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 28, 2010

"Fall"ing for a Low Key Weekend

After a string of hot and busy weekends, everyone in the Riggs' house was ready for cooler weather and doing a whole lot of nothing. Last Friday it was still in the 90's. Eric came a little earlier from work to compensate for some evenings that he's had meetings and workouts to staff so I was able to take a nap. Which meant that later on I was actually able to make it through an entire movie without falling asleep (it didn't hurt that the movie was The Book of Eli, which was really good-- you should rent it--it's one of those movies where you totally don't see the ending coming, kind of like The Sixth Sense).

Anyway...Saturday we woke up to temperatures in the 70's. Alleluia! We threw open the windows and then remembered it was Ridge Day, which always includes a parade. We went when Cate was a baby, were out of town last year for Ridge Day, and decided that Saturday was a great day for a walk up the hill to the parade route. Shorts with long sleeved shirts and flip flops? Yup, that's how we roll when the temperature starts to dip a bit. We walked up to the parade with our awesome neighbors and snagged a great spot right outside the coffee shop.
First came the fire trucks. Cate clapped and waved to them. They threw candy to her (sidenote: our parade is known for being a great candy-giving parade-- Cate came home with a bag full). She was also excited about the stilt walkers and the "Marching Swarm" drum and dance line. Big Boy is also a favorite!
Some of the streets in Pleasant Ridge get together and make their own floats, like the one below for Orchard Lane.
Mostly though, Cate just enjoyed eating Tootsie Rolls.
After the parade, we came home for lunch and a nap. We pretty much did nothing the rest of the day. We played outside, did some laundry, read some books, did some knitting (well, mommy did some knitting), and after Cate went to bed, Eric and I caught up on some of our Thursday night NBC shows that we'd missed this past week.

After church on Sunday, Eric's parents stopped by our house. They were on their way home from Tennessee and had some presents for Cate including a small penguin book, a penguin hat from the aquarium, and a black bear stuffed animal which we've named Smokey (b/c of the Smokey Mountains). We also made a pot of chili to welcome in the fall weather. It continued to get cooler as the weekend went on (and as this week has started). We're now in long sleeves and pants as we haven't hit the 70's since Saturday. I'm not complaining though. It's still warm enough to leave the windows cracked to allow in some fresh air, but cool enough that I can bust out the fall clothes. A good thing too-- yesterday marked 3 months until my due date and my spring/summer maternity clothes were starting to feel small. My fall/winter ones are one size larger since Cate was a winter baby.

It's weird to think that Brennan will be here in less than 3 months. Remember-- I'll most likely have to be induced a week or so early with him since I had some complications with Cate and really, really don't want those same complications again (mostly b/c those complications could result in me needing some surgery).

Anyway...it was a nice, relaxing, and cool weekend-- just what everyone in this family needed.
~Melody :-)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Escape from the Zoo!

Yesterday, one adorable Emperor Penguin escaped from the Cincinnati Zoo and waddled its way to our house and into our hearts. We will not be returning it.
I mean, c'mon, those eyes, that smile. They melt even the thickest and coldest of Antarctic icebergs.
And who can resist putting a treat into that little wing?
In all seriousness though-- it's going to be tough to get her out of that costume. She cried when we took it off yesterday and then refused to put her clothes back on for the rest of the night. She asked for it again this morning. This might be a long month. Maybe I should send her to the zoo.

~Melody :-)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Game On!

Cate is really starting to get the concept of playing games. She definitely understands taking turns, but doesn't quite get the idea of winning and losing-- which is fine. And yes, in our house we will teach Cate how to both win and lose gracefully. I'm not a big believer in the whole "let the kid win every time" philosophy. But that's a whole other post.

Anyway, we've been enjoying Ants in the Pants. It's a game that's been around for awhile as I remember some of my friends owning it when when I was younger (it's the same company that makes Cootie). Cate is pretty good at flipping the ants into the dogs pants. We take turns, but like I said, we don't really have a winner or a loser at this point.
We're also really starting to enjoy the two games we got her for her 2nd birthday. Snail's Pace Race doesn't have winners/losers as its focus is on turn-taking and trying to see which snail will cross the finish line first. It also teaches colors-- as does Spin Me a Rainbow.
As luck would have it, someone I work with posted on our internal email bulletin board about selling some preschool games. I got 5 games for $15! Two barely played Thomas games (Dominoes and Trains & Trestles), an I-Spy Bingo game in a metal collector's tin (never played), and two games that came in tins and still have the plastic shrinkwrap around them (Curious George A B See and Sesame Street Number Jumble).
I think the the two with shrinkwrap still on them will make their way under the tree (the tins are small enough that one could go in her stocking). The other three I'll probably save to give to her on one of those days after Brennan gets here where she just needs something new to do. I've been buying books and little things to give her so she has something fun (and quiet) and new to do every day after he's here. I know a lot of the focus will be on her little brother, so I figure a small present a day for a month or so will help. Someone at school gave me a V.Tech V.Smile system that plugs right into the TV. So that will be a really fun big-sister present for one day. I got a couple of games from Amazon really cheap too (Little Einsteins, Thomas, and WallE). But mostly it's just books.

Anyway...CandyLand is another game we're hoping to add to our collection soon. Cate knows her colors, so we don't think she'll have any problems playing that one. If you know of any other great toddler/preschooler games, we really want to know about them. I have a feeling that family game night will be a regular way for Eric, Cate, and I to spend time together this winter when Brennan is sleeping.

~Melody :-)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fun with Grandma and Poppy

So, Grandma and Poppy came down to the ridge for some ice cream and some Cate time. We headed up to the UDF close to us for some late summer treats.

Then we headed to the park. Cate ran around, went down the slides and played some "instruments."

Mommy and Daddy wanted to go to Oktoberfest later that night after Cate went to bed, but she decided to continue her weekend strike against sleep. Grandma and Poppy were even going to stay and help in case Cate got up, but it was no use. After another epic nearly 2 hour battle, Cate fell asleep just in time for it to be too late for Oktoberfest. Hopefully we'll be able to get out soon for some adult time soon. Until then, we'll just keep on working on a normal sleep schedule, and keep lovin' on this little booger.

-Papa E

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Room For Two

We spent most of last Sunday putting the finishing touches on our room for two. Yes, Cate and Brennan will be sharing a room until we move out of this house (which won't be until Brennan is potty trained so that we can get rid of the changing table and diaper pail before we start showing our house). We only have two bedrooms, so they don't have much of a choice. While this may not seem ideal to a lot of our friends and acquaintances who live in larger, more suburban homes, it's more common around our part of town than I thought. This is mostly because a lot of the houses in this area are between 75 and 100 years old. If they haven't been totally gutted and remodeled or had an addition put on, then most likely there are only two or three bedrooms. It doesn't bother me and I don't feel any pressure to put our house up for sale immediately. I realize that there will come a time in both of our kids' lives when sharing a room with a sibling of the opposite sex isn't the best option for us. But for now, we have a great house in a great neighborhood and we are totally making a room for two work.

(Sidenote: we actually have a few friends that have the added convenience of a third or in rare cases, fourth, bedroom, but still have their children share rooms-- same gender and opposite gender. They all say the kids love having the company).

Brennan will obviously be in our room until he can sleep pretty solidly through the night so as not to wake Cate. But he'll definitely nap in the crib from day one, just as Cate did. Anyway...the closet was our biggest project. I think the shelving in there was as old as the house itself and taking it down tore away some plaster. So after re-plastering and some painting, we were able to install two new shelving units that also hang clothing. A shoe organizer on the door, some extra drawers at the bottom of the closet, and now the closet functionally serves two kids with plenty of room to spare since we know they'll both get spoiled with some new clothes come Christmas time. Our next task was to find something cute to put above Cate's bed. HomeGoods (I think it's owned by TJ Maxx) had a couple of cute, primary colored canvas paintings on clearance for $5 each. I scooped those up and paired them with some flags I bought from a local crafter at the Over the Rhine Second Sunday festival last month (the flags were also $5). Voila-- Cate's corner of the room was done!
When the crib used to be the center of the room, a cute circus canvas painting hung directly over it. I loved where that painting was on the wall and didn't want to move it. We headed to Pottery Barn Kids to pick up a couple of letters and now that wall looks like this:
The changing table is still in pretty much the same spot. And it still has the quilt hanging above it. The only new change is that the crib is now over on that side of the room as well. Cate needed some bedding to match, which wasn't too hard to find at Burlington Coat Factory. All in all, I think our room for two is pretty cute, don't you?It doesn't feel crowded or cramped at all. Daddy was definitely proud of all of his handiwork in the closet and Cate can't wait for Brennan to get here and sleep in the crib.
This also a point in time where I am very thankful we went with gender-neutral bedding when we were preparing for Cate. It has made preparing for Brennan easier and way more affordable. The thought of having to buy a whole other set of crib bedding makes me anxious and I'm glad we don't have to worry about that.

~Melody :-)

PS...Yes, our crib converts to a toddler bed. So when Brennan starts jailbreaking from the crib, we'll convert it rather than get another twin bed. He'll sleep in the toddler bed until we move, which will hopefully be sometime between age 3 and 4 for him....unless his feet are hanging off the edge. But even our tall sweet girl still fits just fine on that crib mattress.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Big Girl

We've been experiencing some pleasant fall-like weather around here recently. In fact, we've been able to turn the air conditioning off for all but 4 of the last 14 days. Some days were downright chilly enough that pants were in order. And it was in putting some pants on Cate that I realized something-- she's grown again.

I know she's tall. She's hovered right around the 90th percentile for height and head circumference (all that brainpower) since birth (weight dropped to about the 70th when she turned one and has stayed there). And I knew she was quickly catching up to our friends' daughter, who is over a year older than her. But I didn't quite realize just how tall until I saw just how short her 2T pants were when I put them on.

Thankfully, we had a stash of 3T clothes in the basement from a generous friend (whose daughter is also tall). Plus, I bought some on sale last fall-- I just didn't think she'd need them until she was well, closer to age 3. Yes, I do realize she will be 3 in less than 5 months. Maybe it's the pigtails. Maybe it's the bigger pants. But I just feel like she's looking so much more grown up recently. Her sentences are getting longer and more complex. She's got several books memorized. She likes to talk about her day before bed and ask questions about everything. She's a sponge who is soaking everything up and growing taller in the process. I don't even know if I'd consider her a "toddler" anymore. Other than not being potty-trained, she pretty much fits the bill for "preschooler" perfectly. My heart swells with pride as I watch her develop into so much more of her own person. But there's still a part of me that thinks it was only yesterday when she was this big:
~Melody :-)

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Man, oh man do I have much to catch our few, but faithful readers up on. So we'll start with last weekend. Labor Day weekend. If you don't live anywhere near our area, you probably don't know anything about the huge fireworks show that one of our local radio stations has put on for the last 30 or so years. They are epic and pretty stinkin' awesome. They're choreographed to music and last a good 35-45 minutes. One of our local television news stations even televises them for those who don't want to trek down to the river (there's a huge festival along the river the day of the fireworks and people come down before breakfast to get good seats for the show that won't start until 9:00 that night).

Spending the day at Riverfest was not in our plans though. So instead, we went to an area of town that sits high up on a hill, Mt. Adams, around 8:00 that night. It's one of the most expensive areas of our city to live in primarily because of it's great views. We found a nice little patch of sidewalk to sit on and could see right down the hill to the river.
We also had a beautiful view of the city skyline.
My mom, dad, and sister were in town, so a game of Euchre was in order while we waited for the show to start.
And while Cate cried at the loud fireworks at first, she did warm up to them about 10 minutes into the show and really enjoyed them.
A short walk back down the hill brought us to our car and we were home before the 10:00 news (the fireworks show was on the shorter side this year-- 35 minutes--we suspect this is because so much of it is underwritten/sponsored by companies that are hurting for profits right now and couldn't donate as much...like Toyota). I think we'll be heading to that patch of sidewalk again next year. Our view was terrific and we didn't have to sit around all day to get it!

~Melody :-)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect - A Booksneeze Review

I review for BookSneeze

It's Papa E's turn to write a review. I recently read Everyone Communicates, Few Connect by John C. Maxwell. While I'm not much of a fan of the typical leadership genre, I was intrigued by this book for a couple of reasons. First, it seemed to focus on a different aspect of leadership than many current authors in the field. And second, I feel as if I am becoming more skilled in the area of connecting in my job, and thought this would be a natural fit.

First off, I will say that you need to read this book with a grain of salt. Some of the specific examples and skills are hard to relate to, coming from a man who is a millionaire leadership expert. That being said, there are definitely some good anecdotes and some great examples of the principle of connecting.

At the outset, Mr. Maxwell defines connecting as "the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them" (3). He goes on to show how this can be relevant in sales, management, relationships, or even volunteering. He continues to develop this definition throughout the first section into an attitude that permeates your interactions with everyone, and is very others-focused.

In the second section he goes on to describe how you can cultivate and grow in this skill by putting a couple of tools into practice. These include things like finding common ground and keeping it simple.

I definitely enjoyed the book. It was rather refreshing to read a book that tried to cultivate an attitude rather than giving you a grocery list of things you must do to achieve success or be an effective leader.

- Papa E

Thursday, September 9, 2010

One Hand, Two Hands- A Booksneeze Review

I review for BookSneeze
For this Booksneeze review, I had the chance to share a book with Cate. One Hand, Two Hands is written by one of my favorite Christian authors, Max Lucado. He's actually written several children's books, but many of them are too wordy for a two-year-old to sit through (perfect for kindergarten and up though).

Anyway, One Hand, Two Hands takes kids through the day and all of the many uses of their hands. From washing their hands, to holding a cup, to showing love, our hands do can do a lot of things. At the end of the book, it talks about folding our hands to pray. There's also lists of things we can do with our hands to help, to love, and to be kind that serves as a sort of discussion starter for children and their parents.

With simple, rhyming words and cute, appealing illustrations, One Hand, Two Hands is a perfect book for toddlers and preschoolers. It teaches them all of the many ways they can use their hands in positive ways, reminds them to be thankful for their hands, and is fun to read!

Cate is excited to add this book to her collection and I hope we have more opportunities to review children's books in the future.

~Melody :-)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

March of the Penguin Cupcakes

A promise is a promise, even when your kid is only two and a half years old and doesn't even remember said promise. You see, back when I got the Hello, Cupcake! book for my birthday, Cate found the penguin cupcake page and was mesmerized by it. I promised her that I'd make penguin cupcakes for us before summer's end. Well, school started, and I hadn't made them yet. But, Eric was quick to point out that technically summer doesn't end until September 21st. He started buying the ingredients for me last week. As soon as Eric was feeling better last Saturday, we ventured out to Jungle Jim's (a grocery shopping experience in our area like none you've ever experienced). Cate enjoyed watching the fake animals in the water fountain outside.
With the harder-to-find ingredients in hand, we headed home to make penguin cupcakes. It was an almost two-hour labor of love. In the end, these guys really look more like they belong in Chernobyl, not the South Pole. I blame it mostly on inferior donut holes and mini donuts.
The recipe has you make seven penguins, four icebergs, and a bucket of fish treats-- the "catch of the day," which is pulled by the last penguin in line. I used fish-shaped sprinkles, so it's kind of hard to tell that it's fish in his bucket.
The process to make them wasn't hard, just time consuming. And I guess if I were the type of person to make fancy cupcakes like this at least once a week, I'd probably get speedier and my cupcakes would look better. But this little girl didn't care:
Her black-dyed chocolate frosting smile pretty much says it all.
And it was only appropriate that this onesie arrived in the mail the day before. My friend Rachel knows how much Cate loves penguins. So it's only appropriate that Cate's little brother will get to sport some penguin gear as well. Thank you Rachel, Chad, and Maddie!
~Melody :-)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Friday Night at the Festival

Friday night, the Catholic church and school up the street held their annual festival (actually it went on all weekend). We were watching our friends' two children and decided it would be a great way to pass the time with them (not to mention a distraction for Cate who was still crying when she peed). So off we went...
The two older kids decided a stop at the park was in order, so we actually went there first.
Then we headed across the street to the festival. The kids enjoyed riding rides...
...and playing games. Cate won this awesome pair of pink shutter shades. Of all the prizes she could have picked, this was the one item that caught her eye. She also got a book (Half Price books donated books as prizes and you only needed 2 tickets to get a book-- the shades took 10 tickets to get).
It really was a fun night. We're usually busy on Labor Day weekend or out of town, so we've never been to the festival before. We were going to go again Saturday night, but Eric wasn't feeling totally up to it and Cate was still whining about her diaper, so we spent a quiet evening at home making penguin cupcakes...look for them in a later post.

~Melody :-)

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Disclaimer/Warning: This post pretty much talks about poop since that's what we're dealing with at our house right now. So if that grosses you out, read no further. But since this blog's original purpose is to keep our wonderful out of town family and friends up to date on everything we choose to share about our lives, we're choosing to share this update.

I know I said in my last post that I thought Cate was on the mend, but I thought wrong. We sent her to my friend, her sitter 3 days during the day Thursday, and she held it all day. When Thursday evening came around with not a BM in site despite Miralax, prune juice, and Activia yogurt, it was time for another call to the pediatrician, who once again recommended urgent care.

The good news was that after an exam at urgent care, the doctors could find no solid blockage. Cate just needed to let it out-- it wouldn't be painful because it wasn't one large mass. The bad news was that it was Friday afternoon before she finally was pumped so full of fiber and Miralax (our pediatrician followed up with us on Friday and said to put it in everything she drank until she had several BM's), that she had no choice but to go. Eric stayed home with her and said she really didn't cry-- just whined. So the pain clearly wasn't as severe.

I did not go to urgent care with them on Thursday night because in Eric's words, I "needed to stay home and grow Brennan and even though [he] knew [I] wouldn't sleep, at least [I] could stay horizontal in low lighting while waiting for [them] to get home."

With all the excitement this week, Eric tried once again to be the superhero hubby that he is and volunteered to get up with Cate if she were to get up last night (Friday night). He did just that, but by 6am, his own immune system failed (or something didn't agree with him or the week just caught up with him), and he was sick. Cate and I left him to rest and headed out for a walk to the park and the coffee shop. By the time we got back, Cate was ready to nap (she got up at 5:20 this morning), as was Mommy, and Daddy was feeling better and eating again.

I'm happy to say that Cate isn't crying or freaking out nearly as much about going to the bathroom, so the pain must be lessening for her. And we've changed so many dirty diapers between last night and today, that we feel comfortable going back to giving her only two doses of Miralax a day (what she was originally prescribed) instead of a dose with every drink. It's tough to see your own kid in pain and it's wonderful when they start smiling and feeling better again. And after the week we've had, I think we're all looking forward to a solid 8 hours or more of sleep tonight. Thanks to everyone who has kept Cate in their prayers-- especially my aunt who made us laugh when she told us "this too shall pass." Literally.

~Melody :-)