Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Thank-You Note

Dear Santa,
I really like the: Tinker Bell coloring book, chap stick, chocolates, and bike.* Thank you.

*Please note that the items mentioned before the bike totaled $8. Santa will budget next year accordingly.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas

This kid has been smiling for awhile now...but today was the first time we actually took the time to capture it on camera.

Merry Christmas from one jolly little elf!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Comes Early

Riley can change diapers unassisted.

Merry Christmas to me!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks life, for being great

Hi friends. Each Thanksgiving, I notice I'm always deeply grateful for the same general things: family, friends, faith, food...

But beyond that, here are the random/inconsequential things I'm thankful for this particular year:
  • Sleep (and a baby who's good at it)
  • That Riley didn't catch her classmates' lice
  • That Wilco didn't catch his sister's cold
  • Trader Joe's Fleur de Sel Caramel Topping
  • Modern Family
  • Design Within Reach (check out pages 10-11)
  • That my jeans get a little easier to button each day
  • My kettlebell (best at-home workout ever)
  • Rainboots

Friday, October 22, 2010

All My Children

All three of them:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Scoop

The birth

I had three wishes going into the birth of this baby:
  1. Per Matt (and his work schedule), baby would come between October 1 and October 10.
  2. Baby would come on its own (so I wouldn't have to be induced).
  3. I would spend as much time laboring at home as possible.

  1. Baby came a day ahead of Matt's schedule. But everything worked out fine. Matt's big project just shipped one day late, and of course the client was ok when he told them why.
  2. Yay! Baby cooperated!
  3. My water ruptured late at night. I knew if I called the hospital, they'd tell me to come right in, so I stalled a bit...until there was more gushing. My parents got a 1 a.m. phone call to stay with Riley, and we headed to the hospital, where I spent the entire labor process. But I was just so happy baby was coming on its own that I didn't mind revamping my original plan. And despite not laboring at home, the entire process went exactly how I wanted it to. (Except, of course, a lot more painful...)
The name

Once upon a time, I read this news article about a little Dutch boy named Wilco Conradi. When I told Matt about the article, he liked the name so much he decided we should consider it if we ever had a boy. Eight years later, it was still at the top of our list. And since it's a Dutch name, and Matt has Dutch roots, we figured why not.

Of course, here in the states, Wilco is used many other ways: it's a band name, an Oregon-based farm supply co-op, and the last name of the main character in Space Quest. But my personal favorite? In two-way radio lingo, it's the abbreviated version of "Will comply." What mother wouldn't want that namesake?

As for Joel, it's a family name, now five generations strong.

The sister

The biggest surprise of all has been Riley's reaction. She adores her brother. She was positively giddy his first few days of his life. And even now that the newness has worn off, she still loves doting on him, fetching his stuff for me, and gagging while I change his poopy diapers.

The recovery

Going great. It helps that little Wilco is very agreeable. And that I've been able to sleep in every morning. And I that haven't cooked meals, grocery shopped, or done any laundry, thanks to tons of help from friends and family. So yeah, I've been spoiled. Ask me again in a few weeks...

Monday, October 4, 2010


Wilco Joel Richards
Born September 30, 2010 at 3:55 p.m.
7 lb 13 oz, 20.5 inches long

We're all excited he's here. Even her:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

For the Record (Pregnancy #2)

Week 38

I'm a few days from my due date, and I realized I've been abysmal at documenting this pregnancy. With Riley, I have at least 60 photos of my growing gut. This time? Nine.

So I owe it to myself, you guys, and especially this kid to say a few words about the last 8.9 months.

  • We hadn't planned on mentioning my pregnancy to Riley until it was about halfway through. Nine months is long for an adult and an eternity for a kid. But it was at week eight when she commented on my big tummy. And came up with the baby whale theory.
  • Typical with second pregnancies, I showed really fast. And got huge fast. By month six, strangers assumed I was due "any day now." At month seven, a random guy at my gym said, "It seems like you've been pregnant forever!" And another acquaintance was convinced I was either having twins or that my doctor had the wrong due date. For the record, my doc says I've measured perfectly the entire time.
  • Pregnancy is kind to me. Besides feeling a little gross at first and a little huge right now, I've had no major complaints. I've been fortunate enough to keep my regular pace, including working out, until the past week or so. It also helped that Mother Nature gifted me a very mild summer. (Although I may be the only one in Portland who's grateful for that...)
  • Cravings: Rice Krispies. Fruit fruit fruit. Diet soda. (Awful, I know.) And there was one week recently where all I wanted at night was a hot fudge sundae from McDonald's. (Many thanks to Matt for indulging that one.)
  • I can't say Riley is excited about the impending life change, but she certainly express a lot of interest. She has requested her sibling be a whale, duck, giraffe, puppy, elf, fish, and wolf. She frequently declares, in a matter-of-fact tone, "If the baby is an animal, I will help take care of it. If it is a baby human, I will NOT take care of it." (At which point I remind her it will be MY job to take care of the baby. But that I'd love her help.)
  • Despite her ambivalence, it's been fun to have Riley involved in the pregnancy. When I started really showing, every morning she would enthusiastically announce, "Mommy, your tummy is getting SO big!" She enjoys feeling baby kicks and asking what the baby is saying. Our response? "I hope my big sister is really nice to me!"
  • I've had about a million and a half ultrasounds. Ok, maybe just like 5. And I've developed love/hate feelings toward them. Early ultrasounds had a few little red flags that caused some concern. But at my most recent one, the baby looked perfectly healthy. And hairy... Can you believe ultrasounds show hair as early as 33 weeks?
  • We didn't find out the gender, but nearly *everybody* thinks it's a boy. That's been my hunch, too, but of course I hate to admit that in a public forum for fear my mother's intuition is wrong.
  • Matt is finishing up a few big projects and has given me strict orders not to have the baby before Friday. And preferably before October 12 so he can travel to install a project. Will baby cooperate? Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Justification (You do the math!)

I once heard the following theory on clothing purchases: deduct $1 from the purchase price each time you wear it, and once you hit $0, it was officially a good buy.

I figure for kids' clothing, you should deduct 50 cents each wearing. Or even 25 cents.

Well in February, I bought Riley some shoes on clearance at GapKids for $13. She has worn them every single day, nearly every single place since. That's more than 200 days of some serious Riley-style wear and tear.

So instead of being annoyed that they didn't hold up better, I'm telling myself it was the smartest $13* ever spent.

* or 7 cents per wearing

Friday, September 10, 2010

First Day of School

I've mentioned, haven't I, how Riley generally feels about getting her picture taken? "Not good," to quote her verbatim.

That said, here's this year's attempt to capture a first-day-of-school photo:

*Sigh.* Not good, indeed.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What Happened in McCall

A couple weeks ago, we attended another very fun Dougall family reunion in McCall, Idaho, a charming mountain resort town right on the beautiful Payette Lake. I've since been told that this part of Idaho is America's best-kept secret. I believe it.

Anyhow, a few vacation highlights included:

Lots of swimming. Or "slimming," as Riley ironically/appropriately (I can't decide which) calls it.

Broom hockey for dummies. (Tennis shoes on an un-Zamboni-ed skating rink.)

Ice skating for dummies.


Ice cream. Lots of it.

Basking in the sun.

Pony rides.

(My sister's keen observation this particular evening: "Riley, it seems you change your socks more than your outfit!")
Happiness. Lots of it.

Not pictured:
  • Boating, jet-skiing, & water-skiing. (Except for the hugely pregnant attendee. Me.)
  • Picnic and lovely outdoor concert in nearby Podunk, ID.
  • My sister's surprise announcement that she's expecting cousin number twenty-something (I've lost count). I'm especially happy knowing our baby will have a cousin close in age.
  • Game night. (Every night.)
  • Cousin time. Lots of it. Riley's still experiencing withdrawals.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

As the World Turns

We attended a lovely concert in the park tonight. Riley looked extra cute (ok, quirky) wearing her star jammies and an apron as a gown, so I tried snapping pics on my phone. She would not for the life of me hold still, and it quickly evolved into a game of capture the photo op.

Here's the resulting photo essay. (I figure this captures her world view anyhow: Blurry. From that nonstop pace.)

And this one? Captured only after I pretended to put the phone away.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


We just celebrated Riley's fourth birthday. For the record, Riley may be the only child who's not eager to get older, bigger, and wiser. When we tell her how big she's getting, she demands, "No, not yet!"

Then again, a weekend of birthday fun (and too many presents) has gotten her excited about having more birthdays...

And by the way, in a moment of sheer brilliance, I bought two pair of those star jammies. So plan on seeing them often.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mini Vacation

We took a quick trip to Seattle last week. It involved a pleasant Amtrak train ride, the best-ever salami sandwiches, a children's museum visit, an aquarium visit, and a healthy amount of roaming the city.

The highlight, however, may have been the evening my sister Sheri, who recently moved to the area, babysat Riley so Matt and I could eat out. Our meal was amazing, and Riley had a great time, as evidenced by these photos. I mean, sunshine, ice cream, running amok, and jammies: what more could a girl want? (Thanks Sheri!)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Is that a fly in my soup?

Riley has, against our will, developed an obsession for princesses. She's acquired a few princess dolls, and her absolute favorite thing to do is bathe them. In whatever liquid is available. Like, for example, miso soup.
Lest you think we're negligent parents, please note that she was scolded for this behavior (shortly after I snapped this pic, which, I might add, I did very stealth).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Deep Thoughts

You know those if-then logic statements you learn in junior high algebra? Like, "If x and y are even, then x+y is even."?

Riley has recently mastered this kind of logical reasoning. Although a little (ok, a LOT) more rudimentary.

For example:

"If I want some milk, I want some milk."

"If I'm not tired, I'm not tired."

"If I'm done eating, I'm done eating."

And my personal favorite:

"If I want it, I want it."

All I have to say is, watch out Yogi Berra.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Then & Now

First day of preschool:

Last day of preschool:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sweet Dreams

I recently downloaded pics off my camera, and I came across this one taken back in March. Don't be surprised if it ends up being my 2010 favorite.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Doting Aunt

Awhile back, my nephew Tanner requested I mention him on my blog. I'm sure he assumes I've forgotten (as he well knows I tend to do).

When I was 18, Tanner was 4, and I spent a lot of time babysitting him, taking him to Chuck E. Cheese's, and dealing with his precocious ways.

Now he's 18. And as precocious as ever. But he just received his Eagle scout, is about to graduate high school, and is headed to college shortly thereafter. Can you tell I'm proud?

Meanwhile, I'm dealing with my own precocious almost-4-year-old. And it brings me great relief to know precocious children everywhere can turn out as well as Tanner.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Whale of an Appendage (Or: An Appendage of a Whale)

I have some friends who think posting ultrasound pictures online is inappropriate/tacky/creepy. To them, my apologies (and permission to skip this post).

To the rest of the world, check out this beautiful leg!

The ultrasound tech said it's the thigh of a soccer player. Or runner. I know a certain proud grandfather who'd say it's the thigh of a NASCAR driver. (Regardless, the child can thank Matt, since mine are the thighs of a speed skater.)

Eccentric Artist

Riley's preschool is holding a summer art camp, and look who the poster child is:

I love her intensity (sleeves rolled up, even), her stance, and of course that the paint colors match her coat.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Rain or Shine

It's a beautiful, sunny day in Portland. (Finally!)

But Riley insisted on taking her umbrella to preschool. "In case it rains after school!!!"

Such a skeptic. Such an Oregonian.

(Summer is really going to throw her off. If it ever arrives. And I just realized where she learned skepticism.)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

She's Crafty

Riley's current obsessions: fairies, mermaids, and princesses.

I mostly attribute this to the copious amount of princess/fairy hand-me-down dress-up clothes we've somehow acquired over the past while.

As much as Riley loves her dress up clothes, she felt something was missing: fairy wings.

So Matt, resourceful guy he is, saved the day. Together, he and Riley made custom hand-painted fairy wings. Which I'm kinda hoping make it 'til Halloween.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Last weekend, I volunteered at a nursing home. In my attempt to get Matt and Riley to join me, I asked, "Riley, do you like old people?"

Her pensive response? "No, not really. I like new people."

Oh well.

(I at least hope that bodes well for this impending sibling/pet.)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's a Mammal!

As I mentioned recently on Facebook, Riley is convinced there's a baby whale in my tummy. She's surprisingly accurate, considering something *is* swimming around in there, and before long I will resemble a mother whale.

I'm hoping it's actually a baby human, because I recently learned that baby whales drink 100 gallons of milk each day. (I don't have that kind of equipment!)

Stay tuned. We'll get the verdict sometime early in October.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tiptoe/Trample Through the Tulips

Riley spent Saturday with my dad and my sister Sheri (who she affectionately calls "mommy's dad" and "mommy's sister") at the local tulip festival. She must have had a great time, because she was wired and ravenous the rest of the evening.

The next day, I got this e-mail from my sister:

"Your child is impossible to photograph, but I know that is no surprise to you!"

She's right. No surprise here. So I was pleasantly surprised that she and my dad managed to capture these cute photos:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Consider Yourselves Warned

GapKids sells princess t-shirts. Plan your shopping trips with your princess-obsessed three year old accordingly.

I told Riley I would get her a t-shirt for her birthday or when they go on sale, whichever came first. Unfortunately, I immediately noticed one on sale. (But fortunately, it's slightly less tacky than the one pictured below.)

*Sigh.* Am I spineless or is she persuasive?

(Don't answer that.)