Saturday, January 26, 2013

Four is the New Three

On Thanksgiving day this year I found out I was expecting our second baby.  This is something we've been wishing and hoping for, so it was pretty much the best Thanksgiving moment of all time.  I immediately texted a picture of the pregnancy test to my mom, and then we told Chad's entire family right before we dug into the most delectable feast imaginable.  It truly gave us the most wonderful thing in the world to be thankful for on that special day.

Kaden is pretty clueless, although we talk a lot about how he is going to be a big brother and about how there is a baby inside my tummy.  I know it will be an adjustment, but I honestly think he is going to make the sweetest, best big brother imaginable.  I showed him pictures of me when I was nine months pregnant with him, and he laughed like crazy when I told him my tummy was going to get big like that again.  We got a real science lesson when Kaden told us he has a baby in his tummy, too.  According to him, it's a boy baby, and it's growing.  A few days later, when I asked him if he still had a baby in his tummy, he told me, "No!  Mommy took it.  Now it's in her tummy."  When we ask him if he wants a brother or a sister, he says he wants a sister.  When we ask what he wants to name her, he says Liam.  Not sure he really understands the difference between sister and brother, but we're working on it.  

We are so excited about adding another little one to our family and are so thankful for this wonderful blessing.  The gender ultrasound is scheduled for February 11th, so let the guessing begin!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Tortillas With the Sous Chef

I made baked fajitas last week for dinner, and because I'm lazy and don't want to cook every night, we ate the leftovers the next evening.  And because I'm even more lazy, I didn't want to go to the store to buy more tortillas.  And there was only one left in the package.  Quite the dinner predicament. We improvised and Kaden and I made homemade ones, which I sometimes do when I'm feeling incredibly ambitious.  Only this time I was feeling incredibly apathetic.  It was such a strange, out of body experience.

Anyway, I can't resist posting these adorable photos of my kitchen helper.  He was a lot better with the rolling pin than I anticipated he would be:

And because I know his Grandma and Gigi will want to see it, here's a video of the little sous chef in action:

Kaden loves to help in the kitchen and is a great cooking companion these days.  It's been frigid this week, so we've baked a lot of unnecessary desserts just to give us an extra daytime activity.  Kaden would be content to play monster all day, which is his current game of choice.  He is the monster and he chases me, while I scream and run away.  It's exhausting, and he doesn't really get tired of it.  Like ever.  Hopefully it's helping to burn off some of the calories from all of those cookies and bread we're baking.

The tortillas turned out amazing, by the way.  I tried a new recipe I found on Pinterest.  This recipe produces a dough that's a lot more pliable than ones I've used in the past, so it was easier to roll them thin enough to get that perfect Cafe Rio-esque texture.  The baked fajitas were delightful, too, made yummy lunch and dinnertime leftovers, and were incredibly hassle-free to make.  I think if I make them again, I'll add some lime to the sauce you pour over the top, because really, isn't it somewhat criminal to make fajitas with not even a smidgen of lime?  My friend Karen always writes the best blog posts reviewing various Pinterest recipes she has tried online, and I love it.  It saves me from making duds.  So there's two that have a positive nod from me.

Also, I thought this Kadenism was cute today, upon seeing a Winnie the Pooh sticker:

"Oooooohhhhhhh!  Look, Mommy!  Honey the Pooh!"

In all seriousness, wouldn't that be a better name for the bear obsessed with the nectar of the bees?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Psychological Phases of Home Renovation: A Brief Case Study

Phase One: Ignorant Excitement

This phase may begin during house-hunting and extend for a brief period after the acquisition of the home.  During this phase, the homeowners (or in some cases, hopeful homeowners) find themselves excitedly looking at paint swatches and flooring samples.  They pat themselves on the back for recognizing the "hidden potential" of what is, in reality, a dump that most people run from as quickly as possible.  Additionally during this phase, the homeowners may sketch out a list of projects they will complete to make their new home lovely, perhaps even budgeting for the expenses of these projects.  Most likely, they will fool themselves into thinking they have accounted for additional costs and have even "over-budgeted."

Phase Two:  False Security

Usually, this phase will begin immediately following the purchase of the home, and extend no more than two weeks into the renovation process.  During this phase, homeowners dance with glee over the transformation of wall colors.  The phrases "We've got this!"  or "I can't believe how it's coming together!"  or "Look at the progress we've made!" are likely to be heard repeatedly.  

Phase Three:  Weight of Reality

During this phase, following the completion of the easiest (and likely the cheapest) remodeling projects, things start to look less peachy.  Suddenly, the beautifully transformed dining room walls aren't looking as gorgeous against the flooring in desperate need of replacement.  The upstairs bathroom no longer being Pepto Bismol pink isn't compensating for the fact that nothing can be stored in the filthy kitchen cabinets that are still waiting for demolition.  Emotions run high during this phase, and the wife may be likely to burst into tears about things like living out of boxes, being scared of the carpet, or having to chase her toddler away from piles of power tools.  

Phase Four:  Calling in Reinforcements

If professional help is ever needed, the time is now.  Homeowners are likely to call independent contractors for help with the big stuff during this phase.  

While help from family and friends was likely utilized prior to this, these folks will really up the ante at this point.  A father in law, perhaps fearing his daughter in law is heading for a pre-mid-life crisis, will likely give up holiday vacation time AND get the flu in order for real progress to be made.

The following photographs and captions exemplify a family experiencing phase four of this psychological process:

 Shown above and below, B. Reese, a successful optometrist, moonlights as a manual laborer to appease his stressed out children.  Unbeknownst to him, the toddler in polar bear pajamas is infecting him with the worst case of the flu he will likely ever experience. 

Shown below, B. Reese uses the greatest tool ever invented (i.e. a crowbar from Big Lots) to demolish existing, water damaged, hardwood flooring.  

Every one of the tiny dots in the photo below are in actuality staples that the crowbar method did not remove.  These would need to be painstakingly removed by hand.  The family pictured in this case study might have cruised around the Lowe's parking lot more than once, looking for illegal laborers to assist in the completion of this project, before remembering they were too cheap to pay for that. 

 Piles of staples.  The honeymoon phase is over, folks.

 While tears may have been shed and blisters gained during this experience, the giant square of hideous carpet and stained kitchen linoleum became the biggest blessings in disguise--no nasty staples to remove there!

Phase Five:  Comfort and Complacency

At this point, the major projects are complete, and the owners actually start to feel like they can call this house a home.  They aren't embarrassed for someone to step through the front door.

Living and Dining space, after quick cleanup and before renovation:

After new floating hardwood flooring, paint, and light fixtures:

Kitchen, after quick clean-up and before renovation:

Kitchen, after new cabinetry, paint, and flooring (appliances and light fixtures still to eventually be replaced):

On a more negative note, at this point the homeowners are sick of paint brushes.  They don't want to see another nail gun.  The mention of a trip to Lowe's or Ace Hardware can send them over the edge.  Things like trim that needs a second coat of paint, or shoe molding that appears to be missing in a five foot space, or unfinished thresh holds . . . suddenly those things don't really bother them . . . at least not enough to motivate the completion of the projects.

Phase Six:  Completion

During this phase, every last project is completed.  This phase is most likely to occur when preparing to sell the home to a new potential buyer.  The cycle will then repeat when the family purchases their next home.       

We are definitely in Phase Five, but it feels pretty good.  Still some little projects to cross off our to-do list (like getting a fridge that doesn't leak and installing it in the kitchen, instead of our shelf-less gem that we're keeping in the garage), but we have floors!  We have a kitchen!  We were able to decorate for Christmas! There's always still work to be done, but for now, it feels good to be able to look around and say, "Oh, we'll get to that later."  I still need to post before and afters of what we have accomplished so far upstairs, but this is a good start for now.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Snow Day

Really, this was the lamest excuse for a snow day ever.  It was more like slight-layer-of-ice-that-didn't-even-cover-the-grass day.  Luckily, Kaden doesn't know enough about real snow to be able to tell the difference. He had a great time traipsing across our lawn in his "magic boots" and the Christmas pajamas that he insists on still wearing, even though January is almost over.

It was pretty sad we didn't get more.  We'd been hoping Chad would have a two hour delay from work, and that we could all build a snowman.  Maybe next time.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dear Kaden,

Last night, you woke up in the middle of the night, crying out.  A nasty nightmare was the culprit, and I scooped you up in my arms and held you in your dark room--a sliver of moonlight peeking in through the blinds and a blueish glow from your nightlight helping me see enough to wipe your tear stained cheeks.

Then we cuddled up in the rocking chair in the corner, you and I, with a soft yellow blanket that my grandma pieced together before she died.  And you wiggled and squirmed until you found your comfy place, sprawled across my lap, your head nuzzled close against me, your right arm dangling behind my back.  And I remembered rocking you just like this for so many nights in your infancy.  Before you could tell me about the monsters in your dreams.  When your little legs still fit in the soft circle of my arms while I held you, where now I felt your little toes curled around my calves.  And I squeezed you just a little bit tighter while I sang you lullabies and held your hand.

And I thanked Heavenly Father for my mother's heart.  That in that moment, in the middle of the night, I could long to hold you like that for an hour.  For days.  For weeks.  For months.

My Kaden Boy, I am so blessed to be your mommy.  Sometimes it is scary for me, watching you grow up.  And thinking that someday you will cry about something I can't fix, something that won't be an imaginary monster in the dark.  But I hope you will always know that I will still squeeze you close and hold your hand.

I love you so very much.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Kaden Moments

Kaden, with the laptop cord wrapped around his waist:  "Look, Mommy!  A space belt!"

While we were home for Christmas, Mackenzie came and got us to report that Kaden was naked in the bathtub.  Sure enough, he had stripped down to his birthday suit and was sitting in an empty tub, playing with toys.  At least he didn't start the water!

Kaden had gotten out of bed a couple of nights ago, and was banging on his door (we lock his door at night).  I went in to check on him, and he was standing there in only a diaper.  The kid had taken off his sleeper, only to realize he couldn't get it back on.  I couldn't help but laugh.  I helped him get re-dressed and tucked him back in bed.

Chad was pointing out pictures of Kaden when he was a baby that are hanging up in our stairwell.
       Chad:  Do you know who this is?
       Kaden:  Yes!
       Chad:  Who?
       Kaden:  BABY JESUS!

In fact, when seeing most pictures of babies, he automatically assumes they are Baby Jesus.  Or Noah (the baby brother of his buddy, Liam).

Anytime he sees a picture of a star he starts talking about when Baby Jesus was born.  At least he got something out of our Christmas-themed family home evening lesson.

We were in the grocery store shopping, and I was pushing Kaden in the cart.  All of a sudden, completely out of nowhere, he starts chanting, "Bacon!  Bacon!  Bacon!"  We were nowhere near bacon, so I have no clue where this thought pattern came from, but it was hilarious.

I was making Kaden lunch and asked him if he wanted honey or jelly on his peanut butter sandwich.
     Kaden:  Jelly!  It's DELICIOUS!!!!"

I have to lie down beside Kaden until he falls asleep in order for him to nap now.  It's the only way he will take a nap.  We've drawn the line and won't do this at bedtime, but it's worth it for nap time, since he becomes a demon without one during the day.  We've been cycling through some sickness at our house, and Kaden and I have been super congested.  When he took his nap the other day, he started snoring ridiculously loudly.  When he came to find me after his nap, we were cuddling together on my bed, and I did an impression of the sound he was making when he fell asleep.  He just busted out laughing.  It was like sharing a joke with a friend.  So fun.  It was the cutest moment.  Hard to explain, but I want to remember it forever.

Chad made Kaden mac and cheese for lunch one day while I was out.  Apparently, Kaden did an "impression" of me saying that mac and cheese is not for breakfast, only lunch.  We've had this conversation a few times, and apparently he wanted to make sure Daddy knew the rules, too.

All the numbers that come after ten are fourteen when Kaden counts on his own.  So funny.  We are working on it.

I noticed that Kaden's beloved stuffed giraffe, Tip Top, was in need of a bath.  I mentioned this to Kaden, and he freaked out.
     Me:  But he's stinky, Kaden!  See, smell him.
     Kaden:  (Taking a whiff)  No stinky!  No stinky!  (Bringing me his stuffed elephant)  See, Mommy!  
     It's Ollie!  Ollie's stinky!

After a thirty minute battle trying to get Kaden to try his chicken and rice, he finally gagged down a bite.
    Kaden:  Mmmmmm!
    Me:  Is it good?
    Kaden:  Yes!
    Me:  How many bites do you think you can eat?
    Kaden:  10!  (Eats ten bites, counting each one.)
A lot of our food battles look just like this one.

Kaden peeks through the blinds and checks to see if it's morning before he comes out of his room every day.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Empty House and Holiday Memories

We took down our Christmas decorations on Saturday afternoon, and our house feels hallow and empty.  I know I'll eventually adjust to the lack of glitter and sparkle, but right now, things seem kind of depressing.  I know a lot of people find extreme joy in getting their tinsel and evergreen garlands boxed away, but I think I could gaze at my bedazzled Christmas tree for 365 days a year and be happy.  I couldn't really, of course, because it wouldn't be as special, but it feels like it when it's time to take the tree down.  I already miss driving up to our house at night and seeing a candle glowing beneath a wreath in each window.  

Kaden practically wept when he saw us taking the ornaments off the tree.  "This is mine!"  he'd say, clutching to a red and gold one.  Or, "I need this ORN-MENT!"  Poor kid.  We saw four or five Christmas trees laying haphazardly in the street today, waiting for the garbage men to come collect them.  He kept confusedly pointing the out, while I pulled him in his wagon through the neighborhood.  It's hard to say goodbye to Christmas.

We had a great Christmas and New Year's celebration this year, and in true Katie fashion I didn't take many photographs.

For example, I wish I had photographed Kaden, Kenzie, and Tanner taking turns pulling each other in Kaden's new wagon, his favorite gift from Gigi and Poppy.  I can still see them in their hats and mittens, noses a little bit red, squealing with delight.

I wish I had a photograph of Kaden and Kenzie decorating gingerbread houses with Aunt Meredith and Uncle Adam.  A few of the blades of Kade's gumdrop grass weren't deposited in a layer of icing until he'd licked the sugar coating off, which made it extra precious.

I wish I had a photograph of every delectable treat I consumed over our holiday stay with the in laws.  Actually, I don't.  That would show just how much of a pig I am.  But oh, how tasty everything was!  I do regret not taking a photo of at least the New Year's Eve feast.  This year we had brie fondue with baguette, fresh fruit with chocolate fondue, crab and cream cheese wontons, bruschetta, cheese ball, our favorite Harry and David dip, chocolate crinkle cookies, and an assortment of other leftover Christmas desserts.  It was so amazing.  So much goodness in one meal.

I did manage to score a few  photographs.  Here's our family on Christmas Sunday right after church.  Kaden is wearing his last Christmas John-John.  At least he got one more year with smocked snowmen.

On Christmas morning, we took a lot of video footage and very few photographs, but I did capture these as the kids were waiting to go down the stairs.  They were so eager to see what Santa had brought!

Even though Kaden's eyes are closed, I love this shot of him with his Daddy:

Santa brought Kaden an extra special treat for Christmas this year.  After he'd opened all of his other presents, he had to go on a treasure hunt to find his last gift, which was hidden in the living room.  A friend of mine gave us this train, which is motorized and can be ridden around a circular track.  Her children had enjoyed it for years.  Unfortunately, it was broken and no longer ran.  Santa took the train to his workshop and with the help of his elves, fixed it right up, so that Kaden could ride it again!  He was so excited!  Isn't Santa awesome?

Mackenzie got some watercolors for Christmas this year, and the budding artist was creating masterpieces every day.  Gigi and Poppy's refrigerator was soon plastered with them.  She wanted Kaden to paint with her so badly, but he mostly tried to drink the water meant for cleaning the brushes . . . and made a mess.

See what I mean about drinking the water? He's  totally stealing a sip in this one:

This was the first year Chad's entire family has all been together for Christmas in a long time, so it was imperative we take some family photos.  Leave it to us to pick the rainiest, coldest day to do that.  The kids weren't too thrilled.  Neither were the adults. We did manage to get a few good ones, though.  My favorites were by far the silly ones.  I love being  a part of the Reese clan.  I am so thankful for them!

Alas, the holiday season is over.  Time for reality to set in . . . and to start hitting those New Year's resolutions!

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