Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Eleven Months Old

I am so far behind on this month's post because I have been busy working on developing a "Little Pill." A Little Pill is exactly what it sounds like, a pill to give my baby that will make him stay a baby...or at least stretch time so that he doesn't grow so quickly. So far, all efforts have been unsuccessful. My baby is turning into a little boy right before my eyes. I know it happens a little everyday, but when I look at photos from this month it seems as though it happened overnight. All of a sudden, he is a big boy - big boy food, big boy pajamas, big boy antics! The best of these new antics is blowing kisses when he is told, "No." The boy thinks he can get away with anything !

Kaden's personality really exploded this month! It seems as though he has inherited the "class clown" title from his father. Kaden finds everything funny and giggles at the drop of the hat. He even has a different giggle for every occasion - a full fledged laugh for when he is being tickled, a silly little giggle when Dad does something funny or when Mom is having trouble with something (opening a window, carrying too many groceries, fidgeting with the car seat, etc.), and a vibrating chuckle when he does something amusing. He also gives a great big grin whenever he thinks it will make someone return the favor. His favorite game is Peek-A-Boo and he his now the active participant - he will duck down behind a bench and pop up as soon as he hears, "Where's Kaden?" He is delighted when we show our surprise at his re-appearance.

I went into Kaden's room the other day and saw that my baby boy takes up almost the entire crib! He has gotten so big so quickly. I remember when he was so small that he appeared to be only a speck in his great big bed. Now, when he wakes up from naps, he stands at the end of the crib that faces the door and calls for us. He's really becoming his own little person!

Kaden's car is still a big hit. He thinks he is so big riding it around the neighborhood. He steers the wheel, honks the horn, and points to all the other cars as if to say, "Hey, I'm driving one of those too." Actually, this month brought a fascination with vehicles in general. He loves his books about cars and trucks, he loves playing with anything that resembles a vehicle (train, boat, plane, truck), and he is obsessed with the wheels of his stroller. When we are out and about and he sees a fire truck, he stops, points, and emits a squeal. If he hears a helicopter or airplane, he stops and looks to the sky. It's so funny to me that he is drawn to all things "little boy."

Kaden is jabbering up a storm - clearly, he is taking after his father in many ways! Most things he points to are "Ba," but he also says Dada, Mama, Yes, and Bye-bye. I'm not entirely sure that anyone other than me (and sometimes his Dad) can figure out what he is saying, but saying it he is. He's also using his signs - we've taught him how to sign more, all done (or finished), water, hungry, please, and thank you. The only one he has down pat is more - of course, our hungry boy is never finished! Instead of signing thank you, he makes a kiss sound...that works for me!

On our trips to St. Louis and Ocean City, Kaden discovered stairs. All he wanted to do was crawl up and down, up and down, up and down. I was shocked that he seemed to know exactly what he was doing. All I can say is thank goodness we don't have stairs at our house, I would have the strongest thigh muscles around. Hmmm, maybe I do wish we had stairs...

Kaden also enjoys opening and closing doors, especially our front door. Most of the time he remembers that he needs to get out of the way so that the door can swing open and closed, but every now and again he knocks himself down.

He also appears to know how to work the remote control. He's seen his father do this once or twice...or a million trillion times.

Kaden has also learned how to shake his groove thing! Whenever a song comes on that he fancies, he bops about to the beat. My favorite is when we are out shopping and he is bouncing to and fro in the cart!

My little man.

I can hardly believe it has almost been a year since we brought this tiny little bundle home from the hospital. It makes me weepy thinking about how quickly 365 days have past. If anyone comes up with this Little Pill, please let me know as soon as possible! While I love watching him grow, the months are flying by all too fast.

Summer Vacation Part 2

The second part of our summer vacation was spent at the beach in Ocean City, NJ, with my family. My family has spent our summers at "The Shore" for as long as I can remember. The town itself, dubbed "America's Greatest Family Resort," is as cute as they come, but we really go for the people...our extended family and the friends we have made over the years. My father's brother's family lives in Pennsylvania. When we were young, we didn't have the opportunity to see them very often, so every summer we met at in OC. For many years, we all rented a big house and stayed together. My fondest memories stem from those times. Now, we are carrying on the tradition with the third generation.

The beach is not entirely unfamiliar to Kaden, but being able to play in the warm water was a treat. It took him a few tries to get used to the waves splashing up on his belly, but once he figured out that we weren't going to allow him to be swept out to sea he loved it. I spent most of the time fretting that our little albino was going to get a sunburn. Thankfully, he has grown quite patient when we slather him in sunscreen.

Something entirely new to Kaden was the amusement park. The first time we took him he wasn't sure what to think - all the noise, lights, people, and action were more than he was ready for. As with everything that is unfamiliar to him, he spends some time taking it all in and then makes a decision as to whether or not he is comfortable with the situation. One of the many things I love about him is that he doesn't make instant judgments on a situation. After taking it all in, he decided that he very much liked amusement park rides. He went on the Flying Dumbo ride with Dad and insisted on handling the controls himself; he rode the carousel so many times that I was surprised he didn't fall down from dizziness; and the arcade kept him quite amused (anything with buttons, levers, or steering wheels peeks his curiosity).

Teddy (Kaden's second cousin and new favorite playmate) and Kaden were thrilled to meet the patriarch of the family, Uncle Rich Oski. Uncle Rich wasn't sure what to think of the rambunctious rugrats.

Miriam and Lila drove in from New York and stayed with us for a few days. I always love spending time with Miriam, but even more so now that I get to squeeze her precious little girl. Lila is all smiles and she was smitten with Kaden (of course!). The wedding planning has already begun.

Kaden found his way into the cooler as Pop was trying to get it packed for the beach...he is great at preventing you from accomplishing certain tasks!

While we were in Ocean City, the Northeast was experiencing a sweltering heat wave. Getting the kids down to the beach between naps and meals was a chore in and of itself, so we brought the beach (or at least the water) to the kids. Teddy and Kaden spent quite a bit of time in the kiddie pool we set up in the shade of the garage. It was the perfect way for them to cool off!

Kaden loved spending time with Gammi, Pop, and Uncle Paul.

Every year, my family would take two special photos. We always made sure to get a family photo on the boardwalk - looking through them today fills me with equal amounts of nostalgia and embarrassment (my hair, my clothes, my poses!?). The second photo we always found time for was taken in a photo booth at the arcade - Dad would get a strip of four photos with each of the kids. I remember thinking how corny it was when I was a teenager, now I treasure each and every one. I'm sure I will end up making some of our own family traditions, but for now I will just recreate the ones I grew up with.

Kevin couldn't stay the entire time, so he flew back to San Diego - work sure does get in the way of fun sometimes. We were able to Skype with him one night, which was fun for all of us.

The flight back was less than enjoyable. Kaden was able to get his own seat from Philly to Nashville, so he did great. Once we got to Nashville things went downhill quickly. First, our flight was delayed for two hours. Trying to find something to entertain an eleven month old in an airport for three hours is tricky business. Prior to having children, I remember passing these kid play areas in public places and proclaiming that I would never allow MY child to touch what is certainly a cesspool of germs. Turns out, I made quite a few proclamations about parenthood that I have since retracted. My child did indeed play in the cesspool of germs and enjoyed every second of it. As it turns out, that is the way you keep a child occupied and entertained during long layovers.

As a child, my summers were special times. Now that I am a parent and have the knowledge that the calendar turns entirely too quickly, I realize that these summers with my baby boy are priceless, that the memories we make I will always cherish, and that these are truly treasured times.

Summer Vacation Part 1

Recently, we took our family summer vacation. We started the trip by visiting family and friends in Belleville, IL and St. Louis, MO. Kaden met most of Kevin's side of the extended family, many for the first time. We also took him by the County Prosecutor's Office to show him off to my former colleagues and friends. The weather was typical for that of a Midwest summer - hot and humid - but Kaden didn't seem to mind too much. We even experienced one of those great summer storms; scarier than I remember, but Kaden slept right through it.

The highlight of this part of our trip was Kaden meeting his Great Grandma, Mary Flynn. Grandma, as she is known to us, is Kaden's paternal grandmother and is ninety-three years old! She is in great shape, both mentally and physically, for her age. We've kept in touch with Grandma by sending photos and updates of Kaden, but seeing the two of them meet for the first time was a really special moment for Kevin and me. I think Grandma and Kaden enjoyed themselves too. Kaden was obsessed with Grandma's walker - like everything, he turned it in to his own little jungle gym. I was so worried he was going to somehow break it, but Grandma didn't seem to be too worried.

Ba Noi and Papa invited the entire extended family over for a Saturday cook-out. The food was wonderful - the fried catfish and fresh veggies from Aunt Kathy and Uncle Walter made my day - and the company even better. Most all of the extended family, and many of our friends, came to spend some time with Kaden.

Clockwise from top left: Colleen and Kaden, Uncle Walter and Kaden, Aunt Kathy and Kaden (who is giving Uncle Kevin a high-five), and Kaden and his new friend Owen Terry.

Ba Noi's brother, Ron, came all the way from Sacramento, CA to meet Kaden.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

And We're Off!

We are off to see Kevin's side of the family in St. Louis, MO/Belleville, IL, and then on to Ocean City, NJ to visit with my side. This will be the first time many have had the opportunity to meet our little man and I am positive he will charm them as he has us. Fingers crossed he is on his best behavior (especially on the cross-country flights)!

(I snapped this photo on our way back from Kentucky in May - he loved looking out the plane's window.)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

So, like all of his first holidays (see the Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, and St. Patrick's Day posts), I wanted to dress Kaden up in a 4th of July outfit. You know, real Uncle Sam sort of stuff - top hat, cotton ball beard, red and white suspenders holding up blue pants with white stars. Then I thought to myself, I can hardly get him to sit still for his monthly photo with the toy giraffe and he rips off every hat I put on his sweet little head, how in the world will I get him to cooperate with my foolishness? Drugging him with children's Benadryl came to mind, but you have to draw the line somewhere. It seems my line is drawn somewhere before drugging; I scrapped the idea and snapped this photo instead.

We celebrated Independence Day at a pool party with friends. The weather was not at all cooperative (65 degrees, overcast and breezy), so no one ended up in the pool. Regardless, the kids had a great time playing with one another while the adults sipped a few cocktails and indulged in classic American cook-out fare.

The ladies and their babies (minus Kaden, he was down for a nap in Brooke's room).

Kaden checking out Miss Brooke

Kaden's buddies

That evening, our street was shut down for an old-fashioned block party. There was a band, dancing, food, drinks, and all sorts of fun. It was the perfect time for Kaden to show off his new ride (another early birthday gift from Gammi and Pop). You can't really tell from the photo, but he's got the pose down just right - reclined with one hand on the wheel. He thinks he is pretty cool! Once bedtime rolled around, we put Kaden in his crib and then headed back out to the porch to watch fireworks. I still have a child-like fascination with fireworks so I can hardly wait to share them with Kaden. Maybe next year he will be old enough to stay up and watch them too.