2 1/2


This wild man is 2.5 years old! He is always on the go, super silly, and incredibly sweet. He’s still in love with anything that has wheels and will play for hours with his trains.  He loves to throw balls in the house and jump off the furniture, so we’re getting a taste of what it’s like to have a very energetic boy. He still loves to read and will spends the majority of his time in the car reading his Richard Scary books. He also is passionate about having his window down lately. He’s been sleeping in a “big boy bed” in his new airplane room since May and he did great with the transition! He’s only fallen out once and doesn’t seem to have considered the idea of getting out of this bed when he isn’t supposed to. Let’s hope he doesn’t figure that out anytime soon 🙂

This summer I did my best to write down come of the funny things that Cade said. Here’s a sampling –

  1. One day while swimming I asked Cade if he’d pooped in the pool. His response was “not yet.”
  2. While sticking a train down my shirt he said “Mommy, I put my train in your purse.”
  3. While in yellowstone, we made a stop so that Trey could use the restroom. When he got back in the car, Cade said “Good job daddy, where’s your cookie.”
  4. “You can’t have my kisses, they’re special to me”
  5. “That’s fantastic”
  6. “You’re a bad driver, Daddy.”
  7. “You’re most welcome.”

There are so many more that I didn’t write down. Other great entertainment is listening to Cade’s nightly prayers. Currently, he names pretty much anything in his room. “Thank you that picture right there, and that picture, and that picture, and my airplane….” He also went through a good stretch of singing happy birthday to Jesus 🙂

Starting in August, Cade started going to school five days a week. While I’ve missed my extra time with him, he is loving school. And he is learning so much every day. Now if he would just learn to poop in the potty 🙂


Cade’s “Oh my gosh that was exhausting” first day of school pic

Here are some recent pictures of our sweet guy!


After bedtime ice cream run


Flash foward to his teenage years


Because one instrument is not enough

img_0920 img_0952

Epic water balloon fun at Gigi and G-pa’s house


Beating mom and dad at his first board game 🙂


Oh you know, just bulldozing his rice


His favorite outdoor toy. Naturally.


Spring time with Cade


Spring time with Cade has brought so many more fun activities! We are loving the warm weather and Cade’s absolute favorite thing right now is to be outside. Some of our  favorite activities include…


IMG_3226  IMG_3218

Being outside! It doesn’t matter what we are doing, the boy just loves to be outside!


Going to festivals with friends and family.

DSC_0532 IMG_3068

DSC_0544 DSC_0546

Playing with the water table – Gigi and King Daddy gave Cade a water table for his birthday and shortly after we got it out to enjoy. Cade loves to drink the water out of the little shovels and gets completely soaked. It’s so fun to watch!

IMG_2980  IMG_4340

Sitting on the front porch – Cade has learned how to say “hey” and he loves to sit out on the front porch or in the yard and say “hey” to all of the people and cars that go by.

IMG_3038  IMG_3010 IMG_3040 IMG_4527

Going to the park – We’ve had several play dates at the park that have been a blast! Cade is all about standing and crawling on the equipment and watching all the people around him.

DSC_0512 DSC_0519 DSC_0523

Riding and pushing his tractor – Debbie Cakes and Pop gave Cade a tractor for his birthday. He loves to sit on it and push it all over the yard and the house.

DSC_0500  DSC_0506

Because everyone pushes their sippy cups around, right?

IMG_2988  IMG_2992  IMG_3162

IMG_3195  IMG_3169

Swimming – Cade’s first swimming experience of the season was at the local YMCA. The Y has a great zero entry area for kids and Cade crawled all over the place. I think he would have stayed and played all day if we had the time. They have an outdoor area and we can’t wait until it opens! In the meantime, we have an outside pool that is so big we could put multiple toddlers and parents in it all at once. The best part is that it is the exact same pool that I had as a kid. So far, Cade isn’t so sure how he feels about the water being so cold.


Spring also brought Cade’s first few days away from mom and dad. Trey and I went out west for several days to celebrate Trey’s 30th birthday and the completion of my Ph.D. Debbie Cakes came to stay with Cade and took great care of him.

At 14 months, Cade is understanding so much more that we say to him. He says mom, dad, hey, hi, and bye. He is also very close to saying an understandable dog and AJ. He’s still not walking and doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to do so even though I’m pretty sure if he tried he could do it. He is all about scooting around while holding onto furniture, crawling, and recently bear crawling. The cutest thing that he learned to do recently is clap. If you ask him to do it, he will clap and get the best grin on his face like he is so proud of himself. Here he is clapping in the pool.


His other newest tricks include patting his head and dancing. This boy LOVES to dance. It’s really cute to watch and he pretty much wants to do it all the time.

Other than being outside, Cade loves to play with his blocks, push anything that he can (cars, wagons, even coolers), and read books. His favorite books right now are any that have a flap. He has a copy of Brown Bear that has sliding flaps to reveal the animals – it’s a favorite.

FullSizeRender IMG_3235


It is so fun to watch Cade discover new things in his world. This week, we were playing on the porch when it started raining. Cade ventured out a little and when he realized it was water he was so excited. It seems that he’s a big fan of puddles.

IMG_3206 IMG_3207

Another recent discovery is climbing. He likes to climb stairs much to my dismay. Recently he has learned to climb into his wagon.

IMG_4519 IMG_4520

Cade is still eating like a champ! Recently, we went to waffle house for breakfast and Cade ate an entire waffle. We took a before and after picture to document!

IMG_3086 IMG_3082 IMG_3092

“Helping” mommy plant some bushes. He may have consumed a fair amount of dirt.


He has always liked the grocery store, but this cart has taken it to a whole new level!

 IMG_4479      IMG_4488   IMG_4484

Lucky little guy got two Easter baskets. Gigi’s included peeps, which he decided were not yummy. I agree. Peeps are gross.

IMG_3116 IMG_4545

First smoothie experience was a hit!

        IMG_3113 IMG_3099

This outfit is just too much cuteness to handle.


Because most rock stars just need a break every once and a while.

We are currently counting down until summer break! Cade has three more days of school and then he is all mine for the summer. It’s going to be a blast!

Little guy is 9 months old!

Since Cade turns 10 months tomorrow, I still consider the timing of this post to be a success! Time seems to be completely flying by! This month our family was incredibly busy wrapping up the school semester – oh the life of educators. I’ve been working hard to get a draft of my dissertation together with the goal of becoming Dr. Boden in the coming months. So far it looks like this might actually happen! I will need to include a lengthy thank you to both Trey and Cade for their continued patience as I lock myself in rooms and write.

This month, Cade learned lots of skills all pertaining to mobility. He is so fast and so strong! We are in the stage now where all tasks must be done as quickly as possible. We broke down and purchased baby gated to keep him off our our stairs as he was seeming more and more interested in working on his swan dive moves. One of his favorite things to do is look through the bars on the gate. Total jail baby. It seems like every day, Trey and I are amazed at how much more he can do. They develop so quickly!

In addition to being into everything, he is also into eating everything. Puffs are still his favorite food. When the container comes out, he starts doing a little dance of sorts and waves his hands frantically until you give him some. When we first started him on solid food I worked really hard and getting him to keep his hands out of his mouth when he was eating. This semi-backfired as I then had to go back and teach him how to feed himself and when it’s okay to put his hands in his mouth. He’s got it now though and will stuff as many puffs in his mouth as you will put on his tray.

Cade is still sleeping like a champ at night and typically goes down around 7 and sleeps until 7 in the morning. He has reverted back to his old ways when napping at daycare. I’ve told him that this stresses mommy out, but he continues to insist that there are way too many fun things to do and look at to sleep while he is there. At home, he is still taking three pretty decent naps. Probably recovering from his daycare days! At his 9 month checkup, Cade weighed 17 lbs 1 oz and was 27.25 inches long. His weight gain was slow this month, so we have to go back for a weight check in a few weeks. I’m convinced it’s because he never sits still.

At 9 months, Cade learned how to …

FullSizeRender  IMG_3919



Pull up. He first learned this on his crib which was then promptly lowered to the lowest possible level

Say “Mama.” Now, there is a constant argument in our house regarding whether or not he is actually saying “mama” and intending the word for me. Either way, I’m claiming it as his first word. Trey keeps telling Cade that “dada” is all he wants for Christmas. Pretty funny.

Give a high-five. I was impressed will how quickly he picked this one up! We call it his “trick.”


Feed himself

At 9 months, Cade’s favorite things are


Being upside-down

DSC_0438  DSC_0445

Sitting on his daddy


Playing with his toys


Music. The boy loves when Trey gets the guitar out.


Touching different textures


Lounging in his highchair. Too funny.

Cade’s first activities for the month included


His first pair of shoes – Mom’s $10 ebay find!


His first Thanksgiving

DSC_0452  DSC_0457

His first Christmas tree. Which he was not a fan of initially.

Now for some of my favorite picures from the month…











DSC_0515    DSC_0409

DSC_0399 DSC_0397

The Story Of A Name

Driving North on SC-93 towards the Bi-Lo my life changed forever. A bit dramatic, but if I were going to look back at the most significant moments in my life this would be in the top three. Jon was driving and I sat in the passenger seat. We were most likely in some deep conversation about brotherhood or the burgers that rend the heavens at Mac’s Diner when we crossed the bridge and my mind shifted inward.

Disclaimer: This might seem freaky for some.

Mid sentence I believe that heaven and earth touched for a brief moment. I had been searching. Many twenty-somethings are searching for something – Job, wife, house, community – but I had all these things. I was looking for something deeper and ontological. Who am I? What is my Purpose with a capital p? You know, the normal thoughts of a 24 year old.

I was in transition at the church I worked at coming to the realization that editing stories was far less interesting than helping others make sense of their own stories. People gave me more life than mega-church glitz and glamour. This disruption jump-started what would turn out to be a three year tumultuous and rewarding journey to discover my perspective of the future was far too small.

I was led to a group of guys who were also searching for a deeper sense of identity. We looked at the heroes of faith, their calling, and struggles. We learned that often the stories of these men and women had a deep connection to their actual name. For example, Moses was given his name meaning, “one who is drawn out”, because he was literally drawn out of the Nile. If only Pharaoh’s daughter knew that he would be also the one who would draw his people from Egypt and the Wilderness, maybe Pharaoh would have renamed him, “stay put”.

We all want to belong, be known, and have a lasting impact. Thus stories are essential to our being. They make or break us. They fill the gaps at dinner parties. They are the tapestries of memories. We embed them into art forms that often have words, but at times silently form legends that give us meaning. The Bible is a rich and immensely illuminated work that speaks to the most ancient textures of life. Scriptural figurative / literal interpretation debates often ignore the power and complexity of stories to be both. Like belief and reason, the literal and figurative were never meant to be separated because they work together to transform us in a way that we can better know ourselves and the purpose we play in co-crafting our stories.

So there I was experiencing my own flaming bush in a passenger seat riding over a bridge in Clemson, South Carolina.

When I tell the story I compare it to the scene in Monty Python’s Search for the Holy Grail when Jesus comes from the clouds and tells Arthur about his quest.

The clouds open up, He appears, purpose revealed, and the clouds come back. But it wasn’t really anything like that. It is more mystical and unknowable. It was a divine moment as fast as lightning and frozen in time all at once. I heard clear as day something awakening with in me: “I call you my encourager.”

Then it was gone.

I was crafted to be an Encourager. I feel like I can say this because I am sure of its origins. If you know me at all you know that this is what I am made for. Inherent to my nature is to encourage others. It was both literally put there and figuratively transforming every part of my life since I was born without me knowing it. Lawrence The Encourager.

Lawrence is a name that etymologically derives its meaning from laurel leaves which symbolizes leadership akin to the Caesars that wore laurel crowns. Ironically enough my wife’s name, Lauren, is the feminine version with the same meaning. I was named in the line of three other Lawrences who were great men and Caesars in my own life, but I certainly wasn’t named with the intention of bestowing a destiny to steward great leadership.

At one time names meant something, but now I feel like that they are more about uniqueness and honoring those in the past. In some way the latter might be an echo of naming, yet the nuances of living a life from our identity are lost and we are left searching. We look for it in our work or our passions. We can attach our being to our sexuality or race. The world feels meaningless because by in large we construct our own meaning from radical individualism. How can we expect to find purpose if we only peer into ourselves?

Ending my long intro I could have simply said, “Lauren and I believe names mean something and so we named our son Cade.” But I don’t think the story of his name would be as meaningful if we weren’t looking at names in the same way.

When Lauren first thought of the name I didn’t like it. We both feared, which has come true on multiple occasions, that people would hear us say Kate instead of Cade. Regardless how we felt we looked up the meaning of Cade. The name is a Welsh name meaning the Spirit of Battle. Military cadences are the rhythmic songs that are used as fighters prepare for battle. The guts, transcendental dissonance, of cadence is the cade or Spirit of Battle that spurs others to fight.

Obviously, this changed my masculine opinion, but Lauren and I both weren’t sold out until one Sunday morning at Grace Midtown. We were singing a song by All Sons and Daughters called Great is the Lord. The chorus goes like this:

Its your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
Its your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise to you only God.

In my mind I felt and heard that this was the blessing of Cade’s name. I knew that with this name came the prayer and the meaning that Cade’s life would be the Spirit of Battle that finds its origins in the praises of God. As a result Cade’s life would be lived in a way that others may recognize that the breath in their lungs, their very being, would be reason enough to praise God.

That is beginning a life with an invitation into a journey and a challenge to live likewise.

For My Son, The Spirit Of Battle

The Lord is your source of life
In him you will find meaning
Live well in the presence of God
Bring life to others through Christ

There is no mountain too high
Nor is there a sea too deep
Where your Father cannot find you
Or that can separate you from his love

Be bold in the face of battle
Because within you resides
the light of all men
the creator of heaven and earth

May patience and humility be your breastplate
May honor and wisdom be your sword
May grace always open your fists
And may mercy flow from your heart


Stay Tuned! For Awesomeness

Stay Tuned! For Awesomeness