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

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Of Tattoos and Commitment

So, in the last few Sundays, our church has had a segment in the beginning about bad tattoo stories, and we learned of a few people who have some really bad tattoos.  I thought it was funny when my sister-in-law said that she would take me to one of her "guys" to get one on Saturday night.  (Now keep in mind that I have wanted one for a couple of years now).

  We went into Kustom Culture Tattoo in Tallmadge (just outside of Akron, and a very weird place with hand chairs and a coffin couch, but some really nice, awesome people working there).  I asked for a Cross that had the shape of a fluer de lis on each end and a circle around the middle to make it a mish mosh of gothic, celtic and medieval symbols (all signifying Christ to me) and the tattoo artist free handed my design.

First I got an ink print on my skin to trace.

A couple of parts were painful, but nothing compared to some of the pain Mel has had to endure.

I couldn't be happier with the finished product.  I know, I still can't believe I did it either, but I want maybe one or two more.  You'll have to keep reading our blog to see what I want in the future.  Coram Deo

 The red isn't ink, just blood under the skin.  The tattoo was done all in black.
- Papa E 

Monday, September 28, 2009

Our Busy Weekend...

...included a football game at my high school alma mater.

Cate sat with her Poppy in the beginning, but really she wanted to be out of the stands and running around. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that she had just spent the last 4 hours in the car on the way to my parents' house.

This is how I used to spend my Friday nights....with the band...in those same bleachers.  The band from the school we played is now directed by one of the assistant band directors from my high school days.  Since he is still friends with my old head band director, they decided to do a combined show.  This is what it looks like with you have over 500 kids marching:

I don't have a lens big enough to capture it all.  Cate LOVED the bands though and sat through their entire half time show (well, she stood and danced on Poppy's lap).

On Saturday we woke up to a light rain.  We braved it to see my sister run the final leg of a relay for the Akron Marathon, but I didn't bring my camera out in all the wetness.  You'll just have to take my word for it when I say that Cate very enthusiastically cheered on the runners and even tried to escape onto the course a few times.  The rest of the rainy weekend was spent reading some of my favorite old books with Poppy...

...and playing with some of my old doll furniture (she showed Uncle Jeff just what a big girl she was getting to be)...

...she even gave her baby a bath...

...which is what Cate needed after eating some mashed potatoes right off the mixer...

...and making a mess with an orange-frosted pumpkin cookie after dinner.

After dinner and after Cate went to bed, Mommy-- and especially Daddy-- went to do something totally spontaneous (sort of) at one of the weirdest places I've ever been to in my life.  If you're friends with me on Facebook, you probably already know what I'm talking about.  The rest of you will have to wait until Eric's post tomorrow.

Sunday we spent having lunch with one of my friends who has known me since that awkward middle school phase (though we didn't really become friends until high school).  And then we drove home-- where we promptly turned off the air conditioner since the humidity is gone and it appears that fall has arrived. 

~Melody :-)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Mommy Sticker

So the one thing I didn't really like as a kid and that I still don't like as a teacher is school picture day.  My hair just never seems to cooperate or I have a random acne breakout or I totally forget and look, well, not great. 

And as a teacher, I now get a whole packet of school pictures...complimentary of course.  These are great to put in picture frames when giving as gifts.  And sometimes I write on the backs of them and give them to my other teacher friends as a joke.

This year though, I not only got a packet of pictures, but I also got four stickers of my beautiful self!  Yup, stickers.  Good thing Cate has recently discovered the joy of stickers (after getting a couple of them at her doctor's appointment on Monday).

She proudly wore her mommy sticker.  And she tried to put it on her boo-boo since band-aids are also known as stickers right now.

Even her baby doll got a chance to wear mommy.

And to think that we still have three more.  I'm still not sure where this first one ended up...so my face is stuck somewhere to something in this house.  Thank goodness it was a decent picture this year.

~Melody :-)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Week in Review

Whew!  It's been a busy week in the Riggs house, and the week isn't even over yet. 

Monday we had dinner with an awesome couple we met through our church small group.  I continue to be encouraged by the other families we've been blessed to get to know since February.  Cate also had a doctor's appointment.  She weighs 26 pounds and is 33 inches tall.  The pediatrician couldn't believe how much she was talking and thought she had some pretty good fine motor skills given her age.  In fact, the doctor's exact word for Cate was "perfect."  Which is what every mama loves to hear.

Tuesday I had dinner with my bookclub.  Hooray for French food!  We ate at La Petite France and talked about our first read, Julie and Julia, which wasn't too bad of a book.  There were definitely moments I could have done without, but the funny moments more than made up for it.  While I was at dinner, Eric took Cate to the bike trail with one of his friends and his daughter.

We're going to have to work on Cate and the bike trailer.  She loved the bike seat in Hilton Head, but this was a different story.  Not the picture I wanted to receive via text while out to dinner, but it still made me smile.  I think the shots she got at the doctor the day before contributed to the crying.

Wednesday brought small group, which I missed because I needed to get some grading done-- but Cate and Eric had a blast!  And I missed everyone while I stayed home and graded.  Earlier that day, Cate turned into a full-fledged little girl.

Yeah, we now own a baby doll stroller.  It was cheap and on sale at Target.  It probably won't hold up past next summer, but that's okay, because by then Cate will be more ready for this baby and all of her accessories. I loved my baby dolls as a girl and am excited for the time when Cate can really "play" with her own baby dolls.

Cate has adored pushing her baby around the house.  It's kept her busy the last couple of days since we're stuck inside due to the rain.

I think she looks like such a big girl pushing this.  However, when she pulls her baby doll out of its seat by the hood of her outfit, I'm reminded of how small she still is and how much she has yet to learn.

Tonight Eric is at the Light the Night Cincinnati walk...in the rain.  Hopefully he won't come home with a cold.

And Cate is in bed early because this busy week has worn her out.   So I'm looking forward to a snack of Banana Nut Cheerios and some good Thursday night TV.

Our weekend is packed as well...stay tuned for a weekend update...coming, well, you know, after the weekend.

How has your week been?

~Melody :-)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Not Me Monday

 It's confession time bloggers!  Read more over at MckMama's blog

This weekend I did NOT have to make a new bag, because my old one had a hole in it.  Here's the new one below.

The hole did NOT come about as a result of my inability to pick a sturdy enough fabric for the first one.  This fabric was NOT so sturdy that I did NOT break two needles in the process of sewing the strap on.   I did NOT modify some of the original directions to better suit my sewing skills.  I do NOT think this bag turned out even more fabulous than the first.

After reading this book last night:

I did NOT walk in on Eric and Cate having their own little dance party to real Charlie Parker music (our iTunes has a bunch of variety, which is what happens when your husband is a music-lover and was a music major in college).

It was NOT the cutest thing ever!

I have also NOT become addicted to Top Chef on Bravo thanks to my team of teachers at school who (at least half of them) watch it.  I do NOT have time to watch TV.

I know, my confessions were pretty weak this week.  Spice it up by playing along.  :-)

~Melody :-)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Color With Me Poppy!

Earlier this summer I blogged about how Cate loves to color.  The Tadoodles markers have been a hit along with sidewalk chalk at our house.  Cate's also been really into the Color Wonder markers.  I first got some for her when she had that nasty double ear infection, eye infection, etc. back at the end of July.  She loves testing the limits of what she can color on (which is fine when it's sidewalk chalk outside and she colors on the patio furniture, the deck, her feet, etc., but not fine when we're inside), so these are perfect for indoors since they only color on the special paper. 

I picked up another, slightly larger, Color Wonder book with a few more markers yesterday.  My parents and brother came down for an impromptu visit yesterday, so the new markers kept Cate and her Poppy (my dad) entertained while we waited for Gigi (my grandma) to finish making dinner for all of us.

It's been about 20 or so years since my dad last colored pictures with me.  He clearly hasn't lost his touch.  I was just glad I had my phone with me to capture the moment.

~Melody :-) 

Friday, September 18, 2009

When Daddy's Away...

...the Riggs girls wear themselves out!  And he's only gone for one night!

Cate played hard at the sitter today and took an early nap (before lunch).  Mommy had fall field day at school.  Then we came home and kicked around a ball that's half Cate's size.

Which was followed by the discovery that sidewalk chalk (at least the good Crayola kind) marks on your feet too!

 After a walk around the block and a quick trip to Target (during which Mommy once again indulged Cate's Elmo fascination by getting her an Elmo board book about colors from the dollar bin), we came home, took a bath, and read one of our latest discoveries.

Babybug Magazine is geared towards toddlers.   Since I think we've checked out just about every board book at our local branch of the library, I picked up a few of these issues more out of curiosity than anything last time we were there.  It has a lot of bright illustrations and is full of simple stories and rhymes.  The pages are thick and glossy (read "waterproof-ish" and "hard to tear").  I think we may be getting Cate a little subscription soon.  It will be fun for her to get some mail.

We spent the rest of the evening before bedtime, reading, I mean, stacking books.

Cate loves to stack things.  Blocks, toys, books, you name it, she'll try to find a way to stack it.  It's been so cool to watch her fine motor skills improve.  She's getting the hang of putting bigger books on the bottom of her stacks and leaving the smaller ones for the top.  We also watched a little bit of an Elmo DVD (It's Not Easy Being Green has Paul Rudd in it and teaches kids about environmentalism...although Tina Fey in Elmo and The Bookaneers is probably still my favorite that we've checked out).  So that's what Cate is looking at in the above picture.

And now?  Now, we're both worn out.  Cate has been snoring in bed for 45 minutes and I think I'm going to be right behind her. 

Daddy is in Dayton for the night with a team of Team in Training participants who will be running the Air Force Marathon tomorrow.  Good luck and go team!  Run fast so Daddy can get home quicker!

~Melody :-)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Channeling Pebbles

Yesterday I had Open House, which meant I didn't come home after school (it's the one night each year that I wish I lived closer to the district where I teach).  Eric knew I'd be missing my sweet Cate, so he brought her up and we went out to dinner with another co-worker who was in the same boat (too far to go home, but her family came and joined her).  When Cate walked in, she was sporting this:
I think she looks like Pebbles from The Flintstones, don't you?  Our sitter had some fun doing Cate's hair.  Now Mommy is going to have to try. 

~Melody :-)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Not Me Monday

It's been almost a month since my last Not Me Monday confession.  And I know this will be oh so therapeutic.  So let's have at it, shall we?  Don't forget to check out all of the Not Me Monday fun at the MckMama blog.
Even though I called Soldier Field this weekend and talked to a live person who specifically said "no cameras with detachable lenses" were allowed at the concert, I did NOT find a way to smuggle mine in.  I did NOT stick the lens in one of my undergarments (top half people) and put on a baggy sweatshirt of Eric's to disguise myself.  Eric did NOT carry my camera in, pretending it was one with a detachable lens.  I was NOT totally paranoid during the opening act that I was going to get caught.  And I most certainly did NOT try to think of ways I could get around it (like the fact that on the Soldier Field website it just said no cameras with lenses longer than 6 inches and on the signs going into the concert it said no cameras with lenses 3 inches or longer...NOTHING about detachable lenses).  Besides, when not zoomed out, my small lens is just a hair under 3 inches.  :-)
It was totally worth the risk!
Cate and I did NOT chalk up a storm on the back concrete today.
I do NOT have chalk on parts of my body that I didn't think touched chalk.  
I am NOT picturing a future sitting on the sidelines of soccer games.  
And while playing with the ball in the picture above, I totally did NOT kick it right into Cate's face (I was trying to get it to go over her, but she moved).  Thankfully she laughed it off and kept on kicking...until Zoey decided to play too.  I think the following pictures speak for themselves.  
I am NOT going to have to check into a doggie soccer league (just kidding, I love my dog, but we'll stick to the backyard).  
These two girls were NOT ecstatic to see Daddy pull in the driveway tonight.  
It did NOT make me feel like chopped liver for a moment because they were so focused on Eric.  But then Cate ran off into the backyard babbling, "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy..." and I felt better.  
What have you NOT been up to this week?
~Melody :-)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

City of Blinding Lights

U2 was one of those bands that was in the background for me for awhile.  I knew who they were in high school, one song or another of theirs usually made it on to a mixed tape (and later mixed CDs), and I generally enjoyed hearing them when they came on the radio.  I guess what turned me onto them was one of the soundtracks to one of the Batman movies (I think it was Batman Forever) that I got sometime in late middle school/early high school that had "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" performed by U2 on it.

But it wasn't until late high school and into college that I really started to follow them more (I think I was a little more focused and obsessed with Dave Matthews Band in high school).  My first U2 concert was the Elevation Tour in 2001.  I went about 3 days after my freshmen year at Miami to their show in Columbus with the guy I was dating at the time (who I also think at the time was probably a bigger U2 fan than I was).

In the fall of 2005, Eric and I went to see them in Chicago for their Vertigo tour.  Having developed a much bigger love for the band in the four years since the last concert, I enjoyed this tour more.  We had the general admission "seats" which are standing room only.  That's when I got close enough to take this picture with my cell phone.

Although, general admission "seats" have the disadvantage of needing to get to the concert venue early to wait for several hours only to rush in when the doors open and stand for several more hours to guard your spot close to the stage.  
So this Saturday, we took Cate to her grandparents' house (Eric's parents) and headed to Chicago for the U2 360 Tour (picture below taken along Michigan Avenue).  
It was opening night for the American leg and this time the shows are outside.  We couldn't get the general admission "seats" through the fan club presale (apparently you have to have been a member for a decade or something to be able to get presale standing room only).  So we didn't have to worry about getting their early.  Instead, we made a stop at Garrett Popcorn (their popcorn is amazing).
Our friend, Melissa, showed us just how orange your hands turn from eating their cheese corn. 
It's so worth the orange fingers.  Eric and I brought home a tin of "The Mix" (combination cheese and caramel corn which is to die for).  
We also found a random sports bar on Wabash St. where we indulged in ribs, wings, and deep dish Chicago pizza before the show. 
Finally it was off to Soldier Field, where we learned that our seats were awesome and we didn't have to stand around all day for them. 
(The view from our seats)
We were all happy to be there!
Snow Patrol, another great band, opened the show...using the giant 360 degree screen U2 designed for this tour. 
They pretty much played all of their big singles, which was great for singing along and prepping us for the show to come.  And then the moment arrived.  U2 lit up the stage with their opening song, "Breathe."
The rest of the show was amazing!  And it definitely topped their two previous concerts that I attended, making it the best concert I have seen in my life.  Period.  
They had a great combination of old songs ("MLK," "In the Name of Love," "Sunday, Bloody Sunday," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For") and new songs ("No Line on the Horizon," "Get on Your Boots," and a sweet remix of "I'll Go Crazy if I Don't Go Crazy Tonight").  Bono and The Edge rocked it out on an acoustic version of "Stuck in a Moment" too. 
During "Walk On," the band paid a tribute to Aung San Suu Kyi, and encouraged the audience to walk on to end worldwide injustices (when I was in college I learned more about the humanitarian work Bono does and it made me love the band even more).  The stage had some amazing features too...like the screen expanding...
...and the spaceship-like appearance it took on during some numbers, shooting light beams into the sky above Soldier Field...
But all good things eventually come to an end.  After 2 encores, the band walked off stage together and we headed back to the hotel, slightly hoarse, slightly deaf, and loving every minute. 
Until next tour (maybe Cate will be old enough to enjoy it with us)...
~Melody :-)