Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Imaginary Play

This will be a short post, but just want to share something fun that Caeden has been doing recently.  He has learned imaginary play.  Sometimes he will point to a part of the room and tell me what's there, even though there's nothing.  His favorite is to play baseball in the living room with us.  He will pick up his invisible ball and put it on the invisible tee.  Then he will pick up his invisible bat and hit the invisible ball!  After we catch it, we throw it back to him and he catches it with both of his hands.  One time today, Daddy hit the invisible ball and Caeden ran to the basketball goal in the living room - He told us the ball went into the basket! HA! Where does he come up with this stuff?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Blanket Time

I just want to share with you a beautiful concept that we use at our house called "Blanket Time."  I would highly suggest this to anyone who has a child 6 mos or older.  The purpose is to teach teach kids boundaries, self-control, how to play independently, and problem solving. 

When Caeden was 6 mos old and learned how to sit up, we started with "Playpen Time."  This is when I would set him in his pack 'n play twice a day with various toys to play with.  I started with 5 minutes each time and gradually worked our way up to 30 minutes each time.  Of course, I would always keep him in a place where I could keep an eye on him, but not where I was sitting in plain view - otherwise, he just wanted to play with mommy.  This taught him to use whatever toys mommy chose, be creative and play with them by himself.  Since he didn't understand the concept of "time," I always told him he had to play until he heard the "beep-beep," thus being the timer that I always set.  It worked like a charm!  Yes, there were days he cried, but he quickly learned that he was fine and that he had toys to play with.

Then when he was about 12 mos old, we moved to Blanket Time.  We've done this for the last year.  I would put down one blanket and do the same thing - lay out a variety of toys, set a timer and let him play.  The first 2 days I remember him playing for a few minutes, then walking off his blanket.  I simply picked him up, set him back down on his blanket and said, "You stay on your blanket until you hear the beep-beep."  After a few warnings, I even put him in time-out for getting up.  It only took two days for him to learn to stay on his blanket.  It's so great to see him stand up, stay on the edge of his blanket and see him say, "All done, mommy!"  Of course he's not all done and I remind him to stay there until the timer goes off, but what self-control to stand on the edge of the blanket and not get off, even when he so badly wants to!

I've used this even out in public.  Once, when we had to go to a title company to sign refinancing papers.  And another time when we were meeting out attorney to sign our "will" papers.  I brought a blanket and a bag of toys.  I told him it was blanket time and to stay until mommy told him he was all done.  He did!  Everyone commented on how great he did - Of course, this is only because we did this daily at home.  Here is a picture of him having blanket time today:

You'll notice I'm letting him use two blankets now.  I'm trying to widen his boundaries since we're getting ready to move to "Roomtime."  This will involve him playing in his room for a set amount of time.  I will probably have to start out with putting a gate up, or maybe even shutting the door.  Again, I will start with a small amount of time and work my way up.

I have just loved this concept after reading about it when he was a baby.  I would highly suggest this to any mother.  Yes, some days will involve crying, but for the most part, it will pay off and will teach your child some great skills!  Also, note one more thing: Make sure you carefully choose the best timing to do this.  Right after a meal or nap is great, since they're happiest then!  Hope you choose to use this in your own home.  If you do, let me know how it goes!

Monday, August 22, 2011

And so it begins...

...the school days!  Caeden started Mother's Day Out today, for the first time.  He will only be going once a week, but of course, we call it "school."  We've been talking this up for a few weeks now - buying a new backpack, lunchbox, and reading books about starting school.  And today was the day!  He was so excited, he carried his lunchbox around all morning.  I dropped him off at 8:00 and he did great all the way into the classroom.  Then as I turned around to leave, he started screaming.  Of course this hurt my heart - I always imagine he's thinking, "Why is my mom leaving me?" and maybe feeling abandoned...  But I know it's good for both of us.  I got so much done today, it was incredible.  And when I picked him up at 2:00, his teacher (Ms. Stephanie) said he did great!  She commented on how he did such a good job at sharing and taking turns.  She also loves how he says the word "yellow," which is his favorite color - and she noted that she was impressed he was potty trained and knew all his colors.  She said he only cried for a few minutes at the beginning, which is so reassuring.  He even fell asleep on his cot during naptime!  He only slept 45 minutes, but at least he slept!  When I picked him up and got in the car, I asked him if he liked school.
He replied, "I like...big school!"  It was a great day for the both of us!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Caeden's BIIIIIIG Party!

To explain the title, the week leading up to Caeden's birthday, he knew he was having a party soon.  He would wake up every morning and say " BIIIIIIG party!"  Of couse, we would have to explain that it wasn't that day.  But finally, Saturday (Aug 6) arrived and he was very ready for his BIIIIIG party! 

We had his party at Gymboree Play & Music, which is a perfect location for a toddler's birthday party!  And let me just tell you that the staff does everything for you!  All I had to do was bring the cake - It was awesome!  I'll let the pictures below tell the story!

Caeden showing somebody how old he was turning!

The birthday cake,
decorated by Mommy!
*The cupcakes are clowns, in case you can't tell ;)

A close-up of the cupcake

Circus snacks for the guests


Catching bubbles

Under the parachute 

Waiting for the cake

Blowing out his candles

All the kiddos eating their cake

I have to tell you that after Caeden opened each present,
he went to that peron, gave them a hug, and said "thank you."
Every person!  Every kid, grandparent, and great-grandparent!
While we taught him all week to say "thank you"
after opening a present, we never mentioned hugging.
It was just so sweet to see him hugging them like
he was truly thankful!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Two Years Old!!!

Caeden, getting ready to eat cake,
at his second birthday party!

I know...I know...I've been so bad at updating my blog this past month.  But we're back!  And Caeden is now a big two-year-old!!  The day of his birthday I just kept thinking how he wasn't a "baby" anymore...He's my little boy.  He's just growing up so fast!  So I decided that each month, I'm going to do a short summary of what he's doing that month, just so I can keep record.  Not sure why I haven't done this before!  But here's my first summary of Caeden as a TWO-YEAR-OLD!!!

Overall, Caeden is a very good eater.  Most meals, he will eat whatever we put in front of him - or at least eat an adequate amount.  Our rule with him is that he take at least one bite...because usually he likes it after that.  If he doesn't like it, we don't force him to eat it (but I don't make him anything else either).  Usually there's at least a side dish that he'll eat enough of. 

When we pray before our meals, he does a great job of stopping, folding his hands, and sitting still.  He doesn't pray on his own at meals yet, but I know that will come.

As always, Caeden is one of the busiest boys you'll ever meet!  One of his new favorite things is just running.  Even though he's been able to run for several months now, he now likes to just run all over the house.  He and Ella will chase each other in circles around the table for a really long time!  Or he and daddy will run back and forth across the kitchen, giggling, for 15-20 minutes straight.  He had a babysitter the other night and she said all he wanted to do was run back and forth across the house - and of course he wanted her to run with him.  And she did!  That's how you know a great babysitter!  She said, "I decided I need as much energy as him."  Don't I say that every day?

Right now, his favorite toy is his train table that he got for his birthday.  He literally plays with it during most of his waketime during the day.  And of course, he loves to play outside!

Caeden's naptime is pretty normal.  He falls asleep after lunch - around 1ish - and sleeps almost 1.5 hours.  He is typically ready for his nap at this time, and falls asleep pretty easily.

His nighttime is a little different lately.  Yes, he still sleeps through the night - about 11-12 hours.  But it's taking him much longer to go to sleep!  From the time we finish his bath, Bible study, and reading books, Reid turns out the light and starts getting him ready to fall asleep...And it's been taking him an hour to do this!  It never used to take that long!  He's just started this in the last week or so....We try to soothe him for awhile, and then just have to lay him down and leave him be.  Hopefully this phase will pass quickly!

Caeden is learning new words everyday - It's so fun to hear his growing vocabulary!  He's now putting four and five words together in a sentence.  A few weeks ago, he started randomly saying the word "people."  In a room full of people he had hurt his toe, and apparently after repeatedly asking us to kiss it, no one was paying attention.  He finally yelled, "Kiss my toe, people!"  I can't wait to continue to hear funny things he says!

This month we've been reading and learning about Josiah and how he found a scroll when he was cleaning out the temple. Then how Josiah took good care of God's law. So, Caeden and Ella are learning about how special our Bible is and that God gave us the Bible. He can now say his Bible verse all by himself! He says, "The Bible...God's book!" He leaves out the word "is" in the middle, but that's okay - he's still hiding God's Word in his heart, which makes Reid and I so proud!

Our summer has been full of lots of fun activies - trips to the pool, cookouts, camping, trips to the splash pad, and a couple vacations.  With daddy being home for the summer, our routine is definitely off, but Caeden has done an awesome job of going with the flow and even dealing with a few late nights!

We drove to Dallas in July and Caeden did an AMAZING job in the car!  He didn't have one meltdown in the car, took a good nap, and even kept his underwear dry the whole time!  This is definitely encouraging in knowing he's capable of long drives every once in a great while!

As many of you know, we started potty training Caeden when he was 22 mos old, and he is doing a great job!  It seems that when we go "home" to Missouri, he seems to have more accidents and we're not sure why.  But most of the time, he'll go days between accidents.  He will tell us when he needs to go, no matter where we are, which is great!

Caeden had his 2 year check-up this week and was all healthy - even his ears!!  He was in the 35th percentile for height and 5th for weight.  Poor guy!  He truly eats well, so I think he has just inherited this "small" trait from his mommy and daddy. :)  He also got another shot, but he did awesome!  He only cried for about 10 seconds or so and then was distracted by his Bugs Bunny bandaid!

Caeden had his second birthday party at Gymboree Play & Music last weekend.  He had a blast!  This was the perfect place for a two-year-old's birthday party!  I'll be posting pictures soon!

8:00--Wake up, Eat Breakfast, Get Ready
9:00--Free Playtime
9:30--Play Outside (while it's still cool)
10:30--Table Time
11:00--Playtime with mommy
11:30--Free Playtime
12:00--Pick up toys & Lunch
12:30--Learning Time
12:45--Blanket Time (Independent Playtime)
2:30--Video Time (Caeden is a slow waker-upper)
3:15--Blanket Time
3:30--Free Playtime
4:00--Play Outside
5:15--Playtime with Daddy
6:00--Dinner & Family Playtime
7:00--Bath & PJ's

Of course, these times are approximate, but we try to stick to this basic routine most days.