Sunday, August 10, 2014

Aloha from the Always

When we decided to have a baby, Stew and I promised ourselves that we would do everything we could to continue our current, somewhat adventurous lifestyle -- tiny human in tow.

I'll admit that the reality of actually having said Mini Me has made that vow seem a little more daunting than it did before, but for the most part we've forced ourselves to continue doing all of the things and taking all of the trips that we would do even if it was just the two of us. And this summer that meant traveling to Hawaii with my family to celebrate my brother's college graduation!

Honestly, I'm glad we booked this trip while I was still pregnant, because looking back I doubt I would have volunteered to travel with a newborn had I realized what life with one would be like. But our nonrefundable vacation was already all planned out just days before my water broke, so we were going, come hell or high water.

And it was an absolute blast!

Ryder traveled like an absolute champ. Neither plane ride was a problem, and on the way home the plane wasn't full, so he even got an entire seat for himself!

Keeping him covered up from the sun didn't make him the most stylish baby on the island, but we did what we had to, keeping him in the shade and making sure his baby soft skin stayed covered up.

First time in a swimming pool! He didn't know what to think, but seemed to like it for the most part.

The pool, steps from our condo's patio and overlooking a gorgeous cove full of giant sea turtles!

Oceanfront barbecues made for fun dinners every night.

Another view of the cove, where we could snorkel with the turtles any time we wanted.

Another view of the pool, this time looking back at the condos. We rented a two bedroom, ground floor unit that was just perfect for the whole family.

My little bro-ski... so proud of him!!

And my amazing parents, who were so helpful on this trip -- there is no way we could have taken Ryder without them!

This gorgeous beach was in a cove just a few minutes walk from our condo, and we made it there at least once every day.

Ryder taking a nap in the shade at the beach.

Beach time with an infant looks just a little bit different.


I bought this vibrating bouncy chair for him at Wal-Mart and then just left it in the condo when we headed home. A solid $25 investment for the week.

At the beach with my baby, his first time seeing the ocean.

We loved taking family walks on the beach in the early morning every day, before the sun got too hot.

We also liked taking him for stroller rides each evening along a path at our condos that paralleled the beach.

We rented an umbrella for the week so that Ryder could stay shaded at the beach. More money well spent.

One of my favorite photos of the trip.

Again, keeping the babe out of the sun. I was afraid that if I wore sunscreen Ryder would touch me and then put his hands in his mouth or his eyes, so I basically just stayed out of the sun all week, too. Oh well, skin cancer isn't high on my list of priorities, anyway.

Another early morning beach walk. We were able to roll the stroller right up to the sand, it worked out perfectly!

Going to Hawaii with an infant definitely isn't the same as a romantic getaway, but we had a great vacation all the same. It's always wonderful to be able to get away and relax with family, and that's exactly what we spent the week doing. However, I will admit that as we watched other tots who were a little older run shrieking in and out of the surf, we began to really look forward to the day when Ryder will be old enough to actually play with. And we'll definitely be taking him back to this spot, it was absolutely perfect.


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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Dear Ryder... Three Months

Dear Ryder,

Our magical summer together is really flying by! Thinking back, I can hardly even remember those first few blurry weeks we had together. You are growing and changing so much every day, it's hard to even keep up or keep an accurate record of it. Next time I'll try to take better notes... 

We have been busy!

Daddy went back to work this month, which meant that you and I got to spend quite a bit of quality time with Nana, who is always happy to come stay and play with us while Daddy is gone. She was here for almost an entire week in the middle of July and we had such a blast just running errands, working on house projects, going for walks, making meals, and generally just hanging out with you, trying to make you giggle. The best part is that Nana doesn't mind changing your dirty diapers at all, which is a nice break for Mommy!

Our dear friends Brett and Haley also got married this month, and you came along for the ride to their wedding... another little road trip for our traveler! Daddy was the best man and had to go early, which meant you and I made the trek across the Sound on our own. I've lost count of how many ferry rides you have taken this summer, but you're becoming such a champ! I was a little stressed about making the trip on our own, but we did just fine. And you had a lovely evening in the hotel with Grandpa and Nana while Mommy and Daddy were out celebrating. Sleeping away from home didn't seem to bother you a bit!

Speaking of ferry rides, also this month we went over to Bainbridge Island for a party at my boss's house. Typically I would be responsible for planning and hosting this party for the other people at my company, but since I'm on maternity leave I was off the hook, which meant we got to attend as honored guests! Cindy is an absolute baby whisperer and with some cuddles and kisses she had you feeling right at home in no time. 

We have been having an uncharacteristically hot summer in the Pacific Northwest! Normally I would be outside worshipping the sun, which we don't see often enough around here, but tragically your baby soft skin can't handle the heat, so we've mostly been posted up indoors. Our house has air conditioning, which means if we don't make a point each day to get outside we don't even realize how nice the weather has been. I usually try to take you for a walk in the stroller every evening, and you really seem to love the fresh air. And it's been so nice having Nana around all the time, because then I have someone to talk to while we walk. She was here so often that when she finally left for a few days I felt so lonely on our first walk that I almost cried!

But then I just look at your adorable face and that infectious, gummy smile and all is right with the world.

Sometimes when we are feeling bored and cooped up while Daddy is at work, we pack things up and head down to Grandpa and Nana's house for the day. We had a big visit one day where you got to see all of your Great Grandparents! Everyone loves trying to figure out if you look more like me or Daddy, but unfortunately (for me) the consensus seems to be that you are Daddy's little boy. 

I still get a little overwhelmed sometimes by the prospect of taking you places by myself when Daddy is working. Your patterns are fairly predictable now, but sometimes you still get fussy for no apparent reason, and I'm terrified you're going to melt down in public and I won't know how to handle it! But this is our life together now and we've got to figure out how to live in the world, so one morning, shortly after you were fed, changed and a little sleepy, we loaded into the car and headed to the grocery store together. 

I put your car seat inside the shopping cart and zipped through the aisles of Fred Meyer at lightning speed while you slept like an angel, piling in items all around you. You woke up just in time to give a sweet smile to the checkout lady as we were finishing. I was quite proud of the two of us! It's the little things in life... 

You are such a happy baby, laughing and babbling all the time. It's easy to cuddle and tickle you to make you giggle, and your laugh has officially become my most favorite sound in the whole wide world. You squeal in delight and the most simple things, and your innocence is amazing to watch. You smile spontaneously at nothing and everything. You're holding your head up so much better now, and you're seeming like such a big boy... so different from the tiny creature we brought home just a few months ago!

You love bath time, and always succeed in making a huge mess, but it's worth it to watch your delight in the water. Unfortunately we can still only bathe you about once a week due to some dry skin issues.

You are not a huge fan of Tummy Time, but we still try to do it as often as possible. 

Your sleep patterns have remained about the same so far. You're still going to bed between 7:30 and 8:30 each night, waking up around midnight or 1:00 to eat and then waking to eat about every two hours thereafter. You wake up for the day about 7:00, followed by a couple morning naps and then if we're lucky a long, three to four hour nap in the afternoon. When you're tired you are sure to let everyone know, and if we let the sleep deprivation get too out of control when we're out and about or something we always regret it.

You still sleep in your crib every night, and I cannot reiterate enough how much using this video monitor has changed my life. However, you're still unwilling to nap in your crib, and most of your daytime naps take place in your swing in the TV room. We're working on it... 

Your favorite position for sleep is arms above the head, which is funny because it's just the way your cousins, Sophia and Aubrey, liked to sleep at that age!

Every once in a while when you're so overtired and upset that you just can't calm down enough to sleep, I will swaddle you again like we did when you were just a few weeks old. It does seem to work, but it's definitely not your favorite way to go down.

You almost always fall asleep in the car, which is usually great but can sometimes disrupt your schedule for the day if we don't time things correctly.

We also bought you this little travel bassinet to sleep in when we're away from home, and it's worked out great although you're going to be too big for it very soon. 

Every night I rock you to sleep, and sometimes I like taking secret photos of you sleeping so I can text them to Daddy. You are such a precious little thing, sometimes I can hardly stop myself from picking you back up for more cuddles.

Our biggest event this month (and this summer) was our trip to Hawaii! Grandpa and Nana took Uncle AJ as a college graduation present, and Daddy and I decided to be brave and take you as well. It was your first airplane trip and everything went fantastic! More on this later, but here is a sneak peek...

Aloha from Maui!

And as per usual, here is a little photo dump of your cuteness over the past month... 

We have one more month at home together before I go back to work full time, so I am trying to soak up as much quality time with you as possible. We still have some fun events coming up in August that I'm really looking forward to, but the summer is definitely going to quickly come to a close and it will be back to life as usual... sort of. Everything is going to be different, and I'm not quite sure how to prepare myself for it. So for now I'm going to remain in denial and enjoy every precious moment with you. You are changing every single day and I can't wait to see what you will do next!

I love you so much, my sweet!

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