Thursday, May 10, 2012

Two Nights Ruined Me

Last weekend, Chad and I went to walk as a part of Team Brenda in the Walk to Defeat ALS in Greenville.  I taught with Ms. Brenda at North Lenoir and I adore her.  She's the reason I got my teaching job when we moved to North Carolina.  Without her putting in a kind word for me with the principal, I never would have gotten an interview.  My application was sitting in a drawer at the county office.  (I know, because I had to redo it after he decided to hire me.  They couldn't find it anywhere!)  Ms. Brenda is the kind of woman who says just what she thinks, and she can get away with it, because everyone loves her.  She can tell a high school girl she's dressed like a street walker and the girl will still walk away loving her.  She was a phenomenal teacher and she is an inspiring person.  I hope that as they continue to research this terrible disease, they can find a cure. 

Kaden came with us, too.  We drove to Kinston on Friday night, so we wouldn't have to drive as far on Saturday morning.  He woke up at 4 a.m., and he was in a killer good mood.  He did surprisingly well.  He made it through the entire walk, but he started to get pretty whiny while we were waiting for the closing ceremony to start.  We had to leave early, but I am so glad we went.  I hope Ms. Brenda knows how many people love her!

We were going to drive back to Raleigh on Saturday afternoon, but we decided to make a weekend out of it and stay instead.  Chad's parents were on vacation (in LONDON and PARIS!  My heart was bleeding with envy!).  We had the best time!  It seriously felt like we were on a mini-vacation.  On Saturday we lazed about and watched HGTV pretty much all day long.  Home improvement and house hunting shows were on a continuous circuit.  We were inspired with so many project ideas for our future house, so we felt justified in our constant lounging.  We all went outside and Kaden played shoot ball and splashed in puddles, while Chad and I washed and vacuumed the car.  It had long been needing a cleansing from the layer of cheerios and goldfish embedded in the upholstery.  Then, Chad and I had a date night after Kaden went to bed.  Chad built a fire in the fire pit, we roasted marshmallows, and made s'mores.  There was a huge rainstorm that night, so it made it even more fun being cozy by the fire on the back porch, listening to the rain fall.  On Sunday, I raided my sister-in-law's closet for church clothes (something I wish I could do EVERY day of my life.  Have you seen her wardrobe?  Gorgeous.  And her jewelry armoire?  Be still my heart).  Luckily, she is loving enough to really mean it when she says, "My closet is your closet."  I went through the attic and found one of Chad's/Chad's brother's outfits from when they were little for Kaden to wear, and we were golden for sacrament meeting.  Then, we came home and relaxed.  I experimented with Pinterest recipes, and then we all welcomed Joy and Bruce back from Europe around six in the evening.  It was fun to have a visit with them, and then we zipped back to Cary, NC, Lady and the Tramp entertaining Kaden on the portable DVD player all the way home.    

Here's the only bad thing about this trip:  we slept on my in-law's mattress.  Joycious and Brucious recently got a new mattress, and it has been getting rave reviews.  Well, let me tell you something:  On Saturday morning, I was awakened at an hour of death by a crying toddler.  We tried to bring him in bed with us, which was an absolute joke.  Friday night's sleep could have been great, had it not been so rudely interrupted.  On Sunday, Kaden slept in until after eight, and oh, my.  As I told Chad, previous to this, I thought the best sleep of my life had been in the hospital when they gave me Ambien.  I was wrong.  I spoke too soon.  I had no yet experienced a truly blissful sleep.  AMAZING.  I should be a part of the ad campaign for the mattress company.  Why was this lovely night's sleep a bad thing?  My sleep upon returning to our own mattress has been somewhat torturous.  Tossing.  Turning.  Dreaming of the king-sized phenomenon I experienced days before.  I am, in a word, ruined.

I realized I am thankful for a lot of things this weekend.  Watching all of those home improvement shows with Chad made me realize that I am thankful we can see potential in things.  If we couldn't, we'd be in a serious fix while house hunting.  Spending so much quality time with Chad and Kaden made me realize I am so thankful we are a happy family.  We are not a perfect family, by any means, but we are happy, and I love that.  I am so thankful I married such a patient, kind man.  I am so thankful he is still my best friend, that we still have as much fun talking and laughing together as we did when we were dating.  Staying in my in-laws house made me realize I am thankful for them.  How many people would feel comfortable crashing at their in-law's house while they are away?  Some of you are probably reading this post and thinking it's a little strange that we slept in their bed.  (We did change the sheets, and tell them, by the way, lest you think we are completely inconsiderate.)  The thing is they are so incredibly hospitable.  It's amazing.  I am so thankful that I feel so at home with them.

We are going to Kinston this weekend, too, to spend Mother's Day with the family.  Sadly, the bed of my dreams will be taken.          

Thursday, May 03, 2012

A List and Photo Overload

I am so behind in the blogging realm.  Kaden is rapidly approaching 21 months.  I didn't even blog about his 18 month stats.  Mom fail?  I think so.

Kaden's 18 Month Stats:

Weight - 26 pounds, 6 ounces (57th percentile)
Height - 33 1/2 inches (82nd percentile)
Head Circumference - 49 centimeters (81st percentile)

A lot of people are really surprised when I tell them how old he is.  A reaction I get a lot is, "He's a big boy!"  He's only in the 82nd percentile for height, but he is a lot taller than a lot of kids his age at church, library story time, the park, etc.  I don't know, kind of random.  I don't think he's a giant by any means, but that's just the reaction we get from other people.  

It is over 90 degrees today.  It's too hot to think about writing a million blog posts.  So, I am going to write one instead.  One, long, catch-up-so-I-feel-less-guilty post.

First, a list about what Kaden is like these days:

-His vocabulary has really expanded.  Seriously, I have not done him justice by failing to record all of the words he has been learning.  At the same time, he seems to learn a new word or two every day, so recording each one seems kind of obsolete.  Chad and I are constantly looking at each other and saying, “When did he learn that word?”  Some of the most recent ones he has surprised me with have been rainbow, bull, and goat.  He is doing great with his colors and can identify and name them very well.  He has a hard time saying “red” for some reason, and he gets orange and yellow confused sometimes.  I love it when he says purple; it sounds more like “burble.”  Even though he knows a ton of words, we still have moments of frustration when he is clearly trying to tell us something, and we have no idea what he’s saying. 

-His favorite foods right now are BY FAR black beans and peaches.  Seriously, he LOVES beans.  Sometimes we can trick him into eating other things that are the shape of a bean.  A funny story:  Kaden went to a birthday party for a little girl in Kinston the weekend we were moving.  My friend Stephanie was nice enough to watch him for the day, and she took him.  She said he didn’t eat any cake, but he kept begging for beans.  Hilarious!  Sadly, he has become a MUCH pickier eater.  It’s devastating.  It’s hard to get him to try things.  He has to make the decision to try it on his own, and it’s so funny because nine times out of ten he ends up liking whatever he adamantly insisted he didn’t want.  As picky as he is, he still likes a lot of random food.  He will still go to town on some Indian cuisine.   

--Occasionally has night terrors during nap time.  This happens very rarely, mainly if he's gotten too overtired before his nap, or if he wakes up before he's had a complete nap.  We talked to the doctor about this at his 18 month check up.  Basically, when he wakes up he's not fully awake.  He has no idea what's going on, and he's pretty much inconsolable.  It's so hard to watch, because there's not a lot you can do to calm him.  I usually just hold him close and sing him a song until he comes out of it.  The first time it happened it scared Chad and I to death.  We had no idea what was wrong.  The doctor said he will grow out of it eventually, and I'm thankful that when this does happen it happens during the day, instead of the middle of the night.  

-He is a champ at putting together puzzles and loves doing this.  He can even put together the puzzles that don’t have the pictures of the objects behind the pieces. 

-Has mastered his shape sorter (he did this quite a while ago, but again, I’m seriously behind in recording things).  He was so precious when he first learned to do this.  He would clap for himself after dropping every shape into the bucket, then look at us for applause, too.

-Is extremely anti-social.  He was going to nursery without us with no problem.  Not so much anymore.  We’ve gone to nursery with him for the last three Sundays.  We’ve tried leaving him, but he’s stubborn.  The poor leaders.  And he is terrible at sharing.  I told Chad that I think Kaden is rapidly becoming “that kid.”  The one that the leaders go home and talk about after church.  At the park, Kaden honestly thinks that all the toys are his:  the slide, the sandbox, you name it.  He’ll be at the top of the slide, and a kid will start climbing up the stairs to slide after him, and Kaden will loudly profess, “No, no, no!”  We are working on it, but it’s hard when he has no siblings he has to share with at home.  Hopefully this is just a phase.  It did make me feel TONS better when I witnessed a little girl about his age do the exact same thing at the park today. 

-Is showing interest in letters, but not numbers.  He is in love with an alphabet puzzle that we inherited from the Howards, and we read a lot of alphabet books (per his request).  When we were reading, I noticed he could say some of the letters without being told what they were, so I got him alphabet flashcards at the dollar store just for fun.  He thinks it’s the best game ever.  He only knows A (sometimes), B, H, E, O, T, and I, but it’s pretty adorable when you hold up a card and he belts out what the letter is.  The rest of the letters he just practices saying after I tell him what they are.  As for the numbers, I’ve even tried enticing him with Sesame Street video clips, but he won’t say them.  The only number we hear is two.  From the top of the slide:  “Two, two, two!”  I’m an English teacher, so his love for the alphabet superceding his love for numerals doesn’t offend me in the slightest. 

-Went through an awful phase of abhorring the bathtub.  This was truly awful.  It took Chad and I together to bathe him, while he refused to sit in the tub, and screamed bloody murder the entire time.  We tried everything to break him.  Chad got in the tub in his swim trunks and splashed around, so Kaden could see how fun it is.  We attempted giving him a shower instead of a bath . . . disastrous.  We brought bubbles into the bathroom.  Nothing worked.  One night, while I was getting him ready for his bath I was talking to him about how I knew he was scared, but I knew he could be brave.  “Can you be a brave boy and try to take a bath nicely for Mommy?”  “Yes.”  Seriously?  Wow.  Not the answer I was expecting, since he’s screamed, “No, no, no!” every time we’d previously had this pep talk.  I was skeptical.  He still cried, but he walked upstairs to the bathroom instead of me having to carry him kicking and screaming.  That night he was eventually coaxed into sitting down in the tub, and by the end of his bath he was splashing like a little fish, having a great time.  It’s still hard to convince him to take a bath at times, but once in, he always loves it now.  I have no idea what triggered this, but I’m glad it’s over. 

-Has become attached to his stuffed elephant, Ollie, and his pillow pet, Cougar.  He still sleeps with Tip Top in his crib, too, for every nap and at night, but Tip Top now has the company of the additional stuffed animal friends.  Ollie is usually the friend who comes with us to the grocery store, the park, etc.  It’s so cute to hear Kaden say, “Aw-yeee!” and then give his buddy a huge hug once they are reunited following a separation. 

-Loves the free balloons at Harris Teeter.  Have I mentioned I love Harris Teeter?  I love that store.  They double coupons every day up to 99 cents, and they have the best customer service.  AND they have samples scattered throughout the deli and produce departments.  I’m a huge fan.  But really, they had me at the free balloons.    

- Can jump and loves it.

- Kneels down and folds his arms for family prayer each night.  He also folds his arms for prayer at mealtimes.  We're still working on closing his eyes and bowing his head.  When you tell him to close his eyes he points to his eyes, then folds his arms again.  

- Loves to wrestle with Daddy and walk all over him while Chad lies on the floor. 

- Likes to do backflips (with the assistance of a parent or other willing adult, of course).

-Is still obsessed with anything resembling a ball that can be kicked, thrown, or caught.  He’s getting much better at catching.  He loves to throw his Harris Teeter balloons in the air (after they lose their ability to float) and catch them before they fall. 

-Has become quite the mommy’s boy now that I am home full-time.  This may be part of the reason we have separation-anxiety during nursery at church.  When Chad comes home from work, Kaden frequently runs to me crying (I don’t know if he thinks I am going to leave, since Chad is home?) then after about 30 seconds, he becomes Chad’s shadow.  I went out to eat dinner with a friend about a week ago, and Chad said Kaden screamed at the front door for a full 30 minutes after I left.  I am just going to enjoy his attachment to me while it lasts, since it means lots of hugs, kisses, and snuggles,  and he’s not likely to feel so strongly about me for the rest of his existence.  I figure I can build up a reserve now.  I’m hoping this gets a little better by August, since we will be leaving him for a week with my parents while we go on vacation with Chad’s family.  I pity them, should the situation not improve. 

-Still loves a paci.  He calls his pacifiers "bibis" and he has to sleep with at least three.  He also likes to carry around multiple pacifiers during the day.  I know we need to break him of this habit, but with the move, and now with the prospect of another move in the next few months, I just can't bring myself to do it.  I figure we'll wait until sometime after his second birthday.  The plan is to wean him down to one paci, then eventually to none.  We were doing a great job about keeping the pacis in the crib during the day.  He was only using them for nap and night time, but alas, the move pretty much put a kibosh on that.  Also, I love my parents enough to know we should wait until after we get back from our cruise.  Leaving them with an upset baby and no paci would be hateful.  

-Would be a movie junkie, if we allowed it.  He LOVES watching Pixar movies, and lately he's branched into classic Disney.  Gigi and Poppy gave him Lady and the Tramp for Easter and he's obsessed.  He asks to watch "Doggies" and points to where the portable DVD player is multiple times a day, while woofing, to get his point across.  Honestly, I was kind of surprised.  I want to own all the Disney films, just because they're classics, but I didn't expect this one to be his favorite.  We're pretty strict about his TV consumption, much to his chagrin.  There is a strict one-viewing a day maximum policy, so there's usual a meltdown when the movie ends.  He's already worn out the copy of Lady and the Tramp and it won't work half the time.  Luckily, we also have a blu-ray copy that he can watch once we move and have our TV and DVD player again.   

And now, for photo overload:

We were back and forth from Kinston to Raleigh a LOT in the process of selling our house.  We had to do repairs to appease the buyer, plus we had to pack up all of our junk.  Here is Kaden, after arriving at Gigi and Poppy's on one such trip.  We'd just spent two hours in the car, and as soon as he ran in, he spotted her Easter decorations.  He had to give the bunnies loves.  

 Here is Kaden, dapper lad that he is, one Sunday we were in K-town.

Here he is on the porch swing with Uncle Tyler and Daddy:

This is what my kitchen  cabinets look like 90% of the time.  I know you find this shocking, but I did not choose to organize them like this.  Kaden rearranges everything in the lower cabinets while he "helps" me cook dinner.  I was reorganizing them constantly, until I suddenly realized, there was no point.  So, I let them stay like this until I go stark raving mad from the chaos.  Then I reorganize them, and the madness starts over. 

 Here is Kaden on his first Easter egg hunt.  A girl from Church organized it.  Everyone brought eggs, and we let the kids go wild.  Kaden would tell me the color of each egg before plunking it in his basket.  He would also shake each one.  He didn't know there was candy inside, so luckily we avoided the sugar rush that could have followed.  Well . . . the sugar rush was avoided by him, at least. 

 Here is Kaden, helping me sweep the floor, after the egg hunt:

 My brother recently reported to North Carolina for military service.  My dad helped him drive across country, so they were with us for Easter Sunday.  Here we all are, before church.  Sadly, we don't have any individual pictures of Kaden in his southern-gentleman attire.

 We thought it would be fun to let Kaden go on another Easter egg hunt on Easter Sunday.  Gigi hid all of the empty eggs, but after Kaden shook a few, and heard no evidence of goods inside, he was no longer interested.  (Side note:  I really did wash his shirt in between egg hunts.  So random that he is wearing the same outfit in these pictures.)

 I love this picture.  Kaden was fascinated, watching Daddy and Poppy toss a football back and forth.

 Kicking a little shoot ball. 
 Fun with Uncle Tyler:
 Eating his favorite food, black beans:


We took Kaden to the park to get some portraits of him, but he wasn't interested.  We ended up just documenting a play day instead.

 As you can tell, he was in a killer good mood.
 There may have been other kids on the slide.  Not a happy camper about that. 
 I love my child's mouth.  It's just one of the cutest things about him.

 Getting ready to slide.
 Kaden, sporting my pink high heels one morning.  I love that he's kicking a soccer ball while wearing these.

 And that in this one he's surrounded by a pile of trucks.

 It's pretty impressive that he can actually walk in these things. 

 Kaden, in his jammies (tackled puzzles in the background):

 Here's a photo of me with my niece Adeline.  When I coaxed her to sleep, and I felt the weight of her sleeping head on my arm, my ovaries might have started screaming.  Just a little bit.  She is absolutely precious, and it was fun to have her and her parents with us for a couple of days.  Bryan's wife flew out to spend some time with him in NC for a month.  Kaden did much better with Addy this time around.  Even after she left, when he woke up in the morning, he got this serious look on his face, put his finger to his lips, and said, "Shhhhhhhh . . . Baby seeping."  It was, in a word, precious.  He definitely isn't ready to be her number one fan, but he was more curious about her this time.  He also loved playing with her toys, in a lot less gentle way than she plays with them.  We had to keep reminding him to be soft and that babies are fragile.  Definitely wouldn't leave him alone with a newborn any time soon, but this was a huge improvement.  I'm still terrified of how he's going to react when he is no longer the only child some day. 
 This is Kaden and I cuddling during Lady and the Tramp after he woke up ridiculously early one day.  I look smashing, but I asked Chad to snap a quick shot before he left for work, because I wanted to remember the moment.

I feel the guilt oozing away.  At least I am closer to being caught up. 
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