Friday, December 31, 2010

Holiday Post #4: Riley’s Baptism

On Sunday morning, the day after Christmas, Riley was baptized at the church where Kenny and I were married. We were probably a little crazy to cram one more thing into an already packed few days, but I’m glad we did since it meant that some of my out-of-town relatives could join us. The baptism was part of the 11am service, and Riley could not have behaved any better. He was happy as can be beforehand, a perfect angel for the minister when I handed him off, and promptly fell asleep in his dad’s arms after his part was done.

One of the things the minister apparently likes to do when baptizing children is to present them to the congregation after. Reverend Gene walked with Riley up and down the main aisle of the church so everyone could get a look at him. Kenny and I could hear the ooh’s and ahh’s from our place on the altar, and I admit I got a little teary. He’s just so darn cute!

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After the service, everyone came back to my parents’ house for brunch (which were the preparations Kenny and I had to attend to on Christmas night: assembling yummy breakfast casseroles and buttermilk thyme biscuits) and to spend time with the newly baptized boy. Kenny and I are so grateful to all that could make it to the church and back to the house afterwards; we really appreciate you giving up your time during this busy holiday season to make the day a special one to remember!

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Special thanks to my parents for providing a place for Kenny and I to host brunch, to Kenny’s mom for making the beautiful cake, and to Aunt Elena for taking great pictures during the ceremony. Thank you all very much!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Four Months

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you this special “birthday” update. We will return to holiday posting tomorrow. Thank you for your cooperation.

Four months. FOUR months! I just can’t believe it. Riley saw Dr. B for his 4-month check-up on December 17. His stats were as follows:

  • Weight: 15lbs 14oz
  • Length: 26 inches
  • Head circumference: 16 inches

I’m sure he’s up over 16lbs by now…..he’s growing too fast! As the weeks go by I am amazed at how different he looks from when he was a newborn. His eyes are a gorgeous shade of blue (kind of a mix between Kenny’s supremely blue eyes and my blue gray ones); I hope they stay that way. His hair is turning lighter; blond roots are really starting to show through. And he’s still got those chunky legs, which I still love to squeeze every chance I get!

Riley also got his second round of shots (the same ones as he got at 2 months) at this appointment with Dr. B. Once again, he only cried for a minute after getting stuck!

Here are my notes from Riley’s fourth month:

  • He’s still taking an average of 5 ounces at every feeding. Sometimes he takes more, sometimes he takes less. It all depends on what kind of mood he’s in or how long it’s been since he last ate. One thing’s for sure: he KNOWS what his bottle is now. It’s so funny how fixated he gets on it when I’m warming one up! He’s also held a bottle on his own a few times for a very short while this month. More on what he’s actually eating coming soon in another post…..
  • We all know how he’s been sleeping. He started out really bad at the beginning of the month, but he’s actually gotten better over the past week. Kenny and I were worried about that since we were away from home, around lots of people, and up late most nights, but he handled it like a champ. Now we’re starting to wonder if the earlier bedtime we’re trying to establish isn’t the best idea. We’ve put him down around 9:30pm the past few nights and he’s done excellently. We’re still swaddling (I broke down and bought a few in a bigger size), but only halfway: one arm stays free. We think he’s starting to learn how to settle himself, which is fabulous. We’ll just keep moving forward and see how it goes!
  • He’s beginning to develop somewhat of a routine during the day. He almost always goes down for a morning nap about an hour and a half after he wakes up. He also usually takes two afternoon naps and one in the early evening.
  • He got his first winter cold late this month, but it’s not too bad. Just a small case of the sniffles, although it has affected his eating and breathing, especially when he’s sucking on a bottle or his paci….it’s hard to do both when your nose is stuffed up! Nurse Amy advised us to use orange Children’s Triaminic, which we are giving him every 6 hours.
  • The eczema on his face is still an issue, but it comes and goes. When it’s bad, though, it looks really bad. It’s also started to become more apparent on his arms and legs. His hair is still crazy, although it’s getting better. We gave him his second haircut this month.
  • He started to reach for and grab toys under his playmat early this month and continued to develop this skill as the month progressed. He’s starting to realize what his hands are and that they have a purpose. He still loves to suck on his fingers and drools 24-7, it seems. And, very recently, he has started to take his pacifier out of his mouth with his hand, study it for a bit, and then work it back in by himself. Very cool.
  • He’s starting to enjoy standing up more and more. His legs are really strong, and he can support himself for a decent amount of time. And he can sit up pretty well (with assistance). He’s still doing well with tummy time, but he’s nowhere close to rolling over. We thought he would have accomplished this already, but he doesn’t roll to his side like he used to earlier in the month.
  • He is LOTS more vocal now, and his volume is starting to increase. He’s smiling more than ever, and he’s laughing more, too.
  • He loves looking outside and watching trees blow in the wind. He really liked looking at all of the lights and sparkly ornaments on Christmas trees. He also loves to watch me dry my hair. He stares up at me with huge blue eyes, completely captivated by my hair whipping around. It’s pretty cute.
  • He seems to enjoy being around people, which was certainly tested this month. He was passed into so many new arms, but he didn’t seem to mind at all! He also isn’t shy about doling out his cute smile (as long as you work for it just a little bit), which everyone just loves.

I decided to start posting his monthly pictures not necessarily wearing the same outfit and in the same position. I may regret this decision later, but for now, I’m sticking to it. So here he is, in all of his four-month glory!


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Holiday Post #3: Christmas Day

Kenny, Riley, and I spent the first part of Christmas Day at my parents’ house with all of my family. We opened presents with my mom and dad (Riley got his first laptop from Nola and Nopsi!) before the rest of the family arrived for breakfast. We had our customary eggs with bacon, prepared by my 90-year-old grandfather. We look forward to it every year, and he certainly did not disappoint anyone!


We then piled into the den to open gifts. It was a little chaotic with so many people, but I love when we’re all together. That only happens every other year!



After the madness died down, Kenny, Riley, and I left to join his family for the afternoon. We had a great Christmas lunch together and then it was time for gifts. Zac, my nephew who shares the same birthday as Riley, was a little more interested in opening his loot this year, although he still probably would have preferred to play on the floor in the kitchen. Riley was asleep on me for most of the time, which gave me a great vantage point from which to watch everyone else!


After we finished up with Kenny’s family, the three of us headed back to my parents’ house. Everyone was still there, so we got to spend more time with them. Kenny and I had a few things to do to prepare for the festivities the next day (more on that tomorrow!), and then we could finally relax. We of course had to play a rousing game of Apples to Apples (which Riley miraculously slept through….we are the opposite of quiet when we play that game), and then everyone went their separate ways. It was another wonderful Christmas!

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Holiday Post #2: A Christmas Photographic Tradition

Christmas morning sure has changed since I was a kid. I remember being too excited to go to sleep the night before and finally bounding out of bed when it was somewhat of a reasonable hour on the big day. I also remember not really wanting to get out of bed as a teenager and in my early 20s, favoring sleep over opening gifts. And now, the time I wake up on that special morning will be determined solely by Riley. I can’t wait until he’s old enough to understand the magic that is Christmas.

Although this year was still a memorable one, Riley started his day like any other, waking up smiling around 7am and wanting to eat. He was only up for just over an hour before he was ready to sleep again. But then Jeff and Erin arrived for a quick visit before heading to celebrate with her family. They came by to help fulfill my Dad’s request: taking our customary Christmas morning picture at the top of the stairs.

When we were little, Jeff and I weren’t allowed downstairs before Mom and Dad on Christmas morning. So we would sit at the top of the stairs together, still in our pajamas (and sometimes still pretty sleepy), and wait until we got the word. Dad started taking our picture a number of years ago, and it has become somewhat of a tradition. And although we aren’t in our pajamas anymore (time goes by too fast now not to be showered, dressed, and ready early on), it’s still a great way to start the day.

This year we took two separate pictures, one of all 5 of us and one of just Riley. For the second one, Kenny laid down on the floor behind Riley and held him with one hand so it appeared he was sitting all by himself. And then we had to get a family picture in front of the fireplace. All of the pictures turned out pretty cute!


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Sidenote: the main reason why I decided to break up these holiday posts is because I have approximately 485 pictures to choose from after all was said and done. I think this family has a picture-taking problem. It’s turning into a sickness, really. So bear with me over the next few days as I share with you all of our holiday memories!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday Post #1: Christmas Eve

Just like last year, Kenny and I were at home on Christmas Eve morning, and we drove into New Orleans later that afternoon. The only difference this year was Riley…but what a difference! We would find out just how wonderful it is to have a little one at Christmastime over the following couple of days.

We had another delicious Christmas Eve breakfast thanks to Kenny, and then we got to help Riley open some small gifts from Santa. Somehow the big man knew we wanted to have our own little family Christmas a little earlier than normal. Even though Riley didn’t have a clue what was going on, Kenny and I still really enjoyed kicking off our son’s first Christmas celebration, just the three of us.



As has become tradition, we went out to dinner with my family on Christmas Eve night. This year we went back to GW Fin’s in the French Quarter, and we had a big group (sixteen!) since all of the out-of-town relatives were here. The restaurant was as festive as always, and everyone had lots of fun. Kenny and I were a little worried about how Riley would handle being in a crowded and loud atmosphere (and being out so late), but he did extremely well. We were so proud of him! And he looked so cute in his fancy Christmas outfit. :)




After dinner most of the group went back to my parents’ house and played games, even though it was almost 11pm. Riley had fallen asleep in his car seat on the way back, and Kenny and I weren’t sure what to do with him. Do we wake him up to change him and feed him again? Do we let him sleep? Do we hope he wakes up on his own and change him and feed him then? These were the questions that plagued us. We finally decided to just let him sleep until he woke up on his own a little while later and then put him to bed.

Wouldn’t you know……the little bugger slept until 7am. In his car seat. In his fancy Christmas outfit. Go figure.

More holidays posts coming your way over the next few days!

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Since one of the days last week was fairly warm, Riley and I decided to spend some time outside on our front lawn and wait for Kenny to get home from work. The kids next door were playing with a couple of duck calls, and Riley was fascinated by the sounds they were making. I think he really enjoys being outside, so hopefully it can become somewhat of a daily activity once the weather isn’t so cold.


I shot a short video because he started off our time out there laughing and happy but he toned it down before I could get the camera into video mode. Oh, well. I figured y’all might like to see it anyway. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas, Y’all!

We hope everyone has the merriest of Christmases today. Lots of food, lots of family, lots of fun. I’m looking forward to sharing the stories and pictures from Riley’s first Christmas….I’m sure it will be a day to remember!


Friday, December 24, 2010

Dear Riley, Would You Please Start Sleeping through the Night Again? We Would Really Appreciate It. Thanks. Love, Mom and Dad

Wow, this post ended up being much longer than I had originally planned. Then again, I do have a tendency to tell stories with an insane amount of detail. Once I get going, it’s hard to stop sometimes. So just sit back, relax, and deal with it.

Much like his mother, Riley started out as a great sleeper. We were getting 3 or 4 hour stretches out of him when he was just a few days old, and that quickly extended to 6 or 7 hours in a matter of a few weeks.

Kenny and I realized how lucky we were to have a firstborn kid that slept so great right off the bat. However, that didn’t mean we failed to jump for joy every now and then when we stopped to think about it.

But perhaps we shouldn’t have been so quick to do so.

Starting right after Thanksgiving, Riley rebelled. He began waking up 5 and 6 times each night (except when Grandma kept him overnight the week after Turkey Day. Of course he slept all night for Grandma. She had to WAKE HIM UP at 8am the next morning. The little traitor.), propelling Kenny and I into what we should have experienced from the start: a newborn’s normal pattern of sleep. And let me tell you, it was ugly. We groaned, we shed tears, we grabbed the sides of our heads in frustration and cried out, “why, God, why?!?!”

Well, I did. Kenny just handled it in typical Kenny-like fashion: he dealt with it very matter-of-factly and most of the time did it on his own and let his grumpy-when-she-doesn’t-sleep-enough wife stay in bed. He even turned the monitor off and went to sleep elsewhere so I wouldn’t hear the child awaken.

Yes, I do realize I married a saint.

(However, since this broken sleep has been going on for a while now, I refuse to let my husband deal with it every night, even though he would. So we’ve been taking turns.)

We know Riley’s not waking up because he wants to eat. He hasn’t had a middle-of-the-night feeding for a long time. Almost every time he wakes up his eyes stay closed. But he cries and squirms around a lot. And then he usually lets out a couple of audible farts. After that, he’ll start sucking on his pacifier that we’ve given him and usually settle back down. So, nine times out of ten, we’re convinced it’s gas that wakes him up.

This waking-up-multiple-times-a-night thing has been going on for about three weeks now. We’ve gotten two, maybe three, good nights out of Riley this month, but that’s all. At the beginning of one such night, with absolutely no thoughts in our heads that it would go well, Kenny and I decided to go into his room and check on him before we turned in ourselves.

You see, we recently started to put Riley down for the night much earlier than we had been. We used to put him to bed around 10pm, which was WAY too late according to multiple sources. Our rationale was this: if we kept him up later, he’d sleep later the next morning. But apparently, that line of thinking is all wrong. The later you keep them up, the more tired they become, and the harder it is for them to get good sleep.

Makes perfect sense! So we thought we’d give the earlier bedtime a shot. This particular night was one of the first attempts. We probably put him down around 8:30 or so. And when he hadn’t woken up crying after an hour, I simply couldn’t believe it. I just had to go look at him to make sure he was still breathing.

With Kenny following me, I stealthily approached Riley’s room, taking slow, exaggerated, tip-toe steps towards his crib. I wasn’t about to wake him up just by walking too loudly. I peeked down at him, sleeping soundly. Then, and I’m not really sure what set me off (again, this has been known to happen), I started to laugh.

I felt it coming, and I knew I HAD to remain quiet because I was standing right next to my son’s crib. My sleeping son, who hadn’t given his parents a good night’s sleep in (too) many nights. So I suppressed it. Only, I didn’t quite work at it hard enough, and the laugh came out as a huge snort. Both through my nose and from deep within my throat. It actually kind of hurt.

I ran out of the room and into the bedroom across the hall, Kenny on my heels. He closed the door and I collapsed onto the bed, burying my face in the pillows and getting it all out. At this point, Kenny was laughing too, mostly at my sly approach but also at my unexpected outburst.

Miraculously, Riley did not budge and continued to sleep through it all. Whew. I would have been so mad at myself had he woken up.

That was one of the few good nights. We are continuing with the earlier bedtime as best we can, but every night is different. I think he’s still a little too young for a rigid routine, so we’re just kind of taking our cues from him. And even though he’s still waking up a few times each night, we’re starting to get a decent stretch from him in the early part of the night, from whenever he goes down until about 2am. Then it’s still usually the gas that wakes him up.

Will these annoying wake-ups stop once he’s no longer on breastmilk? Will they become even more of a remote memory once he starts solids? Or, perish the thought, could they get worse? Only time will tell.

Kenny and I are still really grateful that Riley took it easy on us for the first few months. But please, son, have a heart and go back to the way it was. It would be so much better, for you as well as for your dad and me.

Then again, it could totally be my fault that you wake up at night. And if that is the case, my dear sweet boy, I am truly sorry. But I worked very hard for that breastmilk, darnit, and I’ll continue to give it to you until it’s gone, even if it is the culprit!

Besides, it’s almost gone. Almost.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sleeping Positions

So, Riley is a baby. Babies sleep a lot.

(Except sometimes when they’re supposed to, like at night. But like I said, that’s another story for another day. I’m still working on it. It should be up tomorrow.)

I would like to take this opportunity to showcase some of the positions in which Riley likes to sleep. He definitely has his favorites, but he doesn’t limit himself, that’s for sure.

Prepare yourself: some of these pictures are from way back when he was just a wee one. Kleenex may be needed. I’m just sayin’.

Here he is actually sleeping in his crib:

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Here he is dreaming under his playmat:

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Here he is snoozing in his swing:

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Here he is sacked out in his bouncy seat:

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Here he is sweetly asleep on my chest:

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Here he is passed out on a lap:

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And finally, here he is conked out in various random positions:

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I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did posting it!

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