"I have come that they might have life and have it to the full..." -John 10:10b

Friday, February 27, 2009

Skiing at Massanutten


Okay...let me preface this post by saying that there are some things certain individuals are just not meant to do. For example, Ty Pennington is obviously not mean to be a make-up artist and it would probably behoove Jessica Simpson to stay away from a research lab. Well guys, this gal wasn't meant for skiin'.

The entire Cortez crew had planned a week long ski trip in Northern Western Virginia and Paul and I were lucky to have made back to the east coast in time to join them all. I looked forward to this ski trip with great anticipation and high hopes. I'd never been skiing before and I just knew that I would tame the slopes once I got my chance. Yeah...not so much.

My sister- in- law, Kim assured me that she was in the same position as me. "It's been so long since I went, Annie. It'll be like starting over for me. We'll just take it slow." Right. Skiing must be like riding a bike because Kim picked it right back up with ease. Not I. I had no problems going...it was the balancing and stopping that proved too tricky for my knock knees and lanky legs. After a few practice runs down the "slopes" where the 4 year olds learn to ski, Kim decided we were ready for the lift and the bunny slopes.

Ugh. I fell getting off the ski lift. So did Kim. Her fall was much more graceful than mine but funny nonetheless. I gotta get that video from Mike! Anyhoo...that was not a good omen. All the way down the slope, I had my beloved family yelling at me to "pizza wedge." As much as I tried to put those skis in that pizza position and dig in my toes, the stopping wasn't going well. I ended up flying down the hill like Picaboo Street (minus the cooridination) and taking a ginormous fall. My ski got caught in the snow behind me and my body kept going forward. Bruised pride and a pulled groin muscle later, I decided that skiing may not be my forte. And I'm good with that.

Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable trip and I really loved watching all of my other, more coordinated family members ski and snow board. We got to see Jake (one of the few boy cousins) take snow boarding lessons and Eva had a grand time playing with Kyland who is only a few months older than her.

Paul's Home Town and More Cousins


After a week with Lina and her family, we headed south down to Virginia Beach to stay with Paul's brother, Mike and his family. My poor niece, Brianna was kicked out of her bed for the sake of Izzy and I but she was more than gracious and we had a blast hanging out with her and her big sister, Britney, or "Beez" as Paul so lovingly refers to her.

Paul showed me around the neighborhoods he grew up and even pointed out a few memorable places for himself. It was really fun for me to put the puzzle pieces together in my mind. Places I've heard him describe a thousand times became a reality as we drove past them.

One place we visited was the Virginia Beach Aquarium. We saw all sorts of animals, both land and sea dwelling. My favorite parts were the watching the otters play and petting the sting rays. It was a lot of fun and Eva really enjoyed tagging along with her big cousins.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Snow and Cousins


When we arrived at Lina's house, we were tired of traveling and excited to spend time with family. Eva immediately fell in love with her cousin, Brooke who is 6 going on 30. She's one of the wittiest little kids I've ever met and I'm always amazed at the things that come out of her mouth. She will tell you like it is...she's a lot like her mom in that way.

Brooke was so patient with Eva and Izzy and we had a great time hanging out with them!

We also got our first taste of snow that week! Eva LOVED playing in the snow with Brooke and we even attempted to build our own snowman.

I gotta say though, as much as I adore my husband, I wasn't at all impressed with his snow man building abilities. Paul and I sat in the snow for over an hour trying to build the bottom snow ball for our snow man and this is what we ended up with...

And then, I glanced across the street to Lina's neighbors house only see a little boy, no more than 6, building a perfect snow man. I guess you could say I had a mean case of "snowman envy." So much so, that I grabbed the camera out of Paul's hands, yelled across the street for permission to photograph the snowman and snapped away, plotting next years attempt with grand ambition!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Last Week in Hawaii

As I mentioned before, the time between when we were notified we were leaving, the when we actually had to leave was less than 2 weeks. That is VERY little time to pack and ship everything and move it overseas.

Still, the Air Force personnel were more than accommodating at helping us complete the ginormous task and everything went fairly smooth. Only a few minor hiccups.

We ended up practically camping out in our empty house for a few nights on air mattresses before we could move into a temporary living facility on base. Paul and I got ZERO sleep in that time. We had two sick kids that had been completely thrown off their routine. The first night we were there, I seriously played musical beds. I started out in one with Izzy, jumped over to Eva's for a while, slept on the sofa pull out next to Paul for a little bit and then ended back up in the bed I started in with Izzy. I had no idea that would be the beginning of some pretty exhausting sleep issues for Izzy.

When it was finally the day to fly out, Izzy woke up with a 102 degree fever. She looked miserable. But, with the assistance of many doses of children's Tylenol (hold your horses...not all at once) she managed to get through the 10 hours of flying time with only a few small bouts of fussiness. She slept a majority of the trip, thank goodness.

Once we arrived in Baltimore, we were greeted by my mother and father in law (Masie and Yosie) at the airport and shortly thereafter, we bundled up the best we knew how and pushed our luggage out into the cold air. VERY cold air.

Eva thought it was great. She was giggling with excitement and kept asking if we were going to build a snowman. Izzy...not so much.

When the shuttle to our hotel finally arrived, we all hopped on board fiending for the heat inside. The driver must have noticed our blue lips because he pushed the heat up as high as it would go and before long we were nice and toasty. However, the people who are used to a cold winter were sweating but whatever...it was a short trip to the hotel.

We stayed one night in a suite with one king size bed and a sofa pull out. Paul and I, along with both the girls, immediately crashed in the king bed completely jet lagged and wanting our sick babies to get as much rest as possible. Probably not the best idea because both girls were WIDE awake at 1am and talking up a storm. Paul and I did our best to hush them, and then finally realized it was a lost cause as we were pretty wired as well. To all of us, it only felt like 8pm. So, we talked and giggled quietly in our family bed trying not to wake Masie and Yosie on the pull out in the next room.

The next morning we ate breakfast in the room, packed everything up again, bundled the girls and started the drive to Stafford, VA to visit with Lina (Paul's sister), Craig and Brooke.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009



Yay! After a VERY long month and change of not having my computer (other than the iPhone, but have you every tried to type anything on that contraption? You'd have to have the fingers of Thumbilina to type anything with zero mistakes) or the ability to blog about all the titillating events that happen in my life, I'm back. The Comcast guy came yesterday and plugged me into the lifeline that is the internet.

And boy oh boy do I have some stuff to tell you!!!

It really is funny how, as everything unfolded and developed in the last month, I would think of how I was going to blog about it. My mind would continually run through word combinations, similes, metaphors and synonyms. It may be a pathetic way to take life in, but on the other hand, it may be a way of enjoying it all the more.

Okay, okay. SO how am I going to tackle this? Well, I think I'll take the beloved Julie Andrews advice and "start at the very beginning, a very good place to start."

First, our last week in Hawaii. A tad bit stressful. And Izzy got sick the day we had to get on the plane. I mean, 102 degree fever sick. Not fun. We did manage to take one last drive around the island before we dropped off our van and we snapped some pretty amazing pictures. They've brought me warmth in the middle of trying to adjust to a cold winter here on the outskirts of Baltimore.