Sunday, November 17, 2013

Alli's Anecdotes

Today, while sporting a favor from a recent birthday party, Alli informed Ryan, "You can't tell me what to do, I have a mustache."

Somebody save us.  She's out of control.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fall Cleaning

When your eldest baby is born the same month as Jesus and is well-loved far and wide, you tend to accumulate a lot of stuff around this time of year.  Even with a bigger house and a playroom that I pictured looking like Pottery Barn and actually looks like a Ninja Turtle lair, we just don't have space.  So every year around this time, we do a "gut job" of Alli's room.  We reorganize the organizer bins, we chastise her for not putting things back in their place all year long, we get rid of clothes that don't fit her long legs anymore, and we stealthily slip Happy Meal toys, magic wands, painted rocks, and bouncy balls into trash bags to take to Goodwill.

Sweet Ryan spends his time reorganizing every bin, tossing toys, and sneakily taking the giant bags out to the car.  I empty the closet, boss him around, refuse to get rid of anything with a horse on it, and blog about it.  He loves the entire process.

At some point, the princess herself enters the room, begins playing with toys she hasn't in years, and begs for us to take some of the toys out of the bags.  "Oh, Kitty Softpaws!  Oh, my teacup piggies!  Oh, that weird painted rock someone bought me because I cried in Destin!!"  We argue, we beg, we bargain.  We win some, we lose some.  She accumulates more stuff in December, and we gripe about it until the gut job rolls around next year.  Anyone else in this vicious cycle?

You win this time, Kitty Softpaws.  But you won't make it next year.

Friday, November 15, 2013

NOLA Family Style

When I found out my cousin Brooke was getting married in New Orleans, I definitely had my reservations about taking my whole family down there.  Where you hear NOLA, you think of beads, boobs, and Bourbon - but I'm here to tell you, there's a lot more to it than that.  We got up the morning after the wedding and headed to Cafe Du Monde to get beignets and cafe au lait.  The line was incredibly long, but it moved really quickly.  Plus we can always find a way to entertain ourselves.

Why yes, that is a balloon animal Michelangelo.  And yes, Alli did carry him around the rest of the day, until I realized on the streetcar that I had been holding him for two hours.  And he cost me $10 and almost more than that when one of his hands popped while I was holding him.  But I digress.  The beignets and cafe au lait were delicious.  I'm wishing I had ordered more.

Side note - people kept asking Alli where she got her beads, and she kept telling them "My grandmother."  We thoroughly enjoyed that.  After Cafe Du Monde, we went to Jackson Square.

There were so many great local artists on the outside of the square, and there's talent for days in that city.  After Jackson Square, we went to St. Louis Cathedral.  Absolutely stunning.

After the cathedral we walked up to the muddy Mississippi and then along it all the way to the Audobon Aquarium.

Alli was extremely excited to go to the aquarium, but there was one exhibit I knew I would be avoiding.

I mean, do people pay money to interact with free-flying birds?  Why?

We saw sharks, turtles, seahorses, and we got to touch stingrays.  Alli was pretty scared at first, but she loved it.

How much personality does this kid have?  She cracks me up all the time.

After the aquarium, we walked down Canal Street to catch the streetcar to the Garden District.  I had to see the old beautiful houses.  I wish I had a picture but I was too busy oogling.  Obsessed.

We rushed home to get Lindsey on her plane back to Fayetteville, and then we went to dinner at Oceana.  Ryan took a little heat walking Riley back home when he had to cross Bourbon Street - "Why do you have your baby on Bourbon?"  Poor guy.  It's 6:30PM and it was between him and the hotel.

We had illusions of grandeur about going out again that night but're just too tired.  After a day of touring NOLA, even Alli was ready to relax.

I am pretty sure we all looked like this later that night:

So I said all of this to say - there's more to NOLA than Bourbon and beer.  It was actually a pretty great place to take the girls and to expose Alli to a lot of neat culture that you can't get anywhere else.  We left the Crescent City with some things left to do - like seeing Marie Laveau's grave and really walking the Garden District and hitting the jazz bars - but it was a great trip for everyone.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Big Easy

We had a major family event this past weekend - my cousin Brooke got married to her fiancee Keith.  Of course I love Brooke, and Keith is an awesome guy.  I mean he's an engineer - what's not to like?  So we packed up the girls and headed to the Crescent City for the festivities.

Ryan, the girls and I stopped in Little Rock Thursday to pick up my dad, and we made in to NOLA around lunch time on Friday.  We went to lunch at a place called The Coffee Pot and then got ready for the wedding.  The wedding was held at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum.  It was a beautiful venue with a cool indoor bar atmosphere and a great outdoor area.  Pause for a second and bask with me on how gorgeous my girls are.  And my hubs.

 Brooke and Keith had some street musicians perform at the ceremony, and Riley was seriously enamored with them.  Thank goodness they were passing out CDs.

 After the wedding, we did a second line to celebrate.  We marched behind a brass band and waved handkerchiefs.  I wish I had a picture of Alli - she had a blast!  Afterwards my sister watched the girls so that Ryan and I could hit up Bourbon.  I of course had to seek out the real reason people wander Bourbon.

 Horses and hurricanes.  Hurricanes and horses.  Both make me a happy girl.  Congratulations to Brooke and Keith - I am so happy for both of you and I wish you a lifetime of love, bliss, and beauty.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Riley {Five Month Update}

It's that time again!  Can you believe another month has gone by?  Our precious Riley Roo has been with us five months, and what a wonderful blessed time it's been.  This little ma'am is showing her personality more and more every day.

Key words to describe Riley this month:
  • Cheerful.  Her laughs are easy to come by, and she's getting better at entertaining herself.  She's mostly a happy little girl who smiles, coos, and chuckles at everyone.  She laughs the hardest at Alli, but she's given Cash a giggle or two also.  Apparently his sneezing and sniffing are hilarious.
  • Growing.  This goes without saying, but our little lady is growing by leaps and bounds.  She had a doctor appointment last week, and she's in the 60th percentile for weight, 35th in height, and 25th in head circumference.  She's barely squeezing into her 3-6 month clothes these days, and I mostly keep her in 6-12 months.  I can't keep up!!
  • Grabby.  If it's within her grasp, it's hers.  That goes for cell phones, cups, earrings, hair, and the door jamb as I walk into her room.  She really like to grab and chew on her blankets.  I could barely feed her rice cereal the other day for her grabbing the spoon as it came to her mouth.

Riley still loves a good bath.  She gets really wild sometimes and kicks hard and screams a little bit.  Alli was one of the bounciest babies, and Ryan and I commented recently that Riley wasn't.  She's been working on proving us wrong ever since.  

We tried solid foods for the first time on Sunday night.  We were at my mom's house on our way back from a family wedding in New Orleans, and the doctor had just given us the go ahead to try it.  I got single grain organic rice cereal and mixed in a little breast milk.  She actually ate it pretty well.  We went for a repeat performance the next night with big sister holding the spoon.  I think Riley's face says it all.

I am going to work this weekend on making her baby food.  I bought a few storage containers to help me freeze it, and I am planning on getting a book with recipes.  Maybe that will go over better than rice cereal.

She sleeping well, and we've even tried her sleeping alone in her room a few nights.  I get a little panicky about it, and I still want her sleeping with us up until she's six months old at least.  But she's done really well in her room and is only getting up once at night.  She's back to loving her Wubbanubbs, so that helps night time go a little better.

Riley is such a joy to our entire family.  I've also heard repeatedly that she resembles a Cabbage Patch doll.  I cannot believe she's about to experience her first Thanksgiving and Christmas!  I still think she favors her Diddy in the looks department.  Happy five months, Riley Rachelle!!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Alli's Assurances

A few nights ago we were eating on the run, and I made Alli corndogs.  She eats them with ranch dressing, and I forgot to put any on her plate.

Alli:  "Mama, you forgot my ranch."

Me:  "Gosh, I'm so sorry, Alli.  Can you go grab it?"

Alli:  "It's okay, you're still the best mom ever."

Sometimes it's nice to hear that you rock at your job.