Family Friday: Dec 28

16 Weeks Old

This week was Cameron's first Christmas... and hopefully the only one without her daddy here.  I put the "good" Christmas Eve photos on our Christmas blog post so I thought I'd share a few of the outtakes here.  Most of the photos from that evening looked like these ones.  Thank goodness for digital cameras with big memory cards :)

Johnnie's parents were recently both in Guatemala and sent us this Guatemalan baby sling for Christmas.  Cameron loves it!  It allows her to sit in front of me and look around which seems to calm her down when she's fussy and sometimes puts her to sleep.  Similar slings called "Maya Wraps" are available on Amazon and (they're cheaper on Amazon) and I've also seen some DIY baby sling pins on Pinterest.

Last weekend Cameron started sleeping 9 to 10 hours straight every night!  That is the best Christmas present she could've given me :)  More often now, she's starting to wake up smiling in the mornings and after naps.  She smiles a lot throughout the day... melts my heart every time and almost makes up for the times when she's really fussy.

I thought the drooling was bad last week... I think it's gotten worse.  There is constant drool always coming from her mouth and her shirts are always soaked.  I do change her shirt often though the drool doesn't seem to bother her!

The President and his family arrived last weekend to spend Christmas here in Hawaii.  Air Force One was parked about a thousand feet from our house all week so we saw it every time we went anywhere.  The President was elsewhere on the island so we didn't get to see him before he left.  Maybe next year.

"In the eyes of children we find the joy of Christmas. In their hearts we find its meaning.”
~Leland Thomas

Christmas 2012

Mele Kalikimaka!  (That's Hawaiian for Merry Christmas)  We hope everyone had a great Christmas this year!  It honestly didn't feel much like Christmas for us this year without Johnnie and without snow but we still enjoyed the holiday.  Next year we'll decorate and get a bigger tree :)

On Christmas Eve we joined a group of neighbor friends for a delicious feast and then we cuddled on the couch in our Christmas jammies.  I set up my camera on my tripod and used a camera remote control to take some photos.  I literally took about 50 photos to get the three below.  I'm amazed that I actually got one with Cameron and Dulce both looking at the Camera!

There are a ton of apps (and many are free) that allow you to add Christmas elements to your photos or even allow you to "take a photo" of Santa in your house!  I used a free app called iCaughtSanta to create the one of Dulce and Santa napping together in our living room!

The first thing that Cameron and I did on Christmas morning was video chat with Johnnie!  Because of the time difference, his Christmas day was ending and he was going to bed while our day was just beginning.  I am so thankful that we have the technology available to keep us connected while he's deployed and that we were able to "spend time" with him on this special day!

Johnnie went to a midnight mass service on Christmas Eve and had a festive lunch on Christmas Day.  The chow hall was decorated and there were a lot of cookies and cakes!

Cameron and I Skyped with my family and Johnnie's, went to church, and then gathered with friends for dinner.  It was a lovely Hawaiian Christmas day :)

We do a photo Christmas card every year and this year's card is my favorite thus far!  I had purchased a Groupon deal for a company called Pear Tree Greetings which I used for the cards.  I am so impressed with the print quality and color that I'll mostly likely be using this company again next year.  The ribbon on the card is super cute but made the cards require extra postage.  Luckily I had also purchased a LivingSocial deal for Snapfish where I could order custom postage!

Cutest stamps ever :)

"Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day 
That's the island greeting that we send to you from the land where palm trees sway
Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright 
The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii's way to say Merry Christmas to you!"
~ Robert Alex Anderson

Family Friday: Dec 21

15 Weeks Old

Cameron has survived her first "the world is going to end" day!  The Mayan calendar ended today but we are all still here.  We're thankful that Hawaii didn't turn into a pool of molten lava ;)

The most noticeable change with Cameron this week is that her grasping skills have greatly improved!  She has gotten very good at grabbing, holding on, and pulling on the rings hanging from her play mat.

Today we walked over to the BX and happened to find a darling little pair of shoes that match Cameron's Christmas dress!  I put them on her lap while we continued through the store and within minutes she had grabbed the tag and brought it to her mouth - I was impressed as she's never done that before!  We may very soon be entering the "everything goes in my mouth" phase :)

Dulce has gotten a LOT more comfortable with Cameron in the past couple weeks.  She always would sit or lie down close to Cam but now she is often found right beside her.  Dulce often gets kicked or smacked in the face because she's so close but she doesn't seem to mind.  Cameron doesn't seem to mind the close company either :)  However, it's not all cuddly and cute.  Dulce never licked Cameron until recently.  She has discovered the spit-up and drool that comes out of Cameron's mouth and finds it tasty.  Gross I know!  I now have to keep a close eye on her so that she doesn't lick Cameron's face.

We all sit outside every morning for a while before nap time and get some fresh air.  Cameron is content sitting on my lap and looking at the world around her, while Dulce is happy taking a nap in her sunshine-filled bed.  It's the only time during the day when I sit and not think about the billion other things I need to do.  I simply enjoy being with Cam and noticing the little things like her long eyelashes, knuckle dimples, and chubby baby feet :)

Cameron has been a drooling queen for the past couple weeks.  Her shirt is always wet in front and sometimes I have to change her outfit because it gets so wet.  I can't imagine how much drool she'll produce when she starts teething!

She is still fussy in the evenings but thankfully it has recently lessened from 3.5 hours down to about 2 hours.  I am amazed and very grateful that no matter how fussy she is in the evenings, she goes to bed easily at 8:30 every night and falls asleep on her own.  Bedtime is so easy in fact, that I'm afraid to change anything.  Cameron still sleeps in a bassinet on my bed and I know that soon I will have to transition her to her crib.  She is growing fast and changes are coming!

Cameron and I ran a Jingle Bell 5K race on base last Saturday morning!  This was her first race of many.  I really hope that Cameron develops an interest in running and exercise and will run some races with me when she's older.  I actually haven't been running at all lately (besides the race) but I have been doing Beachbody Insanity workout videos daily as part of a 60 challenge.  The videos really work your legs (and the rest of your body) so I find that it improves my running time by making my legs stronger.  We are currently on day 12 of the challenge and while I haven't lost any weight yet, I can already tell a difference in my muffin top midsection and I can feel an improvement in endurance while doing the videos compared to day 1.  Taking care of Cameron and Dulce are my number one priority.  Making time for daily exercise is a close second because I feel good doing something for myself that relieves some stress and anxiety.

‎"A strong outside strengthens the inside."
~Selene Yeager

Daddy Doll

Johnnie left for deployment when Cameron was only 6.5 weeks old.  That is too young to have developed memories so I do things daily to make Cameron familiar with her daddy in hopes that she will recognize him and be comfortable with him when he returns.  She hears his voice and sees his face whenever he calls on Skype or FaceTime, she hears his voice reading her stories in some record-a-story books a dear friend bought for us, and she sees his face in photographs.

Now she has one more thing to help form a connection... a Daddy Doll!  I purchased Cameron's Daddy Doll from  We got the one-sided 17-inch doll which is almost as big as her!  Daddy Dolls are a great tool for helping children cope with having a parent who is deployed or who travels often for work.  In Cameron's case, it will simply help her learn and memorize her daddy's face.

Cameron does actually stare at her daddy's face on the doll and babbles to it once in a while :)

I took a photo of Johnnie in his deployment uniform (which he'll be wearing the next time we see him) in front of a white background.  I removed the background in Photoshop, uploaded the photo to the Daddy Doll company, and they created the doll.  Please note that the company requests "ONLY Upload Original, UNEDITED image files. We will crop the subject to best fit the product, and remove background for dolls." With my education and experience with Photoshop, I knew that I could remove the background as well as or better than anyone else so I chose to do it myself.  No one complained :)

The doll is a plush pillow made of soft micro-fiber fabric.  They use an advanced printing technology that produces "a "no-feel" image that is dyed into the fabric, so it won't peel or crack and is completely machine washable."

Daddy Dolls can be one-sided or two-sided.  If you choose a one-sided doll, you pick from a variety of fabrics to go on the back.  I chose the multicam fabric which matched Johnnie's uniform.  The text below the photo is free but limited to 18 characters, including spaces.  There is a pocket on the back of the doll for keepsakes or the optional voice recorder.

Maybe I should've gotten one for Dulce as well.  She misses her daddy too!

"Distance never separates two hearts that really care,
for our memories span the miles and in seconds we are there.
But whenever I start feeling sad, because I miss you, I remind
myself how lucky I am to have someone so special to miss."
~Henri JM Nouwen

Family Friday: Dec 14

14 Weeks Old

The big news this week is that Cameron's birth story got published on Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine's website!  Anyone can submit a birth story and the editors choose one story a week (52 a year) to publish.  I submitted the story in October for consideration and it was accepted the next day for publication!  I've been eagerly waiting this week for it to be featured before saying anything.  It is so exciting to see our story and photos published!

My mom's visit flew by and we had to say good-bye yesterday.  I'm glad she could come and spend time with Cameron while she's still little.  She was also a huge help doing some cleaning and holiday baking.  Having her here allowed me to get a few extra things done and kept me sane during a few extra rough days.

This month is my birthday, Johnnie's birthday, our anniversary, and Christmas.  Going through all of that without Johnnie here is a lot harder than I expected it to be.  I'm honestly feeling pretty stressed and overwhelmed right now.  It's not so much the responsibilities of the baby, it's more just things weighing on my mind.  Don't worry, I can still take care of myself and Cameron (and Dulce) with no problems, I just have a lot more tearful breakdowns than usual.  I'll be glad when this month is over.

No matter what the situation, every mom gets overwhelmed at times.  There is so much to do you think you should do and not enough time to get it all done.  My to-do list is a long one and I'm adding stuff to it faster than I'm taking things off.  Everyone offers to help but there is very little that other people can do for me, it's mostly things and projects that I need to do myself.  I squeeze as much in as I can each day when Cameron is napping and celebrate the little things that I do get accomplished.

The article, Why You're Never Failing as a Mother by Amy Morrison, was recently published in the Huffington Post.  It was a comforting read for me :)

Cameron is generally a very pleasant and easy baby during the day as long as she gets her meals and naps on time.  She smiles a lot and is very active.

The evenings, however, are a different story.  From about 5pm to 8:30ish (when she goes to bed), it takes a lot to keep her from wailing which means I don't do anything or go anywhere in the evenings.  By the time she goes to sleep, I'm about ready to myself!  Despite best efforts, sometimes she just has to cry for a while.  I know she'll grow out of it eventually, I just hope it's sooner than later.

There are always a few new developments each week.  This week Cameron is "talking" louder and having longer "conversations" with me and with herself.  She may be a little chatterbox when she gets older!  Her eyesight is getting better.  Babies start off seeing only short distances but her new fascination with the ceiling fans tells me that she's seeing things much farther away than ever before. The best new thing is that she smiled at Johnnie during a video chat session for the first time!  We are very lucky that she gets to see his face and hear his voice often :)

“Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.” 
~Garrison Keillor

Our Anniversary

Four years ago today, Johnnie and I promised to love each other for the rest of our lives.  Every day since then has brought new adventures.  We have had an action-packed four years and I cherish every moment we have shared... from traveling the world together to eating pizza at home on Friday nights.  I am amazed every day that I was lucky enough to find my soulmate and marry him :)

We met in North Carolina, dated for a year, got engaged in Guatemala, and got married in Las Vegas.

We lived in Georgia...

and in South Korea...

and now we live in Hawaii.

We have traveled together to Guatemala...

and to Canada...

and to New Zealand...

and to Australia...

and to China.

We have an incredible little dog...

and now we have a beautiful baby girl!

Life is good amazing!

Happy 4th Anniversary, Johnnie!  You are the most incredible man that I have ever known and I thank God for you every day.  Our life together is my happily ever after <3

“You know you're in love when you don't want to fall asleep
because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
~Dr. Seuss