Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Dear Riley,

I’ve always heard that smell is one of humanities strongest senses, and I’m here to attest to that thought.

As part of Aunt Ma and Uncle Eric’s baby shower gift, they included a pump bottle of Lavender scented Germ-X.


When you were a newborn, your daddy and I were scared of the germs people would bring into our house. So we conveniently placed our bottle of Germ-X on the coffee table where all visitors would be encouraged to clean their hands before holding you.

It turns out, your daddy and I used more of the Germ-X than any visitors. Between feedings and diapers, my hands got very dry and cracked from using the Germ-X so much. I didn’t really think about it at the time, but our house smelled like sweet lavender.

bathsleep with babiessleepwith dad

Almost three years later, anytime I smell the faint scent of lavender, my heart goes back to those first days and weeks spent with you. You were my tiny baby, so sweet-smelling and soft. Your cries awoke something deep inside me, forever changing how I would live, breathe, and sleep.

Lavender, forever will I associate with My Baby.

Love you more than I can express.

Love, Mama

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tell Me All Your Problems

Dear Riley,

According to the “Internets”, you are 2 years, 9 months, 1 week, and 2 days old; that means you say the funniest things imaginable at any given time. I need to be more proactive in writing down the funny things you say, because I know one day you will cringe at some of the things you come up with.

Let me just tell you, it’s a daily ordeal hearing something new from you. The most sincere phrases are usually the funniest.

Example: The following scenario was played out in our apartment - -

It’s not out-of-the-ordinary for you to follow me around the house during the day. There are no places off limits, including when I need to use the restroom.

A few days ago, I felt the urge, and you followed me right into the bathroom. You sat down across from me on your potty, put your chin in your hands, and in the most unaffected tone said, “Tell me about your problems.”

(Insert me laughing hysterically here)

We have no idea where you might have heard this phrase, or where you learned to use the soft inflection in your voice when you said it. All I know, is your sweet sentence made my day. I’ve told everyone I know about this incident. What people don’t know, is that you say something extremely funny every hour.


So Riley, here’s to me keeping better track of your everyday ramblings, and you continuing to ramble so I have more fodder for your letters.

Love you so much,


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Father’s Day

Dear Riley,
On this Father’s Day, I want to tell you about my daddy, PawPaw.
My daddy has always been my hero. My first word was “DaDa” and I was a huge Daddy’s-girl. I needed Daddy to lay down with me at night before I could go to sleep. I thought my daddy was so cool because he would tuck his cigarettes between his shirt and shoulder.
Looking back, the thing I admire most about my daddy is this: After he divorced my Mom, there came a time when we weren’t safe living with her. In 1989, at 3 1/2 and 18 months, my daddy got me and Aunt Ma from our mother. No more sleeping in a car in our car seats, drinking evaporated milk because that was the only thing  to drink when I was thirsty, no more drugs and alcohol surrounding us, Daddy took us with him to Grandmom and Grandad’s. To this day, I still remember waking up in that car seat and trying to get into the house. All the doors were locked and no one would answer my little knocks. I still remember the taste of evaporated milk, something I can’t stand to drink now. I still remember that first taste of beer that was given to me when I said I was thirsty. Daddy took us from a hard life with no prospects, to a safe haven.
There were vacations every summer. Hot Springs, San Antonio, Galveston, Branson, Chatanooga, to name a few. We were always on the go with Daddy. And when we went places, the sky was the limit to what we could do. I remember the trips to Wal-Mart to stock the cooler up, and the many trips to the hotel ice machines to keep the ice level high.
On Thursday nights, Daddy took us out to eat. On Sunday afternoons, Daddy took us to the store to get snacks. Daddy took us to the Cain Center to swim all the time. We would go to the zoo and Brookshire’s Wildlife Museum regularly.
I wish I knew how many underground caverns Aunt Ma and I have toured with my daddy, and how many historical sites we’ve been to.
While I didn’t have a mom to cheer me on at basketball games, I had a Daddy who was ALWAYS there. From 2nd to 8th grade, my daddy never missed one of my basketball games. He was a constant in the stands with his heavy stadium seat (which almost had to be used as protection at one wild basketball game). Daddy always had a wad of cash ready for the concession stand after the game.
Throughout my life, my daddy has been inspiring. Through ups and downs, Daddy comes out on the other end, smiling.
Not every daddy would always answer the question, “Why?” Not every daddy could raise two young girls. Not every daddy could talk to his pre-teen daughter about PMS. Not every daddy would rescue his daughters from a mother who wouldn’t take care of them right.
Not every daughter has a daddy like me. I know how lucky I am and I hope my daddy knows how much he means to me. My daddy was my first love, and I love him now that I am older and can look back on all the things he’s done for me over the years.
Riley, you’ve got a great PawPaw. He loves you just as much, and probably more. You’re the apple of his eye.
Love, Mama.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Little Princess

Dear Riley,

You are certainly a princess; all someone needs to do is ask you. Your Daddy and I are up to our necks in princesses and ballerinas. You watch several Disney Princess movies everyday, dress up like a princess, tell princess stories, eat with princess utensils, and generally act like a princess all day every day.


When Aunt Shanna got this old bridesmaid dress of Aunt Ma’s out, she hit the princess jackpot. You pranced around and posed for the camera.


When I first found out I was pregnant, I thought I wanted a little boy. I figured I would be a better parent to a little boy, since I’m not the most girly-ish woman. I don’t care for much jewelry, makeup or primping. When I was growing up I was active in sports, and sadly, my younger sister had to teach me how to put makeup on.

When I went for my first sonogram with you, I was barely 4 months along; sex could be determined, but things were a little foggy. The technician said there was a 60% chance you were a girl. I wasn’t devastated, but I had never pictured myself having a little girl - - it was always a boy. About a month later we went back for another sonogram, and without a doubt, you were a she.

It took some time for me to get used to the idea of having a little girl. Of course when you arrived I wouldn’t have traded you for any stinky little boy.


This morning as you sat beside me and put makeup on your little face while I made up my face, I couldn’t have been happier to be a mother of a little girl. And, not just any little girl, but Riley Claire.

I love you so much Princess.

Love, Mama

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sweet Summertime

Dear Riley,

This first week of summer has been just great. We play, get wet, and play some more. Oh, and you don't sleep late, ever. All I'm asking for is 8:00, but you insist on 5:30.

You're just about the best thing in this world. Your personality is really blooming and you have the tenderest feelings.

Love you more than anything.

Love, Mama