Friday, August 28, 2009

I don't think I could do it (and other random heart-related thoughts)

Cade is sick. He's more sick than I remember ever seeing him, barring the initial hostipal treatments during his first few days of life. Two events in the last 24 hours have triggered a few deep thoughts in my head and strong feelings in my heart. The first happened last night when we discovered he wasn't feeling great. Susie and I were heading to bed around 10:30. Cade was in bed early because he was cutting a new molar and that had him feeling crummy all day. We heard him crying and decided to go check on him. Sometimes we'll let him cry and put himself back to sleep, but this time we investigated. When we walked in he was standing up and crying in his crib, squinting in the light, himself and his crib completely covered in the food he'd eaten yesterday. It was the most pitiful sight, and my heart broke for him. Susie took him right into the bath and I worked on his clothe, room, and bed. He ended up throwing up twice more throughout the night. Susie and her mom took Cade to the doctor this morning and we found out he has a virus. Really all we can do is try to make him comfortable and manage his fever until it passes. He's been in a poor state during the day and evening.

The second event was just earlier this evening. Susie and her mom went to a church function a while ago and Cade had finally gone to sleep right before they left. Only a few minutes after they had left I heard him crying. All day today it seemed like he just couldn't get comfortable enough to sleep well so he tossed and turned a lot. I went in and stood by his crib and rubbed his back, but when I thought he was asleep and turned to leave he would start crying right when I got out the door. This happened a few times so I ultimately took him and held him for about a half hour as he worked his way back to sleep on my chest. It was a sweet time to be with him and to just console him as he just kind of moaned and tried to get comfortable enough to sleep. Susie said earlier today that in some ways she doesn't mind him being sick because he's so dependent on her and just longs for her to hold him and it's a real feeling of connection. I can identify with that, but at the same time it just pains me to see him as uncomfortable as he is. I spent that time praying for him to feel better and for him in general. Finally he drifted off enough that I could put him back in his crib. So far so good (knock knock).

Those two images, of Cade standing and crying in his crib covered in vomit, and of his sick little face curled up on my chest contorting and straining against his virus in an effort to get some rest have burned themselves into my mind. I hate seeing him less than the vibrant, fun bundle of life we're used to. The thought that kept entering my mind as I rocked him back to sleep was, "Dear God, how did you ever allow your only son to be tortured and killed? I don't think I could do it. I don't have enough love and grace in me."

And see, there's the rub. As much as Susie or I love Cade, that love pales in comparison to God's love for me and for every person that's ever been conceived on this planet. He's the only one capable of that kind of love. I firmly believe the most unselfish thing a perfect being could do is to create other beings for the sole purpose of enjoying himself. And even more incredibly, He didn't force his love and any kind of obedience on us. Forced obedience creates a resentment or no feeling at all. So He allows us to make the choice to cut the ties and reject Him. And we do. Everyday. We're people that want to know how far we can stretch a rule. How fast can I go over the speed limit without getting a ticket (FYI: in Owensboro it's less than 6 over)? How much can I slack off before my A drops to a B or my B drops to a C? How mediocre can I allow my work to be before it gets noticed for the crap that it is? How little time can I spend with God and how little can I mention Him in conversation and how little can I care about the people around me without giving up my status as a "good Christian guy?" But it's not about rules. It's about our hearts.

I'd like to share a story I read a few days ago that I really liked. I've read it a few times since I first came across it. I love the ending. It's about a king that decided his people had been rebellious for too long. When he became king, he made it a priority to repair and re-consecrate the temple in Jerusalem and re-consecrate the priests of the land so they could worship the God that had delivered them over and over. He wanted to do it right. He wanted to celebrate the most important festival of thanks to God as a nation for the first time in a long time, but enough priests had not been consecrated and the people had not been assembled in time. The Passover was normally celebrated in the first month of the year, but instead they chose to celebrate it in the second month just this one time because it was a priority to return to their traditions of honoring God and remembering what he had done for them. Historically, this was a no-no. Additionally, many of the people who had come from a distance to celebrate had not ceremonially purified themselves so they were actually celebrating the festival in direct opposition to God's law. But here's what happened: "(The king) prayed for them, saying, 'May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone who sets their heart on seeking God - the Lord, the God of their ancestors - even if they are not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.' And the Lord heard (the king) and healed the people." (2 Chronicles 29-30)

I love that story. I love it because we get so wrapped up in focusing on the rules and the lists of things we can and cannot do. We hold so tighly to the taboos and boundaries we've set up in our minds, we don't take the time to examine our hearts, and our hearts go astray. But our hearts are what matter to God. My heart longs for my son to feel good and be happy. God's heart longs for me to be close to him and to care about others. He longs for my heart so much that he watched his son endure the worst pain any person has ever endured because without his blood my shortcomings would separate me from God. He allowed his son to be tortured and killed because he longs for the hearts of so many that choose to completely disregard him. Because His love and grace are enough to overcome anything I can do in rebellion to Him, I have the freedom to love my son. So I stand amazed at my God yet again and thank him for his limitless love, his unending forgiveness, and the grace to allow me to have a son if only for the ability to further appreciate the sacrifice he made in giving up his own for me.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More Walking

Cade has been doing more and more walking. Just this evening he walked from the middle of a room at IU to the doorway. We were talking with some of Susie's classmates, so it kind of went unnoticed until we realized what he had just done.

My aunt Joyce sent Cade a shopping cart for his birthday. Her son David had one when he was a baby and apparently it was a big time favorite toy. Up until about a week ago Cade wasn't stable enough on his feet to really enjoy it, but now that he's more mobile he loves to push it around with his toys in it. So big thanks goes out to Joyce and her experience with little boys. :) Cade's putting a lot of miles on those shopping cart wheels. He's not very good at turning yet, so sometimes he'll get stuck when he runs into a wall or something else. We're looking forward to seeing Joyce and a lot of the extended Gronseth family in October.

I also got a video of Cade pushing another walker around. He still prefers crawling since it's faster, but he's sure coming along with the walking.

And here's the video of the shopping cart.

Cade's vocabulary is also growing pretty quickly. He's learned "hi" and "bye," which make any occasion more fun. And he's definitely partial to the letter "Z." We read him the Dr. Seuss ABC's book quite often (sometimes 5-10 times a day). He loves it. He'll pick it up and bring it to us and say, "B!" We think "B" either means "ABC" or "read," we're not sure yet. But when we get to the end we'll say the whole alphabet and he'll finish with an emphatic "Z!" It still kinda sounds like "TSE," but we're giving him the benefit of the doubt. It's his favorite letter. He even loves the rhyme that goes with Z in the book: "Big Z, little z, what begins with Z?" (Turn the page to a picture of a goofy Seussian fuzzy patchwork dragon.) "I do! I am a zizzer-zazzer-zuzz as you can plainly see!" Which is followed by Cade cackling and turning the book back to the beginning. Every time.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

First Haircut!

Cade is hilarious. Can I just say that before we get started today? He constantly comes up with new things that are at the same time funny and amazing because you can tell he's coming to grips with the world around him. Like the other night Susie was telling me about how when he was in the bath he was standing up and apparently nature was calling. So while standing there he just started peeing. She said he looked down at what was going on and just started cracking up at himself. You know he knows he eliminates waste because he gets cranky if his diaper isn't changed for a long time. So he knows occasionally it gets wet and/or lumpy in his diaper, but I wonder if he really puts it all together. I know when he does that will make potty training a lot easier. (Side note: last night I learned that Susie was trained at 15 months which blows my mind. That's exciting to me because it means we might be closer to no more diaper changes, but it kinda scares me too because it means we'll have to deal with the "accidents" that come with training. I'm sure they don't always happen at convenient times.) But back to the tub, I guess he just saw the play unfolding before him and decided that it was pretty funny.

Another funny/neuron-connection thing happened at bath time last night. Susie thought Cade's hair was very cute and wanted to take a few pictures. It was at that point we realized Cade can anticipate the camera's flash. Our camera does what a lot of cameras do now: it blinks an orange light a second or two before the picture is taken. Well, Cade's figured out the sequence and doesn't like the flash in his eyes. So the result is what you see below. There were many more "in betweeners" but I narrowed it down to the best three. He smiles for the picture, but then decides he wants to avoid the flash, but then at some point between those two decisions he decides that having a smile on really still is important. The third one is kind of blurry, but I believe that picture captures the exact moment of decision.

And here's a "nice" picture of smiley Cade.

But what I really wanted to tell you about was his haircut today. He was such a good boy! I was a little nervous about how it would go since he is SO wiggly. All the time. Everyday. But enough was enough: he was developing quite the mud flap in the back. I know we live in and Cade was born in Kentucky, but at some point you just have to take the appropriate stand against mullets. :)

So far so good. Sitting on the little booster seat very well!
At first he didn't quite like the cape. But when he got to play with a hair clip he was very compliant.
After a while the hair clip just wasn't fun enough anymore so we got a comb in his hands and he was happy again.
Overall he did wonderful! He sat very still for LaDonna and now looks quite dapper and trim. Thanks a bunch LaDonna for doing a great job!
Here's a quick video of Cade standing up by himself. He's getting a lot better at this now and takes a few steps by himself now.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Walking, Rocking, and Carl

Well, not quite walking yet, but kinda. He's taking up to five or so steps at a time, still very wobbly, and still not real consistently, but he seems to be showing more enthusiasm for it. Today he actually walked a few steps to me, fell down, stood back up (without help), walked a couple more, fell down, and then decided to just crawl. And then later this evening he was standing by the bed in his room and wanted the blanket out of his crib so he walked the few steps to get it instead of crawling over there. Hopefully we can get a video of it soon so you all can see it. It's pretty amazing to watch him learn new things, and it blows my mind at just how much little babies' brains develop and pick up at this age.

This video is of Cade in his rocking chair. This chair was a very special birthday present from Susie's parents. This rocking chair belonged to Susie's great grandfather. Susie's dad refinished the rocking chair and then they had the webbing replaced so it's as good as new. Cade is still a little small for it, and for the most part he's ignored it until just recently. Susie got a good video of his newest trick, which is how he likes to climb into it and rock.

Here's a bonus outtake:

I wonder if any other parents out there fight the getting dressed battle like we do. Every night we follow pretty much the same routine. When Cade starts getting tired we get him in the bath. We'll do a small snack with some milk either before or after the bath. After bath/snack, we brush his little teeth (all ten of them!). Then we read a book or two together. Then we say our prayers and it's off to bed. He's generally very compliant throughout the whole process, probably because we're pretty consistent with it and he knows what's coming. least 9 out of 10 nights it's a major struggle to get his pj's on him after his bath. I wonder if he thinks if he fusses enough that one glorious night we'll let him sleep in his birthday suit. I don't know why he gets cranky with us, but once his pj's are on him crab Cade goes away and sweet Cade returns from wherever he was hiding.

Cade is constantly adding to his vocabulary, and it's not always the words we expect. A friend and coworker sent a book for Cade called "Good Dog, Carl" (thanks Kate!). It's a story about a lady who leaves her baby under the dutiful watch of the family rottweiler, Carl. While she's gone, the dog gets the baby out of the crib and they have tons of fun dancing to music from the stereo, raiding the fridge, playing dress up, sliding down the laundry chute, and jumping on the bed. Before the lady comes home Carl puts the baby back in the crib and cleans up their messes. When the lady returns she's pleased to see the baby sleeping in the crib and tells the dog, "Good dog, Carl." It's a fun book because other than the initial instructions and the final words of praise, there is no text, so we can make up the story as we go. Well, tonight Cade grabbed that book and handed it to me. I said "Good Dog, Carl!" and Cade looked me in the eye and repeated "Carl." Then he kept saying it. Hilarious. He hears the words "good" and "dog" way more frequently than "Carl," but he chose to say "Carl." I shot a quick video on my phone, so the quality's not super, and the lighting was poor, but hopefully you can catch it. (And yes, he's sitting in his toy box. I'm not sure why, but he just climbed in it, which made me laugh.)

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Wow, it's really been almost a month since I posted last. July was a fairly busy month for us. We had a little travel, I finished up my summer class, Susie is still teaching and taking summer classes, and we've just been generally busy. But that's no excuse for this long layoff. I apologize, but hopefully you'll forgive me when you see the smorgasbord of pictures and videos I have for you.

Cade is still not walking across the room, but he's starting to stand very well on his own, and he's doing a good job of walking a step or two towards something he wants. But in the end I think he just feels more comfortable with crawling and knows he can crawl faster than he can walk. So usually he'll take about a half a step or two and then plop down and crawl wherever he wants to go. Eventually I think it'll click in his head and he'll just start to prefer a walk to a crawl.

One week in July I traveled to our plant near Indianapolis so Susie, Cade, and Chili took the opportunity to head off to Alabama. I know Susie's family appreciated having them around, and Susie appreciated the chance to get some extra work done while spending time with her family. I went down that following weekend and we all had a great time.

Here's Cade just chillin' at VeeVee and Granddaddy's.

Cade loved to eat the fresh-picked blackberries and blueberries. We have a place near Owensboro where Susie has picked blueberries many times this summer. She also got to pick some in Alabama. I don't know if it has to do with the soil or the climate or what, but the blueberries here in Kentucky have to be some of the sweetest, best-tasting blueberries I've ever had. Cade loves them too. Overall he's turned into a fruit eating machine. Despite his rocky start with bananas (detailed in this post), I think they've turned into his favorite fruit to eat. He can almost say "banana," but the "n's" come out more like "d's."
Susie has also been firing the bread machine up quite a bit this summer. She's becoming a master with that thing. She's made many different kinds of wheat breads, but I've really been digging the sourdough loaves she's been cooking lately. Cade loves it too. He gets all excited when you plop momma's bread down in front of him.

Tell me you've seen a baby more talented than this:

Cade love frozen grapes. We cut them in half so they're less of a choking hazard, and they disappear faster than back copies of Michael Jackson CD's. Here are a couple pictures of his latest trick. He's been stacking them into pyramid and then applauding himself.
Just kidding. We built the pyramid of grapes for him. :) But he did enjoy watching us work. Just imagine how impressed you'd be if he really DID build it himself.

I think one of the more fun things lately has been watching his tiny vocabulary grow little by little. He's been saying "mama" and "dada" and "ug" for a while now, but more recently he's starting to expand his repertoire. Here are a few videos showing off three of his newer words. NOTE: To be considered for these videos, the word has to be repeated intentionally. He's starting to be more consistent in referring to specific objects with different sounds. Sometimes the sound is unintelligible, like when he refers to a light or a fan as "dah." It's consistent, but not a real word. Here are a couple real words he's learned.

You can imagine my pride when one of his first words is (this is his newest word he's learned):

He can also say "ball." He doesn't quite have the "l" sound down pat, so sometimes it sounds more like "baw," but he definitely knows what a "baw" is. He still loves to play with his Rockies bat and baw. (He speaks quietly in this video.)

And this is a fun one he's perfected over the last few weeks.

One of the reasons I've personally been busier lately is because I'm training for a half marathon in October. My buddy Jared and I will be running it together and we've been doing a lot of our longer runs on the weekends together. I've never been a super enthusiastic runner, but since Susie and I quit our gym at the start of the year (it had turned into a dump), I wanted to find a way to exercise for free. Running is free, so I slowly worked at increasing my mileage and Jared finally talked me into the half marathon.

Susie ran cross country in college, so I think she was a little jealous of me running while she was still in the nursing stage of baby-rearing. She had been getting back in shape by doing pilates and step classes, but hadn't been running. Well, when we were in Alabama she said she wanted to run with me on my long run that Saturday. So she dusted off her running shoes and did 7.5 miles with me like it was no big thing. I tell you, I'm more impressed with her all the time.

A few Saturdays ago I ran my first 10K. It was a night run, which was good because it was cooler than running during the day. I was so excited to see Susie, Cade, and Chili standing at the 4-mile marker. I still can't say I really like running, but it's been a great way to stay in shape, and it's growing on me. We're looking for a used running stroller so we can go as a family, so if you know of anyone trying to get rid of one let us know!

Thanks for being patient this month. I'll do my best to post more frequently as we head towards fall!