Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How B&H came to be known as B&H

Every time I meet new people they all ask me "How did you choose their names?" It's not the most interesting story, but it is one that B&H will probably like to hear someday. Many of you have heard this story before - hope you aren't bored to tears reading it! :)

We found out B&H were a boy and a girl at my 16-week ultrasound at the beginning of August 2010. I was surprised to hear that the tech could determine their genders so soon (I'd heard that sort of thing happens at 20 weeks), but we were both super eager to know if we were having boys, girls, or one of each. (We did know that they were NOT identical, so one of each was an option for us). Now, aside from Aaron's first cousin Grace, there aren't too many Riekenberg girls out there. I think the next one besides her was born in the 1800s. So, needless to say, my heart, which had always been hopeful for a baby girl, was prepared to hear we were having 2 boys -- though I'd had a dream a few weeks earlier in which we had 2 girls!

The tech got to work on checking out Baby A, who was lower in my womb. The tech looked at the baby's arms, legs, head, heart, etc and then asked if we wanted to know the gender. We both said YES! When she said it was a girl, I started to cry. Crazy Momma. A Riekenberg girl! Hooray!!
We took a brief break so I could stretch (2 ultrasounds take a LONG time and lying still with a giant pregnant belly is not comfortable) and go to the bathroom. As we waited for the tech to come back, Aaron said to me "I bet it's 2 girls..." in a sad sort of voice. Little did I know, as much as I'd had my heart set on having a baby girl, he'd had his heart set on having a baby boy! I think when the tech said Baby B was a boy, Aaron shed a little tear. Or let out a small "whoo hoo!" :)

Once we knew that we were having a boy and a girl, we started talking names. I bought a baby name book, but turns out I never even really opened it. We threw ideas out to each other and listened to suggestions from our family - our favorite being silly things like Nikki and Ricky. (Say them with our last name - Ricky Riekenberg. UGH. Thanks, Dad!) Eventually, Aaron & I decided that I would name the girl and he would name the boy. We each also had ultimate veto power, so if one of us chose a name we hated (our joke was we would name the boy something really German like Hans), the other could veto it down. It somehow seemed less overwhelming to know I only had to pick one name instead of two.

As my bedrest wore on and it became more and more evident that we were actually going to have babies sooner rather than later (yet still hoping for not TOO soon), I started really thinking about girl names and choosing a top 3. I also picked a middle name. Aaron also told me he had for the most part picked a name for the boy. We were excited about it, so we told some people what we were thinking.

Of course, my top name was Elizabeth. I'd *always* wanted a little girl named Elizabeth (or Elisabeth). I always thought Tracy was a boring name that had no nicknames, so I wanted a daughter who had endless nicknames! Naturally, Elizabeth jumped to the top of my list, and I added Greta and Leah. (Note: Aaron swore he'd veto Greta & Leah.) I knew I wanted to give her the middle name Beatrice, though. Beatrice was my grandma Verna's middle name, and I loved her dearly. Yet, I'm sure she'd understand why the name Verna need not be passed on to a new generation, even as a middle name. Beatrice, though, is cute. Even bordering on trendy in the old-names-are-new-again sort of way.

Aaron was set right away on Henry. He wouldn't even listen to any other suggestions (Oliver was at the top of my boys names list!). Even while visiting his 90-some year old grandmother, he told her the boy would be called Henry and she said "I like the name Benjamin" (foreshadowing???). Baby Boy's middle name was to be John, an apparent Riekenberg tradition. The son of a Riekenberg is given his paternal grandfather's first name as a middle name, so says Aaron.

Well, that fateful day on Dec. 3rd when my water broke, we weren't ready for the babies in many ways: I hadn't packed a bag for the hospital, we hadn't put the carseats in the car, and most importantly, we hadn't picked names! Even for the day and a half I was in the hospital before they were born, we didn't really nail down names. I sort of thought Elisabeth (by then I'd chosen the "S" spelling), and I still tried to convince Aaron to name the boy Oliver.

But then they were born.

I took one look at this face and knew she wasn't Elisabeth.
Not even a little. I had pictured Elisabeth as a bald or blonde baby. This baby's wild dark hair did not look like Elisabeth (nor Libby, Lisa, Beth or any other of the nicknames I'd thought of). I remember in my one-hour-post-partum daze looking at her and thinking "Hannah, her name is Hannah." I told Aaron that and he agreed!

Now Ben, I didn't even get to see Ben's face for almost 2 days after he was born. He was whisked away to the NICU right after birth and had a CPAP put on.
 He was much more fragile than Hannah. But while I was recovering from childbirth, Aaron was in the NICU. He got to see the baby boy more than I did and when we got back to my room he told me he was going to name the boy Benjamin. I had to trust him, since I hadn't seen baby boy much, but Aaron assured me it was a good fit. Better than Henry. (And besides, we had agreed earlier on NOT to do same letter names, so Hannah and Henry was out). We put their names on their birth certificates and a few days later I got to take a good look at my son's face. Yup, indeed he *was* Ben!

Now, after nearly 16 months,  I know them so well and I am more certain than ever that their names fit them perfectly!!

Is this not a Hannah (which has various meanings including, "beauty," "passion," "gracious," and "He (God) has favored me")????

And this is a perfect Ben or what?? (The meaning of Benjamin isn't as handily fitting as the meaning for Hannah. Benjamin means "Son of my right hand" - eh.)

Of course, as you all know, we rarely call Ben Benjamin and we even rarely call him Ben - he's known as Benjo to us. And we I did get a nickname for my girl: she's my Hannie.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!

What a fun and busy week we've had! The sun came out, our spirits were all lifted, and we PLAYED!! You can't beat 70+ degrees in March in Minnesota. Definitely rare, and definitely a time to cherish.
I think in the course of 4 days we went to the park 7 times. They LOVE it and squeal with delight when we get there. They also grunt and sign "more more more" when we pull into the play area. I think they are confusing "more" with "play" (which we haven't taught the sign to, but oh well). They are even working on unbuckling themselves from their stroller so they can get out faster. I hope they don't figure this out soon. Oh boy. But, can't you just see the joy in their faces?

We've also spent a LOT of time playing in our backyard. I'm really looking forward to getting some more equipment and toys for back there and spending hours playing outside this summer! Right now, the "new to us" Cozy Coupe (Flintstone car, as my mom calls it) is a big hit, especially with Ben!

Poor kid can't figure out how to get out of the car!

 Of course, Hannah just wants to play with the buckles she finds. Silly gal!

B&H are loving our swing set! It was a great investment. We plan to move it to the back corner of the yard later this spring so we have more room in the middle to run, but for now, it works right by the tree. The playhouse is a big hit and they do the grunting, "more more more" signs for the slide all day!

I captured a few moments from the past week on video. Enjoy!

The Quotable Momma

Thursday, March 15, 2012


So far behind on posts! We went to the zoo the first week of March and I'm just getting these photos up now. Whoops. I blame the toddlers. By the time they fall asleep, I'm so dead exhausted I can't do much else. No one told me it would get so hard!

"Petting" the penguin (through the glass)

Ben would have stared at the fish ALL.DAY.

The famous MNZOO Turtle!

Daddy & his monkeys watchin' some monkeys.

Face smooshed up as close as he could get.

Capt Awesome makes it through the tunnel

Hannie walked the entire Tropics Trail alone.
And then did it again.

Pretty fishies!
We splurged and used some Christmas/birthday money to get a membership to the zoo. I think it was a wise investment - I can foresee many a Sunday morning spent exploring there! But only until about 10:30/11:00. Then it gets TOO BUSY for us!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


With temps in the mid-60s, we couldn't resist playing outside for a few minutes after lunch today! The babies thought their outside toys were awesome. I foresee a very busy (very tiring) summer ahead.

Ben's new fort - under the slide in the swing set.

Crusin' in our new Cozy Coupe!

Wheeeeee! Swings!

Push faster, Ben, FASTER!

Two things I learned today while playing outside:

1) I am really going to have to work them and train them how to get out together safely. The same goes for coming back in. Last year I'd take one outside and plop him or her on the grass, then come get the other one. That ain't gonna work this year!

2) We need 2 Cozy Coupes. So many tears over it today!

I'm looking forward to a fun summer outside with them. Maybe all that running around will just melt away the 20lbs I'm trying to lose.... :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

One and a quarter years old

(also known as 15 months old!)

Aaron and I were talking about how old the babies are - he couldn't believe they were 15 months old already! He said, "That's a year and a quarter!" Neither of us can believe A) it's March already and B) it's been 3 months since their birthday. I'm quite certain that as fast as last year went, this year will go even faster!!!

Some new things the babies are doing:

Hannah can sign "all done" most of the time and "milk" some of the time. Ben doesn't really sign either of those. Both can sign "please" when they really really want something!

Hannah added a few more words. She can say "nee" (bunny) and "yeah." I'm also certain she was saying "girl" the other day while we were playing with little people, but she hasn't said it again since. Ben has added "gee gee" (froggy) and "dee tee" (kitty).

EVERY animal they see is a kitty. It makes people laugh.

Ben is finally up and walking so fast. He's gonna be hard to catch soon. He's funny, though, he doesn't really bend his legs too much when he walks. Silly boy.

They play peek-a-boo (also known as "where's ____?" now!

"Where's Hannah?"

"There's Ben!"
The best thing of all is they both follow simple directions. It makes my life so much easier! They can give me their suckies, walk to the kitchen, put the toys in the bucket (if they are so inclined to), find the _____, go find Daddy, walk to the bathroom, walk to their room. It makes it a lot easier to get them ready for lunch or nap or bath when then can just walk where they need to go!

We had their 15 month appointment today and OH.MY.GOSH is it getting hard to take 2 babies to the doctor. They cried and cried and cried. They didn't want their clothes taken off. They didn't want to get weighed. They wanted a tongue depressor to play with; then they didn't want it. And the shot. OY. Nothing breaks my heart more.

But here are some stats!

Height - 31.25" (75%)
Weight - 24 lbs 14 oz (79%)
Head - 18.75 inches (91% waah waaah)
Weight for length  ratio - 82%

Height -  32 " (76% - but I beg to differ because a month ago he was 33 inches. He was REALLLLLY mad getting measured today so I think he was bunchy).
Weight - 27 lbs 5 oz (83% holding steady from a month ago. Whew!)
Head - 19.5 inches (96% waaah waaaaah)
Weight for Length - 91%

Benjo also ended up with double ear infections. :( So doc put both babies on amoxocillin, Ben for ears and Hannah for a yellow boogery nose she's had for a month. Maybe they won't be so crabby if they feel better!!

Overall, life is good. I love my partners in crime, even on the days where they are crabby and I just want to drink more coffee. :)

A few photos for your enjoyment:

Crabby Girl
Happy Boy
New favorite (ultra annoying!) toy - shoot baskets!
A tornado ran through their room!
Rut row! Stuck under the end table.
Crazy hair! (with a pretty bow!)
Can you spot what's wrong here....?
Feeding themselves yogurt.
They don't let Momma do it much!
"Playing" with our new easel.
Why buy toys? Give the kid a bowl!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Quotable Momma

This is a wooden plaque I saw at Patina awhile ago. I hope B&H get it for me for Mother's Day!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Some of the best sounds you'll ever hear

Oh my kids. I love them more than anything else in this whole wide world!! They make me smile every day, especially when they do this sort of stuff: