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.

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

Cam’s Birthday & Open House at Preschool

Cam’s preschool does a celebration for each kid’s birthday. I was out of town with work, but Joe, Demi and the grandmas attended. They reviewed photos of significant events in Cam’s life and had him walk around the sun, one time for each year. Then the kids got to enjoy a special treat. Ralle, Cam and Joe made fruit snakes on silly straws and the kids gobbled them up!

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But you know the saying…. every party has a pooper. Yes, this really happened. The Olanoffs really know how to make an impression.

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Then, on Friday, his preschool hosted an Open House. Since I don’t get to drop off or pick up, I was a little too excited to have him show me everything. We followed clues around the school to visit all the major areas and he showed me his favorite things. I was impressed by the organized way they play with everything. He’d take an activity tray from the shelf, find a desk, play with the activity start to finish, clean it up, push his chair in and return the tray to the shelf.

I was also impressed by his motor skills. The activities required concentration and coordination and he was really good at doing each activity like pouring sand from one small container into another small container.

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Last, but not least, I almost fell over dead of excitement when he DREW 2 LETTERS! Cam hasn’t been very engaged by pens, crayons, pencils in the past. He’ll scribble for about 15 seconds and then move on to the next activity. So I assumed writing the alphabet was many months away. But he was playing with a letter bubble where you push it and the dice pops around. It landed on a lowercase j. Cam said, “Look! J for Joe!” and proceeded to go to his tray, draw a dot (while narrating “first draw a dot”) and then a curved hook underneath it. Then he pushed the bubble again and a lowercase l popped up. A lowercase l isn’t quite as impressive of course, but he drew a straight-ish line in proportion with the j. *Proud mama moment*

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I also loved how I told him I was excited for him to show me things and he took my hand and led me around telling me all about it. Listening to a 3-year-old explain what’s going on is one of my very favorite things.

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Neighbor Kaya was also at Open House so we got a cutie little photo of them together. One funny thing is that during Cam’s birthday celebration he got to pick a person to come up and look at the photos with him. He chose Kaya and Joe said that 2 girls started crying. Then, at Open House, a little nugget named Elizabeth (who informed me she is also 3 years old) exclaimed “Camman” when we arrived. She ran over to hug Cam and he ran from her. Again on the way out Elizabeth came to say goodbye. Turns out Cam isn’t ready to hug Elizabeth. As best we could get him to explain, he just doesn’t know her very well.

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Camden Cruz is 3 Years Old!

A Portrait of the Boy as a 3 Year Old

He knows his ABCs, although when he sings it, ‘S’ is ‘X’ so there are two Xs (exes? X’? Exi’?). He has recognized “C” on the computer keyboard for a while as well as a few other letters like J for Joe and X (I’m realizing his favorite letter is X). He also has said, “Look at that stop sign! It has an O next to a P and a T and an S!” He can count to 20ish pretty consistently but when there are a lot of things in one place he says there are a hundred or a million of them. He recognizes many numbers like 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8. He knows his shapes including spheres (pronounced ‘spears’) and cylinders and semicircles.

He has been able to get his bottom half undressed for a while and recently started pulling off his shirt. He can get his pants on now and it’s fun to watch him concentrate as he does it. He is not potty trained but he wants to be. He’s excited about his Paw Patrol underwear and would prefer to wear them though he’s often too absorbed in what he’s doing to recognize he has to go to the bathroom. I think that being at school makes him want to ditch the diapers too because it’s the cool thing to do.

He just started getting into music. Usually after the bath he dances around his room and asks to hear certain songs. He always has another dance move (“Did you see my new dance move?!”).

Favorite books:

  • Goodnight Moon
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Give a Mouse a Cookie series
  • Clifford

Favorite color: red
Favorite show: Blaze and the Monster Machines
Favorite school supply: tie between scissors and glue
Favorite activities:

  • Going swimming
  • Going on “the cation
  • Building and smashing everything
  • Playing store with a giant box in the garage or in the toy box in the playhouse at Poppy and Inny’s
  • Filling buckets, moving buckets, emptying buckets, repeat
  • Chasing imaginary monsters on our night walks
  • Pretend picnics in the yard or the house
  • Blowing and chasing bubbles
  • Wasting water disguised as washing his hands or watering plants or filling buckets or cleaning dishes etc

Favorite toys:

  • His hammer
  • Hot Wheels racecar track
  • Marble Maze
  • Blocks
  • Anything that lights up. His flashlight, “beary,” his elephant that projects stars on the ceiling
  • Dad’s tools

Favorite movie: none. I’ve discovered that every Pixar, Disney and classic starts with something dramatic. He’s typically in tears within the first 15 minutes and we shut it off.

Favorite foods:

  • Peanut butter and jelly toast, not toasted
  • Every fruit on the planet including loquats, pomegranates and persimmons which all grow in the neighborhood
  • Pizza
  • Cupcakes
  • Salad (this video cracks me up, he’s so excited)

Low points from the last year:

  • Going to the dentist
  • Staying overnight at the hospital when he had his infection
  • When he ate _____________ (fill in the blank with your favorite item below):
    • floss (twice)
    • Chapstick cap
    • licorice from the Vons parking lot
    • hunks of grass
    • sea snail eggs (yes, we called poison control) … sorta can’t blame him. They look like candy.
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    • a stranger’s gum off the ground (this was followed by croup and a trip to the ER… I swear it was the germs from the gum)
  • Tantrums, 50% of the time over milk, 25% of the time over wanting something sugary and the last 25% misc. Even though it’s normal at this age, that doesn’t make them easier or less sad.
  • Starting preschool

High points from the last year:

  • Vacation in Palm Desert
  • Bringing home sister–he had a little gray bunny ready as a gift to her
  • Starting preschool
  • Gymnastics and pool time at the YMCA
  • Going kayaking and paddleboarding and paddleboating
  • Going to Disneyland
  • Riding the train to Oxnard
  • Moving into a new bedroom with a big boy bed

Cam's Big Boy Room & Bed

  • His birthday! If the point of celebrating a birthday is to make someone feel special, then we nailed it! On Saturday, he had a Paw Patrol-themed party with his best buddy Morgan. On Sunday, we went apple picking. On Monday, I took the day off, we went to the lake in the morning, to Urban Jungle in the afternoon and had a BBQ at Poppy and Inny’s house with all his favorite people and all his favorite food. He was genuinely having the best day ever. As a mom, this is all I can hope for.

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