Riley Two and a Half Years Old


My blog has become a big part of my life and business.  It's rare that I publish a personal post about my own family, but I've decided it's time to start doing more of that in here.  Riley is the reason I picked up a camera in the first place.  I take WAY too many pictures of her, and many of which never see social media (which I love!)  I picked up a camera to start taking better pictures of her.  It quickly turned into something much more for me, but she's my why.  I want to look back on these fleeting memories and have a space where I actually sat down to TALK about and reflect on the amazing, chaotic, and hilarious stages that have unfolded since she was born on 2/7/15.  

Riley will be three in February, which just blows my mind!

It honestly doesn't feel that long ago that she was placed on my chest for the first time.  And yeah, that was only two and a half years ago but so much has happened since that time.  I still think about that often and have a hard time believing the adventure that has unfolded since her birth.  Selling our first home, me not going back to work, moving to South Bend, renovating our house, getting settled... the list goes on.  And in all that time Riley has grown into one of the most loving, fun, crazy, and funny little people, ever.  She has me laughing (and getting frustrated) every single day.  I'm going to share pictures from our most recent little trek to my family cabin on Hood Canal.  I love these pictures because they are so random, and so Riley.  Her quirky little self is exactly what you'll find here, and I want to remember THIS.  My calendar is insane right now and this was my only good window to just get out of town without a plan.  I saw on the family calendar that our cabin was open, so I locked it in and made it a trip!

1.  Riley, you are a terrible eater.

I'm just being honest.  You rarely eat.  Some days you completely surprise us, but most of the time you say "no!" to everything and anything, unless it's "noo-noos".  You love your pasta (must be my child!)  Have no fear though, sweetheart - we make smoothies every morning and I pack them with carrots, avocados, spinach, and other wholesome goodies that you LOVE.  If you didn't have this smoothie, I would probably worry about the lack of nutrients you get, but you always ask for "more!"  

2.  You're kind of obsessed with me.

If mama isn't around, you're totally fine.  You love being with your Daddy, Grandparents, Great Grandparents and your babysitters but if I'm around, you are pretty attached.  Sometimes I absolutely LOVE this about you, but other times it can be a challenge!  You're hit or miss with this but most of the time when given the choice you must have your mom!  This was ever so clear at your Aunt Cait's wedding when you threw a total fit for me while I was trying to take pictures.  I had to stand on a table with you on one hip and my camera on the other... it was not ideal but we made it work and I did get some pretty epic shots!  #momlife

3.  I love how you call me "MOM".

All of a sudden you started calling me MOM, and I laughed so I think that's why it's stuck!  I'm mama or mommy most of the time, but every once in awhile when you really want something, you say in the most hilarious deep tone, "MOM!"  

4.  When I leave for pictures, you say "Bye Mama!  Mama pit-ures, mama studio!"

It's crazy fun for me to see the dots connecting with you on what I do.  I'm with you 95% of the time, but the other 5% I'm almost always off taking pictures somewhere and you get that.  I think.  I try to show you my camera and let you press the button (you love that).  It's been one of my biggest driving forces with this whole journey of mine that you get to see your mom doing something she loves.  Because my darling, I love what I do.  I don't like being away from you, but the time I'm away is much less than the time I'm with you.  I also LOVE how excited you always are to see me, especially when we've been apart for a whole day or more.  It literally melts me how you squeal, hug, kiss, and grab my face.  I can't even handle it.

5.  I think you are really beautiful.

I know, I know, I'm your Mom so I have to say that but seriously.  I think you are SO beautiful.  Sometimes you look at me a certain way, or your hair is falling just right around your face like in the picture above.  You have these gorgeous blue eyes and long eyelashes that pull me in when I look at you!  You are tall.  Like so tall.  People think you're at least 3 or 4, but you're only two and a half.  I don't know what you'll be when you grow up, but I do see sports in your future.  Mom secret:  I pray you love the arts and aren't ever afraid to be creative.  Sports are wonderful and I truly believe they can teach you SO much about so many different things in life, but I also hope you aren't afraid to embrace the arts like I was when I was young because I thought I was too cool for that.  Don't be like that.

6.  I also think you're really weird.

I call you weird at least ten times a day and I need to stop doing that.  I LOVE YOUR WEIRD!  You get this crazy look in your eye and start just being weird.  I adore it.  Sometimes it means you run in circles, or dance, shake your booty, sing to yourself, or fall on the floor.  It's my favorite and I hope you NEVER stop being weird!

7.  You've become more bossy lately, I especially love the "Go Away".  Not.

You recently started telling me to "Go Away".  I tell you that's not nice, so you will pull me close, kiss my cheek and whisper in my ear, "Go away...".  It's so funny, and so creepy all at the same time!  I really hate when you tell me to Go Away but it JUST clicked with you what it means so it's actually kinda fun to see those little light bulb moments go off with you when you figure out what different phrases mean.  I hope this one ends soon, but I felt it necessary to document the memory because it really is kinda cute.

8.  You used to be afraid of anything and everything touching you like sand or dirt, but you've for the most part gotten over that!

You're still pretty particular about things on your hands.  You hate when your hands get dirty BUT when we are adventuring outside or on the beach now, you aren't afraid to get dirty.  Last year it was a full on meltdown if the sand even touched your feet so we're making good progress!  I was proud of you today at the beach walking around, jumping off the little logs, throwing rocks in the water and just being so brave and happy in your element.  

9.  Just recently you've become obsessed with your babies. 

You have a few different baby dolls and you've never shown interest in them until just recently!  You LOVE your babies.  I'm trying to not take it as a hint you want a baby brother or sister, but... haha.  Eventually you will have that chance (I think!)  In the picture below you're actually burying your baby in the sand, you told me that she needed to take a nap.  You left her there for awhile.  We will work on those motherly skills as you get older... no worries.  You bring your babies everywhere.  You rock them, you feed them, you snuggle them, and you give them so many kisses.  I love listening you talk to them, it really is just too sweet to put into words.  I love the mommy in you and can already tell that you're gentle, sweet, and one of those loving personalities.  I love that about you already.

10.  You call yourself "Yi-yi".

I love this!  You CAN say "Riley" but you prefer "yi yi" and I think it's just so fun.  Yi Yi has grown on me and I find myself calling you that all the time now.

11.  You are really smart.

Every parent thinks their kid is smart but I want you to hear it from me... you are smart!  The wheels are ALWAYS turning and you are learning new things every single day.  Sometimes you completely surprise me by what you know and remember.  Daddy and I need to start being a little more careful about what we say because you are listening, always.  Since you were tiny, you've always been one of those kids who pays attention to details.  You were never exploring the cupboard or making crazy messes everywhere... nope, you were (and still are) the one who takes things out but loves to put it away in a very organized fashion.  You love helping me organize my closet and cook in the kitchen.  I have no idea what you will be like when you're older but I do believe that kids are who they are from the beginning... so if this is a glimpse of you when you're older, I absolutely love what I see.  Our adventures truly have just begun and I am so grateful to be your mama!

I've heard from other photographers, "Don't share the personal stuff, only share what you want to shoot."  While I totally get what they are saying and that yes, you will attract what you put out there, I also can't imagine NOT sharing pieces of my life with you all here.  Riley is the only reason I found my calling as a photographer, and I never want to lose sight of that.  The day I stop sharing this one is the day I'll "retire" as a photographer.  I also think it's important for my clients and potential clients to really see who I am and to see the people in my life who really make me who I am as a human and business owner.  When I'm working with someone on something as intimate as documenting some of the most precious milestones in my own life, I want to feel connected to that person in some way.  It's my goal that these personal updates on my girl and family will help anyone reading this to feel closer to me, too.  

I hope you enjoyed this post, friends!  Cheers to many more!  Riley, I love you sweet girl.

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