Sunday, October 30, 2011



I don’t think he had ANY idea that he was even in a costume at the Halloween party.

But he loved the extra attention!

Keen Kayden

ok, so a while ago I told you about my LOVE for (perhaps obsession with/addiction to)

turns out

my son inherited a similar gene.

only, it’s for…

KEEN Shoes


Story is, we got them at REI on clearance.  I thought:

“Awesome! super durable shoes perfect for next summer!”

(they are about an inch past his toes in length)

I hadn’t even taken them out of the box yet, but the next morning Kayden found them in the hallway. He brought them to me, sat down, and put his foot up in the air with a big hopeful smile on his face.


He was wearing these footed pj’s so I just put them on right over the footies. He ran away tickled with his new shoes. He has begged to wear them every day since then. Luckily, he can walk fine in them despite the fact that they’re too big.


One day had a babysitter who didn’t know about this preference for his Keen sandals and when she tried to put on his other pair of shoes, he turned to her, put up his hand and said “no, no, no.” She watched as he deliberately went over to his shoes and dug out the Keens. So funny!

I can relate.

cottage cheese


What? Cottage cheese under the bathroom sink?

Can you see the almost invisible surprise?



IMG_3922We find little surprises all the time. cute reminders of the little guy.

We’ve made it a habit to check the garbage can before we empty it…there are usually a couple of things we don’t really want thrown away.


The only time it’s hard to think it’s cute is when we’re rushing to get out the door and I can’t find ANY of his shoes.  I eventually find them here and there…

Thursday, October 6, 2011

25 things to do with a wiggley toddler boy

Thought I'd share this list of ideas I just found... Love it! I will do many of these in the coming months!!

please NOTE:

The picture below NOT a picture of Kayden!!

It was just on the website next to this list and I thought it was a good visual of the first activity idea. (That is for you, Mom, so you wouldn't worry that he has changed so much that he looks like a completely different kid!)

1. Put him in an empty bath tub, give him water colors and let him go.
2. Put rice in a cake pan and let him pour from cup to cup.
3. Put him outside everyday regardless of weather.
4. Give him a small spray bottle of water and a rag. Set him loose on the fridge front, bathroom tile, linoleum, etc.
5. Make homemade play dough; give him a rolling pin.
6. When reading aloud, ask him many questions. Get him pointing, naming, giggling over each picture.
7. Have him run and tag the front door, run back and give you a high five, and repeat. And repeat. And repeat.
8. Find an empty box we can fit in; stay in the room with him to ensure safety- but get that book you’ve wanted to read for a while, because he’ll be busy for a while.
9. Teach him how to build a fort with the cushions.
10. Let him spread the PB and J.
11. Play with him for at least 10 minutes at a game he loves. This will satisfy much of the need for attention that leads to naughtiness.
12. Bubbles!
13. Boys tend to be tactile learners; stacking cups and plastic containers in an accessible cabinet can be fun.
14. Fill the kitchen sink with soapy foam; get out a big ladle and some cups and let him go at it. Let him “do dishes.”
15. If you have a play house, let him throw a safe ball out of it.
16. Find an old spoon and let him dig in dirt.
17. Music facilitates learning like no other activity. Make up silly songs to everything- be silly and tease your children with music.
18. When he is feeling mean and you are feeling mean, tickle him.
19. Don’t be afraid to repeat activities often; if he is getting restless, immediately choose a “go-to.”
20. Let the little guy “help” you in all of your tasks until he discovers his blocks or trains again. You’ll be teaching him valuable skills. This one can be hard because we want to get things done, but the boy will be grown soon and might now want to help anymore. This may be one of the most special times of your lives.
21. Play a favorite dance song of yours; let loose and dance around. Your boy will either laugh or join in; both are fun.
22. Use your pull up bar low on the door frame- and let him swing.
23. Find markers and a notebook; let him go to.
24. Assess his needs- is he hungry, tired, wet, overstimulated, bored, or lonely? Help him fulfill that need.
25. Replace every negative thought immediately with a positive one. Instead of, “My kids drive me crazy” think on purpose “This is a phase; Jonny really is a good kid” or “My kids must be bored. What can I do to help them?” See an article on this here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

country lane park

I have counted 74 parks within a 3.5 mile radius of where we live.  They are EVERYWHERE here!  But Country Lane Park has the coolest playground I’ve seen.  This is Kayden with his new friend, Harris who stayed at our house during the day for a couple of days while his mom was at school (dental school with Darin).

Note the following features of this AWESOME park:

The boys are in the trailer  because we WALKED! Love that this park is just down the road!IMG_3905This slide is made of cylinders that spin as you go down.  The coolest parts: no static and an awesome rainstick sound as they spin.IMG_3906Musical chimes they can plan just by pushing and pulling them.  Harris played and sang a few songs for us. =)IMG_3910

That’s right.  This kids’ park has a little CLIMBING WALL! Love it!IMG_3909I didn’t get a good picture of the cool 4-seater see-saw behind this little thing Kayden’s riding on, but it’s fun!IMG_3913

I think my favorite part is that everything that Kayden would need help on or need to be closely supervised on HE CAN’T GET TO.  The playground is designed so that the big slide can’t be accessed without going up some big steps and a long tunnel—which scares the little one.   Any platform over 4 feet in the air is completely encased by fencing and can only be accessed by climbing things only a bigger kid can handle. AND the ground doesn’t have sand, or wood chips, or rubber chips, it’s that squishy rubber floor that makes no mess, but provides plenty of cush! LoVe It!!

So, Kayden has a great time going up and down the stairs just his size that have fences and slight incline slides and feels like such a big boy without Mommy’s help.  And mom?  She can totally relax and enjoy watching him play without concern. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

the girls

cropped Legend Oaks girls at Botanic Gardens

Meet Leisl Newman (middle) and Lexi Johnson (right).  They just moved in to our apartment complex and both of their husbands are also first year dental students.  We see these people on a daily basis.  At 6am, the girls get together and work out and then around 7am the boys take off on their bikes to school.  During the day each of us cross paths again either studying together or hanging out.  You know those people who come into your life who you feel were not placed in your path merely coincidentally? yeah…these are some of those people.

Monday, August 29, 2011

FREE DAY at the garden

Many of the main attractions in Denver offer a free day every couple of months and today it was free to go to the Denver Botanic Gardens.  My friends Liesl and Lexi came with us. My favorites were the lily pads (as evidenced by the quantity of pics I took of them…).  They even have a children’s garden, which was SO fun!


I just couldn’t get over these WAY cool giant lily pads that have an edge that grows at a 90 degree angle from the water.


I am growing this same vine on my back porch! 


we love dirt!

We got to go camping with some friends last weekend and had a BLAST!  Kayden especially loved it.  He got super dirty and loved every minute!!


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(Thanks for the tent Brady & Michelle!!  We love it!)

I am a Chaconian

I have these friends who have been with me every non-snowy day for the past 5 years.  We have been hiking, swimming, walking and even running together through sand and mud…

But this summer, my friends started to lose their soles a little bit.  and then a lotta bit.  I finally took these friends back to REI where they came from to see if I could still be eligible for an exchange.  Although I no longer had the receipt, the cashier could see that these friends and I have spent a lot of time together (both by the signs of wear and also the tan lines on my feet) and he gave me store credit for the price of the shoe at full price (which is what I paid, although I had no way to prove that).

I was THRILLED!  That is… until I had to actually hand over my trusty pair.  My heart sank and my hand wouldn’t let go at first. Finally I mustered up the courage to turn and leave them on the counter. Then came the tears.  I felt like I was leaving a child with the cashier…turning him in for another child—a new pair just wouldn’t be the same!

Darin couldn’t believe I was crying, although he did try his best to be sensitive.  I was also surprised and found myself doing some sort of laugh/cry combo for a while.  My mind was flooded with memories of those shoes.  It was seriously just like I had lost a friend…or two.

rach's chacos cross process

But it turns out, there are other crazies like me.  They are called Chaconians

There’s even a video on about “re-chaco” and the people that want THEIR shoes back, not a NEW pair.  They want to keep the same pair alive and going on adventures with them.  Check it out…

Looks like I’ll just have to begin a new relationship with another pair of Chacos.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Johnstons visit

We are so lucky!  Both of our parents came out to visit this summer to see where we are living now.  Here’s what we did with Tom, Mary Jo and Alacia…


We got an inside tour of the dental school including the labs and clinics! 


Watched a Rockies game from behind the 3rd baseline! Darin and I each saw about half the game…other half spent chasing after Kayden.  He LOVES stairs and people!


AND he loves ice cream!

The next day we went hiking with Tom.  It was a SUPER steep decent to Chicago lakes near Mount Evans.  So fun!  We saw lots of wildlife too.

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We saw marmots, mountain goats, …and a mountain dog!
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It was a short trip, but full of fun!