Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dallas World Aquarium

Dear Riley,

So far, I’ve had great success with jury duty. Not only do I miss a day of work, but I get released at 9:30, every time. So a couple of days ago when we found ourselves with nothing to do and me off work, we decided to take you to the Dallas World Aquarium. I had been in high school, but you and your daddy had never been to anything like it!

We loved walking around and looking at nature with you. You, not so much. When you finally got over the smell and quit gagging you really had a great time. I should mention, Daddy took you to the zoo a few weeks ago and you gagged the whole time there too.

And anyway, your dad took 100 photos of wildlife, you can look at those sometime if you want. Here are the good ones!




1200 lb river manatee! You really liked him!


My favorite, the Orinoco River Croc, only 250 left in the wild!



And you’ve reached the age that you don’t like your picture taken; you hide your face every time.

We had a pretty great day! Love you and our little family!

Love, Mama

Monday, May 16, 2011

Riley Claire–2 years, 8 month newsletter

Dear Riley,
These months go by way too fast for me. I can still remember when you needed to be burped all the time, and were learning to walk.
You are a big bundle of energy in a tiny body. You run, jump, flip, and flop all day long. You love to play catch with Daddy. If it’s outside, that’s fine with you. You love to write with sidewalk chalk and are learning to ride a pink tricycle.
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You like to meet new friends, or ballerinas as you call them. Every girl is a ballerina, but you are a princess. I don’t know where you come up with some of the things you say!
Your favorite question is “What’s that?” To which, I can’t ignore; you demand an answer. And to many answers, you have another question, “What’s that?”
You still don’t sleep in your bed all the way through the night. At least once during the night, one of us has to get up and sleep with you, or have you sleep in our bed. I prefer to sleep in your bed a few minutes and then get back in my bed, where I can actually get some sleep. But, laying with you is so peaceful: I could watch you dream all night. Your breathing is even and quiet, your chest rises and falls rhythmically, and your eyes sometimes flutter with the sweet dreams you are having.
And, we know you dream. You dream about getting married quite a bit. You can’t stop talking about getting married many mornings.
You’ve recently began taking care of babies. You like to hold them and love on them, make the dolls “play”, and push the dolls in a stroller. I heard this conversation the other day:
You: “You want to go to the park?”
Dolls: Silence
You: “I bet you do.”
Riley, you have very tender feelings. Harsh scolding or lack of attention will send you pouting and sometimes bring you to tears. You have cute fake whimper that you use at no discretion.
Love you more than I ever thought was possible. You’re my sweet girl.
Love, Mama

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Best Friend

Dear Riley,

One day you will have a best friend; I hope she is as good as my best friend is.

Sara and I met in 1st grade. I think it took a little while for us to reach “best friend” status, but I know in 4th grade we were pretty close. That’s the year Sara wrote me a note during class and I turned it into the teacher because of all the grammatical errors. They was “thay”. That’s the one error I remember.

Through the years, Sara’s grammar improved and so did our friendship. Sara’s house was the place to be when I was in 9th grade, so we were constantly together. We’ve definitely been through ups and downs, but we had a blast together at our Sr. prom, even though Sara’s curfew was midnight. We didn’t have much business being out passed midnight anyway, we we thought it was tragic at the time.

I could always count on Sara, whether it was to go visit my mom in jail two hours away, spy on a boyfriend, or tell my deepest secrets to, Sara was ALWAYS there for me. I’m ashamed to say that she is a better friend to me than I am to her.

Sara is the first person I remember seeing after I had you. Coming out of a fog after a C-section was one of the scariest things I’ve ever been through. To look up and see Sara comforted my heart. I knew if Sara, my best friend, was there, my baby and I would be fine. I know Sara would do anything for both of us.

It hasn’t taken long for Sara to turn into Aunt Sara. And Riley, you think the sun rises and sets on Aunt Sara. She’s spoiled you so much, that every time you see her you ask, “Where is my present?”


I have a thousand pictures of me and Aunt Sara together. They all basically look like the picture above. Sara is the best friend anyone could ever ask for.

A couple weeks ago, Aunt Sara called to ask if she could kidnap you for a few hours. Of course I said yes, and then asked why. Aunt Sara took you to “create” a Mother’s Day present for me.


Piddlin Pottery is a local business that allows you to pick out a piece of pottery and then paint it. A few weeks later you go and pick up your creation. Painting was right up your alley. Aunt Sara likes to paint too.


You selected a plate (Aunt Sara probably picked that) and a princess figurine.


The plate says, “I’ll always be your little girl.” This gift brought tears to my eyes. Your little hand print and art work was more than I could handle. Not to mention the thought Aunt Sara put into this gift. I’ll cherish this plate and figurine forever.

Riley, I hope one day you have a best friend that is half as great as mine. I can tell you countless stories about Aunt Sara and the many times she’s bailed me out of jams, but suffice it to say, I’ll never find a better friend than Aunt Sara.

Love you Sara! Thanks for being a great friend to me and my baby. It means more than you’ll ever, ever know!

Love, Mama

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

16 days and counting

Until I don’t have to work and can stay home with you!

Dear Riley,

This morning was pretty tough: I had to shut the door to leave for work with you screaming for me to stay. Granted you only cry a few minutes when I leave, it’s still one of the hardest things I have to do nearly every morning. I hate leaving you, and most of all, I hate to see you cry when I leave.

Riley, just know you’re all I think about during my day. I love you so much! You make me a better person.


Love, Mama

Monday, May 2, 2011


Dear Riley,

A week ago, an evil man was removed from our world. My heart surged with pride when I learned Osama bin Laden was dead as a result of American forces.

In 2001, I was a carefree 11th grade student. I was working at a local restaurant making my own spending money. I was worried about a boy, playing sports, and hanging out with friends. Life was great.

On September 11, 2001, at about 8:30, I somehow managed to get out of class for the next hour. I decided to go to my on-again-off-again boyfriend's house and hang out with his mother. Wow, what was I thinking. When I walked in the door, the news was on talking about how an airplane had flew into a big building in New York City. I gave the news story a passing glance and started visiting.

As my hour away from school came to an end, I made my way back to school. Unbeknownst to me, the school had been placed on lockdown because of the terrorist attacks in New York. So, there I was, locked out of school. It didn't take long for school personnel to discover I was missing, and when I returned, I was promptly put in ISS for skipping school.

It took several years for me to realize the magnitude of that day, not only for myself, but for the thousands of people in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11th, the thousands of soldiers fighting against the terrorists, and the families of all those affected. September 11th was a day that will never be forgotten.

I think bin Laden's death will be an event that people will ask, "Where were you when you heard bin Laden was killed?" I was spending the night with Paw-Paw and Tio. Your daddy called me on the phone and asked if I heard what had happened. Of course I hadn't, but I immediately turned the channel away from "Deadliest Catch" and on to the news. When I heard the news last night that Osama bin Laden had been killed, I couldn't believe the news. This man terrorized Americans all over the world. Bin Laden wanted to extinguish every American from the face of the planet, even you. His evil actions prove how ugly people can be, and he is the epitome of evil and malevolence.

Last night I was glad. Glad for the people directly effected by his schemes, and glad that he can not extinguish your life from this world. Never will you have to fear the name, Osama bin Laden. You will, however, probably always fear terrorists and their plotting.

I hope you one day have a pride for the country you were born in. America is the greatest nation in the world, and I could not be more proud to live and work here. I am thankful you were born into America as well, so that you can realize all the freedoms we do have.

Have pride in your country. Not everyone has the same opportunities as you do or will.

I love you,