Monday, June 22, 2015

Happy Birthday Riley!

For realsies this time. We had the pre-party a month ago when a lot of her friends were about to move out and she wanted them to be there. She asked why we were doing it again! And Joe asked why it wasn't his birthday. So many questions!

Well the first party was mostly boys. Balloon fighting, sword fighting, wrestling... So, balance in all things - this time we had a tea party!

 Because it's Riley, she, with the help of her guests, had to help decorate the cupcakes. She'd picked out the sprinkles and gummi bears and specified the cake and icing (chocolate. white.)  There were many little fingerprints in the frosting, but hey, they still tasted pretty good! We also did another craft from Riley's craft book: crown making! Its amazing how some brightly colored paper and sparkly stick-on stars can thrill people.

For lunch, at Riley's request, we had pig-in-a-blankets, strawberries and grapes, and pirates booty. I snuck in carrots but no one cared. Because no one ate them.

Baby snack cups make great plate elevators. It's the rubber on the bottom - grips the plate really well! The flowers were a gift from Dave. I told him the day before how Riley saw some at the grocery store and sighed and said, "I wish we had some of those," so he made a midnight run for fresh flowers for her. In case Riley ever wonders how much her Dad adores her! He also did a bang-up job decorating the living room the night before, but you'll have to take my word for it - I didn't get a picture! Riley was thrilled though.
I forgot we didn't have a tea kettle for this tea party, but the girls were fine with the miniature pitchers I set out - they still got to pour their own drinks. It's amazing what a little autonomy will do for a child - I refilled those pitchers over and over because they kept swilling so they could keep pouring. 
 Shockingly, they restrained themselves from cake till after lunch was finished and Riley blew out her candles. Everyone is so well behaved at tea parties! I told them we have to be refined and use very nice manners and that set off about five minutes of complimenting each other on a range of topics. Hair. Smell. Crown beauty...
Following lunch and cake we had hide and seek and Disney Twister:
 And then we went out to the park to play in mud puddles and try out Riley's new water guns. All in all, I declare this party to be a success. The only thing is, I thought of about a dozen kids after that we should have invited, it being the last hurrah and all that, but I suppose we would have had to reserve a party room to do that. As it was, we were maneuvering around boxes and bubble wrap the whole time - the move is coming up hard and fast!

That evening we switched gears and had Dave's celebratory Father's Day dinner as he was going out of town for actual Father's Day. Sigh. I know! But job interviews must be had! Luckily, I sneaked a video of Riley's primary performance at church for him. Your kids singing in church is something of a life hi-light to me - cuteness at it's finest! So what the heck; here ya' go:

Riley's always loved the stage. Joe made it about half way and then turned around and sprinted back to sit in my lap. My cuddler!

Well, Riley, I hope you had a good day. I would never have thought that hosting a bunch of little kids for hours at a time would be fun, but I kind of had a blast! Seeing your child so excited and happy makes everything worth it. Plus little ones say the darndest things - they crack me up! Things like, "You can't fall in love with your cousin." "I just want the gummi bear song for my birs-daaay. (Joe)" "I'm four now and I need some privacy." You never know what they're going to say next! Riley is so smart and creative and surprises me every day with some new thing. Just a new story or song or observation. Or artwork. Behold our wall today:
I saw the marks, instantly tried to scrub them off with no luck, and growled, "Why is there marker on this wall." Enter Riley around the corner. "Oh I just thought that wall needed some blue roses."

Now why do I feel like the guilty one now??? Being a mom is weird sometimes. Suddenly I want to paper the walls with blue roses. I won't. I'll buy a magic eraser and get rid of the ones we have, but if we weren't renting and about to move out I'd totally keep them. Riley's imagination is just too charming!

 Ok, one last thing and then it's to bed. I was not a patient mommy tonight and I need some beauty rest! But here is Riley and Joe, in their new birthday superhero jammies, playing on their make-shift "slide." That's it - I'm getting rid of all our toys! Who needs em!
Good night!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

Today we celebrate fathers and father-figures everywhere. Dads. Grandpas. There is absolutely no substitute for a good dad. I should know. As the recipient of all the benefits of having an amazing Dad, Grandpas, and marrying a guy who, turnes out, is an outstanding father, I humbly claim "expert" status. Based on my personal experience, here is what makes a great dad.

1) Loves spending time with his kids, and they know it. My dad has 48 hours in a day, apparently. He worked full time, bishop'd full time, and somehow made time for each of his eight kids. I remember Daddy-daughter dates - what we ate and the activities (ice for pound puppies...)  breakfasts in the kitchen, making stuffing together at Thanksgiving and the candy bar on the dashboard for me when he picked me up from sports. I remember late nights helping me with calculus (boo!) and long weekends working on science fair projects. Times it all by eight, and you have barely an inkling of the ways he has been so present for so many.
"In family relationships, "love" is really spelled "T.I.M.E." ~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf

 And no one loves spending time with his kids more than Dave. He adores is babies and is rightfully "the fun one" - there is no end of adventures to have and trouble to get into! The feeling is mutual, as evidenced by the sadness when he leaves. Once when he was getting ready to go, Riley asked me, "Can you do something nice for Dad so he won't go to school?" Haha um...One: not why he goes to school. And two: I do nice things for him all the time! I told her he actually goes to school so he can take care of us, but I don't know if she was convinced.

2) Great dads inspire their kids. I look to my dad's example for all sorts of things. Gospel things, work ethic things, family relationship things... When I became a parent, he said something about how having children make you want to be a better person so you can teach them by example. Of course, according to his mother, my dad has always been a precious angel, but as a dad, I couldn't ask for a better role model. Here he is in his Christmas get-up preparing to take meals to a some people he's had on his mind over the holidays. One of those people has a mental disability that makes him very childlike and he loves it when Santa shows up on his door step with goodies every year.
 Riley and Joe were likewise blessed with a daddy who loves to serve others and is role model on living a good life. Such a genuinely good person - the kind that gives to the needy without judging, is always one to show up when someone needs help moving in or loading up, finds joy in the little things in life (cookies) and asks for so little (cookies). Works his tail off for his family and would do anything for them. He inspires me, that's what!

 3) “The most important thing a father can do for his [daughter] is to love [her] mother.” Source here. I heard this quote from a really great General Conference talk and it's something I'd never pin pointed before, but makes a lot of sense, as my Dad is practically perfect and he does this very thing! :) We might have gagged, but all during growing up, the first thing we saw our dad do when he walked in the door was bee line to our mom and give her a big kiss, maybe a pinch too, if he really wanted to gross us out. Their love is epic and undeniable. Maybe that's why it never occurred to me to marry anyone one who treated me less than I deserved and needed! I guess I kind of have my awesome dad to thank for my awesome husband. They certainly share a lot of qualities: hard-working, fun, kind... Texan...and the way they love their wives! I suspect our love will be as sweet and seasoned as theirs in forty years, but in our five, it is already a huge blessing and support through my life, and in the lives of our children. Riley knows he's my prince (or hans, as she calls it), and will likewise know she deserves the best kind of love in a marriage. Someday very very far away.

 And that's about all I want to say this morning. My heart is full and I am profoundly grateful for Dad. Thank you doesn't begin to cover it but: Thank You! I love you more than I can say! Dave: Riley and Joe adore you. Thank you for making their little worlds so magical. Love you!
 *#TellThem for more Father's Day feels!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Tamarac Nature Center, Elm Creek, and Carousel

What a day the Munion's have had! For example, at dinner Riley and Joe were spitting into the air, pretending they were spitting "at the bad guys." I, by way of stern reproof, said, "Well stop it. And if you ever do meet a bad guy, you probably should not spit in his face." To which Dave mumbles around a bite a food, "It worked when some guy tried to car jack us." Whaa?? It's like I don't even know him sometimes. But apparently, Dave spit in some carjacker's face and he backed down. hahahaha I just...Dave has interesting stories. And sometimes he ruins my parenting moments with them.

In addition to the spit story, we went to Tamarac Nature Center today, finally! This place is perfect for your littles! They have streams to dig in, piles of sticks to build/destroy with, "cliffs" to scale...I wish we'd visited sooner! Riley and Joe blew three hours here and didn't even notice.

 Kids and sticks! I don't really get it but they had a great time in the stick section. The water section too. I only got pictures of the aftermath:
Guess who forgot to bring bathing suits? Haha oh well - at least it was a warm day.
We are getting lots of time in with friends as we will be moving soon. It will be a sad day that Riley and Joe have to say their goodbye to all her little buddies for good! Here is another outing with friends to Elm Creek beach. I love the sandiness of Elm creek - it is man made, so none of the siltiness of normal lakes. Also: canopies, concessions, and a beautiful green backdrop surrounding.
 Not pictured: ice cream after with Allyon and Davis clans. Ice cream is a perfectly acceptable bribe to get your kids to leave the beach, by the way. Totally takes the stress out of the whole thing. Although you know what you will never take the stress out of? Public bathrooms at the lake. I really tap into my inner germaphobe in public restrooms and lake ones...let's move on.

Como zoo had a free carousel ride day this week. If it's free it's for meee! :) And if it's a carousel it's for Riley and Joe! They kept getting back in line! Dave came with us for this one. He didn't mind it at all.

Haha! Joseph!
 While there we also hit up the zoo. Como Zoo, how do I love thee, let me count the ways. The zoo was replete with high school interns cleaning and showing off a bunch smaller animals, snakes and what not. What I wouldn't have done to do that in high school?! Or now! I love the zoo.
 Riley wanted her picture taken at all the statues.
Like, all of them.
So I think that about concludes the "random outings" portion of this post. I shall now share a random playground video to wrap things up. Compliments of Dave's phone:

Oh yeah! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Crafty Crafters

A few weeks ago Riley went to the library and struck gold: she found her soul mate in a book and we have lived and breathed by it since.
Create with Maisy! Wake up before the sunrise and ask your parents if you can! Pore over it's pages, scavenge the recycling and the farthest reaches of your mother's cabinets for bits of pasta, crepe, aluminum, and glitter.

I should have written her intro.

Luckily, I enjoy crafts as well. We had to limit her to one a day, because, you know, we got stuff to do, but it's been a lot of fun. This book is perfect for an almost-4-year-old: the crafts are simple and use common household items and are very adaptable to what you have on hand. And it's nice that it is laid out for them that they can flip through and pick what they like. Which is a huge attraction, probably half the appeal. Usually I pick crafts for them from Pinterest or blogs, and they like those, but they aren't as invested.

Vegetable stamp painting.

Paper lanterns.
Water colors on white crayon drawings.
Pencil holders and tissue flowers
It is so much fun seeing the kids getting creative and proud of their creations. I love this age! Today Riley and Joe took turns telling me stories (or "scary jokes" in Joe's case).  It was the best. Riley really talks with her hands when she is telling stories - the dragons and princesses and "hans" (she means princes) and knights really came to life. She interjects her "and then"s with such gravity. And Joe just kept sharing knock knock jokes with bananas and chicken nuggets as the inexplicable punch lines. We humor him though.

Right, I sometimes get the vague idea that others might find these details rather uninteresting. But these details glow in my heart - it is what it is. I'm smitten.