Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cute Kids, A Long Overdue Update in Words and Photos

The other day I found a note on my phone.  It was an ongoing list of what I needed to remember to write about the next time I did an update on the kids.  I almost cried when I realized everything I'd listed was pretty much obsolete.  Bad mom award.  So tragic I never got around to that.  For the record, at some point Everett was doing these darling things that I never posted:

--Cruising like a fiend.
--Standing independently for at least a few seconds at a time.
--Waving hi and bye-bye maybe 75% of the time.
--Giving high fives.
--Flirting with fellow shoppers from his spot in shopping carts.
--Learning to play peek-a-boo with his hands
--Pointing at everything

Now that little baby that was learning to cruise has moved on to bigger and better things.

At almost 16 months old, Everett Holden . . . 

Wants to be one of the big boys and gets so angry/sad/jealous when he feels left out.

Insists on independence.  Yogurt?  Applesauce?  "I need to spoon feed myself, please."  He prefers sitting at the dining room table with the rest of us to his high chair any day.

Says so many words. We mastered one baby sign ("more, please"), but then I abandoned all efforts when he started talking.   It's adorable.  Let's not get confused here; he's not speaking in full sentences or anything, but lots of sweet little words and phrases.  A lot of them sound exactly the same (duck and truck, for example).  Some of my favorites are "Nye-nye (night night)," "Dank Oooo (thank you)," and "Muck (milk--said with a lot of German-esque phlegm). Some of my least favorites are "Nooooo!" which sounds more like, "Naaaawwww!" and "Mine!"

Finally mastered the stairs and can crawl up and down like a champ.  (For a long time he would scream after going down two stairs, chicken out, and crawl back up.)  We're still sticking with baby gates for a bit longer, because I'm nervous to let him do it completely solo.  Oh, and because I also like to keep the chaos contained to one floor at a time.

Thinks belly buttons make a beep beep sound when pushed.

Lost his mullet two days after these photos were taken.

Is obsessed with dogs and cats.  I'm pretty sure we have a future pet beggar in the house.  Lauren and Tyler just came for a visit with their dog, Chess, and Everett was in Heaven.  He cried when Chess left today and kept going to the door saying, "Dog?  Dog?"

Just cut two more teeth, bringing the grand total to six.

Loves to be naked and circles the upstairs in his birthday suit after he exits the bathtub at night.  His cellulite-dimpled bum is pretty fantastic to behold.  The cuteness factor outweighs the risk of pee on the carpet.

Loves music and dancing.  His favorite song is "The Walker" by Fitz and the Tantrums, and he gets super excited when it comes on the radio when we're out running errands.  He sings along and does the actions to "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," "Wheels on the Bus," and a few other nursery songs.  The other day he was randomly singing "Happy Birthday" in his high chair.  

Loves to play "Bebe."  I point at him and say, "Bebe!" and he points at me and says, "Bebe" back.  He also plays a special game every night when he goes down.  He says, "Mama?!" and when I say, "What?"  he laughs and does it again, until I say, "Go to sleep!"

Snuggles with Pingu (stuffed penguin), Sammy Lammy, and his rag quilt (that Grandma made) every night.

Falls asleep with a white noise sound machine and his crib toy playing ocean sounds.  We should have bought stock in Energizer.  By the time this kid exits the crib stage, we will have paid a small fortune replacing the C-batteries that blasted crib toy eats through.  It makes him happy though, and it's worth it!

Still hears our special song when I scoop him out of the tub:  "How much is that baby in the mirror?  The one with the chocolate brown eyes?  How much is that baby in the mirror?  The one with the sweet, chunky thighs?"  And gives squeals of laughter when I squish his chub and cover him with kisses.

Eats up any time he gets alone that is all about him.  He's dropped his morning nap, so we get to have some adventures together while Kaden is in preschool now.  We've started hitting up story time at the library and going to the park in the morning.  It's fun to have special time just the two of us, and it takes away some of the mom guilt for how much less of it he gets than Kaden did.

Takes a delightfully long afternoon nap, since he's dropped the morning snooze.  We usually get at least two solid hours, and lately it's been more like three.  Divine.

Is still irrevocably a Mama's boy.  He loves and adores his daddy, too, but if we're being honest, he loves me best.  Further evidence of this is provided by the fact that for a while everything he wanted was referred to as "Mama!"

Endures heaps of abuse at the hands of his big brother, who he still loves to the moon and back.  He is perpetually covered in bumps and bruises, some battle wounds, some self-inflicted from his quest to do everything himself.

Makes his English teacher mommy's heart swell with pride every time he begs for a book.  And he begs often.  I think we may have another book nerd in training.  Fingers crossed.

Spends a lot of time watching and wishing he was big enough to do whatever brother's doing, too.  He tries so hard to be like him (and is getting pretty good at dribbling a soccer ball and making bad guy rescue bot sounds because of it).  

Obviously hates sitting in piles of leaves.

Kaden Fox, at 4 years and 3 months old . . .

Is so bright.  I'm allowed to brag about my kids every once in a while, right?  He's always learning something new and amazing me with how much he remembers and processes.  He is still loving preschool, and has made huge improvements in writing, deciphering individual letter sounds in words, and cutting. (I'm seriously so impressed that he has such mad scissor skills now!)

Memorized and recited all 13 Articles of Faith in Primary.  He recited the 13th Article of Faith for his first Primary Program (and did the same when filling in for someone else in Kinston's program when we were visiting Gigi and Poppy).  He also memorized another small part.  He was so confident and did a perfect job. I was so proud of him!

Scored a goal (or two, or three) at almost every soccer game this season.  He loved playing and learned a lot from his coaches.  His confidence and ability definitely increased throughout the season, and I'm so glad we signed him up for it this fall!

Has my personality in a four year old (complete with intense emotional responses that his tiny self sometimes finds hard to process), thus meltdowns and tantrums are not completely behind him.  Particularly when he's overtired or hungry, you can FORGET being able to reason with him.  With his birthday being so close to the cut off, this is one of the biggest reasons we've decided to give him an extra year of preschool before he starts kindergarten.  My gut tells me an extra year will help him/being one of the older kids will suit his personality so much better, and if there's one thing I've learned from this whole motherhood business, it's to trust my gut instincts. 

Still loves all things Superman.

Says the darnedest things.  Here's just a few gems I've actually jotted down, so I wouldn't forget them:

"It's a good thing I'm Superman."

"Oh, yeah, you can't do that, because you have FABRY disease."  (Anytime I tell him I can't do something.)

"Daddy doesn't make money for Everett.  He'd just eat it!"

"I can just breathe underwater, actually."

"Mark's going to take care of me."  (When nervous about starting preschool.)

"Poppy, am I just a blur?" (When modeling how fast he can run for Poppy.)

"I think the soldiers can make a path of candy and the bad guys will eat it and get fat, and then we'll win."  (He set aside some of his Halloween candy to send to US soldiers.)

Adds at least one rock to his collection every time we go outside.  The collection is extensive.

Still has a very keen sense of fashion and is very opinionated about what he wears.  While I was doing his hair one Sunday, he chided me for getting some hairspray on his blazer, because in his words, "I'd like to keep this nice."  He's also told me that, "I'm embarrassed for anyone to see me in this," when an outfit didn't meet his personal standards.  Of course he also likes to sport his shirts and pants backwards frequently, so I don't know if we can fully trust his sense of style or not.  

Loves, loves, LOVES to play games and is uber competitive.  Some of his favorites right now are Dominos, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, and The Cat in the Hat, I Can do That.  He's also a huge fan of number Zingo.

Persists as an incredibly picky eater, but seems to be reforming.  Maybe that's a hopeful assertion.  I pray not.

Loves spending time with friends.  There's not much that makes him happier than a play date, and he loves playing with some of the older neighborhood kids, who are so sweet, kind, and patient with him.

 Asks lots of questions, some of them deep, and a lot of them that I don't know how to answer.

Continues to be an exceptional helper.  He loves to help me clean and does a pretty good job straightening up after himself.

Still melts my heart with every hug and "I love you."  He is my sweet Kaden Cub, and I can't imagine life without him.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I am definitely thankful for these two.  They make my heart so full.  I'm so glad I get to be their mommy!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Getting Geared Up for the Holiday Season

I love this time of year.

Christmas music starts playing in this house the day after Halloween.  The other night, I offered to bust out some Christmas tunes for Kaden's bedtime lullabies, and he said, "I don't like Christmas songs."  I gasped. Audibly.  "Say what?!?!?"  He quickly retracted his stance and said he didn't feel like them that night.  Good thing, buddy, because I was worried I might have failed as a mother.

Don't get me wrong, we don't skip right over Thanksgiving.  Right now, we have a gratitude tree hanging up in our kitchen.  We write things we are grateful for on the paper leaves we add each day.  It's one of my favorite traditions, and I love hearing all of the sweet little things Kaden is grateful for.

One of the things I get most excited about this time of year are the holiday cards that flood our mailbox when December rolls around.  They fill the wall space in the kitchen where the gratitude tree hangs during November.  It's pretty fitting that photos of some of our favorite family and friends take its place.  They are people we love and are so thankful for.  Lots of the cards come from far away, and from people we haven't seen in years.  It's so fun to get to reconnect with them at least once a year.

I know sending out Christmas cards is something some folks have cut from their holiday to-do list.  Postage stamps are a lot more expensive than they used to be, for one thing.  And it's just one more thing to accomplish during the very busy holiday season, for another.  It's one tradition that I plan to always stick to, though.  Even though it's a small thought, I hope the families we send our cards to each Christmas know how much we love them when they get theirs in the mail.

Tinyprints is one of my favorite companies of all time.  Seriously.  I ordered both my boys' adorable birth announcements from them, and I've used them for our  holiday cards in the past, too.  They have gorgeous designs, great customer service, and it's quick and easy to order products through them.  So I was so excited when they sent me this affiliate offer to share with my readers today!

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What do you think about Christmas cards?  Do you still send them out?  Or do you think they're a tradition of the past?

Tiny Prints 10 Free Holiday Cards

*While I receive a small commission for products purchased through my affiliate link for Tiny Prints, the thoughts and opinions I expressed above are my own.  
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