Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What Happened in Vegas

Here's the thing: when a bunch of squares party in Vegas, there's no need to edit out details.

So here are the highlights:
  • Stopping in Salt Lake City en route, where Grandma and Grandpa Richards threw Riley a pre-birthday party.
  • Gorging ourselves on really good (seriously!) all-you-can-eat sushi. If Dougalls ever return, the restaurant may change its policy to all-you-can-eat-or-five-rolls-per-person, whichever-comes-first.
  • The family talent show, featuring my brother Rich's tribute to the Dougall Fam. Gems included:
*If, as a child, you thought five-star travel meant you had grass and shade in the same campground, you might be a Dougall.

*If you tend to have an opinion...about everything, you might be a Dougall.

*If you consider sleep a necessary inconvenience, you might be a Dougall. (Note: I'm the black sheep; I like my eight hours.)

*If you've ever been willing to drive 12 miles out of your way to save 36 cents on gas–not 36 cents a gallon, 36 cents total–you might be a Dougall.
  • Playing at Pump it up, one of those kiddie "inflatable party zones" that I *never* imagined patronizing. But when it morphed from playtime for the kids into gladiator-style competitions for the adults...well, that's when the fun really began. We sprained an ankle, pulled a shoulder, and acquired tons of rug burn, but it was totally worth it.
  • Sharing approximately one million desserts at one of those Vegas-style buffets. (My tribute contribution: If, at all-you-can-eat buffets, you tally food consumed vs. money spent, you might be a Dougall.)
  • Meeting Riley's four new baby cousins.
  • Acting like kids (again) at a local water park. Riley and cousin Sawyer happily overindulged on leftover Doritos while Matt and I conquered the water slides. But the very best part? Watching my brother David, who's still recovering from a serious car accident, conquer the water slides. Go David!
  • Celebrating Riley's birthday.
  • Seeing how much Riley adored (and was adored by) every single cousin, from the babies on up to the 16-year-old cool guys.

Verdict: the fun far outweight the dysfunction! When's the next reunion?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Riley's Birthday Bash: A Photo Essay

The birthday girl.

The party goers.

The enthusiasm.
(A doll was inside, but based on Riley's excitement here, Santa may bring lots of crackers this Christmas...)

More enthusiasm.

More gifts. (Since Matt and I can't seem to share Rock Band.)

The cake.* And the vultures.



Almost gone. (Yep, every last crumb got consumed.)
With 40+ fun guests and one giddy girl, this party will be hard to top. Unless Riley's birthday falls during another family reunion!

*Made in a hotel kitchenette, thankyouverymuch.

Friday, July 25, 2008


That's how Riley says two. And that's how old she turned today.

Happy birthday to Miss Riley!

(And congratulations to Matt and me for surviving two years of parenthood!)

Stay tuned for a full family reunion/birthday celebration update.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Viva Las Dougall Family

This family:

is headed to Vegas for a reunion with this family:

Plus seven spouses, twenty-some-odd kiddos, a couple of friends, and plenty o' chaos. Let the madness begin!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sometimes a Girl Just Needs Chocolate

Ok, I'm giving you a candid peek into the disaster zone we call "the kitchen." Please ignore the disorganized cupboards and crumb-strewn counters, and just focus on the kid, will ya?

Here's the monkey's newest trick: While I was preoccupied elsewhere this afternoon, Riley pushed her high chair into the kitchen, used it to climb onto the counters, and successfully raided (and depleted) my chocolate-chip stash.

Note to self: Find new hiding place. Possibly under padlock.

In other monkey-related news, within the past week, Riley wriggled herself out of the jogging stroller, learned to climb out of her crib, and successfully reached into our highest toiletry-filled bathroom drawer. (Which is why she smells like men's deodorant.)

Something tells me the child-proofing has just begun...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Impulse Purchase Justification

Riley's second birthday is approaching, so we've been debating whether to get her Legos, a tricycle, or a train set.

We settled on Rock Band for our Wii.

And we let her have it two weeks early.

It's great for the whole fam, ya know: Matts plays guitar, I play drums, and Riley* gets to be the groupie.

Best birthday ever. (At least for Matt and me...)

*I'm sure before long, she'll master the vocals. Except Rock Band doesn't include The Daddy Song.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Inhibitions: Zero

Aren't most people deathly afraid of:
  • singing in public and
  • indecent exposure?
I sure am. But my child sure isn't.

Last night she:
  • sang The Daddy Song ("Daddy" repeated over and over to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle") at the top of her lungs at Noodles & Company. And
  • undressed herself–while waving wildly at all passersby–on the short walk home
Guess who was embarrassed? 

Hint: it wasn't this girl.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

*Contains Spoilers* (To Riley's Favorite Book)

Here's Riley's favorite book:

In it, the baby searches everywhere for a missing pacifier–under the rug, behind the chair, in the potty–before finally finding it: "There's binky! In my crib! Just where I like it best."

So Riley has created her own hide-and-go-seek version of Binky. With a surprise twist ending:

"There's binky! In the microwave! Just where I like it best*..."

*But honestly, we all know she likes it best in her mouth.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Race Recap (Sans Sugarcoating)

So, as I mentioned awhile back, while we were in Utah, I ran a race. The Wasatch Back Relay. It's taken me this long to report on it because:
  • I've been waiting on photos, and
  • I've been working up the enthusiasm to re-live the experience
Me running

Yeah, it was miserable. But also tons of fun.

Here's why.

The fun:
  • I got to see Angela, one of my running pals from Houston
  • I teamed up with Angela and 10 other great runners for the 180-mile relay
  • Even though I spent 20+ hours in the back of a vehicle, it was with 5 very fun teammates
  • I saw lots of scenic stuff--mountains, animals, wide-open spaces, and other stuff this city girl rarely sees
  • I ran 19.1 miles during the 28-hour race
  • I love to run, even when it's miserable
The miserable:
  • I ran 19.1 miles during the 28-hour race
  • 5.1 miles were in the blazing, soul-sucking afternoon heat
  • 8.5 miles were in pitch black, except the light from the moon and a teeny headlamp
  • 5.6 miles were on very tired legs and 3 hours of sleep
  • I only got 3 hours of sleep (I need at least 7 to function properly/pleasantly.)
  • I slept those 3 hours in the backseat of a pickup truck
  • For two days, I subsisted off Clif bars, trail mix, beef jerky, and Gatorade (Ok, ok, that was actually one of the fun parts...)
Despite all my whining, I had a really great time. Especially pre-sleep deprivation. And I even plan to run it again next year with my family.

Unless this recap scares them away...

Me not running (hallelujah!) with my teammate Erin

Part of the team: Brock, Enz, Angela, and me

Angela and me after the race (double hallelujah!)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Picking Your Battles 101

If your kid wants to wear this to bed, fine. Let her.

But if she wants to wear this to bed, battle away.

FYI: I won. This time, at least.