Life With Riley

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Can you believe it was one year ago today that Riley Anne came into our lives? I can not!

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Just a quick post before heading off to sleep ourselves, but Dad and I wanted to share the newest development in Riley’s life.
She’s been crawling like crazy for the last month or so. When I pick her up from daycare, as soon as she sees or hears me enter the room, she drops to the floor and flies over to me. I admit, it is one of the highlights of my day!
In her quest for mobility, she has been quite content to just crawl. I’d noticed that after she started crawling, she was finally starting to stand “flat footed” rather than on her toes all the time when we’d play. She soon started getting up on her knees to play but that was it. Not the first thought about pulling up on anything at all. Not at home, not at daycare, not on Mom or Dad, nowhere. This weekend she was spending some time in her pack and play (thanks again to the Hyre-Bennett clan!!!) and all of a sudden we look at her and there is a little girl peering over the top of the pack and play at me, big blue eyes and a HUGE grin, STANDING proudly! We were a little shocked that it finally happened- we knew it was coming but to actually see her do it, whoa!
So Riley is crawling and standing and trying to stand without pulling up on anything yet (that’s not going as well as she’d like). She’s babbling, loves to play, loves her dolls/stuffed animals (Belle is still the favorite), loves to play with blocks. She’s figured out how to put stuff in and out of stuff. She also loves playing with her cell phone (a very popular toy at day care, I think most of the kids have one for home now too).
She’s growing up so fast, she’s simply amazing. She’s just the absolute sweetest baby in the world and such a blessing to us. While sometimes I think this first year has just absolutely flown by, I can’t wait to see what she’ll do next. We love our baby girl!!! And for now at least, she really likes us too. 😉

On Saturday, Riles was having some floor time. She was happy playing and was doing some of her usual not crawling but pushing her self backwards on her tummy with her hands. Think reverse Army crawl.
All of a sudden, she saw something she wanted, leaned forward, and STARTED CRAWLING FORWARD. Crawling– as in butt in air, moving forward on hands and knees, real honest crawling. It wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t for long, and she didn’t quite do it as well today– but our girl was crawling.
Of course today she’s decided that she is a big girl who doesn’t need to nap or sleep again, ever! Honestly, she had maybe two catnaps of 15 minutes today and wouldn’t go to sleep till almost 10. Her normal time is by 8:30 and that is with 2 hour or so naps, plus one on the drive home generally during the day!
And to answer Aunt Nancy’s question– CJ’ers are my friends from an online mailing list, Club Jade. If you’re feeling really curious, check out our group blog maintained and updated by dunc. We’ve been together since 1995. Long story short, we’re a group that met online through a mutual love of the Star Wars universe but over the years we’ve branched out from there. Friends who are from or live all over the world and I look forward to seeing them in person every year or every chance we get. Except last year, because our annual con (convention) was the same time Riley was born. Anyways, Riley has a ton of honorary aunts and uncles that I’ll get to see for the first time for most in 2 years this coming week. And we get to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Star Wars while we’re at it. 🙂 I’ll miss Riley and Mark, but I’m just glad that Mark is the type of father and guy who would let me go and realizes how much seeing everyone means to me. Of course, I think it helps that he’s leaving for 2 weeks later might also play a part in it… 😉

Hello! Today brought Riley’s first doctor’s appointment (other than follow up after the tubes went in) in ages! Dr. Sumner even started to make a joke about it but I ruined it. Whoops. However we were all happy because the idea was if we had any doubts about doing the tubes, how great she has been doing since is proof we made the correct decision.
So, drumroll please!
Ms. Riley Anne is 27.5 inches long and 18 lbs 12 oz! Her growth curves look great, she’s right at 50% for height and weight and 55% for head circumference. Overall, she is doing awesome and pleased the doctor with her progress. All this on no afternoon nap and after skipping two bottles today!
Oh yes, apparently Ms. Riley is deciding to have no part of bottles at daycare, however she still hasn’t quite figured out the whole sippy cup thing. In a strange place, that little one! We’re trying different styles, and giving her opportunities at home and at daycare. She’s taken a few pulls but nothing consistent and nothing to get too excited about. We’re confident she’ll figure it out soon- that is one of the things she does best, figuring things out!
Also, in additional news, Riley has found her BFF (best friend forever). If you’ve checked out the pics on the companion blog, Life with Riley in Pictures you may have caught a peek! Riley’s new best friend is a rag doll version of Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Typically Riley is very easy going- if you take something from her, or one of the kids at day care does, she just basically shrugs and goes on to something else. Try and take Belle from her? Oh boy, that does not make Riley happy at ALL. So now we have a Belle for home, a Belle for naptime at daycare, and one to keep back just in case. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen or heard of a kid being so attached to something at such a young age.
Other than the usual, nothing much else going on. I’m getting ready to *GASP* leave Riley and Mark for the first time overnight since Riley was born. I go back and forth about it in my head, but everything is set for the trip. I’ll be heading out to Celebration 4 in Los Angeles, working as a volunteer and seeing my fellow CJers. We’ll have a great time I’m sure, but I am going to miss Riley and Mark terribly.
Time for bed, hope all is well with everyone and as always, feel free leave a comment! If you ever have a question about Riley or how she’s doing, feel free to comment or email Mark or I. 🙂 Sometimes we just need a little prompting to get to writing..,

Today I spent playing with Riley. She is growing up so fast, each day brings new advancements and experiences with her. She’s no longer a newborn, an infant, she’s definitely a baby now. All babbling and smiles and laughs. My days are not complete with my Riley kisses! She’s eating veggies and cereal now- so far she adores carrots and peas, she’s not quite as enthused over green beans, and while cereal as a hit at first, she’d much rather have veggies instead. She sleeps through the night with rare exceptions.
She is an incredible, lovely, beautiful baby and I can not imagine not knowing her.
A year ago today, I wasn’t sure we’d get the chance to meet her.
If you click on the link below, you can read what I wrote that day a year ago. It’s a bit detailed and long but at least has a happy ending. Little did I know the events of that day were just the beginning of an eventful pregnancy but they did solidify in me how I felt about this new life and how much someone I had not even met yet meant to me. They also showed me yet again how wonderful Mark is and what a great father he would be (as if there has ever been any doubt).
Riley is in bed asleep after a long day of play. She smiled and laughed and had a grand time playing with all her Christmas gifts (thank you again everyone!) before her last bottle and just crashing out in my arms. I gave her extra kisses tonight. One day I’ll explain to her why January 6 means so much to me. Until then, I record it here for her to read when she is much much older.

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My baby has been sick!
She’s doing much better now- it’s been over a week since her last fever. Couse after that fun she developed a cold and shared it with mom. We’ve both been sniffly, sneezing, and some coughing over the past week. I finally went and picked us up a humidifier last night and I think it helped us both sleep last night. Dad’s been great as always making sure his girls are taken care of and as comfortable as we can be.
We’re gearing up here for our first holiday season! Riley has her costume ready to go, they are having a party at daycare and dad and I will get to attend. I’m thankful that I have bosses who support family time! I can’t wait to see her all dressed up. With her nickname of Boo, we’ve been given and found a number of cute Boo-items for her to wear. She’s been sporting a cute Boo union suit complete with hat today! Yes, we have pictures and will post them later.
I’m glad that Mark updated everyone regarding Riles’ earlier hospital adventure. I’m one of those people who can be great during the emergency but once I know everything is alright or taken care of, that is when I get upset. I’m just now where I can think about it all again and not be upset- I’m glad that she’s fine that the results of all the tests were negative, but I also hate that she had to go through all of that to find out. And all the shots!!! ARGH!!! My girl is a trooper though. She has finally forgotten that naked=bad things, which for a couple of days there was making diaper changes really difficult.
Our little girl keeps getting bigger and bigger. She’s completely out of her newborn size clothes, the 0-3 month items are on the verge of being too little as well. She’s wearing some 6 month clothes without any problem! I’m excited about her growing but also sad to see her babyhood passing so quickly. However, growing means new adventures and I look forward to her coos and babbles becoming more sounds and words. For the day when she can reach out and grab her toys and realizes she can make changes in her world. One milestone that she has passed with flying colors is that she is smiling all the time now, as an expression of her feelings (I hope at least 😉 ) instead of just a reflex/gas issue. Her smile is hard to catch on camera but we keep trying to share it with all of you. It is just one of those happy to the tips of her toes kind of smiles. She is truly one happy baby- at least most of the time.

When I was little, one of my favorite books was one starring that loveable muppet, Grover. I don’t remember a time that I couldn’t read myself, but I loved bedtime (or anytime!) my mom would read to my brother and I. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. Katy and the Big Snow. The Monster at the End of This Book. Especially The Monster at the End of This Book as we would just have so much fun reading it together! (Hey Mom, thanks again for all the books growing up! I never thank you enough for making sure we had plenty to read and encouraged to read!)
I was just thinking of this book this morning while playing with Riley. For those who don’t know the story, Grover spends the book trying to convince the reader not to turn to the next page, because that brings us closer to the end of the book and as the title states, there is a MONSTER *gasp* at the end of the book! There are wonderful drawings of Grover pleading, nailing up boards, building brick walls, and pages where he laments about how you have continued to turn the pages despite his warnings.
I go back to work next Tuesday. This week has just flown by. I’ve often felt like Grover- in my mind pleading and hoping that someone would somehow keep the day from turning into the next day. Like in the story, there’s no stopping the inevitable. I woke up and realized today is Friday. Where did this last week go?! My head is in a panic- this is the last day we’ll have just for the two of us. This is the last day we’ll have to spend running errands during the day together. The last chance we’ll get to meet Daddy for lunch. The last time we’ll get to watch the Today Show together and Regis and Kelly. The last day we’ll get to spend playing together. The last day I get to be a “SAHM” (stay at home mom). My heart gets caught in my throat thinking about it. And then I realize I’ve spent this time thinking about it when we could be doing something wonderful and get even more disappointed in myself and upset.
I completely understand Grover’s panic and fear and desperation on the page right before the end. When he tells the reader that the next page is it. The next page will bring The Monster! He tries one more time but has given up because the reader has turned the page before, they’re going to turn it again. I know that no matter what I do or think or say, tomorrow is going to come too.
Here’s where the book teaches a very important lesson. When we turn the page, there is no “MONSTER”. Grover looks around and realizes that the monster at the end of the book is him. He is the monster at the end of the book! I find it a perfect analogy for my life right now. My return to work is the monster at the end of this chapter of my life. I don’t look forward to it because it takes me away from the Rilester and I question if daycare will be good for her and if I’m just being selfish about continuing in my career. There are many reasons why I am going back to work and I know day care will be good for her. It is an excellent center and close to my office so I can pop over at lunch or be there in an instant if she needs me.
So the monster at the end of my week? It’s really okay. It’s not something huge and scary, it is a choice made for solid reasons and not something to worry further or feel bad regarding. Going back to work will be hard, but it’ll be good for me and for Mark and for Riley. (Molly may object though!)
And like Grover I find myself calm now, and like Grover on the very last page of the book- I too feel a bit embarrassed that I’m so worried at all.
However, unlike Grover, I’m a mom. I’m finding that being worried, questioning my choices, and realizing there is no single perfect answer are all part of this life. I’m also luckier than Grover- because instead of invisible readers who don’t listen to me, I’ve got Mark who does listen and understands, is always here for me and is also figuring out this whole parenting thing himself.
So today we’ll play, we’ll run some errands, we’ll have bottles and we’ll enjoy the lovely day it is outside. We’ll have this weekend with Dad and we’ll look to next week like the new adventure it is. Next Tuesday will just be the beginning of a new routine, not something to fear or try to delay further.

I think that is going to be the phrase that repeats in my head over and over again for the next few years. Today Riley is 7 weeks old and doing beautifully. She’s become so much more playful and interactive- she’ll talk to us or to her fishies. She loves to look around and take in everything. We’ve even developed a little bit of a routine. A day in the life of the Rilester (let’s say her first wake up is at 6 – it varies):
6 AM – wake up, bottle (around 4 oz), diaper change. Goodbye kisses with dad as he’s leaving to go to work. Sometimes back in the crib, sometimes in the bouncy seat for a little more rest.
9-10 AM – Time to eat again! More diaper changes. Play with Mom, check in with Dad online. A little bit of a nap.
12-1 PM – First lunch! Bottle, diaper changes (kinda repeats a lot doesn’t it?), some time outside- either in the stroller or just a little while on the porch if the weather is nice.
3-4 PM Second lunch- bottle, diaper change. Check the mail, check in with Dad. 🙂 Some more play time with Mom, hang out in the bouncy seat or swing while Mom washes bottles and gets new ones set up. Help Mom decide what to make for dinner and start dinner.
6-8 PM First dinner – a bottle, another diaper change. Playtime with Dad!
10-11 PM – Second dinner/top off the tank 😉 Diaper change and depending on what she’s wearing, change into pj’s. A cuddle with Mom, a cuddle and kisses from Dad, and it’s time to go down in the crib. We say good night and turn on the fishies (thanks again Deet!) and she falls asleep telling the fishies about her day.
3-4 AM – Wake up Mom or Dad for a bottle and a diaper change, back to sleep maybe with one more round with the fishies.
6 AM- start all over again!
I’ve been giving her baths in the afternoon, she alternates between loving it and hating it. Today was a bit of both- she loved getting washed except for when I went to do her hair. Oh lands, it was SCREAMFEST ’06. Which was very frustrating because she’s got some serious cradle cap and I was trying to get it loosened up and off. She survived and is all clean and sweet smelling again. She’s got on a cute outfit and can’t wait for Daddy to get home. We’ll probably go and check the mail as soon as I finish this.
I know this isn’t the most interesting entry, there probably will not be any huge milestones to report for a while, but I see it as a way to also note the everyday things we do. If she’s interested, one day she can go back and read all of these entries. One day when I’m missing my little baby girl, I’ll be able to go back and read them myself.
Take care gang, and be sure to hug someone you love today!

Before Riley was born, we wondered how Molly and the boys would do with a baby. They’ve all done well around other kids but of course this one was not going to be going anywhere any time soon. So far the boys are mixed– Jake will swing by and check her out occassionally, but Max has ignored her for the most part.
Molly, on the other hand, thinks that Riley is HER baby. After we first brought Riley home and had to take her to her first doctor appointment– Molly was not thrilled we were leaving with her baby. She tried her best to go with us and I had to promise that I would bring the baby back home to her. She even refused her treat- she was that upset we’d take the baby away! She has gotten better about letting us come and go as needed with Riley, however whenever we return she has to check out the baby and make sure she’s alright. Mark and I are a distant 2nd and 3rd in Molly’s eyes now.
This morning the lawn people came to mow the grass. Being guys and in her yard– Molly was NOT HAPPY with this and started barking. I had Riley in her bouncy seat so she could talk to the fishies and told Molly to calm down and that it was alright. Once Molly believed me, or accepted that I was not going to let her out to chase them down, she stopped barking and came over to Riley and gave her a sniff then a quick lick on the cheek and laid down back at the door, daring anyone to come near HER baby. Riley never even blinked.
And people thought we’d be overprotective as first time parents!

Hello all!
Welcome to Riley’s new website! We’re excited about the changes and hope everyone likes it too. We’re still working out the details, but for your Riley-fix and any other family news, head over here!
This has been an exciting week for us– Riley and I have had lunch with dad twice and this morning he met us at the pediatrician’s office for her one-month well baby checkup.
The news is Ms. Riley is doing absolutely wonderful! She is up to around 9 lb 14 oz (though a good couple of ounces there was a super-wet diaper!) and has grown to 21 1/2 inches long! The doctor couldn’t find anything wrong with her and was very pleased with her progress. He even remarked on how strong she is! Riley has developed a LOT of control over her head/neck muscles recently. We’re very proud of our little girl and we think she’s proud of the job we’re doing, that is until we let them give her a shot! She had her second Hepatitis B shot today, the first shot that I’ve seen her get! She was NOT thrilled by this course of events, but handled it really well. She cried just for a minute and I was able to keep from crying which I’m sure helped her calm down afterwards too. Dad was a trooper for both of us. 🙂 I hope he can make it to her next appointment where she gets FOUR shots. FOUR! At once! Different needles! I wish they could just fill up one syringe and get it over with but I’m sure that would probably hurt even longer and not be as effective.
In other Riley news- she is now fitting into 3-month size clothes and almost out of her newborn size bottles. We’ve already moved up to the #2 nipples. Mark and I just look at her in wonder at how fast she’s growing and how much she’s changed in just one short month. I’ve been so blessed to have this time at home with her while recovering, going back to work will be hard but we’ll get through it. Riley has a spot at a terrific day care which came highly recommended by friends and impressed both Mark and I during a visit. It is not very far from my office so I can pop over and see her at lunch. The center has an open door policy- they only ask that you refrain from lunch visits if it appears to be negatively impacting the child (when they start getting seperation anxiety for example). Even then, we can still stop by and check her out via the video cameras they have set up in the rooms without her knowing we were there.
Time for 2nd lunch, so off I go. I’m sure you’ll be seeing many more updates from us now on- from news about Riley to our thoughts on being new parents and such. Please feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you’d like to hear about or your thoughts on the new format!


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