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?!? :-)