Thursday, January 31, 2013

Caden... at four, 4, IV

Caden!! You are FOUR! Which is SO big, if you are wondering... SO big! With each passing year I am amazed at how fast time flies... life with you is FUN! On the eve of your birthday this year I invited you to take a trip with me down memory lane... to the night/morning you were born and your Daddy and I's lives were changed forever. You loved looking at your pictures and were so impressed how many people came to see you... you thought that was so cool! And you made sure to tell me that you remember wearing those goofy sunglasses and didn't like them one bit. Me either, little either! 

We looked at the picture where I first got to put my nose up to yours and we decided that that moment must have been where we learned how to "nose kiss" and it has been our thing ever since. I cherish my nose kisses with you and pray that you're still willing to give me one when you are 4+14... 

You are special boy with a personality full of contradictions. While you still tend to be a bit on the shy side in new situations, you have come so far. You have developed coping mechanisms that have allowed you to dive right into social settings... the tongue in the cheek and the head scratcher are two tried and true ways for us to know when you are a bit timid and working up your courage. And courage you have. You have played on two teams this year, joining right on in on the fun. While I am sure you learned something new about both soccer and t-ball, I think Daddy and I will both agree that your social skills are what really blossomed through your involvement in sports this year and it was so fun to stand back and watch you grow, making friends, being a teammate and getting your first taste of competition. 

You love sports very much. You love to play just about anything and tend to become obsessed easily... with whatever sport season we find ourselves in. Football still ranks supreme and you say almost daily how excited you will be to play football some day... and we're going to leave Mommy's personal opinions out of this particular discussion for now, because after all you are only 4 and in the very next breath you aspire to be a BIG TUBA player in the band someday. Or maybe a hockey player...

Or maybe just a Daddy like Daddy who lives with Mommy and goes to buy money at HEB because that is how the world works when you are four and I am grateful that the realities of our lives have allowed you to think this way. The world is a dark, scary place at times and I am thankful you still see most things Sunny-Side Up. :)

In fact, you prefer everyone to see things on the sunny side of life. You have become quite the comedian, wanting to tell jokes ALL THE TIME. I am not sure your career path will land you in the comedic arts but you give it your best shot... you just need to find a new punchline. Your jokes sound something like this: "Hey Mommy! Why is the coconut so loud under the beach towel??"
"Why, Caden?"
And we must laugh on cue or else it is VERY offensive to you and you ask us why we don't think you are funny! So we have learned to roar with giant laughter at your HILARIOUS jokes. The raucous applause and laughter tend to spur you on to a great number of jokes after which we are all officially and completely worn out! :) But we love you for your attempts to make us all smile and laugh. Of course, your biggest fan is Kaki... she finds you quite funny. Although, the other day you asked her if she'd like to hear a joke and she said, "NO!"

Now that you are four you have taken on some new responsibilities or "jores" as you first called them. You love completing your daily tasks and always ask what your bonus chore is for the day, anxiously awaiting the moment where you get to check it off your list. I have been pleasantly surprised by how easy this transition has been and how well you have done. You are a hard worker which will take you farther than most any amount of talent. Remember that!

One of the things you have worked so hard at, and actually it has seemed to come remarkably easy to you is scripture memory. Your Daddy and I are amazed at how fast and for how long your remember your verses. It seems God has allowed you to truly hide them in your heart and I am so thankful... You love learning about God and are starting to connect those lessons to your little life and even more so to the bigger picture God holds for all of us. You picked out your very first big boy Bible this year and love marking each verse you know in it. Jesus is stirring in your heart sweet boy and you have told me several times that you BELIEVE that Jesus is the son of God. Preach it, Caden! I suppose many boys become interested in the "bad guy" principle and ask lots of questions about God's relationships with the bad guys. You have asked several questions about Heaven and when we go there and not wanting to go there yet and who will be there when you get there. I am amazed by the things you ask... and I love our conversations about our faith and feel blessed to be able to share the love, power and grace of our great God with you! Our God is an awesome God, Caden! 

You know who else is awesome? YOU are! Truly you are! As crazy as you make your Daddy and I sometimes, we laugh about you all the time. After you and Kaki go to bed at night or when we are just sitting around on the weekends while you and Kaki are playing/napping we sit and talk and laugh and sigh all about you! We shake our heads and use words like "terd, nugget, problem, the Chade, etc." as we talk. You are the source of our entertainment and most of our grief and we love both parts and don't let us ever make you think we don't... because we love being your parents... more than anything else in this world! 

A typical day in the life of Caden looks something like this: wake-up, eat breakfast and drink chocolate milk. Watch some TV. Play. If you have school we get dressed and head off to school, if not we may run errands or we may just make the best out of our day around the house. You love to play outside and prefer that to nearly anything else. You love to ride your scooter up and down the sidewalk. We even played in the rain the other day because you and Kaki were so desparate to be outside and who am I to argue about that... I can stand a little rain any day! You love to march and wave your flags out in the backyard. And you love to pick up a football and play a game, complete with full body tackles. You love tackling yourself... I have never seen a more bruised child and it's all self-inflicted. Ay! You still like to act out EVERY piece of each sporting event. You love the band, you love the players, you love the fans... and the SMOKE... you love the fog machine. Maybe, I should get you one for your room someday and every morning you could run out of "the tunnel" through the fog... what a way to start the day. I am sure you would be able to accomplish anything the day had for you if you began it in the fog! 

One of your newest hobbies is coming up with new dance moves... which are an interesting combo of Salsa dancing and Karate ... lots of hip shaking and kicking going on. You also have found an afinity for breakdancing, which is hilarious because your sweet sister seems to think she can do it too and takes her spot rolling around on the floor just like you. Oh my... I think you two could take your show on the road and be quite a hit!

Speaking of you two... you are becoming better and better friends. Y'all play so well together at times and then at other you pick and pick and pick at each other. We've noticed that the picking usually happens more when we are watching, but when you think no one else is watching you two giggle and laugh and play together. In fact, you guys get going so much sometimes that we can't stand ourselves not to come in and check on you because we think that surely anything that funny has got to be no good... but nonetheless it usually involves you and Kaki under a blanket playing peek-a-boo or I'm gonna getcha! Y'all are so funny!

A few new privledges have come with being four. You are allowed to read before bed and sometimes get to play with your new leap pad. You love doing both. You always say that you are never going to be able to go to sleep without doing something first. You are a master at stall tactics and we are constantly having to weigh your requests, based on what we know to be true, to try and sniff you out. You have become an EARLY riser, ever since we lived in the Melo you have decided that 8am is for the birds and 6am is for the worms like you. Likewise, Mommy has learned to become an early riser too and have enjoyed our mornings in the quiet, eating breakfast and hanging out with Daddy before he leaves for work... and then Kaki wakes up... :)

It's always fun to remember what your favorite things are at different ages and see how they change. 

Caden's Favorites:
Food: Hamburgers and onion rings, Bean and cheese burritos, corn dogs
Drinks: Sprite, Gatorade, Water and still a chocolate milk guy
Restaurant: Mighty Fine
Dessert: M&M Blizzard from DQ
Snack: Chex Mix
Fruit: Banana, Strawberries, Grapes
Veggie: brocoli, brussel sprouts (these is new), green beans
Movie: Brave, Cinderella, Polar Express, Peter Pan
Show on TV: Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Doc McStuffins, Word Girl (you also love Austin and Ally on Disney but are not allowed to watch it without me)
CD: Baylor Band and Hillsong Kids
Indoor activity: playing with "men," hockey, orchestra
Outdoor activity: scooter, football, soccer, see-saw
Book: B is for Baylor
Things to do on the weekend: You love FAMILY days and love asking each morning whether or not today is a family day or not. 
Song to Sing: Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer and Jesus Loves Me (the fast version)
Song to Dance to: the High School Musical "basketball song"

UPDATE: Because it has taken me so long to write this letter to you I now must add that you are 110% won-over by all things Batman and Robin! Oh my! The superhero phase has started sweet boy and I think it might be here to stay... for a while...

You decided just yesterday to spend some of your birthday cash on some costumes... Batman, Robin AND Superman for the low, low price of $20... I know that will be the best $20 you ever spent...until the next obsession rolls around! I am sure there will be much more on this to come! Phew!

As I read back through this letter I realize that no matter if I kept writing for the next three weeks I would never capture it all. You are one special, special lil dude and I love you so very much. And more than anything else in this life I want you to know that I LOVE YOU and that Jesus LOVES you and there are a whole lot of other people who love you too... and those things are the most important things for you to know! Don't ever forget how much "your village" loves you! Because OH HOW WE DO... LOVE YOU!!

Happy Fourth Birthday, sweet boy!! We are proud of all you have accomplished this year!

4 Year Old Stats (to come)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy 4th Birthday Caden... Celebration Week!

YAY! We made it to birthdays! First it was Kaki's 18 month birthday and now Caden's turn... he's 4!!! In the words of Michelle Tanner, "Woah, BABY!!" I can hardly believe it! I will get to his 4 year old post soon, complete with a pretty boy photo shoot, but for now I've got lots of birthday week celebrations to document! It was a week FULL of fun! 

It all started on the Saturday before New Year's when I was out and about taking the afternoon to do some hunting around local antique stores. I was on ONLY my first lap through one of my favorite spots when my eye was drawn to these babies...

BAND HATS!! Complete with plume... is that what they're called...plume? Anyway... WHAT AN EXCITING FIND!! So I snatched them up and ran straight to the register and asked the lady behind the counter to hold on to these beauties because they were going home with me!!! When I was recounting this story to Nana and Bop, Bop found it hilarious that I thought ANYONE else would take them... touche, Bop, touche!

I did make quite the scene when I saw them... it was a full on, GASP! then GIGGLE and then the sprint to the register! When I was checking out after making another few laps the lady asked me if I planned on starting a marching band and I politely said, "Not today!" but that I had the cutest little almost 4 year old at home who would LOVE these early birthday surprises!!

And boy did he EVER! Of course he did lament that there was a T and not a B but hey they are green and the PLUME!! So he hopped aboard the thankful train and decided they really were too good to be true... one for him and one for his sidekick... Kaki-pants! Although, Kaki isn't quite so sure she is up for actually wearing the hat on her head... squishing those curls and all!

That afternoon we went to Home Depot and Caden insisted on wearing his hat inside... we had at least 4 different conversations with complete strangers about it and a few giggles from others! It was quite the spectacle...  bless his band-lovin' heart!

On New Year's Eve we had some dear family friends over who have boys the same age as Caden and a little girl who is about a year younger than Kaki... Caden of course thought they were coming over to kick start his birthday celebrations and not to celebrate NYE, and we let him think just that! 

I didn't get ANY pictures from the night except of one after Kaki got ready... she was in a cheesin' mood!

The next morning, New Year's Day aka Caden's BIRTHDAY started off with waffles and presents!! WHOOO HOOOO!

He was a happy, happy boy to have gotten Chutes and Ladders... he loves games!! AND he also got his very own orchestra to conduct!! When I saw it several months ago at Target I knew this had to be his and then with the band hats it just turned out to be quite the little theme and was much appreciated and has been greatly enjoyed by my lil man! It's a really neat toy!!

After a hamburger and onion ring lunch (C's request, of course) we busted out the cake for a little singing and candle #2 of the day! :) Caden asked for a sprinkle cake with sprinkle icing... the first I have ever heard of him mentioning such a thing, but what's funny is that Justin used to ask for this very same cake each year for his birthday from his Grandma... so who knows... maybe it's genetic! :)

He loved that cake and ate at least two pieces a day for the next few days... I took one bite and was done... I was SO over food by the time his birthday rolled around! But not my Caden... he has a sweet-tooth the size of Texas, just like his Daddy! And sister too... 

It was a SUPER fun day of celebrating Caden. Lots of people called to wish him a happy birthday and he was excited to talk to each one! 

BUT the BIG, HUGE event was upcoming... we actually had a FRIEND party for Caden this year! He asked for one and we delivered. One way or another we came up with the Polar Express theme for Caden's party and he loved it and so we ran with it. Having it be after Christmas though we were heavy on the TRAIN part and light on the Santa! We had been talking the party up for WEEKS... months even because we had to book the train so far in advance and I was a little bit nervous about how it would all go. I wasn't sure if Caden would like the attention or if I knew what to do to entertain a bunch of 4 year old boys... but we worked it out and I think it was a great success for our first big boy birthday party... he's already told me next year we're in for another friend party so I guess he enjoyed it too!

I tried not to put too many pics of the guests because not everyone wants their face plastered on someone's blog, but I didn't have many of the train that didn't include a few faces!

But luckily I was able to snap a pic of the birthday boy and his Daddy!!

The kids took popcorn on the train ride and a bell to ring as they traveled through the neighborhood!

When the kids arrived at the party they each decorated a wooden train with markers and stickers to take home as a favor! :) Then they dined on donut hole kabobs, grape kabobs and sausage balls!

Once they got back from their SUPER cold train ride they warmed up with hot chocolate!!

Here are a few pics of the guests while the kids were out riding the train!

Poppa, Gran and Nana

Bop and his Kaki-Lou!

Poor Uncle Josh and his oven burned arm... it's hard work being an uncle who was put in charge of the sausage balls! :)

The Evans fam... :)
Oh yah... and the party guests were asked to wear PJS... because DUH... that's what they do on the Polar Express! :)

Kk and her girl...

Once we passed out the hot chocolate it was cake time!! 

My sweet friend Abbi was snapping pics for me... I thought this was hilarious when I was scrolling through them... Kaki girl don't eat your baby!!

Around the kitchen...

Kaki eating cake...

Hot chocolate and cake for the Caden-man... that's a lot of Cs.

After cake it was pinata time!! WA-HOOO!!!

Each kid got to go through three times before it was finally SMASHED to pieces... it was one sturdy pinata... go Target!

Caden showing his favorite... Smarties! (I always thought that Smarties were "junk candy" when I was little and Caden LOVES them!! Hilarious!)

After all of Caden's sweet friends left it was time to open presents with the family and eat some BBQ. We asked that Caden's birthday party guests not bring presents, so don't think I'm a mean mom and didn't let Caden open them at his party! :)

Caden was spoiled beyond measure with some awesome loot! We are so thankful to everyone who continues to lavish their generosity on our children... they love it so! :) And we don't particularly mind it either.

After presents we got that Kaki girl down for a nap and the rest of us played... Caden took Uncle Josh in the backyard to play with his new see-saw that KK and Albi got him for Christmas! Uncle Josh had Caden dripping sweat for most of the afternoon... playing football and tackle and who knows what!! We all could hear the giggles coming from the play room!! :)

And we made Aunt Emily ride too... she looked like a 4 year old herself, her feet popping up off the ground... she loved it! And said she wanted one for her next birthday!! :-) Nothing says 29 like a see-saw! 

It was a fabulous day of celebrating Caden! We are so thankful to all who came to celebrate with us and those who celebrated with us in spirit! We had such a fun time watching Caden party with his friends and then with his family! I think it is safe to safe that Caden's heart was very full! 

A personal thanks to KK and Aunt Emily for coming into the kitchen and keeping the party in motion... oh and to Uncle Josh too... I forgot he was so handy in the kitchen (ahem, burned arm!). It was so nice to be able to have extra hands! The party was cleaned up before the last kid his the curb... now that's what I call awesome!! Thanks for everything!

Later that night after everyone but KK and Albi went home we went out to get some hamburgers and onion rings to top off an already incredible day of celebrating Caden!


I know... we're not done yet!!

On Sunday night we took Caden and Kaki to the Texas Stars Hockey Game!! It was SOOOO fun and we made it the whole game and even into overtime!! The Stars won and we had such a great time! It was the first sporting event I had been to in a few years... I was loving it! :) Makes me hopeful for some Baylor games next fall!

It was the perfect cap to a big, birthday week for our 4 year old!! What a fun way to celebrate year number FOUR!! We love you, Cade-man!! Happy Birthday DUDE!!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

1.5, 18 Months, 1 1/2, One Year and One Half

Kaki-Pants is 18 months old! ONE YEAR AND ONE HALF! 1 1/2! 1.5 years! I cannot believe it! A few days after Christmas Kaki hit the half way mark to TWO! It was the day we left Waco and I didn't even realize it was the 27th until KK texted us later in the day to wish Kaki a happy halfy birthday! Poor Kaki-girl and every other second child out there... we don't mean it and we DO love you more than you could EVER, EVER know!!

Oh this girl! OH... is a common remark we make around our house when it comes to Kaki! She is Trouble with a captial "T" and Sweet with a big "S" and CUTE in all caps! We laugh so hard at her! SO hard! And we shake our heads even harder. We don't raise our voice at her much but we should... we REALLY should... wink, wink! :) Caden lived in time out at this age and she probably should too... she certainly offends enough but we just can't stand to put our Kaki-Lou behind bars... and it's a mistake... I know it is and it's going to stop... really... it is, but that girl... OH, that girl has us RIGHT where she wants us! And now she's gonna eat us! 

Now, I don't say all of that to say that Kaki is nothing BUT trouble, because she certainly is not. All of that is to remind me someday (3 months from now) what a spirited personality she had at the ripe old age of 18 months. She is always up to something... always! My days at home with her are busy... making sure she is staying out of trouble can be a full time job, but she isn't into everything just to be into it... she has a purpose for everything and can find a "job" in almost any room/drawers/bag/bucket/closet... you name it!

I'm not sure that much has changed since last month but a few things do come to mind!

Foods: a new fav... CREAM CHEESE (whipped only) and crackers... both of my kids love them and would eat them for EVERY meal if I let them. Fruit snacks... girl loves her some fruit snacks.
Drinks: she has joined the juice train and is lovin' it... very diluted still but she asks for it often... ju-sssss. And she likes Sprite watered down too... finally... :)
New Words: ju-sss, sha-sha (shower), so-x, bank-ket, MA-MA (not NA-NA), No (HILARIOUS!)
New Expressions: "there she is" "here you go" they are more sounds that words but they sound very close to the real thing... pretty darn cute!
Favorite Word(s): THANK YOU!! AND "Whoo, whoo, whoo," which is a Cox Family favorite... and it's used whenever we think someone in our house looks especially cute/pretty/handsome/fancy! :)
Skills: turns circles, jump (no feet leave the ground), bubble blowing (with the wand), marching (with one foot)

I just asked Justin what things we wanted to remember about Kaki at this age and he said... and I quote..."That she's a problem... AND that she's the sweetest girl in the world!"

Do you see our dilemma? It really is a problem... WE are the problem! WE! She is a problem and we are the solution! BUT if we are the problem, we can't be the solution! Oh the irony!

More than anything I want to remember how Kaki is NOT stingy with her hugs and kisses, how she always has a smile tucked away somewhere and usually we don't have to do anything to get one. I want to remember her curly blond hair and those big blue eyes and how they twinkle when you look at her. I want to remember her good manners and how she says thank you without prompting 9 times out of 10. I want to remember the times she grabs people's hands and leads them through the house. I want to remember how she loves her grandparents and makes it a point to bond with each of them individually, they each hold such a special place in her heart! I want to remember how her aunts and uncles love on her and how she loves them back. I want to remember how much she plays and pretends and already uses her imagination to retreat to other worlds. I want to remember that even when she's sick she still finds the joy in her day. I want to remember the way she looks with her paci in her mouth and her lovie in her hand. I want to remember how she and Caden play together and also how they poke at each other. I want to remember the building blocks of their relationship. I want to remember how she looks after a meal... messy, crusty, cute. I want to remember how much she dislikes long car trips so I can fully appreciate the day when she enjoys them! I want to remember how she looks at me, her Daddy and her brother. Oh, I want to remember it all!

AND OH, I love this girl!! To the moon and back!! And back again!!

And a few more things to help me remember Kaki-girl at the one and a half...

Her 18 month "photo-shoot:"

Love this next one... but the SNOT... oh the snot! I guess we captured real life! :)

CURLS!! So many curls!!

Trying on hats in her room...

She is getting SO good at saying cheese... can you tell??

And this one is going to be hanging LOUD and PROUD on a wall near me VERY SOON! :-) Love that girl!!

Happiest Birthday to my favorite 18 month old!!