Sunday, September 30, 2012

Kaden Meets Doc and Special

I helped Chad with a photography shoot this weekend in Kinston.  We had a great time.    My friend Becky, along with a friend of hers, hired us to take portraits of them with their beautiful four-legged friends.  It was our first time photographing horses, and I think it went really well.  Some of the pictures turned out fantastically, like this portrait of Doc:

Isn't he beautiful?

I had this sudden urge to take riding lessons and buy Kaden a horse for Christmas.  Luckily the budget won't allow for such impulsive shenanigans.  

Kadester stayed with his Gigi and Poppy during the photo session, but afterwards we went and picked him up, so he could meet Doc and Special for a few minutes (and get a good look at the cows and donkey that also live there).  

He wasn't so sure about them while we were there, but he talked about them a lot later.  When Chad loaded all of the photos onto the computer today, he was super excited to see the "horsies!" I guess he had a good time after all.  

The approach:

 Daddy, warming him up to the idea:

 And, suddenly he realized Special had teeth, which he was using to chomp all that hay:

Poppy  helping Kaden get to know Doc:

I love giving Kaden little experiences like this that are outside of our normal routine.  It is so fun watching him learn and grow!

Monday, September 24, 2012


I didn't know I was on a treasure hunt today.

I have been trying to organize our home office (which right now consists of piles of paperwork that need to be filed away into a filing cabinet that I do not yet have).  Kaden is napping, and I have been finding all sorts of hidden gems as I dig through all of the boxes of "stuff."

I found our branch directory from the last congregation we attended as students in Orem, Utah (I still find it so strange that we lived in a BRANCH in Orem).

I found a letter a dear friend in Kinston wrote to us after we attended the temple sealing of her sweet family.

Imagine my excitement when I found an old journal of Chad's!  (Imagine my chagrin when I discovered it was completely empty.)

My favorite thing I found was a CD of old family photos.  My mom put it together for my father-in-law, who was going to do something with them for me for a Christmas gift.  He gave them to me quite a while ago, said he hadn't had time to do anything with them, but wanted me to have them.  I just now got around to looking at them.

I am extremely sentimental, and I love old photographs.  There were several on the CD that I have NEVER seen before, which was so awesome.

This one was my absolute favorite.  This is a picture of my Grandma Jensen, looking completely out of character, which I adore.  She looks so sassy in this photo.  I think I may need to print it out, frame it, and hang it in my house somewhere.  If you know my Grandma Jensen, am I right?  She would probably be mortified to know this photo was being publicized.  I know my Grandpa Jensen was stationed in Japan at some point, so maybe that is where she got these silk pajamas?

My parents, young and in love.

I have no idea who these people are, but I love this.  I think the man may be my Grandpa Beadnell's father?  Maybe the baby is him?  If any family members are reading this and know, I'd love to hear more about it!
Grandma Joy: "Ist photo is Bill's Dad holding Bill and his Mom (Jean) standing next to him."  Bill is my Grandpa.  So I was right.

This is my Great Grandma Hines.  I am guessing this is a photo of her taken at nursing school (maybe upon graduation?).  My great grandmother was a nurse, my grandma is a nurse, and my mom is a nurse.  I see this photo, and I wish I was a nurse.

I am totally guessing here, but I think this may be my Great Grandpa Hines with his brother and sister?  I know he had a brother and sister, and the tall chap looks a lot like him.
Grandma Joy:  "3rd photo is Rhoda, Leon and Roger who died at age 9. These are Dad's bothers and sister. Dad is not in picture."  My great grandpa definitely resembled this brother.  

This is my Grandma Joy, and I am guessing that little bum may be my mom's?  Grandma, your arms look amazing.
Grandma Joy:  That little bum was your precious mom's. The photo was taken in Tucson at our first apartment.

I love thinking that I am related to these people somehow.  I have this strange desire to find out each of their names and try to find their personal histories or something.  (And see if anyone still has their hats!)

Grandma Joy: The old photo was taken in England at
 my Grandma Hines's brother's wedding. My Grandpa H. 
and Grandma H are in back row 2nd and 3rd from right, looking at photo. My great grandpa Hines is seated 2nd from left, looking at photo. Seated next to little girl looking at photo is my Dad seated on my Great Grandma Candler's lap. Not sure of the rest.

My mom with her parents and two of her brothers.

Top row:  Grandma Great (I love this woman.  If her name hadn't been Minnie Iola, I probably would name a daughter, should I be lucky enough to have one, after her someday), Grandma Great's mom, Uncle Howard, Grandma Jensen, Great Grandpa Caldwell.  Bottom Row:  Aunt MalaRee, Dad.

I wonder what was happening on the day this photo was taken.  That's my Grandpa Jensen, looking all studly in his uniform.  I love the shadow of the person snapping the photograph, too.  I love the almost melted snow.  There's a story here.

It definitely made my day finding all of these old memories.  I am so thankful Heavenly Father gave us families.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Embracing the Chaos

What playtime looks like in our house right now:

At this point, he realized he was on camera, so he started chasing me around.  It made it a lot harder to get a focused shot:

And a video of Kaden (eventually) singing "I am a Child of God."  Melts my heart every time.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Not Our Best Day

I don't function well in a state of chaos.

We are still waiting for the last estimate on our kitchen remodel to come in.  I spoke with the man on the phone today, and luckily, he is going to give me a call with it tomorrow.  In the meantime, we have been in limbo.  We can't install new flooring downstairs until the kitchen cabinetry is installed.  We can't unpack any of the kitchen boxes until that's complete, either.  We are using a leaky, somewhat shelf-less refrigerator (which I am extremely grateful for) that is in our garage until we finish our kitchen remodel and buy a new one.  The cabinets are terrifying, so I am storing the dishes we use on a daily basis in the pantry my father-in-law built for me.  All the pantry items are upstairs in the guest room closets.  This is not ideal.  It works, but it is definitely not ideal.

I thrive in an organized environment.

I am trying to avoid a full-fledged anxiety attack.

Today, Kaden suddenly discovered that there is a giant pile of hazardous objects in the dining room.  Up until now, he has seriously left the paint, screwdrivers, etc. alone.  Today, I found him pounding fluorescent light bulbs on the floor.  Later, he was lugging a caulk gun across the living room rug.  While I attempted to prepare dinner, he dumped the socket-wrench set all over the floor. The one with a trillion different pieces that all belong in a specific spot.

I'm pretty sure I screamed, "No, no, no!  Don't touch that!"  a trillion times today.

I know what you are thinking.  "Clean up your house!"

Believe me, I would love nothing more.

Add to the above list the following, and I think it's pretty clear I need to take a purple pill before I go to bed tonight:

Kaden decided a fifteen minute snooze in the car would replace his usual 2-3 hour nap.

I locked us out of the house this morning, and Chad had to come home for an early lunch to let us in.

Kaden decided that using lamps as targets while throwing his shoot ball was a good idea.

I lost track of Kaden's time-outs today at four.

Today is a day that I'm sure Kaden was wishing I was in a classroom somewhere teaching adolescents about the semicolon.

I'm sorry, Little Buddy.

On the agenda this week:  Take this kid to the children's museum, so he can spend an entire afternoon without me having to tell him, "You can't touch that!" a single time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Four Weeks of Abandonment

Chad has repeatedly told me, since my return to North Carolina, that I am never again to take his son and flee to the other side of the country for four weeks.  We shall see.

It was pretty cruel and unusual, and I honestly feel pretty bad about it.  Especially since Chad was left with such a mess to deal with at home (more about the results of that mess in a later post . . . our home improvements are coming along, slowly but surely).  Having said that, the Kadester and I definitely had a great time in the land of Grandma and Grandpa.  I've already documented some of our Utah adventures.  Here's the rest of the story:

We took Kaden to see the new Pixar movie, Brave.  I honestly didn't think he'd sit still for an entire movie in a theatre, but my mom insisted it was her treat, so we went and gave it a try.  He LOVED it.  Eyes glued to the screen for the entire film, squealing with excitement loved it.

My cousin, Alissa, drove up from St. George with her little boy, Brody.

My cousin Evan was in town, too, after attending AFY (Adventures for Youth) in Logan.  We celebrated Evan's birthday together one Sunday night with dinner, followed by brownies and ice cream.  I love my cousins, and it was great to see them.  Kaden and I met Alissa and Brody at the pool one day, too, before they went home.  Brody is such a sweet little boy.  We kept trying to get a picture of Kaden and Brody together, but they were pretty set against it.  I didn't get a single one that wasn't just two blurs running in opposite directions.

I love this series of shots of us together.  It clearly tells a story:

We watched the Olympics like crazy.  I love the Olympics.  Really love them.  There's just something so wonderful about everybody being patriotic for once.  The lack of patriotism in our nation astounds me.  Don't get me wrong, I know some people are still patriotic, but I just think there's not the vigorous national spirit that our country deserves.  When I was teaching high school, if kids didn't stand up for the pledge of allegiance, I made the entire class re-stand up and re-say it after the announcements were done.  Show the flag some respect, people!!!  Anyway,  I love that everybody jumps on the bandwagon that I'm on all the time and starts cheering for the red, white, and blue at least once every four years (and really every two if you count the Winter Olympics).  Some of the highlights of the Olympics for me were definitely the girls' gymnastics team winning the team gold, Gabby Douglas winning the all around gold medal (also in gymnastics), watching Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps rival it out in the pool, and every time Missy Franklin was on camera (who I came to utterly adore).  I also cried when Carrie and Misty won their final gold as a beach volleyball team.  Throw in the fact that the Olympics were in LONDON this year, and I was even more hooked.  I loved seeing all of the footage of my favorite city.  London will always hold a special place in my heart.  Kaden got pretty into the Olympics, too.  He loved watching the diving ("Jump! Oh, big jump!  Go beach!!!") and tried to vault over the top of the couch while we watched the gymnastics events.  The tragedy of my life was that I missed all the synchronized swimming.

 The day I left for Orlando, my baby turned two.  I am still in denial.  Since Kaden has no concept of his actual birth date, we celebrated the day before I left.  Almost immediately upon our arrival in Utah, he became obsessed with The Lion King, which my parents had on Blu-Ray.  He would wake up in the morning begging to watch it, and since all rules fly out the window when visiting grandparents, his begging usually ended in multiple viewings of "Hakuna Matata."  I'd originally planned on making him an Up cake (his obsession prior to our flight across the country), but quickly realized I'd have to revamp, since he didn't even seem to remember what Up was.  A quick search on Pinterest and a trip to Wal-mart later and voila!  We had a Lion King cake.

I'd originally planned on just cake and ice cream (my philosophy was pretty much,  "Let's keep it simple . . . the kid's two"), but pretty soon my mom had thrown together an entire spread of yummy-ness.  Think chicken wings, crab and cream cheese wontons, and pineapple cheese ball--just to name a few of the appetizers we enjoyed.

My cousin Anya came over for the shindig, and my sister-in-law, Lizadel, brought my adorable niece, Addy, and her grandma.  My Grandma Joy (who Kaden calls Gram) was visiting while I was home, so she got to join in the festivities, too.  Chad, Gigi and Poppy, Cameron, and Nana and Papa joined us via Skype to watch Kaden open his presents and blow out his candle.

Isn't Adeline precious?

I don't know what is up with my bangs lately, but I think I need to seek professional help:

He loved his party and all of the loot he was spoiled with.  Some of his favorite gifts were his toy train and Elephant and Piggy books (got to LOVE Mo Willems) from Grandma and Grandpa, his lion Beanie Baby (bet you can't guess what he's been dubbed . . . yep, Lion King) from Gram, and his light-up turtle toy from Aunt Lizadel and cousin Addy.

While I was gone, my family spoiled Kaden like crazy.  He ate Captain Crunch for breakfast, went to museums, went on daily walks to admire all of the bulldozers (my parents' neighborhood is going through a new phase of development, and the construction sites were a dream come true for Kaden), and watched lots more Lion King (my mom eventually hid the DVD when she just couldn't take it anymore).

Both before I left for the cruise and after coming back, we spent a lot of time at the pool and splash pad.  Kaden is a little fish this summer and is a crazy boy in the pool.  He jumps in with absolutely no fear, even when he ends up plunging under water.  We played at the park in my parents' neighborhood a lot, too.

I had plans to try to get together with tons of old friends while in town.  Sadly, the weeks flew by, and we didn't get a chance to see everybody.  I need to learn to set things up ahead of time!  If we didn't get to see each other while I was in Utah this time, I am so sorry!  Let's make it work next time!!!

I did get together with my friend Callie, who spoiled me with a free pedicure at the spa where she works in downtown Salt Lake.  Then we went out to eat at one of my favorite restaurants in Utah, the Pi Pizzeria.  So good.  We got half ultimate veggie, half Hawaiian.  It was fabulous.  As was the company and conversation.  I didn't bring a camera, so I have no photos of the great time we had.

Kaden and I met my good friend Stephanie and her little boy, Andy, at the splash pad one morning for a play date.  I was thrilled to see her.  Andy is adorable and soooooo happy.  Steph is living in Amsterdam right now while her husband does some work for Dell abroad.  You can read about their amazing life, while growing green with envy, here.  Again, no photos.  So sad.

A few days before the end of our trip, I met three of my old college roommates downtown for lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.  I met Cindy, Debbie, and Jamie my freshman year.  Jamie and I were roommates, and Cindy and Debbie lived in our hall in the dorms.  We were Taylor Tootsies together.  Our sophomore year, we moved into The Glenwood (affectionately termed the Glenhood) together and built tons of amazing memories (in an apartment with no central AC).  Sadly, our roommate Bri couldn't join us (she's currently too pregnant to fly).  After sophomore year I headed off to London, and Bri headed off to Spain, but the rest of the girls roomed together in a house south of campus.  I think it's safe to say that these girls are like family to me.  I love them.  It's been a few years since we've seen each other, but they're the kind of friends where time apart doesn't matter.  You can just pick up right where you left off and chat and laugh like crazy.  They are all such amazing women, all doing amazing things.  As I sat there and listened to each of them talk about all they are doing, I was a bit awestruck.  I'm just not as phenomenal as they are.  But they still love me.  They are such examples to me, and I know I'm a better person because of the influence they have had in my life.  Sadly, I look a hot mess in the only photo we have together, but I must post it.  Note to self:  have a plan B when the random girl in Cheesecake Factory you ask to take your picture has no idea how to work a digital SLR.

Me, Cindy (who feigned a headache on Easter Sunday nine years ago, so Chad and I would be smooshed together in the backseat of a car, and he would hold my hand for the first time), Debbie, and Jamie:

Jamie brought her little girl to my parents' house one day, so we could meet each other's kiddos.  Her little girl, Alexandria, is adorable.  Kaden wasn't exactly chummy with Alex, although he did toss a few toys in her general direction when instructed to share, which is a step for him.  

Love this shot.  Kaden was trying to escape the group photo (a typical move for him):

When we were freshmen, no one (including our parents) could tell us apart on the phone.  We were kindred spirits, for sure.  Sisters from another mister, as we used to say:

Kaden, hiding out in his tent instead of being in the photo:

The four weeks flew by.  We had such a wonderful trip!  Who knows, maybe we'll make it five weeks next time . . . what do you think, Chad?
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