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, January 31, 2010

2nd Birthday Pictures

So rather than deal with the headache (and the expense) that can become going to a portrait studio, I decided to DIY Cate's 2 year pictures. As I've said before, I'm not a professional, have no aspirations to be a professional, and don't even own Photoshop (yet...I'm hoping to get Photoshop Elements-- the basic, scale-downed, amateur friendly program sometime this year). We took them at Krohn Conservatory, which you may remember was where we took Cate on her 1st birthday last year. I think they turned out great, don't you?

This last one is the photograph we have chosen to order in different sizes (including wallets) to share with family and friends this coming weekend at Cate's party.

~Melody :-)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Five Question Friday

Hooray for Five Question Friday! It's been my first full week back to work in over a month (we had winter break, a snow day, MLK Day, I took a day off while Eric was traveling to hang with my sweet girl). Anyway, you can get the details here at Mama M's blog.

1. Would you ever vacation alone?

I'd like to think that I'm secure enough to do this...and I think I am...for like a day. But only if it were somewhere warm, where I could lay out all day and just read and have someone bring me fruity drinks and gourmet food all day (with the calories not counting). But I'd probably be calling my hubby every hour because I'd miss him.

2. Do you go the speed limit?

I'm usually a five-over kind of girl on the highway, but definitely the speed limit in residential areas. I used to drive a lot faster on the highway, but I think being a momma has helped me to realize that 80-85 on the highway isn't the safest decision.

3. Why did you start blogging/following blogs?

We (my hubby does blog here every once in a while) started our blog to keep family and friends that live out of town (there are a lot of them) up to date on Cate's impending arrival. From there it just took off. I started reading some other blogs...starting with the CF Husband (on my right hand sidebar) and a couple of my friends had blogs as well. I've always loved to write (hello, I teach English) and I enjoy sharing my life with all of those I know in real life and that I've "met" through blogging.

4. Where do you shop for yourself?

I love The Gap and Old Navy. And Macy's. I've also been a J. Crew girl. If money were unlimited I'd shop more at Anthropologie. I drool over that store, but can usually only afford the sales. I do need to update my wardrobe though. I think a shopping trip may be in order soon.

5. What was the song that you danced your first dance with your spouse to at your wedding...or...what song would you like your first dance to be to?
We danced to Peter Cincotti's "Are You the One." The back story: I went to NYC with my girlfriends my junior year of college. We went to a taping of The Caroline Rhea Show (she replaced Rosie for a little bit) and Peter Cincotti performed. We got his CD for free as audience members. Later that week, Eric surprised me by showing up in NYC (my friends all knew about it), and playing a song he wrote for me (and that I later walked down the aisle to) before popping the question. So it only made sense that we would dance to such a song.

Added bonus today-- pictures one of our awesome babysitters sent us of Cate over the last two days. She is fighting a NASTY ear infection (her ear was bleeding) so she fell asleep eating lunch yesterday:

So last night she went to bed at 6:45 to get plenty of extra sleep. Today she is on a little field trip to Krohn Conservatory and the Aquarium. So here are a couple of pictures I've been sent today:
~Melody :-)

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Oh Sweet Girl...

...what are you looking at? Are you dreaming of the days when the weather will be warmer and we can play outside more? Are you looking forward to our walks to the park? The coffee shop? The library? Are you imagining the freedom of the sidewalk and the adventures that lie in the backyard? Are you anxiously anticipating being able to walk out the door without being bundled up? Are you excited to see if you'll tan like daddy or freckle like mommy?
Because sweet girl, your momma sure is!

~Melody :-)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Party Preparations

Holy Blogging Batman! This is our 400th post! And Cate is turning two in less than two weeks!

Party preparations are in full swing around here. Since Cate is very into Elmo, I ordered her this cute Elmo hairbow from Etsy. Her hair is still thin so it doesn't stay in too well. I'm not letting her wear it anywhere except at home so we don't lose it before her party.
I'm also finally getting around to making her that jumper I wanted to make her. I spend part of the day Saturday sewing with my grandmother and learning how to applique. I think this will be totally cute when it's done. I may have to splurge on some red Mary Janes for her to wear with it.
The best part is that we'll be able to adjust the buttons so that she can wear it all next fall and winter too.

And her party favors? They turned out amazing! I ordered chalkboard fabric online and used some fabric my mom gave me for the backs...voila...chalkboard placemats. They really do work. I'm planning to role each one up, tie it with a ribbon and a piece of chalk or two to give to each of the kids coming to her party. I think these are way more fun than the cheap, plastic party favors you can buy at the store.
There's still a lot to do, but it's all coming together. We can't wait to celebrate birthday number two with our sweet girl!

~Melody :-)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Five Question Friday

I know, I was bad. I didn't play along last week. But I'm back to play this week with Mama M's Five Question Friday.

1. What is better, growing old with out money or dying young and wealthy?
We follow Dave Ramsey's steps, so hopefully we'll get to grow old AND wealthy. :-) But since I have to pick for this question-- old without money. I want to see what God has in store for me, my husband, and our daughter.

2. Who takes out the garbage at your house?
My husband...he's Superman! He does most of the cooking, changes the cat box, helps keep the house clean, and takes out the garbage! I love him!

3. Have you ever had the same dream many times?
I don't usually remember my dreams and the rare times when I have, there have not been any repeats.

4. Can you play a musical instrument?
I rock at the clarinet! And I learned how to play tenor sax in high school so I could be in jazz band. I also know a few guitar chords (thanks to my hubby who taught me a little in college) and can pick my way around a piano (something I wish I was better at playing).

5. If you owned your own store, what would you sell?
Well, if I had the money to open up my own store, I'd have to give it to my friend, Emily, so she could open her own store and take it offline. She sells awesome accessories and body products made by people rescued out of human trafficking! Check out her store here! But if she already had her store up and running, then I'd definitely own a book store...I love to read. I'd want it to be kind of a cross between this book store in my hometown and this book store that's about a 5 minute drive from our house (and has the coolest kid-friendly cafe ever).

Happy Weekend!

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Yes, We Did It Again

Eric and I were both off on Monday for MLK day, so we headed back to the zoo to see these guys again:
Cate loved them, again, despite the fact that there were significantly more people there this time (like a good 75 or so). So it wasn't as interactive as that first solo penguin parade Cate got, but she still giggled, squealed, and shouted "penguins" just as much.

I did get some great Daddy/Daughter shots on Monday too! All bundled up and keepin' each other warm.
~Melody :-)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Truthful Tuesday

Confessions from a Working Mom
This week's question from Elizabeth: How has motherhood taught you to let go?

I wouldn't say that motherhood has taught me to let go of things so much as it has taught me to re-structure a few things (okay, okay, compromise-- but I really don't like that word for this subject).

Like "me-time" for example. Life BC (Before Cate) gave me plenty of time to take long walks with the dog, read (I used to be a 30-40 book a year kind of girl...now if I get in one or two a month I'm doing well), knit, watch trash on TV, stalk check on people on Facebook, run, cycle, golf, ski, write, etc.

Now my "me-time" looks a little different. I don't have as much, which means I have to be choosy with how I spend my time. So sometimes that means a walk with the dog and flipping channels for an hour or so before bed. Sometimes it means a little bit of knitting and 20 minutes to read. I still get "me-time," just not as much. And I'm totally okay with it. Totally okay with not getting a walk everyday, or letting a knitting project sit on the needles for a week, or not going for a run for months, or letting an entire ski season slip by without hitting the slopes. Don't get me wrong, I definitely miss those things. But the "me-time" I lost has been replaced by something, or should I say someone, so much better.

We do puzzles together a lot (the alphabet one is the most challenging one for her, but she's getting better at it every day and learning more of the letters). She follows me around and imitates me (more yoga baby).
And we take A LOT of pictures!
It's worth the sacrifice. And even on the days when she's whiny, getting into things, and generally testing my limits (and believe me, on those days I do think about life BC) I remind myself that it won't be like this for long. She'll eventually come home, stick her earbuds in her ears or go out with her friends, shut the door to her room, and leave me with plenty of "me-time" again. So I'm okay letting go of it for awhile.

~Melody :-)

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Yoga Baby and Other Ramblings

We're only a couple of weeks into the New Year, so most people are still going strong with their New Year's resolutions. I know the gym parking lots at the several gyms near our home have been full lately. We don't belong to one though...so we don't have to worry about fighting the crowds.

I had another yoga class yesterday and really enjoyed it. This past week I tried to put in the things I remembered from my first class as I stretched and exercised. Yesterday's class was great and I think my friend and I are going to start going every week (although the beginner series ends next week and then we'll go to a stress relief yoga class on a different day instead).

Cate has certainly noticed Mommy's new exercises. She calls herself "yoga baby" when she does her poses. Yoga is definitely helping me with two of my resolutions: to be more present and to grow spiritually.

My other resolution-- learning to knit and sew more-- is also underway. I learned a new knitting stitch and am currently making this. Hopefully it will be done within the next couple of weeks so that I can actually wear it while there's still cold weather here. And while I've been knitting, I've been listening to a lot of this...also helping with the whole grow spiritually resolution thing.

I finished my first book on my Kindle...1000 White Women. I really enjoyed it and am now onto The Art of Racing in the Rain, which is good so far (I love that it's told from a dog's point of view).

And since I'm being a little random today, I have to share with you this yummy, homemade granola that I made yesterday. You can find the recipe here. It makes a TON!
I didn't have wheat germ, so I substituted flaxseed meal. I also ran about 1/2 tablespoon short of vanilla, so I used 1/2 tbs. of almond extract to make up for it.

It came out great.So tasty with milk (like regular cereal) or with yogurt or just a handful plain.

I have tomorrow off of school for MLK Day. Unfortunately I'll be spending the morning getting my first ever cavity filled. Fortunately, my hubby is also off work which means I get to cuddle with him and my sweet "yoga baby" afterwards.

~Melody :-)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Deja Vu?

Until I have a chance to raid my mom's pictures next time I go to visit my family, you're just going to have to take my word for this one (unless my mom could scan in a picture of me).

Our coffee table used to belong to my parents. It has plenty of water rings and the teeth marks of all three kiddos (me, my brother, and my sister). So when Eric and I were poor and couldn't afford a coffee table of our own, my parents gave us this one. And we love it so much, we've never bothered to buy a new one even though we easily could now.

But I digress....

When I was little, or so my parents say, this coffee table was my "desk." I'd pull my rocking chair right up to it and sit and color or read or play. And now my own sweet girl is doing the same thing.
She is really into the whole coloring thing right now. So of course we had to buy her a couple more coloring books on our quick trip to the store tonight to pick up milk. She's in heaven!

I guess the "like mother, like daughter" saying is true. I find it even more true as I find myself becoming even more like my own mother (in good ways).

~Melody :-)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Growing Up Riggs Podcast

Listen to this episode

Come listen to our first ever Podcast edition of Growing Up Riggs. Enjoy!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Not Me Monday-- March of the Penguins Edition

I'm confessing along with others at MckMama this week.

It is NOT 22 degrees outside. And because it is NOT 22 degrees out and I did NOT take a personal day today (so I wouldn't have to drag Cate out of bed so early in the morning to get her to the sitter since my hubby is out of town), I did NOT bundle Cate up to head to the zoo. That was NOT a run-on sentence either-- I am an English teacher after all. I do NOT make mistakes in my blog posts.

When we got to the zoo we were NOT the only car in the parking lot. Cate did NOT have free reign to run wherever she wanted to run at the zoo (or squat to stay warm).
We were NOT going to the zoo for the sole purpose of seeing these guys:
Out of their indoor habitat.
That's right...it's Penguin Days at the zoo. Which means it's cold enough for the penguins to come outside for a walk every day. They also get to play in their outdoor habitat for awhile. So we went to the zoo today to go take a walk with the penguins.

And because I did NOT have a sense of humor, I did NOT dress Cate in the penguin shirt her Nanny (my mom) got her. She also wore her penguin socks, but I didn't get a picture of those. And since we were NOT the only ones at the zoo in the lovely 22 degree weather, we did NOT get to have fun walking with the penguins up close and personal. I think Cate would have gone right up and hugged one if she could have. Unfortunately they have tempers and so Cate had to stay about a foot away from them (which is hard to explain to a not quite 2-year-old).
And since I'm NOT a sucker I did NOT buy Cate a cute little stuffed penguin on our way out (c'mon, he was only $6.70 with our member discount). She did NOT come home immediately after our trip to the zoo (okay, we stopped and had lunch out at Panera first) to introduce her new little penguin to the big penguin that Great Aunt "B" gave her for Christmas.
This girl clearly does NOT have an obsession with penguins!

~Melody :-)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Weekend Rambling

Despite the "white death" as folks around here like to call it ruining our travel plans for the weekend, Cate and still managed to stay pretty busy at a moment's notice.
We took it easy on Friday since I had gone ahead and gone into work (giving me back a personal day to use later). The two-hour delay definitely made things easier as far as getting Cate up and to the sitter's.

Saturday morning Cate went to play with a friend's daughter (whose husband graciously watched both girls) while we headed out for a yoga class. Yoga was all the rage when I first started college. So I got a mat and took a few classes. But I always came out more sore than when I went in. The classes were often crowded and I felt like everyone knew way more than me-- even in the beginner class. I gave up and tried practicing with some DVD's at home, which also weren't very affective. After I got married, I tried a class again at the gym I joined and found the same thing to be true-- the people all seemed experienced and I clearly had no clue what I was doing.

The class I took Saturday though was at an actual yoga studio. The instructor took the time to really explain things as this was week 1 of a 3-week beginner workshop series. I left feeling relaxed, stretched out, and 2 inches taller. Everyone in there was clearly a beginner, so my friend and I fit right in. I was glad that my friend reminded me about the series (I wasn't going to take it until March because of travel plans this month and next month), and was glad to be able to come once I decided not to head north. It was the best yoga class I've ever taken and I'm looking forward to the remaining two weeks of the workshop (and then will hopefully get to take another class with the same instructor who is wonderful).

Saturday night Cate and I joined up with our small group to watch the Bengals lose to the Jets in the playoffs. Oh well...we had fun playing (Cate) and socializing (me). I felt like I hadn't seen all of them in so long because of the holidays.

Today we headed out to church and miraculously made it on time even though Cate slept in until 8:45-- for which Mommy was very grateful. The sermon was refreshing and encouraging! We picked up a few things at the store afterwards (Cate has been a milk hog lately and went through a half gallon in 3 days) including this Elmo sticker book (which I didn't realize was $7 until we got to the checkout). But that's because the stickers are reusable.
We spent some time coloring this afternoon before another playdate with my friend and her daughter.
Even though they'd seen each other the morning before (while their mommies were at yoga) the girls were excited to see each other again. They busied themselves running around the basement chasing each other, playing ring around the rosie, and even a bit of Wii. My friend's daughter is 15 months older than Cate and was perfectly patient with Cate (who is just now starting to learn the concept of sharing).

And in all my spare time I managed to get Cate's birthday party invitations ready to mail. I can't believe she's going to be 2!
I'm taking tomorrow off of work as a personal day to spend some more quality time with my girl (and to save her from an early wake up) before Eric arrives home in the evening. He's specially requested that I keep Cate up until he gets home (which actually isn't too much past her bed time) so that he can rock her to sleep tomorrow night.

It's been a busy but good weekend. I enjoyed having Cate all to myself and getting to spend some time with her. But I'm definitely ready for my hubby to be home. I miss him terribly! Thank goodness he doesn't have to travel too often for work.

~Melody :-)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Five Question Friday

It's one of the most wonderful times of the week...Five Question Friday, brought to you by Mama M. And it's been a couple of weeks since I've done one. So in honor of the snow we're experiencing, here ya go:

1. What's your "comfort food"? I've called it Noodles and Brown Stuff since I was a kid, but it's real name is Beef Burgundy. I have a super easy crockpot recipe and LOVE to make this! Cate takes after her mama and loves it too. I also love Bob Evans Chicken Noodle Soup...perfect when you're feeling under the weather!

2. Do you send Thank You's (handwritten or email)? Yes, always, and handwritten. The one exception-- thank you notes to my students for gifts at the holidays. I get a lot of them. I acknowledge them right away. But half my kiddos don't put their names on them and the day before winter break is so chaotic that by the end of the day I don't know who gave me what anyway. I tried to do thank-you's my first couple of years and it was out of control. Plus I was always torn over whether or not you spend the time to write a thank-you to the kid who gave you a candy cane vs. the kid who gave you a gift card. I think the final straw came when I found more than half of the thank-you's I wrote one year on the floor and in the trash. But for everyone else, yes, we do thank-you's!

3. If you had to be trapped in a TV show for a month, which show would you choose? My all time favorite show is "Friends" so I'd want to be stuck there. But if it had to be a show currently on TV, probably "Modern Family"-- I think that show is hilarious. Plus, they all live in nice houses. And southern California weather isn't sounding so bad right now, as you'll see when you get to the end of this post.

4. What is your favorite online recipe site? Don't have a favorite. I just google what I'm looking for until I find a recipe I like.

5. If you had to choose: "Friends" or "Seinfeld"? I like both shows, but if you read 3 above, you know I'll pick "Friends." We do own all 10 seasons on TV and quote it often. My hubby and I also rock at the "Friends" Scene-It DVD game!

So fun to play along.

In other news, my car looked like this yesterday:

The picture was taken looking out the window from my phone, so it's not great quality. We had ourselves a good, ol' fashioned snow day here. Eric is out of town for work (thankfully his flight made it out) and is in sunny--I mean chilly-- Florida with a Team in Training team running the Disney marathon. So Cate and I stayed in our pajamas all day (we had already been to the store for the week) and played, watched Elmo, played some more, had a dance party, ate mac and cheese, played some more, and I knitted a bit too. We did run to the bank in the morning before the snow hit (we started the day with a 2-hour delay and ended up being called off...good thing, because it did get a little nasty out there). I was hoping one of the more ambitious neighbor kids would come around offering to shovel the driveway since Eric was gone, but no luck. So after Cate's nap I bundled her up in her snow gear (yes, I did leave her PJ's on underneath) and headed out to shovel. She wasn't walking last year when it snowed and wasn't sure how she felt about walking in snow this year. So she pretty much stood or sat in one place while I shoveled.

Thankfully the snow was light and easy to shovel. Cate cooperated well and really only took an interest in playing in the snow when it was time to go in. Oh well.

Today brought a two-hour delay-- which was helpful in getting Cate to the sitter. I'm looking forward to more snow adventures with my girl, a yoga class this weekend with a friend, a get-together to watch the Bengals in the playoffs with our small group tomorrow, and just relaxing. I went ahead and took Monday off so I wouldn't have to worry about getting Cate up and to a sitter early in the morning. I was originally planning to head to NE Ohio to visit some family, but since they're getting twice the snow we have, I did NOT want to get stuck in the car with a toddler in the snow.

Happy Friday to all! And Happy Weekend!

~Melody :-)

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