Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sweet Brothers boys just happen to be the sweetest boys. The other day I was downstairs fixing some breakfast and I heard Parker upstairs saying to Andrew, "Andrew, you are my very best, best, best, best, best, best, best buddy!" How cute is that?

And...the other day I came downstairs and found all three of the boys laying in the living room watching "The Wild Kratts" together like this:

And, the longer I stayed down there, I found myself uncontrollably taking photos!

I love it that Parker calls Andrew his best buddy and I know they probably won't always think that, but for now, that's just how sweet these boys are. So caring and loving and happy to be brothers!

"Is It Summer Yet?"

It seems like every day Parker asks me if it is summer time yet? He knows that Spring comes first, but everyday he has a hope that it will be summer. So, today while I was going through his summer clothes...weeding out the shorts and t-shirts that are too small this year and adding his new summer clothes to his drawers, and while the snow flakes were falling outside, Parker came into the room and found his swimming trunks and swimming shirt and he asked if he could put them on. Wanting to see how cute he will look this summer, I told him that he could. As soon as he got the outfit on, he smiled real big and said to me, "Mom, is it summer time??!" I told him to look out the window...."Awwww, Mom, it's snowing." But, then my sweet boy smiled again and said, "But Mom, I will wear this when I swim in the back yard in my swimming pool!!" He said this with the biggest smile and while jumping up and down! Parker loves the snow, but he also loves the swimming pool and playing outside and we can't wait for the fun summer days to come!

On this snowy day, I hope this picture brightens your day and makes you think warm thoughts about summer time at the pool!

Birthday Party!

As I've mentioned before- I love birthdays!! I think we HAVE to make a big deal out of them and I love to surprise people, invite friends and family over, eat good food, and have birthday parties! Well...unlike me, who makes the entire month of October one big birthday celebration for myself, Brandon doesn't like to celebrate his birthday...he's not so fond of the whole "getting older" part of birthdays. I was so glad that his birthday just happened to be on the same day at the KU game, so our party could be a "watch party" where Brandon got to choose the food.

This was the plan, but after I told Parker that next Friday (this was the weekend before Brandon's birthday) was dad's birthday, he asked me about having having a party. So, last week, Parker and I made a trip to the Dollar Tree and purchased the party supplies that Parker thought dad would want for his party. This was an impromptu, last minute party decision!

On Friday, March 25th, we celebrated Brandon's birthday and a KU victory to take them to the next round of the NCAA Tournament...unfortunately they didn't win today. Boo. Here are some fun pictures from our small celebration!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Life of a Working Parent...

So, since I've started back to work, everyone keeps asking me how it's going. My answer is always this, "Somehow we are getting it." Well...while that is a true statement, it doesn't really answer the question of "how it's going" now that I'm back at work. So, I am going to shed some light on this and fill you in on my day today (Monday, March 21st) as a working mom.

First, let me point out that last night was the first night that Andrew "slept all night" in my opinion. He slept from 7:45 pm to 5:20 am and then fell back asleep! So, last night was the first night in four months that Brandon and I slept for 7 hours straight! Well...Brandon (the best husband) got up to give Andrew a bottle, and Parker ended up coming up to our room at about the same time. (Just giving you a "normal" morning scene at the Riffel house.)

So, here's my day:

5:45 am- I get up and get in the shower (sometimes even earlier, if Andrew is awake or if I just can't sleep). I get ready for the day (everything except my work clothes because I don't want to risk getting spit-up on or pooped/peed on). Haha!

7:00 am- The boys usually get up. This morning Parker woke up in our bed...and had wet our bed. Why he did this today, I don't know. He hasn't wet the bed for at least 3 months or so. Brandon or I get them fed (usually Parker wants peanut butter and jelly toast and Andrew gets a bottle).

7:45 am- We are out the door! We haven't been too late yet! I have to admit that Parker and Andrew are so good in the mornings. They make it so easy for us!! Brandon takes the boys to Sherry's house in the morning and I head to work.

8:00 am- Get to work and start working (boring, I know, but also very busy!).

12:00 pm- Today I had a lunch meeting for a Chamber event I'm helping to put on for kids. A "working lunch" as I like to call it, so no quiet time or down time today!!

1:00 pm- I ran home REALLY quickly to do 3 things- make dinner for the boys (sloppy joes....I have to work tonight), switch the laundry (after Parker's peeing incident), put new bedding on our bed, and put away and do a load of dishes. Okay, I guess that is four things.

1:45 pm- Run some errands for work.

2:30 pm- Get back to work to do more work stuff....boring.

5:00 pm- My student workers get there and we start working the phonathon.

8:15 pm (or so)- I head home and get there just in time to snuggle Parker and read books! Unfortunately, Andrew is already in bed, but I know I'll get to snuggle him in the morning (going in to work late tomorrow morning).

9:00 pm- I do the dishes from the boy's dinner.

9:30 pm- I lay down in bed and read my book until my eyes get so droopey, I can't stay awake any longer!

10:00 or 10:30- I drift off into dreamland!!

(This will be our schedule for the next few weeks, while I'm working 3-nights/week, but it will go back to normal after that....still busy, but more normal!!) answer the question about "how it's going?" Here is my honest response: "Somehow we are making everything work. We are in our routine or in our groove and it feels good. What used to take me all day (when I was at home), I can now get done in 45 minutes on my lunch hour. When I get to Sherry's to pick up the boys, I get the biggest smiles and hugs I've ever gotten from them and that is my favorite part of the day. Brandon and I really do have this down to a science and while everything doesn't always go as planned, I know he's always got my back and I've got his. This is a team effort and we are winning!"

It's not always easy being working parents, but the quality time that we have with Parker and Andrew are worth it! This foursome is right on track!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Let's Go Fly A Kite!

Sunday was spectacular! It was sunny, so warm, and a little bit windy....there's no better day than a day like Sunday to fly a kite! As we drug Parker up and down the aisles of Costco and Andrew patiently sat in his car seat in the cart, Parker kept asking me, "Mom, where are the toys in this store?!" And, as many of you probably know....there aren't usually a whole lot of toys in Costco. So...when we found the kites and Parker got super excited about the pirate ship kite, I knew we weren't leaving the store without it!! It was absolutely perfect....and after putting it together (after all, it is a 3-D pirate ship kite), Brandon and Parker went out to the field behind our house (where there are no electrical lines) and flew the kite!

Now, I was inside feeding Andrew and putting him down for a nap when they got the kite in the air, but I managed to sneak out onto the deck just in time to snap a picture of the kite with the string totally extended!! What a wonderful experience for Parker and a fun way to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon!!

Four Months Old!!

It's happening again. Just like it did with Parker. Andrew isn't matter how many time I tell him to stop growing and no matter how many times I ask time to stand still, no one listens! Once again, we're celebrating another month with Andrew in our lives and I sit here wondering where the time has gone?! It seems like just yesterday that we brought him home from the hospital (and, yes, I re-read my post about his birth and it brought back a flood of roller coaster memories), but yet, we feel like he's been a part of our family forever. Today is Andrew's four month birthday, so I had to mark this milestone with some pictures and some updates on our little (but big) Andrew.

Here are four updates for four month old Andrew!

1. Smiles, smiles, smiles! This must be the happiest baby I've ever met! He smiles at Parker (every time he sees him), he smiles at me, but mostly, he LOVES his dad and he smiles and smiles just sitting there watching Brandon! He smiles at Bella, he smiles at his ceiling fan, he smiles at the TV, and he smiles at stuffed animals. Andrew one social little guy and he shows it through his happy, toothless smile!

2. Rolling over- not yet! Andrew has absolutely no interest in rolling over. And that is fine with me!! I want my baby to stay baby longer and I don't need him reaching all of these milestones too early! If he is happy just laying in one spot, even if all of his toys are a roll away, then that is fine with me!! He'll get it one of these days! Meanwhile....

3. Tonight Andrew sat all by himself for about 10 seconds before toppling over to the side! We've been working on baby pilates (as we call them in our house) to help Andrew strengthen his chubby little core body. He is so good at holding his head up and wants so badly to sit up and see what everyone else sees, that we are often holding him in that position, putting him in his bumbo, or in the baby exersaucer. Well, tonight we tried just sitting him there and he did it!

4. Snuggles! Andrew has gotten to the point where he is big enough to snuggle us in bed with Parker!! Often, Brandon and I find ourselves with Parker, Andrew and Bella in our bed in the middle of the night ready for some super snuggling! This is exactly what we've been waiting for and we LOVE to snuggle! When this happens and Parker wakes up in the morning, he usually says, "Mom, the WHOLE family in is your bed!" It melts my heart because Parker is probably just as excited about our family as I am and he loves his brother!!

And....I know what you're all thinking (and I've been asked it a million times), "Does Andrew look like Parker?" My answer is, "Absolutely not!" Andrew is MUCH bigger than Parker was at this age, has almost no hair, is super chubby, and looks just like Brandon! While Parker has always taken after my side of the family, was always a skinny little guy, and had a huge comb over at birth! So, although these boys don't look very much alike, there are some similarities....they are both so smart (of course!), they both love to smile, they're both stubborn, and they LOVE each other so much, it makes my heart melt!!

Here are some pictures of the boys on Andrew's four month birthday (and it just happens to be Parker's 42 month birthday)!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rub a Dub Dub, Two Boys in a Tub!

This may sound funny...but, ever since Andrew was born, I've been waiting for the day that my boys could be silly in the bathtub together!! Little did I know, but this is something that Parker's been waiting for too! So, as Andrew has quickly outgrown the hammock baby bathtub, where we could put the tub on the counter and I could give him a bath while Parker splished and splashed in the big tub, I decided that it was time to try something new!! As soon as I saw this chair at Target, I knew that it would be perfect for the boys to take a bath together, easily and flawlessly! So, finally, I can sing to myself (and to the boys to make them crack up), "Rub a dub dub, two (stinky) boys in the tub!" I love this two-boy club! ;)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Some of my Faves!!

Here are some of my favorites from our family photos we had taken!! Thank you Courtney for doing such a fabulous job of capturing Andrew's sweet baby personality and Parker's sweet, but also spunkey, personality! I love them all!!

The "Mean" Words

I just had to update the blog today- it seems like it's been way too long since I've written anything!! I have a couple posts in the works, with pictures, good stories, etc., but I just had to share this before it leaves my mind forever (like so many things are these days)!

This week is Spring Break. Sherry is closed this week, and I'm back at work (without any vacation or sick time left for a couple more weeks), so Brandon and my mom are splitting time watching the boys. I am jealous, I miss the boys, and I am very unproductive at work because I want to be outside with my boys enjoying the sunshine and beautiful weather. So, today, I needed to see them and I took an early lunch and headed home to check in on the boys.

As I was making lunch, Parker was watching A Bug's Life and at some point in the movie they said the word "stupid." Parker looked up at me and said, "Mom, they just said the word S-S-S....well, I don't say that word, but they do and it isn't very nice. Mom, that is a mean word."

Proof- that all of our preaching to Parker about "mean words" and being "nice" to people has paid off! Yeah! Good job, Parkey!

(Meanwhile, Andrew was talking to Brandon about all sorts of things....and then fell asleep having a bottle!) Just another day in the Riffel house!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Leaping Lizards!

What do you get when you have a 3 1/2 year old little boy who is always snuggled to sleep at night? The answer is....a sweet, loving, snuggly little boy who tosses and turns until his Mom rubs his back and he falls asleep and then mid-way through the night he is in our bed laying horizontal with his super long legs in my face! Needless to say, it was time for Parker to get into a more independent bedtime routine!

You see...Brandon and I have always justified our "snuggle time" with Parker as being our most favorite time of the day. Because we're both working parents, we want to make the most of all of our time with Parker and this was one way for us to get some last minute hugs, kisses and snuggles with him. But, little did we know that by doing this we were creating a little boy who had no control over his sleeping habits!! So....last week I made up my mind. It was time for my little boy to become a big boy! I really believe that this is something Brandon and I were hanging onto as being the last thing that made Parker our baby boy. Parker is independent in so many ways, except for this one thing, and deep down I don't think we want to let go of that!!

Starting last Sunday, we told Parker that if he slept like a big boy ALL week, we would take him to Leaping Lizards the following weekend!! He was so excited and everyday he would ask me if it was Leaping Lizards day...and everyday, I would remind him that he had (insert number of days) nights of sleeping like a big boy and then we would go to Leaping Lizards.

What a great week Parker had!! We all got some great sleep (except for Brandon who was out of town for two nights and didn't sleep very well those two nights) and Parker went to bed "like a big boy" every night and stayed in his bed every night! My trick was to sit right outside his door with my book, leave the bathroom light on (at Parker's request) and wait, wait, wait, wait for the tossing and turning, and giggling to stop. He did it every night and every night he slept in his own bed until at least 6:30 am.

Today we went to Leaping Lizards!! Parker, his cousins, and even some of the neighbor boys went to Leaping Lizards and had the time of their lives running, jumping, sliding, laughing, climbing, and just being silly! What a fun evening we had!!

And...tonight when we got home and it was time for bed, Parker said to me (with the most sleepy eyes I've ever seen), "Mom, can tonight be a snuggle night?" How can a Mom say no to that??!! So, we're probably starting over again tomorrow, but we'll see. My sweet Parker proved he could do it and that he really is a big boy!!

Here are some pictures from Leaping Lizards!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Polite Parker

In the past week, I've had a handful of different people tell me how polite my son is. I see it everyday, so I guess I take it for granted, but Parker sure is good at saying, "Please," "Thank You," "You're Welcome," etc. I've even had some compliments from other moms and from Sherry about how nice he is to his friends and how well he gets along with everyone. My little Parker is such a sweet boy. I am so thankful for a little boy that doesn't throw tantrums, knows how to express his thoughts and feelings without getting (too) upset, is sweet to his friends, as well as, polite to adults and other children.

I've even noticed an increase in "pleases" and "thank yous" coming from Parker at home. When I bring him a snack, he now says, "thank you." When we are eating dinner he says "please" when he wants more of something. I absolutely love it!!

Finishing up the story... I started this post a few days ago....and last night we had our first "argument" and "big tantrum" with my sweet Parkey-Poo! What happened?!! Well...Parker was playing "Blues Clues" with his notebook and blue crayon. He accidently drew a blue line on the wall with his crayon and I said..."Ohhh...Parker, be careful with your crayon. We don't want to get it on anything but paper!!" Parker looked right at me and drew another line on the wall!!! What a stinker! So, needless to say, Parker's crayons were put away and will not be seen for a while and Parker went to time out (hitting me along the way....when did he learn how to hit?) and he was there until bed time!

And, again today, on his daily report from Sherry, he had such wonderful praises about how helpful, sweet and nice he is to his friends and with Andrew. I know my Parkey is a sweet boy and very polite and I am so thankful that he is sweet to others. I know last night was a fluke and that my 3 year old is not going to start the "terrible threes!" (Right......I can hope!)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Daily Report

We have one of THE BEST daycare providers! Since day one, everyday (unless her computer is broken), we've received a "Daily Report" about Parker's day at daycare...and now we are getting updates on Andrew too! I have kept every report she's sent me about Parker and there are hundreds of them! The reason I love these so much is because Sherry sends them around 1:00 pm everyday- you can count on it! And...they are full of information that make my afternoon lighten up! I love hearing about the games they are playing, what they had for lunch, if Andrew has pooped, if Parker took a nap, how much Andrew is eating, if they read books, played puzzles, etc. It makes me feel like I know just what they are doing all day with their friends at daycare. Here are the updates I got today...I love it that my boys are having so much fun at daycare! (They are also good for planning what we will eat for dinner...I don't want Parker to be stuck eating Tuna Casserole for lunch and for dinner!)