Monday, November 24, 2008

More thankfulness and garden stories

51. I'm thankful for the next 10 days off from work!!
52. I'm thankful for a to-do list that is making progress
53. I'm thankful for altocumulus clouds or "lots of baby clouds" as Caiden calls them.
54. I'm thankful for little conversations with her that amaze me every day
55. for the fun baby dreams I've been having the last few nights
56. that Jeff comes home tonight
57. that Thanksgiving is fast approaching and we have a fun week before us
58. that I'm beginning to recover from this cold
59. that Caiden is healthy!
60. that Jeff was out of town for the "contagious" part of the cold and hopefully dodged this bullet!
61. for time in the garden
62. for days that really look and feel like Autumn- in FL no less!
63. for good friends
64. for surprise harvests (more on that later!)
65. for pumpkin muffins, bread and cookies!
66. for little hands that make big messes while helping Mama cook.
67. for big eyes and proud smiles when the finished product comes out of the oven.
68. for a surprise phone call from my sister Kris, the new bride.
69. for a fun day with my sisters, Heather and Sarah.
70. that Caiden made me laugh when she thought that Eggplant plants yielded eggs! =)
71. that our Sunday night Bible study group has a community garden and chickens!

Okay so about that surprise harvest: So this morning I saw from the sliding glass door that our baby lemon tree had successfully ripened two lemons, so Caiden and I got dressed and went to harvest them. While we were out there, I noticed how dreadfully overgrown our garden was. It has been hopelessly neglected this year. Between my morning sickness, our busyness, sickness, and a lot of rain, the poor thing has really suffered. So, we decided it was high time to evict the weeds. While doing so, both of us became caked with dirt and Caiden had dirt where no dirt has yet gone. It was fabulous! Well, the sweet potato had taken over half of the plot, and was looking rather pitiful. So, I gave up and started ripping it out. Well, guess what I found along the way? Yep! Sweet potatoes. Apparently, they can look pitiful above ground and it doesn't have much baring on what is happening under the soil. I discovered 6 small sweet potatoes in the aftermath. What a surprise! Also, some of our carrots were ready to be pulled. I wish I had gotten some pictures of half-pint pulling those carrots with all of her might. The earth gave up the carrot and Caiden uncerimoniously landed on her bottom. "I found it!" was her triumphant announcement. And find it, she did!

Later, she was making an obstacle course out of the plot by dodging the eggplant. However, they had just begun to flower and it looks like we might just have a chance at getting a few eggplant out of those sorry old plants yet, so I asked her not to go back there because she might knock them over. She was quiet for a while, then squatted down with her hands on her knees to better inspect them. She rose up, shrugged and stated matter of factly, "no eggs Mama!" This is true. No eggs. =)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Kristin and Aaron's wedding

Here are a few pics to tide you over. =) Unfortunately I don't have any with the groom yet, but as I get them, I'll share.

Notice the binky and blanket...this was pre-wedding and post a missed nap was getting sketchy.

This is the other side of the family- Jeff's wonderful parents who came to help with Caiden.

And last but not least, a decent picture of the baby bump! =) (and me signing)

Thankfulness and cute conversations

Thankfulness has been primary on my mind for the last few weeks, even before the November's onset. As a result, I'm going to pick up my "blessings list" where I so pitifully left off at number 30.

I am thankful...

31. for cool weather
32. for bear and turkey sightings in our very own back yard
33. that Caiden says, "naughty bear" with a disapproving shake of her head when the bear raids our neighbor's trash can and makes a mess (visible from our side window)
34. for warmer maternity clothes being offered to me
35. for a baby who has remained transverse for the last few weeks vs. breech! (we're still praying for a vertex (head down) position very soon so I can relax! =)
36. for daily walks and or picnics
37. for Caiden's dolly stroller that held one Dolly, one blanket, and 47 acorns at the culmination of an afternoon walk.
38. for a friend arriving on my door step with chocolate mousse that was to die for!
39. that Caiden is starting to love "baby Peanut", touching and kissing my belly, asking to hug it, and hold it.
40. for the look on Caiden's face when the baby kicked her while sitting on my lap. She was delighted!!!
41. for getting to see my sweet sister even if it was for an incredibly short time before her wedding.
42. for her beautiful wedding
43. that Caiden made it down the aisle- thanks to Allie Brannon!!
44. for Allie and the wonderful care that she gives my daughter while I have to work.
45. for wonderful in-laws who came to the wedding to care for Caiden during the ceremony and afterwards so that I could participate.
46. for getting to see old friends at Kristin's wedding
47. that Caiden slept until 7:50 this morning!
48. for my sweet husband who takes care of me
49. for the amazing ways in which God is moving in our youth group
50. for getting to see Caroline, my college roommate/ Kristin's photographer on Saturday

That's all for now, as I want to share some cute conversations while I have a minute. (Caiden is sleeping)

I'll save the best for last. Hang tight!

Today on our walk, she started asking questions and didn't stop: "Mama, I can run real fast?" (of course, ready, set go!) , "Mama can run fast. Caiden is too little?" (no, Caiden is just the right size for running "speedy quick", can you show me?) Mama, this ant's house? (yes, don't step on it, they worked hard to make that home!) Mama diff'rent acorns? (yes, they are acorns from different trees, you're right!) "Mama, this leaf fits!!?? " (she found the sycamore tree that had shed a beautiful brown, green and yellow leaf the size of her head, and still had many other perfectly matching brown, green and yellow leaves decorating it's branches.) "Mama, dog barking. He want food?" (or maybe he's just lonely and saying, "hello!") "Oh, YELLOW TREE!!! Caiden touch it? Oh, one- two!" (Yes, there are two beautiful yellow trees that God made, let's cross the street and see them closer!) "Mama, I WANT it! Caiden have it?" (sorry sweet girl, they (the trees that were covered in brilliant yellow blooms) are growing in this yard, but we can visit them again soon, okay?) "Caiden go bed now?" (Okay, let's go home and eat lunch- then you can take a nap.)

We didn't get much of the lunch down before she begged for bed and started drooping in her seat. =)

Second story:
Yesterday at my 11th grade girls small group we were going around and sharing things we were thankful for. Caiden was sitting in my lap and snacking. On a whim, I asked her what SHE was thankful for. She promptly answered,"swimming." Hmm, maybe she did understand the question! When the went around the circle for a second time, I asked her again. She thought for a minute and said, "Jesus". (No one else had mentioned swimming or Jesus until now, btw.) I thought maybe she didn't understand what she was saying so I asked for clarification. Caiden, why are you thankful for Jesus? She said simply and seriously, "for love Caiden!" Of course. We love Him because He first loved us! There's nothing quite as beautiful as the faith of a 22 month old!

Wedding pictures will follow in a separate post. They take too long to upload and I don't want to chance losing what I've already written! Have a thankful day!

Friday, October 03, 2008

New Caiden-isms

I'm going to try and make this short. "Why" you ask? It's been a long week, I'm exhausted, Jeff's going to be gone all day tomorrow, and I'm sick again. =(

Caiden counts like so: One, Two, Thee, Four, Five, (pause) Seven, Eight Nine!

She stole my sister's phone the other day and said this:" Hi G-Ma! Yeah. Toes, paint! Yeah. Wuv you. Bye bye!" (G-Ma is the only one who paints her toes and apparently, she was due for a tune-up! ;)

She calls plums "apple-grapes".

I was teaching her her full name and instead of McLaughlin (let's face it- it's an impossibly LONG name for a 21mo old!) she actually made it LONGER in the funniest way. "Mickey-laughlin" is the way to say it in Caiden-land. I laughed so hard I cried. If she only knew how appropriate that was with her family on the McLaughlin side. =)

When she woke up one morning this week, I picked her up and brought her out to the kitchen. She's a early to rise, and quick to eat kind of girl, you see. She tapped my shoulder and said, "Mama, geen (green) five!" I didn't follow her line of thinking, so I said, "I don't understand, tell me again". Very obligingly she clarified, "Mama shirt, geen, Mama cup geen, Caiden cup geen." AHHH. She was right about them all being green and all being in the same vicinity, however, I corrected her counting- there were THREE green things, not five. She knowingly nodded her head and said a little sheepishly, " yes, geen thee."

Her new favorite things are the Signing Time DVDs. As much as I don't let her watch TV, or movies, for this, I cave. What can be better than videos for kids that increase their spoken and signed vocabulary? I mean, if you're speaking of sticking them in front of the tube for 20 min. that is. She is allowed to watch it a few times a week (2-3) and she's mastered almost all of the signs they introduce. I'm stoked! We found them in the Orange County Library so we can enjoy many more than if we had bought them. However, I'm so impressed with the conceptual accuracy of the videos, and the idea and Mom behind the series, that I really do want to support that. I'm adding them to her Christmas/ birthday wish list. =)

She's not currently very receptive to the idea of having another sibling. Any time people touch my belly to feel the baby kick, she gets upset and says, "no no no!" Tonight she was being very rambunctious, and Daddy explained that she had to be careful near Mama's belly because there was a little baby inside. She made her common protests, and when Daddy explained that she could hold the baby and play with the baby, go on walks with the baby, swim in the pool, take baths, etc. with baby, she all of a sudden looked like that didn't seem half bad. She even asked, "bike ride with baby?" which is one of her all time favorite things to do right now. Maybe she'll get used to the idea after all! Either way, we're praying for them to have a wonderful relationship, love each other, and for this not to rock Caiden's world too harshly.

Lastly, we have a sonogram on Monday morning. We're going to ask the technician to write down the baby's sex on a piece of paper and open it together at dinner that night. We'll decide if we're going to share that information with the world at that time. We're a little excited about the intimacy of just our little family "knowing" this baby. That way the announcement at delivery will still be fun, full of anticipation, and yet have the benefit for Jeff of not being surprised. =) .

Okay, my short post has turned long. It's time for bed. Sweet dreams!

Monday, September 08, 2008

A moment in time

I have caught the first gunk of the school year. Lovely, huh? And because I'm pregnant, and chasing a toddler and trying to keep up with life and working part time, when Caiden took her nap this afternoon, I watched a movie. I didn't have high hopes for it, I just wanted to pass the time. It actually was okay. Caiden woke up from her slumber right as the credits began rolling.

Waking up from nap time is my favorite time of the day with my little monkey-girl. She's still groggy and cuddly and sweet. It's the only time, besides comforting boo-boos that she climbs into my lap to just "be". Maybe today it caught my attention because of my awareness of how quickly my lap will be obstructed, or maybe it was knowing that this time just between Mama and toddler is quickly going to be Mama, toddler and Peanut. Or maybe, it was just one of those moments that seem to slow way, way down, that attract your whole attention and leave you grateful. I don't know. But I do know that what happened next was pure magic. As the credits were rolling, a catchy little tune started playing. I wasn't really aware of it until Caiden pulled away from our little cocoon of Mama, baby and blanket and started bobbing her little curly bed-head. I watched her for a minute, just delighting in her. She didn't notice. Something about this song had engrossed her. Before I could blink, she had slid off the couch and was dancing like I had never seen her dance before. She was swaying her hips so far I thought she was going to fall over. Somehow at the same time she was bouncing at her knees, up and down...sway, sway. And then came the head bobs. Up and down, left and right. I would have told you it couldn't get any cuter, but then she started staccatto-ing the dance with claps. She grinned so hard the binkie popped out. I couldn't help myself- I laughed out loud. She reeled around to look at me then and the thought of the dance being over was just too sad, so I copied her. She was so proud. She jumped right back in where she left off- sway, bounce, nod, clap- looking something like a drunken sailor or a tribal dancer. I'm not sure, but I'm sure of one thing. That dance party was the most fun I'd had in a long time. There's nothing like a toddler to teach you to live in the moment. What an indescribable blessing. I will hold onto the sweetness of that memory tomorrow when she calls my name 1,000 times in ten minutes and consider NOT changing my name. =)

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Wow! What a summer. I would apologize for not keeping up with the blog, but if you knew what we've been experiencing this summer, you wouldn't even give it a second thought. Trust me. =)

I may try and process some of our experiences this summer at another time, but for now, I'd like to make an exciting announcement:
I am currently 17 weeks pregnant- surprise! The baby is due at the end of Feb. I am finally feeling good again. Thank you Jesus! The first three months were pure torture. I barely left my house. Forget church, youth group, or anything absolutely essential. I had morning sickness from 9:30-11:30, and then from 2:30-7:30 or so. (I slept when Caiden napped from 12:00-2:30 every day) That gave me a few hours in the morning to go grocery shopping, or get meals ready for the day (because if it didn't get done then, it wasn't happening!) It was not fun. But it gave me a new appreciation for my normally good health, and for women who experience that their entire pregnancy!
We had to wait until week 12 to tell out parents for various reasons, and then I didn't want to post until after I told my principal, which I finally got a chance to do yesterday. =)So, now you know what I've been doing this summer- growing another little Peanut! =) (Among other things, of course.) I'll share about the rest of it another time. For now, I just wanted to celebrate!!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

More blessings

17. That 13 year old Addison (from our youth family) is now dancing with Jesus and is once again healthy after a four year battle with an unknown disease.
18. That we have a church family that surrounds us as we walk through the messiness of grief.
19. Twice baked potatoes- 'nuf said!
20. For dear friends who after out growing their Little Tykes pool, gave it to us for Caiden.
21. The sheer delight that moves over her face as she slides down the pool's slide.
22. For negative test results!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (we had to test Caiden for Cystic Fibrosis this's that for terrifying?!)
23. That Dr's are wrong, and God is big!
24. For peppermint tea
25. Watching Caiden playing with her cousins, Connor and Landon
26. For our public library that is so close to our house that we get to walk to it.
27. For the rare opportunity to read a historical novel
28. Re-reading anything my Gene Stratton Porter
29. For my husband who spent the entire day working in the yard, garage, cars, etc. and now everything OUTSIDE of our house is gorgeous! =)
30 For a patient husband who knows that I'll get the house spotless someday...and that I really do try. =)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More joy/blessings

Several people have inspired me to list 1,000 blessings so I'll continue from my previous post.

4. Fresh green beans straight from the bush- yum.
5. Butterflies breaking the monotony of weeding the garden with their gentle beauty.
6. Dancing in the rain with my baby-girl.
7. When Caiden comes and grabs my hand and says, "C'Mon.....sit" and then she lets me in on her world of pretend and play.
8. Kissing her neck under her chin and feeling her dissolve into giggles- the most delicious baby place to kiss.
9. Feeling the hand of God still my heart when I become afraid.
10. Curling up with a good book.
11. Blueberry pancakes- a perfect start to any day.
12. Watching my husband talk about his trip to Honduras and the children who stole his heart...pray for Jesus- he has heart surgery tomorrow!!!
13. Our one Saturday a month tradition of eating bagels for breakfast and watching a Western...with John Wayne, of course!!
14. Watching Caiden pause to appreciate the call of a cardinal and that of his distant responder.
15. Doubling up laughing after Caiden points to my face and declares, "pimple" with her popping "p" sound and sweet high voice. That's the result of "hanging" with her teenage Aunts- I'm sure of it!!
16. Rain drops hitting the window pane when it's time to sleep.

Okay, that's all for today. Stay tuned for more later!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Things that bring me joy

I cannot explain how peaceful and joyful I feel watching my laundry dance and sway in the wind as it dries. WHY is this such a cherished thing??? I honestly have no idea!

Afternoon thunderstorms are another joy for me.

Watching Caiden love her Daddy. Priceless!

More JOY has awakened from her nao!

Monday, June 09, 2008

I tag...

I tag..... Kathleen, , Kaylyn, Dawn and Angela . Each of these women add a unique and wonderful aspect to my life making it more rich and full because of their presence.

I know that you are ALL busy, but I would love to know more about all of you. Happy blogging! =)

Thursday, June 05, 2008


I have never been virtually tagged either Allie! I'm not sure what that says about my blogging popularity or prowess, but I'll stop whining now and get down to business. Hmmm...I'm to write six little known facts about myself. It reminds me of the game we played as children, Two Truths and A Lie. Except this time, no lies. Okay, here goes:

1. Someday I would love to have a big front porch with a porch swing. I mourn the lost art of front porch socializing. Can you tell that my love language is quality time? =)

2. I want to backpack through Europe, ride the rails and stay in the youth hostels before I die- preferably when I can hike without invoking great pain and exhaustion. If that's not motivation enough for staying (getting!) in shape, I don't know what is!

3. I have had three interesting business ideas in the last 6 months: a children's book store boasting story times, crafts and snacks all themed; a store geared toward natural parenting; and a temp. controlled nursing tent for when outdoor activities and hungry babies attempt to coexist. However, I think this season of my life is going to require my full attention at least for a few years.

4. I am the highest qualified/certified ASL interpreter at my school and among three in my entire county. It's a sad commentary on the state of educational interpreting in my state. Perhaps if they recognized our accomplishments in some way, "cough- money!" it would help in encouraging interpreters to pursue further certification/ education. But no one asked me, and life is hard enough around here with all the budget cuts. So sad. These kiddos deserve better.

5. I was home schooled 1st through 12th grade and loved every minute of it. Actually I can't lie...I despised long division for a while there, but I got over it!

6. My favorite thing to do with Caiden right now is hold hands and pray. She bows her head, and blinks her eyes funny, and mumbles something cute. When I think she's finished, I say AMEN! Sometimes she solemnly looks at me and says, "no" while quickly re-bowing her head . So sweet! My least favorite thing to do with Caiden is go shopping (shopping has been low on my totem pole for years though so if you know me well, this doesn't surprise you.

That's all for now. I'm going to bed now. I'll tag someone else later!
Good night!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Garden update

Well, the sunflowers are blooming much to the delight of Jeff, Caiden, myself and the bees! Here are some pictures as promised. They are not very good, but I had to make it quick- Caiden was preparing to harvest our eggplant seedlings. =)

Remember when the sunflowers were barely touching Caiden's knees?

Then garden has given us so many beans we've begun freezing them. The lettuce is doing great and so are the onions. We were having so much fun that we dug out another plot. It's about 4x12 feet and home to more eggplant, and tomatoes. Yes, we gave in and are trying the tomatoes again. We placed lots of marigolds in there as well to hopefully make the soil less inviting to nematodes.

In addition to the new plants, we have seen lots of beautiful butterflies- Monarchs, Zebras, Black Swallowtails, and others whose names I do not know. We've also welcomed bees who have been mighty happy with the sunflowers and marigolds. The blackberries are also ripe now, but we're hard pressed to find many- seems to me that the animals may have beat the to us. But we like to go down there and look anyway because there's a huge mess of some plant that the butterflies love. It's like going to a butterfly garden or something- they are so thick that often they run into you. I'll try to snap a picture soon.

Well, that's all for now- the couch climber/runner has awakened from her nap. On duty again! =) Enjoy this beautiful day!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Delighting in Toddlerhood

We have had some pretty wonderful "firsts" around here lately, along with some not so enjoyable new experiences (teething those molars and the ensuing misery of the experience, missing Daddy when he was out of town for three days, and experimenting in tantrums) but in an effort to focus on the joy and not get bogged down in the exhaustion of disciplining and navigating the push and pull of our alternating independent/ needy little girl I want to share the joys. If you're a Mama, have fun reminiscing, or anticipating and if you're enjoying a different season of your life, just enjoy the mental imagery. =)

The first discovery of a rolly-polly bug went something like this: Oh look Caiden, this is a rolly polly! Watch! (I picked it up and induced it to curl into it's protective position. Caiden: OOH! Ball! (she looks into my eyes happily) Me: Yes, it IS like a ball, but watch...(we stand there quietly for a few seconds and the bug cautiously begins to unfurl. Caiden gasps, grabs my hand and pulls it close to her to watch, nose almost touching my hand. When the bug crawls onto her hand she squealed in surprise, flung it across the yard and crawled up me like a little monkey. As soon as she was safely tucked into my arms she grinned ear to ear and signed and said, "MORE!"

She has discovered running now and almost cannot be coaxed to enjoy sitting in her stroller. Yesterday she terrorized half a dozen pigeons who were trying to peck up the bread being liberally flung at them by another toddler. She chased them around for a good 30 minutes. Finally she found 2 slower ones and targeted them. Several times she ALMOST touched them. Once she got frustrated and implored me with big eyes and an attempt to sign "help". I couldn't help but laugh...she had a better chance of catching one without me!

We went searching for ripened blackberries in our "back yard" (the slope past our yard toward the creek) this weekend, and were delighted to find a few. Blackberry vines are very thorny, so I would just point them out to her and watch her eyes widen with wonder and excitement. I gave her a few and then ate half of one. The next time I handed her a berry, she generously "offered" it to me by thrusting it into my mouth and grinning proudly. In the end both of us were covered in the sweet purple juice and smiling. (Lemon juice and vinegar got out the stains!)

While I was helping Jeff with the silent auction preparations, I let Caiden entertain herself by drawing on a paper with a pen (the only thing I could find that would keep her in my sight for a few minutes at a time). I stripped her down and let her go to town. Apparently her stroke was strongest when it was closest to her body, and I looked up to find a very tatooed daughter and an almost clean sheet of paper. I had to stifle a full blown laugh at the look of complete intrigue on her face. What a fun new experience! Don't worry, we did talk about the better places for writing (paper!!!).

On a different note: can anyone share some creative ideas for teaching a toddler about Jesus? Where did you start? We talk to Jesus together during the day, we say "who loves Caiden? Mama loves Caiden, (Daddy and Jesus) to which she always replies with a happy sigh. But I am curious to hear how others have introduced this non-concrete concept to such concrete thinkers.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

April is Cesarean Awareness Month

So, after Caiden was born via c-section because of her breech (non-head down) position, I joined a group called International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) to help me get a handle on the emotional and physical challenges of delivering a baby this way. ICAN is an organization that works to educate woman about c-sections, their prevalence, how to avoid them, and how to prepare them for future vaginal births after a c/section. (VBAC) They also offer chapters all over the US which work like support groups and often work to advocate for the rights of birthing women in their area. You may be wondering why it is important to advocate for the "rights" of birthing Mama's....isn't that what our Dr.'s are for? Well, I'll answer that question with one of my own: When one in THREE women deliver by cesarean section and the national c-section rate in American is double the recommended number allowed by the World Health Organization and within the top 5 countries for c-section rates, should we perhaps take a closer look ourselves at our birthing choices?

I did a survey of my friends and found that of 15 of my friends, 5 had regular vaginal births in a hospital (one was a homebirth transfer last minute), four had homebirths (one had 2 of them!) and 9 of us had cesarean sections. And that's not even counting the girls I know from my Orlando chapter of ICAN who have ALL had at least one c/s.Those are not good odds.

The rise in c-sections has been explained by a few factors: litigation, malpractice insurance making demands of the Dr. to stay with a laboring woman during the ENTIRE duration of her VBAC labor, and also to have a anesthesiologist on the premisis the entire time in case of an emergency c/s, as well as convenience issues of a Dr. to be able to schedule an hour surgery vs. a 20 hr labor, and not have to waken in the middle of the night. There are also doctor and hospital protocols about inductions- after a certain number of hours if you do not progress according to their time table, you're an automatic c-section. Also, most hospitals have imposed VBAC bans (yes, I did really say BANS) on their patients. They have made them "illegal" because of insurance carrier's demands on their staff for VBACS. These are REAL factors, I didn't just make them up. They aren't pretty, but they are real.

I feel that Caiden's arrival via c-section was necessary. She was a footling breech with the cord wrapped around her neck keeping her high in my uterus (she would not descend on her own) and she was experiencing a marked deceleration in her heart rate during contractions.

I also DO believe that there are times when c-sections are necessary, life-saving and beneficial medical interventions.

However, I am guessing that a vast majority of births this way would have been unnecessary had there been less intervention by the medical professions who are "managing" our labors. With this in mind, I think it is important to help educate women about their choices, and about the risks involved in such a complicated surgical procedure. That's why I just want to point out that April is Cesarean Awareness Month. My hope is that if women are more informed before they go into labor (or better yet, before they get pregnant and have "baby brain") perhaps we will have better outcomes for Mama's and babies. Because who would choose to go through unnecessary major abdominal surgery while they're adjusting to a new baby and learning to breastfeed?! Not I!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Garden Baby

During the days you have not heard from us, we have been enjoying our garden and the lovely weather. I wanted to share some cute pictures with you. The first one is Caiden checking on her sunflowers. They were small here, but now are double her size. Pretty soon we will have blooms...when we do, I'll be sure and share them!

This is Caiden's first real experience planting in the garden. I would drop in the seeds, and she would cover theory. =) This season we have planted organic squash, beans, garlic, onions, lettuce, carrots and eggplant. Everything is doing quite well. We gave up on the FL tomatoes least for this year.

The last two pics are from Easter- the first is a picture of playing in the leaves with Aunt Kris, Aunt Sarah, and Uncle Tim- it's my favorite!

Notice the yellow flower in her hand. At our church on Easer they have a wire framed cross that you can stick fresh flowers into. It's beautiful at the end of the morning when it's full of colorful reminders of new life. Caiden took her flower and then decided that it was too pretty to leave behind. She carried the poor crinkled, wilting bloom around for at least an hour.

I am loving this stage of our journey together. Caiden is so much fun exploring the world around her. Her favorite thing is to go "ut-sai" (outside) and everyday she exults in the chirp of a bird (Mama, BUD), croak of a frog (Mama, FOG), a cricket's song (oh, oh!), or the joy of wind blowing in her hair. That is the funniest part, she throws her head back and fluffs her hair in the back when the wind precious! So, if you don't hear much from us right now, you know why! Life is too short to spend it all blogging! =)

Friday, March 14, 2008

We're walking!!!

Hallelujah! It has happened! Monday was the big day. For those of you who do not know, for the last two or three months, Caiden has been insistent that she walk- with my pinky finger.. just to be safe. If I tried to remove said finger, the "jello legs" would appear, tears would burst forth, and she would become hysterical. Every once in a while when she forgot, or was distracted she would take a few steps and then promptly collapse on the ground remembering that she was "supposed" to be hysterical. For the most part, I just went with it- she wanted to walk with my be it. I knew she would walk on her own in her own good time. Some times I wasn't so patient and really felt frustrated. There was no reason why she should be so cautious- no big falls, nothing. Except that she is Caiden, and Caiden seems to perfect things before she actually tries them. (mouthing words before using her voice, practicing crawling months before she actually did it (also late!) etc.)

So, in case you're dying to hear how it happened: All morning I noticed that she was willingly taking a few steps in between the furniture as she was playing. So, I moved all of the pieces of our sectional couch farther apart. So far so good. When that went over without a hitch, I led her to the middle of the living room and tried the same tactics I'd been trying for the last few months. She was not amused. In a last ditch effort, I stuck her ball in front of her and encouraged her to kick it. (One of her very favorite activities.) She did. She then stepped once, then twice and kicked again. This continued all the way across the living room. If you had been a fly on the wall, you would have known me by the gaping mouth and wide eyes. She was nonplussed. I was in shock. She acted like she had been doing this forever. "No big deal, Momma" her eyes seemed to say. Well, she HAD been practicing this for months! When Jeff got home I brought her outside and she walked the length of two houses without falling, picking up acorns ("balls!) and rocks (also "balls") and leaves ("eef") along the way. She was thrilled with her independence, however she kept looking up and saying, "Mama go" - she wanted me to walk along with her, but NOT holding on. It was so sweet.

Since then, I hardly think she has stopped. She is exploring EVERYWHERE. Other fun accomplishments include, confusing "up" and "down", signing: mouse, bird, yes, eat, & flower, (in addition to her other signs) knowing the sounds that dogs, cats, snakes, tigers, & birds make. Every day we spell her name using the magnetic letters on the fridge and now she walks up there and says "C, I" . ;) There are probably more, but I'm tired, so I'll wrap this up. Just wanted to share our exciting news!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

What Did You Do This Morning?

So a friend of mine, also a new Mom posted the things she had done by 9:30am and I thought I would share my story. Please share with me your morning accomplishments!

By 9:30 this morning I nursed Caiden twice, dressed her, fed her breakfast, did the dishes, answered four e-mails, made a phone call, made a grocery list, made a to-do list for my girls weekend coming up, I'm in the process of doing two loads of laundry, hung one up on the line, wished Caiden still took two naps, distracted her from sleepy grumpiness, changed our bed sheets, packed Caiden up for the day out and drove to church.

And you??? =)

Friday, February 15, 2008


So...I've been contemplating disappointments the last few days. Mainly because my dear friend Phyllis and her family are visiting state-side for the first time in several years, it's my first chance to meet her two latest treasures, reconnect with her and introduce her to MY little joy and I have come down with bronchitis and a sinus infection...again. But, also because my little Caiden has been struggling with her own understanding of disappointments as well. To Momma-eyes they can sometimes seem silly, or unimportant, or annoying (okay, admit've been annoyed with baby tears before!), but to her, they are REAL. Some of her disappointments include having to come inside after having free reign of the backyard while Momma hangs the laundry, not being able to TASTE that beautiful flower (or leaf, or rock...I should have NEVER shown her she could eat the lettuce from the garden!), not being able to read "Going on a Bear Hunt" for the 12th time in a row, and having to postpone her exploration of letter magnets on the fridge for a diaper change or trip to the potty. So, it's made me more mindful of the big picture of our lives and how our disappointments fit into them. Often our disappointments teach us, or mold our character, or protect us, or end up being the best in the long run, but our vision is so short. So precious Caiden, this is just the beginning. You have a long journey ahead of you. Hopefully along the way I can share some lessons with you and in the process you can teach me too. I hope I can be patient more often than I am not, and in the end, maybe Jesus will show us the underside of the beautiful tapestry He is weaving and we will be able to enjoy the big picture after all.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Look again

I finally got the rest of her birthday pics up, if you'd like to look back and see!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Patience please!

Hey all, sorry about the last post...the pics were taking too long to post and Jeff needed his phone/our internet connection. Now I'm at the library but without the pics. So...stay tuned please!

Monday, January 28, 2008

One Year!

(Please excuse the tardiness of this post, and ignore the fact that she is now 13 mo. old) =)

Happy First Birthday Caiden! What a year full of joy, blessings, lessons, explorations, changes, growth, and LOVE. Jesus, thank you for the gift of our daughter. Thank you for using her to show us more of the depth of your love and passion for us. Papa, I ask for Your blessing cover Caiden this coming year. "Bless her and keep her, may your face shine upon her and give her Your peace." Teach her about Your love for her and Your presence in EVERY thing.

Here are some snapshots of her party (we just had a small-ish party with close family...for those who know my family, you understand the "ish" part of that word. =) )

The first pic is with her G-ma McLaughlin, the next two are cake diving, and the last one is in her special present from Daddy- her very own red wagon- made in America no less! =) I tried to post a cute photo with Aunt "Duck" (Kate) but it's rejecting it, so maybe later.. Thank you to everyone who made this day so special for her, and to everyone else who sent well wishes her way. On to year two! (Trust me, I'm enjoying every minute as it comes...that's quite enough for me!)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Christmas Vacation pt.I

I'm typing from my parents' computer right now and don't have all of MY pictures, so I'll just cover the part of Christmas vacation that we spend with them. On the 25th, we left to spend a few days in TN. Here's where we "live" when we visit. Doesn't it look heavenly? It is!

We spend three days there and two days traveling. On Caiden's birthday Jeff and I took her into Pigeon Forge to celebrate with just the three of us because we're waiting to celebrate with both sides on the family on Jan.12th. While there we bought her her present: a cute TN-made rag doll. Here's Kate modeling her for us. ;) The trip up and back were a piece of cake. I was thrilled to learn that traveling is still do-able, atleast with a bunch of aunts in the back seat to keep Caiden amused. =)

While we were there we enjoyed weather that reached 28 degrees and 32degrees. It was a lovely change of pace from our warm FL temps! This is Caiden and Aunt Sarah, Tim's beautiful bride enjoying the chill.

Riding on the shoulders of her hero. =) This was the position of her hat 95% of the time. =)

Well, that's all I have time for now. More to come soon!