To My First

Posted by casey on May 10, 2015 in Caden's Chronicles

JBirthday 001ust a little over five years ago, this studmuffin blessed us with his presence after thirty and a half hours of labor to make me a mother and to really give us the gift of what a family is.

As we prepare to welcome his youngest of brothers I swell with emotion seeing how much he has grown and how much we have as parents with him.

There have been many stages and many changes as he has gone from new babe to boy, but among the constants his gentle heart stands out as an unwavering characteristic about him.

He is a gentle, sweet soul and no matter how the sillies, or opinions take over his sensitive spirit stays true.  This proves to be challenging at times when his feelings get SO hurt over what we would like to call “nothing” or he flares on the dramatic side in whimpering about any number of things, but the heart of it is he just seems to “really feel” things. I value this in him because he really does have a knack for feeling what you feel…except when I am frustrated with him for not listening and he thinks he is hilarious. That…that gets him in trouble.

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Lately, I keep wondering what Everett is going to be like at five years old because photo 4Caden is SO silly. So silly.  Sometimes to a fault.  Which seems wrong to even say because after all he is five and five year olds should be allowed to be silly but I am also a firm believer in a time and a place for everything which sums up the boundaries we are working on in the sillies department.  That is why I get curious about Everett, to see if it all is a “five” thing, or a Caden thing.

Among the sillies, which are usually surrounding some out of this world scenario that he is telling and reinacting are the noises.  He is full of noises of every kind DSC_0488_edited-1imaginable which I am sure was passed on from my genes…namely my brother. I dread the day when he learns how to whistle because my brother had about 47 different whistles that he did C.O.N.S.T.A.N.T.L.Y .  Impressive yes, but also deafening and mind numbing.

So when Caden is motorboating his lips together to fly his magic machine that his mind has going or beeping and chattering I say a little prayer to my mom and her patience because man…her adult brain must have needed some silence.

And yet, I know that all too soon those noises will be gone and I will be wishing them back. Right?  But that is how it is going already in other areas. At the ripe old age of five Caden is already content to play upstairs with Everett for hours without me interrupting or checking in or including myself.  Yup. It happened.  He Bluebonnets 007stopped needing me all the time.  That very thing that you wait for when they need you for every.single.thing at every.single.moment and yet it happened and I was lonely.  My babies!  Though there was humor, because Caden is very much his Dad’s mind and instead of saying “Go away,” or something equally as harsh and direct in a negative sense, he said “Mommy, you can go downstairs and enjoy your time if you would like.”  And just like that, my five year old manipulated me. Bam.

Caden is full of fun facts and rarely stops talking long enough for you to respond to the fact or question he is asking or story he is telling.  Constant information overload which I am grateful for because he is a sharer.  I get to hear about his day at school and the details of what he liked doing.  I get to hear about his friends and what he likes playing with them and why and in turn he has already learned the give and take of conversation and then asking me about my day and such.  He is very grown up in his thought process and logic, always working to make sense of exactly what you are telling him and how it fits into his world.  I most commonly hear “Oh Mommy, I get it now!” minutes after a DSC_0166_edited-1conversation has ended as he was been sitting there putting the pieces together himself of what was just explained.

He loves to read and practice his reading.  His imaginative mind translates into creative drawings, pictures and notes which he really enjoys creating at the desk in his room that he requested.  Yes, requested.  You can’t deny your child a new piece of furniture when at five he politely says “Mommy, can we get a special table, like a desk for in my room so I can do my work and practice my letters?”  Ummmm, yes.  With his new love and skill for math adding to his school love there is no doubt that this one will be a scholar making us all very excited for his “real school career” to be starting in the fall.

With the gift of a piggy bank from his auntie for his birthday Caden started doing official chores so he could earn some change here and there.  We thought long and DSC_0069_edited-1hard because the boys already help us with a lot, and are expected to so to speak, so we didn’t want o take things they already do (load backpacks in the car, let the dogs in and out etc.) to then be changed to chores.  We decided to give dishes a whirl and he was in love.  So, after dinner when all the plates are gathered he gets up on his stool and scrubs away.  It is adorable.  (And at the end of my pregnancy very helpful to not be bending to put them in the dishwasher constantly etc.)  He has also added feeding the dogs their food twice a day to his repertoire and has developed his own little strategies for getting it done.  I love watching him take ownership and talking about how this is what being part of a family is, helping each other, because we

Planting flowers with Nonna

Planting flowers with Nonna

have always tried to shape them to be helpers to us in ways they can for their age. He grasped on to the concept and definitely takes after his Daddy in saving his money for “maybe a bigger toy” than what he could cash in for already.  Lessons are most certainly being learned, one nickel at a time!

With all things transformers, superheroes, robots and video games still very close to his heart he hasn’t changed much in his interests.  I happen to think golf and baseball currently fit his skill set best, but he has been loving this soccer season aka “herd ball” and has picked up some new moves thanks to backyard practices with Daddy.  He has even gotten a little more aggressive and willing to get in there with the masses which has been a nice development in his competitive spirit.  But really, there is just this, joy.


It doesn’t get much better than seeing your child grin so truly.

And so we are blessed.

Blessed with a happy healthy boy who loves his family and friends, tests his limits and is full of all things boy, silly, weird, noisy and pretend.  He could spend all day taking care of his stuffed “friends” with his brother, playing the Lego Block Game (which has a strict weekend only rule because of his love) and making cards for Mommy to specifically put in envelopes.  He has yet to stop striving for positive attention from the adults in his life though his listening skills have been running on a third to fifth time he hears it reaction time. Ugh.  He is busy and bouncy and loves testing his strength at our neighborhood parks or during chase and wrestle matches with Daddy.  His once dominant shyness is almost never seen as he takes to and tries to include almost anyone he sees in what he is playing and even excitedly attended his first sleepover just this past month.

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Our firstborn is about to become the Biggest Brother in the house and in his opinion he is ready.  Ready to help. Ready to love. Ready to teach.

We are just sitting here ready to watch him take on and adapt to yet another new role in his little life.


Finally Five

Posted by casey on April 12, 2015 in Caden's Chronicles

He may have been officially five for two weeks, and started celebrating turning five three weeks prior but with the day of his “official party” finally here one little boy was now ready to say he was “officially five”.  Thank goodness. We did it.


This was the first birthday party for our boys that we were not doing at our house.  With the weather always being tricky in February and not ever knowing if the kids will be able to be outside running around or utilizing a bounce house Caden’s DSC_0091_edited-1birthday is the perfect one to test out an outside facility.  Now that all of the kids for the most part are getting old enough to partake and be busy little bees Caden settled on the idea of a gymnastics party like ones he had attended for some friends recently.  The idea of being able to essentially just show up with cupcakes and let the kids go to town without all of the set-up, clean-up and entertaining since we were still in moving mode and entering third trimester of Baby III was a win for me.


With the rescheduled invites sent out, and a hefty enough group of family and school friends being able to attend we filled those two hours with plenty of action.  A quick round of Happy Birthday overlooking their imminent fun, sugar, fruit and a few snacks to raise their energy and one happy birthday boy followed by his little brother and friends was all that was needed.

The rest of the party more or less looked like this.
Bouncing Blurs.


But seriously.  Running and jumping and throwing and laughing, everywhere.  With DSC_0115_edited-1my days of being hands free numbered it was so nice to just watch my boys play and enjoy their friends while getting to enjoy their parents myself and snuggle some of the little ones that were there as well!

Daddy was a hit with his promised foam pit play as he took on a team of little men and ladies working their hardest to bury him or just pummel him with as many foam blocks as they could.  They all were in and out (a feat in itself) up and down the playscapes and making mission impossible a mission success in wearing out all involved.


Sometimes I would just look around at the various activities Caden was doing and DSC_0120_edited-1think…five, five years old, already!  The instinct of “wait can he do that?” quickly shut down as he scaled walls, dove from distances and conquered pretty much and fear that he would have had in years past.  Searching for any signs of that little baby who made me a mom is pretty darn hard to find evidence of.  Yes, that is the whole point, but it can be quite strange to watch them become physically able to do so much when at one point they couldn’t even hold their own heads up.  We are certainly blessed to have such a healthy, happy, growing fella on our hands!

Seeing all of the kids (and a number of parents) have uninterrupted, active fun was a relaxing joy and well worth the rental in sheer simplicity.  Throw them in a padded, supervised, endless cDSC_0128_edited-1limbing/swinging/jumping possibility filled room and let them go to town.  Caden was eager and ready toDSC_0131_edited-1 take on the zipline as he had done at other events which I am always so impressed by because he loses all nervousness, hangs on tight and drops right down into the foam pit when told too.  Everett…my bravest boy, not so much.  He decided doing it at the last party he attended was enough and that was not in his agenda.

Fine by me because my mothering heart almost has to look the other way while silently praying they do make it to the foam pit. (Yes…there are people to catch them, and yes it is all padded…but still, something feels wrong.  So I close my eyes, or focus them through my lens so I don’t interfere and fun can be had.)  You say neurotic…I say, well, neurotic.


Everyone was a great sport, everyone was involved and even Ms. Aspen had her first trip down a bouncy slide surrounded by adoring boys, which will be the story of her life.  I mean, look at the blurred joy on those faces!


DSC_0164_edited-1And so we did it. It was a success.  It may have dragged on the celebrating much more than needed but we rang in five like it was fifty and really though, shouldn’t that be true. Each year for me is in fact such a milestone.  A testament in survival, growth, love, family and memories.  A miracle in itself that they are one year older, one year more independent, one year taller and stronger and sweeter and smarter and still, all ours.  He was loved, he had fun and we got to go home without a mess full of happy guests and a happy boys ready to say adios to Birthday Five…after taking an “I’m exhausted from this place,” family picture of course.




Posted by casey on April 12, 2015 in Caden's Chronicles

Now that it is April, and Caden’s 5th birthday celebrating which actually extended DSC_1004_edited-1into mid-March is more than officially over, I think a re-cap is in order, primarily for my pregnant memory. Phew!
With just shy of a month straight of celebrating including “Make Your Own Pizza Birthday Dinner Night” under his five year old belt Caden mastered the art of the birthday month this year.  While I love a good birthday, I had no intention of stretching his this long, but he sure did enjoy it!

The kid has got it good.

DSC_0814_edited-1It all started because Nonna was going to out of town for his “real party”.  Typically we have Sunday dinners regardless, and Sunday birthday dinners when it is a Kazmanns birthday but since she was going to miss this one she was sure to have us celebrate before she left.  So that started the partying off a week prior to his birthday “real party”.  If there is one thing I know for certain about our still bashful guy it is that he surprisingly loves being the center of attention birthday boy.

Having HIS day and HIS cake and HIS dinner and getting to share it all with us might be his most favorite thing ever. Ever, ever.   And, because Nonna is so good to us on our birthdays, Caden might also be the only five year old ever who requests and receives steak with twice baked potatoes, green beans and homemade Caesar salad.DSC_0816_edited-1

Our tummies are also thankful for Caden’s choices.

Since he has fully embraced all that is cake and surprises being spoiled with one on one time with his Nonna and Pa Pa was a real treat.  Such that, he wouldn’t want to have to take his eyes off the cake now would he…

Balloons, new toys, sweets and love.
All for our big ol’ five year old!

We kicked off his birthday week right and headed home to prepare for the week ahead which included taking some special treats that we made to his friends at school and of course…his Spiderman Gymnastics Party!!!!!


Imagine hearing that in a five year old squeal while jumping up and down for months.  Very, very, very excited.  The cupcakes were DSC_0900_edited-1ordered, the balloons picked up and we were READY.  Unfortunately, the weather was not.  If you recall, February and March were a bit back and forth here and Caden got the treat of having an actual ice and snowfall on is birthday! What a treat! Until they decided to shut down the city more or less and cancel your son’s party. What??!!

I was way more worried about having to tell him than actually telling him and my hormones got the best of me there.  Luckily, Daddy had prepped him the night before so he knew there was a chance and he actually took it really well.  Truthfully, he took it so well because Daddy had gifted him his first video game earlier that week on a different snow day so he wasDSC_1014_edited-1 consoled with screen time and choosing a date on the calendar to move his party too…two weeks later. Ugh.

(This pregnant mama was very ready to celebrate, check it off and move on.)

Thankfully, Auntie and Uncle came to the rescue as well.  They were already planning on coming up from Houston for he party and since the cousins were already loaded and excited about seeing Caden and Everett and the weather in Houston was fine they continued their journey.  So we had another small family celebration at the house that night since we had party cupcakes to drown our sorrows in, party plates, napkins and balloons all ready to go and a delicious meal prepped for us by Nonna who was out of town. Party on!


With a party at Nonna and Pa Pa’s, a “party” at home with just Mommy and Daddy on his actual birthday night and then a party with his cousins at home when his party was supposed to be the small family celebrations which are the real deal around here were stacking up and we still weren’t done.  That whole pay in advance thing really locks you in! With the two week countdown to Spiderman Palooza on, it was time to detox from cupcakes and candles and wait out the excitement.


A Whole Hand

Posted by casey on March 1, 2015 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles

My sweet baby boy, the seven pound bundle who made me a mother turned five.


A whole stinking hand of fingers to hold up.


Oh my gracious.  My heart is so full.  The proudest of little men waking on his birthday morning Friday knowing that he had full and well moved into a new positionphoto 3 in this world, a five year old.  Love him so…and his baby brother who is trying to figure out why he is on the table. Photo bomb like woah Everett. Moving on.  While I am grateful that my not so little man can still display his age on his fingers, I is a challenge to wrap my brain around this particular birthday knowing that Kindergarten is approaching and his days of the “at home bubble” are drawing to a close.

DSC_0622_edited-1Caden is all boy, all kid these days.  So, when I get a snippet of a needed snuggle, or a little too often still cry-fest from his sensitive heart I am really taking note and taking part in trying to give him just what he needs right then because soon enough he just won’t need it the same anymore.  The days of needing me all the time for everything are long gone, which in many ways is so nice and just what we wait for in those years right?

Independence. A moment to breath. A moment to ourselves.

And then all of the sudden, all too soon that is exactly what you have.

An independent, opinionated, thought-forming, epiphany having child who is takingDSC_0758_edited-1 on the world himself in his own way filling your head with all of the new information he is saturated with from his daily fun-filled, learning centered, carefree life.

“Mommy! Did you know that 3 + 3 = 6?!”
“I need my water. Wah – Wah – Wah, that’s a ‘W’ Mom, water must start with ‘W’.”
“Can I read you a book Mommy? All by myself?”

(he does have a few he can read now filled with all of the sight words we have been working on)

Just this month, in preparation for his second baby photo 5brother he has been learning how to bathe himself.  You know, the details of it.  The, we will run the water and be in here but you do the scrubbing details of bathing.  Because truthfully, we all know that as soon as we start a bath, baby brother is going to want to nurse, have a blowout, need a bouncing session or just well…be crying.  I remember various steps in independence we took before Everett was born too and it is so interesting to see how they do or don’t take to it.

Last Bath at the Old House

Last Bath at the Old House

At first, when it was suggested to Caden via Daddy that he could start washing all on his own we got a resounding “But WHYYYYYYYYYY? Nooooooooo.  I don’t want to do it on my own, how can I?”  It was baffling. The exact opposite reaction from pretty much every other opportunity to do something on his own.  It was humorous a bit to see his concern as if this was a devastating stage of growing up, which in some ways, isn’t it though.  One more thing someone stops doing for you.  But then it clicked.  Mommy and Daddy do this and Mommy and Daddy are really big and I want DSC_0804_edited-1to be big (sidenote: tears…why must they want to be big?) so let’s do this.

A similar recent lesson in growing up.

Not in the plan really was switching to tennis shoes with laces only.  But you see there was a moving debacle.  Somewhere between school, sleepovers at Nonna’s and the various last minute bags, baskets, suitcases and yes, boxes Caden’s main tennis shoes have been misplaced.  I am hesitant to say lost, because I am still confident that once he can no longer fit into them at all, we will find and/or unpack them.  I waited and waited, just knowing they would turn up.  Then the weather got nicer (some days) and trips to the park were abundant and we signed up for soccer and…I was tired of hearing about his tennis shoes, so I ordered some more.

They came in, the same size as the others, but his little toes were crunching the ends.  Evidence of that nonstop eating.  Silly to be buying new ones halfway through the year that seem on the verge of being too small, I sent them back for a half-size up.  Sad to see his new shoes go back yet antsy to tear open the next box when it came, he jumped up and down and grinned because “NEW SHOES MOMMY!” …but wait, what is this, it can’t be, what will I do, I will never, no I can’t, this is awful…



I swear to you. Never, in his almost five years of life has he had a meltdown like he had over opening his new shoes and seeing that they no longer had independence friendly Velcro straps across the pseudo laces but real-deal, loop-swoop-and pull laces.  The ease of the world has officially ended and coping is not an option.


be warned: apparently, once you get to 10.5c Nikes, not 10c, it’s laces only.

So drama and tear filled that no reason, no conversation, no anything was getting through and he had to go take a rest so the world could right itself again.  He just wasn’t believing that this was a step forward in childhood. Couldn’t be.  If you think about it, in a logic centered mind like his (thanks to his Daddy) why would going from being able to do it quickly and alone to the confusing task of tying laces be a good thing?

I felt your pain son.  But I also felt the pain of a headache from the meltdown and a hip-ache from squatting next to you while supporting baby brother to rationalize why exactly we could in fact handle this.  Five years old.


So ready to grow up, but so many little moments of little-ness left.

(I’ll have you know that Caden is now quite proud of his laces only shoes just like Daddy’s and all the other big boys at the park including his newest 8 year old best neighborhood friend who he kind of stalks.  But that is another story.)

Let’s talk about some of those traits of little-ness that are left too. He sweetly still IMG_5290sleeps with his two “snuggle-bears” as he has always called them and I don’t see him parting with those anytime soon.  Unlike his little brother he has had and still has an aversion to the dark and loves having a jar of Christmas lights on, a dump-truck nightlight, a wall nightlight AND a light bear that puts stars on his ceiling.

Still along the lines of bedtime, while he may enjoy helping me read now, he also loves being read to (with his brother…two books…each night) and then always asks if I can lay with him and sing a few songs.  One day he won’t ask, I just know it.  After our goodnights and kisses in response to my “I love you, sweet dreams and sleep tight, ” he instructs me to have a “Tight, tight, tight, tight, tiiiiigggghhhhht rest too.”  Sleep tight. Get it?

Caden has his Daddy’s brain. I just know it.

DSC_0595_edited-1I swear I can actually see those little brain wheels spinning away at any given moment working out the details of any anything really works, functions, plays its part in life…a machine…a story…you get it.  He will figure it out.  He will work it out until it makes sense to him.  He will remember (and use) exactly what you answer him with.  So, we have to be particularly thoughtful about how we answer his questions because he really hangs on to that and reasons with it.  There is no “pulling a shade over his eyes” or going over his head, not that we the most patient parents in the history of the universe would ever, ever, ever attempt to do that to end the endless question string.  But really, I find myself thinking long and hard to give him honest but appropriate questions.  Answers he can roll around and work out the kinks in, but that he can then also report to his friends/family/teachers/parents that are truthful and do make sense to his thirty year old five year old brain.

“Mommy, why does the water when we wash our hands come our hot sometimes and come out cold other times?”

Well son.

You have to turn the handles different ways.  You remember those pipes we saw the workers putting in the ground?  Those pipes take the water into this tank here (water heater).  If we turn the handles that way, the tank heats up the water so it can be hot for us.  If we turn the handles this way it keeps it cold…

“Oh I get it, I know Mommy.  That cylinder changes the temperature of our water and

Showing Off His Schoolwork

Showing Off His Schoolwork

if it comes old cold Mommy, that’s okay Mommy, because that means we didn’t turn the handle to make the cylinder know that it needs to heat it up super hot.  So it’s okay Mommy, it can still do it if we want it to.  But Mommy?  If it gets too hot, will it explode and then we will have to call the firefighters because our alarm will go off and we will need a rescue?”

Yup…if he is satisfied, the conversation usually ends in something exploding.


DSC_0572_edited-1But there is also another tidbit of current Caden in that conversation.  His worrier heart has been highly concerned about alarms as of late.  Where are they, when will they go off, how loud will they be, who will come, how will we know etc. Lots of reassuring on the subject of alarms.

Also lots of reassuring on the subject of God and Heaven and life these days.  I can’t be sure, but if he doesn’t end up being an engineer he just might end up being a minister.  His heart is so very spiritually inclined, which I think matches up with the sensitivity and gentleness of his nature. He has so enjoyed his Christian pre-school introductions and lessons and has also really used this to make sense of his world. He loves to tell us the different Bible stories he learns in Chapel and how they apply to the world or spontaneously drop to his knees to pray.

Yup.  Like in the middle of the stairs.photo 1

“I’m just praying to God Mommy.  I’m thanking him for all the stuff.”

I try my best not to giggle, because it is a fantastic trait and something I am glad he feels comfortable leaning on or turning to, but it is just so darn cute.  One day recently at the park, we were talking about what I nice day it was and he said, “Oh I know Mommy, you see this sunshine and these trees, and those blue sky clouds and the birds and this playground?  God made all of this Mommy because ‘God created the heavens and the Earth, Genesis One One’ (Genesis 1:1).”

Apply to life.
That is what he does.

And then there is this side of him…

photo foxThe sillies.

The noise-making, face contorting, imaginative, giggling, innocent filled giddy boy.

All Dressed and Ready for the Wedding of "Q and U" at school.

All Dressed and Ready for the Wedding of “Q and U” at school.

I am so proud of the heart this one has.  He is certain to be a class act, a gentlemen and a good citizen because he already carries these intentions in his almost five year old heart.  He holds the elevator open for everyone else to get out first every day at school, his please, thank yous and apologies are automatic, and his manners towards other adults and teachers are always evident.  That whole “so long as he takes our lessons and knows to use them outside of this home” when he is driving me bananas not listening, having attitude or being a mopey man mess at home is there.  What he tries to get away with at home he does not try to get away with outside of and wouldn’t dare try.  Not this child.

Message Sent.

I pray for the woman who steals his heart.  I pray that she care for him and love him and still lets me in because walking home from the park last week, he stopped his scooter, looked up at me waddling and not at DSC_0897_edited-1what I might consider looking my best and stated, “Mommy, you are the most boo-tee-full (beautiful) girl in the whole world.”  My heart swelled and his spontaneous affirmation of love and at knowing that one day, one day he will feel this away about a different girl.  For now though, at five, it is me and our family that holds his loving heart and is setting his mark…and his expectation for breakfast feasts.

This year, from four to five has been full.  It has overall been full of happiness, sillies, immense learning and growth.  The challenges such as repeating yourself fourteen times until you have to raise your voice to get your point/question/statement across have been much smaller than the joys that this age and stage has brought us.  Caden has been a whirwind of realizations, self made jokes, questions, affection and independence this year which has been really something to watch as a parent to our first-born.

photo bdayAs  the video games begin to take over, I can only hope that year five to six be as good to us as this past has been and that he holds strong to his heart and little man convictions as this next year will bring an end to the bubble of home and a beginning to the outside influences and input of all that is “big kid school”.  He is such a sweet, confident and now social young man already that we cannot wait to see him thrive in this next year, as he is setting the bar very high for his younger brothers, just as we knew he would.

Birthday Cookies He Helped Supervise for School

Birthday Cookies He Helped Supervise for School

Happy 5th Birthday Caden!


The Pilgrim Pardon

Posted by casey on November 24, 2014 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles

I am going to go ahead and take that “Official Turkey Pardon” and move it on over to my little mischievous pilgrim.  I mean really.

A few notes here.
1. Can I just say that I am SO glad my kids’ school still adopts the feather band Indian hats, pilgrim and yes, turkey attire, for Thanksgiving fun.  I know, I know, I am SO not PC, but hey, I loved that as a kid.

2. It is a good thing they rehearse these songs for weeks upon weeks because we hear them every afternoon and evening.  So, when said mischievous pilgrim gets a case of the weeble wobbles and spends the whole time swaying back and forth mouthing the words I know exactly what the song is despite no sound coming out.

3. If I am being truthful, I think he may have had to pee the whole time. Kid problems.

4. I can’t ever miss a school program.  His sweet little face scans and scans and scans the audience until he finally locks eyes with me and the rocket of light that shoots through his face as he beams and giggles and waves and covers his face and sighs with relief.  It makes me sad for the devastation that would ensue if he never found my face because the look of worry when he is scanning is intense.

5. He is just so proud after a performance.  No matter the excuse, it is waves, hugs, kisses and “Did you like it Mommy?”.

Love this little pilgrim and the hilarity of toddler performances.



Firsts With Your First

Posted by casey on September 16, 2014 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles

In this household, the reason there is “something about your firstborn” is because

First Tee-Ball Practice

they are a constant flow of first experiences for the both of you.  While yes, my two are very different so I tend to experience firsts on both sides, each year, new opportunity and new phase with your firstborn is your first time navigating and experimenting as a parent.

This year has been full of first with Caden as always and lately, it is in the sports department…or should I say arena?  Spring brought soccer, which he had a blast doing.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Since we knew we wouldn’t be returning to that particular league for soccer we gave him a choice for Fall.  He has been asking, and asking, and asking to play baseball so when we found a league for his age we jumped on the chance to try it out.  As the months passed from registration to game time we regularly heard about his “baseball team” and when he was going to play, have teammates etc.

Well, the time came.

 I’ll spare you the lack of a coach, us turning into the semi-coach details and focus on the adorable-ness of the event itself.  I have to say such things before he is too old for me to call his sports-playing-adventures adorable.

I mean look at this little man and his Daddy walking up to his first “at-bat”.

He was SO ready to get out there and while the game itself was a chaotic jumble of baseball combined with football as the rest of the team would dog-pile on top of each other to get the ball (mind you, Caden had NO interest in that action) I was really impressed with how well he did never having actually played against other players.

His at-bats were all a great success, with successful hits and base runs each time and lost of excitement for his turn. I love how at this age, or at least for what I observe in him, they don’t really think to be nervous which is so nice!

Caden was his typical good-listener self which was a feat in itself as there was so much going on at all times from coaches on both sides, to crowd cheers, to yes, friends running aimlessly from base to base. We only had one of those “no-order base runners” and man is it going to be good for his baby album.  Caden happily ran from base to base jumping in triumph on each one as he made it there and at long last, made it home each time!

Success Mom!

 Fielding was and will likely continue to be an adventure for all of the kiddos as no one is a 100% catch guaranteed player at this age.  Shoot, no one is a 30% catch guaranteed player.  So, while we do have some good throwing and ground-ball fielding without the ability to catch always it really gets interesting and hilarious.  The most priceless moment of their first game, is when we took the field for the first time.  Our group of kids, a first time group all as players and a team (yes…there are already teams who have been together before) ready in their spots watching the ball.

The cracked it to the outfield and practically our whole team cleared their positions and chased the ball to the field. I think you can picture how that went. Priceless.

Colter and I  physically and mentally exhausted from rounding them up in the fields – Colter literally ran from boy to boy for an hour and a half keeping them in spot and encouraging them and then up at home plate getting each one in a good swinging stance. I myself was in the dugout teaching the boys to stay in order on the bench and doing a “wiggle, wiggle, wiggle” down the bench to move the line down (while convincing Everett he didn’t need to go out in the field too) .  It was a process.  But I find that if you expect good routine and behavior out them you get it, and the little men responded so well and were so excited to come back in the dugout to get a high-five from me and ask me about their hit/run/swing/helmet etc.

So yes, we may have been exhausted, but Caden was elated, so in the end everything was as it should be and in its proper place in the world.  We tucked our little ball player in bed, showered the dust off of us and high-fived for completing another first in our adventure as parents.  That and vowed to not let Everett start until he is fifteen. Fine…fine…he can play too.



Passing Up Four

Posted by casey on September 3, 2014 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles

With rapid speed Caden is passing up his fourth year, and while he loves being “Old 4″ in his words, he has big plans in store for five already.  With that in mind, another mid year summary was in order as I have scribbled down notes and journal entries here and there to try to capture this little man’s heart.

And what a big one it is.

Four so far has been silly, silly, silly. The phrases, sounds and ideas that come out of his brain and then mouth are laced with all boy thoughts and giggle fits.  He finds himself quite humorous at almost any turn and with constant rhyme naming like “cup, cuppy, buppy wuppy” and “lets go to bed, bed, said, head” we need a user’s manual to decipher to code at times.

I have sent notes to my brother, the family noisemaker, a few times in the past months about how apparently my brother’s ability to make any sound with his mouth is genetic and was passed through my family genes to Caden.  The child is never not making some motorboat, flutter lips, smacking, clicking, humming noise with his old four sized kisser. C.O.N.S.T.A.N.T  Between that and the endless stream of very important thoughts and questions. Very important.

With his brain firing on overdrive from sunrise to sunset his super sponge like state is a dream for this here teacher turned mom.  He is reading his sight words REALLY well, and has a list that we keep adding to each time.  Most days he asks to do his words as we lay them out for various games to get the ball rolling.  (off the top of my head he has the following locked in his memory bank; car, boy, ball, stop, yes, no, up, down, on, off, it, I, me, see, you, out, dig, tip, mix, push, the, and, exit, play, dad, mom, Everett, Caden, Pa Pa, ).  It is such a joy to watch him make the connections, and really watch his brain work.

As a whole, he still loves school and learning.  He is making friends easily, which is fantastic since as a two year old he was painfully shy.  At school, his teachers always rave about his manners, behavior and listening.  Caden’s clip is always going up, and he strives to have a good report for us at the end of his day.  Knowing what we work on at home sticks with him when we are not around already brings pride in knowing the character he is building as a polite young man!  This summer at school they began being able to check out books from the library which was a real hit, as he is used to just going to the public library for an outing from time to time.  He made some interesting choices in books on occasion but it was fun for us to see what he had picked out and why each week.  As mentioned in the back to school post he is even more thrilled about his pre-kindergarten year and all of the centers, letters, books, coloring pages and hugs in store for him.  He marches right on in each morning, puts away his things and gets to work at his table.  If it weren’t for a little brother who desperately needs to hug him goodbye at this point I don’t think he would even notice we were still there.

Speaking of that little brother, they are true siblings. Best of friends, worst of friends.  Typically it is more best of friends, but they have their moments where they just aren’t feeling it.  Most mornings are spent running around in their PJs pre-school pretending to save some robot, stuffed animal, make believe town or even each other from some robot, stuffed animal, make believe monster or even…each other.  It is a job in itself to keep up with the details of the scenario and Caden’s rules that go along with it, but eavesdropping in on them is great entertainment.   I will say that they do depend on each other and watching them really build their own relationship and adventures together in the house, the pool and every place visited in between is heartwarming since they had no choice in each other’s existence!  That and they get all of their frustrations out during nightly trampoline wrestling with Daddy.

Almost all of his days this summer were spent at the pool and with lots of practice, we officially have a little fish who can swim all on his own which makes for one happy mom, knowing he can get to a wall, step, etc. on his own or keep coming up for breaths if the situation called for it.  Now all he wants to do is practice his swimming which comes with its own challenges as he doesn’t realize how tired his body gets!

With soccer behind him last Spring, we game him a choice on what he wanted to do next.  He chose “baseball”.  Since we weren’t returning to the same league for soccer it worked out, though he suddenly has quite the power kick down and scrappy speed run perfect for soccer.  We signed him up for tee-ball {another story there} and this little all-star is also beginning his tennis career thanks to Nonna!  So, to say we are wearing his little behind out is an understatement.

My sweet soul still tip toes downstairs when he wakes up in the morning and crawls into my bed for a good morning snuggle.  It is perfect since it is a reasonable hour and he isn’t really waking us up, or counting on it himself as a “comfort”.  It is just his good morning routine and a quiet moment that I savor with him each day.  Sometimes we tell stories, sometimes we talk about the day ahead or the day behind us, and sometimes…he just wants to know what is for breakfast.  Boys.

So much of his heart and personality is how it has always been; sweet, smart and sensitive. And then so much of it is coming into his own as he grows, learns and molds himself into his friendships and family.  Four has been a loud year so far, but out of curiosity and epiphanies and we are sure, praying for just a minute or two of silence during the second half…maybe when there is food in his mouth…but finding lots of joy in seeing him come into his own.


Because I Just

Posted by casey on July 1, 2014 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles

Last night, after and early turn-in thank to summer fun this little man called for me to come up to his room.  A hang-nail.  Some things just can’t wait until morning.

Then this sweet face laid down next to me in his bed and said,

“Mommy, when I was laying in my bed after our songs, I was praying to God.”

“You were?  What were you praying to God about sweet pea?”

“I was thanking Him for all of our stuff Mommy.”
“Because I just love Him.”

And to think. Had he not been disturbed by a tiny man hang nail, and had I not needed to go back up there to take care of it after he had been tucked in for awhile, not only would I have missed out on some snuggles, but on that sweetness right there. Laying there with his snuggle bears, looking up at his rocking ship & praying.


Old 4 {A Birthday Letter}

Posted by casey on April 16, 2014 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles

Dearest Caden,
Almost two months ago you turned four and this documentation of the current ins and outs of you has been sitting in my Draft Box since then.  Lets get it out.

Old Four! You have waited for this birthday for an entire year, to turn as you say, “old 4″ and some days my son you seem just that, so old.  It is the greatest of joys to watch you grow, learn and mature and the greatest of sorrows as your sentimental mother to say goodbye to another year of the “early years”.  Another year that you will often hear of in years to come, “Well I remember when you were just three and you used to…” “You don’t want to cuddle? Well, when you were three you would let me…”  But you will never min

” Oh my goodness, You’re the best mom, just the best.” -response to opening the gift he had been asking for in the months leading to his birthday

d a quick snuggle from your mom right? Right.

At four years of age you are a chatterbox of an energy machine. While your

chit-chat has always been constant your energy and excitement ability has really kicked it up a notch.  You enjoy narrating any show you are watching, game we are playing, or pretend scenario that is going on.  You

just want to make sure we see everything you are seeing and don’t miss out.  The only trick is we have to respond every.single.time even when you are just telling us the same thing over and over or you will continue to tell us the same thing over and over until we do.  Enter exhausted mom brain here that is also so proud of your “smarts”.   Your energy allows you to run up and down the stairs playing in your “police car” (bean bag chair) in your bed, hiding out from the robots, or being a ninja in the trampoline.

Speaking of police cars, robots, ninjas, secret ops with Daddy, bow and arrows, wrestling matches and sports galore if it wasn’t evident before it is EXTREMELY evident now that we are an “all-boy, all-the-time” household now. Not baby boys, not toddler boys, boys.  The kind with stinky tennis shoes, worms in their hands, snot in their hair, boys.  Even with the odor of urine and sweat in the background, it is a wonderful thing having a home of boys, and we are thankful to test the waters with you through every age and stage.

Daddy is without a doubt your hero, and you often tell him that he is your best friend.  I am your best Mommy, which is good, because I am the only one you got son.  Everett is your best home and/or brother friend and Dylan is your best school friend.  Best friends galore in your eyes. Still the sweetest of sentimental kiddos, you surprise us with sudden hugs and kisses when you are just feeling like giving one or think we are in need.  Your sensitivity has allowed you to be very intuitive to how others are feeling causing you to turn into a little caregiver if you think or know we are will or someone is down.  Even last weekend on the soccer field, you gave your friend a hug and asked him what was wrong when he looked a little forlorned out there.  You are just as observant as you have always been and you don’t miss a thing, nor do you forget it.

Playing with Nonna’s “Robot”

Your memory is in my eyes truly remarkable.  You just don’t forget a thing! You remember details of sure the important things that seem more obvious to make a mark on you but also the day to day happenings of your meals, things you saw in the car and what was said to you.  We can pull out a book we haven’t read in months and you will still recite all the words with me.  We can read a book one time and the next time you will recite all of the words with me.  That being said, we have to be a little careful what we say we will “do later” or “in the morning” because nothing, not even a full night’s sleep will make your memory go blank. Memory master.

As a whole you are our school loving, learning loving, project loving whiz.  You constantly ask us to spell things, enjoy sounding out words on signs now in the very beginning stages of reading and love to practice your letters as seen here writing thank you notes after your birthday.  Turns out being in my belly while I was teaching paid off…that is the reason right?

You have really begun to take your role as a big brother seriously.  You now know you can manipulate Everett into getting things or doing things for you, you now know you can tattle on him and you now know you can be the first to show him how to do something or offer your help.  You are sweet and sour together and all things brothers should be.  The best of friends and the best of rivals, the best of loves and the fiercest of competitors.  You read together every night and you lead the way into Everett’s room first to tell him goodnight and give him a hug.  You two do not know life without the other and it is wonder

Birthday Cake Making

ful.You are a snacker of an eater (just like your mom) and so we have to battle your slowness to stop talking and just eat at dinner.  You are also testing us on our response to things more and more each day.  More and more kid, less and less toddler.  You still love your nap, though we are getting ready to take it away because you are having a little trouble being tired enough to go to bed at night.  You will stay awake for HOURS just sitting in your room looking around making my mother’s heart feel lonely and sad for you.  So, guiet time will be initiated at nap instead and you are VERY excited about the idea of reading books and playing puzzles in your room during nap time. Big boy.  Why? Because you are old four of course, which you remind us is the reason for just about everything.  You don’t have a paci because you are old four, but you do still have your two snugglies because you are old four. “I can do anything because I am old four Mommy.”  You can sing your songs (Marching Song, Sunshine, Happy and You Know It, Bingo) because you are old four and you can definitely climb in the car and do your buckle by yourself because you are yes, old four.  You can carry your plate over, be a good listener, help put laundry in and put on your own clothes because you.are.old.four.  If only we all were old four we would be as “super” and “strong” and “smart” and “good” as you. Maybe we should take that to the White House.

I predict four to be a year full of sillies as you have grown funnier, full of more nonsense jokes and just that, sillier over the past six months. You love to make yourself and us laugh whether it is my what you are saying or how you are wiggling around.  Not just a case of the sillies, an epidemic of the sillies. Fine by me…unless it is at bath time when we are trying to wind down the day and you decide running around buck “nakey” as you say is a thrilling idea until we track you down. (I secretly treasure watching your bare bottom run the opposite way from me because one day you are going to wake up and be mortified if I see that bare bottom.)

Oh Mr. Caden, my how you test me sometimes and my how my heart is holding on to these fleeting moments of your little years.  Day by day I am “losing you” to school, friends and life as it is happening to you fast making me slow down and treasure the moments you want me to lay with you at night for “just a few minutes mommy”,  and hearing you pitter patter behind me and say in your ever-carrying voice now “Mommy can you play with me?”  You may be an early riser, and don’t tell Daddy, but I love it when you open our bedroom door early in the morning and crawl up next to me.  Those quiet moments before the day has started, before your brother is calling for me and before the days’ tasks enter my head it is just you and me like before you were even born.  Just us, taking on the world together.

I love you Caden, even if you are growing up too fast and you are “old four” now. Keep on flexing those muscles son, you have a lot to be proud of already.


Take a Break

Posted by casey on March 19, 2014 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles

Because some days you just need to take a tickle break,

even if it is in the middle of your soccer game.
That is what friends are for right?

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