Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Fun So Far and See Ya Later!

Well, our first week of summer has been absolutely perfect.  I am in HEAVEN!!!!

So far, we’ve...

grilled out with Grammy and PaPa Peele... 

eaten pancakes...

stayed in pajamas all day... 

had a backyard picnic...

gone to the pool...

had laundry basket races...

visited Great Granny and Great Aunt Faye...

gone for runs...

spent an afternoon in Target...

read lots of books...

played with friends at T's softball game...

picked the first tomato from our backyard garden...

and played, played, played!

And tomorrow, we’re headed to the beach with the Luton clan for an entire, blissful week!

Here’s to fistfuls of sand in the mouth (and then in the diaper), splashing in the waves, and days spent napping on the beach!

As T says, see you on the flip side!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Let's Be Honest

Motherhood is not all rainbows and giggles.

It’s tough work.

It’s work that often requires little to no sleep, boogers, tears, fussiness, and poop – lots of poop – and not just in a diaper… (In my own experience, we’ve had it on walls, the floor, the tub, the car seat, toys, her hands, my hands, my hair… the list goes on.)

I’m typing this post because someone recently said to me, “I love seeing pictures of Cameron Kate… She’s ALWAYS smiling!”

Which made me laugh out loud.

Oh, wouldn’t motherhood be a BREEZE if she was always smiling!

Truth is, there are plenty of tears, and fussy times, and tough days, and moments when I hand her to my hub and just say, “Here!”.  There are anxiety stricken days and times when I overanalyze and worry about every.little.thing.

Of COURSE I don’t usually blog about those or post pictures like this.

But I don’t ever want anyone to think that I portray motherhood as being easy.  While my little girl is typically happy, fiercely independent, and somewhat easy-going, I do not have a magic baby who is always predictable or go-with-the-flow.

This is the hardest job I’ve ever had.  We have had our fair share of sleepless nights and plenty of times spent tending to a screaming baby.

And just as each age brings more fun, it can also bring more difficulty.

Like right now… the teething… the separation anxiety… the new high-pitched whine when she doesn’t get what she wants… the hesitancy toward strangers... the wrestling match when it's time to change a diaper or get dressed.

But man do I love her.

Regardless, the hard times are – well – hard.  And can really try your patience.  And as absolutely THRILLED as I am to be home with my girl for the next eight weeks, it’s not going to be easy.  My maternity leave taught me that being a stay-at-home-mom can be as exhausting as it is rewarding.

While I always try to be blatantly honest in this blog, I’m usually focused on highlighting the positive and happy times.  Though as we inch toward toddler-hood, I’m sure I’ll be writing a little less about rainbows and giggles, and a little more about diaper explosions and tantrums.

Bring on the poop!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

To My Better Half

You are an incredible dad, for more reasons than I can list in a blog post, but here are just a few…

-Our daughter feels so loved and so safe in your arms.

-She gives the best giggles for you and only you.

-You never hesitate to jump in and help, whether it’s getting her bottles ready, suctioning out boogies, changing a poop diaper, or coating her in sunscreen.

-On the night she was born, you kept asking me if it was okay if you left me so you could go see her in the nursery while they cleaned her up, because you missed her.

-Bath time with you is her favorite part of the day. J  Especially when you sing, “Splish Splash.”

-Cameron Kate looks at you like she looks at no one else.

-You love taking her to Home Depot and Lowes.

-You started our nighttime prayers ritual, which we’ll all treasure for the rest of our lives.

-You’ll take off of work just to have daddy-daughter days.

-You introduced our little girl to the world that exists beyond the walls of our house, and she is now an outdoor-loving baby.

-You love to take her on walks around the yard.

-She LOVES to ride on your shoulders.

-You planted a daddy-daughter garden and made sure CK was there to watch.

-You keep us girls grounded and calm.  You truly are our rock.

-You are the most selfless person I’ve ever known.

I’ll never forget how you coached me while I pushed and pushed and pushed after twenty-one hours of labor.  I will never, ever forget the look on your face while you cheered me on… you were SO excited, telling me I could do it, that you could see her head, that she had hair.

I’ll never forget hearing you say, “It’s a girl!”

I’ll never forget watching you hold our daughter first, the way you looked at her and fell so deeply into love.

I knew in that moment that you were going to be an incredible dad.  And everyday, I am so in awe of you.

Our little girl is incredibly lucky to be your daughter.

I love you, babe.  Happy First Father’s Day.

Friday, June 15, 2012

It's Time...

To pack up the breast pump…

To put away the nightly and morning Cameron checklists…

To pack up the breast pads (for those times when work trumped pumping)…

To put away CK’s bookbag and lunchbox (yes, she already has these things, don’t judge)…

To stop setting the alarm clock…

To put away the cardigans…

To pull out the bathing suits, dresses, the sunscreen, and sunglasses…

To STOP being so stressed out…

To go swimming, stay in pajamas all day, meet up with friends, go on picnics, have baby playdates, get lost in my sweet Cameron Kate…

Because our summer has finally officially started!!!!

And I hereby promise to NOT count the days and NOT let any second pass me by while I soak in all of this precious time with my girl!

Let the fun begin!!

 First day of school back in January!
She was so little!
 Big girl, on her last day of school this morning!
Hellooooo summer!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bikinis and Mom Butt

Well, a baby who starts off as the size of a poppy seed and ends up as a 9 pound, 14 ounce bundle of chubby-cheeked joy sure changes a woman’s body.

As the hub and I were headed to the pool a couple weeks ago, I finally bit the bullet and pulled out my old bikinis.  I had put off this moment long enough.  As I’ve posted before, thanks to breastfeeding and a lot of hard work on my part, I’m actually below my pre-pregnancy weight; however, that does not mean my body necessarily resembles the taught, tone, svelte figure that peed on a stick on a January morning.

So, I pulled out my bikinis and put each one on – moreso to see which ones would actually fit, and less-so to check myself out.  Because I’m still nursing, my chest size goes up and down throughout the day – sometimes these jugs are out of control, sometimes they need a crane.  And I won’t even go into the sad details of my mom butt.  What used to be a decent derriere is now a sorry excuse for a rear end.

So anywho, luckily the bathing suits all fit – woohoo!  I was most excited because (a) we’re not necessarily rolling in the dough thus purchasing a new bathing suit wardrobe is out of the question and (b) what woman WANTS to go bathing suit shopping?!

We were just about to head out of the door when my hub says, “Um, I think you need to change.  Your nipple is showing.”


It was, in fact, just peeking out over the edge of the suit.

I had almost gone to a public pool with my nipple showing.  Thank goodness my hub was checking out my rack before we left the house!

So anyway, this whole experience got me thinking about my body eight months post-partum.  As I said before, while breastfeeding has most certainly helped, I’ve worked my butt off (pun intended) to get back in shape while also working hard not to miss out on any time with my sweet Cameron Kate.  But, no matter what I do, my body has obviously changed… and I’m okay with that.  My stomach is not quite the same, my belly button is a tad bit saggy, I have a sorry excuse for a butt, my hips sit differently than they used to…

But that didn’t stop me from having a blast during CK’s first pool visit, swimming with her and walking around with her and not even thinking about my body.

I have to admit that pre-baby, I was like any other twenty-something woman (or any-something woman) who hesitates to take off her cover-up, sucking in and analyzing her body and comparing herself to every other woman in sight.

Now?  Now I’m squatting down beside the pool to let the water tickle Cameron’s toes, not even worried about my dunlaps disease – you know, where your belly dun-lapped over your bottoms?

Because really, in thirty years, I’m going to remember the way she giggled and sucked in her breath when the cool water hit her feet… not my mom butt.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

To my eight-month-old daughter,

This time last year, I was starting to really get big.  (Probably because I was growing an almost 10 pound baby!)  I lived for your kicks and punches, talked to you in my belly every morning on the way to school, and dreamed of what life would be like once you made your debut.

I had no clue just how incredible being YOUR mom would be.

To say our lives changed at 8:19pm on October 10th is quite an understatement.

The past eight months have gone by oh so quickly!!  And while it sometimes saddens me to see how much you’ve grown, everyday with you is better than the day before.  Each age is my new favorite age.  And we’re having a blast with you, our little eight-month-old!

Your appearance changes by the minute, and I personally think you just keep getting more adorable.  Your hair is growing, slooooowly but surely.  We’ve definitely passed the George Castanza days, but we still can't quite clip in a hair bow!  Your torso is long and lean, like your daddy.  You’ve still got some chunky legs and Popeye arms, but they’re starting to thin out now that you’re mobile.  Your eyes are breathtaking – brownish, blueish, grayish… the color depends on the light.

And you’ve finally sprouted some teeth!  We never saw a drop of drool, but those bottom two teeth just poked right out.  Minus a little fever and some fussiness, teething hasn’t been as terrible as I’d imagined (and now I’m going to knock on some wood).

Speaking of mobility, you are ALL.OVER.THE.PLACE.  Your army crawl has transformed into an all-fours dash, though sometimes you still prefer to maneuver yourself snake-like on your belly.  You will pull yourself up and stand and play – you’re so strong!  You’ll even drop toys, bend over and pick them up, and stand back up.  It seems so simple, I know… but it’s the little things that amaze us mamas!  Your teachers SWEAR you’ll be walking by August, and the director at your school is thinking of starting you in the toddler class by then… TODDLER?!

You love school, and love your teachers, and especially love your classmates.  Apparently you go around pulling the boys’ hair (your dad is so proud!).  You also have a partner-in-crime, Catalina, who drops you poptarts and cheerios from her high chair.  And I know all moms probably think this, but your teachers absolutely adore you.  Just the other day one of them told me that the only way she’d ever want to have a baby girl was if her baby was just like you. J

Speaking of food, you’re now a rockstar at eating baby food, so we’ve just started the adventure of real people food.  Now, your dad is much better at taking the reigns with this, because you make one gagging noise and I wanna start the Heimlich maneuver.  So far all we’ve tried is watermelon – it took three tries, and you finally liked it!  Good thing, because it’s your dad’s most favorite food in the world.

You also LOVE your sippy cup and straw cup.  It appears as though you enjoy drinking water as much as me!  We even let you drink of our water bottles and cups sometimes, which you apparently think is the coolest thing in the world.  Other than water, you’re still all about some “milk milk.”  You’ve even learned the sign for “milk” and get sooo excited when I do it!  In all honesty, I can’t believe we’ve been breastfeeding for EIGHT MONTHS, especially when we had such a rough go of things in the beginning.  I’m so proud of us!  Who knows how long it’ll continue – I take it one day at a time – but I have to admit I treasure those moments with you and being able to provide your main source of nourishment.

Unfortunately, you’ve just started getting a touch of separation and stranger anxiety… and apparently it doesn’t really rear its ugly head unless I’m around.  As tough as it is, I have to say that sometimes it warms my heart when all you want is your mama. J

You just recently started putting your arms up in the air when you want to be picked up, which we LOVE.  But even better than that are the kisses… OH the slobbery kisses.  You give kisses on demand and it melts my heart every time.

But wanna know what melts your dad’s heart?  The way you say “dada” all day long.  Even when I repeat “mama” over, and over, and over – “dada” is all you’ll say.  And that’s okay, because the smile it puts on his face is totally worth it.

Your personality comes out more and more each day… You’re so silly!  We’ll be across the room and hear you giggling… and we’ll look over, and you’re laughing at us!  And you love to stick your tongue out when you’re being funny.  It’s hilarious.  OH you bring us so much joy!!

There are a few toys you’re attached to, but you can’t stand when we stack stuff up and build towers.  You HAVE to knock it down as quickly as possible!

And you absolutely love getting into things you’re not supposed to.  Dog food, dog toys, pieces of carpet, the remote… If one out of a hundred things in the room is something you’re not supposed to touch, you go straight for it.  We’ve just recently started trying to teach you the word “no.”  Apparently you think that’s funny, too.

Another thing you’ve mastered is clapping!  And you seem to think that anytime is a perfect time to clap!  In the car seat, in the high chair, during diaper changes – so cute!

Something I love about you that I hope sticks is your preference of being outside.  I have to give credit to your dad for this one – you absolutely love being outdoors!  Whether it’s walking around the yard, going for a run in the jogging stroller, playing with toys on the deck, or eating your dinner on the porch, you are definitely an outside baby.

So, we’ve taken you on a few outdoor adventures recently!  We went to the zoo for my first Mother’s Day, and had a BLAST.  You were an angel, and were captivated by the elephants.  We also took you to the pool for the first time!  You loved watching people swim and jump off of the diving board… you did NOT love being dunked under the water. But you DO still adore bath time with Dad.  And you’re now in the big girl bath, splashing and playing and having a ball!

But right before bathtime each night, we have a little tradition.  “All aboard the Cameron Express!”  I yell… and you get a big smile on your face.  Then we “choo choo” to our room.  I count to three… “And a 1, and a 2, and a 3333333!!!!!” I throw you on the bed, and we roll around and laugh and play and I tickle you and we throw around the pillows and omigoodness I look forward to these moments all day long.

Like I said, it’s the little things.

You, my Cameron Kate, have made me a better, more selfless, kinder, more patient person.  I just hope one day you’re proud to be my daughter, because being your mama is an absolute honor.
 It's tough to get a picture of this little girl that's not blurry - She does NOT stop moving!
 Sweet girl
 Raise your hand if you're eight months old!
 Smiling for her dad
 Going for the hair bow...
 Anddd straight to the mouth.
 These photo shoots are getting much more difficult!
Andddd we're done!