Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"All I'm asking; is for a little..."

Nope, not respect... SLEEP!

Chandler was ALWAYS a good sleeper. She came out of the womb a good sleeper... of course the extreme case of jaundice helped. :)
As an infant she slept well, as a toddler she slept well and now as a pre-schooler she is still a pretty good sleeper. Like all kids, she has had her share of rough nights, but 99.9% of the time she's a good sleeper.
Riley... now she's a different story all together. She MAY sleep through the night 10% of the time. You may be thinking, "Come on Jen! She just had surgery!" Nope, that's not it. She was a crummy sleeper before the surgery!

  • We've tried letting her sleep with us.
  • We've tried feeding her in the middle of the night.
  • We've tried going into her room, giving her a paci and a back rub and sneaking back out.
  • We've tried the night light on.
  • We've tried the night light off.
  • We've tried a Bach CD playing softly.
  • We've tried the Bach CD playing loudly.
  • We've tried the Bach CD playing on repeat all night long.
  • We've tried walking into her room, laying her down and walking right back out.
  • We've tried rocking her in the middle of the night.
Last night we tried letting her scream herself back to sleep. We had tried it before. It worked and lasted for about a week, but then she was right back to waking up in the middle of the night.
When I finally woke up to the sound of her screaming (I can be a heavy sleeper at times) Brandon informed me that he had already been into her room once. She had been screaming for about 10 minutes and he would not be going back in there.
We decided to let her scream it out. I felt bad for Chandler (they share a room), but Chandler must have my "heavy sleeper gene" because, as far as we know, she never woke up... That's very surprising since Riley was screaming FULL FORCE for close to 45 minutes.
I've been told by several people that it takes 3 days to break a baby of a habit so I've already informed Chandler that she can sleep in the guest room tonight. :)

I guess we are in for 2 more nights of screaming!

If you've got suggestions on how to get her to sleep all night I would LOVE to hear them!!!!

Here's a picture of Riley from Sunday night. 6 days after surgery:

She still has the black eye!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

You should have seen the other guy!

The title of this blog was inspired by my dad. :)

Riley looks like she was in a knock down drag out fist fight! It's getting better each day, but she's still pretty pitiful.

Yesterday morning when she woke up her eye was pretty much swollen shut.

By lunch time it was getting better and by the time we left for church last night it looked 10 times better. (Ignore the sweet potatoes and juice all over her clothes... she's a messy eater!)

Today it is bruised and swollen, but not swollen shut. She's pretty happy and active today. I couldn't keep her still long enough to get a good picture. She kept crawling to the camera!

So there she is, looking like a prize fighter!

Some of you were wondering how Riley slept after the surgery. When we got home from The Surgery Center she had a snack and took a 3 hour nap. She was worn out!!
That night she did GREAT! In fact, we ALL slept pretty good. She went down about 9:30 and slept all night. I think she woke up around 7:00... Brandon heard her "talking" to herself about that time, but she wasn't crying to get up yet.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Riley's Surgery :)

Well, it's all over and done with... and I hope I NEVER have to do something like this again!

Riley's surgery was a success. She won the hearts of all her nurses, her anesthesiologist and her doctor.

Everyone said she was great and did just wonderful!

Here she is getting her Pre-Surgery bath last night.

We arrived at the Surgery Center at 8:15 this morning. We got her all signed in. Pastor Jonathan (or as Chandler calls him, Pastor Jon-fin) was there as our "support team". He was great! Thanks Jonathan!!

They called us back to talk through the surgery. Riley got her gown (it was huge, but the smallest one they had... it made me sad. I kept thinking, "if she's too little for the gown, she's too little to be having surgery!")

I had to tie it super tight in the back just to make sure it didn't fall off of her shoulders!

We met the anesthesiologist, Jaclyn. She was great and made me feel a WHOLE lot better about leaving Riley. She showed me the instruments that she would be using and explained how they work and what Riley would be feeling.

They took her back to her room and we were left alone... I had to stop in the bathroom to dry my face before heading back to the waiting room.
This is where I'm extra thankful for Jonathan. We talked about the complications with his fence and how NOT to have a fence built. We talked about Royal Rangers. We talked about new cars and old cars... basically, we talked about everything BUT Riley's surgery. It made the time FLY by and before I knew it it was time to make a bottle for Riley to take to the recovery room.

Here she is "recovering". It was pitiful. She had that bandage on her head. The brown wrap is covering the IV. They told me that she kept chewing on the IV tube! She was still hooked up to all of the monitors. Her heart rate was almost 150 when we got in there.... she was MAD! After I held her and she calmed down a little and it went back down to 120.
She was anxious to get that IV out. When the nurse pulled the tape off Riley jerked her arm and the needle popped out making blood squirt everywhere!

Jonathan helped us load her up in the car and we headed home.

We had to make a stop at Walgreens for bandages, tylenol and a prescription ointment for the incision. Riley was ready to get home. Doesn't she look pitiful!!

Surgery did NOT have a profound effect on her appetite! The nurses fed her an 8oz bottle as soon as she woke up. When we got home she had some toasted corn cereal, a slice of bread and some apple juice.

Currently she's taking a good long nap. She is worn out.

Last night was a horrible night! She went to bed at 9:15, woke at 12:45 (45 minutes too late to eat... she wasn't allowed food after midnight) and didn't go back to sleep until 4:00am!!! Hopefully tonight will be better!

Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes! We have the best family and friends in the world!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Update on Riley's Surgery

Riley's surgery has been scheduled for 8:30 tomorrow morning. Thank you to those of you who have left such kinds words of encouragement during this stressful time!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"Honey! Add Baking Soda to the Grocery List!"

So, here's how my 28th birthday played out...

Chandler woke up around 8:45 and stumbled into the living room where Riley and I were watching cartoons. She walks up to me and says, "Mom. Today is your birthday!" That was a GREAT way to start my day! She had informed Brandon, the night before, that she would NOT be singing Happy Birthday to me so I asked her, "Are you going to sing to me?" Her reply, "Sure mom!" She sang. It made me happy. It made Riley laugh. It made Chandler feel good. We are off to a pretty good start.

Around 10:30 Riley goes down for a nap so Chandler and I sit down to discuss some important issues like, "What's for lunch mom?"

While we were sitting there and talking I decided that it was a good time to explain Riley's surgery. I told her all about it and her first question was, "I don't have a bump like that do I???" I told her no and that she would not be having surgery. She was relieved. HOWEVER, I did tell her that tomorrow (today the 15th) is her Kindergarten physical. I told her about checking her eyes and ears. Seeing how much she weighs and how tall she is now. Then (we all know how much Chandler LOVES shots *note the sarcasm!*) I told her that she would have to get shots. At that moment she completely fell apart. She fell over onto the bed wailing, "No mom! No! I can't get shots. They hurt... I ALREADY GOT A SHOT!!!! Do I get to pick a toy at the store?"

We talked about why we have to get shots and about how she cannot go to school until she gets them. Her response, "Then I don't want to go to school!" My reply, "Chandler, I know that's not true! You talk about going to school EVERYDAY!" **In fact pretty much everyday since her 4th birthday. She finally got over her melt down. We talked about all of the other things we would need to do to get ready for school in the fall: buy a backpack ("Can it have princesses on it?"), buy a lunch box ("Can it be a princess lunch box?") buy school clothes ("Can they be princess clothes?"), buy school shoes ("Princess shoes?"), buy school supplies ("what are school supplies?"): paper ("Princess paper?"), pencils ("princess pencils?"), crayons ("How about markers?), glue, scissors, Kleenex ("why? we have Kleenex here.")
If you can't tell... Chandler is mildly obsessed with Disney Princesses and she is the QUEEN of questions!

After she was finished discussing school preparation she had lunch and seemed ok with getting shots, but I dared not bring it up again.

Later while she was talking to my dad (who called to sing Happy Birthday to me) she said to him, "Squire, I have to get shots tomorrow so I can go to school, but it's ok. I'm brave because I am 5 years old." I was REALLY glad to hear that!

So, other than the "shot drama" we are still having a pretty good day. UNTIL.... after Riley's nap.

I was checking e-mail. I heard Riley crawling towards the kitchen, but it sounded like she stopped near the table (probably looking for a cheerio dropped at lunch time!). After a minute (maybe even less than a minute) I popped my head around the corner to check on her. This is what I found:She had NOT stopped at the table. She had discovered the kitchen cabinets and all of the wonderful things normally hidden behind cabinet doors. I say normally because this is what my cabinets look like:Back before Thanksgiving I started a kitchen remodel plan. I took the cabinet doors off (only on 1 side of the kitchen), sanded everything, painted everything, but only put up a few doors. Why did I put up the doors at the ceiling and not at the floor level?? Riley wasn't crawling then and I KNEW I would get them back up before she learned how. Oops!

Baking soda and marshmallows. Chandler decided that Riley must have been trying to bake me a cake for my birthday. :)

"What else can I pull out of there??"

I took a little time to take a few pictures... I knew the story wouldn't be as funny without them. :)

We cleaned up Riley's creation and both girls got a bath (Chandler was sneaking in "play time" with the baking soda while I was cleaning the baking soda off of Riley).

When Brandon came home he had a pizza and a chocolate cake. Yay! I had requested pizza and Chandler was disgusted when I told her that we would not be having a birthday cake so she requested that Brandon pick up a cake on his way home... worked out good for me too! :)

I thought about just doing 1 candle, but Chandler said I couldn't have just one because I am old. Thanks Chan. We started counting out 28 candles (I had to open 2 packages! You know you are old when one package of candles isn't enough!). I think Chandler got bored counting. She normally stops at 20 so this was a challenge!

Here's the cake with 28 candles.

I got 27 in one try. Chandler blew out number 28.

Riley enjoying cake

Chandler gives it a thumbs up!

It was good!

Here's what 28 candles look like!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Happy Early Birthday to Me!

Tonight Brandon and I went out to celebrate my birthday. We invited our good pals Jonathan and Amy to join us. It's the first time that the 4 of us have been out together without Chandler and Riley... I forgot what uninterrupted adult conversation felt like!! And now that I've been reminded... I REALLY MISS IT!
We started the night at Logan's. The food was good, the company was great and the music was LOUD!
After dinner we headed over to the movie theatre to see "P.S. I Love You". Yep, a chick flick. Brandon and Jonathan were good sports. Although, Brandon did admit on the way home that he enjoyed it. I can't say that I "loved" the movie, but it was pretty good. It's definitely a good "girl night" movie. I teared up a time or two, but it's no "Titanic" :)
It did give me a desire to travel Europe at some point in my lifetime.... and to see more movies with Gerard Butler in the cast!

Now it's back to reality! My Riley is in bed... Thanks to Ms. Becky!! Chandler and Brandon are reading "The Value of Understanding: The Story of Margaret Mead" and my bed is calling me!

Sorry I don't have any pictures from tonight to post... I took my camera, but forgot all about it!

BUT... Here's something sure to make you laugh!

Jennifer Elaine Smoot at 5 1/2 months old (July 1980)

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Friends & Family,

Riley had an appointment this morning to have the cyst next to her eye examined. Because it has continued to grow over the past 6 months, the doctor told us that the best course of action would be to have it removed. We have known since last July that we would eventually be having this conversation, but we really thought we still might have several more months to make a decision.

However, that is not the case. The surgery has been scheduled for January 22. Yes, that is less than 2 weeks from today!
As of right now, I don't know the exact time. The Surgery Center schedules the times and I will probably not hear from them until the day before the surgery.

The doctor is confidant that Riley will do very well. She's very healthy and hasn't had any medical complications so everything looks pretty good. Of course she will be put to sleep (with a tube down her throat) so the doctor told us about all of the "potential hazards" of anesthesia. Those "potential hazards" are what make me so nervous!

The surgery is more intense than I thought it would be... we got a list of those potential hazards as well!! It's not as simple as going just under the skin and cutting it out. Apparently there will be a rather deep incision in order to get under the cyst. She will have 2 sets of stitches. One under the skin and one on the surface of the skin. Both sets of stitches will dissolve. That helps us avoid an appointment to have them removed! There will be blood work done after the cyst is removed to confirm that it is, in fact, a dermoid cyst and nothing more serious.

Chandler is not really sure about what is going on, but she knows something is going to happen to Riley. She has already started asking me questions. She's a smart girl and we know she would want to know what's going on so we'll probably sit down and talk with her in the next day or two.

Please keep Riley and our family in your prayers over the next few days.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

10 months!

Well, it is hard to believe, but Riley is 10 months old! I should have posted this last week, but she has had a runny nose (actually she still does) so it was hard to get a picture that didn't have snot in it! :)

Riley has FINALLY learned how to crawl!!! I was hoping it would be after Christmas... I really wanted to get my tree down before she figured out that she could "play" with it!

She started crawling last Saturday during Chandler's tea party (party pictures coming soon!). Unfortunately, I missed getting to see it, but Brandon was there. I'm glad he was able to see the 1st crawl. I often feel bad that I get to see the majority of Riley's "firsts" while he's at work.

So, here's the 10 month photo... I'm not 100% pleased with the outcome (she's had better month by month photo sessions), but considering the snotty nose... it could have been worse!

Here is a little video I shot last night. Excuse Riley's nakedness (it was almost bedtime) and the quality of the video. I recorded it on my phone.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Happy 5th Birthday Chandler!!!!

5 years ago today... about this time in the morning, 7:30... I was just beginning to go into labor (induced labor). Chandler wouldn't be born until a little after 6:00 pm... she was stubborn and had a massive head! :) I can't believe that it has been 5 years!! Sometimes it feels like FOREVER... in a good way :) and sometimes it feels like only yesterday.

Here are a few of my favorite photos of Chandler from 2007... not because I'm an amazing photographer (because I'm NOT), but because they really show who she is and give me a glimpse of who she is becoming... ENJOY!

Chandler: September 2007

4th Birthday Day: January 2007

Self Portrait: She's quite good with a camera!

Our Diva in Training!

Riley's Baby Shower: February 2007

Comforting Mom... I think she may have been more nervous than I was!: March 2, 2007
*She was not in the room for the actual delivery!

Proud to have a new sister!

"Mom! Look at her toes! They are SO tiny!!"


1st trip to the dentist. She was such a brave girl! March 2007

1st Library Card! This girl LOVES to go to the library... and not just for the free movie rentals!

One pooped Princess!

Loves to laugh! Loves to have fun! Loves the camera!! :)

Mother's Day 2007

Mother's Day 2007

Loves to help, loves to cook. Making cookies: July 2007

Have I mentioned she loves the camera? July 4, 2007: Ocoee River

Chandler and Daddy
Has a sense of adventure! She's a very brave 4 year old! Jekyll Island 2007

Growing Up! She lost her 1st (and 2nd) tooth this year!

Again... BRAVE! Labor Day Weekend 2007

Loves to laugh, but loves to make Riley laugh even more!! September 2007

She ALWAYS has a plan!
"Wait, wait wait. I've got an idea."

She is passionate about the things she loves!

She is in control of every situation and wants to make sure everyone is happy!

Ears Pierced. October 2007

She knows what she likes... and this Krystal eating competition was NOT one of them!

She's still a little girl

She likes to be silly

She wants to know the story behind EVERYTHING!

She is MY child in every sense of the word! I may be in trouble!! :)

She wants to be a "big kid"

Chandler is so excited that she is going to be 5 years old today. She has already asked (yesterday) if she can go to school starting today. I told her that she will have to wait for school to start again... I just didn't tell her that she has to wait 8 months!