Friday, February 28, 2014

Whitley Adventures

When I told Stephie about Mikayla being sick, she was more than willing to find someone else to watch Whitley that Monday that Mikayla stayed home.  When I started showing symptoms, she was adamant that I take the whole week off to fully recover and rest.  Initially, I thought it might be overkill as I was sure I'd recover so fast, but recognized the wisdom to insure it hadn't been passed to the boys and therefore still a potential threat for Whitley to get.  As it turned out, the stomach bug turned in to a migraine, and it really wasn't until Friday afternoon that I started feeling "close to normal" again.  Good foresight, Steph.

So, I spent a week away from my favorite 18 month old - and I missed her.  And, sometimes that's a good thing, right?!   So, when I got to see her again the following Monday - I was ready to PLAY - and just enjoy her.  That is, by far, the biggest thing I'm learning - the more I try to order out the day with to-do's, the less likely the day will turn out pleasant for either of us - so embrace the day, and slow the pace.....

What follows are a bunch of pictures that have taken place in both February and March highlighting some of our adventures together.  Just as we are moving out of a place of "unhealthiness" and "winter" for John and I, I feel like Whitley is likewise moving and growing into a place of more and more fun as she develops in her ability to communicate and becomes more patterned and predictable in her routine and preferences.  Indeed, that first week after being apart has been one of my all-time favorites so far.

A little balloon time - courtesy of leftovers from Mikayla's party.

We spend a lot of time in the car waiting to pick up the kids.  Whitley loves to be set free from her car seat and explore the car - pushing any and all buttons she can.  The only problem is making sure the hazard lights aren't flashing, or overhead lights don't kill the battery overnight.  (Or car roof left open overnight in the rain.....ooops!)

Another favorite car pastime is looking at her reflection in the flip down mirror with my sunglasses on.  They are expensive glasses, so I really ought to get her an extra pair for her to play with, but how do you say, "No" to a face that lights up like that?
My visits with other gals have been a lot more infrequent lately.  It's difficult to figure out a place or activity that keeps Whitley entertained while I'm able to get deep into conversation - but, that doesn't stop me from trying.  On this day at Trinity, I'm pretty sure Whitley disabled a sewing machine and printer, but hey, she stayed happy - and I had some fun conversation with Alesha and Alexa.

On this Monday, I got the chance to visit with Christi and Elsie.  Whitley loved all of the toys in Elsie's nursery, but also liked to throw them - which isn't good when a two month old baby is in her throwing range!  We had fun, though.  Just gonna have to work on baby skills with Whitley....

Elsie is so beautiful - such a sweet baby!

On this day, we stopped off at Papa's Pizza to let her have some play time.  I have no idea what that girl's name in the bottom of the picture is, but she was obsessed with Whitley (along with her friend) and insisted on introducing her to the play tunnels.   Which, of course, meant I had to follow them up there to supervise anything they did.  I think we'd have stayed longer if not for these little gals determined to play "Mommy" with "Baby Whitley".

Speaking of routines and preferences, I am realizing I can get her to eat the most and "chill the longest" if she sits on my lap while watching a "Baby Einstein" video on my computer.  No, she doesn't have me enabling her AT ALL! ;)

Last week brought some more sunshine - in fact, I was just in a tank top on the trampoline with her.  It was SO GOOD for my soul.  This is a "must do" every day that it's not raining.  She begs for it, and getting me out there bouncing around and exercising is a win-win.  

We also hit up Old Navy last week.  I really can't applaud Whitley when it comes to shopping.  She does not enjoy being constrained by any sort of stroller or cart, so I'm trying to work on shorter trips where I can keep an eye on her and work on keeping her somewhat next to me.  It's definitely a work in progress.  Old Navy is a good start though - it's a small enough store and the doggy mannequin had her intrigued from the start (as did the "gumball machine" of bouncy balls)....

Bath time is another frequent part of our routine.  Especially if it's a rainy day with lots of time to kill.  I was distracted on this day texting Heather back and forth to solve the problem on where we'd be able to celebrate Suzie for dinner and let the bubbles nearly pour over the side.  It was a mess, but made for some great pictures!

Good times....good times, indeed!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Stomach Bug

Post soon to come regarding our weekend - and date day with John.  But, right now, the energy it would take to get those pics uploaded from my phone exceeds the energy level I am at right now.  In fact, it took me all morning just to absently cruise through "Images" when I Googled "Sick Days"....
You like this one?  It most accurately represents the issues I dealt with all day yesterday, but seriously who looks like this when they are throwing up?  In fact, when I traced back the picture to its source, it was from a blog of a gal who dealt with what I dealt with and was making fun of the picture herself.  She noted the calm way the gal was holding the toilet - what I notice is her comfort level with that area of the toilet to rest her whole arm on it - obviously, she doesn't live with men in her household.  And, disregard this next sentence if you can't handle "oversharing", but for this round, I was literally spewing from both ends, so the plastic bowl had to catch the what came from the top while the porcelain bowl had to catch what came from "behind"....

Oh yeah, fun times - one of those where you have to just "get through".  In this circumstance I had Mikayla to be able to gauge from regarding how long it might last, and true enough, it was about a 24 hour run of the stomach bug's main symptoms (pun not intended...)

So, with Mikayla being sick on Monday, then realizing at 3:45 am on Tuesday morning that Mikayla was kind enough to share, and then calculating the possibilities of incubation if the guys get it (which I really doubt - I was way to cuddly with Mikayla while the guys stayed clear) - I won't have Whitley all week.  Missing her, but I am so thankful that Grandma Kay and her cousins were able to have her come play with them through the week.  While I'm sure we'll probably be good to go by tomorrow (at least as far as contagions go) - there is just no way you'd want to risk Whitley getting this. 

So, that's how my week has kicked off - how about yours?  =)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Date Weekend, Snow Weekend, and TobyMac

Along with looking forward to the forecast of brilliant sunshine on the weekend of February 22nd, came the fun activities that that weekend was going to bring for our whole family.  Occurring first, was Mikayla and Nati embarking on their Snow Weekend with the Middle School group.  

Then, Saturday morning, we unloaded Brayden with Andrew and the Meyers family.

And, then, we got a date over-nighter.  When I was at the Harlow Auction, I purchased a "package" that included an overnight stay at a local hotel and dinner and breakfast restaurant certificates.  I felt like with all that we went through in the fall, we could use a little alone time to refuel.  

So, in typical Riley fashion, we embarked on some favorite activities including a movie and shopping.  The movie was "Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit" - EXCELLENT....I'm already looking forward to it in DVD, and then shopping at The Nordstrom Rack and TJ Maxx.  We found some good stuff.

By late afternoon, we were pulling in to the hotel parking lot to check in to Valley River Inn.  

But, then, the phone rang, and we started to wonder if our plans might go askew.  It was Matt Erdmann on the line - leader of the mid-school group.  That's never a phone call you want to get when your kid is away.  As it turns out, Mikayla was throwing up and they were going to give it some time to see if it was just motion sickness, but wanted us to be prepared for the reality of potentially picking her up.  Oh.  Bummer.

We could only move forward though, and hoped (and prayed) for the best.  This is the interior of this hotel that's been a fixture in Eugene as long as I've been alive.  It's not our typical hotel style or feel, but we were determined to enjoy the experience.

They upgraded our room to one with a river view - again, one of the best days we'd had so far in Eugene.

What Valley River Inn might lack in "newness", it makes up for in location - within walking distance which we took advantage of to get to BJ's Restaurant.  It was an early dinner for us, so we made it back by the time the sun was setting.

 The Instagram Collage picture...

Given we were still waiting to hear from Matt, we thought we'd watch a movie when we returned to the room - knowing we might have to pack up and leave at a moment's notice.  It was literally within five minutes of "The Heat" ending that we got the call that Mikayla wanted to go home.  We were up the mountain and pulling into the Sno-Park to rescue our daughter by 10:30.  I never expected John and I's date to include seeing snow and a spectacular starry sky - but, it did.

Mikayla slept on my lap the whole way home - thankfully, she had emptied her stomach completely before making the 90 minute drive back. 

Here's a couple of pics before she was sick that were taken by Leah.  I'm so thankful Nati was there as a friend, and Leah was present just to stand by her side and comfort her - even riding with her from the lodge to the sno-park late that night to meet us. 

So, we never actually slept in the hotel bed.  Instead, this little girl became my bed mate - through the night and all day Sunday as I stuck by her side. 

It was easy for the guys to stay clear as they were headed to the Rose Quarter in Portland to see TobyMac perform (his opening acts were Mandisa and Brandon Heath).   They stopped by the outlets on the way up (Brayden found a favorite Nike USA hoody) and had Red Robin for dinner. 

As you can tell by the above picture, their seats were amazing.  Unfortunately, though, they were so close to the speaker, that by the time TobyMac finally came on stage, Brayden's head was pounding and they had to leave early.  

So, nothing about this weekend went according to plan.   But, thankfully, outside of Mikayla just feeling physically miserable, we all kept a pretty positive spirit of "going with the flow" through it all. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

With the Sunshine, Comes the Smiles

When I typed yesterday's blog, I knew sun was in the forecast for the day (at least the afternoon) and for this weekend.  I suspected it would bring some endorphins my way, but it far exceeded that.  It absolutely reinforced what I had written about in the last post - it was literally, "life-fueling".  

It really didn't even emerge until about 3pm, but that was perfect timing as far as Whitley was concerned.  Upon pulling in the driveway, having just picked up Brayden (another reference to yesterday's post - I chose to forgo the carpool and pick him up myself so he could clean out his locker.  SIX SEVEN (just found another one) lunch boxes/sacks were pulled out of there, which of course, doesn't even count the one that he left in the car in the morning.....OH BRAYDEN!!!!) - I teasingly told him that Whitley's first words upon waking up were, "Can Brayden go on the 'Bouncy-Bouncy' with me?"  Of course, we both know that wasn't exactly the truth - almost always her first words are "What's that?" in reference to EVERY SINGLE STUFFED ANIMAL in Mikayla's room that she subsequently wants to hold and kiss and imitate the sound it makes....but, Brayden played along with it anyway.  And he earned an ecstatic response from Whitley when he suggested it as he took her out of her car seat.  SO PRECIOUS!

Once we got Mikayla and Nati on their way to the church for their snow trip adventures, I went out on the trampoline with Whitley.  Seeing all of the expressions Whitley was making, I yelled to Brayden to bring me the camera as I couldn't help but try to capture some of her unabated JOY.  

A moment of tired recovery...

And, then, "Pop", she's up again, ready to play!

Up close shots as she's laying on my bent legs -

A moment of quiet reflection...

"I love my 'boon'!"  =)

She looks like she's doing some sort of seal act with this pose....

SIGH... I can't tell you how happy that all made me.  Amazing what just 20 minutes of sunshine and witnessing a toddler so over-the-top with glee can do for your soul...