Best Laid Plans

Posted by casey on March 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

I have always been a planner. I like organizing things ahead of time and prepping what I can. Kids change that.  Everything takes a little longer and is a little less organized no matter how much you plan- they unpack bags you are packing or you end up having to throw in those last minute items you almost forgot. No biggie it’s just a little different.

So, I was proud to have a morning trip and lunch picnic to the Arboretum planned for today.  As in actually planned.

Pictures, petunias, playing and a picnic? Perfection.

I packed the lunches when Everett woke me extra early today (who am I kidding, we never went to bed) so they were good to go and full of fun. I laid out outfits so that we could throw them on once everyone was fed (minimal stain risk) The diaper bag was freshened and full and the car loaded with a double stroller, bunny ears, balls and of course my camera.

Best Laid Plans

Caden has been melting down frustrated toddler style since he woke up leading me to actually search my entire house for all of the disposable earplugs the hubs received on his many helicopter rides to visit the rigs. Yes that is right, I was trying to deafen my ears so I couldn’t hear my son cry so loudly for no reason. Okay he has a reason – I wouldn’t let him drink windex, play with scissors, or stick the plugs in and out of the outlets.  I know…I’m so mean.

Then you have Everett, the child who never sleeps and has actually made me start to believe all of the random people who talk to you when you are pregnant and tell you “Rest now because you will never sleep again.”  He decided he was tired from being up ALL. THE. TIME. and passed out.  Of course he did.

(I should be happy he slept and technically it is nice-just bad timing.)

Best Laid Plans!

So, we are making the most of it.

Caden is eating playing with home made playdough and cookie cutters and Everett (who is now awake and sad) is being moved from bouncer to playmat to my arms to excersaucer to my arms to rocking chair to my arms to Bjorn…you get the idea.  Our picnic?  It will still occur, just in the backyard and the bag will stay packed for another day.  Sorry Arboretum, we won’t be seeing you today but one day, one day we will get there!




Posted by casey on March 30, 2012 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles

The thing about toddlers is that they are always learning.
Always learning means they are innately curious.
Constant curiosity keeps things busy and fresh!

What is behind that lens anyway? (Notice the finger on the lens)

Bravely reaching for that wagging pink tongue.
(Have to no fear, Hannah the lab is friendly)

Limit testing leads to “owys” and bandaged knees.

This fountain is a miniature pool just for me right?

Mama look at these “flowers”!

Everyone needs a seat, even our friend Mickey.

Look Dada! Showing us everything because almost everything is amazing.

He tested his limits and got up there. Now what?

Curiosity leads to falls, which leads to brushing it off.

Checking out how far down he is.  Deciding if he should test another limit.
(Please don’t son.)

Making messes for the sake of fun and discovery.

Childhood curiosity keeps all of us on our toes but it is also such a great “stop and smell the roses” reminder.  I could hurry him along or let him be curious to discover and figure something new out.  While yes it makes messes or leads to some scraped knees (hard for any heart to handle) it is such a joy to watch him learn.  We are just as amazed watching him piece new things together now as we were when he learned to sit up, crawl, walk and talk.  Plus, its too darn cute!

Curiosity might have killed the cat, but in this house it just kills boredom.

What was the last thing you were curious about?

Don’t forget to check our Jordy’s New Blog – she has a giveaway too!


Old Fruit

Posted by casey on March 29, 2012 in In The Kitchen, Most Important Meal of the Day

I am quite picky about the ripeness of my bananas…and pears…and apples – okay fruit.  Colter likes to say that I eat banana-apples because I like them when they still have a little green to them.  It is all about texture – once I piece of fruit gets a little gritty I just can’t do it. So, what do you do with old fruit?

Make banana-pear muffins of course!

I loved this recipe because compared to others it had some “healthier” perks.  Less sugar (in comparison), no butter, and more fruit!

2-3 large very ripe bananas
1/2-3/4 cup sugar, white or brown  (I used half of each)
2 large eggs
2-4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, or half all-purpose and half whole wheat
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt
1 ripe pear, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a medium bowl, mash together the bananas, sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla until blended and the bananas are well mashed – don’t worry about getting all the lumps out. Add the flour, baking soda and salt, and stir just until the batter starts coming together; add the pear and walnuts, or whatever additions you are using, and stir just until combined. Don’t overmix, or your muffins could be tough.

Spoon the batter into muffin tins that are lined with paper liners or sprayed with nonstick spray, filling them about 3/4 full. If you like, sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar. Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your muffins, until golden and the tops are springy to the touch.

Makes 10-12 regular muffins.

(A Word of Warning – Mine were delicious but a little gummy – but I added extra bananas because I had them which I believe were the culprit!)


Re-Done and Done Well

Posted by casey on March 27, 2012 in Friends

Do you remember me talking about Jordy?
Well, here is the short of it.

She came to visit last June when I was knocked up and chasing Caden around.
(and brought Everett these adorable outfits)

She also came to visit the June before that when Caden was just four months old or so and still getting in a routine and such.I went and visited her the June before that to see her in her post-college Arizona home.

What a trooper she is. She was also one of my bridesmaids. She just so happened to be one of my college roomates, but I’ll leave those stories for another time.

Jordy loves to write as do I.  However since I no longer have much time to sit down and get all of my thoughts out there I enjoy her words because she still makes time for it.  In fact, she makes so much time for it that she recently re-did her blog and it is just lovely.  You should go poke around and learn a bit about her if you don’t know her or see what is new compared to the old look and layout.

You could even win a gift-card if you are super lucky.

Really though, she is lovely.
Like her blog.

So you should take a peek for that reason.


Mission Mantra Mondays

Posted by casey on March 26, 2012 in Family, Uncategorized

I have a few goals this year.
Yes, I do realize that it is almost April, the fourth month of the year and I am just now sharing them with you.

No, one of my goals is not to be more on time blogging.  That will just be a perk for everyone if it happens to occur!

Since working to settle in as a family of four there has been a new round of adjusting going on in our home.  When Caden was born it was more me accepting the old cleanliness of home vs. the new cleanliness, eating meals fast or while always holding/passing off a baby and lack of downtime.  Those adjustments weren’t necessary with Everett because we were already used to those, so that was easy.  What we had to acknowledge was that just like when we added one child to our home, adding another came with new changes also – toddlerhood, even less downtime, separating time between each child, making time for each other etc.

Over the holidays (yes I mean Christmas time) when Everett was still really colicky and we were trying to see what our “new normal” as a family of four would be like, I began thinking about what my goals this year should be.  I have a few and the first two kind of go together.

For starters, several friends chose a “word” to focus on this year.  Something that may not be easy but appreciated by all.  I thought long and hard and one thing kept coming back to me.


No not a gift. As in,

- Be Present.  Pre-kids it was easy for me to get carried away with all of the things I wanted/needed to get done, projects I took on, and dreams of future plans. I think many of us have that problem in general. When my time got cut in half with Caden and then half again with Everett those moments of “freedom” when they are napping (which Everett doesn’t do) or Colter has them (and they are still under my feet)  they pressure I put on to still do those things is a lot.  So, I am working on being present.

I want my kids to remember me playing with them, taking the time to sit and snuggle their Dad and putting my “tools” down in the middle of a task to tickle them, chase them or spontaneously starting an activity/mess/trip in the car and so forth instead of saying “I just have to finish this and then I will be there.”

It is also very easy to get wrapped up in the “when they are older they will ____________” and think of sleeping, date nights, a decorated home and things from the good ol’ days.  However, as any time in your life will pass too quickly so will this.  So, when I am having a hard day (colic,double meltdowns with no naps all day) or facing a hard weekend (Colter being out of town for example) I am reminding myself to Be Present.  Find the fun, enjoy the chaos and burn it in my memory because “this too shall pass” and one day I will want even the hard days back.

Be Present (in the day to day)
Be Present (in the silly moments)
Be Present (in the challenging times)
Be Present (for your husband, for your kids, for yourself)

Be Present

Stay tuned for another mission of mine this year- next Monday.


Next Up!

Posted by casey on March 22, 2012 in Caden's Chronicles

It’s Raining…It’s Pouring
Having Deja Vu?

Us too.  Another rainy day means another rainy day activity.
How about plastic bag painting?

Caden LOVES to paint as seen here.

However, painting with him usually results in a mandatory bath and with Everett  there isn’t always room/time for that because you just don’t know if he will hang out or not.  So, in comes plastic bag painting, the hopefully mess free way to have some painting fun.

Squirt a few dollops of different colored paint into a large ziploc baggy.  Remove all the air as you seal it so it is easy to push down.  Then tape it to a table, floor or flat surface with a piece of white paper underneath the bag.

Ready for complicated again?

Plop your kiddo down in front of the bag with some utensils and let them go at it. I thought Caden would most enjoy driving his truck/trains over the bag and seeing their path, but he decided he most enjoyed using his face.  Go figure.

 Disclaimer: After a little bit he really went after it with the end of the paint brush and managed to get a hole in the bag resulting in him turning around with an orange forehead. Sooooooo, consider yourself warned.


Saving Grace

Posted by casey on March 21, 2012 in Everett, Everett's Edition

Do you see this face?

Stinking adorable right?
It is a good thing because it is this child’s saving grace.

 He started his morning at 4 a.m. after fitfully sleeping from 8:00 – 8:45, 9:00 – 11:00, 11:00 – 12:30, 12:30 – 2:00 and 2:00 – 3:45 I gave up at 4:10. By 5 am he had partied in the bouncer, practiced his rolling in the playmat and had a bath.

Why a bath so early while everyone was sleeping?

He filled his diaper and entire outfit with shit. I mean poop. Pardon my tired potty mouth.  You know the precious footed sleepers babies wear?  He filled a foot with shit.   Sorry…poop. (and up the front and back if you must know) Therefore he was covered in it and no wipe was going to rid him of sour milk baby poop smell.  At least he was excited and happy to take a bath!

The blue eyes, chubster cheeks, fuzzy head and rosy lips that display his gummy grin are saving him.  Well, that and the fact that he just doesn’t feel great.


I fixed yesterday’s post in case you tried to see it and not much was there!


Indoor Recess or “Home-Cess” {Fixed}

Posted by casey on March 20, 2012 in Caden's Chronicles

Sorry for the mostly blank post yesterday, who knows what happened.  The important thing is it has been fixed! I know you have been on the edge of your computer chairs anxiously wondering what the missing information was.

It’s raining, It’s pouring
My toddler thinks it’s boring!

The rain obviously means we are stuck inside with a busy, busy, busy boy who would much rather be running around in the yard or at a park. It takes me back to indoor recess of my teaching days minus my student understanding why exactly we can’t go out.

Another day to get creative and entertain my little man, so if you are having the same troubles, here is an activity we did a few weeks ago on our last rainy day.

Texture Time


Pull out an oh-so handy muffin tin, line the cups with muffin liners as usual and then hunt your house for fun tactile items.  Now, I don’t have the child who I am going to have to worry about him trying to eat/swallow/choke on any of these items because other than food and his hands he puts nothing in his mouth. You might have to take that in to consideration when choosing your items.
(mini Christmas ornaments, washers, patternend paper clips, cotton balls – which were later exchanged for shredded paper, wall anchors, large beads from a broken necklace, washers, big buttons, oversized dotted sequins, halved q-tips, googly eyes and large screws)

Now, here is where the activity gets really complicated so pay close attention.
Plop it down in front of your child and see what they do!
Just let them go to town and decide what activity comes of it.











First Caden gave a good gander over all of the objects while gasping, sighing, giggling and pointing.  Then he began to pull out each filled liner, place it back in, empty the liners, fill them back up, mix up the items, re-separate the items, put circles together (buttons, eyes, sequins) and then his hands got busy and very focused and putting items together.

A nice free activity that took up quite a bit of our free time and was easy to clean up because he wanted to put them back in the cups.  Then again, my child loves to clean and organize.   He gets it from his momma. Well, he gets it from the pre-kids version of his momma who had an immaculate house.  Same thing right?

Take that rain.



Posted by casey on March 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

Since it is Monday, I thought you might need an extra hug and kiss.
I sure do.


And Kisses…


And Kisses



Posted by casey on March 17, 2012 in Grieving My Way
Before I begin I need to say that our family is blessed with many who love us and take care of us.  I also want to specifically point out that my mother in law Carolyn is amazing to me and all I could ask for in a grandparent to my kids.  They adore her and so do I.  I wanted to be sure and make that known so that my reflections do not take away from those facts or make them seem unappreciated.

Today is the day.
5 Years Without Mom
5 Whole Years

For starters, why is it that these “big anniversaries”, you know, 5 years, 10 years etc.  are a bigger deal?  It feels a bit like a bigger deal but another year doesn’t make her more gone, just gone longer right?  Just a thought.

You see, I have been reflecting on this for awhile now and well, for awhile I have just been blank about it.  For the first year in five years I didn’t know if I had anything to say.  It wasn’t that when I was reflecting I thought I didn’t miss her or need her or think of her I just couldn’t put my finger on what was different or what hadn’t already been said or what 5 years meant.

The blankness bothered me.

The blankness that bothered me made me realize that it wasn’t actually being blank that was the botherer.

5 Years Was Bothering Me and it Turns Out I Wasn’t Blank At All

I mean five years is a good chunk of time and SO much has changed in five years.  For starters and probably at the front of my mind is that she would be the grandmother to four beautiful kiddos.  I have talked about it before but it is strange to miss her in a role you never knew her in. She didn’t get to become a grandmother yet I know what kind of grandma she would have been.  It makes me sad for my boys.  In fact, recently my wonderful mother in law who is the best grandmother to Caden and Everett even said that at occasions like Caden’s birthday she couldn’t help but think of my mom and how much she herself had looked forward to sharing being a grandmother with her.  It was such a sad but sweet statement made by a loving mother and grandmother that fit my thoughts quite well.

In years past I have written about acceptance and loss, gaining peace, forgetting things like her laugh (which seems so wrong to forget something of your mother’s), time passing, learning to feel sad for us instead of sorry for us and the fact that she would have been proud.  This year I found myself saying “she would have been there/here” a lot as we had various transitions and occasions.

- When Caden fractured his shin and everything was fine but just long and tiresome I knew she would have been there.  She would have wanted to go to the appointments with me and come carry him around to snuggle him and give me a break.

- A month later when Caden split his noggin’ open she for sure would have been at the hospital and then there with me the next few days just because I was an emotional mess about it happening.

 –  I was really sick at the beginning of my pregnancy with Everett.  When I could barely get off the couch yet was trying to also take care of a toddler I thought “She would have been here.”

- As her sister Dana struggled with her battle with cancer she would have been there.  She would have cared for her, held her hand, brought her love and strength and support and helped ease her fears.  Today, Dana’s birthday it brings me great sadness that my mom wasn’t there to comfort her and be the big sister she always was for her.  Yes, it would have been heartbreaking for my mom but she would have wanted to be there for her.

- In general my pregnancy was tougher with A LOT of back pain and needing to try and take it easier.  I assume that we would have still talked daily if not several times a day and upon hearing me say my back was hurting or I was struggling she would have come over pronto or picked Caden up so I could rest.  She would have been there.

- The weeks after Everett was born when colic was at its peak, Colter was sick, no one was sleeping and Caden was confused…she would have been here.

- As Everett was hospitalized with RSV and we completely wore out Colter’s parents feeling bad to ask anything else of them yet not being able to ask friends in fear of spreading it to their kids and the next weeks were full of every member of this family being ill – kids puking, multiple trips to doctors each week, snot everywhere, no food, no sleep nastiness she would have been here. She would have come to help without being asked even if we told her not to because she just would have.

-I thought about it last year on Caden’s first birthday and couldn’t help but think of it again. Hearing about all of my preparations for Caden’s second birthday would have tortured her that she was in Florida instead of here to see the decor and help prepare but she would be here on their birthdays.  She loved birthdays.

Did you know that I was there in Florida two days before she died?  I flew back after having been there to help with the surgery recovieries and I talked to her the night of the 16th (for the 10th time that day) and said I would call her in the morning after my friend’s bridal shower so she could rest.  That morning I picked up my phone and started to call her only to hang up because I had told her I would let her rest so I should wait until after the shower.  I didn’t make it to that shower and a couple of hours later I got a call instead.

It is the thought you can’t help but hear.  The gap you can’t help but notice.  The quote that makes me cringe and I will never forget hearing myself say, or sob in the minutes after I learned she was gone into my father in law and then husband’s arms “But I need her.”  I did and five years later sometimes I still do.

Its just…well, its your mom.

The thing about moms is they just know…they just get it.  You don’t have to ask because they hear it in your voice that they are needed.  If you do ask you better believe they are there as soon as they can with all hands on deck.  This year it has been a year of selfish reflections for me.  She would have taken us to get pedicures, she would have watched the kids, she would have given us a break, she would have been with me when Dana slipped into a coma and I went to hold her hand and say goodbye, she would have wanted to take me shopping for new baby things for Everett, she would have wanted to take Caden shopping for big brother treats, she would have taken me post-baby shopping, she would have sat on the couch with me when we all were sick, she would have loved seeing the baby albums I made, she would have beamed with pride at Christmas and their birthdays, she would have listened as I needed a friend, she would have understood she would have been here.

5 years of missed weddings. 5 years of missed Christmases. 5 years of missed birthdays.  5 years of missing new grandbabies.  5 years of missed daily chatter.  5 years of missed support.

5 Years
It turns out that 5 years is a long time.

(We are also missing Dana on her birthday today)

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