Thursday, February 28, 2013

BaNoi and Papa Come to Town

We were excited to welcome BaNoi and Papa back to San Diego for a visit.  Kaden had lots of activities planned - our little tour guide likes to show his extended family his favorite parts of the city.  Our first stop was the Birch Aquarium.  As usual, he wanted to take the bus there.  I'm not sure what he likes better, the bus ride or the aquarium.  Once there, Kaden ran around showing BaNoi and Papa his favorite exhibits...and kept wondering why they didn't keep up!  Kaden also wanted to show them the Midway Aircraft Carrier.  Again, he wanted to show BaNoi and Papa the highlights of the tour and couldn't figure out why they spent so much time listening to the audio tour.  Turns out that Papa was listening closely and filling out a kids' tour sheet so that Kaden could earn his wings!  Their last night in San Diego, we took in the sunset.  It was a nice visit and we look forward to seeing them again soon.  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Waite's Visit

Kevin's friend from childhood, Garry, is a fantastic guy.  That being said, the very best thing about him is his mom, Mary Waite!  She and her husband, Larry, were out in San Diego visiting Larry's son and they took the time to stop by and say hi.  We are so happy they did!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Sweetest Day...Made Even Sweeter

This year, we celebrated Valentine's Day from sun up to sun down.  It started with a special breakfast, giant love bug balloon, and a little gift (a book and a trash grabber tool).  We continued the celebration with an especially sweet party at Kaden's preschool.  Little did we know, the sweetest part of the day was yet to come.

Brooke, Natalie, and Kaden at the Valentine's Day party.
Our friends, Natalie and Mark, were expecting their second child to arrive via scheduled c-section on February 21st.  Their little girl, however, just couldn't wait and decided that she wanted to celebrate Valentine's Day as well.  So, on February 14th, we welcomed Brynn Laurel to this wonderful world.  She is a tiny bundle of love and it was perfectly fitting that she be born on the sweetest day of the year.  This unexpected event provided Kaden and Brooke with the opportunity to continue their Valentine's Day celebration with an impromptu sleepover!  While I was at the hospital with Natalie, Kevin proved himself to be fully capable of handling two three-year olds.  He took them to the park, fixed them dinner (which they both ate), picked out a movie, read them books, and got them ready for bed, proving to me he can do a whole lot more than he lets on when it comes to childcare duties!

The following day I took Brooke to the hospital to meet her little sister, whom she insists on calling Belly Button.  Kaden was enthralled with the hospital asking about each and every contraption in the room.  His favorite part was the "pee box," otherwise known as Natalie's catheter.  Fingers crossed all this interest means he'll end up in the medical field like his Uncle Paul!!  He was also intrigued by the new little person everyone was making such a fuss over.  He was very gentle and quiet and loving to Brynn, and is looking forward to the day when he gets the opportunity to hold her.   

Monday, February 4, 2013

Winter Trip to KY

Kevin came home one day in December and told me that he needed to travel back to the east coast for two weeks at the end of February.  As I am nowhere near brave enough to single-parent for two weeks, I called Gammi and Pop and asked if they would mind visitors.  Not surprisingly, they jumped at the idea.  The dates couldn't have worked out better as Gammi was planning a surprise party for Pop's 70th birthday.  She could think of no better surprise than having Kaden at the party to greet Pop.  So, we started scheming and the surprise was pulled off brilliantly.  Our visit was just as bright!  Kaden had all sorts of new and fun experiences but, when asked what his favorite part of the trip was, he went on and on about how fun it was to play in Gammi and Pop's basement.  I guess it helped that Gammi and Pop made for pretty excellent playmates!  

On Our Way
We left incredibly early in the morning so I allowed Kaden to stay in his "cozies" for the first flight.  The pilot on the second flight allowed Kaden to sit in the cockpit and touch all the levers and buttons - I'm not sure how the FAA would feel if they knew that!

Sleepover with "Dr. Uncle Paul"
The first night we stayed in Louisville with my brother, Paul.  That way we were able to drive into Lexington on Saturday and surprise Pop at the party.  I was surprised myself at how well Kaden did adjusting to the new sleeping arrangements.  You'll notice Kaden is posing in the photo below - he asked me to take it.

Surprise Party for Pop's 70th Birthday
Gammi planned a wonderful surprise dinner party to celebrate Pop's 70th birthday.  Kaden loved that he was in on it!  I think Pop was pretty pleased too.  Kaden behaved like a little gentleman through the salad course, then he asked if he could watch a show while the adults ate, toasted, and generally had a good time.  He made himself right at home!  I wish I had gotten a photo of Pop's cake - our valiant efforts to keep Kaden's little fingers out of the icing failed miserably.  Every time we turned around he was at it again.  Thank goodness it was a big cake and the guests got the half that his fingers didn't destroy.

First UK Basketball Game
While it certainly isn't the best season for the Wildcats, there was no better time to introduce Kaden to the best in college basketball.  His first trip to Rupp was great fun.  The only downside was that Dad wasn't able to join us.  Kaden sat in his seat and watched the game for approximately seven minutes, so I'm not sure Dad would have been too thrilled anyway.  I am positive that, in a few years, the two of them will enjoy many games together (and then I will be the one left out).  On this first trip, the highlights were his very own box of popcorn (courtesy of Pop) and meeting the paramedics and their fancy golf cart (on one of our many walks around the arena).

A Visit to The Craft Center
Dad was able to join us for our first and last weekends in Lexington.  On the last weekend, Dad took Kaden to The Craft Center to see UK's many NCAA Championship trophies.  In a turn of luck, they finagled their way into the practice facility where Kaden took some shots at the net.  He may prove me wrong, but I don't think basketball is going to be his sport.

Hanging Out At Home
Due to the ridiculously frigid temperatures, we did a lot of hanging out at home.  Kaden liked helping Gammi in the kitchen and riding over to the farm to help Pop feed the horses.  The other photos are of Kaden 1) talking on the phone to Dad and retelling all his adventures; 2) using the laundry shoot as an elevator for all sorts of stuffed animals; 3) helping Pop pay the bills; 4) playing Go Fish with Uncle Paul (I was just there to hold cards); and, 5) reading the Sunday funnies while having his breakfast.

Visiting Clyde Maggard's Work
One of Kaden's favorite things to do while in Lexington is to visit our friend Clyde Maggard at work.  Clyde is one of the men in charge at a construction equipment rental facility and, to Kaden, it is the best job in the entire world.  Being surrounded by giant construction trucks everyday and being able to drive them around the lot whenever you'd like, what could be better?  Clyde is so kind and patient that he lets Kaden try out each and every truck.  No wonder, "Kide" is one of his very favorite people!

Driving Randal's Tractor
As a special treat, another good friend, Randall Wells, invited Kaden over to try out his giant tractor.  Now, Kaden is convinced he can and should be able to drive just about any vehicle he so chooses.  It's going to be a long wait for him until he turns 16!  For me, it will happen all too soon.

The Bubble Room at the Children's Museum
For some indoor fun, we visited the Explorium.  Kaden's favorite room was the bubble room where he was able to make and pop giant bubbles.  Otherwise, neither of us were very impressed with the place.  Definitely something Lexington should improve - it could be fantastic.

Story Time at The Library
The Eagle Creek branch of the Lexington Public Library is great.  Every Wednesday they have story time for 3-5 year olds that is age appropriate, interactive, and most importantly, lots of fun.  Kaden had a blast listening to stories, making a craft, and singing songs.  He enjoyed himself so much that we had trouble getting him to leave.  After a quick one-man puppet show, and "one more book, peas, Mama" we headed home for lunch and a nap.

A Visit to the Transfer Station
Pop used some of his connections to allow Kaden to visit the Lexington Transfer Station.  Now, for those of you don't know what a transfer station is, Kaden could tell you all about it (essentially, it is the place garbage trucks drop off their garbage before it is consolidated and sent to a landfill).  We play garbage trucks at home EVERY SINGLE DAY, so there was no bigger treat than seeing a "real live transfer station."  They outfitted Kaden with a vest and hard hat and even allowed him to ride in the garbage truck with them as they dumped a load (if you look closely, in the passenger seat you can see his little head looking out the window).  They said he talked the whole time either describing what was going on or asking questions - they said he knew more about garbage trucks than any three year old they've ever met.  Trying to figure out if that makes me a proud mama?  The experience definitely made an impression on our little man - now, in addition to playing garbage trucks, we also play transfer station! 

The Creek
One day, it warmed up beautifully and we spent as much time outdoors as we could.  Kaden's favorite part of the day was our trip down to the creek that runs behind Gammi and Pop's house.  He threw in  rocks to see how big of a splash he could make, sticks to watch fall over the waterfall, and wanted so desperately to wade into the chilly water.  I told him that would have to wait until a summer visit.  

Snow Day
The weekend before we left, Lexington received several inches of snow.  Gammi and Pop were disappointed because the snow forced them to cancel their annual Super Bowl Party, but Kaden was thrilled and couldn't wait to get outside and play.  Pop hooked the sled up to his tractor and took us for a few wild rides - the wilder the ride, the louder Kaden's giggles.  Kaden also took great pleasure in helping the men shovel and sweep the front steps (he loves being helpful and feeling like a big kid).  We did some sledding down the little hill in the backyard, which Kaden loved, but when we tried a bigger hill down the street, he said that going down was fun but that it was too hard to walk back up to the top.  He was so worn out, that on our walk home that he decided to just lay down on the sled and take a little rest.  

As always, it was a great visit home and we can't wait until the next time we get to see Gammi and Pop!