Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dedicated to Stephen...Happy (late) Vday Baby!

Stephen and I met about six years ago. We were actually set up through some mutual friends who were convinced that we would fall in love, get married, and make lots of babies friends, huh?! (Not that we're to the "lots of babies" part quite yet, but we think that a kid with as much energy as Syd should qualify as more than one.)

Anyway, Stephen was nothing like the other guys I had ever dated, so it took me a while to trust that he was for real. Once I learned that with him, what you see is what you get, I was desperately in love. By the time we'd been dating for a year, I was close-to-begging him to marry me. Sounds sad, I know, but I couldn't stop thinking about how sad I would be if I ever lost him. It took him two years longer to do it, but he did eventually ask me to marry him on December 25, 2007. Yay!! I was (and still am) the most happy girl on the planet.

For those of you who have met my husband, you know that he is not quite as much of the tell-all, make-friends-with-everyone-at-all-times type of a person as I am. It takes a while to get to know him, and he does not open up to everyone. I am proud to say I know him well. Here are a few reasons why I love Stephen John Camera...

He makes me coffee every morning. It's waiting for me in the kitchen when I wake up so that I never have to wait more than 30 seconds after rolling out of bed to get a cup. And if he's still home, he makes a point to pour me a cup in one of the mugs that I actually like (which, for all of you mug people out there, you know makes a HUGE difference.)

He "tucks me in"...I hate rumpled covers, so when I get in bed he fluffs and smooths the sheets and comforter over me so they're just right.

He is the most amazing daddy on the planet. I love that he plays with her constantly. She squeals and says, "dadda, dadda" when he comes home from work, anticipating lots of wrestling and chasing time. Most of all though, I love that I can be confident he will protect her at all times to the best of his ability.

I love that he is extra conservative about certain things, especially when it comes to raising Sydney.

I love that he loves my family. He'll ask me often, "have you talked to your mom lately? dad? brother? sister?" He's just as excited to see them as I am when we make trips up to Washington.

I love that he has a different, less emotional perspective on things than I do. He can speak a word of wisdom into a situation I'm stressing over that makes it seem so much less of an issue.

I love that I have never had to worry about him flirting (not even kinda flirting) with other women. It is clear that he is a one-woman man.

I love that he has no concept of time (don't push my buttons and take this too far babe!) It does drive me nuts that he never knows what time it is, or how long we have to get ready before we have to leave to go somewhere, but I love that it has made me a bit more relaxed and less time-oriented. Stephen is great at living in the moment.

I love that he is the most patient person I know. He is even patient with my impatience :)

I love that he always wants to be with me, whether it's a ride to the grocery store, a special date, or just sitting around on the couch. I have never doubted that he wants me around!

I love that he tells me he loves me at least 10x a day.

I love that he cannot tell a lie. A man with integrity is the most attractive thing on the planet!!!

I could go on and on, but I've been trying to get this post out for the past four days, so I'm going to quit now :)

To my sweet husband...I love you more than peanut butter, and dark chocolate, and Grey's Anatomy, and Hawaii, and red wine.



Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Evy's Tree

Hi Friends!!

I just wanted to stop by and share Evy's Tree with you all. Evy's Tree is a company my good friend Amy Miraflor started just over a year ago. She sells embellished hoodies and t-shirts. Her stuff is so unique, comfy, and cute! I have four of her hoodies and wear them often.

Anyway, her spring line is being previewed on her blog right now. AND she's having a giveaway (which I'm obviously trying to win!!) Go check it out!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

155 Burpees later...

I just did 100 Kettlebell Swings and 155 Burpees. Am I bragging?? Yes. Give it a try. Then you'll fully understand where the bragging rights come from.

Let this be a shadowing of the brutal workouts to come in 2011. And me saying it in public will help me to fend off the excuses that I know will come my way throughout the year :)

For me, my fitness has a huge spiritual connection. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I became addicted to exercise about the same time that a lot of things started to change in my relationship with God. As the fear and manipulation that had held me so tightly started to fade into a better understanding of the Love and Grace of God, so did my fear of working hard physically.

So I've been thinking a lot about fear lately...that pesky little monster that doesn't always seem so little. What am I afraid of?

true intimacy
loss of pride
being viewed as prideful
being fully known
being mistaken for someone or something I am not
being right
being wrong
being heard
not being heard

It's funny how so many of these fears are exact opposites of each other. The truth is that we are so often captive to our own thoughts...thoughts that often don't hold any truth at all. We waste our time being afraid of something, and then when things change, we develop a new fear.

What's the worst that can happen if we let go of all of our fears and "what if's" and simply live our dreams?

we could lose a friend
or offend someone
or fail and have to start over.

But likely we will

gain a friend
encourage someone else to live out their dreams
and succeed.

I decided that I'm willing to take some chances. There's something burning in me. It's a trust that no matter how many times I fail, letting go of fear and pressing towards that mark (getting some courage from my good buddy Paul), that I will gain more by taking chances than I ever would by doing nothing.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Little Squid

My Dear Little Princess,

I never thought I'd call you "Princess" - it's just not my style (or so I thought), but it's the nickname that keeps slipping out of my mouth lately. I can't help it!

You are 1 year old today. As I reminded your Daddy of this this morning I started to cry. You are more fun and more beautiful than ever before, and I love this stage in your life. It's just that it's going so fast, and we cannot get yesterday back.

In your short life so far you have taught me to slow down a little, because the laundry piled up on the couch, or the toilet that needs scrubbing, or the bed that needs making will be there tomorrow...but you are changing daily. Momma and Dadda are reminded to pay attention to every detail, because you will be on to some new, exciting trick tomorrow. Here are some of those tricks you've been up to lately...

You discovered that you can in fact get to those toys that live in the bath tub if you get on your tippy-toes and reach until you fall head-first into the tub. You were pretty proud of that one. 

You figured out how to give Daddy a real good workout by having him push you around the apartment for hours on your new Harley Davidson (yes, I said a Harley) that Grandpa Steve got you for Christmas.

Your vocabulary is growing by the minute it seems and you are soaking everything up just like a sponge. I guess this means no more Keeping up with the Kardashians and 16 and Pregnant for Mommy while you're awake. So far you say "Momma" (when you're tired or upset), "Dadda" (when you're excited), "more" (when you're hungry), "meow" (when you see a kitty), and "whoa" (when you're impressed with something). 

There are a few things we know about you for sure, and one of them is that you do not have a shy bone in your body...

New people are often your favorite people, and we have had to restrain you from jumping into strangers' arms. We took you to your Grammie and Pa's house in Washington for your first Christmas. On the plane ride there, we were sitting next to an older man you decided was the most interesting person alive (probably due to the hand-held game he was playing...what's with you and electronics??) Anyway, you pushed me away and and fussed until I let him hold you...and you did not want to come back to Mommy. I have to admit I was pretty embarrassed!  Needless to say the guy fell in love with you and kept trying to convince me to let him take you home to his wife (not so sure what he thought about you trying to poor his Sprite all over his lap though.) 

You point, screech, babble, and smile at people wherever we are. When someone pays you lots of attention, you get extra excited and shake your head back and forth like a rock star (not sure where you learned this...Uncle Jesse??) What is so amazing is that wherever we go, I see you brightening up the days of over-worked, over-tired, and over-stressed people. 

I took you to the park for the first time this week. You were so overwhelmed with excitement that you didn't know what to do with yourself. For a while you just stood, studying the other children with a curious, sly smile. 

Then you discovered the slide. Oh how I wish I could have gotten a video of this, but it was impossible to hold on to such a bouncy, excited baby while taking video at the same time. You would squeal, pant, and shake your head back and forth (the rock star move) each time I set you at the top of the slide...and you cried big elephant tears when slide-time was over. There are no words to describe how happy it made me to see you so happy to discover a new joy in life, and how once again you reminded me to take advantage of those little things that are so often the best things in life. 

You loved climbing the stairs too. What you didn't appreciate was the Mommy insisting she hold onto you so you didn't fall. You are the most independent 1-year-old I have ever encountered!

You should know that your Mommy and Daddy are completely in love with you. Our hearts are full. Learning to take care of you and discovering how much we love you has made us love each other more. The other night I asked your Daddy what he thought of when he thought of you becoming a teenager some day and having boys knocking at your door. Daddy got real serious and tense and said he couldn't talk about it. My advice to you is that you don't grow up, because Daddy might just put you in a bubble! 

He has, after all, put you in a bag...

The truth is that we all know that you will grow up, and I am excited to see who you will become. We are doing our best to trust God in leading us to raise you the way He has intended. Things aren't perfect, and they never will be, but more than anything we pray that you understand what true Love really is, and that you find the confidence you need through a relationship with your Creator to live life without fear.

Love never gives up. 
Love cares more for others than for self. 
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. 
Love doesn't strut, 
Doesn't have a swelled head, 
Doesn't force itself on others, 
Isn't always "me first," 
Doesn't fly off the handle, 
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, 
Doesn't revel when others grovel, 
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, 
Puts up with anything, 
Trusts God always, 
Always looks for the best, 
Never looks back, 

But keeps going to the end

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 (The Message)



Dad holding you for the first time...

You were about 5 1/2 lbs here...soooo tiny!

First bath at let us know right away that you loved the water!

Relaxing with Mom...

And some recent photos of the whole fam...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Letter to Sydney - 7 Whole Months

Dear Squid,

You are almost 30 weeks old now. That's just over 7 months. People warned your Daddy and I that you would grow up fast and to make sure not to take your babyhood for granted. I've done my best to notice and appreciate every gurgle, every coo, every smile and every new trick you learn. I don't want to ever forget Baby Sydney. It sounds like I'm mourning your death. I know - overdramatic Mommy over here. But understand that we've had quite the week...

Mommy has been on the brink of a real, live panick attack with the realization that you are growing up and gaining some independence. This week we did what the doctors like to call "Sleep Training". It's the PC term for "Almost Killing The Mommy By Letting The Baby Wail Until She Falls Asleep." Other parents as well as your Pediatrician have been telling me for months now that I needed to let you cry rather than feeding you the 2, 3, or 4 (YES FOUR!!) times you woke up at night. They said that you weren't hungry or hurt, and that I just needed to teach you how to sleep through the night. The promise was that you'd get the point after three nights and then we'd all be able to sleep peacefully through the night. I have followed my God-given Mommy-to-Syd instincts in not attemping this until now. Some thought I was nuts because of all the sleep I was sacrificing and, well, I don't blame them because I suppose I was technically nuts. Mommy doesn't do well while sleep deprived. The truth was that I didn't feel you were ready but mostly I just wasn't ready. I decided I was ready when I was able to admit that I was sometimes walking, sometimes talking (but mostly crying) wreck. The pros outweighed the cons in this situation. If what the Doc was saying was true - that you would in fact sleep through the entire night if I endured 3 nights of misery - then you would have a much better mommy to play with during the day.


You actually didn't cry much at all compared to the nightmare I had imagined in my head, but it did still almost kill me. Not only did your cry close-to-convince me that I should be imprisoned, but I was tempted to wake you up and bring you in bed with me when you were peacefully sleeping. I would lay in bed with twinges of anxiety about how you were obviously not even a baby anymore if you could do without me for the ENTIRE night, and about how you would be leaving me to go off to kindergarten soon (pink backpack and all) and about how we only have .33 cents in your college fund account.

At this moment I am watching you sleep via our cool video monitor (thanks Uncle John and Auntie Annabell!!) You're on your belly with your arms under you and your pudgy, roly-poly legs sprawled out. Your hair - oh YOUR HAIR - it's completley messy and fluffed out in its perfect craziness. You are more amazing, more awe-inspiring, more beautiful than I could have ever imagined my child would be...more than I could have imagined any child could be. My heart burns with love for you. It actually hurts sometimes, but in that good way. I'm not sure if it's normal to experience this (your Aunt Juli is the only other person who has admitted to having the same problem, and you know by now that neither of us is an accurate picture of normal), but sometimes when I look at you every part of me stings with love and adoration for your crazy stinking cuteness, and I have an undeniable urge to bite something - very hard. So that explains why I walk around the house with one of your binky's in my mouth. It's much safer for all living organisms around here - namely you and your father.

Here are a few tidbits about who you are, my Baby Sydney...because I never want to forget.

You have many interesting modes of communication, and you are continuously discovering new sounds to make. The Growl is a popular one, although I've noticed it's usually reserved for the Grandparents. You use The Growl when Grandma Janice and Grandpa Steve come over, and then again the growling is kicked into overdrive with Grammy Glenda and Pa come to visit from Washington. Not sure what that's all about. Then two weeks ago, you started making a new noise. This one is quite indescribable, but you make it when you're happy. It's also indistinguishable from the noise the neighbor's mating cats make.


Then there's The Pant. You pant when you're extra excited, and it sounds like fast breathing with an extra oomph. Another cute new noise has been a gurgling noise that your Grandma Janice and I have both tried to duplicate unsuccessfully. You're quite talented, although Daddy says you just needed to find something to do with all that drool.

You are fearless. Your favorite thing to do is to be swung (quite aggressively) through the air and tipped upside down. Today I hung you from your toes and you squealed with so much cuteness I thought I'd burst. Sometimes when Daddy gets home from work he flys you around the house like an airplane, using the table, kitchen counter, couch, and beds as landing pads. Your giggles are so irresistable that I have to remind Daddy what your poop smells like to keep him from gobbling you up.

You are the most social baby I have ever met. You want to be in contact with an attentive human face at all times. This means that if Mommy has to use the bathroom, you're one big fussy pants unless she leaves you in front of Rachael Ray or Dr. Phil. You are seriously like magic though Syd - like some kind of Happy Pill for The Universe. There have been countless times I've walked you in coffee shops, grocery stores, etc. only to see the faces of tired, worn-out, depressed people turn to joy as they see how happy you are to see them. I've been carrying you around in the front pack a lot lately. Your arms and legs bonce and jiggle and you pant with excitement the moment you see someone - ANYONE - walking even remotely in your direction. It's amazing and all is right in the world when that person actually realizes you are talking to them and acknowledges you with a smile and an, "awwwwww!" But when that person doesn't acknowledge you, well, I haven't figured out how to explain to you that not every person came to Barnes and Nobles just to play with you. How dare they.

I love you more than peanut butter,


Thursday, July 1, 2010


So I've had a lot on my mind lately. Not that I have ever not had a lot on my mind. I guess it comes with womanhood. When I try to explain to Stephen what the inside of my brain sounds like, he tells me to, "just think of nothing. Think of blackness. Like a cave." Ha!!! Right. I can think of that black cave of nothingness for a split second...just until all of those deep, meaningful (and yes sometimes irrational) monsters of thoughts start peeping their little heads out through the darkness. Then it's all over.

I haven't been writing though, because honestly I cannot seem to organize my thoughts. They're a jumbled mess. So today I decided to just start writing and, well, whatever comes of this will just be.

I've been working 10-12 hours a week. My MIL drives all the way up from Panoche (yes, this is a town in California. If you look it up, you'll probably see my in-law's house, cause I'm pretty sure they are the only people who live there. ha!!) It's a two-hour drive. She loves and is AMAZING with Sydney. Syd literally squeals when she sees her Grandma. Somehow though, I have this pressing urge to rush home after my 3 hour shifts. Why don't I ever do something for myself? Anyone who knows me knows that my nails could certainly use some tender loving care. Or why not go to Borders for some uninterrupted reading time? I have been dying to read that new Tori Spelling book and all...(Yes, I'm serious. Except for I already read it.)

Last week I realized that although I've had a bit of time away from the baby when I'm at work, I have yet to do anything at all for myself and have been, in essence, working an extremely tiring job 24/7. I suppose that is why I've been feeling so Zombie-ish after all. And why I've been randomly bursting into tears. And why I've been feeling less and less capable. And why I can't seem to keep up with the housework.

So I decided to actually use the day and a half or so a week I have of childcare to relax and take some time for myself. Because a mommy who does not feel good cannot be a good mommy, right?

In my newly-decided efforts to take some time for myself, I left Syd with my good friends Sarah and Rose last Sunday (Steve was away on a fishing trip) so that I could go get a mani/pedi. This whole leaving my child thing takes a lot of emotional strength. Not that I don't trust you Sarah and Rose - I know you two are perfectly capable to care for my Squid, and that you love her dearly. There's just something inside me that burns, that twitches, that does something strange and inexplicable when I'm away from her. I suppose I've gotten more used to leaving her with my MIL when I work, but I really haven't left her with anyone else besides my mom and sis a couple of times. So I was already feeling itchy (for lack of a better word), and then to make matters worse, the baby was fussing in her crib when I left. My child is the most un-cuddly baby ever made and she refuses to be rocked/cuddled to sleep, which means she usually cries herself to sleep. As painful as this is for me, I see no other solution. Anyway, when I was leaving Sarah asked if she should rock her. I promtly answered, "nope she won't let you - she'll push you away."

Within ten minutes of me leaving the house, I get a text from Sarah saying that she rocked and sang to her and that IT WORKED. She fell asleep. Wow this is great news, right?! I fell apart. Yup, I BAWLED uncontrollably at the gas station down the street. I couldn't get over the thought that there must be something wrong with me, that I must be a horrible and incapable mother if I cannot comfort my own child to sleep but another can.

Have any of you other moms had a similiar experience??

I was devastated. Then I called my sister and she talked me back down to reality (thank God for a sister who has already had two kids!!) By the time I got home, I had been convinced of the truth - that my daughter is going to act different with other people, and that she is mostly likely going to act up more for me than for other people. And that is okay, because I am a great mother who has a unique and uncomparable relationship with her child.

Wow. Do I sound like a blubbering mess? I'm happy to say that I'm at least a little closer back down to earth today, thanks to the support of an amazing husband, faithful friends, and understanding family. Mostly though, I have found an insane amount of comfort in my Jesus. Yes, He's mine :)

Talk about a crazy ride this parenting thing is...but oh so worth it. I've said it before but I'll say it again - I have NEVER known true grace like I do now. Thank you Jesus.

Here are some recent pics of Sydney I wanted to share. I hope everyone's having a great Thursday!

(Oh, one quick p.s. to this post directed to SARAH DAWN: I will not allow you to feel bad or apologize for the text that made me fall apart. There was no wrong done on your part - just insecurities on my part. Thank you for helping me to do some soul-searching. You are a wonderful Auntie to my baby girl :)

She loves carrots, and food in general...looks like booby milk may just be on it's way out the door!

Sandy came to visit - Syd loves her!

My Dashing Diva

Such a little ham!

Per Sarah, this is her "Old Man Smile"