Sunday, February 28, 2010

Six Months Old

How is it possible that half a year has gone by already? I hardly recognize the little peanut that we brought home from the hospital; he has grown into a little tank. At least that is what we thought. At his six month well-check, the doctor informed us that, while he was in he 75th percentile in height and head circumference, he was only in the 25th percentile for weight. So, we're gonna work to put some meat on him bones this month. He sure doesn't look like he's starving though.

Traveling confirmed my initial impression, Kaden is most definitely a people person. Not only did he love meeting all his new friends in Lexington and Brooklyn, he made sure to smile at each and every person that crossed his way. In every airport, on every flight, in every cab, and on the streets of Brooklyn, Kaden flirted shamelessly with anyone and everyone who was willing to acknowledge him. If they game him a smile or a compliment the little smirk turned into a mega-watt grin. He certainly knows how it is done - another trait earned from dear old Dad.

Kaden's new favorite activity is his Jumperoo. For a while, his feet didn't touch the floor. Now, he is the perfect size and jumps to his heart's content. After breakfast, he goes into the jumper while I prepare for the day. He turns the pages on the book, spins the ducks in the globe, and attempts to eat the plastic tomato, corn, and carrot. Recently, he grasped the purpose of the contraption and seemed mighty surprised by the concept. If he had his way, he would be in it all day...things, however, must get done. As it is, the Jumperoo songs are going through my mind even as my head hits the pillow...."one little horse plays peek-a-boo."

After a month of a pure oatmeal and rice diet, we decided it was time to add some variation. So, we introduced fruits and veggies. We started with peas. He was not a fan.

It didn't take long though and Kaden's palate was transformed. He is loving trying all the new foods - we introduce one every other day or so. Favorite fruit - apples. Favorite veggie - tie between butternut squash and zucchini. Now, we need to work on introducing these foods to Dad! Not only is Kaden trying new things, he is also getting a bit picky. This is especially true when it comes to the temperature of his milk. Whereas Dad likes his almost frozen, Kaden requires his at least room temperature. If it is too cool for his liking, he simply opens his mouth and lets it all drool out. Then, he looks up at me with a milk goatee and gives me that big gummy grin. I melt.

It seems like every time I turn around Kaden has something in his mouth. It could be a toy, or his hands, even other people's hands if they will allow it. If he can get his hands on it, it goes directly into his mouth. Anything and everything right into his mouth. And the drool...oh, the drool. There are pools and pools of it.

And here is the reason. Kaden got two teeth this month!!! One day, they just appeared. Luckily, these two didn't bring all the symptoms that most kiddos complain about. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the others break through just as easily. The problem with teeth, they make nursing quite interesting. Only recently he's figured out how to bite. The sudden and expressive reaction I give (ouch!) makes him giggle, which makes me smile, which is definitely sending the wrong message. Not a game we want to reinforce.

Our pediatrician informed us that around six months children should begin to babble. Although Kaden seems to know what he is saying, it isn't so much "babbling" as just grunting, screaming, cooing, and blowing raspberries. Regardless, this month we are going to work on getting Kaden to articulate some consonants. This entails me sounding like a madwoman as I go around constantly repeating "ma ma ma ma" "da da da da" "ba ba ba ba." He smiles at me as if to say, " Woman, you sure are crazy, but I love you anyway." Of course, I am looking forward to hearing him say "Mama" for the first time, especially if there is some meaning behind it as opposed to random consonants just being strung together. Until then, his precious giggle and heavenly smile keep me captivated. He is pure LOVE.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I *Heart* NY...Brooklyn To Be Exact

Gammi, Kaden, and I went to New York to visit my very best friend, Miriam Stern, and her new baby girl, Lila. What can I say about this experience? It meant the world to me. It was so very special to meet this little girl who will one day call Miriam "Mom." Lila may look like her dad, but she is her mother's daughter - she is as fiesty as they come, tiny as a ladybug, sweet as can be, and crazy advanced for her eight weeks of age. I should say I was amazed that she was holding her head up, smiling, rolling over, and just generally "with it," but I really didn't expect anything less from the Stern baby. What I didn't expect...that it would be so hard for me to say good-bye to my best friend and her beautiful baby girl. Dear Gabriel, Miriam, and Lila - thank you so much for letting us stay at your fantastic place while we were visiting. A special thanks to Gabe for understanding our friendship (and putting up with it). Miriam - I miss you every day.

Friends since 7th grade, it was bizarre watching our children meet one another for the first time. Kaden got fresh with little Lila by trying to hold (and then eat) her hand. What can a boy do when she wears those midriff showing shirts?

On our trip to NY, we also had the opportunity to introduce Kaden to his cousin Teddy Koshgerian. They were super cute together! Only two months apart in age, I think they will have a lot of fun growing up together - too bad we are so far apart geographically! Teddy is as cute as they come. He has some great expressions and even his cry "mama mama mama mama" is adorable. I can't wait to see how much he has grown this summer at the Shore. Dear Rick, Liz, and Teddy - thank you so much for making the drive down from Philly. It was great to see all three of you and it meant a lot that you made the effort.

My cousin, Leslie Grant, also lives in Brooklyn. She has a brand new baby boy too! Lee Grant was only four weeks old when she hosted all of us at her home for dinner. Color me impressed! Leslie's husband, Alex, cooked a wonderful dinner for the whole family. We had the best time catching up over good food, good wine, and great conversation. Even the babies cooperated! I can't wait to see Mr. Lee (and his parents) when he comes out to California to visit his grandparents. Dear Alex, Leslie, and Lee - thank you so much for your hospitality and having us all over to your home for dinner. It was so much cozier than a restaurant!

Our Men
Leslie and Lee, Mama and Kaden, Liz and Teddy

Liz and Teddy, Mama and Kaden, Rick, Alex, Leslie, and Steve

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

'Travelin Man Part II

Included in Kaden's travels was his first night in a hotel. Very interesting. He slept in a Pack n' Play provided by the hotel, but we had to put sheets around it so that he couldn't see through the mesh - if he sees people while he is trying to get to sleep he gets distracted and wants to stay up and play. Since we couldn't make much noise, and didn't want to keep the lights on too bright, Gammi and I read for a little while and then turned in soon after we put Kaden to sleep. Lesson learned: if Kevin and I travel with Kaden we will need to either get two adjoining hotel rooms; a suite with a separate room; or go through VRBO and rent a house/apartment/condo etc. Another reason babies are so expensive!

He's got the hang of this flying thing.

Hanging with Mom in the airport while we wait for Delta to find a gate for our plane. Unfortunately, they couldn't seem to find one; we were delayed making us miss our connection in Detroit. Kaden didn't mind a bit. After 3+ hours in the Dallas airport, a few hours in the Detroit airport didn't phase him!

Kiddie Corral

While in Lexington, I had the absolute pleasure of spending an entire day with two of my closest friends, Allison Culbertson and Emily Stuart, and their children, Sadie and Everett Stuart and Lucy Culbertson. It was the first time Al and Em met Kaden, and the first time I got to meet Everett and Lucy. We had a great time catching up, swapping stories, and generally adoring all the kids.

Sadie is now two, and I haven't seen her for well over a year. Wow! This little one is all girl: she prances everywhere, has a vocabulary that would make a five-year old jealous, is full of spirit, and is the most well mannered little girl I have ever met. She was a joy to be around!

Everett is two months younger than Kaden but has already outgrown him. He seems to be the most easy-going baby there is, and those cheeks!!! I could love on him all day long.

Lucy is the most beautiful baby girl imaginable. At just four weeks old, she was quite alert and took in all the chaos around her. I am positive her disposition will be just as angelic as her little face. I couldn't get enough of holding the little bundle, it is amazing how quickly they grow!

I am so lucky to have these women in my life. I am more and more convinced that we should all live on a commune; we could see one another every day and bask in the joy of watching our children grow up together. Plus...a few more hands, heads, and hearts never hurts!

Traxx Companies

One afternoon during our Lexington visit, we took Kaden down to Pop's office to show him off. Our little ham couldn't get enough of all the compliments. He definitely played to the crowd! Thanks to all the ladies (and Jay) for making such a fuss over our guy. We'll be back to visit in May!

New Recruit

During their visit to Lexington, Ba Noi and Papa stayed at a nearby Marriott hotel. Due to the snowstorm, rather than coming out to my parents' house for breakfast, we met them at the hotel. As luck would have it, Coach Cal - the University of Kentucky Men's Basketball coach - was sitting right across from us. Since Kaden is such a big CATS fan, we rudely interrupted the interview that was being conducted and asked for a quick photo. Coach Cal was extremely gracious and agreed - probably because he didn't want to offend a potential 2028 recruit! Coach Cal, thanks for making the CATS so fun to watch this year. We are looking forward to following your team all the way to Indy and another NCAA victory! Oh, thanks for the photo too!

Chinese New Year and Li Xi

This year, the Chinese New Year fell on the same day as Valentine's Day. Since we were in Lexington, Ba Noi and Papa drove in from St. Louis to help us celebrate. Ba Noi gave Kaden his first Li Xi. This is a Vietnamese tradition where newly minted notes with consecutive serial numbers are placed in a red envelope and given to children by their relatives during the Lunar New Year. The red envelope symbolizes good luck and wealth. As soon as we got home, we put the new notes in Kaden's piggy bank. Thanks Ba Noi and Papa!

Making New Friends

During our trip to Lexington, Kaden made many new friends. He loved meeting each and every one of them and is looking forward to spending more time with them on future visits to Lexington.

Kaden meets Randall and Angie Wells

Kaden meets Mr.and Mrs. Maggard - Kaden meets Dana and Corey Burns

Kaden meets Judge Hood - Kaden meets Jacki Owens

Kaden meets Nalise and Patsy Pieratt

This Isn't Sand

Soon after arriving in Lexington, there was a pretty great snowstorm. I think six inches fell out at my parents' house. We decided to take the opportunity to get Kaden all bundled up and introduce him to snow. The snow looked a bit like the sand this Southern California boy is used to, but one touch of the cold stuff made him realize he wasn't at the beach anymore.

He didn't seem to mind the cold, but he did not like being bundled up. He sure makes a cute little snow man though!

'Travelin Man

Kaden recently got his first pair of wings! On February 11th, the whole family went to Lexington for a long weekend. From there, Kaden, Gammi, and I went to New York to visit family and friends (who are essentially family). The trip started a little dicey as our flight to Lexington was cancelled three times and we were re-routed three times.

Daddy and Kaden sharing a seat. Kaden doesn't look too sure about the whole thing, but he did great on all five (yep, count em, FIVE ) flights!

Hanging out in the Dallas airport - notice the snow outside

We finally arrived in Lexington on Thursday night...our bags, however, did not. Good thing Gammi is one of the most prepared people we know! Kaden had everything he needed (and then some).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Who Loves You, Baby?

First attempt at a Valentine photo:

Second attempt:


The Kissing Bandit