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.

Friday, October 2, 2009

In One Year's Time

In One Year's Time, 2 of the 4 people in this photograph would no longer be with us.

Last October we packed our bags and headed west to California to visit Chris' family. It was a long flight, but Camdyn traveled well, and I held up pretty well, being that I was 3 months pregnant with Chloe. It was a quick trip, we spent 3 days in CA and one day in Las Vegas before we headed for home.

I suppose had we known that this would be the last time we would see Grandpa Earl and Chris' mom, Diana, we would have stayed longer. We probably would have never left. We would have soaked up every moment we had, we would have hugged longer, laughed harder, and treasured every single moment. We would have forgotten about all the small stresses and life pressures that have a way of darkening a day. Maybe we wouldn't have gotten so freaked out over Camdyn's tantrum for a toy in the middle of Kohl's, we would have insisted that mom come with us to Christopher's ballgame, and we wouldn't have gone to Las Vegas, but spent one more day with our family. If only we had known...

You see, this was a controversial trip. Mom really wanted us to wait until Chloe was born and then come out as a family so that she could see the new baby. I insisted that we squeeze this trip in, even if it was only for 4 days, since it had been nearly 2 years since we had visited. It's a good thing we did that. Now, we have a few more pictures and a few more memories to hold on to. Camdyn got to hug her Grandma Diana and realize who she is and we had one final opportunity to be in their presence.

I think about her every day, several times a day, and can only imagine what the loss of a parent must feel like for Chris. She wasn't my mother, but I loved her as one. I spent a few years living under her roof. I became accustomed to her carefree spirit and attitude. She never stressed over the little things and she'd tell you exactly like it is. She used to say that she could tell you to screw off and hug you at the same time. I miss her. I miss knowing that she's there. I miss that Camdyn won't grow up knowing her daddy's mommy and that Chloe never got to meet her. It's like a whole branch just fell off of the family tree.

A piece of her now rests in a tiny urn in the showcase cabinet of our entertainment center. I'm not sure if she'll always be there, or what Chris intends, but for now, that's where she is. Camdyn picked up the tiny urn the other day and said, "Grandma's in there. Grandma's with Jesus. We don't want her to fall out." My eyes welled up with tears. She has no idea what all of that means and the reality of it is certainly above her head. But it was touching to hear a child talk about Grandma being with Jesus, without an ounce of sadness. Camdyn is right. She is with Jesus and she wouldn't want us to be sad about it. She's found peace and someday we'll find peace too.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

32 and Food

It's been an up and down week, probably one of those weeks that you just want to forget about, but there were some moments that I can smile about.

On Sept. 25, Chris turned 32. I can smile about this because I'm still 31, well, at least for another 17 days! We celebrated with a pizza dinner and we made daddy a blue frosted cake. Camdyn loved singing to him and blew out her own candle on a cupcake too. I tried to take a "good" picture with everyone smiling, but Camdyn was acting like such a goof that I finally thought "forget it, I'll just take one of Chloe & daddy." Well, when Camdyn saw that I was taking a picture without her in it, she freaked out. The waterworks started and I realized that it really hurt her feelings. So, we ended up with the picture below. She still was acting goofy, but at least her feelings weren't hurt. Sorry, kiddo. Chris looks so happy with his girls!

Camdyn made this card for daddy's birthday while she was at school. I love the things that she says about him. The peanut place refers to Five Guys Burgers & Fries. They have peanuts there that you can eat while you wait for your food, and Camdyn loves it there. She never eats anything but peanuts when we go. I'm not sure why she said that daddy cries like a baby...maybe she knows something about him that I don't. I'm going to save these pictures and make a book out of artwork!

In my previous post I explained that Chloe has found her feet and that her tongue is always wagging around outside of her mouth. Here's a picture of both at the same time!

Chloe also tasted her first solid food this week. We haven't had time to pull the high chair out yet, so we fed her in her swing. It worked and she didn't mind. She did much better with her organic rice cereal than I expected. She didn't even really push it out of her mouth with her tongue. She seemed to love it. So, she's getting rice cereal every day while she is at school and her teachers say that she really likes it. We are on the slow boat with food, but what's the rush? I'm in no hurry for the kind of diapers that baby food produces! Another milestone down the drain :)