Family Friday: 19 Months

This month Cameron and I went with a friend to Waimea Valley to take her photos.  It was so helpful having my friend along to help get Cam's attention.  Cameron was running everywhere until my friend asked her dance... genius!  She stopped in the middle of path and started dancing for us long enough for me to get a good photo :)

Waimea Valley is on the North Shore across from Waimea Bay.  It is a beautiful area with a gift shop, cultural events, and a farmer's market held every Thursday.  For a fee, you can hike the 1.5 mile round-trip paved walking path to Waimea Falls.  It is a beautiful walk through lush scenery to a waterfall at the end.  There are many dirt and gravel paths that veer off of the main path to lead you through different gardens, an ancient Hawaiian living site, and along a stream.

At 19 months old, Cameron is wearing size 4 diapers and size 5 shoes.  She wears mostly size 18 month clothing but some 24 month and 2T things are starting to fit.  I can pick out her outfits with little fuss but she wants to choose which shoes to wear.  She can put on most of her shoes by herself now.

Cameron loves reading books (with someone and by herself), listening to music and playing her instruments, and dancing (if she hears any music, her hips start swaying).  She love all animals (especially dogs), shoes, necklaces, purses, baby dolls, her truck, and her shopping cart.  She loves getting baths and playing with water (I give her beach buckets full to play with on the deck).  She loves rocks and picks them up everywhere we go and she also loves taking Dulce for walks and holding the leash.

Cameron will now usually give hugs and kisses when we ask.  Sometimes her kisses are her lips mouth pressed against ours and other times it is only the kissing sound "mmmwah" in our general direction.  Sometimes she surprises us with heart-melting random kisses, hugs, and cuddles.

Cameron's hair is growing and is still as curly as ever.  Every morning while she eats breakfast, I spritz it with water and comb it.  It dries into perfect little ringlets and curls.

Cameron wanted to help me push the stroller through the park instead of riding in it.  She loves to help me around the house and do whatever she sees me doing.

Cameron seems to understand almost everything she hears but her vocabulary is still limited.  I imagine that she is simply absorbing everything right now and will start spitting out complete sentences some day.  Her most said words are this and that.  She is constantly pointing at things saying "This?" or "That?" and we tell her what it is.  When we say something that she doesn't understand, she will say "What?" with perfect clarity and a little attitude.

Cameron sleeps at least 12 hours each night with a bedtime of 7:30pm.  She takes 2+ hr nap during the day, usually in the afternoon.  At our old house she slept in footed pajamas because of the air conditioning.  It is a lot warmer here so we recently got her some new big girl pajamas - the cute little matching sets of tops and bottoms.  On cooler nights she wears a sleep sack over her pajamas.

We always put her to bed with a doll, a couple of board books, and a couple of pacifiers.  She will often look at the books before falling asleep and in the morning she happily plays her doll and reads until we go in to get her.  She still needs the pacifiers for falling sleeping, both at night and for naps but we don't use them during the day unless we go out somewhere.

Last month Cameron was on a vegetable strike but this month she has willingly eaten a small variety of veggies and I discovered that she loves veggie burgers.  She still won't drink milk but she likes drinking smoothies so I'll make her one a few times a week to have with breakfast.  Her most favorite recent smoothie consisted of oranges, pineapple, banana, kale, pineapple juice, and milk.

Cameron is a sweet, independent, and curious little girl who is (usually) a lot fun to be around.  Life with a baby was extremely difficult for me so I am thankful that babies grow quickly.  Life is exponentially easier and more enjoyable this year and keeps getting better each month.  This is is my absolute favorite age yet and really makes me love being a mom.

"These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this"
~Trace Adkins

Family Friday: April 4

CC is becoming such an independent little lady and is consistently doing more and more things for herself.  She spends time each day practicing putting on her shoes (and our shoes).  She insists on washing herself in the bath with a soapy washcloth and actually does a good job with some spoken directions from us.  She mimics many things that she sees me doing such as "cooking" with a mixing bowl and a whisk (that she gets out of a kitchen drawer herself) and putting on my makeup and deodorant (with the cap and lids on).  She is also starting to have opinions about her outfits and decides which shoes she wants to wear.

The book "French Kids Eat Everything" (love that book!) says that if a child doesn't like a food it's only because they haven't tried it enough times yet.  I keep that in mind for CC and her new dislike for vegetables.  I continue to make and offer different veggies despite the fact that she doesn't always eat them.  This past week she actually ate (and enjoyed) grilled zucchini, portobello mushroom, and carrots!  The carrots were in a Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup that I made which she couldn't get enough of... especially the carrots in it.

CC still doesn't like drinking milk but will drink smoothies now.  Johnnie and I drink smoothies often and CC will usually drink a small cup of her own.  We blend together milk and banana with other fruits of choice.  We always have large bags of frozen mango, pineapple, strawberries, and blueberries in our freezer for smoothie making.  Sometimes we blend in other things such as yogurt, fruit juice, kale, spinach, or spirulina powder.

The pearls and the shoes were completely her own choice for this evening walk and she insists on holding the leash :)

Some of our other struggles are becoming easier.  CC used to love brushing her teeth when she was a younger but for the past few months it has been a challenge.  Lately she has gotten a little more cooperative.  While she sucks on the toddler toothbrush that she holds, I ask for quick turns with the toddler toothbrush that I hold and we end up with a pretty good brushing.

Hair washing (or actually the rinsing part) has always been a struggle that CC is also getting more cooperative with.  She now lies back voluntarily in the shallow water so I can quickly rinse the suds out.  She still doesn't like it and whimpers but at least she no longer screams.

Love those curls!

CC has such a good time playing with Dulce every day and Dulce usually appears to enjoy the attention.  Dulce is an extremely patient dog with CC and puts up with almost everything she does to her.  CC is getting better at being gentle with Dulce although we still occasionally have to remind her not to grab her tail or hit her with things.  One of these days I'm going to see Dulce run past me wearing a dress :)

This past week I bought an Olloclip 3-in-1 Photo Lens for my iPhone and I am loving it!  The lens fits onto the corner of your iPhone and has a wide angle, fisheye, and macro lens.  Although I have a pro DSLR, I tend to use my iPhone most for everyday photos.  The Olloclip takes phone photos to the next level and is so fun to use!

I always edit my iPhone photos with apps on my iPhone before posting them online.  By the way, I'm still going strong with my 2014daybyday challenge on Instagram!  My two favorite photo editing apps are PicTapGo and Afterlight.  Sometimes I only use one of those apps, while other times I use both.  Afterlight has some neat filters but is best for for cropping, straightening, sharpening, and adjusting specifics.  PicTapGo allows you to layer filter upon filter (and adjust the opacity of each one) to create some fantastic looks.

"The whole point of taking pictures is so that 
you don’t have to explain things with words."
~ Elliott Erwitt

Swimming with Sea Turtles

I had been looking at the ocean in front of our house for two months without getting in it.  I'm not a big fan of water and didn't want to go in alone.  When my brother and his wife were visiting recently, I finally had someone to go snorkeling with and someone else to watch CC.  I'm thankful for the opportunity and we had an amazing time!

When the tide is low and the wind isn't too strong, the water is calm and perfect for snorkeling right in front of our house.  The coral around this island is not very colorful but there are a lot of colorful fish to be seen.  The numerous giant Green Sea Turtles that we saw were an added bonus.  It was such a surreal experience to swim alongside them!

I had a waterproof Olympus Tough TG-2 camera with me to take photos and video.  I was disappointed with the quality of the photos and video at first until I changed the AF Mode to Spot in the camera's menu which made all the difference.  Not bad for a little point and shoot camera!

"At the beach, life is different. Time doesn't move hour to hour but mood to
moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides, and follow the sun."

Family Friday: March 28

If you follow us on Instagram, you'll know that we had guests this past week!  Our house is a small furnished rental with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms.  The guest room is the smallest of the three bedrooms and there wasn't much that I could do to it.  I got all new bedding for the two twin beds and added some of our own items to maximize the usefulness of the small space.

My brother and his wife were the first guests in our beach house and flew all the way from Pennsylvania to be here.  Cameron last saw her aunt and uncle almost a year ago when we visited my family in PA.  She had such a good time with them all week and it was an incredible opportunity for her to get to know them (and them to get to know her)!

We have been living in this house for two months now but I have never gotten in the water yet.  To be honest, I'm really not a water person - I'd much rather look at it from land than be in it.  I've been building up the courage to go snorkeling but didn't want to do it alone.  Luckily, my brother was excited to join me and his wife was more than happy to relax with Cameron on the beach.

We were thrilled to discover that the best snorkeling in the immediate area was directly in front of our house!  The coral isn't very colorful but we did see a lot of colorful fish.  We also saw many giant Green Sea Turtles and swam right alongside them.  It was the most amazing and tranquil experience!  I took photos and video with my waterproof Olympus Tough TG-2 camera.  My next blog post will be all about swimming with the turtles to showcase the photos and video that I took.

We took a family hike to Kaena Point, which is the westernmost point of Oahu.  This is a five mile round-trip hike on a dirt road along the coast.  Many people try to travel this road with their four-wheel-drive vehicles but it is rough, muddy, and can be dangerous.  At the end is a fenced bird sanctuary that you can walk through to get to the point (no dogs allowed).  We saw a lot of whales and the scenery was gorgeous!

We took a trip to Waimea Valley which is on the North Shore across from Waimea Bay.  This is a scenic area with a gift shop, cultural events, and a farmer's market held every Thursday.  For a fee, you can hike the 1.5 mile round-trip paved walking path to Waimea Falls.  It is a beautiful walk through lush botanical gardens to the waterfall at the end.  Swimming is allowed with a lifejacket (provided for free) and there are life guards on duty.  My brother and his wife jumped in and swam to the falls.  Johnnie and I will do it next time :)

We live on a beach but it's still nice to go to other beaches from time to time for a different view, different sand, and different weather.  My brother and his wife had a couple beach days to themselves, going to Waimea Bay and to Magic Island, and we took one family trip to Bellows AFB Beach.  Bellows has the most gorgeous turquoise water, beautiful scenery, and the softest baby powder sand.  Cameron had a blast playing in the sand and knocking down the sand castles.

On our last day together we took them on a tour of Ford Island to see the Pearl Harbor memorials (USS Utah, USS Oklahoma, USS Missouri, and USS Arizona) and then drove through Hickam AFB to have an oceanside dinner with a view of Diamond Head.  It was a lovely day that ended with a sad good-bye at the airport.  We are thankful that they were able to make the trip to visit us while we are stationed here.

We had such a fantastic week with them and wish they could've stayed longer!  We have plenty of photos to help Cameron remember this time with them.

"'Ohana means family - no one gets left behind, and no one is ever forgotten."
~Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, Lilo & Stitch