Mar 30, 2014

How to Raise a Texan: Bluebonnet Photos

"How to raise a Texan" is both a Texas Monthly feature article from 2012 and an unofficial tips series from a former co-worker of mine.

It is very serious business.

So this morning I made sure to raise my little Texan right with a bluebonnet photo shoot.

We are lucky that around the corner from our neighborhood are a few random house with big lots, animals (goats and horses) and most importantly today, wildflowers. 

We started with some squatters (photo) rights in a field of flowers that wasn't clearly anyone's yard. We got some good photos and then mosied along to finish our adventure to the swings.

But we got sidetracked about 20 yards later by an awesome field of bluebonnets that was clearly someone's yard. We started by taking a few photos on the street-side of their fence. I was worried we'd be told to get off their lawn so when the home-owner emerged in her slippers I hollered "Sorry! We're leaving!" (which of course now we would be but would not have been otherwise). Except she said no, no, no, quite the opposite. Would we like to come inside the fence where there were more flowers?


And that is when we got the really good, lots-o-blue bluebonnet pictures. If you think you can handle Texas-sized levels of spring-time cuteness, then please enjoy the slideshow below.

Being the Cade-man

Our little boy is really developing some little boy habits and ways lately. And to that end, he's developing habits and preferences.
  • Loves avocado. Like obsession level love. If he sees an avocado, he doesn't want to eat anything else at all.
  • Loves mac-n-cheese. Not quite to avocado levels but he eats inhales it.
  • Stuffed animals. He is carrying them around with him a lot more lately. He has this stuffed Taggie Dog that he just toddles around the house with. His favorite though is Monkey, his animal-blanket hybrid that he sleeps with. We now have to consciously leave Monkey in the crib after sleep time.
  • Turning on his music. He can reach the CD player in his room and goes over to it all the time. He bangs on the buttons until he hits play and "Somewhere over the rainbow" starts playing. Then he dances. But he gets really upset if bad 80s/90s music comes on the radio instead.
  • Toddling. He officially toddles all over the house. He'll spend 5-10 minutes basically just doing laps around the downstairs.
  • Mama's dishes. He really wants to get into my server cabinet and take out my entertaining dishes. This is less than popular.
  • Books. Per the usual, he still really enjoys books which I really enjoy that he enjoys.


Mar 23, 2014

First Swim Lesson

Yesterday Cade had his very first swim lesson! We are enrolled in an 8-lesson mom(or dad)-and-me course for little guys like him at the Round Rock Rec.

At first he was a little bewildered. He looked at me like "what is this giant bathtub and why are there so many babies here?". He continued to be baffled through the scoop-water-on-to-you-and-baby and hokey pokey sections. But when we got to the sit on the side of the pool and kick part, he quickly took to it. It was like a lightbulb went off that splashing was not only acceptable, but encouraged. AWESOME.

He also really enjoyed playing with the beach balls in the pool and eventually being on his tummy and back in the water.

As I told the instructor, our one and only goal for this course is to learn to blow bubbles. He really likes to stick his face in the bathtub water but since he currently doesn't know how to blow bubbles, it gets a little un-fun pretty quickly. And he's drinking more soapy water than I'm enthusiastic about.

Ross plans to attend at least one of the upcoming lessons so hopefully we'll get a few pictures then.

Mar 16, 2014

Cade's Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday Party

Baby's first birthday party - done! Success!

This afternoon we had Cade's first birthday party. The theme was "the very hungry caterpillar" which I think is his favorite book. We read it at least 3-4 times per week. For the theme I found a few simple decor ideas, specifically a caterpillar out of balloons (4 green balloons, 1 red balloon and some construction paper eyes) and a construction paper picture caterpillar (4 green circles, each with a picture of Cade in the middle, a red circle and the same construction paper eyes/antennas).

Yesterday while eating breakfast and wondering what in the heck I was going to feed people at the party, I thought to do the same food from the book. Ya know "On Monday he ate through one apple, but he was still hungry." Monday-Friday in the book is all fruit so very kid friendly. On Saturday the caterpillar eats a ton of stuff, including one slice of Swiss cheese so that translated into a cheese and cracker plate. While Cade took an AWESOME nap yesterday morning I had a rogue shred of ambition and decided to create table tents/labels for all the food. Holy cow I got SO lucky because one Google search produced an huge graphic that had pictures of all the food and the text from the book. So I saved it, opened in photoshop, did some quick cropping and sent them to Walgreens to print as photos. Score! The fruit/cheese with labels and a caterpillar cake from HEB rounded out the decorations and theme. And I gotta say, I was pretty damn proud of it all. It came together very nicely!

For his part, Cade was a birthday party champ. He took almost an hour nap right before the party and then got dressed in his birthday boy t-shirt and plaid shorts (of course, I love that kid in plaid shorts). And he was happy, happy, happy.

For the first 45 minutes of the party, everyone mingled, snacked and the under 2 crowd played with toys (the over 21 crowd enjoyed a few beverages). Cade received a "Cars" themed toy early from my parents and so he showed the other two kiddos, Rowan and Kenneth, all about that. He was such a ham! He was playing, smiling, walking and just loving all the attention.

Then we sang happy birthday (Cade almost stuck his hand in the candle but my ninja-like mommy skills had that sucker blown out too quickly) and ate cake. This was Cade's first REAL taste of legit, super-sugary cake. He was in total heaven. He gobbled up his piece and then wanted more to eat. We redirected his hunger to pear though because one piece of cake when you are one year old is plenty.

When I got him out of his highchair to go open presents we discovered a huge glob of yellow frosting on his shorts. So in true Cade style, he got to be pants-free for the rest of his party.

"We" opened presents (I did most of it but he paid attention for some). He made out like a bandit. A new baby animals book, a pirate ship rocker, a fire truck, a wagon, a hammer-music-ball thing, college money and the hands-down winner of the day...a Batmobile from Auntie Meg and Uncle Stacy. Cade and the other 2 kids could not get enough of it. In fact we had to sit him on it to get him to pay attention to the other presents he was receiving.

The party wrapped up 1.5 hours after it began which was good because he was starting to get a little over-stimulated (and tired though sugared-up, super combination). He had some real dinner, played with his toys and then was whisked off to bed by his dad.

All in all, a VERY GOOD first birthday party. No meltdowns (kid or adult), few leftovers, quick clean-up and an overall easy afternoon with our closest friends and family.

Special shout-out to Mom who came into town yesterday for the event and helped get the house ready. Also special shout-out to Ross for doing the vast majority of the clean up and then convincing the birthday boy to go to bed at his normal bedtime.

Mar 13, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday Cade!

The Wee Baby Cade isn't so wee any more!

The Cade-man turned one today! We had a pretty fun baby day of birthday cake (those angel food cake shells that you put fruit in with berries/bananas and Cool Whip), presents (blocks!), playing, FaceTime call with his best girl Rowan, Tex-Mex lunch at Chuy's (he was sooo well behaved), a visit from Uncle Ryan, walk in the stroller and more playing.

At the ripe old age of one year, this is what Cade is up to:
  • taking steps
  • but not running around quite yet
  • eating, eating and eating more
  • climbing, especially on people
  • sprint-crawling
  • playing fetch with Lexi (he throws a tennis ball for her; it is adorable)
  • loves, loves, loves his monkey that sleeps with him
  • maybe getting his top 2 teeth
To round out this birthday blog post for my best boy, here is a little slideshow/video of his day. Happy birthday baby boy!!

Cade's 1st Bday

Mar 12, 2014

Last Day of Year 1

Yup! Today is the last day of Cade Black, Year One.

We didn't do anything particularly momentous to close his first year. A pretty normal day of playing, Miss Erin's house, eating, the usual. We did take a walk around the block in his red convertible before dinner. That was very popular with my little guy.

This first year has been pretty darn crazy. He is a whole different baby than he was 364 days ago when he made his debut. He stands, he walks, he babbles, he climbs on everything and my personal favorite, he usually sleeps through the night.

Though I feel like I should have some deep, emotional motherhood monologue to commemorate the end of infancy and start of toddlerhood... I don't. For one of the very few times in my life, words escape me.

So instead, let me leave you with this stinkin' cute picture out on the swings yesterday.

Mar 9, 2014

No Work Saturday

I try to make one day each week a full "no work" day. And yesterday I didn't even turn on my computer nor did I read any work emails.

I actually kicked off no-work-Saturday Friday around 4p when we went over to Jon and Erin's for an evening out that was in. First, lemme say I had no idea how busy 2 babies could be. You would think with 4 adults we could have this managed. No way. Two babies and three dogs kicked our butts. I have NO IDEA how Erin watches multiple kids at the same time. I think I would have surrendered a long time ago.

Despite how busy Cade and Rowan were, they were both pretty well behaved and both went to bed at their proper bedtimes. Which meant that the real party - board games! - was able to start by 8p.

Double high five to Cade who went back to sleep fairly easily when we got home around 11:45p.

Saturday Cade and I had a Starbucks date with Brittany. It was nice to see her but again, a busy baby. I think Cade might have to be off of Starbucks for a few months. The past two attempts have been a little crazy. Oh well. Still nice to do indulge in a frappacino with whip cream and chat with a girlfriend.

Then after I got baby boy home and down for his nap, it was mommy-time. Pedicure and shopping. That pedicure was desperately needed and highly enjoyed. The shopping went well too. New top for me, new plaid-shorts-and-polo outfit for Cade, because really that baby cannot have too many pairs of plaid shorts.

Then trashy TV, HGTV, dinner, baby bath, House of Cards with a bowl of buttered popcorn with Ross and an early bedtime in anticipation of springing forward on the time. Bonus points: we had all but 1 clock (the one in Cade's room) moved forward before we went to bed.

The funny thing about no work Saturday...even though I did not work, Cade thought he should. So he let himself into my office and shut the doors behind him. Unfortunately, he did not do the taxes like I asked.

Mar 3, 2014

Walking Baby!

We practiced Cade's walking a LOT this weekend and I finally caught a few steps on video. Woohoo!

These four steps are good but he had even more impressive walks. There were at least three 5-steppers, a 7-stepper and one big fat 12-stepper.

He's "toddling" now so maybe he qualifies as a toddler. However I am going to hang on to "baby" for the next 10 days while he is sub-one. Then he can graduate to toddler.

Mar 1, 2014

Bunny Ears

I was definitely more amused by these bunny ears than anyone else was.

After the ears I grabbed a few Easter things for Cade. Then I realized I had no idea when Easter fell this year and for all I knew, I might have planned his birthday party on Easter Sunday.

Good news: Easter is April 20.