Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Homecoming!

One year ago today, we brought this guy home...

Look at him now!

What a whirlwind of a year for our little guy. He's so amazing in every way and we are so thankful for this day one year ago, when we got to bring him home. Happy Homecoming Andrew!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Much to be Thankful For

It seems like ages since I've written. And, in the midst of a time of year when I prefer to be snuggled up on the couch watching Christmas movies with my boys, I am finding it hard to work up to writing on the blog. But with so much to be thankful for this year, I need to share our Thanksgiving moments with you all.

Last year you'll recall that our Thanksgiving was spent in the hospital with our sweet newborn Andrew. Brandon and I ate quickly in DeSoto and then we rushed off (leaving Parker to play with his cousins) to the hospital, where we spent Thanksgiving holding our youngest baby boy and giving many thanks to the nurses and doctors who were making him well.

Flash forward to this year and you'll see a much different Thanksgiving holiday for this family! Oh my did we have a wonderful Thanksgiving...together.

We ate and ate and ate and we gave thanks to our families for everything they are to us, and spent the days celebrating the love and thanks we have for them.

Instead of napping the day away, we ended up at the local school playground running and playing and laughing and spending time together.

And, for the first time...EVER...Brandon and I headed out on Thursday night to make some awesome purchases for Santa this year!! What a crazy, fun time we had together, battling the crowds and getting exactly what we headed out for! (We only went to one store...that's about all we could handle, but it was still fun! We've got a date planned in a couple weeks to get all of our shopping done!)

We put up Christmas decorations and listened to Christmas music. We taught Andrew about our family traditions and Parker told Andrew a story about every ornament that we hung up..."that one was dad's when he was a little boy...this one is mine that Jamie gave me from Florida...this one is your very first ornament..." It was wonderful.

We stayed in, ate leftovers, and ordered pizza. We made forts with the newly arranged furniture (to make room for the Christmas tree) and we read Christmas books and watched Christmas movies. We wrapped up the stairs with some ribbon from last Christmas and we made 'boobie traps' for dad to fall into (after watching Home Alone, what else do you do?!).

We enjoyed another Thanksgiving feast, family, and more cousins as we celebrated Thanksgiving at the farm. We even remembered to take our traditional family photo.

We played games, watched Andrew cruise (yes, walking) around the he thought no one was watching. We laughed and enjoyed this time of Thanksgiving.

The only day missing from our Thanksgiving holiday was one with our Davies family. We missed them this year and we are hoping and thankful that Deb will have a full recovery from her injury and that she starts feeling better soon. We did get to see Aunt Dani for a few hours on Sunday- and we are so thankful that she is moving back to Kansas City this week!! (The only part I didn't love about this weekend is the news that my step-mom had fallen and had surgery on her wrist and was not doing very well with healing.)

Yes, this year was much different from last year. I loved our time together. I took it all in. I spent every second I could with these boys (and, that's hard to do with all of the grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, and cousins around to swoon over them).

This year we were together. This year we have much to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Today was Good...

Today was fun!

There's something so special about celebrating your child's first birthday. Maybe it's because it's a little scary and very exciting. Maybe it's because you've survived that first year (with a little less sleep and a lot more love). Maybe it's because this little person was just a tiny, little infant, just one year ago and now they are this little person with an awesome personality. Maybe it's because you've been dreaming about this day for years. Maybe it's because this little guy owns your heart and to celebrate his birthday for the first time means more than anyone will ever know. Yes, all of these reasons cause this day to be special...and our Little Bubba turns one today.

While we celebrate today with family and friends, I can't help but feel bittersweet toward Andrew getting older. As my youngest son, I find myself hanging on for dear life to the traits and characteristics that keep him a baby. And, while I know he won't be a baby forever (a girl can wish, can't she?), part of me wants to rock him to sleep every night until he's 5 and feed him mush and bottles forever...but, knowing this isn't what life has in store for my little guy, I have to move past that feeling and celebrate this magical day and huge milestone in Andrew's life.

Andrew's birthday was special. Themed the Cat in the Hat by Big Bubba, we went all out to make this occasion special for our little guy.

We had food...

Although, I can't seem to find the photos I took of the went something like this: Green Eggs and Ham, Oodles of Noodles, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, and From There to Here and Here to There - Funny Things Are Everywhere! We had fun with the food and THANK YOU mom for making the green eggs!

We had cake...

We had a pinata...

There were presents...

Friends and family gathered from miles around...

And, most importantly, our little one year old had fun!

And, when the party was over and we were headed home...I had a feeling that this party would be one that we would remember forever. And, while time can't stand still and we aren't forever young, my sweet Andrew still has many birthdays to come and this first birthday was only the beginning.

Happy Birthday Little Bubba.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Scroll

My Parker-Man has to be one of the smartest four year olds on the planet. Don't believe me??!! Listen to this:

The other night Parker and I had just finished up wrapping Andrew's birthday gifts and one of the paper rolls had run out, leaving behind brown paper, rolled up a couple of times (I guess this is what is used now instead of a cardboard tube?). I picked it up, put it up to my eye and pretended like it was a telescope and I was spying on Parker.

Parker looked at me and said, "No Mom, this is NOT a telescope, this is my scroll." What did he just say?! A scroll?! How in the world does my four year old know what a scroll is?? Not to mention what a scroll is used for...

He took that 'scroll' from me, walked over to his table, got some Veggie Tales stickers out, his markers, and proceeded to draw a map on the 'scroll' and place his Veggie Tales characters in very strategic spots for a battle that was about to take place. Now, my Mom was with us....she will verify how intelligent this 'scroll' decorating was...and with her help, Parker ended up with a pretty awesome map on his 'scroll'.

Yep, I'd say this is one of those times when I ended up just watching in amazement as my big guy explained something to ME....and taught me a few things about using a scroll. That's right, he is definitely one of the smartest four year olds on the planet.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Sick Baby Boy

There's no worse feeling for a Mom than seeing your baby with sad, feverish eyes, skin that is on fire, chills that make his jaw shake, mixed with no appetite....and a limp, sleepy body. My sweet Andrew has been sick since Sunday- a fever over 101 degrees every minute of the day, with no relief from Advil and Tylenol. Diagnosed with a sinus infection, my mother's instinct is telling me that's not the case....but, what can I do? I am praying that the medicine he was prescribed on Monday starts to kick in and he can kick this nasty bug fast!!

We've spent many hours snuggled up in our favorite chair....sleeping, watching cartoons, and waiting this out, hoping that the fever will break with every passing minute. My plan: Besides hoping that the sinus infection medicine starts working, I'm hoping my Mommy love will cure my baby boy. But, knowing that won't do...I'm also taking him to the doctor (again) tomorrow morning. I am hoping that tonight he will sleep. Not just for a few hours, but all night. He needs it. I need it. Parker needs it. My mom needs it. We need a little relief from my sluggish, sick, clingy baby boy.

Another kicker to by baby boy being sick is that Brandon is out of town. He feels awful. He wants to be here too. He can't wait to be home. Missing him terribly, or as Parker said this morning: "Mom, I TOTALLY miss dad!" We can't wait for him to be home!

You see, Andrew turns 1 year old on Sunday and we want him to be healthy to celebrate this amazing milestone. And, although the hours of party planning I had on my schedule for this week have been pushed aside to rock, snuggle, and sleep with my baby boy, we can't wait to show Andrew just what happens on a Riffel family birthday...especially your first birthday!

So, get well my baby boy. We love you and want you to feel better so badly!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I've been asked numerous times in the past few weeks about loosing in, am I loosing weight? I have a confession to make - I have no idea if I've been loosing weight, in fact, I never, EVER look at a scale. Why, you might ask, do I never look at a scale (especially when people are asking me if I'm loosing weight)? To be honest, I don't like looking at scales. I've never been happy with my weight, I've always weighed more than I would like and, according to statistics and my BMI (body mass index), I am, let me ask something: why would I want to look at a scale?

I will, however, admit that my clothes ARE fitting a little looser, my face is looking a little thinner, and it seems like I am feeling a little bit better about myself with each passing day. I say 'each passing day', because if you're a mom, it seems like each day after you have a baby, you start to feel a little more like your old self...a little more 'normal'.

Nope, I haven't been dieting....nor have I been excessively excercising...nor have I been doing anything out of the norm...because, let's face it, I love eating and who has time for exercising?! I love cookies, I love Sonic drinks, I love cooking, and I love spending time with my boys. So, you ask, what have I been doing?

First of all, I chase two big boys around my house throughout the day- upstairs, downstairs, carrying 25 pounds of sweet Andrew, and when I do sit's only when I am asked to join in on fun playtime with the boys...I become a climbing toy...I am crawling into a box or a tent made out of really, I am never sitting still. Now, for all of you SAHM's out there- more power to you, because I do have a full-time job where, for about half the time, I am sitting at a desk, at a computer, not chasing my kiddos. This sometimes feels like relaxation. Work = Relaxation?

Second of all, I don't eat huge portions of food. I think this comes with age. I just can't eat all that much anymore. I feel sick if I eat a huge meal. I feel really gross if I eat fast food. But, I still eat. I love pizza. I love coca cola. I love rice krispy treats...the trick is to eat what you like, but in moderation. Which can sometimes be difficult, but in the end, I feel much better about my day when I haven't over-indulged...a little indulging is okay.

Working out. I don't work out as much as I would like. I love running and I love the way I feel after a great workout, but do you know what I love more? I love staying in my cozy bed, snuggling a sweet 4 year old and (almost) 1 year old on these cold mornings. I love playing in the evenings and fixing a good dinner for my, working can wait (And, let me go back to the chasing kids part of the post. Chasing Kids = Exercise).

So, my advice to everyone out there who has been asking me about loosing weight. Don't worry about it. The key to feeling good about the way you look is all in how you see yourself. What do you see when you look in the mirror? Are you satisfied with what YOU are doing with YOUR life? Don't worry about what others think, how others look, how others dress...and focus on yourself and finding what makes you feel good about yourself. When you do this...everything else will fall into place. Don't weigh'll never be satisfied. Don't try every diet (they don't work). Wear clothes that you feel pretty in. Eat what you love to eat, but waaaay back in the back of your head, remember that food isn't what makes us happy.

And, I promise, that when you do'll start to feel good and really find what makes you happy. Your clothes will start to fit a little better and you'll find that when you look in the mirror, you like what you see.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Walkin' and a Talkin'

Yep, that's right folks, Andrew is now a walker! And, although he still believes it's faster to crawl, we've seen it. We've watched him walk across the room (when he thinks no one is looking) and I've heard Parker teaching him, encouraging him with, "Great job, Andrew!" I just love it! Now, if I could only get him to walk when I've got the camera out...then I'd really have proof!

And, with this new empowerment of walking, Andrew has become quite the little jibber-jabberer. Who woulda thought we'd have another Riffel boy who LOVES to talk? Andrew loves to talk just as much as Parker and Brandon. This Momma can't get a word in!

Just wait....I'll have some good footage in the next few days! I know, the suspense is killing you! It's going to be good!

Friday, November 4, 2011

On the Night You Were Born

In just two short weeks we will be celebrating my baby boy's first birthday. Who knew, one year ago, that Andrew would be the one that completes my life. The one that makes my heart skip a beat with his sweet smile and his warm hugs. The one that fills me with so much joy and love, the love that has also completed our family. And, even though he changed my world completely, he changed it so that my life has a greater purpose and my time spent with two little boys always makse me smile and makes my heart melt, just by because they are MY boys.

So, Andrew, you are extremely special and every time I think about the night you were born, these words recite themselves over and over in my head...

On the night you were born,
The moon smiled with such wonder
That the stars peeked in to see you
And the night wind whispered,
"Life will never be the same."
Because there had never been anyone like you…ever in the world.
So enchanted with you were the wind and the rain
That they whispered the sound of your wonderful name.
It sailed through the farmland
High on the breeze…
Over the ocean…
And through the trees…
Until everyone heard it
And everyone knew
Of the one and only ever you.
Not once had there been such eyes,
Such a nose,
Such silly, wiggly, wonderful toes.
When the polar bears heard,
They danced until dawn.
From faraway places,
The geese flew home.
The moon stayed up until
Morning next day.
And none of the ladybugs flew away.
So whenever you doubt just how special you are
And you wonder who loves you, how much and how far,
Listen for geese honking high in the sky.
(They’re singing a song to remember you by.)
Or notice the bears asleep at the zoo.
(It’s because they’ve been dancing all night for you!)
Or drift off to sleep to the sound of the wind.
(Listen closely…it’s whispering your name again!)
If the moon stays up until morning one day,
Or a ladybug lands and decides to stay,
Or a little bird sits at your window awhile,
It’s because they’re all hoping to see you smile…
For never before in story or rhyme
(not even once upon a time)
Has the world ever known a you, my friend,
And it never will, not ever again…
Heaven blew every trumpet
And played every horn
On the wonderful, marvelous
Night you were born.

By Nancy Tillman

Kung Fu Cooper

My nephew, Cooper, was born one week before Brandon and I got married. So, that means that this year, he turned 7...and as far as 7 year olds go, I think Cooper is a pretty neat kiddo!

Cooper is someone that both of my little guys absolutely adore, and when it comes to having fun and being silly...Cooper will never disappoint. So, when we got Cooper's birthday invitation this year with a Karate theme on it, Parker (and Andrew too) were so excited to see what was in store for this celebration!

And, because I really do believe that pictures say 1,000 words, here's what happened at the birthday party...

Happy (belated) Birthday Cooper!!