From the Mountaintops

Posted by casey on November 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

I have been told.
I have been told that it is time.
Time to stand on the mountaintops and shout with joy…

After a lengthy journey to get to this point and an abundance of prayers, Baby Kaz III has been a reality for us for almost fifteen weeks now.

We are very thankful to be adding this sweet little sibling for Caden and Everett in May of 2015 and they are VERY excited!


Safe Streets

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

With our Jack O’ Lantern lit and our costumes on for hours, waiting for the sun to set to officially start Halloween festivities was the biggest challenge.  This year it seems, the boys had fully grasped the concept of filling their buckets with more sugar than they have ever seen in their little lives. Treats, treats, treats!


The good news is that we were extra safe walking the streets on Halloween.  Double safe to be exact, with double the Spiderman.  One old-school and one new-school, though Everett liked to reference Caden’s new-school costume as “bad Spiderman”. While it was pretty hit or miss until the day of whether or not they were going as Double Spidey or Superman and Batman (thank you Buy One Get One Target) the theme was always there – superhero. Duh. Is there any other option?

Excited was an understatement so we played a little front yard, costume clad tee-ball while we waited for our spooky streets to darken. Equipped with their glow necklaces and buckets they happily led the way starting at our neighbor’s house for a little practice run on the procedure and etiquette of this “when you think about it very bizarre tradition”.

What we found this year was Everett’s unbridled enthusiasm yet again. For someone who never has had and can’t have most of the treats you wouldn’t know it because he ready to fill that bucket baby.  At each and every house the entire time he would say, “Can we go to another house now?….march, ring, trick or treat, fill bucket, march “Can we get to go to another house again?”  Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Our neighborhood is great for their age and this process in general.  One big loop with several cul-de-sac streets.  Straightforward and more treats for your time without having to hike too far.  We let them go an extra street this year from last year and then they were happy to haul their loot home and finish handing out our candy to the local monsters and such.  I enjoyed getting to “let go” a bit while walking with Colter and them getting to go up by themselves with big brother in charge.  A parenting right of passage watching two adorable fierce Spidermen keeping the streets safe and stocking our chocolate stash in one swoop.


Jolly Jack-O

Posted by casey on October 31, 2014 in Caden, Everett, Family, Holiday Fun, Life as I Know It, Toddler Time
As kids, I remember carving pumpkins every year.  We each had one and even did all of those crazy elaborate designs as we got older and older.  Crazy elaborate. (Here is where I should show you a childhood picture I dug out of an album and scanned for your viewing pleasure but those are packed somewhere and who has time for that?)

I have avoided carving pumpkins successfully for my four and a half years as a parent. Yes, I take pride in that.  It is a well known fact that we don’t short holidays around here and that the kids get to do crafts, cooking and activities galore, so I am not too concerned about the lack of pumpkin carving in their “up until now” little lives.

Don’t get me wrong, I love pumpkins. We get them every year for everywhere as you have seen in our front yard hay-stack donned pumpkin patch, the front porch etc.  The boys have painted pumpkins every year and this year even fancied one up with anything and everything they could glue to it.  It is the actual carving of a jack-o-lantern that has been left out.

Honest?  Part of it is the smelly rot factor. I am not doing it long before Halloween because it  will start to become that half melted looking pumpkin as it grows strange fuzz and gets taken over by mysterious bugs. Nope. No thank you.  The other part is that they couldn’t really do anything in years past to really experience it so I put it off.  I had intentions each year and then would logic myself right out of it.

Not this year.

Caden, at four and a half, finally figured out that Halloween means jack-o-lanterns.  Thanks to every cartoon and every picture and every storybook perfectly pointing out those perfectly illuminated orange globes on squash it was on.  We have gathered pumpkins off and on since October 1st, but picked out some particular carving pumpkins not long ago to set them aside.  Last week one was adorned with sequins and pipe cleaners as seen in the oh-so-beautiful result above and this week the other was gutted.

In all little boy dreams they went to school with the promise of pumpkin carving with Mommy when they got home.  I don’t know if they were more excited or appalled at their first glimpse of pumpkin insides.  To say this was unexpected would definitely be accurate. “Aaaaaahhhhh, Ewwwwwww, Smelly, Yucko, What is That?”

In keeping true to my mission to make this a team effort so that they would really get the idea of all that pumpkin carving glory I scraped down the sides and began the scooping but made sure they got a good feel too.  Hesitant.  That is what they were. My all boy, bring mommy worms, roll in the dirt sons were quite hesitant when it came to touching pumpkin guts.

One arm in and quickly out. One finger in with a brief touch and back out while running down the driveway. And then, the moment of truth, the full handful.  I almost lost them right there.

A quick disposal into our handy trash bag and they were fine to leave me to finish the scraping while they ran about – as if we didn’t know this is how this endeavor would go.  At carving time though, they were back in it and full of opinions.  “I want triangle eyes!” “I want circle eyes!” ”Nice!” “Funny teeth!”  Combining all of their ideas into a simple face was the goal and with stenciled lines, pre-sawing by Mom and supervision they happily contributed to the “sawing”

After hacking away, pulling out pieces and carving a bonus bat on the side for one little man’s dreams their very first jack-o-lantern was carved and ready for a candle two days before Halloween.  Prime no-rot time. Take that bugs and fuzz.

I think they are pleased.
A jolly jack-o-lantern indeed.


Busy Season

Posted by casey on October 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

If you haven’t already assumed so by my regular absence for the last, oh, six months or so, this has been one of the busiest seasons of our lives with no real stop in sight!  These past months we have been busy getting the new house in order and busy trying to get the current house in order.  We have been busy trying to get appointments checked off and tee ball games attended.  But mostly, we have just been busy with each other in those moments in between.  With projects a plenty I have really tried to reign in my time with our little family of four to make it count and keep it to us.  But then, the photos pile up and the memories fade and with all of the journaling and documenting at some point the stories will come out.


For now though, I am enjoying my little men.
It is almost Halloween time as they remind me.
It is almost house selling time as all of the packing lists remind me.
It is almost Everett’s birthday as he and Caden are sure to remind me.
Which means after that it is almost time for Santa to come they equally remind me.

Remind, remind, remind.

And here I am, in this season of the year that seems to fly by anyway just trying to remember this age and stage and maybe my name. On a good day.


There They Go II

Posted by casey on September 2, 2014 in Caden, Everett, Life as I Know It, Uncategorized

Last week marked the first week of another year of pre-school for our boys which means that it is another time of reflection for us as parents and as a family.

It is funny.  School really isn’t that different for us this year.  Caden is still going three days a week, and Everett upped his game from two days to three days as well. So, the only real difference is one extra day.

Losing one extra day of alone time with Everett.  And yet, watching them go last Tuesday still felt like letting them go for the first time again. The preparation, the excitement, the nerves.

But they were ready to go primarily because of new shoes, new lunchboxes, new…

Back to School.

They love school, so it isn’t the idea of school, it isn’t the days they are away, it is knowing their hearts and praying that their teachers learn and hold their hearts with tenderness too.  Each year as we get closer and closer to Kindergarten, I pray harder that my boys will love school and be loved by their school.  I searched for a pre-school that would help them learn how to “do school” and we have had such a positive experience at their pre-school socially, academically and emotionally.

Meet the Teacher Pre-K

As a former teacher I don’t struggle in letting them “go” to school but as a parent in knowing that the warm, loving, controlled bubble they have been molded in, in the years since their birth is slowly fading. Which is a good thing too, but it comes with its own set of challenges and concerns.   I read in an article recently that the best you can do as they grow, and get more and more input and examples from this full, busy and not always pleasant world we are raising them to be a part of is to make sure that each day when they walk in the door home from school a warm, safe, loving and consistent environment waits for them.  So, as I watch their little friends start to impact their hearts, minds and behaviors more and more I wish for good friends for them like I was fortunate to have, for good mentors and for a safe path.  Yes, I know they are still mini men, but setting the tone for the years to come so that they

Meet the Teacher Night

feel the pull to respect, work hard, be a good friend, and yes…play, be silly, enjoy life.

As a whole, the boys had a fabulous first week.  Caden is a school champ.  He never has any issues adjusting to a new class, new teacher or new friends.  My shy guy turned social bee.  He is loving the new responsibilities and priviliges of his official pre-kindergarten class; a locker, getting to check out books in the library, eating in the gym (instead of in the classroom) and of course, no nap.  He received rave reviews from his teacher about what a great kid he is, so thoughtful, well-mannered, hard-worker, good listener and kind friend.  Talk about some key compliments your parent heart wants to hear!

Everett, my tough, risk-taking child is a puddle when it comes to school. He just does not handle change well.  We were so surprised that he was so sad to go to his new class because they are Caden’s teachers from last year who he loves!  The poor little guy just gets a bit worried.  He is always happyand pick-up and excited to tell me about the great day he had but the first two daysof drop off were sad for him.  He still goes in, and he still gives hugs and kisses goodbye, but while he has crocodile tears pooling on his teacher’s lap as she snuggles him.

The last day of the week though, I told him that he couldn’t be sad because he had to help his friends if they were feeling sad.  If his friends were sad he could give them a hug and tell them “It’s okay, we are going to have a fun day!”  Bless his heart, the sweet child looked at me at drop off, went in his room a little teary, walked back out, (his friends were sad), looked at me square in the eye and took the biggest breath held up his hand for a kiss and marched back in tear free to help his friends.

Bless him and our deep breath calming technique.
All by his big little self.

I love hearing about their days, and they do spill all the details and I love getting to further work with them on the things they are doing at school to match up with our home “school”.  With a real “Farewell to Summer” Labor Day weekend behind us we soaked up family time, the independent stage they are getting to and the tiny moments that they just need us and still seem just that, tiny.

Back to School.

Which means I might actually be back to catching up.

But lets not get hasty. :)

Back to School 2013 Comparison


Oh, Hello There

Posted by casey on August 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

Oh, Hello There
Let Me Introduce Myself
MIA is by first name, yes, all initials.
Busy is my Middle Name.
Who has time for a last name?

There have been visitors, there has been a computer meltdown of the summer, there is currently a computer rebuild/reorganize in progress, there is a new house being built, there is a current house being sorted and packed, there are new undertakings, there are overdue tasks, and oh yes, there are two beautiful boys growing up way too fast and are getting all of my focused attention for all of the parks, pools, projects, playtimes, walks, rescue missions and outings they can stand.

Give me sixteen more years, and then I will catch you up on all of the fun we have had while I simultaneously mourn an empty nest.  Premature empty nest syndrome.

It’s Real.


Purple Polka-Dot-Itis

Posted by casey on June 29, 2014 in Caden, Everett, Life as I Know It

On a drizzly Saturday morning while the rest of the neighborhood was snug in their beds we decided to get a little paint crazy not knowing what was about to hit.

We walked. We tapped.  We slapped.

We discussed it is in fact okay to get messy (deep breaths Caden).

And then, out of nowhere, we got…the dots.

They spread quickly. Plague style.

Quick, someone call the doctor. We are all down with purple polka-dot-itis.
(and orange nose apparently)

 Warning: They are often accompanied with side effects of giggling, silly faces and crispy hair.  Best Treatment: Warm Bubble Bath and a Brillo Pad.


One Day You’ll Know

Posted by casey on June 16, 2014 in Family

To My Boys on Father’s Day

Do you see that man there?  Yes, the one you are currently pummeling in the trampoline while demanding he pretend to be a monster, The Champ, or Mr. Todd from Peter Rabbit.  The one you are endlessly tackling in the grass, and the one you have already enlisted to show you what to do with every ball you find?  As you know, that man is your Daddy.

What you feel, but may not yet know in full understanding is how large of a jackpot you hit in him being your father.  I mean Big.Time.  I say you already feel this because you are very confident in

- him making you feel safe
- him being down to play the very second he walks in the door
- the fact that he is going to walk in that door each night
- us having a door for him to walk through at all because of the hard work away from home and us that he does each and every day.

What you don’t know yet is that not all littles such as yourselves are this lucky.

Your Daddy fills his roles of husband, father and provider until our cup runneth over.  Which means, no, my water cup isn’t spilling boys but that he does so to…ummm…kid terms…infinity.  Yup. Infinity.

 He is a great supporter of each of your growing minds and always will be, I can say that with confidence.  So, never be hesitant to go to him for help, or to ask him to teach you and show you the way when it is beyond Lego structures and the proper stance for peeing like a Big Boy.

He is a caretaker and nurturer of your heart in a way only a man can balance concern and strength.  He knows when a snuggle is in order or a firm high-five distraction to any “owy” that comes our way.  He is tender to your soul while showing you what worries  can be conquered and what manners matter most to be a gentlemen just like him.  So, never let your mind tell you that Daddies aren’t for matters of the heart, because he is, so you can go to him with any affliction in love, frustration in friendship or despair in sadness especially when it is beyond you pushing each other, someone taking your snack, and a lost toy.

He is the teacher of your body’s capabilities as he fills you up with certainty in what you are brave enough to try while I am squeezing my eyes shut while turned around so you can’t see my fear.  I try, I really do.  He encourages your curiosities in your own strength and balance while shaping your form in stance, swing and focus.  So, whether you choose golf, baseball, basketball, soccer or gymnastics…er…maybe you will have to come to me for the latter, listen to his tips, try his strategies and go for it with all your might because he will always be in your corner, on your side and part of your team. Always.

Your Daddy chose to be your full time Daddy the moment we knew you were on your way.  He is and always has been the very opposite of any stereotype in regards to what a man’s role is in the home and with his children.  Diaper changes? Absolutely.  Late nights?  Up walking and bouncing you.  Stomach bug clean-up duty? On it.  Meal makings?  It’s Daddy Dinner night.  From snuggles to sillies, punishment to playtime, tackling to teaching your Daddy has already been instrumental in a 100% hands on, focused purposeful manner that all mini men such as yourselves should be privy to. Oh yeah, and he goes to work away from home each and every day, up and at ‘em bright and early to provide for your life, home, and health.   Since you are so lucky, and you are so loved, that is why among the celebrating we took another picture this year, just like in the years behind us,  of why you love your Daddy. In your own words, you made his morning with your updated reasons that adorn his bathroom counter as his daily reminder of your love.

So remember boys, that man is your Daddy, he is a keeper so you better give him your love and tell him about your love for him on more than just Father’s Day.

He’s Earned It.

 Now Being Shared With Mama Kat to Further Celebrate a Fabulous Father



Posted by casey on June 8, 2014 in Caden, Everett, Family

Take Me Out to the Ball Game,

Take Me Out to Nonna and Pa Pa’s

Sit me Down with my Camera and Wine

I will Watch You All Night and Be Fine

For it’s click, click, click of the shutter

As I Soak Up Each Bit of this Night!

Because it is just, one, two or a few more years left

Before we won’t see this little sight.


Mi Casa es Su Casa…in Eight Months

Posted by casey on June 7, 2014 in Family

Surprise! We’re Moving!
And By Moving, I Mean Building.
So….Surprise, We are Moving in Eight Months!

After years of you listening to us say “Yeah, we will move in another few months or so,” we are finally outta here, kind of since we decided to go big and build. Wahoo!

We have been signed and sold for a few weeks and are officially off to the races picking everything from flooring to faucets, switches to sod so that we can break ground here in the next month.  The boys were super excited and then super disappointed when we went back to out normal home…without a new home.   This is such a positive focus for us right now that we are taking joy in the timing we did pick and getting to spend hours upon hours making decisions and thinking about our future in this home.

With many pictures, updates and postings on the horizon of this process…

For now, we bought a “whole lotta” mud. Just the way the boys like it.

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