Thursday, November 29, 2012

11-28-12 Let's Play!

Sometimes I look at Caden and rack my brain trying to remember what you're supposed to do with a
2-1/2 year old.  I shouldn't be rusty.  The last time I had a 2-1/2 year old was, um, one year ago.

I did see this trend starting a year ago though.  Max was 2-1/2 and he really only wanted to do what Conrad was doing.  When Conrad was 2-1/2, I was his buddy.  When it was play time, I played with him.  It's different with your third child, especially when they're close in age.  With Caden, I'm not his first choice for somebody to play with.  He is always looking for Max and Conrad and beckoning for them to play trains.  I'm more of a last resort when they're no longer interested in setting up tracks for 2" trains to be pushed around.  They've moved on to bigger and better things -- big boy LEGOS (no more Duplos!).

Tonight the big boys left with Daddy and Caden started crying and saying that he wanted to go with them.  The thought, "What do I do with a 2-1/2 year old," started to creep into my head.  Then I asked him, "Do you want to play in the sink?"  A moment of genius!  Conrad and Max used to LOVE to play in the sink.  Caden does too.  There he was playing away with simple things.  Then I added a funnel.  Double genius!  He said, "Look at my fountain," and I remembered Max saying the exact same thing and I can remember the bowls and items he stacked to create his fountain.

What a fun night.  Sometimes it really is the little things.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

10-20-12 They're funny already!

Before 6:30 am today, Caden and Max were making me laugh.  They slept in the same bed last night and as the sun was coming up, Max was calling for me.  When I went into their room Caden asked, "Did you hear my gas?" as if that's what had brought me to the room.

Next step was for me to make coffee.  Max offers to make my cup, but I told him I already had a pot brewing.  I realized he was used to us using our Keurig so I showed  him the coffee pot and explained how it made 12 cups of coffee at once.  Max watched it brew and asked if it had a passcode.

Dear Apple, Max has a suggestion for you: iPot.  The cutting edge in brewing coffee.

10-18-12 Caden's Consistent Request

Caden's favorite Blanket, or "B", is his elephant one that Max picked out for him before he was born.  However, I think his true favorite is his Buzz Lightyear sleeping bag.  It's just too cumbersome to carry around, although this doesn't always stop him from trying!  He has it in his crib right now and every night he says,"Will you snake me in?".  This is his request for me to tuck him into his sleeping bag and pull it over his head.  It makes me smile every nap time and bedtime.

By morning, Caden's sleeping bag weighs about five pounds because throughout the night he pushes all the stuffed animals, books, and water cups to the bottom of the bag.  Always fun to root through it when he's asking for his "Baby".

Monday, October 8, 2012

10-8-12 Brothers At The Zoo

10-7-12 Apple Season!

We went to the apple orchard a few weeks ago and many apple activities usually follow that, but this year we made our first apple pie.  Easiest baking I've ever done (code for: refrigerated crust).  The reason I've never made an apple pie is either one of two things.  The first option is that I don't really like apple pie.  The second option is that I have a recipe for caramel apple crisp that jumps out of my recipe box every time I slice apples.

Conrad has been asking to bake an apple pie, so I went to my Better Homes and Garden cookbook and the recipe only called for about five ingredients.  The apple washing and slicing began!  Conrad gave instructions and Max and Caden were part of the assembly line.  Max did not like the taste of the Granny Smith apples, but Caden and Conrad nibbled pieces of the peeled skin.

I cut out hearts in the top crust and soon the house was filled with the smell of a fresh baked apple pie.

It made a lovely fall dessert.  Unless you ask Max and Caden.  They took one bite and went back to playing trains.   I'm going to include my picture of our first pie.  It really does make me appreciate the talent of people who take good pictures of food.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

10-3-12 My Kind of Homework

Conrad's teacher sent home this math assignment.  
Last week I gave the boys these containers to play with in the bathtub.
This week, the boys compared the sizes of the containers and the volume of water  they held and 
did a lot of pouring.  

All water activities seem better suited for the bathtub, but not when the containers of water have to sit on the edge of the bathtub.  Inevitably, the outcome will be water seeping into your bathroom tile.

10-2-12 A Quick Check In

The cool crisp air of fall has set in and now I'm just reflecting on the heat of summer and its warm memories.  Looking back, I have pictures of a lot of fun times.  You don't take pictures of the hard times, but of course they're there and they leave their mark in ways other than on film.  They leave their mark right on you.  Looking back on the pictures of summer makes me smile because we made it through some tough times and thoroughly enjoyed the good times!

In the spring, I made a list of 100 Days of Summer Fun.  We did a pretty good job of fitting in all 100.  I will say that it's a good thing we got a jump start on our list because I didn't consider how exhausting it would be to have that much fun ;-)  Plus, some things were so much fun that they warranted more that  just one day.

As usual, when I fall behind on my blog, I regret having not commented on what we've done with our days.  But, I regret more not noting how the boys are changing.  The things they are saying.  What's funny to them.  What concerns them.  But today, today Caden thinks anything having to do with poop is hilarious.  Max dresses up as a knight and is my valiant protector.  Conrad is deeply concerned when classmates turn to yellow card, really bothered on the rare occasion that someone turns to red.

All three boys have way more energy than I've ever had and they can go from zero to rambunctious in a millisecond.  They are hugging each other one moment and I turn around and it's WWF.  Overall, they are good buddies and prefer to be with each other more than anyone else in this world.  Usually.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

6-30-12 Slow Saturday morning to Birthday Celebration under the Big Top

Joe had a busy day today, but the boys and I didn’t have anything on the agenda this morning.  Recently, I’ve let most of our mornings start the same way:  Caden wakes up and I go and get him out of his crib.  He immediately asks me to make dinner.  I suggest we snuggle in my bed.  Within minutes Max cries for me.   In his 3+ years, he has gotten up and come and found me about six times.  Other than those six times, he calls/cries until I go and get him.  When I go and get him, he insists that I carry him and indicates where he would like to go.  Most of the time he wants to go to my room and watch cartoons.  Conrad is soon to follow and climbs in my bed and joins the cartoon viewing.   Today followed this pattern.  Not a bad Saturday morning. . . but we couldn’t  didn’t watch the “Fresh Beat Band” all day. 

I had a lot of cleaning to do today, but my unfinished shelf was nagging at me.  So I loaded up the boys and we headed to the local hardware store.  They did not have the amazing paint (Rustoleum textured in dark brown) that I needed, so after spending 75 cents on three gumballs, we were off to Lowe’s.  It sounds much quicker and easier that it actually is to load and unload three kids from the car for these stops. 

Lowe’s has the paint and we were out of the store relatively quickly.  When we got back to the car Max was in tears because he didn’t get to walk in the store.  How could I have not remembered to let him out of the cart once we were inside the store?  I’m guessing my brain did that in order for me to protect my young and my sanity.  The more kids that stay in the cart, the better.  Every mom knows this!!

The boys wanted to pick up the sticks and branches that were knocked down by the storm last night.  Max said, “Dad will be glad at me.”  They worked hard to make their daddy happy.  They managed to hook Joe’s small trailer up to Conrad’s jeep.  I took the first picture because I thought they had come up with such a good idea.  I took the second one because I was so surprised that it worked!  The Jeep is more powerful than I thought!

I finished up painting my shelf and the boys cleared the debris from the driveway and yard.  Max asked, “Is today family day?”  When he didn’t get the answer he wanted, he asked, ”Is tomorrow family day?”  I went ahead and told him it was.  That made a sweet smile spread across his face.

After a wash up and Caden’s nap, we headed over to Olivia’s 3rd birthday party.  The carnival was in full swing!  My friend threw an adorable birthday party for her little girl.   As if the games and food weren’t enough, in came a clown.  Skittles put on a show for the kids and Caden was captivated the whole time.  Conrad belly laughed through the whole show and was the first in line for a balloon animal.

6-29-12 Another Pair of Swim Trunks Bite the Dust

I have this shelf that I picked up for $3.99 and a bottle of spray paint that has been begging me to use it and get the shelf on the wall.  I finally took the boys outside to play today and set up a painting station (a couple of 2x4s on the grass). 

I sprayed the bottom of the shelf first and as I was ending the first (rather thick) coat, I was at the end of the can! 

We were all pretty hot so we played in the hose while I waited for the shelf to dry.  When I went back to the shelf there was a large section in the middle of it where the paint has been wiped away.  This baffled me.  And I wondered out loud, “How did the paint get wiped off?” 

Max answered, “I don’t know.”  So, I asked if he had sat on the shelf. 

“No,” Max claimed.

Then I told him to turn around.  The evidence was all over the seat of his swim trunks.  Brown paint all over the back of them.  I didn’t even try to wash it out.  I know when I’m going to spend a lot of time on a fight and not win the battle.

It started to rain so I ran my shelf to shelter and convinced the boys they should go inside too.   

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Our Favorite Birthday Cake Recipe

The cake recipe is from the cookbook, Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld.

The frosting is from Paula Deen and there's nothing deceptive about it -- it's purely delicious! The first time I used these recipes was for Conrad's smash cake when he turned one. I usually use it to make cupcakes and I've never written down the bake time, but it feels like forever before that toothpick comes out (almost) clean.

The cupcakes never disappoint.

1 (18 oz.) box yellow cake mix
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (I use olive oil)
2 large eggs
1 large edge white
6 oz. nonfat lemon, banana, or vanilla yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, pumpkin puree, water, oil, eggs, egg white, and yogurt. Beat until smooth, 1-2 minutes.

Pour the batter into the cupcake wraps, filling about 2/3 of the way full. For birthday parties, I use large cupcake wraps. Bake for about 40 minutes.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

4-14-12 Two Candles on the Cake

Finally, Caden got his turn to blow out the candles on the cake when people sang to him. Up until very recently Caden requested that I sing Happy Birthday to him as part of his bedtime routine. His face would light up every night and he would even "blow out" the candles with his pacifier in his mouth. It made me laugh every night. Caden begs for us to light candles every day. He is fascinated by fire. He notices it in every book. For example, it's his favorite part of
When Grandma asked him what he wanted for his birthday, his answer was "Fire". Conrad loaded up our chimnea with sticks so he could give Caden fire for his birthday.

Caden ate up the extra birthday attention. He found the balloons in his room very exciting this morning and was grinning ear to ear when we brought him his birthday cake. He opened his presents without help and started jamming on his trumpet. Then, he got right to work on his fractions puzzle and did pretty well. He's getting big FAST. The only baby things left about him are that he wears diapers and takes a binky, or as he calls it "gink".

Last month, Caden was having a hard time falling asleep at bedtime so I rocked him a lot. One night he actually fell asleep while I was holding him. Your baby is always your baby when you're rocking him, but I knew right then that those days are numbered. Looking back over the last year, Max has only fallen asleep once in my arms and Conrad, well, zero for the year. So, I sat and held Caden a little longer and fell asleep myself.

Caden's a good snuggler andI love how he cranes his neck like a bird to get his face closer to mine when he wants a kiss. Caden is very sweet and loving, but I think the best word to describe his personality is joyful. Caden laughs a lot and laughs hard. Whatever it takes to make his brothers laugh, he will do. Repeatedly. If Conrad are laughing at something mischievous that Caden is doing, it's as if Caden cannot hear me telling him to stop. This scene is common at the dinner table (i.e., Caden's stage).

Somehow his joyful spirit is also very insistent. This little guy is passionate about getting his way on some things. Conrad and Max will end up giving him the toy they are playing with when he yells for it just because they want him to be quiet. i admit, sometimes I give in too.

Caden loves his "Bible book" and his favorite book is by Jan Brett. We were reading it every night for a while, but know he insists on reading bedtime stories and saying prayers with his big brothers. He loves to be with his big brothers all the time. When we play outside he likes to swing, but he loves for Conrad to pull him around in his jeep trailer.

I can't pick out Caden's favorite food (maybe pasta?). He's a very good eater. He loves his milk too. He really likes the fruit and vegetable puree pouches (I always have one handy when we're out on adventures). He calls them his juice boxes. Pretty much everywhere we go, Caden looks for Grandma. He asks to go to Grandma's house on a daily basis and asks to call Pa.

I never know when Caden will break into song featuring his favorite song - the theme from The other day he pointed out a digger while we were driving and for some reason it surprised me. I just lost track of the things he was picking up on.

But, really, what doesn't he pick up? He always reminds us/demands that we close the garage door and notices garage doors everywhere. He insists on "peeing like Max" and will stand naked in front of the toilet even though he's not tall enough for his aim to be right. With the law of probability, one time he did actually pee when he was "peeing like Max". What a mess.

Caden is courteous too. One day when he wouldn't obey Daddy, Joe asked him if he wanted a spanking. Caden answered, "Yes." Joe spanked him and then Caden said, "Thank you." We know we have a lot to teach Caden, but he's teaching us too!

Friday, April 13, 2012

4-13-12 'Twas the Night Before Caden Turned Two

The darlings are nestled all snug in their beds while visions of frosted cake swirl in their heads!

Just as I got too old for my own birthdays to bring excitement, I had kids. Now the night before the boys turn a year older, I can hardly sleep. Tonight I frosted a cake and have Lenny, Tuck and Ming-Ming ready to adorn it, filled Caden's room with balloons (always afraid one will pop in the night!!), and I made a sweet little "2" party hat for Caden. Click here for a simple tutorial and template to make your own personalized party hat.

It's hard to sleep when you're trying to think of a way to keep your baby a baby. . .

We have the book God Gave Us You. The first time I read it the boys were snuggled on my lap and the book made me cry. I shelved it for a while. Now we read it the night before each of the boys' birthdays. Caden spared me some tears and was more interested in talking about each picture than hearing the words that echo my heart about longing for each of my babies and bonding with them during nine months of body and soul connection. I heard Tracey DeGraaf liken motherhood to allowing your heart to wonder outside of your body. Tracey mostly makes me laugh, but this was deep and it resonated with me to the core of my being. It gets a little harder as the boys get a little older. They can wonder a little further.

I'm gradually coming to terms with the reality that my babies do have to grow up. They each have their own divine purpose to fulfill and foundations are meant to be built on.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2-27-12 4-D Experience

Today was a fun first. Conrad, Max, and I saw a 4-D movie with our friends. it was our first trip to the theater and it wasn't just any movie, it was Dora and Diego in 4-D. We wore the 4-D glasses and I spent as much time squinting to see the boys' reactions as I did watching the movie! At different points in the show, I saw the boys reach out their hands to touch the robot butterfly and the hanging vines. I wanted to do it myself, it seemed like these things were really right in front of us. We felt the breeze as we were moving through the rain forest and the mist of water as we neared the waterfall.

Conrad and Max were all smiles as we left the theater. So was I.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

2-14-12 Valentine's Day

The boys and I did a photo shoot to prep for this year's valentines and they turned out super cute!

Joe and I celebrated Valentine's Day on Monday night. Let's be honest. It's pretty hard to find a sitter on the actual holiday; it's the same thing that happens on New Year's Eve. On Tuesday, it was all kid fun and cupid's arrows. I made each of the boys "cupid's arrows" with pretzel sticks and gummy hearts and set them with their valentine's cards at the breakfast table. The boys snuck downstairs and put their valentines for Joe on his desk. When Conrad noticed that I had one for him, he was really touched. He thought it was the sweetest thing. Then I had to explain what a cupid was. We spent the day talking about love and hearts. Conrad cut out some hearts with scripture verses on them and we talked about how much God loves us.

For lunch, we made heart shaped pizzas. The boys used to love pepperoni pizza, but Conrad recently started insisted on only cheese pizza. Max says he only likes cheese pizza, but he's excited when I give him pepperoni. We always add black olives to our pizza. It was fun to make pizzas together; we should do it more often. I like that we have a day in the year where we just celebrate love and eat heart shaped candies with two word messages on them.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

2-12-12 4 Boys and 1 Girl

Today was one of the very few times that I've been strangely aware that I am the only girl at our house. Max and Conrad have been working in the garage with Joe a lot lately. They love to be out there with him and their creativity just flows! It breaks Caden's heart when they start to leave without him. He frantically begs for his shoes and gets his coat. But he doesn't get to go. Today, I figured I'd make his dream come true and take him out to "help dad". Family Day was underway and the five of us were hanging out in the garage. I was the only one that wasn't quite sure what to do with myself. The guys were quickly working on projects. Max was running the shop vac, Con was nailing together toys and Caden had an instant project in trying to get his safety glasses on. Joe and Conrad recently finished a birdhouse made out of wood from an old palette. This was a school project that had Conrad and Joe doing on-line research about birdhouses for over a week. They found a guy in Canada who makes bird hotel and one of them was 12 ft. by 12 ft!

Conrad pointed out that he made a "W" on one of the toys he was making for Max. That was the letter sound we focused on last week.

I picked up my camera and found my niche in the garage. . . as the photographer.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

2-11-12 34 List #9

These are my top 10 pics from January. I tried not to make them pictures of my kids. I'm not sure I'll do that every month.