Friday, September 30, 2011

Flashback Friday: Ten Months Ago

Ten months ago from today we were elated with joy when the doctors and nurses at OPRMC told us we would be taking Andrew home with us.

Ten months ago today Parker and Andrew got to hold hands for the first time...

Ride in the car together for the first time...

Snuggle up in the chair for the first time, watch a movie together for the first time...

Sleep in the same house together for the first time....and, ten months ago, Bella got to meet Andrew for the first time. For the first time, our entire family was in our home.

How blessed I am to have these boys and to have had this day ten months ago when I got to bring my baby home. Such a special time this was and such a momentous day for our family. This day ten months ago is one that I will never forget.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

New Game in Town...

There's a new game in town at the Riffel house. Well, I guess, technically, it's not NEW, but it's a game that we haven't seen played for a few years. It's a game that I call 'Chase the Baby'. In this game, you are the winner if you can get to Andrew's final destination before he does. This game must be a family favorite of ours, because every time I turn around, it seems like someone is playing it!

'Chase the Baby' or 'Getcha Getcha' as Parker calls it, is one that wears this Momma out. Here are some examples of how we play it:

You are the winner if....

- You can beat Andrew to the stairs.

- You can beat Andrew into any room and get there before he closes the door.

- You can run faster than Andrew crawls to any of Parker's new tiny Legos.

- You win if you can get between Andrew and Bella before he gets to her and pulls her super soft ears.

- You win if you can get to Andrew before he crawls off of the blanket outside and into wet grass or mud or sand or anything else that he might put into his mouth.

- You can get to Parker's milk on his table before Andrew does....Parker does not use cups with lids anymore.

- And, last but not least, you are the winner if you can beat Andrew to Bella's water dish before he splashes it on the floor and then proceeds to put his dog water hand in his mouth (this one makes me gag a little).

So, you see this game is hard to win, but instead of being disappointed in loosing, Parker, Brandon, and I have decided to make it make Andrew squeal with delight as we chase him around the house. And, you know what, my little guys is usually laughing so much by the time he reaches his final destination, that he forgets what he was after!

Here are some photos of the new game in town (and just one way that Parker likes to play...on Brandon's back...which makes Andrew laugh even louder!):

Thank God for baby gates!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Birthday Boy!!

Parker is now a four year old! What a fun week we've had celebrating his birthday and making sure his birthday party and birthday were special for him!!

This year I struggled with what to do for Parker's birthday party...not sure what to do, I thought this would be the perfect year to ask Parker what he wanted to do. So, I gave him some choices- did Parker want to have a party at the zoo? Did Parker want to have it at home? Did we want to go to the indoor aquatic center? None of those seemed right, so I asked him one more time...Did Parker want to have his birthday party at his newest favorite hang out, Leaping Lizards? You bet!

So, on Saturday we had a great time at Leaping Lizards with all of Parker's very best buddies, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents!! Let me tell you, these bounce houses were just the right place for Parker's 4th birthday...there's something magical about flying through the air in a bounce house that makes little boys (and girls) squeal with laughter!

Parker's buddies are the best! They are all so well-behaved and we have some pretty great friends in their parents. Parker is also very lucky to have aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents who all love to see him on his birthday! Thank you all for being at Parker's Leaping Lizard's (and buggy explorer) party!!

Andrew even had fun at Parker's party!

Birthdays are a big deal at our house! And, usually there is so much planning, cleaning, wrapping, and time getting prepared that I ask one of my good friends to make all of the goodies. This time, because we were 'outsourcing' the birthday party to Leaping Lizards, and because Parker asked for an easy treat, I thought I'd make it myself. Here's my first ever homemade cake and decorating. Not too bad for a buggy, muddy cake!

Parker and his best buddies enjoyed the day! It was so much fun!

Brandon and I always make it a point to go big on the birthday DAY...I mean, what could be more special than celebrating the day my boys were born! On Tuesday we celebrated Parker's actual birthday day and we had some major plans for that day!!

We started out the day with PRESENTS!! I love watching my Parker open gifts and see his reaction to the things that I pick out that I think he'll love...I think his face sums up how he feels about presents!!

Parker is totally into CARS 2. He loves race tracks, he loves to collect the different cars, he loves the Cars Legos, the DS Game, etc. So, this year, I had a Cars 2 theme going on and he loved it!

We also had another special surprise for Parker on his birthday....we got him a fish tank!! Parker got to go up to the Pet Store later that day and pick out his the two newest members of our family, Hammy and Stringy (yes, Parker named them).

After opening gifts it was time for Parker to go to school. And on this special day, Brandon and I were invited to join him at school- what a special treat!

Now...this wasn't just any special birthday at school. Parker's birthday was the first one in his class and we were the first parents to have the opportunity to visit the classroom! We were all excited and I was so impressed with Parker's teachers and the kids in his class!!

We did all of the school day activities...

We played with all of the kids...

We did a craft (it was Black day at school...they were studying black and the letter B)...

(You'll notice that there are no photos of us doing the craft...Brandon had to go help a table of kids with theirs!)

We ate a special birthday snack (Parker's favorite cookies)...

We played outside...

The kids had their first chapel with Pastor Tim and it was pretty special when the kids went down the line and introduced themselves and said how old they were, to hear Parker say that he was four years old....the only four year old (so far) in the class!

And, the class sang to Parker, he got to put a special birthday sticker on the calendar, and he got to move his name from the number 3 to the number 4.

It was a great day at school. Thank you Miss Angie, Miss Allison, and Miss Susan for making it so special for my Parker. And, I have to tell you all how tired I was after preschool- those teachers have some magic energy!

After school we took Parker to his favorite eating spot- Wendy's. This kid loves Wendy's chicken nuggets (bleh!), so on his birthday we had to go there and eat inside (which we try not to ever do)!

Parker had a great afternoon of picking out new fish, hanging out with his little bubba, visiting with Grandma Robbie, his Morgan and Avery and Aunt Dana and Uncle Joe, and his Grandma Julie and Papa...and to finish out the day, we went to his second favorite place to eat- Pizza Shoppe...with a little trip to the ice cream store for dessert.

What a fun day we had - a day that was so packed full of fun that it helped keep my mind off of the fact that Parker is now four! Crazy, I know, but my little baby boy is growing up so fast and is quickly becoming a kid full of life and spunk...a kid that I admire, love to talk to, love to watch movies with, and love to just sit and watch in whatever he is up to....and part of me wants him to stay that little guy that was so attached to his mom just last year.

But, then I shake myself out of that funky mood and I realize that I LOVE everything about the kid that Parker has become and I am extremely excited about what his future holds and the years that are ahead of him. As Parker said on Tuesday: "Mom, one day I will be a grandpa...I think I'll be like Grampa Pokey (a local balloon artist who is always at kid's events in our community) and I'll make special balloons for airplanes and flowers and swords."

Such a simple thing to say, but so true. Yes, Parker is growing up fast.

Happy birthday to my sweet sugar boy! We love you so much!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

10 Things I Love About TODAY!

As our schedules this fall just keep getting busier and busier (something I didn't even think was possible), I find myself loving the little things...those tiny moments that sometimes pass you by, but that are what make up our lives...what make us complete. So, today, instead of posting photos from the super fun birthday party that Parker had this weekend (don't worry, there will be a post about that soon) and the time shifting car show that was in town this weekend, or all of the fun new things Andrew is learning, I am going to take a moment to share 10 (little) things about TODAY that I love....

1. Number one has to be the beautiful FALL weather we're having. I LOVE IT. Fall is my absolute favorite time of year, and it's mostly due to the weather!

2. My new fall shoes that came in the mail over the well as all of the boy's new fall clothes!! Yeah for seasons! I love being able to change out our looks for every season and I absolutely love the fact that I can do most of our shopping online. This busy Momma has no time for that!

3. I love coming home in the middle of the day to find toys all over the house. Especially new birthday toys!

4. My job. Right now my job is stressful. Crazy. Sometimes impossible. But, I love it! Where else does part of your job entail going to a panel discussion that highlights Former President of the Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko and his amazing wife? Where else do you get to witness daily young minds taking shape and learning about life? There's no place I'd rather be (okay, I guess I'd rather be at home taking a nap with my little guys, but we all know that job is WAY more stressful than this one!).

5. I love that today I got to make cookies for Parker to take to school tomorrow for his birthday. What an amazing time he will have tomorrow, on his 4th birthday!!

6. This morning something incredible entire family slept until around 7:45 am. This never happens. So, when the clock struck 8:00 am and we weren't ready to head out the door, I wasn't frustrated or upset that I was going to be late to work. Nope. I was so happy that my boys are healthy, growing, and cheerful because of the extra hour of sleep they got this morning!

7. I love it that today I got to have a lunch date with my husband. This hasn't happened for quite some time...usually one of us is running off to a lunch meeting, eating at home so that we can catch up on the laundry, staying at work to eat lunch, or picking Parker up from preschool. But not today, today we had a date and I loved it!

8. This morning my two boys ate breakfast together at the little table in the kitchen. I love this!!!!

9. Halloween decorations! I love getting these out every year!!

10. I love these little baskets. We've always had one up for Parker (they are hanging on our pantry door) and now Andrew has one for himself. They hold some pretty special bouncey balls, a plastic wrench, a tinker toy, and many other things that my boys like to get out and play with at various times throughout the day (usually while I'm making dinner). They are a reminder to me of just how special my boys are and just how much spunk their sweet personalities bring into my life!!

What do you love about TODAY?