Dear Camille… This Thanksgiving Will Be Different

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Dear Camille,

It’s been a very long time since I have written you and before I tell you why this will be a better Thanksgiving, I have to update you on all your milestones. I have been keeping myself busy so that you can have an even better Thanksgiving this year than you did last year. The last time I wrote you was just after your first Christmas and A LOT has changed since then. Sorry it has been so long. You’ve been RUNNING everywhere and have picked up a ton of words such as shoes (“ishes” as you like to call them), Jesus, Momma, Papa, Nana, bar, ball, bottle, cookie, cheese, chicken, brother (“bruba”), no, woof, puppy, and many more. You also know where your hair, eyes, nose, toes, ears, mouth, belly button, and hands are! You are so smart!!!

You’ve been climbing on EVERYTHING and love being around your brother. In fact, you can’t even walk by him without hugging him and kissing him on the head. It’s one of the sweetest things we’ve ever seen. He smiles more for you than he does for anyone and yesterday he just made his first real laugh. He’s super happy in general, but by far the happiest when he’s around you.

So let me tell you why this Thanksgiving will be different. A few years ago, before you were even born, I knew that I wanted to give your mom the opportunity to be home with you all the time. I knew that before I even knew your mom. So I removed all excuses and went to work so that when I met your mom she could have that opportunity. I was able to make that happen in a short amount of time and I thought that if I could accomplish that goal then all would be good; however, after you were born something changed. I still wanted your mom home with you, but that wasn’t going to be good enough for my little girl. You deserved much more than to just have your mom home with you.

Every day as I would leave to go to my job I would kiss you goodbye probably 50 times and you would smile. Then when you could stand up you would stand in the window of the door crying and screaming “Daddy!” every day as I left. It broke my heart to leave you every day. There were many mornings when I had to fight back tears backing out of the driveway and some mornings when I lost that fight. Then throughout the day I would watch you grow up through pictures or videos that your mom would send me while I was at work and it would tear me up even more. I would have the hour after I got home from work to spend with you and the majority of that was feeding you, bathing you, and then putting you to bed. It wasn’t enough for you and it wasn’t enough for me.

Then when your brother was born I took 12 weeks off of work and it hit me. Why not just always be home with your mom and the two of you? After talking it over with your mom we have decided that we would both be home to raise you and your brother and that is why this Thanksgiving will be better than the last. So instead of just enjoying the holiday weekend and then going back to a job on Monday only to see you cry in the doorway, I will wake up Monday to get you out of bed, hug you, kiss you, feed you breakfast, take you to the park or even chase you around the house because I can. I no longer have anyone telling me that I have to come into work from 8:00 to 5:00. I no longer have to ask off for vacation to take you to fun trips around the country. I have fired the boss and given up the 40 hour work week so that now we can always be on vacation my little love! We no longer live life on someone else’s terms. We live life on our own terms. Happy Thanksgiving Sweetheart!

I love you,

“Dada”

Dear Camille, Your First Christmas…

Dear Camille,

Your first Christmas was AWESOME! It was great for many reasons and one is because on Christmas day you turned NINE MONTHS old! We can’t believe how fast you’re growing. It’s so neat to see you learn and watch you think. If there is a way to pause you at this age just a little bit longer I’m going to do it. Everything is going by too fast. So it’s been bittersweet.

We put the Christmas decorations up right after Thanksgiving and because you can crawl now your mom and I thought you’d be pulling all of the low hanging ornaments off of the tree. To our surprise we made it all the way through Christmas without that happening AND THEN you suddenly became very interested in the glass ones. I must say, determination must run in the genes because you sure have it girl. There was nothing mommy could do to keep you from the gold ornaments. Just look at your determination!535346_702131521970_2497673959976117419_n
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You were given a lot of cool gifts including a little nativity scene, which you apparently thought was a nativity snack since all you did was chew all the pieces. Gram and Papa gave you pajamas that you’ve already worn multiple times. Nonnie and Papa got you some books, which you’ve also turned into snacks and plenty of toys (I’m sure to chew on as well). Your mom and I got you the best gift of all though! While Uncle Ryan was FaceTiming Gram and Papa so they could see you open your pajamas, we gave you a pajama shirt that we kept secret from everyone else. It said, “The Best big Sister.” That’s right, your mom and I gave you the gift of a baby brother or sister! 🙂 We are not sure when you are going to find out because your mom and I are in a debate as to whether we should find out early or when your baby sibling is born. I want to wait, but your mom can’t keep secrets from herself. So who knows when we’ll find out. I’ll tell mom that you said you’re on #teamwait with daddy. 🙂

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We also went to your great grandmother’s house for Christmas dinner and you got to see the most Christmas bows you may ever see in your life. There had to be several hundred of them! We took a tour of the house and you got to see all of the decorations and pictures of when daddy, Uncle Ryan, Aunt Emily, and Nonnie and Papa were little. We also were reminded of how great of a man your great grandfather was. I wish you had a chance to meet him and I really wish he had a chance to meet you. I took a picture of when President Reagan wrote him a letter for some jeans he sent someone on the President’s behalf. Your dad’s family used to own a clothing company that your great-great-grandfather started all on his own. Did you know that you come from a long line of hard working successful entrepreneurs? Well, you do. Maybe that’s why daddy always knew he’d start his own business. The best part is, mom and I get to build our business together and we do that by helping other people. 🙂 You’ll get to be a part of it soon my love… in 17 years and 2 months. 🙂 Can’t wait for you to read all these letters! We need to teach you how to read soon!!!

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Love,

Dad

Dear Camille… It’s Been Months

Dear Camille,

It’s been months since I’ve written you to document your milestones. I’d like to blame it on the fact that your mom and I haven’t had a stretch of 3 or more hours of sleep any night the past several months, but honestly it’s because I haven’t focused on it. The good news is that I haven’t focused on it because I truly have just been enjoying watching you grow and learn. One day we are going to look back at all the videos I’ve taken of you and you’ll see how smart and funny you really are. Speaking of funny, you laugh ALL THE TIME! The video below is a perfect example:

See? I told ya. I bet you laughed again watching this. I’ve probably watched this one a hundred times!

Maybe while you’re cracking your mom up all day you can convince her to take a month milestone pick of you since we didn’t for the past few months. :/ Although she’ll probably be too busy making sure you don’t almost climb out of your crib again or get into EVERYTHING that you’re not supposed to and nothing that you’re supposed to. We didn’t even know you could pull yourself up in your crib. That was a surprise. We also didn’t know that you liked to eat the wooden railing of your crib. Maybe we’ll check and see if they have wood flavored baby food next time we go to the store. You’ve got to like it better than the peas and prunes baby food. Remember how you threw them up all over me? I smelled fantastic after that.

One thing that has remained the same since you were a tiny little bitty baby is that you still wake up with the biggest smile and are ridiculously happy in the morning! I think I know why you’re so happy and it has a lot to do with your mom. Did you know that she’s the most positive, encouraging, and faithful person that we know!? We know lots of people, but she takes the cake. Being around her as much as you are you can’t help but to let her positivity rub off on you.

You don’t know this yet, but you are a very blessed girl that your mom chose to be a full-time stay-at-home and work-from-home mom. Not many moms have the opportunity to be home with their Camille’s but yours does. She could go get a job if she wanted, but she decided instead to take the hardest job ever… taking care of and raising children full-time. Make sure you thank her for that every day.

Soon I will write you more letters with pictures of you growing up. You look JUST LIKE YOUR MOM! That means you’re beautiful and you even have way less teeth than her. 🙂 I’ll see you soon and when I do I’ll toss you in the air like you like me to do and carry you around the house on my shoulders. I know that’s your favorite.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Camille, Thank You For The Best Father’s Day!

Dear Camille,

You and mom made this Father’s Day so special! I’ll never forget it. It was very relaxing… just as I wanted it. Thank you for the most incredible breakfast I’ve ever had! I could eat those Paleo bacon and blueberry pancakes EVERY DAY! If you didn’t know by now, your mom’s cooking is DA BOMB! She said she’s going to teach you everything about cooking because she wants to see you on Master Chef, Jr. at the age of 8 (that’s the truth, #forreal). So when we start homeschooling I’m sure she’s going to make the culinary arts a mandatory course. 😉

Father's Day Breakfast Meal Paleo Blueberry Pancakes and Bacon Pancakes

I loved how you already have me figured me out too and there was no clearer way to show it than the way you did on Father’s Day. Your mom and I decided to record it the third time you pulled your little stunt. You know, the one where I’m holding you and you’re fine and the second I put you in your seat you throw a tantrum and then immediately stop crying right as I’m going to pick you up again. I’m sure you conveniently don’t remember that, so watch this:

As awesome as the breakfast and the entire rest of the day was, it couldn’t even come close to comparing how amazing it is to be your father. These last 3 months of being your dad have been the best 3 months of my life. You and your mom are always making me smile and laugh and are a constant reminder of how blessed I am to have you both in my life. You and I REALLY have to do it up right for Mother’s Day now because you and your mom really made me have such an incredible Father’s Day, especially with the gift from your Father’s Day photo shoot at Aunt Sarah’s.

First Father's Day

I love you little bean!

Daddy

Dear Camille, You Had Your First Beach Trip!

AdvoCare Kids on The Coast Incentive Trip

Dear Camille,

You had your first beach trip! It was the AdvoCare Kids on The Coast Trip and it was a blast! I’m sorry that you didn’t get to actually go ON the beach because of how hot it was outside, but at least you got to hangout in the cabana at the pool. The ceiling fan in the cabana was a nice touch. We were so blessed to spend time with 249 other families that we love and the best part about it was that we didn’t have to spend anything! That’s right, it was FREE! We’ll have to pay for Disney World though when we go, but that trip will mostly be for your mom. She’s a Disney fanatic. I’m sure you know that though since she plays Disney tunes for you every day. I’m sorry about that.

It was a 5 hour trip total, but we broke it up into two 2 1/2 hour trips since we got to stop at Nonnie and Papa’s for a weekend. You slept the entire trip there and then to Destin only waking up once to go potty. I still can’t believe it. You are an awesome traveler!

Out of the 250 families on the trip, there were over 300 kids and out of the 300+ kids on the trip, you had to be the most famous. Everyone loves you little angel. Not that you needed any help looking cute, but your bathing suit only added to your cuteness factor. Oh, and that flower hat… adorable! Here’s a pic of you climbing all over mom under the cabana and another when you were pretending to be shy:

AdvoCare Kids on The Coast Incentive Trip

AdvoCare Kids on The Coast Incentive Trip

 

You even made room for a snow cone… well, it was snow cone unflavored ice. You appeared to like it though.

AdvoCare Kids on The Coast Incentive Trip

While on the trip we had a chance to hangout with some pretty famous people. We got to see Trevor Bayne who drives the AdvoCare #6 car. I hope to God that you are never in a car that is even possible to go as fast as he drives. 🙂 He ate lunch with everyone and then played beach volleyball with us.

AdvoCare Kids on The Coast Incentive Trip

 

We also spent a good bit of time with one of our dear friends, Ron Reynolds. One day I’ll be able to explain to you how much this man has changed our lives and your future. He is the reason your mom and I have eliminated over $141,000 of debt in under 2 1/2 years. Here’s a picture of you with Ron. You blinked when I took the picture. 😉

Ron Reynolds debt buster AdvoCare Kids on The Coast Incentive Trip

One of our favorite parts of the trip was the pajama party movie night where we watched “Despicable Me.” Although that movie is pretty good, I think the best part was hanging out with you and mom in our pajamas.

AdvoCare Kids on The Coast Incentive Trip

AdvoCare Kids on The Coast Incentive Trip

Don’t worry that you slept through most of this trip because there will be many more trips like this my little one. You are a blessing to us and to everyone that knows you. Your smiles are contagious and your laughs are even more so. We love you so much and cannot wait until our next trip with you. Until then, there will be many days of lounging around the house in your little lounger with your mom playing Disney music and me reading you books.

Love you sweet angel,

Dad

P.S. Thank you for not pooping in the car when we changed you. I REALLY appreciate that.

Dear Camille, This Was Your First Easter!

Camille and Easter Baskets

Dear Camille,

This past Sunday was your first Easter! It was such a great day. Your mom and I took turns watching you so that we could both go to celebrate Easter mass. The Saturday night vigil was very special because a bunch of people were baptized, confirmed, and had their first communion and on Sunday morning YOU had your first Easter basket!

With it being our first Easter together I wanted it to be special. So I went to a local store and had baskets embroidered with all of our names on them and then made the poor decision to fill them with candy. The Crispy M&M’s have made their comeback and they became irresistible to mom and me so we both had a gigantic bag of them among other things. I knew it was a one time thing so I made a bigger mistake by trying to finish the entire family sized bag in one day so that I didn’t food cheat a second day. I don’t recommend doing that.

Normally the poor health choices for most people occur during the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas with all of the work, friend, and family get-togethers, work dinners, and cocktail parties. That’s not how it was for us. This Easter was a doozy. I did; however, keep one family tradition alive. I put toothbrushes in your mom’s and my basket. Your grandma used to do that for me. I think the dental hygienist in her couldn’t stand watching us eat all that sugar without giving us a chance to clean our teeth with a new brush. The only problem… that toothbrush isn’t going to fix the filth on the inside. It’s about time for another 24-Day Challenge.

By the way, you LOVED your basket so much that you made us take pictures of you modeling in front of it while wearing your sleep sack (see your silly self above). You also made us take pics of you smiling next to it. Just look at your smile!

Camille and Easter Baskets

After we saw what the Easter bunny brought us and you gave us a break during your modeling photo shoot, we showered and dressed you in your Easter gear. You looked so cute. We put that pink flowery headband on your head and then you just sat and stared at your basket.

Camille Easter

We knew you loved your modeling session so much that we hired a professional photographer with Big Leaps Photography to take pics of you the next day. Those pics will be much better than me and my phone. We can’t wait to get those pictures back!!! You looked adorable.

Have a good day love! I hope your tummy starts to feel better.

Dad

P.S. Please stop hoping in my bed and pretending you’re asleep. I know you’re faking it.

Baby Camille SLeeping

Dear Camille… YOU’RE HERE!

Me and Camille

Dear Camille… YOU’RE HERE!

Finally my little angel! Your mom and I have long awaited the moment we would hold you in our arms and kiss your little face (we waited 288 days to be exact) and now you’re here and more beautiful than we could ever imagine! I have already filled up my phone memory THREE times in 11 days with pictures and videos of you! Your little sneezes, hiccups, yawns, and sighs are HILARIOUS and cute as can be.

There was quite a long journey for you to get here, but when you arrived it was quite the entrance. I have to tell you all about the day you got here! The doctor originally said that he thought you’d be here on the same exact due date my doctors expected me, March 17th, but you and God had something else in store. When you didn’t get here on the 17th, the doctor told your mom he was going to give you a little push about a week later to try and get you to come early and you certainly had a surprise for us. We were scheduled to go to the delivery room at 8:00 p.m. the night the doctor was going to help and instead at 2:00 a.m. you decided to break your bag of waters, which led to your mom changing undies a billion times and your mom sitting on a plastic garbage bag on the way to the hospital. 😉

Your mom and I arrived at the hospital a little after 3:00 a.m. and the doctor showed up about a couple hours later. You weren’t giving your mom big enough contractions at that point so the doctor gave your mom a new deadline of 2:00 p.m. before he administered any drugs. So we prayed and prayed and prayed that you would cause your mom to have contractions before then and lo and behold at 1:30 p.m. you did, but they weren’t strong enough for the doctor’s liking so he set another deadline for 4:00 p.m. and at 3:30 you got fo’ real, but your mom is tough (I had no idea how tough until the day you came).

I wish you could’ve seen your mom bringing you into this world. She was incredible! On an empty stomach and on two hours of sleep, she turned down pain relievers and prayed through every contraction. The nurses couldn’t believe that she brought you here naturally and even told her that most women would be screaming and breaking things and your mom just sat there with her eyes closed, breathing steadily, and continued to pray. I’ve never been more proud of her. Here’s a picture of her hours before you were born:

Mom and natural birth

Within twenty minutes of your mom actively pushing, I was able to assist you out of your mom and into my hands… yes, I delivered you. I looked down at your beautiful face and told you, “We love you Camille.” Then I handed you over to your mom and cut your umbilical cord once it stopped pulsating. You’ve been gorgeous since the day you were born. By the way, you’re ridiculously strong! When we placed you on your mom’s tummy we were all shocked that you leapfrogged up to her neck. I mean…. you got some air girl! Your mom says you’re a Catalyst baby. Then within the first fifteen minutes you lifted your head up and looked around the room! I know you don’t realize how incredible that is right now, but you will one day. Most babies can’t do that for a while!

I took a video of you right when we brought you to the nursery for your bath. Here it is!

I have to tell you some other funny things. I told your mom that I wouldn’t be changing any diapers, but she didn’t know I was joking. I’ve changed almost all of them with your mom and I’ve been smart about it. You may have noticed that I stand on the north end of your rear end. 🙂 It prevents me from close encounters with any of your surprises. Your mom, on the other hand, stands to the south and you’ve already sprayed her twice with your poop. Hahaha! We’ve had a good laugh over that. I was pretty impressed with the first one and I’m pretty sure your mom was too. It was like a 3-foot horizontal poop fountain! Gross… but HILARIOUS!

The great news for your mom is that she gets to change more diapers than me right now because she is now a full-time stay-at-home mommy thanks to AdvoCare! Now she gets to be with you every day and raise you instead of paying someone else to teach you good morals and your ABC’s. 😉 It’s what your mom has always wanted and now it’s come to fruition! One day you’ll realize how much of a blessing that is.

By the way, you eat A LOT! One time you ate and then decided to pin your mom down and hold her hostage so she couldn’t get up from the bed. I took a video of that too:

Your journey has just begun and there’s much more to see and learn in this world. I’ll write you some more soon my love.

Love,

Daddy

P.S. We had a professional photographer take photos of you being born and you’ll get to see them SOON!!! I also posted more pictures of you below.

Here is one when I told you how you got here the first time. In this picture you can see me telling you how the stork dropped you and mom and I caught you. 😉

How you got here - stork

 

Then here is us hanging out in the bed taking a selfie, which you thought was pretty funny:

Camille and me take a selfie

 

Here’s you passed out on my chest… you do this A LOT by the way:

Camille and me take a selfie

And here’s me holding you at your first doctor’s visit… passed out on my chest AGAIN (not complaining) 😉

Me and Camille