Friday, December 18, 2009

Kenzer at Xmas

This poor dog! MacKenzie is our 8 year old long haired Jack Russell Terrior (um, terror). Since the kids have come along she has been slowly downgraded from most beloved first born child, to barely there, 5th on the list, d-o-g. We still love her to pieces of course, but we are so consumed with children that we often wonder, "Did we feed the dog? Is she inside or outside? Have you seen the dog today?" She is now an after-thought instead of our focal point. Every now and then Kenzie will dig her way out of our yard and go on a neighborhood joy run and we feel that panic..."what if she is gone forever?" So, the love is there, we just need to pay more attention to the dang dog! So, TA-DA! Here is Kenzie!! She has been neglected on this blog and in light of a couple of pet passings that my friends have recently endured, I thought I would give her the moment in the sun that she deserves. She is a most loyal and loving friend, and she is AWESOME with our girls. She even lets Camdyn take her own bone out of her mouth in mid chew. She doesn't snip, growl, or object. She just goes with the flow.

I must mention that the goal in this picture was to play with some of the settings on my camera. In particular, I wanted to learn how to adjust the aperture to blur the background yet keep my subject in focus. I was unable to pull Camdyn away from Dora and Chloe was in bed, so I counted on my 1st born, most wise, and obedient pet child to perform as my subject. Kenzie willingly obliged and I have this neat photo, with the background appropriately blurred and taken using the ambient lighting feature on my camera. Note that the room was completely dark save for the lights on the Xmas tree when I pushed the button. Pretty cool, huh?

So, Kenzie here's to many more years of entertainment, stunts, escapades, and faithful nights cuddled under the covers in the crook of my knees. I may not act like it all the time but this dang dog is family! Love you Kenzer!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chloe is a Crawlin'

My first response to this was a big giant "HOORAY" and ear to ear smiles. At almost 9 months, Chloe looks as cute as a button as she tries to figure out how to move her knees and her hands at the same time and inch herself forward. I was able to get her first crawl on video (both on my digital camera, video camera, and phone) and witness her little mind processing her achievement first hand. Chloe was so excited and proud that she kept attempting the crawl over and over and over, with a wide smile and the cutest coos. When she got to where she wanted to go, she would look up at me and Chris for approval. It was too cute for words! When Camdyn started crawling she just took off....there was no hesitation, not timid motions, she just motored on. Chloe isn't quite as brave or strong, so it's fun to see her do it her own way. Not to mention, that Chris missed this phase with Camdyn (he was playing baseball in Canada when Camdyn started crawling). What fun!

My second reaction was "Oh no." This means that Chloe is going to become completely enthralled with exploring her world and she is no longer going to LOVE to be HELD. She's going to prefer to be on her own and the independence of toddlerhood is going to rush in. Her baby days are really numbered! I'm a little sad about this. I don't want to hold her back or force her to stay my baby, but it's sad to think that I probably won't ever witness this exact moment with a baby again. Life keeps moving forward and there are still plenty of firsts to tackle.

** Will post the video soon!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Busch Whacked

We took the kiddos to Busch Gardens last weekend and had an enjoyable time despite the 60 degree weather. It was COLD! Camdyn is still fascinated by the elephants, although the hippos are gaining speed on her...she couldn't wait to see them this time too. I actually (almost) got in the sky buckets. We parked the stroller and walked up to the line and then decided it was too long to wait. I'm proud of myself. Those things scare the crap out of me, and on a windy day, I almost did it. Maybe next time! Chris and I are figuring out how to handle the amuzement park thing with 2 kids in tow. We've done Sea World and Busch now, and we recently had to reschedule our Disney trip. We'll tackle that one in January. It's definitely exhausting, but so worth it.
Here are some highlights of our day trip:

Camdyn waiting for the dragon boat ride, it was her first time on this ride. She liked it :)

Chloe and Chris trying to stay warm. Baby had a drippy nose and goopy eyes and this would be the start of a week long illness....

Sweet sisters riding the carousel together. It almost appears that Chloe is hanging on herself. Don't most 8 month old babies do this?

Camdyn's wittle hands...

Camdyn on stage with the rest of the children & Santa. She kept waving and smiling at him. You would have thought she was the only kid up there the way her face lit up like he was singing just to her. This was one of those moments that brought tears to my eyes.

Chloe the Thief

In Chloe's Little Baby Head:

What'cha got there sissy?
Ohhh, a small toy. that looks like fun...I can almost reach it....stretch, stretch....

Hey! No Fair! Don't take all the small toys away, sissy! I won't choke on it, I swear. I just want to put some slobber on it....PLEASE!


Ahhh, Forget it. Just wait, I'll get you back....

And, take this Fargin' flower off my head!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chloe Belle is 2/3 of a year old!

Baby Girl is 8 months old today. It's so hard to believe that she is 2/3 of the way to 1 year old.

Developmentally, this is how sister shakes down: Chloe is just shy of 16 lbs. She is still wearing 3-6 month old clothes and 1/2 of them are too big for her. The other day I had her in a dress that was falling off her shoulders...Camdyn wore the same dress at 12 weeks of age. Chloe is still riding in "the bucket" in the car and we'll be moving her to a big girl car seat soon. Chloe has officially cut one tooth (bottom right) and the 2nd one is just breaking the surface. She is drooling everywhere, she has a bit of a rash on her face, and she's been a bit cranky. She hasn't run a fever yet, so that is a good thing!

She is eating some solids. Rice cereal, oatmeal, carrots, green beans, and peas are the foods that we've tried so far, all organic of course. She loves them all! We are holding off on fruits and sweeter foods for awhile. I want baby girl to love her veggies first. I love preparing all of Chloe's foods. Not only does it look better (her peas are the prettiest shade of green) but it tastes better (I've tried it and it tastes just like veggies) but I'm sparing her all the preservatives and other "crap" they put in the store bought foods. I'm finding that it really isn't that much work and it's actually enjoyable and rewarding!

Chloe isn't quite on the move yet, but she is getting there. She reaches all the way forward with her little hands and rocks back and forth and then sprawls out flat on the floor. It won't be long now until she is crawling in full force (I'm guessing by this time next month, if not sooner). She says "dada" randomly and is almost clapping her hands, but not quite. She loves to play with objects that are new to her, my coin purse, shopping bags, my glasses case, cell phone chargers, she finds them all fascinating. As for Chloe's temperment, she is one chill baby. She goes with the flow, rarely cries (only when she's really tired) and she is an absolute joy. It's funny to me that I once described her as tempermental (check my post in July) cause 8 month old Chloe is anything but that. I couldn't imagine an easier baby....she sleeps pretty well, eats well, and loves socializing.

I feel so blessed that she is part of our family and I can no longer remember what life was like without her. The infant days are so fleeting. It won't be long until I'm blogging about first steps and first words and that makes her infancy all the more precious....just stay a baby for a little longer, Chloe. Mommy isn't quite ready to part with that part of life yet.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Camdyn FLIPS out!

Camdyn went to gymnastics last Saturday and the class was deserving of a few blogging blurbs.

Here's Camdyn walking on the beam, sporting her Jane Fonda head band and leg warmers (yes, it dropped down to 75 and the leg warmers were completely necessary). Ironically, Flash Dance music was playing in the background....kinda funny. She is not scared of the height of the beam and walks rather quickly doing her "leg kicks" across it.

Chloe was chillin on the floor and cheering her big sissy on...okay, so really she was just drooling

Camdyn's teacher gives her a pep talk before attempting the flip and Camdyn is more interested in the big girls who are doing their floor routine next to her

Camdyn jumped up in to this position on the bar by herself....IMPRESSIVE!

Tuck and Roll baby...Tuck and Roll!

And for the final step....

Wa-La! Camdyn did a flip over the bar!

That was fun! Aren't you digging the shutter speed on my new camera? I couldn't have captured that with the old one!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Annual Halloween Photo Shoot

Ahhh, so Halloween has passed and now it is time to gear up for my favorite time of the year! This year we managed to squeeze in 3 separate trips to Pumpkin Festivals, Boo Fest trick or treating, the Harvest Festival Parade at school, Carved a Pumpkin, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, and then the main event - Halloween get together with friends and Trick or Treating. I took sooo many pictures and I couldn't post them all. Thanks for having us over, Jessi. We really enjoyed year if you could do something about the heat, humidity and mosquitoes, I'd appreciate it! :)

The best part of Halloween is watching it through the eyes of your children and...feeling like a kid again :)

Camdyn with Miss Vanessa & her Best Friend (on most days) Madison. Camdyn adores Miss Vanessa and was hanging all over her during the Harvest Parade. They are so adorable!

Family Photo from the Pumpkin was sooo hot! I miss the cool fall weather, apple trees, hot apple cider, fresh doughnuts, pretty leaves this time of year...unfortunately, by the end of November that feeling is gone and Florida weather suits me just fine.

Every Halloween Season for the past 3 years, I've taken Camdyn to Sears to have her photos taken in her costume. It's a tradition for me and a hallmark event where I can compare the pictures every year and see just how much she has changed (plus, I get a reminder of what she wore). So, this year due to a snafu with the tutus I ordered online, we did the pictures on November 1st. I was a little stressed over this since our last photo shoot 3 months ago was really stressful; Camdyn wasn't cooperating, Chloe was crying and I was so frazzled. This time around, the opposite happened. Camdyn was so well behaved that Chris said, "What's wrong with her? Who's kid is this?" That's a good thing! Cam smiled and posed and did her best not to scare Chloe. Chloe sat upright (for 1st professional shoot) and smiled and just looked absolutely adorable. So, the pics turned out better than we expected, we spent more money than we had intended, and we just enjoyed ourselves. This 2 kid thing just may be do-able after all!

Look at those cheeks!

Sleeping Beauty and her fairy godmother

Heaven Sent - what a gift!

I can't get over how big she is getting...she looks like she is ready for Kindergarten!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sharing some Pics

So, I'm loving my new camera, and haven't gotten close to figuring it out yet, but have taken a ton of pictures. Here are just a few of recent events.

Camdyn sporting double butterflies on her fingers at the Hunsader Pumpkin Festival. This was probably her favorite part of the day.

Camdyn and her new friend Lily. Lily is a new(ish) toddler and I was so afraid that Camdyn would knock her over. Cam kept petting her like she was a puppy! Aren't they adorable?

This photo is compliments of Miss Becky. Chloe was playing at the park with Sawyer, but only his elbow made it into this picture. She loves holding this ball!

My sweet girls in their Big Sister/Little Sister shirts. Last night during story time I asked Camdyn the following question: "Camdyn, how do you feel now that Chloe is a part of our family." Her instant response, "Happy, Mama. Just happy." Awwwe and WHEW!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The 'Soll Weekend Update

10/17/09 Last weekend was definitely busy! On Saturday Camdyn did Gymnastics. She loves this class and can now do an endless number of perfect sommersaults. We signed her up for another 5 sessions, so there should be more pics to come as she learns to backbend and handstand.

In the evening we ran in a benefit for the Arthritis Foundation. Camdyn ran the 100 meter Monster Dash and I ran (well, mostly ran, partly walked) the 5K. It was a lot of fun, although Camdyn got a little spooked during her race and cried, and then got upset that she didn't win. Now that she knows how the race works, she's excited to try one day. As for me, I realized that I am desperately out of shape and really do enjoy running. Hopefully, this will inspire me to lace up my running shoes and get my buns running more often. My time was 34 min. 17 sec...not too shabby being that I hadn't run in at least 15 months and only jogged 3 times prior to the race. Go me!

10/18/09 On Sunday, I celebrated the big 3-2 with a trip to a small pumpkin patch just outside of town. Camdyn was a bit of a handful and trouble with her "listening ears" but overall it was a good time. Chris gifted me with a new camera for my birthday, so I was practicing with the settings and enjoyed taking a TON of pictures. This camera is so amazing...if it had wheels, I could drive it! With the shutterspeed on this thing, I won't miss any of those perfect moments. I even took some pretty cool pictures of Camdyn on the swings, which is really had to do with a PHS (push here stupid) camera. Thanks, Babe! I love my present!
**all pics in this post were taken with my new Canon Rebel T1i

10/19/09 Miss Chloe Belle also celebrated her 7 month birthday with a trip to the park and a splash in the tub. She's only gained about 1/2 a lb. since last month, and she's still my little p'nut. She is beginning to recognize the word "Up." When, I say the word and hold out my hands, she'll lift her arms up so that I can lift her. It's so fun to watch this progression as they begin to put words and movements together. Chloe is also noticeably aware of my presence. In the mornings, she's happy and giggly as daddy changes her diaper and dresses her, but once she sees me (or the milk factory) she starts to cry for food. Yes, she's got it all figured out. Chloe also tried peas for the first time today, but that deserves a post of it's own :)

Isn't she beautiful! I've been in a battle with myself this week over flu shots and that has morphed into a debate about the safety of all vaccinations. I'm proud that I'm reading and educating myself, but wish that I would have done this while I was pregnant the first time instead of now. But, better late than never.

After losing countless hours of sleep over the issue, I've decided that our family will fore go all flu shots this season. We didn't get them last year and H1N1 flu (although media awareness is heightened) is about the same as the regular flu, it's just getting a lot more attention. We will supplement, take hygiene precautions, and pray that the good Lord keeps our family healthy. I've been reading "The Vaccine Book" by Dr. Robert Sears at the recommendation of my step sister, Gretchen. Wow. It's really opened my eyes, and I'll be making some adjustments to Chloe's vaccination schedule. I do want her to have all vaccines that are relevant to infant health, but want to space them out and fore go the shots for illnesses that are not common in the US or that have higher risk factors. So, I'm learning and I feel at peace with our choices. Finally, I'll be able to get some rest, if only Chloe would sleep through the night!

**Thanks, Gretchen, for the unbiased information and the recommendation that we make the choice that best suits our family's needs. You've been most helpful!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Life with Two

Often my girlfriends have asked me “How is it with 2 kids, is it harder?” It’s this question that I hope to answer in a somewhat convoluted and drifting manner.

My first reaction is “No, it’s easier.” SAY WHAT? Let me explain. In my household there was this lopsided division of labor when it came to child rearing. When life was all about Camdyn, mommy took on the brunt of the child-involved tasks. It’s not that Chris wasn’t willing to help out, it’s just that I did it. Eventually, the night time routine (bath, books, bed) got to be tedious and I started to resent the fact that I got an hour and a half less of “couch time” than Chris did. Of course, on occasion he would take over the responsibilities, but it definitely wasn’t a nightly occurrence. Mind you I hardly ever sat on the couch during these times…I’d spend the time doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen, etc. This whole scenario could have been avoided had I asked for more help or demanded it. Well, I didn’t and the exhaustion set in.

Then, enter Chloe and suddenly there was this necessary and unavoidable division of labor that had to happen when it came to the girls. I took on Chloe’s bedtime routine and Chris tackled Camdyn’s. We learned early on that divide and conquer is the way to go with two kids. You take one, I take one, and we can accomplish anything! We use this approach often while shopping, meeting a friend for lunch (I often bring one with me and leave one at home), or while trying to divert chaos in the house. “Daddy, please take Camdyn to the park so she can burn off some energy while Chloe naps.” It works perfectly!

The 2nd piece to the “2 is easier” puzzle comes in the form of sibling love-ery. Camdyn adores baby Chloe and now that Chloe is older it is quite clear that Chloe also finds Camdyn rather fascinating. In the evenings, during the rare occasions when Chloe is still awake at 8:00, Chloe will sit with us while we are reading Camdyn’s bed time stories. Granted she is trying to eat the pages, but she’s there and entertained and Camdyn gets a kick out of showing her the books. Even if Chloe is grumpy, she’ll often perk up and pay attention when Camdyn is in her line of sight. So, that makes things a little easier already…they are kind of entertaining themselves! I expect this to get even better once Chloe is mobile.

Now, don’t go thinking that having 2 kids is a cake walk, because it’s not. It definitely takes more energy to raise 2 than it does 1 and the amount of time that you spend doing child related tasks more than doubles. It’s also even more of a personal sacrifice as your “alone time” diminishes exponentially. I do feel that giving a child a sibling is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. It’s not always possible and only children have a sweet deal too, but I feel that giving your child someone to grow up with, and share memories with, and to cling to when you’re gone, is a priceless gift.

So, life has gotten easier in some ways and a little more challenging in others. One thing that I am certain of is that I wouldn’t change a thing!

Here are some of the sweetest moments of life with two:

Camdyn and Chloe playing before bedtime. Camdyn was nice enough to share her Little People with her baby sister.

In the mornings, we often place Chloe in the nook of the couch. She can’t fall off and she can’t fall over and it is her favorite place to sit. The moment Camdyn woke up and came downstairs she took a seat right next to Chloe. She could have sat at the other end, or in another chair, but she wanted to be as close to her baby sister as she could be. I had to take a picture it was so sweet. Chris said, “Awe Camdyn, you and Chloe are going to be best friends.” Camdyn’s response was, “I already know that, daddy.”

Camdyn loves to feed Chloe now and Chloe doesn't seem to mind. Hey, I'll take all the help I can get!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Camdyn had a blast this past Saturday doing "Na-Nas-tics" (gymnastics) for the first time. We were having a play date with her friend Sophie, so I registered them both to take 2 classes at the Y. They had fun playing at the house, then I loaded them in to the car and took them to class. In my usual fashion (I can't be late to anything if I try, except to work for some reason) we were 20 min early. So, we walked to the Y building to use the potty, and putzed around, and then watched the big kids on the tumbling mat.

Aren't they sooo cute together?

Finally, it was the girls' turn and they started out with stretching. Camdyn was having no part of it. She sat patiently in "criss cross applesauce" and didn't move a muscle the whole time. Chris was asking me, "What's wrong with her? Guess we just wasted $20..." Well, I could only see the back of her head, so I had no idea what she was thinking. Sophie stretched like a yoga machine and then the girls were off to the other side of the gym to start their circuits. This is where the Camdyn that I know finally came to life. She somersaulted and jumped through hula hoops, and flipped over the high bar like a champ. She couldn't wait to go again and again. She even tried the somersault on her own, which didn't quite work out, but her teacher helped her. She walked on the balance beam, jumped on the trampoline and loved it! Sophie, was doing a different circuit and spent a lot more time jumping than Camdyn did, which seemed to suit Sophie fine (kid has a ton of energy too)!
Sweet girls waiting for Class to start

When we were leaving Camdyn saw her teacher and hugged her knees and said, "Thank you. I had so much fun!" We are looking forward to next week's class!

Cam smiling at the end of class (this picture is wiggly because my camera is a piece...we returned it on Monday)

At the end of Class they get together, hands in, and say "ONE, TWO, THREE - SEE YA!"

Friday, October 9, 2009

Weekly Highlights - Oct. 5 - 9

I love this picture of Miss Belle. She looks so sly, like she is plotting something against the world. Love it! This past Sunday I ended up having to take Chloe to a baby shower with me. She was such a doll. She sat on a blanket and played and looked cute the entire time, save for 20 minutes that she spent sleeping on my shoulder like an angel. I can't remember the last time that my p'nut slept on my shoulder. Proof enough that she is quickly becoming a big girl.

Speaking of big girls, Chloe is sitting like champ. She rarely falls over and has pretty much skipped the whole "tripod" phase where they kind of prop themselves up on their hands to help them stabilize in the seated position. She is blowing tons of bubbles (or motorboating, whichever term you prefer) and does it when she is really happy and really ticked off. It's kind of hard not to laugh at 3 am when she is motorboating ferociously because she is so mad that we have to take time to change her diaper instead of just feeding her. Chloe developed some head congestion this week and that's made nap times and the nighttime a tad miserable for everybody. Hopefully, this will clear up soon....hello saline nose drops.

Last weekend Chloe sat in a high chair at Chick Fil A for the first time. She seems so tiny sitting in that big chair. Her wittle wegs barely hung out of the weg holes. But, she loved it as you can clearly see. I had a sudden mommy moment of panic about the germs and decided that since we didn't have a cover for the chair maybe if we put one of Camdyn's dresses (a spare I carry) over it that would save her from the germs. It kinda worked and kinda didn't...maybe that is where the head congestion came from??? Anyway, Chloe was sporting the shades and looking cute as sin and we had a great time!

Now, it's Camdyn's turn. The child's had a busy week, she spent some time painting (yes, we always paint naked, or at least semi- naked and usually right before bath time). She painted some pictures, some cut-out elephants, and some mini pumpkins. I can't believe it's this time of year already. Camdyn also watched Snow White for the first time and the witch scared her pretty badly. She even asked us to turn the movie off. But being the good mom I am, I sat close to her, snuggled her and then forced her to watch the rest so that she could see that the Witch goes away forever and that Snow White wakes up! Yes, she had nightmares that night and Chris spent 3 hours sleeping next to her bed...on the floor! Good daddy!
Camdyn's Moment of the Week: This morning, we were having a rushed morning (as usual) and the rule is that Camdyn must use the restroom and wash her hands prior to entering the classroom. So, we all go to the bathroom (Chloe in my arms) as she accomplishes this task. Well, she was dawdling this morning, playing with the stall door, and just generally wasting time. I said, "Camdyn, GO POTTY. Your job is to listen to mommy and do what I say." Her response, "No! My job is Fish Feeder!" I'll just leave it at that...funny child.