Monday, May 31, 2010

Offically Summer

Ben, Kaden and I went to the Southwest Townclub pool yesterday afternoon. Although I didn't teach school this year,
I was absolutely giddy with excitement about the pool opening and "summer" being here.
Look at that excited little face. 
And how could you NOT be with all of that fun equipment?
Kaden wasn’t quite sure what to think at first. For it being the first weekend open, the water was surprisingly warm, or at least warm enough for me to get in.
Up until last summer, going to the pool entailed friends & me lazing on lounge chairs for several hours, moving bikini straps to avoid tan lines, and only briefly stepping into the water to cool off before flipping over. 

 Flash forward to THIS summer:
I slathered on tons of sunscreen.  I spent lots of time sitting IN the water.  I only used the lounge chair for our diaper bag.  AND I didn't have time (or care enough) to worry whether or not I looked fat or wonder if my swimsuit was too out of style. 
Oh, how times have changed (probably for the better)!
Ben wandered over to the deeper side and they had a BLAST smacking the water, tossing Kaden up in the air and bouncing up & down.
Not sure who is happier.
I have a feeling that this is going to be a great summer.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ben's NEW job

This spring, Ben enrolled in the P.A.C.E. Program (Panhandle Alternative Certification for Educators) at West Texas A&M in order to earn his teaching credentials.  About a month ago he studied for and PASSED his 4-8 generalist test and since then he has been doing coursework every night.  Last week he interviewed for a middle school position at Cal Farley's Boys Ranch, where he is currently a caseworker and accepted a 6th grade teaching position for the 2010-2011 school year.  I cannot articulate how excited we are that he got a job so quickly!
Not to mention the stress that is relieved with knowing he has secured a teaching position!
Taken at Boys Ranch graduation on Saturday morning.

Kaden with Mr. Dupree (one of Ben's houseparents for
Smallwood home) just before graduation.

Full of mesquite, yucca, canyons and mesas, I LOVE the
(35 mile) drive from Amarillo to Boys Ranch.  I know it's hard to tell from this picture, but this is the greenest I've ever seen the panhandle due to all of the rain we've had this spring.

More Time Outside

It feels like summer is here. 
Kaden, Schatzi and I have been spending more time outside hanging out laundry, sprucing up the backyard or just enjoying the fresh air.
Schatzi is now 4 years old.
Hopefully with me being home more and with her being more "mature", the plants will stay IN the ground this time. 
I wish I had unlimited funds to get the rest of the backyard looking better... Small steps...

Monday, May 24, 2010

9 Months Old!

• Dr. Fletcher report:  You now weigh 16.8 lbs (10th percentile) and are 28 ¼ inches long (50th percentile). Hardly any gain in weight, which makes me feel inadequate but the nurse assured me that this is normal  for kids between the age of 6-9 months due to increased mobility.  Sure enough you TORE up the paper on the table and were into everything while we were there.
She said that since you were so active, she wasn’t too worried right now. I AM, however, supposed to add whole milk and more fat to your diet to see if this helps.  I think you are taking after your daddy—long & lean.
• You still enjoy being held, but constantly squirm. We pick you up and you want to face out to see what’s going on, then want to face us… it’s a constant twisting/circular transition to help you see everything around you. (I wouldn’t trade it, but my wrists & forearms ache almost every morning when I get out of bed & I think it’s from holding you/ helping you stand the previous day.)

• Your pincer grasp is really coming along, which is great.
I give you a little “buffet” of food on your tray (beans, cheese, ham, waffle) and you like to feed yourself for a while as I try to cook dinner or clean up the kitchen.

• You still nurse 2-3 times in a 24 hour period and enjoy a variety of solid foods (too many to list, but you took an instant liking to my crock pot roast beef & potatoes…
Oh, how proud your grandpa Cook is!

• Your clothes typically jive with your age. 6-month onsies are getting a little snug and you have started wearing 9-month outfits. I hadn’t fully appreciated how much you have grown until I recently moved more clothes to the "outgrown" bin & found one of your newborn onsies.  It made me a little sad, but I LOVE how much you can do now.
• You. Fight. Sleep. You might relax and accidentally drift off to sleep with your “nuk” in & ankles crossed, but as SOON as I lay you down in your crib, your eyes snap open and you immediately scoot to the railing to pull yourself up.
     o Ben/daddy found a website that proclaims Kaden as an American name that translates to “fighter”, therefore it is my fault you fight sleep so hard… since I picked your name.
I disagree.
     o I also found that Kaden \k(a)-den is of Arabic origin meaning “companion”.  I like this definition better and think this one suits you better.
     o Once you finally fall asleep, you’re out for a long time. At night you’ve been going from 8:30 p.m. to around 7:00 a.m. 
Life is good!
• You LOVE to face OUT when riding in a shopping cart (CVS, Target, Wal-Mart), making it look like you are in “pigeon pose”. You like to see where we are going & smile at people.

• For the past few months, you sit with your legs extended out with your ankles crossed.

• You are about the only child I know who wears cloth diapers (Bum Genius) with a Pampers overnight diaper when you go to bed. People may think I am nuts for doing that in this day & age, but they are the Cadillac of cloth diapers. They are so much easier to clean than I had anticipated, they never leak, AND in the 9 months of your life I haven’t had to buy more than 2 boxes of diapers, which has saved us a TON of money.
• I can’t keep socks on your feet, but have been putting you in little shoes called Roobies, which actually stay ON!
You also get lots of compliments on these when we are out & about. One pair has cars & the other has lizards.

• You perfected the “army crawl” and at 8 ½ months, almost overnight, you made the transition to exclusively crawling on your knees.
• You pull up on EVERYTHING imaginable! Bookcases, chair legs, the coffee table, laundry baskets, Schatzi…

• You do your “chores” every morning and afternoon.
- pulling books off the living room shelf, which is impressive because a few are heavy textbooks
- clearing the coffee table of any newspapers or magazines & then crinkling them up on the floor
- clearing the CD case (the part you can reach that is no longer hidden)
- crawling to the hallway to strum the AC vents
and open/close the linen closet
- moving onto the bathroom to open/close the bottom drawers.
No wonder the house is a mess every evening!

• You love to watch and interact with Schatzi. You often laugh at her—especially when she speaks and jumps around in anticipation for our walks around the park.  The two of you are always near each other.

• You enjoy being outside. Whenever you seem crabby, we go outside or for a walk around the park and all is right with the world.
• You’ve started babbling “da-da” and “ma-ma” and “na-na-na-na”. I love this! We often find you standing in your crib, staring back at us in the morning. I hear you babbling before one of us staggers in to get you.

• You don’t seem to mind strangers who want to hold you—especially at the gym.

• You’ve started giving sloppy kisses. For instance you grabbed my face the other day and planted a big lick up my cheek, then laughed. You’ve also done this to Marissa (caregiver at the Townclub) a couple of times right before we leave. It’s cute now… I’m not sure what I will think when you are old enough to know better…

• You’ve always been ticklish around your neck, but laugh HARD every time I tickly your arm pits & ribs.
• You like your baths and enjoy being naked.
• You cry when your daddy or I leave the room and don’t particularly like being alone.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day Weekend

It was a fun, yet busy weekend as auntie Dorothy was in
town from Durham, North Carolina.

On Saturday night our family was a part of the Baby Dedication service at Hillside Christian Church
We, along with MANY other families, made a vow to raise Kaden in a godly way, prayerfully until he can make his own decision to follow God.
Although we didn't get any pictures of the actual service,
here is one after we made it home.
That night, Ben surprised me (with surprised being a complete understatement) with a beautiful silver & pearl necklace, a 30-minute deep tissue massage from Minka’s Garden, AND a thoughtful card (from him & Kaden). I’m still reeling from his thoughtfulness.
Mother’s Day just may be my new favorite holiday!

On Sunday afternoon, Dorothy, Shanny and I went to see the new documentary, “Babies.”  I absolutely LOVED this movie & even teared up a few times despite the fact that this movie is very uplifting.

Becoming a mother is the most fulfilling thing that I have done with my life thus far.
I love you, Kaden.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

1st Tooth

After a week of REAL anticipation, I finally felt saw-like bumps on the front of Kaden's bottom jaw this morning.  It's hard to actually see since he sticks his tonuge out every time I try to take a peek, but it's definitely there with more to follow very soon...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The BIG 3-5!

Ben's birthday isn't until tomorrow (May 3rd), but who wants to celebrate their birthday on a Monday?  Instead, we had the birthday celebration WEEKEND!
Ben is going to die when he sees this picutre... but I laugh every time I see it.

When I initially gave Ben his present from Kaden and me, I didn't think he looked excited enough.  There is an awesome picutre of Ben at his 10-year-old birthday party as he is opening a package containing a Pac-Man wrist watch.  His face showed PURE shock/disbelief/uncontrolled exhiliration.
I told him to harness that feeling.  :)
  Reading lamps can be just as exciting, right? 

Last night we (the Dow's, the Richard's, and us) had planned on going to Saltgrass, the new steakhouse in Amarillo.  After discovering there was a 2-hour wait (only in Amarillo), we decided to go downtown to Napolis (little Italian restaurant).
We still had to wait 45 minutes for a table after discovering it was prom weekend. Luckily the weather was perfect, without the usual WIND.  Shanny, Heather and I had fun watching the girls walk by in their prom dresses.

After dinner we headed over to Shanny & David's house for banana-sour cream (wonderful!) birthday cake and present opening. 
Kaden got to stay up WAY past his bedtime & I was excited at the prospect of him sleeping in.  Unfortunately, his internal alarm clock still went off at 7 a.m. we were were UP as usual...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Under & Over

We are mobile.  VERY mobile!
Although he is not quite up on his knees, Kaden has gotten the "army crawl" down to a science.
The other day I thought he had somehow sunburned his left forearm.  After watching him crawl around the floor that night,
I finally realized that it was a mild carpet burn from him constantly pulling & propelling himself forward on our shag carpet.  It didn't appear to bother him.
As always, Schatzi is never too far away.
He has also discovered that he can pull up on almost anything- including this old bookshelf.
... and his little rocking chair

Which is Better... or Worse?

Here lies the question...
When your child INSISTS on grabbing the spoon during meals, do you hand over the spoon in order to develop some hand-eye-mouth coordination (full-well knowing food will get everywhere)?
OR do you just do it yourself to ensure food actually gets
IN the mouth?
Any suggestions are welcome