One of the best things about being a parent is watching the relationship that blooms between your baby and your parents.

Mom and Dad were here for the weekend and when they left this morning, Papa Duane left a little something behind for his favorite girl…



Elf on the Shelf – Day 23, 24, & 25

I know I sort of fell off the face of the Earth with the final three installments of the Elf on the Shelf saga, but it was a busy couple of days leading up to Christmas.

Here’s how it went down…

Cosette thought we needed to be reminded to do our holiday baking. She must have been reading my mind, because it was on the to-do list. Cadence was so excited to help!

We started with chocolate chip, and ended up with an assortment of chocolate chip, frosted sugar, peanut butter blossoms, spritz, and both chocolate and peanut butter chocolate swirl fudge. Mmmm…







The next morning, Cadence was surprised to find Cosette still hanging out in the kitchen. Apparently Cosette likes cookies as much as Santa, and we quickly learned that she has a particular weakness for chocolate chip…





You know we couldn’t let Cosette eat alone…



And finally, with all of our baking done, Christmas Eve was upon us. We found Cosette that morning reading the story of Jesus’ birth in Cadence’s Bible.





And after reading it ourselves, we headed to Christmas Eve service at Church. Afterward, we had a delicious Chinese food dinner from our favorite China House restaurant, and a Skype date with Nonna Dawn, Poppa Mark, Aunt Kassie, Uncle Jeremy, Uncle Beau, Uncle Eddie, and cousin Julian in Texas.

Then, it was time to set out a glass of milk and a plate of homemade cookies for Santa. Cadence gave Cosette and big hug and kiss goodbye, and then headed up to bed.



Elf on the Shelf – Day 10

It’s been a crazy couple of days around here, and I have to say, I am very impressed with how well Miss Cadence is handling it because, let’s face it, when it comes to sudden changes in routine, 2-and-a-half-year-olds are not generally the best at adapting. In fact, something as simple as forgetting to bring a fruit snack when I pick her up from preschool has sent Cadence into a fit of hysterics that I was certain would require an exorcism to set right again.

Since Mom reported that both she and Dad had rested well Wednesday night after Dad’s surgery, and that he was really having a good day so far, I thought it might be okay to take Miss Cadence to visit her Papa. First, we had lunch with Mom in the hospital cafeteria, and then headed up to Dad’s room for a visit.

I talked to Cadence a little bit in the car when we arrived at the hospital, telling her that her Papa had just had surgery, and that he would have a lot of wires and tubes on him when she saw him. I also told her that Papa wouldn’t be able to talk to her yet, but that the doctors were going to make him all better soon. I asked if she understood and she said, “Yes, I go see Gramma and Papa”. So, we went.

I was surprised at how much better Dad looked. You could see the difference right away when you walked through the door. His color was better. He was sitting up straighter and seemed much more alert and responsive than the night before fresh out of surgery. Cadence did stop and give her Papa a long look when she walked in (though she may have been just as surprised to see him shirtless as she was to see all the wires and tubes), but then he waved, and she waved back with a hearty, “Hi Papa!” And he held out his hand for a high five and bump which she promptly delivered. That brought a big smile to Duane’s face, and Cadence and I spent the new few hours at the hospital, keeping her Grandma and Papa company.

I have to say, I was a little surprised at how good Cadence was, content to sit and chit chat and play without complaint. Even without a nap, she was on her very best behavior. I was so proud of my little girl, and made sure that Cosette got a full report on how well Cadence had behaved when we got home. After forwarding the good report along to Santa, Cosette made sure she showed Cadence how proud she was by leaving a little present for her to find and play with this morning…



And, of course, Cadence was thrilled with the little gift from her favorite elf! Thanks Cosette! 🙂





NY Trip Photo Bomb (part 2)

We spent our first few days on Long Island spending some quality time with “Uncle” Foerth and “Uncle” Mike.

Cadence and Foerth had several serious conversations about baseball. Let’s go Mets!

And we ate our fill of Italian Ice from the Ice Hut near Stevie’s old house. Mmmm…watermelon.

Steven managed to eat about 5 gallons of bubblegum ice while we were there…

And Cadence looooooooooved the chocolate…

We tried to get a nice family photo by the big Italian Ice statue, but Cadence ended up having a minor meltdown when she found out we didn’t get to take the statue home with us…

Then, Stevie’s folks took us to the Cull House for some seafood. Mmmmm…we’ve missed the good East Coast seafood! Of course, Stevie couldn’t pass up a lobster…

Cadence wasn’t quite sure what to think…

And, as always, Foerth helped us all clean our plates. I would seriously kill for that boy’s metabolism.

Back at Gamma and Pop-Pop’s house, Mike introduced Cadence to the Talking Tom app on his phone…

And Cadence introduced Mike to the new Despicable Me 2 trailer on Steven’s Ipad…

Cadence loved playing in the backyard by Gamma and Pop-Pop’s pool. Unfortunately, that first day it was just warm enough to put our feet in, but that was enough for Cadence. She had a blast splashing with her Daddy.

And then, when Cadence finally want down for a nap, Mike busted out his newest obsession–rollerblades–and he managed to talk Steven into a few laps of the neighborhood.

Foerth and I were content to watch.

And just so I could be sure he was being safe rollerblading at night, Mike pulled out his headlight for a demonstration…

And Foerth entertained himself with a spiderman bat.

We had a little trouble trying to explain to Cadence why she didn’t get to see her cousins TJ and Tyler right away. She’d been talking about flying on the airplane to see TJ and Tyler for a solid week before our trip, and expected the boys to be there the moment we landed. Unfortunately, they were on vacation, and still had a couple days left at school. But, she did get to talk to them on Gamma and Pop-Pop’s phone when they called to let us know they were on their way over…

Oh no! They’re not here yet?


365 Project – Day 188 – The Family Forest

The running joke around here is that Cadence is going to think that anyone over the age of 40 is a grandparent.

Let’s see, there’s Poppa Mark…

And Nonna Dawn…

And Gamma Diane…

And Pop-Pop Rich…

And Grandma Jayne…

And Papa Duane…

And Granny Wendy…

And Pawpoo Shawn…

Don’t even get me started on great-grandparents or aunts and uncles. Between Steven and I, we have 15 siblings. If Cadence isn’t calling someone Grandma or Grandpa, she’ll probably be calling them Aunt or Uncle something-or-other.

I’m not exaggerating at all when I say that Steven and I are not looking forward to the day Cadence comes home from school with an assignment to do a family tree. Forget drawing a nice, symmetrical tree on a piece of poster board. In order to complete her geneology project, Cadence is going to need a database for all the names, a powerpoint presentation with illustrations and photos, and perhaps even a large bulletin board (like you see on cop shows) with different colored threads to show how everyone is connected. She doesn’t just have a family tree, she has a family forest, but to be quite honest, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

We’ve got a pretty incredible family, and a pretty incredible story to go along with it. Now that I have gotten back into the habit of writing every day, I’ve been thinking it might be time to start working on my memoir again. Between getting the photography business relaunched here in Lincoln and working on several other writing projects, my time may be a bit limited to work on it, but I think it’s time to give it a go and see if I can’t get it finished.

Wish me luck.

Today’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to the best darn parents (and grandparents) a girl could ask for!

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