Kauai Vacation 2018

It’s been a bit since we got home from vacation, but I am fiiiiinally posting about it. One thing that struck me after vacation was that we rarely vacation without family or friends or someone to visit. While we loved it, it also highlighted the benefits of being with other folks. I think we would have pushed ourselves to do more different things. Nonetheless, it was a vacation to remember.

First the whole mashup of photos, then the lowlights and highlights.

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Lowlights:

  • Demi decided she’d rather drive than sit in a car seat, so each time we got into the car for a 2 minute drive or a 2 hour drive, she’d try to get into the front or lose her mind screaming. This would go on for a couple minutes or up to 30, which was just awful. It reminded us that we’re entering official tantrum zone with her.
  • When Cam had an accident in his pants during dinner in the bathroom of a restaurant and I had to run him out to the car with no pants on to change into his wet board shorts and finish dinner.
  • Cam and Demi tug-o-warring over _____ (fill in the blank with whatever you want–a towel, the door knob, a piece of broccoli). This was also an indicator we’re entering that era where we need 2 of everything and they need to be equal, look equal, sound equal, be shaped equally… or someone is mad.

Highlights:

  • Early morning sunrises on the back patio with coffee!
  • Kiddie pool at the condo was 2 feet deep which means the kids could flounder about happily and mostly safely without active assistance. They looooved it.
  • The kids “jumping waves” in Hanalei. I say “jumping waves” in quotes because Joe and I were breaking our backs lifting them up and over aggressive “pre-winter” waves as they shrieked and laughed and couldn’t get enough.
  • Shave ice every day. Favorite: Wishing Well outside of Hanalei.
  • Evening/night swims.
  • The beach in Poipu was the best suited for small kids and therefore allowed Joe and I to chill a little more while the kids were still thoroughly entertained.
  • All. The. Birds. There were sooooo many native birds. We fed the “nenes” (geese) each morning, watched the red-headed cardinals, tall white birds, and chased chickens and roosters around everywhere. Demi called the chickens “bawk bawks” so we spent a good portion of our vacation talking about bawk bawks.
  • The rain followed by a rainbow! We only caught 1 rainbow, but it was a really good one.
  • Naps after getting sun-kissed.
  • The moments when the kids were cooperatively playing. This happened in short bursts every day.
  • When Cam sounded out and spelled “pool” to earn going to the pool one evening.
  • How Demi now calls all bodies of water “pool” even if it’s the ocean. It makes me giggle.
  • Cam’s drawing of the Hawaiian Islands which included several volcano islands, the one we were visiting and the one that Joe and I got married on.
  • For me: poké every day, no cause to put on makeup, convenient entertainment, discovering organic non-refrigerated milk (what!? It exists.), the scenery, the beer, listening to the waves to put us to sleep.

Camden Cruz is FOUR

This has taken me weeks to get around to because, you know, life. And, because I have about 912 pieces of media related to Cam turning 4. I have his birthday party photos, his actual birthday family-only celebration, his school celebration and all kinds of other stuff! Gosh it’s good to be a 4 year old with a birthday. Also, I’m exhausted.

So, first, we had his Dino Dig, a birthday party that almost didn’t happen. Friday, before his Sunday party, Cam got a fever right around lunchtime. At first it was mild, but then it spiked up to 104. He was a mess (party OFF!). The kid who rarely gets sick, of course, gets a fever 2 days before his party.

We finally got the right meds and he rested well through the night. Saturday morning, he was perky again (party ON!). I went shopping all around town, schlepping bags of rocks to my parents, stockpiling things in their fridge, making lists, etc. I got home around 6pm and he started telling us his throat hurt. And then it hurt a lot. And then he was really upset about it and couldn’t swallow (party OFF!). In the morning, he was still feeling fine physically, but had a slight sore throat. So, I texted every mom with kids on the invite list that he was feverless, perky, but had a sore throat, their choice if they wanted to come or stay away, and they ALL chose to come (party ON!).

Here are the photos of his Dino Dig!

Friends and family gathered at Poppy and Inny’s to dig around in the sand for dinosaur bones. We also had a “tricera-toss” game, amazing cookies and cakes by Aunt Emily, a gift unwrapping that lasted approx 9 seconds as Cam thrashed through the bags in a frenzy, and just one little meltdown before blowing out the candles (he needed to eat and poop and then he was good to go).

On September 11th, which I’ll admit I was feeling very sentimental about and could have cried if I didn’t have too much to do, we had family and the Stadlers over for pizza, wings, mini-cupcakes, more presents and mid-week shenanigans.

In addition to the presents Cam got to unwrap, he also received several cards in the mail from family with gift cards, college money and more.

At school, each birthday person gets to have their family visit for a special “ceremony”. Last year, I didn’t get to go (and my family made quite the impression), but this year I did! It is so fun to be inside the walls of his classroom.

Cam’s teacher Mrs. Karla gathers the kids in a circle, talks about the birthday person, has them circle the sun once for every year of their life, then talk through photos/memories of each year. Cam was shy to answer her questions, but accurate, smiling and checking in with us the whole time. For example, when Mrs. Karla asked “what is your mom’s name?” he said “Kelsey.” Then looked at me and said “right mom?” I could have just squeezed him every time he looked over at us.

After the ceremony, Cam was asked to choose a friend to show the photos to and he chose Julian, a very outspoken, sweet young gentleman. I later asked Cam if Julian was his friend and he said “sort of”.

When the ceremony was complete, the kids all received our special snack, a butterfly snack bag with goldfish and grapes (that I most certainly did not spend all night putting together). And then they lined up to go to the playground. Cam turned around in line and waved “bye” to us.

SO STINKIN’ SWEET!

Just like last year when I said that if the point of a birthday is to make a kid feel special, I think we crushed it! He is a happy and very lucky kid with so many loving, caring, generous people in his life.

Imagination

I posted a photo of Cam a little over a year ago where he’s running around in jammies, no pants and wielding a broom. It still makes me smile.

Here’s the 4 year old edition of that photo… Cam rigging up a vehicle out of a laundry basket, twine and found objects, and sitting next to his new favorite doll ‘Shine’. And of course (safety first!), he has a good strong helmet on.

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Who knows what this vehicle will do, but it is evidence of his growing imagination and his natural interest in tinkering. He gets an idea and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop him from doing it.

Cam Says, 4-Year Old Edition

I haven’t been diligent about collecting ‘Cam Says’ moments, but the last 3 days have presented some doozies.

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Here they are:

Cam has told me his favorite books are the Dr. Seuss books. While starting our reading tonight, he asked me, “Who writed the most books for kids?” So his grammar wasn’t perfect, but I thought it was a smart question… that I didn’t know the answer to.

A couple nights ago, we were texting Joe before going to sleep and Cam asked, “how do messages go through the air?” Again, I had no answer for him other than saying smart people figured it out and then I muttered something about satellites.

Cam: I want to make a chart with times and days on it.
Me: So, you want to make a calendar?
Cam: More or less.
WHAT!? The kid knows the expression “More or less”???

Tonight while going to bed, Cam asked, “who controls everything on earth? Like, is there a king or something?”

Oh man… I am NOT ready for 4 years old!!!!

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I Call this Series: Babes Doing My Job

Cam, who was obviously tired from the moment he woke up all the way until he finally stopped kicking his little feet at 9:00pm tonight, ate dinner on the couch and made an obscene mess. There were smears of sauce, a chunk of avocado and quinoa sprinkled everywhere. I told him it looked like a dog had eaten there and so he volunteered to vacuum.

Oh yeah!? Sure buddy, eat your heart out!

He went to town and wanted to vacuum the whole house.

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He even asked me to move the table so he could get underneath the dining bench area where he found tennis balls, Demi’s pacifier and other lovely treats.

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Then, Demi and I showered and I asked if she was done. She said “no” in her typical sassy pants way, then picked up the squeegee and started cleaning off the glass.

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It’s about time these rascals started pulling their weight!

No More Baba

We’ve been trying to eliminate Cam’s pacifier (his “baba”) for quite some time. Maybe a year and a half? My excuse for not making it happen sooner is because we didn’t want the battle, especially at night, when we already have so many sleeping issues. We had eliminated the baba for all things except napping and nighttime.

But Cam is almost 4 years old and we have had visions of him going to college with his special suitcase dedicated to his babas and so we told him that 4-year-olds don’t use babas.

Well this set-up (pairing his birthday with losing his baba) was giving him angst about his birthday, which should be a happy day. So I tried to unpair the two events and I proposed the following to him:

  • If you go 1 night without your baba (just as practice) you can spend 3 dollars on whatever you want at the dollar store… OR…
  • If you go 3 nights without your baba, you can get a giant rainbow lollipop

He said “okay” to the deal, handed me his baba and went to sleep on night 1 with no problems at all.

Then, when I asked him if he’s going to keep going, he said yes. He wanted the lollipop.

Each day he confirmed how many more days until he could get a lollipop and today… TODAY is the day. He earned his lollipop.

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And it was soooooo easy too. He just made the decision and stuck to it. Good job Cam-bone!

This is one milestone I will NOT be getting teary over.

Meeting Cousin Steely!

Auntie-to-be Kelsey lost her noodle waiting for cousin Steely. After what felt like 15 months since we found out about her, she finally arrived on 7/11 a little before 11am.

Here are a couple preshie pics from the night before:

When I picked Cam up from school at 12:30, I told him his cousin arrived and as I strapped him into the car, I told him her name. He repeated it back with a smile, “Steely”.

From there, we went to the gas station and filled up, then we popped over to the 7/11 to celebrate 7/11 day/baby Steely day with a free Slurpee. When we parked, I asked him if he remembered his cousin’s name and he smiled again and said, coyly, “Steeeeeve.”

I laughed and reminded him it was Steely.

Later in the day, Demi and I were gathering up our stuff to go meet Steely and visit Uncoco and Anicole. I kept telling Demi we were going to see a baby. And she’d repeat “Baby, baby!” I strapped her in the car and said, “Are you ready?” And she again said “Baby!”

She changed her tune when we got to the hospital. I picked up sweet baby Steely and Demi decided it was time to scale my legs “Mama, mama!” She was also generally scowling throughout the visit. I can imagine it’s tough not being the baby anymore, and even at that young age, you have a perception of that. Lucky for Demi, Steely isn’t my baby and Demi will always be my littlest love.

Two days later, all four of us visited again. Camden at 3.75 years old is much more interested in babies than Camden at 2.5 years old when we brought home Demi. It took Cam about 4 months to acknowledge his sister. Cam saw Steely and willingly gave her a gentle kiss and was trying to tickle her. I find it funny that Cam thinks tickling happens on cheeks. I never tickle his cheeks, Joe never tickles his cheeks, so why in his mind, is that the tickle spot?

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I already feel like having a cousin has brought our family closer together. I can’t help but think of all the amazing adventures ahead.