Posted by casey on August 31, 2011 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles

Over the weekend I mentioned how Mr. Caden was turning 18.  18 Months – 1 1/2 years old – might as well be a grown adult!  Our sweet baby has gone and grown into a little boy and didn’t even ask us if we minded!  I know you haven’t been short on updates this past month as to what he has been up to.  There was painting for brother, his GQ photo shoot, playing with the hose, playing in the dirt, playing with his food, and the action shots of him well…playing.  I think you can pick up the common theme there.

What I finally did this month though besides stay relatively on time with pictures and his monthly update was to keep a list of the things he was doing (or had been doing that I never remembered as a “milestone” in the past) to share and document.  So what is it that makes Caden a big boy?

By far the sweetest thing is his love for sitting in your lap.  It gets even sweeter when his love for sitting in our laps (he just backs up until he feels you and then plops down) combined with his new love for reading & books.  All throughout the day he will go to his book basket and pick out a book.  Of course he sprints over holding it out and then pats the chair or your lap so he can sit with you.  He giggles while you read, he points out things, he points out the answers to questions and he even claps when you finish the story.  In true toddler fashion he usually runs to pick out another one to start the process over.  Every night though before his bath he as taken to finding “Goodnight Moon” to read with us on the couch.  So sweet and something I always hoped he would enjoy doing one day.

That sweet moment makes up for the fact that he audibly and clearly told me “No.” this past month.  I asked if he would give me something and he looked at me, smiled and said “No” before running off laughing.  I was too shocked to do anything about it so he definitely learned his lesson – Mommy is a pushover.

Contradicting that defining statement is the fact that Caden has actually turned into a huge helper. USUALLY (as in except for when he said “No”) he loves to hand you anything you ask for.  He excitedly waits for the dogs to finish their food so he can get down from his own breakfast and pick up the bowls for you.  If you forget that he is going to do this, he will carry the bowls to you no matter where you went.  If he drops something (or if I do) and I ask him to pick it up and hand it to me he gladly does.  It is very helpful that he now tells you where things are too – sippy cup he ran off with, toy he wants you to fix, place where he hurt himself.  If you say “Show Me” he will.  As for now he seems to get a sense of pride in helping and often celebrates by clapping and laughing when he puts his blocks back in the basket or gets something for you.  

Thanks to his fractured leg and split open head I am a bit more nervous about his falls these days (shouldn’t his injuries have made me more relaxed bc we have been through it?) just in time for him to be inspired by all things park related.  One day he up and decided he knew how to climb up and go down the slide all by himself.  Sure it was a small kid slide and not a winding tower of death but who the heck taught him that? (Dad) He isn’t fully trustworthy though because he also likes to forget to sit down at the top of the slide and just go for it.  He also  isn’t fully aware of the drop-offs from the climbing areas which makes things interesting but it is fun to watch him explore and learn that he can do things he hadn’t tried before. I like to tell myself that he isn’t fully aware anyway so I can’t further accept the daredevil streak he has.

– Caden is loving coloring.  It is usuallya short lived activity but one that he thinks is quite humorous and amazing.

– He “counts” to three / mimics the sounds we make doing it.  Moreso, he mimics doing an action on “3”.  Everything fun happens on three right?

– Speaking of, his couch acrobatics usually happen on “3”.  Caden seems to think it is a bouncy trampoline.

– The puppies are still a love in his life.  Yes, he is tormenting them a bit these days but that happens far less than the pets and smooches he gives them.  He even will go lay down next to them to snuggle when they are laying down.  From what we have seen, the “tormenting” them comes when they walk away from him.  Mr. Bossman doesn’t quite get that they don’t have to sit and “play” with him all day.

- Our son might love his Nonna and Pa Pa (Colter’s parents) more than he loves us.  This will require an entire post on its own but it is precious.  We love it, Caden loves it, Nonna & Pa Pa love it so it all works out.

– He still eats broccoli like it is candy.  We have made a pact never to tell him any different. Other favorites are scrambled eggs (two every morning), oatmeal with a dash of cinnamon, peaches, strawberries and corn.  He has been eating any meat we serve him recently which is nice too.  Still a healthy kid – although he does have a taste for graham crackers!

Baby to big boy is definitely the realization around here and while their are crying spells that we used to never have, hissy fits, and opinions now it doesn’t top the sweet giggles smooches and hugs he gives us.  Amazing to think six months have passed us when it seems like we just celebrated his first birthday.  I might accept him being 1 by the time he turns two.  Six more months to find out!



Posted by casey on August 30, 2011 in Caden, Family

“Parents teach in the toughest school in the world – the School for Making People.  You are the board of education, the principal, the classroom teacher and the janitor.” ~Virginia Satir

As a teacher in my “pre-babies” life, I appreciate this. 
Even on the days that are more about being the janitor.


Cheap and Easy – Chicken Wraps

Posted by casey on August 29, 2011 in In The Kitchen, Snacks and Sides, The Main Show

I’m talking about food here people, not anything inappropriate – a cheap and easy dinner my friends.  I posted this recipe once before, but since it is still scorching hot out and our water line broke leaving us broke and me needing an easy meal/snack to fix I thought I would hsare it again in case you missed it.

Chicken Tarragon Wraps
2 Cups Diced Chicken (If you’re in a hurry snag a cooked rotisserie chicken from your store.  If not, I suggest grilled or pan seared chicken breasts)
1 Lemon
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
1/2 Tablespoon Dried Tarragon or 2 Tablespoons Fresh
1 Avocado Cubed
Chopped Romaine
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Pitas, Tortillas or Flatbread
Grated Parmesan

1. Squeeze 1 1/2 Tablespoons of lemon juice into a bowl.  Add the mayonnaise and tarragon and stir to combine.  Set aside in the fridge while you assemble the rest.

2. Once your chicken is cooked whether you cooked it yourself or bought it that way chop it into cubes and toss the chicken and the cubed avocados with the dressing.  Season to taste with salt and pepper to your liking.  You can make the dressing ahead of time and even toss the chicken with it in advance but do not cut and add the avocado until you are ready to assemble the wraps.

3. Chop up your romaine into thin slices. 

4. Personally I think that pitas or flatbread work the best for a dish like this, and I really love “Flatout Healthy Grain Flatbread”.  In most groceries they carry these or similar types near the deli meat counter not in the bakery or bread aisle.

See? Cheap and Easy.
Not to Mention Delicious
Complete With Minimum Dishes to Clean in My Waterless Home

Original Recipe From Williams Sonoma “Simple Suppers” Cookbook



Time Is A Ticking

Posted by casey on August 27, 2011 in Caden, Snapshots

Today’s the day my baby turns 18.
There was 6…and then 12…and now 18.

18 Months That Is
He Went from Standing to Walking
Baldness to Blondeness
Baby to Boy
How Did That Happen?


Notes From the Waiting Room

Posted by casey on August 26, 2011 in Everett's Edition, Family

(Written in the wee hours of this morning)
As I sit here at 3 a.m. reminiscing of my day I am reminded every second that there is a very active bambino in my baby belly who is not interested in resting himself tonight.  While he is perfect and developing just as he should be my body is plaguing us both with contractions and pinches that make sleeping, well…a thing of the past.  Plus, he has the hiccups – at 3 am.
(He is sticking his tongue out at you.  Can you see it? )

My doctors appointments are always an adventure and yesterday’s was no different. I like to say that they are overcautious.  Sure, overcautious can be better than undercautious but they already watch me closely because of the supposed blood clotting disorder I inherited from Mom (though I have never thrown a clot) and now all these pains have them watching closely for pre-term labor. So, after checking things at my doc I was sent to a “Maternal Fetal Specialist” to re-examine me (and my shortening cervix) to see what he thought.  Good news? Baby Kaz II is doing wonderfully and as I mentioned is just as he should be.  Bad news?  A cervix that is shortening can lead to bedrest.  No worries, he gave me the all clear.  He gave me the all clear after quite the wait in his office during which time I made a few notes.

– Riddle me this.  Why would a maternal fetal specialist have chairs in his waiting room that are too deep to scoot back inmaking it so you can’t use the backrest? I guess it is okay since the backrest is leaning so you can’t sit upright once you finally wiggle back to it with your legs then dangling off the ground. You deal with pregnant ladies doc!! ! Come on! My back hurts, my bottom hurts I can’t breathe from leaning nor do I have abs to sit myself back up.  Poor planning.

–  Why is the receptionist so upset that she has to enter me into the system. Sure, I get they were having to work me in but I didn’t ask to be there nor did I want to yet I was managing to be quite friendly. Hormonal and all.

Additionally when you are a receptionist  for a maternal fetal specialist I’m thinking you should probably have a cheery misdemeanor since most of your patients are coming in for some pregnancy related issue that is perhaps not normal, or risky etc.  A little sensitivity perhaps?

– Why is it that when I actually have time to read (in the waiting room I wasn’t planning on being in) I don’t have a book or magazine. Then when I score the latest issue of O Magazine, I can’t concentrate for the life of me. Enough time to read an entire magazine (or 10) and I can’t digest one word. Fantastic.

–  I ate Schlotskys while I was waiting for my OB to call and give me results and whether or not she wanted me to go to the second doc.  I ate Schlotskys bc I didn’t think I would be going to the second doc. Schlotskys…salami, onions, etc. (and I wonder why I have heartburn) with some Sour Cream &Onion Chips to wash it down. Guess who didn’t have gum or a mint? Guess who was sitting here continually tasting onions. Mmmmmm Mmmmmm – disgusting.

– Is it bad that I felt a little better watching the receptionist be rude to other people too? That feeling went away as they called everyone else back except for me.

Saving grace? Nonna had Caden. Nonna having Caden means that Caden wasn’t crawling all over me upset that he too was having to wait for a second appt he wasn’t expecting. Nonna was the hero of the day taking Caden for my first appt and hanging on to him a bit longer than we had planned.  The other hero? Baby Kaz II for being fine.  Now we just have to make sure he hangs out for a couple more months and that I can avoid further waiting rooms.  Not too much to ask for!


The Start

Posted by casey on August 26, 2011 in For Your Funny Bone, Snapshots

 First I spent most of last night in a rocking chair in the living room watching trash T.V. waiting for the contractions, hiccups (on baby’s part) and heartburn to stop.

Then my snot nosed son handed me his diaper when I got him out of his crib.
Never a good sign.

Lastly I burnt the bacon…and still ate it.

My what a weekend this is shaping up to be.


Unsolicited Chatter

Posted by casey on August 25, 2011 in Everett's Edition, Family, For Your Funny Bone

In life, when would you really comment on a stranger’s appearance or health status?  I always wonder what goes through someone’s mind when they feel that because you are pregnant you are publicly available to being touched, joked with, or in general – commented on.  It is easy enough to brush it off, laugh back, answer the basic easy questions to shut them upand move on with your day but every now and then I just wonder what causes someone to drone on and on and on.  I don’t wonder because it effects my outlook, or mood but because it is always baffling the lack of filter some people have.

My latest trip to the grocery included a woman with her daughter loading up the conveyor belt behind me.  They were very interested in the fact that I had so much produce and healthy food and that made us best friends I suppose. Duh.

Lady: “Look at that, and you are going to have that baby any day.”
Pregnant Me: ” Actually, not until November.” ( I should have just said yes.)
Lady: (open mouthed wide eyed) “What? November?  No way.”
Pregnant Me : “Yup, still have a bit of time left.  With this heat it would be nice to be closer to done. (Trying to end the topic)
Lady: “I mean, I’m telling you, by looking at your belly that child is going to be here next week.”
Pregnant Me: “It is my second boy, but I hope not.  That would be quite early.” (Again…trying to end the conversation.)
Lady: ” Any day now, you are going to pop any day now.”
Pregnant Me:” Nope.” (again)
Lady: “Well,  that is what it looks like anyway.”
Pregnant Me: Thank you???

My peaceful, always courteous, “keep the world calm” yoga teacher said we should end these conversations by saying “So do you.”  (As in you look like you’re going to pop any day too, you look huge too, you…..get the idea).  I almost got to that point.  She wasn’t going to stop nor was she going to accept that he really isn’t due until the beginning of November.  Trust me I get it.  I look in the mirror every day.  I feel the weight of this baby belly every day.  However, I could really use a stranger to stick to the basic comments of “When are you due?” or “Are you having a boy or girl?” other than their full opinion of the size of my belly and how that seems odd since there is so much healthy produce on the belt for me to buy.  I mean seriously.

That being said as of my latest appointment today, I made her re-look at my past measurements and today’s and  I am measuring exactly average for the size of the baby and my belly thank you very much.
So, yes while I feel huge I actually am not statiscally huge.
No, I am not having twins – still.
Normal.  My belly and me are normal.
Stop telling me I am a whale and gasping when you learn I have two more months. :)

In other fun and exciting news (ailments) – 
–  This baby boy has started to drop lower and lower.  If you recall with Caden I swore I was sitting on his head he felt so low. I was hoping Baby Kaz II would wait a smidge longer before nestling in since I have until NOVEMBER but alas he has not.

– The positive of his descent?  Less heartburn.  Negative?  The waddle is really in action now.  I can’t help it.  I physically cannot walk any other way.  My pelvis is not happy with me.  I am not happy with my pelvis.

– I have finally reached the stage of this pregnancy where I desperately feel like I need to pee ALL the time.  So much that I actually have to go to the restroom only to discover that nope I don’t have to pee.

– I fell asleep peeing in the middle of the night. Yes, I was on the toilet. Thank goodness the wall caught me.  It isn’t too much information when I’m pregnant and it is kind of funny after the fact.

– I can actually feel him push on my bladder with his head/arms and the immediate need to pee after the kick.  I can also actually feel his right foot up in my ribs and the immediate need to try to make him stop.  It doesn’t work.

– He moves & dances & pokes me all day long.  He rarely isn’t moving actually.  I like to think he is partying it up in there so he will be calm out here.  In reality, he is probably just trying to make more room for himself –  All 3 1/2 pounds of him. Poor thing.

I have fantastic tales from the waiting room today when I spent the entire day in waiting rooms going back and forth between docs but I think I will hold on to that little treasure of a tale for another time.


When Cravings Strike – Chocolate Kahlua Cake

Posted by casey on August 22, 2011 in In The Kitchen, Sweet Treats

Last week I had a craving.  It started when I accidentally fell upon some “Fantastic Cakes” show as I was channel surfing.  That is really all it took.  That and the fact that this particular recipe lets you cheat and make things a little faster.  I’m going to sum this recipe up by saying, “I’m pregnant people, what more do you want from me?”

Double Chocolate Kahlua Cake
Adapted From the Cake Doctor
Cake –
1 package Moist Deluxe Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake Mix (see – cheating!)
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup Kahlua
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs

Chocolate Kahlua Buttercream Frosting -
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 Tablespoons boiling water
2 Tablespoons Kahlua
1 stick unsalted butter – at room temp
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans. (The flour dusting is essential to the cakes coming out clean and intact so don’t skip this.) 

2. Make your cake.  Need more detail?  Fine. Put your cake mix, cocoa powder. Kahlua, buttermilk, oil and eggs in a bowl.  Mix until incorporated on low speed (30 seconds), scrape the bowl and beat for two more minutes.  In other words, put all of your cake ingredients together and mix them up until it looks like delicious chocolate goo.

3. Divide your batter evenly between your two cake pans and smooth the tops with a spatula after pouring. Bake them for 25-30 minutes.  They are done if they “spring back” when you lightly push your finger on them. (wash your hands thank you very much)

4. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes.  Then run a knife along the edge and give the bottoms a good pat/shake to loosen the cake.  Turn the pans over on a wire cooling rake  Let your layers completely cool. (20-30 min) Don’t be impatient or your icing will melt and run right off of it and your layers won’t stick.

5. While cooling, make your frosting.  Bring your 6 T water to a boil.  Add teh cocoa powder and Kahlua to the boiling water.  Stir with a spatula until it comes together to form a soft ball/mass.  Dump into your mixing bowl and add your butter.  Beat together until it is well combined but soft.  Add in your powdered sugar and cinnamon.  Beat on low for one minute to combine.  Then increase the speed to medium high for at least two minutes until your frosting is light and fluffy.

Frosting Tip:
When making a two layer cake, don’t stack your layers with both upright.  Turn your bottom cake layer upside down so that the flat side that was on the bottom of the pan is facing upward.  This way, you have a flat “surface” to attach your top layer to with the frosting without the angle making it slide.  Your top layer will be upright so that the bottoms of both cake layers (bottoms being what cooked on the bottom of the pan) are together.

Delicious With Berries and Ice Cream!


Hose Time

Posted by casey on August 21, 2011 in Caden's Chronicles

The heat has just been killing us.  Yes, I said us.  For me, it is the temperature rise of being pregnant plus the the added heat of carrying a toddler plus a ridiculous daily heat index.  For Caden it is the lack of time spent outside that has been torture for him.  This past week we had a few mornings that were so lovely Caden and I went for walks and spent at least an hour in the backyard playing in his splash table, kiddie pool and with the hose. (I of course was scooping dog poop, watering the dead yard, and pulling weeds.)  Now that the kid has had a taste of being outside again he just stands at the back door all day begging to go out again.  Insatiable my child is, insatiable.

This was not Caden’s first time to play with the hose…the hubs sprayed him down several times last month.  However it was his first time to be alone with it so to speak and I can say that watching his fascinating with the hose was highly entertaining.  I think my Dad said it best with “There is nothing better than watching kids make their own play with daily objects and things they discover.”

In that fashion I sat back with my phone camera and enjoyed watching him figure it out…after a few self given hose baths.

After watching me with it for awhile and asking for it, he finally got his chance and got a little more than he bargained for.

Helping Mommy water the yard like she did.

Hmmmm….I’m thirsty, what should I do?

Ooooooo Thrasher bear… (turn up volume)


Dreamy Town

Posted by casey on August 21, 2011 in Grieving My Way, Life as I Know It

Vivid dreams accompany my pregnancies like the excessive need to pee making a solid night’s sleep a much appreciated thing of the past.  Interestingly enough, the dreams aren’t usually too far out there with scientific fiction like plot lines but rather “normal” things. (Unless you think being in West Baltimore’s drug run streets as a thug because you watched “The Wire” before bedtime as abnormal.)  The realistic nature of my dreams makes it that much more confusing when they do wake me from a light slumber or I wake myself because of that aforementioned need to pee as to what is actually going on.  For example, last night’s environment was a snowy one.  It went from 110 degrees to a full snow since I was so hot I could barely breathe leaving me even more in the mood for the holidays and the cold.  It was quite disappointing to learn that it wasn’t actually snowing while I “slept”.

Often in the morning I feel a little foggy and it isn’t until I’m making Caden scrambled eggs that I realize it is because in fact my brain has been trying to divide out real life from dream life and clear the fog for me to function for the day.  Poor Colter has gotten used to kissing me goodbye for work to me calling out things like,”But CT wanted me to be his partner and wouldn’t stop hounding me about it.” (Thank you “The Challenge: Rivals”)   I also tend to want to discuss what is going on in dream world in the middle of the night when I am awake thinking he should surely want to hear this too.

Besides knowing that I need to not watch TV prior to sleeping so that I don’t fry my brain and give it a reason to take that to dreamy town I work hard to clear my head before sleeping.  Usually I lay there thinking about Baby Kaz II making himself comfy and reflecting.  So one would think that nothing too crazy would happen.  However, there has been one other common theme in my dreams in the past months – my mother.

Several times it has just been life, in the present but with her.  Getting ready for the holidays perhaps, being in town for a visit –  nothing too strange other than the fact that she is here and very much alive in those dreams.   I will say though that they do seem to focus on me and her and not so much others such as Caden.  It isn’t as if I am getting a glimpse of what she would have been like with him and how they would have played and loved each other but more of a continuation of us I suppose.  I chalk that up to my brain’s recall ability of our relationship and it being easy to imagine and dream up a current conversation between the two of us.  (Not that it isn’t easy to imagine the wonderful grandmother she would have been but my brain doesn’t have any “data” on that so to speak to make it a recurring thing.)

The other night however was different.  That night she had been in a car accident and was in the hospital and it was as if in the dream she wasn’t going to make it from the car accident.  So there I was in my dreams trying to digest losing my mother only to wake up feeling worried/upset to remind myself (while peeing mind you) that I had already lost her.  My pregnant dreams allow me to go back to sleep and hop right back into the same dream so all night I was going back and forth between these two very similar yet completely different worlds.  The problem with this besides a restless night’s sleep is that it causes the following day to be continually interrupted with “dream thoughts” of her.  Almost like wondering about the condition of character’s in a book you are reading as if they are truly a part of your daily life.  There I am, pregnant and chasing Caden wondering if my mother who is dead, is going to be okay from her car accident.  Surely I am losing my mind.

In truth, she has been on my mind and heart a lot during this pregnancy which I am sure is in part due to additionally losing Dana but also because it is a very different time. With Caden it was a great time of healing and acceptance for me as I prepared for motherhood remembering the mother she was.  As this pregnancy has been physically harder and more tiring I have struggled more with the thoughts of how she would have loved to help.  A call to vent about Caden wearing me out would have resulted in her being at the door to offer a break.  Wanting to get out of the house would have been all of us going to lunch and then shop.  Having a meltdown about nothing being accomplished in the new nursey would have meant a weekend full of lovingly decorating and piecing things together.  All little things, all things involving time but all those things that used to just be a normal part of life – time together, support for each other, bonding.

It seems that it is carrying over to my dreams.  The days where things all around you remind you of that person, or where you just wish they could have seen your son do that one thing, just once.  I am so blessed to have a WONDERFUL mother in law who has more than taken on the motherly role in my life and is a very loving and strong support for me and my family.  She offers assistance whenever it is needed, jumps at any chance to spend time with Caden (and he can’t get enough of her) and is so generous in thinking of things that would help me just like she would have.  I am truly lucky to have her and I remind myself of that often so that the few times when the feelings of jealousy for those who still have their mothers seem to begin to creep up I can beat them back down because of my blessings.

If only the dreams would keep you in that space too.

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