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

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Summer Weekend

I know it's not officially summer yet, and I do still have a few days left of school, but this weekend is a pretty good showcase of some of the things we love to do on summer weekends.

We started off by going to the Oakley After Hours (the last Friday of every month, the shops and restaurants in the neighborhood of Oakley stay open late-- there's lots of live music and good giveaways). Cate had a blast at the Blue Manatee, where she clapped along to live children's music and colored on a chalkboard table.
Then it was off to King Arthur's where Cate played with several different toys and sported her newly purchased hair clip from The Spotted Goose (which inspired mommy to make lots of hair clips this weekend...more on that in another post).
I'm not sure if Daddy or Cate is having more fun playing with the last toy.

We ended the evening at Aglamesis for yummy, locally made ice cream. Cate shared butter pecan with Daddy and mint chocolate chip with mommy. My grandmother joined us for the evening and we were happy to have her.
After Cate went to bed, Eric and I enjoyed yummy homemade caramel puff corn. Our friends, and gracious hosts of our small group, gave us the recipe after we fell in love with it at their house. It is delicious!
On Saturday morning, Cate made sure my bike was in working order for a ride. It felt great to be out again.
And once I got back to the bike shop and changed my clothes, we visited Spaeth Farm, a local farm that lets you pick your own strawberries. We were able to pick a few before Cate started getting grumpy and hungry for lunch. She enjoyed playing in the dirt more than looking for strawberries.
We grabbed some fresh asparagus and a tomato on our way out in their farmers' market (which also has fresh eggs). We will definitely be making more trips back there.

The rest of this weekend has been spent hanging around at home, doing yard work, playing outside, and enjoying church. Tonight, the students I had my first year of teaching as 8th graders are graduating high school. I'm excited to go to their graduation and for some reason now feel strangely a little bit old.

~Melody :-)

PS...Check out the previous post for a video of Cate walking. :-)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Walk On, Cate

I thought you all would enjoy seeing our new little walker. She's pretty determined and gets right back up (most of the time) when she falls. Walking has definitely worn her out as she's gone to bed early most nights this week because she has been exhausted. It doesn't help that she's teething a little too.

This was my first time using iMovie '09 and it's definitely clear I have a lot to learn. Also, I used a Flip Video camera to video Cate and had to use a converter to make the files iMovie compatible-- so the video quality is not as great as I'd like it to be. She's still a cute walking toddler anyway.

"Walk On" by U2

~Melody :-)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Musings of a Dad

I don't get on our blog much to write my thoughts, but a little introspection is due. It's that time of year, when Cate has decided to start walking, right in time for the hot weather, and the vacations. In our small group the other evening, we talked about vacations, and how sometimes we feel guilty to leave or duties and be selfish when Christ and his followers were entirely selfless. There are several passages however that describe Christ and others in his ministry going away, and taking some rest from their work. Indeed, pastors and people in the ministry probably deserve vacation time more than anyone else. We also know that God has blessed us with time to be with our family and enjoy each others company.

We get to vacation later this summer with our dear daughter, and see how she likes the beach. She likes water, and always has fun outside, and it will be great to just have a whole week with all three of us hanging out together, even if it's slow and uneventful.

I've also had the pleasure of being the "handyman" since news of our Cate bug, and I've put together a lot of toys, furniture and other typical dad responsibilities. Some were challenging to the point of cursing, and some were so easy, I wondered if they would last more than a week through Cate's use and abuse. The latest adventure was a patio set, and from the picture, you can see that she likes the box more than her chair and table.

But she still likes hanging out with her dad.

. . . And eating red meat. . . A girl after my own heart.

It is exciting to watch Cate grow up, and see all of the things she learns and discovers. There are times when I like to be away from the noise and the little cries of frustration, but those times quickly pass, and I long to hold my little girl, give her a kiss on the cheek, and just play till we're both exhausted. I know the meaning of the word "family" is still in it's infancy in my own life, but I cherish it more each day, and do my best to bring my family closer to God as we live our lives together. Coram Deo

- Papa E

PS - Coram Deo is Latin for "living before the face of God." Everyone of us lives in his presence, and how we respond, how we look at our every day comings and goings all have eternal significance. That is not to say that life must always be serious, humdrum, and stoic, but knowing that God is everpresent is a blessing I wish on all who read this. God Bless.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We Have a Walker...and a Verdict

The verdict from the GI doc is in: superbug (virus) that should be working it's way out of me soon (if it hasn't already). Basically I should be going longer between bouts of symptoms and shouldn't have them anymore within 1-2 weeks (if I do, then they may do some more testing, but they're pretty sure they're right with this one). I'm pretty happy to have a diagnosis finally and we'll just leave it at that.

And now on to more important things....like... Cate is a walker. It's official. She walks more than she crawls.
Tonight we went to Eden Park (in between thunderstorms). Cate had a blast walking from grass to sidewalk and back again. I love her tongue sticking out in concentration.
She took a few tumbles, but would get right back up.
Sometimes she needed to just sit and rest.
And sometimes she preferred to hold someone's hand.
And the whole time she just looked really darn cute! Below is my favorite picture from tonight. I'm really looking forward to summer break and getting to play around with the camera some more.
~Melody :-)

Monday, May 25, 2009


If there's one word to describe my life right now (and all of the time), Blessed would be the word. Health issues aside (and I do count it as joy because whatever is going on is at least managed by medicine when needed and it is better some days), I am blessed. I recently started reading the book, Velvet Elvis, by Rob Bell. At the end of the first section he talks about how one of his prayers of thanksgiving is "I can't believe I get to live this life!" Amen to that!
I am most definitely blessed on a daily basis by these two people (who apparently had quite a good time on Thursday and Friday while Mommy was away coaching her creative writing team at the state tournament...we placed 3rd by the way). Daddy even took Cate out to dinner on Friday night, just the two of them.
We've been playing outside a lot lately, which means Cate is sleeping like a log at night and not waking up until close to 9 in the morning (I hope this continues through the summer). Yesterday Eric and I were busy working a beer booth at Taste of Cincinnati. I'm still planning to do the 100k (62 mile) bike ride in Asheville in a few weeks, and I needed to complete my fundraising for Team in Training. After a LONG day at Taste yesterday, I'm within $200 of hitting my $2400 fundraising goal. Good thing we're working Taste for a few hours today.

And since I mention Taste, can I just say we are incredibly blessed with supportive family (my mom came down from NE Ohio to spend all day yesterday with Cate and Eric's parents are watching her today) and friends (5 awesome friends turned out yesterday to help us work the booth and one more is helping today)!
It doesn't get much better than this (okay, well, maybe having your dog jump up on your sand table is a little better than getting sweaty at Taste of Cincinnati, but you get the idea).

I hope you all enjoyed your Memorial Day. I am t-minus 8 more days of school (7 with students) and counting!

~Melody :-)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cause to Celebrate

I have been 36+ hours with NO symptoms of the still mysterious ailment (all hospital tests came back negative, so on Tuesday the GI doc will start exploring more minor things...although it could have all just been a bad "bug" and an infection...but I digress) and 36+ hours without needing any medicine. Praise God! I know I'm not "out of the woods" yet, but today was the best I've felt in a few weeks! I'm rejoicing in this and am very thankful. And I've made my peace with the situation should more symptoms decide to flair up in the coming days. For now though, I'm thinking positive and believing that this is the beginning of healing and feeling 100%.

But it's so not the reason Cate and I splurged at Target today on outside toys. I mean, we'd seriously be broke if I went and did this every time I felt fantastic.
In all serious though, Cate really did need some outside toys. Other than her "lawnmower" of previous post and her sand and water table (which is just a sand table for now), we didn't have much to play with. Today we added a couple of buckets, a bat and ball, a big ball, and a lawnmower. And we had a wonderful time playing out in the yard for over an hour this afternoon.
Cate isn't too sure about the real lawnmower toy. It isn't sturdy enough for her to lean on as a new-walker, so she likes to tip it over and use it as a riding mower instead.
We laughed and blew bubbles and threw sand and kicked the ball and played until both of us were pretty filthy. And all I could think was that I am so blessed to live this life! I'm thankful for the trials life brings, including random illnesses, because they make me realize the extraordinary in my ordinary life....they make me appreciate days like today.
~Melody :-)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Our Next Toy Purchase...

...will probably be a toy lawnmower. Cate was fascinated by Eric mowing the lawn yesterday.
She pushed a little walking bike backwards (you're supposed to sit on it and push it forward with your feet-- Cate stood on the other side of the handlebars and pushed it like a shopping cart) like a lawnmower all over the yard.
We have a few little dips and patches of thick grasses in our yard, but Cate never gave up.
She pretty much followed Eric around the yard with her "lawnmower" the entire half hour he was actually mowing.
Then the "lawnmower" wrecked, Eric finished, and we headed inside. I'm on the lookout for a toy one now though.
I am taking a break from Not Me Monday this week as I really don't have anything to confess...really...I promise. I will say I did speak a little too soon in yesterday's post though. Around dinner time, some of my same old symptoms decided to come visiting (even though I'd been 36 hours without them and without medicine). The good news is that taking the medicine worked quickly and I was able to eat some dinner and feel quasi-normal the rest of the evening. The bad news is that I woke up a couple of times last night and this morning feeling some of the nausea again. I called the GI doc to see if there was any way to come in earlier or get some of the results from the hospital tests earlier...I should hear from them by tomorrow. Part of me figures that if it were something serious, they would've told me by now. I'm still remaining confident that this is something that will all be over soon. Thanks again to everyone who has been praying for my recovery.

~Melody :-)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

On the Mend

We are hoping and praying that I'm officially on the mend. I had a few minor symptoms on Friday afternoon/early evening, and have been tired, but today I am feeling much better. I have been off of the anti-nausea meds for over 24 hours at this point and am praising God for that. I don't meet with the GI docs for another week, but I am continuing to pray that the tests show up negative and that these symptoms were infection-related and are now a part of my past.

The sun decided to shine today as well. It's downright gorgeous out right now. The sun and our well-worn and inviting porch steps provided the perfect photo-op of Miss Cate in a cute dress given to her by my friend, Karen.

Who needs medicine when that cute face is smilin' at you?

~Melody :-)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In Other Health News...

...this little girl had a great 15 month checkup at the pediatrician today! Weighing in at just under 23 pounds and measuring 31 and a half inches tall, Cate continues to take after her namesake (my sister) in being long and lean (her weight is only in the 50th percentile while her height and head circumference are closer to the 90th). She took her two shots in the arm like a champ and we're praying that she won't experience any feverish side effects, which can happen with the vaccines she received today. The doctor is not concerned that Cate doesn't want to walk more than a few steps on her own-- this is a huge relief for me as I was starting to get just a little worried.

As for mommy...I've made it through two days of work and have had a pretty much normal appetite. I'm continuing the anti-nausea meds just as a precaution/preventative measure. Waiting until I would actually feel the nausea (which would only happen if something else is going on besides the infection) could mean waiting an hour or longer for it to kick in and help me-- bad news when you're trying to teach a class full of almost high school freshman with 15 days of school left. I'm hoping and praying that this weekend, when I stop taking them preventatively, that the nausea will not come back (which would be a big indicator that everything I've been dealing with was related to the infection and that there is probably not some larger gastro-intestinal issue going on). I'll know the results of the hospital tests on the 26th. Please continue to pray with us that this was all just an infection. I appreciate everyone's support and prayers.
~Melody :-)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Not Me Monday

It's been quite a week at our house. And it's quite time for some confessions. Check out the MckMama blog for more Not Me Monday fun.

This little girl did NOT turn 15 months old last week. She is still NOT walking (though she is taking steps on her own at least a little every day and loves to walk when you hold her hand).
I am NOT pretty sure that she knows the word "booger" since that's definitely what it sounds like coming out of her mouth and Eric calls her that when she's being stubborn and won't walk.

We did NOT wish a Happy Mother's Day to our little bird that nested in our hanging basket yesterday. Yes, those are three, live, day-old babies in the nest (we snapped a picture while she was off of them for a quick minute). We do NOT call the one who has yet to hatch Cate because it's a little late.
And speaking of Mother's Day, Eric did NOT make me the coolest journal ever. Yes, MADE this. The journal on the left is one I made him for Easter using two photographs I took (you can't see the one on the back). While hanging out at our favorite coffee shop/art gallery at the end of April, we saw these awesome hand-sewn journals. Since my journal is almost full, I made a comment about how I might have to go back and get one. Using only his memory, needle and thread, some ribbon, and a few of my other crafting supplies, Eric was able to make a similar journal (the one on the right below), which is much better in my opinion. Yes, he SEWED it! I have the best husband ever! He is too creative. Apparently this kept him busy for a few hours one night when I was in the hospital and Cate was in bed.
Eric has been and continues to be awesome as I've walked through this illness, whatever it is. He handled single-parenting like a pro and has made sure that everything I needed was taken care of. He even downloaded a movie to my iPod and brought it to me in the hospital along with a coloring book, crayons, and cool twist-up pencils (I love Crayola).

I don't want to joke about being in the hospital though, because, well, I'm just not there yet. But I will give you a little update. I have been symptom free since about 7pm last night when I had a very small, 10-minute or so bout of nausea. I have been able to eat bland foods just fine and am looking forward to re-introducing my favorite staple foods of fruits, veggies, granola, yogurt, and cheese back into my diet (my GI system has been through a lot in the last 11 days, so I have to be careful to not upset it with food I've eaten). The lab results from my general family doctor (I went to him early last week) showed that everything was normal other than the infection (got that call this morning). I won't have the more extensive hospital lab results until next week. There is a part of me that hopes there is some kind of diagnosis so that I can have a plan to follow, some steps to take to get better, something with a "cure," if you want to put it that way. But a larger part of me hopes that it was just an infection that spread into my GI system and didn't show symptoms until it got really, really bad. Then there doesn't have to be a plan, or a pill, or a "cure." I can just be done with all of this.

The last 11 or so days have been rough. I barely saw Eric or Cate, even when I was at home, because I felt too sick to get out of bed. I found myself crying out to God at all hours for healing, or at the very least, the patience to endure whatever was going on and for wisdom for my doctors. I don't believe God is punishing me for something, as some might tend to think. God is good and merciful. But I do believe that sometimes God allows things to happen to us in order to grow our faith. And I do believe that the one good thing that has come out of all of this, for me anyway, is a stronger faith-- a stronger reliance on Him as the ultimate physician.

The last 11 days have also given me a humble appreciation for my health, which I so often take for granted. And for health insurance-- I know there are a lot of people out there who would have foregone the hospital and doctors and "toughed it out" simply because they lack the necessary funds to seek treatment.

But I've digressed and rambled here long enough. I am excited to return to work tomorrow. It's sunny out and I'm excited to take a little walk tonight with Cate, Eric, and Zoey. And of course, I'll let you know next week, what, if anything, else shows up.

~Melody :-)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Quick Update

Thank you for all of your prayers and support. I am home from the hospital, but we still don't have any real answers. I definitely had an infection, which they knocked out with some iv antibiotics. But after a CT scan, an ultrasound, a colonoscopy, several blood draws, and more tests, the doctors are still a little baffled. At one point they thought my appendix looked enlarged, but it was determined that that was a result of the infection and not appendicitis.

A lot of "stuff" (for lack of a better word), was sent off to various labs for closer examination as this still could be Crohn's Disease, Collitis, or IBD. I won't know for another week or so. Or it could just be a really, really, really bad infection. For now, the doctors are having me take some anti-nausea meds round the clock (whether I feel I need them or not) in order to help me get more of an appetite, gain some weight, and get stronger. I should be back at work on Tuesday and I really am ready to go back. I miss my students and feel bad that they've started a Shakespeare unit without me.

Please pray that the nausea would go away on its own, that my appetite and energy would come back, and that the doctors would have the wisdom to know what is going on.

I promise that my next post will have pictures of Miss Cate for you. :-) She's much more fun to read about.

~Melody :-)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Saga Continues

So, we are looking at night number three in the hospital tonight. Mel has had several tests including a colonoscopy done, and no word yet. She is struggling with being in the hospital for so long mentally, and emotionally. I know that to some who may be reading this, it may seem like a short amount of time, especially when compared to the people that I serve at my work who undergo extensive chemo and radiation treatments. I think we both have that much more sympathy for suffering families because of this. We do however appreciate your prayers and support. I'm not great at the single parenting thing, and thankfully, I don't have to be. Thank you all. More news when it breaks. God Bless.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Thoughts and Prayers

So, despite Melody's concern over mixing drugs earlier in the week, she is not inept, and unfortunately will be spending the night at Jewish Hospital in Kenwood. After 6 hours in the ER, the doctors are monitoring what they think is a UTI combined with symptoms of dehydration and possible Colitis. Our family appreciates your thoughts and prayers right now. Hopefully the next post will be from a recovered and much livelier better half of the Rigg's duo. For now, we are both off to catch what few winks of sleep we can.

- Papa E

Monday, May 4, 2009

Not Me Monday

The whole Not Me Monday gang is back, read even more embarrassing confessions over at MckMama's blog.

And speaking of reading, this week I did NOT forget about reading the labels on various medications (Midol, allergy medicine, and Nyquil to name a few). I was NOT feeling so miserable that I just kept taking things to feel better. This did NOT all catch up with me on Friday afternoon and cause me some serious GI issues. I did NOT spend all night Friday and most of Saturday lying on the floor and NOT taking anything because my body apparently needed to go through detox or something like that from all the meds I had mixed. Eric did NOT arrange a sleepover for Cate with his parents on Saturday night since he knew he'd be busy with Team in Training and Flying Pig stuff. I was NOT so thankful for this and did NOT crash somewhere around 8:00.

I did NOT still have feelings of queasiness until this morning. And while I am thankful for the 5 pounds I lost, I'm NOT planning on taking any meds any time soon if I can avoid it and I will read the labels this time.

I am NOT gladly starting to welcome back my appetite this afternoon. And that pretty much sums up my week. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday were great...it was all downhill from Wednesday until today.

Oh yeah, and in the moments where I actually felt quasi-normal yesterday, I did NOT take these adorable pictures of Miss Cate. There's NOT a ton more where these two came from, but I didn't want to overwhelm blogger today. Aren't her curls in the back just delicious?

~Melody :-)