We've had horrible weather this week. But somehow, right in time for the weekend, the rain went away and the sun came out and brought plenty of warmth along with it. So of course, we took advantage a went to the beach.
I'm still amazed at how beautiful New Zealand is on a nice day. And this amazing beach? We basically had it all to ourselves. Now, beach with the little one is, well... interesting. She's extremely curious, and she loves sand. Well, she loves to EAT sand, that is. And rocks. And twigs. And driftwood. And grass and leaves and on and on and on.
She's so busy and curious, so when we get her to sit still for a moment, it's worth capturing.
Ahhh yes my two favorite people. They make pretty good models, don't you think??
Here's just a little bit of evidence that I was actually there... I'm not often in the photos since I'm always taking them, but I handed Mark my camera and then had him take a picture of me and Riley... and I present to you his handiwork...
Bwahahaha. He did manage to get some good ones though.
And my favorite pic of the whole day... Also picking this is as my favorite photo I've taken in April for "Click it up a Notch" photo contest!!
I love the weekends. So. so. much.
I hadn't decided if I was going to blog about this. But it's been on my mind, and I usually blog about whatever's on my mind, so here goes. One year ago today my baby sister, my best friend died. One whole year. I remember getting the phone call like it was yesterday. And as much as I try and erase it, every night before I fall asleep, I hear my dad's voice on the phone relaying the news that would devastate me and my entire family.
She was only 20 years old. And because I was living in New Zealand, I hadn't seen her for almost 9 months before she died. And I think that made everything just so much harder. We had skyped every couple of weeks, but because we were in different countries, we just couldn't talk as much as we used to when I lived in California. And then, just like that, she was gone. And I was absolutely crushed.
It still hurts. I think about her every single day. About all the things we did together. About how much fun we had. About what a goofball she was. I laugh at all the fun memories we had. And I get sad that she will never meet Riley.
And mostly, on this day, I think of my parents, all the way across the world. Because when Katherine died, I was not yet a parent. Sure I was very pregnant, and some of you might count that as being a parent already, but really, until you have given birth, until you see your baby and hold her in your arms, you don't really know what it's like to be a parent. You have no idea. And so while I felt the pain of the loss of a sister and best friend, I couldn't possibly imagine what it would be like to lose a child. And while I still can't understand fully, now that I'm a parent myself, my heart breaks for my mom and my dad. Because I lost my sister, but they lost their baby girl.
Hug your loved ones just a little bit tighter today.
On Tuesdays and Wednesdays I have two babies here, which basically means we don't get out much. So Thursdays, both Riley and I have a little bit of cabin fever, and we're dying to get out and do something. Anything. And boy what an afternoon we had! We spent the morning snuggled up at home in sweatshirts, attempting to get Riley to keep her socks on for more than 10 seconds at a time. I don't even know why I try, as soon as I put socks on, she gets excited and pull them right off. Same with shoes. It's hopeless. So we go barefoot. And don't even get me started on hats... At least she doesn't know how to get her sweatshirt off, otherwise she might freeze in the New Zealand winter.
Anyway, after a morning filled with crawling races, reading stories, and building block towers, we needed to get out of the house. Badly. And lucky for us, the rain stopped so out we went. We hit up the grocery store, the post office, the baby/toy store, bought a stroller (which means we now own 4 strollers... don't ask), had a "lunch date," went to the library, made a quick stop at the furniture store, and picked Mark up from the train station. And Riley is honestly the happiest baby in the world while we are out and about. She makes friends, she chats to strangers, she explores the world... she is not shy one bit! At the library, she kept trying to take a book from this 8 year old boy, and she got so excited when she saw a book on the shelf that she recognized (we borrowed it a few weeks back and it was her fave) that she started squawking and flapping her arms like a wild animal! In the baby store, she spotted this exersaucer that was apparently so cool, and she went nuts laughing and playing with all the toys, which was quite the spectacle, as all the store clerks came over to say hi.
And apparently being so social is very tiring, as she was out cold by 6:15. She has been struggling with sleep ever since daylight savings, and I had been trying to keep her up later in order to get back to her old bedtime of 7pm (which has become 6pm), in hopes that she would sleep later, but it had the opposite effect. She started waking up at 5 am every. single. morning. But last night? 6:20 bedtime, and 6:15 wake-up! HOORAY! (don't get too excited, there were some wake-ups in between, but it's better than starting the day at 5!!) So let's hope that the same thing happens tomorrow morning. Never thought 6:15am would qualify as a sleep-in. My how things have changed. :)
Hooray! Double digit months! This also means that there are only TWO months until buggy turns the big O-N-E.
This month has been a flurry of new developments and fun things. First, Riley got some more teeth! We went from ONE tooth at 9 months old to FOUR teeth now! She got 3 teeth last month! So now she's got 2 bottom ones and 2 up top... One of the middle ones and one of the side ones. And there are at least a couple more on the way.
Riley is getting into everything. She's crawling all over the house from room to room, pulling up on everything and cruising at lightning speeds. She'll pull up to stand on things like walls, the dishwasher, and the fridge. She's testing out standing without holding on to anything, and is getting quite good at it. She loves to have crawling races around the house, and loves to "help" me with laundry. But really, she should be called "Riley the destroyer of all things folded and clean." I fold, she unfolds, and repeat.
Outtakes from monthly chair photo attempt. Standing with her back to the camera and squishing her Ellie. Not good.
She can walk holding on to just one of our hands which makes me think she's dangerously close to taking her first steps. She's learned to drink from a straw, and has pretty much mastered the sippy cup. Speaking of sippy cup- we've given Riley her first taste of cow's milk in a sippy cup and she liked it! We introduced milk because she's biting me like crazy and starting to nurse less and less, and so I've been trying to slowing start getting her little stomach used to whole milk. One of the many changes that will be occurring over the next few months!
Sigh. And where is her other sock???
She has started waving bye-bye, and dances when music comes on (which is really just an exaggerated head bob). She eats everything and anything, though her all time faves are yogurt, cheese, and mashed chicken/kumara. Hummus, rice, and risotto aren't far behind. She loves to fake cough and she makes this little pig grunt that is just so. funny. I even got it on video just for you (at the end of this post). Books are still her favorite toys in the whole entire world, and she now even "reads" to herself for a while.
She loves to breath really heavily through her scrunched up little nose which has caused Mark to call her "the raging bull." She gives the best kisses ever, and she constantly crawls up to my legs to be picked up. She's obsessed with her daddy and with peek-a-boo. She initiates peek-a-boo all on her own by pulling a blanket/toy/sweater over her eyes and then pulling it away. If I say, "where's Riley?" she'll start playing peek-a-boo with me. She knows the signs for milk, more, eat and book, but so far only really signs "more." Usually when I'm feeding her cheese. More. cheese.
A different kind of "cheese."
She understands and responds to "come here," and she even listens to me (sometimes) when I tell her "no." She has learned that she can climb onto the couch, and we're working on teaching her how to get down without nose-diving. We've started the process of weaning her from the paci, so she only gets it in the car or for naps/bedtime. I plan on letting her keep it for the next 6 weeks or so because I want her to take it on our 12 hour flight to the US in June, but after that we're getting rid of all pacis!
I have a million pictures like this- all zoomed in on her face because she's trying to attack me/my camera. Cute nonetheless.
Okay so warning, this video is kind of long, and it's a compilation of some funny things and habits Riley has developed over the last month. I'm guessing unless you're my mom, dad, sisters, or a few Riley obsessed friends (you know who you are) you probably won't be patient enough to watch it all. But it's pretty funny/cute, if I do say so myself.
LOVE. THIS. BUGGY. Happy 10 months!
If I'm being perfectly honest, Riley's nursery is pretty boring. Her current favorite part of the room is the rocking ottoman that goes with the glider, because she can push it back and forth and pull up to stand and push toys under it and then go searching for them. Pretty lame "toy" for a baby. Then today, we put a little growth chart we've had since she was born up behind her door, and taped it to the door so she can't rip it off. She was instantly obsessed. She loved looking at it, touching it, smacking it. And a light bulb went off in my head. So I packed my husband and the little one into the car for a quick shopping trip. I wasn't totally sure what I was after, but I thought I'd look around and see if I could find something to suit my needs... When I purchased them, I wasn't too sure, but now that they're up on her wall? PERFECT.
These are actually flash cards that come in a set of three describing a number, color, and object (e.g. five red chickens- her fave one by far). I taped them up on her wall right at her standing height, and she LOVES them... We honestly played in her room for about an hour before bed, and she just kept going back and forth between all the pictures.
AND. Guess who's getting really good at standing independently?? This isn't the best picture, as she was in the process of getting down and trying to escape with my camera lens, but you get the idea... She's even started getting as bold as taking a step (and then lunging into my arms).
Tomorrow buggy turns 10 months old, so check back for what she's been up to lately!
We had a pretty low key Easter around these parts. Mark's parents came over to our place to hang out, eat some hot cross buns and chocolate (not together), and watch the little one search for eggs.
My mom bought Riley this cute little Easter dress, which stayed on for about 10 minutes before Riley got frustrated because it was slowing down her crawling big time. So we took some pics, and changed her into some more crawling friendly attire. But she looked cute while it was on!
Then once the outfit was changed, she was ready for the egg hunt. We basically sprawled them around the room and encouraged her to go get them. And she was happy to do just that.
Look what I found!!
Once she collected all the eggs we piled them up and let her have the "treats" inside. Which mostly consisted of banana flavored puffs. Almost as good as chocolate. Almost.
And of course, Easter wouldn't be complete without the Easter bunny making a guest appearance.
Happy Easter friends!
She's eating mashed chicken with kumara and veggies, in case you were wondering. Apparently it's de-lish.
If there's one thing I know, it's that Riley keeps me on my toes. Like when she decides she's going to stay awake from 11pm to 2am one night, just because. Or when she flings herself off the bed for who knows what reason (not to worry, I was right there and grabbed her by the foot before she face planted). Or when she realizes she can use the toy bins or my legs to climb up on to the couch. Oh yes, she's clever. So clever, in fact, she's discovered she can use her mouth as a third hand to transport objects while she crawls or climbs.
My watch is quite possible one of her fave "toys". And she knows how to get it off my wrist, and it goes straight in the mouth
She sees my camera come out and she decides to come up with as many different faces as she can in a matter of ten seconds. And I may or may not egg her on by mimicking each one. She's a pretty good model for me...
That is, until she realizes that she must. have. the. camera. right. NOW. Then I mostly get shots like these...
Lately, Riley rarely sits. She's way more into kneeling or standing. Not sure what it is about kneeling that is so cool, but it sure makes for some adorable chubby leg photos! Right?
Notice the standing with holding on with only one hand? That's Riley's newest and greatest way of giving me a heart attack. She's quite good at standing and cruising, but now she's figured out she can get from one piece of furniture to another, even if they aren't right next to each other, which involves just a moment of holding on to nothing and lunging in hopes that she reaches her target. She'll also cruise along the furniture just holding on with one hand. MY BABY IS NOT OLD ENOUGH TO START WALKING. Hear that Riley?
Other ways she's keeping me on my toes? BITING. Holy moly. The child is a biter. And let me tell you, it is so not fun. Especially now that she has one top tooth, and THREE more on the way. (Getting this picture was pretty near impossible, in case you were wondering.)
See? My three-toothed baby!!
As a result of this biting craziness, and the fact that she's nearing one, I think it's time to start thinking about weaning. I plan on weaning her verrrrry slowly, although I change my mind about this on a daily basis, so we'll see. And to be honest, she's really already started self-weaning, so maybe it won't be that hard. Who knows. I'll keep ya posted.
Remember what I said about her mouth as a 3rd hand? Still applies in the bath as well.
Sorry this post has gotten a bit random, BUT LOOK MY BABY HAS HAIR!! We'll have pigtails in no time. Right?...
Alright friends, until next time...
This week's words: Time, poetry, Outside, Zoom!, and Isolation.
I chose this photo for a bunch of reasons. This was from a newborn shoot I had yesterday. If you've ever done a newborn session then you know it can take a LOT of time. And not only that, but this particular newborn came with FOUR older siblings! Whew! Needless to say, it's going to take me a lot of time to go through and edit all those photos this week.
This is another one from my shoot yesterday, the little man with one of his sisters. She absolutely adored him!! And I love this poem and it makes me feel better when I look at my mess of a house at the end of a fun-filled day with my little one!
We had a day at the lagoon visiting ducks and the easter bunny earlier this week!
Ok so I know the "zoom" was in reference to the car, but I had nothing like that, so then I decided to use this photo "zoomed" in on his little face, although I'm not sure that even counts since I used my 50mm lens which obviously doesn't zoom... but oh well.
We were able to squeeze this maternity session in just 3 days before she had her baby!!
Today I took Riley to Aotea Lagoon to see the Easter Bunny. Sorry, didn't get any pictures, mostly because she (yes, it was a Mrs. Bunny) was being mauled by multiple children at all times. And I wasn't too sure what Riley would think about the whole thing anyway. So we kept our distance, and watched all the big kids run around looking for chocolate eggs. This was her looking at all the other kids with the Easter Bunny. Totally not impressed.
She thought the ducks were pretty interesting for a brief moment, but as soon as I put her on the ground she was way too busy trying to eat leaves to pay attention to anything else. Of course.
Getting decent pictures of her is getting harder and harder these days. She is just so curious and wants to be on the move constantly!
This is my view for a good majority of the day. The little one trying to climb up my legs to get into my arms. And I don't mind. Not one bit.
Riley also learned how to wave bye-bye and it is the cutest thing EVER. I first thought it was a fluke, but then she did it multiple times today, so I'm counting it! Next target? CLAPPING and blowing kisses. :)