Driving home from the Christmas concert last night Sydney was feeling chatty. Well, let's be real, when is she not. Very profoundly she announces:

White milk comes from cows.

David: Then where does chocolate milk come from?

: :


: :

S: Braum's.


Thanks in my world.

I am  thankful for girly squeals at a decibel too loud to process.  Books. A husband that loves me for me, faults included. Girls that spend an abnormal amount of time in timeout some days- at least they are healthy enough to be getting into the mischief that landed them there in the first place. "Squeezes" from Bug. Pest control that keeps all of the other bugs out. Iphones. Love notes from Bear.  My scrawny mutt. A husband who work hard to provide for us. Blogger. Date night. Parents who love me. Music. An extended family that does its best to love one another and get along. A warm, dirty house - at least it is lived in and enjoyed.  Wonderful neighbors. Great grandparents who instilled a love for family years ago. A new kitchen table that doesn't need weekly repairs. Tastebuds. Friends that I can count on. Little voices singing in the car (and their interpretation of the lyrics.)  Shoes. Shoes. Shoes. Girls that sleep with me when Daddy is out of town, even if it produces less than the required amount of sleep. Jalapeno peppers. All of my Primary kids at church - nothing like a million hugs on Sunday! Pilates. Johnny Bruscos.  My wonderfully simple life.


A Camping we will go

In early October we headed down to Petit Jean State Park to go camping. But, they were full except for the sites where you aren't allowed to build fires. Camping without a campfire, no thanks. So, we thought we'd go the next night. And it rained, and was going to rain all of the next evening as well, and well, we just aren't THAT kind of campers. So, we headed back up to Devil's Den where it was supposed to be a little less rainy. But, we had to hurry because the office closed at 5 p.m. and we needed to buy firewood. (Campfires are kind of essential to camping, right?) We pulled in at 4:50 and got a site (that we weren't allowed to pay for until the next day - whatever) but we did get our firewood! Oh, and we forgot our camera, so these are all iphone pics. Blah.

This is Sydney showing us how many marshmallows she had eaten. Yes, that is nine fingers she is holding up. Seriously, it makes me want to hurl just thinking about it.

Here are the valubale lessons we learned:
1. Eagle Scout does not equal qualified to camp with girls. Especially three single-handedly. I really think they should make that part of the requirements. Are you reading this BSA?? Way more valuable than how to start a fire with sticks.

2. Elle does not like to be dirty. We already knew that, but thought that just MAYBE she would be a little forgiving since we were camping and all. Nope, not so much. A girl has to have clean hands.

3. Don't leave mom in charge of keeping the fire going if it isn't really going. You will have to begin again.

4. Don't turn a four-year-old loose with a bag of marshmallows. What were we thinking?

5. Can opener. If you are going to make a dump cake, bring a can opener. Or, just go borrow one from the camp next to you.


Shhh...it's a secret

Ok, so I'm not supposed to tell this, but it is too funny, and I'm sure I'll want to look back on it and laugh years from now, so here it goes.

We were at the gas station yesterday. The credit card machine wasn't working, so we had to go inside and stand in a really long line to pay. I felt a little hand tugging on me and then saw "the look" that means she is about to say something about someone right behind us. I cringe, because she hasn't really learned the art of whispering and I have no idea what is about to come out of that little mouth. She is a very honest child, heaven help us.

S: "Mom, that boy behind us is hot stuff."

M:"He is, is he?"

S:"Mmmm huh. " (Big goofy grin on that four year old face)

M: "What do you like about him,  his spiky hair."

S: "I like his spiky hair, but mostly what makes him hot stuff is all of those tattoos."

I think my baby girl may be in line for lots of heart break in the future if that is her kind of guy. She stared at him all of the way out of the store in that dreamy, gushy, gaga kinda way.

**A little more of a description of this fella - he was about 19, and was more of a rocker than a thug. Still, not quite the nice guy I was hoping would attract my oldest daughter's atttention. Especially at FOUR! David said he holds me responsible for this.**

Anyone know where I can hire a FEMALE guard to stand outside of her window for the next fourteen years?


"Ook, Mom"

Little Miss Elle is getting to be quite the handful. She is always into something and sitting quietly and playing just isn't her style.

The other day I walked into the kitchen where she was playing with the cabinets. Now, the only cabinets I have a child safety lock on are the ones under my sink where I keep my cleaning supplies. Yes, those were the cabinets she was playing with. She turned to me and said, "Ook, Mom" and proceeded to show me how to push the latch down and open the cabinet. GREAT!


Because a celebration was in order...

for breakfast we had these

to celebrate that in January we will be spending a week with these guys

and hopefully seeing lots and lots of faces that look like this.

Right now, there is a lot of excitement in the Rieske household. I think Papa and Grandma Hill might be a little excited, too. (They are going with us!) Thank you Allegiant air for $29.99 flights - there is no way we could endure 24 hours in the car at this point in our lives.


And, our pumpkins.

Next year, I think we'll stick with the good old, SIMPLE faces. Yep.


See, even blogger didn't want me to load them. They were THAT big of a pain.
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 Where to begin. It was such a busy week! We started out with our ward Trunk-or-Treat / chilli cook-off. And, I forgot my camera. No worries. I have about a million pictures from the rest of the week to make up for it. However, that was the one night Elle liked her Dumbo costume. It was cold outside and the costume was warm, which I think had a lot to do with it. We had fun, the kids ran around like crazy. Sydney, being the shy girl she is, chatted away into the microphone during the costume contest. I ended up having to take the microphone away from her and push her along off the stage so the parade could continue. My chilli didn't win this year. Obviously, something was wrong with the judge's taste buds. ;) We came home with loads of candy and could've ended this whole thing then and there. But, alas, this is just the beginning.

Sunday night we carved our pumpkins. That was quite the project!
I can't get the pictures to load, so I guess I've hit my limit. I'll post them separately.

Oh, and here is also where David LEAVES for the week. Seriously. Leaves during the crazy week-o-Halloween. tsk, tsk. But, we survived it - he just missed out on the fun. So, Tuesday Chay and I kicked off the week by making little marshmallow fondant ghosts for Sydney's party.

One of my FAVORITE parts of Halloween is an excuse to play with my food. Here is a sampling:

The next party was Sydney's dance party on Wednesday. She got dressed in her Gabriella costume (from High School Musical, in case you are out of the loop) and had her ghost marshmallows ready to go.   When it was her turn to hand out her treats, she did so by doing an arabesque with each one. I must say that no one else did that. Nope, they just handed them out like normal people, but not my Sydney. Oh, and do you like our fanci-fied sucker holder? (aka Bisquick box.)

And what party at dance class would be complete without dancing. (Can you see how tiny she is compared to everyone else. She is jumping and they are all standing on the ground.)

So, with a good layer of sugar on her tummy, we go home and prepare for the next round of parties. Preschool and library. Preschool doesn't allowed homemade treats (Boo!) so we had to settle for taking paddle balls. Oh, and we had to work on a family project of decorating a paper pumpkin. Elle was tired, and David was gone. So, it became a Sydney and Mommy project. Of course it had to include sparkles (glitter) and buttons (a family joke - if you've seen Coraline, you might understand.) That little project was completed around 10 p.m. Here are the results along with "Gabriella". I must say our pumpkin was the most original. No one else bothered to glue a million buttons on - they just colored theirs - lame. But, I'm sure they also had their little ones tucked in bed at 8:30.

Elle and I stayed and watched the costume parade. Elle was fine watching until her sister came along. Then we had this.

And Elle did the second loop of the parade with them. And so did I. So, I have no pictures. But, here is Elle trying to get in on the class photo shoot.

Then, Elle and I were off to the Library for story time and costumes.

And here is the best photo you will get of that:

As it turns out, she decided she only liked wearing the shoe part of her costume. If you know my Elle, you will understand the shoe thing. She really likes most all shoes. So, the costume itself, as cute as it was, was very short-lived.

However, turns out we have a whole box of dress-up stuff. (Comes with being a girl momma) And, lo and behold, she found a "Melmo" costume. Yep, some old rough looking thing. And, that was the end of Dumbo.

Thursday night, David got home. (Insert angels singing)

Friday morning we went to the gym and the kids wore their Halloween costumes (three days in a row at this point) for Halloween activities while mom worked off some of that candy that kept jumping into my mouth. Later that day we went to David's office for some more trick-or-treating. Here is Elle as "Melmo" outside of his office (where my kids were given ridiculous amounts of candy which is not good for the whole Mom's diet thing.)



Now, my little 18 month old quickly learned the difference in M&M's and suckers. Here she is sifting through some loot.

She would dig her little paws through the bowl and come out with chocolate and the fruit flavored tootsie rolls (her favorite!) And let me tell you about how much those little paws can hold - three mini-candy bars at a time IN ONE HAND. The kid has skills.

This is the "Please give us more candy" look. They have it perfected.

Friday night we went to our fun Halloween party that I wrote about earlier. Here is a bigger picture of just us and a small glimpse of balloon butt. And, I'll have you know that not once did my husband tell me how beautiful I looked. The NERVE!

Ok, so now we are to the actual real day of Halloween. We started the day out with pumpkin shaped biscuits and chocolate gravy. (Hey, it's Halloween and I'm a realist - might as well start the day out with sugar, right?)

So, after three straight days of wearing the same Halloween costume (plus the party the Saturday before) Syd was tired of her costume. Oh, and it was white and already had been washed once, and needed it again. So, she decided she wanted to be something else. Back to that box of dress up, and, voila! A princess fairy. How original, right? But, I got to do some painting on her face which made the whole day a little more exciting for me (especially since I was kind of tired at this point.)

We had dinner with Nanny and Trick-or-Treated her house first.


 Then, we were off to our own neighborhood. We visited our neighbor who always has a fun time scaring the kids (and giving their parents a good laugh.)



Played with the fun pumpkin flashlights.

Elle learned to say "TickoTeet"

Sydney even asked some people why they didn't decorate as good as the people next door. Mom wanted to go and hide next door.

We made it a block before both girls were cold and tired. Then, we went drove to some friends and had some yummy homemade doughnuts (which was the perfect excuse to stop trick-or-treating.) A good night, with two tired little girls.  Thank goodness daylight savings came the next day. We needed it! So, goodbye to the holiday that allows me to play with my food. I'll miss you.


Halloween Party

Some friends of ours had a Halloween party last night. Yummy Mexican food for dinner, costumes were required, and then there was the epic Newlyweds game. (We came in third...not too shabby!)

The best part - sans kids! Not very often do we get together with this group of friends (all from church) minus the kids. It was fun, relaxing, and a little crazy. Thanks Crowells!! Check out some of the fun costumes.

**click on the picture if you want to see it better**

Costume Winners- Funniest: Speedo (aka Superheros)(Rigbys), Most Original: Papparazzi & Movie Star (Karlsven), Best Overall: GloStick People (Smith's)

David and I went as Publisher's clearing house. I don't think you get the full effect of our costume without the balloons tied to his butt.

We came in a close second on best overall. Yay! And the best part,  I got to wear my jammies and he had to wear a suit. hehehe.


So long ago, but fun

Now that it is cold and rainy, I'll reminiscence about the good ole' days of summer (aka do some more catch up.)

Our last little excursion was a trip to Branson in August. We've  made quite a few day trips thanks to our Silver Dollar City season passes (thanks again Mom and Dad!) we got for Christmas last year. Now, this trip started out a little differently than I would have liked. David was already at Big Cedar for work, so it was up to me to get the two kids there by myself. We were later getting off than I would've liked, and I was, wel,l a little stressed. Thank goodness for books on CD - it kept them somewhat entertained on the way there so we could a settle down a bit.

Sydney cried when we had to drive over the water at the entrance to Big Cedar. She was SURE we were going to float away and that Mommy didn't know what she was doing and that we were all going to die. Drama.

Everything is so beautiful with all of the landscaping. Elle was really digging playing golf. This was when she first started really talking and kept saying "ball." We were so proud, but not as proud as she was of herself.

This was also the HARDEST mini-golf course I've ever played. All of the parents were walking around grumbling about how hard it was. The last hole, you shoot into a big fish. Sydney wasn't so sure about that part, so she just skipped it.

After golf, we went to grab lunch. We told Sydney she had two choices, Wendy's or Steak and Shake. She said, "I don't care,  you choose," so  we pulled out of the parking lot of Steak and Shake and into the one across the street at Wendy's. And here is where the tears began. First, she wouldn't get out of the car. So, we said fine and left her (because of course she really won't stay by herself, right?) We get all of the way to the door before we realized she was serious about not getting out of the car. So, Dad drags her out. She is informed that she doesn't have to eat, but she does have to come inside. And she screams, and the people inside look at us like were a bunch of crazies. We order, she is still screaming. Our meal went something like this: cry, spank, eat a bite of a fry, threaten, back outside, another spank, etc., etc. She finally ate two fries, still mad at Dad. What a great start to our vacation!

Next, it was time for some shopping for the new jeans David had promised me. Let me just say what dolls our children were NOT during that time. At this point, we're really promising ourselves that our next vacation will be booked for two. Then, we headed to Starbucks for an internet connection - we still hadn't booked a hotel and it was around 5 at this time. Oops.

Elle helped Daddy and enjoyed some hot chocolate. Sydney slept on a bench (never wake a sleeping dragon.) Finally, we found a hotel on Priceline.  Then we were off to watch the water and fire show at Branson Landing.

It was pretty fun, but Sydney was still sleepy and spent the time laying on Daddy's shoulder. 

Elle entertained the old people. Both girls were too scared to go play next to the water and fire.

Then we were off to dinner. After some bad navigation by yours truly, we drove several blocks to end up 1 block away from the Starbucks we started out at and found our pizza. Mr. G's Chicago Pizza  was delicious! We will be visiting that place again. I'm actually hungry just thinking about it...

Finally we got to our hotel, or "pretend home" as we like to call it. It was a suite with a kitchen which was a plus. The next day Elle and I got up and went grocery shopping while David and Sydney slept in. We ate the continental breakfast downstairs and then spent some time swimming.

Then, we were off to spend the rest of the day at Silver Dollar City. No pictures from that (we have a million already and didn't want to have to worry about getting the camera wet.) But, we had fun, cried when we had to get off of the rides, you know, the usual.

All in all, a fun trip (if you forget about the first day!)