Family Friday: Oct 25

This is my favorite time of year... the leaves are changing color, the air is brisk and crisp, the smell of autumn fills the air, and I can finally wear my favorite sweaters.  Nah, I'm just kidding!  We live in Hawaii... there is no autumn here!  Luckily I've had some pretty amazing fall weather in other years of my life (my favorite being Asheville, NC) so I can close my eyes and bask in those memories.

I love fall weather and I really miss it.  The stores are especially teasing this time of year.  You can still buy swimsuits everywhere but all other warm-weather clothing has been put away.  The stores are currently full of pants, long sleeves, sweaters, jackets, and gloves.  It is too warm to wear any of it, therefore it is futile to buy.  It was heartbreaking to walk past some super cute thermal pajamas I saw the other day :(

Despite not having seasons, the weather really is the best thing about living here.   It's pretty much between 70 and 85 degrees fahrenheit year round.  The "winter" is a few degrees cooler than the "summer" and brings the huge waves you see in surfing competitions.  Things are green and blooming all year here.  Many trees do lose their leaves, but different trees lose their leaves at different times so it's nothing like the fall foliage in other climates.

On an outing this week, we stopped by Johnnie's workplace so he could pick something up.  Cameron and I were delighted to see the parking lot scattered with yellow leaves!  This is as much of a fall experience as we are going to get this year.  Cameron avoided the leave piles at first until she discovered that they crunched under her feet.  I'm glad that she got to experience playing in leaves - even if it was in a sundress and sandals :)

Love those curls :)

As soon as Cameron started solid foods, I started doing the sign language for "all done" and "more" whenever I said those words in context.  As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, she has the "all done" sign down pat and uses it for a variety of activities.  This week, she has mastered the "more" sign for eating.  She signs "more" and then taps her plate when she wants more food - I love that she is communicating!

Cameron is also doing two other new things that show she's understanding more now:  1) Cameron lies on a blanket on the floor to drink her bottles.  She now goes over to the blanket and sits down to wait when she sees me making a bottle.  2) When I ask her if she needs a diaper change, she now walks over to the changing station by herself and then waits for me to pick her up.

We eat out in restaurants once every week or so and always take Cameron with us.  She does really well in restaurants but then again, she does really well eating at home too.  I almost always order something that I can share with her - usually salmon with grilled veggies or a plain baked potato.  If I know I'll eat something that I can't share with her, I'll bring food along or order her some veggie side dishes from the menu.

This past week Cameron ate in a restaurant three times: once with Johnnie and I, once with a friend and I on a girls day out, and once with just me on a mommy-daughter date.  It's unusual for us to eat out that often but I'm glad we can take Cameron to restaurants without worrying about how it will go.

Cameron and Dulce's relationship continues to grow.  Cameron pets and hugs Dulce often now and laughs hysterically when Dulce tries to take anything from her hands.  Cameron walks Dulce for a little while every night when we spend time outside.  Here's a short Instagram video for your viewing pleasure:

There is great love between these two souls...

"I love autumn, the one season of the year that God
seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it."
~Lee Maynard

Family Friday: Oct 18

Cameron figured out how to put on sunglasses all by herself this week.  I purposely try not to interrupt her play or show her how to do things because when she figures things out for herself, it is so much more meaningful!  The struggle and the effort are just as important as the success in building confidence.

We don't have any extra space for a play room so Cameron's play area has always been the open area in the kitchen.  She has spent a lot of time on that rug!  When she was very young, she spent most of her time on a blanket looking around and playing with whatever toys she could reach.

When Cameron learned to roll over and started moving around, I put up a play yard fence.  The play yard provided her with a safe, child-sized area where she was free to relax, play, and explore on her own.  This helped her to learn to play independently and also gave me peace of mind knowing that she wouldn't get into anything dangerous.

As she got more mobile, I opened the fence so that she had free reign of the kitchen.  I put child safety latches on the cabinets and covers on the outlets so that she could explore the larger area safely.  At this point, we started occasionally spending time together in the rest of the downstairs area (which is only one other large room split into a dining room and living room) to get her familiar with everything.

Now Cameron is over a year old, walking like a champ, and is more trustworthy so I have expanded her play area once again.  We removed the play yard fence and bought a cheap baby gate to block off the stairs.  Cameron now has free reign of the entire downstairs area but still chooses to spend most of her time in the kitchen... probably because the other room is boring with only TV remotes to play with :)  I have to remind her occasionally to stay out of Dulce's dishes but other than that, she is really enjoying her new freedom.

Dulce could easily jump this new fence but she won't!  She just whines and whines and whines until we help her over.  Sooner or later she'll figure it out that she could have been jumping it all this time :)

Every evening we go outside to play in the driveway.  This past week, Cameron has been wanting to roam so now we are starting to go for evening walks.  She is an excellent walker now and surprises me with just how far she'll walk on her own!  I follow her lead, only redirecting her if absolutely necessary.

Some days we go walking in bare feet.  A couple days ago, a neighbor lady passed us with her two kids and said (in a shocked voice) "No shoes?!"  I simply smiled and she hurried on her way with her two shoe-wearing children.

No, neighbor lady, we weren't wearing shoes because we live in a tropical climate and we stayed on the sidewalks which means we don't need to wear shoes.  Not wearing shoes meant that we could feel the warm, rough cement under our feet; we could feel the bumps on the sidewalk that are at every crosswalk; and we could feel the cold, patterned metal that Cameron repeatedly went back to experience.  Our walk wouldn't have been nearly as special if we had worn shoes.

We do wear shoes if we plan on going off of the sidewalks, to go to a playground for example.  The soil in our neighborhood is contaminated and the grass is not barefoot-friendly... not quite the paradise you expected, is it?  Kids mostly play on the driveways, sidewalks, and streets in our neighborhood.

Dulce comes with us on our evening walks.  Once she gets her "I-need-to-sniff-everything-and-pee-everywhere" energy out, she happily trots along side us.  She is pretty good at obeying her "heel" and "halt" commands which allows Cameron to hold her leash while we walk.  Cameron loves holding the leash and giggles when Dulce starts to pull, causing her to walk faster.  When she gets tired of holding the leash, she bends down and lays it on the ground.  Those two are such a sweet pair :)

We took a family outing to watch the sunset from the beach this week.  Every time we do this, I say that we need to do it more often.  We sit on a blanket and watch airplanes fly in low, directly overtop of us, as they come in for landing at the Honolulu Airport.  Dulce has a ton of fun digging for and chasing the hundreds of crabs that appear as the sun goes down.  Moments like these will bring back the sweetest memories someday :)

"We do not remember days; we remember moments."
~Cesare Pavese

Family Friday: 13 Months Old

Cameron turned 13 months old this week!  I love looking back on Cameron's weekly photos that I did of her first year.  It wasn't an easy project but it was so worth it.  I wasn't sure what I would do next until just this week.  I decided to continue with the white Photoshopped onesie (adding bottoms now) and doing a mini photo shoot outside every month.  This is so much easier than trying to get Cam to lie down on a piece of fabric!  I think we'll do a different location every month.

Cameron had a blast on the playground equipment!  She loves to climb, was fascinated by the holes in the metal stairs, and rode down the slide with me a few times.  Dulce patiently watched us from the stroller that she was attached to guarding.

At 13 months, Cameron is wearing size 3 diapers and mostly size 12 month clothing.  She currently has seven teeth (4 on the top and 3 on the bottom).  She is an excellent eater.  She loves to eat and will eat practically anything.  She still gets 4 bottles a day but we are currently doing a mixture of formula and milk to transition her.  She drinks water from a sippy cup at every meal and whenever she is thirsty.

Cameron is also still an excellent sleeper and I am so thankful for this.  She sleeps for at least 12 hours every night and sleeps between 2 to 3 hours during the day.  Sometimes she takes one nap and sometimes she takes two.  She is flexible with her naps, able to change them to fit around our schedule if needed.  She still needs her pacifier to sleep.  We actually put her to bed with at least two pacifiers so that if she wakes in the middle of the night, she can easily find one and put herself back to sleep.  If she can't find a pacifier, then she wakes up and stays up - we learned that lesson a few weeks ago when we put her to bed with only one and she couldn't find it at 4:30am :)

Cameron has become a cuddle bug in past couple weeks.  She gives us lots of hugs now and nestles against us when we hold her.  She loves to sit on our laps and she'll rest her head against our chests.  She even hugs and cuddles her stuffed animals and dolls now.  She doesn't give kisses yet but occasionally she'll blow a kiss.

Cameron isn't saying any new words but she is transferring the sign language "all done" to multiple scenarios now.  We taught her the sign for "all done" for eating.  When she is finished eating, she signs "all done" and pushes her plate away.  Now she also signs "all done" when she finishes her bottle, when we finish changing her diaper, after we change her clothes or put on shoes, when we finish with a bath, and sometimes even when she's done playing.  She studies everything she sees and is making new connections every day.  It is so fun watching her discover new things and formulate new ideas!

“If adults jump in every time and bring in their version of what is right,
the children learn either to depend on them or to defy them.
The more we trust they can solve, the more they do learn to solve.”
~Magda Gerber

Family Friday: Oct 4

After Cameron eats dinner and we get everything cleaned up, we all head outside to play on the driveway.  Cameron will actually pound on the door to let me know she is ready.  We put up the garage doors and bring out some chairs and toys.  Cameron plays, Dulce lays in the sun, and I sit relaxing with a glass of vino.  It is everyone's favorite time of day.  We stay outside until the sun sets and then we go inside for a bath and final bottle.

We have some beach buckets and shovels that I'll fill with water and a few rocks.  Cameron will sit for a long time putting rocks in and out of the water, stirring the water with the shovels, sometimes dumping the water out, and sometimes tasting the rocks.

Most days, the neighbor kids come over to say hi and interact with Cameron.  She loves playing with the big kids!

Cameron points at every airplane that she sees fly overhead (we are very close to the Honolulu airport so we see a lot).  She also gets excited when she sees people riding bicycles and walking their dogs.

Cameron is too little to ride bicycles or scooters like the other kids but she loves pushing things around the driveway!  I think it makes her feel included :)

The most fun we've had outside lately was with a bag of ice that was leftover from Cameron's birthday party.  It was taking up room in our freezer and we didn't need it so we put it outside to thaw.  This was a great experience for Cameron.  I put ice in her bucket of water and left the bag of ice open so that she could explore it in different ways.

The ice drew the biggest crowd of neighborhood kids yet!  Our driveway was full of kids "drawing" with ice on the cement, smashing big chunks of ice apart, pouring it into the buckets, etc.  This was cheap and easy fun :)

Cameron loved tasting the ice and sat doing so for a long time!  She was shaking because it was so cold but she loved every minute of it!

"Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity."
~Kay Redfield Jamison