Monday, December 23, 2013

Going to See Santa

We made our annual trip to Bass Pro this past Saturday. I feel like a little bit of a poser going in there. I visit once a year and never buy anything but my Santa photos and maybe a snack. I guess that's better than nothing, but clearly the lack of camo in my closet is a dead giveaway that I do not belong.

Ryleigh PROMISED that she would sit on Santa's lap for a picture. I think we all know that two-year old promises don't carry much weight. And I think I've mentioned before that Ry talks a big game. We got close. She said, "hi, Santa." She gave him a high five. But when it came to photo time it was instant fear terror. Her whole body tensed, she started to cry and she clung to me so tightly that I just couldn't force her to do it.
So, this is what we got...

Yeah, yeah, I know I look a little TOO excited to see the jolly old elf. While Ryleigh may be smiling, her eyes seem to be saying, "get me the heck outta here!" Better luck next year. We ran into Ryleigh's classmate Cheyenne there. Ry was very eager to watch her get her picture taken. And to see if she was scared. For the record, Cheyenne kind of looked like a deer in headlights, but no struggle and no tears.

Ryleigh kept asking, "where is Santa's sleigh?" I told her it was parked on the roof. We asked Mrs. Claus for confirmation (frankly she was surprised - it seemed the logical place to me). So then Ryleigh wanted to see the sleigh. She's been asking a lot of questions about Santa. Too many questions. One example: "Am I going to be scared of Santa at our house?" Shes a little scared of the guy. I think the idea of him being in our house is giving her the creeps.

Since I got to be in the Santa picture, we needed to get a photo with daddy too. Ryleigh was a little more relaxed next to this snowman.

When we came out of the store it was cold and rainy. Because we're awesome parents, we had left Ry's coat in the car. As soon as we came outside she said, "it's cold!" Daddy gave her his coat and I gave her my scarf. That helped her stay warm and she just looked too darn cute!

Until next year, Bass Pro...

Friday, December 20, 2013

It's December!

Wow! Quite a whirlwind it's been...thus my serious lack of blogging. We went to Indiana for Thanksgiving. I have been super busy at work the last few weeks. And, oh yeah, it's almost Christmas. Add some shopping and cooking and parties...whew! I could really use a vacation (or a couple snow days.) Here are a few snapshots of  our December so far...

Ryleigh has become quite the volleyball fan. The Mizzou team was undefeated throughout the entire season and we made it to several games - including the first round of the NCAA tournament. Ron had contacted a friend in the Athletic Department who said she had a surprise for Ryleigh. It turned out to be an autographed volleyball! How cool!
Unfortunately, Mizzou had their first loss and got knocked out in the second round by none other than the Purdue Boilermakers. But they had a great season and have a lot to be proud of. And they have one of the cutest fans around.

She was so excited to get a "Tiger ball." She did ask why they wrote their names on it. 

I think the popcorn was her favorite part.
We got our tree and decorated it.

Ryleigh's daycare had a holiday party and program. Her class sang two songs. Well, the teachers sang two songs, while the kids played the bells, cried, or in Ryleigh's case stared at the crowd of parents with a somewhat shocked look on her face. When Jax started to cry she couldn't quite figure out if she wanted to join him or not. Luckily she decided not to cry.

We got some AWESOME new stockings this year. They are HUGE, so Santa has his work cut out for him.

Question: Where are you supposed to hang your stockings when you don't have a mantle?
Ryleigh got her wheels!! Fancy purple wheels. She still prefers to be on the floor where she has more access to her toys. When we had a demo chair this summer she tipped over. Twice. She still remembers and will not let us live it down (talk about parent guilt!). So it has taken some coaxing to convince her that she is safe and will not tip over in her new wheels. I'm really looking forward to getting her out and about - for now the stores are just too darn crowded for a newly independent wheelie.

We got a couple inches of snow last weekend and were able to try out Ryleigh's new "sleigh." I just pulled her from our house to the trail. Don't let that smile fool you, she wasn't the biggest fan. I think she felt a little unstable. And with the crust of ice that had formed over the snow it was a little crunchy. She kept telling me, "I don't like it. It's too loud." I'm pretty sure that was just her excuse. Hopefully we will get to give it another try.

Awesome animation effects!!
Just a few days ago we got Ry's new braces. These are KAFOs (Knee, Ankle, Foot Orthotics) They go all the way up to her hips and should help keep her legs in line for some pulling up, standing and maybe even walking. I was really worried about them inhibiting her movement when she is on the floor and crawling. But when we tried them out for the first time at home last night she was moving around like an old pro. That was a huge relief and very exciting. We have to keep trying them out for 30 minutes at a time and make sure they aren't giving her any pressure sores anywhere. So far, so good.

So, as you can see we have been quite busy. Our house is definitely looking pretty Christmasy. I haven't done a ton of shopping, but we are as ready as we are going to be. And we are really looking forward to a visit from all the Kentucky Rowes next weekend!!

Seriously, our tree looks awesome, even without special effects. :)
Have a happy Christmas!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Yeah, so Halloween was a couple weeks ago, but I've been so busy I haven't posted about it. Here are a few photos from the day.

She wanted to dress up as a firefighter. After her school party and horseback riding she wasn't very cooperative for photos in her costume. This one was about the best we got.

I think you can get the idea here of what our little photo shoot was like... Ha ha!

One of these days I'll have a few minutes to post some of the photos from her last horseback riding session.

Ryleigh Says

Dinner conversation:
"Thank you mommy for my macaroni and for being a person."
"Thank you Ryleigh for being a good person and a great daughter."
"I'm not a person or a daughter either."
"You're not?"
"No. I'm Ryleigh Rowe."

"I hear sirens. With my ears."

"Are you not mad?"
"No, Ryleigh, I'm not mad."
"You're just frustrated?"
Gee, I wonder where she got that one...

"Daddy, thank you for my sandwich. You are a great man." I mean, he does make a pretty mean PB&J, but that's laying it on a little thick, don't you think? Ha ha!

This whole "great person" thing seems to be a common theme with her these days.
Exhibit A: her note from school:

"I'm doing my work on my computer." (Her LeapFrog laptop)
Me: "Oh, you are?"
"Yeah, I'm teaching my class. I'm talking to my students."
Just like daddy. Ha ha!

Me: "Daddy is going to court today, then he's going to Jeff City."
Ry: "Daddy is going to court to watch the basketball game?"
Me: "No, not really. Daddy is going to court to do some work."
Ry: "Daddy is going to court to do teamwork."

When the neighbor's cat started following us into the garage:
"No no! We already have our own kitty."

Friday, November 8, 2013

It's Friday!


Have a great weekend!!

(One of these days I'll post a couple Halloween pics, I promise).

Friday, November 1, 2013

Gah! Really?!?!

Today is just such a beautiful day! Last fall, we were robbed by the drought. Everything just dried up and turned brown. But days like this really make up for for last year. Gorgeous, I tell you.

the view from our backyard
I am just in LOVE with our maple tree out front. 
The leaves even look pretty on the ground.

I know my iPhone photos hardly do it justice, but this is my attempt to hold on to it just a little bit longer.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

MIZ Homecoming

Ever since we first moved to Missouri I spent my birthday weekend working homecoming activities. Well, except the year that I was out on maternity leave. That year I was kicking it at home with our almost 2 month-old.

Anyway... This year was the first time we actually got to go and enjoy the festivities and we had a great time. We started out the morning by going to the parade. Or as Ryleigh calls it, that "pah-hade." We bundled up and got to a great spot just before the parade started coming by. Ryleigh was so excited to see Truman, I think it was a little disappointing for her that he came by at the beginning of the parade. She liked watching the bands and of course there was the candy. She got her first sucker and I'm pretty sure she was a fan. She would hand it to me so she could clap, but if I tried to put it away she asked for it back.

She also noted that some of the high school cheerleaders were not doing the M-I-Z cheer. "There's more cheerleaders. They're not 'Mizzou-ing'."

She pointed out the Weinermobile - "there's a hot dog!" Which I found surprising since as far as I know she has never seen the Weinermobile, nor does she ever eat hot dogs.
It's not a parade without the Weinermobile!!
After the parade we walked around campus a bit and stopped by the Alumni Association to say hi to all our friends there. And there were a few photo ops...

Oops, daddy cut off Truman's head
Yay! So excited to get a photo in the helmet car.
Even if the sun was in our eyes.
After some afternoon napping, we decided to head back up and go to the football game. We were able to walk from home, which was awesome. It was a beautiful day for football and the game started off great!

We only made it to half time before walking home and watching the rest of the game on TV. Unfortunately the Tigers lost in OT, but at least we were there for the good part of the game. Ryleigh had a good time watching the football men and being silly with the other fans sitting around us. She did a great job cheering for the Tigers too. I only wish we'd had someone take our picture at the game - it was pretty tight quarters there in the stadium though. At least we have our helmet car pic.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Great Pumpkins

We decided to go ahead and carve our pumpkins yesterday. We bought three awesome pumpkins on our trip to Peach Tree Farm. They were so pretty in front of our house.

Well some jerk stole the one on right three days after we got it. We came home from work to find the broken stem lying in the driveway. Jerk! We had to replace that one and the little one is too small to carve. So we ended up buying two more pumpkins yesterday at the grocery store.

The best we could do in our attempts to get a pre-carving photo.
I told Ryleigh that we would have to cut the pumpkin open and take out all the guts.
Her response? "I don't know what 'guts' is." Ha ha!

Yummy, want a bite?
They carved a pumpkin at school last week and Ms. Jen told me that Ryleigh wanted absolutely nothing to do with touching the insides or the seeds. But she wanted to be right up close watching the teachers and the other kids do it. At home she was a little more into it, she touched some of the pumpkin insides and played with the seeds.

We told Ry she could decide what kind of face the pumpkin should have; happy, scary, mad... She decided one scary and one happy. The third was TBD. About half way through the carving process she was over it and decided that the pumpkin should have a sad face because she was sad. At that point we had to put the carving on hold until after dinner and bath.

Just look at that concentration

Ron and I finished up after Ry went to bed while we watched the Colts-Broncos game. I haven't carved a pumpkin in years. And Ron said he didn't remember ever carving one. But as it turns out we have some mad carving skills. I mean, these guys turned out AWESOME!

Friday, October 18, 2013


October is Spina Bifida awareness month. I've been tossing around different ideas of what I would say about that. Or if I really needed to say anything at all. In fact I've had three or four drafted posts started, but I just didn't know where exactly to go with it. Well, last night I had an encounter that changed my mind and I realized, yes, I should say at least a little something to help increase awareness here in my little spot on the internet.

Last night at horseback riding another parent or family member was sitting nearby when I was getting Ryleigh ready to ride. She started chatting with us, commenting about how cute Ryleigh is. And she asked about her feet, "does she have in-toeing? My son's feet kind of turn in too," she said pointing at a baby in a stroller. "Yeah," I answered, "she has Spina Bifida, she's pretty much paralyzed below her knees." It was a perfectly fine conversation. I really don't mind if people ask questions, and I'm happy to answer. But then she said, "oh, well I didn't know what was wrong with her." My heart sank a little. Wrong.
"Well, there isn't anything wrong with her," I answered. She asked another question or two and commented again how cute Ryleigh is. And that was the end of our conversation. But not the end of me thinking about it.

I know it was just a poor choice of words. And I know it is not the last time that someone will ask me (or Ryleigh) what is 'wrong' with her. In fact, I have had my answer prepared in my head for that exact scenario quite a long time. But it still stings a little. I didn't expect to be asked that at a therapy session where there are kids with all different kinds of challenges. Don't we all have different challenges?

I recently read this wonderful blog post about talking to kids about people with disabilities. I think she has some really great tips. Kids are curious. And most parents don't really know how to react to blunt questions about a kid in a wheelchair. And that's okay, we're all doing the best we can. It's Ron and my job to make sure Ryleigh knows there is nothing 'wrong' with her and to teach her how to answer the questions. But I think we'll all be better off if we can be a little more aware and understanding of each others' differences.

Ryleigh Says

I know I have mentioned before that we have a talker. Big talker. And she is starting to say some really funny stuff. So I thought I would write some of the cute/funny things Ryleigh says. I got the idea from our friend Crystal, who writes a blog with updates on her two littles, Amelie and James. So thanks for the idea, Crystal!

I've been writing down some of my favorite Ryleigh quotes from the last several weeks.

Watching football:
"He knocked that man over. That's not nice."

One morning getting into the car:
She says, "I see the sun." As she points to the rearview mirror.
I said, "the sun is behind you and that's the reflection you see in the mirror."
"That's weird."

Whenever we are talking about something she thinks is exciting - going to her daycare block party for example - she says, "that will be cool." or "that will be awesome."

"Mac and roni and cheese"

We went to a Mizzou volleyball game and she took an interest in the 5-6 year old boy sitting behind us. She was so excited when she said, "I waved to that boy, mommy! I'm having fun!!"
...And she proceeded to "flirt" with him thru the rest of the match. Oh the look on daddy's face. Ha ha!

Driving next to a convertible with the top down:
"That car is broken."

"Mommy, does Elmo have ears?"
Well, shoot, I don't really know how to answer that one...

Two year olds are so much fun. She makes some of the most amazing observations and says some of the funniest things. I love love love my little smarty pants!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Miracle Marathon

Now for a shameless plug for a good cause:
This month I am participating in the Miracle Marathon. It is a new fundraising event for the Children's Miracle Network - kind of like the March of Dimes. All the participants will be doing a marathon - one mile at a time. A traditional marathon is 26.2 miles and we'll go one more mile "for the kids!" That's 27.2 miles in 27 days. Today is day nine.

You don't have to run, or even walk. You can ride a bike or a scooter or rollerskate. No, driving a mile in your car doesn't count! Ha ha! I've mostly been walking.

I chose to support our local children's hospital, even though that is not where Ryleigh has received most of her medical care. We have gotten such wonderful care at Cardinal Glennon, but I wanted to pay it forward so that local families will benefit from this program. MU Children's Hospital plans to put all the funds raised through Miracle Marathon toward the renovation and expansion of the NICU. Having spent 32 long days in the NICU, we know how important this expansion is for the littlest patients and their families.

My goal is to personally raise at least $272. I hope our friends and family will support this cause. All the money I and my teammates raise stays right here for patients at MU Children's Hospital. Big thanks to mom and Kali who have already donated to my page!

Of course this post wouldn't be complete without a few photos:

A mile with my loves

A mile on my lunch break
(rockin' that sexy 'sneakers with a dress' look)

A mile with my kiddo on my back

So far, so good. I just gotta keep it up through the next few weeks. I hope it doesn't get too cold!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

It's October!

Ryleigh had been talking about going to pick a "punkin" all week. We'd planned to go yesterday, but got rained out. Even though today was chilly and overcast we made the trip out to Peach Tree Farm. I'm so glad we did - we had a great time!

We found a Ryleigh sized pumpkin right away!
 They had lots of animals - goats, ducks, chickens, puppies and more. There were bins of feed around and we made fast friends with some hungry goats.

"He licked my hand!"

Pick your pumpkins right off the vine.

Hayride fun!

"I wanna sit by that red one."

I'm super excited about our pumpkins! 
Did I mention that I love October?!? :-)