Life With Riley

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And Riley is dressing up as her favorite princess of all – Belle!!!
We tried on our costume tonight and there are a few pictures on the Flickr link to the right for you to check out. She was so happy and tickled to look like her favorite princess. “I’m dancing!” she exclaimed earlier!

I’ll try and get a scan in after she’s down – or ask Mark to later—
But you tell me what her teacher was going on about in her art from this morning.
They wrote her name in the top corner (it’s a big sheet) and this is what she did at the bottom.
Now, I’m biased, but her teacher saved it for me and all the other teachers were excited too. Plus they were going on about how she knows so many letters and they even scrambled them and she would still know which one was which.
I think we’re in for it… what do you think?

**if you’re scratching your head, if you look at the scribbles, the kid WROTE HER NAME. No, seriously, she did! Not _perfectly_ but hey she’s still getting the idea of which end of the crayon to write with easier!
Seventeen months and 2 weeks old.
Update – 1/25/08 – Dad tried to give the ‘signature’ a scan, here’s the best result that he could come up with:
Riley's first signature!

Riley has had her first Thanksgiving that she actually participated in! Uncle Tim, Aunt Trina, with cousins Meghan and Madison came to NC to eat and have fun! Riley loves her cousins and uncle and aunt, I don’t think she had a minute where someone wasn’t playing with her. I almost fear for her teachers tomorrow, but time has shown she’s done a great job readjusting to daycare after holidays, so hopefully that will continue.
If you check out the flickr link, you’ll see a picture of Riley with Uncle Tim– yes, she went down a big inflatable slide with Uncle Tim and Meghan multiple times! She LOVED it! And I have ammo for the day she ever tries to call me over protective…
In other Riley non-holiday news, we discovered that she actually knows a couple of signs that we can’t figure out where she got them from. I know they use Thank You at school, but turns out she also knows “more”, “please”, and “book”. Yeah, the last one is not a shocker as the kid LOVES to read and loves books! When she starts making the same movements, we can google it and get a translation typically. “More” helps, but hard to figure out what “more” of she’s looking for!
She keeps growing in leaps and bounds– she’s still on the small side technically though, in the 25% for weight/height, but usually pretty healthy. She still has some issues with her ears and tends to get every cold and sniffle that comes within a mile of her, but she rarely lets it slow her down. She loves to play- with her little people, blocks, her piano, her stuffed animals– you can even tell her what to go find– she will find it and bring it to you!
Riles and Daddy have also been talking alot about how to spell Riley– she has a mug that has her name on it and Daddy has gone over it many many times with her. Now, if she’s paying attention to you and you ask her to point out a letter in her name- she usually gets it right! I think we might be in trouble…
Along with finding the letters in her name, she’s also good at finding people in pictures. She loves Seseme Street characters- Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster especially. We were at dinner the other night and they had a “find hidden pictures” on the menu– would you believe Riley at 15 months was able to FIND things in that picture? Look out Where’s Waldo!!!
There’s probably more, I’m just too tired to think right now. Mom and Dad have been under the weather for a while themselves. We’re keeping stock in DayQuil and taking care of each other best we can. This weekend with family was fun and we can’t wait to see everyone again soon in December!!!!!

But as most of you can guess, pretty busy!

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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. 😉

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.

Flickr Photos

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