Monday, April 30, 2012

The First of Many

On a crazy whim last week, I told Parker that he could have his first sleepover with some of his neighbor friends {only after he asked me three or four times, of course!}.  So, on Friday night, three of his buddies walked over to our house toting their sleeping bags, pillows, and backpacks, ready for a night of crazy boy fun!

I was worried.  I braced myself for the house to come crashing down with crazy boy energy.  I told myself that it was only one night, I could do this.  Brandon thought I was the crazy one.  

But, I should have known better.  These boys, they were wonderful!  

I should have known this.  These boys were destined to have their first official friend sleepover together.  They've been buddies for as long as they can remember and their families are like our family.  It's amazing what good 'buddies' means to these little guys.

{Don't ask what these two yay-hoos are doing....I snuck up on them in Parker's room with the camera.}

Words can't explain how excited Parker was to have his buds spend the ENTIRE night at our house.  "You mean they'll still be there to eat breakfast in the morning?!"  Oh yeah, special sleepover donuts for breakfast!

{Brandon snuck off to the 'Donut Shop' before the boys woke up and surprised us all with sleepover donuts!  My personal favorite!}

And, while one of these buddies ended up sleeping in my bed with Brandon...and this same little friend, while trying to fall asleep, asked Brandon at least 10 questions about any firearms we may have in the house {that might help fight off any monsters that try to sneak in}, and then would only fall asleep if Bella was snuggling him {so sweet!}, I would have to say that this first sleepover with buds was a tremendous success!  No one wanted to go home in the middle of the night and these boys got along so well!  They even let little brother in on the fun...and you better believe that Andrew was hangin' with the big guys, no problem.

{Parker and Caleb had fun playing WipeOut together on the X-Box.}

{Our friend Gabe even came by for a couple of hours on Friday night.  Gabe and Julian loved this little Cars race track.}

{Some pretty special boys of mine.}

{Buddies, just hangin' out.}

These boys played the X-Box, trains, cars, card games, watched movies, at popcorn {and M&M's}, laughed and, yes, they sure did stink up the family room {these 5...okay 6, if you include Brandon...boys passed more gas than I ever thought possible} and I really think that if I walked down into that family room with an open flame, we would have gone up in smoke, but seriously, something else these boys did- they made a memory that will last them a lifetime.  This may have only been their first sleepover, but you better believe, it was the first of many more to come.

{Watching Cars 2 and eating popcorn and M&M's before bed time...}

And when it was time to say good bye, tears were shed and promises were made to do it again soon. Parker: "Like tomorrow night, Mom, can we do it again tomorrow night?"

{This post is for our best bud who is moving to Utah this week.  We will miss your spunk, your silly personality, and the hours that you've spent at our house hanging out with Parker.  Yes, this is the same friend that slept with Brandon the other night, eats dinner with us at least once a week, and is the first person Parker thinks of when we pull in the driveway from anyplace we've been.  We're all sad to see you go and can't wait to come visit you next summer ;)}

{Parker and Julian went to watch baseball practice together a few weeks ago and Julian's mom took this photo with her phone.  I love it.  They are such good friends!}

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Big Decisions

Brandon and I are both planners.  We plan EVERYTHING {although Brandon hasn't always been this way, he's learned to love my compulsive planning}.  We knew exactly when we wanted to get married and had more than a year to plan that beautiful day.  We knew when we wanted to have children and, although it took a little longer than expected, we had it all planned out and we were ready for it.  We knew we wanted a dog and one day Brandon surprised me with our sweet Bella.  We have plans for the kid's college choices and how we're going to pay for it, we have a retirement plan, we plan almost every minute of every moment of our days so that we are ready for {just about} every thing that life throws at us.

{Except for Andrew's diaper explosion at Noodles and Company on Sunday....I was not prepared for that!}

So, when few weeks ago as I was doing my normal monthly check of the real estate listings in our area and a found a beautiful home that I thought maybe we could go take a peek at, I put it in the back of my mind and told myself I'd talk to Brandon about it that night.  Well, that night came and went and I hadn't mentioned any of this to hubby, when out of nowhere he said: 'You know, I was talking with {insert realtor friend's name here} about our plan to one day live outside of town, in a bigger home, with room for two crazy little boys to romp around and explore, and she just threw out the idea that she had a client that was interested in looking at our current house.

We talked about it for a couple more days and then we thought, 'what the heck', what would it hurt to have someone just take a look at our house?  And, just to mix things up a little, I told Brandon about the house I found online that I thought looked beautiful.  We decided to go do a drive-by.

It was even more beautiful in person.  Two and a half acres, with trees, a sunroom off of the back deck and the sweetest little neighborhood with kids running around in the yards.  We were immediately interested in this home.

We were in love.

So, to make a long story short....four walk throughs of this house and a lot of paper work later...we've got a contract to buy this beautiful new home and the house we've called home for the past 7 years is now on the market.

And, although we are SUPER excited about this adventure in our life {you should have seen Parker and Andrew out at this new house.  I think they were more in love than we were!}, this is the first time that I've ever been more in love with another house than my own and I almost feel guilty about this excitement because of everything that's happened in our home.

But, I just have this overwhelming feeling of peace in thinking about moving to this new home.  And I know that if it all works out, this will be our 'forever home'.

So, please wish us luck in the next few days, weeks and months so that our home will become someone else's dream house and we will be able to complete this big decision we've made in our lives.

We are flying by the seat of our pants and we couldn't be happier.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Riffel Days

We've had a busy couple of weeks! And, I know we're all busy, but seriously, are these days really flying by this fast?! Last weekend we had our Easter Celebration #3 at Grandpa Mike and Grandma Debbie's house. It was just one more day that filled my heart up so full and made me feel so blessed to have the family that I have. We hunted for eggs...

We played a little catch...

Went to the park...

And, we even had time to go to the Discovery Center in Topeka and, although I didn't have my camera with me, I want you all to know that this place is awesome! We've been to other places where my kids could have hands-on fun with their imagination, but none of those measure up to what we experienced at the Discovery Center. I highly recommend you check it out sometime!

Thanks for a great day, Dad, Debbie, and Uncle Jon!!


Parker had his first t-ball practice and I have to say, I am so, so, so impressed with P-Man's t-ball skills! Brother can hit the ball like a pro and don't get me started on his fielding ability...he stops the ball like nobody's business.

And, with a name like the Polar Bears...there's no stopping this team!

And, little Bubs had a great time being the ball boy.

Summer ball has begun!


 Oh yeah, I finished up this little project...

I finally got the pulls that I needed {they were on back-order} and, even though it's not as dark as I thought it would be, I think it turned out pretty good!


 We've had a lot of 'simple celebrations' this week as well. Such as the pure excitement that comes along when Mom tells her boys they can have some apple juice popsicles in the bathtub.

Or, getting stuff {let's face it, junk} out of the house and into the hands of happy garage salers on a Saturday morning....yep, too busy to take photos of our garage sale. Seriously, it was crazy!

We've had neighbor friends over to play, played outside until dusk, we've had fun date nights at Subway, the boys had a sleepover at Grandma's, we've had cousin play dates, and we've started the transformation of a baby boy room into a little (I can't call it a big boy room yet} boy room...I'd say we've had some fun Riffel Days.

 And, although these days have been busy, the busy has all been good.

Not to mention we've got some pretty big decisions {if all goes well} on the horizon and I'm hoping that soon we'll be able to share the outcome with you. Until then, I hope you can enjoy these beautiful spring days with your family!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Rocking Chair

As I mentioned in my last post, we are planning a little room makeover for my baby boy this week. Ummm...I mean my big boy...I mean my baby boy...he's kind of caught in between the baby boy, big boy age and it's hard for me to believe that Andrew has become big enough for a big boy room and big boy toys and that he's too big for the changing table and for his shoes, and that he's too big for me to hold and do the 'mom sway' back and forth and he's big enough to go to sleep without me holding him and that he's now sits in a booster seat {rather than his high chair}.

But, it happens. Our babies grow up.

Luckily, our family has a new little baby coming in August and Brandon's sister will be welcoming baby girl #3 in just a few short months. We are SO, SO, SO excited!!

So, as I've been planning Andrew's new room {with a lot of hand-me-downs from big brother}, I've been slowly handing things over to D so she can use them with Baby Girl.

Things like the diaper genie, our high chair, the infant car seat, some KU and Pitt State apparel, and I've even got a little bag of baby toys for Baby Girl B. And, as we were measuring and thinking of the new furniture arrangement in Andrew's big boy room, we came to the conclusion that the rocking chair and ottoman were no longer going to fit. So, I texted D and asked if that was something she needed, if she'd like to borrow it, and I sent her some photos...

To my delight, D and J said it was something that they would definitely use {I love it when others can benefit from something I have loved having}, so that was that and we decided we'd get it to them soon.

Well...last night, I was chatting with Brandon's Mom and she said they'd help us out by watching the boys today and I said, "Oh, if you guys drive the truck, you could take the chair and ottoman to D!" I was excited and caught up in my plans for Andrew's room and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to get this to D.

We planned it and I went upstairs to get ready for bed.

Then...all of a sudden, my stomach started to feel icky, my mouth got dry, and I think for the first time EVER, I was having an anxiety attack! I couldn't sleep. All that was running through my head was this..."if they take the rocking chair tomorrow, that means I won't be able to sit in the chair and read to Andrew tomorrow night!" I won't be able to rock him and ask him for kisses as he starts to drift off into sleepy land...and although I haven't officially 'rocked' him to sleep for a couple of months now, I decided that we needed the rocking chair for at least a month or so longer so that I could do that at least 20 more times!

So, I grabbled my phone and texted my mother-in-law this:

"I think we are going to use the rocking chair for a little bit longer..."

Her response:

"Good...I like the thought of our baby being rocked a few more months. :)"

Who knew I would have such an attachement toward a rocking chair. But, now that I think about it....I think I've probably rocked in that chair more than 800 times. Seriously. It's a part of us. And, although I'm very excited to share it with my new neice, I am thankful for a couple more months with the rocking chair...and, maybe Andrew's not quite as big as I thought he was...yep, I just checked, he's still my baby boy.

I think we'll find room in Andrew's new big boy room for the rocking least for a few more months.

Thank goodness.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter Weekend

Yep, it's been a whole week since we began our Easter Weekend celebrations and I'm just now getting around to recapping it...why, you might ask, did I not get 400 photos uploaded, edited and on the blog the very next day? Well...we had WAAAAAAY too much goin' on for that! We had story time to go to, a first t-ball practice to attend, some much needed family movie watching time, garage sale items to get tagged, closets to clean out, laundry to catch up on, and not to mention a 40-hour work week! So there. That's why I'm just now getting caught up on Easter Weekend...and, let me tell you, this is going to be on the shorter side, with tons of photos to tell the story because I've got a to-do list a mile long and days that seem to go by in lightening speed!

First celebration on the list: Easter at the Farm!

I love Easter at the farm. It's the first time of the year that we can put our boots on and get out in the woods exploring!

Not to mention, the farm is the BEST place to have an Easter Egg Hunt.

And we get to spend time with cousins.

Boys get to be boys out at the farm and since I've got two little ones and a big one that absolutely love the outdoors, the farm is like heaven to them.

And, after much exploring, hunting, tree climbing, goat chasing, dirt digging, and sugar eating...we squeezed every last ounce of joy out of this day and headed home to get cleaned up and snuggled into our beds for the arrival of the Easter Bunny.

Celebration #2: Easter morning at home.

I love all things magical. Like Santa Claus, the tooth-fairy, and the Easter Bunny. I love thinking of what my kids will think is the ultimate surprise so that when they wake up on Easter morning, they will wonder how in the world the Easter Bunny knew that they loved Monster Trucks or books or fishing or stomping in the mud in rubber boots. I love it that my boys wake up in such a fog that they forget it's even Easter and when we head downstairs to eat breakfast, they see a glimmer of something that doesn't belong and they get wide-eyed grins and run to check out their Easter Bunny surprises.

These two little boys sure do make the holiday magical for me.

Easter #3: Grandma and PaPa's House.

On Easter Sunday we went back and fourth on our tradition. Should we spend Easter Sunday at our church in Ottawa or should we continue our tradition of going to DeSoto to spend the morning with family? We love our family. And, on this Easter Sunday, we felt compelled to spend it with our Riffel family in DeSoto.

The church service was wonderful, Easter dinner was delicious, and it was one of those days where you get caught up in every much that at the end of the day, you decide to stay for just a few hours longer, eating up every bit of the family time we could share together.

We are so blessed to have our families so close to us. This Easter was amazing and full of everything Easter should be and we left the weekend with hearts so full of love and thanks. Thanks be to Him.

Whew, Easter Weekend went by fast. This week has sped by. And, stick around...I need to get caught up cause we have a new t-ball star in the family, more Easter celebrations, and a sweet toddler boy who is getting a room makeover next week!

Life is good.

{Here are a few more photos from the week leading up to Easter...}