11 Months

When I think about what I will miss most about her first year…it’s always the day to day things.

The way she looks crawling into our bedroom. The snuggle time in bed. The “normal” stuff that we often overlook as the magic. But when we look back in our memories it’s all the normal stuff that makes the magic. So I gave myself a personal project for her 11 month photoshoot, to document a day, unaltered, unposed. Just us being us.

I didn’t clean up. I didn’t take off my bathrobe until 1pm. It wasn’t the most exciting or photogenic day. The light wasn’t always perfect…the shots not all worthy of “oohs and ahhs”. But to me they are just as they should be…REAL.

Thanks to Grant for partnering with me on this. I do spend a lot of my day with her on my hip and am so grateful that Grant could capture her and I together.

So here it is, a day with Nova on her 11 month birthday:

You like to look out the window first thing when you wake up.

Dad changes your morning diaper.

Pretty much how we sleep all night long together.

Hey world, I’m 11 months old!

I love when you throw your neck back like this. Like you are too relaxed to keep your head upright.

Cheeks.

I never knew I would have a baby that likes stuffed animals so much. You LOVE them.

Always crawling with something in your right hand.

Trying your first green smoothie. Nom noms?

*this face*

Your new trick is to tear everything off your shelves. This is my favorite photo from this post.

Feed to sleep…

“Mom!! I don’t like napping! I want to stay up with you and Dad!!”

..Fine. We’ll read a book.

You hang on my leg constantly. You would always prefer to be in my arms than on your own.

Our happy place.

Lamby, we bought for you in New Zealand.

Getting dressed is kind of the worst.

…it’s just so sad.

Happy tears.

Finally asleep. Bum in the air. (You are a light sleeper, so taking this photo was extremely dangerous).

This is what we do when you’re asleep…(and a little work).

Awake and the cutest thing we ever did see.

Relaxing with mama as I wake up.

One of us sits next to you most of the time while we are in the car. 1st child luxuries.

Meeting Mom’s cousins on Balboa island for my first frozen banana.

Walking , walking, walking. I just want help walking on my own two feet 24/7.

Pushing around the side table as a walker, sans one moccasin.

Let me in that bathroom!

Bathtime with one of us (always…another 1st child luxury). Don’t worry Grant is wearing swim trunks.

Is there anything better in the world than wet baby eyelashes?

Dry off, lotion up, diaper, and one last drink before bedtime. (You’re welcome for that bum shot).

In your crib until your next wake when we gobble you up in bed with us. Until then we’ll miss you…serious.

Have we really almost made it a year?

I can tell you are ready…ready to be bigger.

…Except when you let me hold you like a little baby and sing to you and coo at you while wrapped in your favorite pink blanket.

You want to feed yourself. No more of that mushy spoon fed stuff. You want pieces you can pick up w your own fingers.

You can eat parts of anything we eat and that makes meal time so much easier. You are still partial to avocado, cheese, bread..basically anything you can feed yourself.

You talk and breastfeed at the same time. Sometimes I catch you giggling too.

The other night we were winding down singing songs in your room and while we were cheek to cheek you turned & kissed me on my lips.

Everything is your own personal walker. Side tables, chairs, anything that slides on the concrete floors.

You got a plastic car/walker/seat/music player thing from Gma and Gpa Thurston that you push around on the slippery concrete like a boss.

Your independence is growing & I’m trying to wrap my mind around it. I know its necessary & good but I can’t help but feel a tiny bit sad about it. Maybe sad is the wrong word…mourning the moving on maybe..

Your hair is getting longer and looking blonder. You have crazy bed head when you wake up.

Your eyelashes are so long and luscious.

Your front top teeth have broken through and are working their way down.

You play peekaboo with anything. A curtain, a blanket, a toy. Today in the car you used my hand.

Definitely ticklish under your armpits. Laughs every time.

You want us to hold your hands and walk you around everywhere. You walk towards one of us with the biggest silliest grin on your face.

You are finally over double your birth weight. To me you are the perfect size.

Ma ma ma ma when you are tired or hungry or sad or hurt or needy.

Da da da da da when you don’t want to nap!

We have been calling you Nuh nuhs, pickle, nutty, my little chicken, do dos, zuzus, Nutty…and when we really mean it, Nova or Novs.

We have caught you going from sitting to standing without holding on to anything. Very impressive.

We have also caught you wrestling and snuggling with your giant stuffed bear when no one is watching. You will burrow your face in his belly and roll all over him. A-DOR-A-BLE.

You love to hand us stuff..and then take it back. You also love feeding me stuff. Hilarious when mom eats out of your hand.

Sometimes when you have had enough or aren’t sure what you want you will cross your arms and uncross them and then cross them again.

You love getting into everything–in fact, you can’t play in the office as much anymore because you are very busy and you can definitely be anywhere you want to be by crawling, standing, or climbing.

You love music..you dance and sometimes when the music is on, you want to stand in front of the speakers and “watch it”.

Yo gabba gabba transfixes you. You have only watched it a few times so everyone chill!! 

We have to watch that you don’t drop heavy things on yourself now because you can lift or pull amazing amounts of weight from shelves and drawers, you’re just not sure how to put them down yet.

Love the birds (crows) that come cawing at dusk each day.  You hear them and look for them so we take you outside and you love to see them fly and perch on the power lines.

I swear you call birds “Ca’s”.

You babble a lot but we still aren’t really sure what words you for sure know. Mama and Dada seem pretty solid though.

You just got a big girl carseat and we finally bought a Bob jogging stroller. You were strollerless for 2+months. Which was fine..we love toting you in the carrier but I think you will be more comfy in the stroller for long walks.

So one more month until you are one. Hard to believe. There are so many projects I want to do to celebrate and remember your first year. But mainly the most important thing I want to do is watch you. I don’t want to miss noticing anything. Your Dad and I were discussing if we thought we had given you enough undividided attention your first year…had we looked enough at you? Had we spent good quailty time with you? Happily the answer was YES. This was something I knew I would regret more than anything…not really being present for you in the way that I wanted to be. I am happy to say I have no regrets in that department. I haven’t been perfect. Days spent away from you for shoots have damn near killed me. They have been few and far between but those days are long for both of us…and afterwards I have to always ask myself if those days I am away take something away from you that I can’t give back. Finding the balance has been the main topic in our home..and I am guessing will be maybe forever. What I do know is we are close as close can be. For everyday I am away from you I give myself at least one full day of only you and I time to fill in the missing spots. You and I and Dad are making it work. Truth be told I am feeling like if we could make it past year 1 of baby 1 we can make through any year!! Throw a few more kids in the mix..no big deal! (right?!)

You encompass every thought I have and every decision I make. You are the sun the rest of us revolve around.

Let’s celebrate every tiny moment we have this month growing together and every growing moment after that as well…forever.

 

Natalie Norton - Mind BLOWN Rach. Beautiful.January 23, 2012 – 5:47 pm

kate - Am in love with her! I love all these I cant stand it! I love the bath tub one where she is looking at the camera. Just made me smile all sorts of big. Cant wait to see you guys again. xoJanuary 23, 2012 – 6:41 pm

shauna fishel - Rachel..i gotta tell ya.. your pictures..they sorta rock my world!!! i’ve been following your blog for years now, and i’m always surprised and captivated. in every way, i think you just keep getting better and better:) this post was so cool, thanks for sharing.January 23, 2012 – 6:57 pm

Aileen - Rachel, this is precious. You, Grant, Nova… will all be so happy to have these memories documented. I wish more people would let the photographer in to do this as a session. Priceless. Love every single one.January 23, 2012 – 7:02 pm

Krystal Shumway - I love this post so much! It really is so true that you miss the every day. I still remember the daily routines with my first little boy when he was our only child. At the time, the days seemed to each be pretty long, but now I can’t believe how fast the years have flown.January 23, 2012 – 7:11 pm

dave a - one: i love how your ‘unretouched’ shots still look like pages from Vogue D’enfant. which, if it doesn’t exist, you should start. and then only have pictures of sweet noves in it.

two: despite everything i love about you guys, the thing i love the best is how much you love your baby.January 23, 2012 – 7:12 pm

Chelsey - This post is my favorite <3

There is so much love in your words. Love in your frames. What an amazing way to remember the day & celebrate the next milestone.January 23, 2012 – 8:01 pm

Heather - No words….perfection! Every last photo is pure real joy! Bath time with dada is killing me! Oh how I wish a day with my rach taking photos of my crazy 2 baby day:) seriously nova is the prettiest & the nuttiest! Your the best photo mama ever! She will die for this when she’s older! XoXOJanuary 23, 2012 – 8:11 pm

kristin brown - oh man. i don’t think i’ve ever been as baby-hungry as i am RIGHT NOW. this is so lovely!January 23, 2012 – 9:06 pm

Ranan Samanya - Watching your pictures reminded me of my daughter’s early days. I don’t think I took as many as you, though. Yes, precious moments. Thank you for sharing.January 23, 2012 – 11:08 pm

Abby Hacker - That was such a beautiful post!January 24, 2012 – 7:14 am

Rachel - I love all of you for letting me be so open. And I say DO IT! Take photographs even if they light isn’t perfect. Even if you are still in your bathrobe. You will only regret not taking the photo. Trust me. Been there, done that.January 24, 2012 – 10:14 am

Miss Megan - Hello Rachel,

I’ve been following your blog ever since Damian Dayton linked to it in 2010, and I cannot keep silent any longer about how much I ADORE your photography! You have such a unique, fun, deceptively simple-seeming style, and I am in awe of how you can capture the precious moments entrusted to you. I honestly devour every single post — and then go back and delight over the photos again. Thank you for sharing your vision with the internet world, and with me!

Also, it must be said that your daughter is one of the prettiest babies I’ve ever seen (this was why I couldn’t keep silent any longer). I’ll be blessed to have one even half as lovely as her someday. Thank you for sharing her a tiny bit as well.

Have a happy day! You always seem to add a little sparkle to mine!

Sincerely,

Miss MeganJanuary 24, 2012 – 10:24 am

Becky - Love…January 24, 2012 – 10:31 am

Nancy - Oh my goodness…..what an absolute joy you all are to us. This has to be a book someday. Genius! Your writing is superb and the pictures are so artistic. Love it but then I love you!January 24, 2012 – 11:58 am

Melanie - Rach, I’m kinda lost for words to tell you how much I adore this post! (it’s far & away my fave). I totally know what you mean about missing her when she sleeps. Little miss D now sleeps 7-7 and although it’s probably every new mothers dream come true a part of me is a little sad I don’t get to see her for 12 whole hours. Am I nuts?!? Thankyou for the reminder that TIME spent with our babes is the most precious of all. Love to you 3. xJanuary 24, 2012 – 5:20 pm

Shannon - A friend of a friend posted this and I read it. I am in tears now. I have a 3mos old and no matter what I do, I always feel I’m missing out. He is the love of my life (aside from his daddy!) but I will HAVE to do what you’ve done. I wrote him a letter before he was born, but seeing him in photos has melted my heart. Thank you for inspiring me. I think you have the most beautiful family! =)January 24, 2012 – 5:56 pm

.Jessica. - This might be the most beautiful thing i’ve ever seen. so personal. so sincere, simple, yet sweet. i’m sure nova will look back at this one day, and be able to get just a glimpse of the love story between you, her, and her father. thank you for sharing.January 24, 2012 – 6:29 pm

Barb @ getupandplay - I adore how unabashedly you love your daughter. Seriously, what joy you emanate! I think many people (I hope all!) feel that way about their children but are reluctant to be so open about it.

And smack dab in the middle of this beautiful post, your cousins are well known to me! What a small, small world!! Are you related to Steve or Beth?January 24, 2012 – 9:27 pm

Elizabeth - So fun to have spent some time with little Nova on her 11th month day! She sealed the deal for me with a reach to let me hold her. Fun to see you, the boys are still talking about Grant and surfing. He’s pretty much an idol now. Love you!January 25, 2012 – 7:45 am

Benny - I continue to be schooled by you. This mystery of human connection that you so brilliantly capture and then…. write about it in a most raw manner. I’ll tell you what… these photographs make it all seem so worth it. Meu Amor.January 25, 2012 – 8:27 am

amy - what you do inspires. it’s a gift of seeing, and the reflections of love you bounce back to the rest of us are something of great care, value, and beauty. i’m wading slowly and painfully through the thickness of a loss right now, and the light you’ve thrown me in these images of your precious baby girl, are reminding me that my own kids are the heart of it all, what drives us, moves us, is worthy of attentiveness. words and pictures and love, and the artful melding of the three, are what i strive for. you are a blessing, rachel <3January 25, 2012 – 3:00 pm

Angela - This is probably one of your most precious posts yet! Thanks for sharing these beautiful moments with us. =) Rock on, baby Nova!January 25, 2012 – 5:45 pm

J Shoda - Heart melt. This is everything that’s beautiful about being a parent and you’ve documented it with perfection. Love seeing your fam in such an intimate way.January 25, 2012 – 10:27 pm

Tonhya Kae - tears. can’t wait to have this someday. beautiful, beautiful post.January 25, 2012 – 11:14 pm

Celeste - You and Grant are such good photographers. This “little” everyday things will always be the most precious. Even though I only met Nova when she was still in your tummy, I feel like I’ve watched her grow through your blog. Your love for each other is radiant.January 25, 2012 – 11:15 pm

Anna - Baby N gets 11 out of 10. Serious dudes, the ability to use your skills and document this element of your her life is worth all of the office time and wedding time. She’s sooo legit.

Totes babysitting my future children.
XxJanuary 25, 2012 – 11:43 pm

Andy Gaines - Hey Rachel. Really lovely post, and some awesome shots in there. Been meaning to do a similar post to this for a while (our daughter is 17 months now) but kept putting it off for some reason. Think I will now – so cheers for the inspiration. xJanuary 26, 2012 – 12:39 am

Jessi D - Simply beautiful. Happy 11 months!!January 26, 2012 – 7:26 am

rachel cowan - Nova posts are my favorite posts! Amazing and inspiring!January 26, 2012 – 3:44 pm

Emily Lassen - Beautiful Rachel!! She is the most darling little girl ever! We are headed to Newport in March. Maybe we can get our two little ones to fall in love. James is 3 1/2 now…crazy.. and Wyatt is almost 8 months…a younger man, but it might work :) Talk soon friend.January 27, 2012 – 9:04 am

trisha - So cute! My little miss b is really sad that she hasn’t had any play dates with probably the only other girl who will be in her nursery class.

Ps…….I’m not so sure about the throwing in other kids……talk about balance, its tough (at least for me ha ha )January 28, 2012 – 1:04 pm

Jen O. - I adore everything about this. You capture her and your life so beautifully. There is so much love and joy in these images. It’s funny how it’s the small things in life we want to remember and hold tight to. Lovely, lovely work.January 28, 2012 – 1:38 pm

Sarah R. - I’ve been following your work since you shot my old friend Miriam’s engagement pics. Lovely! Can I say I love your floors! Did you stain them yourself? If so, any tips or tricks for an inexperienced person?January 30, 2012 – 1:54 pm

Tenille - I love this series. Beautiful. She’ll love this when she’s older. Your love for her is so welcoming and honest.

I do have a question, or a request – can you please do a post on how you balance being a mom and a photographer? What adjustments you had to make? I’m a new mom/photog and it’s been crazy. I just want to hear from someone else, lol.January 31, 2012 – 2:21 pm