And So It Begins {The First Game}

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

You saw the a sneak peek of what the first game was like, and then I back-tracked and showed you the first practice.  So how about the true tale of the very first soccer game in our little man’s little life?

There was much anticipation for this day on his parents’ Caden’s part.  He talked about it almost constantly. Every day  when Caden went to school he would tell his teacher about his soccer shoes and playing on a team.  Dylan and Caden would compare game plans – “I’m going to kick it.” “I’m going to beat you.”  (That whole on the same team thing is a tricky concept).  Colter and I tried not to overwhelm his brain but with all of his excited questions wanted to try to wrap his mind around the different between kicking it in the goal in the yard against us and the neighbors to a group of fellow pint sized players.

The other factor I was unsure of is that Caden is our sweet, sensitive, straight-laced soul.  Meaning, if someone kicked the ball away from him in my mind he was going to burst into tears instead of fight back.  That was my “prepping goal”.

Mama – “Caden, you know how you have a ball right now?”
C- “Yes, and I keep kicking it even if someone tries to kick it away.”
Mama and Dad – “Yeah! That’s right. You just keep kicking it with all of the rest of the kids.”
C- “And the rest of the kids will have their balls.”
Mama and Dad – “Actually Buddy, at a game, there are going to be a lot of other kids, some on your team and some on the other team..”
C- “The bad guys..”
Mama and Dad – “but there is only going to be one ball.”
C- “Yeah, and it is my ball, so they can’t kick it.”
Mama and Dad – “Well, yes….but not exactly, but that mindset could work, but not exactly.”

So we tried. Truly, I just didn’t want him to cry. Time would tell.

Two Saturdays ago he got all of his gear on, and asked to jam on the way to soccer to you know, get his mind right.  Taylor Swift.  That may or may not be my fault. Oops.  I probably could have left that detail out. In fact, Colter would surely have preferred I left that out.  Oops again.

As we pulled onto the fields it was go-time and this sportsman was ready to “warm-up”.  He kicked around the ball with Daddy and got a glimpse of the team ahead of him as to what exactly they were doing.  Then, the “bad guys” showed up, the orange team, and his enemy was spotted.  “Those orange guys can’t kick the ball in my goal, I’m going to kick it in, I’m #12, Dylan is #9.”

Caden and Dylan, known to coach as “the two best friends”, were chosen as 50% of the first lineup of four kiddos.  To the half they went, the ball was placed, the whistle was blown AND….

Caden and Dylan stood there.

All the kids are running around (a couple of true professionals on both teams…we might need some doping testing) and I a 99.8% sure that my precious child was politely waiting for his turn.  Go Caden Go!

What? Where?  But they ball is over there?  (There were a lot of “what” arms at first.  Partly when he was confused, Partly when he thought something silly was going on.) Go Caden Go! Chase the ball and you try to kick it too! The same ball?

Go Caden Go!

It took a good half of the first game for the concept to sink in, which is better than I expected after our first statue-esque, turn waiting glimpses and then it was on.  There was a lot of chasing, a lot of looking and pointing to us or running over to the sidelines to tell us what was going on and a lot of laughing (on our part).

My little man even got a little scrappy when one of the “bad guys” kept grabbing and pushing him, which I can say was a proud moment for my non-aggressive natured son to shake him off a bit.

Then, there was this series which is for sure going in their high-school graduation slideshow of some sort. Dylan and Caden, best friends…or thieving friends.

I got it from the orange bad guys Mom!

Hey, who is coming up behind me? Dylan?

Wait Dylan, we are on the same team!

Awww, but Moooooommm!

It is SO sad. But SO funny.  Poor guy.  Got it stolen right out from under him by his team mate and best friend.  Needless to say, they all haven’t quite grasped the “you don’t have to kick it away from someone in the same color as you” concept.

So the important concepts were learned.


1. Chase down the opposing team even is he is eight times as quick and nimble than anyone else on the field.




2. Even if you didn’t score the goal yourself, never miss a chance to celebrate. How about a victory dance?




3. As Peter Rabbit says, which means as Caden says, “A Good Rabbit Never Gives Up.”  Even if you’re outnumbered and being pinched by a kid with a Mohawk. Way to get in there.




4. Some things just can’t wait and have to be told to your biggest fans. (Ahem…Mom and Dad) 




5. You let your best friend take it from you once and then you do your best to never let it happen again…unless you have mastered the give and go.





6. Go for the goal.  If you narrowly miss it, try, try again…and again, and again.





7. Sportmanship.  When you run next to your friend who is kicking the ball and he scores his very first goal, be happy for him.  Not sad.





8.  War Wounds are for comparing.






9. Pre-Game Excitement Dances are okay if they are for superstitious purposes.







10. Never forget who your real first coach is.





When the final whistle blew, I felt that it was a success.  No tears. No giving up.  Drastic improvement from the first 15 minutes of waiting his turn to really getting in there, chasing the kids/ball, and getting his foot on it a good amount and a goal attempt!  He was excited, he had fun, and he was super stoked about the snack and drink afterwards for all of their hard-work as exhausting as it was.  The other real victory?  I didn’t cry.  Not even once.  He was so stinking cute and grown up and I loved every child moment of chaos, confusion and cheering.


Beach Inspired

Posted by casey on February 20, 2014 in Escaping Home, Writing Nook

Mama Kat proposed the idea of writing a vacation inspired post this week which just reminded me on how little I have shared with you about such a topic and how badly I need another.  A vacation that is.  Life with littles.  Loving every day and always dreaming of the beach with a drink in hand.  Or Italy.

Ah Italy.
April 2013

Remember that time we went there? Yeah me too.  It is on my calendar to give you a detailed write up with an abundance of our photos during the one year anniversary of our trip since I have yet to do so.  I hope it actually happens!

Since Italy is a bit farfetched, how about something slightly more realistic of an option. Back in September after months and months of speculation, idea-throwing, resort researching and finger crossing it happened.  A Mexico beach vacation with my best friend of 14 years and her husband who just so happens so be a friend of 14 years as well.  We do high-school sweethearts big around here. We were oh so overdue for a reunion now that they have made their lovely abode in Oklahoma and we haven’t really gotten to spend any true quality kid-free time together since the birth of our first kiddos, almost four years ago, just three days apart. We held our breath until we got on the plane not believing that it was actually going to happen.

But it did.


Talk about needed.  Days filled with beach time full of sun-baking, frozen drink gulping, girl-talk while our husband’s got their fill of beach sports in our view.

Our hectic schedule consisted of wake up on our own (not due to our combined four toddlers or work alarms), throw on bathing suit, walk to breakfast, walk to beach and spend the morning hour laying, looking and chatting.

 So much chatting and just taking in the quiet that my book-deprived brain that so desperately wanted to read just couldn’t get into a book because I was so enjoying “just being” and not having to do anything.

When “Oh My!” the beach started heating up a bit too much for our desired liking (rough right?) we would saunter down the stretch of soft sand to wade in the perfect depth, just cool enough, just warm enough no coral in sight ocean to continue our conversations and laziness.  The best part about vacationing with your fellow “mom-to-toddlers” best friend?  It is in no way weird or offensive when your conversation turns back around to your kids, then back to what you were talking about, then back to mom-life, then back to catching up.  Because let’s be honest.  The majority of what is going on in our stay at home mom lives is kid stuff at this point.  So we are cool like that.  Which is why we can vacation together like this.

Yup.  This was hectic schedule location #2.  When it was just too, ahem, (insert hand waving fan here) stifling on the beach we gathered the very few belongings we carried with us and walked the few paces to the pool to find an inlet spot complete with lounge chairs and lounge beds to spend the afternoon, you guessed it; laying, looking and chatting and oh yeah, drinking. Oh yeah, and eating chips and guacamole poolside. It was as stressful and challenging as it sounds.

But we endured.
I swear our husbands vacationed with us as the photographic evidence doesn’t show.
Maybe I should prove that.

 Once we completely used up all of our sun and poolside accommodations we would start thinking about getting cleaned up for dinner.  Just thinking. Really though, we waited until our floats were taken away and we were the only ones left in the pool giggling as other guest started appearing again…completely showered and dressed for dinner at the various restaurants nearby.  Time to go.

By go I of course mean the short jaunt from pool to room, the quick shower into resort wear and then dining time.  While my inability to stay awake past 10 pm, and staying in the sun all day did catch up with me during dimly lit dinners, it was nice to actually get to eat a meal at our own pace over real conversation and then go to bed. And sleep. For a whole night. After night. After night.

So, as I sit here, riddled with life, a stomach bug that has made its way to each family member except myself (please Lord…) over the past week and a looming bronchitis like cough I know that I am SO over this back and forth winter/spring weather and I am SO dreaming of the beach.

But then again, aren’t we all?


And So It Begins {The Practice}

Posted by casey on February 18, 2014 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles

Caden is almost a whopping four years old and when I realized that was approaching, that meant this spring would be the first season he would be eligible for soccer.

After getting on the ball a little late for registration since our city doesn’t have an actual 4 year old age group team meaning we had to get a city release to play in another area we lucked out and were able to get him on the same team as one of his best little friends, Dylan.

The Smurfs.

No, I’m not calling them names, that is their team name.  Little Blue magical elves?  So tough and manly.

After asking Caden, who every time we pass a soccer field says “See that Mommy, one day, when I am big, I can play soccer ball out there with the other kids and you can sit on those special chairs and watch me,” if he thought he would like to be on a soccer team {insert an insane amount of excitement here} we purchased the necessary proper attire {insert adorable mini cleats and shin-guards here} and geared up (pun intended) for his first official practice prior to his first real game.

It was a big day seeing as how he had his second of two Valentine’s parties at school on practice day and then we had to wait a whole 2.5 hours after school before heading to practice which was like mapping a trail of sugar cubes for a horse and making it stand still.  I told Colter that I needed a video camera just for the drive there. “Mommy, are we at my soccer ball team yet?”   “Mommy, you remembered my ball?”  ” Mommy, the other kids are going to try to kick my ball, but it is my ball, so I am going to kick it.”  “Mommy, I’m going to have a coach.  I am going to listen to my coach so I know what he wants me to do.”  ” Mommy, are we going to get to kick it in the goal?!”  So on and so forth.  Giddy.

Fortunately it was a beautiful day so that they weren’t having their excitement dampened by winter weather.  Unfortunately we practiced in the only shaded area at the whole park making it a bit chilly for all but the boys were ready.

Task #1: Go pick a grocery sack with your jersey in it.  “I picked 12! I want to put it on!”  Every sweet little boy immediately dressed to impress in their very first jersey because why would they leave that in the bag for later?

There was confusion, there was wandering, there were little boys “tee-teeing” in the trees (Everett hit that option up twice) and oh yeah, there were a few minutes of soccer. Lucky for Caden, the practices being closer to Daddy’s work than home means that it is perfect timing for him to come to practice as he leaves work.  So, Daddy helped wrangle the kids for some ball dribbling, passing and goal practice.  By the time the kids got there, got their uniforms and were herded together practice was lightening quick leaving our boys a bit sad it was over.  So, we had to hit up a few more minutes of our own practice before taking on a quick visit to the playground as a last stop.

Somewhere along this life journey I got to a point in life where I have a kid who is old enough to play “organized sports” which means I don’t want to think about the stage of life I am old enough for.  Truthfully?  It is such a fun stage.  It is another stage of what you wait for, plan for, think of when you start your family.  So, from now on, if you want to know where we are on Saturdays for the rest of our lives…we are at a sporting event of some sort for one of our kiddos. It’s on…

And I’m Comfortable Saying, They Are Pumped!



And So It Begins

Posted by casey on February 16, 2014 in Caden, Snapshots

As Colter said yesterday, “Today is the start of the rest of our lives.”
Child sports.

Forget that whole wedding…birth of our children thing, it is sports y’all. Duh.

So, while the real compilation of Caden’s big day in sports is in the making, how about a little snapshot to really sum up four year old soccer?

How about that disco dancing photo bomber?



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

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

It is okay though because he was REALLY excited.

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

Last Year’s Class Set

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

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

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

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

Valentine Numero Uno – Caden’s Wednesday Class

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

Valentine Numero Dos – Everett’s Thursday Party

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

Valentine Numero Tres – Caden’s Thursday Party

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

Teacher & Staff Valentine -

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


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

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


Back and Forth

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

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

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

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

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

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



Extreme Toddler Room Makeover

Posted by casey on February 2, 2014 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles

Almost four whole years ago a sweet little nursery was prepped and perfected in preparation for the arrival of our first little babe, Caden.  Now, almost four years later not much had been changed in his room other transforming his crib into a full size bed 1.5 years ago.


For 1.5 years now I have been telling my husband and myself that I was going to “re-do” Caden’s room to give him the big-boy room to match his big-boy bed and his very big-boy demeanor. But you see, my husband loathes painting. Loathes it.  I love painting and projects but lack set chunks of time to really just get in there and get it all done without a mess lingering for weeks.  Something about having two kids I suppose.

Then, two weeks ago, I decided that was it.  I was re-doing his room. Done and done. Decided and decided.  Then, as I prepped and planned for the vision I had been imagining of for at least that 1.5 years the timing fell so perfectly into my lap for a complete extreme makeover toddler room edition that obviously the universe agreed that a re-done room was in order.

Colter needed to take a quick trip to Austin to see some family and we decided it would be better for him to go alone with just one child, than for all of us to go so he could actually focus and talk and spend time with everyone.  Naturally, our older child is the most flexible in his routine so Caden was the lucky duck earning the passenger seat so to speak to Austin.  That meant I essentially had one and a half days to whip out a “Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma’am” switcheroo for my little man to come home to.

Caden knew it was being painted, but didn’t get to see even the paint change before he left for Austin since it was still wet and smelly.  Being my detail oriented, decoration loving, imaginative and spirited little man I knew he would fall in love.

Why don’t I show you around?

From the Doorway Walking Into His Room

Turning to the Right

 Like many parents we sing “Sunshine” to both boys every night among other songs just as was done to me when I was a child. So, I designed a lovely little print and had it printed on some foam board to sit across from his bed.  The little Schnauzer statue was my mom’s, and the train music box was gifted to Caden by his 92 year old great grandmother two years ago at Christmas.  He listens to it every night and every night I think of her.  The small things.

That large dog was gifted to Caden before he was born and has been a favorite in his room since he was a wee-tike. The sign above his bed is a wooden plank I painted for his second birthday.  The bean bag Is going to be replaced with a wonderful tent that Nonna and Pa Pa are getting Caden for his birthday for him to do all of his reading and dreaming in!

He and I both are in love with the rocketship hanging above his bed.  In a sense it is like a “grown up mobile” but because he is so imaginative I couldn’t help but think about how much a boy could really dream while watching his rocket soar above him before closing his eyes. With some assembled glittering stars and a rocket dangling above the bed how could you not drift off into dreamland?

I wanted his room to be full of fun and love, most importantly those who love him.  So, to help him when he is weary of the dark I printed and hung the oversized prints of him with his us, his family in some of his happiest moments.  Speaking of those who love him, across from his bed (you may have seen a bit of it in the initial shot walking in the room) is his dresser and I wanted to further encompass that idea for his little eyes to gaze upon.  Grandparents and parents and sibling and him. Love.

 Caden was SO in love with his little Christmas tree he had in his room over the holidays that I had to figure out a way to continue incorporating some twinkle lights.  I grabbed a cookie jar that was stashed in our hall closet, removed the lid and ta-daaa, night-light.  Truthfully, he has a lot of night lights. That whole scared of the dark think really took hold of the light, bright and fun theme of his room.  The Christmas lights, the dump truck glows, there is a LED nightlight that lights up cars and trucks right behind his bed and yes, the closet light even stays on. Light, bright and fun.  If you peek above you can see his lamp which I filled with felt balls and rubber dinosaurs which elicited a very successful “There are dinos in my light Mommy!” squeal.







Overall I enjoyed repurposing things from other areas of the home, a few new finds and thinking of what he would like most as I worked away.  Everett joined in the fun as we ran errands to pick up a few things “for Caden’s new room Mommy” and didn’t even complain about it actually being places in Caden’s new room and not his.  We did a quick re-purpose of this stool that sits at the end of Caden’s bed.

It was pretty much the exact shade of his furniture, we inherited it from Nonna & Pa Pa when they moved prior to Caden being born and the boys LOVE climbing up it to then stand on the end of the bed and then jump in. Yes…I know the song about monkeys jumping in the bed.  So we did a little resurfacing and painting to brighten it up and adorn it with one more personal detail for the room, Caden’s birthdate.

His reaction when he came home was priceless.  He ran upstairs and with lots of “Oh Mommy! Stripes on my walls! Oh Mommy, a new rug! Look at that robot pillow! There is a zig zag on my floor. A Rocketship!!! See those flags??!!” etc. etc. etc.  He is such an observant little man that he definitely took note of and excitement in each newly arranged area, shelf, addition and was quite pleased to say the least.

He and Everett who liked to play in there before, could live in there now.  The bean bag often resides in the bed as their police car but when they are done, Mr. Caden makes sure he puts everything back “just so” in its place so that it is still his new room.  Every morning during breakfast he tells me, “I had a great night’s sleep in my new room Mommy, thank you for my new room.”  Then, every evening when Colter comes home, “Daddy, I have a new room, want to see?!”  Sweet, sweet boy.

So it was a hit with everyone.  I thanked my husband for “allowing” me to go ahead and do it and took so much joy in the process, which was quick, and the end product. Joy, joy, joy, joy joy.


Even the dog approves.

The only downside is I really set myself up for it when it comes time for Everett to get a big-boy room.  I’m hoping that since his nursery isn’t as baby like (no polka dot bins like Caden’s or baskets lined with ribbon and such) that less of a whole-look change will be needed and more of a theme.

 I guess I better get to work imagining.


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