Monday, October 28, 2013

Perfect Little Pumpkins

I grew up in a home where it was more common to decorate Halloween pumpkins with some paint and/or colored Sharpies than it was to carve them into jack-o-lanterns.  As a matter of fact, last year was the first time in my 30 years that I had ever carved a pumpkin on my own!  My opinion?  While the finished product was absolutely perfect...the whole process was a little on the messy/stinky side for my liking!  H was only 4 months old last Halloween, so he didn't get to take part in the pumpkin decorating festivities.  This year, however, seemed like the perfect time to introduce a new Halloween tradition.  I'm sure that some day we'll transition into carving, but for now a pumpkin, drop cloth, muffin tin, paint and our fingers worked out perfectly!

Checking our our canvas
 He needed a little coaxing at first... 
 But then jumped right in!
 The makings of a masterpiece!
 Holy cow!  Is it just me or does he look like a TOTAL big boy here?! 
In the end, the pumpkin wasn't the only thing that got a makeover!  Here is H doing his new signature pose.  Who knows where he comes up with these things!

While H and I headed upstairs to wash off all of the paint that "missed" the pumpkin, daddy stayed behind and painted another very special pumpkin.  Have I ever mentioned here how much I love him?! 

Our pumpkins are painted and proudly displayed on our front porch, and Harrison's costume is ready for Thursday night.  We didn't trick-or-treat last year, so this will be a first for us as a family.  Stay tuned for lots of pictures of our little guy with his sweet cousin Benson.  

Hope you all have a very SPOOKY and HAPPY Halloween!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Baby Ritchie #3 {24/25 weeks}

Six weeks ago they told us that our baby's tiny heart looked beautiful - that the ventricles looked perfect, the plumbing was all in the proper place, and the blood was pumping just as it should be.  Yet, despite all of these "assurances"....I still walked into today's fetal echo/ultrasound with a pit in my stomach.  I was the same way with Harrison.  I'll probably be the same way with any future Ritchie kiddos.  It's a fear that is engrained into me.

Today, at 25 weeks, Matt and I once again sat in a darkened ultrasound room as they examined every square inch of our sweet little boy.  The sonographer couldn't get over how cooperative this little guy was and commented about how easy he was making the scan.  There may have even been a few "amazings" dropped in the conversation.  Good job little guy!  When it was all said and done, we were once again told that everything was just as it should be.  His heart looks healthy, his weight is spot on and he's pretty darn cute to boot!

It's insane too me how much I already think that he looks like his big brother and sister!  
I can't stop staring.

I've raved about our doctors here before - Charlotte's cardiologist, Dr. Sami, her heart surgeon, Dr. Hammel - but I don't think that I've given an appropriate amount of credit to the man who has taken care of ME through all of the chaos.  If you are EVER in a situation where you need to be followed by a high-risk OB, please please please go visit Dr. Robert Bonebrake at Methodist Women's Hospital.  I love him.  Seriously.  100 gold stars.  This man has welcomed both of our children into the world (even though I wasn't high-risk with H) and is one of the most compassionate, comforting, down to Earth physicians I have ever met.  He's wiped away my tears on many occasions (today included) and never lets me walk out the door without a hug.  And while I love that I don't have to be followed by a high-risk OB again this time around, I love that we still get to see him on these big days!

So here we sit...25 weeks, 3 days pregnant.  I've been pretty quiet about this pregnancy here on the blog.  It might have something to do with the fact that we have a crazy, goofy little boy running all over the place these days!  I'm starting to see why my baby book was a little more bare bones than my sister's who came before me.  I promise, baby boy, it doesn't mean that I love you any less!  

Curious what else is happening on the baby front?

-I continue to feel FANTASTIC!  Yes, heartburn has started to rear its nasty head...but nothing near what I know is in store for me in the next few months!

-I can still fit into my favorite pair of non-maternity jeans....BUTTONED even!  Their days are limited, though.  Guaranteed.

-They told us today that this little peanut weighs about 1 pound 11 ounces.  That means I'll only gain about 6 more pounds during this pregnancy, right?!?!

-Our list of names is shrinking (in a good way!)  We always keep the final decision to ourselves until don't hold your breath for a big reveal!  

-My sweet tooth is out of control.  Period.

-A new baby started at Harrison's daycare this week, and rumor has it, we have a little big of jealousy to contend with!  Turns out H likes being the center of attention...go figure!

Sticking with tradition, I took my 24 week belly picture wearing the same shirt that I wore with Charlotte and Harrison.  What can I say...I'm a little bit weird like that!

Charlotte - 24 weeks
Harrison - 24 weeks
Ba-ba-ba-baby #3 - 24 weeks

The days weeks months seem to be flying by, and this little guy will be here before we know it.  We're so excited to meet you, baby boy!

Friday, October 11, 2013


Harrison finally had his "official" 1 year pictures taken a few weeks back, and though he tried his best to beat himself up the night before (translation, fell flat on his face in the driveway), his pictures turned out AMAZING.  I promise that I'll give you a sneak peek of his cuteness...but I feel like I need to give a little bit of background into why these pictures were extra special to our family. 

Rewind to 2010.  We were living in Sioux Falls with our little girl.  She was happy, thriving, and rapidly approaching her first birthday.  First birthdays are a big deal.  First birthdays in the heart community are big beyond explaination. Anyway, one night I got a phone call from my sister Jill "proposing" a gift that she and her family wanted to give to Charlotte for her birthday...a one-year photo session with the amazing Amanda Fish.  Jill and her family have been going to Amanda for years, and their pictures are always beautiful.  While hesitant to accept such a large gift, I was very excited for the opportunity.  I just knew that Amanda was the perfect photographer to capture the true beauty of our sweet Charlotte.

We scheduled Charlotte's session with Amanda for the same weekend as her first birthday.  We were going to be back in Omaha for Matt's sister's graduation and for Charlotte's big birthday celebration, so the timing was perfect.  That weekend rolled around and on the morning of our session we woke up to find lots of clouds, lots of gloom, and lots of rain.  All.  Day.  Long.  Not a good thing for outdoor photos!  The simple solution would have been to move the session indoors, but knowing that Amanda's specialty is natural light photography, we opted to reschedule for another day.  We went about our weekend, celebrated Charlotte's one year milestone with family and friends, and headed back home knowing that the photos would have to wait.

Two weeks later, she was gone.

Her photo session left unused.  Her brand new picture outfit left hanging unworn in her closet. 

I've regretted rescheduling that session for so long. 


So now here we are.  Two years later.  Harrison turned 1 in June, and again, my phone rang.  Jill and her family were never able to follow through with their photo session gift with Charlotte, but in a tearfilled conversation let me know that they wanted to do the same for Harrison.  We graciously accepted.  It took me over a month to get the date on the calendar, and no face-plant, forehead goose egg was going to get me to reschedule.  I snapped a few photos of our bruiser's injury and sent them to Amanda who assured me that she could work some of her magic to disguse the lump/bruise.  As long as I could help it, these pictures were happening!

The night of our session was absolutely perfect.  The sun was shining.  The temperature was just right.  And Harrison gave us some killer smiles/giggles with just a little (or a lot) of goofy entertaining from mom and dad.  Amanda sent us the link to our online gallery last night....and I haven't stopped smiling since.  I'm pretty sure Charlotte was smiling down on us that evening.

Our little boy is pretty darn adorable.  If you need proof....

Thank you, Amanda, for sharing your talent with our family.  We've been waiting two whole years to have this "one year" photo session with you and couldn't be happier with the results of that night!  You captured Harrison's personality perfectly - his grins, his shy glances with his finger in his mouth, his fake half cry/half smile, his goofy giggles.  These pictures mean more to me than you could ever imagine.

If anyone in the Omaha area is looking for a Amanda Fish Photography.  I promise that you won't regret it!  The professional pictures on H at the blog header were also taken by Amanda and were just as perfect as his year ones.  We can't wait for Baby Ritchie #3 to get here so that we can finally have her take some family photos!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Everyday Moments

It seems like lately my posts have been about BIG news, Books for Charley updates, house pictures.  And while those are all important parts of our lives, I sometimes forget to document the little things....the simple, quiet (well...maybe not so quiet) moments spent at home as a family.  We know from our own heartbreaking experience that its often these little details that escape our memories first, and because of that, I want to do my best to capture our ordinary everyday lives.  Our baby boy is becoming less and less "baby" right before our eyes, and I know that someday we'll appreciate the details of these moments.

H is an excellent stacker...we'll work on color/size order another day!
The highchair has been moved to the basement and H officially transitioned into a booster seat.  He loves getting to sit with mommy and daddy at the "big kid" table, and as you can tell by his food-stuffed cheeks...he's still a fantastic eater!
Monthly chair pictures?  Forget about it.  This kid doesn't sit still long enough for little things like that! (He obviously doesn't have time to let me brush his hair either!)
Playing on the couch with daddy is his new favorite.  There is usually lots of hat stealing, tickling, belly flopping and laughter involved.
Husker football games really wear a guy out!  I laid H on the floor to change him into pjs, but before I got a chance, he rolled over and fell asleep!
One of my favorites.  H loves his cousins!
Someone took a tumble in the driveway the night before his 1 year 15 month pictures.  OUCH!
Looking tough with his headband...errr....sweatband...
Breakfast by flashlight.  We lost power around 11:30 pm as a big storm passed through, and didn't get it back until around 9:30 the following day.  (Yes, I realize that 10 hours without power is far from the end of the world...especially when you sleep through most of it!)  We made the most of our time in the dark with a gourmet banana and yogurt breakfast followed by lots of couch snuggles and stories.  

“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.”
― Maya Angelou