I'd be lying if I said these past few weeks haven't been extremely challenging for our little family. We are living in a teeny tiny hotel, living out of suitcases, without routines and our usual toys and books. We can't park our car since we're in the city and there's limited parking, so we're a little bit stranded up in our hotel room. We try to go for walks around the city every day, but when it rains, there's not much we can do other than sit and try not to drive each other crazy.
Riley has been a little bit hard work. To be honest, I don't totally blame her. Her world has pretty much been turned upside down the last month- she's watched me sell or box up or give away all her furniture and toys. She's moved out of her bed and into ours (which, she actually loves). We've moved out of our house, into her grandparents' house, out of their house and into a hotel, and now we're about to move out of the hotel and then head to a new country! That is a LOT for a 2 year old to deal with.
So, there have been tantrums. A lot more than normal. And a lot louder than normal. We've had to leave public places a few times as a result of unacceptable behavior while out in public. Privileges have been taken away. Parents have been frustrated.
And the little guy? He's not quite as aware of the big changes that are happening (and coming in the near future), but he definitely knows something is up. Every time we move his sleep gets a little disrupted, he's a little more on edge. And when we're stuck inside this hotel all day on rainy days, you can tell he is just totally BORED. As soon as the sun comes out and we can get out, he's back to his normal happy self.
But his night time sleep? Still pretty shocking, which is absolutely exhausting for the entire family. He wakes up many many many times every night. The LONGEST stretch of sleep we get out of his is maybe 2.5 hours on a good night. But we haven't really made any steps to improve his night time sleep lately since we keep moving from place to place, and we're about to majorly switch time zones, so we'll deal with it once we get settled in to the US.
The cool thing about living in the city is all the stuff that's literally right at your fingertips. Mark found this gem of an indoor playground the other day while I was at a photo shoot, and he was the only one there when I got there! Jackson was just chilling on this bean bag mountain when I arrived.
Not sure who had more fun... Riley or Mark... :)
This little contraption was Riley heaven. She loves planking between things- like the couch and coffee table, or between chairs, or basically anywhere she can... so she was in heaven climbing on all these bars.
And lastly, a little peak into what I've been up to in my business life lately. :)
For some reason, not only does our hotel get the crappiest internet ever, but I can't seem to load my blog. Even when I can upload other pages, this blog just will not load. Which means, no new posts from me, and definitely no uploading large pictures. Super lame.
We have 2 more days in the hotel, then we're at Mark's parents' house for 5 days and then WE MOVE TO THE US!! ALSO, today Riley is 27 months old, so hopefully in the next day or so I can take some pictures and do a month-day post for her too. Until then, I'll keep spending 30 minutes trying to load one web page and barely being able to check and respond to emails. Sigh.
So I leave you with a few photo booth photos I have on Mark's computer, since I write this from his work...
This photo below took like 15 attempts....
Well, we moved out of our house over a week ago. It was bittersweet, that's for sure. That was the house where both our babies have grown up. Our first house we bought together. We put a lot of work into it, and it was a perfect little house for our family, so we were a little sad to be moving out. But, although we were sad to move out, we are ecstatic to be moving on to the next chapter of our lives.... Mark being finished with his PhD (soon, YAY) and moving back to the US (close to my family, YAY). So. so. excited.
Now, the last few days in our house we had hardly any furniture. Or toys. Or fun stuff. Riley was perfectly happy to run around, playing with the broom, and yelling and enjoying the echo that happens when you have hardwood floors and no furniture at all.
But mostly she loved putting every last remaining toy into the TV cabinet. She was "helping" me clean, I guess. Also found in there... packing tape, ear thermometer covers, fruit snacks, Jackson's pajamas, and a few screwdrivers. As I said, she was helping.
After we moved out of our house, we stayed with Mark's parents for about 5 days. Riley was in heaven. New place, different toys, a DOG to play with, and of course, Nana and Grandad to entertain her.
They live pretty close to the beach, but unfortunately the weather was pretty awful while we were there so we didn't get a chance to go. In fact, we did the opposite. Convinced Riley it was a good idea to go puddle jumping. That is, until we realized her gum boots had already been packed away and shipped to the US, so I tried to improvise with plastic bags. Needless to say her feet got very wet and she was not impressed.
I personally have never really been an animal lover. It's just not my thing. But Riley is just absolutely obsessed with dogs. She loves Nana and Grandad's dog Harvey. He is pretty unamused by her, but she thinks he is just the greatest thing ever. Especially when he hops up on the couch, she yells "Hey! What's he doing up there!" and then hops up right next to him.
It has definitely been interesting, these past 10 days. It's a really big change for these two kids... several moves, getting rid of their toys and books, watching their things get sold or packed up, schedules and routines totally messed up. Jackson had a bit of a rough time sleep-wise at first, waking up a TON and needing to be rocked to sleep every single time, although he was pretty happy during the day so you might not have known how shocking he was at night...
And Riley? Well, while we were at Mark's parents house she went to bed later than she's ever gone to bed, she was just absolutely wired!! It hit like 5pm and she just got all kinds of energy, running around, yelling, having fun, just crazy!! And of course, not sleeping in any later. And it seems that we've been paying for that lack of sleep ever since, our little two year old has been TOUGH work these past few days... Cute, but tough work.
On Monday we moved in to the hotel we are going to be living in for almost 3 weeks. It's... okay. It's a 1.5 bedroom apartment-style room, which means Mark, Riley and I share a room and Jackson gets the 1/2 bedroom, which is really just a glorified closet, separated from the loudest toddler ever by just a sliding door. Jackson has actually been doing remarkably well with his sleeping, all things considered. Riley does well at night, but it's a bit of a mission to get her to sleep during the day since she basically has to sleep in broad daylight.
We have just under 2 more weeks here. It's going to be a long two weeks, most likely. See, we are on the 4th floor, and yes there is an elevator, but there are a few sets of stairs before and efter the elevator, which makes getting up and down on my own with two babies rather tricky. Also, we are in the city, which means parking is never guaranteed. Soooo loading and unloading babies could potentially be quite a mission. But, it's only 2 more weeks, then we're back at Mark's parents' house for a few days, and then WE FLY TO THE USA!!!
We're trying to take advantage of our last days in New Zealand, which is a bit tricky since Mark is also frantically trying to write his thesis. But we did manage to take a quick trip to the zoo today, which was pretty fun. Exhausting, but fun. And of course, we asked Riley what her favorite part of the zoo was, and her answer? The playground. (There was an animal shaped slide at the zoo). Sigh. I was quite a fan of the monkeys, I must say. Look at the mama and baby monkey (bottom right mama is nursing her little baby monkey!).
Also, you might be wondering why some of the pictures look a bit... odd. We have really crappy internet, which means uploading photos like I normally would is not an option, so I had to resize these photos, and long story short, they are very small files and overly sharpened, so they look a little weird and different than the original photo. But oh well, you get the idea. This is longest my internet has worked in ages so I'm just going to go with it.
USA... 17 days and counting!!!
Little baby Jack Jack is 7 months old! And we are loving every single thing about him lately! He is super expressive, and the many different faces he makes in a matter of seconds cracks me up every time. He goes from happy to serious to mad to determined to silly to frustrated to excited.... and just plain old cute.
His current favorite things include: his crinkly ABC book, wooden puzzle pieces, Mark's computer mouse, bouncing, getting thrown in the air, blowing the loudest raspberries you've ever heard, sitting on Riley's little bus, and playing with keys. He LOVES being outside, going for walks in the stroller, hanging out in the backpack carrier, and if it's too cold to go outside, he's perfectly happy to look out the window.
He absolutely adores Riley. He watches everything she does, and he listens intently when she tells him stories or reads him a book. He likes when she sings and jumps around and dances, and his favorite... when he's in the jumper and she yells "go baby go!!!" and he starts jumping around like crazy. He definitely knows what he's supposed to do when she says "go baby go!"
His sleep has gotten significantly better, for the most part. He takes 2-3 naps per day. Typically, he wakes up around 6:30, is awake for 2-2.5 hours, and then he goes down for a 1.5-2 hour nap. For the most part, he goes down in his bed awake and puts himself to sleep with no crying. Occasionally he will cry and put up a fight, and I'll go in there and just rock him to sleep. He sleeps with his paci and 2 blankets, usually one in his arms, and one over his face. He looooooves to have a blanket on his face.
He falls asleep easily in his stroller, which is AMAZING because it means we aren't "stuck" at home just because I know he needs a nap in the near future. I can often put him in the double stroller and go for a walk, or put him in his car seat stroller and go for a drive to run errands and I'm confident he will go to sleep without a fight. Makes things so much easier!!
If he only takes 2 naps, he goes to bed around 5:30 or 6. If he takes 3 naps, he goes to bed around 7. Night time sleep is less than awesome, but manageable. :) He's usually up 3-4 times a night. Usually around 10pm, 1am, 4amish, then up for the morning around 6 or 6:30. I don't always know what time he wakes up as he's usually happy to play in his crib until we come get him!
He is one smiley little boy. In the morning when we come get him from his bed, he goes CRAZY kicking and flapping with the biggest coos and smiles. He's just the happiest little boy when he wakes up! He also gets so excited when I come into the room (at any point during the day), he gives me the biggest smiles every time. He also lights up for his daddy, and loves dancing around the room and singing and jumping with him.
He's getting really strong, and loves pushing up as high as he can go on his arms, but hasn't figured out how to get up on his knees yet. He can spin around and push himself backwards, but we're not close to crawling yet. We're still working on baby sign with him, although we're not as good about it as we should be.
Jackson is loving his solids these days. His favorites are definitely pumpkin and sweet potato, although he loves pretty much all fruits. He LOVES being able to hold onto a whole plum and feed himself. Now, we've been pretty careful with him and his solids as I think he's a bit more prone to food allergies than Riley was, and so far I think we have 3 potential things he MAY be allergic to. One day I gave him this teething rusk, and being sort of stupid, I didn't look at the ingredients. Well, the main ingredient was wheat, and it had some skim milk powder in it as well. DUMB. After chewing on it for a few minutes he got a rash around his mouth, but had no other symptoms. Then the other day I gave him a rice cracker with dinner, which he LOVED, but he was literally up all night crying and scratching his entire body. It was so bad that I basically ended up sleeping with him so I could block him from scratching and shush him back to sleep each time. So we're avoiding anything with any wheat, milk, and rice so far...
Jackson loves songs, and really likes it when Riley and I sing to him. He loves grabbing his daddy's hair and face. He still loves breastfeeding, and feeds verrry frequently during the day (and the night, for that matter). He rarely gets a bottle, but does okay with it if we have to give him one. He likes to chew on a sippy cup, but not drink from one. He much prefers a real cup!
He's got a little bald spot/patch on the back of his head, presumably from rubbing his head on his mattress when he sleeps. For a long time he preferred to sleep on that side, although now he rolls around and sleeps on both sides. He gets mad when I leave the room, he loves to snuggle, and he still doesn't have any teeth! He loves to throw his toys off the high chair tray and have us retrieve them for him.
He's just the sweetest, happiest little guy and we absolutely adore him. Love you to pieces little Jacky boy!
This past Sunday was father's day in New Zealand. And what better way to spend father's day than hanging out with the two cutest kids in the whole world?
Oh helloooo there fluffy hair!!! The boy has a permanent mohawk of fluff, it's pretty awesome. Riley was pretty much bald until about 16 months, so this whole having hair thing is new to us. :)
Speaking of fluffy... we have a little weekly tradition with Riley these days. Usually on Sundays we head out to a local cafe, Mark gets a coffee, and Riley gets to have a "fluffy" (frothed milk) in her very own little mug. She is absolutely obsessed.
May or may not come with a marshmallow... you be the judge...
The other thing Riley loves about this particular cafe is their selection of board games they have available. Mark is teaching her how to play tic-tac-toe, and she is slowly starting to grasp the concept...
"Tic-tac-toe! Three in a row!!!"
Also available? Checkers, which apparently is also called draughts, so that's what Riley calls it. My little kiwi girl is developing more and more of an accent and picking up new kiwi words and phrases daily. Amazing.
Now Jackson wasn't quite so lucky as to get a fluffy... but he got a nice delicious carrot instead. Seriously it's one of his favorite things. A nice cold hard carrot to chew on, I think it makes his little teething gums feel fabulous.
Also pretty high up there on his list of favorite things? Drinking from a cup. He's got that down.
And of course, our little cafe adventure wouldn't be complete without some snuggles with Nana.
I've been so absent in posting lately... we just shipped all our stuff across the world... 43 boxes, all personally packed by me!! Then we've been cleaning and touching up paint and getting rid of rubbish and packing and trying to get ready to move out in 2 days!! It's a bit chaotic, and Riley is definitely having a bit of a hard time watching all her things get sold/packed up/put away, but it will all be worth it in the end!! So once we're out of our house and finally have a few moments to relax, we'll be filling our last days in New Zealand with beach trips and zoo adventures and all kinds of fun things!