Team Sanborn

Team Sanborn

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

We are celebrating New Year's in FREEZING California this year.  It was literally 53 degrees for a high yearterday.  UB bought us all tickets to Disneyland for Christmas.  We did Disneyland yesterday for 14 hours straight!  The kids had a ball!   Andrew even fell asleep as we waited for the 2:30 christmas parade.  We were right on the curb and he slept through the marching band litereally 4 inches away from us.  He was SUPER tired!  The kids did great, LOVED every minute of it and we can't wat to go back for two more days.  I will post some pics when we get home.  We are so greatful for such an amazing year.  We have so much to be thankful for!  Happy New Year!
Team Sanborn!

Friday, December 17, 2010

2 important men, 2 important dates, 2 days late Part 2

On December 13, we celebrated my dad's 9 year "Transplantaversary".  It is just what it looks like!  We celebrated every year on the day he got his transplant.  For those of you new to our blog and story, my dad had a heart transplant on December 13, 2001.  He was born with a heart defect that is easily fixed in babies today, but 60 years ago...not so much.  When he was transplanted, he was the oldest living person with that heart defect.  Throughout his life he had several surgeries to correct issues connected with his heart.  But 9 years ago, he was given the gift of live by someone we do not know, whose family we have never met.  Of course the reality is that for anyone to receive an organ transplant, someone has to give up an organ.  So we celebrated every year (and still celebrate) in honor of his donor and his family.  All we know about Daddy's donor is that he was a 30 something male.  And we know that while we had much to be thankful for that Christmas 9 years ago, another family was experiencing something quite different.  I write a letter to the donor's family every year telling them what an amazing gift they gave our family.  The man who could not dance the entire "Father/Daughter" dance at our wedding was running around after two toddlers a few years later.  Even now that my dad is gone, we still celebrate.  We had 7 amazing years with my dad we would not have had if it weren't for that one unselfish gift.  As of 2006, the family had never read our letters.  It does not matter.  What matters is that we are forever grateful to a man we will never know and to his family we will never meet for giving us the gift of life. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2 important men, 2 important posts, 2 days late Part 1

Happy Birthday Justin!!
Where do I start about my sweet brother?  I (like many people) end up introducing myself as Justin Cates' sister.  I also like to point out that "he has changed a lot since high school"-HA!!  But really...  There are not words to describe this man.  First, it seems weird to even call him a man.  He will forever be the 4 year old our neighbor and I dressed in a white dress and slathered make-up all over.  He will be the kid I used to straddle and hold down to torture, even though he is a little bit bigger than me now.  He will always be the kid that started hitting on waitresses at my birthday dinner when he was 12 -really Justin?!  The reason my whole world was turned upside down 30 years ago. 
He is also the reason I have 2 children.  Well, for lots of reasons really.  Okay, Bill gets some credit, Amy Clinite gets some too (along with all of you who prayed us through our first adoption journey) and God gets it all.  Very early on in our relationship as siblings, I knew my brother would be my lifeline.  If you dont have a sibbling, I am sorry and you will probably look at this post as craziness (Bill does).  If you have one other sibbling you know just what I am taking about.  When my parents were embarrassing me, he understood and rolled his eyes too.  When he got picked on I was right there (and vice versa) until high school football hazing (sorry UB).  When we were 18 and 14 respectively my dad had a stroke and our relationship intensified.  Mom was taking care of dad, and that left us.  At a time when most siblings CANNOT STAND EACH OTHER, God drew us closer.  Through the darkest days of my life (and there has been some pretty unrelenting darkness), he was there to hold me up.  So many other instances I could mention, but won't (he will have another birthday and I can blog about those then), but one in particular. 
He took me to Africa.  I had never wanted to go, I was a "sender"!  God gave me a good job so I "sent".  God had other plans and Justin was an important part.  As soon as he got back from his first trip to Kenya, he started pursuading me to go.  One year later, I went, kicking and screaming and finally submitting to God's will.  On that trip I fell in love with a continent really, not just Kenya.  The trip changed my life in so many ways.  The way that will go down in history is this-God used that trip to plant the seed of international adoption.  On that trip to Kenya, we were on the border of Ethiopia and Kenya with a broken down Matatu.  I was basically in Ethiopia at the same time Andrew and Annabelle were concieved.  Wierd huh?  So I have 2 children because I could not imagine my life without my sibbling, and I have 2 children from Africa because my brother saw my brokennes and would not give up.
So today we celebrate his life, all 30 years of it.  He is amazing really.  He is strong and sensitive.  He loves the Lord in a mighty way, and his family with just as much fire. He works hard and sacrifices a lot, more than most people know, for the welfare of others.  He is fiercely loyal and ridiculously hilarious.  Did I mention handsome and single?
So Justin, when mom and dad called from the delivery room to tell me "it's a boy", and I told them to "put it back"...  I was wrong.  I would never want to walk thorough  life without my sweet baby brother by my side.  I love you!
Happy Birthday Tiny Brother!

Monday, December 6, 2010

"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year..."

I titled this blog for the last picture I will post, but please keep reading!  I love the holidays...  I mean I REALLY LOVE THE HOLIDAYS!!!!  I love baking and hot chocolate and singing and sweatshirts and christmas lights (I really LOVE christmas lights).  I especially love the reason for all of those things.  I love that we celebrate the birth of our Savior.
 I have always had GRAND plans for how to usher this time of year in.  I wanted a peppermint mocha in my hand, watching my sweet family decorate the tree in the dim light provided by only the tree.  Christmas carols are playing in the background as my adorable children sip hot cocoa and eat christmas cookies in their warm matching jammies.  Since we have had kids, we let them put a few ornaments on and I have my fantasy after the kids go to bed (peppermint mocha and all).  This year I was BEYOND excited that I got to have the whole thing!
Well, it wasn't exactly as I pictured...
The christmas jammies from last year (HUGE last year) did not fit, which is why we are in summer jammies.  Andrew decorated the whole tree from 4 feet down while Annabelle sat on the chair and pouted because I would only let her have one cup of cocoa.  I didn't get my peppermint mocha because we were in too much of a rush to get this done before it got too late and it was meltdown city!  The kids were sick of christmas music since I was playing it all day while I decorated the whole house.  So from the whole elaborate dream I had pictured, I had cocoa and cookies.
I am so thankful that no matter HOW I pictured it, or HOW it happened, we are still celebrating the birth of the Son of the one who created it all!

Hot cocoa and gingerbread squares

Who's hand do you think this is?

This picture turned out kind of blurry, but trust me, SHE IS NOT HAPPY!!!  Poor Andrew is like, "why are you so mad?  I did all the work!!"
Truly the most wonderful time of the year!

Monday, November 29, 2010

"Camp Central"

We attend a great church, Central Christian (we go to the Gilbert campus).  I mean a really great church!!  As one of the perks of going to a big church- there are thousands of programs!  On Thursdays for the past 12 weeks, I have been attending Holy Yoga from 9-11 and there is "child care" available as well.  For a nominal fee, I have been dropping off Andrew and Annabelle each morning.  When I say nominal, I mean nominal!  It was $15 bucks per kid for the whole 12 weeks.  I would have been perfectly happy if the kids were running around barely supervised for the time they were there- honestly!!  I know, not my finest "Mommy of the Year Moment", but I LOVE HOLY YOGA!!!  The volunteers did an amazing job!!!  These are women who have their own kids and would probably much rather have gone to Holy Yoga with me, but they volunteered their time so I could go spend some time with the Lord.  While the kids are there they get to hear bible stories, have a snack, play on the playground and do a craft.   And of course they got loved on by the staff!  THEY LOVED IT!!!!  They also got a t-shirt and today we were treated to a special program!  The 3-5 year olds got up on the stage and sang for all of the ladies in the "Stepping Stones" ministry.  Follow this link to the video on YouTube!  Enjoy!

PS- I also noticed how different my kids are...  I know, you already knew that from reading this blog.  But watching them on stage it is SOOOOOO apparent!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veteran's Day

So this may seem like a "weak" holiday to get all patriotic...  Why not 4th of July?  There is always Memorial Day!  Why Veteran's Day you ask??  Well, we were asked to put together a project for the hallway of the kids school.  I thought it was a cute idea.  A star to honor each veteran in your family.  So I started to just write the names of our family on one puny little star and I was overwhelmed with emotion.  These people in our family, served our country and I am half-assing (sorry about the language Aunt Robyn) a star to "honor" them.  NO WAY!!!  So I got on the school's website and downloaded 4 more stars so we would have one to honor each person in our immediate family who has served in the military.  Of course we had to add a little glitter (sorry Uncle J.B.), in red white and blue of course.  And maybe our starts looked a little "over the top" (I know this because of the placement on the board... front and center), but we were proud of them.  We are exponentially more proud of the sweet men who have left,  and are leaving a legacy of national service, duty and courage in our family.  Thank you for all that you have done, we know we live with the freedoms we have (including the freedom to add to our family from Ethiopia through adoption) because of you.  We love you!

This is the main hallway at school
There were a few of these flags in the hallway, they were hanging from the skylights.

This is one of the bulletin boards, the one we have our stars on

Here they are on the board.
 And here are our individual starts honoring those we love who have served our county: 
Andrew and Annabelle's Great-Grandfather
Bill's paternal grandfather served in the army
He passed away in December of 2009
Andrew and Annabelle's Great-Grandpa
Bill's maternal grandfather served in the Air Force

Andrew and Annabelle's Great-Grandpa
My maternal grandfather served in the Marines
He died when I was in the 5th grade 

Andrew and Annabelle's Great Grandpa
My paternal grandpa served in the Merchant Marines
He passed away in December of 2007
Andrew and Annabelle's Great Uncle
My paternal uncle served in the Air Force

Thank you for all you have done to give us the freedoms we enjoy and often take for granted.  Including this:
Court hearing May 2007, making Andrew and Annabelle citizens

Monday, November 8, 2010

We Have Gone Global People!!!

Well, maybe not global but our Annabelle is on Facebook.  Well, I know there are pics of her all over Facebook, but that's not what I'm talking about!  And yes, technically we have gone global (Thank you Naomi and Heidi) but this is different.  My college roommate is a happening mommy to 4 and has started her own jewelry business.   It is called K. Jo Kuffs and her stuff is available on Facebook.  She names all of her designs after the most adorable little girls she has ever met  daughters of her friends.  So here is Annabelle's Kuff!!!  Notice the shout out to her Ethiopian heritage?!!  So go to Facebook and check out her designs at K. Jo Kuff's (do you think I plugged her enough) and order your "Annabelle" today!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


We had a blast trick or treating OF COURSE!!!  Get candy, run around, repeat!  What's not to like??!!  In our family, we take the dog and pony show all over the East Valley before it goes trick or treating!  Our family has been so sweet to meet us at Mimi's for the last few Halloween outings because Bill (aka the Car Seat Nazi) couldn't get the kids safely in their seats in costume.  So this year we went to Mimi's, Aunt Brenda and Uncle Kim's, Gigi's, Aunt Shari's and Aunt Frankie's all before trick or treating!  Annabelle loved it (of course), Andrew-not so much (are we surprised).  Here are the little guys as Tiana (from Princess and the Frog) and Woody (From Toy Story).

Doe this really need a caption?  How cute right?

Seriously cute!

Okay, so it looks like Bill is just standing there with some guy...  But really, the cowboy is our neighbor Randy (who bullied us into dressing up by the way, nice costume Hinners), and Bill dressed as our neighbor Randy.  Confused?  Bill is wearing Randy's "weekend uniform".    That is what happens when someone makes the Sanborn's dress up!  Genius!!  HA!!

Okay, this was not a drunken debacle I promise, it was totally G rated!    This is our neighbor Andy and our friend Jim , both triathletes (Andy is an Ironman).  Andy is sponsored by Michelob Ultra (hence the pic of him drinking) , so in turn all of our neighborhood parties are also sponsored by Michelob!

Andrew and his buddy Elliot (Super Why)

Bill, Ruby, Annabelle, Gillian, Logan, Andrew, Elliot and Riley
One of the reasons I love our neighborhood...  We have chili and treats across the street from our house at the Hinner's house and the grown ups hang out after trick or treating and the kids run around.  Our Neighbor, Randy takes the kids on hay rides every year.  He hitches his Polaris up to his trailer, fills it with hay and blankets and takes the kids for a ride.  The daddies go with of course!

Happy Harvest from Team Sanborn!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Adventures with Hammy (Second Episode)

Dear Hammy,
We had such fun together Hammy!  Thank you for playing with me while mommy was cleaning your cage.  It was so funny to see you run around on your wheel- you are SUPER fast!!!  I am sorry I took you out of your cage without asking (again).  I am sorry I dropped you on the floor when you bit me.  I am super sorry Tank had you in his mouth when you died of a heart attack.  I will miss you pal!   On a brighter note, I had a really good time going shopping for another hamster with mom and Annabelle.  He looks just like you Hammy!  He is gray, but he is super tiny because he's a "dwarf hamster".  We named him H2, like Hammy the second...  Plus mommy thought it was funny since you are so small and named after a big vehicle.  We wanted to name him Hercules, but mommy thought that would be a little hard for the kids to say.  So we went with H2.  We also got H2 a really cool cage.  Mommy says it's Andrew proof, whatever that means.  Well, so long Hammy you were a great friend.

PS- Here is a pic of H2 in his new home!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Our Visit to the Pumpkin Patch- A Photo Montage

Okay, before you think I have started to take myself too seriously, I want you to know the only reason I a putting the pics here is because the whole story is better as a narrative with pictures!

Here we are on the hay ride at the pumpkin patch

Um...  Nice scenery I guess?!

Seriously...  This is our scenery on the hay ride, yes that is a "Sierra Waste" receptacle

We were guessing this was the "spooky" part of the hayride, if there was spooky music and some people dressed in spooky costumes and it was dark.  But it is really just rotting pumpkins.

"And for the end of our tour an abandoned warehouse"

This is one of the only pics of Andrew smiling the WHOLE day!!!  

Erin going for a ride on a rusty Schwinn

Ah, the reason we came to this ghetto pumpkin patch in the first place...

Seriously mom, get out of my face with the camera!!

Annabelle was the first one out of the "hay maze"- I know I was amazed too!

Andrew got fed up with the hay maze, climbed on top of the bails and walked out.  What a problem solver!!!
Add caption
 This was "Take 200" of me trying to get a pic with my kids-at least we are all smiling right?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Movin on Up"

So we have had so much lazy fun over October break...  LAZY being the important word in that sentence! We have stayed in our jammies several days until it was time to take a bath and put on new jammies!!!  LOVE IT!!!  But we did make short order of one job- reorganizing the playroom.  When I say "reorganizing" I mean "cleaning out and donating/throwing out everything they don't play with".  When we were done, there wasn't much left.  Now before you start feeling sad about my kids not having anything to play with (Mimi), remember this is a whole separate room for toys, besides what is in their bedrooms!!!  So, we consolidated and put the kitchen in Annabelle's room, the tool bench and book case in Andrew's room and left the playroom empty.  Except for a rocker...  MAKE WAY FOR BABY!!!  Here are a few pics of the final product!

Andrew's room with the "Handy Manny Tool Bench", and notice the book shelf in the closet with bins for cars, legos, Toy Story stuff and puzzles

Annabelle's room with the play kitchen- when Santa (Mimi) bought this, she knew it would someday be relocated to Annabelle's room which is why it matches

Annabelle's closet where we "re purposed" a doll house as a shoe rack

And finally the empty playroom  nursery!

Ok...  Not totally empty!  I hope Baby #3 doesn't have a lot of clothes...

Friday, October 1, 2010

The 1st Adventure of Hammy the Hamster

Dear Hammy-
I just want to start by saying I'm sorry.  Our other class pet, Sunshine, loved to be held and played with.  He loved to run around our house and get "chewed on" by our dog.  Now that I think of it, that may be why Sunshine went to hamster heaven.  Anyway, my mom says I need to apologize for taking you out of your cage at 2:00 in the morning while everyone else was sleeping.  She says you didn't like being chased around the house by our enormous 100 pound lab.  She also says it might make you nervous when I put you in my bed or keep you in my pocket.  So I am sorry.  Are you sure you didn't like it?  Mom seems pretty sure, but I thought it was SUPER funny!  Well, I am so glad mom agreed Annabelle and I could take you home over October break.  We are going to have such fun!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Go Irish!!!

Now that is is college football season, we are all happy and BUSY campers on Saturdays.  Here are a few pics of our littlest fans!
Thanks UB for the "game garb"!  Uncle Justin made sure we were all outfitted with OFFICIAL Notre Dame attire.  I will include a pic of my "bedazzled" ND  hat in another post.
Andrew's jersey is in honor of Mike Floyd- he's a wide receiver for the Fighting Irish!   Two years ago, he lit a candle for my dad at the Grotto at Notre Dame.  Kind of a big deal- check it out at 

Our little cheerleader, don't you know he has matching plaid hair bows!

Here's to a great season and a lot of fun along the way!  GO BLUE AND GOLD!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Re-post from 9/9/09

I am having a rough time tonight, so I don't feel like posting, but I didn't want to let today go by without posting so here is a post from last year.

The Last Time

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dance and Sports Class

 We are entering week 4 of "Having a Ball" and "Tap, Ballet and Tumbling" and they are LOVING it!  Part of it is because we get to go with our sweet friends T and B, which mommy is loving as well because she gets to chat with their mommy while the boys or the girls are in class.  Boys go to sports first (45 mins of activity is AMAZING) while the girls wow the sweet folks at the senior center with their um "tap dancing".  This consists mostly of jumping and spinning while making noise with their tap shoes- but they do look darn cute while doing it!  The girls go to dance next, 15 mins each of tap, ballet and tumbling while the boys distract all of the employees that work at the senior center with their antics.  Also pretty cute, because they are kinda low key after being exhausted in "Having a Ball".  Here are a few pics- you will notice there are more pictures of dance.  I know- I am sorry!  But Sports is so fast moving, all the pics I took turned put to be a blob that may or may not have been Andrew.  And bear with me because all the pictures are taken through glass and some through glass and mini blinds.

Andrew and Annabelle ready for class 3 hours before it started!

Andrew stretching his "hammies"

Andrew stretching his arms...  And that's where the action begins and the "good pics" end.  Sorry folks!

Annabelle and B posing for their "before they were famous" shot

What a good listener!  Or maybe giving someone the "stink eye"

Seriously, is there a cuter tap dancer anywhere?

Cut to...  the boys playing while the girls are dancing

This time, she is actually listening!

Look really closely- SHE IS RIBBON DANCING!  Seriously hilarious!!

Ballet takes a lot of concentration!