Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Where Have All the Pacis Gone?

Long Time Passing . . .

I found Kaden's secret stash behind the crib today:

 There were six pacis scattered along the top of the pack and play that is stored under there.

 He has made a habit of throwing his pacis during fits of frustration at nap time.  This happens after the giggling, gargling, and talking don't bring Mommy in to pick him up.  I went in to check on him the other day and found three pacifiers in the middle of the floor (I've started putting a few extras in the crib when he goes down, so he won't scream as soon as he throws one out).  Apparently, he realized it was too easy for Mommy to find those, so he started hiding them behind the crib instead.  I burst out laughing when I found them today.

I have composed at least a half dozen blog posts in my head recently, but haven't had time to record them.  Why?  Because we're in the middle of another set of home renovations.  Not on OUR home this time, but on the rental house we just bought.  It has been an adventure, I tell you.  I am so thankful for all the help we've gotten from family--from babysitting, to demo, to painting, it has all been so greatly appreciated.  There's no way we could have completed this project in a month without so much help.  Our renters are moving in the 1st of June, and we still have some work we are finishing up before then.  Anyway, since it is not the 1st of June yet, you will not get any of those half dozen blog posts, but I figure I should at least do a nine month post for Kaden, since he has been nine months old for two weeks now.

Kaden's nine month stats:
Weight -- 19 pounds, 12.5 ounces (39th percentile)
Height -- 29.5 inches (87th percentile)
Head Circumference -- 46.75 centimeters (87th percentile)

The doctor's take on his stats, "He's long and lean, which I prefer over short and fat." 

At nine months old, Kaden . . . 
  • Waves hi and bye
  • Claps his hands

  • Gives high fives    
  • Is a wiggle worm
  • Turns the pages in his book when we read to him (Would you like to help Mommy turn the page?  Thank you!)

  • Still loves to be read to (one of the only times he is still is while you're reading to him)
  • Can hold his own bottle or sippy cup (He is still very particular about what kind of sippy cup he will take, if he will take one at all.  He only likes the kind with very soft tops, so they feel more like a bottle.)
  • Crawls forwards (he does this sometimes on hands and knees, but a lot of the time still prefers the inch-worm method)

  • Can get back into a sitting position from a crawling position
  • Eats grown-up food at meal times (He picks up pieces of the food from his high chair tray on his own.  He loves to feed himself and make a mess!), followed by pureed baby food (Everything but Outback mashed potatoes has been a huge hit!  From grilled salmon to Cajun chicken pasta, this kid loves it all!)
  • Goes to sleep on his own, without being rocked to sleep (We still follow a bedtime routine.  We read stories, sing a song, rock him until he gets drowsy, and then put him in his crib.  Since starting this he has been AWESOME at sleeping through the night--but I don't want to write that for fear it may stop.  Sometimes it takes awhile for this to work at nap time, however, and he frequently poops right after I put him down.  I have to go pick him up, change him, and start the entire process again.  I know infants supposedly don't have control of this bodily function, but sometimes I think he's doing this on purpose to get another story, song, and rock-rock.)
  • Has four teeth (two bottom, two top) with another one on the way
  • Loves to throw things
  • Loves to be out and about (He has enjoyed many trips to Lowe's lately, but he just loves running errands in general.) 
  • Nuzzles his head into whoever may be holding him
  • Pats you on the back and snuggles you when he's getting tired and you are holding him
  • Can stand while holding onto something and is working on pulling himself up on his own

  • Sleeps in a crib with the mattress in the lowest position (We moved the mattress down after I found him semi-standing and shaking the entire side of the crib post nap one day.)
  • Is cautious but curious.  (Even though he knows how to plop on his bottom after he's been standing, you can tell he gets very nervous about doing so.  He's also cautious around strangers, even though he'll let almost anyone hold him.  He gives people in the grocery store the stare down when they try to talk to him.)

  • Does bicep workouts with Daddy (Chad lifts him up and he pulls down our attic stairs--these are heavy suckers.  After he's done enough reps with his left arm to wear him out, he switches to his right.) 
  • Frequently has one paci in his mouth and an extra in his hand (He then switches them from hand to mouth back and forth.  It's quite comical to watch.)
  • Is looking less and less like a baby, and more and more like a little boy every day (much to his mother's dismay), which is evidenced perfectly in this photo:

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Kaden and Kenzie Playing


We were really lucky to have Meredith and Mackenzie in Kinston for Easter this year.  Kaden didn't get to go to church on Easter Sunday, because he was running a fever.  A few days later we recreated the moment and had the kids put on their Easter duds for a quick cousin photo shoot.  They were less than cooperative:

Seriously.  That's about as cute as it gets.  They were not interested in looking at the camera at the same time, or, in most cases, looking at the camera at all.  If we did manage to get them looking at the camera, if one was smiling, the other wasn't.  You get the idea.

 Kaden, on maracas:

Probably the best one, after the bunnies succumbed to the power of the breeze and were removed:
We decided to try to get some individual shots.  Here's what Kaden thought about that idea:

Plastic egg to the rescue:

I think they're still pretty cute, even though they're not perfect portraits of our kids. 

Kaden had a blast with Mackenzie while she was here.  I think he is going through withdrawals now that she is home in Denver. 

Monday, May 02, 2011

Spring Travels

In the beginning of April, Chad maintained his status as best husband and father ever by letting me whisk Kaden off for two weeks to visit my family.  If he asked me to take Kaden somewhere without me for two weeks I would probably say no, so I think it's pretty awesome that he didn't object. 

Kaden and I flew to Utah in the evening, with my brilliant plan being that he would likely fall asleep since most of the flight time would be his normal sleeping time.  He was remarkably good, but he didn't sleep much.  On the first leg of the trip, he bonded with the drunk man next to us--who kept hinting that he'd like to hold him.  He reminded me a lot of one of my favorite travel journalists:

Seriously.  He looked so much like Anthony Bourdain.  And he was swearing and drinking like Anthony Bourdain.  The thing is, as much as I think the real Anthony is a fantastic writer and an interesting persona, the likelihood of me letting HIM hold my child is pretty slim, so the drunk impersonator next to me didn't stand a chance.  I do not profess to know a lot about alcohol, having never consumed an alcoholic beverage myself, but I do know this:  vodka is some of the stronger stuff, and he purchased a lot of it from the flight attendant.  Just saying.  And another thing:  what stranger asks to HOLD someone's baby?  So weird.  I don't know you!  You could be some crazy pedophile!  Maybe I'm too paranoid, but I don't see my philosophy on that changing any time soon.

After landing in Denver, we were given the unfortunate news that our flight to Salt Lake was delayed.  At this point, Kaden still had not slept, and I was starving.  The only food stall open was a TCBY, so I bought a smoothie and then tried to coax Kaden back into a REM cycle by moving away from the chatty mob of high school girls who camped out behind us right when he was finally asleep.  He fell back asleep just as our flight began boarding, so that nap didn't last long either.

Even so, the flights went better than I expected they would.  Kaden did great in the umbrella stroller in the airport, and as long as I let him shake the menu card and tear up copies of Sky Mall  on the plane ride itself, he was happy.  I feel so much better about traveling with Kaden alone now, although it is definitely MUCH easier with another set of hands.

 We only spent a few days in Salt Lake, but we had a good time.  Kaden got to bond with Uncle Jared, who is still living at home.  We also got to see Bryan and Lizadel.  We even went to the What Women Want! expo at the convention center with Lizadel and her mom, which was a lot of fun.

On Sunday afternoon Mom, Dad, Kaden, and I jumped in the car and drove all night to get to Prosser, Washington.  Kaden did AMAZING in the car, and slept pretty much the entire ride.  We stopped in Prosser to visit my Aunt Arianne and Uncle Howard and my awesome cousins Anya, Alissa, Evan, and Alissa's little boy, Brody.  Kaden LOVED Brody.  He is fascinated with other kids now, and Brody was so sweet to him.  He was also so good about sharing all of his toys.  I was very impressed!  We didn't have a lot of time together, but we made the most of the time we had.  We ate so much good food (thanks, Aunt Arianne!) and laughed, and laughed, and laughed some more.  I love my family.  They are some of the funniest people I know.

It is always sad for me to leave a visit with them, because I never know when I will see them again.  The last time I saw them was in the summer of 2009.   I hate being so far away from so many people that I love, and I hate that Kaden will miss out on really getting to know them.  But, c'est la vie, right?

After our stop in Prosser, we drove to the metropolis of Moses Lake, my home town.  Nelson Mandela once said, "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."  I don't think there is a more fitting quotation to describe my visit home.

In Kinston, there are very few people who know me just for me.  Most people know me as "Chad Reese's wife," or "Joy Reese's daughter-in-law," and that is OK.  I am proud to be a Reese; it's a good thing!  In Moses Lake, though, I am still Katie Jensen, and that is kind of fun, too.

In Utah, my mom is Susan, but in Moses Lake, she is Sue. 

We stayed at my Grandpa Jensen's house.  I love that house.  There is no dishwasher in the kitchen and the cabinets are sea-foam green.  There is no Internet, and there is no cable TV.  It has not changed much since I was a little girl.  It's a different color on the outside, and the tree that used to sit in the front yard is gone now.  It still feels the same, though.  It is still full of my grandma, too, even though she passed away nine years ago.  When we first got to Grandpa's house, I went in the back room and cried.  I think we always miss the people we love when they are gone, but there, surrounded by so many things that reminded me of her, I missed her more than I have in a long time.  I so wish Kaden could have met her, but I know he will someday.  We had a lot of fun watching old family home videos with Grandpa at night and sharing lots of old memories.

We didn't have much time in Moses Lake, either, but we did a few things that any Moses Lake tourist must: sampled some amazing Legacy Chocolates thanks to Nesha and Brenda, ate arroz con pollo at Inca (just as amazing as I remembered), devoured a greasy Hockstetter pizza from Chico's, and drove down a lot of country roads.  We were able to see a lot of old friends while we were there, but there wasn't enough time to see everyone I would have loved to have seen.  I did drive to Othello one day to visit my old high school chums Lena and Crystal.  I don't know why, but for a while in high school we went through this phase where we all referred to one another by our first and last names.  Even when I talk to Chad about my high school friends, I still say, "My friend, Lena Campbell" or "My friend, Crystal Montoya."  They are Lena Gilbert and Crystal Harris now though.  We only had a few hours to visit, but it was great to see them.  I love seeing my friends as mothers.  They are great moms and have terrific children.  

After our visit in Moses Lake, we drove to Seattle to spend time with our family on the other side of the state.  We stayed with my Grandma Joy at my Uncle Shawn and Aunt Karen's house in Marysville.  Jayden and Skyler, my cousins, are so grown up now.  I still think of them as tiny, little kids, but they are far from it.  You know you're in for a great time when your welcome dinner consists of crab legs AND homemade fettuccine alfredo (note to self:  must buy pasta attachment for Bernice).  As if the welcome dinner wasn't enough, we also had a fantastic brunch later during our trip.  There is nothing like Uncle Shawn's crepes and beignets.  So good! 

The time flew by while we were there, but we did squeeze in visits with lots of relatives in addition to the ones with whom we stayed:  Uncle Mark and Aunt Jaime and their girls, McKenna and Lilah; Nicholas, for a very brief visit one morning; Aunt Maryann; and Uncle Paul and Aunt MalaRee and their crew, Chloe, Hayden, and Sterling. 

Some of the highlights of our trip were the Tulip Festival in Skagit Valley, Pike's Place Market in downtown Seattle, eating fish n' chips at Ivar's on the wharf, and visiting Flower World--a giant plant palace of a nursery that I wish existed where I live.          

 Before we knew it, it was time to fly back to North Carolina.  We had a wonderful time, but I think Chad was definitely ready for us to come home, and we missed him lots, too.  After a long trip it always feels good to be home, and my home felt extra good since it included a newly painted fence and deck!  I always miss my family more after spending time with them, but the good news is Kaden and I get to go back to Utah for another visit in July.  We're looking forward to it! 
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