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Boys in Blue

Posted by casey on April 22, 2014 in Life as I Know It

The Texas tradition of bluebonnets is one my family never got around to, so I started early on with my kiddos.  I mean, they are just so pretty, especially in abundance. That and I have a picture fetish you may have noticed.  That isn’t important though, lets not focus on that issue. This year, with the most amazing field discovered after much searching a couple of weeks ago I plopped the boys out of the car just to take a couple of quick shots so as not to torture anyone too long and the whole fact that we were on our way to dinner but stopped off to verify to location.

What I learned was that I think I have busy boys.
Okay…what I confirmed is that I have busy boys.
We started off with a somewhat giddy romp through the field as they had been asking to play in the blue flowers during our drives.

He was so excited in fact that he began to get the sillies and dance, which led to this perfectly precious face and then that oh so peculiarly shaped dancing arm that looks like he is trying to show you his pistol.

But it is all okay in the end right because I go this face.  That is definitely what I was hoping for. Though it does mark the time accurately.

 Everett wanted to contribute too.

So we all hugged it out.

 And hiked up our pants old man style.

And got confused as to what we were supposed to do with this many blue flowers.

And then the itsy bitsy spider crawled over Caden’s shoe causing a reaction that made us believe he surely had to have lost a limb.

But Everett soothed him.  And brought him back to Earth.

But clearly we had to leave.  Because the spider might come back.

 Boys.  Way too busy for a camera this night so “keeping it real” snapshot out-takes it is. Marking the memories one spider attack at a time.

 
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My Spring Chickens

Posted by casey on April 19, 2014 in Caden, Everett, Holiday Fun

Winter was long. It went away, it came back, it went away and it came back again.
But finally, spring rolled around and with the perfect age at hand why not have a little Easter Spring fun this year with the help of some baby bow ties and oh yes, some baby springtime animal friends.  I think yes. A Happy Easter indeed.

Happy Easter, From My Little Spring Chickens…or in this case, Ducks!

 
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Gimme’ 5

Posted by casey on April 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

According to some whosey whatsit site somewhere it is National High Five Day today. This led me to think of two things.

1. A National High Five Day? Really.  Deemed by whom and for what purpose?  A National Day for everything, literally. Even farting. It is January 7th. Look it up.

They totally meant to do that.  They were just going to swing it around down low like the cool kids.

2. Who keeps track of this National Holiday calendar.  Because a couple of weeks ago I saw on another whosey whatsit site somewhere that it was National Ice Cream Day and Ben & Jerry’s was giving out free cones.  Since I don’t have a Ben & Jerry’s near me but I do have a Braum’s I looked into this matter and discovered National Ice Cream Day is in July.  Seems like someone is mixing up the post-it dates if you ask me.

Important stuff here right?
Back to it. National High Five Day.
Despite my reasonable level of disdain for the random declaring of national celebrations for all things randomness, I am all down for a solid high five.

And it gave good reason to share their love as well.

 
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Another Snoozy Sunday

Posted by casey on April 13, 2014 in Life as I Know It

Last Sunday brought a lazy, rainy day and this Sunday proves to be the same. However, I am not complaining.  Breakfast out, painting scenery for our much anticipated puppet show inspired by our nightly reading of “If You Give a Moose a Muffin”, and rainy day play because around here when it rains, we play.

Rainy days have to be the best fool-proof, giggle eliciting, free entertainment around that provide what I remember as real childhood memories.

Undies and Umbrellas? I think yes.
Alas, sooner or later the thunder rolls…and the lightening strikes and two mini-men make grumpy faces because they aren’t done playing yet we have to go in.

(I think they are brothers.)

So in comes another quickie-made spring fun matching game.
Count the bunnies, find the number.

Counting Bunnies Match-Up

Again, here for you in case your snoozy Sunday needs some activity too.
Get to hopping. I mean counting.
For me it is practically the same thing.

 
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Rainy Day Relief

Posted by casey on April 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

A rainy Sunday after a whirlwind road-trip yesterday means we have a case of the
“I need something to do…I want to go outside…I’m not happy,” toddlers.

Enter a quickly made Easter matching game to the rescue and me sharing it with you in case you have two of these whine buckets on your hand too.

 

Easter Egg Match-Up

Click the link above to download the PDF and then just print, a quick cut out
and let the matching begin.

 
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Old 4 {A Super Celebration}

Posted by casey on March 13, 2014 in Caden, Family

Just over two weeks ago, the big day Mr. Caden had been zoned in on for a year had finally arrived – birthday party day.

As Caden is growing into a grown-up little boy more and more this year, he chose a superhero birthday.  This big, now four year old boy loves all things superhero.

However, being that he is still such a little man whether he knows it or not means he hasn’t attached himself to one superhero in particular just the concept – cape, mask, rescuing, flying, saving, special powers.  You know, the important stuff.

With this in mind it was on to “theme design” and exactly how we were going to make this just right for Caden, his age, his superhero love and his little friends.

Since, he hasn’t started watching just Spiderman or just Ninja Turtles (though is rapidly increasing his exposure and fascination) I thought going with more of a bright, comic-esque superhero theme.  Caden approved as we picked out décor and it turned out completely perfect for him and his current superhero stage.

I enjoy putting a celebration together for the boys, with the boys, because I Iove their reactions, excitement and appreciation.  They carry things for me, they pick colors, help me put things out and they point out and notice it all.

In doing a cozy play-date timed party this year I kept the food simple; pigs in a blanket, mini PB & Js, individual fresh fruit cups with granola and marshmallow to top since marshmallows are a massive hit with this crew, some raisin boxes and your basic chips and pretzels.  Easy, peasey and child satisfactory.  Caden was beyond excited about his cake that we ordered locally to support our “mom and pop” shops from Brendal’s Bakery.  I sketched it out, showed Caden who was giddy and to the bakery we went to order it when his birthday month had arrived.  Cute, delicious and beyond pleasing to my now four year old.

All of his little friends are getting yet another fun age and stage.  They truly have “friendships” and run around playing on their own.  This was the first year I was able to set for them a real kids party table that we could serve them at but they could then sit by each other playing, eating and chatting.  Wrangling everyone from toys, capes, coloring tables and so forth is always an adventure but in the end I think everyone got to come and go from the table as they (and their moms) pleased and fill their tummies.

It was pretty precious seeing them at their little place settings with mason jar tumblers I adorned with their initials in a superman logo.  After untying them as decorations they all were donning their capes I had sewn up in various patterns and bright shades at some point and enjoying the festivities.  Supermen and one little superlady everywhere you looked.

Part of what is nice about keeping it small and cozy is that I feel like I can do more for the kids as a whole in their treats and surprises for being part of Caden’s life and his celebration. We are very thankful for the little friends he has and their moms, both that were able to attend and had to miss for helping to shape Caden, for being another support for him and for teaching him his first lessons in friendships.

They ate and played, ate and played and we moms actually got to chat some. (especially once Daddy arrived and began the kids vs. Daddy wrestling match) Though, truth be told, we did end up having to stand in the entryway where the table was set supervising most of the time (sorry moms) but then the kids were able to have a pretty free reign without us having to interfere much!  Thankfully, we have the playroom upstairs, Caden’s new room which caused some cuts and bruises thanks to some bed-bouncing (boys) and a wide open living room to give them all plenty of choice to choose their own play space. Yes, we have surrendered our home to our kids completely.

So many little feet stomping around, little hands sneaking extra snacks off the table and me flooded with memories of my first born and how much he has grown.  Quit weeping and bring on the cake! Fine.

First he was just excited about the cake…then he was excited that he got his own spot on the table since that was surely the easiest way to connect him to the cake without risking me dropping it moving it again.  My four year old superhero basking in birthday boy glory dreaming his deepest of kiddie wishes into those four flames.

Perfection

It is quite safe to say that we checked off everything on his birthday party requirements list; invites, decorations, friends, cake, balloons & oh yes, presents.

Ninja turtles, puzzles, movies, clothes, Nerf balls, art sets and even an Ironman watch!  I think it is safe to say that all made him a pretty ecstatic four year old.

Just enough new and exciting fun gifts to make him feel special and entertain him but not overload him or our toy bins, a win!

It was truly a downright fun morning for our little man and for us to watch.  I love having the center court front row seat to seeing him become his own person and getting to feel his joy.  Another huge thank you to his friends and their mamas for being there on his celebratory day and for all of the playdates, e-mails, coffee talks and support.  It takes a village and he is lucky to have one from the start.

 Special thanks to Ashley, (Lane’s Mom) of Southern Mae Photography for not only taking this picture but being my second set of eyes to team up and help me permanently document Caden’s birthday with her camera as well throughout the morning.  Double the pictures, double the fun and proof I was actually there. 

 

 
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Lovebugs

Posted by casey on February 14, 2014 in Holiday Fun, Life as I Know It

In one whole year I went from needing the kids to help compile one set of classroom Valentines, to three.  Wowzers.  My little lovebugs both needed sets for their classes this year but Caden, who goes Tuesday – Thursday had to have a set for this Tuesday/Thursday class and also one for his Wednesday class because while his teacher is the same, some of the kids are different so my lucky lovebug gets to have two parties this week.

It is okay though because he was REALLY excited.

We started working on our Valentines early this year so that if life interfered, and it did, it wouldn’t be a last minute task that wasn’t enjoyed.  So, we did our shopping, the boys helped picked the colors for their tags, took a few pictures and then they get to sit with me and help bag things so that by February 1st they were done and ready to go.  I love having their help and I think it is important even if it takes a little longer to have them  participate so that they don’t think these things just “poof, appear” for them.

Last Year’s Class Set

It is definitely a tradition in the making to get all of our supplies and sit by the fire while taking turns getting them ready to go.

I am also fortunate that Caden is a superb listener and directions-follower and Everett wants to be just like him so the whole process of where to put things goes pretty smoothly.

Overall my goal this year was to have a fun treat for his friends that didn’t add to their “Halloween-esque” bag of treats that ends up coming home.  Especially since Everett can’t have any of the candy that comes home I like doing something a little different for them and find joy in the challenge of hunting to make my brainstorm cost affordable to a typical boxed candy Valentine.

So, if you are already planning ahead for 365 days from today, hopefully this helps you because we sure had a great time!

Valentine Numero Uno – Caden’s Wednesday Class

While the boys liked having shaped crayons, getting all of those wrappers off even with their “just soak it in water” trick was not so fun. Throw in some heart and smiley face stickers, print off shape tracing sheets on cardstock (heart, star and smiley face) and wham-bam and LOVEly craft valentine is complete.

Valentine Numero Dos - Everett’s Thursday Party

For our active young man, an active Valentine stocked with a palm sized bouncy ball, two sticky hands and of course just a couple Hershey Kisses for those “xoxo” friends that are such a good “catch”. 

Valentine Numero Tres – Caden’s Thursday Party

Our imaginative little “character” of an almost four year old loves his sunglasses and pretending in general. So, some foam glasses donned with mustaches and marshmallow eyes let his friends join in on the fun. 

Teacher & Staff Valentine -

I love that the boys get so much joy in giving already which is not at all evident on Everett’s fabulous facial expression.  They grin and giggle when they get to take something special to their teachers and Valentine’s Day was no exception.  On Wednesday we handed them treat boxes loaded with all of our kitchen’s holiday baked goods; red velvet heart whoopie pies, maraschino chocolate topped butter cookies and traditional sugar cookies topped with chocolate drizzle and sprinkles.  It was a hit with the boys and with the teachers’ families.  Now, because I do the baking regardless, I always hand it out to get it out of the kitchen.  But, as a former teacher I also know that receiving more and more “goodies” gets lost in the shuffle so something practical is always appreciated and used!  So there was Thursday’s delivery to the boys’ amazing teachers this year because we can’t “measure” how much we love them.

 

This week was most definitely full of love for our littles.  Class parties, special lunches, treats and surprises today from Nonna made it so there is no doubt that all things hearts, pink, red and love are for “Balentimes” as Caden says.

Me? I was spoiled too and am looking forward to a movie in bed with a bottle of wine courtesy of Nonna.  A Valentines win for the week? I think so.

 
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Back and Forth

Posted by casey on February 12, 2014 in Caden, Everett, Life as I Know It

With all of this back and forth weather spring one week, dead of winter the next we are doing our best to embrace it one weather-full day at a time.

Take for example a romp in the snow last week and all
the kiddo filled wonder it brings.

I know what you are thinking, where is Everett?  She must love Caden more since she only has pictures of him. (paraphrasing of course).

 He was over it.  Mr. Everett just wanted to play in my car.  Mr. Caden just wanted to play in the snow.  Whatever keeps you happy children, to each their own.

Happy Snow Day to You Too Caden.  Happy Childhood-Love Snow Day.

 

 
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Oscar

Posted by casey on January 31, 2014 in Caden, Holiday Fun, Uncategorized

In the spirit of “Awards Season”,
And the Oscar goes to…

Maybe I should backtrack.

Among all of the various pre-Christmas activities, we received notice from Caden’s school that the week prior to their break they would be having a Christmas program one evening after school.  Their Thanksgiving program was during the day and just included a few songs for their age group of classes so we weren’t really sure what to expect, and truthfully weren’t expecting much.

As we walked into the sanctuary it was clear that a nativity would be part of the production which made more sense as when we dropped Caden off into his classroom to “prepare” prior to show-time his wonderful teacher said, “I’m not sure what animal he is, but you’ll want to be front and center.” Huh?!

We had even asked Caden about what songs he would be singing and such since he practiced his Thanksgiving program songs 24/7 before that one.  We didn’t get much information out of him, so again, we saw the nativity, heard most of the nativity kids are older and/or teacher’s kiddos (makes sense, no problem there) and took our seats.

In comes the procession of kids and we see most of his classmates filling up the right side of the bleachers (where we were sitting since the front/center rows were primarily reserved for staff).  Ummmm….where is our kid?  We did drop him off in his class right? Oh wait.  There he is. Behind the Kings and Wise Men.  What is he so proudly holding over his face?

A donkey.
Our kid the ass.
I mean donkey.
(and the photo-bombing flashing angel)

I told Colter that it must be pay-back for his teenage “wit”. :) The program was complete with the story of the nativity scene as told by little children’s voices with various songs in between. Caden, who was chosen for his “role” I’m certain because of his love for singing and following teacher’s instructions was an angel…well, a donkey.  He kept his mask up, would peek and grin at us, put it back up, put it down to stare at his friend next to him who was belting the songs out (and by belting I mean yelling) in true toddler program fun and so on and so forth.  The kids gave a jolly rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, complete with a arm swing movement we saw for the rest of the month.  All in good fun and festivity.

You know Caden, he takes his jobs very seriously.

So we went, we saw, we ski-daddled.

We talked all about his songs, friends and donkey mask all the way home showering him with praise and pride and family sing-alongs.

And now, we can check “child being in nativity scene” off of our bucket list.
It was going to be a tough one so I am glad we knocked it out early.
Even if he was an ass.  I mean donkey.

 
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What Tag?

Posted by casey on January 27, 2014 in Caden, Everett, Holiday Fun

Yes, it is almost February.  Way too into the New Year to still be talking about Christmas and yet, here we are.

Describing gift opening is alaways a hilarious endeavor at the Kazmann Christmas extravaganza.  With more children than adults in the past it has been a bit of a free for-all of paper flying, gift switching, scrambling to keep up and you can completely forget about seeing the tag and knowing who it was from.

Gift opening is a cardio routine.

This year it was slightly less all over the place but still one big “Ready, Set Go” and not knowing where to look.  You’re pretty lucky if you happen to catch your own children opening their much awaited surprises but you can completely forget about seeing your nieces/nephews open what you gave them because a wall of paper, boxes, and bows blinds you from your little spot .  The squeals and giggles are constant so you know there is happiness and excitement as out toy bins are re-stocked by our all too generous family.  Caden and Everett were quite shocked to receive there very own Buzz Lightyears from Nonna & Pa Pa this year…and books…and movies…and blocks…and clothes. Everyone spoiled them so.

Help Me Uncle Bobby, Get it Out!

The kids are all growing up enough now that it is interesting to see what they all are into, hoping to receive and then SO excited when they do.  Take my Kindergartener niece Cate and her brand new “Girl of the Year” (whatever that means…I have boys) American Girl Doll.  Miss Sage played with us for the next three days, and I should add sported various hairstyles as well.

I gifted my younger nieces and nephews home-made capes and masks this year, and it was quite the sight seeing Braiden cape clad for a few moments between gifts perched upon Nonna’s toy horse. Success!

I think it truly adds to the excitement of it all that the gifts aren’t opened right away.  All of the kids see them under the tree, know that at some point we will shred them to pieces but until then it is playing and eating and chasing and napping.  So,when it is time, it is on.  Caden even managed to find a quiet moment to open one last gift that had been hiding away.  Watching him sit himself down to rip apart “just one more” with really just me and him watching was a nice little breather (for me really) as I felt like I really got to watch and focus on his age and the experience of gift opening with him this year.

Last year there was much more bickering between the boys over newly opened things, and they seemed very overwhelmed by the process of it all.  This year, they had it down and both have fully entered the “Lets open another one,” phase that is surely going to have me wrapping even chapstick in a few years.  (Truthfully, I liked that Santa gave one ”big” Santa gift unwrapped with stockings and we did just three wrapped presents ourselves for them.)

Siting back among the wrapping paper you can’t help but think about all of the work, prep and time spend getting everything ready for us all to destroy.  Carolyn (Nonna) did a stellar job yet again not only getting what her grandkids’ hearts’ desired but really giving them a whole experience of Christmas at Nonna & Pa Pa’s.  It warms my heart watching the boys thank them for dinner, presents and playing and learning just how hard they work to make this all happen for them. I love knowing that they get a full Santa experience at our home and can look forward to an additional yet different Christmas magic just 15 minutes away. Lucky, lucky, lucky.

Everyone was most certainly spoiled with sweets and surprises and still had the energy to continue playing and partying.  Definitely very merry.

 

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