Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Brooks Edmund {3 months}

Oh Brooks, I'm so sorry. You have officially fallen victim to the 4th child phenomenon. I swore up and down that I wouldn't let it did anyway. I went back to work just a few days after you turned 3 months old and since then its been a constant struggle for me to find balance. Between home, work, sickness and holiday prep, I found myself feeling (more than a little) overwhelmed and blogging was the furthest thing from my mind. 

So now here we are...closer to 4 months than to 3...trying to catch up and get ourselves back on track. This post is anything but timely, but I'm running on the ol' sentiment of "better late than never."  Here's a little snapshot of YOU at 3 months old.
The picture below was snapped on December 5th - your first official day of "school." You would think that having done the whole 1st day drop-off thing 3 times before, that it would have been a walk in the park for your ol' mom, but leaving you behind was SO hard.  Don't tell anyone...but I may have sat in the car and cried for just a few minutes before driving away. You, on the other hand, did great with the transition. You love spending your days snuggling with your teachers, eating like a horse, and NOT napping. Who can blame you, with so many new and exciting things to see. (But really though - you can start napping any time now!)
The 3 month mark proved to be a turning point in your life. You started sleeping a little bit longer at night (4-5 hour stretches) and will finally let us out of your sight for more than 30 seconds at a time. You became more content to lay independently and soak in your surroundings, which means that life for mom and dad became a bit more productive. 
Back in November you had your first FaceTime date with your BFF, Neva. You were pretty shy and didn't have a whole lot to say, but I think she was impressed with your ability to drool and fall asleep mid-conversation. 
You were stingy with your smiles for the longest time, but once you decided to share, there was no looking back. Oh baby boy, you absolutely melt me with that gummy grin of yours.
There's no shortage of brotherly love in this house. Those big brothers of yours think you're pretty darn sweet and prove it with no fewer than 100 kisses a day.
You got your first real taste of winter this past month. I think the look on your face sums up how you felt about it.
A few odds and ends - You had a HUGE growth spurt this month and have definitely started to pack on the pounds. It won't be long and you'll sporting the same big belly as your brothers. You love to rock with your mama (and you'll never hear me complain about that!). So far that red hair of yours is sticking around - as are your blue eyes! You're doctor said the combo is very "Robert Redford-esque!"

I may have been late with this post, but I was right on time with your monthly photoshoot! Here you are in all of your 3 month old glory...with a very striking resemblance to your big sister, Charlotte. Time is absolutely flying, and while I wish that I could keep you little forever, I'm so excited to watch you grow.

Happy (super late) 3 months, little man! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Her Cranberries

What were you doing 6 years ago tonight? Do you remember? Maybe you were frantically preparing for a Thanksgiving feast? Maybe feeling nostalgic as you watched "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" with your kiddos? Was it cold outside? Maybe you were curled up by a fireplace somewhere, watching snow fall outside your window.

Most days I can hardly remember what I ate for breakfast earlier that morning...but 6 years ago. 
Wow. I can tell you every detail.

Matt and I were living in our house on Danielle Drive with our sweet, sweet Charlotte and our two rowdy pups. It was the eve before Thanksgiving...and boy, did we have a lot to be thankful for that year. A new baby. Successful open heart surgeries. Doctors and nurses who literally saved our little girl's life. Family and friends who rallied behind us and carried us through some very dark days. 
Come to think of it, thankful feels like such a small word.

Six years ago tonight I gave Charlotte a bath and noticed quite quickly that her color seemed a little bit off. I checked her O2 sats, as I did most every night, and watched as the numbers on the digital display jumped all over the place. I hated that damn machine. Tucking my concerns in the back of my brain, I finished getting her into her jams, tamed her crazy hair, and took her downstairs to do some last minute preparations for our trip to Omaha in the morning.

Six years ago I volunteered to bring cranberries to Thanksgiving dinner. I'd never made cranberries. Heck, I didn't even know if I liked them. But what I did like was the thought of replacing the gelatinous canned version on our table with the real deal. It just felt festive.
I remember melting butter in a pot on our glass top range, all the while sneaking glances at Charlotte sitting nearby in her bouncy seat. 

I remember adding the shiny red cranberries to the pot and thinking "I'm just being paranoid."
I remember asking Matt over and over what he thought...but never letting his reassuring words reassure me.

I remember the sound of the berries bursting open as they cooked, and at the same time feeling like I could burst along with them. Sigh. That little girl and her blue tinged lips...
I remember hitting my breaking point, giving Matt instructions on what still needed to be done with my cranberries, and loading Charlotte into the car.

I remember the cold air on my face as I carried my 6 month old into the hospital. 
...The look on the triage nurses face as she saw Charlotte's O2 sats. 
...The relief that washed over her when I told her that those numbers actually weren't all that bad compared to Charlotte's baseline.
...How silly I felt for dragging by child to the ER for what was ultimately deemed the common cold.

I remember it all.

Every Thanksgiving Eve since that night in 2010 I have made "Charlotte's Cranberries," and every year the memories of that night come flooding back. Who knew that something I didn't even know if I would like, would turn into something that I absolutely love.

The holidays are hard, and I often have to remind myself that despite it all we have so much to be thankful for.
Tonight its festive red berries and memories of her.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Trip to the Dentist

This probably puts me in the running for "Mom of the Year," but a few weeks ago Harrison (4) and Max (2) made their first-ever trip to visit to the dentist. I thought that it was going to be a complete disaster, but I guess that when your dentist also happens to be your PopPop - its easier to wake up your brave. 
Both boys did GREAT and got two thumbs up on their clean teeth. I guess that all of my threats of "Do you want PopPop to have to pull all of your teeth out?" officially paid off. 

Kidding. Totally kidding....
Kind of. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Brooks Edmund {2 Months}

Holy moly - I feel like I blinked and suddenly we're two months in to our new life with the littlest (and last) of the Ritchie crew. Going from 2 kiddos to 3 has rocked our world in so many ways, but we're slowly figuring things out and are developing routines that make our days feel more manageable --- don't get me wrong, we're still a 5-man circus 99% of the time. Yet despite all of the craziness, I can honestly say that life right now is oh so sweet. Brooks has been the perfect addition to our family and its impossible to imagine our days without him.

Brooks, Brooks, Brooks...where do I begin? Here's a little snapshot of YOU and all of your glory at 2 months old.

Earlier this week I took you to see Dr. Lacey for your 2 month well visit. We hadn't been to her office since you were 2 weeks old, so I was anxious to see what she thought of your progress since coming home (not that I had any doubts that you're excelling!) 

First things first, you tipped the scales at 9 pounds, 4 ounces...up a whoppin' 3 pounds in the last month and a half. Remember when you had a feeding tube because you just didn't have the stamina to eat.....yeah....that's not a problem anymore. You're still a bit of a peanut compared to other kiddos your age, but considering that you were born over a month premature you're doing great! 

After a quick head-to-toe exam you were given a big ol' thumbs up on the developmental front. You charmed with a short-lived smile and impressed with your strength. Your heart is strong with no concerning murmurs (once a heart mom, always a heart mom) and your screams during your 2 month vaccinations showed us that your lungs are working well too!

| Loves | 
Mama, Mama, Mama! (I get my own category this time around!)
| Likes | 
Napping on your tummy (under mama's watchful eye), eating, being swaddled, your paci, being held so you can see everything going on around you, staring at the bill of daddy's hat, kisses from your brothers, your carseat, meeting new friends, bath time 
| Dislikes |
Shots, being hungry, wet/dirty pants, sleeping longer than 4 hours at a time, wearing glasses ;)
| Odds and Ends |
You finally outgrew your newborn wardrobe, though 3 month sizes are still pretty big. I'm sure that things will change, but as of now you are one of the world's rare blue-eyed red heads! You get no less than 100 kisses from your big brothers each day (99% of them are wet ones from Max.) You love to be held (hello, high maintenance) but are slowly learning to like laying independently on the floor. Your first smiles came courtesy of your mother making a total fool out of herself - anything to make you happy, my love.
Sweet, sweet baby boy - life is so much sweeter with you in it. 
Happy 2 months, Brooks Edmund!

Friday, November 4, 2016


Halloween is quickly becoming one of my favorite holidays - the excitement of costumes, parties, trick-or-treating with cousins in the perfectly festive neighborhood - its just hard to beat. Pair all of those things with the unseasonably warm temperatures that we've been having here in Nebraska, and it made for a perfect night!
Harrison (4) Max (2) Benson (3) June (1)

In the words of Harrison Paul Ritchie, "This was the best night ever."  
I agree, sir. I agree. It was absolutely SPOOK-TACULAR!