We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers. - I Thessalonians 1:2

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

iPhoto Shoot

So while I can't upload any pictures from my camera while we're away, Cate and I did have some fun playing around with my sister's new MacBook and the Photo Booth application.  She was fascinated by the camera and therefore wouldn't smile, but the pictures are still quite hilarious as you can see: 

Here we are with the alien effect:
And the bulge effect:
Pop art: 
And a normal one for all of her fans: 
We also had a great time today with Melisa, my friend from high school, and her son, Logan, at the breastfeeding moms' support group.  Logan and Cate loved staring at each other, holding hands, and making grabs for one another's faces.  The program on babyproofing (specifically for burn safety) was great.  The lactation consultant that runs it also brings a scale with her to do weight checks.  With her clothes on and a diaper, Cate was at 17 pounds, 1 ounce.  In reality though, she'd probably be just under 17 pounds naked.  I wish we had something like this in Cincinnati.  

~Melody :-)

Missing Daddy, but having fun with the girls...

Just a quick update...Cate and I are in Hudson visiting my mom (my dad is in Atlanta working), my brother and my sister.  My grandmother made the trip up with us and our main reason for coming was to see my cousin, Jennifer, perform in a community theater production of "Godspell" on Thursday evening.  I have to admit that I was quite proud of myself for getting the pack n' play set up on my own (Eric does this when we travel) and getting the exer-saucer collapsed to pack in the car and popped back up again once we got here.  :-)  Hopefully I'll be able to get the pack n' play and the exer-saucer re-collapsed on Friday when we leave.  

Also, if you could keep our family in your prayers, we'd appreciate it.  My parents are still waiting on their house to sell so my mom can finally move down to Atlanta and be with my dad.  There has been a lot of interest in their house, but most people who come to look at it have homes of their own to sell.  My mom is currently trying to decide if she should go ahead and take a part time job or not while she waits for it to sell.  

As for Eric and I, we need your prayers in our sitter situation for Cate. The sitter we had lined up for this school year had to let all of her clients go for some personal family reasons.  We totally understand her reasons and are praying for her and her family.  So now that leaves us with needing a place to put Cate.  We have some interviews early next week when I return and are really praying we can find another at-home sitter who will love and care for Cate like we do. We're thankful that this is at least happening now and not in the middle of the school year.  Our previous sitter did offer to watch Cate for a couple of weeks if need be while we look for a sitter, but since we don't need someone until mid-August, we'd rather try to get Cate in with someone from the get-go.  It's a stressful situation, but I'm really trying to have a good attitude and not get too stressed out about it.  

Thanks for your prayers and I'll try to get some pictures of our trip posted soon.  Today we're heading to a breastfeeding support group with a friend of mine from high school and her son.  They're discussing babyproofing, which is something Eric and I really need to get going on.  

~Melody :-)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Growing up too fast!

Cate sits up very well with assistance (leaning against something or with pillows around her in case she starts to lose her balance) and can sit unassisted for about 30 seconds on her own. The last time she went grocery shopping, she was very frustrated to be in her infant carrier in the cart (not to mention that her carrier doesn't fit very well in the small carts at Whole Foods where we've been doing most of our shopping for the last 6 weeks or so). So I decided to try her in the big kid seat in the cart with her grocery cart cover. There's a back support that you can't really see and she was strapped in- both of which helped to stabilize her better. She smiled the whole time and seemed to enjoy the view (and being close to mom). We picked up some rice rusks while we were there (Baby Mum Mum is the brand for those of you looking for a good rice cracker for a new-to-foods infant). The rusk dissolved quickly as she gummed it and wasn't too messy. She enjoyed it as well.
She's doing new things each and every day and we never cease to be amazed by her.

Tooth update: One lower one has pushed through the gums, but is not all the way up. We feel another bump lurking below her gums right next to it.

~Melody :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Milestones

Guess who started sitting at the table rather than on it? That's right, our baby girl! We can't believe how fast she is growing up. And it honestly seems like she grew and gained about three pounds just in the last 4 days. She is heavier, and longer, and just won't stop. We love her though. She will be coming up on her 6 month birthday fairly soon (same day as her daddy's birthday). She's got a bit of a packed weekend and week ahead, but plenty of people and attention to take care of her. She'll be seeing extended family this weekend at her geegee's house (great grandmother) and then heading up to Hudson with her mama, to see her nana and her aunt Catherine. And she'll come back to her daddy even bigger. We love her.

- Papa E

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Funny how things have changed

A year ago, when Eric and I went out, we just went. As long as we let, Zoey, our dog out before we left, we were good for the night. Now, this process involves getting a sitter for Cate or packing up the diaper bag. We're lucky we have family in town though, so usually my grandmother or Eric's parents watch Cate if we want to go somewhere in the evening or by ourselves.

Last night we got free tickets to opening night of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company's (CSC) production of Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park. I was first introduced to the CSC a couple of years ago when we went to The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged (hilarious, by the way) and then two years ago I wrote a grant to get money from our PTO to fund a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream at school since about 2/3 of the 8th grade teachers teach the play. This performance was also very well done (and they did a good job pleasing the more conservative crowd where I teach by downplaying the sexual humor in the play). It was actually because of that performance that I ended up on the email list for the company and received an email for the free tickets. It was kind of last minute, but Cate's grandparents were happy to play with her and watch her so mom and dad could have a night off.

The play itself is funny, especially the third act. We were also pleasantly surprised to see that a girl both of us knew at Miami played the female lead. Eric even ran into a couple of of his frat brothers there.

By contrast, today we did something we've done a lot more of in the last 5 and a half months though...hung out at home. It's kind of been a new phase for us. Since Cate's arrival, we've been cooking more at home and staying in our general neighborhood vicinity. Of course, we go to the zoo and the pool and the library (but I consider those neighborhood vicinity since all of those things are fairly close to our house). Anyway...we used to be "not home" a lot before we had Cate. Now, you can pretty much bet on ringing our doorbell and finding us at home.

We did take Cate over to my grandmother's today to pick up a porch swing, but other than that, we stayed around here. We were pretty lazy all morning, but headed to the pool in the afternoon. Cate now also uses her robe (a great present from her Great Grannie Shook) as a coverup to the pool.
The pool was really crowded though, which kind of freaked Cate out since we mostly go in the evenings during the week and have the baby pool to ourselves. After about a half an hour, Cate had had it. Later in the evening, we took a blanket, some books, and Eric's guitar outside so that we could hang out in the back yard.

Mommy has a sty in her eye so she's glasses-bound the next few days- Cate likes to try to pull them off.
Cate amused herself chewing on one of the books. We can definitely feel a sharp bump on her lower gum and see a little white speck- the first tooth is almost here.
She still managed some smiles for us though.
And while Cate's tambourine was inside...her and daddy still sang the teething blues in the video below.

It's definitely different for us to be staying at home so much after so much "going" in our relationship. Going anywhere now takes a little bit of planning. Sure, the diaper bag is always ready to go, but I always double check it before leaving...just in case. And on a few rare occasions, we alter our plans if Cate seems overstimulated and worn out (read..."Cate needs to stay at home or we risk a major public meltdown). But I'm actually really starting to love this staying close to home thing. I love the weekends and evenings when all 3 of us (plus the two pets) just lay on the floor and play and read or do the same in the backyard. Cate doesn't mind sitting on our laps and watching us play Wii (she'll be jumping in to play before we know it). Every once in a while, a heated Scrabble game breaks out. It's fun! And I while I miss the whole "pick up and go whenever and wherever we want" lifestyle, I don't want it back. I treasure the times we're out (both with Cate and without)...but am learning to appreciate the home times just as much too.
~ Melody :-)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Water Fight

So for the last 20 minutes or so, while Cate is snoozing away (we've had a great week napping-wise), I have been watching my neighbors and their two kids have a water fight. I'm not sure what started it. The kids were definitely in their swimsuits though and the parents in their clothes. I saw some water balloons go flying, the squirt guns came out, and then mom pulled a sneak attack with the hose. Dad was quick to pick up the umbrella from the patio furniture at one point to use as a shield, but not before he filled up one of those huge orange water coolers (the kind you see at sporting events) and dumped it on one of the kids.

Seeing this reminds me of a night when I was little. We were living at the house I was born in over in Anderson Township and there were sprinklers going in just about every yard. I couldn't have been more than 5 or 6 (plus we moved to the other side of Anderson when I was 6, so I know it was before then). I remember the adults standing around in one driveway while we kids played hide and seek. No clue how many of us kids there were playing. One of us ran through one sprinkler and before we knew it, we were all running through all of the sprinklers...getting soaked...in our clothes...while our parents watched and laughed and decided that at least we wouldn't need baths that night.

It's moments like these that I'm looking forward to with Cate...but in a few years. Right now I'm happy to watch from the window, with my cold glass of lemonade, comforted by the air conditioner. If your kids are older though, I highly recommend checking out the Flipflops and Applesauce blog at right. I do not know the blogger (just like I don't personally know the It's the Little Things blogger or the CF husband blogger), but it is a blog I like to check out. She has great ideas for family togetherness and things to do with your kids...so if you're looking for things to do other than water fighting, you may want to navigate yourself in that direction.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Our 100th Post!

We've reached a milestone...100 posts! Apparently our adventures in pregnancy, parenting, and life in general are interesting enough for you to keep reading (though this is somewhat therapeutic for us). We thought that maybe after a week off, we'd have something cooler to post about- not the case though. Oh well...here are some highlights from the last week.

We'll begin with Mel and Cate's Friday adventure. Cate has always been observant. She was born with eyes wide open and loves to look at things (especially pictures and mirrors on the wall). So on Friday, Melody ventured to the art museum with Cate. If you haven't been lately, remember, it's free. Plus, there are two special exhibits that are also free. One is of things the museum has brought out of storage and has on display (yes, Cincinnati's collection is big enough to warrant some pieces being stored and rotated in). The other exhibit is the work of David Macaulay who does some awesome black and white drawings of buildings. Mel remembered looking at his books as a kid and picked up the CATHEDRAL book for Eric at the library (which went well with his current leisure reading, The Pillars of the Earth).
Then it was off to Krohn Conservatory (also free) since they were in the neighborhood. Cate loved the waterfall...mesmerized may be more the word.
And until August, they have a pretty cool exhibit where they've taken red, white, and blue flowers as well as some bamboo building replicas (not sure if that's the exact wood used) to create a mini- Washington DC and national mall. If you're in the area, you should go check it out.
Cate came home and ate some carrots (we've moved on to orange veggies now). And she's getting much better at taking food from a spoon.
But she still gets some on her face and nose. Thankfully it's summer and she just eats in her diaper a lot of the time.

On Saturday, we took her to her first parade. It was Ridge Day...cause for celebration indeed. Cate liked the different marching bands, drum corps', and anything musical. Perhaps she'll have her daddy's musical talent or play the clarinet like mommy.
We went to a picnic afterwards, but Cate got hot quickly so we didn't stay long. The rest of the weekend and beginning of this week have been pretty relaxed. Cate got some cool baby leg warmers (now that we've mastered rolling over, crawling will be next and we want those chubby legs protected from the cold wood floors in our house). They are way cute!
We also got an awesome toy basket. Along with rolling over, Cate grabs for toys and wants to play with them. We love that this basket is sturdy so it won't tip easily and has an open top so Cate can see in (once she can sit up). Plus, it makes taking toys with her easier (like when we go to visit people). We just pick up the basket and go.
Sometimes Cate and Eric wear themselves out playing.
One other thing we discovered this week, thanks to a tip from one of Mel's high school friends (thank you Mary Louise) was the Barenaked Ladies kids' CD, SNACKTIME. Those of you that know us, know we don't do cheesy kids' music. And we love music in general, so we want Cate to listen to the best (c'mon, the baby has lullaby versions of Coldplay, U2, Smashing Pumpkins, and Beatles' songs...of course she'll have awesome taste in music). Most of their songs are great and true to BNL style. Melody is a fan of the ABC song where they have a word for every letter and each of those words has a silent beginning (example: A is for Aisle, C is for Czar, T is for Tsunami, etc.). She also likes the Eraser song while Eric is a fan of the song Things which has three lines (There are things that make me mad, you are not one of them/There are things that make me sad, you are not one of them/There are things that make me Dad, you seem to be all of them).

So we guess that's it for our 100th post. Thanks for being awesome readers! And as always, we'll keep you posted ;-)

~Eric and Melody

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happy Anniversary Part 2

So I forgot to post this in my last post...but this is what we had done for our anniversary. Eric and I heard about SmallPrint before Cate was even born and knew we'd want to do it at some point in time. A couple of weeks ago, I took Cate to a little baby boutique in Oakley and Holly, the Cincinnati area SmallPrint rep, took an impression of her index fingerprint and transferred them onto beautiful charms for both of us. Eric's is on a leather cord, mine on a silver chain. It's crazy to think that even a month from now, her fingerprint will already be bigger.
I also woke up to this way cool box on the kitchen table. I love these three words and they pretty much epitomize my life right now.
He filled it with cool notecards since I've been writing a lot of regular mail lately (especially thank you notes since people always seem to want to buy our kid stuff) :-).
Eric had been eyeing a particular new cell phone for awhile, so I cheated and used my new free phone credit from Verizon to get him a new one. There wasn't anything wrong with mine- so I figured why not? He promised to let me use his free phone credit in November to get a new one...something with a QWERTY keyboard since the anal retentive English teacher in me would find that much easier for texting.
But really, the best part of today is having Cate with us to celebrate!
~Melody :-)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Happy Anniversary

In February 2002, Eric and I met when his fraternity rented out a roller rink in Trenton and had a 70's themed roller derby party. We found that we shared a love of good music, drinking our coffee black, reading, and Mac computers. It didn't take long before Eric figured out which mornings I worked at the coffee station at Miami's Belltower Dining Hall and I actually started "trying" to not look like I had not just rolled out of bed minutes before my shift started (the one exception being the morning when someone pulled the fire alarm at 3am in my dorm). Soon we were taking in each other's favorite movies, rollerblading around campus, and staying up way too late just hanging out. I accompanied Eric to his fraternity's grab-a-date and after he came to Kappa Phi's formal with me, we officially decided to give a relationship a go (with two weeks left in the school year...great timing I know).

Fast forward to late March 2003, when Eric surprised me in New York City (where I was enjoying spring break with some of my girlfriends). He played a song he wrote (and that I later walked down the aisle to) while in Strawberry Fields in Central Park. He then proposed and of course I said yes!

Fast forward another year and a half or so. On July 10, 2004, we said I do, exchanged vows and rings, and had a fantastic time dancing the night away with 200 or so of our closest friends and family. And while marriage definitely takes some work, it's work we love and we wouldn't do a thing differently if we could. I think the video below speaks for itself as it captures our life together thus far- with Cate being the newest chapter (she's in there at the end...we know you read this just to see her...who cares about mom and dad). Here's to hoping and praying for many more to come! We are truly blessed!

~Melody :-)

("So Deep in Love" by Joel Auge)

PS...Our iMovie skills are improving...at least we think so.

PPS...Remember Facebook-ers, you'll have to come http://growingupriggs.blogspot.com to actually watch the video unless the import note function has suddenly decided to import videos too.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Monday, Monday

Today was probably one of the hardest days with Cate I've had in awhile (and there were definitely some rough ones in those early weeks). For the last month or so, Cate has been drooling like crazy and lovin' it when you rub her gums or give her something rough to chew on (like a burp cloth or a toy that has some kind of texture to it). The pediatrician told us a couple of weeks ago that teeth can take up to two months or more to push through, but that Cate could definitely be feeling something inside her gums now. So maybe that was her issue today. All I know is that she woke up at 2 am and while she settled back down pretty quickly, it was just the beginning.

From 8:30 this morning on, Cate just wanted to be held. Nothing seemed to please her or entertain her. She'd nap for 20 minutes at a time and then wake up screaming. We tried an arbitrary drive (I had stuff I needed to take to Goodwill anyway) and that didn't work (with gas being as high as it is, I give her about 10 minutes and if she's not asleep, we go home). It was way too hot this afternoon for a walk. And cranky as she was, I wasn't brave enough to head to the mall to walk around when the littlest thing might set her off. So we hunkered down at home and I tried my best to keep a smile on my face as I rocked and bounced and snuggled with Cate- desperate to help her settle down. I am blessed to have a baby to rock and bounce and snuggle with no matter how grouchy she is.

Thankfully, Eric has some flexibility in his job and could sense my growing distress when he came home for lunch and later called to check in. He came home about an hour early to give me a break so I could work on the packet for the distance course I'm taking (I'm about 75% done at this point...yay). He managed to handle Cate and her grumpiness with lots of grace and even made dinner in the process. After it cooled off in the evening, we headed up to UDF for some soft serve, the library to return some things (where we promptly checked out more things...mostly CDs- they had the new-ish BNL and Arctic Monkeys), and Blockbuster to take back The Bucket List.

While I'm not a fan of medicating Cate when she doesn't need it, my mom did remind me that one dose of Tylenol won't hurt after the day she's had. It could be her teeth, but she could also have a headache. She's been having some tummy issues lately (we've been introduced to the wonderful world of infant suppositories since her digestive system is slowly getting used to cereal and baby food), so maybe she had some gas pain as well. She fought going to bed tooth and nail, but Eric once again came to the rescue and hung in there with her while I took a shower. We may be in for a long night...but we wouldn't trade it for anything.

~Melody :-)

(Cate in her daddy's hat a couple of days ago)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy 5 Months!!

So Cate is now 5 months old. I can't believe it. It seemed like just yesterday, she was to fresh to hold her head up or even smile. Now she's playful and even a bit mischievous at times. For all of you parents of older kids, I know you are probably thinking, "You think time goes fast now, just wait. . . " but we are enjoying it, and we know that several unknowns lie ahead. It's just hard to grasp how fast it's gone. Our baby is growing up fast.

We seem to have fallen into our element this summer with leisure activities. We have choices between the local CRC pool, the Cincinnati zoo, or one of our favorites, sitting back and enjoying a good book at home. Even the pets seem to be jumping on the band wagon.

Hope everyone had a good fourth. God Bless.

- Papa E.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July!

Celebrating this year was a lot different now that we have a 5 month old. It was kind of rainy off and on all day, and Cate wasn't much for napping today (though she did sleep in until 10:00 after only getting up for a 6am feeding...so we guess it's just a give and take).

Cate still got dressed up in her red, white, and blue (while without consciously thinking about it, Mommy ended up in red and daddy in blue).
We had Melody's grandmother over this evening and grilled some burgers (in the rain). Cate got her first "taste" of watermelon.
We think she liked it. And then Daddy showed her a sparkler for the first time (also in the rain).
After Cate went to bed, we watched The Bucket List, which is a pretty good movie to check out if you haven't seen it yet. Once Mel got back from dropping off her grandmother, we brewed a cup of coffee and headed out to our front porch (the rain had finally stopped), lit the rest of our sparklers together and watched our pyro-neighbors set off fireworks. It was weird not going to any official fireworks shows or festivals, but when we think of all the stuff we would have had to schlep with us, we're glad we stayed home.

Happy Birthday America!

~Eric and Melody :-)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wholesome Pizza Fun

So, as a family, we are starting to make a tradition of creating our own pizza's about once a week. We started off with Boboli crusts and while they are good, they are not altogether fresh. We found a fresh dough ball for pizza's at Fresh Market this week, and decided to give it a try. Stretching out the dough was fun (we even let Cate touch it)!

After a brushing of EVOO (Not the name brand, just generic) some garlic, Spinach, Goat cheese and some oregano and crushed red pepper, our family creation was ready for the oven. If you have not tried such an experiment, not only is it fun, but it tastes amazing.

We will most likely be continuing this tradtion, maybe not weekly, but definitely often. Here's to good food and good family. God Bless.

- Papa E

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

On Gratefulness

I don't really know the best way to put what I've been thinking about the last few months into words, but I'm an English major so this is my attempt:

I recently stumbled upon this blog through a link on a friend's site and kind of feel like it's one in a series of things I am learning on being grateful (I am in no way trying to trivialize this man's experience, so please don't take it that way when I say that it's "one in a series" of things that are teaching me). I am grateful for a relatively easy pregnancy (though it was low amniotic fluid that kept my activity limited from 20 weeks on) and uncomplicated delivery (unless you count forceps and a few stitches as complications, but I don't). And I am grateful that I have Eric to help me raise Cate. The CF Husband blog (which I started following in late January) has also humbled me and I am grateful that Eric, Cate, and I are healthy.

In his job at The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Eric sees firsthand some of the burdens that many families shoulder as a result of a loved one's illness. We've both always been organ donors, but are now on the marrow registry too.

During our Consumed Study with Crossroads Church, a fellow group member talked about how as she prayed one night, she thanked God simply for health insurance so that her son could go to the doctor and get medicine for an ear infection.

Not too long ago, another friend had a Facebook status that said something to the effect that she shouldn't be complaining about her grad school classes but should be thankful for the opportunity to take those classes.

Hmmm...it's humbling in a sort of strange way. Anyone who knows me well, knows I can complain and whine with the best of them. And knows that I can get in moods where things just "aren't good enough" for me and I want more (an appropriate mood when thinking about something like time with God and growing my relationship with him; less appropriate when thinking about something like my wardrobe or shoes).

As I adjust to being a mother (along with being a wife and a teacher and a lover of music and print and photography and coffee and dessert and other things that made up my identity pre-Cate), there have been some ever so slight shifts in my thinking. I used to be so future-minded, wanting time to pass quickly (hurry up to finish high school so I can get to college, hurry up and finish college so I can get a real job or get married, hurry up and get established so I can have a baby). I forgot about enjoying the present moment sometimes. I am grateful for the present moment. Cate is sleeping contentedly on her tummy and makes baby dream-coos every once in awhile...and thinking about that is better than thinking about when we will be able to afford a bigger house (I am grateful in this moment that I have a house...even though I complain about keeping it clean and stuff needing fixed every once in awhile).

And so I am grateful. I am grateful for my family, for my marriage, for Cate. Especially when I see people my own age beginning to divorce, burying their parents, and struggling to conceive. I am grateful for my job. Especially in today's economy- I have steady work; we'll always need teachers. Which is why I am thankful for the class I'm taking right now to advance on the payscale, even though it takes a little time away from Cate when I work on it (though I mostly do it when she's napping). I am grateful for my car to get me places. Even though gas prices suck right now and we pretty much walk whenever we can. I am grateful for a lot of things...tangible and intangible.

And that is what I've slowly been learning these last few months.

~Melody :-)