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Monday, September 28th
We spent the weekend in Lake Tahoe.  I had to teach a class at one of the hospitals up thataway so we thought we'd take advantage of it and spend a few nights in the beautiful mountains. 

The weather was awesome and the lake was incredibly beautiful.  We couldn't believe how dead it was; there was no one around. 

We went swimming in the pool and in Lake Tahoe and Caden was even fearless enough to try some bungy-trampoline jumping.  I think he alternated between being half thrilled and half scared-shitless.  But he beamed the whole time.

 


 

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Friday, September 25th
Hockey season has started.  Praise Cheeses.  Everything is right with the world again.  We changed seats this year at the arena and the first game is always kind of interesting ... kind of like the first day of college, feeling out your new roommates at the dorm.  Are the people around us (for the next 8 months) going to be weird?  Do they smell?  Will they have a good sense of humor?  Do they know hockey etiquette? 

Anyway, the crowd around us seemed pleasant enough except for one guy who sits directly behind us that I can only describe as frightening.  He obviously knows absolutely nothing about hockey and yet has an over-the-top dramatic, loud and bizarre reaction to almost everything that happens on the ice.  Any call made by the officials.  Any play made by the other team.  WEIRDO.  It's going to really suck if he sits there all season, especially since I have such a hard time biting my tongue.

After the second intermission tonight, some guy comes up to me and asks whether I'd like his tickets that he's not going to use downstairs in the "good seats."  Uh...sure.  Holy crap.  I probably should have said no.  Once you taste real butter, it's hard to go back to margarine.  These seats were awesome.  It's going to be hard to watch from upstairs again.  *sigh*

Go Sharks.
 


 

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Sunday, September 20th
Everyone wants their kids to grow up having an interesting and engaging personality.  We spend a lot of time with Caden talking about the world and encouraging him to socialize outside of his comfort zone.  We also joke around a lot.  And since I've got a pretty silly and sarcastic sense of humor sometimes, he's bound to pick up some of that too.  I've been wondering when it would start to catch up with us.  Some wily joking is starting to appear.  The other day we were walking down the aisle in the grocery store and a woman was yakking on her cell phone in a really annoying voice.  As we passed by her, Caden turned to her and repeated the phrase she'd just spoken on the phone - but mimicking the same annoying tone of voice.  Of course I had to act serious and tell him that was not appropriate.  But deep inside, I was howling in laughter.  After all, he did a pretty darn good imitation.

His latest thing is to call us by our first names but he loves to switch them around and especially call John by my name.  I think he keeps picking on John because it bugs him so much.  Several times a day, he greets John with a hearty "Hiya Dave!"

 


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Saturday, September 19th
Holy
Crap.  It gets more frightening as it goes on.  My heart aches for the future of this country.

Required viewing.

 


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Friday, September 18th
Caden kept showing up from the other room with a partially filled cup of water and I finally looked at John and John looked at me and we both realized that neither of us were filling his cup.  He was doing it himself!  And only by the very tippy tippy tips of his toes.  And here I thought it would be at least another year before these kinds of shenanigans would start.

 


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Thursday, September 17th
Wow!  Someone is O. Fish. Al.  We got his passport in the mail today and when he saw himself pictured on such an important looking document, he started beaming from ear to ear.



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Wednesday, September 16th
We went to the Santa Cruz County Fair last night with my parents and family. Caden always enjoys seeing the animals and I always enjoy eating the crappy Fair food. We were pretty stoked to see some 6-day-old piglets.  Caden was fascinated with them, especially when they started nursing on their mama.  I explain to him that it's just like a baby's bottle... just like a nipple that babies suck on... the mama has titties... the babies get their dinner there... etc, etc.

When we finally tore him away so other people could get up to see the piglets, he just about had a tantrum and started to yell, "MORE piggies ... MORE titties!"



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Tuesday, September 15th
This morning was Caden's first day of preschool.  We've been talking this up like crazy, practicing how to say his teacher's name, and running through a number of "good behavior scenarios," so today was the culmination of some very palpable excitement.  We walked into the classroom and Caden reminded me of an octopus on the hunt, slowly and methodically moving from place to place with his tentacles making contact with nearly everything he could, never looking back, and taking everything in.  He stayed in that "hunting position" the entire morning until, nearly 90 minutes later when it was time to leave, I was exhausted.  He had a blast and probably could have stayed for three more hours. 

The thing that astonished me was how passive some of the kids were.  For example, one of the learning activities was a food station ("we learn spreading!") where you prepare and eat a bagel as a snack.  We completed the activity along with a couple of other kids.  About 45 minutes later we happened to walk back by the station and some of the same kids were still sitting there eating their bagels.  What?!  A toddler that sits still that long?  Caden ate his bagel in 43.9 seconds and completed 9 activities in that time.  I've never experienced having a child who is not constantly moving.  If Caden sat for more than 5 minutes, I'd think something was terribly wrong and call an ambulance.

Just to give you a flavor of the ground he covered in 90 minutes (with me attempting to keep up behind), here's what he participated in on his first day of preschool: played football, Frisbee, kickball, climbed up into the tree house, went down the slide, built a sand castle, painted the banner, played play-dough, walked the balance beams, introduced himself to several kids, sorted the colored pegs, played in the kitchen, jumped on the trampoline, sat in the boat, went on the swings, played at the two water tables, drove the fire engine, went on the teeter-totter, scaled the climbing wall, played the bongo drums, rang the bells, shook the maracas, hung from the bars in the jungle gym, played at the colored rice table, finger painted, and prepared and ate a bagel. 

So there.  YOU would be exhausted too.  I need to hire a trainer.

 


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Sunday, September 12th
It's finally tomato harvest time around here.  Caden loves nothing more than to stand in front of the cherry tomato bush and just pick them off and eat them by the handful.  We caught him eating a big beefsteak tomato the other day.  Finished the entire thing.  Oh well, I guess it beats eating candy or something.



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Saturday, September 12th
This is hilarious.



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Friday, September 11th
We've officially started a new chapter in our lives.  Beginneth Chapter One: School.  Ok, it's not really school - it's preschool - but it might as well be school.  I attended "Back to School Night" last night at Caden's school and quickly realized that this would be the first of many, many, many school meetings and events we'll be attending for the next two decades.  Holy crap.  Caden's preschool is part of a K-5 private school so that's perhaps why it all feels so academic and official already.  Head lice, harvest festivals, fundraisers, work days, PTA ... wow.  I suppose I'm ready for that.  John's excited too.

The part I'm not sure I'm ready for is turning my kid loose to "the environment."  No, I'm not talking about germs and viruses. I'm talking about the world of mini-hierarchies, bullies, brats and otherwise demented little social structures that our kids must struggle with everyday at school.  I'm not naive enough to think these challenges aren't normal for every kid, but I sometimes think we allow too much of it to go on in our schools and we burden our kids with far too much of this crap when they should be focused on more important things like learning and healthy socializing.  In short, I think parents and teachers need to do more to control anti-social behavior in and out of the classroom.  Aren't convinced?  Listen to the third segment of this episode of This American Life about an experiment done in a kindergarten class where the kids were taught a new rule about being more inclusive - and the huge impact it had on them.  It's an excerpt from some additional findings in this book.  Go to 47:00 in the recording to hear the third segment, called "Act Three: Human Nature, The View From Kindergarten." And listen to the intro too (0:13 to 2:10) for a guaranteed smile, albeit kind of sad.

So here I go ... worrying forward and our kid isn't even in real school yet.  Caden is a very confident, gregarious and polite kid and I have no doubt he can take care of himself.  But you can be sure I'll be standing on the sidelines and won't be putting up with any crap along the way.


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Thursday, September 10th
Caden and I went to a practice game last night for the San Jose Sharks ... our beloved hockey team.  Let the season begin!  Ok, it's still weeks away, but we're getting excited nonetheless.  Considering that Caden went to his first hockey game when he was 12 weeks old, we can't be too surprised he's already an avid fan.  Hopefully never this avid (unless we're playing Anaheim of course).

Anyway, we got home kind of late last night after the game and he hadn't eaten yet so I figured he must be starving.  But no.  The first thing he did when he walked in the house was shove a stick in my hand and challenge me to a game.  "Hahkee Gaaame??!"




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Monday, September 7th
Caden was feeling kind of rotten all weekend (molars coming in?) so we thought we'd go do something fun last night.  We took him bowling for the first time.  Aside from wanting to bowl in everyone else's lane, he did pretty well!  It took him awhile to get the hang of throwing the ball hard enough but eventually he got it.  But bowling with a toddler takes some serious patience - and time - as you'll see in the video.  Oh, and plenty of beer for the daddies.

 

 



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Sunday, September 6th
One of the great things about adoption, namely open adoption, is that it forms families of people who might have never crossed paths, no less formed such an intimate relationship.  But the birth of a baby changes all that, and new families are formed in an instant.  Even though Caden's birthmother Candice lives only about six hours away down in Southern California, we don't necessarily get to see her and her family that often.  This blog has been a great way of staying connected and helping them see Caden grow up and learn about his crazy antics. 

Today we got a visit from Candice's grandfather and his wife who were travelling through the area on vacation.  Even though they've seen pictures of Caden, they wanted to come by and meet in person.  We had a great visit, had lunch together, and it was fun to learn about them and their lives.  But I couldn't help and think about how adoption brings people together who perhaps would have never otherwise crossed paths; all people seeking the best interests of a child.  I'm so glad we chose open adoption because our ongoing relationship with Candice's family has been such a valuable experience so far and I know it will continue to be so even more as Caden grows up in the years to come.

 

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Saturday, September 5th
My nephew's son was baptized today.  (It is said that he is my great-nephew or grand-nephew, but that just sounds weird).  Anyway, John and I offered to help coordinate the food and barbecue at the reception instead of attend the ceremony.  It turned out there were about 60 people between both families, so it wasn't necessarily a small job.  We love to cook so we enjoyed doing it.  Little did we know that Catholic baptisms are pretty darn quick.  People started arriving at the reception WAY earlier than we anticipated so we were running around like chickens on a barbecue.  Oh well, it all worked out.

Amy's side of the family is Mexican-American and one of the traditions at a Bautismo (baptism) is called "bolo" where the godparents or the parents of the baby scatter coins on the ground after the baptism for all the children of the relatives and friends to excitedly pick up.  The social meaning is for good luck and good health.  There were quite a few kids there but Caden held his own when he realized that he was competing for money.  This kid LOVES money.  But he's also very polite and was happy to share his coins with some of the other kids and gave quite a bit of his money away.  I hope he continues to be a little philanthropist.

When we got home, we directed him to his piggy bank so he could put it all away.  As he was dropping it in the bank, it was like he was savoring the sound of every coin drop.  Every "clink" brought a big grin, a long pause, and then he'd pick up another coin and slowly drop it through the slot to savor the sound of another deposit.  Hilarious.  When all the money was deposited, we had to listen to pleas of "Mo' money ... mo' money?!" for at least 15 minutes before distracting him on to something else.

 

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Friday, September 4th
The cats enjoy playing with Caden's toys about as much as he does sometimes.  Which, of course, brings giggles galore.

 



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Thursday, September 3rd
We're in the process of applying for a passport for Caden so we had to take a photo to submit with the application.  When you live with a goofball, you end up taking 19 shots just to get an acceptable one.

 

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Wednesday, September 2nd
It's not even October yet but I was out shopping for school clothes the other day and couldn't resist.



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Tuesday, September 1st
How can it be September already?  Hard to believe summer is over.  We did have a pretty fun one though.  Lots of fun and amusement.  I'm never too sad when it's time for Fall however.  



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