Two years ago today, we got married (for the second time). Now, technically we'd already been married for almost a year, but we like to keep things interesting by having two weddings. And two weddings means two anniversaries, of course! Which means I get to plan a date/outing for one of them, and Mark plans the other. He chose this anniversary this year because our next anniversary happens to fall on father's day, so it's only fair he get to be doubly spoiled on that day. :) And today, on our anniversary, Mark finally convinced me to leave Riley with his mom, and we went out on a date. It was the first time someone other than me or Mark has put Riley to bed for the night, and I was reluctant to go, but I am so glad we did. We had a great time out just the two of us!!
Now sometimes, marriage is hard. Or so I hear. But sometimes, it's just not hard at all. I've heard "the first year of marriage is the hardest" or "you really have to work at it to make it work" and so on. Well so far, none of that has been true for us. Our first year of marriage was awesome. And so was the second. And the third. And in these three years of marriage, we've had our fair share of life changes. We've tackled moving across the world (away from all our friends and my family), searching for and buying a house, starting new jobs, not having a lot of money, getting pregnant, and having a baby, and then raising that baby. And we did it all together, side-by-side, really without so much as a hiccup. I'm not really sure why marriage can be so hard for some people. Maybe I just got lucky? Yup, that's it. I got lucky marrying this man.
I can't wait to see what the next years of our marriage brings!! Sure to be lots of fun, lots of adventures, and definitely more babies!!
Happy anniversary to the best husband a girl could ask for!
Hard to believe, huh?
This month Riley got two more top teeth, for a total of 6 (4 on top, 2 on bottom). I don't really see signs of any more coming in anytime soon, thank goodness. She took her first steps about 10 days after turning 10 months old (4 steps, to be exact). A few days later, she got all the way up to 10 steps in a row. Now she's still not a full time walker, but she's pretty darn close! She walks all over the room, if we put her standing up she'll walk until she gets a little wobbly and falls down. She can also turn 180 degrees and walk the other way without falling down. If she gets really excited, she even tries to run. I'm betting you can guess how that ends...
She got her first taste of peanut butter this month, and loved it. Her FAVE foods right now are still hummus and yogurt (not together). The girl LOVES hummus. She gets whole milk in a sippy cup with her meals, and she does alright with it. Some days she seems to like it, some days she spits it out. We're still just in the "getting used to the flavor" stage, so we're taking it slow. I still nurse her in the morning and before bed, and 1-2 times during the day, depending on whether or not she's interested. I'm not sure how long we're going to continue breastfeeding, but we'll save that little dilemma for another post.
She still is OBSESSED with books. As in, on average, we read about ONE HUNDRED books a day. Sometimes more. I'm not exaggerating here. She would sit and have me (or Mark) read to her all day long. We have a big bin of books and we read them all multiple times throughout the day. I can recite the words to like 20 different books by heart now. And in addition to reading the books, her newest favorite thing to do is take every single book/toy out of the book/toy bin(s) and sprawl them all over the floor. She's also getting better at playing independently, and will "read" her books to herself for a really long time. She also loves exploring the house, and has found a few new favorite spots... the window by the front door, or pretty much any window as long as she can stand and look outside..
She's still goes to bed between 6:30 and 7, and wakes for the morning anytime between 5 and 6:30. She still wakes up 1-2 times in the night. She takes 2 naps a day around 8:30 and 1:30, and if I'm lucky they're both around an hour and a half. She gets SO excited when we come into her room to get her that she goes flying across her crib and bounces up and down squealing.
She's signing "more" and "eat" like a champ, and I'm trying to teach her to sign "all done" rather than spit all her food out of her mouth. Work in progress. She says mama, dada, and when she's eating she says "yum yum yum." She makes a bunch of other sounds but none of them seem to really mean anything to us quite yet. We've eliminated her pacifier use during the day except for car rides, and it's going pretty well. She still gets it for naps and bedtime!
It's been really fun to kind of test out how much Riley knows these days. If you ask her "where's _____?" she will look toward it or go and get it. Words we know that she knows and recognizes: mama, dada, milk, book, duck, TV, Wiggles, computer, bouncer, remote, phone, bath, dog, eat/food, yogurt, cheese, shoe, ball, bath, and probably a whole bunch more. She's learned to use a fork and loves to feed herself. We're still working on the spoon...
Riley gives kisses, high fives, and waves on command. If you tell her to bounce she'll bounce her whole body up and down. If you say "bonk!" she'll bonk her head on whatever is close to her and laugh. She LOVES being chased, and Mark will say "I'm gonna get you, 1...2....3...." and when he gets to 2 she takes off crawling like a madwoman. She's figured out how to pull open drawers, which means nothing in our house is safe anymore! She's perfecting the art of the tantrum, and will throw herself backwards and get all floppy like a fish if she doesn't get what she wants or if we take something away from her.
This month she's learned how to throw things. She's also figured out if she smacks her high chair tray really hard, the puffs go flying up into the air on then fall on the floor. Oh the fun we have at meal time. She's wearing size 4 diapers, weighs 20 pounds exactly, and is in mostly 12 month clothes. She can fit in some 9 month things, and some 18 month outfits. I have no idea how tall she is, or what size shoe she wears since she won't keep socks or shoes on to save her life!
Can't believe there's only one month until she turns one!!
This week's "new" toy is pretty simple. We had all the materials lying around the house, but I understand that not everyone will (ya know, in case you aren't as obsessed with diet coke as I am). Here's what you need:
-empty 2 liter soda bottle
-tiny bit of cooking oil
So clearly, you fill the empty bottle with a little bit of water. You can fill it as full as you like, but the fuller you fill it the heavier it gets, which makes it a little harder for little hands to pick it up. I filled it about 1/5 of the way full. I chose blue food coloring and just added a few drops, and then added a little bit of vegetable oil to give it some "bubbles." Then I added the balloon. You have to stick it in deflated, and blow it up once it's in there. Obviously it won't get very big, but it doesn't need to be. You could really put anything in there that would fit, but I thought a balloon would be fun. I contemplated putting multiple balloons in, but decided on just one for now. I can always add more.
Riley loved shaking it, turning it up and down, but most of all, she liked to roll it across the hardwood floor. She also enjoyed my spinning it for her. Hours of fun. :)
Things to keep in mind: SCREW THAT CAP ON TIGHTLY! You don't want food colored water spilling everywhere! We have a white rug so I made sure it was leak proof about 10 times before giving it to Riley. Enjoy!
Let's start with the good. Riley's newest and most favorite thing is playing with blanket forts. Mark makes a huge fort for her almost every day, and instead of crawling under it, she absolutely loves to go flying on top of it. She flings her body on the blanket, bounces around, jumps onto the couch, goes flying from the couch onto the blanket, and I kid you not, she ran 6 steps to go flying on top of the blanket. Pure joy.
She loves her daddy SOOOOO much. Almost as much as blanket forts. :)
So... that was the good. Now onto the bad. There's been a bit of a problem with my passport, which is making things difficult for our travel back to the US. I spent an hour on the phone with immigration NZ today, and the lady I spoke with essentially said "there was a bit of a mix-up" and that they were holding my passport until June 12 so they could process my permanent resident's visa then. Well, our flight leaves June 9... So I had to withdraw my application, forfeit the $$ I paid (which isn't cheap), and then I have to re-apply once we get to the US (which means pay the fee again), and cross my fingers and hope they grant my visa and let me back into the country in 6 months time. So, I should have my passport back tomorrow without that essential visa I need. And all this could have been avoided if the lady I spoke to over a month ago when I called to inquire about the status of my application had any clue what she was talking about. So. frustrating!!!!!
...you take advantage. It might not have been totally warm, but it was sunny, so out we went. Our first stop was to check out the ducks and the fountain. If we were smart we would have brought some bread or something to feed them, but we didn't, so we just had to watch them doing their thing.
I swear she started out with shoes, but she's pretty much obsessed with shoes and if we put them on her she becomes so fixated on trying to get them off right. this. second. that it's just pointless to put them on her in the first place!
After the ducks, we continued around the lagoon and basked in the sunlight! (Hoods required since she won't keep hats on anymore.)
How big is Riley? Sooooooo big!
See that sneaky hand? Yep, on its way to pull her hood off. Sigh...
Have I mentioned how Riley has gotten so much better at walking? She's not a full time walker or anything yet, but she consistently walks 5-10 steps at a time and is getting much more confident. And she'll stand foreeeeeever.
Oh my silly little 6-toothed baby. I'm so happy that she puts up with me putting my camera in her face all the time! She's turning in to quite the little ham. :)
And of course we couldn't leave without sticking her in the middle of some train tracks for the sake of a photo or two... okay, not really train tracks, they're more like tracks for this mini-trolley thing that only runs once a week (and not on the day we were there, obviously). All I have to say was you should have seen what Mark was doing to get her to laugh... it had to be something extravagant because all she wanted to do was eat the rocks, and our usual go-to moves to get smiles weren't working, so he pulled out the big guns. I love that my husband has no problem being silly and acting like a child in public, no matter who might be around. He's basically the best, and clearly Riley loves it.
Have I mentioned how much I love the weekends?? Because I do!
Riley signing "more."
We've been signing with Riley for a while now, but in the last month she has really picked up on it. The big one she does all the time is "more." Her sign for more is sort of a combination of "more" and "eat," but we go with it because, while it's not the perfect sign, we know what she means and that's what matters. At first, she signed more for more food. More cheese. More puffs. More sandwich. More water, etc. And then she started signing more for things other than food. More books. More tickles. More peek-a-boo. She really understood the fact that her sign got us to give her some more of whatever she wanted. And we ALWAYS rewarded her with what she wanted when we were first teaching the sign, even if that meant we read 50 books in a row (which actually happened... more than once).
Lately, she's sort of overgeneralized the sign. Based on my studies of language development, I know that's common when children are learning language to overgeneralize, I just didn't really think about it in reference to SIGN language. But she now uses her sign for more when she wants something. Anything. This can get a bit tricky when you don't know exactly WHAT it is she wants. She has also started using the sign for "more" when she really means "help." I caught it on video. She's doing her sign for more (meaning help) when she can't get the last ring off the stacker and then again in order to get Mark to put the rings back on for her.
The coolest thing is, even though her signing is far from perfect, I can already see that it's making a huge difference in decreasing the number of tantrums. Instead of crying when I finish reading her a book, she signs more. Instead of throwing herself on the ground when she gets frustrated, she signs "more" (for help). When she sees us eating or drinking, she signs more/eat instead of crying. We're in the process of teaching her the actual sign for "help," along with signs for many other things. Currently we are trying to sign the following words with her: ball, mama, daddy, drink, eat, more, again, help, all done, book, please, milk, cheese, dog, bath, sleep, "don't like," stop, kiss, "i love you," no, open, up, and play.
I love watching this little munchkin learn to communicate with us!!
I'll be the first to admit, we have a lot of toys for Riley. Definitely not as many as some people I've seen though, that's for sure. Total we have 4 small/medium sized bins of toys. And finally today I went through and removed half of them- labeling them too "baby-ish" or pretty lame/useless in terms of doing anything useful for Riley. Aside from being a chew toy, of course.
Anyway, as I was sorting through all her toys, I thought of all the things she likes to play with that aren't really toys, and I also got this idea to each week try and make her some kind of new toy from something we already have, or something that's pretty cheap. Nothing over the top or too fantastic, but something new for her to play with, and hopefully something that might help her development. So each Tuesday I hope to share what we've come up with! It won't always be a toy some days it might be an art project or an activity but it will almost always be with ingredients/tools we already have laying around the house, with the goal of something developmentally appropriate/stimulating!
Today's toy? Pegs in a jar. Creative, I know. :)
Basically, I took a glass baby food jar, rinsed it out, and collected different color laundry pegs and put them in a jar, and put it out to see what Riley would do with it. She noticed it right away, and pulled all the pegs out one by one. Totally simple, totally basic, but with this simple toy we were able to use fin motor skills while talking about colors and counting. We also worked on signing "again" and "help," since she couldn't seem to get the pegs back in the jar without a little help.
She played with me and this little jar for over half an hour straight! Total cost? $0. Difficulty? 1 out of 10.Easy peazy.
Riley's newest favorite place to play? Her crib. Who would've thought. Now if only she liked to play there at 6am when she wakes up...
She's got this little crib "soother" in there, which really is anything BUT a soother. In fact, she loves it so much she gets so excited when I turn it on and she literally bounces off the sides of her crib, goes flying and rolling and walking all around, and squeals like it is the coolest thing in the whole world. Needless to say, when it's nap or bed time, the crib "soother" is turned off.
And of course, while she's going nuts in her crib, she must have the bottom lip curled and the tongue poking out.
In order to convince Riley to get out of her crib and come play with us in the other room, Mark built her a fort out of blankets in the lounge. But Riley sees forts and immediately thinks MUST. DESTROY. NOW! She pulls on the blankets and dives on top and basically does anything except for climb underneath. She would much rather climb up and over and destroy. And I say go for it, baby girl.
In case you are wondering, that's a storage ottoman sans top, covered by a blanket. She refuses to allow the top to stay on for more than 2 seconds. As soon as she sees the top on it, she climbs over and basically throws it off. So we stick her inside.
We have a lot of fun around here. :)