Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Leap Year

Wow! We've really been feelin' the 'leap' this year! I believe the extra day this month has thrown a flip in our universe and things have just been juggled all up. What do you think?

And, while things haven't been going our way, I've realized that this sticky, crazy mess that we are calling life these days, is actually helping me. How, you might ask, could a constantly sick baby, a car accident, working evenings, and a puking four-year old be helping me {these are just the highlights}? Well, here it goes:

1) I've realized just how much my husband loves me...because he's kept my head above water the past few weeks.

2) Even though we have no earthly idea what is going on with Andrew's little body, I've come to love the sweet snuggles he gives me in the middle of the night and the way he is so tough when battling a fever or feeling icky {but, I would still like to know what's goin' on here}.

3) Parker has been the most loving four year old I've ever seen, to me, Brandon, and most importantly {and has given the most sweetness} to Andrew. And, until this morning, he hasn't been sick at all....talk about a tough guy!

4) My work. Oh my, do I have so much to be thankful for in my job. The people I work with have been so patient with me and so understanding of everything we've got going on...it's just been a relief for this working Momma to have such an awesome employer...one who doesn't complain...even though I haven't worked a full week for a few months now.

5) Our friends and family seem to be coming out of the wood work offering advice, help, and yes, even offers to bring by ice cream cones for our sweet boys as we have been struggling these past few weeks.

6) I've come to realize that this phrase is true: 'What doesn't kill us, will only make us stronger.' It's totally true. These things that are causing us stress right now are all making us stronger. And, even though, I didn't ask for these things and I don't feel like I need to be any stronger - I do.

This 'leap' in our lives is causing us grief, struggles, and forcing us to think outside of the box...but, we'll get through it and we'll be better people and a better family because of it.

And, while these photos have nothing to do with it being a Leap Year, they capture most perfectly, the wonderful moments we had today. Here's to hoping the 'leaps' have all jumped out!

{Today Parker was obsessed with Wipeout...this is Parker building a Wipeout course with Legos. This was done because I told him he couldn't use the couch pillows for any more Wipeouts. Gotta love imagination!}

{Andrew's first 'real' smile in weeks. This little guy finally went a whole day without a fever today!}

Happy Leap Day my friends! Make the most of today!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Flashback Friday: Then & Now

Okay, so I put these two photos on Facebook the other day:

Parker at 16 months

Andrew at 15 months

Don't you think those are the two sweetest, most handsome little guys you've ever seen? I couldn't agree more!

I love doing this. I love looking back at the similarities and differences between my two boys. They both have the most amazing, big blue eyes. They both are so smart, so innocent and give so much love to our life. And, even though I've had plenty of people tell me how much they look alike...I tend to think they don't look too much alike {sure, you can tell they are brothers, but they don't look exactly alike} and I like it that they don't look exactly the same and , most importantly, that their personalities aren't really anything alike.

And, when I look at these two photos, my mind wanders back to when the photo of Parker was taken and I think about how much our lives have changed since then and how Parker and Andrew have brought so much into our lives.

{Parker at 16 months}

{Andrew...just last week}

I think about how hard we thought it was to raise one child, when it was only Parker, and how much harder it is with two little boys and how we couldn't have imagined just how much these two guys would bring to our life. I think about how far we've come in the dreams that Brandon and I share and how all of them seem to be coming true...and just how thankful we are for all of the blessings we receive.

So, on this 'Flashback Friday', I want you all to take a moment to think about 'then & now' and remember all of the good in your life, but also think about how this windy, roller coaster of life has brought you to today...and just how much today will also forever change you. I wish you all a fun weekend- do something that will change your life!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Catching Up

Has it really been a week since I last posted? Wow...where has the time gone? Let's play catch-up, shall we?

We celebrated a couple of special birthdays- Happy 7th birthday, Avery! And, happy birthday to my dad and Brandon's mom!

We played in the snow...and the boys and Bella {and Brandon and I} LOVED it...

We've played games together...

We've watched plenty of Blue's Clues {and Parker's favorite, Wipeout}...

We had our very first 'Family Movie Night' with Andrew staying up to watch the entire movie...

We visited the farm to meet the new kids...

And, we've definitely been focusing on 'Simplifying' our lives by enjoying all of these 'small' moments in our lives.

So, while I kick myself for not writing more in the past week, I have to say...I love this new way of living for us. We've been able to focus on some pretty awesome parts of our life.

And...the best parts of our life just happen to be celebrating a special milestone today. Yep, it's the 20th. Andrew turns 15 months old today {and, of course, Parker is 4 years and 5 months old today}!!

Andrew is my spunky guy. He is an absolute doll and I love his chubby cheeks and his pouty lips. I love how Andrew wants to do everything that his big brother is doing, but when Parker tries to snuggle up close to Andrew, he wants nothing to do with it. I love Andrew's jibberish talk and the words I can actually understand that help us communicate. I love his kisses. I love his sweet hugs and how he always wants his Momma to hold him. I love it that Andrew no longer walks anywhere...he runs. I love how he flies his little airplane around the house and vrooms his car on the wood floor. I love it how everyday he learns something new and how everyday he amazes me with his sweet spunky personality and how he shows us his love everyday. I love it that he still wakes up in the middle of the night and says, "mommamommamomma" over and over again {okay...let's be real...I only love this about half the time}. I love it that he is so grown up, so independent, and so sweet to everyone he meets. I love his shy face and how his lips pout out when he is mad or frustrated. I love how his belly sticks out of every shirt he owns...even the shirts that he is swimming in everywhere else. I love how sturdy he is and how he holds his legs up and climbs up my leg, every time I put him down after holding him. I love it that he can't get enough of his Momma. And, most of all, I love that my Andrew is healthy and adorable and makes me proud every day. He is so much like his brother, yet they are certainly different....and I love that.

Happy birthday my sweet boys! I'm glad we had this day to 'catch-up'!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wishing you a lifetime of love..

{Do you know how hard it is to get a decent photo of my boys together?}

Sweet kisses...

Big hugs...

And lots of smiles!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Parker the Performer

Last night was Parker's debut as a performer in his very first school program. Oh my. I knew all of these Riffel boys had some lungs on them, but I had no idea that this was going to happen when Parker was given an audience to perform in front of.

They told all of the kids to be loud. Parker was just following instructions.

We had so much fun watching him shine in this program. In fact, I think all of the kids did a wonderful job and I was impressed with their singing and dancing. I've said it before, but Parker has THE BEST preschool class ever...the kids are all super sweet and the parents are all wonderful and willing to do anything for the class. But the icing on the cake are the teachers- Miss Angie is so sweet with all of the kids and ALWAYS has a smile on her face. And, Miss Allison has such a special disposition with all of the kids- she knows just how to make them each feel loved. Miss Susan runs a tight ship, but all of the kids adore her!

So, sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the show.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ice Cream Makes Everything Better

Yesterday I took Andrew to get his 1 year immunizations. {Yes, I know he's 14.5 months old, but he's been sick and I put off taking him for a while.}

Poor kid.

Here he is, playing on the super fun toys they have in the waiting room...laughing...following his brother around...climbing, sliding, and crawling under tunnels.

Then, all of a sudden I wisk him away, take him back into a room, pull his arm out of his shirt, pull down his sweats, and he gets poked. Not once, not twice, not three times, but FIVE shots. Four in his legs and one in his arm. OUCH! He cried and cried. And, when I looked up to find Parker, he was standing in the doorway with a stricken look on his face and his hands clenched over his ears. So sad.


Luckily, in our house, a little ice cream makes everything better.

Parker said, "Mom, I DO NOT like it when Andrew is hurting." {sigh.}

"But, Mom, I know what will make him feel better. A Blizzard...an M & M blizzard."

So, we got Blizzards from DQ and headed home.

And, wouldn't you know. Parker was right.

Here is my sweet Andrew eating his first ever, very own Blizzard.

And, here is Big Bubba enjoying his Blizzard.

So, if you're having a rough day...or just need a pick-me-up...I highly recommend ice cream. It works every time.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Valentine - You TOTALLY Rock!

With Parker's first Valentine's Day party coming up at preschool, I just couldn't stick with the average, everyday, run of the mill valentine you buy at your local grocery store. And, after studying Pinterest for a few hours, trying to come up with something special, that fit Parker's personality, and would be easy enough for this totally un-creative, busy Mom...I decided to use an idea I found on the the most addictive website known to woman-kind {Pinterest} and put my own spin on it.

Now, I'm definitely not a graphic designer, but I think I know enough to get by. I decided to design my own Valentine template for Parker's 'TOTALLY rockin', Pop Rock Valentines for his class. A couple of trips to the Dollar Tree to buy Pop Rocks {they sell them in 3 packs for $1}, Valentine's Day bags, and to make sure I had glue sticks...and we were ready to go!

Here's how they turned out.

{Please forgive the grainy photos...I only had my phone available...I'm sure you can all understand that the attention span of a 4 year old is short lived and I needed to take the photos fast! For a better view...take a look at the new header above.}

It's been fun to see how Parker writes the names on them and how he chooses to put hearts on them...some get more hearts {the girls} and some just get one. Either way, it's been a great craft for us to do together!

And, if you're interested, please feel free to use this pdf print off to make your own 'rockin' Valentines'.

Stay tuned...tonight we're making some special Valentine's Day cookies for Parker's Family Night at school tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sweet Brothers

The other night I had a much needed reunion with one of my college friends who is getting married in a few weeks! I also got to see another friend from college who is expecting her third child in a few weeks! It was wonderful...and I wonder where all of the years have gone? {This is a post for another day.}

The other wonderful part: throughout the night, Brandon kept texting videos to me of my sweet boys and everything that their evening entailed {even though I was only gone for a few hours}. For all of the moms out there- Isn't it kind of a wierd feeling, when you find yourself completely alone...and even more than that...I was completely alone in the car. Talk about some time to think!

Okay, okay...back to the reason for this post: We've been incredibly busy lately. I got our taxes done and filed last night {yeah me!}, we're in the process of buying an awesome travel trailer to take camping all over this year, we've had birthday parties, super bowl parties, wedding showers, school parties, and so much more going on, that our 'simple' life is kinda running away.

So, when Brandon sent me these videos the other night. It was fun for me to be the person looking in this time. Not caught up making dinner. Not cleaning. Not doing laundry. Not doing the taxes. But, I was just watching.

Here's just one snipit of what Brandon sent me...these two, incredible, amazing, sweet brothers. Just hangin' out. {Parker is reading: SkippyJon Jones, Shape Up!}