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

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

One and a Half Men

I love the men in my life right now.
I took this picture with my phone today. It was opening day for the Reds. Eric wore his jersey and got free Chick-Fil-A at lunch (Cate and I ate at the Children's Museum, which we visited with a friend-- we went yesterday too, with a different friend; we're all exhausted). Brennan doesn't have any Reds gear. We're going to have to fix that. But he did have a baseball outfit. The Reds managed to pull out a win in the bottom of the ninth.

And speaking of phones, did I mention I got an iPhone. I love it! My favorite apps so far are the Whole Foods Recipe app, Fooducate, Words with Friends (anyone wanna play), and ColorSplash. The best part? I was due for an upgrade and had a $100 credit. So my iPhone cost $99. I splurged and bought it a cute Kate Spade cover/case. I'm pretty sure Cate knows how to work it almost as well as I do. And she's three.

Thanks for all of the comments on yesterday's post about knowing when you're family is complete. Tough topic. I feel a little more at peace with being in limbo just from reading the comments and talking to some in real life friends who read my post. We know this house isn't really built for more than 2 kids. And even at that, we'll still move eventually since they're two different genders. We're planning to give clothes and toys away (except for those few with sentimental meaning) as our kids outgrow them. But if God decides to bless us with #3, of course we'll make it work, welcome him/her with just as much celebration as the first two, and love him/her just as much.

But back to the men in my life. In their baseball stuff. I don't want Brennan to grow up too fast or anything, but I can see myself in the stands at future baseball games.

~Melody :-)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I've written and re-written this post several times in my head, and every time I do, it sounds dumb. So I'll just put it out there-- How do you know when you're family is complete?

It's a question I've been struggling with since Brennan's birth. Before he was born, I was convinced that 2 was our magic number and we'd be done. And it certainly means we're done in this house since we've only got the two bedrooms and a third bed will NOT fit in there (we're not planning to move in the next 2 or 3 years anyway...but probably will in the next 4 or 5). But now? I'm not so sure. And who knows, maybe all of this confusion in my head is still post-partum hormones surging or something.

I love my peaceful little guy and my oh so sweet girl. And sometimes there's a part of me that wants another one or maybe two. But then the practical side of me kicks in. The part that reminds me that babies are cute and three-year-olds are fun (most of the time), but they grow up into kids that want to play sports and take dance and go to college. The dreamer part of me has big plans for our family. I want to do a Disney trip in a few years when they're 4 and 7 (so they'll remember it) with the dining plan included. I want to fly down there and stay at one of the resorts with a view of the castle. I dream of taking Cate and Brennan to Europe and exploring Australia or maybe Africa with them on vacations when they're older. We're disciplined about money here, and I believe we'll do those things. But I know that the more kids we add to our family, the more disciplined we'll have to be to do those things.

I love that with 2, they'll always have at least 1 parent at their soccer games/dance recitals/band concerts/etc. even if they both have an event on the same night. I love that with 2 we fit comfortably into a restaurant booth. Or in a small sedan (though we love our minivan, we don't need two). There are lots of things I love about just having two kids.

My heart is so full already. I'm blessed to have these two wonderful, healthy, beautiful kids. I love them equally and also differently (lovin' a little boy IS different than lovin' a little girl, but that's a post for another day). Add to all of this the fact that I refuse to use any form of hormonal birth control anymore. I've dealt with some of the nasty side effects and just don't care to do that anymore. I'm not a fan of the other forms of temporary non-hormonal birth control and after a lot of discussion, we feel like an outpatient surgery for my willing husband is the best way to go. When we're ready to do something permanent. Which we're not.

So I feel like I'm in limbo at the moment. I don't want another baby right now. Not next year either. And probably not the year after that if I'm being realistic. But I'm afraid to commit to a permanent form of birth control because I'm afraid I'll change my mind. I'm about 80% sure we're finished and 20% not so sure. I have friends that say they always knew they wanted x number of kids. Friends who already know their families are complete. But how? How do you know? How do you get to 100%? Is it when you're done with diapers and can't fathom doing it again? Is it when your kids are all in school and the thought of starting all over tires you out just thinking about it?

The question doesn't eat away at me or anything. I'm not stressed out about all this. I really just want to know how other families have come to be at peace with the size of their broods. Eric and I are praying for God's guidance on this one. That He'll make it clear to us when our family is complete. When B decides to get up at 4am to eat (instead of his usual 5:30), I think there's no way I want to do it again. When Cate snuggles into my side to read a book, I think that maybe I could. I want to be done with diapers but not done with cute little clothes.

For now, we're treating Brennan as if he'll always be our youngest. As he outgrows clothes, we give them away. We'll do the same with his toys and other baby gear. We've already given a lot of Cate's clothes away. And I guess, if God changes our minds, we'll start over and buy new things.

But seriously though-- for my few readers out there-- how do/did you know?

~Melody :-)

Linking up with Pour Your Heart Out today.

PS... I just realized that this is probably the most personal I've been on my blog in awhile. Thanks for reading. :-)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Art "Studio"

When Cate was six months old, I mixed some food coloring, flour, and water to create finger paint for her. She had fun just making a mess. The first time she realized what a crayon could do on paper as a one-year-old, she was mesmerized. And if you read this blog fairly regularly in the fall, you got to know how much she loved art class.

But even before art class, all the way back to when she was that bald six-month-old just painting away, I dreamed of making a space for her, and any subsequent children, to create. Today, I finally did just that.
Our basement is what I call semi-finished. The whole thing is waterproofed. But when we took out the drop ceiling, we never really did anything to make the ceiling look nice and finished again. We put down carpet tiles with non-skid bottoms instead of regular flooring. This way if a part of the carpet get ruined by paint, kid puke, spilled food, whatever, we can pull up the tile and replace it (we ordered extra tiles). We actually do spend quite a bit of time down there playing since there's a "sitting area" for the adults (excuse the mess in this picture-- it was 80 here one day last week so I pulled out the bins of bigger sized clothes we've inherited or bought at end-of-season sales to start getting out the summer stuff).
The basement seemed to be the perfect place to make Cate what she calls her own art "studio."
The table? Rescued from someone's garbage, then cleaned and spray-painted green. The buckets? Target's dollar bin.
Drawers for feathers, pom-poms, foam stickers, and googly eyes? Also Target.
Then we headed out to Michael's to puchase said feathers, pom-poms, and googly eyes. Along with some popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, and construction paper (kept in a inbox/outbox type of thing). We already had tons of stickers, glue, kid scissors, markers, crayons, colored pencils, chalk, paint, etc. It was always in a big bin and was a pain to get out any time Cate (or Mommy) had the urge to create. Now, everything is out in the open. My sweet girl can draw, sticker, chalk, glue, and create to her heart's content. All of our supplies are kid friendly, so she can work independently if I'm doing laundry or tending to Brennan. Today, she made this (with Daddy's help):
She LOVES her new space. As do I. Her art easel fit nicely behind the table so she can paint there but have access to everything else in case she's going for mixed-media art by gluing some feathers on or something. It's nice to have everything out in the open and ready to go. The only problem is this:Good thing I've still got several months to figure out how to somehow enclose this space once he can pull up. I could always buy more secure storage for the stuff he shouldn't be into as well. Then he can participate too with his own little scribbles and masterpieces. Cate would be able to reach the big kid stuff, but he wouldn't (like scissors and glue and pipe cleaners and stuff). Our art supplies are non-toxic, so if he chews on a crayon when he gets a hold of one, no biggie...just rainbow poop.

~Melody :-)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Porch Swing

There is a swing. On a porch. At a house in the quiet of eastern Kentucky. A few generations of babies have been rocked on that swing. I was rocked on that swing. Almost two and a half years ago, Cate got her first rock on the swing. Her wriggly 8-month-old body didn't stop for a picture on the swing, but I do have a picture of her on the porch, with my aunt. On Tuesday, Brennan took his first swing, three months into his one wild and precious life.
I have loved visiting my great aunt's house ever since I was a kid. We often hold family reunions there. As my grandmother and her two sisters get older, fewer summers go by without a family get-together. Those get-togethers always remind me of this book. Because when these relatives come, they come bearing fried chicken and potato casserole and sticky, sweaty kids and desserts to die for and sweet tea and stories of things that have happened since the last reunion. And of course, we swing on that swing.

This week wasn't really a reunion though. Just me and the kids, my mom, my grandmother and her sisters, and a few cousins that stopped by. But we still had fried chicken. And potato casserole. And yummy dessert and sweet tea and stories. And the weather was almost warm enough to make my kids sticky and sweaty. But not quite. I love knowing that the swing is only a couple of hours drive away from my house. I hate that I don't get to make the trip to swing on it more often. I just picked up Beth Moore's book, Feathers from my Nest, in which she talks about different aspects of mothering, often tied into some object she finds or notices. This swing is one of my feathers.

~Melody :-)

And since I haven't linked up with anyone in awhile, I decided to link up with Serenity Now. Click the button and enjoy some weekend bloggy reading.
Weekend Bloggy Reading

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Three Months

Our little winter wonder man turned 3 months old today! I wished him a happy birthday as he happily nursed around 6 this morning (even though he was officially 3 months old at 4:13am).

I heard him laugh out loud for the first time last Friday (3/18) when I was visiting with a friend who just moved back to town. After trying all weekend to get him to laugh, Eric finally got to hear his sweet giggles yesterday morning as my dad bounced Brennan on his lap (he then promptly spit up on my mom).

Brennan continues to be a mellow, peaceful baby. He smiles a lot, loves to watch basketball on TV, squawks when people leave him alone in a room (even if it's just to go grab the phone or rinse off his diaper to put in the pail after a diaper change). He thinks his big sister is the coolest (she seems to get the most smiles) and is getting a little more vocal with his coos and when he needs something. He's sleeping pretty consistently through the night, going to bed around 10 and waking up around 6. The nursery volunteers at church say he's the best baby in the nursery. I'm sure they tell all parents that, but I like to pretend it's just my son. And he's lost that last little bit of "newborn" look and is full-on baby.

We love you, little man!

~Melody :-)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

So Little, So Big

I look at this boy and I think to myself, "he's growing so much even though he's still so little." My heart melts and I fall in love with him all over again.
I look at this girl and I think to myself, "she's growing so much and she's getting so big." My heart aches a little and I fall in love with her all over again.

These two are parts of my own heart-- beating outside of my body. I'd do just about anything for them. And they do almost everything for me. They make me laugh, cry, love, smile. They make me a better woman.

A part of me can't wait to see the people they become when they are big. But the other part of me wants them to stay little forever.

~Melody :-)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

We're Still Alive and Well, I Promise

It's been almost a week. And no, we didn't sneak off to some awesome vacation during this blog hiatus. Life has just been busy. And my personal rule is 15 minutes of internet a day while the kids are awake. Any other blog-reading/writing, email-checking, Facebook-stalking, web-browsing, and Amazon-shopping must be done when the kiddos are sleeping, gone somewhere with Daddy, etc. That 15 minutes gives me roughly 3 5-minute email checks during the day, but I'm not that cool, so there's usually nothing new.

Anyway, this girl is being much better about going to the bathroom:
We haven't had any freaking out episodes since Thursday night. She did hold it until we got home when we were out and about on Friday, but she didn't have an accident. She's been acting out in other ways too. Nothing major. She is clearly craving attention--even if it's negative. Her outbursts usually come when I'm feeding Brennan or changing his diaper-- when she knows I can't pay attention to her. But Eric and I both have been very conscious about spending one-on-one time with her throughout the day and she's been receptive. We seem to have to issue fewer time-outs with each day.

This little guy is ready for baseball season (and so is Mommy as it's one sport she really enjoys):
Last Sunday we went to the circus. Cate has never been. She enjoyed meeting some of the performers and watching some demonstrations on the floor before the show started.
In my opinion, it was a little long for a 3-year-old to sit through. There were times when she got bored. I don't think we'll go back next year, but I would like to go back when Brennan is 4-ish so that he can experience it-- I doubt he'll remember any of this one.

We had a very busy St. Patrick's Day. It started with a trip to the zoo where we met up with one of my coworkers who is also on maternity leave for the rest of the school year. Cate had fun seeing the animals.
She also had fun petting this chicken who happened to be roaming free in the Kids' Zoo/Playground area. This chicken tried to attack us. I'm not kidding. It liked the goldfish crackers Cate dropped and was determined to get more, even if it meant making sounds I've never heard a chicken make before and jumping up on the bench where we were sitting.
Cate took a nap when we got home. Brennan slept. Mommy watched basketball (notice B's basketball outfit for the day-- he had on a green diaper too, we covered March Madness and St. Patty's).
We went to a cookout later that night with our friends. Eric and I went on a wonderful date night Friday night. We stopped by a bookstore on the way home where we picked up this and this (can't wait to read this...I love Beth Moore). And I had dinner out with a great friend last night.

The weather has been warmer here, so we've been outside a lot too. My mom is on spring break this week, so I'm looking forward to spending some time with her while she's down to visit.

Whew, I think that covers everything since I last wrote.

~Melody :-)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


It's been a trying few days at the Riggs' house. My sweet girl has started having some potty anxiety again coupled with a little bit of encopresis (withholding bowel movements). We're not sure what triggered all of this. Sunday evening she told us she needed to go to the bathroom, we helped her get on the toilet like we normally do, and she totally flipped out. It was like the first time we put her on the potty all over again. She did this again at 2, 4, and 7 am when she woke up. The rest of the day she was fine, and then it started all over again this morning and she hasn't stopped.

Luckily, she hasn't been having any accidents. She does go eventually. But seeing as she'd been holding her BM since Saturday, I did call the doctor and had the unpleasant experience of dealing with suppositories again.

Potty-struggles and resistance are quite normal though, according to the pediatrician. Obviously we have to watch Cate closely because of the constipation issue she had this fall. The struggles can be triggered by just about anything. While it's hard to have a deep conversation with a three-year-old about why she cries when she goes to the bathroom (we've ruled out UTI since she doesn't have a fever and doesn't cry every time she goes), we have our suspicions that it has a lot to do with this little guy: Great picture, huh? My mom took it. Anyway, over the last week or so, we've visited with some family and friends that haven't met Brennan or haven't seen him since his birth. Towards the end of last week, Brennan had a little fussy spell and got some extra lovin'. On Saturday, I had a Power of the Pen tournament (I'm still coaching while on maternity leave for the rest of the school year) and Eric had a spinning event for work. We were both gone all day and my mom watched the kids. B was still extra fussy and my mom pretty much held him the whole day trying to calm him down (unless one of my grandmothers held him since they were over too). So yeah, we're pretty sure that by Sunday, Cate had had it with Brennan getting so much attention and began seeking ours in a very negative way.

We're trying to be "chill" about the whole thing. We don't ask her if she needs to go potty; we wait for her to tell us. We keep reminding her that she is a big girl and that we're so proud of her for all of the things she can do...like dance class (pic from phone, sorry): We've had some other power struggles with her lately as well. Sometimes she refuses to sit in her chair at dinner, getting up and down instead or turning completely around. Sometimes she refuses to eat her dinner. Sometimes she doesn't listen to us (or her dance teacher). So we made a chart at home of all the big girl things she can do and she gets a sticker when she does them (including using the bathroom without crying).

I feel like a failure and like we're at the beginning of potty training again. I know I'm not and I know we're not, but I can't help the feelings. I'm trying to schedule some extra girl time with my sweet girl in the coming week, but it's hard since Eric is so busy at work right now. I'm hoping that when Eric comes home for lunch tomorrow, we can do something special like go up to the part for a half-hour or go get a cookie at the coffee shop. Maybe Friday evening I'll leave my boys to watch some basketball together and can take her to the bookstore (she's a girl after my own heart). And hopefully soon, all of this will be a distant memory. I mean, she won't cry every time she gets on the potty when she's 13, right?

~Melody :-)

P.S. I'm am currently loving a Danish company called Maileg. It's restaurant week in Cincinnati this week, so Eric and I headed out to Lavomatic last night. Dinner was amazing. We stopped at a cute little shop, Mica 12v, a few doors down from the restaurant after dinner and picked up a couple of gifts for the kids made by Maileg (pics from the cellphone again, or should I say, from my new iPhone...I'm lovin' it). For Cate, a little mouse, whom she has named "Penny" that sleeps in her matchbox:
For B, a pirate finger puppet (a nod to the nickname Cate gave him-- "little pirate"-- and no, we don't know why she calls her brother that:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Done With Diapers

I am so, so, SO proud of my sweet girl. She is done with diapers (except for at night). Anyone who tells you that you can potty-train a child in one day has either never done it or is lying or is in that small fraction of a percent of people who have done it and had success. It took Cate about 3 days or so to really get the hang of it.

We tried to potty-train her at 2; she just didn't get it. We tried at 2 1/2; she had some major potty-anxiety (like freaking out every time we sat her on the potty anxiety). At that point, we were more than halfway through my pregnancy with Brennan, so we decided to wait until after he was born because there was a chance she could regress once he was born. Obviously the weeks following B's birth were a little hectic. At Cate's 3-year checkup, her pediatrician assured me that 3 was a perfectly normal age to potty-train and that Cate wasn't behind at all. So that week we started sitting her on the potty after every diaper change, so she'd get comfortable with it and overcome her anxiety. We did that for about a week-- until she no longer freaked out about sitting on the potty.

After dinner one night, I sat her on the potty, read a stack of books to her, and basically didn't let her get off until she went. It took almost 2 hours people! But she did it. And once she knew she could do it, we had jumped the biggest hurdle. Peeing in the potty became a breeze after about 3 days and she didn't have any accidents. It was having a BM that still scared her (she'd wait until we put a diaper on her for bedtime). And she was totally freaked out by the idea of using a toilet other than her own. Eventually though, I got the timing down, noticed when she was about to have a BM, and stuck her on the potty. Success ever since!

The last hurdle was using a toilet other than her own. We have a fold-up potty seat with her favorite Toy Story characters on it. Seeing as I'm still carrying a diaper bag for B, it's not a big deal to put that in for Cate. The first few times we went out in public, she held it-- for five hours one day! But she stayed dry. Finally, it got to the point where we were going to be gone all day. This time, instead of offering a reward (she got stickers everytime she used the potty and got two small toys for her first successful pee and BM), I told her that the toys she earned for going potty at home would get taken away if she continued to freak out in public (I'm sure the people in the bathrooms wondered what we were doing since she would continually scream "down" or "I need down" when we'd sit her on a public potty). I even had one lady tell me that I was traumatizing my child. Again though, once she had success, it wasn't a big deal afterward. She's been accident free for a week now, I don't feel like a prisoner in my home anymore, and basically I'm just so darn proud of her.

It's nice to have one out of diapers. A $7 pack will now last us a month since we still put one on her at night. She sleeps like nobody's business once she's out. BUT...she has woken up a couple of times in the middle of the night to go the bathroom and her diapers aren't very wet in the mornings. We might start putting her in pull-ups at night if this continues (I don't recommend them during the day though-- we tried it and once Cate figured out she could pee and not make a mess, she assumed they were just another diaper).

At the end of the day, I learned that a lot of it is up to the child. And that once they have one success and know they can do it, it only gets easier. I'm thankful that I had the time and the patience to be home with her to do it.

And in other news-- Brennan is sleeping through the night! He slept 7 hours last Thursday night and has been consistently between 6 and 8 hours every night since! Woo hoo!

~Melody :-)

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Stop Traffick Fashion Giveaway!

My awesome in-real-life friend, Emily, had an awesome idea a couple of years ago to start a boutique that would sell cute and trendy accessories made by survivors of human trafficking. Making the products and selling them through Emily's online boutique, Stop Traffick Fashion, provides an income for the survivors.

To celebrate the 2-year anniversary of the Stop Traffick Fashion blog, which keeps readers up to date on efforts to stop human trafficking, she's having a giveaway. You can get all of the details by clicking here. And be sure to stop by her online boutique and buy some cool accessories.

~Melody :-)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

No Coincidence-- Brennan's Dedication

Around this time last year, I shared a very personal post. A post about how I struggled with anxiety and worry and fear. A lot of this was tied to perfectionism and control. When things weren't perfect or when I couldn't control them, I worried and became afraid. I had been like this for a lot of my life-- getting stomachaches and experiencing nausea before school started or before big tests or after fights with friends or when I didn't do well on something. It multiplied exponentially after Cate turned one, got really sick for the first time, and spent a night in the hospital.

After that, a lot of stuff ensued with my own health, which you can read about the post I linked to in my first sentence. Medication kept my symptoms at bay, but I was still anxiety-ridden. So then I began fighting back. I wanted to be free not just from the medication, but from the worry too. I find it no coincidence that as I was writing that post about finally breaking free, God had been forming Brennan in my womb for about a week. Don't worry-- I had been off the medication for a month by the time I wrote that post.

And I find it no coincidence that Brennan is a peaceful baby. His dedication at church was on February 20th. We got to introduce him to everyone at the special dedication service and we talked about how he was a mellow little man.
Our pastor prayed for him, and prayed specifically that he would be a man of peace. How appropriate given that finding peace was something I struggled with for so long. And it definitely radiates from our little man. He doesn't fuss a whole lot. He didn't even cry that hard when he got his vaccinations at his two month checkup yesterday (he weighs 11 lbs 15 oz and is 23 inches long). He smiles and coos a lot. He brings us joy and peace. My Type-A personality has taken a bit of a back seat since his arrival. The dirty house doesn't drive me as crazy (although we did hire someone to come give it a good once-over deep clean), I'm not hung up on getting Brennan on a schedule (he's kind of put himself on one, but every day is a little different), the piles of laundry wait, you get the idea. There is just a peace about our house.

After Brennan's dedication, we headed out to the atrium of our church to enjoy cake with family and friends.
Cate had fun celebrating her little brother's special day with her friends as well.
I continue to pray for peace for both of my kids. I hope they are never up all night before a test or a presentation, nearly sick with worry. I pray that they don't experience the nausea and other unpleasant symptoms that come with being so full of anxiety. I pray for boldness and security instead of fear. I pray that we will be a family of peace, fully trusting in God and casting our cares on Him. And yes, Brennan was rockin' our family dedication/baptism gown. Cate wore it at hers, and my brother, sister, and I all wore it at ours. Brennan's name is embroidered right by his sister's which is right next to mine.

In other news, Brennan's two month check up was yesterday and he is one healthy boy. He hovers between the 50th and 75th percentile for head circumference, weight, and height. He's been sleeping more at night, which makes Mommy and Daddy so thankful. Last night he ate around 9:30, fell asleep around 10:30 and didn't wake up to eat again until 5:10 this morning! Way to go and grow Brennan!

Happy Thursday! We are excited to get with our small group tonight after a two-week hiatus due to sickness in some of the families. And our Girl Scout cookies are that we bought from a couple of our friends' daughters are in. Bonus!

~Melody :-)