Wednesday, March 26, 2014


At the time of Kendan's birthday one year ago, I was consumed with a fear that I was forgetting him as a baby. Occasionally, those feelings resurface since both of my boys are learning and doing new things all of the time; moving further and further away from being babies. I try not to let it overwhelm me, as it did before. Instead, I have been in awe of who Kendan is today. He's a kid! A real kid. No longer a toddler, far from a baby. Four years old. And as heartbreaking as that can be, it is also extremely fun and exciting. 

Kendan has blossomed in ways I never expected. He isn't as shy to dance or sing out loud. We are all serenaded by the Frozen soundtrack on a daily basis. While listening to it in the car a couple weeks ago, Kendan was too tired to sing along and was sucking his thumb... except for when there was a humorous line in a song. He'd pop his thumb out and cheerfully sing the punch line with a grin on his face. He gets it! It's so fun. I have to laugh when I look over and see his lips pursed out as he randomly plays air guitar during breakfast. He's not afraid to let us see how silly he can be. Kendan's doing wonderfully in school. He has made so many friends and is adored by his teacher. I believe preschool helped him come out of his shell. He is also not too shy to attempt holding his little girly friend's hand at the park or to sneak his arm around her back while they suck their thumbs. He's sly, that one! 

Kendan is always on the move these days. Whether it be on his scooter, balance bike, tricycle... or just running... All of this energy has left any resemblance of nap time in the dust. He will come downstairs in twelve different outfits as twelve different characters instead of just resting. I have to take cuddle time when I can get it. It is rare but absolutely treasured when Kendan asks me to cuddle him. Absolutely, buddy. Forever. 

With this new grown up behavior comes some grown up attitude. Is there a book on how to more effectively communicate with my kid so that we can get on the same page? I'm sure there is. We have had countless yelling matches and disagreements. As always, my parenting style must evolve as he does. However, I have been on a learning curve with this age. I pray for patience and it still eludes me. Instead I am flooded with a lot of sass from my child and more frustration than I can sometimes handle. This is just the truth; it has been difficult lately. Some days are better than others. But, there has been a disconnect between us. I believe we will be better for this in the end. Both he and I. Our relationship is growing. As he gets older and begins to have his own ideas of how the world works, it is my job to allow him to explore them but keep his boundaries in place. We are both learning.

I was feeling a little down about how our interactions had been going the day before Kendan's birthday party. His refusal to wipe a grimace off of his face, combined with him literally telling me I was "no fun" as I completed a very tedious craft for his birthday, made me worried about how the next day would go. We had planned a Silly Hat Party for his playgroup the Friday before his birthday. We had homemade cupcakes, each of them with their own silly hat topper. All of our friends wore different hats and everyone got to decorate a visor with glitter glue. It was a lot of fun! All of the little details I put so much time into turned out great. But, most importantly, Kendan was so happy! He played and smiled and was polite and noticed all of the effort put into his party. He was grateful. And extremely sweet about it, telling me, "Thank you, Mommy! You're the best Mommy in the world!" I was happy to have my amazing boy back and to celebrate him! 

Kendan's actual birthday fell during Spring Break so we planned a day riding in the electronic cars at the mall and then home for lunch where I asked him his interview questions for the year. We picked up some cupcakes for after dinner and spent the evening opening presents with our family on FaceTime. It was perfect. And, again, he was so grateful! No matter what strife we encounter in our relationship I can always recognize my sweet boy from his gratefulness. 

Blowing out his candle on his actual birthday! He was one happy boy!

You remind me every day how fortunate I am to be your mother. You are truly hilarious, imaginative, sensitive, goofy, and sweet. You have taught me more about patience and unconditional love than anyone else. Even in our most trying moments I could crumble at the thought of how much you mean to me. You could live for a thousand years and never know how much I love you. Thank you for changing my life four years ago. 

I love you so much! 

Saturday, March 8, 2014


I recently threw Kendan his 4th birthday party; which I will write more detail about in another post. For his party, I made homemade, dairy-free, sugar-free cupcakes. I was very nervous about this venture because, not only was it the first time I had made cake from scratch but, it was the first time I had (consciously) altered a recipe so severely. I googled plain vanilla cake and just started hacking away at it. I've been substituting dairy in recipes for years now due to Kendan's allergy but, cutting the sugar out too? I was nervous about how these would turn out. 

I wanted the cupcakes to be sugar-free because, over the last six months or so, I have gone on a crusade against sugar. I won't go into much detail on that subject; again, that's another post for another time. But, I got the impression I am not the only one who is trying to escape sugar's grip on our health. One of the mothers at the party originally passed on having a cupcake because she recently gave up sugar. I've never seen a happier face than when I told her they were sugar-free. I also received more requests for the recipe to these cupcakes than I ever imagined. I am happy to share! Especially a treat that I know I feel good about my kids eating. I'm also thrilled to be promoting sugar and dairy free efforts. And, the truth is, you'll never miss those ingredients. These cupcakes received rave reviews. 

So, here is the recipe for some yummy, much healthier cupcakes. 

Dairy and Sugar Free Cupcakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes or a 9x9 cake 

- 1 1/4 cups honey (16oz bottle)
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 3 cups all purpose flour 
- 1 tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
- 1 teaspoon baking soda 
- 3/4 cup milk (I use almond milk) 

1). Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease 9x9in pan or line muffin tin with liners.

2). In medium bowl, beat together the honey and coconut oil. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in vanilla. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to the honey and oil and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour/spoon batter into prepared pan. 

3). For a pan cake, bake for 35 to 45 minutes. For cupcakes, bake 25-28 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

I hope you all have the opportunity to make this delicious dessert. Cheers to happier, healthier, and definitely sweeter lives!