Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kaden's First Hockey Game

Since Kaden has taken a recent interest in hockey, I thought it would be fun to take him to a Griffin's game. We got tickets for the family game this past Sunday night (of course the same night that the snowstorm decided to show up), which also happened to be $1 breadsticks and pop night- woo whoo! :) When we told Kaden we were taking him to the game, he was SO excited. He didn't know what to think when we got in the arena. He kept looking around asking where the hockey players were. It was a bit overwhelming for him at first with all of the cheering, lights, etc., but he quickly got used to it. He LOVED the game, and was excited that Daddy caught him a t-shirt (which he may have to grow into, being a men's large). He was also fascinated with the zamboni, Griff, the "airplane" (aka blimp), and the princess girls who ice skated in between periods. Oh, and don't forget the popcorn. He gobbled up breadsticks and got popcorn. When we asked him what his favorite part of the game was, he said, "popcorn." Figures. I could have saved myself a lot of money and popped my own popcorn at home watching hockey on TV! :) It was worth it, though. And of course, now he keeps asking when we're going to another game!

View of the rink from our seats

Kaden showing me his new t-shirt

Intent on watching the game

Daddy and Kaden enjoying the game

Watching the "airplane" drop coupons

Daddy feeding Kaden popcorn

Kaden being silly with mommy at the game

Ah, yes, the fights. Personally, they were my favorite part (besides spending the night with my boys, and giving Kaden a fun, new experience!)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Family Movie Night

A few weeks ago, on a Friday, Kaden had a rough day. It seemed like he was crabby all day long, which may have been from such a busy week and his parents going here, there, and everywhere. So, after his nap, I told him that we would have a family movie night that night. Of course, he had no idea what that was, but he was very excited about it. It was nice to eat dinner, start the movie by 6:30pm and still be done watching the movie by his normal bedtime. Since then, we've had a total of 3 family movie nights, all on Friday nights. It's always a challenge to find something that Kaden will watch most of and that we'll enjoy, too. We've watched Finding Nemo, Free Willy, and Free Willy 2 so far. The Toy Story movies are next on our list. Now Kaden asks all of the time if we're having a family movie night, and when I tell him yes, he gets SO excited. We even bought special popcorn bowls for the occasion. I'm thinking we're starting a new tradition that I'm finding I like a lot. There's nothing better than cuddling on the couch with my boys, eating some popcorn and watching a movie together.

Watching Finding Nemo

All snuggled up eating his popcorn

Daddy and Kaden

Mommy and Kaden (terrible picture, but I had to represent myself)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Family Room Makeover

I've been wanting a new couch for awhile now. People told me I was crazy because the new one would just get dirty with a kid around, but I was getting really sick of the current couch. It lasted us 7 years, but it was starting to fade and show a lot of wear. Well..... looking for a new couch can sometimes turn into something bigger, I've noticed. Once I decided what couch I wanted, I started planning out toy organization in my mind, and Andy kept dreaming about what a new TV would look like in the family room as well. The couch I found was such a great deal, and practical- it was black and a better fabric that would make it easier to hide spills and clean them up (plus we paid extra for fabric protection and a 5 yr warranty to cover spills we can't get out ourselves). I started selling things on Craigslist and saving money, and did some extra literacy work on the side. Andy thought we could cash in our credit card points, and suddenly, these changes could happen. Funny how it all came together. In a way, it was nice to know that we worked hard and saved towards a few things that really made a world of a difference in our family room. Art Van had a major sale which caused us to get the couch even cheaper than we budgeted for, and then the pulling of everything together began. The TV got ordered, the cabinet was ordered and delivered, new cable box... all of that fun stuff. And of course bringing in new colors to our family room also caused me to sew quite a bit and find some new accents for the kitchen, too! :) I find that I really love decorating and adding accents to the house!

The best picture I could find of the current state of the couch.

What the toys and TV looked like before

New couch and ottoman

New set-up- TV, toys, couch, chair.

View from the kitchen

Since these pictures, I finally found the perfect fabric for a new curtain in the family room, and whipped this up. I love how it opens up the room!

The fabric up close- gray and black

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Stretching my food comfort zones

I've always wanted to take one of the classes offered at D&W's cooking school. When their schedule is released, I always check to see if there are any classes that peak my interest. It seems as though the classes I've wanted to take were always on nights that I had other conflicts. I enjoy cooking, but I also love learning about new techniques and being forced out of my comfort zone. When the class schedule came out for this winter/spring, I immediately noticed the Valentine's Day event. It wasn't so much that it was on Valentine's Day, although that was kind of fun, but it was a couple's event. I talked to Andy about it, and surprisingly, he was actually okay with doing it. I signed us up, and we went! We had a cooking demonstration from a chef, where I learned how to appropriately hold a very large knife, how to effectively cut an onion, and how to blanch vegetables. Then, we got 2 hours to prepare a dish. Each couple prepared 1-2 things, and then from 8:30-9pm we got to eat everything. It was so much fun watching everyone running around trying their best at things they've probably never made before, or using tools you wouldn't normally use in your own kitchen. We had lots of laughs with each other and with the older couple sitting at our table. He was a little confused about where to put the meat thermometer :) The best part was tasting everything. I forced myself to try everything except for the fish (I don't do any type of seafood.... gross). I was so impressed with myself- I had more crazy things to eat last night than I've probably ever eaten in my life. And I LOVED it all!

This class has definitely inspired me to branch out a bit in my cooking, and make some larger meals together as a family on the weekend with lots of fresh ingredients. I find that because my life tends to be quite busy with being a working mom, I do a lot of casseroles, or meals that I make ahead and freeze, which have a lot of processed foods in them and tend to be more fattening than fresh foods. My goal is to use less processed foods, which tugs at my heart a bit, because it does cost more money to cook healthier and you don't find coupons for fresh kale in the newspaper on Sunday. BUT, healthy is good. I'm not saying I'm going to be the perfect chef now, but I'll keep trying my best. I can't wait to take another class sometime and continue to expand my cooking horizons! :)

Andy working on the dough for our pear and cranberry rustic tart

Enjoying a fun night of cooking!

Everyone hard at work

Our final creation- it was SO good, and we even ventured from the recipe a bit (I think it was actually better than the way the recipe told us to make it!)

Lining up the buffet of food to enjoy

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

How we're spending our day....

Kaden gets to have a Valentine's Day party at Pat's house today, with these adorable valentines I made for him.

Andy and I are taking a Couple's Romantic Dinner Cooking Class tonight together. I'm SO excited to see us try to make food together, and for the laughs and fun evening that it should be. I'm sure I'll take lots of pictures and blog about it later this week, too! :)

Happy Valentine's Day from our Little Flirt... who might I add has been spoiled on this V-day by his grandparents and great-grandma and parents. Chocolate kisses, fruit snacks, pez, stickers, coloring books, and Caillou books made this little boy happy this year.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The long-awaited helmet

This boy has been asking for a helmet for a long time now. We were going to buy him one for Christmas, and decided he was really getting enough stuff, so we moved it to the birthday list, which is in July. Well, without our realizing it, every Wednesday and Thursday when Kaden's Grandma Rysdam watches him, he would ask her for a football helmet. Seriously, this kid is obsessed with sports. Obsessed! He wants to watch it all day long, he turns everything into some sort of game, and he loves being in the gear. He has certain sneakers he calls his basketball shoes, certain shoes that are his running shoes, he pretends to fall down and get tackled, and he turned his golf clubs into hockey sticks. I haven't quite figured out which sport he really likes the best yet. Anyways.... my MIL told me to order the Michigan football helmet and uniform set for him for Valentine's day. We told Kaden that we had to wait for it to come in the mail, and every day he would ask me if the mail lady brought it yet. It arrived this week when he was napping, so I just stashed it away. He found it the next day, so all of the hype of giving it to him was out the window. He IMMEDIATELY wanted to put it on and........ play HOCKEY with it. Seriously, I'm not sure if he wanted the helmet more for hockey or for football. Needless to say, in his football outfit and helmet, he grabbed the hockey stick and puck we bought him as a gift when we were in Mexico, and played hockey in the kitchen. This kid cracks me up. Oh, and did I also mention that since then he has to wear it!? He got playdoh and pee on it the other day (don't ask about that combo), and we had to wash it so thankfully it took a few days to dry (okay, so it may have been dry in a few hours, but I was kind of sick of him wearing it all of the time to be honest with you).

Sporting the full garb

Trying to figure out what the chin strap was all about. Let me also add that he calls the shoulder pads, knee pads.

Shooting the puck in his football gear. Crazy kid.

Cutest MI football hockey player I've ever seen.

I repeat my previous comment.

This whole craze of interests lately has inspired us to take him to his first Griffins game soon. We'll let you know how that goes. He may want to wear the football uniform to that, too.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Go Calvin!

It seems so natural for Kaden to love going to Calvin College basketball games. I loved going to games when I attended Calvin, so did Andy, and both of us (although unknowingly at the time) followed the team to the national championship in VA in 2000. Plus, now that I work there, I have a season pass for each one of us. When I was pregnant with Kaden, Andy and I went to several of their games, Kaden went to a game when he was only 6 months old, he went to a few last year, but this year he's at the perfect age for going to basketball games. He sits so well on the bleachers and/or seat and loves to cheer for Calvin. Most importantly, he always looks for Joust, Calvin's mascot. He gets so excited when we tell him he gets to go to a Calvin basketball game, and I love the excitement he shows towards sports, and to Calvin. A few weeks ago we took him the Calvin/Hope game, and he loved the excitement of so many people, although our seats were way up in the bleachers. Our normal season tickets are 3 rows up on the court level, and he LOVES being so close to the players and the pep band, too. He also loves being able to see Uncle Brian when we go. Today he even had to bring his rally towel that he got a few weeks ago so he could wave it around and cheer for Calvin, who just so happened to win by 50 points- an added bonus. Today was probably the last game we'll go to since it was the last home game. But, we're already looking forward to taking him again next year (I think he's probably looking forward to it, too!) :)

Bad picture because it was so far away and I didn't have time to change my lens or the settings, but I had to capture Kaden talking to Joust. He always looks for Joust when we go to the games, and loves to give him a high-five.

Mommy and Kaden at the Calvin/Hope game a few weeks ago

Kaden's Calvin tattoo. He got one of these when our church sponsored a Calvin/Hope Alumni Basketball game, and wanted to wear one of the extras to the game. He really wants to wear it, and then when you put it on, he freaks out. You can't go near his face with it, and when Grandma was washing this tattoo off later that night in the bath, he freaked out at the little pieces floating in the tub. I think we'll take a break from the tattoos for awhile.

Showing me his tattoo

Not the best picture of either of them, but nonetheless.... hanging out with Uncle Brian at today's game...wearing Uncle Brian's sweatband no less.

Becoming a Big Boy, Part 3 of 3

Well, in my blog on Becoming a Big Boy in September, I mentioned that Kaden becoming a big boy was a 3 part process. 1- chair at the big table, 2- big boy bed and new room, and 3- potty training. We've officially begun potty training over here. It's been a little over a week on this adventure and I think he's doing great with it! Kaden has been going on the potty for awhile now, just off and on, when I put him on a few times a week, etc. He's always been interested in going potty, but for some reason, last week Sunday, I asked him if he needed to go potty, and he said, "Yes!" and it all started there. I went with it throughout the day, putting a pull-up on him, and the only accident he had that day was pooping in his pull-up at night. Not too shabby. The next morning he woke up DRY, which seriously has never happened in his 2 1/2 years of life. I thought we had witnessed a miracle there. Unfortunately, that nice new habit stopped (or perhaps was a teaser to flatter his mommy), and he still wears a night diaper at night and wakes up wet in the morning, although not nearly as soaked as he used to. We've progressed since last week Sunday from putting him on the potty every 20-30 minutes, to now every 1-2 hrs. He even made it through a morning of errands on Friday with no accidents! He had a few accidents at daycare on Monday, a few piddles in the pull-up here and there throughout the week, and then 2 accidents today (although I put today in a completely different category because he was SO off today.... maybe because he woke up at 6am and normally wakes up at 7:30am?!?!?). Kaden makes it very clear when he needs to poop- the facial expression says it all. We've caught him in the act most days and can usually get him to go on the potty then. Woo whoo! Yesterday and today he decided it would be more convenient to poop in his pull-up while I was taking a shower.... sigh. I'm still waiting for that magic moment when he tells me when he has to go. At this point, most of the time when you ask him if he has to go, he says, no, but doesn't usually object when you put him on the potty anyway. He does tend to say, "I pee in my underwender" or "I poop in my underwender," which I've figured out means that he probably needs to go, and hasn't actually done the act yet. (Sidenote- yes, he calls it underwender. It's so cute!) Sometimes he says it for a good laugh because he knows it will get me all riled up. Most of the time, if he repeats it several times in a matter of 5 minutes, he goes on the potty because it's a signal to me. So, he doesn't walk himself to the bathroom yet to go when he needs to, or tell me directly when he has to go. But, most days we only use 1 pull-up or underwear (depending on where he is or what the day brings), and he stays dry through naptime. We're making progress, people!!! I know it takes time for some kids, but after a good week at this, I'm pretty satisfied with where we're at, and there's NO turning back now! :)

Oh, and did I mention I'm using the infamous "beach box" as a bribe? Right after Christmas I scored a KILLER deal on a brand new AquaMat on Amazon (We're talking $5 people), and I stashed it away for a rainy day or as something special for a holiday, etc. Well, on the side of the box are waves, and one day when he saw the box, he said, "Kaden have beach box?!?" I knew then what I would use that as a reward for. Since that day a few months ago, we've been telling him that he has to use the potty all of the time in order to get it. We haven't used a sticker chart, right now just telling him that he needs to tell us when he has to go and then he can have the beach box seems to work. I've got a reward chart on hand, though, if we need to go to Plan B to kick this up a notch.

Oh, and another mention. We're obsessed with the potty dance over here. If you watch any kid's channels, you've probably seen it before... it's in the commercial for pull-ups. Search for it on YouTube if you're REALLY dying to see it! :) We like to do the potty dance over here- it makes potty training that much more fun for Mommy, too!

Enjoy some pics of the "big boy in training" using the big boy potty.

Sitting backwards, boy style. So much easier- he can hold himself up, and the pee points down by default! :)

Trying to wipe away the "bubbles" as he calls it (I'll spare the details). Of course he can't balance himself on the toilet and use only 1-2 squares. Without my assistance, he manages to pull the entire roll out. Every. Single. Time.

Perhaps trying to push? Not sure about that face!

Big Boy in Training focused on using the potty


Washing his hands after he's done

Monday, February 7, 2011

This is why I love CVS and Walgreens....

because I spend $48.45 for $126.34 worth of groceries. Not bad when you save 62%. What's sad is that I get really excited about things like this and LOVE spending time on Sunday afternoon planning out my deals for the week! :)

Just in case you can't see it all, here's what I got:
-2 packs of instant oatmeal
-2 packs of granola bars
-6 boxes of cereal
-1 pack of Velveeta shells & cheese
-1 box of easy mac
-2 boxes of easy mac cups
-4 bottles of Diet Pepsi
-4 bags of Reese's Minis
-10 candy bars
-Strident gum
-2 bags of Halls cough drops
-1 large St. Ives body wash
-3 tubes of toothpaste
-1 toothbrush
-2 jars of marshmallow fluff
-3 cans of cashews

I wonder what deals they'll have next week........ :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Frogger or the Wii?

Who needs a Wii when you can play old school Frogger? I think Kaden would prefer Frogger over the Wii actually. He impressed us by hooking it all up by himself (even managed to connect the white connector to the white cord and the yellow connector to the yellow cord... wow!) Kaden knows how to bring old school back.

Playing Frogger- very kid friendly! :)

Oh, the images of old school video games

He seriously loved playing it and laughed every time he lost all of his lives. The nice thing about a simple video game is that you push one button on the joystick and the game starts again. This might be our new rainy day activity!

Watching Daddy sport his Frogger skills

On the other hand, he did enjoy watching Daddy play Guitar Hero for a little while this afternoon while pretending to play his own guitar.... standing in just his training underwear no less (another blog about this new journey to come soon). The difference here is that he just watches Daddy... not quite as kid-friendly. Maybe we'll have to stick to Frogger for awhile.

Check out that cute bum

Just like Daddy

First exposure to Aerosmith