Friday, November 30, 2012

Riley, at 4 years, 10 months and 6 days

I've been catching up on some posts and I couldn't forgot about my darling girl.

Listen, the year of four has been a doozy. We're up, we're down and sometimes we're upside down with no clue as to why or how we got there. Let's just say, sister is well versed in "the drama", and the most obscure tiny things can set her off.

Part of this is due to the fact that I know she's tired because she's outgrown the nap. That's not to say that she won't nap. If I lay her down, though she might say with just the right amount of 'tude, "I'll lay down, but I'm not going to close my eyes," she's out in a few minutes. However, if she naps she lays awake in her bed until almost 11 pm and still gets up by 7:30 or 8 the next morning. It's a vicious cycle because she needs the nap, but she can't take the nap.

The other part of the fearsome fours is learning that she doesn't technically have to do what we say all the time. That's been an adjustment for all of us and there are many days where I want to pull my hair out and I'm sure she does too. We're getting there and as we creep ever closer to 5, (gulp, really 5!) she's leveling out some.

Riley's big into Barbies, my little ponies, Disney princesses, and Avengers right now and always has them involved in some version of school, mama, or shopping. She recently rediscovered her love for books and is starting to spell out words she sees and is always asking us what things say. Riley still sings and dances all day long, with passion. She loves all arts and crafts and colors a bazillion pictures a day on white computer paper. Everyday it something new, but she's getting quite good at drawing people and specific scenes like fields of flowers and rainbows.

Riley and Camden are close and they have fun playing together, but they also argue over toys or space. He's old enough now to play along, but sometimes he has no idea what she's trying to do and that frustrates her.  It's been eye opening to watch the sibling dynamic because Camden thinks everything Riley does is amazing.  He is always watching her and imitating her which I think is adorable, but she finds it annoying sometimes.  She's learning the ropes of being the big sibling and she handles it with maturity beyond her years.

Riley talks all the time and always has a story to share, some real and some made up.  She uses phrases that crack us up.  Lately she's been using "certainly" a lot.  Like, if I ask her if she knows where something is she will say, "No, I certainly do not know where it is".

The years are fleeting and I can hardly believe she is almost 5.  I remember when Riley was a little baby, five year olds seemed so big to me and now she's one of them.  It's surreal to think that my first precious baby girl could already be so old, but I am thankful for a healthy, vibrant, fun, kind and loving daughter.  We have some rough moments, but each day with her sweet face is a blessing.
photo courtesy of LouLou Photography

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Blue Ridge Mountain High

At the end of October we snuck away to the mountains for a mini getaway with our friends.

That Friday, after work, we quickly hopped in the car and headed northwest to the Wintergreen resort. It was a little bit of a rough start considering we were all tired from a long work week and little man had to repeatedly stop for potty breaks on the side of the road.

Cracker barrel for dinner was just what we needed to lift our spirits. While we waited for our table Riley and I rocked in the chairs.

Camden enjoyed a solo game of checkers.

After dinner we had a tense climb, in the pitch black, up steep winding roads, to our cabin that was just before the entrance to the resort.  We were all relieved when we finally arrived and though it was way past Riley and Camden's bedtime we let them roam and explore the house while we unpacked.

The next morning the kids busied themselves with my little ponies, tinkerbell dolls, super heroes and coloring in front of the fireplace while we prepared a delicious breakfast.

I spotted a visitor on the deck while twinnie and I were cooking breakfast.  Our in house science guy brought it inside so the kids could see him.

Riley could not be convinced to hold it, but Camden finally worked up the courage to try.   We're missing the picture where Camden asked me to hold it too and just as I tried to pick it up the bug let out a loud noise.  Of course I shrieked and then Camden did too and that was the end of bug time.  I contend that bug knew I was a sissy posing as a bug lover.

Later that day we bundled up and ventured out to the resort in search of hiking trails. We made a quick stop at the nature center so I could find a reasonable trail for little legs.

The hikers were very excited to see the waterfall at the end of the trail.

Halfway down the trail we paused for a breather and a photo shoot.

Riley, of course, hit this pose for me.  She calls it "the hiker girl".

We finally made it down to the falls and by this point little man was being carried by TG and I. 

Camden let TG put him down long enough to play in this fallen tree trunk while his sister blazed the path back up the hill.

After our hike we had all worked up an appetite so we went back to the resort for lunch. The restaurant had a pretty good view of the ski slopes.

Our bellies full of food, we went back to the cabin where the kiddos and I took a much needed nap.  When we woke up the men started a fire in the pit outside and we all got to work making smores.

That night Mimi made a delicious stew for dinner. While we were enjoying our day we were also keeping a close eye on the weather and the path of Superstorm Sandy. Our original plan was to spend Sunday at the cabin watching the Skins v. Steelers game, but the storm was quickly making it's way north. Gusting winds woke us up early the next morning and we quickly packed up and were on our way back home by 8:30 am.

Camden was not happy that our trip was cut short.

Matt and I weren't thrilled either, but we figured better safe than stuck on top of a mountain in a storm.  We spent Sunday stocking up on emergency supplies and battening down the hatches.  Luckily, though it rained hard and there were some strong gusts of wind, we were safe and sound.  We were very thankful to be snug in our home and we know many others were not as fortunate and we have been praying for those affected by Sandy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Happy Thanksgibings!

We were so thankful to enjoy a beautiful Thanksgiving Day at Gigi and Papa's house.  After a morning spent relaxing inside and cooking we hit the streets to burn off some energy and work up an appetite.

The kiddos cruised the neighborhood in their Escalade.

Gleefully tried to run over their mother.

Stopped by the water feature for an impromptu photo shoot.  Look at my darling girl.

Not to be outdone. This just makes me laugh.

Tried to get a brother and sister photo.

And used the self timer to get our only family shot of the holiday.

We hope you had a wonderful day and we wish you another year full of blessings and love.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gotta Get Away

For the past two summers Gigi and Papa have invited Riley to spend a special week with them attending VBS at their church. The first year she was only 3 and I was so worried about how she would do, but she hopped in the car and barely threw me a good bye. I talked to her every day and she was having too much fun to say much more than, "Hi mom, k, bye mom!"

This year she knew exactly what was waiting for her (good times and lots of one on one attention) so she tried to just wave and not even give me a hug before she left. I missed her before they pulled out of the drive, but I knew she was going to have a blast.

There was a water theme this year and her group was the Blue Minnows.

She helped make breakfast daily.

Cruised the neighborhood on her bike.

Played soccer in the greens across the street (while holding her princess Barbie).

And dressed up for school every single day.

The day we came to get her she helped Gigi clean the house for our arrival. She is the cutest laundry helper ever!

I am so thankful that she is able to spend time like this with her Gigi, Papa and Lolo and she has the biggest time when she is there with them.  Thank you for loving our little girl so much and giving her special memories like these!

Fantastic Fourth!

After a day at the beach, and a fun filled birthday at Busch Gardens, we were ready for a low key day at Gigi and Papa's.

We played in the pool, took a nap, and then played in the pool some more. The kids are swimming fools and they especially love when TG does tricks with them. Riley tried heel stretches.

Cam did some lifts.

TG finally convinced Cam to give his arms a rest so they relaxed on the steps for a nanosecond.  

Then Cam donned his sissy's goggles and practiced swimming.

He's pretty good with floaties on.

Gigi was standing close just in case, but he didn't want any help.

Later that day I dressed them in their matching Old Navy flag tees, which is a tradition in my family, but try as I might I couldn't get one good photo of them together.  These two pictures are as close as I got.

Waving flags make for a blurry cell pic.

Just being silly.


After a yummy BBQ dinner we got the kids in their jammies, but let them stay up for the fireworks.  We walked down to the dock in Gigi and Papa's neighborhood and watched them from out on the water.  We could see several shows from surrounding areas.

Glow sticks and bracelets are a Fourth of July must!

We had a great day and it was the perfect end to what felt like 3 days of celebrating!  Happy birthday America!

We Bake Pumpkin Pie

On Thanksgiving Day, Aunt Lolo recruited Riley to help with the pumpkin pie.  Riley was attached to "Warrie" aka Lolo's hip the whole time we were there.  She was very excited to be involved in helping with our Thanksgiving "feastes".

After Lolo gathered the ingredients the girls got to work.

Soon Camden realized something interesting was going on and wanted to help. Riley graciously gave him a turn stirring.

When it was time to fill the pie shell we decided Riley needed an apron. She was tickled that I chose Gigi's Mrs. Claus apron for her to wear.

Cam got a turn too.

The pie came out beautifully, but everyone was too busy gobbling down the chocolate pie that Gigi made to try the fruits of their labor!