Monday, August 26, 2013

The Official End of Summer

Usually I'd consider Labor Day or the first day of school the last day of summer.  The pool usually closes on Labor Day, but back to school always elicits thoughts of Halloween, football, fall, and pumpkins.  However, this year I am marking the end of summer (though not the end of HEAT) with the end of my maternity leave.

That's right, after twelve blissful, sleepy, pajama-filled weeks home with our newest little lady, it's time for me to hit the grindstone again.  I am so very sad to leave Riley, but she is going to be in great care.  Ryan and I worked hard to find a great daycare that we love, but nothing beats bumming around with her all day.  I'm definitely excited to see my friends again and to use my brain in a different, non-diaper counting way.  There are a lot of moving parts that I'm nervous about, like leaving her, pumping, the morning schedule.  But I know that with a lot of grace and a little luck, we'll make it.

And in order to make myself feel a little better, I did a teensy bit of shopping.  It didn't help a ton (I'm still much bigger than I want to be!!), but it did help a little.  New shoes really make a difference, people.

So if you get a chance today, say a little prayer for me.  I'm going to need it!!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Swimmy Swimmy

Riley took her first dip in the pool yesterday, and she loved it!  We raise water babies around here.

She was cackling out loud here at Alli popping up out of the water.  I just adore her little personality and seeing them interact!

Happy end of summer!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Riley's Two Month Check-up

Even though our sweet baby girl is eleven weeks old, she just had her two month check-up today.  Our pediatrician has a pretty full schedule, which I like to take as a sign that he's great at his job!  So instead of going to see another doctor, we waited a little longer to get in to see him.

Riley was 23.5 inches long (2.5 inches up from birth) and 12 lbs (3 lbs, 10 oz up from her birth weight).  He said she was in the 60th percentile in height and the 65th in weight, so everything looks to be progressing as normal.  Which was relief to this mama, who may or may not have spent the past sixish weeks deciding that Riley was not putting on weight and that it was all my fault.  Talk about wasted energy.

Her lungs and heart sounded great, he felt good about her weight gain, and he was happy with her milestones and her progress on sleep.  Then she got three shots and one oral vaccine - I hated them jabbing the needles into her rolly polly legs.

Her doctor did say that if hair came in percentiles, she'd be off the charts.

And cuteness?  There's not even a comparison.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Back to School

I cannot believe it's already time for this post!!  Alli headed back to school this morning for her very first day of third grade.  Wasn't I just writing the "Last day of second grade, Riley is due any day now" post?  And now the summer is completely gone, and Alli's back in school (and I go back to work in a week -- tear!!).  I know where it all went - soccer camps, horseback riding, a week at the beach, nearly a month at Tata's... - but I just wish I could rewind it all and start again.

Alli got the teacher she was dying to get at school this year, and I was so happy.  She swore she wouldn't care either way, but I know she was thrilled.  I was concerned that she wouldn't get much sleep last night, but she konked out pretty quickly.  That helped her get up early, thank goodness, after a summer of sleeping until 9AM.

She rocked her new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles backpack and lunchbox (packed herself) as well as her rainbow New Balance shoes.  Apparently they go with everything!

I can't help but think back to a year ago, when she was headed to second grade.  We lived in a different house and had no idea that her sweet little sister was on her way.  So much has changed in such a short time!

Here's wishing this big girl a most happy school year!!  This house is pretty darn quiet, and I can't wait to go pick her up this afternoon!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Alli's Anecdotes

So Riley was having some tummy time this morning, and when she started fussing, I picked her up to change her diaper.  Little did I know, she had overcome the capacity of her diaper (I refuse to use the word "blowout"), so when I pressed her up against me, I got the outlier all over my shirt.  It was also all over her boppy pillow and her play mat.  I laughed it off and started working on cleaning up.  Of course, my little spitfire Alli was in the room and had something to say about it...

Alli:  "Ew ew ew get her away from me, I cannot even look at that."
Me:  "Well, one day you might have a baby and she might do that, and you can't call me to clean it up!"
Alli:  "My baby is definitely NOT going to do that.  Ever."

Yeah, good luck with that.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Back to Our Roots

After another lovely week in Little Rock (I better get back to real life soon or I'm going to be a spoiled brat), my grandmother and aunt came up from Ruston where my grandmother is staying for a while.  My grandfather's headstone was installed last week, and of course my grandmother had to come up and see it.  My grandfather grew up in Clarksville, AR and my grandmother grew up in nearby Lamar, so we decided to make a day of it and spend some time tracing our roots.

First my mom, grandmother, aunt, brother, Alli, Riley & I met my great aunts and their friends at a restaurant called South Park which is basically a soul food place in Clarksville.  I, of course, got chicken fried steak.  How could I refuse?  Afterwards we headed to the cemetery in Clarksville where my great grandparents are buried and where my grandfather's headstone is.  His ashes were actually spread on the Big Piney Creek, but my grandmother wanted to have a marker for him as well.  She, my mother, and my aunts came up with the inscription on it and I think it's about as close to perfect in describing this giant of a man as you can get.

I cannot believe he's gone.  I feel like it's a shock to me every single day.

Then we went to Pawpaw's brother's house in Clarksville to visit.  It's almost a blessing and a curse to go to Uncle Don's house.  He looks and sounds so much like my grandfather that it's a kick in the gut.  From his mannerisms to his deep voice right down to his teeth, he's every inch my Pawpaw's brother.  So when you're there, you can almost hear and see Pawpaw again, which is wonderful and cruel all at once.  I think I just sat beside Uncle Don and stared at him the entire time.

Afterwards, we headed to see the street Pawpaw grew up on, a street in Clarksville called Grandview that overlooks the bluffs.  His house isn't there anymore, but you can see the lot.  This is a dream street - think Washington Avenue in Fayetteville with old old homes, nice lots, and a better view.  Afterwards we headed to Lamar to see where my great grandparents on my grandmother's side are buried.  We spent some time going through that cemetery and even found one of our relatives who died in 1927 - at the age of 104!  And I found a house for sale nearby for $35,000 built at the turn of the century.  Be still my heart.

Then we headed to my great great aunt Kathryn's house.  She's 89, red headed, and sharp as a tack.  I walked in expecting to have to introduce Alli & Riley (and possibly myself) to her, but she didn't skip a beat asking if Riley was about two months old, if Alli was excited for school, and if I was going back to work.  Her husband Milton wasn't there, which was disappointing - he's a real character.  He's been a turkey farmer, a metal salvager, he's worked on using a propane tank to run his truck (successfully, albeit perhaps not legally), and Kathryn told us he's just bought a sawmill.  As she put it, he has "too many iron in the fire."  Kathryn was disappointed in her peach crop this year - only eleven quarts and "the varmints" got the rest.  I come from country folk, y'all - great granddaughter of a coal miner and a logger.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

Alli with her great great great aunt - wowza!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Alli's Words of Wisdom

I'm going to actually have a book to put together if this kid keeps up her witty ways.  Here's the latest snippet from life with Alli:

Alli: "Mom, I'm really hungry.  Like really hungry.  Can I have a corndog?"

Mama:  "Alli, a corndog is not a snack.  There are fruit snacks in the pantry, or I'll get you some grapes."

Alli:  "I don't want either of those things.  I really want a corndog."

Mama:  "A corndog is not a snack."

Alli:  "Well we can pretend it is."

I feel like my own words are being used against me.

Happy Anniversary...

to Grandmama and Grandaddy!  Sixty six years ago yesterday, my grandparents tied the knot roughly midway between their birthdays so that they would be the same age.  I miss them both so very much, but I am so happy they are together again.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Museum of Discovery

Surprise!  We're back down in Little Rock soaking up the end of the summer (and maternity leave).  I can't believe it's winding down.  Alli has this week and next before she heads to third grade, and I have one more week after that before I go back to work and Riley starts daycare.  We decided to hang here for another week to get as much Tata and Diddy time as we possibly could.  Today I packed the kids up and met Mom downtown at her work for lunch.  They have this delicious cafe in the Heifer Village - I've been dreaming about that turkey melt since the last time we went.  After lunch, we went to the newly remodeled Museum of Discovery.  I frequented this place as a child (and a daycare worker), but they've given it a complete facelift since I was last there.  Alli, John Patrick, and I had a great time.  Riley?  I am not sure she even knew we were there.

There were several different rooms with different exhibits.  I tried not to look too hard at the human body exhibit with the blood and lungs and hearts, but there were some cool things to do there - like check your balance:

Check your flexibility (John and I totally failed this, Alli did awesome):

There was also a hall that taught you a lot about sound and light waves.  Here's John and Alli adjusting the frequency on a sound played into a tube of tiny balls.  See the wave it made?

In the section on force and motion, Alli learned that she could pull herself up using a three pulley system, but no less:

And everyone gave laying on the bed of nails a go, even though Alli needed some convincing...

Who doesn't love the ball balancing sideways over the air?

In the weather area, Alli made cloud puffs while John Patrick created and destroyed a tornado.

And then they both gave a weather report.

We only had about an hour and a half before Riley lost patience, but Alli had a great time and was already planning her next trip.  I can't recommend this place enough to people visiting Little Rock (or even those of you who live there!).

Monday, August 5, 2013

Little Ryan

Ever since Alli was born, I've heard that she's "Little Ryan."  When my nephew Rafe came along, Ryan's family insisted that he looked exactly like Ryan.  And now that Riley's here, perfect strangers comment that she looks identical to her daddy.

Ryan says it's his childlike features that make the babies resemble him but at his parents' house this weekend I found the proof.

I think Rafe probably looks the most like him, but I most certainly see Alli and Riley there too.  I mean look at those big eyes and that sweet face!  We had such a great time having dinner with his family and sorting through all of the old pictures and hearing the stories.  Any wonder I married this stud?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Riley {Two Month Update}

Our precious little Riley Rachelle turned two months old yesterday!  I can't believe it's been two whole months since we welcomed her into our lives.

It was so hard to just pick the few quick facts we included here, because this little lady is changing every day!!

Key words to describe Riley this month:
  • Fickle.  Riley is absolutely 100% NOT Alli.  She is definitely a lot higher maintenance.  If you miss her "It's naptime" cues by just a few minutes, you've got a screaming meltdown on your hands.  She does not like to be hungry at all.  And once you think you've got her all figured out, she changes her mind on how she likes to be soothed, held, or played with.
  • Strong.  Riley's neck control improves every single day.  She's gotten excellent at tummy time, and she can turn her head side to side when she hears sounds or sees an object.
  • Awake.  She is most definitely coming out of that newborn sleepy period and having more and more hours of wakefulness during the day.  That has lead to a lot of fun playtime with smiles, cooing, and even a giggle for her daddy.  She's pretty ticklish!

In the past month Riley's been to Destin, Florida; Little Rock, Arkansas; and she even got to make a special trip to Prairie Grove to do a little antiquing.  Doesn't she look excited about it?

Alli is still madly in love with her little sister.  She even has this cute little song she sings to her that goes like this:  "My little little Riley Roo, Riley Roo, Riley Roo.  My little little Riley Roo shining by the light."  Riley likes to watch Alli, and Alli loves to hold Riley.  She asks us to do it at least three times a day, usually at the most inopportune moments.  But I try to let her be as involved as I can.  Big sis is obsessed.

I really can't complain too much about sleep.  Riley is not generally a great daytime napper, but she's a great night time sleeper.  We usually do a 5-6 hour stretch followed by a 3-4 hour stretch every night.  She still has a few nights where she does 3-4 hours then 2 hours, but that's maybe two nights out of seven.  She loves to snuggle in the morning, which makes waking up that much easier.

She's also a little trooper - we've been to the skating rink, Chic-Fil-A, the barn, and taekwondo class, and as long as we are working within her feeding schedule she's a happy camper.

It's been an amazing month with this little princess, and I think we've all gotten adjusted really well.  Next month I start back to work (tear!!) and she'll start daycare, so we will have a little more adjusting to do, but I am sure everything will go wonderfully.  Until then, I am going to enjoy my last three weeks at home with my girls!  Happy end of summer!

I've been struggling with how I want to do her monthly updates, and I finally stumbled across the perfect format.  I like the month by month stickers fine, but this month's sticker was blue and yellow, and we like pink and purple too much to miss a month of it.  So I stumbled across this website called PicMonkey and it helped me create exactly what I was envisioning.  I am sure over the next year I'll get better, but I'm not ashamed at my first attempt!