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!)


Dear jet plane:

I love single parenting. Really. I am sure this is why I got MARRIED before I had children. I think my kids came equipped with a "Dad is gone sensor" and I am pretty sure I didn't order either of them that way. I wonder if that warranty is still in effect. 10 year/ 100,000 mile is what we signed up for, right?

So, dear jet plane, please bring my husband home soon.

Disclamier: They really are sometimes, (ok, occasionally) a tiny bit good - just not when Dad is gone.



Among the many beauties of Sydney learning to write. Translated, this says, "Sydney (as in Sydney says) Elle is not being obedient." I guess we have a new way to tattle.


Pace Setter

Well, a long time ago, back when the weather was warm and the trees were green, there was a holiday called Labor Day. Most like to rest, but we've become habitual self-torturers and decided to run a 5K (you know, because we are fat and out of shape, and that is what you do to convince yourself you aren't THAT out of shape.) Oh, and there is this little thing I like to call peer pressure. We'll get back to that.

So, I did this form of self-torture last  year (three months after a c-section...what was I thinking...), but this year Sydney decided to join me for what we thought would be the 1 mile fun run, followed by my 5K. (Really, FUN run??) Except that they didn't do the event quite the same as they did last year and the 1 mile started AFTER the 5K. Nope, not leaving my little one to run it with someone else, and not giving up my 5K, so she ran the 5K with us, even though she'd trained (ok, training here means that I tested her a few times to make sure I wouldn't end up carrying her the whole way.) Oh, and David's company had extra spots in the race so he ran it to...more about that later.

So, here we are donning our pink "Sole Sisters" "Lil' Sole Sisters" shirts at some early hour...I'm thinking 6 a.m.? We really are late sleepers. 

Oh, and remember the peer pressure I mentioned before? It comes in the form of a sea of pink, and is a group of ladies from my ward (church) and a few of their friends.

This year we had some of our girls join us.

Sydney was by far the youngest, but you gotta give her credit for the most spunk. Look at that pose.

And here we are pre-race. I didn't know Elle would be going with us, too or I would've ordered her a pink shirt, too. But, I grabbed what pink we had, and of course she wore her running shoes. I don't know what was wrong with David - he just wasn't interested in a pink shirt. The nerve, eh?

And, we're off. And, we agreed to run it all together. None of us had really trained (I started, then had a month long ordeal with asthma which doesn't really lend to training for a 5K.) David thinks he is superman and doesn't need to train. So, two jogging strollers in hand, (one in case Syd gets tired) and we're off.Oh, and did I mention that I NEVER intended to run this with even one stroller??

The hills on this race are killer for us non-runners. KILLER. And, that is all I will say about that.

This picture is from a little after the 1 mile mark. Sydney will still going strong, and we kept telling her to slow down. She wouldn't stay in the stroller more than a few minutes. Thankfully there were lots of people we knew around us, so it wasn't a big deal if she was a little ahead. I had to stop and take a picture. David made fun of me, but that is ok. It's who I am.

Here is Sydney crossing the finish line. We aren't too far behind...look to the left..SEE! But, yeah, our four-year-old smoked us. And, she ran all but maybe .5 a mile (if that) and that was really due to a scraped knee.

We finished too, but that isn't nearly as exciting. However, I do think we look kind of funny with the empty stroller. Elle was a trooper and didn't fuss or get bored (or even poop in her diaper which I was totally expecting.)

See this guy? His name is Hunter Kemper and he is a "Champion Triathelete." Well, he was there to greet us at the finish line. David and I had gone to a sponsors dinner the night before (with about 30 people) so we had briefly met him. He seemed to remember us (I had him sign something thinking it might be cool for the girls when they are older), so he made a big fuss over Sydney running the 5K instead of just the mile.

She isn't proud at all - (look at that face!)

Elle wasn't as thrilled with her medal. We ate some lunch and played at the bounce house things afterward, waiting around to find out our time (I really can't leave not knowing.) We ran it in 41:46.0 Not great, but for my non-runner self and hubby, not bad. Better than my time last year (when I actually trained AND didn't push a stroller.) I just always get mad and think "what if I actually had trained." So, maybe next year I will remember it.

Our group got mentioned in the paper!!



M: do you want to wear your Hannah Montana jacket instead of your big blue coat?
S: yeah, my blue one is kind of pathetic.
Sent from my iPhone


St. Louis Pt. 3 - Our Fun Day


On our way to find some breakfast we found a park with a bunch of statues that the kids thought were pretty neat. 

This was David's favorite.

And, what trip to St. Louis would be complete without a trip to the arch. Nothing like paying to go up in a big metal thing in a pod. I wasn't sure how the girls would take it.

Does the look on her face say how she felt about the pod? I think I might have been telling her we were stuck in there forever, or some other lore. Hey, it is how I get my kicks.

Once we were to the top the girls LOVED it. I think Elle was even more mesmerized than Sydney. Sydney was more interested in taking pictures. Elle just wanted to stick her face on the window and look out. David thought she was going to fall out and die. He really wasn't digging the whole arch experience. Something about the crowds??

David's smile? Totally fake.

Syd loved the museum in the arch. We didn't get to do all of it, but promised to go back some day. she was excited she got to listen to stories about pioneers and the guy used her to be one of the girls in the story he was telling. That was definitely her favorite part of the day.

After lunch/dinner at Hard Rock (and I will NEVER eat at a Hard Rock again) we went to Union Station. My little star....

and we listened to Joel play the piano (and of course he needed Elle's help.)

Then we took a ride on the subway type thing. FYI - you need cash, and not a $20. You get your change back in dollar coins. Do you know how heavy that can be to tote around?

Sydney quickly became a pro at being a "big city" girl.

A quick stop at the temple, and we were on our way home. But, I have to say how excited Sydney was to get to see the temple. She always stays with grandparents when we go, so this was the first time since she was a tiny baby that she actually got to see a temple. She was pumped!! (Too bad it was closed and she crawled under the fence to get there!)


St. Louis Trip Part 2 - Heavenly Beds

First, I must disclose that since going on all of his business trips over the last few years, my husband has become a total hotel snob. So, we stayed in the Westin in downtown St. Louis (thanks to some points.) Well, by the time we finally got to the hotel it was late, which was a shame because the room was really nice. David has gone on and on about these rooms every time he travels, and I've never really understood. Well, now I get it. These rooms are awesome.

Here is why:

1. The Heavenly Beds. Yep, that is what they call them and there is a reason. If I were into stealing, I totally would've had the down comforter and mattress in my suitcase on the way out. And the cribs! No pack and play here. A cute little cast iron crib, complete with a Heavenly mattress, a dust ruffle, and a plush little rug. I mean, look how excited Elle was!

My girls slept great!

Sydney was out before we ever got to the hotel which was probably good. (I'm pretty sure she would've asked for her own crib.)

And I think Daddy enjoyed getting to put his baby to sleep.

2. The Bathrooms. They were huge. They had "princess tubs." Elle was stoked about the phone next to the toilet. I was excited about the double head shower. The hotel didn't have a swimming pool, which the girls were sad about, until they discovered how deep the bathtub was. Who needs a pool! 

There were tons of mirrors in the bathroom, so Elle actually sat still and let me dry her hair. Good-bye flat hair. Hello new hair-style (which she now wears some version of most days. Well, at least the ones I'm not feeling too lazy.)

And I did finally put a barette in to keep her bangs out of her eyes. :)


St. Louis Trip - Post 1 - Getting There

This is actually a trip we took in August, but we had such a fun time that I have to document it. Really, one day I will print this blog. Someday...

We traveled to St. Louis with the Rownacks (who I still think may be slightly on the crazy side for making arrangements to leave their kids and then agreeing to take ours) so we rode in their minivan (which the kids thought was ultra-cool.)

See, they were just a little excited to leave...if only they knew how much of the day they would really be spending in those carseats.

We took a bag full of toys, books, and crayons (that I was way more concerned with packing than the actual clothing, etc. that we would be wearing.) I do have to say that, along with our "halfway prizes" were the best decisions (and prehaps the only decisions) I made the whole trip.

"We are going to be in the car how long??"

I'm still amazed at Joel's ability to know every QT between here and well, everywhere. It made for very happy Rieske's. 

And if you are wondering what you do when your kid is just plain exhausted with the whole car seat idea, it is this. Pull over, and toss. The kid, not the seat. Works every time!

David decided he could definitely go for this whole chauffeur thing. Anyone for hire??

And, after not too many rounds of "are we there yet" we made it. We dropped the kids off with some friends and we were off to the temple.  What an amazing place! I found some much needed peace and received answers to some things I had been struggling with. And of course, fell in love with my husband all over again. (Happens every time!)