My sunshine

Dear Naomi,

This picture has literally become one of my favorite, if not the favorite, picture of you thus far.  To me it embodies so much of your character.  The very nature of a child fully embraced in wonder and curiosity just shines so bright from your eyes.  

love,

Papa

End of an era

The last picture we would ever take in Kelton Ave.  Thanks for all the love and memories.

Dear Naomi,

I haven't posted in quite some time.  Why?  Just so much change going on.  What I haven't mentioned at all on the blog yet is that our little family has made a huge, huge milestone come true.  We just bought our very first home.  I'll share so much more of that as the days come, and just know that getting there wasn't easy.  What I can share with you is that I am so proud of our family for making this dream come true.  It took a lot of time and patience and effort, but in the end, we found ourselves a place we can call home.  A place where we will watch you spend your childhood.  We want so much for you to have something that we didn't have, and that's a home for you to grow up in that is all ours.  We even have the backyard with a nice big tree for you.  There is so much more to share, but that's not what this post is about.  This post is about saying goodbye to days that I know will be the best days in my life.  That's not saying that we don't have better days to come, I just mean that I will never forget our days on Kelton Ave, in our little cozy apartment, where I watched you live your first year and a half of life.  Where I watched you take your first bite of food.  Where I watched you take your first steps.  Where I watched you laugh for the first time and say your first words.  Where I watched your Mom flourish as a mother.  Where we created visions and memories that can sometimes bring me to tears with how beautiful they are.  I had no idea how hard it would be to say goodbye to that place... the neighborhood, the neighbors, the park, and of course our morning strolls - a precious time that I will always cherish.  They say that people can't remember days from before they were 2 years of age.  Well I'll make you a promise Naomi - I will sit with you one day and share with you all of these wonderful memories from you first year.  You will see just what an amazing life we all shared there together and the roots of love we have established for our little family.  I look so forward to that day.  And even though my tone may sound sad, I am also inspired and happy to see the direction our family has chosen. I am excited for new memories, and new stories.  Most of all, I am so very thankful for all of the fortune and health that we have.  Words can never say enough for how lucky we are.    

Her last moments in the room she grew up in.  She was helping Papa clean up.

Here are pictures I took on our last morning stroll in Westwood park.  It was a routine that just somehow shaped into a tradition that so many of our friends and family loved to see our daily posts of pictures.  Thank you Naomi for every single morning stroll that we had.

Love, 

Papa

a couple of firsts

That's right!  Baby Naomi experienced her first bike ride and her first swim.  These are two things I have been anxiously awaiting, and now that they are done and checked off the list of firsts, I can tell you that they were every bit the magic that I thought they would be.  Naomi handled the bike as if she was ready to drive it herself and her first dip in the pool was met with curiosity and waves to the other children swimming as she entered the pool with me for her first drift in the warm water.  Grandpa Tolik and Grandma Alla were in town to witness the first swim, and Grandpa definitely was eager to join in on the festivities.  We all enjoyed turns with Naomi in the pool as she trustingly let us gently sway her from side to side as we paced the length of the pool.  You could sense her body fall into a slow calm once she understood that this big thing of water was a good and fun thing, and something she can look forward to.  Man, what a feeling it was to carry her in.  I can only imagine what it will be like to take her into the ocean for the first time.  As for the biking, let's just say that she was in perfect form and rode like a champ.  Looking forward to getting out there again with her soon.  Maybe it's time to get that beach cruiser that Mama has been wanting for so long.

What's been going on these days?

Okay, okay.  So some of you are probably wondering why there hasn't been many posts these days.  Truth be told, it's has been crazy busy juggling work, home, baby, wife, dogs and a camera :).  It's the best challenge ever, but hard to say the least.  In the first year, baby Naomi was much less mobile and snapping shots or video of her was much simpler and easier to prepare for.  Now, it's a whole different animal trying to chase around a toddler who can literally run from point A to point B in the blink of an eye with a camera in my hand.  I am definitely still capturing some great moments on camera, but I think I may share them a little more sporadically on the blog since my free time is a little more sparse.  But please still visit regularly since you never know when I may have something new to share.  

A quick recap from the past few weeks...

- The biggest and greatest news, which will receive it's own post, Mama is home now!

- Baby Naomi speaks on the regular!  Her vocabulary?  "Mama", "Papa", "daw" (for doggies), "bah-bah" (pretty much to everything), "bye-bye", and "mailman".  

- Baby Naomi started doing sign language.  She knows how to ask for milk and tell us when she's done.  

- Morning strolls now consist of visiting the park and playing fetch with Olive and Mr. Q and when we have time we squeeze in a swing too.

- Naomi's favorite things to eat these days?  Blackberries, strawberries, avocados and cheese, and she get's excited to make toast even though she doesn't eat it afterwards.

- A few bumpy nights from both Naomi being sick and going through some major teething.  Always interesting and never fun.

- Naomi likes to feed the dogs anything and everything.  In return, the dogs absolutely love her!!

- Mama and Papa had a date night for Mama's birthday recently.  Burgers, Beer, and Bowling!

- Papa loves his family more and more each day.

So much to catch up on

Life has been pretty busy these days.  So much so that I feel like I just haven't been able to keep up with all that I want to post on the blog.  But many things are in the works.  With Naomi's 1 year birthday close on the horizon, I have a few things planned that I am excited to share.  

To quickly share some of the happenings from the past month, Naomi has pretty much become a little kid right before our eyes.  Granted she's not even eleven months yet, but she definitely expresses herself the way an older kid would, full of confidence and ready to explore every nook and corner where ever we are.  She's learned how to use the potty, albeit not to the point of ridding away with diapers, but she definitely knows what it's for.  She is on the brink of walking!  She stands strong on her own, and if encouraged, can form about 3 steps on her own before she plops down or just stands put.  I really hope the day that she plans on taking that first walk, that I am at the ready with the camera :).  She's grown quite the appetite and has graduated to much more hearty meals.  Looks like the days of homemade purees are in the past.  Teething has been a challenge, but both her top two and bottom two are now showing, along with a couple others.  To be honest it's all been so overwhelming how quickly things are developing with her, but in the most amazing and wonderful of ways.  Our baby Naomi is becoming her own with each passing day.  What an amazing little soul we have here.

Meet Luna and Bunny

Meet Luna and Bunny... Naomi's best friends.  

Ironically enough, Nadia also had a very special friend when she was a child that happened to be a bunny as well.  We actually have her resting in the nursery watching over Naomi's library.  So in keeping with the tradition, we were lucky enough to find this Bunny, along with Luna.  Two peas in a pod and best buds.