Category Archives: little man

raising a spirited child….

Ever since Cade was born, we have known that he would likely be a “spirited” little dude.  He was not the easiest baby, and he has always been very active and all boy.  He wears his emotions on his sleeve (he totally gets that from me), and he is often the one that gets in trouble because he is very reactive and hits when he is frustrated.

We were lucky enough to find an amazing daycare provider, Shawna, that did everything she could to help us with him.  She worked through all the concerns we had and all the phases he went through, and she assured me that he was normal and just a boy.  And, I appreciated all the support she offered our family. Truthfully, I don’t think I could have done it without her.

Cade and Shawna

She wasn’t just good for Cade; she was good for me.  I have personally found the process of mothering to be very isolating, particularly if you are the parent of the spirited child — the one the all the other mothers look at and try to figure out why they are acting that way.  I am here to say for the record that we are trying to figure it out too.  And, the most important thing Shawna taught me is the having a spirited child isn’t a bad thing.

Recently, Shawna moved with her family to Georgia.  Her husband is military as well, and we knew this was inevitable.  We had already moved across town and had found a new school for Cade, so the transition wasn’t as hard as it could have been, but I do miss the “village” mentality she offered me.  She always made sure to tell me all the great things he did during the day as well as the challenging things.  There are a million awesome things that Cade does that I don’t see other children his age doing because he is active and into everything (and has parents that are too).

Cade started preschool two weeks ago, and I have to admit that I was terrified.  There is a great family joke about one of my brothers getting kicked out of preschool for beating up on the other kids, but I was so scared that Cade was going to follow in his footsteps. At the open house the day before school started, his teacher told me that they would use the first few weeks to get used to the schedule and play, and it seemed that things were going well. I even sent the Boy a message so excited about what I saw one morning!


And, there was another incident where Cade was not the aggressor and did the right thing when another little boy bite him for using the word “poop.”  I think the teacher thought I was crazy that I was so relieved that Cade was not the biter.  But, that’s how you can tell that you are the parent of a spirited child.

Then, yesterday, I got this message sent home from school.

red mark

I was so bummed.  We talked about it all night and talked about the fact that we will get to do fun things if he good reports all week.  And, this morning I talked to his teacher more closely about how things are going.  Turns out that he is relating more with the older kids and isn’t playing with the kids his own age quite as much.  She asked if he had an older sibling, and I explained that he had been around older kids quite a bit.  She explained that she was surprised that he was into superheroes, swords, and turning things into guns (his classmates are still interested in Thomas and things a little younger).  And, she’s right. He definitely is.

But, my bubble burst a little, both about how things were going and about what was “normal.”  Cade is an older three year old, and he has had the opportunity to play with older kids quite a bit.  Even at Shawna’s where there were two other tiny humans his age, he often opted to play with her older son.  And, the whole interchange with his teacher made me question something I deemed as normal.  He loves Spiderman, the Avengers, and Batman, and he likes to watch the older cartoons related to those characters.

Now, I am questioning whether or not those things are too old for him right now and whether or not we have done something wrong by allowing him to follow his interest.  My gut reaction is no.  We don’t buy toy guns and things like that, but sometimes his action figures come with tiny exaggerated weapons similar to those my brothers played with as kids.  We don’t try to stop every sword fight, but we don’t offer toys that are meant for them either.

Cade-superman pose

The teacher’s comments this morning worried me because I don’t want the people he looks up to think he isn’t normal, particularly his teachers in these formative years. I want them to remember that there are several things he does that are advanced for his age, like the fact that he has awesome manners and raises his hand to be called on and is incredibly sweet, not just his preferred method of playing.  I want to figure out a way to call attention to his good qualities as well as recognize those things that need to be adjusted without feeling like I am just making excuses for his behavior.

So, I guess that’s what I will be working on, both for him and me.  For him, continuing to talk about how he should be behaving in school and at home and which behaviors are appropriate where.  And, for me, I will be working on finding my voice to stand up for my son.  Because even though it is frustrating at times,  I know that I definitely don’t want to break that spirit that makes him who he is.

{tiny conversations}

Me: Baby boy, it’s time to go see Ms. Shawna!
Tiny Human: No, I don’t go see Ms. Shawna.  I go to the Moon.
Me: To the moon?
Tiny Human: Yes, to see the ocean.
Me: Oh, you want to go to Maine!
Tiny Human: Yeah, to Maine!

{i want} so, when can I move in….


There are very few times that I find something that someone else has built, made, sewn online that I want to replicate exactly.  And, this little bungalow from The Handmade Home is definitely one of them. I love everything about it, from the roof to the curtains (shower?) to the railing.  Seriously everything!

It reminds me of the little playhouse I used to play in at my great grandmother’s house. It was a tiny little house with cupboards and everything.  It was my mother’s when she was a little girl, and I always remember thinking how cool it was. So, while this may not work for us right now, there is no doubt that someday we are going to build one of these for our little man!

But, until then, I am going to keep drooling over this one!


{thankful thursday} like a little gift

Today was a rough day.  I am still dealing with a super tough case of after-Christmas blues that are likely explained by the fact that I miss my brother like crazy, and the tiny dictator running around my house acts very much like Ryan did when he was his age.  And, he looks just like him, which makes it particularly hard.  And, if you don’t believe me, guess who this is….

Ryan CA

ryan - not much older than Cade is now

But anyways, so today was a rough day.  The little man is super cranky and a wee bit sickly, and I find myself in that in-between phase where I am not really sure if I should take him to the doctor or if this is just teething because, you know, he is the world’s worst teether!

That combined with the fact that he is two after all hasn’t been much fun lately.  “No” is definitely his favorite word, and he doesn’t just say it.  He expels it at you from across the room.  He even rolls the “n,” which I didn’t even know was possible!

But, I really wanted to post today, so I was trying to take pictures of him, which he used to love, and I really hoped that he would always be that kid that cheesed it up for the camera, but lately he avoids all camera shots if possible.  So, I decided to take a picture of the part of him that was still for the moment.

Tiny toes getting bigger every day

And, this is what I got.  Strong little legs in cute little shoes hiding those tiny perfect little feet that are really still tiny but so much bigger than the miniscule little ones that came home from the hospital.

Our favorite feet-ure so far!

taken almost two years ago to the day

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use that picture for my thankful moment for today because I wasn’t sure it would be what I wanted to capture today.  So, when I had gotten to the end of the day and this was the best thing I had captured, I thought I was just going to blow the post off (again).

And, then I got a little gift from my RSS reader: this post from Karen Russell [Karen is one of the bloggers I referenced in my last post.  Her husband is deployed right now, and she has been having a hard time in general lately].  Karen posted today about having an ah-ha moment after reading this post from Glennon over at Momastery.  So, I followed the little worm-trail the interweb offered me today, and I was reminded to remember.

Glennon’s post is amazing, and it deeply resonates with me for so many reasons.  I too have had a hard time with people telling me that I should enjoy every minute of mothering.  And, I too find myself getting stuck in the chronos of the day, as Glennon calls it (that she puts it in rhetorical terms just makes my heart go pitter-pat): the number of minutes it takes to fight to put on shoes, how many slow bites of breakfast will be eaten, the thousands of seconds till daddy gets home and changes the odds.  I have always had the problem of getting stuck in the minutiae of the day, and that didn’t magically change when I had a baby.

So, in the chronos-induced haze I find myself in these days in particular, I couldn’t see how cool this picture of those strong little legs in those cute little shoes would be.  But, looking back at this picture from a kairotic point of view just a few hours later, I already love it.  And, that was before I had even thought to compare it to the little toes from when he was just a month old.

So, today, I am so very thankful for being reminded to capture the moment.  For taking the time to capture my moment of Kairos for today, even if it was just strong little legs in cute little shoes hiding perfect tiny feet lounging on the couch.

{30-in-30} a new friend…

So, while the boy’s brother and his family were here, they gave Cade his birthday/christmas presents.  One was a Red Ryder big wheel, which we have been having a huge amount of fun with down our driveway.

But, the other present has been the biggest hit!  It was a talking Woody, just like from Toy Story, and the little man loves it!  He has been carrying him around for the last three days, so he has been a big part of the pictures lately.

I was a little surprised about how big a hit Woody was because Cade hasn’t really formed many attachments to other toys.  It was a great gift!

[kisses for Woody]

[watching tv together]

[I asked for a picture of the two of them]

{30-in-30} turkey day pumpkin goodies

Most years for Thanksgiving, I make my hubby a pumpkin cheesecake very similar to this one. (I do change it a little in that I don’t include the sour cream topping.  We just use more caramel which nicely covers the cracks I am always bound to get!)  I don’t particularly like cheesecake or pumpkin stuff, so it is usually a good thing!  This year, we knew there was already a pumpkin pie coming to dinner, so I decided on something a little different.

Back in October for my brother’s couples shower, I made these cupcakes that I saw on pinterest.  Turns out the recipe was actually  from another site, Made in Melissa’s Kitchen, and they were amazing!  But, they were a little rich, likely because I put a little too much frosting, but the frosting is really the best part, particularly when you don’t love pumpkin stuff.

So, for Thanksgiving, I changed the format and turned them into whoopie pies.  I knew this would work because the cake is pretty sturdy.  But, I didn’t change anything about the recipe, just how I made them.

Pumpkin whoopie pies

I love the picture above because it was completely representative of what happened when I took these little buggers to my mom’s house. Most of them were happily inhaled!


But, there were a few that came home with us that the little man demands with a resounding “GAKE” whenever he sees the plate!  I think I have created a monster, but this recipe is totally a keeper!  And, I really like the change to a whoopie pie because the cupcake batter makes more cupcakes than one batch of the icing covers, but it was perfect for the whoopie pies.

Little man loves them too!

{30-in-30} we have some very special people on their way to us….

So, we wanted to be sure that the little man had some practice with names!

Joe’s brother, Sam, and his wife, Lori, along with their two kids Gage and Caleb are on their way to our house for Turkey day!  We are ALL super excited!

{30-in-30} this and that…

:: Things are a little crazy with work right now.  We are at that point in the semester where a ton of grading has to be done in order to get the students what they need to be successful in the rest of the course, and I also have a huge project I am working on for my other non-teaching job.  I have to admit that this is not my favorite part of working from home.  There are is so much to be done around the house that trying to tune it out to work on stuff I actually get paid for is difficult.

:: I have really been enjoying this whole blogging everyday thing.  I have made it 15 days out of my 30, so I am halfway there!  It has become this little a tiny reward I give myself at the end of the day to actually sit down and write something.  I know that there are only a few people out there that read my blog, but I am totally okay with that.  And, to tell you the truth, anytime one of my friends says something about reading, I am a little shocked and excited.

:: I found another inspiration piece for the wedding quilt!  I am totally loving some argyle lately, and I love the straight line quilting in this!

Asymmetric Argyle

:: Our little man was a huge hit at the wedding this past weekend.  He literally danced for two hours straight.  The boy caught a little video of it too.

Cade started off the dancing by pulling Lily, my best friend’s youngest daughter, out to the dance floor.  That’s what this video is from.  It is a little dark, but you can see how excited he is!  I can’t wait to see if the photographer got any good pictures too!

:: Lily was also quite the dancer throughout the evening, but she particularly loved it when they turned on the disco ball!  I caught a little of her spinning on tape as well.  I promise I went to help her right when the video cuts out!


Well, that’s a few of the things running around in my brain!  Now back to work!

{30-in30} a few things I have learned from you…

:: you stop what you are doing every time you hear music, so you can dance with wild abandon.  No matter where it is coming from: tv commercial, song I play for you, something that comes on in the car.  It helps me remember to stop and pay attention to the little things in life that make me happy.


:: you never stop trying to learn, and when you are frustrated by something you are attempting that isn’t going your way, you look to the people you love for help.  We all need to remember to ask for help when times get tough.


:: you love to play outside.  Little things, like a walk to the car, are fun for you. Even at your young age, you recognize the healing power of being in nature.


:: you always try whatever we put in front of you.  There isn’t much you won’t eat, but you let us know when something is “ewww.”  Reminds me that I may not like everything I try, but the trying is the most important part!


:: you are all boy.  You are rough and tumble and love dirt, and it helps me remember to embrace who I really am.


:: you explore all of your world everyday.  And, you pay attention to all the tiny details, so you catch all the small things that will make your life the most fun.


We love you so much little man, and we couldn’t imagine our world without you!


{30-in-30} to warm a tiny head

So, my little man has a huge noggin!  We joke that it is to hold his huge brain, but really, he is in the 95% for head circumference.  And, you know what they say about babies with big heads?

It is really hard to find them hats that fit!  All the kid hats are too small, as in they don’t cover his tiny ears, and adult hats are way too big.  So, when I saw this super cute boy-friendly pattern, I thought I would just try to make him one!

I taught myself how to crochet last year, but I have this theory about knitting and crocheting.  You are always better at the one you learn first.  It would seem that switching between the two would be easy, but it is hard to relearn those skills.  But, now that I have made the leap into crocheting, I am really loving it!  Super easy to pick up something for a few rows and then go back to what I should be doing.

But, back to the hat.  I think it came out super cute!  It was definitely the most complicated pattern I have done so far, but that wasn’t because the pattern was difficult.  It was just my learning curve.  But, for my little “sputnik” (obscure movie reference), I added three more rows at the bottom to make sure it was long enough to fit!

So here is a really bad picture (sorry, it was dark outside, so I took it in the weird lighting of my kitchen) of the front of the hat.  I am really happy with the way it turned out (at least from this side).

my good side...

Now, the back is another story. I am not so good with making the seams look seamless yet.

But, on my little model, you can’t really tell.  I am really happy that it turned out so well, and that it covers those little ears!

the cute model