Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Keys

A few weeks ago, my parents decided to surprise my brother's family and us with a last minute vacation to the Florida Keys. Of course we were thrilled to leave the cold snowy weather we'd been experiencing and head to warmer climates, and we flew down last Sunday.

As it turned out, the Keys were experiencing record low temperatures just prior to our visit. Luckily the temperature did rise throughout our stay and we were able to enjoy t-shirt and shorts weather most of the time.  

The guys spent one "unforgettable" day fishing in a rented boat on the ocean.  While they did catch Yellowtail Snapper, Grey Snapper, Puffer Fish and Grouper, my brother also caught a case of seasickness.  Fishing in the sea turned out to be quite a bit more grueling than anyone had anticipated, so they decided to forgo additional days of fishing for more family time, which was just fine by the rest of us. 

Unfortunately, my brother was not the only one under the weather for some of the trip. My poor little niece Lexi had a stomach bug which seemed to hit most at night. Lily, Corey and my mom also experienced some sickly moments, but fortunately, they were all still able to thoroughly enjoy the trip. 

We spent two beautiful days at the beach.  One day we went to the beach at Bahia Honda State Park. The sand at this beach was awesome! It was almost like clay, it was so fine and stuck together wonderfully for building sand castles and such. There was a neat little sand bar just off the beach that we could wade to get to. The other beach we visited was Sombrero Beach on Marathon Key (the same Key our rental house was on).  This was another picturesque beach with lots of nice sand only it was a little coarser with more tiny shells. Lily loved the beach, venturing into the water even though it was quite chilly.  She also really liked feeding the seagulls and playing at the playground next to Sombrero Beach. 

My photos in this post are a mix of cell phone shots and a few taken with my nice camera. I didn't take my DSLR on the beach for fear of sand particles making there way into my camera. Luckily my iPhone does a pretty good job.




While Lil didn't have the dogs to feed while on vacation, she was able to find other animals willing to share her snacks.

At the aquarium in Key West, checking out the "Touch Pool".


At the butterfly conservatory


Finding a creative way to keep Lil's head propped up while she napped.


and at the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key



Thanks Mom and Dad, for a great vacation!

P.S. This was not the first time Lily had visited the ocean.  She got her first glimpse at the ripe old age of one week. 


This was in San Francisco, of course. That is "The Rock" behind us.

*edit to add. I just realized that I am wearing the same white sweater in the last two photos. It was really cold in SF that day, so I had it layered under my sweat shirt. You can see it peeking out of my hood.  I wear it a lot, obviously!

A little out of order

I have lots of pictures to post about the surprise trip to the Florida Keys that we just took, but I didn't want to forget about these photos I intended to post awhile back.

Lily really enjoyed helping decorate the tree this year. 

Here she is helping daddy hang the lights.


When it was done, she thoroughly inspected his work.


She loved taking each ornament out of the box and inspecting it before handing it to me to hang on the tree.


Sometimes the ornament inspection required a taste test. Or then again, maybe she was trying to blow into it. It was a fake horn, after all.


The best little helper a mommy could ask for.


Last but not least, the star. We hadn't even told her it went on top yet, but she decided it made a good "Lily topper".


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Quick little video

I have much more to post about our vacation in the Keys. Here is a quick video to prepare you for the cuteness that is Lily in a swimsuit...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Right now

Once in awhile I find it fun to post the random tidbits that make up our life right now, in this moment. So here goes:

Lily is OBSESSED with moisturizer. She wants to put in on 24-7.  Mostly her legs, sometimes her stomach and often the dogs. She cries big fat tears if we take it away.  You know, if she's eating it or something.

We recently bought a membership to the WonderLab, a science center in Bloomington. They have a really neat water table with squirties and whirlpools and such. Best of all (for Lily, at least) there are lots and lots of brightly colored balls. She LOVES the water part. Each time we have gone, I have to drag a screaming drenched child away from the table when it is time to leave. I have learned to bring a complete change of clothes.

Lily loves to watch herself on video.  We take tons of home movies and she really enjoys watching the ones of herself.  Her absolute favorites are the videos she calls "Balls!!!" which are videos of her at the WonderLab. Go figure. They crack her up every single time. Other than that, she doesn't watch TV. We're choosing to wait until she is a bit older for various reasons. She hasn't showed any interest in TV whatsoever, which is probably because Corey and I don't watch it much ourselves.

Right now, if you were to ask Lily for a kiss, you'd get one of two things. Either she would nod and "allow" you to kiss the top of her head only, or she would give you what my dad refers to as a "Carp kiss". A carp kiss is a big sloppy kiss with smooshed out lips, like a fish. She randomly assigns people their own kind of kiss. Goofy girl.

Since I need a picture to go with this post, I'll post this random, badly cropped selfie, taken at my friend Lex's house. She has the most ridiculous blanket with feathers on it. How impractical is that? She says it's all about the style, not practicality.


Well, thats all for now. I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lucky cat

Lily just spontaneously told Stinky "Love you". She's never told me that.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tree Time

Last night, we made our yearly trip to the U-Cut Christmas tree farm.  Corey always wants to get a tree fairly early, while the tradition at my house growing up was to wait until about the middle of December. I don't mind going early though, as it it just that much warmer. It loses some of the fun if you are racing from tree to tree whilst trying not to loose appendages to frostbite.  The weather was quite nice yesterday, so it was a good day to do it.

You know it is a bad sign when as you drive up to the tree farm, the employee tells you the standing trees "are looking pretty bad this year" and points you toward a barn full of shipped-in trees. Corey immediately shot back with a "NOPE!". "We'll cut our own, thank you!".  Our feeling is, the whole point of dressing up the tree is to make it look pretty. What fun is a tree that is perfect to begin with? I want a tree with character, darn it! So yes, the trees were quite yellow and sparse but that didn't deter us a bit in our quest for the Rieman family tree.



Seeing how my parents U-Cut farm put me through college, you know I had to represent. Indiana Fresh Christmas Tree Growers in the hiz-ouse!


You know what's funny? I used to wear this same coat back when I was the one measuring, shaking, hauling and baling the trees. 

Lily had a permagrin as we walked among the trees, discussing the positives and negatives of each.  It didn't take long for us to find one that was just the right size for our living room. 


Lily even got to straighten the bottom with daddy's help.



Picking out a Christmas tree with our own little girl is just a dream come true. Every aspect of our life is so much more fun these days.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's official...

She spends too much time with the dogs.

I promise, we did not teach her that.

In this one, she is saying "See ya, bye" to Chloe, but seems to be thinking the opposite. I love how she looks at the mess on the floor and seems to be thinking "I wonder who did that?". Yeah, I wonder!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Earlier this month

A few weeks ago a followed Lily around for a fun little photo shoot behind our house.  They say your own kids tend to be the hardest to photograph, and I would tend to agree with that.  When I do sessions with other children, I'm someone new and interesting, but with my own kid, I'm just "mom". She thinks "She's predictable. I can look at her any old day". I took tons of pictures and handed the camera off for Corey to take a few of me, too. I'm trying to do that more.



and one more of the little rockstar. I don't think she is getting a big head, or anything.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Unforgettable post

If you have not checked out my friend Jennifer's blog, please do. Her post today about how her little girl came to be is truly incredible.


I missed the "A B C D" part, but the rest is there. She loves how she can see herself in the camera.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tucked away safe, not forgotten


Lily carries her special guy Jake around wherever she goes.  Yesterday, I found him smooshed into the storage compartment of her car.  At first glance, it might look like she forgot about him.  Then you'd realize that, because she loves him so much, she tucked him away in a special place where she could carry him with her wherever she goes.

Just because you don't always see something, doesn't mean that it doesn't hold a special place in your heart. I've been thinking a lot lately about Lily's brithmother and the unbelievable gift she has given us.  Not a day goes by that I don't think about her and the loving choice she made for her dear, sweet baby girl.  I want her to know that Lily is growing, and striving, and funny, and affectionate.  She is strong willed, and at the same time, sweet natured.  She loves life, and animals, and funny faces, and water.  She fills our lives with constant laughter and love.  We simply cannot imagine life without her in it. Without J, none of this would be possible.

J, we want you to know that we carry you in our hearts always.  You are in Lily's heart, too.  The 3 of us love you and care about you very much.

Happy girl Lily:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dogs can be so ungrateful

Lily likes it when I put oyster crackers in a cup.  Most of the time, she doesn't eat them herself, she wants to feed them to Chloe.  Not sure why, but Tater isn't often involved.  Today, she found a spoon and proceeded to feed Chloe her crackers on a spoon. I thought it was the most adorable thing when I heard her tell Chloe "Pweeeez" prior to giving her a bite.  That's my girl, trying to teach a dog to use her manners and say "please".  If she succeeds, I think we might be millionaires!

Of course, I had to take a video. You can hear her tell Chloe "bite" and "pweeeeez".

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fall-o-ween 2010

Each year, the park has Fall-o-ween festivities.  In the campground, there is trick-or-treating with almost every campsite participating. People go all out with decorating their site. One year Corey and I were judges of the campsites, which was fun. This year turned out to be even more fun, as we took Lily trick-or-treating for the very first time.

See the trepidation? Yes, this was, in fact, her first time at the rodeo.


It didn't take long and she figured it out. Grab a handful and say "tank cheeeew".


Pretty soon, we where having to hold her back from helping herself to seconds.


Here are just a few decorated campsites:



Here is the girl, chillin' like a villain on the way back to the nature center.


We had to cut our trick or treating short so we could get daddy to the Haunted Trail where he was wanted...


Did you take a close look at that bat on the poster?  The theme this year was "Dracula" and Corey was the title character.


Lily and I toured the trail during the friendly, daylight time. She wasn't scared in the least. It didn't hurt that she already knew all of the actors. We toured the trail with a nice family from the campground who had an especially cute mutt with a curly tail. Wish I'd gotten a photo of him.

Last few days

We went over and visited Gramma for a few days this week.  Grampa was out of town, so we had her all to ourselves.  Lily follows her around like a little puppy dog. Instead of calling her Gramma, like I've tried to teach her, she just calls her "Mom" with a little extra emphasis on the last "m". I assume she calls her this because that is what I call her, after all. This is alright with me. She usually calls me "Mommy" so Gramma can be "Mom" if Lily prefers. One bit of excitement came when Lily let herself out the front door and tried to take a little walk. I had ran to the bathroom for a second and hadn't even asked mom to keep an eye on her since there isn't that much for her to get into over there and we had safeguarded the staircase. Little did we know that Lily had mastered the door handles at their house! Yikes! Luckily mom discovered her just as she made a break for it.

Lily is going through a little vocabulary explosion these days, which makes it especially fun to take her places and see what she'll say.  She was able to point out "Wally" (my parent's dog), "Donkey", "egg", and lots of other things that I've already forgotten.  She also learned to flush the toilet while there, which I am afraid will not be as great for us, as she's going to be wasting a lot of water if we don't watch out.

On Friday, we went to a nearby orchard to get some apples and check out the animals. They had goats, which Lily seemed to like.


She and Gramma got to rock in a gigantic rocking chair, too.


Here she is, chillin' in the back seat on the way home to Indiana.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Getting down

Check out these moves. She loves this creepy skeleton dude from the Halloween stuff we pull out each year.

I hate the pacifier. We are trying to ween her from it, but she is pretty attached right now.

Monday, October 18, 2010



I believe Jake was the very first toy we bought for Lily when we brought her home to Indiana.  He caught my eye at Target because he has a music box inside and plays a little tinkly lullaby when you wind him up.  As the music plays, his head moves in a very slow circle which sort of nuzzles into you if you are sleeping next to him.  The music tapers off very slowly, which is a really nice way to go to sleep.  Corey named him "Jake the giraffe" for whatever reason.  Over the past year and a half, Lily has grown ever more attached to him.  When she is getting sleepy, she'll start calling for him and roaming around the house looking for him. "Jake-ey, Jake-eeeeey" she'll say over and over.  When she finds him, she immediately pinches one of his ears or horns in between her thumb and forefinger and rubs his soft fur under her nose, holding him close with her other arm.  She rubs like this until she eventually falls asleep. Even while sleeping, she usually has quite a grip on poor little Jake.  When she wakes up, before she even sits up, she hands me Jake. Then she reaches out her arms for me.  She won't leave the crib without him.

Here she is with Jake at 3 months old.  Boy, does time fly.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

As if she needed it!

On Friday, Lily ran from the living room to the bathroom and slammed the door shut. I went in after her and in the 20 seconds it took me to get to the door, she had reached into my makeup cabinet (the baby lock is broken), pulled out an old powder container and "powdered" her face. She then carried it over to Chloe the dog and attempted to powder her face, too. Here is what I found in the bathroom:




How can I be upset when she's that cute?

We recently noticed another funny thing she must have picked up from us. When she has something she likes and wants to save, she tucks it under her chin to hold it. The first time she did it, she had a little sucker from the grocery store and she was happily sucking on it in the back seat of the car. When I went to get her out, she quickly tucked it under her chin and held it in place while I removed her arms from the seat belts. While we were camping, she did the same thing with a half eaten marshmallow and later with a particularly nice looking plastic fishing lure (without hooks, of course).

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Vintage cute

If we are friends on Facebook, you may have already seen this photo of Lily in the antique baby buggy, but if not, you can see a post on my business blog about it here.

She has been being so funny lately. Like one day when she pointed to my underwear and asked inquisitively, "diaper?".  Or anytime the toilet flushes she has to run in there, wave and say "see ya!" to whatever is going down the pipes. The other day, she kept pulling her pants down, running over to her little potty, sitting on it, grunting (as if she was straining to go) then jumping off. She did this over and over and over.

When she really wants something now, she draws the corners of her lips way back and says "peeeeeeeese" (please). How can you refuse that? She still says "Nanu nanu" and points, but it is usually followed by "peeeeeese".

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Grandma's house

I took these photos a few weekends ago when we stayed with Grandma and Grandpa on our way up to Wisconsin for a visit.  I think the horse and donkeys are just as curious about Lily as she is of them.






Friday, September 24, 2010

Funny stuff

In the last few days, Lily has really increased her vocabulary. For one thing, she started saying "Oh man!".  If she can't quite reach something, or something unexpected happens, she's all "Oh man!". It is so funny. I guess I she hears me say it a lot.

She's also started saying "diaper".  And getting much more interested in what all of this changing is all about. I'm hoping that awareness quickly transitions into potty training.

This morning I was applying lotion to my legs straight out of the shower. She was watching me very intently and when I was done, she pointed to the lotion bottle saying "nanoo nanoo" meaning "I want it".  I put some lotion on my hands, and some on hers, and we rubbed it onto her legs. When I was done, she came very close and put her arms around me and her head on my shoulder and gently patted my back to say "thank you". It doesn't get any better than that.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Update on #6

Last night we were a little concerned about #6. After hatching in the late afternoon, it was having trouble getting going. Typically the mother sits on all of the hatchlings until they are done hatching and are all fluffed out. In this case, the little suprise egg was so much later than the rest, I think she had given up on it hatching. She peeked into the nest every so often to look at it, but she was busy taking care of the other 5 and couldn't go in and sit on him/her. Corey gingerly took the new little one outside and set it by the others so he/she could warm up and dry off in the afternoon sun. When Corey set the chick down, the mom pecked Corey hard on the hand. Corey warned me to turn around, just in case the mom attacked and killed the chick, seeing it as an intruder. Instead she inspected it closely and then seemed to understand that it was one of hers. While it's nest mates were running about, this little one was having a hard time figuring out how to get around. It's legs didn't seem to be working right. No doubt it was still very tired from making it's way out of the shell. In this video taken yesterday evening, you can see, it is having a bit of trouble.

When the hen and the other chicks went in to the nest for the night, the late bloomer was stuck outside, still unable to walk. Corey tucked him into the box with the others and momma bird gently coaxed it under her belly. After a good night's sleep, you could hardly tell this one from the rest. So glad it is doing well. Here they are this morning.

Yesterday as we were watching the surprise chick hatch, Corey and I were talking about the mom chicken and what a good job she was doing. Corey was quiet for awhile, and then he said "Can you imagine how she felt when she heard the first peep after all those months waiting?". See why I love that guy?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gone broody

This summer, one of our hens started going "broody".  She sat dutifully on her and her sister's eggs, waiting for them to hatch. She would sit there all day, every day on the nest, never wavering. She only came off for a short while to eat, and then back to the nest she went. Each day, I would reach under her warm belly and extract the eggs. Sometimes she would give me a gentle peck, her way of asking me not to take them. There was nothing I could do, the eggs, of course, were never going to hatch. We have no rooster to fertilize them. It was very sad. We hoped she would just come out of this on her own, getting back to her usual days of scratching in the grass and taking dust baths like her sisters. No such luck. We felt worse and worse as she pulled out all of her belly feathers preparing to warm her little chicks that were never to be. She got very skinny from not eating enough, I could feel her breast bones when I would gather the eggs. She sat in that sweltering chicken house all day every day this whole long HOT summer. It made me want to cry. I knew exactly how she felt.

I too, spent a very long time waiting for a baby that was never to come. Like her, I prepared, I sat, I hoped,  I waited.  Those were the darkest days of my life.

136/365 I wish...

Something had to be done. Given the chance, I knew this chicken would make a wonderful mother. After about 3 months watching her with a heavy heart, I "hatched" a plan. I decided we needed a "rent a cock".  I would find a rooster to borrow for a week or so. He could fertilize our chicken's eggs, and then this poor girl could finally be a mom. It seemed like the perfect plan.

I talked to a friend and he said he would be happy to loan us a rooster. When it came down to it though, the logistics of transporting a mean old rooster started to seem a little daunting. One day I was explaining my plan to Corey's aunt Edna, a woman I would consider an authority on chickens. She told me she had a better plan, she would just give me some eggs from her own flock (which contained roosters). We could swap the fertilized eggs out for our girl's eggs. This seemed like the perfect plan! Our little chicken could be an adoptive mother, just like me!

The night we got home with the eggs, Corey built the little brooder her very own little cage with a special nest box with a removable lid. This way, the other chickens would not bother her. We put the eggs inside the box on a fresh bed of straw, and just as we thought, she knew exactly what to do. She sat, and sat, and sat and sat, for 21 days.  There was much talk between Corey and I of what might happen. Was there any chance they weren't fertilized? Was she turning them properly? Was this going to be all for nothing?

Then today, Corey gave me a call at my parents house where I was visiting. He said he went outside and there she was, digging in the dirt with 5 fluffy little chicks in tow! He told me she was being a very good mother, just as we'd hoped. Lily and I rushed home and what a sight it was to see the 6 of them. Everywhere she would peck, the 5 little chicks would peck. She showed them how to drink and what to eat. If you got too close, she would give you a loud warning "cluck" to stand back! I shed a few happy tears for the new little flock.


There was one more surprise in store for us. In the afternoon Corey opened the lid to inspect the eggs that had not hatched. One was moving! See for yourself what happened next.

We have kept this whole operation on the down low because we were not sure of what would happen and didn't want to get everyone's hopes up for nothing. Of course, since it is such a happy ending, I am happy to let the world know :)