Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Stopped-in-my-tracks Grateful

It was one of those days.  You know, the ones where your baby poops all over you & your two-year-old prefers to throw tantrums instead of nap?  I think it was probably following one of those nights where baby & I were up several times, both a little "on edge" during the day.  Of course Bryan was at work and I was left to manage the troops on my own.

Then I heard it from the kitchen. I was standing at the island, catching my breath, taking in the mess around me. Belly giggles.  Lots of belly giggles.  I grabbed the phone/camera and ducked into the living room.

We are just starting to experience more moments where the two kids interact. Addie has started to love making her brother laugh and of course Cayden soaks up the attention.  I stood in the doorway watching them and tears welled up in my eyes. This is what it is about. Immediately the poop, tantrums, exhaustion and frustrations left my mind. I just sat in this moment..and of course made a video.  Who am I kidding, I can never "just sit" for anything!


I have probably watched it a million times since then, it never seems to get old. And we've played lots of games of "peek" with baby since that day.  We are really enjoying this stage, but I can't help but think about the ways these two will grow up laughing together.  I'm sure there will be shenanigans and I know there will be fights, but Lord-willing, there will be lots more belly giggles.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cayden 8 Month Update

Today is the day! Can you believe it?  ...not the fact that I've kept a second child alive for eight months, but that this blog post is making it up on the actual day!  Yeah. Be impressed. And just so you know, I actually got two things done today.

Without further delays, here's the man of the hour:

  • He's got two little teeth in there! Do you see them?  Worked awfully hard for those suckers.
  • Eating lots of foods.  Baby foods, from the fruitbowl, from mom's plate..whatever is easiest at any given meal.  2nd child probs.
  •  Plays peek-a-boo with sister (video to follow!) and giggles excessively.


  • Naps twice a day. Up for 3-4 hours after each nap.
  • As for the night sleep, I don't want to talk about it.  But if you see me running errands, please don't comment on my mismatched shoes and frazzled hair.  And feel free to buy me a coffee :)
  • Favorite toy?  His sister's princess castle. Makin' his dad proud!  This is a legit castle, Cayden uses it to pull himself up towards the standing position & it sings songs. What's not to love?
    • See those hairs?  They are about  one-hundred-thousand times longer than his sister's hair was at that age.  I'm pretty sure our little guy is going to need a haircut before his sissy.
    • Cayden is moving EVERYWHERE. He rolls, scoots backwards and makes his way around a room by sitting, flopping to his stomach, then returning to the sitting position - pretty much most difficult way imaginable to get from point A to point B.  Not crawling yet, but getting close!
    • I have no idea why these bullet points look different than the ones above. #techchallenged
      That about sums up the updates of our little guys!  He is still such a joy, we are incredibly in love & so grateful for this little treasure.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

40 Days TV Free

"Ipad Bues Cues". Mama interpretation - Ipad Blues Clues. 

We've always done pretty good at limiting TV time around the house but recently we discovered Amazon Prime Instant Video. Perfect for small group...and car rides..and when mom needs to clean, or cook, feed baby or relax..  You get the idea. Things got out of hand fast. Especially in the final stretch of this brutal winter.

It had to come to a stop and Lent seemed like the perfect timing. The first few days were rough, we had to erase apps from the Ipad, both our phones, and unplug the TV.  Who knew it was surrounding us so much!? Not only were there big changes for Addie, but Bryan and I sat down to relax at 9 last week and we didn't turn Parenthood on.  

We are only a week into this adjustment. But honestly, it has been amazing. 

Our sweet Addie is more focused in her playing. Sounds silly, right?  But she'd never really sit and watch a movie, we'd have the TV on while she played puzzles, hung out with her doll, read books or colored pictures. Now she is completely focused in what she is doing. And she is getting more one on one attention. This has been hard in some respects, I've had to be more disciplined in saving chores for nap times or encouraging Addie to "help" and being willing for the chores to take twice as long.  But it has been so great for Addie's development and for our relationship.

I expected this to be good for Addie, but I didn't expect it to be as good & hard for Bryan and I.  Who knew we had fallen into the routine of 9PM TV time?  Now that it isn't an option we are doing some evening work, getting into better conversations, and not necessarily staying up as late.  It has been good for our marriage and good for us individually.

I don't know what happened on the Bachelor Monday night...its actually kind of driving me nuts. And we are falling further and further behind in the movies we've seen - Redbox ones are even too new for us to recognize!  But we are loving it. Most of the time.

Confessions - 

Monday Bryan had an important phone call at 5. I ran to Aldi "quick", only to get stuck in line behind a family of 46 people (I've never been great at counting). In our frazzled state, I told Bryan to throw a movie in for Addie. She was sure to stay quiet for the 5-10 minutes she'd be without close supervision.  I got home and tiptoed by Bryan upstairs...Addie wasn't even watching the movie, she was causing trouble.  TV backfire!

Last night, I had a moment of weakness.  We sat down around 9, wiped from a wild two weeks and I just wanted to veg out. I didn't want to read, didn't want to work, didn't want to talk. Just wanted to be entertained. My willing husband was quick to oblige to my request for some entertainment. We even had the Ipad out. I was humming Parenthood's theme song and joining them at their candlelit backyard table. Thankfully our angelic son stopped us in our tracks, waking up after just 10 minutes of sleep.  Saved by the  Bell  Baby

So, if you find yourself in a funk or just wanting to do more with your evenings. Try a TV (or even screen, gasp!) fast. Its a great way to challenge yourself, break out of the norm, and it is super helpful for honing in on the things that really matter.  Besides, you can always read about what happened on The Bachelor in the check out line at Target :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Cayden 7 Month Update

A quick update on our little man!  At 7  months Cayden:
  • Loves baths
  • Eats cereal without too many faces, but is very expressive when we try to work in fruits and veggies
  • Adores his sister
  • Has started saying "mamamama" when hungry 
  • Does a "crazy dance" when tired (consists of throwing this head around and wiggling his whole body)
  • Starting to be less comfortable with strangers
  • Scoots backwards when attempting to crawl
  • Sleeps on his tummy
  • Started sleeping 11 hours overnight, just getting up once to eat (Hallelujah!)
  • Got his first nasty cold, that turned into RSV (poor guy)
  • Loves being sung too, especially the alphabet since that is what is sister is into right now
  • Is still squeezing into 9 month clothes
  • Snuggles after naps and before bed
  • Often goes from sitting to being on his tummy
  • Enjoys being around other babies and watching animals

100% boy

Everything goes right.to.the.mouth.

Bath-time - a favorite around these parts

In the tent in the living room

Enjoying the zoo!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Our Little Monkey - 2 Years

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated Addie's 2nd birthday. One one hand it is hard to imagine life without Addie, but on the other it is crazy that 2 years have already gone by since she entered our lives.  Her creativity and heart for "helping" drives us crazy some days but we love it. I can't wait to see who this lovable, caring, spunky, smart toddler turns into as a young lady!

For the sake of my memory, I thought I'd jot down of the fun things that Addie does at this age.

  • Loves singing!  She has a princess toy that plays some of the Disney princess songs, Addie buzzes through all of them until she gets to The Little Mermaid's "Part of Your World" and belts it out. We also sing the ABC's a lot, Jesus Loves Me, & If You're Happy and You Know It.
  • She's got moves you've never seen.  I don't know where Addie learned these dance moves, but I hope she wasn't watching me! I probably have a million videos of it on my phone because every day, it cracks me up. We have a lot of dance parties and love burning energy this way before bedtime.
  • Talk about mother-in-training. Cayden never goes a minute without some attention: his sister is constantly bringing him toys, kissing his head, rubbing his back and talking to him. I hope they stay this way forever.
  • One smart cookie. We are always amazed how we can say or do something one time, but how Addie always seems to catch it and repeats. She is learning her colors, shapes, numbers and letters.  Our little lady loves puzzles of all sorts and matching games.
  • Little Michelangelo. This girl is contantly coloring with crayons, chalk, or markers. She can be found at her easel or seated at her little table throughout the day, very focused on her current piece of art.
  • The Helper.  Whether you want help or not, Addie is constantly dragging her chairs and step stool around to "assist" with whatever is going on.  Doing your make-up?  She's there. Changing diapers?  Addie is all.over.it.  Chopping veggies? You better keep an eye on that knife!  Sometimes I try to get something done really quick and hear the inevitable noise of her chair being dragged across the floor. 
  • Athlete in the making. Though Addie isn't especially rambunctious for a toddler, she is super active.  Our mornings are filled with making forts and jumping in them, doing workout videos, playing basketball, going down the slide, driving cars around, and chasing each other or Mia.  All inside. We cannot wait for summer!
  • Too busy to eat. This girl has a sweet tooth, just like her mama.  But when she isn't being bribed with snacks or treats, she is usually too busy to stop and eat. In fact, meats & veggies are really hard to get into that tummy!  In addition to sugar, Addie loves fruits, smoothies, PB&Js and pretty much any carb.
  • Other favorites - Bathtime, follow-the-leader, playing with friends, frosting cookies, emptying dresser during naptime, dressing up in rainboots, playing with dolls, watching movies, and of course, the Ipad.
Here are some 2 year pictures from our sweet friend, Gina Zeidler!  And be sure to check out her blog here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cayden 6 Month Update

Our sweet boy turned 6 months old a few weeks backand this is the first chance I've had to document it!  Things have been a bit of a whirlwind with birthday celebrations,  busy workloads, and a sleepless baby.  But without anymore delay, here's Cayden:

Movement - Cayden is a wiggle worm. He loves to kick and bounce. Though he is an excellent sitter, he isn't one for a lot of rolling (unless you put in on his tummy, in which he will flip to his back without much hesitation). The exersaucer has been a lot of fun this past month, he will jump and throw himself around in that thing for a good 20 minutes at a time.

Eating - We've introduced solid foods at the end of this month, with the hopes that it would improve Cayden's sleeping. He enjoys cereal and pretty much all fruits and vegetables. Right now we are feeding him solids in the evenings, then he nurses or takes a bottle about every three hours throughout the rest of the day.

Sleeping - As you may have caught on, we haven't made much progress in the sleeping department. At one time it seemed like we were having some success in sleep training but the past few weeks have showed some regression. At 6 months, our little man was waking up every 90 minutes or so!

Interaction - Our little guy can be quite the snuggler. I love nuzzling my nose against his, he brings his whole head in and tucks it into my neck. These moments make she wish he would never grow up. He loves interacting on the changing table, we do lots of tickling and singing, Cayden squeals with delight. Some of his favorite games are peek-a-boo, patty cake, airplane, and singing songs.

These images were captured by our talented friend Gina Ziedler  Friends, she is amazing. Check our here blog here.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Keeping Goals in Perspective

It is that time of year again, time for people to dream and visualize a "successful" 2014. I love setting goals. Absolutely LOVE it. But I've found that sometimes, I put a little too much emphasis in my goal setting.  Track with me for a few minutes.

This past week, the kids and I were home one night. Cayden was sitting on the floor while his sister ran around bringing him toys, helping him grasp at things, and covering him in kisses.  He was soaking it all up. His gummy smile and squeals of delight egged his sister on. Watching my two children interact was absolutely precious. The 5 minutes of sheer joy was one of the top 3 moments of 2013. It actually brought tears to my eyes.

The timing was absolutely impeccable. That same night, once the kiddos were in bed, I sat down with a journal to do some thinking about 2014 goals. That moment stuck with me. I did NOTHING to make it happen. It didn't matter how many books I had read, miles I had run, or the progress I made at work - my kids love each other and laugh often. How blessed am I?

I'm still making a list of goals. I still want to log my miles, read books, and progress my career...but things were really put into perspective for me. By the grace of God, some of my most breathtaking moments of 2014 won't be ones that my goals help me accomplish. They will be simple, pure moments. Those unexpected times when things just happen.

I hope that your year is full of those moments as well. May the most unexpected and un-deserved gifts completely rock your world.

P.S. Check out www.LaraCasey.com/blog for some goal-setting guidance!  #2014GoalSetting