Four and One

I have birthday posts coming up for them, but until then, here’s photos of Arionna turning four and Camden, turning one.

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(I included that even though I don’t love the black and white here, the reason to use the conservatory is for the great light and amazing colors, which you lose in BW).

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This is a beautiful photo, even though she looks stiff as a board. This other one is better…my favorite of her.

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Yep, love that.

Little guy? Far less cooperative. He would not sit for a picture without Arionna, so there are none of him alone. All the solo shots she had to get by zooming or getting closer to cut out big sis, and he didn’t love that either.

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Even though he is not smiling, I do love that pic, I used it in his frame.

This was one of my favorites of the two of them together.

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But not my all time favorite, that honor went to this little gem.

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Kierstie was trying to get him standing and her sitting, but right in the middle, he just bent over and put his head on her shoulder, snuggling in. It melts me. Such a perfect capture of their ages. He could care less and she’s still trying to sit and smile like she was supposed to. Four and one.

 

Day of Fun

Last Saturday, my sister needed a babysitter. I said I’d take her for the day. Usually I call my mom to come hang with us, but I really wanted a day of just the two of us hanging out.

Our first item on the agenda was for me to fix the Christmas tree, a strand of lights had burnt out. For her, it was to walk around my house and find everything that could be turned on and to turn it on.

After a while, she got dressed and we went to breakfast. Denny’s. I so rarely eat breakfast and almost never go out for breakfast, it was a real treat for me.

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And, evidently, for her.

Once we finished eating, we headed out to the Conservatory to smell some flowers and take some pictures. I’d already talked to her about letting me take pictures and she agreed to stop and smile and look at the camera while smiling. I was so excited. I took tons of pictures of her and with her and we just explored.

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My new phone wallpaper.

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So cute!

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One of my favorites. Sticking out her tongue is her newest thing when getting her picture taken….so we did one on purpose and she loved it.

Since it was also a really nice day outside we went out to see the animals. Most are indoors this time of year, but the arctic fox and the buffalo and the reindeer were outside.

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I said, “Arionna, what are those?” “Reindeew” she replied. I yelled at that one in front.

“Hey, Dasher!”

No reaction.

“Hey, Dancer!”

No reaction.

I was fully prepapred to say them all, but Arionna said, “It’s Rudolph.”

“Hey, Rudolph!”

And he turned his head and looked right at us. No kidding. I got so excited and said to Arionna, “you were right, it really IS Rudolph!” And she said, “Why is he taking a nap?” And I told her it was so he could rest up because he had to fly to everyone’s house on Christmas and bring presents, even her.

It was probably my favorite part of the day.

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She’s pretty into cheesy faces these days. Tell her to say cheese and you get that cheesy smile that all little kids do about this age.

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And even with the cheesy smile, that’s still a darn cute photo.

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As is that. My sister said she was so happy I fixed her hair. Not much cuter than curly pigtails in my book.

We also made time to check out the koi pond.
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Those suckers were nuts.
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This dude wanted to eat my camera string.

A very nice woman offered to take our picture together. Arionna doesn’t do strangers. Which is why I have five of these:
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Ah well, it was worth trying.

After the koi, she was looking for fish in every water we passed.
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We also saw a poisonous tree frog…in a ¬†cage. Normally I wouldn’t care except:
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That picture turned out kind of amazing, so I am including it.

But, at the end of the day, we used my self timer and managed to get my new favorite photo.
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Love, love, love it. And Arionna liked doing pictures on the self timer, so I’ll remember that for next time.

Finally, as we were headed home, she was playing peek-a-boo behind skinny trees. She’d poke her head out and yell PEEK! and I knew I had to try to capture that on film.

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Hello, happiest girl in town.

It was such a fun day and I’m so pleased to have all these amazing pictures to help us remember it. Finally, when we got back home, I popped in a movie for her and she chose to watch The Wizard of Oz, one of my all-time favorites. We watched the whole thing and she just loved it. LOVED it. She even borrowed it to watch at home because she loved it so much. Another wonderful thing I’ve shared with her.

It was a Christmas present to me, spending the day with her.

 

A Year’s Difference

Last year, during her first year of life I took pictures of Arionna every month. Most just happened during daily life. For her 11 month shoot, I decided to make it special and took her to the Conservatory. There is something about that place that all pictures seem to turn out well.

 

I was sitting her overnight last weekend and realized it was close to one year after that shoot and thought it would be fun to do some “almost 2” shots.

Here’s what we got:

Right when we walked in the door
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oh how that makes my heart happy. It’s two of my favorite people in the world.

Little miss was less than cooperative. She wanted to walk and explore, not stop and smile.
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Still, look how beautiful (the girl and the photo)

She really wanted nothing to do with this.
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But, we worked and worked for it and got a terrific one, which I’ll share in a second. Before I do, how about a little compare and contrast?

23 months
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11 months:
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She looks a teeny bit different, hmm?

Okay, the money shot.
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Just kidding…that’s 11 months again.
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(I know it’s a bit blurry…but I can’t help it. She’s rarely still).

This next picture cracks me up.
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And, why? Well, because one year ago…
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(She couldn’t walk then, so Grandma carried her. This time, all on her own).

But, also, it’s funny because, just a couple weeks ago…

Kelly took her kids there and got this shot of Christian. What is so fascinating about the Conservatory’s ceilings? That’s what I want to know.
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I have no idea what caught her attention…but it makes for a cute face.
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She sure is a cute littler bugger, with a cute personality to match.
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I could not get her smiling with Grandma, but the pictures are beautiful, nonetheless.

Grandma had better luck,
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she managed to get us both smiling, if not both looking.
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The only one where she is looking directly into the camera and still smiling, she’s also trying to give me high-5s because I’m awesome that way.

Lastly, as we were leaving, we bundled her back up. She happened to be wearing the hat and scarf that my mom (Grandma) made for her for Christmas. I don’t know who knits for the toddler set, but they should, because it is utterly adorable!
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She looks like she was caught mid-dance step there, but it’s cute as could be. I quickly snapped another and got this.
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Just darling. Both the miniature scarf and the miniature person.

It was a fun day and a fun weekend with my best girl! (You are so much more fun now that you walk and talk, Arionna!)

First Girls Day

Girls day is a tradition in our family. My mom and I take them whenever necessary. Sometimes Emily joins us, other times not. She’s not as big of a shopper as we are.

Girls day pretty much always follows the same format. Pile into one car. Shop. Eat lunch (usually Olive Garden, unless there isn’t one nearby). Shop. Talk. Shop. Talk. Go home exhausted and broke. The perfect day, really.

The weekend before Valentine’s Day, Chad and Emily wanted to go out and celebrate. They asked my mom to take Arionna overnight. (I’d just had her the weekend before). My mom said that Arionna needed proper shoes, because she was on the verge of walking and asked to have her all day to get her some new shoes.

Then she called me and Ari’s first Girls day was set.

We picked her up on Saturday morning and got to see her crawl for the first time. 11 months old. She also took her first steps that week. Big week for her.

Then we headed out to lunch. Olive Garden.

It was Ari’s first Olive Garden experience and she loved it. Not surprisingly.

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The coasters may have been her favorite part….

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After lunch, we drove out to Como Zoo to visit the Conservatory. I wanted to capture her 11 month photo shoot, which would be her final monthly shoot.

You saw some of the photos at 11 months, but I’ll share a few more here.
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She was less thrilled by the tiger statue.

After the zoo, we took her back to Woodbury for some shopping. We went to Stride Rite for her first every pair of actual shoes.
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Getting her feet measured for the very first time.
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In the pair I picked out for her…
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I think she likes them!

And so, we bought them. Well, Grandma did.

Then, for more fun, we headed to Charming Charlie’s for some accessory shopping.
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I was pushing her when I caught her reflection. She looked so big to me, just then, I stopped to take a picture. Must have been the new shoes.
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She really enjoyed trying them out.
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Or maybe it is just the mirror…?
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Our first girls day!
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It was fun helping Ari learn to accessorize…
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All in all, I’d call it a highly successful Girls’ Day. And I think she’s broken in!

11 Months

I am two weeks past the deadline, but here we are at our final monthly photo shoot.

Only two weeks left to go and Arionna will be a year old.

Our final photo shoot took place at the Conservatory at Como Zoo.

It was a gorgeous, sunny day in February and the winter flowers just made this my favorite photo shoot ever.

Here we are, immortalizing Arionna at 11 months:

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Even though she looks like she is about to attack me, you can see all six of her teeth in that photo–

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In that one, just as I’m about to take the picture, she turned her head, raised her hand and waved at a complete stranger. Weirdo.

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There was so much for her to look at (as she practiced her new standing skills) that it was hard to get her to look at me. She was constantly in awe of something around us.

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I wanted one shot of her, full length, to show how big she is getting.

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After being in amongst the flowers, we decided to head out to the green foliage for some different shots.

It was amazing to me how changing the scenery could completely make her eyes pop.

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It was sure a fun photo shoot!

Happy Birthday babycakes!

Next time I wish you that…it will be your very first “official” birthday.