Thursday, March 31, 2016

Komics

I've always been a sucker for memories.

Always.

As a kid I was a pretty good organizer ...until I got into pictures or home videos. Then I was a goner, spending hours-days even!-pouring over pictures of me as a baby, chuckling at me bullying my little sister, cherishing my wonderful lack of fashion, gushing about how adorably cute I was, remembering my wacky achievements and overall reminiscing about how my awesome self came to be. I made memory videos for my family and friends when I left for college. Then I teamed up with roommmates to make videos from the pictures we took each semester and I'm almost done with scrapbooks for each year of college. (will they ever get done, you ask? Doubt it) When I brought Chris home to meet my family for the first time, what did we do for an entire day? Look at pictures from scrapbooks and home videos of course! All day. Every day.
(I see absolutely nothing wrong with this.
...but never ask Chris about his thoughts about the matter)

My journal writing was all over the place. I would write consistently for a year, barely touch it the next year, and then promptly lose my journal until the beginning of the next year. New Years resolutions would kick in for awhile, only to fade out once more. There were many times I just didn't want to sit my busy little buns down to write. And then there was the time I looked back in my journal, didn't like my handwriting and erased everything so I could do it 'right...' oh, perfectionist little Kimber sabotaged personal history many a time.
I enjoyed writing in my journal, but my favorite entries in my journal are when I would illustrate my experiences. There is an angry lizard murmuring about its kinked tail from getting caught by Ray, a depiction of my 5th grade teacher as a Goliath-sized, bushy-haired devil glowering at me (and my personal favorite part of that drawing-the student teacher depicted as a obese bat cradling a Coke), and then a random picture of a bird skeleton (don't remember the story behind that one...)

As much as I enjoy writing, there is something about visual memories that really gets me excited.
(Hence, the blog Riley pictures overload...)

And I guess that is how I got into comics.

Not Sunday Paper comics, mind you, but comics I created of the little awkward moments we come to treasure over time. I find embarrassing and goofy experiences to tickle my fancy, and being able to experience that little tickle over and over is a true delight. Because I was not born a natural drawer, and have not taken any time to try to develop that talent in the slightest, little stick figures have been my go-to. Therefore, the comics lack visual appeal. I believe that has made my perfectionist side turn away from continuing these comics.

But all that is about to change.

Chris introduced me a couple weeks ago to a cartoonist by the name of Anthony Holden. He is a BYU Alum from the animation program. I saw a few of his comics here and there, but it wasn't until today that I went to his website and was hooked. His comics are exactly what I love-clean, fun, and centered on the obscurities and idiosyncrasies of family life. There are even some that aren't really that funny, but I'm sure to the family they are hilarious, and that makes me love them even more! Because inside jokes are the best! And I love them!

And I want them...!

And so, after having this idea for some time now and dwibbling in the mire of justification for way too long, I am officially proclaiming to all my blogging world that I am GOING TO DO THIS!

And finally, the name of this blog will begin to make much more sense.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Feeder

Mimi got this neat little feeder thing so that Riley could eat whatever she likes without the fear of chocking (since she wants to eat anything and everything anyway)
It was a hit!

video

Monday, March 28, 2016

Cheerio Trough

The Cheerio Trough has been resurrected!

Mimi and Papa tell us the story of how when Papa was home with the twins, he put some Cheerios in a pan in the middle of the floor so the little crawlers could graze as they adventured around the house. 
He was very proud of this invention.

And now Riley has the privilege of sharing this legacy of her father.  
She is a huge fan. 




Saturday, March 26, 2016

Park Adventures II

Saturdays have quickly become our favorite day of the week because we just play with Daddy all day long.

This week we went to the library for some reading and playing.


Then we went to a Leghorn park. It is a neat park, with a bunch of different sections for different aged children. But because it is so well done, there were also a ton of people there. We ended up not staying for super long because with all the bustle of activity there wasn't much for a baby to do. However, we enjoyed being outside and Riley really does enjoy those baby swings!


Friday, March 25, 2016

Insanely Proud

We had a mad push to get one of the activity girls who is turning 12 this month to get her Faith in God. I was able to combine three activities for activity days, assigned three for her to do at home, and then she memorized her articles of faith like crazy.

All 13 of them.

March was a crazy ride, but when she walked up to receive her award from a member of the bishopric on Sunday, my heart was bursting with pride.

It is amazing how proud I can be of someone who I barely met.
But I totally am.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

WICKED!

Chris gave me the coolest birthday present this year-tickets to go see the musical Wicked!! I absolutely love the soundtrack, wittiness and philosophical ideas this musical presents. Plus, it is just super fun :)

I drove down to Chris' work to pick him up, then we were off to the city to find the theater. We walked from the parking garage a few blocks away, then went to an outdoor farmers market to find some Greek food (our current go-to 'fancy' food) before we went in. I find it interesting how big cities definitely have a different feel to them than other places. It is fun to visit, but I am glad it is more of a temporary thing rather than permanent. 


It was amazing! Half the fun was talking to Chris about what he thought of it, since this was his first time. I'm awestruck by the talent of those actors, musicians and tech people that put on such a seamless show.
As great as everything was, the best part was having this adventure with Chris by my side.


I can't wait for the movie to come out!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Applause

It's great when kids pick up tricks you didn't realize they were picking up on, and then BAM! They blindside you at the dinner table.

video


Do you see how she claps away her food? Big deal. Usually nothing gets in the way of feeding time.

Strong Asians

For my birthday, Mimi gave me a coupon to go get a reflexology massage with her. Ever since she told me about this massaging place, it has sounded like heaven. So when I got the coupon as a gift, I was excited to go!

Overall, it was very enjoyable. The masseuse beings by asking 'soft, medium or hard?' I said hard, because Mom has always been one for deep massages and in all our family massages we reef on each other's sore muscles, so I figured that would feel the most familiar. Everything felt great while I was lying on my back! In fact, I noticed they were hitting certain pressure points as they went along, and it piqued my interest in reflexology once again (I learned a little about it when I was growing up.)

But then everything changed when they had me lie on my stomach so they could work on my back.

I thought my mom was the reigning master at strong massages, but these Asians were BURLY! I don't know how they did it, but I was crying like a baby halfway through the back massage. The most humiliating part was that my plea for, 'medium, MEDIUM!' was smothered by the face piece that my face was being smooshed into with the insane amount of pressure coming from behind. I knew I was done for.

The knots in my back throbbed for days as a reminder of my underestimation of those Asians. Never again will I make the same foolish mistake of asking those practiced hands for hard pressure.
That is, if I can muster the courage to face them again.

Crib!

We will be forever indebted to Mimi because...

She found us a crib!!!

Riley has been a such a consistent sleeper! ...and by that I mean consistently terrible. We cut her some slack when we moved to California when she was 3 1/2 months, and then when we started putting her down in her Pak 'n Play instead of her swing, of course she would have a hard time, right? And then when she was still waking up every hour or every other hour... maybe she needed a foam mattress...? Long story short, the longest she would go between waking up was 3 hours, but normally I was up every hour or every other hour. 

And I know that girl can go longer without food...! 

We have been looking for a crib ever since the mattress didn't end up being the cure-all to her sleeplessness. Mimi, being the Stake RS President, has connections throughout the area and set out to see if there was a used crib we could borrow, just to see if it helped.

And what Mimi wants, she gets.

Papa and Ben setting up the crib
Riley's reaction
We are so grateful to the friends who lent us this crib!! Please, please, please help...!

And Riley is just excited about all of this. Pretty sure she thinks this is her new toy :) Little does she know she will be sleeping in it

video

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Companionship


It is so interesting comparing expectations with reality. I've always looked forward to being a mom. I've loved holding babies and family life has always been awesome, and I've been eager to be able to create a fun, wholesome family life for my own family. I have always known it would be a lot of work, and that I would feel tired, overwhelmed and strung out at times. I know those times are coming, and that is ok.



But I didn't know that even with only having this little girl in my family I would already begin to feel amazing companionship. I love having my little buddy with me as I run errands, visit friends and plan my day. Rather than the heavy responsibility and duty I expected to feel from having someone completely dependent on me, I am loving having her constantly by my side, as we learn and grow together.

Families are amazing. I'm so glad Heavenly Father designed them to be forever.


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Park Adventures

Our Park Exploration this week led us Meiwok Park. It was fun because there was an older park that you can see from the road, and then you can walk around the school and there is another, innovative park around the corner.

Swinging above a lake. She really enjoys swinging


video

Dad barely avoids decapitation as he goes down the slide. He is willing to take one for the team.

Its funny, because the park equipment was fun and all, but our favorite part was probably this tree. It was super cool! It had a lot of character and it was a perfect climbing tree. Nature is the best.



Scampering up the tree after her dad. She's a natural!
This equipment was the more innovative/learning stuff. It was neat how they designed it after kids' desire for discovery.




Friday, March 18, 2016

Happy Birthday Gramps!

video

Naps

It's amazing the variety of sources you turn to for help when your baby isn't sleeping 'normally.' Sleep deprivation is, shall we say, motivating. After a rough night and a napless day, any once rational parent is driven to a frantic search for a cure to never go through that experience again.
We won't even talk about how long Riley goes between having a good napping session. I don't want to cry right now.

And as this story has unfolded, I have come to understand more and more the countless books, articles and advice given to these desperate zombie parents. People would search day in and day out to find something that works for their baby.

And I am no exception.

I have tried feeding at different times, cry it out (this one didn't last long...), different beds, routines, singing, nightlight, and full out begging to see if there was a consistent improvement in Riley's sleeping habits. Nothing has been a cure-all :(
...but my creativity has begun to improve drastically! ;)

It wasn't until I was having a conversation with Papa that I began to see this all differently. Sometimes he will take her (relief!) and put her down for naps. Only he doesn't just go put her down. He talks about the experience of 'getting to snuggle' very differently than I would describe 'getting her down' (as a matter of survival on my part). After thinking about this concept, and discussing it with Papa, I have come to see this whole nap thing differently.

Rather than the walk to the bedroom being dreaded and accompanied by battle zone soundtrack, have it be a time to look forward to snuggling and enjoying each other. A time to enjoy lying down and relaxing with each other rather than a power struggle. Although I still really have enjoyed the times she goes down smoothly and I get to have time to myself, I love having a more positive outlook to napping. If I end up stuck in the room, cradling her to help her fall asleep, I can see it instead as a chance to snuggle with my precious little girl. I have been better at enjoying these experiences now rather than cursing their existence.



Thursday, March 17, 2016

Flirtations

We have a serious problem.

Riley is cute.
She seems to have figured this out.
And now she has learned how to flirt.
Really! She loves everyone, but she especially turns on the charm with the men in her life.

It wouldn't be so much of a problem, except that Chris is adamant that she waits until she is 40 to start dating.

We'll see who wins out in the end ;)

Lying her head down, trying to get Uncle Ben's attention



Riley and her cute Dad

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Jawa

Chris has begun feeling achey and congested, so he decided to take a sick day to relax and nip this sickness in the bud.


Even though he was probably supposed to be resting, we couldn't help but play with him! I mean, how many times do we get to see him during the day?! We had him play chauffeur for us to the library so we could drag him into baby story time, and then we played with him the rest of the day.

We are sad that he is not feeling well, but Riley soaked in having him at home. She loves her dad!


Monday, March 14, 2016

Snarfing

I just want everyone to remember before they hear what I mean by 'snarfing,' that not everything a child does is indicative of parental influence. Sometimes (most of the time?) children are kooks in their own right and they carry that title squarely on their own shoulders.

Now that we have established that...

One day we woke up and we had a snarfer. We have no idea the origins of this habit, but that doesn't make it an ounce less hilarious. She'll scrunch up her face like this...



and then she she snarfs.

video

She seems to think she is funny, because she does it as a greeting or to get our attention.
It is absolutely bizarre, strange and random as all get out.

...and I love it.

I think I am going to like this parenting thing.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Unexpected

I had a birthday, and the day turned out to be a pleasant, unexpected surprise.

I received unexpected but very welcome texts from former mission companions. I was reminded how thankful I am that Heavenly Father gave me the opportunity to serve a mission, especially with such life-changing friends.

The dinner was exceptional. Mama Wasden kindly took my request for dinner, and I guess this scrumptious meal was actually expected-Mama knows how to make some mean gumbo, and that is no secret!

After which there was unexpected, yet kindly gift-giving.

With even more kindly, unexpected words of love in the card that unexpectedly brought my emotions to the surface.

And most unexpected of all, a perfect, thoughtful and loving gift from a husband who listens and puts me first.

I unexpectedly cried.

And unexpectedly, I didn't care.


Sabbath a Delight

I really love when church meetings take on the model-practice approach. I came to love this way of teaching on my mission, and I notice when I am part of the process, I learn more, the meeting is more enjoyable, and it stays with me longer.
We talked about FHE and how to improve family councils and how we will make the sabbath a delight. I came away feeling like I want my family to not feel like Sunday is restrictive, but instead a great day to do things with family. I would like to make some traditions where we can make that happen.

So that afternoon, Chris and I got out our nerf guns to rival Ben (he has a sweet six-shooter that we got him for Christmas, and we had Riley, so don't feel too bad that we ganged up on him ;) ) and it was very enjoyable. Maybe not the most reverence-inducing... but definitely a unity builder.

As you can see.



Saturday, March 12, 2016

Divine Mistake

Stake conference was scheduled for this weekend, and tonight was the adult session. Papa and Mimi had to leave early because Mimi was in charge of the stake dinner (oh, the joys of RS Stake Pres). Ben had a band performance, so that left us to make dinner and then go to the session. For some reason, we both assumed that the session would be at the San Rafael chapel-a half hours drive south. We got there and there were NO CARS. Kind of weird for a stake conference... While we were making calls, attempting to figure out where we were supposed to be, an older couple drove up and were also confused as to were the adult session was to be held. We finally deduced that the meeting was half an hour north of where we were -_- so we let the older couple know and headed up there ourselves.

We quietly slipped into the meeting, as if we had been there the entire time ;) The older couple also came in at about the same time, and went straight up to the stand.
Hmmm...?
Turns out they were the temple president and matron, and they were giving talks that night!
As soon as the temple matron got up to the stand, she asked where the 'cute little couple with a baby' was. We sheepishly waved at her, and she mentioned how grateful she was that we went to the wrong place so that we could direct them to where to go, because they would have been at a loss of where to go without us.

Kind of a cool lesson in Heavenly Father making use of us, even in our mistakes :)
But next time, we are going to listen closer to where we are supposed to be meeting.

 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Too Big

You know you have outgrown your toys when...



....you get tangled in the heap of your demolition.

This sweet toy has been through the ringer since this girl realized she could reach the top bar. She will pull it back as far as she can, then let it catapult itself to its own ruin.
She also gets bored with the piano and begins gnawing (gumming?) the blue side knobs relentlessly.

Finally, the toy has retaliated.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Paint Nite

I have the best mother-in-law. I can list out all the reasons, but rest assured, I have enough conclusive evidence to convince anyone of this case and point.

Something she has found enjoyable, and she is particularly talented at, is painting. She goes to something called Paint Nite where painters on every skill level-from experienced to never touched a paintbrush-are able to come together and make a simple, yet good-looking painting. She invited me to come with her this month, and she even let me pick out which painting we would paint. We chose a silhouetted tree with Japanese blossoms scattering against a overcast background. It was fun to have an event to look forward to.

I wasn't sure how I was going to feel once I was there, since I am definitely towards the never-touched-a-paintbrush end of the spectrum. Once we started the painting, I instantly felt an adventurous spirit start to boil up inside me. I loved how with oil painting there isn't a mistake you can't fix, so it is the most fun to jump in and try out different things. From the get-go I felt like experimenting rather than being a perfectionist or comparing. That was a neat feeling.



All in all, it was such a fun night! I'm very grateful to my mother-in-law for inviting me along. Therapeutic to get away and try something new.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Fluffing

Since Riley's doctors appointment, she has been more clingy. Not her normal, go-lucky self. Poor girl :( It is never fun to see her perpetually unhappy. Plus, nights where she refused to be put down? They got to be pretty long.

But there are always two sides to the coin, right?
If anything good has come from this, it is her new desire to cuddle. This kid was born with a No Tolerance policy to cuddling. Whenever you tried to lovingly hold her to to your shoulder so she can rest, she quickly pushes away and busily looks around, too curious and anxious that she may miss something. But now she not only tolerates, she initiates. She started lying against my shoulders consistently during the long nights she wanted to be held, and she would fluff me.

Have you ever seen a cat or dog try to get comfortable by turning in circles or massaging a blanket?
Well, imagine that sort of thing. Baby Style.

She would survey my upper torso and zero in on a spot she wanted to try. cozied up. Turned her head the other way. Sidled her head a little to the left. Buried her face in my armpit. Essentially, I was a big momma pillow being fluffed for her comfort and convenience.

Its funny how you can be treated like a big body pillow and absolutely love it. I'm pretty sure there is something about being a mom that messes up your sense of what is enjoyable, but it was so fun! I loved watching little Riley learn the Ways of Cuddling and I was able to witness it all for myself.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Fluctuating Head

We went to Riley's six month appointment with her new doctor here in California. Riley had missed her nap, so I was bracing myself for being That Mom with the Tantrum Child. To my surprise, and gratitude, she was so good! The drive over to the clinic she contentedly looked out the window, and while I filled out the paperwork, she observantly took in her surroundings.


She weighed 17lbs 9oz and 27 inches, which puts her square in the 50th percentiles for height and weight. I wish we could have swung a 4 month appointment to see her progression. When did she go from 90-80th percentiles to average? Not that I am worried or anything, it is just interesting to me.

The most intriguing part was that her head is now in the 90th percentile. This wouldn't be too crazy, other than the fact that in the Utah clinic, it was in the 30th percentile. Holy smokes, our kids head is blowing up! It probably has more to do with how the measure her head, but I think her head looks fairly well proportioned, if I do say so myself.

I had been steeling myself for having to watch her get her immunizations. Previous appointments that led to drawing blood or getting shots left me in emotional shambles, so I was determined to turn things around and be strong for Riley, as well as being considerate of the office's budget for tissues. Again I was surprised; the most difficult part of the appointment was the exam. When she lied down on the crinkle paper, I think she got scared and started shaking uncontrollably :( And then getting little nozzles and gadgets prodding her here and there just escalated the matter. By the time the doctor left, she was inconsolable. The worst part of the shots was that the nurse had me help restrain her (I can't stand helping to hold her down while she is staring up at you, hurt and betrayed :( ) but as soon as I picked her up, she immediately stopped crying!

All in all, it is crazy what an ordeal a 45 minute appointment can be. I'm so glad for modern medicine, but I am also glad we only go once every three months!


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Six Months

Half a year old!



Riley seems to enjoy all things adult. She wants to eat what we are eating, drink out of cups, do dishes with Papa, etc She is going to be a good little helper once she is old enough to help out.



She is getting more and more into clapping games like Pat-a-cake, and songs. We go to storytelling at the library if she isn't taking her nap at that time, and she sits in my lap, fascinated with all the babies, stories, and songs we sing. One of her favorites is Popcorn Popping, but she gets bored with it halfway through.



Something else she has been better with: reading!! Yay! She is so much better at sitting and looking at the pictures rather than grabbing it to chomp on or closing the covers repeatedly.



Rain is a strange phenomenon 

Our play date partners were very kind and allowed us to borrow a bouncer to see if Riley would enjoy it. At first she didn't want much to do with it, but as she warmed up to it she has come to love bouncing like a maniac as she expertly handles the tray toys and swivels to eat the monkey.


She holds her bottle like a pro. Sometimes even with her feet. She still loves to eat and has enjoyed every new food we have presented her with.



We have continued to take walks around the neighborhood. I let her feel different textures on plants and trees, but her favorite part is watching the cars go by. When she hears a car coming from behind, she will kick excitedly, which in essence means, "Turn around, Mom!!" in order to see the car whiz past and she follows it until it is completely out of sight.
 Almost every time we end up at the park to go down the slides or play in the sand. She has amazed me with her self-discipline around the sand. She will move it around with her feet and pick it up, but she didn't try putting her sandy hand to her mouth. One day I was basking in my daughter's unequivocal intelligence in not eating sand, when she quickly bent down and started lapping up sand like some sort of animal. So... she is still a baby :) The pebbly chapstick looked good on her.



This little girl is going mobile. She is now a pro! ...at going backwards! She gets up on all fours, but instead of using her hands to walk forward, she rocks and propels herself backwards. We have found out that if she wants to go forward, we put her hands behind her feet for leverage to push against so she can slide forward. But she doesn't like doing that for a long time. Maybe she gets belly burn or something...

If her toys are in a semi-circle like this, she can get to them by scooting around

video


She seems to better understand that she has the ability to get our attention and make us laugh when she does certain things. She has started making all kinds of faces because it is almost guaranteed to get someone to look and laugh.











6 whole stinking months!