mom and brother-in-law quickly came to my aide as fast as they could.

Eventually we got some workers to come in and dry it all out and it turned into more of a production than I would have ever imagined. 8 air mover fans, 3 huge dehumidifiers, carpet and linoleum removal, and lots of drywall removal has left us with this...

Carpet removal outside the upstairs bathroom.

Carpet removal in the master bedroom, plus huge dehumidifier and fan.

Linoleum and drywall removal in the master bathroom.

Drywall removal by the downstairs bathroom.

The ceiling in the dining area.

And a HUGE mess and lots of cleaning left for me! I told them as long as they didn't touch my striped wall, we were good!

So for the past month I have been cleaning, getting estimates, and packing up as much stuff as I can because of the work that will have to be done to repair - replacement of the livingroom, stairs, hallway, and master bedroom carpeting; replacement of tile in both upstairs bathrooms; and drywall, drywall, and more drywall! I can't wait for it all to be done so I can have my house back. And for now, I must admit I'm excited to get everything moved out and completely cleaned; and then start fresh with decorating, arranging, and all that fun stuff! There's always a bright side :). I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bath Time for the Lovies!

I've got some blog catching up to do! This is one that's been on my "to be posted" list for a while now...

Jaden and Elijah each have their own favorite "lovie" blanket that they carry around, sleep with, and pretty much keep close tabs on at all times. Getting those things into the washing machine is next to impossible! Finally one day, it just had to be done, so I decided to turn it into what I thought would be a fun experience for all. I let the boys put their blankets in the washer themselves, let them help add the soap, and even let them have front row seating to watch the show. Sounded like a fun time to me!

But Jaden was very, very nervous about it and I couldn't figure out why. Finally he told me that he didn't want his Bear Bear to shrink like daddy's sweater did (Sam had a wool sweater that apparently wasn't supposed to go in the dryer - it went in a size 2X and came out a size 5T...literally)! So poor Jaden was very paranoid and watched that bear like a hawk the entire time just to make sure it didn't come out the size of a cotton ball.

And Elijah...well, let's just say he made that 40 minute wash cycle seem like an eternity! He was mesmerized by the spin cycle for the first minute or two, but after that he was done being separated from his froggy and he wanted him NOW! He cried and cried, but would not let me take him away from the washing machine. See how well my fun plan worked out!
But in the end, two animal blankets were fresh and clean, none were harmed in the process, and two little guys (and their mama) were ready for naps! (And I know you're wondering, so for the record, this was not the first time their lovies had ever had a wash - Just the first time I wasn't able to sneak them away unnoticed).

We Love You, Papa!

This is a precious video that I recorded of the boys wishing Papa Sam well while he was in the hospital. He saw it just before going in to have surgery the Friday before he passed and he was so appreciative of it. It was one of the last things to truly make him smile and I will treasure it forever! (The sound and the video are a little bit off from each other)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sweet Papa Sam

I recently had to take a little break from my blog... On March 28th, our lives were turned upside down as Sam and I found ourselves unexpecteldy standing by his father's bedside offering our final goodbye's. I've attempted to return to my blog several times since then, but it has brought tears to my eyes every time, including now. "Papa Sam" was my biggest blog fan and it breaks my heart to know that he will never again read the words posted here, or that I won't receive another phone call from him commenting on one of my posts or asking when the next post will be added. I could almost guarantee that shortly after publishing any post, I would either receive a phone call or email from him telling me how much he loved reading about his "babies," Jaden and Elijah. He loved his family more than anything and always made that known to each one of us. Papa Sam and was just an incredible human being, often described by others as "larger than life." There is so much that I could say about him, as the memories are endless, but I just can't bring myself to put it into words yet. I miss him so much. For now, I thought I'd honor him and his memory by sharing some of our favorite photos of him.

Sam's family - celebrating Sam's birthday at Cook's in El Paso.

Me and Papa Sam

Papa Sam and his three sisters.

Papa Sam and Shirley - spring break trip to Las Vegas when Sam and I got engaged

Sam's mom and dad with us on our wedding day

One of my favorite pictures with one of my favorite people

Sam and his dad on our wedding day

Sam, his brother Bengy and nephew Ben, and Papa Sam - at our wedding

The whole Cordova clan

Sam and his dad - at a New Year's Eve party in El Paso

Proud grandpa, "Papa Sam" - the day Jaden was born

Papa Sam, Mom, Dad, Sam, Grandma O'Brien, Jaden, me, and Grandpa O'Brien - celebrating Grandma's birthday

Papa Sam admiring baby Jaden

A picture that we always laughed about - Jaden giving Papa Sam the "bird"

Precious picture of sleepy Jaden and sleepy Papa - when Jaden was a baby, my mom and dad and Sam's dad took turns taking care of Jaden each day when I had to start back to work. I came home one day to them both sleeping in the rocking chair by the window

Papa Sam and Jaden - helping Papa blow out his candle

Papa Sam and Jaden - talkin'

Grandpa O'Brien, John, Beto, Jason w/ Jaden, Sam, Bengy, Justin, Sammy w/Lance, Dad, and Papa Sam - Christmas 2007

Sam, Jaden, Papa Sam, and Bengy - at the wine festival

Papa Sam and Elijah - Christmas morning 2009

Papa Sam and Aubrey - Christmas morning 2009

Papa Sam and Elijah - at Elijah's first birthday party

Papa Sam, Sam, and Elijah - at the Space Museum in Alamogordo, NM

Papa Sam and Jaden - at the air show

Papa Sam, Bengy, Me, Elijah, Sam, and Jaden - Family Christmas photo

Papa Sam, Jaden and Elijah - visiting Papa Sam while he was at the rehab hospital in El Paso (one of the last times the boys got to see their beloved Papa)