Monday, October 13, 2008

Caden's Second Birthday Party

Last Friday night we got together at my parent's house to celebrate Caden Shawn's second birthday! We've been excited for Caden to have his "Doooooor-othy" party for awhile now and it did not disappoint. ALMOST all of our closest friends and family where there and we had a fun night of eating Frito pie and just enjoying watching the kids play together.

Duke takes Caden by surprise to get a pictue of the birthday boy.

Caden and Gram

Emma, Torie and Amaya enjoying some "girl time" away from the little brothers!

Caden's favorite part: singing "Happy to you!" and blowing out the candle.

Cake cute.

Chase and Ryan help Caden open and enjoy his presents!

Caden opens his present from Papa and Nana: Thomas the Train books!

We LOVE books at our house!

Aubrey (in the corner).

Charlie, Handy Manny, Ryan and Caden put Caden's new tools to good use.

A (almost) happy end to a fun night!
All the brothers and sisters get together for picture.
All cooperate, except the birthday boy.

Ryan, Torie, Ashtyn, Aubrey, Amaya, Caden, Emma and Charlie

To all of you who were there we appreicate and love you so much for a being a part of this special day in Caden's life. To all of you who couldn't be there know that you are missed and that we love you!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 13:15

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Caden is ALL BOY!

It's basically our theme for Caden's life these days. Everything he does is just SO boy! Well, with exception of his love for cooking, his little heart-covered black purse that Nana bought him and his desire to wear a bracelet in his "elbow-pit" whenever he can get his hands on one of Amaya's bracelets.

He's ALL muscle! Chase swears he has a six-pack! When we do have to fight with him - like for example, when we are putting him in his car seat and he doesn't want to be in his carseat - Chase and I both end up sweaty and exhausted. He is one strong kid.

Yesterday was "Meet the Teacher" day at Little Hearts where Caden goes to school and I work as an aide. My job for the day, along with the other aides, was to help watch the teacher's kids while they met their new students. What did I spend the day doing? Keeping Caden in the room, keeping Caden off the tables, making sure Caden didn't eat food off the floor, chasing Caden when he did escape, pulling chairs off of Caden and picking Caden up off the floor. The list could actually go on but you get the idea. When it was our turn to go "meet the teacher" we walked into his classroom where other children are sitting quietly by their mothers and fathers, eating Teddy Grahams and basically being still. NOT MY KID! Nope, I fought him the whole time. He didn't care about the cookies. He wanted to move, run, jump, play! Needless to say Caden is a mess and honestly, he just makes me tired.

Caden is also such a wonderfully cuddly, sweet and happy boy! All of these things make the difficult times easy to endure. He loves to sit in Chase's lap and watch "ball!" (football). He has to give hugs on his own terms. Something that Amaya is having to adjust to. She is so lovable and hug-happy that it's hard for her when Caden does not want to be hugged and kissed. But, when he decides it's time for hug he'll just grab Amaya or hold his hands up for her to pick him up and love on him.

Caden loves books! We are still reinforcing the "we never EVER tear books" rule with him, but he's starting to get it. He is into some TV now. He watches The Wiggles which he calls "Dorrrrrthy!" and Backyardigans which he calls "Pa-bo!" He'll ask for "Dorrrrrthy!" and we'll say, "You want Daddy" to which is replies, "No! Dorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrthy!" He really draws out the 'r' sounds and says it more like a song. It's really cute. Writing it does not do it justice.

He has a lot of words. Some are very clear and some are not. If he gets stumped and isn't sure what to say he will just start going through his words. "Light, Nana, Mommy, Daddy, Duke, My-My (Amaya), Robby, Mamie (Amy)" He always goes through the names first. Let's see...what are some of his other words:

Apple - very clear

Pop tah - Pop tart

EAT! - VERY clear

tea - anything from water to milk to juice to tea

Coke - I know, we're bad parents. He rarely gets a sip, but when he does.....!

cookie - very clear. You notice most of his words are food and eating related.

Up! - clear

Dow - down

TWO! - if you hear him shout this and you're in another room you better start running because he's counting down to jumping off of or into something.

tay too - thank you

Mi Mouse - Mickey Mouse

Ry-ee - Rylie

hi, bye-bye, mommy, daddy, my-my, duke, Robby, Mamie, sit, walk, baby, more, bite, dog, uh-oh!, Gram, light, star, duck, yes, No!,

I'm sure there are more, but that's what I've got for now. He is putting two maybe three words together. Sometimes. He's still using one-word sentences for the most part, though.

Our latest adventure has been figuring out how to keep that boy in his crib. We tried his toddler bed several weeks ago. Of course, while we were setting it up and talking about it with him he was ALL about it. He jumped on it and played on it with Amaya. Then, at bedtime that kid FREAKED out. He was not happy. He was not sleeping in that bed. It was almost like he was terrified without the security of his crib. Five hours after bedtime he was exhausted, Chase and I were exhausted and we gave in and brought his crib back into his room. I just really don't think he was ready. That's fine. Or, it was until he figured out, "Hey, I'm a climber. I've always been a climber! I'm outta here!" He discovered this happiness last week at 5:30 one morning. So, after much thought, prayer, calls to Dad and calls to the Doctor we decided to buy a crib tent. Let me just say that the people who make those things realize that whoever is buying it is exhausted and desperate. They will spend whatever it takes to get some peace of mind. So....

Child leash and harness ..... $14.99

Crib tent ...... $69.99

A full night's sleep, not finding your toddler wandering around the house at 3:00 in the morning....... PRICELESS!

So, Caden has become a very funny, sweet, strong-willed, happy, ACTIVE and strong little boy. We love him so much and he bring so much joy and blessing to our life! He's not a baby anymore and I must confess I'm completely fine with that. We've got three and half months until the baby is born and I'm happy to have a "big boy" in Caden.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Amaya Grace Russell

Alarm clocks. Lunch box. Backpack. Pencil. White and Navy Polo Shirts. Khaki jumpers.

Amaya is a school going fool. She LOVES school and most of the time wakes up before her alarm goes off at 6:35. She jumps out of bed and puts on her "uniform" that she had laid out the night before. She comes into the living room and is ready for breakfast and a lengthy, question-filled chat with mom. Mom, however, is not bright-eyed and talkative and is having a hard time figuring out what she is doing let alone what is being said to her. It's amazing to me how Amaya can take off at 100 miles per hour as soon as the big blue eyes pop open. But, that's who Amaya is and I wouldn't want it any other way.

The first day of school was exciting and scary. For both of us. Chase and Caden were sleeping so I don't know that they were particularly excited or scared. Amaya had asked for a breakfast of waffles and bacon and that is what she got. We made breakfast and while she ate I made her lunch. Lunch was noodles with cheese and sauce. We bought a thermos that is supposed to keep her food hot for up to five hours and there was no way she was going for a cold sandwich after she discovered this. So, pasta it was. She had breakfast, she had her lunch ready, her back pack was filled with school supplies and I had a bag of supplies myself. There were no more excuses. It was time to leave.

We arrive at school and find a parking place. That actually took a lot longer than I thought. We weren't late, but I wanted to be early so I could have a few minutes before I had to leave her. We walk into her classroom and there is quite a lot of chaos. Children are crying and parents are hanging out trying to squeeze out those last few minutes before they have to leave. Amaya is starting to look a little overwhelmed, but she holds my hand and looks up at me and smiles. She's ready, but maybe she senses that I'm not. We find her chair at her table. She is in the red group and all the other children at her table are already there. Luckily, there are no criers at this table. They are sitting quietly coloring. She sits down and we put her backpack and bag of supplies by her chair. She wants her box of crayons and we get that out and there's not much else for me to do. We take a picture and she smiles SO big. I'm so proud of her. I give her a kiss and hug and tell her I'll be back to pick her up this afternoon. I start to leave and I turn around to take a picture: her smile is gone. She's okay, but she looks so unsure. At this point I have to leave becuase while there might be children crying there are definitely no parents crying. I almost make it to the car before it starts, but not quite.

I leave at 2:00 to pick her up. She gets out at 2:30. I can't wait any longer! Finally, here comes her class. She sees us. She is SO happy and excited. She had a wonderful day! She loves her teacher and she's sure she'll "like the kids once she gets to know them". She can't wait to go to school tomorrow and tomorrow they are starting "discipline"!! "Miss Gillespie is so beautiful and so nice. Do you think she likes me, mom? I bet she does." "We have PE. It is really cool. We play games." "I have folders to bring home every day and you have to sign them."

So, Amaya is just where she needs to be. She was made for school. There were no tears the second day. I just needed to know she would want to be at school. Not that we have a choice, but it sure does make it easier to take and leave her somewhere everyday that she really and truly loves to be.