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

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dump It!

When my mom was three, she wanted a toy dump truck.  Her parents obliged and she got a bright orange one.  Cate is clearly following in her Nannie's footsteps tire tracks. 

At a recent visit to Eric's parents' house, Cate discovered Eric's old toy dump truck.  We brought it home and she zooms around the house with it!  It's great fun for her, but not so fun for mommy when she trips over it on her way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

~Melody :-)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Catching Up on Our Reading

With Cate under the weather this weekend, all of us decided to take some time to relax.  I got out of my pajamas long enough to go to a Saturday night church service and Eric did the same on Sunday (it's so nice that our church has services on two days).  Eric and I are still healthy (thanks for the prayers), and Cate remains as active as ever despite still having a pesky cough/runny nose and a fever about a degree above normal that seems to come and go.  At least she doesn't need Tylenol.  She's been normal all night tonight, so hopefully on Wednesday we'll have been fever-free for 24 hours and back to business as usual. 

In the meantime, Cate has developed a love affair with this book:

I love the illustrations in the book and remember reading it as an elementary school kid.  When I saw the over-sized board book edition at Barnes and Noble last year, I couldn't resist.  It had a few too many words for Cate to really sit still long enough to read it...until now.

It's been one of the two books she's requested over and over again lately.  I think I just about have it memorized.  Her other book of obsession is one we checked out from the library a week or so ago. 
The Little Train is also a little more wordy than the books Cate typically sits still for, but I'm pretty sure we've read it to her at least 50 times int he last week...most of those times being this weekend. 

Eric and Cate got out for some fresh air this evening and stopped by the local comic book store up the street from us.  Cate was so cute as she walked in the door with a big "Hi, Mommy" and handed me this:

I'm not a big comic book fan, but I am a big Colbie Caillat fan.  I absolutely love her music!  Shortly after school started, Colbie's new CD came out.  While reading reviews of it online, I stumbled across a fan site that discussed her cameo in a Veronica comic book.  I mentioned it to Eric, and I think he actually went up to the store to check for it back in September, but couldn't find it.  I'd pretty much forgotten about it until they came back from their walk this afternoon.  It's a cute story.  :-)

And because my husband is amazing and knows my reading tastes pretty well, he picked up this for me a couple of weekends ago:

I loved The Time Traveler's Wife and have been waiting ever since I finished it for another novel.  Finally,  Niffenegger delivers.   I've been pretty busy at school and here at home, obviously, so I haven't been able to read as much as I would like, but I'm about 40 pages in and am really enjoying it so far.  Hopefully it won't disappoint. 

What have you been reading lately?

~Melody :-)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Getting Over That Mommy Guilt

It was so easy when I was pregnant with Cate.  So easy to say that I would:
  • breastfeed for at least a year
  • have a natural childbirth
  • cloth diaper because it's good for the environment
  • not let her watch any TV, ever, until she was at least 2
  • make all of her baby food myself
  • not let her use a pacifier
  • never buy her clothes with characters on them
  • teach her sign language
  • spend every minute I possibly could with her
Then she was born.

I was nobody's hero and wanted the epidural.

Breastfeeding, thankfully, went incredibly well and Cate nursed until her 1st birthday and used a stash of the frozen stuff for every other meal until almost 14 months.

Baby Einstein DVD's became my saving grace when she was fussy and I needed a shower.  Elmo and Thomas the Train do the same things now.  And her TV watching is most definitely minimal compared to a lot of her peers.

Cloth diapering proved to be impractical for us...so to make up for the disposables we throw in the landfill, we recycle EVERYTHING we possibly can (made easier by our recycling pickup now accepting ALL types of plastic and used pizza boxes).

I made her baby food when I had the time...but Earth's Best and Gerber Organics were just as good as what I put in my food processor...and much less time consuming. 

A pacifier puts her to sleep...and that's the only time she uses it.

I don't care what characters are on her clothes (to clarify...her play clothes) when generous friends are giving me perfectly good hand me downs which Cate will outgrow within a few months anyway.

Cate started talking early and sign language wasn't really needed...and I was too lazy to really look into it.

And while I do love spending a lot of quality time with her, I look forward to date nights, girls' nights out, or even just walking the dog for a half hour by myself.

I'm not sure where we, as moms, come up with all of these things that we will and will not do with our kids.  It's so easy when we're pregnant and so much harder when they're actually here.

For awhile I felt guilty about some of these things.  Am I a bad mom because I looked forward to going back to work?  Because I didn't cloth diaper?  Because she watches Sesame Street and has Elmo on her shirt?  Because she sleeps with a pacifier still, at 20 months old?  Because I didn't make all of her baby food? 

NO NO NO NO NO!  Learning to let go of the mommy-guilt was hard for me and still is sometimes.  But one of the things I am coming to learn is that there is no one right way to be a mom.  What works for one mom, doesn't work for all moms, or may not even work for any other mom.  As a mom, if I continue to compare myself to other moms, in other situations, I'm only going to be frustrating myself.  Mothering is a give and take.  You do have to make compromises.  That little list you have running in your head while you're pregnant may not be practical once you meet your child in person.

I've found that one of the best ways to let go of the guilt is to focus on the things I do best as a mom.  I love to read aloud and am one heck of a reader (with voices, actions, etc.)  I'm great at coming up with things to do with her (the zoo, the park, the library, the children's museum, sidewalk chalking, or just playing on the living room floor).  I can make her laugh...even in the midst of a temper tantrum.  I learned to sew-- mostly so I could make her cute clothes-- and I think I've got a natural talent for it.

I think it's important as moms to celebrate the things we do well in an effort to let go of the guilt we impose on ourselves when we think we don't measure up to someone else's standards-- when we think we've compromised.  We know what's best for our children and we need to capitalize on our strengths instead of stressing out about our weaknesses.  Won't you celebrate your strengths with me today?

~Melody :-)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My First Blogging Award...Seriously

After a sound night of sleeping (Eric got up with Cate this morning and made pancakes again...and then proceeded to take Cate with him through the bank drive-through and Starbucks drive-through so I could get even more sleep), I logged onto my blog to find that my friend, Elizabeth, had given me my first ever blogging award!  So fun and so flattering!  Thanks Elizabeth!

It's the Honest Scrap Award.  Here's how it works.  Once awarded, thank the person that gave it to you, list 10 honest things about yourself on your blog, pass the award on to 7 other bloggers and don't forget to let those 7 bloggers know you've chosen them.

In no particular order:
1. I met Eric at a 70's themed roller derby party that his fraternity was having our sophomore year of college...yes, I had on blue eye shadow.

2. After a few months of "hanging out" with Eric, I changed my AOL Instant Messenger to say "Ask Me Out" whenever he signed on (he was a little shy about asking me to be exclusive).

3.  The sound of a cash register used to play when my parents signed on Instant Messenger.

4.  I hate being home alone overnight.  I have no idea why, but I do.  And the first time Eric traveled for his current job (before I had Cate), I slept with a knife on the nightstand (not that I thought I actually was going to use it).

5.  I cannot stand 3 Musketeers bars and I think it has everything to do with the fact that my mother craved them when she was pregnant with me.

6. When I first came home from the hospital with Cate, I wanted to quit my job, have about 6 kids, and just stay at home.  I think it was the overwhelming amount of hormones coursing through my body at the time, because I look back on my journal entries from that time and just laugh...no way could I do that.

7.  I love Jimmy Buffet music.  I grew up listening to him because my parents were huge fans.  It rubbed off.

8. I absolutely HATED Miami for about the first 10 weeks or so of my freshman year.  I called my mom crying every night and wanted to transfer to Kent State, which was closer to home.

9.  Even though we don't always get to read it every day, we still get a daily paper because we refuse to let the daily newspaper die.

10.  I have quite the collection of Disney paraphernalia as I used to be pretty obsessed with all things Disney.  I still enjoy going to the Disney parks (the only theme parks I am not annoyed by) and I have quite the collection of Disney pins (which I do enjoy trading when I do get to visit the parks).

And if these 7 wonderful bloggers (also in no particular order) would like accept an honest scrap award and play along...it could be quite fun to keep it going:
1. Tales from a Librarian
2. Becoming Briggs
3. Three's Company Too
4. It's a Blair Life
5. The Palmer Family
6. Let it Be Leitsch
7. Tales from Tallmadge

~Melody :-)

Friday, October 23, 2009

I Think She's Trying To Tell Us Something

While picking up a prescription at Target (for me, more on that later) today, I ran down the toy aisle and picked up a pretend baby-bottle for Cate's baby doll.  She has really been all about the baby doll and pushing her in the stroller lately.  And tonight, she got to feed her baby.

She was actually quite excited to do it!  And she didn't yell and cry when I picked up her baby and fed her either. I know, I know it's not a real  baby...but it's nice to think we might be making some progress. She even fed the baby some juice that came with the whole toy feeding set.

Hmmmm...maybe I jumped the gun about that whole making progress thing.

That's fake juice in there baby girl.  Your real juice is on the coffee table.  And no, this post is not my way of saying that we're ready for baby 2.  It's not even on the discussion table yet.  Just clarifying.

I couldn't resist the antique effect on one either.  It reminds me of the way many pictures of me as a toddler look as the color has faded a little.

I think that last statement kind of means that I just sort of, you know, called myself antique...let's call it the color fade technique instead.

Oh, and the boots from this post...Carter's.  But not sure if they were last year or the year before.

In health news-- Cate is doing even better this evening.  She is continuing to eat, drink, play, and sleep like normal.  Her nose is a little runnier, but her fever is much lower...like 99.5 without Tylenol...and there were a few times today that she was normal without Tylenol.  So it looks like we're in recovery mode.  I'm so thankful things didn't have to get any worse before they started getting better.  Eric and I have managed to stay healthy and things with a new sitter are starting to fall into place.  I went to the doctor today about those pesky GI issues that still plague me from time to time.  After a long talk with my doctor, we're starting a new medication (hence the reason I traveled to Target today, but do I really need an excuse to go there).  The doctor is pretty confident that this should work for me...I don't feel it necessary to go into much more detail other than to say that we're both hopeful that within a maximum of 4-6 weeks, I should be feeling normal with NO flare-ups.

So tonight I'm at peace.  I'm calm.  I'm happy.  And I'm just in an overall good place going into the weekend...much better than where I was last night, or even this morning. 

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

~Melody :-)

Thankfully When God Closes a Door...

...He leaves a few more open. 

It has been a trying two days for us here at the Riggs house.  Cate came down with a 101 fever while we were at work on Wednesday.  We picked her up and brought her home.  Other than the fever and some congestion, she ate/played/slept/etc. like normal.  About a half hour after dinner, while playing on the floor, Cate rolled over onto her back and began seizing.  It was the scariest moment (for us) of her life.  We called 911, who suggested we take Cate to Children's to get looked at.  We had her taken via lifesquad as that would guarantee her being seen in triage upon arrival and not having to wait in the waiting room. We were there for about 4 hours before being discharged. 

Cate had what was called a febrile seizure...when your body temperature rises too quickly in too short of a time.  She was diagnosed with simply a virus.  The hospital said they would not test her for H1N1 since she was not at risk for complications.  Could she have H1N1?  Yes.  Could she have one of the other several viruses running around instead? Also, yes.  Many people were praying for Cate and for us as we went through that, and for that we are grateful.

Yesterday (Thursday) she continued to have the fever and some congestion, but otherwise acted, played, and ate like normal.  Unfortunately, in a time when everyone is worried about illness, we had to make a tough decision.  Cate's childcare provider instituted a new 10 day quarantine on all kids that she cares for if they have a fever or flu-like symptoms...with expectation of being paid for those 10 days.  We jumped the gun, and made the mistake of emailing our provider back, calling her new policy unreasonable, when we probably should have called her to talk about it. Feelings were hurt on both sides, but we are praying for healing. We only felt it unreasonable because both of our workplaces (a school and a health non-profit) follow the guidelines of being fever-free without medication for at least 24 hours before returning.  This may mean being out for 10 days if the fever persists for that long, or it may mean only being out for a few days. 

It was incredibly upsetting to have to make this decision, and we questioned whether or not we were horrible parents for wanting to be able to bring our daughter back once she had been fever free without medicine for at least 24 hours (our plan was and still is to wait 48 before sending her anywhere).  But we let go of the guilt (we are NOT bad parents), parted ways with our sitter, and God is already providing. 

We already have a few promising leads of providers who want to take Cate as soon as she is healthy again.  This is a huge blessing as we thought we were going to be stuck without a sitter once Cate recovered. One potential new provider we know personally from the church we used to attend and the others have come at the recommendation of friends.  Thankfully the ones we've talked to last evening and today follow a 24-48 hour rule, which is much more reasonable for us. 

Please continue to pray for us as we decide with whom to place Cate for the remainder of the school year (and hopefully until she starts going to school herself).  And please continue to pray for Cate's healing and for our (Eric's and Melody's) health.  We'd also like you to join us in prayer for our former childcare provider and that she, her family, and her other clients would remain healthy.

Eric and Melody
P.S. Here's another pumpkin patch picture for you to enjoy.  We love her goofy face and it reminds Melody of the goofy grin her brother used to make when people sang "Happy Birthday" to him as a kid. 

P.P.S...didn't get a chance to look at the brand of Cate's boots from the last post before she went to bed...will check tomorrow.  They were hand-me-downs though, so they may be one or two seasons ago. 

Thursday, October 22, 2009

These Boots Were Made For Walking

I love, love, love, LOVE, love these boots that we inherited from a friend.  Here are just a few of the many pictures I took of them.  They are adorable on Miss Cate. 

Hooray for hand-me-downs from very generous (and fashionable) friends!


Monday, October 19, 2009

Not Me Monday

As a mom there are so many things I refuse to let myself feel guilty about...like letting Cate eat two, sugary cookies before heading home for dinner from the pumpkin patch on Sunday OR taking my clothes straight from the laundry basket until the basket is empty because I'm too lazy to put them away.  No guilt.  This weekly confessional, started by MckMama definitely plays a role in helping me let go of that guilt. 

Like this week-- I did NOT let Cate climb onto a slightly unsteady chair to "help" her daddy make pancakes.

We are responsible parents and would NEVER let our precious babe stand so close to a hot griddle.  And I would NEVER take pictures to document it.
Cate is a good napper and this weekend I did NOT snap this picture of her sleeping (which did NOT wake her up).

Good thing we needed her to get up so that we could make it to our pumpkin patch outing. 

Yeah, and that is NOT a pacifier in her mouth (and another one next to her).  Our 20.5 month old has totally kicked the pacifier habit during sleep time.  I was NOT totally excited about the fact that she sleeps like me-- on her tummy with one arm tucked under her.  That would be a ridiculous thing to be excited about (unless you live in my world where everyone always comments on how much like her daddy Cate looks). 

And while I didn't document this in photos...I did NOT eat Ramen noodles...3 times... in 3 days.  That would be so unhealthy and we are very healthy people around here.  We do NOT give into the laziness of Ramen (not for Cate, I promise...we do actually pay close attention to what she eats). 

So what have you NOT been up to?

~Melody :-)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Picking Out a Pumpkin and Other Adventures on the Farm

One of the great things about living in the Midwest is that there is no shortage of farms around here.  Even when you live in the “city,” a local farm is just a 20 or so minute drive away. 

We headed out to Irons Fruit Farm today because with Halloween coming, we found ourselves in need of a pumpkin.  Eric’s parents and sister (in town for a wedding), were able to join us too.

Cate posed with some flowers (she now says “cheese” when you take her picture). And yes, she is wearing the same outfit she wore last Sunday...but in my defense, it's a Halloween outfit and I want to get the most mileage out of it this month.

Then she spent some time looking at the animals since this is a real farm and all. 

Cate seriously has no fear and she stuck her hand right in there with a pig…

…and a sheep. 

 She also fearlessly climbed all over the pumpkins. 

They have a hayride you can take out to the pumpkin patch and apple orchard, but the line was too long and Kristin had to catch a flight back to Maine.  Besides, there were plenty of good pumpkins to choose from.  Cate found one…

 …but decided it was too heavy.  We’re going to have to make sure she gets a little one next time we go to the grocery store. 

While at the farm, Cate got her first bee sting.  The good news?  She showed no reaction (medically speaking), so we know she’s not allergic.  The funny news?  She went around saying “mean bee” for the rest of the afternoon and the entire car ride home.   We eased the pain of the bee sting with a cookie (thanks Aunt Kristin).

 Taking a couple of slides on the swingset helped her heal too.

We took a family picture before heading back home with our pumpkin and bag of apples (I couldn’t resist a bag of fresh Red Delicious apples, grown right there). 

I think our pumpkin is happy on our porch in the late afternoon sun, don’t you? 

 Too bad he doesn’t realize the fate that awaits him in the near future!

~Melody :-)

P.S.  Click here to see how much Cate has changed since last year's trip to a pumpkin patch.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Back to Blogging We Go

Our computer is back, Eric has stayed up late on more than a few nights working to get things reloaded, copied, and backed up, and so now it's back to blogging.

Some things in my head lately (in no particular order)...

I still can't believe that in only a year's time, Cate went from this...

....to this.  Seriously.

And while I'm not normally a Dr. Phil fan (he's on during prime after-school playtime with Cate so the TV is off), I did DVR yesterday's episode and have to commend him for a job well done.  It was about stay-at-home moms vs. career moms.  Other than the one psycho-mom who said that women who had kids knowing they were going to go back to work should take a pass (on having kids), it was well done. Every woman's decision is different.  Some can comfortably afford to stay at home.  Some sacrifice to do it.  Some choose to go back to work when they don't really need the money.  Some go back to work because they do need the money.  And who are we to judge one another as women and fellow moms?  Dr. Phil did a great job of sharing how ultimately, it's about the quality of the time we spend with our children, not the quantity.  And it's about doing what's best for your family.  Thanks Dr. Phil.  I may DVR a few more of your shows.  :-)

That cute little face above has been marred by snot the last week or so.  Thankfully, Cate's cold seems to be going away and mommy and daddy have been fortunate enough to have avoided it.  Which sort of brings me to the other topic on my mind of late...vaccinating against H1N1.  I'm torn.  I still haven't made up my mind.  I won't debate vaccines with you...Cate has had all of hers, on time, and is fine.  She even had a seasonal flu shot.  I'm just trying to decide if H1N1 is really going to be the big deal the media is making it out to be and I should put Cate through yet another shot  OR  is it really not that big of a deal and she'll be fine as long as we're smart about where in public we take her, keeping the house and her toys clean, and washing hands.  Any information that anyone's learned about this would be most helpful.  Our pediatrician said it was really up to us, but that given Cate's in-home daycare situation during the day (as opposed to a larger facility), she didn't think it was 100% necessary to vaccinate her against H1N1 since her exposure to other people is minimal. Hmmmm.....

I'll end with a few more pictures from the last couple of weeks.  It's so nice to be able to upload them (don't worry, they're getting backed up too).  We bought an Apple Time Machine and our computer will automatically be backing up EVERYTHING, EVERY DAY!

Attempting to color with my knitting needle.

Her messy, mean face.

On her 20 month birthday.

How much is that doggie by the haystack?

Reading with Emily.

~Melody :-)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Not Me Monday

I'm so glad I can play along again this week-- even though I still canNOT edit my pictures on my own computer (we'll have ours back tonight though, I think).  Anyway, it's confession time....time to stop feeling guilty about those imperfections and embracing them instead.  Check out all of the Not Me Monday fun at the MckMama blog.  Hang in there with me...a lot has happened since my last confession.

Like, this little girl did NOT turn 20 months old!  There is no way I pretty much officially have a toddler. 

And being the curiously, creative, kiddo that she is, Cate did NOT try to "color" with a knitting needle in my library book.

I did NOT have to break down and finally buy Cate new pajamas because she has NOT been sleeping in summer PJ's despite the temperature dipping into the 40s at night lately. 

I have NOT been eagerly awaiting this cooler weather though so that I can dress Cate up in some more of her cute, hand-me-down fall clothes...like this outfit that she wore to church last week.

And speaking of last weekend, I did NOT take a picture of Cate getting down to business in her diaper, if you know what I mean...that would just be wrong.

I only take pictures of happy, pleasant things, like celebrating Poppy's birthday.

I am NOT currently obsessed with putting Cate in cute pink and green combinations.

I am also NOT obsessed with her Halloween costume this year (another great hand-me-down) and am NOT trying to find any excuse to put her in it...like going to Hall-zoo-ween.

My friend's daughter did NOT make a cute little duckie. 

I think I speak for both of us when I say that I canNOT wait for the day when Collette and Cate are as good of friends as we are.

 Finally, I did NOT take advantage of 99 cent patterns at JoAnn's today and pick up two cute jumper patterns for Cate.  I'm NOT hoping to find a few spare hours (precious during the school year) to get down to my grandma's to make one of these cute jumpers for Cate for Christmas (along with a teddy bear that my grandma has an adorable pattern for). 

Any votes on which jumper to start with?  And no, I'm really NOT going to make the Christmas tree option with the pattern on the left...too much work for something with such limited wear time.  It'll be the flower one if I go with the pattern on the left.

What have you NOT been up to lately?

~Melody :-)