Friday, September 30, 2011

Foodie Fanatics

So our friends the Draschils may possibly be the most fanatical foodies I have ever met. They've been in Boston for  2 months and they've already discovered more amazing places to eat than we have in 2 years. They actually check out foodie movies from the library and research places to eat! (true story.) They also know all the little joints that have been featured on the food network and make it a point to eat there.  If you ever need advice on cool places to eat, ask the Draschils, you can't go wrong.

Case in point, last weekend we were hanging out at the Boston children's museaum and they were like, "Oh there's this super famous bakery just around the corner with the most amazing sticky buns ever!" (apparently the sticky buns won some food war thing on some foodie channel) Anyway, we go to the children's museum all the time and I never knew that little gem of a bakery was just around the corner! Sadly they were out of their signature sticky buns, but we did load up on tons of other yummy desserts and devoured them before I could even take a picture. They were that good.

After dessert we decided we should probably have dinner, so they led us to this amazing food truck called Roxy's with gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches that are out of this world!

Everyone was taking pictures by the truck (apparently it's going to be featured on a food network series soon) So we jumped in and got some pictures too. 

The sandwiches came out piping hot and they did not disappoint. 
Best grilled cheese I've eaten In. My. Life.

It was a very cool "Boston Moment" to be on some random street on the west side of BU, eating gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches from a famous hipster foodie truck, and we owe it all to our fanatic foodie friends. Thanks guys! 

Brinley's 1st day of preschool year 2

Brinley started preschool again with Mrs. Darby and I think it's been really good for her to have her own special thing that she does without Teya and Camden. She goes once a week for 3 hours and always comes home with the most adorable projects. The other day they went apple picking and made t-shirts with apple stamps that were so cute! Next year I'll put her in something that's 3 days a week to get her ready for kindergarten but for now this is just perfect.

My sister Naomi did a cute preschool interview with her daughter on her first day I decided to copy her idea . Her are some of Brinley's current favorites as a 3 year old preschooler:

Food: Corn

Wish: To be a rainbow unicorn

Color: Blue (I don't think that's really her favorite color but when I asked her, Teya whispered "pink" so I think she said blue to be different. She's funny like that. ; )

T.V show: Wild Kratts

Treat: Chocolate (for real! This girl is JUST like me!)

Activity: Play with Teya

Frog Catchers

My girls may be girlie but that doesn't stop them from catching frogs. 
It took a lot of squealing (see clip here) but they caught Mr. slimy speckles and were pretty pleased with themselves.

 Who knew a squishy frog could make a kid so happy?

Teya wants to be an animal rescuer like Diego so even though she caught him, she wanted to be sure we were planning on letting him go.

But not before she tried to turn him into a prince. 

(Don't worry, I stopped her before her lips actually made contact with Mr. slimy. ; )

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Apple Picking at Smolak Farms

Even though it's been freakishly warm lately (80 degrees yesterday and today with lots of humidity!) We did have a somewhat cool Fallish day last weekend and it put us in the mood to go apple picking.

We went with our good friends the Knutsons. It's always fun hanging out with them because we have twinner families. 2 girls and a baby boy for each us. 
Our girls love their girls and it's non-stop giggly happiness when they're together.

We went to Smolak farms in North Andover and started off with a hay ride around the giant orchard.

After the hayride the girls got right to work apple picking and Cam got to work being ridiculously adorable in his little man outfit.

Teya made good use of the Daddy ladder to get all the "beauties" that were up high.

Teya probably picked over 90% of the apples in our basket. Brinley was too busy eating them to bother with picking more. ; )

Cam really wanted an apple but he had to settle for his Gerber apple wheel.

And maybe a little hay too : )

Riggies in the apple field. 

And we'll end with the classic bale of hay and pumpkin pic.
(Just ignore the remnants of hay dangling of of Cam's lips. He still hasn't learned what does and does not qualify as food ; )

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Run to the Rock Half Marathon 2011

A couple weeks ago Taber thought it would be fun to do the Run to the Rock half marathon in Plymouth, MA as a warm up for the big races we've been training for this fall. (I'm running the Applefest Half marathon on Oct 1st and Taber is running the Hartford ING Marathon on October 15th)

We decided to do it very last minute and since we really didn't have time goals or big expectations for the race we stayed up WAY late the night before playing Settlers of Catan with some friends. By the time they left and we got ready for bed it was 1am. Our babysitter was coming at 6am and our alarms were set for 5. Naturally in that 4 hour block of time that I was supposed to sleep, Cam woke up twice and needed to be nursed, Brinley woke up and needed help going potty, and Teya woke up with a bad dream. When my alarm went off at 5am I was seriously so tired I thought I was going to puke. I looked at myself in the mirror with my bloodshot zombie eyes and thought, "Girl, you must be straight up out of your mind if you think you're going to run a half marathon this morning."

And apparently I was straight up out of my mind because I then proceeded to put on my running clothes, lace up my shoes and pack my running bag to head down to Plymouth. 

Our babysitter showed up right on time. I went through meticulous detail describing Camden's routine and then handed her the page of instructions I had typed out just in case she forgot anything (I was a little freaked out since this was my first time leaving Cam for longer than 3 hours and I wasn't sure how he was going to do without his favorite milk lady.)

On our drive down I was still super tired and delirious.  We talked about our game plans. Taber wanted to beat his time from last year (he ran it in 1:49:28) and I wanted to finish it without injuring myself. I figured I would run a 10 minute pace and probably come in around 2 hours and 10 minutes since my 11 miler the week before was exactly a 10 min pace. I was nervous though because of my lack of sleep. 

The nerves continued once we got to the starting line. Basically I got in the port-a-potty line and when I was done I got right back in it. By the time it was my turn I had to go again. I rotated through the line about 3 times before the race started. Taber took a lovely video interview of me doing my nervous pre-race port-a-john ritual which can be seen here.

Finally it was time to go. We took one more little video of ourselves at the starting line, (click here.) and then we were off.
Taber ran the course last year so he prepared me for the hills and told me that the first 6 miles had the worst of them. He said the course was like a roller coaster with lots of ups and downs but virtually no flat running. Knowing what I was up against helped me take it all in stride. I pushed through each hill with steady focus and took advantage of the downhills to pick up speed. My legs felt great and the weather was nice and cool so I decided not to walk through the water stations and just kept pushing ahead. Soon the first 6 miles were behind me along with the worst of the hills.

There was another big climb at mile 10 which almost broke me but I managed to shuffle my way to the top. Then one last hill at mile 11 and I was on the homestretch with just two miles to go. My legs were tired and heavy and the sleepless night was starting to catch up to me but I forced myself to keep moving. I didn't think about anything but putting one foot in front of the other. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, until I was running towards the finish line where Taber was cheering me on.  

I crossed the finish line in 2:00:53. 10 minutes faster than I had expected and less than a minute away from my Applefest goal. I was so shocked I involuntarily started crying. I did not expect to react that way at all but I literally couldn't help it. It's just kind of amazing that our bodies can go from barely being able to run one mile 6 months ago to being able to run an entire half marathon. 

The race was empowering and it gave me the confidence that maybe I can hit my sub 2 hour goal for Applefest in a few weeks. Also Taber dominated and beat last years time by 3 minutes! He finished in 1:46:30, a new PR for him. Total rockstar.

When we got home we were happy to hear that Cam did awesome with the babysitter (even though he refused to take his bottle, he filled up on rice cereal, sweet potatoes and baby puffs : ) The girls did great too and were so excited to see our medals and hear about the race. Teya snapped this lovely picture of us rocking our race t-shirts. 

And then, being the adventure seekers we are, we decided to top off our crazy day by babysitting our friends' 5 kids, (including their 4 month old twins) so they could go on a birthday date. With our kids + theirs we had 8 kids under 8 and 3 of them were babies. If the half marathon didn't wipe us out that sure did! We hit our pillows before 10pm and welcomed our hard earned sleep. ; )

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Boys + Google = Cliff Jumping on Labor Day

 On the Sunday before labor day we had the Draschils over for some grilling and backyard marshmallow toasting. The plan was for them to sleepover and then we could wake up and do something fun in the morning.

Well by the time we got all the kids in bed (and apparently that includes Joseph since he disappeared after putting the kids down and Mel found him hours later passed out on the bed) it was pretty late and we still hadn't come up with a plan for Labor day. As it got close to midnight we got the crazy idea to make Melinda call the Marriott and ask if we could swim in their pool. I don't know how she did it but that girl worked her magic and got us the green light to swim at the hotel the next day for free.

So that was that. I went to bed in awe of Melinda's power to get anything she wants and with the plan to swim in a nice clean chlorinated pool in the morning.

Well when we woke up we found Taber and Joseph churning away at their computers and I could tell they had other plans in mind. I asked what they were up to and with big excited eyes they started spouting off about water holes and Horseshoe falls, and google maps, and all kinds of stuff that didn't sound like a chlorinated pool. Turns out they had done a Google search and found some grass roots website for swimming holes in New Hampshire. They found one that was just 30 minutes away with a little waterfall and a 15 foot rock for cliff jumping.

Despite their excitement I was skeptical.  How on earth were we going to find this unmarked waterhole with no signs, maps, or roads leading into it? The boys, however, felt confident they could get us there. They had scanned the area with google earth satellites and after they found all the landmarks described on the website, Joseph dropped a pin on his little GPS app and we loaded up the troops in search of Horseshoe falls.

It took a little searching but to their great credit, the boys found the swimming hole and I have to say, it did not disappoint.

  There was plenty of slow moving shallow water for the kids to play and float around in.

The babies did good too, lounging in the tent and even taking a few dips in the water.

Taber and Joseph were quite pleased with their googling skills. 
And I'll admit, it was fun to see them go from being cute dads taking the girls on a floatie safari to jumping off the rock like teenage boys again. It was the best of both worlds.

 And don't think Melinda and I just sat back on baby duty the whole time either. You better believe we were jumping off that rock too cuz that's the way these mama's roll. : )

I made a video to document our awesome braveness. Some bragging rights go to yours truly for being the first to jump and also to little Teya for being brave enough to jump off one of the lower rocks. (She wanted to jump off the big one but I don't think her swimming skills are quite to that level. She's a brave little dare devil.) 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Teya's First Day of Kindergarten

The day after our scary experience with Cam was Teya's first day of kindergarten.  I felt pretty torn that morning between staying with Camden in the hospital and seeing Teya off to school on such an important milestone day.  I didn't know how it could all work out. Finally I called Taber and suggested he bring Teya to the hospital so I could fix her hair there and take some pictures and then have Taber take her to school. 

The nurses heard me talking and when they figured out it was my daughter's first day of kindergarten they insisted I leave to see her off. Cam was the only patient in the pediatric unit that day so he had two nurses all to himself and they assured me he would be in capable hands while I was gone. I knew they were right, and I knew Teya would be very disappointed if I wasn't there, so I called Taber and told him to come and get me.

When I got home I went straight to work getting Teya all ready. She had picked out a pretty pink and white outfit complete with a brand new bow my friend Laura had made to match. I curled her hair and when she looked in the mirror I could tell she felt like a million bucks.

 I could not get over how darling and grown up she looked.

When we took her to school she was still beaming. We sent her off with her class and even though I felt a big lump in my throat watching her march through the doors I managed to hold it together with only a few tears escaping before we walked away.

Brinley on the other hand has cried her fair share over Teya's departure to school. She did okay on that first day, maybe because both Taber and I were there and she got to go on a playdate right after. But the next week when we took Teya to school Brinley burst into tears when she realized she couldn't go in with her big sissy. She has really missed her best buddy in the afternoons but luckily Teya's school only lasts 2 1/2 hours so at least they're not separated for long.

Taber took some super cute footage of Teya's first day which was nice since I wasn't there to pick her up after school. I made a little video of us dropping her off and Taber's post kindergarten interview which is pretty adorable. It's fun to hear her little voice explaining all the stuff they did and I love how the first thing she mentions is the rule about holding onto the rail. (This girl loves rules like no other.) 
At the end of the video I think it's pretty clear that miss Teya is going to love kindergarten. : )

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Foto: Costco Cuties

My grocery shopping buddies.

 Doesn't Cam look cute sitting up like a big boy in there? 
Also love how you can totally tell these two are related ; )

p.s. 15 minutes into shopping Cam decided he was done with the cart. He threw his head backwards and arched his back, screaming till I took him out. I had to lug that 20 lb beefcake around the store in one arm while pulling the cart with the other. Thought my arm was going to fall off! Probably won't try the cart thing again till noodle boy gets more comfortable holding his giant head up by himself ; )

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Riggs and the Draschils hit Maine

Taber has been itching to get up to Maine all summer and we finally got the chance to go a couple weeks ago with our Boston buddies the Draschils.

First on the agenda was a lobster boat tour. This was the 4th time we've done one but it never gets old. : )

 The kids were excited that our captain reeled in several keepers or "keepas" as they pronounce it. 
(Also I think it's kind of weird that the dude in sunglasses stared down our camera during this picture. If he wanted to be in the pic he could've at least smiled! ; )

Awesome picture of Teya, Brielle and Brinley sitting in front of the pier. I just love their messy hair, Bree's serious face and Brin staring off in the distance.  Makes me smile : )

 After our lobster tour we hit up a local ice cream stand. 
(This girl takes her ice cream very seriously)

 Cam was too tired for ice cream but I had to take a pic of those juicy lips  : )

 The girls also enjoyed hanging out on the dock watching some locals fish. 
All of this was at Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine. It is so beautiful and picturesque there, I'm glad we made it up this year before the summer ended.

After our ice cream we loaded up the troops and headed over to the beach.

 The kids wasted no time immersing themselves in the sand.

 This was the first time we let Camden get in the sand and he thought he was in sandy buffet heaven! He seriously kept shoveling that stuff in his face like it was gourmet dining. I tried to stop him but it was a losing battle.

 The girls wanted their legs buried but Taber and Joseph went one step further and buried their whole bodies.

 Three little heads in the sand. Adorable.

 The Draschil's baby Joslyn is a month older than Cam and has been sitting like a champ for months. Cam has always been a noodle boy and never had much interest in sitting up, but there's nothing like peer pressure from a cute girl to motivate a guy to action.

 Look at me Mom!! I'm a big boy!!
 (Thank you Joslyn for teaching Cam to sit ; )

 Glad we got to enjoy such a beautiful day in Maine and extra glad we got to share it with the Draschils. Friends always make good things even better. : )

So after I posted this I realized I forgot to include two of my favorite pics that Melinda took of our beach day with her super fancy DSLR. Definitely want these in the blog book so here they are :

This just makes me laugh. The drool, the sand under his nose, the scrunchy smile. Love that baby.
(Also can you believe those teeth?! )

Me and my little man.  I might have to blow this one up and frame it.  So sweet.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Scary Night

A few days ago we had quite the scare with our little baby Camden.  Wednesday afternoon he woke up from his nap burning up with a fever. I took his temp and it was 103.7. I gave him Tylenol and called my doctor who said to watch him and if it didn't come down to call her. An hour later his temperature was the same. I called back and they told me to bring him in. After a thorough examination the doctor determined it was a virus and told me to wait it out and keep layering Tylenol and Motrin to control the fever.

When I brought him home I gave him some Motrin and put him to bed but he was so hot and uncomfortable he couldn't sleep. I was supposed to go to a Relief Society presidency meeting that evening for church but I had a strong feeling I should stay home with Cam. He was very fussy and irritable but finally went down again around 8pm. He woke up an hour later still fussy and burning up. I gave him some Tylenol and passed him to Taber to soothe him. 

Shortly after I handed him to Taber he started vomiting like I've never seen a baby vomit. It was thick and streaming out of his mouth and nose. We brought him upstairs to clean him and give him a bath. 

Taber held him and I started to get him undressed. Suddenly his body started to spasm and after two violent jerks my heart froze and I looked at Taber and said, "what was that?"  right then Cam jerked backwards one more time, his eyes rolled back into his head and his body folded over like a rag doll. 

Looking back there are probably a million things we could've or should've done different. Most of all I wish we had been able to stay calm, but watching his body go lifeless like that was so horrifying we couldn't help but panic. Taber tried flipping him over and moving him around but he was completely unresponsive. His body was lifeless, his lips started turning blue and we realized he wasn't breathing.  Taber told me to call 9-1-1 and  I frantically dialed it on my cellphone. I just kept thinking, I don't know how to do CPR on a baby.

The dispatcher came on the phone and asked what was happening.
"My baby stopped breathing! " I told her. "please help me, he's not breathing!"

She asked me my name and told me to try to calm down. I ran upstairs and saw Taber trying to suction him with a bulb. I looked at Cam's limp body and his blue lips and saw the fear on Taber's face.
"Get Mary! GO GET MARY!" he said.  
Mary is our neighbor across the street who is an RN.  As I ran back downstairs I heard Taber yelling, "Help Me! Help Me!" I started to sob hysterically and began pleading out loud with God. "Please God! Please help my son!"

I ran out into the night in bare feet still clutching the phone with the 9-1-1 dispatcher but was so panicked I couldn't hear what she was saying. I rang Mary's doorbell over and over but she was watching TV and couldn't hear it. The 9-1-1 dispatcher was asking me questions but I couldn't answer coherently. I saw Taber run out of the house with Cam's limp body. His face was turning gray and he still wasn't breathing. I wondered how much time had gone by. How much longer did we have?

"Mary's not home!" I said.
"Get Beth!" he yelled. Beth is our other neighbor who is also an RN. I was about to run to her house when I heard the dispatcher say sternly, 
"Becca, I need you to calm down so you can help your son. You need to listen to me and do what I say so we can help him."
"Okay." I sobbed. "What should I do?"
"You need to lay him flat on the ground."
 We were outside and didn't want to lay him on the driveway so we ran in the house and laid him down. Taber still had the bulb and was trying to suction his airways. Every second that passed without a breath was filled with agony. It had been at least 3 minutes since he stopped breathing. I felt like he was slipping away from me and there was nothing I could do about it. I cried and cried, begging for help over and over again, praying someone could fix him.

Taber grabbed the phone from me and put it on speaker. The dispatcher directed him to clear Cam's airways. He tilted his head back and swept his airways. I saw Cam's chest rise and fall. It was the tiniest gulp of air but it was a breath.
"Is he breathing?" The dispatcher asked.
"Yes!" I said. "Yes, I saw him take a breath!"
"I want you to put your head right next to his mouth and every time you feel him take a breath a want you to say, "breath."
I did as she told me and again Cam took a tiny gulp of air.
"Breath!" I said.
 Again his chest rose and fell
"Breath!" I sobbed. "Breath!" Fear and anxiety started to leave my body in heaving sobs.
"You're doing great Becca, just stay calm, you're doing great."

Seeing his breaths relieved some of my anxiety but his body was still limp and his eyes were glazed over. Taber told me to get Beth and he continued to follow instructions from the dispatcher. I ran to Beth's house and rang her doorbell. She was still in her scrubs and when she saw me bawling on her porch she ran right out. "Cam stopped breathing!" I told her. "He's breathing now but he doesn't look good." She ran across the lawn with me back into our house.  At this point I could hear the sirens and a minute after Beth got there a fire truck, police car and ambulance showed up. Paramedics and officers streamed into our house and started tending to Cam. He was awake now and very lethargic but the color was returning to his face and he seemed to be improving with every minute. My neighbors started showing up at the house. Mary came in and I fell into her arms and sobbed and sobbed. 

In all that chaos and noise, with Taber and I yelling and the sirens and the house full of people, somehow the girls stayed asleep. I feel like that was a tender blessing because if they had seen me so unhinged and seen Cam the way he was I can only imagine what that would've done to them.

As the paramedics were assessing Camden everyone assured me that he looked much better and told me it was going to be okay. Cam was interacting with the officers and pulling the oxygen mask off his face. Mary said she'd stay with the kids so we could both go to the hospital. I rode in the ambulance and Taber followed behind.

At the ER Cam was still running a high fever so they gave him Tylenol and put him through a battery of tests to try and figure out what was going on. They determined that he had a febrile seizure caused by his high fever and believed he had aspirated some of his vomit which is why he stopped breathing. They thought the fever was caused by a virus, possibly hand foot and mouth disease, but gave him a shot of antibiotics just in case it was bacterial.  

Cam was in a miserable state from all the tests and the trauma of the evening but finally around 2:30am he drifted off to sleep. 

They admitted us to the hospital to observe him and make sure he didn't have another seizure. In the morning his fever hadn't improved with the medication, so they decided to keep him one more night. He was so sick he slept for 24 hours straight in the hospital, only waking up to nurse every few hours. 

I stayed in his room, watching him sleep, watching his heart and lungs on the monitor, not wanting to leave his side. Despite a continued high fever he didn't seize again so after 2 nights in the hospital they let us take him home.

It was an exhausting experience but we had such a great outpouring of love and support from our neighbors, friends from church and Taber's work, as well as many kind messages from concerned friends and family on Facebook. I can't tell you how much those messages lifted our spirits during that scary time. Every time my phone buzzed with another text or voicemail or Facebook alert it was like a little electronic hug to help get us through. : ) We also felt the many prayers that were being offered on Cam's behalf and were so uplifted by the spiritual strength we received. I know Heavenly Father was watching over us and have a testimony of the power of prayer, especially when so many prayers are being said for one person.

This experience has taught me to be grateful for every minute we have with our loved ones. I look at Cam differently now. My heart swells with gratitude for each little laugh, each little cry, each little spit bubble and toothy grin. : ) I'm so happy he's still here with us and know that angels were watching over him on that very scary night.