Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Boy Turns One

 Today is Keane's birthday.  We have managed to keep him alive for 365 entire days, although the family as a whole has come very close (multiple times) to extinction.  Here are some of the things we have learned over the past year (in no particular order):

1. We do not need nearly as much sleep as we once thought we "had" to have.
2. Lack of sleep makes us manic/depressive at the most inconvenient times.
3. It's much easier to travel with a 2 week old as opposed to a 7+ month old.
4. Keane's laughter cures all sadness.
5. Keane's screaming depletes us of all happiness.
6. A simple string is so much more interesting than ten new and possibly expensive toys.
 The birthday celebration began with his ritual monthly photo shoot in his special onsie.....

 Which inevitably got soiled at the birthday picnic in the park which ended with a romp in the mud.  It's his birthday, he gets to do whatever he wants.  Unfortunately, tomorrow he will assume he still gets that luxury.

 His birthday cake, made from scratch, was a big success.  Chocolate on chocolate, can't go wrong there!

 PRESENTS!! And he quickly found his favorite one...

 The soccer ball!  He wouldn't open any other presents after he found the ball.  A true Rigdon! We attempted to remove the ball from his grasp to allow him to continue opening gifts, but he shrieked and cried until he got the ball back.

 Family photo after presents.  

 It was time to eat cake!  Sheer determination to conquer the cake shows in his face.


 Papa trying to feed him some frosting, he preferred to smash it in his hair.

 "Dad is great, give us some chocolate cake!"

And finally it was time to clean up.  This was by far Keane's least favorite part of the day.

It is times like this that we feel like parenting is a worthy endeavor.  This sentiment might not be felt in about 4 hours when he wakes up at 1am, or when he wakes up again at 2:53am and/or 5:34am for that matter, only to be held by a zombie like parent until 7:30 rolls around.  Despite all of this, we sure do love him, maybe even more because of it. And no matter what we say at 4:26am or 3:03 am, we would never ACTUALLY sell him to the circus.  

Friday, May 10, 2013


We recently took a trip to our nation's capital (that's Washington D.C. folks).  It was our first real, out of state, multi-night vacation since Keane has been born.  Sure, we have visited family and been gone over night a few times, but this was a real vacation, and it was awesome.

Andrew's mom, VaLynn, had been visiting us in Columbus and since she flew standby with a Buddy Pass, we decided she should drive with us out to D.C. for a day and fly home from there, so that's what she did!

People told us when we moved to Columbus that traveling across the country with a newborn was "crazy".  Actually, it went just fine.  He slept the entire way!  I counter that traveling anywhere further than an hour away with a 10+ month old is "crazy".  A trip that should have taken between 6 and 7 hours took over 9 hours.  We stopped at LEAST 4 times, possibly 5, I can't remember.  It was its own kind of fun, however.

 Not the Washington Monument you are used to seeing?  All that scaffolding takes away from the grandeur of the building, but it is nonetheless beautiful.

 The boys just outside of the Lincoln Memorial.  It's so serene inside the memorial, one of our favorites.

 We stopped by and said hello to Mr. and Mrs. Obama, and Keane was our navigator.  As you can see, he is very handy with a map.  Ok, but F'reals, the next day we were coming out of the Holocaust Museum and all the sudden crazy sirens are going off, about 10 black Denalis come screeching down the road and pull into some secret entrance to the Department of Agriculture building.  Turns out, dun dun dun, it was The First Lady herself, she had a meeting there.  So there you have it, we are famous.

  As many of you know, Washington D.C. has a series of Smithsonian Museums which are free to the public. That's good because I like free things!  Many of you also know that I struggle to enjoy culturally uplifting things, of which include museums.  Luckily for me, Keane was getting pretty fussy by mid afternoon on day one, so while Andrew and VaLynn went into the Museum of Natural History, Keane and I found a spot on the grass in the sun to sit and play.
The next day after VaLynn caught her plane back to Utah, we took the metro back to The National Mall.  We went to the Holocaust Museum (after which we personally met The First Lady as previously mentioned...), and then picnicked outside of the Jefferson Memorial.

 Keane is very good at sharing, especially if it is something he has already put in his mouth, chewed up, spit onto the ground and then picked up again.  He also enjoys pushing his own stroller, and making screeching monkey noises as loud as he can right in front of the sign that says "Quiet--Respect Please", interrupting the almost sacred reverence at the memorials.
      Later that afternoon we went to Arlington National Cemetery, one of my favorite places.  We lazily walked up the paths admiring the men and women who have served our country and given their lives to do so when we heard the chime of the clock signalling that it was 5 O'Clock p.m.  Part of the reason I wanted to go there was to see the Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier.  We started sprinting up the hill and made it, breathless, panting and sweaty, just as the guard on duty announced for everyone to be quiet for the ceremony.

Day 3, our last full day in the city, we went first up north to Silver Spring, MD, where the Mormon temple is.  We spent the late morning lounging on the grass, enjoying the beautiful weather, and feeling the special peace that is at the temple.  We went to the visitor's center, had snacks on the lawn and just enjoyed the time we had.

Sunday morning we got up and headed out.  We wanted to stop at Gettysburg on our way back to Columbus (Which is about an hour and a half north of D.C.)  We went and we were glad we did.  Although we didn't get to see everything, we got to see the soldier's Cemetery where Abraham Lincoln gave the famous Gettysburg Address.

We also went to the High Water Mark battleground which was sombering.

We had a marvelous trip.  We were glad to get home and sleep in our own beds, Keane especially, but since we are out here we hope to take advantage of all the cool things we are relatively close to!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Some of my favorite things..

I love ice cream.  It is an obsession that I do not deny.  Andrew regularly comments are the amount of ice cream I eat in a single sitting.

I have decided in the past month or so to really cultivate this obsession by starting to make my own ice cream.  I have found some fantastic recipes, and not so fantastic recipes, and now I have created my own custard base so that I can make any flavor I want!  BRILLIANT!

I do, however, want to share some of these recipes with you because they are worth trying, easy to make, and they result in compliments from others!

**First I looked up recipes and found one for avocado ice cream.  I know, it sounds strange, but it is actually very good!  This recipe on the TLC website is a good one.  I added coconut milk to the milk at the beginning, makes it awesome!

**The ice cream, though delicious when fresh out of the ice cream maker, freezes so solid it is hard to scoop out the next day.  After some research on ho to make ice cream that doesn't freeze as hard as a rock I found this recipe for Salted Caramel ice cream.  Absolutely amazing.  I have made this three times now (once with the pralines and twice without) and each time the comment "best ice cream I've ever had" has been spoken.

**Then I wanted to make a classic chocolate ice cream.  The recipe I found is from Food Network, an Alton Brown recipe.  Very delicious, remains soft and creamy.

**The next week we had a large carton of strawberries that was starting to go bad.  Cha-Ching!  Strawberry Ice Cream.  The best recipe I found was using a strawberry puree instead of larger strawberry chunks, I love it!

Through all of this I have learned a few things about ice cream making.  David Lebovitz's website discusses ways to keep ice cream soft, so that it won't freeze solid.  The key is to have ingredients that don't freeze hard such as sugar, alcohol, fat, gelatin and/or stabilizers.

I hope you take the time to try some of these recipes.  The Salted Butter Caramel recipe is truly worth it!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Walkin' and a Talkin' in our sleep

Andrew talks in his sleep.

A lot.

He also snores.

A lot.

Despite all of this, I love him. Maybe even because of it.

A lot.

Let me paint a little picture:

We were married on a Friday afternoon.  The next Tuesday night (yes, I remember the exact day) we were at my family reunion (and yes, we went to a family reunion less than a week after getting hitched).  In the middle of the night Andrew yells out:


After getting over my initial shock of being woken up to his shouting, I realized he was sleep-talking and decided to try and see what fun I could have with this.

"Andrew, why is resistance futile?"

"Because we have come so far!"

"So far in what?"


That is when I burst out laughing.

Often times Andrew will say things in his sleep and when I ask what it was he said, it wakes him up and he replies with, "Oh nothing."  Or "Stop making fun of me!"

One night he woke up yelling in Portuguese.  Apparently I had made him so mad in his dream that he swore at me in a language I don't understand so that I wouldn't get offended....this was his explanation anyhow.

Last week around 2 am he woke me with a start speaking very quickly and in a stressful tone:

"Brittney, I went into Keane's room to change his diaper and when his diaper was off he peed on my leg and it burned like acid!  We have to take him to the hospital!"

Taken completely by surprise I shoot up and say, "WHAT??!!!"

Calmly he realizes he was sleep-talking and replies, "Oh nothing.  Love you goodnight"

Ah, yes, his other go-to phrase when he realizes he's been caught is to mumble sleepily, "I love you..."

Thursday, March 28, 2013

How free are we?

There are a handful of things that make me undeniably uncomfortable.  These include political discussions, religious conflict, racial remarks, and mosquito bites.  Watching President Obama and Governor Romney's debates this past Fall made me so nervous I would start to sweat, and that was just sitting in front of the television.  I would literally cover my eyes with a blanket and put my fingers in my ears because it caused me such visceral discomfort to watch and listen to the two of them.  Listening to Andrew and his father discuss politics is so agonizing for me I have to go somewhere where I cannot hear them.

 As anyone who is in any way linked to social media, who turns on their computer/television, or who steps foot outside of their home during the day is aware, this is a very important time in the history of our country.  Big decisions are going to be made.  Do I have opinions about the issue of equality?  Absolutely.  Am I going to share them with you?  Absolutely not.  Why not? because I don't want my comment box filled with nasty remarks one way or the other. You may think you know where I stand on the issue.  I assure you, you have no idea.

A clean debate is something I can respect and appreciate.  I feel, however, that debating, discussing, and respecting other peoples views, opinions and beliefs is something that the general population struggles with.  I have read, listened to and watched people that I know and love tear down other people that I know and love because they do not agree on certain issues.  Isn't that interesting?  We want to be free to think and believe how we wish, but we do not want to allow those whose opinions differ from ours the same liberty.

Because of this, I go out of my way to avoid political discussions, or anything that feels as though it might result in argument, disagreement, or unkind words (unless of course the conversation revolves around which flavor of ice cream is superior, I'm all over that).

Perhaps it appears as though I am not proud of who I am, not sure of my own beliefs, or unwilling to stand up for what I believe.  Untrue.  I take advantage of every opportunity I have to tell people what I believe and why I believe it.  However, if people are only asking in order to open the door to bash me, I see no reason to continue.  I also bask in the opportunities that I have to learn more about other people and their beliefs.  I am fascinated by religion,  by lack of religion, and by peoples views on current issues.

Maybe I hope too much for a world where we can all skip around in the sunshine catching butterflies, riding unicorns and eating cupcakes all day long, but I wish we could have a little more respect for others all the while staying true to our own convictions.  I wish we wouldn't be so quick to tell people they are wrong just because they think differently than we do.  We may BE free, but do we FEEL free?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I know what you are thinking: you have a new baby, of course you are getting minimal sleep!

Keane, bless his heart, is a miserable through-the-night sleeper.  Miserable.  I guess we can't all be good at everything! Oh, don't worry, it hasn't always been the case.  Up until month 4, he was a rock star sleeper.  He slept through the night, waking up at 5:30 am  to eat, and going back to sleep until 8 am.  I was bragging to people about how well he slept.  That's when we were slapped in the face with some humility.  The past three months have been a roller coaster of nonsense.

Have you ever met people who say their babies started sleeping through the night when they were like, 2 days old, and have slept through the night perfectly since then?  Now their children are grown and winning the Noble Peace Prize, in the Peace Corps, and creating cures for cancer.  I hate those people.  I smile, listen to them talk, pretend to be thrilled for them, but I'm actually thinking, "I hate you."  So, if you are one of those people, don't take it personally! I haven't slept since early October, I am no longer in control of and responsible for my thoughts or actions due to sleep deprivation.

Now, perhaps you are wondering if Andrew and I educated ourselves on how to get a baby to sleep through the night.  Not only have I spoken to every person that I know that currently has, has had, or is thinking of having a baby, I also read for the following books on the topic:

Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems by Richard Ferber, MDThe Happiest Baby On The Block by Harvy Karp, MDHealthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Marc Weissbluth MDBabywise by Gary Ezzo, MD, and Touchpoints 0-3 and 3-6 by T. Barry Brazelton MD et al. Along with these books I researched all ways to sleep train a baby including various crying methods and non-crying methods.

Over the past three months we have tried EVERY single method you can think of, and NOOOTTTHHHIIINNNGGGGG worked!!  Maybe you are wondering if we tried one thing or another, don't ask.  We tried.  Again, I am not looking for ideas on how to make him sleep better, because I guarantee I've tried it.  Lovey? Tried it.  Putting our scent on something? Tried it.  Night light? Tried it.  Putting him between us (yes I know, shame on me...)? Tried it. In our room? Tried it.  Out of our room? Tried it. I've tried it all, folks.

There is that moment, in the middle of the night, when through the baby monitor we hear Keane stirring.  My body involuntarily tenses up and I squeeze my eyes shut and just pray, "Pleaassseeee go back to sleep by yourself.  Please please please please pleaasseeee."  He doesn't.

Anymore, Andrew and I know only two emotions anymore, stupid slap happy, and ultra super duper grumpy.  Sometimes we go from one to the other in a matter of minutes.  One positive thing is I realize just how funny of a person I truly am.  I tell the funniest jokes when I haven't slept in three months!

And just as I think I'm going to snap, and it is 7:30 am and Keane wants up, NOW, I drag myself into his room and am greeted with this face:

He is so happy and giggly when he wakes up, it's hard to be frustrated about the night (other than the fact that I cannot walk straight because I am dizzy from no sleep!).

(Hotel on our trip to Cincinnati this past weekend)

(Union terminal station, Cincinnati)