Bravery on levels we've never seen

The moment we got to South Florida, Cameron was a different kid -- A kid who jumps into the pool (a really cold pool):

After that, it got even more interesting. He rode his bike all over my parents' neighborhood... And then we went to Disney World.

Cam went down ALL kinds of rollercoasters. He can actually boast riding every roller coaster in the Magic Kingdom in one day. From the Goofy's Barnstormer to Space Mountain. Pretty awesome... And it seems like he's interested in riding many more in the future. I'm pretty excited!


He really wants to go to Disney

Can't you tell by the pitiful look on his face? I was packing for our big trip to Florida and encouraged the kids to really hope Santa lets them to go to Disney World. (I sure hope so since I have a room there for two nights!) Anyway... He's hoping things work out. He even made sure he brought it up when he left a message for Santa:

Happy holidays everyone! I'll try to post a few more stories about the boy before the year ends!!


And now a word from Cameron...

I want to see Bedtime Stories. I want to see Bedtime Stories because whatever the niece and nephew say in the story comes to life. I want to see it in Florida with my family. 


Singing is fun!

Cameron started singing with our church children's choir a few months ago. Today he got to show off that hard work in a holiday choir performance. He totally ROCKED out to Joy To The World:

If you can't see it here, view it here.

Cameron is getting very excited about the holidays and Star Wars Lego Saga on the Wii. He gets so focused on specific games and topics. It's pretty amazing. We're also moving to the final book in the Spikerwick Chronicles. It's an intense book series but we love it. It's another other one those things where you find Cameron doing something above his age... and the next moment he throws a fit or gets angry about something silly and it reminds me that he's only six!! Through it all, I'm thankful he still lets me give him a cuddle and a hug from time to time. He's a sweetheart and I'm so happy to be his mom.


So much to be thankful!

Cameron got to enjoy Thanksgiving this year with his family in Kentucky. Not only did he have a chance to avoid eating all of the traditional foods that comes with the meal, he got to play football with the "big boys." It was cute. He's not that great at catching, but he was all about running and tackling. He got to spend time with his grandparents, great-grandparents, uncle and extended family -- not to mention mom, dad and Jordan.

We're thankful to have Cameron in our lives - his analysis, his energy and his love is everything you'd want from a son. We're also very thankful to have a wonderful family and so many friends.

Cam is reading the Spiderwick Chronicles these days -- It's a series of five books that was turned into a movie last year. He got the book set from my brother for Christmas years ago but I decided Cameron was old enough and able to read the books in the last couple of months. So he was reading the second book on his own for a little while when he emerged from the bedroom to announce: "The tooth fairy isn't real. I know that's true." I looked up in shock. Randy looked up in shock. And we asked him why he thought that. He mentioned the book (and I found the spot in book 2 where they talk about it) and said he planned to confirm it at school. I begged him to keep his ideas to himself... But I'm sure he went to school preaching his new found discovery. My fear: he'd transition this realization to Santa. So what did I do? I rushed him to see Santa with Jordan the moment we got back from our Thanksgiving trip. I wanted to sneak in at least one more visit. So what is the first thing he says when we get to the mall? "I know this Santa isn't the real Santa." I asked him to keep his ideas quiet for Jordan's sake. He was very skeptical about the experience. He even rolled his EYES! At least I convinced him to take a few pictures. I even got the kids ice cream to celebrate our first non-dramatic (and probably last) Santa picture with both kids. (go team!)


I'm going to miss my boy!

Cam was extra cuddly with me today before I left to go on a big trip to China. I was telling him how much I love him when he looked at me and said: "You're going to make me cry!"

Awwww. I just gave him the biggest hug I could. What a sweetie head.

Cam and I took the world's fastest trip to St. Louis yesterday so I could speak at the JEA/NSPA conference for high school journalism students. Cam didn't have school and I figured he could handle the back and forth. The bad part was getting up at 5am so we could get there in time without hitting really bad morning traffic. He tolerated it and got to watch Nim's Island (which is a movie) on my iPhone. He barely peeped during the presentation.

We've been pretty silly together while I was home for a few days. Here's proof:

We were goofing around with music and a video recorder. It's very easy to be silly when you mix those two things together. I'm going to miss my boy while I'm away. I can't wait to have some pure family time for a few days after the trip during Thanksgiving. Hopefully I'll be able to power through the jetlag.


Election season is over

Cameron spent this presidential election very focused on the experience and news coverage about the race between John McCain and Barack Obama. He can't stand how I wouldn't talk about my opinions but he clearly defined his opinions and where he stood in the presidential battle. So when Barack Obama came to our town, I couldn't pass up the chance for him to see history in the making first-hand. So here are a few pieces of video I took as we stood in line, walked into the event and listened to the speech. By the way - It was nearly impossible to see Obama and I was okay with that, but I made sure Cam could see by letting him sit on my shoulders a couple of times. It took my back a couple of days to decompress! That boy is BIG!

I worked all election night helping run a massive webcast/watch party. So I brought a bunch of patriotic balloons back home that night. I took them into Cameron's room where he was sleeping... Then I crawled into bed with him and whispered: "Cameron, America elected its first black president." He shot up, giggled and asked, "Barack Obama?" I said yes and he went back to sleep smiling. I just couldn't wait until the morning to tell him the big news. Watching this election season from his perspective was a joy. I'm proud of him for being civically engaged and I hope I'll be able to help guide him to use that interest in productive ways as he grows up!


First Grade Photo

I almost forgot to post Cam's new first grade school picture! Here you go:

Super busy guy

Here's a quick rundown of Cam's weekend:
Lunch party
Morning hike and picnic
Halloween neighborhood party

When Cam went to bed tonight, he told me this was the best day ever. Not the first time he's ever said that, but he's certainly had a great weekend. That's for sure. The movie was awesome for anyone who loves the High School Musical series. Cam and I (and Jordan) jammed to the show. Cam barely moved the entire time except to grove to the songs. He's tried to sing one song that he hasn't downloaded yet - "The Boys are Back." He was just as excited when he got to wear his costume tonight. The moment he puts that thing one he gets into character. It's awesome. I have a thousand pictures that are on our Flickr page - I don't have enough time to post all of them on this website!


Fall weekend

I love Fall. It's comfortable and makes you want to hang outside and just enjoy it. The air is calm and crisp and you want to cuddle with your kids. Last weekend I got to play outside with the kids and get our pictures taken at the same time. The pictures turned out really well. So I tried to take pictures on my own. So far, I got the boy looking at his dog lovingly and the girl swinging in a swing. The seasonal air has left me itching to get out and hike with the kids. Hopefully we'll find some time to do that next weekend. There's are a couple of really cool events in the works this week. First, we had all of the alumni coming into town for homecoming! We'll have cool events including the big parade and football game. But there's one other really cool thing: High School Musical 3!! Cam and I are into this little guilty pleasure. I'm getting all kinds of harassment from my friends, but I'm not going to let them take away my tiny goofy Disney-style fun with my kids. We plan to go to the movie on Friday. It should be fun with the help of popcorn and sing-along music.


Big deal choir performance

Cam performed for the first time as a big kid in the big kid choir. His group performed with the adult choir. Here's a portion of the performance without the adults singing. Cameron is a little fleck in the front middle wearing a bit of navy blue.


We took Cameron to his first football tailgate today... Before a doomed game where our Tigers lost. (sob) Before the game Cam got to stand on the side of the crowd cheering on the team as they walked to the stadium. The marching band was there. Cheerleaders were there. It was quite a production. Cameron high fived his favorite players and seemed kind of excited about the experience. Before the team walked through I asked Cam if he'd be a football player or a band player when he grows up. He looked at me in disgust and declared: "Mom! I'm going to be a SCIENTIST."

Ohhhhh. Sorry. Apparently you can't play in the band or the football team if you're going to be a scientist.

I didn't know that.


Kissing in a tree

Okay... I have to share this one.

Cameron and I were talking after the prayers and the lullaby (yeah. I still sing him a lullaby. I will sing him a lullaby until he's 25 if he'll still let me sing it to him.) Anyway. He says:
"Mom, Kayla starting singing this song: Cameron and Austin sitting in a tree... K-I-S-S-I dont' know... First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage. I don't even know what that means. It's so strange."


I told him the full song and I told him people sang that when I was in first grade. It's REALLY REALLY OLD. I told him to tell Kayla that the next time she pulls out the kissing in the tree chant. It's SUPER old and SO not cool.

He thought that was SO funny.

By the way, we went to Cam's school's 50th anniversary today. The first principal was lucky to be there AND his granddaughter is a Kindergartener this year. How cool is that? Anyway. It was a big deal and I don't know how we survived the ceremony with it starting at Jordan's bed time and lasted 50 minutes! We also found out the school is hoping to raise enough money to build a walking track around the school field to make it easier to get exercise. I'm pretty excited about that. We live really close to school and I'd love a track to enjoy a beautiful day and get exercise near home. I donated a little bit just to feel like we could help out. We got an old brick from the school in return. I think we're going to put it in our tree house somewhere.


Who is this big kid?

At some point since school started, Cameron started calming down. Not all the time, but he's mellowing. Maybe I'm learning to react to Cam differently. Maybe he's maturing. Maybe it's both. Either way, there's a happier understanding between Cam and I and the rest of the family. He's not reacting adversely to everything at home and his teacher says she's seeing improvements as well. It's very exciting.

I'm also seeing funny things happen as Cam grows up. Case in point: I bought Cam a pair of Buzz Lightyear khaki pants. I thought they were really cool. Um. Apparently they aren't cool. They're for babies... Even though I still have to roll the bottom of the pants so they fit him. And there's no way he's going to wear them again. Wah.

What is Cam into? Star Wars, soccer, football, baseball, Batman, High School Musical (HSM3 is out on the 24th... OMG we're so excited. No really. We are.), Spongebob Squarepants, Danny Phantom. He still tolerates Little Einsteins for the sake of his sister. He's interested in being his sister's third parent (no matter what his two parents say). He tells me little snippets of what life is like at school. Did you know there are first grade bullies (there are two)? Did you know some of the girls don't like to play with boys anymore? He likes math and social studies. Someday Cam wants to travel the world to research. What will he research? He just says he's going to research the places he travels because he plans to be a scientist. I love it.


Presidential politics

There's something very interesting about Cameron. He is fascinated by presidential politics. Seriously. He's into this. During the primaries he would check the delegate numbers to see who was ahead. He's discussed how he thinks Obama can beat McCain because Obama beat Clinton. (And Cameron wanted Clinton to win) This week he told me he wants John McCain to win. Tonight he told me he wants Barack Obama to win.

I never tell him where I stand and that drives him nuts.

I discuss politics with Cameron in a Socratic way. I ask him why he supports the candidate. I ask him what made him come to conclusions. He is so desperate for me to leave this questioning process and agree to disagree with him. I'm a journalist and I try very hard to keep my opinions to myself and not let my opinions effect the way I help cover political news.

Tonight I let Cameron stay awake to watch some of the first presidential debate. He's desperately wanted me to help him learn more about each candidate (I'm thinking I need to find some kid news magazines). So I told him he could watch the debate to get a better understanding of where the candidates stand. He talked over most of the candidate statements. But he did listen to each man. During this time we had some really great six year old perspective. First, Cameron couldn't believe there's never been a black president. He went on to discuss Martin Luther King and how he was a leader. Second, Cameron started questioning why there is a president and why our country needs one. I asked him what he thought would happen if his school didn't have a principal. We talked about leadership and oversight. Suddenly Cameron started wondering what would happen if skateboarders were all over the place and the president decided that the skateboarders could only skate at a park. I guess you had to be there. I was so amazed to watch him analyze what a president does and which man is the right person to lead our country.

Pretty amazing.

So I put him to bed. Right before I left him, Cameron begged me once again to tell him who I am going to vote for. I once again told him I wouldn't. Cam told me I was making him sad. My silence is driving him batty. Poor kid. I guess being a journalist's kid is pretty rough.


"He's got a strong foot"

My boy got props during his soccer skills during his game Saturday. I was pretty proud. For the first time, Mr. Cameron scored a goal. I was very proud. He's very proud. This was his third soccer game ever and he's starting to figure out his strength and finding ways to direct the ball. It's pretty cool to watch. What was even more fun was watching Cam celebrate when something went right with his team. I just loved it. It's thrilling to watch Cam play in a sport where he can feel really confident. Plus, he really gets to run and run and run.

After the soccer game we went to another football game. It was a little warm under the sun and Cam wasn't that interested since he had a big neighborhood birthday party to attend a little after the first half of the game. He had a blast.

I'll be honest. I'm exhausted. All of this running around for work and the additional running this weekend has left me exhausted. I took Sunday off to catch up on work and just not move around too much. Well, just not as much. Cam is on a quest to run or walk a half mile through October - it's a fitness challenge at school. So he and I are spending time walking and running together. He's got five miles down so far. Eight to go!


Cam's first soccer game (AKA I'm an official soccer mom)

Cameron had his very first soccer practice and game today. I told myself that Cam wouldn't play soccer... The stigma of soccer mom and all the other things that come with that. Not to mention watching soccer reminds me of how bored I was watching the games when my brother played when I was a kid. Anyway, I bit the bullet after Cam had so much fun playing with his team. I'm the official team mom which is kind of funny. I don't have to do much and I bought a big 2 gallon jug for water. To make it even cooler, I bought Spongebob Squarepants paper cups. The team was VERY excited.

Cam ran and ran and ran. He understand the importance of defense and BOY he was in the mix the entire time they ran up and down the field. He was disappointed he didn't get the ball enough, but I know he'll catch on in time. I was proud and I'm excited about our team. The parents are very cool.


First day of First Grade: "Awesome"

The day didn't start out as I had expected. It was wet. It was really wet. It was so wet even psycho-walker Mom decided that I should drive Cam to school today. Of course a lot of parents drove their kids to school today so considering where we parked, we half drove-half walked.

I took Cam to his spot in the gym where the kids wait for their teacher, gave him a big smooch and went back home to wake the girl for her day. I'm thinking positively about the school year. I think this is the year for the boy to relax, have fun and learn. If he lets himself learn how to relax, his enjoyment of everything will jump.

The best part of the day was when I was working late and I called to check on how Cameron's big day went. The very first thing he said was it was "AWESOME!" He met new friends, saw old friends and he has a new desk mate who doesn't really speak English. He thinks she's from Korea but doesn't remember. I challenged him to help her speak English and see if she can help him learn Korean. His first task: Learn how to say hello in Korean. I think that's cool.


Preview of the school year

So... I hate to be whiny. But Cam didn't get my dream teacher for the school year. I'll get over it. To add to the stress, his assigned teacher will not start the school year with her students because her husband is very sick. So I met the temporary teacher who was asked to come out of retirement. She spent 14 years teaching first grade at our school before she retired. I spoke to her about our terrible summer school experience and she looked me straight in the eye and said in the 23 years she taught, she never sent a student to the principal. I hope that's true. To me, that was a good start for the school year.

Cam and I had a good time together the last few days and I think we're headed into the school year with a good state of mind. We went to the local indoor play place yesterday -- he ran around and climbed and had fun. Then we played in the arcade area - I've never spent money on arcade prizes before so he was really excited. He also had a great time playing with another neighbor kid who was out of town all summer. I think I convinced his mom to let him join us in our daily neighborhood-wide walk to school. The more kids, the more fun the walks!

By the way -- that's a picture from our big hike over the weekend. I just think it's sweet and worth posting.


Let the countdown commence

The boy and I have spent A LOT of time together since he isn't in school yet and hasn't had much scheduled in his life. But I'm starting to figure him out.

First - I need to take advantage of his interests. He really likes superhero/science fiction stuff. So this week I bought Cam a Star Wars Clone Wars book that's about the movie that came out this weekend. He read the entire 24 chapter book on his own!! He also read it in two days. Did he totally ingest everything he read? No. But he did get the gist of the story line. It was pretty amazing.

I took the boy to that movie today -- He was SO into it. Star Wars Clone Wars was created for six year old boys. It wasn't a challenging plot, it wasn't that bloody or gross -- just a lot of red vs. blue. I also think he really appreciated the one-on-one time. It was really funny when he needed to go to the bathroom. We RAN to the bathroom. BOOKED to the bathroom. It was so funny as we washed hands and ran back. We almost ran down a mom and her little kids as they were walking out of the theater.

Second - I need to get Cam out and playing with other kids more often. I'm lucky he's had a neighbor up the street who is fun, sweet and a buddy. He goes into Kindergarten this year so the boys will see each other at school. Cam is so much happier when he gets to hang out with kids every once and a while.

Third - My boy has a lot of teeth moving around in there. I need to give him a break every once and a while and wonder if he's in pain. He's had some headaches lately and his teeth are super sensitive. He's going to be okay. Thank goodness for Motrin.

It's been challenging to have Cam everywhere and all the time... But I know I'm going to miss having him around. He's a really sweet guy. A really sweet, emotional guy.


Vacation memory: Skipping rocks Part 2

Here's a cool moment with my Dad and Cameron during the big rock skip lesson:

Skimming the day away

Cam, Jordan and I had a great time hanging out this afternoon... I had a long split day at work so I spent the full afternoon playing. The weather is pretty close to perfect for playing outside. I pulled out the skim board pool and watched the kids go crazy. I love watching them giggle and splash. So, this is a quick moment to show you how Cam is figuring out his skim board. Very cute.


Emotional guy

Cam has had a tough time rejoining the family since his trip to his grandparents house. He's been very emotional. VERY emotional.

I think I may be to blame. I've let him surf the web on kid sites while he spent time in the newsroom with me at work. So he's enjoyed a brainless, non-involved time on his own. So I've tried to get him out and about at least for a little while each day. That still didn't seem to be enough to improve the whining and complaining at home. On Friday I took him out for the morning to go on a bike ride on the local bike trail and go to a park with water sprayers and a playground. I packed a lunch and everything. I was excited. I really want to bike more and it's so cool to have Cam on his bike now... Until he had to pass a person on the trail. It freaked him out and he decided he didn't want to bike. Tantrum on the trail. It was rough. I ended up pulling his access to the work computer and he snapped out of it. THEN we had fun. We enjoyed lunch, water and running around. Biking back tot he car was even great. I just don't know how to deal with his moods.

I think some of it has to do with his teeth. Those molars are moving and his front teeth are wiggling. He's lost four bottom teeth and two have poked through. He isn't sleeping as well and he's cranky. It's kind of like Cameron is the six year old version of his 4 months teethingn self. I just want to hug him when I don't want to jump off the roof when he's crying and screaming.

I'm not going to dwell on this... But someone at the university mentioned that I should consider testing Cam for ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). I'm very uncomfortable even thinking about considering treating Cam with drugs. We see so many students who are medicated. I had a friend in college who went off his long-term ADD medication while we were in school. He was so messed up. Anyway, it does confound me at times when Cameron is so highly sensitive to the smallest things and he's six years old. It made sense when he was two or three, but I'm sure it's not right for his age.


Helping Mom out

Cam's summer vacation is winding down... I don't have much for him to do since his summer school, vacation, VBS and grandparent visit time is wrapped up. So he's stuck following me around work.

He did get to help me do something a little different today: Help me move into a VERY big, temporary office on campus. It's new, it's red, white and green and Cameron was impressed. Hell, I was impressed. I'm taking part in a fellowship in the coming school year. It's a scary change, but a temporary change and I hope to take advantage of the opportunity.

Anyway, I'm hoping to find moments in between work time to go out and have fun with Cameron. He'd be happy just sitting in front of a computer screen all day - but I'd like to end his summer with some more fun and activity. I'm hoping to take him biking tomorrow afternoon... Maybe we'll visit a pool on Friday. My goal is to help him start the school year with outdoors activities on his mind and not just Danny Phantom and Avatar (Nick cartoon shows that I'm a little unsure about -- because I'm overprotective and I've seen him obsess about shows before).



We had a really fast, but very nice visit to family this weekend. Cameron really enjoyed his time away from home. He got to watch way more TV than his strict and annoying mom would have ever let him. He got to ride the heck out of his bike AND he even got to go to a really fun water park.

The whole family (you know, all four of us) got to spend time with Moma Dot and Daddy Junior. It's really cool to see how loving the kids are to them. They're always giving out a bunch of hugs and kisses. I took a shot of Cam with Moma Dot - I never seem to catch good moments. But I really like how she's trying to get Cam to smile.

The kids were really happy to see each other -- but they're back at each other's throats. Traditional sibling stuff.


He missed me!!

We just arrived in Kentucky to spend time with family here and see the boy. He's been here for five days with his grandparents and I really think he missed up. He and Jordan were SO happy to see each other. They played and didn't scream much and just seemed so great to be together. They hugged, they kissed. It was great.

And he missed me.

He hugged me so tight and kept telling me how much he missed me. It made me feel so good. We butt heads so often, it's so awesome to be back with my boy.

And another big deal:
He has REALLY short hair. He finally got the buzz cut I've been talking to him about because I'm tired of figuring out how to keep his hair from looking totally crazy. I'll post pictures tomorrow.

He seriously looks two years younger with that hair. It reminds me of back in the day when he was 3 or 4. I love it!


Sniff. Sniff. Its quiet here

Our house is quiet. The kids aren't fighting. Cam isn't running around wanting to watch a show/play Wii/play outside/complain about his sister/wanting my undivided attention/complaining about my food/giving me hugs at many random and sweet moments.

On Sunday he went off to stay the week with his grandparents. I know he's having a great time. I talked to him and heard that he's skinned his knee, elbow and ankle from riding his bike and falling off. I think it's amazing how he's learning about his limitations on a bike and continues to get back up and ride again. I'm very proud of him.

We're going to meet up with him for the weekend, so he really won't be away from us for a long time... but it's long enough for our house to feel very strange and lonely. Even Jordan is feeling it. Tonight she looked at me and said: "Where Cameron at?" I reminded her that he was with her grandparents. She responded: "OH YEAH!!"


Vacation memory: Skipping rocks

Cam has seen us skipping rocks for years. It's something we like to do when we visit Maine. For most of Cam's life, he's enjoyed throwing rocks into the water. It's a great pastime. But this year, he wanted to master the skill of skipping rocks. His first attempts were while we were camping. His uncle offered Cam some tips on skipping rocks. But I promised him, his Grandpa would really show him how.

I was right.

Cam and my dad went down to the water and the lesson started. My dad is good. He's really good. What made it even cooler was watching Cam's reaction. His jaw dropped as my dad skipped a rock 15 times or more across the harbor. It was really cool. Then the lesson started. It didn't take long for Cameron to pick up the skipping skills. He went from a kid who could double skip to a kids who could skip 8 to 10 times! It was pretty amazing.


All good things must come to an end

We're packed up and getting ready to leave Maine in the morning. I'm bummed that we're leaving, but I know we're all looking forward to getting back to our lives. Cameron had a really fantastic trip. He got to know his new friend Charlie... They had a blast and Cam really got to play hard with a friend without a lot of the drama that seems to happen with a couple of kids in our neighborhood. It was pure boy stuff. Cam and Charlie climbed and explored and rode their bikes and played soccer and MAN is Cam bruised up. He has scratches and cuts from his head to his feet. Some of those injuries included crying, but a bunch of them didn't. It was pure boy fun. They even created a spy club... Something Cam's been dying to do with a friend.

What made it even better was the fact that since we're on a really quiet street and on a really small island, we were able to just let the boys run around between the two houses. They could ride their bikes, run outside and have fun. It was very cool. The only bummer: Cam had to write Charlie a goodbye note since they weren't home on our last day in town. We left my email and Cam's email so hopefully that will help them stay in touch. We're going to be in Maine later next year, so it may be less likely they will get to hang out next year. I'll hope for the best!

By the way, the top picture is Cameron at L.L. Bean's newest extension to their main building in Freeport, ME. It's a cool dome inside a trout aquarium. Super cool. Both kids really thought it was exciting. Okay. I thought it was pretty exciting too. I'll admit, I went inside it too.

Cam and I also explored the Giant Stairs after biking along the island together. It was a bit scary for a mom: there are no sidewalks so we had to ride against the island traffic. That's a little scary, but Cameron did pretty well. He did skin his knee at one point when he slide from the side of the road into some sand, but he ended up surviving that experience. In the end, he got a new bandaid and a really HUGE popsicle, so I think he didn't mind. After that experience, we rode over to the Giant Stairs: HUGE boulders at the edge of the ocean that look like they are steps. Very cool. Cam got pretty brave and started climbing around. We ended up going the next day with both kids and with my friend Eryn and her boyfriend (who is my new friend) Rick. There are just so many beautiful things to see.

On our final day, the waves were rocking outside our view from the house. The water near the rocks at the edge of the harbor were crashing. It's rarely that active when we visit so it was a great show. I pointed it out to Cameron and mentioned how we wouldn't need TV ever if we could watch that view all the time. He watched for a while and told me: "It's even better than super heroes!" I thought that was pretty cool.


Some very big news

As of yesterday, Cameron can officially....

(drum roll please)


Check it out:

We took Cam and Jordan out along a bike path in Brunswick, Maine this afternoon. All of this exciting bike bravery came about because of our next door neighbor Charlie. He's five and started really riding his bike a week or two ago on the road behind our coastal houses here in Maine. With Charlie riding on a bike nearby and a push of Cameron's bike by Dad to get it all started, Cameron was rolling. In less than 24 hours, Cameron was getting the bike moving on his own. During our bike trip this afternoon, Cam even steered the bike around without stopping. It's been an amazing transformation.

HOORAY! I can't wait to get out on the bike trails at home with my boy!


Enjoying the heck out of our vacation

Cameron is living it up on vacation... Of course we've had our periodic emotional outbreak. But on the whole, he's had some amazing experiences. I think I'll work our way backwards for all of the excitement.

After driving to New England for two days, we spent five days in New Hampshire camping in Crawford Notch in the White Mountains. Now we're on the coast of Maine. It's our third day here and we decided to take advantage of a sunny, warm day to visit a beach. It is so fun to watch Cameron get excited about water and running around in the waves. His sister is still wary but Cam had a BLAST. Not only did he spend a ton of time in the 53 degree water, he also spent a lot of time rolling around in the sand. It was SO messy but that's why God made showers. I let it slide. And Cameron did slide and climb and roll and dig and giggle in the sand. It was great. I still haven't been able to convince him to eat seafood, but we finally have a beach loving kid!

Before the beach, Cam was happy to climb around the rocks on the cove. He's so certain and confident, it's hard to tell him no when he wants to go down on his own. I'm not ready to let him go on his own. Maybe next year once his swimming skills are better. His climbing is great - I watched him do things on the rocks while wearing Crocs that should have never taken place. He somehow found a way to grip onto the rocks with those plastic shoes. I should have known better than to let him go down to the rocks with those shoes on! But he did great and he had all kinds of fun. He's also learning how to skip rocks! I can't wait for his first rock skipping time with his Grandpa. My dad is very good - he has decades of rock skipping practice.

Cam got some great rock skipping tips from his uncle while we were camping. Uncle Barry hung out with us for three out of the five days we were camping in Crawford Notch. We had a wonderful campsite that was right next to the Saco River. We had all kinds of fun throwing (and skipping) rocks. Cam, Barry, Randy and Jordan even floated down the river a number of times. Cameron got so good at it, he started floating on his own! That was so fun to watch. Our floats were so big, Cam had a hard time steering! There were so many amazing highlights of the trip. Cam got to bike with me on the Franconia Notch bike trail, swim near The Basin in Franconia Notch, visit The Flume, ride the tram up to Cannon Mountain and hike the Ridge Trail, ride the 8 mile auto road up to the peak of Mt. Washington, hike up a mountain to see the largest waterfall in New Hampshire and even got to cook hot dogs over the campfire! So many cool experiences. I really think he likes camping and I love that.

We have a bunch more days here in Maine and we're sure to have some more fun experiences. I'll try to take some time out to post a few more stories here.


So big and so small

We're driving... We're driving a lot as we head towards the northeast for a long vacation. Cam has grown so much that his head pops up in the rear view mirror. It's one those kinds of little things that remind us how freaking big he's getting.

Speaking of big, last Thursday I took the kids to the dentist. It's the first time they went together and Jordan got to watch her brave brother. He was so good getting his teeth cleaned, flossed, x-rayed and fluoride treated. The teeth look good. I talked to his dentist about how Cam grinds LOUDLY at night and how I think it may play a role in his moodiness lately. The dentist said many kids grind a lot when they have new teeth coming in or even when they have cavities (Cam has no cavities). Cam does have his six year old adult molars coming in and it may play a role in his recent grumpiness.

Who knows. He is doing relatively well on the car trip. Just like last year, the DVDs seem to keep the kids happier than any of the other awesome options I created for them. Oh well.

A couple of funny moments. We were driving into Illinois when Cameron asked if we were in New Hampshire. Ha. If only it took two hours to get there. When we got into our hotel in Ohio last night, Cam rushed over to the ironing board and touched it. He kind of jumped back in surprise. He looked at me a little embarrassed and told me he thought it was a surf board. I guess that's a sign I don't iron clothes enough.


Summer school and stuff like that

Cameron's summer is going pretty well. His summer school started last week... And it ends for him this Friday since we're going on vacation. He's had a hard time trying to hold onto his emotions... And as usual, it's up to him to figure out a way to fix this problem... Boy is it hard to not get angry. I'm doing my best to stay calm.

An interesting turn of events took place this past week while I was at a conference. The kids started bickering. Not a little, but a lot. They're at each other's necks one moment and they're playing really well the next. Randy and I have noted the fighting only happens when the parents aren't nearby. I've recommended Cameron walk away from some of the battles... and I've told him to hold his own in others. It just depends on the situation.

Cam is super excited for our vacation. I think we all are. We're looking forward to camping and hiking and exploring. We're also excited to hang out in Maine for a while. It's the best time of the year for the family! Minimal work, lots of outside time... And we get to personally enjoy many of our nation's highways. (I said that part sarcastically) The new battles between the kids will make this extra tricky... But I'm going to put on my patience cap and hope for the best.


Super cool

I took Cam to the pool this afternoon to enjoy some real vacation time. He and I went to a local indoor pool since it was raining outside. This was the first time he and I have gone to a pool where we actually had fun!!

We floated around (he used a kick board a lot) and get this: HE EVEN WENT DOWN THE SUPER HUGE SLIDE! Not once. Not twice. He went down FOUR times! I'm so proud. He's still not a pro at swimming yet, but he's getting braver every moment. I'm really excited.

Plus, we had some fun Cam and Mom time. That's also pretty great!


My baby isn't a kindergartener anymore

Can you believe it?

I can't.


Look at this bravery!

There's something about becoming an almost first grader that has inspired Cam to do brave things. To celebrate the summer, we bought a thing called a skim board run. It's like a slip and slide but it lets the water sit in a shallow pool and you have 26 feet of space to skim across the water on a small surfboard thing. Cameron spent a lot of time trying to do it himself. It was amazing to watch. He was okay with falling down and laughed even when you know it had to hurt! But the bravery didn't end there.

We took a really nice (yet steamy) bike ride down the Katy Trail. Cameron is enjoying our new bike extension and it's giving our family a chance to really enjoy biking together (although Jordan doesn't like just sitting in the trailer). Cam was adventurous during the trip. He was picking up baby frogs and climbing around on a fence. Randy and I just looked at each other and asked: "Who is this kid?" I'm a fan of the adventurous Cam but it's also reason for me to be more concerned for his safety!


The big Cameron and Camryn match up

Cameron and Camryn met face to face in a big Cardinals versus Cubs t-ball game last night. Her mom and I have joked about what a big deal this game was. Actually, it was just cool to hang out.

Cam is getting ready to wrap up his Kindergarten year at school. It's exciting... and a little scary to figure out how I'm going to keep Cam busy before summer school starts. He's looking forward to spending time with me at work. I'm hoping to find ways to keep him from surfing the web the entire time. Exhausting, but I just want him to be happy and not obsess on media like he can when he has a lot of time online. By the way, he looked at me and announced: "Mom, I'm almost a first grader. That means I'm almost really big." Then he told Jordan that she can be big too one day when she goes to first grade. Clearly, he's looking forward to being "big."


Getting active as best we can

I have this newish rule - We have to go outside (the kids and I and Randy if he wants) once a weekend. To help with that "rule," I bought a bike extension for my new bike so Cam could ride on our local bike trails without screaming. So the whole family jumped on board the bikes (Jordan in the bike trailer) and took a really long trek. We ended up at a local park that has a really fun water spray area. To make it even more fun, a pre-school and now elementary school friend was there so they got to enjoy the water together.

Once we talked Cameron out of the water, the whole family went to a nearby restaurant and ate outside. We kind of pushed it... It was almost dark as we rode our bikes as quickly as possible back to the the parking lot where we started. Cam pedaled as hard as he could. It was awesome. The best part was as he and I pedaled down the trail and he said: "I'm the fastest biker ever! I love biking!" I can't wait for him to feel the same way on his own bike! Until then, we finally have the ability to enjoy bikes without feeling like we're bleeding him to get from here to there. HOORAY!!


Class walking field trip

Cameron asked Jordan and I to join his class (and the other three Kindergarten classes) on a walking trip to the little gardens that are nearby. I love it over there and couldn't pass up the chance. Of course I took things up a notch and created a little scrapbook (at Scrapblog) from the pictures I took. Enjoy!

If you can't see it, you're welcome to click here to watch (even in fullscreen)


Cameron's T-ball Interview

Last Friday I had a chance to play with a Flip camera and interview Cameron before his big t-ball game. Here are the things he likes about the game:

And here's an example of Cam's AWESOME ability to hit!

Batter Up! from NerdyMom on Vimeo.


Goodbye training wheels

...and hello a new level of bravery!

Not only did Cam work on riding a bike without training wheels, he also lost his second tooth.




Cam had an exciting but trying day today. We started the morning by clearing out the garage and Cam didn't like the idea of helping. He was much more interested in playing with the stuff we dug out of the garage. But after he got over that and took a good nap, he got to go to the movies with his dad to watch: Speed Racer! Cam couldn't stop talking about it. Randy says the movie was created for six year old boys. I'm kind of glad Jordan and I did something different.

In my opinion, the coolest moment of the day was after I found a turtle hanging out in the middle of the street in front of our house. I brought it over to the kids and Cameron actually WANTED to pick that guy up. He was a little unsure, but he did it. I was so proud. And boy did Cam want to keep that turtle. Instead, the kids and I took him into the woods. Hopefully Speedy (as Cameron named him) will stay in the woods and stay out of the road.


I feel so sneaky

So... In my quest to celebrate Cam's new tooth loss, I snuck into his room with four shiny quarters and took his tooth from under his pillow. I'm not exactly sure what you're supposed to do with a used tooth. I seem to recall I collected a bunch of them in an old pill bottle when I was a kid. Anyway, I snuck in without waking Cam and I knew he'd be excited.

He was SO excited that he had to show off his "one hundred" cents to me at 6am this morning.

Six in the morning.

Ugh. I told him I was SO excited for him except it was six and he needed to go back to bed. I went back to sleep. I'm pretty sure he didn't. I found him reading a stack of Highlights magazines when I went to check on him at seven.


It's out!

I mustered all the courage I could and smiled as I pulled out Cam's first tooth. He giggled and bounced around the house, hitting every mirror he could find to look at the hole in his teeth. We rushed to put that tiny tooth under his pillow for the ill-conceived Tooth Fairy's visit tonight.

It was a pretty exciting morning! Now I have to look around the house for some quarters.

**UPDATE** I found the quarters AND Cam came home with another wiggly tooth! He is so excited about this new sign that he's getting big. Now, just wish me luck as I try to sneak in and plop those quarters under his pillow.


Hi Alltop!

I just posted about my excitement of becoming a part of Alltop Moms on Jordan's blog. But I just wanted to say hi to anyone who comes to visit here as well. I'm honored to be tapped as a mom blogger (thanks Coffman).

In Cam updates - the wiggly tooth is still outrageously wiggly. He offered me a chance to pull it out yesterday and I quietly got sick to my stomach when I tried to help. GROSS. I don't know how I'm going to get past this one. So far, he has no clue how freaked out I am about wiggly teeth. I'm hoping to keep it from him so he can grow to be a brave wiggly tooth kid. I'd hate for my fear to spread to him (he has enough fears thankyouverymuch).


Cam's team

We had the official little league season kick off today. That included the official team photo (here is a non-official but similar looking photo)

And here's the kids being goofy:

I don't know how it happened. But I went to today's big t-ball event without any CAMERAS! I don't know how that happened. Luckily I had my phone. It's good to have back up.


BIG news

Mr. Cam has big news everyone.


Cameron has a wiggly tooth. And he doesn't really know what to do about it. He was SO excited to tell me about his big tooth news after the middle of his first inning at t-ball. He spent the rest of his time on and off the field wiggling the tooth. It's a really big deal.

Now I'm going to be honest.

I'm putting on a very brave face about this tooth thing. First, I think it's crazy that we're going to have to create another fake character just to fit in with our culture: the Tooth Fairy. It's stupid but Randy doesn't want Cam to become "that kid." So we'll do the Tooth Fairy. Also, since I'm being honest... I am totally grossed out by loose teeth. I'm acting all cool about it but every time I see a wiggly tooth, I feel weak. I've offered to help him get his tooth out. I'll be brave. But I'm totally pretending. Inside my head, I'll be screaming.

As for his big game... Cam did great. The team did great. We're really starting to figure out how help prep a team for the season. It's very exciting to watch these kids having fun. Some of the highlights: He got to run all of the bases each time he was at bat. He actually paid attention when he was out in the field - sometimes. He paid SO much attention that he actually TAGGED A KID OUT!! (see the picture to the right - that's his reaction right after it happened) We were very proud and excited. There was no crying, just smiles and a bit of unfocus. And I'm totally okay with that.


T-ball excitement

It's interesting what happens when you're suddenly dropped into helping coach a t-ball team... And you never played t-ball a day in your life. Cam had another exciting day of t-ball practice and this time he actually had to listen to me. As the coach, he actually did listen. Maybe I should be the coach all the time.

The trials and tribulations of being a six year old is relatively challenging. I'm trying really hard to be in his position... Especially since his sister took to tattling on him all the time this weekend. Sometimes she tells the truth so he can't get away with the little pushes and shoves he apparently is doing behind my back. It's fascinating to suddenly know what's going on behind my back. It's exhausting.

At the same time, they're playing together more and communicating better with each other. This summer's big planned vacation (where they will sit next to each other for hours at a time in the family minivan) will be very, very interesting. (I say this with high hopes of a positive experience.)


Bowling and parenting

I am a tough mom. I believe in tough love. I love my kids with all my heart. It breaks my heart when my child does something wrong at home or at school. Cam made a bad choice at school yesterday... And I knew we had to deal with it by making a point. He had a field trip today and I had decided at first to prevent him from going on his field trip all together. But after talking to Randy (who is out of town - he's always out of town when we have an incident at school) and Cam's teacher, I decided that he should go bowling, but not to the after-bowling park trip.

It made a point. We had a ton of fun bowling, but Cam was SUPER upset about not going back on the bus to play at the park.

The whole thing was emotionally taxing and I still feel a little spent. I'm looking forward to a weekend where the kids and I can play, sleep (I hope we all take naps) and play.... And maybe clean a little.


Cam's party

I'm still playing catch up from Cam's birthday party ... But if you compare the release of this video, I'm actually WAY ahead. The video we got of his party last year is still on a tape. I borrowed a new camera from work where the video was recorded digitally and it prompted me to actually edit something together. Here are some of the video highlights of his day:

Cameron's 6th birthday party from NerdyMom on Vimeo.


Busy Earth Day

Cameron was outside constantly on this Earth Day -- exactly what you would hope for. We enjoyed Earth Day as best we could after I lost Randy for an hour (long story short - I stink). The kids enjoyed popsicles and some of the events including this picture -- a very large Earth that kids can jump onto. Cam loved it.

He had a successful t-ball practice with Randy. I didn't go this time around since Jordan was napping. Next week I'll be there for sure.

Cam also got to play with some of the neighborhood kids just before bed... It was kind of cool. They all gathered in our backyard and ran around for a while. I even got to chat with the parents. Adult conversation! How cool is that? (Sorry Randy, I know I talk to you... but you know what I mean) Hopefully it's a sign of more neighborhood playtime as we get into summer mode.


Getting back

We're back in town after a long trip for work... So Cam and Jordan got to play with their grandparents.

So the first day I get to send Cam off to school, he snuck his iPod into his classroom. Bad move.

His teacher was kind enough to just take it from him for safe keeping. I let her know that he shouldn't get it back without her handing it to me -- So Cam had to go a day without it. She never chastised him - but when I picked him up from school, he was very sorry for sneaking it in. He says he learned a lesson.

I know I did. I'll search his bag much better every morning - just in case.

By the way - I missed him a ton and it's so cool to be home again. He's taken to trying to parent his sister -- He was doing it before we left town, but it seems like he's taken it to a higher level. What's scary is the tone he uses with his sister is exactly my Mommy-in-charge tone.

I sound really strict.


Flickr has video!!

I had to try out Flickr's new video service. Here's a little interview I had with Cameron the morning of his birthday.


Let the T-ball season begin!

Cam's team had its first practice today... I got a chance to meet a bunch of new parents while Randy and a few other dads got to work with the kids. A lot of our team goes to Cam's school so he's very excited about that. Who know if Cam will take to the sport this year, we have high hopes.

Cameron tells me that he can't wait for the next little league season - when the grown ups pitch and there's an actual score. He really doesn't like the whole "everyone is a winner" thing.


Birthday fun

Cam had his big birthday party today - We had a TON of fun. The theme was a Wii bowling party. The kids had a chance to play bowling on two different TVs - one in the "man cave/basement" and the other in my reading room/living room. I borrowed a second Wii from a student.

By the way -- We had 15 kids total at the house. 15. That's a lot of kids. Well, there was a little baby. If we include her we had 16. Some parents dropped the kids off, others hung out and enjoyed the fun. We are friends with really cool parents... Or my kid is friends with kids who have really cool parents. Either way, it was fun.

In the end, most kids ended up playing in the backyard - which was my main goal. I just wanted a chance to let the kids run around and have fun. The only crying: two of the kids just didn't want to go home. Other than that, there was a lot of laughing, running and dodge ball/bubble chasing.

I make a point to not accept gifts at Cam's parties - He already has SO many toys. It feels good to have a lot of fun and not require parents to bring stuff. What's really cool is how many kids brought handmade cards and drawings. I got video of Cam going through all of this cards after everyone went home. He thanked each and every kid as if it was as special as a toy. I think friendships are more important than the toy. And if you visited my house, you'd see how Cam already has everything a kid ever wanted.

Speaking of everything a kid ever wanted: Cam got an iPod Nano for his birthday. It's one that I won in a video contest. I bought a REALLY great skin to keep it from breaking from the brute force of a six year old. Check out iFrogz. I was really impressed with what we got. I also got a cool one called Audiowrapz for Jordan. I highly recommend it!

We had a really great birthday week for Mr. Cam. On his birthday, we had special birthday doughnuts and I even surprised him at school at lunchtime. He's been begging me to eat with him, so he was really excited. We took him out to dinner and he loved all of the really cool things he got from his family. Along with the iPod, he got some awesome outdoors gear to help with all of our hikes and explorations. He's feeling very special and I'm so glad to see him excited and happy.


Big party

Wow. I've always invited a few more kids to Cam's birthday party than I should -- since we rarely have every person accept the invitation. But this year -- ummm. It's going to be a packed house. We have 10 kids - including some siblings. That means I will have 12 or so kids running around the house. PLEASE PLEASE be sunny outside! Add the the parents and this is going to be a zoo.

I like zoo parties to be honest. I hope we just have fun running around. That's my favorite kind of party. But I'm starting to think that I need a second Wii so no one gets upset because they can't play.

I also have some outside bowling games. And I'm thinking of buying inexpensive balls for each kid again this year because we had SO much fun playing grown up vs. kid dodge ball.

I think this year is going to be a blast!