Wednesday, January 26, 2011

She Loves To Twirl

and twirl...

and spin...

and whirl...

until she gets dizzy and falls down.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Big 3

Dear Riley,

Today you are 3.

I can't believe someone so little can be so full of life. It's hard for me to explain what exactly I mean when I say this. The best I can do is say that you are just so happy.

You are a little bit sassy too, but we're working on where and how we draw the line with that. You speak and act with emotion and you're not afraid to tell us and show us when you're sad or mad.

You have so many things on your mind. You are constantly singing and talking and making up imaginary scenarios. The other day you sat at the table for over an hour with a paintbrush, a cup of water and some watercolors pretending to make soup and singing something about honeydew. You've started asking me if I want to hear a story and you tell me the cutest story about "one day" a "wittle fish" and a "meeean sark" where the mama fish always ends up saving the little fish from being "eat, Eat, EATEN!" by the shark and they all "wiv happiwee eber afer".

You are the best big sister ever and I try to tell you that as much as I can. You love Camden so fiercely. You are always sharing with him and taking care of him like his second Mama. When he wakes up, be it from bedtime or naps you are the first one racing up to his room because "my brudder awake!". You love to drag the stool in there so you can stand and talk to him in his crib or be right by him when I'm changing him.

Even though you love dressing up in "beyewteeful pwincess dwesses", sparkly shoes, and big bows - you love being adventurous and you are so daring. You love being outside, running, falling, sledding, sliding, riding, jumping, and swinging. You live your life at full speed. I love it and fear it all at the same time.

You love to twirl and you ask me to dance with you like a princess all the time. This means I hum a princess tune and we dance, spin, and dip around and around. Sometimes you will accept Mickey as my stand in dance partner.

Yes, you still have a paci at nap and night. I just can't find the heart to take it from you. It's like asking any other mother to separate their 3 year old from their special blanket or lovie - point me in the direction of one of those mothers and then we'll talk. But for now, it's not happening. The funny thing is that you don't just suck on them, you suck one, and hold one or two others in your fingers and rub them. We always read you stories before bed. Sometimes it's books from the library, but more recently it's one of the growing collection of princess books.

You are beautiful.

Three years ago today, you and I were in the hospital together just getting to know each other. I held you all night long. The nurses couldn't persuade me to let you sleep in the little hospital bassinet by my bed, much less send you to the nursery. I loved you at first sight and just knew I could never be separated from you, at least not for long.

You constantly amaze us and you make us laugh all the time. It's been such a wonderful and happy 3 years. We love you so much baby girl. Happy, happy birthday to you!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Very Merry Christmas

This was a big Christmas for us.
Which translates to this is a long post, you were warned.

It was the first Christmas where Riley really understood what was going on. It was the first one in our new home. Most importantly, it was our first Christmas as a family of four.

To put me over the top in terms of holiday bliss, Gammy, Gampy and Tata flew in to spend a blissful 5 days here with us. The only way it could have been better is if TG's family were with us as well (sadly our little house just can't accomodate that many people).

I have so many happy memories of Christmases growing up. My parents always went all out. I know we didn't get everything we asked for, but I'm sure we got more gifts than we deserved. I can even remember shopping late and scouring the shelves with my parents one year (after I had been let in on the secret) to find a Cabbage Patch doll that Tata really had her heart set on.

Then there's the decor. My mother is the decorating Queen. We have lost count of the number of Santas she owns, but it is in the 100s. She always goes full out and every inch of our house was absolutely as merry as it could be. She's done it for years and although we all lovingly tease her about it, the truth is that it makes our family so happy.

I have waited a long time to create those same happy memories for my own two children.

Riley racing down the stairs, absolutely overcome with glee when she saw the tree.

Riley got to open the first gift, with a little help from Cam and I.

For months, anytime we asked her what she wanted Santa to bring she said a mermaid tail. I was surprised she never wavered from that. She looks happy here, but I have to say that once she realized that it was only a costume and not a real tail she was a bit sad. It broke my heart just a bit.

My beautiful sister and Mom.

My darling babies in their matching jammies in front of the tree.

Cam's first gift of 2010 was this awesome toy my parents got him. The two cars go down the rampand into the wheel that spins them around before they shoot out of the finish line.

My parents aka Gampy and Gammy. When we picked them up from the airport they were both wearing Santa hats. Steelers for Gampy and Chiefs for Gammy. Riley loved it.

This is a very unflattering photo of me, as I had just stuffed a big bite of breakfast in my mouth. I almost deleted it, but this is how my mom and I spent a good part of our day. Side by side in our matching jammies in the kitchen.

No, she's not spoiled. Why do you ask?

Matching Jammies! It's been a family tradition for many years for our first present to be new matching jams. This year Tata and I searched until quite late at night on the 23rd for a suitable set, but it was Gammy to the rescue with these bad boys.

After Christmas dinner at my sister's house. A whole fam holiday shot is quite rare for us, but I love it!

Riley enjoyed her second round of gifts and was extremely excited to receive a talking Woody doll. She LOVES Toy Story right now.

I'll wrap this up with a photo of our little family in front of our tree on Christmas Day. We really were as happy as we seem.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas in your homes as well. Happy (belated) 2011!

Friday, January 7, 2011

My Lil 8 Month Old

I'm behind on this post, but I just couldn't resist the chance to share my chubby little guy and what he's been up to with you! I'll warn you before you get started though, this post is long, and full of details possibly only myself or his gmas and aunts might care about.

Camden hit the 8 month mark on TG's 31st birthday! Sadly I didn't get a picture of the two of them together that day - I blame it on the fact that Cam was still feeling under the weather at that point. But lately he's returned to his happy, charming self!

Pound it!

I have to say his 7th month was the hardest one so far, but only because of the RSV. He was extremely irritable, tired all the time, and hardly interested in anything other than snuggling, nursing, and sleeping.

He did hit a big milestone during this month though! On December 23rd, the day my family flew in to celebrate Christmas with us he started army crawling, by dragging himself across the floor for a bag of yogurt melts and his sister's sippy.

Within a few days of that he was crawling on his hands and knees and quickly learned how to go from a sit, to a crawl and back to a sit.

Yes, he's eating a french fry.

As of today Camden has gotten really good at pulling up to a stand (we just lowered his crib yesterday), cruising all around the house using whatever he can get his hands on to help himself, and even standing alone for a few seconds at a time. He puts these new skills to good use by attacking our tree (yes it's still up, fully lit and decorated with "or-ma-ments" as Riley would say)

He hasn't had a check up in a while, and his appetite was seriously decreased while he was so sick, but I think he's weighing in at about 20-21 pounds. He is also very long, just like his big sister.

Now that he's feeling better, he's eating like a horse again taking in at least 2-3 containers of food at a sitting. He's also started eating more finger foods like cereal, crackers, hot dogs, pasta and bread. Occasionally he accidentally bites his little fingers when he is stuffing the food in, but I guess that's what happens when you already have 8 chompers. He's also very attached to me still for nursing, but thankfully doesn't bite me with those teeth!

Camden doesn't seem to have stranger anxiety at all, which is a welcome relief from our Riley girl who was shall we say, extremely selective from a very young age. Camden willingly reaches for whoever wants to hold him and he loves examining faces. He does, however, keep close tabs on my whereabouts.

This is my sister (holding Cam), my mom and I on Christmas Day. This picture just tugs on my heartstrings because they live far away and we don't get to see them very much, but my children adore them!

Cam is completely enamored by Riley and they have started to interact even more. He wants to be wherever she is, even if that means ransacking her new tea set or princess dolls. Ry takes it in stride and usually just admonishes him with a sweet "No, no brudder" before moving away. She really is an amazing big sister and is so patient, loving and kind with Camden. Today they were having a conversation of "argh, grrr" in the back of the car together. Riley thinks it's hilarious that he will copy her if she makes his favorite sounds.

He loves playing, chewing on things and exploring his newfound mobility, but I think Cam's favorite time of day is bathtime. He just LOVES it and he starts cooing, babbling, splashing and playing the minute his tush hits the tub.

As for sleeping, I'm not sure if it's the 8 month regression, him just "waking up" after being sick for so long, or maybe both, but nighttimes have gotten a little dicey around here. I had gotten used to and quite comfortable with him being a sleep champ from birth practically. He still naps regularly and well, but lately he has been waking up crying in the middle of the night sometime between 1:00 and 3:00 am and then again between 4:00 and 6:00 am. At this point I'm letting him cry it out the first time he's up and then I get up to nurse him the second round. I do remember this happening with Riley around this age and it was right before she started walking (at 9 1/2 months which isn't too far away) so we'll see.

The truth is, he's growing so fast that even though I'm tired I am loving the extra chance to cuddle him close and stroke his chubby baby soft cheeks while the house is quiet and it's just me and him awake together. Always after he nurses I pick him up to burp him and he'll snuggle into my neck, stick his finger in his mouth (that's his pacifier) and let me hold him close and rock with him. I've learned from experience that I can't get these days back, nor do they last forever, so I'm trying to stay in the moment with him while I can.

Happy 8 months Cam Boo. I hope someday you'll read this blog, appreciate even the most mundane details I shared about your sweet self and be able to tell just how very much I love you.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Feeding The Reindeer

A friend of mine gave Riley some magic reindeer food.

I have never heard of leaving food outside for the deer, but she told me she has done it since she was quite small.

The food was a mixture of oatmeal and glitter. We told Riley that we needed to spread it in our yard so the reindeer would know where to land on Christmas Eve.

So after dinner my Mom, sister, TG and I took her out the front door with her little bag in hand.

She happily threw the first fistful.

Then she decided that she should just dump the rest out on top of our flowers.

It was about this time that we told her she needed to hurry to bed so Santa wouldn't skip our house. We asked her if she heard sleigh bells or saw his sleigh.

All of a sudden a look of absolute panic came over her face as she pointed to the sky just beyond our home. On the verge of tears she stumbled back to the door, kicked off her shoes as fast as she could and tried to run upstairs. There was a moment of confusion as we tried to sort out what had happened.

We were able to calm her enough so she could show us that she had in fact seen Santa's sleigh and Rudolph and that he was very close to our house. So close that she feared he might skip our house if she didn't get up to her bed as quickly as she could.

What exactly did she see?

The red light on two large water towers just beyond our neighborhood.

Just another great story for our memories of Riley girl.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Riley's Christmas Eve 2010

Riley started off her Christmas Eve by participating in a my side of the family tradition...last minute shopping! She was tickled that she got to go with "that girl" which is how she referred to her Aunt Tata for most of the visit and Gammy to the mall. Gammy topped it off by taking her to Chick-Fil-A which is currently on her list of favorite places in the world. Lately when I ask her what she would like to do for the day she will say "Mebbe we go to the mall and sick fil a or sumpin?".

By the time she came home from her shopping adventure, I was headed out for one of my own. Riley could not be persuaded to be separated from me so we reloaded her in the car for round two. She was such a trooper, sans nap, eating her chicken nuggets in the backseat of our swaggin wagon with her Gampy. Speaking of, Gampy is her #1 pal when he's here. It makes me so happy to watch the two of them together.

While we were in the car Riley finally decided that she can spell her name (after months of me practicing with her). She was sitting with my Dad and found a pull up in a seat back pocket that's ICE. She yanked it out, tugged on my Dad's arm, pointed at the letters and said, "Hey, you know what dis say?". My Dad said, "Pull Ups", because, well he can read and it was the most logical answer. "No, no, no.", she replied. It says "R-I-L-E-Y. RILEY! You sill-wee picky-dill-wee."

That afternoon she made chocolate chip cookies with her Gammy. (Somehow I managed not to snap a single photo of this!)

My family always opens one gift on Christmas Eve and it's usually Christmas pajamas. This was the first year we started that tradition with her.

I found matching jammies for her and Cam at Old Navy this year. They both said "Santa's Little Helper".

Riley left Santa a big plate of cookies and chocolate milk complete with a note that she dictated to me.

And she peeked out the window for a glimpse of his sleigh one more time before heading up to bed.

For the record, even though she didn't have a nap that day the poor thing couldn't fall asleep until almost 11 pm because she was so excited!