Slowly chipping away at Riley's 3rd year album.... I like to have them completed and ordered and in my hands by her 3rd birthday, which means I better keep working! I'm actually not THAT far behind, surprisingly. I also realized I never shared the family photos we had done in February, so this will kill 2 birds with one stone. Although, since it's Riley's album, obviously these pictures are pretty heavily Riley-focused.
I'm at almost 100 pages... still over a month to go... it's gonna be a long book!!
I get overwhelmed when I don't post for a while, and then I have so many photos to share, and I end up not sharing any of them. So I'm going to do a quick photo share from the last month, and then move on. Pretend I'm all caught up. :)
We started off the month with a little trip to Tahoe!! Kids loved it, although Jackson was a little bit too cold, but he sure looked cute!
We had to stop at this ice cream shop where we took pictures of Riley almost 2 years ago!
We have spent a LOT of time outside these days. It is where Jackson is happiest. Both kids are happiest outside, but Jackson especially.
And when he's not outside? He staring longingly...
Jackson has had a bit of a rough month... sickness, itchy skin, just overall irritable... he's not one to sit and play for more than a few minutes, and he's been super clingy and whiny. But I did have one day where he played in this huge cardboard box full of balls for a solid 20 minutes. It was awesome.
But if all else fails, and cranky baby is super cranky, we go outside...
Riley and Jackson sometimes play really well together. They play with the same toys, share, make each other laugh... it's super cute... Other times... well, there are tears, we'll put it that way.
Little Mister has been practicing his walking... he's getting there! He's taken about 6 or 7 steps, but still prefers crawling to get places FAST.
We did the whole Easter egg thing late at night after Jack was in bed. Riley loved it, of course. She loves any sort of art project, so dying eggs was no different. She made some FAB eggs!!
And then there was Easter! It was pretty lame since our whole house was bogged down with the flu, but Ri still wore her "princess dress" and loved every minute of the Easter egg hunt, so it was a success as far as she's concerned!
Riley picked out the pink bunny basket for Jack, and he froggy basket for herself. Love it. And no, Jackson never ever has matching socks on. We are lucky if he even has two socks on at all!!
It has taken me forever to write this update! I still can't believe baby boy is ONE!! I had a lot of fun with his one year photos, that's for sure!
Okay here we go... this little guy has changed so much in the last month! He is a super speed crawler, and can get from A to B in no time at all, all he needs is the right motivation... things like computers, marbles that have been left out by his sister, remotes, etc... He pulls up to stand, cruises along the furniture, and has started letting go to stand on his own. He can walk pushing on to a walker, but doesn't have a lot of interest trying to walk holding our hands. We're totally okay with that, it's hard on our backs anyway. :)
Now he may not be a walker, but he is a total climber. He can almost climb all the way up Riley's big slide all by himself. He climbs onto and over anything he can. He climbed all the way our flight of stairs the very first time we let him even try, he didn't even look back. He is pretty fearless, that boy.
He LOVES music, and he loves to dance. He will stand up and shake his booty, and bob his head, and rock side to side. He loves when Riley sings to him, and if he's crying, it almost always makes him stop when Riley starts to sing. He doesn't ever really watch much TV, but he has recently decided he loves Mickey Mouse (thanks to his sister), and he loves Baby Einstein on the ipad. In fact, he also recently decided that he does NOT like being in his car seat, so we hooked up the car DVD player so he can watch Mickey Mouse in the car, and VOILA, now he's happy in the car. THANK. GOODNESS.
He loves opening and closing doors, he loves balls and balloons, puzzles, and banging objects together. He loves trains and cars, and he loves his sister's old favorite toy, the shape sorter! He tries really really hard to get the shapes in the right spots, and he can get the square and the triangle in almost all by himself.
He FINALLY has started eating more "real" food. As in, not pureed foods. He of course still loves his pureed sweet potatoes and carrots, but he also loves pasta (gluten free), sausages, bananas, hamburger, sweet potato fries, and whatever else we are having for dinner! Hooray for graduating from pureed fruits and veggies!! if he sees a banana anywhere, he goes nuts and crawls over towards it and cries until he gets it! He gets MAD when he sees us eating something that he doesn't get to have.
He still only has his two bottom teeth, although one of his top ones can be seen through the gums, but it hasn't broken through yet. I don't see signs of any other teeth!! Which is good because he's already a little biter, he tries to bite Riley all the time, that little monkey!
This boy loves to be outside! He loves the trampoline and loves going for walks/runs in the stroller. If he sees the front or back door open, and then he doesn't get to go outside, he throws a big fit! He loves to clap all the time, he says "mama" and "dada" and "hi!" and he is just super loud and vocal. The funniest is when he and Ri Ri squeal back and forth. Riley will do a high-pitched squeal, and then Jack will, and then back and forth... sometimes it's hard to tell which child is squealing!!
He loves to give kisses, and if anyone is laying on the ground (normally it's Riley) he will crawl over and plant a big wet one on her face. He loves to be tossed in the air, and he's SUPER ticklish. He loves to play baby chase, and if you say "I'm gonna get you!" he takes off crawling and laughing. He loves when we pick him up and round round the house chasing Riley. He loves when we make him jump all over the house, and he is determined to race off and get into the kitchen because he knows he's not allowed in there.
He adores bath time, but he is one crazy little boy. He is constantly trying to stand up and crawl around and dunk his face under the water and splash and just get into trouble! He knows the sound of the bath water and as soon as we say it's bath time he heads straight down the hall and right towards to the tub. And he is NOT happy to have to get out!
His allergies are currently under control, we haven't had any more incidents lately. His skin is still itchy and red, so something is still bothering him, but we're working hard trying to figure it all out. We go see the allergist again this week so maybe we can get some more answers!
At his one year check-up he was something like 21 pounds (30%), 29 inches (50%) with a head circumference in the 70th percentile. This surprises me because I always think of him a such a big boy, so I couldn't believe he was only in the 30th percentile for weight! But I do think he's lost a little bit of weight and slimmed down recently, probably a combination of how active he is and all his dietary restrictions.
I'm still breastfeeding him, but he will also take bottles of rice milk, which is so nice! He has no problem taking bottles as long as the milk is nice and toasty warm! He's not that awesome with a sippy cup, but we're working on it.
Weirdest thing... this boy does NOT love books. Riley was such a book worm, and still is. At this age, she would sit and read books forever! Jack? No way. He has one or two books he likes, and that's it. You try and read him a story and he either (1) crawls away (2) grabs the book and shoves it in his mouth or (3) tries to rip the pages. He's just so different than his sister! It makes it so much harder to actually read to him, since he just won't stand for it! Oh well, we'll get there eventually
What am I forgetting... he hates having his diaper changed, or basically anything that involves staying still against his will. He's not a fan of strangers and will play "shy" when meeting new people by buring/hiding his head in my chest. He always pulls his socks off, and he's not really a big fan of hats. He takes two naps a day, usually 1.5-2 hours each, and still wakes up around 3 times at night. He's super fun, super cute, and just the cutest, best little one year old we know!
We have one full day left in New Zealand, and then the next day we hop on the plane to California. I really wanted to do a little photo shoot of my little ones before we left, somewhat of a last hurrah photo shoot in New Zealand... well, of course, it didn't go exactly as planned, but when does it ever? We made a quick trip to the beach to start since the weather was actually pretty good! I think this might have been Jackson's first real trip to the beach where he got to explore (and eat) the sand, and dip his little feet in the (freezing cold) water. He wasn't that impressed. Riley really wanted to find crabbies, starfish, and dolphins.... yeah we didn't see any of the above.
I cannot get over the curls on this girl!!
We then headed over to the playground for a bit of fun, Jackson got to ride on the swings, and Riley looooved getting to push him and having him smash into her... And Jackson's hair these days is pretty awesome too...
I was determined to get ONE picture of my two little monkeys sitting together, and I DID IT. I should say WE did it, as Mark played a big role in getting children to sit still and smile... Riley was less than pleased with this little photo shoot as it interrupted her playground time, so she kept trying to run away. I think Mark was singing and dancing behind me to get them to stay still and laugh. I love that man, he will do anything to help me get a good photo.
One more day and then my kiwi babies are moving to the US. I am so excited, BUT also, so sad about the thought of Riley's little kiwi accent disappearing!! :)
Riley's 27 month update coming tomorrow...
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!
I should never tell my mom when I have a video in the works, because it always takes me longer than I thought to get it all done and uploaded. :) But, finally, here it is... Took me forever because I kept adding to it, and now it's so long, I don't blame you for not watching it all! In the future I should just share more regular short clips rather than monster videos, but I suppose I make these for myself, my family, and for Riley to watch in the future, so I don't really mind if it's super long!! What you are about to see: silly two year old behavior, lots of reading, her telling you about her crocodile friend, lots of singing, jumping and playing!!
One of Jackson coming soon (I almost said tomorrow but realistically it may be a wee bit longer than that). Instead, a glimpse into the daily antics of my two munchkins (much shorter for your viewing pleasure).
I look back at my old blog posts from when Riley was a baby, and I definitely sugar coated some things. I wish I had written some more honest posts, some more "real life" posts. You know the ones, not just cute pictures (although cute pictures are nice), not just fun outings and activities, but real every day life. So, while this post will surely still have pictures of my cute kids, it will also be 100% honest. About life with these two little munchkins at 6 months and 25 months.
I would say this past month has been the hardest month so far since Jackson was born. A huge part of that was the sickness that invaded every member of our household. It disrupted schedules and sleep, it put everyone all out of sorts, and significantly added to my sleep debt. But we have finally made it through, we're all healthy, but some of us are still not sleeping. The little ones have been all over the place with sleep lately. We'll start with Riley:
She was doing really well with sleep right up until she got really sick. Then she started waking up at night, and because she was so sick, we brought her in our bed so we could keep an eye on her and comfort her. I'll be perfectly honest... after co-sleeping with her for most of her life, I actually REALLY enjoyed having her back in our bed for part of the night. And she clearly loved it too, evidenced by the fact that she has had a very hard time going back to her own bed for the full night. Pre-bedtime routine has gotten longer and longer. More delay tactics, more demands. She doesn't want to fall asleep all on her own anymore. She wants me to lay with her and tickle and snuggle with her until she falls asleep. And she only wants ME to do it.
Now we know in part she's sort of abusing the system. She knows how to delay bedtime, she knows how to get what she wants, and she will scream the house down if she doesn't. BUT, she's also only two years old, and she just wants to snuggle with her mama. And yes it's a little more effort on my part, yes sometimes I have work to do, but the thought of letting her scream because all she wants is to snuggle with her mama? I don't know, just seems so WRONG to me at this stage. So a lot of my evenings these days are spent snuggling with her and telling her stories and watching her breath get slower and deeper as she falls into a deep sleep snuggled right into me. There are worse things in this world. :)
The trickier thing, is when she wakes up in the middle of the night. It doesn't happen every night, but I'd say maybe half of the nights she wakes up at some point. And can you guess what she wants? One thing. To come in mama's bed. Now again, I actually have no problem with her coming in our bed. She's super snuggly, she goes right to sleep, and get this... SHE SLEEPS IN when she comes in our room. Like, she sometimes sleeps until 7am (rather than 5am). So what's the problem, you ask? Well, we have this other little bubba named Jackson...
Often times when Riley wakes up, I'm either feeding Jackson, soothing Jackson, or he's already in our bed. And the ONLY time Riley gets jealous or sad about me holding Jackson is in the middle of the night. All she wants is to snuggle with me, and she is NOT happy if I am tending to him. Which, as you can imagine, is extremely difficult if I'm feeding him or if I've just spent an hour getting him to sleep, only to have her start crying and wake him up. Then we have two crying little people, two awake adults, and likely a rough day ahead. So middle of the night's can be challenging.
Now- Jackson's sleep. I seriously never know what I'm going to get with him. That might be the most frustrating part... I just can't figure it out. Some nights, he's near impossible to get to sleep. Despite all my rocking and shushing and nursing, he just cries and cries until we finally find the right combination of jiggling/bouncing/squatting that puts him to sleep. Some nights it takes me all of 5 minutes to get him down. Some nights he likes to sleep on his side in his crib, other nights he needs to be swaddled in his rock n play. Some nights he'll sleep for a few hours without making a peep, other nights he's up 5 times in the first 2 hours, requiring rocking back to sleep each time. Sometimes when he wakes, he goes right back to sleep after a feed, sometimes he's up for over an hour. I seriously never know what I'm going to get. And I've tried all the usual things- making sure he's not overtired, but also that he is actually tired enough... not overstimulated, not too hot/cold/hungry etc etc... And as far as I can tell, there's no rhyme or reason for his unpredictable sleep behavior. Well, I'm sure there IS, but we have no idea what it is.
Lately also, the only thing that can get him back to sleep is nursing. And that boy is stubborn, so no amount of rocking and walking will soothe him if he's decided he wants to be nursing. And of course it would figure that I'm battling some serious thrush at the moment, which basically makes breastfeeding EXTREMELY painful. Like, bite-my-lip-and-clench-my-whole-body-so-hard-I-almost-get-a-cramp kind of pain. So while I used to be able to lay with him and nurse him in bed while half asleep- currently that is out of the question. And he pretty much refuses a bottle, so I don't really have the option of giving my boobs a break and giving him pumped milk instead.
And then there's naps. We have made one major leap forward... he has managed to move past the single sleep cycle naps (sometimes). He still often wakes after 40ish minutes, but usually for one nap a day I get an hour and a half to and hour and 40 minutes! Sometimes I have to go in quickly and shush him for a minute, but then he can actually get back to sleep! Hooray! But then sometimes it takes me quite a while to get him to sleep, and he no longer ever just falls asleep on his own in the crib, he always requires rocking or bouncing of some sort.
The hardest part for me right now with his sleep is that he is really seeming to be affected by his lack of sleep during his waking hours. He's more fragile than normal, he's quicker to cry, he wants to be held more. He cries when I put him down or leave the room (although he doesn't do this for Mark!!). It's frustrating to know that he's overtired during the day, and not sleeping well at night, and I can't find a solution to get him sleeping better.
He's taking 3 naps a day, but it's rare that I get him and Riley both asleep at the same time for more than 20 minutes, which means I never ever get a nap/rest during the day. I am pretty much flat out exhausted. The crazy sleep habits of these two little ones combined with the fact that Jack refuses a bottle means I rarely ever get more than an hour or two of sleep in a row. My best sleep is on the weekend when Mark lets me sleep in from around 5:45 or 6:00 am to 8:00 or 8:30am. Yes, my husband is the best.
Anyway. Life is a little challenging these days. In addition to the lack of sleep, Mark is working in overdrive trying to finish his thesis, I'm trying to pack up our entire house, run a photography business, and be the best mama I can be two my little ones. So. That's our real life right now.
We're living in the land of the never-ending sickness. Apparently it's going around. Riley has spent the last week looking pretty awful...
But, fingers crossed, she seems to be coming right FINALLY. The little guy, on the other hand? Not so good. He's been crying more than he's been sleeping so far tonight... he's all stuffy and he's got a cough and it's just so so sad especially since there's not a whole lot we can do for him but hold him and rock him and hope he feels better tomorrow. Wow that was a long run on sentence. But let's hope he feels better tomorrow because I want to see this happy face again:
My parents have come and gone. My mom was here for 12 days, and my dad was here for 5, and they left yesterday to go back to the states. And Riley was beyond thrilled to have them here. She hasn't seen my mom since February, and my dad since December, but she knew exactly who they were and was completely comfortable with them. And it was definitely extremely nice to have them here! In fact, that's an understatement, since Mark was gone all week at a conference in Australia, and both kids were sick, and then I was sick myself, so I probably wouldn't have survived without the help of my mama! And my parents lucked out, as we had some pretty decent winter weather for a change!
One of Riley's favorite activities is to go feed the ducks, seagulls, and pukekos! And she makes sure to tell me about the "pinchy seagulls" since she saw a seagull nip another one once in attempts to steal the bread, and that has stuck in her mind ever since. She loves to go feed them a "sandwich," and get dangerously close to the edge, giving her grandpa a heart attack thinking she's going to fall in. Feeding ducks is definitely one of her most favorite things to do!
I don't know what it is, but Mark and I both agree, we absolutely LOVE watching our parents/family members with our children. Just seeing how much they love Riley and Jackson, how excited Riley is to see them, the interaction and the fun that is had, and the funny things that Riley says and does. :) At one point she had all 4 of us almost on the floor laughing she was being so incredibly funny! And of course, it makes me so sad when we have to say goodbye, not only because I miss them, but because I know Riley doesn't quite understand why she can't see grandma and grandpa again tomorrow. Or why grandma can't come and read her a story and give her tickles before bed. Or that, no baby girl, she won't be back tomorrow morning.
But you know what? In just a matter of months, we will likely be back in the US. Back in California. And then Riley and Jack Jack can have unlimited grandma and grandpa snuggles and tickles and stories. BECAUSE WE JUST ACCEPTED AN OFFER ON OUR HOUSE so, fingers crossed, it all goes through and that's one HUGE thing we can check off the list!
More pictures to come tomorrow...
You may have noticed a distinct lack of blogging here lately. It's not that I've been lazy, or been so so busy. Nope. I wish that were the case. The truth is, I'm running on empty. This precious little face? Yeah, not sleeping.
Now, part of the problem is, he's sick. He caught a cold from big sister, which means the whole household has been sick. Mark has been away in Australia this week, and my mom is here visiting, but schedules and routines have been off, Riley has been out of sorts, and Jackson has just flat out not been sleeping. He wakes up so many times a night I can't even count. And eventually, the only way I can get him to sleep is to bring him in my bed, swaddle him, prop him up slightly with a pillow, put other pillows around him so he doesn't roll, and have one of my arms on top of him sort of pinning him down. Yeah. I celebrated because last night he slept for two whole hours in a row without waking up. Usually we're up every 15-45 minutes all night long. I'll get more into the specifics of his night wakings and problems we're facing a bit later when I can actually see and think properly and not feel like I'm going to keel over in exhaustion by 8pm. And sadly, I've barely even picked up my camera this week. :( But not to worry, tomorrow Mark gets home (hooray!!!) and Jack Jack turns five months old, so we've got a little photo shoot planned (depending on the little man's mood, health, and cooperation, of course). Until then, I leave you with this:
He may be sleepless, but he sure is the cutest, sweetest little guy during the day.