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, February 28, 2010

Race To Anyplace

This weekend's big event...The Power of the Pen Tournament. Just kidding. But the creative writing team I coach did do well at Friday's district tournament...8th grade took 1st, 7th grade took 2nd, and all 12 writers are advancing to the Regional tournament. My co-coach and I took over the coaching from quite a winning dynasty and we were a little nervous about keeping our school's winning reputation. Looks like we were able to do it! Way to go Comets!

Anyway...the event that truly consumed our weekend was The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Race to Anyplace.

Race to Anyplace is essentially a 6 hour team spinning event. Teams of 12 each raise a minimum of $500 and then take turns riding 15 minute shifts on a spinning bike (set to a very high resistance to make it extra difficult). Since Eric works for LLS (Leukemia and Lymphoma Society), he spent most of Friday night setting up for the event, which was held in the lobby of a large downtown office building.

And then he was there ALL DAY Saturday for the event. I couldn't let the opportunity to cycle pass me by...and the Race to Anyplace was a great chance to see some of my Team in Training cycling friends (some who rode on our team, some who rode for other spinning teams).

So I headed down to take my turn on the spinning bike.
Cate was my biggest fan. She even put on her cycle gear, which was a hit with just about every person there.
She even showed off her stretches.
My cycling friends kept me entertained while riding by cheering me on and dancing to the music, which came courtesy of a local radio station.
In the end, our team--Team Olive Branch (named for a killer hill we train on outdoors with Team in Training)-- rode over 80 miles between the 12 riders. Quite a feat when you consider how high the resistance on the bikes was.
When we finally got home, we napped, slept, scrounged for dinner, and went back to bed. It was busy day for all (yes, even Cate, who made more than one rider smile with her outfit and who busied herself running all over the lobby).

I encourage you all to check out Race to Anyplace and see if there's an event near you. It's sure to be a fun, if not exhausting day.

~Melody :-)

PS...My legs are still killing me.

PPS...In other LLS news, my homeroom at school raised over $420 for Pasta for Pennies, another LLS campaign. So now, I'm getting duct taped to the wall (we made a bet on our team that the homeroom who raised the most would get to duct tape their teacher to the wall). Pictures will be forthcoming when this actually happens and if I actually approve them to be on this blog. :-)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Five Question Friday

It's time for Mama M's weekly question carnival! So here goes nothin'.

1. Do you sing karaoke? If so, what is your go to song?
Nope, you don't want me to sing karaoke...it wouldn't be pretty. On the rare occasions in my younger years I did sing the Grease medley at my 8th grade lock-in with about 10 friends (I think I have a tape of it somewhere) and "Like a Prayer" at one point in time. And one of my friends in college got an E-Kara that we used to screw around with. But nope, the whole karaoke night at the local bar thing-- fun for me to watch but I would never have the guts to get up there and do it.

2. What is your favorite coffee drink?
A skinny vanilla latte! Mmmmmmm.

3. If you could choose your own name, what would it be?
When I was little I wanted to be a Katie or a Jennifer like every other girl in my class. But I love my name now and wouldn't want it to be anything else.

4. Were you ever bullied?
Not really. In 6th grade when I was in my first year of middle school (and first year at a new school in a new town, etc.), there was a group of girls that played a slightly nasty trick on me by calling me to invite me to a birthday party. I asked my mom if I could go, excited to finally be invited to something, only to find out that the day of the party was Easter Sunday. I called the girls back and said I couldn't come because it was Easter and heard giggles on the line. Of course I found out a couple of weeks later that there never was a party to begin with. And of course I was hurt. But eventually I found my friends and my way and never really had any other issues. I'm not a fan of drama. And for the life of me now I can't remember who those girls were...so it really must not have damaged me too much. I think one's name was Jessica, and that she moved shortly after 6th grade, but I could be wrong.

5. How often do you eat fast food?
I try not to eat it often, maybe once or twice a month if I'm in a pinch or driving to visit family or something. I prefer eating at home. I should note though that I do NOT consider the delicious pizza from Papa Johns to be fast food...we eat that a lot around here. :-)

Happy Friday!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Newest Members of the Riggs Family

About a month or so ago I jokingly said to Eric that we should get Cate a goldfish, like Elmo's (shown below).
So last week Eric came home with this:
Cate saw the fish and immediately said, "Dorothy!" Dorothy is the name of Elmo's fish. She was super excited to have her very own Dorothy.

As it turns out, Eric's coworker was looking to find a home for her fish since she'll be moving within the next few months. It was a package deal though-- we also got a Betta fish, whom Cate named Mater, like the tow-truck in cars. The Betta was originally called Vader by Eric's coworker, and we told Cate that, but I think she just thought we said Mater.

Incidentally, we renamed our dog when we first got her too. Her original name was Sugarbelle and Eric said there was no way he was going to have a dog with that name.

But back to the fish...Cate is learning how to take care of them (as much as a two-year-old can). She feeds them every morning and evening with Daddy. She also "helps" clean out their bowls. Mater hangs out in our room while Dorothy's bowl is perched on the dresser in Cate's room. She loves having fish. We love teaching her how to help and take care of them.

Cate also helps us put dog food in Zoey's bowl, gives Zoey treats, and helps to put water in the big bowl that Zoey and Sierra (our cat) share. We pour the water into a bottle with a very thin spout and Cate in turn pours that into the bowl. She's pretty good at it.

All in all, I think pets are a great way to teach kids how to help and take care of things. What other ways do you help your children learn these things?

~Melody :-)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Return of Yoga Baby (in a new position)

Sometimes the words in Cate's vocabulary make me laugh. She knows what an iPod is (and how to work it-- the best $1.99 I ever spent was downloading an episode of "Little Einsteins" which she watches on the iPod all the time--a penguin drives a train of ice cream in it). She knows what a bluetooth is since Eric always has his on when he comes home from work. Eric and I both have Kindles and she knows what those are too. She knows the word computer and is a fan of getting on PBSkids with me and playing Elmo games.

And now she's starting to learn the names of yoga poses. In this post, Cate demonstrated a pretty basic yoga pose. Now she knows downward dog...a new phrase in her ever growing vocabulary. Here she is demonstrating it at my in-laws house this morning.
She spent the night there while Eric and I attended a charity Texas Hold 'Em tournament with our small group. I made it to the top 5 despite only ever having played poker once in my life, about 7 years ago. We were all playing for the same charity though (two members of our small group are going on a missions trip to New Orleans this summer and we all said we'd give the money to them if we won).

No, Cate's vocabulary does not yet include words and phrases like "straight," "flush," "the river," "flop," and "big blind."

~Melody :-)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Recognizing One Another's Parenting Strengths

In a texting conversation with my hubby on Tuesday (I had a snow day, he had to go to work), we (in very simple texting terms) somehow got onto the subject of each other's parenting strengths. Eric had texted to see how Cate was doing- she had been a little grumpy when he left for work. I replied back that she was fine and we were making "Penguin Prints" in Play-Doh.
What are "Penguin Prints?" Take some Play-Doh, roll it up in a ball, smash it flat like a pancake and then let your daughter march her small, plastic penguins across the Play-Doh to make tracks or prints. Cate loved it and it kept her occupied for a good 45 minutes that day.
Eric commented that I was such a creative mom for thinking of that...and kind of educational and nerdy too. In fact, I'm kind of known for doing the "geeky" things with Cate. We have fun with Brainquest Cards, games, coloring, reading, playing with stickers, doing puzzles, trying out different things (like dried pasta) in the sand and water table (which really does have sand and water when it's outside in the summer, but it's in the basement right now), playing with letter magnets on the fridge, and now making prints with Play-Doh.

And there were these birthday party favors:
Yeah, chalkboard placemats baby. We've been drawing all kinds of things on Cate's lately. Did I ever mention that similar placemats were showcased in American Baby magazine and retailed for $20!!! The only difference between those placemats and mine? Those placemats had a velcro closure (which I could easily add) and a small chalk pocket. Otherwise they were made exactly the same way. But I digress...back to parenting strengths.

By contrast, Eric is really good at all things musical and imaginative play. He makes up songs all the time for Cate on both piano and guitar and they often have duets together (she bangs on the piano and he plays guitar, like in this post). He is so patient with her and shows her how to correctly play the piano or strum the guitar (hmmm...we might have to look into some sort of music class soon). Eric also has a voice for every little person in our Little People village. He's great at coming up with adventures for them to go on and things for them to do. Same thing with the train table. And don't get me started on the things they build with her Mega Blocks or the many things they "cook" in her kitchen.

And it's not just play-time either. Eric is great at the whole bath-giving, song-singing, teeth-brushing nightly routine. I'm a little better at watching what Cate eats (to make sure we don't repeat too often and that she's getting enough of the "good stuff"). Eric shines when it comes to dealing with stomach bugs (which is great since I'm a sympathy puker) and I swing into action easily when it comes to caring for ear infections and any other non-puking ailments.

I'm so blessed to have such a great parenting partner. And I don't think I praise Eric often enough on his rockin' Daddy skills. I'm trying to be better about that because honestly, I love watching him when he's in his element with Cate. It's one of my favorite things to observe-- the two of them engrossed in some imaginative or musical adventure.
So if you're also blessed enough to have a spouse or significant other on this parenting journey with you, encourage them and compliment them on what they do best as a parent. And I'd love to hear what you do well as a mom or dad.

~Melody :-)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pottery Barn Style?

I couldn't resist this blog carnival today. I love that someone out there is recognizing those of us who love Pottery Barn but can't always afford it-- so we make do with other options. Yup, this blog carnival is all about recognizing the way women everywhere have been able to pull off the Pottery Barn look without the Pottery Barn price tag.

I love, LOVE, love Pottery Barn and never cease to be inspired by their catalogs. Lucky for me, our house is nearly 100 years old, so that helps add to some of the charm and character and overall Pottery Barn look. Some of my favorite Pottery Barn-esque areas of our house include:
1. Our main hallway which is a collage of various picture frames and even a shadow box. Some of the frames hold actual photographs while others hold postcards or miniature posters.
2. This built in cabinet with glass doors came with the house and it's probably one of my favorite things in the whole house. Thankfully, we have dishes that match and look good showing through. But I must confess, the white dishes are Pottery Barn. Part of the Great White Collection that we registered for when we got married. I have awesome friends and family who got us everything we needed. Oh yeah, ignore the mess on the counter. :-)
3. Our mantel. The painted brick is beautiful, the logs (fake b/c our fireplace is gas) look cozy, and the mish-mash of frames on the mantel just add to the look. Okay, okay, you caught me again though. Yes, those are Pottery Barn monogrammed stockings. Don't judge. The silver stocking holders that spell out JOY came from Target though. :-) Which is where the bud vases below came from (they're on the mantel now).
These cost me a whopping $2.50!
Cate's nursery is my last PB inspired stop on this blog carnival tour. But I must confess, the bedding, rug, curtains, and quilt (pictured below) are all from Pottery Barn. HOWEVER-- I got the whole kit n' caboodle for $100. Someone in the district where I work bought all of this stuff new for her son's nursery. He NEVER slept in the nursery when he first came home and when he was about 4 months old, they upgraded to a bigger house and decided to do a baseball nursery for him instead (they didn't know they were having a boy). So basically she had all of this brand new baby stuff from Pottery Barn, but couldn't return it since it was opened and she no longer had all of the original packaging or receipts. Major score for us since all of that would have cost at least 5 times as much if we'd bought it.
Cate's changing table came from Target though. The bins-- Bed, Bath, and Beyond (love those coupons they mail out all the time). The rocking chair-- hand me down from my mom who rocked me and my siblings in it. And her crib-- Pottery Barn, but from Once Upon a Child. Her whole nursery, furniture included, cost us about $350 total to outfit!

I'm not an expert, but I think we do the Pottery Barn look pretty well around here. What do you think?

~Melody :-)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Not Me Monday-- White Death Edition

I'm confessing along with others today at MckMama's weekly confessional.

Despite being a seasoned and avid skier, I am NOT sick of the snow (this probably does NOT have anything to do with the fact that I haven't gotten a chance to ski all season...oh the things we do NOT give up in the name of motherhood).

We were NOT greeted to more snow this morning after getting dumped on last weekend right before Cate's party and last week (I had two snow days and a two hour delay). I am NOT just a little ticked off that today's white death (our worst snowstorm so far) came on a holiday (President's Day for all of you who don't get today off and don't know what today is) and I was already off school.

But instead of whining I did NOT bundle up Cate to go play in the snow.
I do NOT find it weird that she still won't walk in the snow and prefers to stand (or sit) in one place while she plays with the snow around her.
The snow is NOT almost up to Cate's waist. The weather report we have on right now is NOT saying we're still going to get more snow until later this evening. I am NOT hoping for a snow day tomorrow (so my husband and I can NOT finish the bottle of wine we started last night). Here's a little video of our snow fun!


~Melody :-)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Celebrating Love!

I'm so glad that Valentine's Day falls on a weekend this year. And on a 3-day weekend no less (I have tomorrow off for President's Day). That means I get extra snuggle and love time with my two favorite people:
This girl--
And her daddy, the love of my life, and my wonderful husband.

Some girls get flowers for Valentine's Day! I did. But Cate got hearts. Cute, little, felt handmade hearts. The idea came from my Purl Soho Calendar. They were originally supposed to be pins to wear on your coat or clothing for Valentine's Day. But if you've been around us long enough you know that Cate likes to count and sort things. So I made her 10 of these little guys and a cute little tote bag to carry all of her love in.
That was going to be it for her. But then a coworker had a Little People Valentine's set for sale for really, really cheap. Fischer Price doesn't make this set anymore and our sweet girl loves her Little People, so I couldn't refuse. She's been playing with them since she got them. I think my favorite is the little bald man serving the cupcakes.
Happy Valentine's Day to you all! I'm off to go love on my family a little more.

~Melody :-)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Five Question Friday- Valentine's Day Style

It's time for Mama M's Valentine's edition of Five Question Friday. Click here to see how you can play along.

This week's questions:
1. What is the one thing your love does for you that you can't live without?
Hmmm...this is a tough one. It's a toss up between doing a lot of the cooking (including making my lunch) or taking care of our finances. I'm not a money mess-- I just hate dealing with the bills, budget, etc. I much prefer to have Eric simply say, "this is what we have for ________" and then make it work from there.
2. When did you know your love was "the one"?
Well, our first Valentine's together (which was about a month before we got engaged), Eric picked me up for a dinner out. We got about a half hour away from campus when he felt his back pocket and said "Oh, crap-- I left my wallet at my apartment." I offered to pay since we were closer to the restaurant than we were campus, but he insisted on going back to get his wallet. So he did. I waited in the car while he went in to get it. A few minutes later he came out to the car and opened my door and told me that we'd had a change of plans. I stepped into his apartment to at least 100 lit candles, dinner for two, and rose petals. His roommate was awesome in helping him get things ready while we were "driving to the restaurant"and then left after that. While I had had inklings before, it was in this moment when I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this totally romantic man.
3. Does your love have a special ringtone on your cell?
Not currently...but I'm still figuring out how to work my phone. I got a new Blackberry right after Christmas. It used to be a Michael Buble song though.
4. What are you attracted to most in your special someone?
How humble and selfless he is. My husband would do anything for anyone. He loves to make people happy and is willing to give it all he's got. Physicially though, he's got a great behind. ;-)
5. Did you know when/where he/she was going to pop the big question?
I had stumbled across the song lyrics when I borrowed Eric's laptop to go do some work at Borders Bookstore one afternoon. I kind of had an idea of what they were intended for, but not really. Eric had me convinced he was going to San Antonio-- even giving me flight numbers and times. So while the song referenced New York, I figured that maybe he was planning on taking me there that summer or something. I was totally surprised to see him standing there in Central Park.

Ahh...I love Fridays. Especially when they preceed a three day weekend and one awesome V-Day gift that I got for my hubby.

~Melody :-)

MckLinky Blog Hop

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Coffee For Two

Cate has been into having tea parties lately. Or should I say "coffee parties." She serves a mug and calls it coffee. Elmo and Mickey are big fans.
She makes sure they have everything they need. She loves to pretend and Eric and I love to watch her.And when she's not having tea parties, you can find her in our ever-expanding Little People village-- we added a bus, a plane, and a ferris wheel to it last weekend.
~Melody :-)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How I Became Mrs. Riggs

I love a good engagement story, so I couldn't resist playing along today. Check out Mama M's blog for more great love stories.

We were juniors in college and had been officially together for about 11 months (we spent a couple of months in the late winter of sophomore year just getting to know each other as friends...I had just come out of a bad, bad, breakup at that point in time). I was planning on a trip to New York City with three girlfriends. I almost didn't go because I was B.R.O.K.E. Little did I know that Eric had something up his sleeve. I came home to my apartment one day to find some cash on my desk and a little note. No clue where it came from (and my roommates swore they knew nothing either). I later found out it was Eric and there was a reason he needed me to go to New York.

So I headed out with my three friends, thankful for someone's generosity. We had a blast checking out the city, going to a taping of The View and The Caroline Rhea Show (she replace Rosie O'Donell). I talked to Eric a few times throughout the week, thinking he was in San Antonio with one of his friends.

On the second to last day of our trip, my girlfriends and I were walking through Central Park. My friend, Emily, told me she really had to go to the bathroom and wanted to hurry across the park to the art museum. We weren't too far from Strawberry Fields where the Imagine Mosaic is and I didn't see the point in walking all the way across the park to the museum only to walk back across the park to snap a picture at the Imagine Mosaic. But Emily insisted that we had to go the museum first and resentfully I went (I really wasn't happy).

Later on, as planned, we walked back through Central Park to Strawberry Fields while Emily kept talking to her "mom" (who was really Eric) on the phone telling him where we were. As we approached Strawberry Fields I noticed a guy off in the distance with his guitar. I thought it was so sweet and it made me miss Eric even more.

And then we got closer.

And it was Eric.

He had been in New York City the whole time. In fact, every time Emily talked to her "mom" it was really Eric so that Eric could make sure to avoid us.

He had me sit down while he played a song on his guitar that he wrote for me. Then he pulled out a beautiful ring and popped the question.
(**I know, it's not a great scan, but it works)

Of course I said yes! We spent the rest of the evening celebrating with our friends (two of his friends had been in the city with him). A little over a year later I walked down the aisle to the piano version of the song he had written for the proposal.

And that's how I became Mrs. Riggs.

~Melody :-)
(driving away from our reception in a white Mustang convertible)
(honeymooning in Paris, France)
(running together in the Flying Pig 2007--didn't know I was about a week or so pregnant with Cate)
(celebrating five years of marriage this past summer in Santa Barbara, California).

MckLinky Blog Hop

Cate the Photographer--Her Photos Make Their Debut

Cate received this camera from my parents for her birthday over the weekend. She caught on how to take pictures right away and had been snapping pictures ever since. Maybe she'll be a photographer some day.

Anyway, most of the pictures are of things you can't recognize, but she does manage to get a great shot every now and then. Like these:
(her friend, Sammy)
(Daddy and Mommy eating lunch and visiting with family on Sunday)
(extreme close-up of Mommy)

The best part about this camera is that it's digital- so she gets to experiment without wasting film.

Not bad for a two year old huh?


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Celebrating Two! Part Two!

Yesterday was Cate's big birthday party. And when I say big, I do mean BIG! Our small, approximately 1000 square feet of living space (which doesn't include the newly finished basement) was PACKED! With family, friends, and lots of kiddos. You see, this time last year, we hadn't met our small group yet. But now, we're going on a year of knowing them all and they added about 20 people to our number of guests this year. Oh well, the more the merrier!

I was a little nervous at first since we woke up to about 5 inches of snow. Cate and her Aunt C (my sister) played outside in it for a bit.
Even Zoey got in on the action.
Gigi (my dad's mom) read Cate a pre-party story (Silly Sally in case you were wondering). And yes, that is the jumper my grandma helped me make for her. It's big on Cate now, but will fit her perfectly in the fall. We can let down the buttons too and it might even fit her the fall after that.
And then the guests started to arrive. We feasted on pizza, chips, dip, and pretzels, before letting the kids all take a turn pulling the Elmo pinata's strings.
He didn't open until the last string was pulled and the kids went crazy for the candy!
Next it was on to "Happy Birthday" with a Funfetti cake and awesome Sesame Street figures that I recently found in the Target dollar bin (I love the dollar bin at Target).
I also made some Elmo cupcakes. I can't take credit for this though. My friend, Lynn, gave me the idea when she made them last spring for her daughter's 2nd birthday. I didn't have the same long sprinkles that she used though. And I used Reeses Pieces for the nose instead of an orange gummy candy.
Cate definitely understood/"got" the whole opening presents thing. However, after about the first five or six, she said "all done." I think she was feeling a bit overwhelmed. Her friends helped her open the rest. She got tons of cute clothes, plenty of toys, some books to read, and some DVDs to watch. It was a wonderful party and we love that our little girl is loved and blessed by so many people in her life.
Happy Birthday again my sweet, sweet girl!