Friday, February 26, 2010


Dear Riley,

When I met your Daddy I had one year left of college. One year and I was free. No more waiting tables, no more sitting at the library until midnight, no more working 40+ hours a week in addition to school. I could not wait. I was having the time of my life, and then I met your Daddy.

We hadn't known each other very long, but something just felt right. And before long, we found out you were on your way. I wasn't sure I EVER wanted kids or a husband, but I had to adjust quick because that's what I got. I don't recommend the timing or order for anyone, but very lucky for us things worked out. 
We couldn't wait to meet you. About two weeks before you were here, Henry's mom came to stay with us. Mamaw. Mamaw is an entire different story, and I won't go into that now. But one day I will tell you about Mamaw. 
The day before we had you, we got married. Mamaw waved goodbye and took this picture of us...

You definitely don't want to see the full picture. I was huge! On my wedding day! The next day we went to the hospital very early. After waiting for what seemed like forever, you finally made your appearance. You can read about your birthday here.
I was paralyzed for about ten hours after the C-section. I am a planner, and a C-section wasn't in my plan. I was supposed to take care of you the first day, the first night. I was your Momma. And I couldn't move. I could hold you, but only after all the pain medication wore off. Your Daddy stepped right in, without me even really knowing it, and took amazing care of you. He changed your first diaper, you know, the really bad one.

Your Daddy helped me in more ways than I can list those first few weeks. I came to love a new man. Our honeymoon was spent with a new born baby named Riley. We went about things in the "wrong" order, but I wouldn't change one single thing. He is my best friend. I hate to think where you and I would be without him. And have I told you how happy you are to see him when he gets home from work? 
 I love your Daddy more than words can say. And I love you!



Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A different kind of Calendar...

So again, my scouring of the Internet let me to this idea. It's a calendar for birthdays. Only. This will be so useful to me because usually at the end of every year I go through my old calendar and re-list everyone's birthday. Sometimes I mess up and get the wrong date, wrong person, or just leave someone totally out. But this project, this project will make life just a little easier for me.

So, I picked up a simple, black frame at a local craft store for all of $4. I also bought a $.50 piece of paper for the actual calendar. However, I can not draw or write very neatly. But, I do have a little sister...
and she can REALLY draw, paint, has neat handwriting, and is pretty much the craftiest person I know. She works a full-time job and has a sweet baby boy, so her time is limited in the crafting department. She made a few extra minutes this week for her big sister and made this calendar!

I just love it. I keep staring at it hanging on the wall. I think I'm in love.

Here's another picture. Sorry, I don't have a $1,000 camera. But I do have a $100 camera, and guess what? It takes pictures!
January - snowflake
February - hearts
March - four-leaf clover
April - an umbrella with rain drops
May - a chili pepper (Morgan came up with this one. May 5th is Cinco de Mayo)
June - sand pail and shovel
July - firecrackers
August - slice of watermelon
September - a lady bug
October - Halloween themed
November - a cornucopia
December - candy canes

Now, I've got to go fill in everyone's name!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Recycled Cardboard Toddler Chair

So I saw the idea for a toddler chair here.  We wanted to get Riley her own chair for her birthday... and then Christmas... and then when our income tax came in... I don't know why we never bought one. Toddler chairs usually run about $25 or so, but we just never did. So when I saw this idea, I knew I would make my baby a chair! I had all the boxes, some leftover material and a lime green pillow case so I got to work.

I covered all the boxes in fabric with Mod Podge. I let them all dry for several days. Today, I finally got to finish my project when I used my hot glue gun to secure all the boxes together. Here is my finished product!

Yeah, I know you can still see the loves box through the green pillow case, AND A PIECE OF PLAIN WHITE FABRIC! That purple box is serious!

Oh well. Live and Learn. Then get LUVS. 

Riley knew exactly what to do with her chair! Even after just waking up from a nap!

recycled cardboard chair 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Riley Claire - 17 Month Newsletter

Dear Riley,

Today you are 17 months old. You are very active, very nosy, very loving, and very sweet. You ONLY want to do things your way. So I guess that makes you stubborn, like your Daddy, of course.

You still aren't talking other than saying, "dog", "Momma", "Dada", "bite", "bye-bye", "hi" and sometimes "duck". You certainly understand more than that, like when I say, "Are you ready to eat lunch?" you make a bee line to your high-chair. Lots of other things we can tell you to go do or hand to us and you execute those commands perfectly. So instead of talking, you have learned that a whine will get you what you want. You simply whine for something while pointing at it or whine until I guess correctly what it is exactly that you want.  I love you being little and all, but I would really appreciate an "I'm hungry", or "I'm sleepy" instead of me guessing all the time. But, I guess that comes with the territory of being a Mommy.I can't complain all that much, you entertain yourself really well most of the time. And you give the best hugs and kisses EVER!

You really enjoy discovering new things. I gave you some markers today and you scribbled for an hour. Granted you scribbled on EVERYTHING, including your face and the toilet, but you had an amazing time. Little did I know you would be completely devastated when I finally took them away from you. You bucked and flailed and screamed while all I could do was laugh. It was really funny! You were so upset I took those markers away from you.
Oh, I love being your Momma. I have so many hopes and dreams for you. I want you to be an artist, a singer,  a dancer, a writer, a sister, a Mommy, a wife, a leader, a friend, a doctor, a nurse, bilingual, a manager, a lawyer, an Olympian, and a photographer, just to name a few. But most of all, I want you to be you, Riley. I want you to wake up and know that you are beautiful and loved. I want you to know that you CAN do anything in this world. I will always support you 100%. More importantly, I will always love you no matter what. 

Love, Momma

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day Wreath

Don't ask why I decided to make this wreath ON Valentine's Day. As in, the actual day. But, nonetheless I made it. And I think it will hang around until March so I can get good use out of it. I think this wreath is sooo cute! I kind of stole the idea here, but put my own twist on it. Don't you think it turned out super cute?

The "S" word


Dear Riley,

As you know by now, we live in East Texas, and it does not snow here. EVER. I mean, yes, the occasional flurries, maybe some ice, but never much accumulation. I can remember one time when I was about 12 years old when there was enough snow to make a snow ball, a very small snow ball. According to family members, this area received quite a bit of snow in 1981, but neither you or I were around for that snowfall.

But Riley, let me tell you this, on Friday, February 12, 2009 it REALLY snowed! It snowed!
 I took this picture of our street. I have never seen snow like this. My family always took vacations during the summertime so we missed out on wintertime trips. I'll tell you a secret: I still like the beach better than snow! But every once in a while, say every 29 years, snow is pretty awesome. 

We just HAD to take you out into the snow. Had to. 

Let's just say you were not too impressed. It was cold. And wet. And 7:00 a.m.  Sorry sweet girl, I hope one day you appreciate the excitement of SNOW!

This picture was taken right after you did a faceplant in the snow. See that curb behind you? Well, you missed it and your face was the first thing to hit the snow. We could still see the impression your face left in the snow when I picked you up. And, if you know where to look, you can see your face in the snow. Just ask me to show you when you read this. But we didn't laugh, not us. 
As my friend Lauren just said, "Snow confuses young Texans."
In thirty years, I hope you can enjoy a magnificent snowfall with your own family.

I love you!

Love, Momma

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sweet Dreams

Dear Riley,

I love the moment when your eyes finally flutter for the last time of the day... You sink into a deep sleep, and thankfully, since you were about 5 months you have been an excellent sleeper. You like, and have always liked, to go to sleep on your own. You have two special blankets you like to sleep with, and your stomach is your favorite position.

This is you in the hospital. I think it was taken just a little while after you were born, but I'm not sure since I was pretty much knocked out. I wish I could have that time back of your first moments, but I guess I can keep wishing. Your Daddy took excellent care of you while I was in-and-out due to pain medicine. You slept so much when we first bought you home. 
This was one of my most favorite outfits. I loved the color blue. Look at your hair! Or, I should say, where is your hair? You look so peaceful sleeping here. It took me a few months to get you all figured out, and I still don't know much. But, we had to get to know you and your personality, when you wanted to eat, when you wanted to sleep, and when you wanted to play. Looking back, most of the time you wanted to sleep but I thought you were just fussy because you wanted me to sing you a lullaby. The books I read didn't tell me everything I needed to know like I thought they did!

I've got that syndrome where I think my kid is the sweetest, best looking, smartest kid in the whole wide world! And look at this picture... is it not the sweetest?
This was one of those days when I still didn't know you needed a nap every couple of hours or so. I never could figure out why you were so fussy. I fed you so much. I bet you had stomach aches. I can't tell you how many times I went to make you a bottle, only to come back and find you snoozing. It wasn't until you were about 9 months old when I started keeping Braxton that I really learned how to take care of a baby. Crunched for time and energy keeping the two of you, I began to check for sleepiness cues before I checked for hunger cues, and boy, did that make a difference. Sorry about all those days when you were sleepy and I shoved a bottle in your face. I still love you madly!

Ahh, the sleep that comes in a moving vehicle. I absolutely love watching you fall asleep through the rear-view mirror.  I promise I watch the road too, but glimpsing you dozing off in your car seat makes me smile. 


Sweet dreams, Riley. 
I love you, 

Love, Momma

Monday, February 8, 2010

You are a mess!

Dear Riley,

The title says it all: You are a mess! Some days you get so crazy I just have to shake my head and remember that you are, afterall, half-Cajun. ;) Theoretically you aren't, but I will always give you a hard time about that! And your Momma and Daddy had the same last name even before they got married. Some people give me the crazy look, like, "Were you related?" I explain the story to them and wonder if an explanation is even warranted since Smith is the most common last name in the United States.

You are special, no doubt about it. You love to love. You love to give other babies a kiss (or sugar as we call them!), you love to rub their heads and say, "oh, oh, oh!" You like to lay your head on my shoulder (which I love), you LOVE your Daddy, and you love being the center of attention. You break out into a dance anytime you hear music. And girl, can you shake it! Your Daddy is ready to put you in dance RIGHT NOW. I think I can talk him into holding off for another year or two, but he's pretty adamant.

You stayed in the nursery at Church yesterday for the entire service. I actually got to sit with the congregation and pay attention for the first time since you were born. Granted, I was worried about you and thought about you then ENTIRE time, I was so very proud of you. After church when I went to get you, I was told you wouldn't play with anyone and had wanted to be held the whole time. You just don't like being away from your Momma! That makes me smile.

I love you sweet girl and just wanted to write you a short note. I am substituting today and all I can do is think about you and wonder what your Daddy is feeding you for lunch. Maybe I shouldn't think about that part!



Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cool can

I had been looking at this HUGE green bean can for a few hours. For some reason I couldn't throw it away. And then I spied my hot glue gun and remembered I had some cute fabric in the craft closet.  So I set to work and although this is simple, I am very pleased with the results. I also can't wait to get a piece of ribbon to tie around the can to make my creation complete!

Symphony Stories

Dear Riley,

Today I took you to The Tyler Public Library. The Brookhill School's String Orchestra came to the library to serenade preschool kids. Let's just say you had the best time of your life.

First, we sat down and listened to the musicians warm up. You definitely enjoy music yourself, so you sat very still listening. When the show began you were already bored so you began to get into trouble. You walked up to a little girl and tried to take her doll. Then you walked up to several other kids and would touch them with just your index finger. And then run away. As much as I tried to get you to come sit back down beside me, you would walk off even farther. So I just sat there and kept my eye on you making sure you didn't get too out of hand.

After the orchestra was finished playing it was time for Story Time. A very nice lady sat in the middle of about 50 preschoolers and read a story. You love books. So when she began reading you walked right up to her and listened. For about 5 seconds. Then it was on to dancing and twirling and laughing and anything except listening to the story. We had to make a quick exit when you got too silly and fell right on your face. I thought I could muffle your cries a little so the other kids could listen, but I was WRONG. I shuffled us out the door and I think everyone in the room was glad we were gone.

You had a blast and I had an even better time watching you. I can't wait to go back to the library for another fun activity!

Love you sweet girl,



Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Just wanted to share this picture...

Dear Riley,

This was probably one of the most traumatic moments of your life. Santa Claus won't hurt you, and one day I hope you love the thought of Santa. I know some kids never, ever like him. I always loved Santa, so I'm hoping you will one day come around.

Also, I guess you can say I am already exploiting you and Braxton: I sent this picture to a web site. Click here

Love you!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Riley Claire 16 Month Newsletter

Dear Riley,

All your previous newsletters were written on Facebook. I stopped writing monthly newsletters after you turned one partly because I thought all my Facebook friends would get tired of reading them. Or think they were stupid. I don't think they are stupid and have missed talking to you. I miss writing down my feelings for you. Most of all I miss telling you about yourself and the things you are doing. So, on this site, I am going to pick up my tradition and write you monthly, maybe even weekly sometimes. Who knows, I may end up writing daily, we'll just see how it goes.

Anyway, I'm writing you this note while you are supposed to be taking a nap. I still look forward to nap time. I, like you, use nap time as a rejuvenation time and I usually enjoy the few minutes of peace.

This afternoon, I put you in your bed with your blankets and started you music. About 15 minutes later, I heard you talking. Jabbering up a storm. Forty five minutes later you are still going strong. You haven't let out any cries, so I am going to leave you. You must be having fun! I think I know why you aren't asleep when you should be; in the past 5 days, I have let you go the entire day without a nap twice. Maybe you think you are getting used to one nap a day. Well, let me tell you Miss, YOU AREN'T! You need your rest. If you don't get a nap you are very fussy after dinner. Nothing suits you. So, I am going to do my best to get you back on your nap schedule.

Yesterday, after a birthday party, you fell down in the parking lot. I picked you up and your mouth was full of blood. I can say I didn't freak out, but I definitely didn't know what to do. I ran you back inside the building and attempted to flush your mouth out. You on the other hand, began sucking on your lip. You sucked on your lip the whole way home. I gave you a green tractor sucker to ease the pain because let's face it, you love a sucker. An hour after the busted lip incident and you had forgotten ALL about it. Today your lip is pretty swollen, but I think you will recover just fine.

Your favorite playmate is still your Daddy. You love when he tickles you. Listening to you two play makes my heart feel full. I couldn't ask for anything else in the world.

Stay sweet Riley,

I love you!


Riley Claire - Fall 2009 Newsletter

Originally Written - December 16, 2009
Dear Riley,

I'm going to try and get a few lines in while you a playing. I say this because it isn't too often you let me do anything other than play with you. Let's just say you require a lot of attention. Your Doctor says your separation anxiety is normal and you will grow out of it. You don't want me to leave the room. If I do, you follow me. If I drop you off somewhere, you cry. No, you wail. Oh, and did I mention you don't like other people?

I'm not complaining because I know how lucky I am. I like to think you just like me. Even your Daddy would get tired of being with me all the time. But not you. You love your Mommy. You love ME.

Riley, you are already so caring. You want to help me when I take care of another baby. You wipe their faces, you try to feed them, and you try to help me change their diaper. You are a big help!

Wherever we go, people notice your smile. You have the biggest, prettiest smile. You love to laugh and giggle and read books. Your favorite toy is a ball. You just learned to point at your nose when I say, "Do you know where your nose is?"

Santa Claus is coming to see you in just a few days. You are going to be totally surprised! Your Daddy and I have put a lot of thought into your gifts, so I hope you like them. What am I saying? You are going to go crazy!

I love you sweet girl. Always remember that.



Riley Claire - 12 Month Newsletter

Originally Written - September 14, 2009

Dear Riley,

In two days you will officially turn 1. That's 365 days old. 365 days we've made together. The best year of my life!

Let me tell you a little bit about yourself. You don't like carrots anymore. You did, but now you don't. I don't know what happened, but you detest them now. You only want to eat if you are feeding yourself. Miss. Independent. You like to put a cell phone or remote up to your ear like you are talking into it. And then, we say, "Hello," and you love that. You have also reached another major milestone: walking! Yep, you can walk. You walk when you don't need to get somewhere in a hurry. If you are in a hurry, you can get there faster if you crawl.

And one more thing: Before you were born, Aunt Morgan, Daddy and I worked really hard to paint your crib. It's pink. The crib was hard to paint because there were several curves in the wood. Nevertheless, in 100 degree heat, we painted it for you. Now that you have two top teeth, you have started teething on your crib. The paint is coming off where you have been chewing!

Riley, there are so many things I want to tell you. You are absolutely amazing. Your first breath took mine away, and you continue to do so. You light up my day, and I love it when you say Momma. You remind me that I am not too good to scrape green beans off the floor. You remind me that my favorite T.V. show is not more important than letting you splash in the bath tub. When you go to sleep at night I check on you half a dozen times. You are my precious girl and I need to know you are fine.

I grew up without a Mommy. I promise you will never know that feeling. Your first day of school, I will be there to hold your hand. When you are trying on basketball uniforms, I will be there to help you decide on the right size. When you get your heart broken for the first time, I will be there to hold you. When you get married, your Daddy and I will give you away. And many more countless events in your life, I will always be there. You will always know your Mommy loves and cares about you. I love you.



Riley Claire - 11 Month Newsletter

 Originally Written - August 15, 2009

Dear Riley,

Tomorrow you will be 11 months old going on 13 years old. What a mess you are! If only I had an ounce of your energy I could clean house, wash clothes and take care of you and Braxton like I was sitting on a beach! You truly are like a little whirlwind coming at me.

You are very "busy;" ALWAYS playing with something, getting into things, and letting me know what you want. From throwing the DVD's all over the room, to emptying Braxton's diaper bag, 800 times a day, you ensure the living room looks like a toy box. But that's ok, Riley, I love it when you make a mess. I know one day I will miss your messes and miss tripping over your toys while almost breaking my neck.

One thing you inherited from me: your appetite! I am so lucky you are a good eater. It doesn't matter what I throw on your tray, you will eat it. Lately, we have been on a watermelon kick and I think you have eaten more watermelon than I have. The juice runs over your little Buddha belly. You don't seem to mind as long as the watermelon keeps on coming. Oh, and you also like the good stuff: sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, peas, etc.

Riley, you love your Daddy. It is the sweetest thing! You two crawl around on the floor growling at each other like you are gorillas. You throw a ball back and forth, play guitar together, and give me a hard time. Your Daddy works very hard so that I can stay home and take care of you. I hope one day you realize the sacrifices Your Daddy has made for you. (By the way, you already have him wrapped around your finger, so it's ok with me if you ask for a really expensive car when you turn 16!)

I love you sweet baby. You are the light of my life. You bring so much joy to me just when I think I am going to loose my mind and have a breakdown. You are the reason I get up in the morning (and the reason I breathe a sigh of relief when you take a nap!). You keep me on track and keep me in check. You are an angel and I will forever cherish our long days together while you are little. You are my best friend and I love you. That's all, I just love you. Achingly.



P.S. Oh, you are beginning to take your first steps. And you have a HUGE front top tooth growing in.

Riley Claire - 10 Month Newsletter

Originally Written - July 17, 2009
Dear Riley,

Well, here we are again: another month down and another newsletter. I hope you enjoy these when you are older. These whole 10 months have flown by. You have already grown into a personaliy that has to be reckoned with. I suppose you get bored with me in the living room - sometimes you wander to other parts of the apartment on your own. Usually to the kitchen.

You have a friend for life in Braxton. Today, you were shaking a toy at him acting like you were playing with him. Then you layed down on top of him and made him cry. Watch it, Riley. One day he will be a big fellow and will pay you back.

Now that you are on your way to adulthood, you can feed yourself with your fat little hands. Hooray! And then I look at the mess on the floor... You are a watermelon girl just like your Momma. You and I can eat our own half of a watermelon. There are no foods you refuse to eat. If I put something on your tray, you do your best to get it to your mouth. You get mad if I don't let you feed yourself.

I also have to tell you about how you and your Daddy play together. Tonight, he cleared his throat, you copied him. You two did this for 15 minutes. If he walks in the room, you completely ignore me and head straight for him. You could care less that I am the one who stayed up late with you, who pumped your milk for 4 1/2 months, who has changed the majority of your diapers, you get the drift.

When I was younger, I would hold a baby and wish they would voluntarily lay their head on my shoulder - I craved that. Thank you Riley for finally giving me that gift. You will crawl up in my lap and lay your head on my shoulder. It doesn't matter if I am holding Braxton, you try to make room for yourself. Sometimes you just want a hug from your Momma. Sometimes I just need a hug from My Riley.

Wow. We have made it so far in less than a year. From the first week you came home, not able to hold your head up by yourself, to this week, telling me "no-no" for taking your new toy (MY CELL PHONE!) away. We are careening towards one year and all I want to do is stop time. Don't grow up, stay my little baby forever!

I love you always.

Love Momma

The Day You Were Born

Originally Written - July 8, 2009
Dear Riley,

I want to tell you about the day you were born before I forget. You are growing up so fast and I feel like if I don't write it down I won't be able to remember everything! So, here we go...

Leading up to your arrival, my doctor, Dr. Gregory Mondini, suspected you weren't in the right position to be born naturally. We kept waiting on you to make your arrival, but I guess you LOVED it in my belly. We would have to induce. On Tuesday, September 16, 2008, your Daddy, your Mamaw (Henry's Mom) and I went to the hospital at 5:30, IN THE MORNING. You better be glad I love you, because that is way too early to be up moving around! Little did I know I would be up a lot at 5:30 a.m. in the weeks after you were born.

So we got to the hospital and checked in and the nurses got me hooked up to medicine to help you come out a little faster. Family members started arriving to meet you, but you were nowhere to be seen. After a couple hours, Dr. Mondini came in to check on our progress. Nothing. He ordered a CAT scan of my pelvis to see if you would fit through my pelvis. The answer: I HAVE A PETITE PELVIS. Who in the world would have thought your Mommy would have small hips? Certainly not me. I assumed I was perfectly suited to have babies, one after another. I guess it was not to be, so we waited around until 12:30 to find out what I already suspected: You would be born via C-section.

Riley, before I had you I had only been to the doctor for check-ups and shots, nothing major in the least. No real broke bones, no stitches. A C-section is major abdominal surgery. Before you were born I read all the books and websites I could about giving birth. However, I never even glanced at the sections on C-sections. I didn't have enough time to get scared. When I look back now, it's plenty scary.

At around 1:45 in the afternoon, the nurses came for me. I had to walk to the operating room while your Daddy stayed in the room putting his scrubs on. It was the first time all day we had been separated; I wanted your Daddy with me. I walked into a big operating room. There was a big, bright light shining down on a bed. The nurses had to help me climb up on the bed. Next, I had to get the anesthesia shot in my back. I was not worried about this, I knew women got these shots everyday. I relaxed and followed the nurses instructions. I felt them messing with my back (still not nervous at this point). Now, the nurses helped me lay down so the anesthesia would go to my lower body. I did what they said, and waited for what happened next. After a few minutes, one of the doctors began sticking my belly with a pin. He wanted to know if I could feel the pin prick. I could. He said, "Are you sure?" "Uh, yes, I am sure I feel you sticking me with the pin." He poked around for another few minutes, satisfied, he turned to leave the operating room. Just as he was at the door, he said, "Put your knees up." With the type of anesthesia I had received, I should not have been able to feel the pin prick, and definitely should not have been able to put my knees up on the table. I should have been paralyzed from the chest down.

When the doctor asked me to put my knees up, I sat my feet right up on the table. I could still move and feel my legs. The doctor began to ask the nurses why I still had feeling. Apparently, the first epidural hadn't took. I needed a second epidural. I AM VERY NERVOUS AT THIS POINT. I just wanted your Daddy in the room with me. I needed someone I knew to tell me everything was going to be fine. The anesthesiologist administered another epidural. This time, he had me as numb as a rubber chicken. I couldn't feel anything. Then, your Daddy appeared at my side. He had his scrubs on and a face mask. The only part of him I could see were his eyes and I could tell that he was just as nervous as I was.

The doctors had already started working on me. They told your daddy he could stand up and watch. He stood up, but immediately sat back down. He would not be watching the doctors cut me open and bring you out. When he sat down, I began to feel like I wasn't breathing. I had to watch my heart beat and pulse on the monitor beside my head to assure myself that I was still breathing. The doctors were tugging and pulling on my body, applying a great deal of pressure to try and get you out. I felt like someone was sitting on my chest. I never want to experience that sensation again.

I never thought the tugging and pulling would end. Finally, one of the doctors told us we were getting close to having a baby. At 2:21 p.m. (the exact same time I was born) you made your debut. The doctors handed you off to the nurses waiting nearby. Your daddy followed with you. I still hadn't heard you cry. I couldn't see you, people were standing in the way. After a minute or so, you started crying. One of the nurses working on you started calling you Pumpkin Head. They wrapped you up and you and your daddy came over to the table I was still laying on. I started crying and gave you a kiss on your head. Your daddy was teary-eyed too. It was the first time I ever met you.

I didn't see you again for about an hour. The doctors had given me some sort of medicine, and I went to sleep for most of that hour. Your daddy stayed with you the whole time. He never left your side. When I was finally being moved, I was wheeled down a hallway and saw everyone who had come to meet you. The only person I remember seeing was Sara Boykin. I was very groggy. The nurses set me up in a room and I got to hold you for the first time. Remember that medicine I told you about a minute ago, well whatever that was sent me for a loop. I don't remember holding you that first time. The next thing I remember clearly was at about 7:00 that night. It makes me so sad to think I missed your first 5 hours on this planet.

Later, your daddy told me that when you first came out, you were having trouble breathing. The nurses started getting worried that you had too much fluid in your lungs. I guess God knew what he was doing by making sure I was knocked out. I would have been so upset. You finally came around and started breathing just fine.

You haven't slowed down since. I am so happy I was able to bring you into this world. I would not take those first few days in the hospital for anything in the world. I will always remember the day I met Riley Claire Smith.

Love you sweet girl,


Riley Claire - 9 Month Newsletter

Originally Written - June 16, 2009
Riley Claire,

Today, you are 9 months old. Although you are still an infant, you sometimes act like a teenager: You get mad when I tell you no, you don't like to go to bed on time, you don't like to help clean your room and you get water all over the bathroom when you take a bath. I did not know what I was getting into when you came into this world.

Your cousin Braxton started staying at home with us during the day a couple weeks ago. And girl let me tell you, you did not like him. You wanted his diapers, his bottle, his pacifier, anything that was designated Braxton's, you thought it belonged to you. Slowly but surely, you are coming around. Now, you don't have to sit in my lap when I feed him or change his diaper. It's made Braxton's life a lot easier. Now, he just needs to watch his private area. That seems to be the only thing of Braxton's that interests you anymore.

You have also developed a new behavior: SEVERE separation anxiety. You are my little shadow around the house. Wherever I go, you are not far behind. The shower is no exception. You love your Momma. At times, it is very trying. But Riley, I would not know how to function without you following me all over the house.

You are your own person. You love me like no other. Your Daddy is your favorite play friend. You two play in such a sweet way, that whenever you are playing together I have to stop and watch. It makes me smile. I know how lucky I am to have you. You are one of a kind and I wouldn't take the world for you.

I love you Sweet Girl



I'll Be There

 Originally Written - May 17, 2009
When you need a hug
I'll be there

When you need a shoulder
I'll be there

When you need someone to tell you the truth
I'll be there

When you need someone to laugh with
I'll be there

When you need a hand to hold
I'll be there

When you are scared
I'll be there

When you need a break
I'll be there

When you cry
I'll be there

When you can't cry anymore
I'll be there

When you smile
I'll be there

When you need me
I'll be there

When you look for me and I am not there
I'll be there

Leaving work to be a SAHM

Originally Written - May 15, 2009

So that's right, after years of wishing for a 9:00 - 5:00, I am ditching my 8:30 - 5:30 to go BACK TO SCHOOL and stay at home with Riley. I graduated in December with a B.A. in Marketing, and I love the field. I find it so curious to figure out why a person buys what they buy and the influences involved. Leaving my job was a tough decision and I did not make it easily. After years of waiting tables, I turned into a jaded waitress who didn't think twice about leaving a customer with an empty drink for 5 WHOLE MINUTES. I learned a lot about people and their motivations while waiting tables. Waiting tables was a lot like working at cue:creative. I should probably clear something up: I never took part in tampering with customers' food. I was a willing witness especially after this one horses rear made me cry. And for the most part, no one's food was tampered with. Be nice to your server. Hello, they handle your food! And, gratuity is much appreciated. ($10 bill = $2 tip, $20 bill = $4 tip, $40 bill = $8 tip, you get the picture?)

But anyway, back to school I go. Not 100% sure what I am going to end up doing, but most likely getting a teaching degree. One day I would love to be a professor. But for now, I think a teaching degree is what's best for my family. I will be able to see my Sweet Girl for more than 3 hours a day and during the summer she is all mine. Not to mention, since I have been working full time, my house has gone into disarray. We are like whirling dervishes leaving a path of destruction.

I am also going to have the pleasure of keeping my new nephew, Braxton. My sister and I hope they grow up like brother and sister. They are only 7 1/2 months apart.

So anyway, if you need me this summer, I will be waist deep in dirty diapers and spit-up with a big smile on my face.


Riley Claire - 8 Month Newsletter

Originally Written - May 11, 2009
Big girl,

We have made it 8 whole months. At about 10 diapers a day, that's over 2,400 diapers! That's correct, 2,400. And now, you won't lay still long enough to get a clean diaper on, so the diaper ends up sideways on you. That leads to an even bigger mess as you can imagine. You are growing so big and getting so smart. When you are next to your new cousin Braxton, you look like a pubescent teenager. You can no longer fit into your age group clothes, you are in the next size. You are TALL. Where did this height come from? Sometimes I have to ask you to reach the sugar on the top shelf for me. And you will. You love your Mommy. You love to bury your head in my chest and sometimes you like to head-butt me. That explains my busted lip. Next time I will get out of the way.

You have started this rocking and jumping phase. Constantly. You think it is the funniest thing. And do you think you are still in church? No ma'am, you aren't. What is it about church that you won't be still for two minutes? I actually work up a sweat during CHURCH. And of course, the only time you drop your toy is during the prayer. I get these sneers from everyone around us. Sneers, thankfully don't seem to bother you.

You are a sweetheart. You love to give these open-mouth kisses. I would take a million from you. You are your Daddy's little girl. He loves to get on the floor and crawl around with you. You two are going to be trouble I can already tell.

Some nights you won't go to sleep on your own. I lay you on my chest, and in 5 seconds you are out. You just wanted your Mommy. I am here for you sweet girl, always and forever.

Love, Mommy


 Originally Written - May 5, 2009
Riley Claire has reached mobility. Before, she could do a scoot of sorts, but now, now we have reached full-on, can't keep up with her, MOBILITY. She doesn't stay in the same place, or room for that matter. Not only is she going places, she is leaving a path of destruction.

The things she destroys....

If something is within her reach, or if she can get to it, she will soak it with slobber and manipulate the object to an unrecognizable form. My pretty decorations, Henry's things (guitar, guitar pick, Guitar Hero, fishing magazines, etc, etc, etc), the DVD player, shoes, nothing is too big an obstacle for Riley Claire. She relishes in the destruction.

And SHE KNOWS how to make me anxious. She crawls places I do not want her to. For example: my closet. A normal closet, full of shoes. Not just any shoes, but shoes that have walked almost every surface known to man. Shoes that have walked many terrains, killed many insects, stepped on many, many pieces of gum. And what does Miss Riley head straight for? The germ infested shoes!! A stiletto in one hand, a flip-flop in another. The look on her face when she gets caught: Mommy, I was just licking them up and down. Please don't take my new toy away.

After a thorough mouth scrubbing, it is back to mobility.

Ahh, the life of mobility. It is all down hill from here.

Riley Claire - 7 Month Newsletter

 Originally written - April 23, 2009

Sweet Girl,

The two months before you arrived, I didn't sleep well. The four months after you arrived, I didn't sleep at all. That was a total of six months of sleepless, worry-filled, crazy nights. Most of the time, just you and me on the couch, watching strange things on the television. I finally feel like I am out of a fog and can actually hold an intelligent conversation with an adult. The reason I haven't written you any previous newsletters: I was still at the stage where I thought, "If that baby is sleeping, I HAVE to sleep too." I think I am a better Mommy now. Thank you for making me a Mommy. It's the most fun I have ever had.

You have just figured out how to "move around." I don't say crawl because well, it's nothing like a crawl. It's more like a dolphin flop. You try so hard, and I could spend hours watching you. Now that mobility has commenced, I spent all last weekend Riley-proofing the house. Socket covers in sockets, moved all my nice decorations to the closet, and rubber-banned the cabinets. Not only are you moving around everywhere, you like to get into things. My cellphone for example: You LOVE to chew on it. And you love the thing even better when it vibrates or lights up. The problem you ask? So much slobber has soaked in that I can't hear out of it any more! I have to talk to everyone on speaker phone. The toy cellphone I got for you will not substitute either. You know the difference and will immediately start looking for "the real thing."

You never meet a stranger. You love to smile and be held. You love to splash in the bathtub. You love whipped cream. And cookie cakes. You love your Daddy too.

I love you sweet girl and will always be your Mommy. You make me so proud and I can not wait to see you grow up to be a beautiful woman.

Love you baby!




Life is not so much about beginnings and endings as it is about going on and on and on. It is about muddling through the middle. - Anna Quindlen

Riley is 16 1/2 months old. I know there are many things about her and our days together that I have already forgotten. I don't want to forget. 

I want to look back on this blog and remember. Remember her smile, her voice, her laughter, her fat belly, her love, her eyes, everything about her. And one day, I want her to be able to look back and know she has a Momma who would give anything, do anything, be anything, FOR HER.  

I love you Riley!