A Buggy Birthday Celebration

I can't believe it has almost been a year! Wednesday is her actual birthday, but we celebrated early. We had some friends and lots of family over to celebrate with us on Saturday. But, like all things in our home, we didn't get there with out a few bumps along the way. We started out with a stomach virus that began with Elle, then jumped to Sydney and ended with David. Yes, I must have a stomach of steel (or just be really blessed - someone has to be on kid duty.) Then, the clouds all day on Saturday made me extremely nervous, especially because we'd invited way more people than could comfortably fit in our house. But, once again we were lucky and the weather was perfect. Thanks Dad, Mom, and Nanny for helping us run last minute errands and roll tamales.

Elle was excited, and loved the balloons. I also think she felt pretty. Nothing like a girly little tutu and bows to make one sweet little girl smile. She is turning into such a girl and loved all of the attention. She was much more of a cake diver than I expected, and lasted the entire party with zero meltdowns. She thought she was hot-as-snot sitting in her little red chair and being the center of attention. She was more than happy to share the present opening with her sister, as long as she got to tear a piece of paper here and there. She went to bed very late, with a tummy full of homemade tamales and salsa. I hope that one day she will look back and know how loved she is, not by just by her mommy and daddy, but by her extended family as well!

(If you click on the images below they will be much bigger and you can actually see them, I'm just not patient enough to load that many on here individually.)


It's your fault.

Yes, I blame you. Any of you that call yourself my friend and happen to have a daughter over the age of four. Why did you not tell me this was coming? I mean, I knew it would come at some point, but I thought we'd at least be approaching the teen years before I had to think about it. The tears, the emotions, the hormones that come with raising a daughter.

Now, I've endured the ones (which Elle is reminding me how much I don't love, which is also probably why I've erased Sydney's one's from my mommy memories) only to move on to the terrible twos, which really aren't all that bad. A few temper tantrums here and there, but nothing compared with the stubborns that come at three. But, the endearing thing about the three's is that there are moments that are all so sweet and make up for the less sweet moments and then some. And the fact that suddenly there is this compassion that comes about and my world is suddenly flooded with hugs and kisses, and gifts of carefully selected weeds, and rocks, and worms, and whatever other creatures my dear one thought might pique my interest. Then we roll into the fours, where clearly she is old enough to take care of herself (how dare I even think of walking in with her to get her allergy shots.) But why, why, WHY didn't someone tell me we'd be jumping head first into the world of those girly emotions?

Driving back from my parent's house the other day I bought a new-to-us movie (gotta love Redbox) and she got stated watching Beverly Hills Chihuahua. She was so proud that she hadn't cried when we were leaving, so when I look back 45 minutes later and she is in tears I ask what is wrong. I can't understand beyond all of the sniffling. I'm ready to pull over.

M: Are you sad because we left Grandma's?

S: (shakes her head no, and sticks her lip out even further)

M: Did you have an accident?

S: Of course not, mom!

M: Well, honey, what is wrong?

S: It is...it is....it is just that this, this, this movie. It is SOOO Sad. The puppy. She is all alone without her friends. I don't think. I can possibly...sniff... continue to watch it.

Fast forward. David is out of town. Normally, not a problem because it means the girls get to sleep with me and we get to go out to dinner one night somewhere Daddy hates and we love, so it is a huge "break thre rules" couple of days. But, this time Sydney starts crying, partially due to the lack of a nap. She misses her Daddy. Everything she sees somehow reminds her of her daddy. Finally, she falls asleep (much later that she needed to be taking a nap, but at this point I'm just glad she isn't crying.) I decide that I need something from Hobby Lobby and try to wake Sydney up. She gets up, mulls around for an hour or so, pouting because she misses daddy. I point out that she needs to hurry and get around or Hobby Lobby will be closed and we won't be able to go. So, finally at eight o'clock we leave (because all intelligent people leave the house to run errands at 8 p.m. with small children) and arrive at Hobby Lobby and an amazingly empty parking lot. I drive past the door, check the hours, and see that it closes at 8 p.m. I look in the backseat and say in my most chipper voice. "Oh, darn. It is closed. We'll have to come back another day." Cue the tears.

S: I'm soooo sorry Mom. It is all my fault. They closed because I wouldn't hurry. I'm so sorry. It is all, all, all my fault. (At this point she is folded into a small ball)

M: No it isn't. I didn't get us going in time. Even if you would've hurried we still would have missed it.

S: No, they knew I was taking too long, so they closed.
So, this is how we begin the emotional rollercoaster that I'm sure will end about the time she finishes having children. I'm not sure I am prepared for this.


Codeword: Jello

I'm a genius. Yep, that is right. Pure genius! You see, now that Sydney is in Sunbeams and I'm in the Primary Presidency, we've been having a bit of a problem when it is my turn to conduct or teach. Sydney thinks that because I'm talking on the microphone that automatically entitles her to tell the rest of the Junior Primary everything that is on her mind. She'd really like to talk on the microphone, but she has figured out that I won't let her do that(after many 'mommy is going to kill you if you don't stop it 'looks), so she follows me around, and says, "Um, excuse me mom, I need to tell you something." She then whispers something in my ear that she wants me to tell the rest of the kids. Like how they can't come to her birthday party because we're only inviting six people. Or that it isn't nice to call people fat, or whatever other bits of wisdom I've imparted on her that week. Needless to say, this is less than conducive to conducting or teaching.

So, this week I tried a new approach. Jello in our house is quite the treat, mostly because David hates it (and ice cream and chocolate...what is wrong with this man?) so I rarely make it. And there is the argument over whether Jello is a side-dish or dessert. I told him I will never be Mormon enough for Jello to be a side-dish, it is clearly a dessert. It is in the baking aisle for Pete's sake! But, I digress. Well, Sunday morning before church I pulled out the Jello cups and had it in the fridge before Bear got up. After breakfast I showed it to her and told her that if she was good and sat in her seat while I was teaching Sharing Time she could have some after church. Genius!! So, I ended up conducting too, because it is Primary and you just go with flow - the person who was supposed to conduct was handling a meltdown duet in the back row. So, anytime Sydney would wander to the front to tell me something, I would just lean over and whisper, "Jello." Whoosh...she was back in her seat. By the time Sharing Time actually started we had it figured out. After Sharing Time was over, she went up to the Primary President and said, "Can Kate come over for Jello??"

So, third Sundays have now officially been declared Jello days at the Rieske household. Sugar-free, of course.



Lately Sydney has been cracking me up, but we are at that oh-so-critical point in child rearing where I must not give in and let her know that she is doing so.

As we were leaving a garage sale:

S: Bye. Thanks. We didn't like any of your junk.

Checking out as we were buying new sandals:

M: Sydney, stay with me for just another second please.

S: You're really making me crazy today, little mama.

After her dance teacher told her how smart she was for remembering what part came next on her dance:

S: I know, my daddy says I'm intelligent.

As we are to the door, leaving for a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese:

M: Are you ready to go to Katelyn's birthday party?

S: You bet.
(hand on the door knob)

WAIT! What about the Chuck E. Cheese token coupons?

At the allergist office, sitting next to the doctor on the exam table:

Dr: Sydney, I love those boots. Do you think I could wear them?

S: (nudges him with her arm and says oh so seriously) Don't you think your feet are just a little big?

At the dinner table:

M: I sure wish I had an iphone.

S: Don't worry, honey. When David goes out of town and it is just us, I'll get you one.

After spending a morning alone with just mommy:

M: What was your favorite thing we did today?

S: Spending time with just you. (insert big hug)

How could I forget this one?? Thanks Doddy!

Riding in Papa's truck, after being silent for 30 minutes:

S: (In a monotone voice) Save money. Live better. Walmart.

Tulsa Zoo

Finally, here are our pictures from the zoo. **If they are too tiny, just click and it will be really big and you can see them up close and personal. Not responsible for any gorilla nose hairs you may encounter** It may take some close examining, but you will be able to distinguish my animals, I mean children, from those that actually belong at the zoo. My little crazies did have a good time, despite the chilly weather. We were glad that we had Nanny with us and hope that she enjoyed the trip as much as we did (who couldn't love being smashed in the back seat with two screaming hyenas?) The girls loved having her along and the fact that she spoils them way more than we do.

Sydney loved the polar bears and the lion - until he roared as she was sticking her head inside of a lion water fountain to get a drink - she was all of a sudden ready to leave. I'm pretty sure she almost peed in her pants. But, thank goodness she didn't because I'm way past the point of carrying extras for her. Elle's favorite animal by far was the kind that goes in your mouth - what zoo trip would be complete without animal crackers. Come on, are you really surprised?

I loved the area where all of the animals were out walking/flying around. See the top picture on the left below? Notice the bird that Sydney is pointing at. We were actually that close to it. Said bird is a cuckoo bird and the stupid thing jumped on my head. Yes - on top of my head. Not once, but twice. Someone must have forgotten to tell him that it is not polite to land on someone's head when the aren't looking. Oh, and my dear, sweet husband had the nerve to laugh. And I'm pretty that was his favorite part of the zoo - seeing my face when I had a cuckoo bird sitting on my head.


Dear People,

If you are not the father of my children (or mother...but for purposes of this post, we will stick to the nosy men out there) please don't "father" my children.

To Mr. Manager at Mama Fu's:

My daughter was not going to hurt herself standing in a window that was all of six inches off of the ground. Yeah, you might have to clean it, but welcome to the world of working in a restaurant. You actually have to clean things. She was being quiet, not disturbing the other two tables in the restaurant and I was actually enjoying my meal for a change. So, no matter how nicely you put on that fake smile as you say, "I don't want to you hurt yourself, miss" as you remove her from the window (did I give you permission to touch my child in the first place?) it still makes me mad. It is my child and I can see her as she is all of 7 feet away and I am FACING her. So yes, she was in the window, not hurting anyone, including herself. If she would've fallen, she probably would've gotten some dirt on her knee and that is about it. Please don't touch her again. Since this happened on Monday night and you were the first instance of this, I was nice and pretended to smile back, but I hold grudges FOREVER and I assure you that we will be finding a new fake-Chinese restaurant to go to when daddy is out of town (as is our tradition.)

To Mr. Man at Lowe's in Springdale:

I had high hopes of buying new carpet from your store as the price was much better than that at Home Depot. However, our brief conversation has assured that my carpet will not be bought from you. Nope. You see, I'm tired from chasing a one- year-old and four-year-old all day long. So, when my dear one says she needs to go potty and takes off, I don't get too excited. Especially when I can still hear the pitter-patter of her little feet on your concrete floors. I have learned that this is one time that I don't need to run, you see. I can HEAR her so I know that she is ok. Oh, and I know where she is heading. And, the fact that I'm saying in a semi-loud but calm voice, "Bear, wait for Mommy," probably means that I'm in control of the situation. When she comes running back to me, followed by you, and I kneel down to speak to MY child, **note the keyword here - MY** I don't need you to say, "You don't need to lose her here" to which I snidely replied, "Do you think I lost her on purpose??" Then, you felt the need to say, "There are just lots of things here and I don't want her to get her to get hurt" Yep, mouth diarrhea has me again. "Seriously, you think I want her to get hurt?" (and you get the mommy look from me here. yep. Betcha' haven't gotten that one in at least 40 years.) And seriously, just the day after Mr. Manager decided to be a pseudo-father?

So, yeah, if you are one of my mommy friends, feel free to help me out with my kids/tell me when they are being little hellions. But, if you are some random person, hands off my babes.


Did we take a wrong turn?

So spring is the air, and being the great mom I am, a Spring Break excursion is planned. We got Silver Dollar City season passes for Christmas (thanks Mom and Dad...and Lanelle for the idea), so an easy trip, reminescent of ones from my youth, is in our future. Sydney is all prepped and excited to go to our pretend home (a hotel for those of you who don't speak four-year-old), our bags are (mostly) packed, the library travel bag is by the door(aren't I a great mom to think of this?), Nanny is here, and we are ready to go. As I am packing some snacks and thinking smugly how great of a trip-planner I am (I even thought of juice boxes), David is on the phone with his dad who will be meeting us the next morning. He asks if we've checked the calendar at SDC, because he heard it was closed part of the week. What, closed on Spring Break? Never. I never remember it closing during the week. And of course, any great trip-planner would actually check to make sure that the highlight of the trip is actually open, right? Um, well - just a small detail, right?
So, what is a mom with a wound up four-year-old, who so wholely has her heart set on a pretend home to do? Go on to Branson and just shop (because my kids, not to mention the husband would love spending two days shopping.) Perhaps pretend there was never a trip planned? Well, I did what all technology-dependent moms do; I sat down in front of my computer and typed in google.com "things to do close to nwa"
So, into pigeon foot (my pet name for my trusty CR-V) we climbed the next morning (but not after a good argument about getting started late because someone just had to get in a few phone calls on his vacation day, oh and maybe due to the fact that not everything was quite as well packed as I liked to pretend it was.) But, by the time we actually arrived in Tulsa, all was well and I was anticipating the gourmet selections awaiting my taste buds at good ol' QT. I mean, seriously, where else can you find so many flavors of slushy under one roof?

QT was followed by a brief visit/goosechase to the Tulsa Children's museum. Luckily we had Nanny with us, so we could leave the kids in the car without being arrested and jump in and peek at what the Tulsa Children's museum had to offer. Um, lots of ticked off parents, miserable kids, and a few that I'm pretty sure had been pumped full of some sugary substance to pretend they liked the place and its rubber-cement pizza. Honestly, if I lived there I would probably get a season pass or something and use it on rainy days, but for the price, we decided to move on and let Bear play pretend elsewhere.

So, we ended up finding a really fun bowling place, complete with bumpers. Sydney, who has never been bowling anywhere outside of our living room, found out that the actual ball is much heavier than the Wii remote, that Mommy's score also looks a lot better in the comforts of our own living room (although, with the bumpers on I did manage to break 100), and that the actual lane is very slippery and you will end up on your behind if you walk on it. Elle loved clapping and mostly just being out of her carseat. Of course, no game of bowling is complete without a little show from you-know-who.

After two games, we were feeling homeless and found a Marriott with an indoor pool and a continental breakfast. Sold. (Thank you Marriott points - I knew I loved my husbands job for a reason) Amazing service, and amazing chocolate chip cookies...look how happy Bug is with that cookie smeared all over her face. Syd was just thrilled to be in a pretend home. When I finally got it through her thick skull that just because we weren't at home, the no-jumping on the bed rule was still in effect, she graciously moved to the floor (and graciously, we were on the first floor.)

After some swimming, we were all ready to eat. So, off to meal #1 at Zio's where Elle learned to color and I remembered exacly how great the nachos are. Mmmm...delish. We had intentions of taking the kids to the dollar show, but ended up at Cheescake Factory instead. A much better trade, in my opinion. Then, back to our pretend home for some rest to get geared up for the Zoo the next day.