dear little prince | twelve months | one year

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dear little prince,

you gave me a lot of stink face in our twelve month photo shoot. and with good reason. i have similar sentiments about all this turning one business. sheesh.

just like that, you have been ushered out of the baby phase and swiftly into toddlerhood. and now, we begin to count in years. not days or weeks or months. years. and if this past year is any indication of how time goes, you will be sixteen years old in the blink of an eye.

speaking of blinking…you have perfected the flirty blink-wink. slow and charming. paired with a sweet smirk. you are trouble, mister. oh, and if your mama and papa happen to take our eyes off of you for a second, you take full advantage and move swiftly from charmer to mischievous sneak. you hide behind the curtains. you yank the cookbooks from the shelves. you try to snatch your sister’s water cup. you splash in the dogs’  water bowl. you pounce on charlie. you zoom your cars all around the house. you tackle your sister. you dig in the plants. you open and close the kitchen cabinets. and sometimes, you climb on in. you are playful and curious and fearless.

and when you are done being a ball of energy, you are done. you grab your blanket and dramatically plop yourself on the floor and spread out with a sigh. that’s my cue to ask you if you are ready to sleep. and with that, you pop up and nod your head yes. a big emphatic happy YES. i love that you know your limits. that you enjoy your rest and that you love to recharge and have your quiet time in your man cave. you love your cool, dark room. and p.s. you are not sure about all this summertime heat. being warm sure irks you. but what you do love? splashing around in the water to cool off. oh man. you are such a water baby.

the one year mark is an amazing one. it is marked with clinginess and teething and some frustration as you are discovering the relationship to the world around you. you exhibit kick-fits when you don’t get your way. you protest when we make you do something that’s not your cup of tea. the strong will is definitely making itself known. and we are doing our best to help you navigate all the new things in your life and adapt to change and increased mobility and huge mental leaps. you are developing new things all over the place! adding words to your vocabulary. babbling away. standing on your own. taking teeny steps (only when your sister is playing with you and you don’t think we are watching). sprouting teeth. making connections. drinking from a big boy cup (and dropping your bedtime feeding). it’s a tough job, being a one year old. but you are doing marvelously, little man. getting through the tough stuff with aplomb and barreling into the independence of toddlerhood. you want to do pretty much everything on your own. except for when you absolutely MUST not be on your own. those times when you just want to cuddle or put your arm around my shoulder and read a book. flipping the pages and mimicking as you go. what a complicated time. and what an incredible time.

you are a force, that’s for sure. and you are also such a hoot. you make exaggerated expressions to elicit a laugh. you crack jokes. you bop your head and dance. your playtime is crazy and always entertaining. and giving bear hugs is your favorite. you also love to throw things. you have a solid pitch. and you make loud explosion sounds when you “bomb” things, dropping objects from high above your head, to the ground. such a boy. and such fun.

and you are one smart cookie. and such attitude. it is so amazing to see those wheels turning. you are always searching for something new to discover. and grabbing and swatting and inspecting. you are always learning and you are always astonishing  with you wit and skills. you have the funniest growl as you play. and you squeal when you are happy. you have a robust vocabulary that is a mix of real-deal words and sound effects. you say papa and mama and ceecee (sissy – elinor) and ball and dah-ee (doggie) and hi and up and yeah-yeah (how you say yes and agree with things, usually accompanied by a nod of approval). you also communicate with sound effects for: uh oh and thank you and night-night. and you ramble away in your own delightful language. so chatty! and you love to point at things to show us your world and tell us where to go and what to do.

you have brought us so much joy. such levity. and all kinds of toy car filled messes. we are delighted and honored and thrilled and overwhelmed by the blessing of your life. we thank God that He chose us to be your family. you are such a treasure. so strong and fierce and determined. so happy and content and darling. we can’t wait to see how you are used by God for His mighty work.

happy birthday! xo.

your mama + papa + sissy

and for a little stroll down memory lane

birth announcement

dear little prince

the story of ridley’s birth

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dear little prince | eleven months

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dear little prince,

happy ELEVEN months. in a mere four weeks, you will be smashing your birthday cake. and that makes your mama feel all the feelings. but you haven’t officially hit the one year mark just yet, so until then, let’s just focus on making the most of the final days of baby. it’s a deal.

the other day, after you woke from your nap, i swear it was if i collected an entirely different person from your bed. you looked, well, older. bigger. more like a little boy than a little baby. your shoulders seemed broader. your torso, longer and leaner. your demeanor had shifted too. i can’t put my finger on it, but there was a noticeable change. as if you went down for your nap as a baby and woke up, a legit little man. you sat taller on my lap. you engaged with me as though we had known each other for years. at one point, you put your arm around my shoulder and leaned your cheek against mine, almost as if you were reassuring me that you are indeed, growing up and that you’ve got it down and it will all be okay. and i’m not gonna lie, it was a bit too much for me to handle. this growing-up business is bittersweet stuff. but i am beyond thrilled about the sweetness of it. because that sweet stuff sure is good.

you wear your heart on your sleeve. you show affection by giving the biggest bearhugs. sometimes, you will launch yourself at your sister and knock her over with the sweetest hug tackle. and your moods are totally obvious. when you are happy and content, your head is bopping around and you are tossing around the biggest smiles. full-faced, squinted-eye grins. and when you are annoyed with something (or someone), you yell or growl and let us know. when you are tired, you spread your blanket on the ground and ever-so-dramatically plop your body on top of it with a sigh. you might do this three or four times in a row until we take notice and take action. and it is clockwork. 10am and 2pm, give or take a few minutes. such a creature of habit.

you are a no-nonsense nurser but after your belly is full, you like to sit on my lap and talk with me for a bit. we play. you sing. you make funny sounds to make me laugh. you flip through books. you clap. you let out a hearty burp. and then, you are ready to move on with things. but you really do need that five minute transition time. and gosh, do i live for that time. i will cherish those moments for years and years.

you are methodical, for sure. everything has its place. and the red berries are always eaten before your other breakfast foods.

you love music. you are enthralled during papa (and elinor’s) violin practice time. and when you catch a good beat, you get your whole body into it. bouncing up and down and moving your head from side to side. you do it to the radio or when anyone sings something that tickles your fancy.

you give high-fives for a job well done. you give solid but gentle pats to the dogs. you giggle at your sissy (more like cee-cee, your sound for elinor) because you think she’s super funny. you love to mimic noises and words and volume and tone and timbre. in so many ways, you are discovering your voice.

you have a killer catalogue of sound effects. each toy has a different sound to accompany playtime. you make a deep vvvvvbbbbrrrrr sound when you are scooting around with your cars. our home is your race track, these days. you and your cars. when you spot a ball, you let out the happiest baaaalll! sound and toss it with a woooaaaahhh! sound to match. and then there is the list of sounds that go along with activities such as dropping or smashing and banging or drumming. you see, the noise of a wooden block dropping on the tile just isn’t enough. no sir. you *must* add in your own ppppooooff (bomb dropping) sound. it’s such a hoot to watch and listen to you play. truly, you are such a boy.

you cruise around the house. you have this funny move where you pop up onto your knees and slowly (for effect) raise your arms higher and higher and higher until you are totally stretched out then fall forward onto your hands into a knees/hands tabletop position. it is your exaggerated version of “how big is ridley?” well, you are clearly the biggest and the best. you squat and stand all by yourself and have taken the occasional unassisted step before cautiously lowering yourself back to your hands and knees. and then, you pop back up and give it another go. so resilient. so determined. you like to walk around the house, holding my hand. just like a little person. and you like to use elinor to pull yourself up and then use opposing forces to practice walking while pushing against her belly and chest. like your own human walker toy. and she giggles the whole time, cheering you on as you go. you two are the CUTEST pair. i hope you continue to refine each other and encourage each other. and feel free to level her, as necessary.

oh, ridley. you are quite the gentleman. strong and determined. fierce and loving. tender and kind. loud and bold. you are the whole kit and caboodle. and we love you so.

your mama + papa + sissy

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dear little prince | ten months

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dear little prince,

ridley noble whitehouse! you are ten months old. would you quit it, already? we will be celebrating your first birthday in two months. and while i wish i could bottle you up and enjoy this age forever…i am also having such a blast watching you grow and can’t wait to see what’s next.

you add fresh sounds to your repertoire each day. sometimes, it is just copying what your sister is saying or what i am saying. but other times, it is just all you. trying out your tricks to see what sticks. your current favorite is a fish-face-bababa sound that you love to do at mealtime and with papa. it cracks him up and you laugh right back when he mimics you in reply. adorable.

and speaking of papa…that is definitely your first word. you look around and ask for papapapa (not one, but two: papa-papa) and when you are near him, your tone shifts to such a sweet sound of affection. you love your papa, that’s for sure. you climb on him. you rub his prickly head. you stroke his beard (with the occasional tug). you follow him around the house. and you especially like rolling a ball or a car back-and-forth. seeing my boys together like that is the very best of the very best.

as for me, well, you seem to like me too. you like to spoil the ladies in your life with bear hugs and exaggerated open-mouthed slobber kisses. and elinor and i think you are pretty charming indeed.

you have two teeth. you nap twice a day for two hours, like clockwork. and you try to climb the stairs two at a time. it is intense, that’s for sure. you are crawling all over the place. pulling yourself up on everything. cursing from place to place. strolling along with any wheeled object you can find to assist you. you now like to be plopped down on your feet instead of your bum so that you can do a little unassisted standing before slowing lowering yourself to the floor and taking off. you are getting stronger by the day. and more determined by the minute. you are even starting to walk with just one hand being held to steady you. too soon. too soon. but, i know i know, you are going places!

and speaking of teeth…the day before a tooth pops through, you are no joke. that tooth makes you angry. you yell. you kick and stomp. you arch your back and want nothing to do with anything and then the next moment, you are a little ball of cuddling in my arms. it has taken me a while to understand how to comfort you. because you don’t really like to be comforted. and i get it. i am like that too. when i am annoyed with something or frustrated, i want to just sit and be quiet and not touched and maybe even, sleep it off. you do the exact same thing. you don’t want people in your face or fussing over you or trying to “help”. you really just want to sit with your blanket and soothe yourself for a bit. and you really love to sleep. teething ridley is like an edgy version of ridley. it’s you, but louder. bossier. you yell at people. you shove people away from you. and you protest like the dickens. and then, a tooth! a wonderful tooth appears! for helping you consume MORE FOOD.

speaking of food: it’s getting crazy. right now, for breakfast, you are really enjoying bread soaked in milk and topped with almond butter and hemp hearts + a banana + about a half of a cup of berries. for lunch, half an avocado and about a cup of beans or some peas. you also really like egg yolks. and overnight oats. and dinner, you eat a full portion of whatever we are eating. and most nights, you out-eat your sister. oh, and you are quite the carnivore. you LOVE turkey and chicken. like, eat an entire breast of chicken and about a cup of sliced turkey. we are saving the filet mignon for a few more years… #sendmoney

ridley man. you are the best. full stop.

all my love, your mama

okay, and there’s a few more because he’s just too dreamy…and i had to include one where you would see his widdle teef!

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dear little prince | nine months

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dear little prince,

happy nine months! whew, that has flown by like crazy. and in the past two weeks, it feels like you have busted out of your baby-ness and moved full-force into little man mode. your last developmental leap yielded some amazing things. i can tell a difference in your eyes. they look deeper and wiser and older and more mischievous. you are curious. you are sweet and intense. you are opinionated and forceful. and then you throw me that charming grin and reach up for me and hold my finger in your forceful fist… and you kill me, little mister.

this phase is such a fun one. and all kinds of exhausting too. chasing you. watching you. teaching you. entertaining you. cleaning you. you are a force. and such a crack up. you are down to two naps a day now, which only adds to your grown-up-ness. elinor and i wake you up in the morning and the second you see us enter your room, you are up and grabbing the rails of your crib and bopping all over the place while hooting and hollering and smiling away. and then, you nurse as soon as possible. once your liquid portion of your mealtime is complete, you enjoy an intermission of playtime with elinor while i fix breakfast. and then, more eating. oh, the eating. three solid adult-sized meals a day in addition to your four liquid feedings. and those four liquid feedings are SOLID ones too. i don’t know where you are storing all that volume… perhaps in your forearms. but seriously, the food consumption. yikes.

your usual day looks a little something like:

8am > 10’ish ounces of breastmilk followed by a breakfast consisting of 1/2 cup of coconut milk overnight oats with superfood/probiotic powder and hemp seeds and a banana or cup of fruit. 12pm > 10’ish ounces of breastmilk followed by a lunch consisting of 2 egg yolks and 2 tbsp pasture butter/1 avocado and 1/2 beans. 4pm > 10’ish ounces of breastmilk. 5:30pm > a hearty portion of family dinner (usually eating more than elinor who is known to put away the food…). 7:30pm > 10’ish ounces of breastmilk before bedtime.

like i said, yikes. it makes me full just typing it. but you are putting it to good use. you are crawling all over the place. you are pulling yourself up (sometimes, lifting your feet off the ground which is a feat that i couldn’t even manage as a junior high kid in PhysEd). you are cruising all over. you move from the table to the couch in one step. you try to climb the stairs. you lift objects that our twice your size. you are go-go-go until you wear yourself out and then you are all about your rest.

you love your sleep. and when you are done and ready to sleep, you are done and ready to sleep. you give me dreamy eyes and have a distinct sound that means: okay, bedtime. now. it’s time. and while you don’t suck your thumb like your sister, you do have your own little calming routine. you grab your special swaddle and pull the corner of it to your mouth, rubbing it on your nose while you make a little sucking-fish mouth and humming softly. it’s precious. you are a total dreamboat.

you make hilarious sounds and try out funny antics in order to garner attention. you mimic. you move your head around in exaggerated ways to get a fresh vantage point and to make us chuckle. you love to play with your sister.  you love light. you are incredibly serious and intense and analytical at times, and a total goofball at other times. you are a yogi baby. you love to bounce to music. you have a fantastic furrowed brow. you love water. you wave like a maniac to say hello. you have one tooth that has popped through and at least one more on its way. you chew on everything. your current vocabulary favorites are: baba, bobobo, dada, nana, momo, mama, oooohh, pppfff, hhhiiii, and of course, boeuf. you are all kinds of expressive and letting more and more out every day. it is a blast getting to know you. from what i can tell, you have a lot of your mama in you. certain traits will serve you well while other traits will require some serious honing and refining. we have already engaged in a few battle of the wills. and i am certain that there are more to come. you are no joke, little man. but i know that by the grace of God, you will be used mightily. we pray that we can steward your life properly. that we can train you and discipline you. that you will fear the Lord. that you will hunger and thirst for righteousness. that we can point you to your Savior and that you will know your great, eternal, essential NEED for Him. we pray that you come to know Him at an early age. that you will profess Him boldly. that you will be a force for the Kingdom.

all our love,

mama + papa

and now, for some sassy eyes, serious stares, and major shade. his stink face. it’s pretty great.

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dear little prince | eight months

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dear little prince,

happy eight months, our charming lad. i am trying to keep my composure but that puts us at four months away from your FIRST BIRTHDAY. how can it be? just a few months shy of an entire year with you? time is flying by. and we are eating it up because you are as amazing as can be.

my oh my, are you daring and intense. i thought elinor was determined but this is a fresh realm of strength. we can see an idea flash behind your eyes and then you fix your mind like a laser and go. you are precise. you are methodical. you are dexterous. you are tenacious. you are nimble. you are intrepid. you are inventive. you are perspicacious. this is a stage where you are exploring everything, amused by everything, distracted and excited by sounds and shapes and colors and textures. the tactile world is exploding for you. and you are discovering so many things, all at once. you pinch at tiny items. you pluck objects and bring them close for further inspection. you explore nooks and crannies as you learn. you squint and stick out the tip of your tongue while you take it all in. storing new information. understanding what things are, what they can do, how they feel, the sounds they make, and their relationship to you. you bear crawl over obstacles. you army crawl your way under tables and couches and adults. you are always looking and observing and absorbing. you are learning how to get places and get things done. and you already have strong opinions and preferences and your little list of bête noires.

at this very moment, you are in the thick of your eight month developmental leap. it’s a doozy. i am exhausted for you! your body is trying to catch up to your mind and your mind is trying to catch up to your body. things are busy for your brain. expanding and growing and making connections. hang in there. all your frustration will soon dissipate and you will emerge from this brief moment with a whole new set of skills. i am hoping that one of those skills is not walking. eek. i can tell you are trying to do that. crawling just isn’t good enough anymore. you want to climb up for a new vantage point. up the stairs. pulling yourself up on papa’s legs. or onto the couch so you can cruise along and get to your target. you want to move across the room in a split second. you want to run!

and in addition to your developmental leap, you are teething. pearly whites are just about to pop through. you are handling it so well but i can tell it is getting to you. you actually nuzzled and snuggled for a few minutes last night which NEVER EVER happens. you aren’t the cuddling kind – too much to see and do! AND as if all that weren’t enough, we just dropped a nap. down to two naps a day. like a proper little man. it seems surreal that we are here already. but you are ready. and you are adjusting quite well especially considering everything you have going on. sheesh. being a baby is a tough business. and you are dealing with the trifecta of tough stuff right now. kudos, ridley man. you are brave and strong. and we can’t wait to see how you surprise and delight us next!

and speaking of delightful things, your personality is bursting out all over the place and it is such a hoot. you love to swat at mama’s mouth when you eat. you boogie and bop and jump when you hear music. you wave. you babble (da-da-da and ba-ba-ba and bo-bo-bo and pa-pa-pa and ma-ma-ma) all the time, especially when your sister is around. and we are so proud of what we are considering your first word: boeuf. you have been saying that for a few weeks now and papa couldn’t be more impressed and pleased with his boy saying the french word for beef as his first “word”. you adorable bilingual carnivore, you. you like to “make jokes” and silly sounds to make us laugh. you flirt like the dickens. you copycat our sounds. you like to pull on papa’s beard. you pet the dogs. you push your sister away and yell when she’s in your face and you’ve had enough. you bellow and growl. you pull up and put your arms up when you would like to be picked up and move around. you are sneaky-sneaky and try to move in stealth mode when you know you are about to do something naughty. you LOVE to try to wrap yourself in the drapes and laugh maniacally. you are obstinate and test limits. you KNOW when you are doing something that you shouldn’t and you give me such a proud and cheeky expression when you are caught. you love your sleep and when you are done and ready to sleep, you let us know. you crawl like a tiny gorilla. you have the biggest forearms and strongest hands. you are going to eat us out of house and home (current favorites: butter, bananas, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, peas, egg yolk, quinoa, beans, avocado). you love family dinnertime. and it is teaching us patience, to slow down and enjoy the time more because your mealtime can last for a full hour. you just sit in your chair and eat and add your two cents and entertain us. and toward the end of the meal, you lean back and put one hand in the front of your diaper and one foot up on the side of the chair. such a funny boy.

we are over the moon for you. and we pray that God will use you in mighty ways.

all our love,

mama + papa + elinor

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dear little prince | seven months

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dear little prince,

you are seven months old, sweet boy. and you are sweet indeed. you bright such joy and delight and cheer to our home. you are playful and darling and wonderful. you smile constantly and have the best giggle – which you like to reserve for playing with your sister. your sister is pretty much your favorite. at this point, you aren’t too keen on other children. and you really don’t like too much attention or fuss or folks in your face. but your sister has a free pass. she gets to engage in all of the above and you eat it up.

and speaking of eating. solids are in full swing. we started with avocado and have since moved to banana and sweet potato and butter. and you are definitely a foodie. you eat it by the fistful. grabbing bits and shoving them into your mouth with intensity. and you make such a squishy and smearriffic mess. dinnertime is extra fun now. i still can’t get over that you are sitting in your little chair, eating away and chatting along with us. such a big boy. gosh, that happened fast.

aaaaand speaking of fast. crawling. you are all over the place. when the mood strikes, you can really get going. like, across the room in a snap. you have been trading in your specialty downward dog frog hop army crawl hybrid for much faster legit moves. you will still add in some of the weird variations, just to show off your feats of strength. but things are settling into the standard baby crawl now. and it is wild. in other news, your downward dog crawl move has now shifted into a squat to semi-stand. you like to do it right next to the sofa and stare up, daring yourself to pull yourself up and freak us out. you are daring and bold and brave and strong, that’s for sure. just as you should be. we are so proud of you and amazed by what you can do. i know you will continue to surprise us (and scare us a little too).

you have the best squeal of delight. you yell a happy hhhhhiiiii! sound when you see your papa. you have thick forearms and big hands. you have a long torso that is starting to lose that baby look and mature into a solid little man. you have the brightest eyes that shift from blue to steel gray to green. i like to think you get that from me. you love to bounce and bop. whether you are seated or standing, you love to get your body grooving. we have decided that you have too much happiness in your being and that’s your way of sharing it with everyone. you love to pet puppies and let them lick your cheeks. you love to play with your squishy football. and you are entranced whenever we watch the real sport on television. you nibble on anything you can find, drooling all over the place as you go. you are busy-busy and such a blast. we love everything about you, ridley man.

all our love,

mama + papa + elinor

there are a few more outtakes from our photo session, after the jump. this might be the last time where i can manage a decent shot. someone is a little wiggle-worm. Continue reading