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.

Demi Grey at 1.5

A couple Several days ago (started this a couple weeks ago and didn’t finish… *sigh), Demi Grey hit the year and a half mark! The development that happens between 1 and 2 years is just a joy to witness. She does new things everyday, she mimics her brother and all the adults around her, she makes us laugh with her expressions, she’s just hilarious and sassy and smart and so much fun!

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Here’s a snapshot of this funny monkey at a year and a half:

Communicating:

  • She says “up” when she wants to go up or down, so up means up and up means down
  • When she wants you to open something (anything) she says, “pop?” even if it doesn’t actually pop, like a ziplock bag or a jar of pickles
  • When something is gross or dirty, she scrunches up her face and says “cucky”, but then if you repeat that back to her, she thinks you said cracker or cookie
  • She’s been asking (yelling) for milk for a while, saying “milll” and just a few days ago she tacked on a ‘k’ but it took an effort. It sounded like “milll….K”.
  • Birds are “tweet tweets”
  • Dogs are “woof woofs” or puppies
  • All bugs including flies, lady bugs and ants are “bees”
  • If you say “did you go to Inny’s house today?” she says “Inny!” “Poppy!”
  • She has almost comedic timing on saying “bye!” because she picks up on the cues in a conversation that we’re about to say goodbye and she shouts “BYE!”
  • When she is really excited, she yells, claps and says “yay! yay! yay!” and it is maybe the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I need to get it on camera.
  • When she wants a dabble of something like ketchup or toothpaste, she asks by saying “boop?”
  • When I was growing up, we called farts “fluffs” (this is making me laugh), but we call them toot toots. When anyone toots including herself, she makes a scrunch face and says ‘toot toot’.
  • She knows everything that is hot including the stove, the coffee maker, steaming food, the toaster, the decking outside my office, etc. and whenever she says “hot”, she whispers it softly, “hot”.
  • For cold things, she says “brrrr…”
  • It took her a bit to figure out the word “ice” but now she very loudly and articulately asks for “IIIISSSSSSSSS”
  • “Brother” and “water” sound a lot alike, so it might be only Joe and I that can hear the subtle differences
  • Other words she’s mastered recently: brush, tissue, yummy, yucky, bike, all done

Favorites:

  • Brother! My goodness she loves brother. She says “brother” about 217 times a day. She points to brother’s belongings and says “brother”, she hears him in the other room and says “brother”, he does something funny and she laughs and says “brother”.
  • Walking Mila. She calls her Mimi and she pulls out the leash and makes the kiss sound to make Mila come to her.
  • She loves her babies. We have almost no baby accessories, so I feel inclined to give her a few. For now, she likes holding them, kissing them and making a funny lovey face when she holds them.

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  • Shoes. She puts on ev-er-y-ones shoes, no matter the size and tries clomping around in them. Her favorite shoes to put on are Cam’s gray natives. She’s often walking around the house in just one of them. Some days she insists on wearing particular shoes even if I want her to wear different ones.
  • Being chased.
  • Brushing her teeth (with other peoples’ toothbrushes). She points to the medicine cabinet and yells “teeth!”
  • The happy birthday song, but she only knows, “happy, happy, happppppyyyy…”
  • Water! Includes the beach, pools, the hose, the bath, a cup she can make a mess with, all of it.

Dislikes:

  • Mushrooms. This is the only thing I’ve seen her pull out of her mouth because she didn’t like it.
  • When we stop her from doing something dangerous (climbing ladders, etc.), she gets angry, “no! no! no!”
  • Being inside when anyone is outside.

Comparing her to Cam:

  • She is strong willed, for certain, but she cooperates more than Cam. Example: half the time we change her diaper, we ask her if she wants a new diaper and she lays down on her back and waits. Cam didn’t do this, not even once, in his entire diaper-wearing days.
  • She is just a verbal as Cam was at this age so far as I can remember. I’ve been told that when you have a talker as a first child, the second child talks less, but I don’t think that’s the case with Cam and Demi.
  • Size-wise, they’re both on the same track… high percentiles all-around. Big heads,tallish and meaty, just like I like them!
  • Both kids are shy in new situations with new people, but Demi warms up quickly and then acts like herself. Cam would always take longer to warm up and sometimes wouldn’t at all depending on his mood.
  • They both love all food for the most part. Thank goodness they’re good eaters.
  • Their favorite number at this age is 9. I remember that was Cam’s first number and it’s Demi’s too. If she hears you counting, she’ll always say ‘nine’.

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Worst moments:

  • She has streaks of several nights in a row where she wakes up angry and doesn’t want anyone to touch her and we can’t figure out if it’s a night terror or growing pains or what, but this goes on for a while, sometimes a few minutes and on the worst nights a couple hours.
  • We’re battling an epic rash around her mouth, which we believe started with teething. She had 6 total teeth, 4 on top and 2 on bottom, then plateaued for over 4 months. All of a sudden, she busted 4 sets of teeth, so 8 total teeth and a bunch of molars. This caused drooling and falling asleep on the bottle for comfort and now we just can’t get rid of it.
  • Croup! Just last night, she went to bed happy and woke up a half hour later barking like a seal. It was significantly less scary than when Cam got croup the first time. We thought he was going to die because he couldn’t even get a solid breath, whereas her breathing was just labored. After a couple hours, her breathing evened out and we all sort of slept.

Best moments:

  • Her brother’s birthday. She snagged a cookie and ran like a bandit before I could take a group photo and generally just acted like she owned the place.
  • Summer beach and pool days.

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  • Boating on San Diego Bay

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Demi Grey is picking up new skills and words daily. She is just like the Sour Patch commercials… first they’re sour and then they’re sweet. And her sweetness overpowers her sassy/sour side by a landslide. She is beautiful, hilarious, and full of personality. We love this munchkin so dearly, there aren’t enough moments in the day to smooch her squishy cheeks.

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.

DG is a Walker!

It took Cam 14 months and 1 week to walk. It took Demi 14 months and 1 day. Who knew it would take this long because she’s been teasing us for weeks!

Yesterday morning, Cinco de Mayo (easy to remember), she walked twice for 10-15 steps. Then, in the company of the whole family, we made her show her stuff, bribing her with a raspberry (we bribed Cam with his beloved baba).

And now she’s on a roll! Here she is this morning pausing mid-walk to “cheese” for the camera. She’s so proud!

Cam’s First Friend!!

Cam has many friends, but they are all kids of friends and neighbors. In fact, if you ask him who his friends are, he says “I have 2 friends, Kaya and Morgan. I only have 2 friends, I was just born that way.”

Kaya is our neighbor across the street (she also goes to the same preschool) and Morgan is our friends’ daughter, the one who is just 8 days older than Cam. So, as far as close friends go, those are the ones he gets to play with often and that I think he feels completely comfortable with.

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Cam and Morgan playing dress-up. Note the sparkly shoes!

Cam has been going to preschool for about 8 months now and it hasn’t been easy for him. While he does great in school (his progress report confirms this and his teachers say he’s doing a good job), he still has a very hard time getting excited about school days. He cries or at least whines every school morning and has to be coaxed and urged and bribed to get ready, out the door and into school. It’s tough on us too. Well, let’s be real, mostly Joe. I don’t even witness it most days. But that’s why we’ve been so eager for him to make friends.

Every couple weeks we ask who he played with and who is friends are at school and he always answers that his best friend is Mrs. Karla. Mrs. Karla is the Director and while she’s very sweet, we’ve been waiting for the day he names a classmate.

And it happened!!! Finally!

Last night after stories and before falling asleep, we were talking about his week and I said, “I’m so glad you had a good week at school and now it’s the weekend so you won’t go back for 4 days.”

He replied, “Aww, but I’ll miss River!”

I wanted to shriek and hug him, but I had to play it cool. I said, “Oh, is River a nice person?”

And he said, “Yes, she’s nice and sometimes we play together, but sometimes people are already sitting next to her and she’s blocked. I can’t sit next to her.”

This was the second mention of River this week, so we know she’s real, but I guess we’ll have to wait to find out who this person is and if the friendship is mutual.

I’m hoping hoping hoping that this helps him get into a better place on school days. I’m also hoping River’s a cool girl and she doesn’t crush my little guy’s heart. Because if she does, I’ll have some words to share.

In the meantime, I’ll keep working on his idea of friends and that he can make new friends anytime he wants. I’ve been trying to explain to him what an ‘open mind’ is… I think he kind of gets it. We’ll see.

 

Demi Grey at 1 Year Old

Where do you even begin when you talk about your own kid? Seriously there are so many things I can say about Demi Grey. She’s so funny, happy, smart, expressive, beautiful, musical, curious, physical, hungry, and she knows what she wants! She is such a joy all the way around and I’ve heard this expression come up a few times recently and I believe it to be true. Demi is a part of our present and our future, but somehow she is also a part of our past. Even before she was in my belly, she was a part of us. Our family always had Demi Grey.

So let’s break down this little character. Some things she loves:

  • stroller surfing (mostly with Dad because nobody else likes doing it)
  • food, food, all the food. She even recently ate an Asian rice covered in Sriracha sauce and strips of ginger from a sushi dish. If she eats a giant meal and then you start your meal, she gets angry, as if to say “why would you eat in front of me, I’m starving!”
  • being chased as she crawls or pushes one of her walkers
  • Dada and saying “dada”… she will say “dada” no fewer than 300 times per day, sometimes shrieking it
  • baths–tries to scale the side of the bathtub while it’s filling up and can’t let brother have a bath in peace, she yells at the door for someone to let her in

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  • her grandmas and grandpas. She reaches her arms up or out for all of them.
  • soft things, she loves burying her face in Big Bear and fresh laundry
  • music, she wiggles and dances and gets excited to hear music
  • her water cup
  • playing in the sand
  • practicing walking (she’s so close!)
  • emptying baskets and filling them back up
  • knocking over towers
  • shoes, who knew this was a girl thing, but Cam never obsessed over shoes. This girl is constantly trying to get her feet into everyone else’s shoes
  • going grocery shopping. She spins and swirls in the seat and says hi to all the patrons. We taste the samples at Trader Joe’s, so she loves that, but at Vons, they somehow always rush over with pastries and fruit for her even though they don’t technically offer samples. Is it her hungry eyes?
  • brother, obviously. She loves brother even though he is only sweet to her once per day, then he turns evil. He wants everything she touches (and takes it) and he likes laying down like a speedbump in front of her so she can’t crawl or push her cart forward. Even still he makes her laugh more than anyone. At the lake a couple days ago, he was jumping in puddles and she just kept laughing and laughing.
  • Night walks in the carrier. She often does her sleep yells which slow down until she’s asleep.

Some things she hates:

  • sleeping alone. Oh man, this is going to make for an interesting time getting her back into her crib at night.
  • waiting for food. Obviously.
  • strange bearded men, and some not-so-strange bearded men. and some not-so-strange men she knows but just can’t get over the hump with (namely UnCoco, neighbor Scott and Gabriel).

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  • getting her diaper changed. We call it the alligator roll. You lay her down and she screams and rolls aggressively to the side to escape our grip.
  • putting on jammies. The top is the worst. Maybe this is actually something I hate… whenever we put her long-sleeved jammies on, she screams the whole way through and her sticky little fingers get stuck inside the sleeves, which are already tight to begin with. Add the fact that she’s usually tired makes this one big hot mess.
  • when mama or dada leave and close the door, especially if she was crawling after us. Devastation.
  • Hats and other things on her head. Unless she put them there–things like my underwear.

Her stats:

  • Her 5th and 6th teeth were breaking through ON her 1st birthday. They are now both there in plain sight. So, 6 total teeth and she’s gnawing on her finger, so I think we have some more coming imminently.
  • She is 25 lbs and 5 ozs (97th %ile)
  • She is 2′ 6.5″ (85th %ile)
  • Her head is 18.5″ around (92nd %ile)
  • She wears size 18-24 month clothing and I think she’s thinning out/plateuing even though she’s still a chubby li’l thing.
  • Number of words: probably around 10. Ball, bird, mama, dada, uh-oh (does that count?), hi, bye (or bye-bye), cheese, eye, toe. She once said “I did it” and I have that on camera, though I don’t know if it was on purpose.
  • She knows what sound a cow, monkey and elephant make and can make them
  • She knows where her eyes, nose and mouth are, but is better at pointing these things out on a doll
  • Can blow a kiss and often does so on her own, is very physically balanced/in control of her body, she’s a great climber and has almost no falls/incidents to date, likes switching lights on and off
  • While looking at pictures, we can say ‘where is the baby?’ and she can often point to what we ask
  • She likes playing with light switches and is intrigued by electrical outlets (we have baby proofed, but that hasn’t stopped her fascination)

Favorite moments from year 1:

  • being born, duh!
  • meeting everyone!
  • going on a boat

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  • going to the beach
  • first everything–Easter, 4th of July, vacation, plane flight, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah, etc!
  • playing with the otter in Bend, OR
  • learning she will have a baby cousin in July 2018!
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Grandma’s Ale at Sunriver Brewing, where we found out Demi Grey will not be the youngest grandbaby!
  • getting a cameo on the local news
  • her birthday party!! All 4 grandparents, kids running amok, beautiful day, cake and perfect presents.

Least favorite moments from year 1:

  • Blowing out at Brother’s 3rd birthday celebration at school

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  • Demi hasn’t really been sick nor has she had any spills (Cam had a few including a big one rolling off the bed around 7 months), so she really hasn’t had many low-lights in year 1
  • Though, there was that unspeakable day when… is it too soon to talk about?… umm… when Demi blew out in her room while daddy was snoozing on the floor and… umm… she put her poopie hand in his mouth. I know.

And this video just makes me laugh. I’ve probably posted it before, but it’s a good one to end on because the poor girl just doesn’t know what’s going on!

Demi Grey’s First Birthday Party

I managed not to cry. My baby is ONE! And we celebrated on her actual birthday with a whole bunch of wonderful people who love her very much.

I plan to put together another post that records everything about Demi at one year old, but for now, I just have to get all the pictures up. She was cute. The decor was cute. The guests were cute. The kids were cute.

Highlights of the day:

  • The cuteness of Demi Grey. One year old is just so fun.
  • 4 grandparents lovin’ on their little granddaughter
  • Demi trying on her new flip flops
  • The older kids blowing their “frog tongues”, bouncing in the bounce house, swinging on the tire swing and having a dance party in the living room
  • Demi smashing the smash cake … she ate at least half of that monstrous cupcake and would have continued if we hadn’t intervened