Thursday, December 2, 2010

To Riley, From Sophie With Love

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Last night our doorstep was graced by the UPS man ... something that seems to be happening every night recently since I've increased my online buying for this Christmas season.  I was so excited to see what arrived (just ONE day after ordering it from Amazon!).

Riley's "I love you big sister" gifts from Sophie.  At the suggestion of a person I work with, we ordered Riley two gifts that will be given to her 'from Sophie'.  Not that a two-year-old will be able to grasp who a gift came from - or necessarily care - but I do want her to feel special during all of the baby hoopla that I assume will be taking place. 

She has recently really, really been into playing mommy to her Baby Stella doll that my brother bought for her last Christmas. 

Now that all of the baby items are out in Sophie's room, Riley loves to put Stella (or just "Baby", according to Riley) in the bouncy chair and sing 'Rock-a-bye baby' to her ... or lay her down for a nap in the bassinet.  Seeing as how I hope she'll want to mimic me and be mommy's helper rather than jealous of a new sibling, we ordered her two gifts.  This first one she'll receive from Sophie when she comes to visit us in the hospital; a diaper changing kit for her own baby!
The second she'll receive when we come home from the hospital; a baby carrier that also doubles as a diaper bag for all of her baby accessories!
Both are so adorable and I can't wait to give them to her!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Someone is going to be TWO!

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It's hard to believe that my week this week is consumed with last minute birthday party plans. For my soon-to-be 2-year-old. TWO YEAR OLD. Did you get that? When did two years pass me by? This cannot be possible!

This year we're hosting a Minnie Mouse-themed birthday for Riley ("Mimi", according to her) and I am very excited. She is understanding things so much more now and I am most excited to see the look on her face with all the decorations and guests and presents. And I can't leave out the birthday cake and ice cream ("birt cake and tweem", according to her).

With Sophie's arrival just under three weeks away, I am still not completely sure that Riley understands what is going to happen ... nor can we expect her to. She is definitely enjoying seeing all of the baby items out, though - and using them. Such as the Bumbo chair or the bouncy seat. We even found her hiding in the Pack and Play bassinet the other day - tight under the shade that comes up. I had NO idea she could climb into it on her own, but she found a way. Little stinker! She likes to kiss my belly and push on my protruding belly button and say "Ding dong!" and then laugh really hard!

What else has Riley been up to recently? We went to her first circus. She saw and recognized Santa Claus at the mall for the first time. She gets super excited over seeing the Christmas tree and all of the lights. She recognizes a lot of letters and can tell you the sound almost every single letter makes. She can count to three. She loves to sing and does a great job singing "Rock-a-bye baby". While we aren't actively potty training yet (as I have made the personal choice to wait until after Sophie is born and things have settled down a little), she loves to go pee-pee on her potty each night after her bath. We've done this for four nights in a row now and even went poo-poo on there two days ago before nap. She is SO proud of herself when she does this and, of course, Daddy and I make a huge deal over her and she gets to pick a prize from her "Potty Chest" that I made for her.

She's amazing. She's the light of our lives. She's my single constant thought and focus through the day. She's my everything.

All Better ... Just in Time for the Choo Choo!

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Once the experience with croup passed, and Riley felt better, everyone felt better.  In fact, she got better just in time for us to continue with our plans for Kevin's birthday a couple weeks ago!  We always take off work each year on one another's birthdays, and this year was no exception.

Riley is a big fan of "choo choo's" ... and Kevin has talked here and there about taking a ride on a passenger train at some point.  So thanks to the suggestion of a coworker, I was able to snag some tickets for us to go on the Cuyahoga Scenic Railroad on his birthday.  It was so much fun boarding the big train and watching Riley look excitedly out the window while yelling, "Choo choo ride!  Choo choo ride!".  There was even a concession car and a souvenir shop.  We rode it down to Akron - about a 80 minute train ride that included 5 stops along the way.  Once in Akron we got off the train and got onto a bus waiting at the station and headed to the Akron Zoo.

We spent 2 1/2 hours at the zoo and Riley walked and/or ran the entire time.  I knew ahead of time that this day would mess with her nap schedule and was praying she'd sleep on the train ride back.  We basically had the zoo all to ourselves, so it was great getting to see her run and explore without the concern of losing her in a crowd or her getting knocked over.  We enjoyed a picnic lunch together that I had packed the night before, and it gave Kevin and I great laughs watching Riley chase birds around the picnic area with a chip stretched out to them, yelling "Ere burd - ere burd!"

By the end of the afternoon she was definitely getting tired and once the bus dropped us back off at the train station, it was just minutes before she was sound asleep in Kevin's arms.  Moments like this are rare now - where we get to hold our sleeping baby.  When I walked over to Kevin to see the two of them, I found him with tears just welling up in his eyes.  He said this was the best part of his birthday and that he knows he won't get to hold her like that forever.  It was such a raw, tender moment that I'll never forget, nor will he.

Riley only slept about 45 minutes, thanks to the man across the aisle from Kevin on the train, who yelled something loudly at us and woke her.  He felt badly, but still ... think!  He redeemed himself we we got to our destination and he chased us all the way off of the train and into the parking lot with Riley's blankie that I had left behind on our seat.  Thank God for him - it would not have been a fun evening without blankie!

And we finished the night off with a bang.  Although she was so tired, Riley was a little trooper, running on pure adrenaline ... and sugar ... through the party here at our house with Kevin's family.

What a fabulous, fabulous memory.