Wednesday, January 13, 2010

All Caught Up!

We have a lot to catch up on! It's already the first week of school, so before I get too busy with classes and work I thought I'd get a post up. In the last month we've been to Florida twice and also to Baton Rouge for Christmas. Thanks to the friendly folks at Allegiant Air, flights to Orlando's Sanford airport that cost $9.99 each way were available. Luckily, we heard about this promotion right when it went live, so we were able to snag this deal a couple of times. I had to visit our plants in Orlando and Merritt Island about a month ago, so Susie and Cade came along for fun. It was a good way for Susie to depressurize after a trying semester. We stayed on Cocoa Beach, and the sun didn't come out at all. No big deal, Susie and Cade spent a lot of time relaxing. And despite the weather we were able to spend a little time on the beach as a family. It wasn't particularly cold, just cloudy and rainy.

Cade loved the beach. We took him to Cocoa Beach back in May, but I don't think it sunk it as much as this time. He was all about playing in the sand and wading into the water. Big smiles all around.
And yeah, he loved the sand so much he just had to get a mouthful to see what it tasted like.
The sand must have tasted good, because the next time we went in the water he decided to give that a go. Not my idea of thirst quenching, but I'm sure it's a little different when you have fresh eyes to see the world.

On to Christmas! Before we talk about our Christmas, I just wanted to thank all of you that sent in or brought donations of money or toys way back when we had Cade's first birthday. Because of your generosity we were able to put together a very large number of boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Cade helped us pack some of them, and it was truly a blessing for us to be able to be used in that capacity. I got an email from Samaritan's Purse telling me where the boxes went. Your gifts helped children in Ghana and the Baltic nations in western Europe experience a better Christmas. So thank you all very much. You know who you are.

We opened some gifts at home before we left for Baton Rouge. Cade definitely got into the unwrapping part way more than he ever has before.
One of the coolest gifts Cade received (in my humble opinion) was either the crazy ball game from Uncle Dustin or these superfly funky monkey slippers. Cade, of course, has other favorites, but I like these the best. Tell me you've seen better slippers anywhere on anyone. I don't think it's possible.
Cade got a kick out of this puppet from Uncle Paul and Aunt Amy. It's the craziest looking thing you've ever seen. He calls it his "bear." I don't feel comfortable correcting him because I have no clue as to what to tell him it is. So "bear" it shall remain.
On to Baton Rouge. We chose to drive to Baton Rouge for Christmas instead of fly. It's about 11.5 hours, and we stayed in a hotel (thanks to many Hilton Honors points as a result of many nights on the road) just south of Memphis on the way there and back. That ended up being a good strategy. Not sure if Cade could've taken much more than what we asked him to. This was especially true because he was sick pretty much the entire trip. It was a bummer for a lot of Susie's family that don't get to see him much to see him in poor health like that. That first night in the hotel he showed us his dinner and repeated that routine almost every day of the trip. Many thanks to VeeVee for helping us out big time with pukey laundry. When we got back home we took him to the doctor and found out he also had a couple ear infections. As a result of having a sick kid we spent a decent amount of the trip in self-imposed sequestered hibernation.

Despite the illness, we did end up having a great time. We were able to spend time with family that we don't get to see enough. I was able to play with Susie's cousin Conner (also here) at his church that Sunday morning. And as you can see in the picture, Cade spent some of his recovery time honing his stacking skills.
Here's the traditional Christmas Day picture. Poor little guy. Unhappy.
The woman in the middle is Susie's Grandmother. Susie lived with her when she was getting her masters at LSU. This is when I met and started dating Susie. Her Grandmother has cooked countless delicious meals for me and others and is one of the most hospitable people I know. She always has an open door and a full plate of food ready. She hosts family every year, and we are all blessed to be a part of her family. Here she is with all her guys. What a great legacy.
Even though I'm a little partial to the funky monkey slippers, mostly because my funky monkey was a toy from my childhood, Cade also got these way cool Rudolph slippers from Susie's Grandmother. His little footsies will not be cold this winter. In fact, they'll stay warm in style.
Just last week we were able to head down to Florida again. This time we stayed in Orlando near all the theme parks. We didn't venture into any of them because we figured Cade is too young to really fully appreciate how much it sucks to stand in line for hours. We got a hotel deal that kind of fell into our laps. For our incredibly cheap suite, we were required to attend a two-hour tour of one of Hilton's Grand Vacations Club resorts there in Orlando. Having made up our mind beforehand that we were not interested in a timeshare-type contract, we sat through the schmoozing and went back to vacationing on the cheap. Those two hours could fill an entire other post, but I wouldn't do that to you.

We did, however, get to see Susie's brother Dustin at the restaurant/bar some of his fraternity brothers opened. If you're in downtown Orlando, make sure to swing by the Downtown Pourhouse. Very nice. (He told us it was "babies' night," but I don't think Cade got any free bottles, at least that I noticed.)
Our hotel had a racing game and Cade fell in love. And yes we're keeping our ears covered because it was in the 30s and 40s outside for our trip. We must bring crappy weather with us to Florida. Sorry to all you Sunshine Staters. But 30s and 40s was 30-40 degrees warmer than it was back in Owensboro, so we weren't complaining too loudly.
We had to get a picture near the luxurious pool. We even went for a quick swim (very quick).
Since the weather was chilly, we settled for the hotel's sand volleyball court so Cade could get his fix.
Cade received a "Build-A-Bear" gift card for Christmas, so we took advantage of being near one and built a frog. Added bonus: he got his gift card from a cute little lass named Olivia and she was able to come as well to build her own bear. When you build your bear (or frog), you get a birth certificate, so you have to come up with a name. We chose the cleverly inventive name of "Frog."
Here are Cade and Olivia hugging. Olivia's mom, Wendy, is a life-long friend of Susie. Wendy was the maid of honor at our wedding. Cade and Olivia are just four or five weeks apart in age, so it's been great for Susie and Wendy to do the whole "chillen bearin'" thing together. No word on whether they've planned their kids' entire wedding reception yet. I think they're still deciding on a caterer. :)
We went out to see the manatees at Apollo Beach.
Wendy's sister Amy has a 2-year-old daughter. The three kiddos had a blast playing together.
Next Rock Band champion? Possibly.

Wow, that was a long one. But now we're all caught up. Cade's feeling great and Susie and I are getting back in the swing of things at school. Thanks for stopping by. See you next time.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I love to count!

I don't have clue about whether this is incredibly great for being 18 months old, if it's incredibly behind, or somewhere in the foggy middle. Truth is, I really don't care because I'm pretty proud of Cade for being able to count to eight. We only got him counting to six on video because the camera ran out of memory space (I hadn't uploaded the Christmas pictures to the laptop yet so we only had a couple of takes to get this).

Sorry for the awkward camera angle, but this IS a family friendly blog. :)