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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.

 

 
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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.

 
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There They Go II

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

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

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

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

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

Back to School.

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

Meet the Teacher Pre-K

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

Meet the Teacher Night

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to School.

Which means I might actually be back to catching up.

But lets not get hasty. :)

Back to School 2013 Comparison

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