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

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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Capital City

My spring break is quickly coming to a close and I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry, but I thought I'd share our adventure from the week.

Tuesday morning we ate a quick breakfast and headed out to Washington D.C. to spend a few days. One of my best girlfriends from college recently moved there.
Cate and Brennan were rockstars in the car. We made great time, only stopped twice, and were there by dinner. Coming home was the same-- only we added an 90 minutes due to traffic and thunderstorms that brought hail and crazy lightning. Anyway...our first full day we spent at the National Zoo.
Brennan perfected his smolder playing on a giant pizza. This kid is seriously going to be a heartbreaker.
Cate posed by one of the few cherry trees still blossoming.
My girl loved the meerkats in the small mammal exhibit. She was excited to see "a real Timon."
I also got what is now one of my new favorite shots of my rockstar kids.Getting them both to smile and look in mostly the same direction is a challenge these days.

Later that night, after all the kids were in bed, my awesome friend volunteered to babysit the monitor so Eric and I could go see the monuments lit up at night. I forgot my tripod and am still learning about night and low light photography, but managed a halfway decent shot of the Washington Monument. Thursday we took the Metro to the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Cate couldn't wait to ride the subway-- probably because this is one of her favorite books. Brennan slept through most of the Museum. Cate was interested in some of it-- mostly the transportation part. I thought it was cool to see the real Star Spangled Banner-- the one Francis Scott Key was looking at when he penned the song. After a morning inside, we headed out to the Mall to let the kids run around. I thought it would be awesome if Brennan took his first steps on the Mall, but he wouldn't let go. That kid is so dang close to walking, but just won't do it. He did stop crawling around long enough to pose for his future campaign poster. Who wouldn't vote for him?That's a kite above his head, by the way. A few pictures and a stop by the World War Two Memorial later and we were on our way back to the subway. It had been 10 years since Eric and I had been in this city together (we went on fall break our junior year at Miami to visit one of my best friends from home while she was studying for a semester at American University). Like many places I've been in life, I found D.C. to be totally different with children in tow. It's not a bad thing-- just a life change thing. 10 years ago we explored the trendy parts of the city, stayed up way too late, and ate out for every meal. This trip, we explored the kid-friendly parts of the city, crashed around 10 every night, and ate most of our meals at our friends' house. And I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Thanks Jane, Andy, Collette, and Anderson for hosting us! We can't wait to come back and visit you again!

~Melody :-)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Favorite Porch

Last week, my mom was on her spring break and came for a visit. I took a half day off of school on Tuesday so we could head to my favorite front porch for the afternoon. We finally got to meet my cousin's sweet little boy. Cate and Brennan had fun exploring the backyard. Brennan is so close to walking, but just isn't quite there yet. That boy has had some dirty knees lately since he's been crawling all over outside.
We've been having some unseasonably warm weather lately, which has been nice. I'll take an early spring over late winter snow any day (even when late winter snow means snow days or delays....neither of which we've had this year- a first in my 8 years of teaching). It was hot enough on Tuesday to bust out one of the many baby pools in my great aunt's garage.
But it wasn't so hot we were uncomfortable sitting around and visiting.
I'm on spring break this week, as is Cate, and am looking forward to the extra time with my kiddos.

And on the gall bladder front, my tests were all normal. So at this point the doctor isn't sure what to do. I've got a new medicine to take before bedtime (since most of the time I'd wake up in the middle of the night with issues). The nice side effect of the medicine is that it makes you drowsy-- so I've gotten some pretty solid sleep the last few nights. The doctor will see me again in a month to see if things are improving, which they have been ever so slightly with each passing week. He thinks it might be viral or bacterial and something we just have to wait out (the ulcer didn't help things). So we'll see. By now I know which foods seem to give me problems and am just avoiding them. I'm allowed to start eating them again, but I figure I'll try again in the summer, when I don't have to teach 106 eighth graders if I feel like junk. On the bright side, I'm pretty much rockin' the skinny jeans.

Happy spring to you!

~Melody :-)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Fever

With temperatures in the 70s and close to 80 all last week, I think it's safe to say that the Riggs family has spring fever! We've enjoyed having the windows open all week. We've made multiple park trips and played a lot in our backyard (well, until the random pop-up thunderstorms that accompany spring fever turned our backyard into a soupy mess.

We started off the week with Cate bringing home "the mystery bag" from preschool. She had to pick an item from home that fit in the bag, write clues to help her classmates figure out her item (the first clue had to be "it starts with ___" and the letter it starts with), and then bring it to school. Cate chose her Magna Doodle, came up with her clues, and got a little help from Mommy writing it all out.
Mid-week brought about a new opportunity for Mommy-- as a 31 consultant. To make a long story short, it's something I've been contemplating for nearly a year, I wanted a couple of the things in the new consultant kit (and it was cheaper to become a new consultant and buy the kit than to just buy the things I wanted), and I wanted a way to make a little extra money so that we could give a little more to some cool initiatives at our church. Brennan helped me unpack my new consultant kit when it arrived on Friday.
I've already found a use for most of the things in it. If you'd like some 31 swag of your own, I've got an online "Welcome Party" where you can shop by clicking here until next Sunday (3/25). All items will ship to me and I'll get them to you. If you're out of town though, you'll want to check the box that asks you to ship to customer and your items will come directly to your door (for only $4 more). Here is a link to my site. Please let me know anytime if there is anything you want to order of if you're interested in an Open House party or online/catalog party (hostesses earn free products).

Saturday I celebrated another Regional Tournament win with my Power of the Pen competitive creative writing team. We've won this tournament every year since 2002, with the exception of one year, where we lost it by 14 points (in the scheme of hundreds of points earned). Six of my writers automatically qualified for the State Tournament in May. And one of my writers brought me this cute gift to thank me for coaching her.
We headed to the zoo after church today and enjoyed some more sunshine. We also enjoyed the surprise of the zoo still having Great Lakes Christmas Ale on tap. It's a favorite brew of ours and around these parts, if you don't buy a case when it first hits the stores in early November, you most likely won't find it anywhere else but at the bars on tap-- it sells that quickly. I also got some fun shots of the kids.
We ended the day on the merry-go-round. 3/4 of the Riggs family fell asleep on the way home (Daddy enjoyed the quiet drive). It's supposed to stay nice until Thursday or Friday, when it dips back into the 60s. I'm not complaining though. We may not have had any snow days or delays this year, but the mild winter has brought a beautiful early spring that more than makes up for it.
Have you caught spring fever yet?

~Melody :-)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Little Girl Who Cried Wolf

On Friday I took a much needed personal day so I could hang out with my kiddos. I get three each year and this was the first one I'd taken. Mostly because I was so sick with flu and strep in the fall that I didn't want to miss a school day-- even for something fun.

Because I work near a Great Wolf Lodge, I get a corporate discount. We decided a Thursday night would be the best time to put the discount to work and check out this place that so many friends had already visited and loved. It was hard to explain to Cate. Sure, there are commercials for it all the time on TV, but she only ever watches PBS, DVD's we own, or shows/movies we've downloaded on iTunes. Calling it "an indoor pool" was an understatement. We picked a Thursday night because it was cheaper and because we figured it would be less crowded. And by less crowded, I mean fewer older kids running around to knock down my little ones. I was right about that one. We arrived around dinner time and decided to eat first. Cate got wolf ears with her dinner. Then it was off to the waterpark. We ended up running into some friends from church there. Neither of us had any idea the other would be there. We played in the water for a little over an hour before heading back up to our fireplace suite to bathe the kids and get them ready for a bedtime story. The highlight of story time for Cate was getting to meet one of the Lodge's mascots, Violet the Wolf. In the morning we enjoyed the breakfast buffet and then a little time in the sunshine on our balcony while we waited for the waterpark to open again. We staked out our spot at the waterpark (so we'd have a table for lunch) and checked out of our room. The great thing about Great Wolf is that your waterpark pass is actually good for the whole day you arrive and the whole day you depart. So even though we had to check out at 11am, we were free to enjoy the waterpark until it closed that night. Brennan was doing this by lunch time though:The kids lasted until about 2:30 that afternoon. We got dressed, packed up our stuff, and headed home (which is only a short 25 minute drive away). Cate did this in the car: Cate's stuffed Violet was a bribe to get her to go down one of the kid slides. We knew she would love it once she went down. And we were right. I think that kid went down the slide about 50 times after she got over her initial fear.

Brennan went down the slide too, but since one of us had to get him started and the other had to catch him, we have no video of it.

All in all, it was a perfect night away-- no cooking, no toys to clean up, just lots of fun. It also gave me a little more confidence about all of us sleeping in the same room at Disney this summer. The kids were worn out Thursday night and went right to bed. Eric and I were able to watch TV without waking them, but pretty much fell asleep not too long after they did. And no one woke up during the night. I also have to give the lodge major props for cleanliness (like Purell sanitizing stations EVERYWHERE) and having a lot to do, even for the little guy. We stayed in just the waterpark, but apparently there's an arcade, bowling alley, and more that we didn't even have the time or energy for on this trip.

I have a feeling Great Wolf will become at least a once-a-year family tradition, if not twice a year. While a little pricey, it was worth every penny to spend so much fun time with my husband and kids.

I'm sure our little boy would cry wolf too if he had that word in his vocabulary!

~Melody :-)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

In Which I Gain a Brother and a Niece

This weekend I gained a brother and a niece! Last night, my awesome sister-in-law tied the knot at a gorgeous ceremony at a local park's lodge. Her handmade dress looked beautiful!
Her hubby teared up when he saw her. I love it when the groom gets misty-eyed-- that's not bad is it? I love it in an "oh, that's so sweet" kind of way. His daughter stole the beginning of the wedding as she twirled her down the aisle-- twirling so much she got dizzy and stumbled a little. Emmy and Cate had fun dancing later on too. I love that they are officially cousins now. I'm sure they'll grow to be great friends. They played "getting married" quite a bit last night too.
Cate also had fun pretending to talk into the microphone. She actually got very upset when we wouldn't turn it on for her to talk. I think a performer may be in our midst. My little man finally got to meet his grandfather, Eric's dad, who drove up from North Carolina Saturday morning before the sun even rose.
We had some crazy tornadoes in our area on Friday night, and his dad didn't want to drive through them. I don't blame him after seeing all the destruction on TV. We were spared in Cincinnati, but towns within an hour east, west, and south of us were destroyed. But back to the wedding...
My two favorite decorations for the night were the mason jar centerpieces......and the cake topper. Josh, my new brother, is in the Army. Kristin is a doctor who will begin her residency in May.
I have to hand it to my sister-in-law too-- she planned this whole wedding for a fraction of what most people spend. And it looked beautiful. It was a fun night and we wish them all the best. They're flying to Germany for their honeymoon (apparently European honeymoons run in the family as Eric and I took ours in France) right now and we hope they come back with some great stories and pictures to share.

Congratulations, Kristin and Josh. And welcome to the family, Emmy-- I'm so excited to get to be your aunt. You're my first niece!

~Melody :-)