Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sweet, Slobbery Kisses

Nope, I'm not talking about Bella in this post...although she does give some sweet, slobbery kisses.

I'm talkin' those sweet, slobbery kisses that only a baby can give. You may have noticed in the past few months, in every photo that I've got of Andrew, he is a slobbery mess. In some of the photos there is even a drip of drool coming off of his chin as I'm taking the photo!

Andrew sure is growing up and his personality is growing with him- he is almost always smiling...especially if someone smiles at him. Just try it. Smile at my sweet Andrew and you'll get the biggest, happiest, toothless grin you've ever seen!!

His personality shows that he loves his brother, he loves to play, he loves Bella, and most importantly, he loves to give LOVE to his Momma! At first, I noticed that everytime I would walk by him, he would automatically put his arms up, indicating to me that he wanted me to hold him. A few weeks after this started, as soon as I would pick him up, he would lean in for a hug and grab onto my arms to give me a squeeze...this makes this Momma's heat melt. Then....just in the past week or so, when Andrew leans in for a hug, he comes in with his lips open and his tongue out, ready to give me one big, sweet, slobbery kiss! OH MY GOODNESS....I forgot all about these sweet baby kisses!!

Now, every time I pick Andrew up, I go in to give him some smooches and he gives me some first! I LOVE IT! I don't care that I have Andrew drool all over my cheek!! I love these kisses!

There are so many milestones to celebrate with our children and although this one is small in the life of milestones, I think it just might be my new favorite! Bring on the sweet, slobbery kisses!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Date Night!

We had the perfect date!! One of my favorite little guys asked me to go with him to see Cars 2 this weekend and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect gentleman to go out to the movies with!

On Friday night, I mentioned to Parker that Cars 2 was at the movie theater (I wasn't sure if he was interested in it or see...we don't have regular TV, so we don't see the commercials like other kids do, so I wasn't even sure if he knew about it!) and so I asked him if he wanted to go with dad to see it on Saturday.

His response...."But Mom, I would really like to go see Cars 2 with you." He was so excited when I told him I would love to go with him (for some reason, I just assumed he would want to go with Brandon).

This is only the second time Parker has been in a movie theater- we went to see Toy Story 3 last year- and when we pulled up at the mega movie theater, AMC 30 in Olathe, his eyes got about as big as the theater! We went in, got our goodies (popcorn and Reese's Pieces) and then we had to wait in line to get into the theater. Now, you would think most little boys would be very impatient at this point...not my Parker...he managed to make a new little friend in line and they chatted about many different things- how they were both scared of the hand drier in the bathroom, what kind of candy they picked out, what birthday party they were planning on having- it was so fun to see Parker socializing with a little boy he'd never even met before! Always making friends!

I let Parker pick out the seat...even though it wasn't quite centered enough for me and we waiting (about 20 minutes) for the movie to get started. Now, I would have loved to have had my awesome Canon camera at the theater to document our every step, but I thought Brandon would have teased me for days about it, so all I have is this photo from my phone (no, I wasn't the only Mom doing this) and it's not a very good photo because it was so stinkin dark in there! But here is my attempt...

Even though there aren't 200 photos to document it, we had a fun date together! Parker enjoyed the movie (although he had a lot of questions about the plot and all of the car spies) and he got drowsey about half way through because it was so dark...but, after the movie, he was happy...a happy little guy to have spent an evening alone with Mom at the movies! I hope he always enjoys going on "dates" with me!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Flash Back Friday!

Remember those days....those college days. When the only things we had to worry about were going to class, seeing our friends, watching our favorite TV shows, which bar we were going to go to, meeting up with your boyfriend/girlfriend. When our income was so small, we didn't worry about money. When we were responsible for one person only, ourselves, and most of us weren't very responsible. Do you remember worrying about your friends....who liked who...what was the latest gossip?! I remember saying things like, "Did you hear that she made out with that guy at the bar last night...I can't believe it?!" Or, "Let's go to Mall Deli (probably for the 2nd time that day)!"

Those days when we rarely used cell phones...the days when I would walk out to my car after class and find a note from my boyfriend (remember doing this, Brandon?) taped to the windshield telling me to come over to his house after class for pancakes. I didn't know how to text - if it even existed...I didn't use my cell phone all that much.

Sleeping in meant sleeping until noon and summer meant freedom from class and more money from summer jobs!

These were days when I had time to go running, workout at the Y, and go tanning. These were the days where we all thought we were invinsible...young forever...time would never catch up with us.

(This photo was taken at our last Sigma Chi formal together in 2003)

Well....time caught up....and here we are. It's been 8 years since I graduated from college and that seems unimaginable to me! When I was 22 I thought 30 was so far away, but here I am. I knew I would always marry Brandon, but who knew just 8 short years from then, we would have the two sweetest little guys in the world in our lives. Who knew we would ever work for the same able to drive to work 3 minutes from home...have such a beautiful home and so many blessings.

I've written this post because the other day at work, we were telling our student workers (who are currently Juniors in college) about how we met our husbands. We all had a different story and I started thinking about how much our lives have changed since those college days when we first met. It makes me excited for all of these college kids I've gotten to know in my work and just think that they may go to class tomorrow and meet their future husband and in 8 short years, they will have the life they always dreamed of.

So many memories flood back to me just from looking at this one photo- I hope you have time someday to do the same and find a photo that does this for you!

Happy Flashback Friday!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The First (Official) Day of Summer!

Today is the official first day of summer!! And, although we've been doing "summer" activities for about a month now, today it is official- our crazy summer has begun!!!

And...not only is it the first day of summer, but it is a special day for a few other reasons!!

1. It's Aunt Dani's birthday....and although we didn't get to see her today, Parker wore his KU shirt for her, sent her a video saying "Happy Birthday!", and Parker and Andrew sent her a birthday picture. She is one special girl and these boys love her so much!!

2. Today was also Andrew's 7 month birthday!! Can it be true??? My little baby boy sure has grown a lot this month!! Andrew has perfected sitting up and blowing bubbles with his tongue. He just so happens to be the loudest "talker" in the family (I know this is hard to believe) and he keeps getting sweeter and sweeter everyday! It's true! I think Andrew may be the most happy-go-lucky little guy I've ever known!! I have yet to hear him let out a real cry....and he is always smiling and perfectly content to be playing on his quilt with his favorite toys. We are so blessed with a happy, healthy boy!! My heart is so full of his perfect little smile and his sweet personality!!

3. Parker is a big boy. June 20, 2011 marks Parker's 3 year 9 month birthday...and he has certainly grown up these past few months. Let me just tell you that Parker is the SWEETEST big brother - not a day goes by that Parker doesn't smooch and hug on Andrew and try to make him let out a belly laugh!! He is always trying to help and whenever Andrew starts to get upset, Parker is right there with the silliest face that little guy has ever seen and all of Andrew's sadness melts away. Parker picks up on everything and is constantly amazing us with the things he knows- he'll just blurt something out and we'll stare in amazement!

What a special day today is.....let me tell you that this summer is going to go down in the history books as the craziest summer I've ever had. Our calendar is full and our eyes are wide with excitement with all of the fun things we have planned. From trips to the lake and to Colorado, to summer camp at Grandma's and swimming lessons...this family knows how to enjoy the summer!

30 Things To Do This Summer!!!

Happy Summer, everyone! Whew....what happened to Spring??!! It seems like summer just crept up on us (as most things tend to do these days) and what a crazy summer we have planned! I've decided that, although we have a summer full of fun activities, vacations, camps, swimming lessons, neighborhood parties, and much more, we need to take time to do the fun little projects and activities that we want to do this summer!!

I decided that in order to do this, I needed to make a list....and I had fun thinking of all of the things I knew we wanted to do this summer. So, from catching fire flies to climbing on rocks in Colorado, here is our list of fun things to do this summer!!

(I invite you all to make a list like'll be amazed at how much you'll want to do this summer!!)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!!

25 Things We Love About Our, Parker and Andrew Riffel (and Bella)

(Yes, Parker helped me write this post)

1. He makes the best big breakfast!

2. Our Dad loves to go camping!

3. He is good at building with Legos.

4. He helps us learn all kinds of new things, from learning how to go fishing to using the computer, our dad is the best at everything!

5. He was the first one to hold us when we were born.

6. He's not scared of poopey diapers!!

7. He throws my ball for me until I can't run any longer (from Bella)!

8. Our Dad gives us smooches!!

9. Our Dad gets up in the middle of the night with us and snuggles us back to sleep.

10. Our Dad is good at grilling food like hamburgers.

11. He plays with us while Mom cleans stuff.

12. He is good at giving bottles.

13. Our Dad loves to go swimming!

14. He takes us to Colorado and climbs rocks with us.

15. Our dad loves going to the lake with us.

16. He knows all of our favorite movies and TV shows and he makes sure they are all on the Apple TV for us to watch over and over and over again!!

17. He takes us golfing with him.

18. He always eats ice cream with us!

19. Our Dad makes the best elephant noise and it always makes us laugh!!

20. He let's us destroy the playroom and somehow Mom never finds out!! (He he!)

21. He always plays outside with us!!

22. Our Dad let's us pick out our own clothes (Mom never let's us do this).

23. He is good at building things.

24. He reads us bedtime stories!!

25. He loves us VERY much!

Dad: We hope you had a fun Father's Day!! Like all good father's do, you made the day more about your family than something that YOU wanted to do...we attempted fishing (it was too hot for all of us), we ate pizza (our favorite meal), and we went to the swimming our request. What a fun family day and fun dad you are! We love you to pieces!

Your very best boys, Parker and Andrew....and your sweet Bella girl.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

An Unexpected Day...

What do you do when you find out a day ahead of time that daycare is closed the next day...well, if you're a working mom, you rack your brain for a grandparent, aunt, neighbor, or some other kind of back-up plan. It's not that I don't want to stay home with the kiddos, it's just that I would prefer to save my vacation days for fun vacation days and save my sick days for when someone gets sick. But this time, the grandparents were all busy, aunts were working, and we don't really have any other kind of a back-up because usually one of those works out for us! SO- I asked my boss if I could take a sick day on Thursday (no one wants to use up their vacation like that!) and stay home with my boys.

Let me just say that I am so blessed to have such caring bosses- they know what it's like to be a parent and they know we put our family first and are flexible with our time off!! So, of course, Janet said that was fine!!

What a fun "unexpected day" at home we had!! I love being at home with nothing planned and no schedule to keep!! That hardly ever happens and when it does- it is usually completely unexpected!! We played outside, and then when the clouds rolled in, we played inside....we ate waffles for breakfast and made pizza for lunch. We watched "Rio" (one or our new movies) and played Dr. Seuss Memory. Parker and Andrew built a farm and played with all of the "Little People" that we could find. When Andrew napped we played with Play-Doh and painted. And, in-between all of the playing, I managed to get all of the laundry done and clean out a few of our cabinets. What a great day to be at home...the weather even played in my favor with it pouring down rain all day (who wants to go to work or be out running errands when it's pouring rain outside?!)!!

We haven't had much down time this spring and summer...and this "unexpected day" was much needed for this momma!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

He's Wild, He's Wild....

God is wild about you, do, do,, do, do do! This is just one of the songs that has been running through my head for the past few days!! It's just one of the amazing songs that Parker learned at vacation bible school.

Now....most people know this about us....we aren't very good about going to church. Actually, we haven't been since Easter...I know, I know, but Brandon and I truly do believe that spending time with our families on Sunday is where our hearts and our true spirituality belong. And, don't get me wrong, I like going to church- it fills my heart and my mind with peace and fellowship that you can't find anywhere also is a crucial part in building your child's education about right and wrong, peace, love, and even social skills, and this is something I hope to be better at in the future.

Well...we have some good friends (who also happen to be our very good neighbors) who asked Parker to join them at vacation bible school this year (there are actually only a couple in town that offer this for preschoolers that are 3 years old) and, because I know how much Parker loves learning, going to church, and being with these buddies of his, I knew we had to let him go on this adventure!

And....what an adventure it was! Every night Parker and his group of preschoolers would get together and hear stories, do a craft, make and eat a delicious snack, have fellowship together, and sing songs! And, every night (except one, when I let Brandon pick him up), when we would pick up these four boys, their minds were racing, they had a million stories, and they were so excited about their "PandaMania" adventure that night!!

On their final night, Parker was putting his shoes on and I told him, "I will miss you tonight while you're at vacation bible school, buddy." His reply was, "I won't, Mom, because I am going to have fun!"

On the last night, all of the boys put on their PandaMania t-shirts (the first iron on t-shirt decal I've ever put on) and they were all smiling from ear to ear, eager for what the last night would hold....Parker said, "Mom, I bet we will find out the end of the Panda story tonight. Don't you think, Mom? Don't you think we'll hear the end of it tonight?!" So excited! They were so excited that I had to take some pictures!!

And...because they were so excited, us moms, well we were excited too! We decided to pick them up a little early that night, just so we could catch a glimpse of the grand finale of PandaMania!

Parker, Julian, Caleb, and Carter had the time of their lives....and the best part is how much they all loved learning throughout the week! I can only imagine what it will be like when these four buddies start going to school, how much they will learn, what their personalities will be like, how awesome they will be in everything they try to do!

They had so much fun at PandaMania, we've now signed them up for another vacation bible school- Mission to Mars - in July. I haven't mentioned this to Parker yet....I'm afraid his excitement will be too much! He he! Oh...what a fun summer this is!

And, remember...."He's Wild, He's Wild, God is Wild About You!" (Do, do,, do, do,!)

Lake Time!

What's the next best thing to having your own lake house? Having the greatest, kindest friends open up their home summer after summer at the lake! Once again, the Woolery's have welcomed us to "the lake house"...only this year it was Ben and Junelle welcoming us to their NEW lake house!! We always have the best time at Pomme De Terre lake with our friends, Jayma, Ben, and Junelle (and Annie too!). For the past 5 years we've been going down to the lake to visit, swim, boat, tube, ski, wakeboard, eat yummy food, and just relax with our friends. Our trips to the lake used to be about relaxing, sleeping in, and living a slower it's about entertaining the boys!!!

Parker's been to the lake at least once, every summer since he was born, and I am happy to say that we introduced Andrew to "the lake life" this weekend!

Parker's favorite part about the new house is the loft....we even slept up there!! I think I slept with one eye open all night in fear of him getting up in the middle of the night and falling over the edge!!

Croquet balls, a 3 year old, and two dogs that are crazy over any kind of ball...dangerous?!

Ben and Junelle's lake pretty!

Aunt Jayma and Andrew hanging out in their PJ's!!

Lake fun in the canoe!

It was a little chilly (at 9:00 am) for me and Andrew to get in the we snuggled on the dock til the sun came out!

Parker and Brandon (and Bella and Annie) did get in the water!!

The sun finally made its debut and so we did what we do best at the lake- lounged in the water!

Andrew's first dip in the water...he loved just hanging out in his floaty!!

So, thank you Ben and Junelle for sharing your weekend with us and opening up your home to is absolutely beautiful!!! And, thank you Jayma, for making your weekend even more crazy by driving from Omaha to Pomme De Terre just to spend time with us!!

We love our "lake time!"

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Parker and his buddies from our neighborhood are all attending Vacation Bible School this week and the theme is "PandaMania". Every night at 6:15 pm we load them up and take them to the church and every night around 9:00 pm, we pick them up. We (all of us moms) try to get there early so we can catch the last song of the night. This is a video of Parker, Julian, Carter, and Caleb singing and signing the song last night. Parker is wearing a grey t-shirt and is very good at signing the song!

I am so proud of my little guy!! Last night before we left, I told Parker: "Parker, I am going to miss you tonight while you're at Vacation Bible School!!" I gave him a big hug and a smooch and he looked at me and said: "Mom, I won't miss you because I'm going to be having fun!" I love it that he's having so much fun!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hot Fun in the Summertime!!

This weekend it was H-O-T- HOT! And...because there's nothing my boys love better than being outside, we just had to make the backyard into a water wonderland...we had 3 pools (one for Andrew, one for Parker, and of course, Bella had one!), the sprinkler was going, we had water squirters and water slides....and boy was it fun!!

This is going to be the best summer ever!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Happy Birthday Cameron!

Last night we celebrated Cameron's 4th birthday!! Happy birthday to my sweetest 4 year old nephew and one of Parker and Andrew's best buddies (cousin)!!

I hope your 4th year brings you many fun adventures!!