Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Revert

Riley stole a pacifier from a unassuming baby in the mothers room on Sunday. She has never been a pacifier kind of kid, but now that she is seeing them again, it almost seems like she thinks it is funny.




She keeps carrying it around in her mouth, then ripping it out for dramatic effect.



Monday, May 30, 2016

Beach Bum


I have long heard the legends of how amazing Memorial Day breakfast is for the Petaluma 1st ward. Even when Chris and I had first started dating, he relayed stories of friendly associates and mountains of delicious food. Probably the most anticipated ward activity of the year.

I have been looking forward to this breakfast for two years now. And now I finally was able to participate in the long awaited breakfast myself.

It was pretty awesome. Great food. The company was even better. The best part was the weather-so perfect! There were games of frisbee, a lightsaber fight, and the kids were able to play at the local park. It was a wonderful time.






We left only when Riley decided enough was enough and that she wanted a nap (just kidding-she never decides that. We decided that) we headed home. When she woke up, Mimi, Chris and I stopped the yard work we were doing to go to the beach.



Awesome idea!















Everyone had the same idea as us, and I don't blame them. Such a perfect beach day! We came at the perfect time-literally, the people ahead of us were turned away because the parking lot was full. Then a few people left just as we were coming so there were spots open! Score!










The sun was out, but there was a constant cool breeze that prevented oven-like feelings of burnage. We all loved it, but I think Riley was in baby heaven. She crawled all over the super soft sand, she enjoyed sticking her feet and hands in the extremely cold water and when we finally left, she was one sad little munchkin.


California might be a great place for this girl to grow up :)








Friday, May 27, 2016

Moral Support

This girl likes to be involved as much as possible in helping people out.

Offering moral support as Ben plays video games
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Really good at using the remote

As soon as Papa starts washing dishes, this girl is there!



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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

God's Creations Scavenger Hunt

An easy Activity days for the last week of school: God's Creation Scavenger Hunt. The girls rocked it!



Riley was my Scavenger Hunt Helper

Monday, May 23, 2016

Tired Baby

Riley woke up from her nap, but quickly fell asleep on me because she was still tired. This never happens!




Sunday, May 22, 2016

Holy Smokes

This girl is teething, and she is in the process of going from three naps to two. Holy smokes! If we survive this...! ...I don't even know. I'll let you know if we even do survive it and get back to you.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Lego Star Wars

As a kid, I was a total video game monger. We didn't have them in our home growing up, so when we would go to our cousins' house, I would glom onto the games and not let go. I wasn't really good at them-I mean, I was one of those kids who would move around the controller, trying to get my Mario Kart Bowser to turn faster-but that had no bearing on how much I enjoyed them.


Since then I have had experiences where I have become grateful for not having video games for the most part of my childhood (it took me a long time to be grateful for that! ;) ) but it has made me incredibly inept as far as being a competitive opponent is concerned. Especially in this household.

That is what made my discovery of Lego Star Wars was that much more profound. Fun, easy for any age and challenging. Now that is my kind of video game! 

And I don't want to brag, but I rocked the Chewbacca lego-arm-ripping move




Friday, May 20, 2016

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Death in a Cup

Cookie dough is a magical thing. I definitely had phases in my life which I attribute my success, at least in part, to wonderful, rejuvenating cookie dough.

-Making cookies for the family as a kid just so I could lick out the bowl. (aka kindness with perks)
-Sneaking a roommates Otis Spunkmeyer cookie dough out of the freezer when I failed tests (happened probably more than it should have... don't tell Heidi)
-As a missionary I kept a tub of cookie dough in the fridge which was reserved for All Tracting days.

You could say cookie dough has helped me become the wonderful woman I am today.

And I am so grateful to have had a sister given to me who agrees and assists me in my cookie dough eating ways.

Rachel sent me this recipe on how to make a quick simple cookie in a mug: Death in a Cup.

I will share it with you for when you are faint of heart and needing an extra boost of sugar to get you through your day.
...and for myself for future reference. Even though I have memorized it for Emergency Preparedness situations, you never know when you might need it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Bashful

Riley has begun to be 'bashful.' When someone is talking to her, she will be bashful by burying her head in the person who is holding her. But she seems to have picked up that we think it is a 'cute' thing to do, because she has begun doing it at random times as well. And even though she acts bashful, don't be fooled! She is absolutely sucking in all the attention still ;)

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Iowa Des Moines Mission

Alexis got her mission call! She has been called to the Iowa Des Moines mission, which happens to have the city of Nauvoo in its borders.

From Kirkland to Nauvoo. ...if Meg or Brooke go on a mission, I'm guessing New York (Palmyra) or Utah! Church history sites, here come the Sister Ms! :)

I'm so excited for Alexis. Thinking about her going on a mission has brought back fond (and challenging) memories from my own mission. It was such an incredible experience I never thought I would experience, and it has absolutely shaped who I am today and the testimony I have of my Savior. Serving others 24/7 is amazing, grueling, awe-inspiring and uplifting all within minutes of each other (or all at once).

It was difficult for me to decide to serve a mission, and what it came down to for me was, "Are there things I can learn on my mission that I cannot learn any other way?" Looking in hindsight, I do not believe a mission taught me things I could never learn anywhere else. However, it did put me in situations I never would have been in and I feel like I learned extremely important life lessons in a concentrated, condensed amount of time. I ended up loving my mission more than I thought possible, and I can't imagine my life without the experiences I draw upon every day and many of the friends I gained along the way.

I. Love. Missions. I can't wait to hear what Alexis learns and experiences in the next year and a half.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Expectations

We've arrived.

This is what I always thought adult life would be like. Husband goes to work full-time. I stay home with the baby. Life is good.

And really, life is good. ...but not really what I was expecting.
I didn't expect the days to begin to have moments of monotony.
I didn't realize how mentally exercising it would be to be deciphering a little human's needs and entertaining them constantly can be wearing.
I didn't think about long commute times, financial decisions, and just boring life details.

This really has helped highlight President Monson's idea of Finding Joy in the Journey. "Let us relish life as we live it." No time in life is going to be perfect. We can choose to rise above the average and proactively seek the good in each day. I love the church's leader's messages of hope that puts everything in perspective.

It is a good reminder to me.




Friday, May 13, 2016

Broken

My phone is not working.

Thankfully, I barely use my phone for calling people, so no problem there. However, I use my phone as my camera, and use it relentlessly-to Riley's exasperation-to capture her daily antics.

Without the pictures from this week, life seems dull and somewhat pointless.

(I'm not dramatic, ok?! So don't even go there!)

It is sad, because there are so many things Riley does differently each week! This week, she has begun to 'head bang' (seriously! Like she is a punk rocker at a rock concert!), her top two teeth are coming in, and she has begun to wave (with both hands, frantically over her head, as if she is trying to flag down a plane, but we'll take it!) All of which are very important milestones to document! Ugh!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Phantom Cries

It puts a big damper on an evening when every enjoyable activity Chris and I decide on is punctuated by hushed silence to listen for Riley's cries.

Especially when the cries we hear turn out to be completely made up in our mind.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Social

I'll just be frank: I've never considered myself an outgoing person that NEEDED social interaction in my day. In fact, I'm definitely an introverted person who can be entertained in my mind most of the time, thank you very much!

But lately, I have really found myself enjoying meeting new people. Maybe it is because I'm typically at home with a social baby who is easily bored, or maybe my social maturity is attempting to catch up with my age? (that would be sweet! ;) ) Whatever the reason, I typically find myself brainstorming ideas of where we can go during the day to move around and meet people. 

For this reason, story time at libraries ROCK! They are usually age appropriate, there are a bunch of other babies the same age as Riley and huge bonus: OTHER MOMS! Love it! In fact, I have met most of the other mothers only once-Riley's napping schedule has kept our story time attendance spotty. But even these initial meetings that have not led to lifetime friendships make such a difference.

And much to Chris's chagrin, Riley has been finding some boyfriends. 



I have to use the term 'boyfriend' losely, since their main activity involves staring at each other and crawling after one another. But it sure is fun to witness Riley developing socially.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Wash

You never are so grateful for a in-house washer and dryer until they break. We went a little over a week with a broken washer. Papa decided to tinker with the washer, since there was nothing to lose in trying to restore it before all the money went to a new washer. Riley was a huge help to Papa.


We were very thankful when today came around and the new washer and dryer was delivered.
I put Riley down in Mimi and Papa's room so she would be away from the hallway when the potentially noisy delivery was made. I wasn't sure if she would go down, especially in her froggy pool of all places, but she did! It was kind of a cute little bed for the day.


Yay for clean clothes! Having a baby-with all her food-flinging, dirt-digging antics-makes me even more grateful for the modern day conveniences of an in-house washer and dryer!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ridiculous

Chris found a list being passed around on Facebook of ridiculous baby names. I think the list was of Utah names in particular. Some of them were normal names spelled insanely, and others were downright strange (Precious Treasure comes to mind...). And guess what! My name was on the list! Cha-Ching! Check to that bucket list item!

Since when has being named after a gun brand considered weird, that's what I want to know! ;)

Sunday, May 8, 2016

My Parents Are Awesome Part I

I was thinking about this last year (since last mother's and father's day) and realized how blessed I have been to be able to see family so often. I love the many times we were able to be with each other-honestly about every month or every other month! It has been so awesome!! And then I realized that every single one of those times, Mom and Dad were the ones to travel. EVERY. STINKIN'. TIME! You know how many days off of work, miles in the car, and talk tapes that amounts to? Well, I don't know either, but it is a lot!

And yet I have never heard a word of complaint from Mom or Dad. I love how those two love us so unconditionally. So I made a little movie from the pictures of all the places and times we were able to get together. It started as a Mothers Day thing, and then it kind of turned into Both My Parents Are Awesome sort of thing. Due to technical difficulties (aren't there always technical difficulties? Thanks to Chris for troubleshooting 1 million and a half times) I was unable to get everything done. Therefore, Fathers Day will premiere with Both Our Parents Are Awesome Part II. 

Happy Mother's Day!


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother's Day

My first Mother's Day as a mother.

I've always wondered what it is like to be on the receiving end of this holiday. It is neat to now have this day have much more meaning-it has always been about my mother, but last year it expanded to include my mother-in-law, and now me.

It was a neat day full of kind words, a gracious husband, and some serious sugar (someone knows mothers well! ;) ).

But my favorite part of the day was alone in the Mother's Room, staring down in wonder at the sleeping miracle that made me a mom.


Don't Move!

Chris took Riley during church so that I could teach during third hour. I went to go find them to make sure they didn't need anything, but I couldn't find them anywhere. About to give up and go set up for my lesson, I happened to walk past the stake offices and heard a faint, "Kimber!" coming from the other side of the wall. 
I walked around the wall to find this. Chris, in a slouched, uncomfortable position holding a zonked out Riley. We only had a short, barely audible exchange, and as I was about to leave I asked, "So, are you comfortable?" He gave my teasing grin a chastising glance and said resolutely, "I'm NOT moving!"
I think any parent, as illogical as it is, would come to the same conclusion.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Eight Months


Somehow, she has learned how to spit, and she thinks it is awesome. She blows raspberries quite often as well. My favorite has been her blowing kisses. You just make this kissing sound with your lips, and she will copy. We do it a lot to say goodbye since she hasn't learned how to wave yet. Although she is just mimicking at this point, I am excited for seeing a return of physical affection. So cute!


Princess Riley cannot (aka will not) hold her own sippy cup. She drinks with the ferocity of a starved animal, and if you think of putting it down before she feels satiated, woe to that man! Don't tell anyone, but she is single-handedly responsible for the drought California is currently experiencing.

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Hasn't mastered the pincer grip, but she will fist food and trade it off from hand to hand to shimmy it  up to the top of her fist, so she can quickly get it to her mouth

We got the idea of Items in a Bowl off the internet. You are supposed to feel a bowl with a bunch of different objects-different shapes, sizes and materials- and they dump it out and put it back in the bowl. It is supposed help them learn how objects relate to one another.
She thought the pacifier was funny-she would put it in her mouth and laugh as she ripped it out again.


We go on daily walks. I used to feel bad when I didn't notice her hat turning and the strap would get in her face. But instead of fussing about it, she would just suck on it. Problem solved.

Sand is still her favorite food of all time. She sneaks it whenever she can (sand goatee)

Crossing her legs with her stuffed animal buddies

Riley has loved watching real cars, and that has blossomed into an interest in cars and truck toys. She especially loves to play with the wheels. Papa got out Chris' old Thomas the Tank Engine toys to see if she had any interest. Daddy was proud of her toy choice.


Something she has loved: Ben's legs. OK, so actually anyone's legs. She enjoys being right underneath you. Crawling between legs while you are in the kitchen is her specialty. And if she can't go between your legs, she tries to go through you. This girl is notorious for head-butting her way through things.


She is starting to have the ability to get into stuff. Which, ironically, has been really nice! I feel like recently she has been much easier to care for because she doesn't get bored as easily. She has been much better at self-entertaining because she can be independent and explore at her own leisure. This girl loves herself some independence!

Doesn't she look like a little girl like this rather than a baby with these new mobility skills?!


She has begun having an interest in playing with blocks
Correction: By 'playing with blocks,' I mean 'destroying block towers'

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I don't know how I have forgotten how bubbles are AWESOME! Riley can watch/poke them all day!

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Peek-a-boo with a cute baby who is very proud of her discovery:

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This has remained a favorite toy. She loved this thing before she could even balance sitting! I love that she is starting to 'rock out' to the music now:

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I love how this girl crawls. She doesn't just do this whole 'normal' thing. She has a Gimpy crawl, where she is on a knee on one leg and the foot of the other. Maybe she can propel herself faster that way...? Not sure. She also enjoys the whole Stinkbug stance where her legs are straight. And she alternates between these styles every few seconds as she crawls. We thought she was doing this in the beginning because she was trying to figure out coordination, but nope! She is extremely coordinated with crawling at this point, and she still mixes it up just to keep it interesting :) This video is showing how she Hand Stomps as she crawls. There is no problem finding out where she is in the house because she isn't subtle AT ALL:

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Pretzels

We made pretzels for activity days this week.

Everyone came late, and so at first I was thinking we wouldn't have an activity day after all. Then two girls came! Yay! I'm so glad it wasn't only one. We had fun learning about yeast, and we learned together that if you put baking powder in boiling water, it explodes. (Whoops!) And I will think twice before playing Apples to Apples with two very competitive 9 year olds :) But it was fun.

This recipe is actually really awesome! They turned out really well, especially considering I don't feel too confident with making bread products at this point (it has been a LONG time!)


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Vibe

Something tells me she has been getting into Mimi's flowers again.


Call it an uncanny motherly vibe ;)

Now I know how my mom could tell when I got into something i wasn't supposed to.



Monday, May 2, 2016

Nice to be Needed

As far as church duties go, this is on my docket for this next week:

  • Fill in during Sunday School
  • Teach RS
  • Activity days
  • Primary lesson
  • Mother's day gift
  • Narrator for Spring Event

The thing about callings and assignments like these is that they give a sense of fulfillment and purpose that makes your life feel productive. I love the opportunity to stretch, and it feels nice to feel needed.
...but thankfully I'm not this needed all the time :)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Difference of a Smile

I love holding Riley as I go into public places. People instantly turn to look at her, and many come and greet us so they can interact with her. People are happy and smiling once she enters the scene. And you better believe I ride the wave of happy consequences of her cuteness ;) I'm not an attention monger by any means, but the world just seems like a better place when I have her around.

At church today, I was walking Riley around the halls during sacrament, because I was sure she was so close to falling asleep on my shoulder. Well, after two laps around the church, I knew my attempt was futile. I accepted defeat and we went to sit on a couch in the foyer next to an elderly lady.

I didn't know the women we sat by-she only looked vaguely familiar, and I know I hadn't spoken to her before. But Riley went straight up to her and was climbing around her, she would circle back to me, lie her head down for a minute, then go back to our new friend. The woman instantly warmed up to Riley and was trying to get her to grab her hand, and smile.
Only later did I find out that she was very sad because her sister had recently passed away, and she thanked us for coming and sitting next to her at church. She said it made her so happy to have Riley around.

I know Riley's charms come largely from being a baby, but she has taught me a lot about loving others freely. I know we hear all the time that a smile can 'brighten someone's day,' but it is one thing to hear that phrase prattled off in a lesson versus seeing it in action. When Riley smiles at people, you can tangibly feel the atmosphere change and an air of friendship instantly prevails.
It has been a good lesson for me to learn from someone who hasn't even been on Earth 8 months.