Saturday, January 7, 2012


The picture above is our LAST Mommy/Daughter picture of 2011. Wow - 2011 is finished. In reflecting back on all that 2011 had in store for us I have so many emotions.

The first emotion is happiness and I literally can't stop smiling and giggling over all of the things that have brought me joy in 2011. Cami learned to walk, Cami learned to run, Cami learned to put together strings of words, Cami has a sense of humor (I love it when she waves her hand and says "Gus farted" even when he didn't because she wants a laugh), Cami says things that melt my heart like "Mommy, I love you", "Don't be sad, Mommy", and "Have a good day at work, Mommy" etc., and most importantly of all, Cami and Jon both ended 2011 the healthiest they both have been in the past 2 years!

I also have a bit of anxiety in looking back on 2011. What caused anxiety for me in 2011? Here are a few: Cami had 3 hospital stays, 1 trip to the ER, 9 strep infections and 2 surgeries (1st for just ear tubes and the 2nd to replace ear tubes and remove tonsils and adenoids), became resistant to all antibiotics for treating strep, confirmed a peanut allergy after a blood test and a skin test showed us scary results, diagnosed with an eye condition (acommodative esotropia) and got glasses at the age of 2 (being the trooper she is, thankfully she took beautifully to them) and I started back to work full time.

After reading and reflecting on the list of challenging things in 2011 that our family dealt with, I honestly wouldn't go back and change anything. Yes there were days when I cried uncontrollably and asked God why he gave me the challenges he has. Yes there were MANY days when I wanted (and still want) to take away the medical conditions for both my daughter and my husband. Yes there were many days when I held total pity parties for myself for having to deal with all of this. Despite that, I firmly believe that every single one of the challenges we have dealt with have made our family stronger, despite making our bank account more broke.

The most important thing is that we all ended 2011 happy, healthy and ready for a fresh start. Cami hasn't shown any signs of strep and/or ear infections since August and Jon is stopping his steroids in February because his kidney function levels have improved so much. Jon and I both have great full time jobs and Cami is at a daycare that we couldn't possibly love and trust any more. We. Are. Blessed.

Happy 2012! We hope 2012 continues to bring our family more blessings, health, giggles and smiles.

( First Picture of 2012 - I just LOVE how happy we are!)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

So, Christmas 2011 has come and gone. We had a very busy but wonderful Christmas.

We started the season out with LOTS of oo'ing and ahhh'ing about the Christmas Tree.
We also did a lot of talking, reading and more talking about Santa Claus. Cami seemed to have the right idea...check out the pic below. Her shirt says "I've been good, just ask Grandma."
We did lots of festive Christmas things such as attend the Bull Run Festival of Lights, sing lots of Christmas songs, wrap presents and Cami's favorite...decorating the tree. Here she is checking out some ornaments.

Christmas Eve was fun but exhausting. Cami didn't get a nap because we had to get ready and get to church extra early for a decent seat on the aisle so we could cater to her antsy self and keep her in church for the entire time. Needless to say, not having a nap was hard for her and she fell fast asleep on our way to church.
Christmas morning was magical. Cami was amazed that Santa came to visit her and she was THRILLED with her new kitchen that he brought her. Jon and I had so much fun enjoying Christmas through the eyes of our own child. That has to be one of the best feelings.
In two days we will be going down to Jon's parents so that we can do Christmas all over again. We got word that Santa made a special stop there for Cami too!

We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas Day!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Our Latest Adventure

Our latest adventure has a new medical issue for Cami. We noticed a few months back that Cami's left eye was turning inwards a bit when she looked at things close up and/or when she was tired. We finally made it to the Opthamologist for this issue and found out that Cami has accomodative esotropia. The Opthamologist informed us that Cami would need glasses to (hopefully) fix the problem. He said that in aout 80% of kids glasses will do the trick and fix the eye from moving inward, strengthen the eye muscle and then in a few years many kids can even be taken off of using glasses and have perfectly normal vision. This is our hope!

Soooooo...with the news of the latest medical condition for Cami we began the hunt for glasses. I definitely underestimated the difficulty of finding glasses for a petite two year old. We went to a variety of places and this is what we found.
All of the glasses seemed to be swimming on her and literally sliding off her face. After much research and looking around we found out that it is impossible to find cute wire framed glasses for children as small as Cami. She needed a size 38 and the smallest wire frames made were a size 42. We did the best we could and found Cami the cutest and ugliest frames we could find. I just keep reminding myself that her friends can't make fun of her yet because she's still too small and also that next year we can upgrade to cuter frames. For now though, these are the frames we had to go with.

We ordered the frames in a cute lavender color so that it will look better with her skin color than the gray frames they had in the store to try on. The upside is that the frames are rubber and therefore virtually indestructible. Let's hope the transition to wearing glasses full time is an easy one. Look for an update in the next week or two when her REAL lenses and frames come in. Wish us all luck in the transition process!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cookie Monster

Last Sunday my Mom came over and we decided to make some homemade chocolate chip cookies. Cami LOVED the entire process and she couldn't have been more helpful. She began by checking everything out.

She then took on the responsibility of 'stirring' up the dough. She took this job VERY seriously!

Once the dough was stirred Cami decided to take it upon herself to make sure the cookie dough tasted a-okay. She gave the ultimate approval by eating endless amounts of cookie dough - THAT'S MY GIRL! :-)After Cami ate endless amounts of raw cookie dough she decided she was a bit thirsty. She came to me and very clearly said, "Cami thirsty, Cami want milk". Let's be honest - who doesn't enjoy a good glass of milk after eating cookie dough?
When the cookies were finally finished baking we enjoyed them for days to come. Cami LOVES chocolate chip cookies and we LOVED making the memories of making chocolate chip cookies for the first time with the help of Cami. We look forward to doing it again, and again, and again, and ( get the point).

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Photo Montage Update

I know that I haven't updated much lately and I REALLY am going to try and change my ways. In order to catch you all up on what's been happening with Cambria since August I decided to do one post with a photo montage of what has been happening. Here goes nothing...

Late August Cami was admitted to Fairfax hospital for the 3rd time in her short little life. This time she was admitted due to a strep infection that became resistant to all oral antibiotics and they had to admit her to administer IV antibiotics and also to come up with a plan for how to handle future strep infections. The ENT came to the hospital each day she was there and it was determined that although risky for her age, we NEEDED to have her tonsils out for fear of another strep infection that would NOT clear up even with IV antibiotics. The two photos below are from Cami's hospital stay during this escapade.

Because Cambria's surgery was scheduled for 4 weeks after we were released from the hospital we had to be EXTRA cautious about germs for fear that she would get strep again before her surgery. We did not want to end up back in the hospital again and have to postpone surgery and even her ENT didn't have a real clear idea of what we would do if she contracted strep again before surgery. Needless to say, the next month was stressful for all of us and included a lot of laundry, hand washing, hand sanitizer, clorox wipes, etc.

In between hospital stays Mommy and Daddy managed to escape for a MUCH needed weekend away to the Outer Banks for Jon and Crystal's wedding. We were so thankful to have the weekend together and to relax by the ocean, laugh together and just enjoy eachother's company without other stressors added in. Thanks to Gimi and Gipi McNamee for taking PERFECT care of our girl while we were gone!

We did sneak out to have some fun the weekend before her surgery thanks to Gimi and Gipi (Grandma and Grandpa McNamee) to attend Yo Gabba Gabba Live at the Patriot Center. As you can see from Cami's face below she was in total shock and disbelief that her favorite TV characters were actually live in front of her. We had a fun night and we couldn't have asked for a better stress relief for Cami and Mommy and Daddy the weekend before her surgery.

Monday, October 3rd, 2011 Cami went in bright and early to Fairfax Hospital to have her tonsils and adenoids removed and her ear tubes replaced. We were SOOOOO nervous for this surgery because of how risky it was for a child her age and the risk factors associated with bleeding, her SVT, etc. Cami was in surgery for just over an hour and we were so relieved when the surgeon came into the recovery area to let us know that all went perfectly. He told us that her tonsils were large and that her adenoids were blocking more than 75% of the back of her throat and that he was really glad he made the decision to do the adenoids too. We couldn't wait to get back to the recovery area to snuggle our girl and get recovery underway. Here are a few pictures from Cami post-surgery in the hospital.
The two weeks after Cami's surgery was a painful recovery for all involved. I (Mommy) took off work for the entire week after her surgery and boy am I glad I did. We had 5 nights of no sleep, 2 full weeks of gagging and vomiting, endless amounts of tears and pain, numerous bottles of tylenol and prescription pain relievers and LOTS and LOTS of rocking and snuggling. When Mommy had to go back to work Daddy took a few days and Gimi McNamee was an angel and took 2 days off of work as well to take care of our little angel. Although we were stuck at home dealing with a child recovering from surgery for two weeks we managed to get some Halloween preparation underway. We somehow managed to carve a pumpkin and roast pumpkin seeds (please excuse the bags under my eyes, my non washed hair and my sweatshirt that probably has throw up on's the glamorous life of being Cami's Mommy).

Almost two weeks to the day from her surgery Cami turned 2! On her birthday she was definitely feeling better and had more energy than she had since her surgery. I went out and got fresh Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast and she devoured an entire chocolate donut (don't worry - I made darn sure there weren't any rough edges on any pieces to harm her throat). She got 3 balloons and you would have sworn she had died and gone to heaven and she celebrated with having vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and caramel sauce since she still had to have a soft diet. Although we didn't have a party for her this year, we are thankful she will never really remember this and we promise to make it up to her anyway next year when she turns 3. :-)
Here's the birthday girl after her chocolate donut...

And here is our little 2 year old at her 2 year pictures. I can't post all 73 pictures but they all are AMAZING!
After surgery and birthday celebrations we really started getting into the Halloween spirit. Cami was a butterfly and she had an amazing time trick-or-treating. She would knock on the doors and we will work for next year on waiting until someone answers the door to say "trick-or-treat". We will also work on being less nosey about what is going on in other peoples houses when they answer the door with treats. Numerous times Cami was heard saying "ohh - they watching TV" and "look at the dog" or "they doing laundry". Ohhhh our girl.

Two days after our fun Halloween Cami spiked a fever and was feeling miserable. She developed a hoarse voice and awful cough and after a late night Pediatrician appointment it was confirmed that Cami had a bad case of croup. On the bright side - they also did a strep test at the Dr. because her throat was red but the strep test came back negative. Thank god - the surgery appears to be working! It was our first negative strep test in over a year. They gave Cami a dose of oral steroids in the Pediatricians office because of her labored breathing, I took off the next 2 days to snuggle and care for my sick girl and she appears to be back on the mend tonight. She still doesn't have much of an appetite but she is getting a bit more energy each day. Here she is snuggling on the couch with her big brother.
Okay - I think that about catches us up to today. Now hopefully I can post as things happen rather than waiting for another marathon photo montage post. Thanks for hanging in there and catching up with us!! Here's to Cami's third year of life being the healthiest thus far!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Look Who's Two!!!

Dear Cambria,

Wow - two years old! I can hardly believe the time has passed so quickly. When I look at this picture above of you in your new two year old body I am overcome with so many different emotions: an immense amount of love and adoration, sadness, fear and never ending amounts of joy and happiness. Let me explain...

Love. You are my definition of love. Every time I look at you I grow more in love with you. I think everyone that comes in contact with you loves you just as much as me. When we had your two year pictures taken (the photo above is one from this shoot) the photographer even said that you "stole a piece of her heart". You have that way about you. You are sweet, funny, caring, inquisitive, strong willed and becoming more and more independent by the day. There's really no other way to describe how much I love you. I just want you to know forever that I will love and adore you just as much in the future as I do today.

Sadness. Although I love to see you grow and change it makes me a little bit sad at the same time. In the two years since your birth our little family has been through a whole lot medical wise. Between taking care of your Daddy and you I feel as though I may not have enjoyed every moment with you as I should have. This makes me a bit sad. I wish I had a rewind button and could go back to relive and cherish every moment again and again. Also - as I'm sure every Mom agrees, it's just plain hard for me to watch my little grow up. Can't I just freeze you and keep you little for a while longer?

Fear. Look at you - you are ADORABLE. This scares me. Some day some boy is going to think the same thing and Daddy and I are going to be in trouble. I also fear that as you grow you will encounter mean people and things in this world and I want to save you from all of that. I fear that you will be let down and encounter sadness as you grow and change. Although I know its a normal part of growing up this gives me, your Mom, great fear. I NEVER want to see my little girl sad, hurt, broken hearted, etc.

Lastly, never ending amounts of joy and happiness. Look at your smile - you are the definition of joy and happiness. Despite all of your hospitalizations (SVT, cellulitis, strep infection, ear tubes, tonsils/adenoids removed) you are so happy and content. You are the most resilient and trusting two year old I know. You see the good in people and already at only two years old you show caring and compassion for others. Whenever someone needs a smile you are right there to offer one. It brings me so much joy and happiness to watch you learn new things. You LOVE to read and explore nature outside. Although you are becoming more and more independent you are still most happiest when Mommy and Daddy are close by. You have brought more joy and happiness into my life in the past two years than I ever could have imagined.

Cambria, thank you from the bottom of my heart for teaching me so much about life and love in the past two years. I could not have asked God to have given me a more perfect daughter. You are my WHOLE world! Happy 2nd birthday - I love you!!!


Friday, July 29, 2011

Sleping Beauty

One thing that Cambria inherited from me is definitely her love for sleep. She is an excellent sleeper and I could not be more thankful for that. As long as she feels well and nothing is bothering her then she needs a solid 12 hours at night and then she takes one nap in the afternoon that ranges from 2-3.5 hours! It's glorious!!

Now - onto her sleeping habits. When she sleeps she has be 'cozy'. Last week when I took her up for her nap she was dressed in a tank top and jean shorts because the weather was 105 degrees outside. As soon as she saw her crib she said "No, cozy Mommy" and she whined until I put her in a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt.

She must sleep with her care bear blanket and her little stuffed dog, Violet, that sings her lullabies. At night she has a little ladybug that puts stars on the ceiling in various colors that she has to have on in order to fall asleep.

She is a creature of habit too (another thing she inherited from her Mom) and we must say prayers before nap time and then again at night before she goes to sleep and she always says "Amen" at the end and has just recently started saying "Jesus Amen" when she hears us say "In Jesus name we pray, Amen".

Now for a Mommy confession: I LOVE watching Cami sleep. If you know Cami then you know she does NOT sit still. She is soooo busy and is constantly moving and so when she does finally fall asleep it is the most peaceful thing ever to just watch her little body rest. I couldn't love that sleeping beauty any more, that's for sure!