Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Portrait of a Sick Kid

Barf bucket and all.

Here's to a happy, healthy new year!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008: Top 10 Memories

  1. Annual Christmas sing-a-long/bake-fest/dance party with Sheri
  2. Zoo Lights with Grandma and Grandpa Richards
  3. Riley's favorite new phrase, learned while Christmas shopping: "I want mommy buy dat."
  4. Riley and Anna running wild around the huge Christmas tree downtown
  5. The Arctic Blast
  6. Christmas Eve with Grandma and Grandpa Dougall, Geoff & fam, Alison, and Sheri
  7. Riley's seven-day pajama streak
  8. Riley's obsession with Zelf, the elf on our shelf
  9. Riley's obsession with baby Jesus
  10. Riley's obsession with her favorite stocking stuffer, pictured below (40 band-aids gone in 40 minutes)

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dear Santa, Please Bring Me Sanity

The snow has been fun, but it isn't going away anytime soon. And here are the realities:
  • Our car is buried and the roads are treacherous, so, obviously, no driving
  • My child's naps (my primary source of sanity) have been spotty at best
  • My gym is open, but its daycare (my secondary source of sanity) is closed
  • My (and Riley's) friends (another important source of sanity) within walking distance have left town for Christmas
  • The real clincher: my stroller can't really get through the 12-inch snowdrifts, limiting us to Riley's walking-in-the-freezing-snow threshold–approximately four blocks
Result: The Perfect Storm has created the Perfect Mommy's-About-to-Go-Crazy Storm


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Arctic Blast 2008: The Sequel

We got eight inches of snow yesterday, which put last week's snowstorm to shame.

To stave off stir-craziness, we've implemented emergency tactics: lots of hot chocolate, a pile of redbox movies, and frequent–but short–walks.

Our poor car

Our poor balcony

Our poor child

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sneak Peek: The Richards Sweatshop

I am happy/relieved to say that despite the nation's dire economic circumstances, people are still buying mobiles this Christmas.

Hallelujah and happy holidays!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Arctic Blast 2008

It snowed today, and the local news called it an "Arctic Blast." Melodramatic? Maybe.

Or maybe not: The moment Riley saw it had snowed this morning, she fetched our coats and boots for a walk. A walk that lasted two whole blocks–until our first good, cold wind gust.

Arctic blast, indeed.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Little Joker

Toast+Nutella=Comic Book Villain

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oh yeah...

I had a birthday. Sunday. 31 hardly seems worth mentioning, and the day was pretty uneventful, but here were a few highlights:
  • Matt's parents were in town a few days beforehand. It was fun to see them, and they treated us to the best meal ever at a restaurant I've been wanting to try for ages.
  • Matt swapped services with another local artist and got me a very cool painting.
  • I got myself a Wii Fit.
I was hoping Riley would give me a little R&R for my birthday. Is that greedy? (Now it's on my Christmas list...)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

There's candy at this holiday, too.

We tried getting into the Christmas spirit by making gingerbread cookies (and buying clementines).

But as you can see here, Super Riley is still clinging to her Halloween glory days by wearing her apron as a cape.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Continued

Here are a few non-sleep-related Thanksgiving highlights:

* My siblings Sheri, Julie, and David came to town, which made for quite the family gathering.
* My sister Alison loved (loved!) my cranberry sauce. (pictured below)
* David's fried turkey was surprisingly delicious.
* 10 adults, 5 pies. Enough said.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Today I'm Thankful

...that my child slept in 'til 10:30 this morning!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Catch-up #2: Matt's Trip

As I mentioned previously, Matt was in Texas last week installing a mobile in the new North Austin Medical Center.

It's a 30-foot tall piece that hangs down the center of a stairwell:

And since it's practically impossible to photograph a 30-foot-tall mobile hanging in a stairwell, here's an illustration of the entire thing:

Matt's happy that project is done, and we're happy he wasn't gone long!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Catch-up #1: Pre-Thanksgiving

Sorry friends, I've been a bit preoccupied working/playing/running a household to give my blog the attention it deserves.

But here's something worth mentioning: a Pre-Thanksgiving feast we had our friends a few weeks back.

We ate this:

(stuffing wrapped with a turkey breast wrapped with bacon) along with sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, asparagus, cranberry sauce, apple cider, and pumpkin cream pie.

After dinner, we adults gorged ourselves on pie, while the kiddos showed impressive restraint by choosing apples instead. (More pie for the rest of us!)

Viva Pre-Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Chip Off the Old (Porcelain) Block

My child is outgoing and energetic and naturally athletic. And she looks just like her daddy. I sometimes wonder whether she and I share any attributes.

Today I discovered one.

See, I have this annoying habit of waking to use the bathroom just moments after falling asleep each night.

Sure enough, as I rocked Riley to sleep* this afternoon, she muttered these last words while dozing off: "Potty...potty..."

I would've rather passed along a more admirable trait, but, uh, apparently pea-sized bladders are maternally genetic?

*Rare enough to be blog-worthy in its own right.

Monday, November 17, 2008

(H)urry (H)ome, Matt!

Matt left town early this morning to install a mobile in a new Austin-based hospital.

Poor Riley was unhappy he wasn't around this morning to make her breakfast as usual.

She spent the morning carrying around this picture, chanting, "I want Daddy 'ome! I want Daddy 'ome! I want Daddy 'ome!"

Same 'ere, Riley.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

Last year, when the rain arrived, I relied on my jogging stroller to shelter Riley from the elements.

But this year? Serious growth spurt. Not only is her jacket way too short, but her legs are way too long.

Do hip waders come in size 2T?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Six Ways to Celebrate 32

  • Sleep in 'til 9:30.
  • Visit the farmers market. (And eat fresh pate and pepper jelly on french bread while watching good live folk music.)
  • Watch lots of football without getting nagged by the wife.
  • Get haircut. (!)
  • Eat homemade pot stickers for dinner.
  • Share birthday banana bread with the kid (and wife and in-laws).

Friday, November 7, 2008

Last Hurrah

Rainy season has arrived. Which means we won't see much of the sun until, oh, next May.

But fortunately we took advantage of some final beautiful fall days with a quick trip to the mountains last week with my parents.

We ate good food, saw pretty stuff (like Mt. Hood, the Salmon River, and colorful autumn trees), and learned that, as a hiker, Riley's got some serious endurance.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick-Or-Treat-O-Rama 2008

Giddy with anticipation.

Giddy from excitement, commotion, and attention.

Giddy from:

We hope your Halloween was equally fun (and lucrative)!

p.s. Many thanks to Grandma R for the Elmo bucket, Charlton for the superhero logos, and Treva for the capes. Best $3 costumes ever!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oh, She Loved It

Riley's a gregarious gal, so she regularly gets smiles and attention from strangers when we're out and about.

But today, on our way home from the children's museum, she got *way* more smiles and snickers than usual.

I wasn't sure why...

Until I realized it was 'cause of our favorite children's museum activity:

Yeah, mommy went a little nuts with the face paint.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkin Heaven

Riley spent yesterday morning rollicking through the pumpkin patch with her friend, Super Anna. They found the perfect pumpkins, and we found ourselves a new fall family tradition.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Matt and His Latest Mobile

Matt just finished up a great commission–a 15-foot tall version of this mobile (which is normally just 4-feet tall):
Here's Matt with one of the largest pieces:
Here's the final thing pictured in his shop:
And here's where it will end up–the offices of an insurance company in Eerie, Pennsylvania:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Seeking a Suitable Tree

Riley and I read a book today that included this image:

Here's the conversation that ensued:

Me: Riley, who are they?
R: Mommy. Girl.
M: What are they doing?
R: Walk.
M: Where are they going?
R: Potty.

(Hmm. Except where's the mom's panicked expression?)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Laziness: Not an Option

I haven't run much lately, but this morning, I took Riley for a spin in the jogging stroller. After 4 1/2 miles, I was wiped out, so I decided to walk the last mile home.

Except Riley had other plans. Every time I stopped to walk, she yelled out, "No Mommy! Run!"


She's right though. Can't slow down. I've gotta be able to keep up with her.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Toothy Grins

Which one's toothier?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

Riley Runs

When Riley turned two, her friend Anna gave her these super-cute shoes:

But when Riley turned two, she also became awfully particular about her clothing. (See proof below.) And despite my encouragement (ok, cajoling), she wouldn't wear them.

Until yesterday. That's when I caught her admiring the runners (and their shoes) in my Runner's World magazine. And I reminded her of her *own* cool running shoes...

She's been running in them–nonstop (sorry downstairs neighbors)–ever since. Many belated thanks, Anna!

Rest of outfit: duck sticker with missing head (on forehead), Halloween necklace, flapper-style purse, and Elmo underpants. Yes, she dressed herself, and no, I don't let her out like that. Very often.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Girl Who Cried Wolf

Today was our first major excursion since potty training began: church.

Riley learned a surefire way to avoid the *boring* hour. Whenever she yelled "Potty!" we made a mad dash to the restroom.

Out of the seven times she yelled "Potty!", seven instances were false alarms. (And I'm just not ready to call her bluff.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Topic

Raise your hand if you used the potty successfully SEVEN times today.

Raise your hand if you think that's cause for celebration.

Not pictured: Me, Matt

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Equation for Fun

A cardboard box...

plus a sheet of stickers...

equals endless entertainment.

(I foresee a cheap Christmas ahead!)

p.s. I'll shut up about the stickers already. It's just an integral part of our lives lately.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Sticker Monster Strikes Again

I'm not sure why we thought it'd be a good idea to send Riley to bed with a sheet of stickers.

But we learned our lesson after hearing her giggle two full hours past bedtime.

Fortunately, the only casualties this time were her pacifiers. (And, ok, her good mood after a short night's sleep.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Developmental Explosion

In the past few weeks, Riley has:
  • learned to open doors
  • taught herself to somersault
  • pooped in the toilet
  • figured out how to open the fridge
  • learned about a billion new words
  • shown an avid interest in cooking and dish washing
  • learned to use her bubble gun (pictured below. sort of.)
  • mastered monster tantrums
  • drawn a straight line, pointed to it, and said, "One!"
  • figured out that daddy's cereal (Cocoa Puffs) tastes better than hers (Kashi Mighty Bites)
  • developed a strong preference for clothing with sparkly embellishments
  • become extremely particular about her diapers (Elmo Pampers vs. boring white slightly bulky cloth diapers...)
  • gotten really fast
Part of me is sad she's growing up so fast. A bigger part of me is so relieved she won't be a toddler forever.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Glimmer of Hope

...that someday (soon?) I can delegate dinner duties and dishes.