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FAMILY PHOTOS WITH KATE LEIGH

Family Photos with Kate Leigh, Philadelphia

Way back in October, Chris and I hired photographer Kate Leigh to capture our family out and about in Philadelphia in honor of Theo’s first birthday. We had professional newborn photos taken of both kids and did a one-year shoot for Isla so we really wanted to document this milestone with Theo, too. I also have literally thousands of photos of the kids but not many of the four of us. We’ve done professional photos in our home and at a studio, so this time we wanted to use the city as our backdrop. Philadelphia is so beautiful and we loved running around the museum properties and streets with the kids. It felt more natural and they cooperated much better being out and about rather than posing in a studio. Wild (city) animals in their natural habitat! But, really, I give all credit to Kate. She was incredible! These kids did not want to sit and smile and I was certain she’d come back and say, “Sorry, I only got five photos with everyone’s eyes open, and P.S. your kids are total monsters!” Nope! She worked her magic and I had a really hard time narrowing down which photos to share with you because there are so many and they are gorgeous. She was great with the kids and it shows in their relaxed smiles!

Thank you, Kate, for capturing our family and helping us commemorate our little guy’s first year!

Family Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, Philadelphia Family Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, Philadelphia Family Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, Philadelphia Family Photos with Kate Leigh, Philadelphia Family Photos with Kate Leigh, Philadelphia Family Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, Philadelphia

Baby

THEO IS ONE!

Theo is one!The other night at bedtime I was sitting on the sofa in the kids room nursing Theo. Isla was nuzzled under my free arm twirling her hair and sucking her thumb. The only light was from the moon shining through a crack in the curtains. It was a sweet, quiet, rare moment. Suddenly Theo pulled away, looked up at me with that huge trademark grin of his and said, “Mama!” When he realized Isla was there he instantly flung himself on top of her and nuzzled his head in her neck. She yelled, “THEEEE-OOOO!” and they both giggled. He did this about 10 more times. He’d look at me and smile then throw himself headfirst on top of his sister to cuddle with her before popping back up to nurse a little more.

These tiny, short, unexpected moments are the ones I never want to forget when our kids are grown. Between all the toy stealing, biting, pushing and craziness that is life with two kids, it’s these sweet moments that make me feel like we’re doing something right.

Theo adores his big sister. She refuses to share with him, grabs everything he touches the second he touches it and scolds him all day long. But she’s the first to say, “Great job, buddy!” when he climbs the stairs by himself, or “You can do it!” as he takes his first uneasy steps. He wants to hug her and kiss her and slobber all over her all day long, and she’s constantly teaching him new things and supporting him in her own toddler-ish way.

They spend much of the day playing side-by-side, her building things and him knocking them over to her great frustration. “NO BABY MONSTER!” she yells when he tears apart her train tracks, EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. And he screeches, “ISLA!” and then bites her (hard) when she steals from him or just when he misses her. If he wakes up before her he yells her name, pronouncing it almost perfectly, until I hear them both giggle and realize reluctantly, exhaustedly, joyfully that our day has begun.

Theo is one today.

It feels like just yesterday Isla came to the hospital to meet her new baby brother for the first time, yet the whole year feels like a blur. It’s hard to remember a time when Theo wasn’t smiling at us, yelling Mama and Dada and Isla, barking at his meowing sister, climbing on the furniture or turning the pages of his books all by himself. Before he was crawling or talking or feeding himself. When was that? So long ago. Just yesterday.

I dare say bringing home a second baby was scarier than the first. One baby, two parents. We got this. Or so we thought. Adjusting to life as a parent can be challenging. But when Theo came home I was suddenly outnumbered when Chris was at work or away. Two hands are not enough! At the same time, Theo was easier than Isla, calmer than Isla, chiller than any human I’ve ever met. Eventually we found our groove. I found time to shower and make sure both kids were fed. We figured out how to get to the park, take morning walks to get coffee and even managed to visit fun places like the aquarium or zoo. Somehow, outnumbered, we made it.

Though each new stage brings its own challenges for each child, we survived. No, we more than survived. These kids are thriving and we get better every day as parents. There are those days when Theo is covered in his sister’s pee because he found her potty before I had a chance to clean it out. The days when I yell at Isla too many times because she just will not listen. Or those days when they both watch too much TV because I just cannot get through one more minute and keep my sanity. Days when we feel like we’ve failed as parents. But at the end of those days these two nuzzle each other, giggle together, exchange goodnight kisses and remind us that it’s all going to be okay. Our kids love each other. They’re best friends and eternal companions. And they know how much we love them. All is right with the world.

If you can’t tell, I’m on a roller coaster of emotions right now and just typing when comes out of my fingertips because this is my last monthly update for Theo and I can’t deal. But thanks for listening and let’s get to it.

Last month Theo dressed up as Bat Boy for his first Halloween and celebrated his birthday early with my side of the family by throwing his piece of cake on the floor without so much as a lick. We went to the pumpkin patch and bowling, had daily dance parties and spent a lot of time with family. Theo TOOK HIS FIRST STEPS the day before Halloween, is learning new words every single day and is hell-bent on asserting his independence every chance he gets. He adores his book about dogs and loves to howl (at the moon) and cook naked in the kiddie kitchen. He insists on standing while dancing at music class (and gets very frustrated when all that booty shaking makes him fall over), loves climbing into his sister’s bed to snuggle with her and will no longer be carried up the steps because he must climb them by himself. He throws things onto the floor so he can say “uh oh,” says “oooooooh” every time he’s excited about something and points to animals and pictures when he wants us to tell him what they are and what sounds they make. He head butts us (hard!) and bites us when he doesn’t get his way and is like a bull in a china shop. He finally loves bananas, steals and drinks his sister’s milk and is showing no signs of wanting to wean. He only sleeps through the night when he feels like it, smiles constantly and leans in to give sweet hugs to all his friends.

Our Theo is sweet, loving, stubborn, hilarious and fiercely independent (he gets that last one from his sister). We’re looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas with him and watching him learn to walk, talk and develop into his own little self.

Sweet Theo, you bring us more joy than we could ever explain to you in words. Your kisses and smiles brighten our darkest days. You are a gift and I hope you always know how much we love you. We hope you grow to be kind, loving, loyal, open-minded and accepting of everyone you meet. We hope the name we’ve given you makes you proud and reminds you that life is too short to take for granted. We hope you and your sister protect each other and remain friends and loyal companions for eternity. We hope you fiercely support each other and stand side-by-side through all of life’s challenges and greatest joys.

We love you to the moon, Theo Jon.

HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY!

(Theo at eleven monthsten monthsnine monthseight monthsseven monthssix monthsfive monthsfour monthsthree monthstwo monthsone month andhis birth story)

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Kids

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Bat Boy and Cat Girl Halloween Costumes 2016Super Girl Kitty and Bat Boy had a super fun weekend celebrating Halloween in the city. They walked the catwalk with their Super Dad (who wears his costume year round) for the annual Spooky Saturday Halloween fashion show and contest, went trick-or-treating at all the shops in our neighborhood, danced in the street to live music and ate way too much candy. Well Isla did anyway. And maybe me, too.

All of Isla’s fantasies came true with her costume this year. She regularly hisses at her brother (and strangers!) and she’s constantly carrying around her legion of cats, so it was only fitting that she asked to be “Super Girl Kitty” for Halloween. The original plan was for Theo to be a mouse. Seemed kind of fitting, no? But his costume was lame and I felt bad for him so I panicked and at the last minute made him some wings out of foam board and used the bat mask we already had. I’d call that a success.

We’re looking forward to walking the neighborhood with these two tonight and passing out candy while watching “Room on the Broom” for the 100th time. I have to say, I used to loathe Halloween, but kids make every holiday truly delightful.

Happy Halloween!

(The kids’ masks are from Opposite of Far, our favorite place for make believe!)
Bat Boy and Cat Girl Halloween Costumes 2016Bat Boy and Cat Girl Halloween Costumes 2016Bat Boy and Cat Girl Halloween Costumes 2016Bat Boy and Cat Girl Halloween Costumes 2016Bat Boy and Cat Girl Halloween Costumes 2016Bat Boy Halloween Costumes 2016Bat Boy and Cat Girl Halloween Costumes 2016Bat Boy and Cat Girl Halloween Costumes 2016Bat Boy and Cat Girl Halloween Costumes 2016Bat Boy and Cat Girl Halloween Costumes 2016Bat Boy and Cat Girl Halloween Costumes 2016Bat Boy and Cat Girl Halloween Costumes 2016

Baby

ELEVEN MONTHS

Theo 11 Month photo shoot in Opposite of Far fox maskI almost cried this morning when I realized we only have one more of these photo shoots left. I’m not quite sure how that happened! This has been an amazing but blurry year, and I wouldn’t change one second of it. More on that next month though.

The kids were super exhausted during this photo shoot this morning thanks to a crazy wedding weekend. Isla kept jumping in front of the camera right when I was about to snap a photo of Theo, which surprisingly resulted in a couple of beautiful close-ups of her. Theo technically turned 11 months yesterday but my cousin got married on Sunday so we were still down the shore. These cuties were amazing all weekend despite all the chaos. Theo was a little overwhelmed by all the noise at the wedding itself so he didn’t show off his killer dance moves (you can see them here), but both kids were troopers and they looked so sweet in their wedding outfits. Chris and I were very proud. A few pictures of the kids and their cousins dressed to the nines coming soon. But first, Theo’s 11-month update.

Theo is officially talking and almost walking! He says hi, bye, moo, woof, boo, mama, da and his very first word was Isla! He actually yells it all the time (as seen here) because I’m sure that’s what he’s used to hearing (she is always in trouble!). If he wakes up before her he screams her name and giggles from the crib until she wakes up. It’s pretty much my favorite thing (except the whole waking her up part). Theo can stand on his own for a few seconds, mostly while clapping and dancing, and also while nursing. Seriously. It’s super awkward when we’re out and about and he’s standing on my lap with his butt in the air while nursing! Crazy kid. When Isla meows at him he barks back (I can’t make this stuff up). He visited his first pumpkin patch and attended his first wedding over the weekend (bow tie and all), where he was loved by all the ladies. He can now climb on and off of his rocking horse by himself, loves to snuggle and give people hugs and sometimes even blows kisses. He is truly the sweetest little guy ever. After I wrote a recap about baby-led weaning with Theo and bragged about what a good eater he is, he decided to become the pickiest eater ever, so that’s been fun. His favorite thing is throwing food across the room and looking us right in the eye while he drops it on the floor. Defiant is the most accurate word to describe both our children. His favorite songs are “Send My Love” by Adele, “Cheap Thrills” by Sia and anything by Ellie Goulding and on the Raffi radio station. He also booty shakes like he’s auditioning for a music video. It’s incredible and totally inappropriate.

This month we’re going to celebrate Theo’s first birthday a couple of times, get dressed up in what I hope will be an adorable brother-sister costume for his first Halloween, pick some apples, enjoy our daily dance parties and cherish these last moments of our little guy’s first year.

Happy 11 months, Theo! We love you more than your sister loves cats.

(Theo at ten monthsnine monthseight monthsseven monthssix monthsfive monthsfour monthsthree monthstwo monthsone month andhis birth story)

Baby 11 Month photo shoot Baby 11 Month photo shoot Baby 11 Month photo shootBaby 11 Month photo shoot Baby 11 Month photo shootBaby 11 Month photo shoot Baby 11 Month photo shoot Baby 11 Month photo shoot Isla BeeOpposite of Far bat mask Opposite of Far bat mask

Baby

EIGHT MONTHS

Eight Month Photo Shoot in NurseryTheo turned eight months over the weekend! We were down the shore celebrating on the beach and forgot the camera so Isla and I took his monthly pictures in the nursery this morning. I can’t get over how much these two love each other and how well they play together now that Theo is getting a little older and more mobile. She still steals every single toy from him, but he loves her so much he just goes with the flow. I mostly just sit back and watch as they figure it all out together.

Theo was sick all last month and it was awful. But we’re all on the mend and hoping to get through the rest of summer feeling healthy thanks to all those new antibodies. Last month Theo learned to crawl, can almost stand up with the help of the furniture and gets into everything. He giggles and chats all day long, adores listening to music and watching his sister dance and loves to scream at Isla to see who’s louder. He is the most ticklish human who ever lived, loves to squeeze our cheeks and give us hugs and kisses and is incredibly affectionate. He’s a mama’s boy through and through and I spend my days soaking up every snuggle. He’s not really sleeping through the night thanks to all those illnesses but he takes three long naps a day in his crib so we don’t mind. Theo is obsessed with the beach, cannot control his excitement during bath time and is a fish just like his big sister. He eats anything and everything we give him, including strawberries, hummus toast, blueberries, cheese, eggs (any way), chicken, pancakes, pasta, peaches, sautéed pineapple and pork, to name a few. He enjoys early morning swinging at the park, stroller naps and eating at restaurants with his brunch-loving family. Oh, and this guy has four teeth!

This month we’re going to spend as much time outside as possible, live at the sprayground, visit the aquarium, welcome a new cousin to the family and hopefully get back down to the beach.

Happy eight months little fish. We love you like every week is Shark Week.

(Theo at seven monthssix monthsfive monthsfour monthsthree monthstwo monthsone month and his birth story)

Eight Month Photo Shoot in NurseryEight Month Photo Shoot in NurseryEight Month Photo Shoot in NurseryEight Month Photo Shoot in NurseryEight Month Photo Shoot in NurseryEight Month Photo Shoot in NurseryEight Month Photo Shoot in NurseryEight Month Photo Shoot in NurseryEight Month Photo Shoot in Nursery Eight Month Photo Shoot in Nursery Eight Month Photo Shoot in Nursery Eight Month Photo Shoot in Nursery