Thursday, July 31, 2014


Stray Cat 101:  Never feed a cat that you have no intention/desire to keep.  Even if they are super cute.

If you do, said cat will start to follow you everywhere like the loyalist of pups.  Your 2 year old will take an immediate liking to it and melt your heart by saying things like "Niiiiice catty!" or "Da catty dwink da miwk!" You might even start calling it by a name, Pita for example.  
Then when it's time to part ways, your kiddo will look at you with sad eyes and ask "Where da catty go?" shrugging his shoulders in a questioning gesture.   It will almost make you want to keep the little thing.  Almost.  But not really.

{Lucky for us, that stray "catty" wasn't a stray after all.  It was just a curious little kitten that had wandered across the road.  She (and her "catty" friends) have come to visit us a few times.  They like to lounge on our front porch, peer in our sidelights, and generally do anything to drive our dogs crazy.} 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Charley's Garden

This summer Matt and I planted our first ever vegetable garden. A very limited amount of planning went into our little plot…yet for some reason I still had grand visions of a bountiful harvest and opening our own roadside produce stand. The reality? My largest radish was the size of my thumb nail. Our green peppers are the exact same size that they were when we planted them 2 months ago. Our carrots are pencil thin (if that) and have only the faintest tint of orange. The lettuce was laughable. The strawberries have be snacked on by what I’m guessing are birds. The peas and beans have looked promising…but only at a volume suitable for snacking.  One might look at our harvest thus far and assume that Matt and I have 4 pretty “black thumbs” – but the truth is, our true gardening pride and joy won’t ever produce vegetables.  Instead of carrots, beans and peppers, our garden is filled with bright, beautiful flowers - each one known to be irresistible to butterflies, each one planted with insane amounts of love into a place that we like to call Charley's Garden.
We got the idea for Charley's Garden just shortly after we had to say good-bye to our little girl, but we put our plans on hold knowing that there was an imminent move in our future.  Two years, 2 states and 2 rentals later, we finally had a home again in 2013 and were finally able to start laying the ground work for this very special space.  With the much anticipated arrival of spring, our first spring in our new home, we set ourselves to work.  We fertilized.  We mulched.  We even sprinkled the area with the sand from our oceanfront wedding ceremony...sand used to illustrate our separate lives, friends, and family becoming one. 

After lots of preparation, it was time to plant.

Sigh....those first few plants were emotional.  
A few weeks after those first plants went into the ground, Matt and I went on a plant shopping spree.  In addition to our purchased plants, we also asked each of Charlotte's grandparents (and great grandparents) to divide a plant from their homes to add to our happy little space.   We invited them all out to the farm one spring afternoon for some planting, dinner, and most importantly, to celebrate the inspiration behind our new garden.  Aside from the gail-force winds, it was a perfect afternoon.
Our kiddos are the luckiest kiddos ever.
When it was all said and done, we stood back, admired our new memorial, and smiled.  Charley's Garden, once just a vision, was now full of new, green life.  
It's only appropriate that our little path leads to two beautiful bleeding hearts.
Charley's Garden is a happy space filled with gorgeous blooms, bright colors, and hopefully with time, lots of butterflies.  It is a space for us to reflect.  A space to remember.  A space for us to tend to and to watch grow into something beautiful beyond our wildest imaginations - much like we had hoped to do with our sweet Charlotte.  There is so much beauty in this little garden.

Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be filled with sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I will give you a full life in the emptiest of places – firm muscles, strong bones. You will be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You will use the old rubble of past lives to build a new, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. ~Isaiah 58:12

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Three of a Kind {Sitters}

One of my very favorite baby "firsts" is when a child sits independently for the very first time.  Their faces often paint a picture of mixed emotions.  On one hand they are in awe of their new skill and the fresh perspective it gives them of their surroundings.  Yet on the other hand you can see that each second in that upright position is a fight.  Don't topple over.  Don't fold in half.  Don't move too quickly or you risk losing this new vantage point.  It's hard not to giggle as we cheer them on and praise them on this BIG accomplishment!

Charlotte was a rockstar - learning to sit on her own at only 6 months despite spending the first month (plus) of her life flat on her back and having 20% less oxygen in her blood than a healthy baby.  That little girlie had such a determined spirit!
 Harrison was a pretty non-chelant about the whole deal - resting his elbows on his knees and giving us a "what's the big deal" look.  Much like his big sister, he set his mind to something and didn't quit until he accomplished the task.  It's a good thing I snapped this picture when I did because he hasn't sat still for more than 10 seconds since then!
 And then there is Max- almost 6 months old and more interested in eating his hands, feet, or anything else in his reach to focus on his "core" strength.  He face plants.  He rolls over sideways.  If we can get him to stay upright for more than 5 seconds it's an accomplishment!  But he gets a little stronger each day and I have no doubt that this little guy will be a sitting pro in no time!  Doesn't he look like such a big boy!?!  Sigh.  

Congratulations, Mr. Max!  We love you to the moon and back and can't wait to watch you grow in this new UPRIGHT world of yours!  {Now excuse me while I go cry my eyes out--you're growing up way too fast!}

Monday, July 7, 2014

Maxwell Thane {5 months}

The end of June was BA-nanas here on the Ritchie farm.  There was a constant flurry of activity - great grandma Delene visiting from California, a spur of the moment baptism for the boys (more on that another day!), a construction themed birthday party - in the hustle and bustle of it all I almost let a certain little guy's 5 month birthday slip thru the cracks!  Month 5 has been a big one for Sir Maxwell.  He seems to have changed by leaps and bounds since my last post - learning all sorts of new things and becoming more interactive with his surroundings every day.  I had almost forgotten how much I love this phase of baby-hood.

Here's a little bit about Max, 5 month edition.

MaMaMa:  Can you say MAMA'S BOY!?  You have a definite soft spot for me and you'll NEVER hear me complain about it.  Harrison is going through a total "daddy" phase right now (I keep telling myself it's a phase) so I'm holding on tightly to little brother.  

ZZZZzzzzZZZ:  I bragged about our sleep routine in last month's update, and you promptly decided to put me in my place.  You would think after going thru the same thing with your sister and brother that I would learn to keep my mouth shut!  We had a few weeks between then and now where 3-4AM wake up calls were the norm.  Or even worse, 5AM...a short 45 minutes before my alarm was set to go off.   I'm happy to say, though, that things have settled back down again.  You seem to have mastered the 12 hour stretch and we generally don't hear from you between 7PM and 7AM.  Whoop! Whoop!

Giggles:  I can say with about 99% confidence that baby giggles are one of my absolute favorite sounds.  And lucky for me, you are a big giggler these days.  Most of them come courtesy of your cousins...they LOVE to act goofy around you, knowing that they will be rewarded with one of your big belly laughs!  You are talking more and more every day, blowing raspberries like it's your job, and drooling like a mad man!

YuM yUm Yum:  You got your very first taste of cereal this past month and seem to love it.  Now if we could just get you to keep your hands out of your mouth while you eat.  HELLO MESS!  Despite the new addition to your diet, bottles are still your favorite.  You refuse go to any longer than 3 hours without one during the day, and my oh my, do you let us know if we're not ready when you are!
Bump on a Log:  You still aren't real big on moving.  You can roll from your belly to your back...but it's got to be on your own terms.  We've been working hard on going the other direction, but at this point you still need a little help.  This weekend we were practicing sitting and you did really well with the help of your big brother's drum.

Brotherly Love:  Speaking of your LOVE him!  Last week he asked to get into your crib with you, and you were all smiles.  I can't blame you, he's pretty goofy and always entertaining.  I'm sure that he'll teach you all sorts of cool things in the months/years to come.  I can only imagine the trouble you two will get into.  This picture makes me all sorts of happy.
Looking for More?:  You're not too chubby, not to skinny...just the perfect amount of 'rolls' in all the right places!  The 6-9 month clothes in your closet are getting the most use these days.  My least favorite part of the month?  The fact that you LOVE to grab my hair and hold on tight.  Speaking of hair...yours is slowly filling in.  You also have a long section up top that stands straight in the air no matter how hard we try to smooth it down...its reminiscent of Bill Murray's combover in King Pin.  Sweetness.  You don't do pacis.  You don't do thumbs.  But holy cow do you love your ring and middle fingers.  They are your instant comfort and it melts my heart.  We broke out the jump-a-roo a few months back, but you like it a lot more now that your feet touch the ground without a pillow!

Maxwell Thane {5 months}
I've admitted Photoshop defeat and gave up switching "Harrison" to "Maxwell."  If anyone is really good at editing and wants to do it for me...well...I wouldn't complain!

And this one?  I just couldn't resist sharing those pouty little lips and his scrunched up brow.  So serious, Mr. Max!

Happy 5th month, sweet boy.  Mommy promises that next time I won't be so late (maybe).