Saturday, April 30, 2016

It Takes Two

Chris did the heroic deed of playing with Riley while I finished my Relief Society lesson. I had been trying to sit down to complete it during the week, but it is hard to get anything done with Riley around. I'm thankful there are two of us!!

First time playing with the water in the swimming pool. She won't sit in it, just splash from the sidelines

Thursday, April 28, 2016


You haven't truly experienced Harry Potter if Chris hasn't read it to you!

Chris is an amazing reader. From the day we were married (seriously, from our honeymoon!) we have had a book that we read together before we go to bed. I should define what I mean by 'together'-I mean Chris reads as I get completely wrapped up in the book. (and/or fall asleep, but we won't talk about that)

I enjoyed reading well enough growing up, but there were some books that I tried and gave up on. The Lord of the Rings series was one of them. I mean, have you tried reading and understanding the Council of Elrond?! (Who from where did what...?!) Yet, when Chris read these books to me (and explaining took almost as long as reading ;) ) the books became so much more than they had before. Chris has a talent.

As magical as Chris made LoTR, it doesn't even hold a candle to him reading Harry Potter. He does the voices and everything! Especially Dobby. Yep, that somewhat annoying little creature? He is now my favorite because Chris impersonates him perfectly :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


She reminds me of a dog, how she paws at objects while they are in her mouth, gets underfoot, and how she begs for attention. Her favorite person that this becomes manifest with is her Uncle Ben.

In this quest, she is relentless. If she weren't so adorable, it would come off creepy. She can stare him down with the best of them.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


Before having Riley, I would have never considered leaving on a road trip at 3 in the morning.

But having a baby changes things.

I'm so glad we did! Although the road trip was definitely longer than it would have been with just Chris and I, I love being able to do things like this with the entire family. What we lose in convenience is made up by the fuller experience.

When we were almost to LA, Chris remembered he had friends working at Disney Studios and Dreamworks. We contacted them last minute to see if we could have tours of the workplace, and they were both accommodating! We went through Disney on our way to the hotel, and Chris toured Dreamworks the next morning. What a neat opportunity! And what a cool profession Chris is a part of!

We weren't planning on going to Disneyland until Thursday... But sometimes when you get into Disneyland for free your self-restraint is all out of wack. So after checking into our awesome hotel (it literally had a live lagoon-complete with a running river!-in the middle) we grabbed the next shuttle and headed to the Happiest Place on Earth!

Riley was so tired! On the shuttle to Disneyland
she would be looking around...
...and then the next second she was OUT!

...only that day did not live up to that name.
When we tried to enter the park, we were held up by the fact that Chris' pass did not allow me in for free like we had assumed. We had made all our plans with that assumption, so we were floored when this situation came to light. After being shuffled to many different admin to better understand what was going on and explaining our predicament, we finally (gratefully!) were able to work it out so that everyone in the family could get in as planned! Whew! By the time we got back to the hotel, the cumulative effects of all day driving and near expulsion from Disneyland resulted in us dragging ourselves to dinner that night on lagging energy.

That night we met up with Spencer, Suzy and Co for dinner at Bubba Gumps. As soon as we greeted them, they handed Riley a cute little leopard toy, so she was friends pretty quickly with them.

The food was excellent, but the highlight was just talking with that family. They are such sweet, fun people! I haven't talked with them one on one before, and I'm so glad we got to that night! This happens every time I come to know another of Chris' relatives-it makes me so glad to have married into this spectacular family.

Thursday morning while Chris went to meet up with his Dreamworks friend, Riley and I enjoyed the splendid made-to-order breakfast and went swimming in the indoor pool. We had the entire place to ourselves, and Riley Rae loved it! She is such a little water baby. I finally decided to go back up to the room before her diaper exploded (that thing was so big it probably had its own gravitational pull!).

We were all ready to go once Chris returned.


I will say being in Disneyland with a baby is way different than as a teenager. Instead of being all about strategically planning the day to go on the most rides, we found ourselves having to be more flexible. But I have never went slowly enough through Disneyland to fully appreciate the details in each of the lands, or enjoy the experience through a baby's eyes. It is magical. I absolutely love seeing things for the first time through her.
Plus, it makes multiple rides on Its a Small World way more endurable, right?

We were at Disneyland for a matter of hours, we barely rode any of the rides, and we had so much fun! ...and we were so stinking tired!!

Friday was completely different. Grandma and Grandpa M. offered to watch Riley while Chris and I went on the rides with the other girls. In a matter of hours, we had gone on all the rides we had wanted to go on in Disneyland. I was a little nervous what Riley would do when she woke up and saw Grandma and Grandpa instead of Chris and I. Would stranger anxiety make the morning miserable for my parents?

I can't believe they all fit on one seat! Serious skills there, sistas!

I underestimated that girl. When we met up with Grandma and Grandpa, Riley was asleep on Mom's shoulder! (big deal for just about anyone to accomplish this)

Riley was right at home having them hold her and interact with her-I was so glad! and so thankful to my parents to allow us to go on the rides.

It was a fun day! We ended up staying until 6:30p while Riley took junk naps here and there and sucked on veggie straws (because she was way too excited to settle down and nurse. She doesn't do well eating anywhere away from home).

We went back to the hotel with Dad, since he had some serious motion sickness going on (which happens every time we go to Disneyland. Poor guy). Mom and the girls stayed until about midnight.

The result of a motion sick grandpa watching a tired Riley while we all went to Soarin'.
Party Animals!
Saturday we enjoyed Newport Beach

Dad and Alexis being taught how to throw a boomerang

Sunday we leisurely drove back home and were so happy to drive up to the house right as dinner was to be served! Perfect timing :)

The best part of the vacation was seeing family! I have missed them.

...and that Riley only woke up once each night! I mean, that seriously qualifies alone for 'best vacation ever!'  She has only does that a couple times in her life, and it was incredible to get so much sleep! Now how do we get her to sleep like that regularly...?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


When do parents find time to exercise?

Honestly, I have been thinking about starting to run again, but when I think about when I will do it, I get discouraged. I know it is all about making time, but sacrificing what little time I have with Chris in the evenings doesnt sound desireable at all.
And sacrificing sleep? Haha, not a chance, Bucko!

Then WiiFit came into our lives.

Ok, so it isn't as rigorous as a run, but honestly, it's not bad. Do a few Jackknifes and tell me you don't feel it! (My abs hurt just thinking about it!)

It is nice to put Riley down for a nap or down for the night, and then be able to hop on WiiFit in the living room and at least move around. Also having games to play along with it is a nice way to keep it fun.

And you can't watch this video and think it is not fun.

Beach Bum

We are SO ready for the beach!!

Monday, April 18, 2016

How Do I Love Thee?

I love how they love her.

There have been quite a few times recently when I haven't been able to get Riley down for a nap. Papa will take her, and a few minutes later he will come back into the room, and she will be out cold! Miracle worker!

Mulan's song I'll Make a Man Out of You is Riley's favorite! She will sit and watch it, mesmerized, as many times as you will play it. And Papa (bless his heart) will watch it with her as many times as she desires. Papa and her have had many a bonding time over it.

I know I have posted various pictures from various dish-washing episodes, but honestly, it takes so much more time to do this chore with Riley dangling her feet in the dishwater! But Papa never complains and actually seems to embrace this time, humoring her by gathering heaping suds for her to touch or tickling her feet with the sponge. Whenever he starts the dishes, she immediately stops whatever she is doing and goes straight to play with Papa. It is easily one of her favorite parts of the day. It is neat to see how you can take an everyday chore and share and enjoy it together. Inspiring.

Playing peek-a-boo with Mimi

Riley loves everything to do with water. So this is her in her clothes, chilling' in the sink while drinking water. 

This man's ingenuity is astounding.

Drinking water (one of her favorite activities) while playing with the wind chimes Papa lowered just for her. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016


It may look like Chris has confused which time period he is in from the looks of this picture, but actually he is showing off his opportunity to play Alma the Elder from the Book of Mormon. A Sunday School teacher asked if he could come into her class as Alma and tell a little of his story so the kids could understand the story and get to ask him questions. From what I heard, the kids loved it! The teacher complimented Chris, saying that he really got into character. 

Riley's selfie in church
We had cleaned up the deck on Saturday, so we hung outside in the backyard Sunday afternoon as a family. The weather is so beautiful in California! We feel absolutely spoiled by it.

Riley's teeth have been coming in, and if her fussiness is any indication, it doesn't feel so good :( She hasn't been super fond of any of the teething rings we have bought for her, so this is us getting creative.

Sherbet makes everything better

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Park Adventures III

I have become very aware of how many activities out there are great to do with kids, but they wear out the parent more than the kids. And that is just a problem because guess what? Us parents are already worn out before the day even gets started, people! How children run off little sleep and still have endless energy is beyond me. 
Well, one lesson I have quickly learned as a parent is to make sure whatever the day holds, the Getting Out The Kids Energy activities and the Parental Energy Reserves are held in delicate balance.
Or else.

I am sure parks were made by some fun-and probably very desperate-parents who were thinking of ways for kids to let out some energy while the parents had the option of watching from the sidelines and recuperating. Bless them. I am eternally grateful.

With this in mind, I thought it would be fun to walk to a park that I had passed on one of my Tuesday Walks with Heather. So Chris, Riley and I set out with the stroller to find this park. 
Only I didn't know exactly where we were going, we didn't bring water for us adults, and we forgot Riley goes approximately 5.2 minutes before loathing her stroller with a passion.
By the time we finally found the park, we dragged our travel-weary bodies to the slide equipment, egged on only by Riley's snarls of frustration from being strapped into the stroller. It was an unnaturally hot day, and the equipment ended up being too hot to play on. We ended up playing in the grass in the shade of a tree. 
I tried to ignore my overactive mind, which obnoxiously pointed out repeatedly that we could have gone a few blocks and had the same experience in the shady grass of a considerably closer tree... 

Then we were back on the road, this time with Riley in her carrier. Angel Hubby Chris ended up carrying her the entire way home, and we exhausted the carrier's versatility by carrying her on his back front-facing-forward and front-facing-backward.

OK, I make it sound like the worst afternoon of all time, but it actually wasn't so bad. I mean, take a look at these two! Who couldn't love spending every hot, exhausting day with those smiling faces, huh?!

The best thing was that when we got home, she was so exhausted she was practically begging for a nap.

Not quite an all out victory, considering the casualties... but I'll take it!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Sink Bath

Riley's first sink bath!

It wasn't as novel an experience as it could have been. She loves water and baths, but because of her discontented attitude recently due to her teeth coming in, it was sub par according to her standards. Poor girl :(

But it kept her distracted from her teeth for awhile! That's got to count for something...


For activity days, we had a lesson on the Ten Virgins and what we can do to 'fill our lamps,' then we made the lamps out of oven bake clay. They actually work! (Good thing too! I hadn't had a chance to test it before the girls came over...)
Can I just say how grateful I am for ideas on the internet?! How people thought of ideas for activity days before is beyond me...

The girls aren't quite the same age, so I don't think they know each other very well, but I was able to talk to each one about planned vacations and they both opened right up! They are so fun :)

Yes, she is giving the lamp bunny ears :) Love it!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Energizer Kid

I love how she uses her entire body to show how excited she is

Sunday, April 10, 2016


Papa let Chris use his nice camera for a couple photoshoots. Chris knows a bit about camera work from his job, and it was fun to see him putting his knowledge to use as he tinkered with the camera settings.

Riley was a constantly moving target, but he got some good ones.
Note: These pictures are from three different occasions. I wouldn't have thought to do an outfit change three times :)

My personal favorite :) Our little Snarfer 

This tongue thing is new. The last couple days she has had it lolling out to one side of her mouth. We suspect it may be because she is teething and her mouth feels weird/doesn't feel good.

She hasn't cut any teeth yet, but you can see in this picture that they are RIGHT THERE!!