Monday, December 22, 2008

Re-Living Life

The girls are having fun with Grandma and Grandpa Bear (my parents) and I get daily updates about how many helpings Saedi is eating. I think my parents were shocked to see how much Saed-Saed can put away. Ell is having a blast with her cousins, Blake, Nathan, & Hailey.
Meanwhile, Riley and I are reconnecting again and re-living our pre-baby, pre-deployment days up in the Land of the Midnight Sun (or in our case the Land of Minimal Sun).
Friday night we got stranded in Minneapolis but had fun swimming, dining, & sleeping in at a fun, modern hotel. We were able to catch a standby flight Sat morning, which we were thrilled about, although that meant we didn't get to explore the Mall of America (yeah, Ry was really bummed over that one). Funny thing is that the guy sitting next to me on the flight remembered me from my teaching days at Clark Middle School (now demolished)..what a small world!
We finally got into Anchorage around 3pm on Saturday just as the sun was beginning to set. We rented some snowshoes from REI & then drove downtown in our ghetto rental car. We shopped for a bit and then walked to our favorite restaurant, the Glacier Brewhouse, and ordered all of "our" foods- Seafood chowder, quesadillas, prime rib and king crab legs, peanut butter, vanilla bread pudding, & long island iced tea. The best food either of us have eaten since we left AK 3 years ago.
Today we slept in, pigged out some more at the hotel's breakfast buffet (this way we won't need lunch, you see) & then headed over to Fort Richardson for a workout. We were impressed that they had bumper plates & kettle bells at their facilities. Did I mention that I spent a good portion of my workout time in the steam room? Ahhh..wonderful! We visited our old church, and then decided to spend our precious hours of sunlight snowshoeing. At noon the sun was up so we trekked up Mt Baldi in Eagle River and the view was as beautiful as I remembered it. Getting down the mountain was quite a bit more terrifying for me...but more on that later. Once we made it down the mountain we rewarded ourselves with a Snickers mocha at Jitters, read our books & and watched the sun set (4ish). We spent some time at REI and Title Wave Books and then headed to the Bear Tooth Dinner Theatre for some burritos and the movie Eagle Eye...both were excellent!
Now it's late and I'm on vacation so I'll give my next update when I feel like it :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Early Christmas

Riley and I are still figuring out what kind of Christmas traditions we want to create with our kids. We always celebrate Christmas with our extended families since it's a guaranteed time of year to be with them, but it's also important to us that we (the four of us) celebrate consistently by ourselves, too. We'll be heading up North to see family soon so we went ahead and did our four-person family celebration on Saturday.
I feel like this is the first Christmas Ellie is beginning to grasp what Christmas is all about. We've played with her fisher price manger scene over and over, and we've talked about how her birthday is close to Jesus' birthday. As we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus this year she was "getting it." At church all the children had a birthday party for Jesus so I appreciated the reinforcement that brought. She helped me make gifts for other people this year, so we're getting a better idea of how to teach Jesus to our children.
I could go on and on, but I'll stop and get some pictures posted. Ellie's big gift this year was a camera and you can see from the expression on her face that she was ECSTATIC! Saedi's highlight was some hand instruments and a ball that I sewed for her. Riley got me a beautiful garnet necklace that my friend Nicole made and Riley was thrilled about a new book...go figure!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Uncle Kyle-O

Riley's brother flew into town Friday night from NYC and stayed with us for the weekend. I love Kyle so much and the weekend with him went way too fast. Kyle was a terrific sport...he went with us to the CrossFit gym (once, and probably never again), and after some coaxing, even agreed to a male bonding session with Riley outside in the freezing cold around a campfire. Kyle got to meet Saedi for the first time and he became Ellie's new best buddy. He bought Ellie these super-cool fairy light up wings that she was flying around the house in (with her tap shoes on, mind you). He baked Christmas cookies with Ellie and they played with his iphone for hours...literally. He bugabood with Saedi and coddled with her as if she were his own. He cleaned my kitchen, re-arranged my living room, helped me cook, and even supervised Ellie's wacked-out, sugar-fest of a party last night.

When I first met Riley's family (10 years ago) Kyle was the first one I connected with...he's goofy and down to earth. So, I've always had a special place in my heart for Baby Bro. And now, well, we just don't see him enough. I hadn't seen him since last Christmas and it had been a year and a half for him and Riley. Needless to say, this momma's sad to see him go. I tried to convince him to stay on and be my nanny, but needless to say, the girls and I drove him back to the airport this morning. We love you, Uncle Kyle!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ellie Is 3

It's hard for me to believe that my firstborn is already 3! Ellie is my delight and my joyful child. She's rarely down-in-the-dumps, but instead, she's very resistant. I love Ellie so much and I rejoice that God has blessed Riley and I with a beautiful firstborn girl. She's helps to mother her baby sister and she reaches out to other kids in a welcoming way. I admire Ellie's social skills and the way she verbalizes herself.
We had a few of her closest friends over tonight for a casual Super-Readers Birthday Party. I sewed capes for all the kiddos, and while it was a bit chaotic, the kids had a blast running around, opening presents, and eating lots of sugar! Ellie decorated her birthday cake all by herself this year and it was fun watching her pride in her piece of art.
Thanks to all for your cards, phone calls, gifts and Birthday greetings today. Ellie had a FUN day!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Turkey Day

On Saturday we spent our "real" Thanksgiving at the Kenney's house out in Dover. Poor Jodi was terribly sick a few days before Thanksgiving so we all took a rain check to celebrate with them on Saturday. Jodi is a phenomenal cook and baker so, of course, it was well worth the wait. Dave deep fried the turkey and the rest of us brought the traditional sides. I must say my personal highlight was eating Jodi's homemade chocolate pie...and then taking a huge piece home!

The girls took turns riding on the neighbor's horse, Tootie & we all enjoyed a hayride bundled in blankets. Ellie devoured her hot chocolate & Saedi fell asleep in Daddy's arms. Our great friend, Adam, made it in from Ft Bragg, so it was exptra special celebrating with him as well. Happy Belated Turkey Day!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thankful For...

This Thanksgiving I've gotta say that I'm most thankful for Riley being home to celebrate the holidays with us. We had a gorgeous autumn day yesterday and we spent the morning going for a run as a family and then hiking with our friends, Jen and Emmy at Dunbar Cave. We took naps in the afternoon and played outside until dark. To top it all off we had a terrific dinner at the Cracker Barrel and no clean up afterwards! Hooray! We're looking forward to celebrating our "real" Thanksgiving at Dave & Jodi's house on Saturday night.

As for a "girls update" Saedi is very word curious. She's pointing at everything and wanting to know what "it's" called. She's enjoying touching all sorts of textures too. She begs to go swinging by going, "uh uh uh" and pointing outside. She's a smart little toot and is already signing milk, light, all done, more, please as well as saying momma, da-da, ball, woof-woof and trying to mimic what El says. She'll be 10 months tomorrow and is till only at 15 lbs...9th percentile so we go back to the dr in a few more weeks for anothe weight check. She eats like a orse so go figure!

El is her Daddy's #1 sidekick. They mow together, feed the birds, chop wood, rake leaves, drink hot chocolate, build fires in the fireplace, and most recently Ry has taught her how to use a computer. She understands how to use the cursor, backspace, identify her letters and can read Ellie, Mom and Dad. El had a blast decorating the tree this year and it's been fun starting new traditions with her. Little Miss also comprehends that her birthday is coming up and that she's almost 3. I think she mentions cake daily and I find her trying to sneak open Mimi's wrapped present that sits under the tree.

Lots of good times and so much to be thankful for!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A New Niece

Riley and I are happy to welcome our newest niece, Addison Jo Knoll! She was born at 6:02pm on Friday, November 21. Addi (what she'll go by sometimes) weighed in at 7 lbs 8 oz and was 20 3/4 inches long. She has light brown hair and blue eyes. I think she's one of the prettiest newborns I've seen. We can't wait to meet precious Addi over Christmas! Ellie's pretty excited about her new cousin as well. She's been coloring her lots of pictures and when talking to Lacey on the phone last night Ellie asked, "Can she walk yet?" Too funny.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Good Man

On Saturday Riley wanted me to have a day to myself so he kept the girls while I took off at 7:30am and got home around 6:30pm. I spent the day getting my haircut and shopping in Nashville...all by myself. It was a wonderful day where I could go where I wanted to go and do what I wanted to do...on my own schedule. To top it off, Riley gave me some extra spending money ahead of time as a surprise. While he was away this past month the army was giving him extra money to cover his food expenses while on the road, but for the past month Riley had been setting aside a good portion of that food allowance (not going out to eat and eating lots of pb&j) to save up money to send me on a surprise shopping spree. Because I am a woman and I adore pretty things my spending money is almost always depleted or in the hole come the end of the month; needless to say, extra spending money was a terrific gift! Come evening, after I returned from my day on the town, he had already tucked Saedi into bed, picked up the house, fixed all the broken outside lights, raked leaves and had managed to have a great time PLAYING with his daughters. (And take some pictures so I could see) Needless to say, I have married a good man and sometimes it brings me to tears.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Girls Are Famous

Check out Riley, Ellie and Saedi on the main CrossFit Kids website.
CrossFit Kids | Forging the Future of Fitness

Dance & Kindermusik

The girls have started their new classes- Ellie is taking Ballet & Tap & Saedi is enrolled in Kindermusik. Both girls are enjoying themselves, but it's especially fun because each girl is finally getting individualized attention.

Ellie's class is with 3-5 year olds & she's the youngest in her class. I don't go in the 45 min class with her. All the mom's wait outside the room and watch through thr glass windows. She's a big girl more Mommy and me! I think it's been good for her to be the smallest and observe the older girls instead of being the boss for a change. It's interesting, though, because sometimes I see her being shy and sucking her thumb when she's not as confident (I rarely see this side of her), but yet I still see her leader qualities coming out of the woodwork. Gotta love my spirited firstborn!

In Saedi's class all the baby's birthdays are within 2 months of each other. Saedi, like most 9 month olds, is crazy for music. Her favorite instuments are wooden sticks to bang and egg shakers to...shake! The best part is the one-on-one time I have with her. Saedi amazes me with how quickly she picks up new skills. She's an observer and a great listener. She's already signing milk, change, all done, and duck. She's got a more sensitive soul than her big sis and she's pretty confident doing her own thing.

I love my girlies!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rethinking Christmas | a community of advent conspirers

Was introduced to a great project that you can check out above. I would encourage you to watch the's right on! I think it's a great perspective for all of us.

Rethinking Christmas | a community of advent conspirers

Friday, October 24, 2008

Busy Season

It's been a busy but fun season for us right now. Riley's in San Francisco this week but he'll be home in about a week. Don't know what he's doing but we've been able to talk almost daily. He did call to say he was gonna pick up "I heart SF" t-shirts for the girls...he thought that would be funny given his job.

Riley's been gone a lot since Saedi was born, and I think he and I share the common fear that Saedi won't connect with him as her Daddy. God has amazed us, though, and it's never been an issue. She has this Daddy Doll (a stuffed pillow-doll with Riley's picture on it...check out that she adores. Everytime Ellie and I give it to her Saedi laughs, kicks her feet and says, "A-Da, A-Da" (Da-da backwards). Modern technology is on our side as well. Just last night Saedi was going crazy talking with Riley on the web cam, and I included a picture of her chatting and waving hi.

The girls and I have been staying busy with various fall parties with friends, the battalion, Mom's Club, and church. Just today we went to a retirement home with the girls dressed in their costumes. Saedi had a blast with the people, but Ellie was way more interested in who had candy to give to her. lol

I guess the latest news is again about Saedi. She's officially had her first tantrum. Wouldn't you know it was over oatmeal and butternut squash! She refused to eat (which she never does), shoved her face to the side and WAILED. "When she's good she's good, but when she's bad she's very very bad." Someone asked me if I won. No. I gave in and sent her to bed. I guess the babe was just tired. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Deck is Finished

So, Riley finished the deck over a week ago, but I keep forgetting to announce it. The deck is finished! and it looks amazing. I've becoming increasingly impressed with Riley's carpentry skills and my mind is constantly spinning now with thoughts of new projects: wooden blocks, closet shelves, bookcases...what has he gotten himself into. As you can see, Ellie and the handsome Toth boys, Caleb & Joshua, were having a nice time on the new addition.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Ellie and Emmy

Ellie has been spending a lot of time with her friend Emery (Emmy) and here are some nice photos of them together: first at the pumpkin patch on Wednesday and then today eating snacks...thanks for watching Ellie this morning, Jen!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lake Barkley

We spent Columbus Day hanging out at Lake Barkley. We mainly spent the day treking around the lake exploring with they eyes of a two-year old. Ellie pointed out that Daddy forgot to bring a fishing pole, so the two of them rigged something up with a stick, line, and bobbers they found. The bait was were the fish. Ellie had a blast, though. She even realized the pole didn't have a reel, so she invented one with more sticks. It's been awesome watching her creative side develop more each day. The beach area was closed for the season, but Riley still took the girls swimming off shore anyway. We ended the day with a nice picnic lunch & then ice cream at the Dairy Dip. It was wonderful spending a holiday with Riley home.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Apartment Therapy ohdeedoh | How To: Amuse Toddlers

Check out this practical article I read this morning! This one is worthy of being passed along to all of you who interact with toddlers...what great ideas...some old and some new. (Be sure to click on the link "How to Amuse Toddlers Instructable" within the article below)

Apartment Therapy ohdeedoh | How To: Amuse Toddlers

I have three fun childhood play memories that I'll share.
1. Traveling the World: filling up a small bag with food (whatever I could pack myself- graham crackers are the only food I remember) for my journey & then traveling around the perimeter of my yard (I grew up on 5 it took awhile to travel the world)observing and playing as I traveled.
2. Stair Airplane: lining up all my stuffed animals and baby dolls on either side of the stairs as airplane passengers. Since I was the pilot (of course) I would sit at the bottom of the stairs steering the legs of a flipped over chair. Mid-way through the flight I became the flight attendant and would serve snacks to the passengers. Towards the end of the journey I would shake baby powder in the air as smoke or as an air freshener...why did I do that? Who knows...the idea is to be creative.
3. Couch Driving: sitting on the back of the couch with my feet dangling over the back, driving an imaginary whatever (car, fire engine, school bus, etc). Sound crazy, but it pacified me!

Please share your ideas too...What are your favorite play memories as a child or what are some creative ways to play that you've discovered?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Deck & Dancing

Riley started building a new deck for us a few days ago & he's been working on it late every night. Our friend Jesse came over at 9 this morning to help Ry with more of the foundation. Those guys worked non-stop all day with only a short break for lunch & a quick trip to Lowe's in the afternoon. It's pretty amazing to see how much those guys accomplished in such a short amount of time...and without experience. They do look pretty good sporting their new tool belts, though. wink wink

While the guys were busy working tonight, Nat & Jen came over (with Brooke, Meadow & Emmy, of course) & we had lots of laughs eating tasty Mexican take-out & dancing with our girls (The next time I'm having a horrible day, someone please remind me of how adorable Emmy-gorilla-sumo-chic is when the tunes kick on). Ellie managed to fall in the toilet (yes, sticking her foot on a turd), but we (actually Nat)got her cleaned up & all the girlies had a blast in the bathtub together. Add a little wine to the mix, Jen's delicious frosted brownies, & a good kithen cleaning (compliments of Nat) and a good time was had by all.

Jesse, Nat, Brooke & Meadow take off for Canada in the morning, and even though they'll be gone just a few weeks they will be sorely missed by all of us pathetic friends who rely on them way too much!!! Thanks for a fun night you guys!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bare Bickets

Riley got home from TX late Friday night & it has been wonderful having him home. Ellie is once again her Daddy's shadow following him everywhere. Saedi now claps when Riley comes in the room & she's almost as comfortable around him as she is me (which says a lot since she's a momma's girl). While Riley went back to a regular work schedule immediately, we've been able to meet him for lunch almost everyday, and having the nice weather to enjoy together over lunch has been a bonus. We're trying to simply be together as much as possible these 10 days that we have together, so we've cancelled a lot of our regular evening activities and said no to some new propositions...and I'm proud of us for making time for each other (it's not easy to do). Our exception was last night whe I went to a much-needed girls' night out military coffee and had a blast while Riley took the girls on a date to Chuck E Cheese & Cold Stone Creamery. Other than that litle bit of excitment, I've been power washing the house & Riley is adding onto our deck...both large projects that are helping keep our attention at home this week. I haven't taken many pictures or been very good about updating the blog since Ry got in...but here's a picture of Saedi's bare bickets that I just couldn't resist tonight.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Christian Way Farm

Yesterday we went to Christian Way Farm with our friends, Natalie, Brooke & Meadow. It was the nicest pumpkin patch/farm that I've visited. Ellie's favorite part was preparing the corn for animal feed & then feeding the mule & calves. We lugged the girls through the corn maze, but it was worth it when they were able to pick a pumpkin from the patch. We also enjoyed storytime, laughing at the pigs & goats (lots of babies), swinging, hayride, tricycles, tractors, picnic lunch, and getting lost on the way home...that's right. Brave Nat ended up knocking on someone's door to ask for directions(I followed her incase she got kidnapped)& we got directed back home again. It was a full 5 hours outside & worth the $6!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Storytime at the library with our friends.Audry & Ellie playing at the park...gorgeous day today!
Ellie, Saedi, & Audry eating lunch by the Cumberland River.