A Day In The Life Of Cameron

Well, not really.  But these are a few of my favorite Cameron photos as of late.  Our story begins with Kid Kidwell enjoying a wonderful sensory experience in his chair that is high:

Cameron eats an apple
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Cameron lounges in his beach chair

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Cameron plays in the water with Marcus

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Cameron explores a slimy ocean thing-a-ma-jig

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Cameron practices stunts with dad

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Cameron walks into the sunset creating a perfect photo op

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Cameron reminisces over one of his first pool days when he was just a wee little nine month old fella and mom passes out over how beautiful his blue eyes are

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THE END.

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A Day At The Beach

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Today was a beach day.

My Cameron is finally walking and therefore the beach has suddenly become less of a hassle and way more fun!  He’s not constantly trying to eat sand or rocks and he loves exploring the terrain!

We met up with a couple friends who also have young kids.  The kids poked around in the sand while we lounged in our chairs.  It takes a lot of planning and packing (and then unpacking) to get to and from the beach, so the prize is that small stretch of time of just sitting in a chair.

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In the past week or so Cam has hit another turning point in his development.  My favorite new trick is that if I say, “Cam, can I have a kiss?” he will lean in and give me a quick one on the lips.  Sometimes it’s short ‘n sweet and other times he comes at me open-mouthed and I have to dart his slimy affections.  I can’t even begin to explain how much this occurance melts my momma-heart.

Tomorrow I am heading back to the beach with Cam and Marcus, the three year old I watch.  Since I went to all the trouble of packing up our beach gear today, I figured I might as well get a double use out of it before I have to wash the towels and put everything back in the closet.

If I ever move away from easy beach-access I think a little piece of my heart will die.

#spoiledcalifornians

Date With Mr. Grump

I went on a date with my boy today. Here’s why…

For the past few days my boy has been a grump. Except when my friends Brandon and Mary watched him all day Sunday while we went to the 49er game.  That day he apparently only cried for a brief second and was a well behaved boy.

But for the past few days, I’ve mostly received brief smiles and giggles and a whole lot of squirmy-wormy, whiny tude.  Of course when a random stranger walks by, he turns on the charm.  But when it’s just us two, I find myself face-to-face with Mr. Grump.  Once again, my boy is transitioning into even more independence, along with more teething.  He’s busy.  He’s exploring.  (I feel like I just wrote about this recently…oh wait, I did!) I think he’ll be walking soon and he only seems to need me a few times a day for nutritional support.

So today, I decided to spend some quality time with my boy whether he liked it or not.

We headed to Avila Beach where the sun was shining and where the 73 degree weather greeted us.

We went for a run on the beach. Working on that shelf booty as my friend Megan would say. Not Cam though, his booty is pure squishy, baby butt perfection.

Then we got ourselves a yummy snack.

Cam ate some chicken mash and some Cheerios out of his new reusable snack bag that I bought from Littlewillowtree. I love these things!

I got an iced coffee and the best $1 cookie ever.

Here he is, Mr. California Sunshine himself!

Then we moseyed on down the road and found a nice place to sit. One of the restaurants had live music so we sat and listened for a while and it even got Cam to clap a bit.



After music time we hit the swings.

It was a really nice day for a date.

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I read a classic nursery rhyme this morning. It goes like this:

Snips, snails and puppy dog tails
That’s what little boys are made of
Sugar, spice and all things nice
That’s what little girls are made of

This is exactly how I’m feeling as a mom these past few days.  Like I can’t exactly relate to my son.  Why?  Because as this poem suggests, girls are sweet and sassy and boys are, well…not.  They are gross and they don’t make any sense.  What are snips?  And what do snails and puppy dog tails have to do with anything anyway?  It’s all stuff that drives girls crazy.  Little boys don’t make sense.  They seem to act before they think and they’re usually not in control of their bodies.

But Jon and I are on a mission to raise this boy into a good man.  So I’m trying my best to understand all these puppy dog tails that are already finding their way into my life.

A lot of the prayers I prayed for Cam before he was born included words like, ‘compassionate, wisdom, peace-maker, kind-hearted’.  All good things, right?  But recently I realized my prayers were lacking an important piece.  I forgot to pray for the things that will make Cameron distinctly male.  (I’ve been learning this from reading Bringing Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson).  So now my prayers are including words like, ‘fierce, warrior, intense, strong, mighty and conqueror.’

Our culture, in many ways, seeks to turn little boys into little girls.  There are schools of thought that suggest there is no real difference between the sexes, so we’ve opted for gender neutral everything.  But I can tell you: I have a boy.  There’s nothing sugary and spicy about him, even at only ten months old.  And as a mom, I’m learning how to interact with this mini-man.  I’m learning how to respect him and not view the things he does as silly or frustrating (it’s helping me do the same with my husband as well, actually).

Today I told Jon how I was feeling about all this and he reminded me that as parents we don’t have a right to be selfish.  If we want to show our sweet Cameron unconditional, selfless parental love, then I have to choose to put aside my own immaturity and my own needs.

But my needs cry out for attention: ‘C’mon Cam…I take care of you, so you should appreciate me.  You should let me hold you when I want to hold you and you should acknowledge all the things I’m doing for you.  You shouldn’t whine for no good reason and when I’m tired you should give me a break and simply go to bed without a fight…’

Gah, my flesh is dying a slow and painful death.

But the journey is worth it.

If I stay this course, I believe I’ll have a great relationship with this man-child.  He surely won’t say his parents were perfect, but I believe he will be able to say,

“My mom was a great example of a godly woman,”

and

“My dad showed me what it means to be a real man.”

That’s one of my heart’s deepest desires.

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So Cameron and I finished our date by watching the sun set.  I asked him for forgiveness for acting frustrated with him today.  He’s not too young for that, even if he can’t respond yet.


Then I took one final picture with the grump.  At least he’s a cute grump.

And it’s like Jon told me today too, “A little stubbornness is a very good thing for a man to have.”

True dat, Jon.  True dat.

My (Crazy) Morning With The Boys

I was feeling under the weather this morning, probably because me and the Mr. keep going to bed after midnight which is suicide when you have a baby.  Plus I got a flu shot yesterday.  So my incredible husband came home after his class this morning so I could go back to bed for an hour.

Gosh I love him.

When I woke up, Mr. Marcus, the almost 3 year old I watch a couple days a week, was already here and ready to take on the day!  He had quickly discovered the new toy I picked up for Cameron yesterday.

I used to just think my only temptation was buying too many cute baby clothes, but we recently discovered the toy store next to Trader Joes too…but it’s ok!  As my husband likes to say, “I spend 40 hours per week just making money so we’ve got tons of it!”

One of my favorite things about having Marcus spend time in our home is that Cameron gets to interact with an older kid.  He loves watching Marcus play.


Since they’re both blondies, whenever I take them out in public together people always tell me I have two cute kiddos.

Marcus, being the generous young lad that he is, brought over his toy rat to share with us today.


It is possibly the most frightening toy I’ve ever seen!  So when Marcus wasn’t looking I stuffed the killer rat into a bag, out of sight.  Marcus said, “Where did the rat go?”  I replied, “Rats like to be in the dark and they don’t like to be bothered.”  Luckily he soon forgot about the rat.

Since I was feeling under the weather, I decided to let Marcus throw all the pillows on the floor and I helped him build Pillow Mountain. I never realized how many pillows I have in such a small room!  This wasn’t even including the 6 couch cushions too!  Then I went into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee…

When I came back into the living room…


Marcus had decided to pull all the stuffing out of one of the couch cushions.

“LOOK!  SNOW ERIN!  SNOW!”

Since the damage was already done, I figured they might as well have fun with the “snow” for a while since either way we were going to have to pick it all up.

Cameron’s first time playing in the snow…it was warmer than he thought it would be.


“Watch Erin!”


“Marcus, make a mustache.”

“K, now make a  snow beard!”


“Here Erin!  It’s a snow ball!”


Cameron wasn’t so sure about all this.  This look pretty such says it all.


But hey, this snow stuff is a pretty tasty snack!


Little boys have so much energy.


Moments later, daddy Kidwell walked in the door for lunch.  He was not amused.

After a moment of silence he asked, “What happened?”

Daddy Kidwell is not an angry person.  In fact, I think I could drive his brand new truck (if he had one) into the ocean and sink it and he would be disappointed but he would still kiss me and tell me I was more important than a truck.

But there is something about stuff like this that makes daddy Kidwell get very quiet.  The only other time I’ve experienced this was when I thought it would be funny to throw an entire bag of mini marshmallows at him one evening while we were watching TV.  I thought it was hilarious.  I was just flirting.  Daddy Kidwell wanted to just go through the roof and I had to sincerely apologize.  It’s still one of my favorite memories though because I’ve never seen someone get so uptight about the possibility of mini marshmallows getting stuck underneath the couch and potentially attracting mice.

It was cute.  Like watching a big grown man fuss over a bee sting or something.

Anyway, Daddy Kidwell said, “Well, I’m glad you guys are having fun at least.”


And he brought with him my brand new iPhone 5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is my first smart phone and I’m SO EXCITED!!!!!!


And yes, I’m still in my jammies.

What an eventful day!

Happy Friday!

My Little Lion

It was easy to choose Cam’s Halloween costume this year.

He’s crawling and climbing all over the place,

He’s ferocious,

He’s strong,

He’s energetic,

He’s serious and thoughtful at times,

He likes to gobble down his food,

And he likes to bite me,

So, yes!  Of course!  He shall be a lion!

My friend Ashley’s boyfriend is a photographer and he offered to take some pictures of Cameron in his costume.  Thank you Richard Fusillo Photography!  I love my little lion man-child so much!

Whistle While You Work

I woke up on this Monday morning to my mess from the weekend.

Jon spent the weekend trying to catch up on his statistics homework, so I spent the day Saturday with my friend Kaleigh and her son Everett who is five weeks younger than Cameron.  Kaleigh and her family will soon be moving out onto a ranch, so on Saturday morning, Kaleigh and I packed up the babes and headed out to the ranch to feed the horses.  Cameron got to pet his first horse: a brown one named Big Willy.  We ate some lunch and then with the boys strapped to us in their packs, Kaleigh drove us around on the ATV.  She is definitely a country girl at heart and one hard working mama.

Oh yeah, and I ate a maple bacon donut from SLO Donut Co on Saturday too.  It’s so good I wish I could explain to you how good it is.  If you’ve never been to SLO, it’s worth visiting here just to try this thing!

On Sunday after church, I took a much needed two and a half hour nap with Cameron while Jon did homework.  Then Sunday evening we got ready and raced over to the beach to attempt to take some Christmas card photos before the sun went down.  I have never sent out a Christmas photo and I’ve still not gotten around to Cameron’s birth announcement so this time around I’m starting early because I’m determined to change this pattern.  It was a beautiful night, but we now have some funny memories because it was quite stressful trying to get some good shots before it got dark.

Thus, because my weekend was void of any real housework, I’m greeted this Monday morning with a dirty kitchen, diapers that need to be washed, and an array of clutter along with long to-do lists.

Sometimes when I wake up to this scenario I instantly feel behind.  Like I will spend my day digging out of a hole just to get back to ground zero.  And sometimes that makes me feel, oh I dunno…bad?  Sometimes I resent the chores I have to do.  Sometimes I rush through them in hopes of getting around to something more meaningful later on…

But this morning my husband reminded me that there is great meaning and joy to be found in doing the simple things that serve my family.  Of course, having a cup of coffee with a friend may be more relaxing or enjoyable, but I can enjoy doing my housework.  I can spend all day talking to my Lord and taking lots and lots of breaks to play with Cam and attempt to make him laugh.  Being a wife and a mother is a great responsibility and it’s better to put away the dishes joyfully than to clank them around begrudgingly, right?

By the way, in the past few days Cam has started waving.  Oh my heavens it is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!!!

He has also started saying Mama and frequently yells out “Bah!”  It seems to mean a lot of things.

Last week it was in the 90’s in SLO, gah!  So far this week is off to a cooler start.  I love the California sun, but I’m ready for fall.

How Cute!…Ouch He Bit Me!

This happy little moment was captured right before the cute ‘n cuddly baby bear bit me.

Once Cameron started crawling and pulling himself up to standing, one of his favorite activities became pulling himself up and biting into my leg, which was at his eye level.

When he started biting me while nursing I got into the habit of flicking his ear each time.  He quickly learned not to do it anymore.

But with this kind of biting, the ear flicking didn’t work.  Neither did flicking his mouth.  So after another mom told me it was okay, I decided to go with extreme option #3; biting back.

Biting has now decreased in our home by about 80%.

Don’t judge me.

 

The Real Story About My Monday

As I write this, I am sitting at a cozy coffee shop about 50 yards back from the shoreline.  I’m facing the window so I can see the white, foamy waves crash against the sand.  It’s overcast in Avila even though it was sunny in San Luis.

Cameron is sitting next to me in his stroller and every minute or two I reach over and pop another Cheerio into his mouth to keep him happy.

And the only reason I am here is because by 8:00am this morning I was about to lose my mind.

We traveled up to the San Fransisco Bay area over the weekend to visit Jon’s family and attend his cousin Gina’s engagement party.  I love his Italian family.  They are loud, chatty and welcoming in the best way possible.  When everyone gets together, they make sure there’s lots of good food and wine and conversation.  Sometimes I find myself being chatty too, and other times I like to just sit back and tune in and out of the three simultaneous conversations happening in the same room.

As we arrived home last night around 11:00, I instantly regretted drinking the massive Diet Coke I’d ordered from El Pollo Loco a few hours earlier.  Jon went to bed and since I couldn’t sleep, I sat up and watched a few episodes of Friends while drinking a glass of wine to hopefully speed up the getting sleepy process.  Since my normal bedtime is around 10 or 10:30 these days, I kept feeling regretful as the minutes ticked by and I still wasn’t tired.

Eventually the wine kicked in and I headed to bed around 1:00am – a horribly late time to go to bed when you have an infant who wakes up twice during the night and between five and six am for the day.

So when Cameron started calling from his crib at six, I regretfully flopped out of bed and trudged into the next room.

By 8:00am I was more exhausted than I was at 6.  I spent the morning attempting to unpack from our trip, but with a baby who is crawling and into everything now, somehow the unpacking process ends up stretching over the span of the whole week.  And I don’t enjoy that.

For every one thing I attempted to put away, Cameron got into three more.  After a couple hours, somehow my apartment looked messier than it had when I had begun.

On top of that, I was quickly losing my patience as my son continued to bite me every time we came into contact.  His four front teeth felt like little crab pinchers clamping down on my shoulders, arms and legs.

Because I could feel myself getting frustrated, I decided to stop trying to be productive and just get on the floor and play with Cam for a while.  A few minutes later I was crying after getting bit on my face and having my cell phone smashed into my left eye.  Who knew an 8 month old could be so scrappy!!!

I got my phone back from Cam and texted Jon for support.  His recommendation was to ditch everything and just head to the beach.  I love my husband.

So I covered my greasy hair with a baseball cap, threw on some mismatched clothes and retreated to the beach as quickly as possible in order to salvage my day.  I ordered a latte and found a table facing the ocean so I could sit down to write.

(Moment of silence in honor of my happy place.)

I often wonder how moms of multiple children do it.  I genuinely love being a mom and I genuinely love my son, but those days still exist where I’d rather call in sick, stay in my jammies all day and not be bothered by the endless tasks that stalk me…and I only have one child!

So why am I sharing all this?  I don’t really know.  Jon said writing might be good for me today, so I took his advice.  I suppose it’s good not only to write about the wonderful and lovely days that I have, but also the ones that are messy, imperfect and a bit chaotic.

I don’t want my blog to be something where people come and feel really impressed with my life – I just want to be real.  In fact, if my blog has ever come across as a place where I make myself sound oh so great, then I sincerely apologize to you.  That is not my intention.  The truth is that my life is incredibly blessed, but of course I struggle too.  With some things I struggle really, really hard.

Actually, my friend from college, Megan, has a blog called Out Of Her Heart that has encouraged me to keep a humble perspective when writing.  I didn’t know Megan too well in college, but I feel like I know her better than I actually do because she is really transparent in what she shares.  This is one of my favorite recent posts she’s done about parenting.

In fact, while I’m mentioning blogs, my friend Amanda just started a blog called The Brilliant Mom.  She’s only done a couple posts so far, but I’m interested to see where she goes with it.  I know Amanda through church and since her son, Matthias, is a few months older than Cameron, she is my go-to person for tips and practical advice on mommy related things.  She was an elementary school teacher before having her son a year ago and she’s also one of those natural “kid-people.”  So, there you have it, I’ve shared my secret weapon (Amanda) with you!  If you’re a mom, I can guarantee you’ll read something helpful or inspiring on her blog.

Anyway, back to…oh yes, the beach!

So I have no idea how long I’ll stay here.  It’s starting to get sunny now so I might just stay here until I’m ready to put my Super Mom cape back on.

Signing off!

Not A Baby Anymore

What a ham!

As soon as I started clicking away, taking pics, this kid instantly turned toward the camera and turned on the charm.

7 months has been a whole new experience.  He started crawling and his individuality as a person started showing as well.

Its exciting and it’s also the first time I’ve felt sad about his development.

Jon and I spent about 20 hours in the car together over the coarse of the weekend.  We drove to Northern California for a wedding.  So along the way we had a conversation about Cameron that resulted in my first letting go moment as a mother.

The night before, Cameron wouldn’t go to sleep.  Jon was still at the wedding reception, but I had left early to try and get Cameron to bed at a decent hour.  The Pack ‘N Play was just around the corner from my bed in the hotel room which made his crying feel especially sharp and unbearable.  So I got him out of bed and let him crawl around for a while.  I gave him what he wanted in hopes that when I put him back to bed he’d give me what I wanted: peace and quiet and a moment to relax.  Didn’t happen.

A few hours later when Jon got back to the room, Cam was still up and I was frazzled and on edge and mad that I hadn’t gotten to eat any wedding cake.

Cameron eventually went to sleep, but the next morning as we were driving and talking, all the crazy feelings I’d been feeling started to make sense.

I admitted to Jon that the night before was the first time I’ve genuinely been frustrated with Cameron – the first time I wanted to yell at him to be quiet and tell him to stop being selfish and just listen to me.  And I felt really bad about that.

But I realized that a huge part of my frustration came from the from the fact that I had been clinging so tightly to ‘baby Cameron.’

Somehow, practically overnight, my sweet, quiet, agreeable, mellow baby, had turned into a mobile, determined, talkative, rambunctious, messy boy.  And I didn’t like it.   I just wanted to quietly hold him at times and whenever I’d try, he’d arch his back and let out a yell that told me to let him go.

So on the morning drive as Cameron slept, Jon and I talked about all this.  Well, actually, I talked and had a good cry about it and Jon listened and offered some supportive words.

It was the first time I had to let go as a mother.

It felt good to release it all and to ask the Lord to help me to love and embrace this new stage just as much as I did the last one.

Then Jon made a comment about what it’ll be like when Cameron leaves for college and I told him not to mention that to me again for a really, really long time.

Maybe this whole letting go thing is why people get cuddly dogs.  It kinda makes me want to have a nice little fluffy dog who won’t change or develop and who will always want to snuggle with me on the couch and can be easily bribed by treats.

But I am blessed and I know it.  Cameron is a lively, growing boy and this next stage of discovery, followed by the stage of teaching him right from wrong will be an adventure full of great memories as well.  I’m excited to see his personality come out even more and be there as he continues to tinker with buttons, strings, buckles and straps – all the things that boys find cool and interesting.

It’s just so true what people say: They grow up so fast!