Friday, June 27, 2014


R: How are you doing, Mom?
M: I'm fine, how are you?
R: But how are you doing, Mom?
M: I'm actually exhausted, to be honest, and famished. But dinner is almost ready. Thank you for asking. How are you?
R: I'm two.

R (to kid on the playground): I'm Riley. This is Joey - he's my boy. I 'hink he yikes you.
Joe: NAH!

M: Would you like a cookie? (offers cookie plate)
R (grabbing the biggest one): It's the perfect size! Just yike me!

R: Where'd the bubbles go?
M: The wind blew them away.
R: The wind took them! He took them to my castle!

M: Riley, stop hitting Joseph. Would Jesus want you to do that? What would Jesus want?
R: Jesus...Jesus wants me for a sunbeam! Sing it, Mom!

All in a days work, people, all in a days work.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Beating the Humdrums

Yesterday was sort of a humdrum, no plans, check the clock every five minutes kind of day. Don't get me wrong - I think it is good to have unscheduled days now and again, but I was too restless for that nonsense, so today I decided to take take hold of my destiny and do stuff.

First we went hiking. We are so lucky that the beautiful Red Rocks National Park is only ten minutes away! Such a scenic area, with trails maintained well-enough that a toddler can (mostly) handle it. There was only one dubious moment when Joe was jumping down from step to step and started flirting with some ladies coming up the steps and he kind of toppled into a rock pile face first. But he was fine - one of the women rescued him and I think he was enjoying the attention to much to notice the scrapes. 
 We spent an inordinate amount of time looking at ants and searching for "green flowers" - the unicorn of flowers, according to Riley. Toward the end of our hike she picked a weed and decided this was the green flower she had been looking for.
 The last half mile or so they both went limp and had to be carried the rest of the way. Luckily I was wearing a child-carrier backpack and am super strong (just kidding - my legs feel like jello now), so one was on my back and the other in my arms. A great day should include a workout so...check!

Afterward we took a picnic to the park and played in the splash pad. It was ninety degrees so the children relished those icy fountains! And I didn't mind getting splashed multiple times myself.

 A few hours of that and we were almost ready to go home and crash for naps. Only one thing remained...
Mmm, Jamba! When they handed us our drinks, Riley and Joe immediately started "clinking" their styrofoam cups. "To us!" Those kids sure have class!

Once home: naps, then Charlie Brown, then a walk to the store, dinner with Dad, baths, bedtime and I call that a great day! I have to say, it was pretty awesome doing whatever fun activity we felt like - being a stay-at-home mom rocked today. Yay for beating the humdrums! Riley felt a bit bad Dave couldn't be with us though. While we were at the splash pad she said to me, "Daddy's at work?" I said yes. "Daddy has a pool at work? Daddy has a pool at work!" Ha - no, he wishes. But it was a kind thought. Ah well, Dave, at least it's almost the weekend!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Good Night, Sleep Tight

To all, to each, a fair good-night, and pleasing dreams, and slumbers light.
 -Sir Walter Scott 
There is nothing sweeter than the way these kids love each other.
-Their Mommy

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Denver Botanic Gardens

Saturday we went to the Botanic Gardens in Denver. It was beautiful and whimsical and I felt like I was lost in Emilina Twig's garden for about two hours (referencing one of my favorite children's book, 'Lemonade Serenade'). Dave mostly chased after our offspring and let me meander where I pleased, taking pictures and daydreaming till someone pulled on my leg or said, "Moooom, I got a stinky butt." I'm really glad we taught her that phrase and that now she uses it loudly in public places. Harumph.
There is some interesting artwork all over the gardens. In fact, you can take a bowl made by the same artist home with you for a mere 7,000 dollars. People are crazy.
Trufala trees? From Lorax? And that is about all you're going to get in commentary from me. But I would love to learn more about plants and flowers! For instance, a gentleman noticed I was standing by a patch of poison ivy. That's something I would have liked to have noticed myself!
 Riley and Joe enjoyed a lot of fake-sneezing on this outing.
A romantic setting for a wedding!
They found a good spot to feel the rain sprinkles on their faces.
Joseph tried to get some strength training in. Tried.
I feel like this would inspire a great party dress. For when I get into dress making.

Riley found some wings in the Children's Garden. She did a graceful dance for us.

Then we high-tailed it out of there as the rain swept in. The rain does that here - sweeps in almost every afternoon just as the children go down for naps, drums on our windows and cleans the air, leaving a nice fresh breeze for evening walks. Our evening walks are usually to the park by our house, where Riley has a castle and Joe collects rocks. It's a good life.

Riley turned 3 so we party, party, partied

Just so ya know, we are enjoying Colorado. Now.

We got here after a long day driving from UT and were locked out of our new apartment and the landlords weren't answering our calls, so we went to Little Ceasars for a pizza to eat on the sidewalk, then to the grocery store, waiting and hoping all the while that they would call us back and tell us the dang key code.

About 9:30 they finally got back to us, just in time for me to lock the keys in the car at the grocery store after taking Riley out there for a diaper change. Gah!I about cried, but didn't - we must keep a stiff upper lip for the babies. Although they didn't seem to need it - they thought it was a grand ole' time, getting to stay out way past bedtime and run around the grocery store throwing rubber balls and pulling junk off the shelves. Sigh...Eventually a locksmith came and we finally got home to our new digs about 11pm. I instantly noticed the hair all over the bathroom and dust on the furniture and growled that we needed to find a new house, but Riley just gasped when she walked in and said, "Dis is a nice place! Where's Zizi?" (That's Suzette. She thought we were going to the Harreld's house again.) I told her this was not Zizi's house, this was Riley's house. "OH! HANK you!" She was so excited! Joe was too - they were really miraculously happy through the whole ordeal. And then had the good grace to pass out immediately once we got them settled in their queen bed.

Once we got the house cleaned to our liking and our few suitcases unpacked, I calmed down considerably and can now tell you we will be comfortably installed here till the end of July. I am loving having a washer and dryer and dishwasher in our unit, a pool next to the building, and several parks within walking distance. Red Rocks, mentioned in a previous post, is only ten minutes away, Aspen, Hanging Lake, Colorado Springs and the Garden of the Gods are all within two or three hours of us, and of course the Mile High City - Denver, don't ya know - only twenty minutes from us. Dave's commute during rush-hour traffic is about an hour but that will only be for another six weeks. Then our last eight days we will live in the hotel his company has chartered for the intern families, as our current place only contracts by the month. Our time here is tripping along quite quickly, but we are really enjoying it while it lasts!


So, last post was for Father's Day but after the fact I realized I didn't post pictures from the actual day. Here is how we took care of our main man:
Breakfast(eggs, bacon, and maple donuts covered in more bacon) in bed, which was later moved back to the table because of being social and all that, cards, new kicks and steaks on the grill for dinner. He got lots of hugs and kisses and, "Best Daddy ever"'s from Riley. There are a lot of great daddies out there, but he just might be :)
This past week we have been really on routine in a good way. Every morning after breakfast we go for a long walk, often stopping at the grocery store to get this or that and culminating at a park so then they can get their exercise too. Riley loves spending time with other kids at the park - she says she is going to see her friends, even though we rarely see the same kids twice. One day Joe kicked off his shoe during our walk and I didn't notice till we got to the park so we had to turn around and retrace our steps and as we were strollering away Riley leaned out the side and yelled back, "Stay there, kids - I'll be right back!" She got some confused looks from the kids, but they welcomed her back with open arms when we returned.

Thursday Don and Jake came for a quick visit on their way to MN. Oh were the babies happy to see them! We grilled chicken fajitas for dinner (yum - never going back to pan fajitas!) and then went to the swimming pool because it is Riley's FAVORITE thing in the universe and she was the almost birthday girl, after all.
Joe learns how to kick back and relax.
This is what you get for telling her it's time to go. Ever.
The next morning Don and Jake had to get going but stuck around long enough for birthday breakfast with our THREE-year-old and Riley blearily blew out a candle on her cinnamon rolls. I am taking a break from baking this summer since we are so transient and I don't want to buy baking supplies but turns out no one minds the Pillsbury version. Riley had two.
Cheers, to Riley on her second birthday. And to healthier portions sizes of orange juice. (We have too many shot glasses in the apt and not enough pans and utensils. Just saying.)

After breakfast we had a play date at the playground/splash pad. We knew almost nobody except for the one lady from church who invited us but again, Riley doesn't need your name to be your friend. And Joe doesn't need you at all if he has Riley :) They are kind of a package deal.

Play dates are great, not least of all because they make for great naps after. The babies got naps, I got a shower, and then we went and picked up Dave from work and all got to go to an outdoor concert/dinner hosted by Dave's employers. Eli Young was the band playing. I had never heard of them but apparently they are rising country stars, with a few ACMA awards and Grammy nominations. They played a good show and even sang the happy birthday song (for one of the band members, not Riley, but she didn't know that). We also had some delicious barbeque and I got to meet a lot of Dave's coworkers, but what really won the kids over: stuffed kangaroos (Dish Network mascot) and face painting. We waited in line for over half an hour and Riley was so thrilled when it was finally her turn. She sat on the edge of her chair, fist braced on the chair, face upturned and eyes closed so that the artist could paint her face like a princess. The artist was quick but thorough - her sister was running the booth and told us that she had just won first place at a body painting competition in Gibraltar. We wondered exactly what kind of body art won a body painting competition, but didn't ask.
Joe would have none of the face-painting nonsense, but was happy to dance his way all over the party.
We then rounded out the day with cake (tiny pieces so the party wouldn't end up running all night) and presents, or "prizes" as Riley calls them.
Elsa! She generously let Joe have Olaf, the sidekick. Very diplomatic.
I have to say, she made out like a bandit this year! Books, a paint set, new clothes, new doll, a movie...She got calls from family and a video chat with her bff, Gracie, and basically partied all day long. When I at last tucked her into bed I had a hard time getting away because she kept wrapping her arms around my neck and telling me "Best day eba" in my ear, or best present, mommy, daddy, etc. She clearly was ecstatic with her birthday and wanted me to know. I'm glad. Three years ago she made me a Mommy and every day since has been a big learning curve as well as a wonderful adventure. I can't tell you how quickly time is flying by, which is one of the reasons I keep this blog! Because someday that adorable lisp will be gone, the bedtime strangle-holds will be over, and I just don't want to forget any of it!

So here are a few Riley facts at 3:

1)In the morning when we walk outside: "It's a bootiful day!"
2)"The birds are singing 'Child of God!'"
3)Pink, dresses, ruffles, princesses, all that girly stuff. She wants to take dance classes.
4)Imaginary friend: Horsey Pink - he is big, tall, and pink and regularly wrecks our walls.
5)Imaginary money: hands out "fives dowas" she keeps in her pocket for special occasions
6)Loves "her Joey" and has learned to "trade" to keep the good toys
7)Favorite foods: pizza, strawberries, icecream
8)Hasn't met a playground obstacle she didn't want to climb
9)Is currently trying to bully dad into going to buy some pizza so...I guess it's dinner time!

We love you Riley. You are one-of-a-kind and you have made our home a happier place to be! God bless you, sweet girl.