Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Somebody is Four Months Old

I haven't been very good about documenting our lives lately.  I did write one excessively depressing post about juggling mommy-hood with teaching high school English that I never finished, so thankfully you won't have to read that one.

Kaden had his four month checkup on Friday.  Without further ado, here are our little Christmas elf's stats:

Weight:  14 pounds, 12.5 ounces (49th percentile)
Height:  27.5 inches (98th percentile)
Head Circumference:  42.5 centimeters (57th percentile)

The doctor says he's growing just like he should and that his head is surprisingly well shaped for sleeping on his back.  (Anyone think he gets held a lot?)  Kaden bonded with the doc:  he held his hand while being stethoscoped.  (Like my new verb?)

At four months old, Kaden . . . 

  • CAN sleep through the night.  He did this for the first time on November 5th (yes, my future London Study-Abroader chose Guy Fawkes Day as his first un-interrupted slumber).  Usually he will choose a couple of nights a week to sleep through the night.  The rest of the time we're getting up 1-2 times to eat.  I am not complaining, however.  I am just thankful Chad and I have managed to escape the curse put upon us by our parents that we would have children just like us.  Neither of us slept through the night until we were well into our toddler years.  I'll take my 1-2 days a week of a full-night's rest with pleasure.  Thankfully, on the nights when he does wake up, he usually goes back to sleep fairly easily.
  • Full out laughs when he feels the occasion calls for it.  This happens most often when I am changing his clothes (he LOVES to be naked).  He was even laughing in his sleep the other day when Chad put him down for his nap.
  • Talks in complete sentences, just in a language we can't understand.  Kaden is very expressive.  He tells sad stories and happy stories.  Sometimes he will take a break while nursing to tell me an entire story, before he goes back to eating again.  
  • Shoves everything he can get his hands on in his mouth.  He also shoves his hands in his mouth (he frequently gags himself by shoving his fingers too far down his throat).  
  • Holds small objects like his rattle and other toys.
  • Loves his feet.
  • Is still too lazy to roll over.  While on his back he will roll to his side and then give up.  While on his tummy he will get frustrated until we pick him up.  
  • Watches us eat with extreme interest.  
  • Will still be entertained by his swing and bouncy seat but for much shorter periods of time.  
  • Loves sitting up in his Bebe Pod (Bumbo seat). 
  • Naps with his daddy in the morning (after he eats breakfast) while mommy gets ready for work.  (It melts my heart every morning when I go say goodbye before I leave.  Without fail Chad and Kaden are both sound asleep in the exact same way--arms sprawled out above their heads.)
  • Has to be swaddled up tight to get him to sleep, but as soon as the swaddling process begins he will fight like crazy to stay awake.
  • Has his mom's stubborn streak and will occasionally let it show. 
  • Naps for much shorter periods of time (just ask his poor Gigi who keeps him during the day).
  • Loves to sing along to the Christmas music on car rides.
  • Moves his entire body when he gets excited about something, be it his reflection in the mirror, or his Elmo toy at Gigi's house.
  • Will let me tote  him around in the pouch sling in the kangaroo position.  He loves being able to see out and move around with me. (This is another precious sight to behold.  I'll try to add pictures later.) 
  • Gets shy sometimes when we compliment him on how cute he is and buries his face in the chest of whomever is holding him to hide his embarrassment (This is one of the most adorable things he does.  I will try to post a video of this sometime.)
  • Is a very happy little guy most of the time and is content to let just about anyone hold him, rock him, and love him.
Not a day goes by that Chad and I don't reflect on how blessed we are to have such a sweet, adorable little boy.  He really is a precious baby.

Despite how hard it has been for me to be away from Kaden during the day, I have recognized so many small blessings in my day to day life since returning to work.  I am so thankful to my Father in Heaven for watching out for me and for answering my prayers.  I have felt so much peace and comfort at times when I need it most.  I have wonderful students this semester; they really have been unbelievably good.  I am teaching all honors classes (in teaching that is code for spoiled rotten), two junior classes and one senior class.  I adore all of them.  It doesn't make the feeling of being pulled in two directions go away, but it does make it more endurable.  I know the students I have are not a coincidence.  I feel like they are a huge blessing.  Joy is still keeping Kaden during the day, another huge blessing.  So far I have still been able to breast feed him thanks to wonderful co-workers who help me watch one of my classes while I pump during the day.  Blessing.     

I am looking forward to the start of the holidays and a nice, relaxing vacation with plenty of bonding time with little man Reese.  Only three more days to go!

    Sunday, November 28, 2010

    Christmas Time is Here

    Our house at twilight:

    As you can see, Kaden is anxiously awaiting the approaching festivities:
    Only 15 working days until Christmas vacation. 

    Not that I'm counting . . .

    Sunday, November 14, 2010

    Goodnight Moon

    Tonight, after I nursed Kaden and tried to put him down, he started to cry.  He was not interested in sleep.  I swaddled him up, cuddled Mr. Swaddle Bug on my lap and we read this together:

    He stopped crying and stared at the pictures while I read him one of the simplest stories ever written.

    Then I sang him a lullaby and rocked him to sleep (because I do naughty things like that instead of letting him "learn to self soothe" in his crib).

    My mom read this book to me, and Chad's mom read this book to him.

    Kaden loves to be read to, and I think that is awesome.  Some of our other favorites at three months old are If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Corduroy, Hop on Pop, Guess How Much I Love You?, and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (OK, so I might have lied about that last one).

    On Friday, I had a conversation with one of my student's parents.  He failed my class last nine weeks, and his father is obviously concerned about his grade.  This is how my favorite line in the conversation went:

    "Well, he hates to read.  I hate to read, and his mother hates to read.  There ain't nothin' we can do about that."

    It's times like this that I am thankful I'm having a conversation over the telephone and not in real life.  This way, I can make whatever facial expressions I want and no one is the wiser.  Luckily, since it was only day two in my return to public education, and I have yet to reach the state of exhaustion that will likely accompany the end of the semester, I was able to refrain from making the following comments I wanted to make:

    "That is an extremely sad and uneducated comment."

    "Perhaps your child's lack of interest in my subject area should warrant his removal from an HONORS level course."

    "Perhaps we can do something about his laziness, even if you seem to lack the skill to spark his interest in reading."

    I do not know if Kaden will be a reader when he grows up.  I certainly hope so, but I also know I can't choose what my child will love.  I'm not going to deceive myself into thinking that because he will snuggle with me and enjoy a picture book now he'll be a bookworm when he's older.  Having said that, my mom certainly shaped me into the reader I am today.

    I am thankful for a mom who held me in her arms while she read me Goodnight Moon.  And I'm glad it didn't stop there.  I am thankful for a mom who giggled with me while we read all of the Ramona Quimby books together, and all of the other chapter books she snuggled with me through at bedtime.  Most of all, I'm thankful that she talked to me about what I read while I was in high school.  I'm thankful she littered our house with books and that I saw her reading them.  Books on the night stand.  Books in the bathroom.  Books on the kitchen counter.  Always books.  It's still that way.  One of my favorite parts about going home is seeing what new books are hiding in various parts of my parents' house--there's always something to read and talk about. 

    Mom, I am so glad you're a reader.

    And I'm so glad that I get to read to my little boy.

    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    Half Baked

    This is my favorite ice cream.  It is sold in expensive pints in the freezer department of nearly every grocery store next to much more practical choices: affordable half gallons of other brands.

    If you can't read the description printed below the flavor, allow me to help you.  Each pint reads:  Chocolate and Vanilla Ice Creams mixed with Fudge Brownies and Gobs of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.  Now I ask you, what isn't to love about a calorie fest of that variety?

    I first fell for this ice cream on a late night chocolate run with my mom and I have never looked back.

    When I lived in London, it was not unheard of for my friend Steph and I to occasionally brave the drunk-infested streets late at night in search of this ice cream.  The Blockbuster a few blocks away had a freezer chest stacked full of them.  We were lured there by the exceptional price of two pints for five pounds.  (Unfortunately, two pints for five pounds is not the same thing as two pints for five dollars, and even that wouldn't have been that amazing of a deal. . .)

    I am thrifty, and my husband is even more so (some might venture to call him cheap).  We do not usually buy Ben and Jerry's ice cream; it is simply too expensive.   Our freezer is only graced with its presence for very important occasions, some happy and some sad.

    For example, Chad might surprise me with a pint for my birthday.  Happy.

    Or, Chad might surprise me with a pint after a PMS induced meltdown.  Sad.

    After Kaden was born, my mother-in-law brought me a pint of Half Baked in the hospital.  It was heavenly.

    Thursday, Chad brought me a pint of ice cream back with him after his grocery store run.

    You see, I went back to work on Wednesday.

    I pretty much cried for a week straight beforehand.  I would be playing with Kaden while I changed his diaper, and I would burst into tears and say, "I want to stay home with you all the time!" or I would watch him get this huge smile on his face, the tears would gush down my cheeks, and I would proclaim, "How can I ever leave you?!"

    On Wednesday, I cried when I kissed Kaden goodbye.

    I cried while I pulled out of the driveway.

    I cried all the way down Cary Road.

    And all the way to North Lenoir High School.

    Once I made it to school, I was fine.  I taught three classes filled with wonderful students who missed me.  It felt good to be missed.  I saw all of my colleagues, people I love.  It was a good day.

    Thursday was Veteran's Day.  Thank goodness, no school.

    I cried Thursday night, not wanting to go back to work on Friday.

    I cried Friday morning on my way to work.

    I am crying now while I write this post, thinking I will have to go back on Monday.

    The cycle continues . . .  

    Chad has pointed out that Kaden is not going to prison.  He's not being kept from me for the rest of his life.  In fact, he is staying with his Gigi, who loves him and will spoil him rotten.

    I know this.

    I know he is in good hands.  I know that he is fine.  I know that he is happy.  I know all of this.

    But it is still hard.

    Thursday, November 04, 2010

    Kaden's Blessing Day, October 31, 2010

    The main reason my family flew back to North Carolina with me was so they could be there for Kaden's blessing day.  My mom made his blessing outfit, and it was absolutely precious.  It was also the Primary program on Sunday, so I had a very busy day since I am in the Primary presidency.  Thankfully my mom and grandma were there to help get Kaden dressed (we took him to church in a different outfit in case he decided to desecrate whatever he was wearing before Sacrament meeting) and keep him happy.  Chad gave Kaden a beautiful blessing, and it was a very special day.  Thus, the picture overload:

    All the family who came for Kaden's special day:
     The men who participated in the blessing with Chad:  Dad Jensen, Papa, Chad, Tyler, Uncle Craig, and Dad Reese.
     Kaden with Gigi and Poppy:
     Kaden with Grandpa and Grandma:
     With my parents:
     Four generations:
    Kaden with his Gram:
    Our family:
     Cousinly Love:
     Kenzie with Gigi and Mommy:
     With Chad's parents:
     Another four generations:
     Kaden talking to his Gigi:
     Chad with his siblings (minus Cameron, who's on his mission. . . tear):
     Time out for fun:
     With Lauren and Tyler:

     Sad Kaden:
     "It's OK," says Mackenzie:
     In his darling outfit:

     I am so thankful for my Kaden boy, and I am so thankful that he has a wonderful daddy who could give him a name and a blessing.  

    The Cutest Pumpkin in the Patch

    Chad was very disappointed when I brought home a pumpkin costume for Kaden this year.  He was hoping for something a little less generic.  My thoughts were Joy and I scored big time finding a costume for $4.99 at Once Upon a Child that didn't look raggedy.  He was a little fluff ball, and Chad kept telling him, "I'm so sorry; this wasn't my fault."

     Kaden, meet your cousin Ladybug:

     And your Aunt, The Cheshire Cat:

     Here's our Trunk or Treat trunk this year. (It actually looked way cooler in person.  We had lots of glow sticks to add to the eerie effect.)

    All tuckered out in Grandma's lap after the excitement:


    I spent most of the time with the primary children, trying to entertain them while their parents played Bingo and won giant cakes.  Not to bad for Kaden's first Halloween. 

    Cousin Bonding

    When we came back from Utah, we were also able to see Meredith and Mackenzie who had been visiting while we were away.  Luckily we caught them at the tail end of their trip.  Mackenzie was so much fun this time.  Her little personality is precious; she is at such a fun age!  Kenzie loved Kaden and was such a good helper.  She wanted to help feed Kaden his bottle, change his diaper (which one night resulted in catastrophe when he peed all over her, I screamed, and she started bawling), rock him to sleep when he was in his car seat, sing him songs, and she would tell him, "It's okay," whenever he was crying.  It was so sweet.  I know they will make great playmates some day when he's a little bigger and she can boss him around.  She was a little confused at first because Kaden sounded a little too much like Katie.  If she wasn't calling him "Bebe," she was calling him Aunt Katie (or Annnn Kayeee in Kenzie language).     

    We went to the nature center one day to spend some time together.  Kaden slept through the entire outing in the stroller, but Mackenzie still had a good time (despite the broken train she wanted to ride).

    It was fun spending time with them while they were here.  I wish they lived closer so we could do more things together!

    Kaden's First Beach Trip

    While my family was here visiting, we drove to New Bern for the day so Grandma Joy could see her old stomping grounds (New Bern is where she graduated from high school).  We had a great day window shopping and eating yummy food.  We also drove down to Atlantic Beach so they could see the ocean.  It was a beautiful day!  We still bundled up Mr. Kaden, because of the fall breeze.

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