Music has always been a big part of my life. A lot of my earliest memories revolve around music. My Grandma Hendrix used to have this big record player and I remember listening to LP's on it. I remember that we borrowed a record from her, Conway Twitty, and when I was about 4 years old I remember my mom calling down the hall for me to play "Hello Darling" over and over again. I also remember the first "real" record that I ever got, "Take The Long Way Home" by Supertramp that I got from our friends, Howard and Pauline. My first concert was Randy Travis at the Show-Me Center when I was about 14 years old. Since then I have seen tons of other concerts and I still get excited for every one.
KANIN JOSHUA RILEY
I guess, then, it is no surprise that when I started to have children that I wanted music to be a part of their lives, too. While pregnant with Kanin I used to drive back and forth across the state from Kansas City to St. Louis and I swear that he would always kick like crazy whenever I played "A Pirate Looks At 40" by Jimmy Buffet and "Simple Man" by Lynard Skynard, so I would play those songs over and over for him. At the time that I was pregnant with Kanin, I was really, really into Kenny Chesney and almost had Chesney be one of his middle names. Thank God I didn't do that because, as it turns out, Kenny Chesney isn't the nicest guy on the block (I can get more into that story later).
Anyway, when trying to buy a baby blanket, sheets, etc for his bed I came across this really sweet one that said "You Are My Sunshine" and I instantly knew that it would be his song. After he was finally here, I sang that song to him everyday of his life until he was probably 5 or 6 years old. Now, he doesn't necessarily want me to lay in bed with him and sing it to him every night like I used to but every once in a while he lets me. He is, however, very protective of that song and if he hears it out anywhere he always tells me that he heard "our song".
You are my sunshine. My only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You'll never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away.
When I found out that I was pregnant for the second time I really, really, really wanted a girl. Kanin had become Scott's "buddy" and I can tell you that there were many times that I kind of felt left out. I know that might kind of silly but it is true. Most kids want their Mommies when they get hurt or are sad but not Kanin. He has always wanted Gaga for everything.
I remember laying on the table waiting to find out whether we were going to be having a boy or a girl. Scott wanted another boy but I think that for my sake he was hoping that it was a girl, too. When the sonogram tech told us it was a girl I burst into tears. I can't even begin to tell you how elated I was. I could envision little pink dresses and bows, babydolls and purses. Looking into the future, I knew that I would have someone to get pedicures with, go shopping with and just have some good old-fashioned girl talk.
Naming Gracie wasn't the easiest thing to do. I really wanted to name her Avery but Scott wasn't really fond of that name. Gracie was a name that we had kind of thrown around but we hadn't really committed to it. Scott really wanted to name her Gracie but I just couldn't commit. So one day I was on Rhapsody listening to various artists and I ran across a Ben Folds song called "Gracie" and I knew that it was over. I knew that Gracie would definitely have to be our little girl's name. Listening to that song just made me imagine holding her for the first time, watching her grow up and, later, becoming my friend.
I have always said that all of my children will have 3 names because I have 3 names. Well, we compromised on Gracie. We ended up giving her our moms' middle names but combined two of them to make one name out of it. The "Ann" in GracieAnn is Scott's mom's middle name and Elaine is my mom's.
Even though I really wanted an Avery, I can't picture her as anything else than my Gracie Girl.
You can't fool me, I saw you when you came out
You got your momma's taste but you got my mouth
And you will always have a part of me
Nobody else is ever going to see
With your cards to your chest walking on your toes
What you got in the box only Gracie knows
And I would never try to make you be
Anything you didn't really want to be
Life flies by in seconds
You're not a baby Gracie, you're my friend
You'll be a lady soon but until then
You gotta do what I say
You nodded off in my arms watching TV
I won't move you an inch even thought my arm's asleep
One day you're gonna want to go
I hope we taught you everything you need to know
And there will always be a part of me
Nobody else is ever gonna see but you and me
My little girl
My Gracie girl
Caleb Scott James
My Sweet Baby Caleb was my somewhat of a surprise baby. We had talked about possibly, down the road, in the future (get it) have another baby but we were not trying to get pregnant so it was a surprise to us and to our families when we found out that another little one was on the way.
Somehow with this pregnancy, though, I automatically knew that it was a boy. The entire time I was pregnant I just kept saying that it was a boy. I could just tell by the way that I felt, the way that I was carrying him, my hormones--pretty much everything. To be honest, though, I really wanted another girl. I know that sounds incredibly selfish but I was and am so in love with Gracie that I just thought it would be fun to have 2 little girls to dress up. Plus, I figured since they were so close in age that they would grow up being great friends.
I knew, however, that Scott wanted a boy. Kanin wanted a boy so that he could teach him to play hockey and Gracie . . . well, Gracie had no clue what she was getting into. So, the day that we found out that it was a boy, I was a little numb. I know that sounds horrible but in my mind I kept thinking about the relationship that Scott and Kanin have and how, as I said before, that I sometimes felt left out. Then, I looked at Gracie and how she always wanted me and I just got incredibly selfish. I wanted the baby to want me. How horrible is that?
Anyway, we started thinking about names for our baby and I have always loved the name Caleb. Scott liked it right away, too, so that was settled. I wanted to incorporate Scott's name into it somehow and his middle name is Eric so we went with Caleb Scott. But wait, remember how I said all of my babies had to have 3 names. What were we going to do? I racked my brain trying to think of a name that would go with Caleb Scott and then one day one of my favorite songs came on the radio by James Taylor, Sweet Baby James. I was singing along and when it got to the chorus, I knew that I had found my third name-James.
Goodnight you moonlight ladies. Rock-a-bye, Sweet Baby James.
Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose
Won't you let me go down in my dreams.
And, rock-a-bye, Sweet Baby James
By the way, Caleb is my lover baby. He loves the Mommy. I eat up every moment of this because I'm sure that soon he won't want me singing this song to him every night anymore but until then rock-a-bye my Sweet Baby James.