New website

Hey All,

I have decided to switch sites so now you will find me at http://barbararileyphotography.com/  Hope to see you over there :)



This dog is so spoiled. Every day when I get back from the bus stop, Dakota races upstairs to lay on our bed. I know I shouldn't let her up there, especially since I'm allergic to dogs, but her eyes melt my heart every time and I just can't make her get down.
5 Nov 2013 009 Dakota5 Nov 2013 020 Dakota5 Nov 2013 004 Dakota

Last night was a looooooong night. Cooper didn't sleep well and neither did M. I ended up keeping Mckenzie home from school because she said she didn't feel well, but by 9:30 she was bored and asking if she could go to school. It was fun having her home with me. I miss the little bugger now that she is in school full time. Cooper didn't seem to be affected by his lack of sleep. I seriously don't understand how he is my child because it appears he doesn't like sleep. I, on the other hand, can't get enough of it!  Even though we kept M home from school, we let her go to Daisy's tonight because she had her pinning ceremony where she officially became a Daisy. It was a short, but sweet ceremony and the girls got cupcakes after. I'm not sure which Mckenzie was more excited about: becoming a Daisy or the cupcakes.

5 Nov 2013 043 mckenzie becoming a Daisy5 Nov 2013 048 Mckenzie5 Nov 2013 049 Mckenzie



Today was one of those days for everyone around here. Little man was cranky; I think he is teething. Abby was up waaaaay before the sun came up and refused to go back to sleep. She finally did lay down with me for a little bit, but by ten minutes to six, she was begging to play on the iPad. On the other hand, Mckenzie didn't want to get out of bed (totally normal for her) and started whining before the sun came up. I was cranky because it felt like I didn't get any sleep (when will little man sleep through the night?!?!) and so I guess you could say we all had a good case of the Mondays. Luckily, it ended better than it began and there is always hope for tomorrow :)

I finally decided to tackle making my own baby food and it actually went better than I thought. I don't know why I thought it was so complicated for so long, but I don't anymore :) I made broccoli, peas, and pears and apples and carrots. Abby wanted in on making food for her brother so I let her shell the peas. I think at least 1/4 of them landed on the floor, but she enjoyed helping. Too bad the dog doesn't eat vegetables or she would have had a glorious feast!

350 peas346 carrots and broccoli



The girls both had a friend sleep over last night and they had a blast! They didn't even stay up too late! Scott talked the girls into going to snap a few photos with the fall colors tonight (and let me tell ya, that wasn't easy). I haven't edited them yet though (oops!)  but I did edit a couple silhouettes that I snapped real quick of my boys. Looking at them now, I realize that I need to have more light on the bottom half of Scott's body, but I do like the pictures. I have never done a silhouette before so this is a good jumping off point I guess :)
105 Scott Cooper

And just because the sky was so pretty :)

107 sunset



Scott and Mckenzie went out to do a few errands and Cooper went down for a nap giving Abby and me a little one on one time. It is rare these days to get that and so I am beyond excited when it happens. I like to think Abby is too :) She wrote a song and played the guitar for me. She didn't even complain when I broke out the camera and asked her to move to better light. She was just happy to sing to me. I was happy to listen to her and capture our moment with a photo. She is really into music and I am so thankful for that. Piano was always a big part of my childhood and I love having something I can share with her. 005 Abby010 Abby

And just for the record, that is dog hair all over the floor. I'm seriously thinking about trading our yellow dog in for a black one just so I don't have to see the hair on the floor as much anymore.



157 Cooper b&w

Little man has had quite the week. Ear infection=antibiotics=penicillin allergy=cranky boy. But now that he is off the antibiotic, he is feeling better and getting into all sorts of stuff again. He loves to pull himself up and has just recently started cruising along furniture. How did he get to be so big so quick?! It seems like time with him is passing by so much faster than it ever did when the girls were little. I don't know if it is because he is the last or if its because we are so busy running around with the girls. Whatever it is, I wish it would just slow down a little bit.

I am starting a 365 with some friends and I hope doing it with a group will make me a little more accountable than I have been since we moved.
Click It Up A Notch



What a day. Cooper and I opted to fly to St. Louis because he is not a good traveler in his car seat. We got to the airport with only a little traffic and a lot of screaming from Cooper (thanks for helping out during the drive Ava V.) Got checked in and through security with no trouble, found our gate and settled in for the wait. That is when the day started going downhill. The plane was delayed at first because we had to wait on a crew. They finally showed up, we boarded and pushed back from the gate. Cooper was doing good and I thought, what a piece of cake. My mistake. We ended up sitting on the runway for over two hours, most of that time was spent standing in the aisle because Cooper was not in the mood to travel. The lady next to me was super nice and she helped me out with Cooper. I can't thank her enough for that. When he first started crying, I was so worried about how all the other people on the flight would respond, but honestly, no one complained and many even tried to make him smile. After two hours of going nowhere, the pilot announced our flight was cancelled due to weather and we headed back to the gate. We deplaned and stood in a really long line to rebook our flight. I tried calling the airline directly and the first service agent tried to book me on a 5pm flight when it was already 5:15pm. I asked why she would do that and her response was "Ma'am, I'm in Arizona. I don't know what time it is on the East Coast." in this super snotty voice. Then she told me to stop yelling at her and put me on hold and cut me off. 2nd call got disconnected (pretty sure everyone was trying to call to avoid standing in lines) and finally on the 3rd call I got a super nice lady that booked me on a flight. I rushed over to the gate only to see the door closed and the ticket agent not helping anyone because he just needed a few minutes to get himself together. (His words to another agent also not standing there.) Turns out that flight was overbooked and there was no way I was getting on that plane even though I had a confirmed seat. (How does that work?) Anyway, I must have looked desperate enough that the agent gave me a hotel room and a flight the next morning. Cooper was done for the day and so was I. We headed to the hotel without our bag and settled in for the night. Luckily for me, I have some super awesome friends that came to my rescue. They went to the store and drove over 30 minutes just to bring me all the necessary goodies to get me and Cooper through the night and make sure I wasn't a hot mess on the plane the next day. I am so thankful for my friends. I know I would have made it without them (very smelly and with awful breath), but having their support made it so much easier. Instead of spending the night frustrated with everything, I focused on the tremendous generosity of my friends and counted my blessings :)



Our last day in NJ

Today we said goodbye to the place we have called home for the last 3 1/2 years. I could care less about leaving the house, but it is always such a final moment when it happens. That moment when you walk around and look at each room one by one. The memories from the last few years come flooding back. Some make me smile and some make me sad. Like when we had just moved in and Mckenzie colored on the walls. Abby never did anything like that so I was shocked when Mckenzie did. Until then, I somehow felt like our family was immune from such childhood antics. Mckenzie is one of a kind and I wouldn't change her for anything. She adds a liveliness to our family that is matched by no other. To this day, she likes to write on places she shouldn't. Her dresser, her bookshelf, the walls in her closet. You name it, she likes to write on it. Well, not paper. She doesn't care for that much ;) Mckenzie has gone from a toddler to a kindergartener in this house. Surgery and pneumonia and first birthday parties with friends and countless play dates and Dad's Night at school. Trying out gymnastics and learning to dance and saying goodbye to her beloved pacifier. She has passed so many developmental milestones and has really come into her own. We brought her to this house and she depended on us for everything. Leaving here, she is able to do so many things on her own.

019 Mckenzie

Abby has grown into quite a remarkable young lady. She was so afraid of starting preschool here in NJ and at the end, she didn't want to leave to go to kindergarten because she loved it so much. I remember those first few weeks where she cried every day at drop off (I may have cried once or twice too). It was so hard, but she made some really good friends. Kids she is still friends with today. This house is where she learned to read and where she made great friends.  I remember the day this past school year she ran off the bus and burst into the house to announce that she was now a Level L reader. The pride in her face was so rewarding for me and I will never forget that. Or the broken front door that she had to burst through. That thing was a pain in the butt to open and close. And in the winter, I had to stuff junk mail in the huge crack to help keep the cold air out. Here is the place she outgrew Dora the Explorer and Laurie Berkener, opting for Jessie and SpongeBob instead. She learned to ride a two wheel bike on the street in front of our house. It wasn't easy for her, but once she got it, man, she never looked back! She learned to swim here too. Not from the swim lessons I put both girls in, but from splashing around with her friends. She lost her first tooth here and saw her first Broadway show and rode a bus to school for the first time and danced on stage for the first of many times to come. So many firsts and a few lasts as well. Like not sucking her thumb anymore. That was a really big challenge for her but she did it. And not needing a light on to sleep at night. She has really grown up here.

025 Abby Ally

And Cooper. Well, he didn't get to spend too many nights in NJ, but he and I did get to spend many of them awake together. That crappy front door is the one we walked through when we brought him home for the first time. And I remember pacing the floor for nine hours one day because he just wanted to be walked. He didn't get many firsts here. But he did learn to roll over and discovered his hands and his voice here. And he smiled here for the first time. A big beautiful smile that made all those long nights and sleepy mornings worth every minute of is. But most of his firsts will be in our new home and I look forward to those.
058 Barb Cooper
Scott and I even had a few firsts here. Broadway shows and running 10 miles. I learned how to use a big girl camera and I can see how my photography has improved from when we moved here until now. Scott completed his first half marathon and is working towards being able to run a full!
048 Scott Abby Cooper Mckenzie

038 MCkenzie Abby Cooper Scott Barb

We have made so many good friends here. Everywhere we have lived, we have met some wonderful people. But here, I was shocked at how many wonderful friends I made. Friends that I would call family. Living away from family is always hard, but here, I always knew in my heart there would be someone available to help out in a moments notice if the need arose. And that put my mind at ease. It was hard raising two kids and at the end three, when Scott was away. But, I always had a friend just a phone call away. Someone to watch the girls or shuttle them around to activities or bring me Children's Tylenol because I was out and Mckenzie was still running a fever or to rescue me from a nasty dead mouse in the cupboard or bring me milk because I just didn't want to take Cooper to the store in the rain or listening to me vent time after time. I could go on and on about the generosity of my friends because they are so kind and wonderful. I hope each and every one of my friends knows how special they are to me. I feel blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing women and their children and I will forever hold you in my heart.
028 Sarah, Emily, Jessica, Natalie, Charlie, Erin, Abby, Nate, Ava, Mckenzie Liam, Ava, Ally Claire, Emma, Carlo

So see ya later Jersey! Thanks for all the wonderful memories :)

033 goodbye NJ

003 Abby Mckenzie


Moving Day

The moving part went as well as to be expected. There are always some hiccups along the way, like the driver showing up without a crew to actually move the stuff or boxes tumbling down the staircase on a make-shift slide, but overall, it went fine. Mckenzie had her last day at camp and Abby hung out at the house until our friend came to pick her up for a play date. Mckenzie joined in the play date after camp and the girls spent the afternoon swimming and hanging out with their friends. It was hard to pick the girls up. They had to say goodbye to their very good friends and it was difficult to watch them hug each other for the last time. As we were pulling out of their driveway, Mckenzie said to me "I wish I was a Morris so I didn't have to say goodbye to Ava." That broke my heart.

We spent the night at a friend's house. A very generous offer considering we are a family of five. It was a wonderful time and I am blessed to be able to call y'all our friends.

2010, as we say hello
2013, as we say goodbye.
003 Abby Mckenzie


Last minute stuff

We picked the girls up from their sleepover and they were ecstatic to see Scott! It has been over a month since they saw him and they missed him a lot! We spent the morning running errands and attending to last minute details around the house. The girls went over to a friend's house for the afternoon. I am so thankful that they are getting to spend so much time with their friends before we leave. We all went to dinner at another friend's house. It was a great dinner and great conversation.  I am going to miss them a lot! Tonight is our last night in the house as the movers are coming in the morning. I am sad that our time here has come to an end :(


Packing day

The packers arrived this morning to pack up the house. It is always hard to watch your things go into a box, even though you know in just a short while you will be unpacking it again. They were quick and efficient which made it much easier on me as Scott isn't flying in until the evening. Mckenzie had camp this morning and Abby went over to a friend's house for the day. They spent the night there too so Cooper and I had some one on one time after the packers were gone for the day. Scott's flight was supposed to land around 10, but because of weather, he didn't end up arriving until after midnight and we didn't make it home until 2 AM. Luckily, Cooper slept through the drive to and from the airport. Lord knows that little man does not like his car seat!


Daisy Swim Party

Today Abby went to a swim party for her Daisy troop. She had a blast splashing around with her friends and I had a good time having an adult conversation. Mckenzie got to hang out with her friend while the big girls were swimming. Afterwards, we went over to my friend's house for a final dinner. It has become commonplace for us to share meals and I am really going to miss it. I'm not happy our husbands are gone, but I am happy that they are gone at the same time so I have had someone to hang out with. On the way home from her place, there was the most beautiful double rainbow in the sky. So pretty in fact, that I pulled over on the side of the road just to capture it!

085 Daisy Troop
We are going to miss all these sweet little Daisies :(

072 Abby
This little stinker didn't want her photo taken so she tried to squirt me with water!

089 Ava Sophia Shay Abby Mckenzie
Best Buddies :)



Build a Bear

Happy birthday to the most handsome husband a girl could ask for! You are as old as me again babe :) Sorry we aren't able to be together to celebrate. Luckily, Sheri and Matt invited Scott up to their place for the night so he was in good company on his birthday!

The girls had a birthday party this afternoon at Build a Bear. It was a fun party, although I got suckered into spending a small fortune on accessories for their new bears.  This was their last birthday celebration in NJ :( I hate goodbyes and I hate watching my girls say goodbye to their friends. They handled it well, although, I don't think they fully grasp the concept. I'm sure it won't sink in until we have been settled into our new place for awhile and they are bored of each other.
041 Emily Mckenzie

045 Vivi Abby Emily Mckenzie


Last day of First Grade

Today was Abby's last day of First Grade. I am so sad it is over, but I am so happy with everything she has learned. She started first grade barely reading and she is now reading chapter books. She has learned addition and started on subtraction. Her handwriting has greatly improved and I'm sure that is because they write in their journals at school a lot. Her stories have become so much more detailed and so have the illustrations that accompany them. I am amazed at everything she has learned this past year. She is wiser and more mature and has grown in ways I never imagined. She has blossomed so much and I am so thankful to her teacher for helping her grow.

011 Abby002 Abby last day of 1st grade

Both girls had friends over today. It was a little crazy around here with five kids, but somehow we managed :)

010 Abby JT
Abby and her friend JT kept telling each other secrets to one another during lunch. I have no idea what they were saying, but they were sure laughing a lot. When her friend left, Abby ran down the sidewalk, chasing the car and waving goodbye. It broke my heart to watch her. I hate to watch my kids say goodbye to their friends. Abby didn't seem to be bothered, but I don't think she understands it yet. I think it won't sink in until we are actually gone.

012 Mckenzie Sophia
Mckenzie and her friend were so busy running around, it was hard to get them to stop for a photo. They played inside, then outside, and then back in. You get the idea.

Our babysitter stopped by to say goodbye today. The girls were so happy to see her that they couldn't stop hanging on her. It was hard to say goodbye to Miss Tiffany. She has been the best babysitter for our children. She plays with them and takes an interest in them and the girls adore her. I've never worried about leaving the kids with her because she is so responsible and kind. I am really going to miss her :(

And to end the day, we had friends over for dinner. Her hubby is out of town and we end up having dinner at least 2 or 3 times a week. It is so easy because the kids get along well and the conversation is always good. I'm really gonna miss them too.


Cooper is really taking an interest in toys. He can sort of grab them (his depth perception isn't quite there yet) and hang on to them for a little while before dropping them.

022 Cooper Mckenzie

Cooper grabbed Mckenzie's finger and was trying to pull it to his mouth. Mckenzie wouldn't have any of that and kept pulling her hand away.

Both girls had play dates today. I am trying to fit as many in as I can before we leave. Mckenzie went swimming at her friend's house and Abby had a couple of friends over here. Abby also got to go swimming at her friend's house later on and ended up getting a swim lesson while she was there. The friend's grandma likes to teach kids to swim so she gave Abby a few pointers. Abby can now swim on her back and dive into the pool. I am so impressed at what a little one on one lesson did for her skills. She has never been able to swim on her back before. She would just sink and give up. But after today's lesson, she looked like she had been doing it for a long time. I am so proud of Abby for what she has learned!


Attitude Adjustment


Abby was complaining she was bored. I offered several solutions but none of them were exciting enough for her. I'm assuming they weren't good enough because not a single one involved inviting one of her friends over to play.  Anyway, she kept whining and stomping around the house with the attitude of a teenager so I decided I needed to give her an attitude adjustment (I remember getting one or two of those as a kid. I really disliked those words when I was younger, but they seem appropriate now). I gave her one last chance to do one of the fun things I suggested but she said no, so I gave her chores to do instead. She ended up putting away laundry, sweeping the floor, washing the windows, washing the cupboards, and cleaning the bathroom before she finally stopped complaining about being bored. Every time she finished a chore, she came back in with the same ugly attitude and complained about being bored so I offered a new chore. It wasn't until after she cleaned the bathroom that she realized she needed to stop complaining. She quietly asked if she could watch a movie. Then she looked at me out of the corner of her eye and asked "when I have kids, can I make them do chores?" When I said yes, she got the biggest smile on her face.

Today was Abby's last full day of first grade. Tomorrow and Friday are half days. They had a Camp In yesterday where they got to bring sleeping bags and flashlights to class and pretend they were camping. The teacher even set up a tent in the middle of the classroom! Today, Abby had her End of the Year party. It was a luau themed party and Abby said she had lots of fun playing with hula hoops and leis.


Mckenzie's friend came over to play for a bit today while her Mom worked the End of the Year Party at Abby's school. They played dress up for the longest time and pretended they were both getting married. I know Mckenzie is really going to miss her friend.


14 weeks old

012 Cooper 14 weeks

It's time for another bear photo with Cooper :) only 38 more to go. I just love this little onesie with the aviator glasses on it. The last time he wore it, I wanted to snap a photo, but Cooper had other plans for his outfit. His plans included a blowout, a bath, and a load of laundry. Not quite as fun as a photo if you ask me :)


Last week of school.

I love watching Cooper sleep. He looks so peaceful.

093 Cooper

Today is Abby's last week of school. I can't believe it is already the end of the school year. It seemed so far away and now here it is. It means our movers are a week out and we are a week from seeing Scott. I'm excited for our next chapter, I just can't seem to wrap my head around this move. It's going to be a tough one for sure. 

We met a friend and her children for dinner. I always feel like we look like a tornado going through the restaurant because we have 6 kids between the two of us and mine for sure aren't very quiet when it comes to eating out.


Mommy's heper

092 Abby Cooper

Abby changed Cooper's diaper all by herself. She was so proud of herself! And I am so proud of her for being such a great helper.


Bath time

082 Cooper bath

Little man loves his bath time and I can't get enough of his cute little toes. The girls love to help me give him a bath. Especially Mckenzie. She loves to wash his hair with this little brush I have.


Sleepy babe


It's hard work helping mommy get stuff organized around the house.



Turning Daisies into Brownies

Abby had her bridging ceremony tonight where she transitioned from a Daisy into a Brownie. It was a short but sweet event. I am sad that Abby will not continue here as a Brownie with her friends. They are a bunch of sweet little girls.