Family Friday: May 23

We have had an enjoyable and relaxing week!  Johnnie took time off work to spend with us and his visiting family!

We didn't have any big plans for the week so we spent a lot of time here at the house.  But when you live on the beach, there are not many reasons to go elsewhere!  The weather has been great (though a little hot at times) and ocean has been extremely calm.  When the water is calm, a lot of people come out to swim, kayak, paddle board, and fish.  Johnnie and his dad enjoyed an evening out on a two-person kayak this week.

Johnnie's family spent a morning at Shark's Cove doing some snorkeling and scuba diving.  We joined them afterwards for lunch at the Shark's Cove Grill across the street from the cove.  There wasn't very many people there but there was a wild chicken running around that CC loved chasing after!

There was a little curly haired boy running around hitting everything (his mother was doing nothing to stop him) and while we were eating, he came up behind CC and whacked her on the head!  Of course his mother came over and apologized.  She tried to get him to say he was sorry and made the excuses that he was a "free spirit" and "he's not quite 2 yet".  Really?  Because CC is the same age and we don't let her go around hitting things and people.  This is the second time I have heard people here blame their children's bad behavior on being a "free-spirited North Shore baby."  As if living on the North Shore is a valid excuse for letting your children act however they want in public.

Johnnie and his family spent an afternoon at the nearby Waimea Valley.  CC had a blast running everywhere and exploring before passing out in the stroller for a while.  I enjoyed time alone at home (which is a rare treat) and got caught up on some things.

We also all took a day trip over to Kailua this week which is as least an hour drive with no traffic.  CC slept the entire way there and the entire way home (which took us over an hour and half with some traffic).

First we stopped at the The Food Company for lunch - it was a small place but had pretty amazing food!  Afterwards we went to Kailua Beach Park and enjoyed the baby powder sand and clear turquoise water for a few hours.

CC had so much fun running around the beach and playing in the sand.  She loves to destroy the sand castles we make :)

I certainly enjoyed sitting with my toes in the soft sand.  I was able to relax a little (and even close my eyes for a while) since Johnnie's parents were there to help watch CC.  We spent a little time in the water but mostly just relaxed on the beach.

If you notice, we went through two bathing suit changes for CC during the day - thank goodness I was prepared!  Swimming diapers are meant to contain, not to absorb, which makes things extra messy.

Johnnie went kayaking with his sister and her boyfriend out to the Mokulua Islands.  They were gone for a couple hours since they got out and explored one of the islands.  I love our beach on the North Shore but the east side of the island is pretty spectacular and always a great place to spend the day!

"A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in."
~ Robert Orben

Family Friday: May 16

Johnnie has been gone a work trip for the past three weeks and just got home yesterday.  This is the first time CC has seemed to really understand that daddy was gone and was coming home.  She has been playing with her Daddy Doll more than she ever has before and she got so excited when I told her that he was coming home!

Johnnie's parents and his sister and her boyfriend all arrived yesterday as well for a long visit!  We went from a very empty house to a very full house!  CC is very glad to have her daddy home and it didn't take long for her to warm up to everyone else.  She always has a good time with visitors and loves the attention.

CC has started singing this week!  She loves music, loves to dance, and loves to play her instruments so singing was the only thing left to add.  Every word of her songs is "la" but there are definitely melodies that she makes up herself.  She has a lot of musically and artistically talented relatives and I'm anxious to see if she inherited those talents.  At least she inherited the love of those things!

We picked up some colored pencils recently to add to CC's art supplies.  The bonus is that they don't write on surfaces as easily as crayons and markers do.  CC loves to draw but has proven that she cannot be trusted unsupervised with writing utensils... yet.

She still loves to read and sits for a long time reading all of her books to herself.

We don't go out often and when we do, it's usually to go grocery shopping.  Cameron loves shopping with me.  When she rides in the cart, she likes me to hand her things so she can put them in the basket.  If the store isn't crowded, I'll let her walk by herself and she likes to help me push the cart and carry our reusable bags.

We do almost all of our grocery shopping at Costco and at the Commissary (the military grocery store on base).  Our Costco has a fantastic selection of fresh and organic fruits, vegetables, meats, etc. and some are even locally grown.  Those two places have the cheapest prices on the island.  Groceries really are as expensive as you might have heard.  In the regular grocery stores here, one gallon of milk is $7 while a half gallon of organic milk is $7.  A tiny bottle of olive oil is $15 and cereal is $6-7 box.  I am very thankful the Commissary and Costco have more reasonable prices!

When we go onto base to shop at the commissary, we'll often stop at our favorite playground or meet Johnnie for lunch since we're there!

When we're home, we go outside everyday whether to go on walks, to ride in the wagon, or to play on the beach.

"You can shake the sand from your shoes, but not from your soul."

Family Friday: 20 Months Old

This month we took photos on the beach that is our backyard.  There are large volcanic rocks nearby that CC loves to climb on and sit on.  She and Dulce have a lot of fun on the beach!

At 20 months old, CC is 31 inches tall - she grew one whole inch in the past two months!  She wears size 4 diapers, and size 18 month clothing (though a most of her shirts are size 2T), and size 5 shoes (but will soon be a 6).

She likes doing everything by herself and only wants help when she can't do something alone or if she's tired.  For example, she likes walking up stairs all by herself if there is a wall or railing to hold onto, she likes to buckle herself into her booster seat for meals, and she likes to take her bib off by herself when she's done eating.

CC's sleeping schedule is still the consistent.  She is in bed by 7:30 and sleeps for 12+ hours.  She also takes one 2 hour nap a day in the afternoon. We always put her to bed with a doll, a couple of board books, and a couple of pacifiers.  She reads the books before falling asleep and in the morning she happily plays with her doll and reads until we go in to get her.  When we put her in her crib at night or for naps, she almost always cries like its the end of the world.  However as soon as we shut her door, she always stops crying within 30 seconds... little faker :)

Her hair is getting longer but you would never know it from the curls.  Her hair is well below her shoulder but the ringlets keep it looking short.  The ringlets in the back are just curling tighter the longer it gets so it be a long while before her hair actually touches her shoulders.

CC eats four times a day (three meals and one scheduled snack) with no snacking in-between and drinks a lot of water throughout the day. Because we don't snack, she is hungry at mealtimes and eats really well. She will eat almost everything I give her so I try to give her a variety. I recently discovered that she loved sliced cucumbers and steamed Kale but she still does not like potatoes and is not a big fan of squash. CC's diet has always been very clean because I really want her to develop healthy eating habits and a healthy lifestyle. She will eventually have the freedom to eat whatever she chooses but for now she can only eat what I give her so I make sure it's the best possible. Wanting her to eat healthy, having to prepare her meals, and not having her snack throughout the day has all positively affected my own diet and way of eating.

CC talks constantly... in her own language.  I am always trying to get her to say new words and often she will repeat something back to me.  However, she is not adding those words to her everyday spoken language yet.  Still, she will carry on an entire conversation with you if you keep responding to her.  I say a lot phrases like "wow, really?", "that's interesting, tell me more", "I know! I totally agree with you!", and "what else can you tell me about that?".  I can only imagine the conversations we'll have once she actually starts speaking English :)

Despite not using any real words, her inflection, facial expressions, and body language (and the fact that I'm with her 24/7) makes it pretty easy to understand what she is saying.  Her questions are most recognizable because of the enthusiastic way she asks them.  She has her phrases that almost sound like the real thing, such as "what was that?", "who is that?", and "where is it?".  When she is looking for something, she walks around with her hands out saying "hmmmmm" over and over - cutest thing ever!

CC didn't watch any television until she was 18 months old.  It's recommended you wait until 2 years old because "toddlers have a critical need for direct interactions with parents and caregivers for healthy brain growth and the development of appropriate social, emotional, and cognitive skills." (source)  I interact with CC all day so I don't feel that one TV show during her I'm-tired-but-not-tired-enough-for-a-nap time before lunch is going to hinder her growth or development.  She loves watching "her shows" and gets so excited watching them!  We mostly watch (on Netflix) Caillou (all episodes), Barney (the Let's Go to the Zoo, and the Sing and Dance episodes), and Curious George (all episodes).  Spanish versions of Caillou and Barney are available on YouTube which we can also watch on our TV.  I love watching the same episodes in both English and Spanish!  My spanish is limited so the shows are the best thing available for exposing her to fluent speakers.  It reiterates the spanish vocabulary I use with her and is teaching both of us new vocabulary.

CC is starting to throw tantrums.  She throws herself (gently) to the floor or against a wall, she throws things, and she scowls at me but despite all of that, she still wants me to hold her.  Her tantrums are almost always when she is tired or hungry.  She is a new child after a nap or a meal.

CC still loves books, music, dogs, cats, airplanes, purses, rocks, baby dolls, and stuffed animals.  She loves dancing, playing her instruments, climbing, cleaning, playing with water, and taking Dulce for walks.  She likes brushing her teeth (but doesn't like when I do it for her), she likes getting baths (but hates getting her hair rinsed), and she follows directions really well.

She is an amazing little girl who brings joy to all of my days :)

"Let all that you do be done in love."
~ 1 Corinthians 16:14

Family Friday: May 2

Last weekend, I took a four-day trip to Kauai with Laura and her mom.  That means that Johnnie and Cameron (and Dulce) had some wonderful daddy-daughter bonding time!

They even went on some dates out for dinner! 

There was big excitement when a Hawaiian Monk Seal decided to sleep the day away on the beach right in front of our house!  This the second time Johnnie has seen a seal on our beach and I've missed it both times.  This is the first time that Cam got to see one and she was really excited!  I am so glad that they got to watch it sleep, roll around, and then shuffle its way back into the ocean.  I am also very glad that our sweet neighbor was out watching it with them and took lots of photos that she shared with me!

While our guests were here, we went to the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet where I saw a hammock chair that would go perfectly on the empty hook hanging from the ceiling above our deck.  The vendor told me I wouldn't find a better deal anywhere ($90) so of course I went home and ordered one on Amazon (which included pillows and free shipping) for less than half of his price.  The chair was waiting for me when we returned from Kauai.  It is amazing.  Cameron loves it as much as I do!

This is my happy place.  I am so thankful for every day we spend living here.

A couple days after returning from Kauai, we said good-bye to our guests.  Laura was here for three weeks and was more like a roommate than a guest.  She worked on her computer for eight hours a day so there was no change to our life at all and I appreciated the help and company when she wasn't working.  Cameron had a great time with Laura and her mom and searched every room for them often for a few days after they left.

I got out my painting supplies last week and painted some beach rocks for no particular reason other than feeling crafty and the fact that painting, coloring, and doodling are things that soothe my mind.

I have a bad habit of not putting things away when I'm done so after looking at the painting supplies on the table for a few days, I decided to let Cameron have some fun with them.  And no, I still haven't put them away... maybe tomorrow :)

This is the first time Cameron has ever used any kind of paint - who needs finger paints when you can start with acrylics?  The paper she painted on is Canson Acrylic Paper which is heavyweight, textured, and doesn't buckle when wet.  I think she had more fun mixing the paints on the palette than actually painting the paper.  I had a container of baby wipes next to me that easily cleaned up any misplaced paint on her or the floor around her.

Not bad for a her first painting masterpiece at almost 20 months old!  I see a bird flying in the upper right corner, breaking free from turmoil.  Genius!  Of course every mother thinks their child is a genius, right?  :)  I will definitely get the paints out periodically to watch her art develop.  When I was in grad school, my final project for an instructional technology class was creating an interactive computer program that taught about the stages of artistic development in children.  Therefore, I know what to expect with children's art and it will be so much fun to see it develop in real life!

My weekend getaway to Kauai was fantastic and rejuvenating.  Time away (even if it's just to a store alone) is important for any stay-at-home mom because it's the only time you can truly turn off your mind from the constant go-go-go mode of mommyhood.  Life here is quiet but always busy.  I am enjoying the days alone with my girls for another week until more guests arrive.  Our time in Hawaii is limited so it's best that family visits while they can!

"Every day you are alive is a special occasion.
Every minute, every breath, is a gift from God."
~Mary Manin Morrissey