Thursday, July 28, 2016

Head-banging to Hymns

Our sweet missionaries sang Where Can I Turn for Peace? after dinner last night. This is Riley's reaction: Head-banging to hymns with her uncle Ben.
No one told me the natural body movement to peaceful music is head-banging. I've had it wrong for so long...

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


It was fun to have Nate come home for several days! He was a good sport and helped with the fence. I can't believe we didn't get to Pandemic!! (he brought his expansion pack and everything!) And it was fun to hear him insult Papa about eating 'Old Man Cheese' (aka Swiss cheese) He is fun to have around.

My favorite part was watching Riley warm up to him. She has some awesome uncles

Monday, July 25, 2016


Good news: Chris got a Lucasfilm job!!!! We were trying not to get too excited about the possibility of a job, since it definitely wasn't a guarantee that there would be an open position at the end of his internship, let alone the possibility that he would be the one to fill it. For his end-of-the-internship presentation, he showed off what he was able to accomplish over the course of his internship, and all the on-lookers were very impressed to see what he was able to create in such a short amount of time. At the end of the presentation, his Lucasfilm supervisor told him that he was the best intern they ever had, and the Lucasfilm recruiter spoke up before any of the other recruiters and said, "We're keepin' him!"just so the ILM people would know he was already spoken for. What an awesome way to end this internship!

Bad news: We can't afford to live.
I know that sounds super dramatic, but it is so true! All the housing options we were looking at before we heard the salary amount were dropped like hot potatoes once we heard the numbers. Its not even like we could live somewhere and pay an absurd amount of our paycheck to rent because of the income verification most all property owners require. You need to be making 3x as much as the monthly rent to even be considered. And everywhere within a 2 hour commute distance for Chris is WAY out of our price range.

It feels like we were having an exhilarating joy ride when Chris was offered the job, and then we fell on our backs and got the wind knocked out of us. And I'm not sure we have completely recovered from being blindsided like that. Our entire outlook on how our family was supposed to turn out (me a stay at home mom with Chris getting to work at a studio) seems to be frustratingly out of reach.
However, it has allowed us to step back and consider options we never would have thought of had our ideal plans go through. Maybe our 'ideal' family life wasn't the best? Or maybe we need to persevere through this and things will fall into place?
All I know is, if anyone has a comfortably furnished box we could borrow for housing, send their contact information our way.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

More Fence

This fence project has been a long time coming. I'm not even sure how long, but it at least has been a couple years. It is a huge project, requiring a lot of time and effort, and to exacerbate matters, the next door neighbors have a dog. The faster everything could be done, the better. 

This is some preparation work some weeks prior to the fence demo. Chris initiated a morning of Fence Prep so that the actual day would run smoother.

Then, the day arrived!

Demoing the fence turned out to be  fairly straightforward. They had a different procedure for tearing down the boards, so we were able to take it down huge slates at a time. Nate, Ben and I were able to do most of that in half an hour.

Then came the auger.

That thing is a beast!!

Two of the guys would start on a hole, and just watching them made you hurt. Absolutely back breaking work. Sometimes it would get so heavy that they had to call all hands on deck and have four of them man the machine. These guys are a hardworking bunch!! It was not for the faint of heart.

And all the while, Riley watched, fascinated by the power tools and signing 'more, more, more...'

I'm not sure how the men felt about appeasing her wishes. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Imperial Walker

She has been starting to let go of our fingers to walk by herself...!

July 20th
First time we have her walking recorded, because believe me, it is super hard trying to catch Riley and video her at the same time! She had started to walk a few days before this.

July 24th
I like how this one shows how eager she is to go before she takes time to get her balance. Zealous :)

July 25th

Friday, July 15, 2016


We try to go at least once a day to a nearby park. First of all, this girl loves to be outside (you can't say the word 'outside' unless you want to go outside right at that moment, or Riley will hold you to it. And she won't forget. Ever.)

Second, the weather here is just too good not to go outside-It is almost a punishment to be inside with only the windows to clue you in on the awesome weather beyond.

To my dismay, Riley still isn't a fan of the stroller. I don't know what it is going to take... you would think that because we go to a park every time, she would grow to look forward to it! But no. We can barely make it to a nearby park without her squawking at least once. But once we get to the park, this girl is in heaven. Walking and dirt will entertain her for hours.

One interesting thing about our 10 month old daughter is that she is a sadist. When she is wanting to get down and walk, I bring her amongst the green, soft grass with the fluffy dandelions and sweet little flowers. She bee-lines it to the wood chips covering the park or the hot concrete. I try to say 'ouchie' so she understands that the stinging in her feet is not a good thing. But it seems to just egg her on. This girl is not one to avoid getting dirty or shy away something out of fear. She is willing to try anything.

I like that about her :)

Sunday, July 10, 2016


Grandma Wasden came over today, and Riley made sure that the trip out here was worth it for her. She is such a little entertainer! I think it is so funny that she doesn't necessarily like to be held by other people outside the family, but she definitely wants them to notice her, talk to her and clap for her! Little goof.

She is even a good entertainer for herself! Here is a collection of movies I took of her to entertain her at the moment. The also have exponential value as time goes on because you can pull it out when she is cranky, and they can keep her happy when she decides she is mad or bored.

What did out predecessors do without technology?

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Duck Dung

Our Saturday Park Adventure took us to a park with a playground, tons of grass, and DUCKS! Riley loves playing on playgrounds: check. Miles and miles of grass? Even better. But all that AND ducks?! I thought her little self would just burst from happiness.

There was a particular spot were a gaggle of Canadian Geese were resting under the shade of a tree. Riley was dying to walk around by them, so we slapped some socks on her, tried not to think to much about the mounds of duck poo she was sloshing through (ew!) and let her go. Walking with the geese and looking at all the ones sleeping kept her entertained for half an hour!

We will definitely be visiting here again! ...and make sure to clean those nasty socks ASAP

Sunday, July 3, 2016


There was a member of my ward that came up to me after the Relief Society lesson. I was expecting her to congratulate me on the lesson (not because I am trying to flatter myself-it just happens to be the custom after giving lessons in church). But she surprised me. She said, "I take it that Riley's sleeping schedule is still erratic." I laughed and confirmed the fact that she still wakes up quite a bit every night. She then told me how none of her three babies were good sleepers either. However, she has noticed that getting up with them at night has not been in vain. She feels like they were able to have a special bond because of that sacrifice that she made.

I'm not sure if she was warning me not to begrudge my situation or to give me hope during these young years. But whatever the reason, halfway through her spiel I could feel my eyes well up with tears, and I was full out crying by the time she finished.

I am really intrigued by my reaction to what she had to say. It hit a nerve I didn't even know was there!
   Was I grateful to have a compatriot during these trials?
      Did I feel the spirit because of the truth of her words?    
         Was I humiliated that someone spotted a sore spot of mine?
            Was I just having an emotional day?!

Anyone else go into emotional tailspins and not understand which emotions are setting them off?

Sunday Scramble

We got back from exhilarating, yet harrowing trip. But before we could relax, we finalized the lessons we were subbing for at church.
Chris taught Sunday School for the 15-16 year olds.
I taught the Relief Society lesson.
We juggled Riley in the intermittent hours.
At 12:30pm after church, you could find us in the pitch black of the cultural hall stage, whispering befuddledly to each other in happy and lazy tones as Riley slept.
Decompression at last...!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Kari's Wedding

June 29th-July 2nd

It was so neat to be there for Kari's wedding. It made me think way back to when Shell got married, and even back to when I got married. We travelled to Missouri for Shell, they travelled to Utah for me, and now we were in New York for Kari. It is interesting what people you stay friends with, even after being friends isn't 'convenient.' I'm so glad I have such amazing friends.

We had the opportunity to stay with Sarah and her family.

Can I just tell you how much I have missed Kari's family?! Its funny, because when I met Kari in college, I really enjoyed being friends with her from the get-go. But our personalities are super different, and I didn't feel like I really understood the way she did things. ...until I met her family.  COMPLETELY different from my family, let me tell you! Her family is like Loving Chaos. Love is pelted at you from all angles, and my knee jerk reaction when I first met them was to duck to avoid being splatted. Since then, I have learned to just embrace it, and it is such a fun, crazy atmosphere to be a part of, and I LOVE it! I especially love Wayne and Gail. You will not find a more spry, fun-loving couple on this side of Jupiter. I love them to death! matter how often I have to shave my legs to be accepted into their presence.

Anyway! Back to staying with Sarah's family. The twins kindly let us stay in their room. We got to hang out with Nathan the most, and he is so fun! We went on a bike ride and he gave us a guided tour of the school parks.

This is how much Riley liked this sweet kid biking contraption:
Overjoyed at the new experience
He got really good at entertaining Riley, and she really enjoyed being around him. Riley instantly fell in love with their dogs, and they were kind enough to tolerate a ignorant baby determined to touch them every waking moment.

During the night... well, this is how it went.

MY bed.

A picture is worth 1000 words, so I will leave it at that.

Thankfully, Aaron was kind enough to indulge us with garbage plates, so Chris was able to sample his first one! They are amazing, and every time I go back to upstate New York, I have to get one! So good!

Dan is awesome! Chris and I liked him as soon as we got to yell at him from the backseat of a van as he drove us to dinner. Down to earth, talented, fun and awesome advice on how to teach kids (which I am totally going to use as soon as I am asked to sub for Primary again!) It will be fun to see where her and Kari go in life.

During the sealing and reception, my overall takeaway feeling was that it was fun to see Kari be herself. She kindly made time to have dinner with us, and I saw her here and there. But she was understandably very busy with wedding things (I guess weddings are busy? ;) ). However, what I did see of her was a lot of fun.

I'm glad she found someone as wonderful as Dan, and that she didn't change to 'make things work.' She is her normal, crazy, goofy, wonderful self, and I enjoyed watching her do the typical wedding things, but with a definite Kari-Style.

Buffalo airport is officially our favorite airport the moment we spotted the kids play area. Genius!!

Riley really was miraculously well behaved during the marathon flights. Here is us entertaining her with our phone cameras and blinding her with airplane passenger lights. Whatever works, right?