Tuesday, December 21, 2010


This is what happens after you put up quite the fight for your mom for an entire HOUR. You fall asleep on your beanbag. After numerous power struggles, taking away the blankie and water, giving it back, going back in there, etc.... I finally just let him cry it out and apparently he decided to surrender in his beanbag. I'm not moving him- not worth another battle if he wakes up. Maybe he'll have a sore neck, but then maybe he'll learn that listening to his mom and sleeping in his bed is the better option next time. Moments like this make me struggle as a mom- I feel frustrated when nothing I say and do seems to make any difference in getting him to listen. He's definitely not ready to give up a nap, it was just a complete power struggle. Thank you God for grace and mercy that get me through tough parenting times like this, and for blessing me with that little boy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas celebrations part 1

We celebrated Christmas this weekend with our little family and Grandma Rysdam. When we spend Christmas in NJ, we like to celebrate Christmas with the Rysdam family (all 4 of us) separately- the more parties, the merrier! :) Kaden has really figured out this whole Christmas thing. He LOVED opening all of his presents, and didn't know what to do with all of the new things- he just kept going from one thing to the next! He's starting to catch on to our message about the fact that Santa is fake and that the presents come from Mommy & Daddy, and that we are really celebrating Jesus' birthday. We'll see how that develops as he gets older. We really want him to know that Santa is not actually a real person and that Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas. So, he thinks Santa is just another character in books, on TV, etc... almost like Bob the Builder... in that same category! :) It will be interesting when he breaks that news to his friends at school.... hmm....but hey, can't hide the truth! Sorry for so many pictures, I couldn't narrow it down!
Mommy & Kaden

Daddy & Kaden

Kaden and Grandma Rysdam

Showing off his new apron- he wore it for quite awhile, and he loves it! :)

Playing Doctor... he said he wants to be a doctor when he grows up. I'm okay with that.

Best gift ever- gift cards to enjoy Starbucks and eating out. We love to eat out, but it's something that is easily cut out of the budget. When we get them as gifts, it makes it even more of a treat!

Playing with his new drum pad- I had to include this picture because of Andy's expression. Hahaha... watch out, daddy! :)

Being silly with his food, as usual.

So intent on opening up the presents... no matter who the present was for. He HAD to open it.

I have too many bows and tried to get creative with my wrapping this year.

Opening presents with Daddy

Daddy seems overly excited about putting together Kaden's new little people airport.

Cutting food. He is obsessed with cutting things- paper with scissors and his own food with his plastic knife, so when I saw this Melissa & Doug cutting kit, I knew he needed it. Of course, I'm also a sucker for anything Melissa & Doug.... he may have gotten a few too many items by M&D this year... oops...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Baking break

What do you do when it's Christmastime and you have tons and tons and tons of college grading to do, but you can only do so much (or might just be sick of it!!)? You bake of course! Today's agenda was peanut butter blossoms, white chocolate snack mix, oreo truffles, and hershey kiss pretzel rings. What do baking and grading have in common? I use my computer for both of them. This is what baking looks like in the 21st century. Computer next to mixer. My husband thinks I'm nuts, but I think it's pretty techno savvy of me.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Little Shepherd Boy

Kaden goes to Pat's house on Mondays while I go to work, and he absolutely loves it there. We love him being there, too. He has structure, loving care, friends, craft time, story time, and it's so good for him! We're thankful this worked out for this year! Last week Pat's Pumpkins put on a Birthday Party for Jesus. It was seriously the cutest thing ever. It was hard to believe that my 2 yr. old boy was a little shepherd boy, his first debut. He was so good, too. He stood on stage, listened as they all presented gifts to Baby Jesus, and sang songs almost as loudly as he practiced them at home. At the end of the party we celebrated with cake and presents! Happy Birthday, Jesus!

All of the daycare kids on stage (yes, even the babies participate)

Holding his gift for Baby Jesus

Listening carefully, with the tongue sticking out of course....

"Go Tell it on the Mountain..."


"The stars in the sky looked down where he lay..."

"MERRY CHRISTMAS!!" The cutest thing ever.

Kaden and Daddy

Little Shepherd Boy

Opening up his presents from Pat

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dance moves, inspired by Ivanrest's Christmas Program

Inspired by the church Christmas program tonight, we present to you, Kman. Brenda, you should have asked Kaden to be the main musical talent tonight- especially with those work goggles.

(Sorry, again... not the best quality. It seems like I only have my phone near me to catch the latest events over here...)

Like Mother & Father, Like Son

Here's a boy after his parents' hearts..... (I apologize for the image quality, they are from my Blackberry, didn't have my camera nearby)

Kaden decided to line up all of the shoes nicely by the door. When he was done, he said, "There, Mommy. Nice and neat." A boy after his mother's heart.

Somehow putting Kaden down for a nap turned into a nap for Daddy, too. A perfect snowy afternoon for a boy's nap! A boy after his father's heart.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Where are my makeup brushes?

I opened up my makeup brush holder this morning, and this is what I found. I'm pretty sure these would hurt if I used them to apply eye shadow.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Frederick Meijer Gardens

On Sunday night we went to Frederick Meijer Gardens Member's Holiday event. Kaden had so much fun looking at all of the decorations (of course it sounds like "graduation" when he pronounces it) and getting his passport booklet stamped. He especially loved the train set up in the greenhouse where the butterflies usually are. He was mesmerized, as you can tell from the pictures. He was also fascinated with the choir there that was singing Christmas songs all night. He loves music, and this is coming out more and more (hmmm... wonder where he got that from?). The final stop of the night was the tram ride through the gardens to see the trees, which we easily could have skipped- not so much impressive, and it was cold! On the way back into the building, Kaden wanted to walk on his own and not hold our hand (a sign of his recent desire for independence). He put his hands in his pockets so they would be nice and warm (he's also obsessed with doing this right now), and must have tripped over something and went face down, skidding down the sidewalk on his face. Not fun. Of course his face was full of blood and so we ran into the building to get him all cleaned up. By then he was done for the night, tired, sore and just wanted his mommy to hold him in the car, which of course I wasn't able to do! :( Needless to say, he's recovered, and we're looking forward to going to story time in January at FMG- we'll skip walking outside this time.

Family picture- not the best lighting or picture, but we had to prove we were all there.

Daddy and Kaden in front of the Netherlands tree

The mesmerized look on his face while looking at the trains

More trains

Big boy walking down the stairs

Mommy making Kaden's craft ornament for him

Walking with Daddy and Grandma Rysdam

On the tram ride- very cold!

Mommy and Grandma Rysdam

An "after" picture of the owies- looks much better already! Such a brave boy! (I have a feeling he needs to be brave because there's going to be lots more owies to come with him)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Decorating our Christmas tree

I hate to admit it, but I succumbed to getting a fake tree this year. After a near deadly tree disaster 2 years ago (we may have accidentally forgotten to water the tree for a pretty significant amount of time), as well as vacuuming pine needles off the floor and keeping them away from a toddler, we decided it might be time to take the leap and buy a temporary fake tree. Last year we looked at trees after Christmas, but there wasn't much of anything left. This year, when I noticed that Hobby Lobby had their Christmas trees 50% off, I figured we had to take the leap. After looking at several places, we decided we liked the one at Hobby Lobby the best. It was pre-lit, the cheapest, and a fake frasier fir- exactly what kind of real one we usually get. I'm still a little sad that we don't have a real tree. I miss the smell and I kind of feel like I cheated a bit. I keep telling myself that this is temporary, and some day when Kaden is older, we can go cut down a tree together as a family and make it a yearly tradition. For now, we'll use our fake tree, set it up in no time at all, skip the hassle of finding the perfect tree, tying it to the car, vacuuming up pine needles.... and I'll plug in an evergreen wallflower from B&BW and call it good. Not a bad deal.

PS- Oh, and did I mention that a small strand of lights isn't working on the tree? Perhaps this will go back to the store and be replaced by a new one in the next few weeks. Sigh.

Beginning the assembly. I strongly disliked fluffing the branches. A horrible task for a perfectionist like me.

Kaden putting on his ornament. He of course needed 2 ornaments this year because he couldn't decide which one he wanted. He thinks this one is a real basketball hoop and pulls the basketball off the ornament and tries to shoot it in the small hoop.

For some reason, Kaden thought it would be fun to wear the stocking instead of letting me hang it up.

Putting the star on with Daddy.

My boys being silly.

Playing with his Nativity Set. I love putting this away and taking it out again the following Christmas- it's almost like it's a new toy!


I realize this post is a little behind, but I still wanted to take the time to reflect on our Thanksgiving. I had the honor of hosting my first Thanksgiving at our house, and it was so much fun! We had friends from Chicago join us this year, and everything just came together so well. It was such a fun weekend full of time spent with friends, family, shopping, and most importantly, being thankful for the MANY blessings God has given us!

Emma Vugteveen- isn't she a cutie? :)

Abby and Kaden waiting to eat dinner

Andy carving the turkey

Making homemade turkey gravy- so domestic! :)
(PS- Thank you Matilda Jane for designing cute aprons for moms who don't have girls!)

Getting ready to eat!

And of course, relaxing after dinner and planning out the Black Friday shopping route!