Saturday, September 12, 2015

Everett, at Two Years and (Almost) Two Months Old

What can I say about this little guy, who has stolen my heart with all his crazy shenanigans?  At two years and (almost) two months old, Everett Holden . . . 

Is a fun-loving boy.  He's always finding a way to be silly and make other people laugh.  He will do anything for a laugh.  And then he'll do it over and over again.  I think we're raising a future class clown, and I just hope that with proper training he'll be like the sweet ones I adored as a teacher, and not one of the malicious, obnoxious ones.  Sometimes, he makes naughty look so cute, it's hard not to laugh, even as his parents.    

Can tackle his five year old brother to the ground.  He loves to wrestle and rough house, and can take a pretty severe beating.  I was in awe when he didn't whimper or shed a tear during his 2 year shots, until Chad voiced that, "Of course he didn't cry!  Look at all the abuse he endures from Kaden!"  Touche.

Is so vocal.  I feel terrible that I haven't posted an update about this sweet boy in so long.  His vocabulary just exploded around 18 months and hasn't stopped since.  He speaks in full sentences, and it's life changing. Parenting becomes so much easier when you can start to communicate with your little person.  Most of the time we understand him just fine, and he does a pretty good job repeating himself when we don't catch his meaning the first time.

Still hasn't got a clue which colors are which.  This was honestly starting to worry me, but the pediatrician reassured me that lots of toddlers don't develop this skill until later.  It's borderline hysterical listening to him identify colors.  He'll tell Kaden, "Don't watch, Kaden!" because he's embarrassed to guess incorrectly in front of him.  Then he'll say, "Ummmmmmmm . . ."  followed by a completely random guess, which is incorrect roughly 75% of the time.  

Is a champ at toddler puzzles (I think the gym childcare may have taught him this skill) and his shape sorter.  

Stayed cautious at the pool all summer, rarely leaving the stairs into the water.  He refused to wear floaties, let us carry him in the deep end, etc.  At the beach, there was no way he was going to wade in that stuff.  He observed everything from a safe distance, running away when the tide started to chase him.

Memorized Kaden's Primary Program part and all the Primary songs for this year's program.  I think we may be in for a treat when he realizes he's not actually in it.

Speaking of memorizing, he may not know his colors, but he knows every Star Wars character, and in a lot of cases knows their species and home planets. (Priorities, people, priorities.)  I'm going to go out on a limb here and say we're going to have to make sure he's vested in whatever he's learning as he gets older.  He will not try to do/work at anything unless it's interesting to him.

Still has to have access to his belly button at all times, but especially when he's headed to bed.  Thumb in the mouth, index finger of other hand rubbing the belly button.  When he's wearing a romper or overalls, he gets so upset, and says, "MY BUTTON!!!" with an exasperated look on his face.  

 Begs for, "MILKIES!" as soon as he wakes up in the morning.  In fact, most days he wakes up while it's still dark outside, screams for "milkies," I stumble in with a sippy cup full in a sleep-drunken stupor, and he falls back asleep until a more reasonable hour (which is still way too early in the morning).  Basically, this kid LOVES a cup of milk.


Pretends he can read, and can often be found curled up with a book inventing a story, or retelling a story he mostly knows.

Voices, "I do it MYSELF!" multiple times a day, and is mastering the art of putting on his own clothes and shoes, opening his own applesauce containers, and washing his own hands.

Is terrible at cleaning up after himself and has had many a time out before he'll succumb to the fate of cleaning up toys, putting his dirty clothes in the hamper, etc.

Loves to say the prayer, and always gives the same one, regardless of the situation, "Heavenly Father, thank thee, bless the food, bless Daddy go work, Jesus Christ, AMEN!" He love, love, LOVES nursery on Sundays and starts asking, "I go nursery?!" as soon as sacrament meeting begins.

Cries every day that we drop Kaden off at preschool.  He wants to go, too, and it's so sad.

Loves everyone in his family, but I think I'm still his favorite.  He is a Mommy's boy for sure.  I love having a little bit of one-on-one adventure time with him during Kaden's preschool mornings, and I think he loves it, too.  

Idolizes his big brother.  He follows him around, repeating everything he says, and, in short, trying to be just like him.  It's adorable to watch, and I hope Kaden will always be a good example for him to look up to.

Makes the worst possible, squinty-eyed cheese face for every photograph.

Thinks all big brother's friends are his best friends, too.  He's also obsessed with "play dates" and asks for them daily, especially begging for ones with his best buddy, Mia.

Can begin a lot of adventures with the assistance of a cardboard box.

Is obsessed with super heroes.  A good portion of every day is spent in some sort of be-muscled ensemble, although his two favorites seem to be Hulk and Captain America (Cap'n 'Murica).

Lately, he's also in a bit of a Star Wars craze, due to big brother's adoration of the Galactic Empire, and so he can also be found in full storm trooper armor teaming up with the dark side, when he's not defending the world.

Appreciates a good snack and likes to enjoy one several times a day.  "Mama, I wanna snack!" is heard multiple times a day, followed by, "Pllllleeeaaasseee?" after I remind him, "How do we ask for something?"

Frequently creates "Pillow Land" with Kaden, which is another word for piling every possible soft object in the house in one central location (usually the pack n play or crib).  "Pillow Land" is often created without permission, and at inopportune times, like right before bedtime.

Started removing his diapers during moments of boredom, which led to us securing them with duct tape for a while.  He would mostly do this when he was in his crib falling asleep, or when he first woke up.  We had one unfortunate incident involving an unclean diaper.  Luckily, the damage was minor, easily cleaned up, and (knock on wood) we haven't had a repeat infraction since.

Snuggles with his rhinoceros, Shiloh, his stuffed lion, Lion (so cleverly named, that king of the jungle), and his bear blankie that Grandma made every night.  He's serenaded to sleep by his ocean sound machine.  He leads such a hard life.

Prefers to have his bedtime songs snuggled with Kaden in his bed, before he heads off to his crib.  His top requests are "Bushel and a Peck," "The Holy Ghost," and "New Song" (which is "The Miracle").  
Loves to dance to "rock music," which sadly is the label my children have given to pop tunes.  I can't believe my kids like pop music, when I've solely listened to alternative radio with a sprinkling of NPR and the classical station their entire lives (including their cooking phase in utero) but they do.  In fact, they seem to prefer it. I'm not sure how this happened.  

Quite suddenly became a picky eater.

Is making serious progress on his balance bike and flashes a beaming grin of pride every time he coasts for a bit.

Begs for "giddy up" with Daddy.  He also likes to sit on the arm of the chair for stories and calls that, "giddy up," too.

Carries around a minuscule, plastic triceratops and calls it his baby.  This may be one of the most adorable things my child has ever done.  The dinosaur came home with Kaden as a favor from Liam's 4th birthday over a year ago.  It sat in a bin filled with dinosaurs and plastic bugs pretty much ever since then, but for some reason, it's now Everett's prized possession.  He also totes it in his pocket, and enjoys storing it in the cup holders in the car.

Much to our chagrin, can unlock and open doors, including the front door.  We've found him outside a few times, and despite pretty severe chiding, he still seems pretty keen to do it again.  Chain locks, here we come.

Builds some pretty fantastic creations during Lego time with big brother.

Can give a stellar tight squeeze, followed by an exceptional kiss and mugga mugga.

Everett Holden's Two Year Stats:

Weight:  30 pounds = 82%
Length: 2 ft 10.75 inches = 55%
Head Circumference: 49.5 cm = 81%
BMI = 89%

I honestly can't imagine our family without our sweet, funny Evers.  I feel so lucky to be his mommy!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Kaden's Science Shindig

I made it five years, but we finally caved this year and let Kaden have a birthday party with friends.  I tried so hard to talk him out of it.  I tried to entice him with a trip to the beach, but not even the allure of a day of boogie boarding and an overnight stay in a hotel could sway him.  He really wanted this.

He wanted it so much that he changed themes on me a half a dozen times before he finally settled on a science party, because, "I love science sooooooooo much!  Remember, Mom?  I even watch Cosmos!" Which he does, and which I find totally bizarre, since it is not a show created for an audience of five year olds.  Or even for a single five year old.    

I'm telling you, this birthday party thing stressed the crap out of me. (It probably didn't help that the event ended up coinciding with one of the most emotionally exhausting weeks of my life.) Thank goodness for pinners and bloggers.  Those women saved me.  I may not have a lot of original birthday ideas swirling around in my head, but man alive, I can combine other people's ideas with pristine skill.  

We kept things small, even though we would have loved to invite every friend Kaden holds dear.  I just couldn't imagine conducting science experiments with 15+ kids in our modest home.  I'm so glad I went with my gut instead of my guilt meter.  Not everyone he invited could attend, so we ended up with a group of 7 kiddos total.  I kind of think the party ended up being a huge success, and Kaden was so over-the-top sweetly appreciative that it made it so worth it!  He kept saying, "Thank you soooooo much for my party, Mommy!"  and "I had the best birthday party!"     

A friend of ours works for a chemical company, and I was over the moon when he got us some paper lab coats for free.  It was like Christmas morning when I saw them on our doorstep.  They were size 4XL, so we cut and safety pinned them for a better fit.  I ordered safety glasses for the kids on Amazon, and them promptly shipped them to my parents' house in Salt Lake City, UT by mistake.  So the day before the party, I picked up the dollar store version instead.  Here are the junior scientists, all decked out in their lab gear (I mean, really.  How cute are they?!):

I bought a few cute printables on Etsy, made some of my own, and borrowed tons of "sciency stuff" from friends to use as decor.

Chad may have incessantly mocked me, but the teacher blood in me runs deep.  Thus I had a schedule of events for the party broken down in 15 and 30 minute increments.  Which I typed.  And printed on green paper.  I know.  I'm a sick person.  However, I like to think it also led to two and a half hours of scientific fun!

As the children arrived, they put on their science gear, then got to work building some molecular structures out of fruit.  They seriously LOVED this activity.  It was a way bigger hit than I anticipated, and their creativity was super fun to watch.

Then we watched Chadwick create some dry ice bubbles in the kitchen, before splitting into two groups for some serious experimenting.

Half of the scientists went outside with Chad and Poppy to inflate balloons with vinegar and baking soda and explode sandwich bags.  The other half stayed with Gigi, Grandma, and me to make rainbow slime (which never cooled down enough to play with before the party ended.  Whoops!) and elephant toothpaste.  Then the kiddos switched places and tried the other set of activities.  

We all combined for a Mentos and Diet Coke geyser extravaganza, which was a little anticlimactic after all the other experiments, I think.  

The kids hunted for plastic bugs in our backyard, trying to find all 10, while Chad and Poppy grilled hot dogs.  We ate a quick lunch, sang Happy Birthday to Kade, and then it was time for every kid's favorite part, the only reason they show up to these things to begin with:  cupcakes and ice cream.  

In the end, we had about 15 minutes to kill, but we decided not to go with one of my three back up activities. (I'm a former teacher, remember?  At the end of every lesson plan, I had a list of "activities to avoid wasted time."  I used a kitchen timer in my classroom to keep us on task.  I hate wasted time.)  We had dry ice left, so Chad took it out to the yard and let the kids go crazy.  Time not wasted and no extra prep work required.  It was a win-win.  

As the scientists left, they each took a goody bag filled with a few fun treasures.

After his party, Kaden really wanted to watch an episode of Clone Wars with his friend Mark (we've recently become Star Wars obsessed), so we arranged for him to hang out with us a little bit longer.  After a quick Star Wars fix, it was time to open presents. 

He was spoiled rotten!  He has been begging for Legos and finally has some to start his collection.  All the new Star Wars gear was pretty thrilling for him, too.

Giving Daddy a hug after he opened one of our gifts, a telescope he's been asking for:

Mark is such a good little buddy.  It was adorable how excited he was about all of Kaden's gifts; I think just as thrilled as the birthday boy!  Papa said Jamie and Andy should hire him out to people whose kids don't have enough enthusiasm about their presents.

  Nana and Papa even surprised Kaden and drove to Raleigh to watch him open his gifts.

It really was a special day, and even though I kind of dreaded planning and executing this event, it ended up being a lot of fun.  I'm still rooting for no party or Chuck E Cheese next year, though.  

Kaden Cub, you are such a special little boy.  We are so happy we got to spend a Saturday celebrating you, by doing things you love!  Happy birthday, Kaden!  We are so grateful you are ours! 
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