Thursday, January 30, 2014

Black Eyed Pea

Like I mentioned in some earlier posts, this past weekend was gorgeous.  After Alli's horse show on Sunday, we did our grocery shopping.  On the way home, we stopped by Academy Sports.  Alli asked me (again) to please sign her up for softball this spring, so I did a few weeks ago in a fast pitch league put on by Fayetteville High School.  I'm not sure if she's ready for her mom to turn into a crazy woman though.  I don't know anything about soccer, but she's about to get schooled in softball.

Anyway, we decided to grab her a glove so that we could get it broken in and start playing a little catch.  Then we spent an hour out in the yard working on fielding, catching and throwing, and she did so well.  She caught on fast and she really seemed to enjoy it.  She even got hit a few times - once on her lip, once on the knee, and a few times on her fingers, but she was a trooper.  Her throwing improved dramatically as we worked.  We still have some practice to do on catching, but I think she's going to do great.

This evening as I was putting her to bed, I noticed that Alli had a raised bump right above her eye that was quickly bruising up.  Horrified, I asked her if she got hit with the softball, thinking I hadn't noticed it.

"No.  I was playing Mario a minute ago on the Wii, and I beat a level and got really excited and hit myself in the eye.  It really hurts, but I'm okay."

Seriously?  This kid can jump a horse, kick a soccer ball across the field, and practice softball for an hour, but the only injury she got all day was from a Wii remote?  Sometimes I just don't even know what to say.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Leap of Faith

On Sunday, we started the day with a family walk.  It seems like every week since Riley's been born, I say to Ryan "We're going to church next week!" and then we always find a reason not to - illness, exhaustion, family.  So this was yet another week that we didn't make it, but we did spend some quality family time enjoying God's creation and the 60 degree temperatures he blessed us with, so I'm going to focus on the positive!

After our walk, Alli had a horse show.  She absolutely loves the horse shows.  They aren't like serious NWAHJA-sanctioned events.  It just three or four local barns who have little practice shows for green riders and green horses to get used to traveling to a new place and being judged.  She's done several, and this week her trainer decided she was ready to do cross rails at the show - meaning she'd actually be jumping in the show for the first time.  We've been jumping in lessons for about six months, but the show was a new thing.

I was excited - she's more than ready for it, and I love seeing her progress.  Mr. Tater Tot had other plans, however.  When they were schooling, he kept ducking out of the jumps!  As they'd approach a jump, he'd veer off to one side and avoid it completely!  Alli got a little upset and frustrated - her first jumping show, and Tater decided to be a snot!  Fortunately Ms. Sally and Ms. Diane know the right things to say to give my girl some confidence.

Tater and Alli executed the first over fences class flawlessly - no run outs, perfect diagonals, a really great class.  Unfortunately in her second over fences class, he ran out a few times.  But on the flat, they did awesome, and Alli won the game, which is her mark of how well she thinks the show went - what place she came in on Red Light Green Light.  I was so proud of her - she overcame adversity so well and did a really great job.  And no matter what that little stinker Tater Tot does, Alli and I just adore him.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Brick by Brick

After a week of frigid temperatures, we had a beautiful and warm weekend.  Unfortunately for the first time ever, Fayetteville Public Schools decided to hold a make-up snow day on a Saturday.  So Alli went from a four day week (she was supposed to be off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday) to a six day week.  She was not too happy Saturday morning when we took her in, she said she was afraid we were going to do something fun without her.

I've got news for her - we did.  But fortunately for Alli it wasn't kid-fun, it was both of us getting our workouts on the elliptical done, playing on the floor with Riley, and enjoying coffee and grown-up talk.  So she didn't miss much.

I went to make the rounds at the Fayetteville antique stores that we love - 410 Vintage, Flying Dog, and Fayetteville Trading Post - before picking Alli up at 2PM.  Good news - she wasn't the only kid that went to school and she actually had a good time.  We went home to get Ryan and Riley, and then went dropped by our most favorite Fayetteville antique store In Retrospect.  We aren't looking for anything in  particular, but you just never know what you'll find.  I was in love with a fully restored ride-on pony called Jigger, but at "$3500 FIRM," Ryan said no way.

To make up for the horror of going to school on a Saturday, we got to take Alli to a new place called Brick by Brick.  We weren't too sure about the concept, but it was Lego-focused, so my two Lego-holics decided to give it a try.

Here's the deal - you walk in to a Lego-themed room (Lego characters on the walls, primary colors everywhere, posters of Legos, paintings of Legos…there were even Legos in the soap jars.  One wall is lined with boxes of Lego sets, which you can "check out" and put together.  There are also endless totes of random bricks, wheels, men, and plates.  On the other wall, there's a play kitchen and grocery store, a chalkboard, and a play area for the littles with Duplo blocks, coloring books, and plastic animals.

Things started a little slow.  Alli was quiet and not sure what to think, and Ryan was afraid of being "that dad" who got a kit and built it himself.  So they decided on a Lego City tractor trailer to start out.

They worked together for a little while, but once all of the policemen and the criminals were put together, Alli wandered off to do a little grocery shopping.  Ryan powered through alone.

He secretly liked it better that way so he could focus, methinks.  I played with Riley on the floor, and we got super close to crawling.

After Ryan got his police tractor trailer put together and Alli played with it, she grabbed some of the random Legos and put together this awesome intricate set of people doing a race.  She's so amazingly creative.

Brick by Brick was a super place.  We will definitely be going back - it was $15 for the four of us (Riley was free) to play for two hours.  They do drop offs and Parents Night Out, so you can even drop your kiddo off if you so desire.  The staff was extremely friendly, the decor was very creative, and Alli even made some new friends.

Now if I can just get them to do a Dad's Night In so that I can drop Ryan off to do the Ewok Village - all 1,500 pieces!  If you've got a Lego-crazy kid (or spouse), you really need to swing by Brick by Brick and try it out.  My Lego maniacs gave it four thumbs up.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Riley {Seven Month Update}

Houston, we have a problem.  My teeny tiny baby has disappeared!  So much so that I can barely fit her into our shots for our monthly pics!  See what I mean?

So we changed the format a little bit and let her sit up since she's so fabulous at it.

Ahhh I could just bite those toes all. day. long.  But I digress.

Key words to describe Riley this month:

  • Talkative.  Until recently, Riley has been a pretty quiet baby unless she's complaining.  But this month she is babbling nonstop!  It's mostly "Mamamama" but she also says "Dadadada."  She screams, she gurgles, and she smacks her lips.  And if you slap your hands down on the grown and say "AH!" she'll do it right back.  Cutest thing ever.
  • Smart.  This word could obviously describe Riley every month, but she's really developing this month.  She can sit in her exersaucer and swivel around to follow Alli, even when Alli is behind her and she can't see her.  She knocks down blocks while I stack them, and she even grabs at my face so that I'll react at sling my head side to side.  Seeing her learn cause and effect is amazing.
  • Eating.  We're trying a new food every three days, so she's experiencing a lot of new tastes.  She had her first green veggie on Sunday - green beans - and she's actually a fan!  The only thing we've found that she's not in love with is avocado.  She'll eat it, but it's not her favorite.  She loves the fruits - pears, bananas, mangos, and apples.

Our sweet little princess appears to be teething.  She's fussy sometimes, she's drooling buckets, and it's about dang time!  But no teeth yet - maybe next month.  She's not crawling either, and I guess I should be counting my lucky stars, but I want to make sure she's on track so we practice as much as we can.

She would really much rather sit up and play with all of her Christmas presents.  She got so many awesome things, but so many of them make noise.  Alli's favorite thing to do is to put them all on the loud setting and get them all going at once.  All the while exclaiming "I can't hear myself think!"  Sisters.

Our little stinker is hard to figure out sometimes.  She will have several nights where she sleeps for 12 hours and we don't hear a peep, and then she has nights where she's up every hour.  She knows how to keep us on our toes!

Happy seven months beautiful girl - you're such a special part of our family and we can't wait to see you grow even more!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I'm Big on Little Rock: Wrapping up Christmas Break

I just realized that I didn't put the finishing touches on our extra long Christmas break in the Rock Town!  Let's go back to where we left it.  On New Years Eve my mom, Alli, and I went to Pinnacle Mountain to get Alli out of the house.  It was actually a warm day (and by warm I mean not freezing) so we had a great time playing on the new playground equipment and even taking a walk.  I can't tell you how many times I went to that park as a child, so it's always so much fun to take Alli on the same nature trail and visitors center.

Alli was pretty excited to actually hike the mountain, so we promised her we'd come back the next day.  That evening, Ryan and I celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary at the Packet House, which is a really old house that overlooks the river.  We had a four course meal, and I got the wine pairings too.  Fabulous!  

The next day I was anxious to get the New Years resolutions off right, so I went on a three mile walk with Dad followed by hiking Pinnacle with Ryan and Alli.  The views were amazing, and spending day one of 2014 conquering a mountain?  I can't think of anything more symbolic than that!

That evening, Mom made an awesome roast with mashed potatoes and of course black eyed peas.  Even Alli ate some, so good luck is sure to be ours this year.  And Riley got to be held by her Nini.  Sometimes I wish I were still small enough for Nini to hold me.

We spent the next several days working and working out, and then Saturday we took Alli to Altitude, which is a new trampoline park in Little Rock.  It was awesome.  There was a foam pit that we could jump into, a dodgeball court, and trampolines on every available surface.  We could hardly keep up with Alli - she was literally bouncing off the walls.

Sunday morning, Ryan drove back to Fayetteville in the snow, but we Lowe girls stayed on in Little Rock due to some unforeseen circumstances.  We made the best of it and spent lots of time with my parents.  Alli and Riley are nuts about their Diddy and Tata.

We had to get back to reality last Tuesday night, and I finally got my Christmas stuff down Saturday (horror of horrors) so that I could go back to judging people who hadn't done it yet.  I'm really terribly sad that the holidays are over because we had such a wonderful time with our family.  Blessed, blessed, blessed.  I can't say it enough.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Alli's Anecdotes

As you know from keeping up with the Lowe Down, there's work going on to get this family fit and fabulous for 2014.  2013 was a great year for a baby, but not a great year for my physique, so I am hoping to get it back to where I want it this year.  We got a new elliptical to keep upstairs in our game room because I can't seem to stick to running and I always find a reason not to go to the gym.  But I always have an hour or two for the Real Housewives (or my new guilty pleasure Vanderpump Rules…what is wrong with me?), so with the elliptical at home and in the game room, I always have thirty minutes for a workout.

It's been four days straight now of me working out on it.  Today I almost bailed - Riley had a bad night, so I didn't get up early.  Alli had orthodontist appointments, so I didn't get it done during Riley's nap while I worked from home today, and when Ryan got home it was time to start dinner.  Awesome man than he is, Ryan encouraged me to let him finish dinner and to go get my elliptical on.  I declined, saying something about it being okay to take a day off.  And then I decided not to.  I sweated it out, got caught up on Real Housewives, and then came downstairs just in time for dinner.

After dinner, I had that post workout buzz and was feeling pretty great.  Four days in a row!  These pounds are coming off in no time!  Then I scooped Riley up out of her high chair to get her in the bathtub.  And Alli struck.

"Mama, remember when your belly was big like when you were going to have Riley?"

Me, unsuspecting.  "Yeah I do, Al."

"Well it kind of looks that way now.  Are you going to have another one?"

Consider my buzz killed.  Man am I glad I didn't skip working out today.  Thanks, Alli.