Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy Birthday to Grandson Kai!

Kai marks 3rd birthday by mowing apartment courtyard.

Fond Memories Replayed

Kai Celebrates Third Birthday

Three years ago today grandson Kai entered the world 21 days early wailing at the top of his lungs. In no time at all, he had charmed not only his immediate and long-distance families but also the hospital's preemie nursing staff and countless "aunties" around the world in the Clay Aiken fandom.

In his three short years, Kai has traveled to North Carolina and, most recently, to Hawaii, logging more frequent flyer miles than his Grandma Caro. Events from his short life have been shared in various Carolina blogs; and, at times, I am convinced he has his own fan club.

His favorite toy during the month-long visit in Hawaii was a play lawn mower, which made his grandmother's gift a no brainer. The lawn mower arrived two days ago, and the courtyard of his apartment complex has never looked sharper.

The smartest thing this long-distance grandmother did in September 2007 was order a good camera for Kai's mother. With the assistance of his artistic aunties -- AmazingCA, Ashes, A Beautiful Mind, Aspiegirl, Sally -- my grandson's first three years have been well-documented throughout the Carolina journal.

In the beginning, an overwhelmed household had no time for photos. Poppy, Kai's grandfather, even sent a roll of pictures to prove it -- dirty dishes in the sink, an unkempt living room, overflowing laundry room.

The stream of pixel-packed photos picked up dramatically once Sally created the "Hurricane Kai" collage of those images.

With a brand new camera and lots of tips from Sally, the new mother became a pretty good photographer, and the graphic artists often enhanced the images as fast as they arrived.

No activity went unnoticed by the artful aunties -- naps, reading a book, holidays, even the initial donning of a Tar Heel jersey sent to Kai by "Auntie" Sandy from Canada. Below are a few you may remember:


Grandson Solves Climbing Hurdle

Our grandson has always loved to climb, and he is constantly seeking paths to the pinnacle of tables, cabinets, sinks, you name it. After the adults leaned the dining room chairs in a manner meant to discourage his "hobby," Kai determined a solution, got down on his hands and knees, straightened an upended chair, and pushed it to the desired location.

Very early in the spring of 2008, the target was the dividing shelf between the kitchen and the dining room. Poppy was still asleep, but Kai knew the phone locator button would blast him wide awake. It did, and another adventurous day was soon underway.

After that, the dining room chairs were flipped upside down when not in use.

Kai Charms Carolina Clan

In May 2008, Kai and his mother flew to North Carolina where he met a whole different set of relatives. Arriving just after the rush of spring recital time, he and his grandmother had a blast getting to know each other, routinely watching kiddie programs like "Mickey Mouse" on TV and penning the Carolina blog together.

Have a very special birthday, Kai!During the month-long visit, Kai learned to crawl, pull himself up to a standing position, and was beginning to talk before flying home with his mother.

Some of his favorite times were spent playing with twin cousins five years his elder. He loved swinging, going to the their t-ball games, and splashing in the pool while the they took swimming lessons. The lush, green grass and tall trees of this state fascinated him.

On 5/25/08, Kai "blogged" about meeting the Carolina relatives in Kai Joins Clay Aiken Fan Club, sharing some of his daily rituals: pulling out a few books from the bottom shelf of a music cabinet as he crawled by every morning; beating out a rhythm on the washing machine and dryer before entering the den; and watching a full lineup of kiddie shows with his NC grandmother.

Not a day went by that we didn't check to see if the "Monkey Mail" had come. The grand piano was another favorite in his daily routine. At all times, Kai schemed for access to the keys and buttons on the laptop, telephone, and remote control

Back home three months later, Kai celebrated his first birthday; and, again, his artful "aunties" had a field day with the photos.


Kai 'Helps' Mom in Kitchen

With the 5/13/09 birth of baby sister Lia, Kai spent many hours hanging with his grandfather. A favorite haunt became the hardware store where he delighted in spinning wheels incessantly.

His propensity for buttons, snaps, openings and closures of all varieties continued; and Kai also enjoyed "helping" his mother in the kitchen. She created a cabinet shelf for him to routinely rearrange and eventually turned over the dishwasher to him, too.

Drums Add Beat to Birthday

Kai celebrated his second birthday with an impromptu jam session on Poppy's drum equipment, normally kept under lock and key.

Curious, clever, and extremely mobile, Kai knows his grandfather's bedroom is filled with a wonderful array of electronic treasures and percussion instruments.

Poppy, who had left the apartment early to visit his mother, called home the minute he remembered he had forgotten to lock the door.

Too late! Cagey Kai had already made his move and was scampering out of the bedroom with a pair of drumsticks under one arm and a practice pad under the other.

He set up his "drum" on a marble table and alternated between practicing and watching TV. Thankfully, his mother grabbed her camera for a video that the Carolina clan has thoroughly enjoyed.

Additional photos and videos are stored in his mother's Mata808 P/B account.

First Lap in the Barber Chair

A first barbershop haircut was a major milestone for our family's two-year-old. Below are clickable memories of grandson Kai's maiden voyage in the barber chair.

Besides the all-important lollipop, Kai was anxious to learn just
how the clippers worked. That settled, it was back to his sucker.

Next time ... maybe a
shave and a lollipop!

A Fun Day in the Park

With little sister Lia and Poppy taking an afternoon snooze, Kai and his mother slipped away for some sliding and swinging in a nearby park. Fortunately, Mom took along her camera, too.

PARK FUN -- Anyone knows you can't steer without proper sound effects.

SOUND CHECK - Kai investigates slide's nooks and crannies.

LONG WAY DOWN - Even a dare devil scopes out his slide
before diving into a maiden voyage.

SWINGIN' FUN -- Kai tried out several swing positions that afternoon.

Grandma's on the Radar

Being a long-distance grandmother can be difficult at times; but there are some high moments, too. On March 17 of this year, Kai and I began conversing via telephone. Since his sister copies everything he does, Lia is bound to be next.

Once he gets started, Kai delights in providing a running commentary of all that's happening ("The dogs are getting ready to go out ... Lia is taking a nap"), as well as walking around the room pointing out items ("This is our TV; here's Lia's high chair; and this is my dump truck full of Cheerios.")

"Grandmother" has become the voice on the phone so much so that when his mother was talking with a friend in Hawaii, Kai yelled from across the room, "Hello, Grandma!"

I look forward to the time when "across the room" is literally just that.

Family Spends Month in Hawaii

Having lived and worked in Hawaii for five years, my daughter has many wonderful friends there; and in August, she and the children flew 12,000+ miles round trip for a visit.

Kai and Lia experienced many "firsts," with visits to an aquarium, a zoo, and a natural history display, as well as seeing more water than ever in their short lives. They loved the exotic fruit and cool lagoons of the islands.

Below are clickables of Kai and Lia enjoying a beach in Hawaii:

Prior to to the trip to Hawaii, Kai had begun playing games on his mother's Facebook account. A new laptop is being set up this week, and I know Auntie Scarlett will be glad to know her gaming partner should be back on line soon.

Kai received surprise birthday greetings from two of his artistic aunties -- A Beautiful Mind and AmazingCA. Both are clickable:

Have a very special birthday, grandson!

Grandma Caro

For Clay Aiken fans ordering 2011 calendars and voting daily for the National Inclusion Project in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge, see the previous Carolina On My Mind entry.

The Clay Aiken: Tried and True ~ LIVE! PBS special returns to the UNC-TV lineup at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Have a wonderful weekend, Clay Nation!



Anonymous said...

Caro, Kai is such a handsome little boy!

Happy Birthday, Kai!


Deborah Brand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deborah Brand said...

A cute Boy

Anonymous said...

Oh he is getting beyond cute heading to handsome . And parents beware there are gonna be trouble with the girls!! :) Happy Birthday to a special little guy! Wi.

Ginger Scarlett said...

I so love the expression on his face in his birthday blog picture!

Happy Birthday, Kai!

Caro, what you and the web aunties have done is amazing -- capturing the most precious of moments throughout the years, in a gift that he can open anytime to remember those who will always love him.

Aspiegirl44 said...

Hi Caro and Happy Birthday Kai. :)

He is adorable and I have loved hearing all of the lil Kai adventures you have shared with us. Especially the lil drummer boy story. heee. Oh and when he and lil sister Lia helped themselves to some cake on top of the table.

I hope they are having fun in Hawaii too and I can't wait until you can see them both again and give them both a big hug.

((HUGS)) Kathy

Anonymous said...

‎*¨*•.¸¸♥ ♪♫Happy Birthday to you,•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪♪Happy Birthday to you♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥•*♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪♪Happy Birthday dear Kai, ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥... ˜*•. ˜”*°•.˜”*° .••°*”˜.•°*”˜•*˜*•. ˜”*°•.˜”*°••°*”˜.•°*”˜ .•*♪♫•Happy Birthday to yoooooooooooooooo*¨*•.¸¸

claysweetea said...

What a cutie he is! and what a great job youve done with documenting everything.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the update on that little man. He is one handsome guy.

It sounds like Jen really has her hands full.

Hugs Margaret

Carolina Clay said...


Many thnx for your birthday greetings for Kai and your kind comments about this weekend's celebration!

Some of you were my grandson's Internet "aunties" from the minute he was born.

I understand the family broke out cake and ice cream tonight. I look forward to the party pix; and, of course, I will share. *g*

Have a great weekend!


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday dearest Kai!!

Look how big you are now!

You have a very wonderful grandma and many people who are her friends who love you.

Your friend,

Sandy said...

Such a delightful blog full of wonderful pictures and memories! They grow up so fast don't they! I still laugh when I saw that picture with the Tar Heel's jersey! LOL! The apartment complex where Kai lives will pretty soon have the best manicured lawn in Texas. He sure looks like he loves his new "Lawn Mower"!
I can only imagine the great time they had in Hawaii!
Wish Kai a very happy birthday for me!


The Painted Garden said...

Dear Kai,

Wishing you a very happy birthday and a wonderful year.

barb 55 said...

Grandma Caro, what a wonderful blog to celebrate Kai's third birthday! He is just as adorable as he was when he was born; one handsome little guy, and his sister, Lia is just as precious. Love the pics and reading about his adventures.

Thanks for sharing Kai's first three years with us aunties. It has been a joy!


Love and hugs,

MissSally said...

Happy Birthday Kai!!!!!

And thank you Grandma for sharing this incredible young man with all of us.

Auntie Sally

SueReu said...

My gosh, he is an absolute DOLL!!!

What an incredible journey Kai's had these past three years, well documented by his loving and amazing Grandma Caro.


T said...

Happy Birthday Kai!

Caro, what a beautiful blog. I know how special your grandchildren are and how much they mean to you. I can't believe that Kai is 3 now. He's a handsome little fellow!

It's so nice to look back at the photos of Kai. The graphics brought back fond memories of our dear friend, Ashes (miss her).

Thanks so much for sharing these special moments with us. ♥


Carolina Clay said...

Hello, All!

Thnx again for all your birthday greetings for Kai in the Carolina and OFC versions of this blog, as well as in PM's, emails, and message board posts!

Kai told me all about his special day on the phone last night, and I understood close to every other word. His mother followed with a translation.

Have a wonderful Sunday!



Hola Caro!!!! Kai it's a beautiful baby - Hermoso, lindo y dulce., Feliz Cumpleaños Kai.

Anonymous said...

Hi Caro,

Us "Aunties" just love hearing stories of your two adorable hard to believe Kai is three years old already.....where has the time gone???

I'm sure you are looking "forward to the time when across the room is literally just that." I do hope that is REAL SOON.

Thank You for sharing the Special Birthday Celebration with us.....can't wait for photos.


MissSally said...

Linda's new graphic is wonderful!!!

I've missed her beautiful work.

Anonymous said...

Caro, your birthday blog is just wonderful. Kai is a beautiful little man.

Thank you for posting the Tag. :-)

Hi to Sally! Thanks. :-D