Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Almost-Crawling Baby!

Riley just keeps getting closer and closer to crawling! I am not sure if I am ready for this yet, but ready or not here she comes...or shall I say goes! While were in Fayetteville yesterday Derek and Josh couldn't help themselves from spurring on Riley's crawling. She got on all fours and then would try to move forward and just land on her belly...at one point Derek and Josh had her hands and feet and while she was on all fours they moved each appendage appropriately so she was crawling and she was grinning from ear to ear!
She also loves to stand up, but is not yet pulling up on her own. If she is awake when I am getting ready in the morning she plays in the Pack-N-Play and watches Disney...sometimes I will stand her up and she just gets so excited!



We skyped with Jason this morning while Riley was eating her breakfast and she showed him how she shakes her head no when she is done eating, she talked and talked, and she clapped her feet for him. It was great. Funny story...I was in the middle of coloring my hair when he called on Skype so obviously I was looking extremely attractive and in the middle of our conversation I had to go rinse out the color in the shower so with Riley buckled into the highchair I told Jason to watch her while I rinsed out the color...his response was "ooookkkkkk???" When I came back Jason was saying "Riley....Riley...Riley" and she was close to dosing off...it was hilarious!

Here are some cute pics I took today!!

She likes to play in her room with her basket of books...

At least the 1 million credit card offers provide entertainment for my child...

"Uhhh...I don't have any money to pay these bills"

"That's OK..I have my daddy wrapped around my finger so he'll pay them...hehe"

On the road again...

I have definitely done enough traveling for one week...San Antonio, Boston, and Fayetteville! I had not yet ventured to Northwest Arkansas since we have lived here, but yesterday's trip to Fayetteville has now taken care of that! Me and Riley traveled with the Burns family to go visit Baby Stella! We were all packed in, babies and all, but it was a great trip with beautiful scenery...would have been even better if the trees had started changing! The babies traveled great...they took naps and ate both ways!

Sleeping babies...

Eating babies...

Tom and Syd had just gotten home from the hospital and we spent a few hours with them lounging at their house and just staring at Stella...she is a beauty and they are all doing great...just a little lack of sleep!

Kaleb and Riley played great while we were there...swapping toys and even pacis!

Congrats Tom and Syd...we can't wait to see you guys again!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Boston...what fun!

I just got home tonight from a whirlwind trip to Boston and how fun it was. I have never been to Boston and don't know when I'll get the opportunity to go back but it truly is a beautiful city and I would love to spend more time there. My purpose for travel was an all expense paid trip to a symposium hosted by Grubb and Ellis...a commercial real estate firm whose Healthcare REIT we use often. It was a good conference to learn more about the company, the economy, and how health care is a viable option for a REIT investment. We had several economists speak which was very interesting given the current state of the economy and we even heard from a gentleman on John McCain's campaign finance committee who is headed to D.C. tomorrow to speak with several Congressmen regarding the bailout...lots to learn from these folks.



I had a great seat on the plane as this was my view of the city when we were landing...




I stayed at the Westin Copley Place and this was the view from my room on the 20th floor...

I had 2 hours yesterday afternoon before our dinner to hit the streets of Boston...let me tell you this city girl has been trapped in Arkansas way too long! I LOVE big cities...the hustle and bustle, the buildings, so much to do...just LOVE them! I asked the concierge where to go and she directed me to the Public Gardens which were beautiful...there were musicians playing, swans swimming, moms jogging, students studying, just a whole lot going on.


On my way to the gardens I noticed there was lots of shopping so I stopped a few places on my way back. I was advised to venture into this store called Filine's Basement which has brand name clothing at a GREAT discount. It was fabulous. I picked up a little something for Jason, Riley, and myself!


I also stopped here for a quick lesson...supposed to be good exercise right?

There is so much history in Boston and the buildings are all so old and beautiful...

Despite all of the fun I had I did miss my little Riley soooooooo much. She stayed at DiDi and PaPa's house and they had lots of fun too. When I got home tonight we all watched the DVD Jason sent of him reading stories to Riley...here she is watching her Daddy read to her...so sweet!

And I have been bad about adding the new arrivals to the Baby Bunch...Deacon arrived almost 5 weeks ago already, Caroline arrived Tuesday, and Stella arrived this evening...welcome sweet babies!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I think I title each post on a trip back to Texas the same way...ha! It is always so good to be home and I have to mention that flying was a BREEZE this time...thanks Southwest...we LUV you! On our flight to San Antonio we coincidentally got to ride with Megan and Dave...what fun! Riley was somewhat partial to Dave which caused some tension, but we all got over it! I really think with the absence of Jason she really clings to men these days...she's just a huge flirt and takes to men in a different way than she does with women...who knows. All I know is I told Jason he is going to have to have a talk with her when he gets home about all of this flirting she is doing! On our flights home she didn't have Dave to woo at so she would find a man and he might be three rows back but she would find him and just grin at him...it was so cute! She's a riot!We made a three day weekend out of this trip and spent Friday eating at our fav Alamo Cafe and doing a little shopping and errand running before the shower. Here's some pics of Riley with Grammy and JoePa who were thrilled to have their two girls in town for the weekend!

Friday evening we got to spend some time with Uncle Jan and Aunt Diane and Riley came as close to crawling as she has so far...we tried everything to entice her but she bailed at the very last moment...in due time she will be a mobile little girl! I better get ready!



We also spent time with Jason's Aunt Maria as she had us over for a wonderful dinner...what a fun time and what a great hostess she was! Thanks Maria!



Saturday we "showered" and then we headed off to the lake. Unfortunately I did not feel that well most of the weekend starting Saturday morning, but it didn't ruin my trip by any means. I took a nap Saturday afternoon in the car and then again later on the couch, enjoyed the sunset on the dock and a wonderful meal cooked by my parents. They even kept Riley in their room so I could sleep in on Sunday...I only slept until 8:30 but it was still wonderful and this is what I came downstairs to find Sunday morning...

We took a nice boat ride and look who drove...

Showering Jen...

Jen is my best friend from high school...actually we go MUCH further back. We went to school together from the first grade on...she took a little detour to Baylor, but realized A&M was the best school ever and ended up converting before it was too late so we were able to live together in college as well! She's my other red head! She was my maid of honor and now I get to be her matron...how fun! She is also going to be a military wife...I never imagined that! She is marrying Dallas who is in the Marine Corps and they will be starting out their married life in Virginia...I might have to go visit!

To celebrate the impending nuptials my mom and I hosted a shower for Jen this past weekend in San Antonio...on the patio at La Hacienda de Los Barrios. This restaurant has some sentimental meaning as well because the original Los Barrios is where I used to sneak out of Sunday School to join Jennifer's family for breakfast every Sunday during high school...good times and good food! The weather was gorgeous and we had a great time catching up with all of the Lutheran High School girls...it's like old times when we all get together! We had enchiladas and cupcakes...yummy!

The decor...



The whole gang...


Next event...Bachelorette Party in College Station...can't wait!

Helping the homeless...

So this post is a little belated but one that shouldn't be skipped so here goes...for the past 6 months or so I have been a committee chair for the Homeless Outreach Event...an event that occurs every 2 years to provide a one day array of services to the local homeless population. I wouldn't say that I have always had a passion for the homeless...not that I didn't care...more that I was unaware of the stats and not involved in any sort of outreach. One of my customers who is the director of a local non-profit and a huge advocate for the homeless encouraged me to get involved and so I did. It was a lot of work and preparation, but worth it all. My committee was in charge of blanket and clothing donations...we basically set up a free garage sale for the homeless to look through and take whatever items they may need. Most of the donations came from the employees of the bank that I work at...we were OVERWHELMED with donations which was great. The event took place on the morning of the day Ike would make its way through Arkansas, but we were spared rain during the event which was great. We did shut down a little earlier than anticipated but we served approximately 1,200 homeless and it was a great success. Some of the services that were offered to them were haircuts, clothing, blankets, 2 hot meals, eye exams, dental exams, Veterans entitlement, legal counseling, job placement, IRS stimulus checks, and many many more. Unfortunately the largest percentage of the homeless population are Veterans...that is truly sad. I know not everyone understands or agrees with the war, but fortunately today most Americans support our troops either way. Back in the Vietnam days, this was not the case and now we have many Veterans who have never made their way back into society and many that suffer mental disabilities. This was not a glamorous event by any means, but one that truly reached out to people who were so grateful for a pair of old sneakers because the ones they were wearing were two sizes too small. I was honored to be a part of it. Here are some pics from the event...

Here are the homeless so eager to get in...


Here are just some of the racks of clothing...


Here is the event in full force...

Here's my Private Banking peeps...me, Sue, and Ryan and his wife Lizzy

My father-in-law Frank conducted eye exams and brought a great team from his office...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

9 Months Old...

Today Riley is 9 months old! She went to her 9 month checkup and I presumed she had to get some shots but that was not the case. She did have to have a little prick on her toe for an iron test but that was it...and she didn't even cry. The nurse distracted her with her shoe while she did the prick and Riley had a somewhat puzzled look but then went back to playing with her shoe. The nurse then preceded to squeeze her big toe to get blood to come out and Riley would literally look at her and growl...not cry...growl! It was hilarious. Jason said I should have gotten video and I wish I had, but what kind of mother takes a video camera to a doctor's appointment when she assumes her daughter is getting shots...not this one! She is one healthy little girl measuring 28 1/2 inches long (90th percentile) and 20 pounds (75th percentile). Here are some things Riley is doing at 9 months old and some video to prove it!

  • Still a great sleeper...this past week she has not been napping as well at daycare but that hasn't affected her sleeping at night so I'm sure it's just a phase!
  • Waving, clapping, and blowing kisses! How fun it is to see her little personality come out. At this point she has attempted every possible way to clap...clap her hands, clap her feet, and last night she clapped one hand with one foot...not much more she can try...she is rather coordinated even exhibiting clapping her hands together and her feet together at the same time!
  • Moving...but not crawling. I keep thinking she is going to be crawling ANY day and here we are still no crawling. This does not meant that she is not moving around. Check out the two videos below to see my point. She moves in a circle somewhat like a Lazy Susan and gets around that way and she also still rolls and scoots wherever she wants to go. She is super close to crawling, but just hasn't quite taken that last step.
    video
    video
  • She loves to walk when you hold her hands...a newfound freedom and perspective for her. Nothing lights up her little face more than being able to move around in this fashion. Sometimes when I go to set her down she keeps her legs locked because she doesn't want to sit down...she wants to stand up! She is not pulling up on her own yet, but if I stand her up and show her how to hold onto something she loves that too!
    video
  • She is talking a lot more now...Mona at daycare tells me she says "Heeeeellllloooooooo" at school all day trying to get her friends attention...so cute! MaMa and DaDa are common words around our house these days, but still not sure that she applies them to me and Jason!
  • Still two bottom teeth, but I think we are fast approaching the arrival of some new ones!
  • I think sharing might be a hard lesson for Riley to learn...seeing her interact with other kids has brought to light the fact that she is a bit of a toy hog. If someone has a toy she is very quick to grab it and claim it as her own and it doesn't matter if you're only 3 months old she will still steal from you. I have started using the word "No" to her very calmly, gently, and repetitively...don't think she gets it yet but I'm sure that's not far away.
  • She is also showing sneek peeks of what her temper tantrums might be like...she has this one cry that is totally a whiny squeal...I hear it when I take something away from her, or hold her down while I'm changing her diaper, or take her out of the bathtub. I just let her get it out and usually in about 2 seconds she has a better perspective on the world!
  • And last but not least, Riley ate solid foods for the first time tonight!!!!!!!!! She had eaten the Puffs cereal, but the doc said today that we could start with solid foods and tonight she had macaroni and cheese and green beans...her mama's two favorite side dishes! She did great and ate everything up without a problem...it was so fun to see this new accomplishment but it was also sad because she's just becoming such a big girl...bittersweet. Here is some video first of her Puffs experience and second of her first night of solid foods!

video

Monday, September 15, 2008

Technology? What?

Well it's funny how God has a way of taking all control away from a control freak...that is myself that I am referring to. I find it hilarious to look back at my last blog title "Thank God for Technology" and realize that the very next morning I received an e-mail from Jason that starts off with "the laptop took a dump." Ha! Well the laptop took a slight fall and the screen no longer works...it's in the process of being shipped back to the US for some fixin' up...Jason will be at least 6 weeks without it, but we will survive. Thankfully most of our communication is done through his work computer so we have still been able to e-mail and chat and web cam. Last night Riley waved to Jason, blew kisses for him, and talked up a storm...it made his day!

This was the night Riley first blew me a kiss...right in the middle of dinner...and resulting in food all over her face...it was so cute!


Now that Jason has a camera he has been sending me pics of his surroundings...how beautiful and lush they are...hehe! Here are some pics of where he lives over there...

Little Rock East...that's hilarious!
Looks like a maze to me

The sandbags are to protect from shrapnel from rocket and mortar attacks


I miss that smile!

These are the bathroom and shower facilities

Here are some pics of Jason at work and of the sandstorm they have been enduring the past two days. He said you have to use windshield wipers for the dust just like you do rain...that's hard to comprehend. They haven't been able to fly for the past two days because as you can see visibility is clearly an issue!

So there are actually trees...that was my first comment when I saw this photo. They don't look very lush but nevertheless they are trees!


Here Jason is at work...18 pounds lighter too! He looks so good. We appreciate all of the prayers and thoughts for him as well as for Riley and I...we are very thankful for each and every one of you. We are one hour away from marking off week 5...14 more to go!