But I digress. The last 8 months we have been up to a lot. Rio has more than doubled in weight and grown 7 inches.. At his 9 month check-up he was 22lbs and 29 inches long. That was a month and a half ago, so I'm sure he's packed on at least another pound and possibly another inch since then. He's been eating solids for over 4 months and so far the only thing he has actively shown dislike for is raw spinach. He's got 5 teeth and I'm pretty sure a sixth is on its way as evidenced by a constant runny nose and gnawing on anything he can get in his mouth (including my nipple, which has made breastfeeding a bit challenging lately). He is a super fast crawler and pulls himself up on everything, so I imagine walking is not far off. His latest tricks are throwing and sharing. I like the sharing better, but he prefers the throwing. I guess gravity is a pretty sweet thing to discover. He has also learned to get off the couch by himself and has started showing an interest in the stairs. Though he hasn't said his first word yet, he has a lot of syllables in his repertoire and he can say them all really loudly! He is also getting really good at taking things like folded laundry out of the basket or books off of the bookshelves.
Here is a recent picture of Rio in all his glory. What this picture doesn't show is the curly mullet he's growing. I call it Vermont chic.
For the most part he is hilarious, charming and a very good natured baby. There are, of course, moments when I question our decision to have a child, most often at 3am when Rio is screaming directly in my face and I have tried everything I can think of to calm him down, to no avail. However, those moments are becoming few and far between. Recently he's even been sleeping 10-11 hours without waking up, which is amazing. Until I experienced the profound sleep deprivation a newborn brings, I never fully realized how much I value my sleep!
Let's see. What has happened since August....
Just under a month after Maggie died, we drove to Maine to pick up our new dog. After a facebook vote, we named him Skillet. He was about 9 months old when we got him, back in September. He is almost the exact opposite of Maggie, personality wise, and living with a just out of puppy-hood dog took a little getting used to for all of us. But he has been a great addition to the family and unlike his predecessor, he loves to snuggle. He certainly hasn't replaced Maggie in our hearts, but his presence has made her loss easier to bear.
|Skillet! Aka: Skittles, Skilly, Skilbo Waggins, Skilly too Chilly, etc.|
On a sad note, Hank went out one night in late September and never came back. Though I'd like to imagine he's just on an extended vision quest, we found some orange tufts of fur in the middle of our road in October, so I imagine he played chicken with the wrong car. I still miss him every day.
|RIP little buddy.|
Mark had a strong finish to both the taco and farm seasons. We (I use that word loosely) showed Montpelier what a good taco really tastes like and starting May 3rd, we're gonna do it all over again. The plan this year is that Jon will help Mark two Saturdays a month and Rio and I will be there the other ones. The hope is that Rio will be super awesome and chill and content to either ride around on my back or hang out in a Pack n' Play behind the stand. If he's not on board with the plan, our friend Emily has volunteered to come to the market and hang out with him during the lunch rush.
|Let the games begin!|
Harvest Hill had such a good crew last year, that Mark decided to end his managing position on a high note. This year he will be a farmhand at Riverside Farm 3 days a week. I think it will be a good change, especially after the intensity of last summer. Being the father of a newborn, managing a farm 36 hours a week and then running a taco stand every weekend definitely took it's toll!
I went back to work at Buffalo Mountain Co-op in early September, leaving Rio with his amazing babysitter Karen 3 days a week. In October, I began working for Taproot Magazine. Taproot is an ad-free, quarterly publication celebrating food, farm, family and craft through photography, writing and the arts,both fine and domestic. It is a great publication and it has been fun doing something new after 3 years at the co-op. Though I'm still in customer service, it is less direct and I get to do lots of other things as well. If you haven't yet, I suggest you check it out. In late October I decided to step down from the collective at the co-op and focus on Taproot instead. Though it was a hard decision, ultimately it was the right one. Though I didn't realize it until I left, the co-op was a very consuming job. Now all I do at the co-op is work the register from nine to noon every Monday, which is the perfect amount of time.
In other news, we are seriously thinking of moving back West. Of course, the question remains, where? We've narrowed it down to Oregon, Washington, Montana or Northern California, but that is still a big area...One of the main reasons we bought a place in Vermont is because we didn't know where else to go. Having a kid, however, has made us realize how important being closer to family is to us. I don't want Rio to grow up only seeing his grandparents 1 or 2 times a year and since they are all on that side of the country, it only makes sense that we should be too. Plus, let's be honest, Vermont is great, but the west is the best! We are currently taking suggestions on the best place to live, so if you have an opinion, leave a comment. April 19th will be our 4 year anniversary of living in Vermont and though it feels sad to think about leaving, it feels even more sad to not leave, so there you go.
Instead of making this a crazy long post, I think I'll post some pictures to highlight the last 8(!) months. Once I'm over that hurdle, perhaps I'll update the blog more frequently?
|Rio's first trip to Buck Lake as Summer turned to Fall.|
|Buddah Baby and the Squash|
|Our friend Adam and his girlfriend Lily came for a visit. We took them on a hike to Cheever Falls|
|King of the winter squash.|
|In early November, after the farm season ended, we took a trip to Rhode Island.|
|Our car broke down, so we had to spend an extra night in RI. This is what happened.|
|Our friend Angela lives in a cool warehouse in Providence. This was on the wall and I think it's a good reminder.|
|Rio's first hike up Barr Hill on a lovely fall day. What handsome gentlemen!|
|Skillet is really good at cleaning Rio's hands.|
|Katie came to visit over Thanksgiving and my birthday.|
|Gotta start those booksellers young.|
|In the Tonon-Neyenhuis and now Neyenkoff tradition, we went x-mas tree hunting. It's the first tree Mark and I have put up since getting together way back in 2005.|
|Clearly this is going to be awesome.|
|I'm not sure he enjoyed any of his presents as much as the wrapping paper....|
|Showing off his x-mas schwag.|
|In another Tonon-Neyenhuis turned Neyenkoff tradition, we made homemade raviolis and invited over these friends to share them.|
|In January, our friends Emma and Josh had a baby girl, Scarlette.|
|My parents came to visit in January. Rio is showing Peggy how to jam out on the piano.|
|See? How can we keep Rio so far from these two?|
|Obligatory baby in the bath shot.|
|In February, Mark's parents flew us out to Colorado for a visit. Rio loved hanging out with Deb and Joel and I think the feeling was quite mutual! Rio got to meet a large portion of his Wykoff relatives, as well as his Aunt Samantha.|
|Mark and Rio in Lyons, Colorado.|
|On February 28th Luna turned 1, which means Rio's b-day is right around the corner...|
|Oh yeah. Winter. Vermont was particularly snowy and cold this year. Enough said.|
|The young gentleman shredding on the guitar.|
Though I'm sure I've left out many tales, that is at least a short summary of our adventures these last 8 months. What the future will hold is anyone's guess. What I'd really like now involves sunshine, green grass and flowers. Luckily, even in the far reaches of northern Vermont, it looks like Spring is on its way!