Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Like a Child

This Christmas was unlike any other Christmas I've ever experienced. As you grow older you start becoming more and more used to the Christmas season. You get better at getting things done in an efficient manner and you become calloused to the real wonder and anticipation of the season and its real meaning. Then you have a kiddo. Not much changes for the first couple Christmases (besides the mountain of presents sent to your baby from family and friends) because your baby doesn't quite understand what all the fuss and sugar and late nights are about.

Then your kid turns two and that next Christmas is unlike any other Christmas you've ever experienced. A two year old has such innocence, wonder, and true joy during the Christmas season, and it really brings you back to being in love with that innocence, wonder, and true joy. You realize you had forgotten what it was like to really stare at a present and really long to open it before Christmas. You realize you had forgotten how pretty Christmas lights and Christmas candles and Christmas trees really are. You realize you had forgotten how much fun it is to decorate Christmas cookies. You realize you had forgotten how good candy canes really do taste. You realize you'd grown used to (and tired of) singing Christmas songs. You realize you don't talk about what Christmas really means nearly often enough.

Here are a few of the pictures taken of Cade this Christmas season. I hope they convey just a little bit of how much he (and we) enjoyed Christmas this year.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”













And when it's all said and done.... "sleep in heavenly peace."

We hope your Christmas was as wonderful as ours, and we hope that we all can remember what it's like to be two years old and experience Christmas like that every year.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Some ladybugs are male.....

"That's a real cute picture of your daughter there." Yeah, I've heard that a few times in the last couple weeks since I put this picture on my laptop's desktop. I don't care. Haven't you heard of a male ladybug? There have to be male ladybugs or else ladybugs would just cease to exist, right?


Some time before Halloween Susie texted me a picture of a ladybug costume her mom had found for Cade to wear. My first reaction was "Ummmm....." But I started to think about it. If you know Cade, you know he loves any kind of bug or critter. And he definitely doesn't know that the word "lady" has any female connotations. To him a ladybug is just another cool bug. After pondering for a while I figured this could have potential to be a real winner. And guess what? It was. Cade wore this costume three times the week of Halloween and we never had to fight him to get into it. And just picking out socks can be very trying sometimes. He's very particular about what he wears.

So here's a big thanks to VeeVee for bringing that ladybug costume. Cade loved it.

One of the Halloween events I took him to was with my buddy Jason and his family. Turns out, Jason's daughter Ella was a ladybug too. Potentially awkward situation? No way! Cade liked the idea that they were dressed the same. Plus, notice that Ella has hearts on her costume. So she's definitely the female ladybug and everyone was happy.
Now that Cade's little legs are long enough, he loves to go ride his tricycle around the neighborhood. He's been very good about following directions, staying on the less busy streets, and watching for cars. Even though he can reach the pedals he prefers to push along the ground with his feet.
Since we live a few blocks from the train tracks Cade likes to ride down to the tracks and see if we can see a train. I call this one "Sunset at the Train Crossing."
Last weekend I ran the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon with a few buddies. I'd been training hard with Robert (second from left) and Jason (far right, and father of Cade's ladybug friend). Robert's brother Bruce drove in from South Carolina to join us. We all had a great time, and the training program we found in Runner's World really paid off. I set a PR by four minutes and Jason and I finished over two minutes under our goal time. Robert and Bruce also turned in great finishing times, especially for a couple of guys that had never run a half before. The weather was great for running, and we definitely couldn't have asked for a better day.
We all stayed in the same hotel in downtown Indy, which was a lot of fun. Here's the whole crew after the race.
You may have noticed that all the wives and kids were wearing blue hoodies. Jason does a lot of outstanding design work, so he came up with this design for a shirt for the families. Pretty talented.
Last night the three of us went to the IU volleyball game. It was some sort of family night, so they had a photographer taking family pictures for free. We had bought Cade a little IU football jersey the week before and he'd been itching to wear it. He was so excited to put it on and go to the game. So here we are all decked out in Indiana red. I'm sure my dad's side of the family (from Minnesota) would all be so proud.
Cade was doing a little bit of exploring outside today. We are taking advantage of this great fall weather. Cade chose to wear this shirt to church this morning because it was just like daddy's shirt. He was kind of being a stick in the mud when it came to getting dressed (which isn't entirely unusual), but when I came in and he saw my shirt and we suggested that he could dress just like daddy he became a little more compliant.
Can I brag on my kid a bit? Cade got this set of puzzles from his Aunt Amy and Uncle Paul. In the box there are four puzzles and they all have four pieces to them. We've played with them before, but usually it ends up with Susie or I putting the puzzles together at Cade's request. Well, today Cade was playing by himself and we looked over and he had separated the four puzzles and had put them all together! He then took them apart, mixed up the pieces, and did it a couple more times. In this picture you can see that he's almost done with the red one, he's finished the green one, the blue one is almost done, and he's set the yellow pieces off to his right to work on next. I'm obviously a very biased party, but I was incredibly impressed. Way to go, my little two-year-old engineer!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Back!

You don't want to hear excuses about school and travel and work and other things that might keep one from being a responsible blogger, do you? I didn't think so. So we'll get right to it. As some have subtly and some not so subtly reminded me, it's been almost two months since the last post on this illustrious blog. A lot has happened in the last couple months, so I'll try to break it down for you in a few paragraphs with some pictures.

I had a great birthday in September, especially since we got to go to the zoo as a family. It sounds so cliche, but with all the traveling we've been doing, all I really wanted on my birthday was to spend it with Susie and Cade. Cade loves the zoo, and we had a great time. After seeing mommy and daddy carry the backpack, Cade wanted his turn with it. He did a pretty good job of lugging/dragging it for a few minutes before gladly handing it back.
Apparently, some bats like milk in sippy cups with red lids.
Cade loves to play with stickers. As you can see, he'll stick them on anything, including (especially) himself.This fall Cade has requested that we go to some football games. Sometimes he's fidgety, and sometimes he really seems zeroed in on the game. Here we are in Bowling Green watching IU play Western Kentucky.At the end of September Owensboro held a Pumpkin Festival. Susie had some work to do for school, so Cade got some daddy time. We had a blast. Here's a picture of Cade on a train ride. For those that didn't know, we live a few blocks from some train tracks, and Cade loves to go watch the trains when they come by. So when he saw a train at the Pumpkin Festival we definitely had to ride it.
The Pumpkin Festival was the first time we had let Cade do some rides on his own. I started him off easy in a truck just so I could see if he'd sit still or try to escape while the ride was in motion. We then graduated to the flying elephants.
I had to talk myself into it, but Cade really wanted to go on the little ferris wheel. It wasn't too tall, so I figured if he got antsy and tried a Houdini I could hop on it and try and get him down. Fortunately, though, he passed this test with flying colors as well. He loved it. This kid has no fear of heights.
My mom came and visited in early October, and we went out to a local farm that weekend. Cade had fun running through a pumpkin maze, riding on a hayride, and.....
.....picking out his own pumpkin!
Owensboro is a town that loves festivals. This last weekend was the Apple Festival, one of the two big festivals of the year (the other is the BBQ Festival in May). The fire department had a display trailer and a couple fire engines out for display and Cade was all over it.
Cade's sat in a fire engine before, but I don't think it's gotten old for him yet.
You'll be happy to know that you are now viewing a picture of the best fifty cents we've ever spent. The local 4H bunny club set up a pen with a bunch of bunnies in it. You could pay fifty cents to go in the pen to pet and hold the bunnies. I don't think it was as fun for the bunnies as it was for the kids. But it looked like they were making a decent haul from it, so I guess the bunnies probably figured it was worth getting picked up by a back leg or getting an ear pulled for one day to ensure enough food for the rest of the year.
We did a few rides at the Apple Festival too. This one made me a little nervous because it didn't have any seat belts. Cade eventually rewarded my nervous thoughts by deciding this ride would be more fun if he rode it standing up. As he went by we'd tell him to sit down and he loved the fact that we couldn't actually make him sit down. Then on one lap the ride operator reached in and plopped him down into his seat. I think it surprised him so much (he was looking at us and smiling) that he stayed seated for the rest of the ride.

Despite his antics (and because of them), Susie and I are so blessed to have Cade as a son. He's growing and learning and becoming more and more interactive. Last week I actually had about a five minute phone conversation with him. I was in awe that he held the phone up to his ear and conversed for that long (he usually pushes the buttons until he hangs up the call). He's becoming more creative and imaginative as well. He'll make up songs and tell us stories of things that either aren't present or aren't possible. It's fun to see his little brain work.

Thanks for being patient with me and my lack of posts. Sometimes I wonder what I'll do with all my extra free time once I'm done with my MBA this December. I definitely intend to be more consistent with this blog, for one. But until then, I'll do my best to do better and post more frequently. Talk to you later!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

He's a pitcher!

It's great to see little Cade's brain in action. He's always learning and putting things together. It's really pretty amazing to witness (and often funny).

Last week Cade was getting ready for bed and I put some PJ's on him that have pitchers, catchers, and batters on them. As we put them on I'd point at a player on the PJ's and he'd tell me if it was a pitcher, catcher, or batter. Before bed he wanted to jump on the bed. (I know a real good dad wouldn't let him, but he was having so much fun and there are enough nights that I'm on the road and don't get to see him.) At one point he kind of lost his balance and caught himself with his leg up in the air for balance like in the picture below. He looked down at himself and exclaimed with glee, "He's a pitcher!" Neither Susie or I could breathe we were laughing so hard, but it was cool to see him translate an image he saw in a picture on his PJ's to real life in a spatial situation.
I was trying to get him to pose for more pictures and asked him for a big cheesy smile. This is what I got. Sometimes he just doesn't want to have a camera in his face, and other times, well... you make up your own mind here.
After a number of rounds of "He's a pitcher!" he started getting the arm involved. That's when the game became more serious as he started watching his limbs to make sure they were positioned just so. It's ok buddy, we have years ahead of us to work on your mechanics. For now we'll just work on arm strength, so just focus on throwing it as hard as you can (knowing I'll regret telling him that while I clean up the remains of something breakable in the future).

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Water!

The theme of this post is....water! Cade has definitely taken to water this summer. This isn't a surprise to us, though. He's (almost) always loved his bath time, he's always loved the pool, and he enjoyed his first trip out on a boat earlier this year. But this last week Cade has taken it to a new level!

First, though, I wanted to just get a picture up real quick that we took a couple weekends ago. (It does have to do with water, just of the frozen variety.) We went down to the local rink and took Cade skating for the first time. He really liked it and did pretty well. He did a great job of staying on his feet and moving around a little bit, sometimes even without the help of the plastic crates.

We spent last weekend with our church down at Kentucky Lake. It was a great time of getting away to focus on building relationships with other people in the church as well as spend time together as a family. We had over 220 come for the weekend! We are blessed with a great community at our church. On Saturday we went out on the lake with another family. Here's a picture of Cade with a little buddy of his named Taylor. Cade had a good time hanging out with her this last weekend.

While we were out on the boat Cade got to take his first ride on a tube! He really seemed to like it for a while. After a little bit, though, he got tired of the water spashing up in his face and he wanted to get back in the boat. I don't think there is much that this kid is scared of, which I guess is a good thing and can possibly be a bad thing at the same time. But he sure loves being out on the water.

When we got back to Owensboro this afternoon, one of the local pools was holding their annual dog day so we packed up Chili and headed over there. Since Chili is now seven years old he can't really keep up with the younger doggies in the races (he did win the doggie paddle race a couple years when we first moved here). :) But he did shimmy enough to wow the judges and win the best shake contest.

In other news, Cade is now officially swimming on his own! He wears this little floaty vest, and until today he hadn't quite developed his sense of body control. He'd usually pitch forward or back or roll and get his face in the water if we let him go. But today he kept pushing me away when I was holding him and then proceeded to figure out how to move around and stay floating upright on his own (and pretty quickly actually). So we spent around two hours swimming around the pool chasing Chili and the tennis ball. Then he decided he was going to do some jumping in. In the past he liked jumping to me or Susie, but we didn't let him go under too much. But today he'd just jump in, bob back up, clear the water out of his eyes, and swim around just fine. It was super awesome to see him develop these abilities. It made playing with him in the water that much more fun.


Here's a short video of Cade swimming to me. I didn't realize I looked that excited when we were swimming around, but apparently I was the dorky dad. I don't care. It was too cool to have my own kid swimming around the pool with me today!

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Such a proud dad (sniffle....)

Here are a couple more videos of Cade playing baseball. He has a little soft bat and ball that he likes to play with. It's a good thing the ball is soft because he can hit it pretty well sometimes. It might not be too long before we have to curtail any ball in the house, but not yet. Sometimes he wants me to pitch, but most of the time he just wants to toss it himself and chase the ball around, which is great for burning off some energy. He's getting to where he hits it more than he misses. Makes a daddy proud. :) We'll work on mechanics later.

This video was a little too close to being a candidate for America's Funniest....

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There are a couple things that make me laugh in this video. First, when he hits the ball around the corner he gets so excited and runs too fast and he almost doesn't quite make the corner. Then, when he comes back he just kind of hits one on a dead sprint. The end is funny because once he figured out I was taking videos of him he wanted to hit a couple and then come and watch himself on the camera. So at the end you can see him drop the bat and come to sit in my lap.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Video Blog

Here are a few video clips from the last few weeks. These first two are of the same thing from different angles. It is now impossible to read the paper or a magazine when Cade is around because he had so much fun doing this the first time.


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Here's the view from behind the paper....

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This is the tail end of Cade's 20 yard dash last weekend. I obviously didn't get set up in time to get the whole race. It was one of those deals where he was taking a nap so we didn't want to wake him up, but we didn't want to be late for his first race. We cut it a little close, so he didn't have his bib on and I didn't get the video of the full race. When they started the race Cade kind of just stood there since he'd never been in a race and didn't quite know what to do. But then when he saw the other kids running he took off. We were glad our friend Shannon was there to catch him at the finish line.


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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Back home!

Hey everyone. We are back from Colorado and have a lot to share, so let's go right to the pictures. We have a ton!

Before heading out Susie and I were able to go to the wedding of Matt and Rocio Elsberry. Matt is a high school buddy of mine. It was good to see him and spend some time with a couple other high school friends.
Also, Susie found Cade a replica jersey of the greatest quarterback of all time. She stumbled upon it in a kids consignment shop. When he put it on he wanted daddy to put on his Broncos jersey too. It was a super hot day, but he didn't want either of us to take our jerseys off. That kid's got great taste.
We drove out to Colorado, and the back of the Rav4 was perfect for our furry friend. Here are Cade and Chili on the way out of the driveway. They both were very good travelers both on the way out and the way back. I think the fact that Cade pretty much was born into driving up to Bloomington and back every week has made him a good car rider.
Here we are on our eighth anniversary. I'm such a lucky guy. We headed down into historic Manitou Springs and ate at the Mona Lisa fondue restaurant. If you're ever in Colorado Springs and need a great place to take a date, we'd definitely recommend it.
One thing Cade was able to do in Colorado was go to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Here he is, getting personal with a gorilla (though when Cade says gorilla it sounds more like koala).
The showcase of the zoo is the giraffe exhibit. Cade loved getting to feed crackers to the giraffes. He talked about that for days (and talked about their long purple tongues).
Of course we had to go see a Sky Sox game so Cade could see Sox the Fox. All he wanted to do all night was give Sox a high five. After the game the stadium had a fireworks show. At first Cade was ok with it, but when the bigger booms came out he started crying. I had to take him up on the concourse and if I took even one step towards the stands he'd cling and cry harder and point in the other direction and say "that way!" Poor guy. He still talks about "crying colors." We watched some fireworks on TV on the fourth of July and he seemed to like them better then.
We also took Cade to Chuck E Cheese's while in Colorado Springs. It's a lot smaller than I remember it, but Cade didn't seem to notice. He had a blast. He kept saying, "Like the mouse!"
Here's a picture of Cade and I on Father's Day. I am so blessed to be able to have such a great son.
Susie and my mom took Cade on a hike near my parents' house. He enjoyed being up in the mountains.
While on their hike they met up with a man on a horse. He was kind enough to let Cade sit on the horse. Cade has a high affinity for any kind of animal, and he didn't show any hesitation or fear. He just hopped up on the horse and sat there like a natural.
Cade also got to go to the Butterfly Pavilion in Denver. He enjoyed seeing the butterflies and other insects. He commented on how the butterflies looked like they were clapping. He also went around clapping his hands with the butterflies. Fortunately, he didn't clap too close to any butterflies.
We held a Rockies themed birthday party for Cade. Here we are, all dressed up in our Rockies shirts ready to party.
Cade's a natural at opening presents.
I think mommy likes the lion puppet more than Cade.
We got Cade an ice cream cake with baseball players on it. We also helped him blow out his candles. :)
Another hammock picture. Cade loved swinging in the hammock and he just about wet his pants when Maggie jumped up in the hammock with us. (Full disclosure: there was a good chance Cade's pants were already wet when Maggie joined us in the hammock.)
One day after running we set up Cade's swimming pool and both hopped in. In case you didn't know, mountain water is cold, even in the middle of June. Cade has discovered how to use a hose and also how much fun it is to spray other people with a hose.
We also took Cade to the Renaissance Festival in Larkspur. What a crazy, weird, interesting, fun place. Nana and Cade took a ride on the world's largest rocking horse (at least that's what they told us).
Cade and Grandpa feeding the goats in the petting zoo area.
I was surprised when we went towards the horse ride and Cade wanted to ride the llama. But that's what he wanted, so that's what we did.
Susie and I took a trip up Pikes Peak (in the car, not a hike). It was pretty incredible how different you feel when you drive up compared to after hiking it.

We went to Red Robin with the whole crew to celebrate my dad being reinstated back into active duty with the Air Force. Cade really, really, really liked the mint brownie milkshake, and you can see the brownie in his smile.

Another fun part of going to Colorado was getting all three dogs together for the first time. With Chili are Bella (my sister and brother-in-law's dog, the lighter colored one in the front) and Maggie (my parents' dog with the white face on the right). I don't know if they had more fun being together or Cade had more fun having three dogs to try and ride.

My parents went to Norway earlier this summer and they brought us all back Norwegian sweaters. Here's the whole crew in our sweaters in their backyard.

And before I forget, yes, you can follow @cadegronseth.