Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Merry Christmas, Julie

My sister told me it's unacceptable that I haven't updated my blog in 26 days. So this little update is for her. (And anyone else who agrees with her.)

Here's what happened during December:
  • I turned 32. Happy birthday to me.
  • Matt worked like a dog. The holiday rush always keeps us busy, but this year, Matt added a commission to the mix. He worked very hard, and we didn't see enough of him. (But we know better than to complain about having lots of work.)
  • Zelf's face got mutilated in an unfortunate stroller accident. Adding insult to injury, later that same day, he fell out of my pocket and disappeared while we were Christmas shopping. Sad, sad day in the Richards household. Thankfully, he reappeared the next day with new clothes and a fixed up face, so Riley assumes he briefly returned to the North Pole for reconstructive surgery.
  • I performed a violin duet of Away in a Manger on three different occasions. Which I hope makes up for three solid years of neglect.
  • We spent Christmas in Utah with Matt's family at their cabin in the mountains. We had a great time playing in the snow and not working.
  • Riley got chap stick, band-aids, and a pink re-useable bag from Whole Foods for Christmas. (Along with a few other things.)
  • I gave myself permission to neglect my blog.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Away in a Manger

We attended a lovely Christmas pageant tonight. Riley tried her darndest to get Zelf a starring role. Such a stage mom.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wish Big

Here's Riley's Christmas wish list:
  • chapstick
  • band-aids
  • a purple reusable bag from Whole Foods
My bank account thinks that's reason enough to be very grateful this Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Bedtime Story

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who slept with four pacifiers.

Years later (two, actually), the little girl had long since outgrown her pacifiers. But she continued to exhibit obsessive bedtime behavior.

And they slept happily ever after.

Then end.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Halloween Traditions

For Halloween, we joined our group of friends for the third year running for a marathon evening of trick or treating.

Riley departed from tradition, however, when she forgot to throw her annual post-trick-or-treating meltdown. A happy holiday, indeed!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Killer Bunny

Hoppy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fun for all ages

Our friends Jim, Ginger, Vivian, and baby Bryant joined us to carve pumpkins. We thought Riley and Vivian would have a ball scooping out pumpkin guts and choosing jack-o-lantern faces. We were wrong. They spent the evening off playing elsewhere.

No worries. We grownups had a ball instead.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Reward

Yesterday was a big day in the Richards family: We went to the farmer's market without a stroller.

That's a big step for a family with a free-willed child like ours. So we drove a hard bargain: If Riley behaved, she got to run free afterward. If she misbehaved, the stroller would return next week.

The verdict:

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I remember, as a kid, asking my mom which child was her favorite. She responded predictably and emphatically: "I love ALL my children equally."

So I had to chuckle when, after asking Riley whether she liked Zelf, Pinky, or Super Grover best, she responded as emphatically as my own mother had: "I am ALL them's mommy!"

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Saudi Arabia Or Bust

Here's a mobile Matt is about to send to Saudi Arabia, where it will hang in the children's area of His Excellency Somebody-Or-Other's royal palace.

This project has been several months in the making. Matt welded the frames, dyed all the fabric (over the tiny stove of our tiny kitchen), and enlisted a friend to do all the sewing. The only problem? His shop ceilings were about 5 feet too short to fully assemble the mobile.

Thank heavens–quite literally–for the church gymnasium.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

No, this is not an announcement.

Ever since Riley's friend Vivan got a new baby brother a few weeks back, Riley has become absolutely baby crazed.

  • crawls and baby talks whenever the mood strikes
  • shoves dolls up her shirt and declares, "I have a baby in my tummy!"
  • swaddles Grover, her own "baby brother"
  • had the nerve to ask, "Mommy, your tummy is have a baby in there?"
Geez, talk about pressure. (To provide a baby brother and/or lose my gut.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Two Can Play at That Game

Riley has an annoying habit of yelling out random requests long after we've put her to bed. Occasionally, when it goes overboard, we temporarily confiscate Zelf.

So here's a conversation Matt had with Riley the other night when she called out requesting more ice for her sippy cup of ice water–nearly two hours past bedtime:

Matt (holding Zelf near his ear): What's that Zelf? It's too noisy? Yeah, it is pretty noisy. Riley, Zelf says he can't sleep when you yell like that. He says if you keep making noise, he wants to sleep somewhere else. You need to be quiet so I don't have to take him.

Riley (grabbing Zelf back): What Zelf? Daddy, Zelf says I need more ice.

Score: Riley 1, Daddy 0

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Having two sets of involved grandparents is confusing, isn't it?

So instead of asking "Which Grandma?" Riley has just created new names for them: Mommy's Mom and Daddy's Mom.

And the Grandpas? They're Daddy's Dad and Mommy's Dad.

Zero points for creativity. 101 points for accuracy.

We were lucky enough to have Daddy's Mom visit over the weekend!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

First Day of School

Here's Riley on her first day of preschool. She was so excited that it didn't even bother her when I broke to her the news that Zelf wasn't invited.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Executive Branch of Parenthood

The first day of preschool was a raging success. Except the teacher requested that Riley wear shoes that don't fall off on the playground. (Unlike these.)

So after school, we went shoe shopping, where Riley learned a lesson in government: Request ridiculous shoes like this, and mommy exercises absolute veto power.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Meet the Teacher (but try not to scare her)

Preschool starts next week, which we're all really thrilled about. And Riley and I got a little sneak peek today with a pre-preschool picnic.

While I attempted to meet her teachers and other parents, Riley spent the entire picnic racing around the lawn, somersaulting down a nearby hill, attacking the tortilla chip dish, and dancing her heart out (wearing her bright pink puffy tutu, of course).

Her teacher watched with amusement (or was it terror?) and said, "She certainly looks comfortable here. I can tell she's really...creative."

(Please tell me "creative" isn't some kind of euphemism.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mutually Beneficial

While we were in Utah, my sister Emily volunteered to babysit Riley at her home one evening so we could go out to eat.

Emily recently sent me photos of their evening together. Turns out, in additional to being a kind and generous sister, Emily is a brilliant and resourceful aunt.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Best Medicine

We spent yesterday afternoon organizing the toys in Riley's room. She rediscovered some old favorites and developed some new favorites, too. Like a toy doctor's syringe that I have no clue how/when/where we acquired.

So Riley spent the rest of the afternoon administering faux shots. But only after warning me first, "I need to give you a shot, Mommy. This going to be reeeeally hurt."

(If it did, in fact, hurt, I was laughing too hard to notice.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Summer: The Abridged Version

One of life's little ironies is that when there's a lot to blog about, there's so little time for blogging.

We have been so darn busy maximizing our fun this summer that I've got this backlog of blog entry ideas that, let's be honest, I'm just never going to get to.

So instead, here are the ClifsNotes highlights of our past few weeks:
  • Riley's joint birthday party with her friends Anna and Vivian, who all celebrated birthdays within a week of each other.
  • The Sesame Street cupcakes my friends Ginger, Lissie, and I made for the joint birthday party.
  • Riley's three-year checkup, during which I learned that shots don't faze Riley at all if they're quickly followed by a bandaid.
  • Portland's heat wave: A week of 100-plus degree weather. No a/c. Bleh.
  • The mobile Matt, our new employee Ben, and I stayed up 'til 2 a.m. finishing just before deadline.
  • Our trip to Salt Lake City to visit Grandma & Grandpa, Riley's cousins (who were in town from Houston), Matt's extended family, my sisters, and a few good friends.
  • Riley's birthday party #3, thrown by Matt's mom and sisters.
  • Lots of fun activities during out trip.
  • Riley's new best (stuffed) friend, Pinky the bear. Sorry Zelf. (And thanks, Grandma!)
  • Our eighth anniversary!

So. If you don't hear from me for a few more weeks, don't worry. We're either busy enjoying our precious final days of summer–or recovering from the past few weeks.

the birthday girls

the cupcakes

the mobile (in process)

the grandma and cousins

the birthday party #3

the pinky bear

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Your Wish is My Command

Here's a recap of Riley's birthday yesterday (not necessarily in chronological order):

"I be three. I eat cake."
(For the record, she specifically requested a pink cake. Which pretty much melted in our super-hot un-airconditioned condo.)

"I go swimming in the water with my swimsuit." (She actually spent more time biking in the water with her swimsuit.)

"I see Madison and Carson."

"I go to the painting place."

"I eat ice cream." (Not pictured, but occurred at Ben & Jerry's AND the family party.)

"I get chap stick."

"I get bandaids."

"I paint my fingers and my toes." (To somewhat appease Matt, I got a slightly glittery clear polish. Barely noticeable!)
There. Every single wish granted.

Have I set a bad precedent?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lovely Day (Twofold)

We just got back from a quick trip to the beach, where we spent the day visiting our friends Sven and Hyuna–and their three adorable boys.

We haven't seen Sven and Hyuna in ages because they live all the way in South Korea, so it was really nice to spend time catching up with them.

The only sad thing is that I was too busy enjoying the day that I forgot to pull out the camera. That is, until we parted ways and stopped for dinner on the drive home, where Matt got this:

A half-pound burger topped with bacon, ham, cheese, grilled onions, AND a fried egg. Yikes.

(Ok fine, it was delicious. Matt was kind enough to let me try it, just before he polished off the last bite.)

What a perfect day.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Wish List

Riley's birthday is fast approaching. For the past few months, at any mention of a birthday, Riley would say, "I be three, I eat cake!"

Before long, it evolved: "I be three, I eat cake, I go swimming!"

But the birthday demands are ballooning.

Just yesterday when Matt mentioned her birthday, she said:

"I be three, I eat cake, I go swimming in the water with my swimsuit, I see Madison and Carson, I go to the (ceramics) painting place, I eat ice cream, I get chap stick, I get band aids, I paint my fingers and my toes."

Demanding as she may be, I think her requests are do-able. (Although Matt would disagree on the finger/toenail painting.) But at least she's not requesting a cat/dog/pony/trip to Disneyland?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Happiness is...

...a new fridge. One that's eight cubic feet larger. *Sigh.* I'm in heaven.



Any bets on how long it stays organized?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Picking Berries/Battles

Sheri and I went berry picking this evening. Poor grandma's ears deserved a break, so Riley joined us.

She behaved so shockingly well–occupying herself with raspberries, Zelf, and her new shoes–that when, for some unknown reason, she stripped to her skivvies, it just didn't seem worth battling. I prefer berries over battles.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

For the Record

My child does own a bathing suit.

In fact, it was her festive outfit of choice for our July 4 festivities. (Gorging on cherries, listening to tunes at the farmer's market, and hanging out out at Grandma & Grandpa's. But swimming? Not so much.)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Summer Swim

Summer in this city is absolutely glorious. And this year, I've resolved to seize the beautiful weather by riding my poor, neglected road bike as much as possible. Lucky for me, Riley loves the bike trailer this year, so we've set out to explore all the parks within biking distance. Yesterday's destination had a watering hole, which made for a great impromptu swim.

Needless to say, between Riley's swim, my bike ride, and all that sunshine, we were one happy family. (Poor Matt just worked all day. But, uh, earning money makes him happy?)

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Matt, of all people, has been upset about the demise of the Elmo stroller. So to preserve a bit of it, he removed the cover before we threw out the stroller frame.

Matt and I were still debating what to do with it (after laundering it, first and foremost) when Riley decided for us:

(Clifford was also acquired at that killer rummage sale.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sweet Ride

Check out the $5 stroller I scored at a rummage sale this weekend:

I'll admit, it's nothing fancy. But it feels like a major upgrade after dealing with this:

(Yes, those back three tires are missing. Classy.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

World's Best Dad

I'm afraid if I were to list all the reasons why Matt is the world's best dad, it would 1. make ME look like a slacker mom and 2. make all the other moms jealous.

Let's just leave it at this: Matt is a 100-percent involved dad who goes above and beyond every single day. Which makes Riley and me awfully darn lucky to have him around.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Grandma's a Good Listener

My sister Sheri and I went berry picking yesterday–our favorite summer activity. Meanwhile, Riley got to spend some quality time at Grandma's. When I dropped Riley off, she was really sad. I knew she'd be fine, and of course, when I returned, she was happy as could be.

As we headed home, I asked, "What did you do with Grandma?"

"I cried," she said. "And it hurt Grandma's ears."

Ah, quality time, indeed. (For me and Sheri, at least...)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Shopping Buddy

Riley and I popped into Anthropolgie today to check out the sale rack. After I tried on a shirt, Riley exclaimed, "Mommy, you look really cute in that!"

I was flattered. But I left empty handed.

I mean, can you trust the judgement of a pajama-wearing two-year old?

Monday, June 15, 2009


While we were in Utah, Riley's cousins, Alex and Shea, were visiting from Houston. It was our first time to see them since Christmas 2007. We still can't believe how much they've grown up–they've become excellent babysitters (with Grandma's supervision, of course). And to say Riley adored them would be an understatement.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Wedding Day

My sister got married last Saturday. The festivities didn't begin until that afternoon, so Matt, Riley & I spent the morning visiting a historic farm nearby. We fed the geese, introduced Zelf to the goats, checked out the pigs...and convinced Riley that the duck bite she received was actually a kiss. (She didn't fall for it.)

At the farm, we saw a couple from afar getting wedding photos taken. Lo and behold, it was Julie and her soon-to-be husband. I spent the rest of the day coveting her wedding dress.

The wedding itself was really lovely–except the part afterward when Riley refused to cooperate for the all-nieces photo. Notice someone missing? (Even the babies cooperated, for pete's sake!)

We also seized the opportunity to get a photo of the Dougall siblings (minus the overseas brother).

The wedding reception was later that evening, and we loved every minute of it, thanks to great company, the most delicious wedding cake ever, and Matt's parents, who babysat Riley!

Congrats, Scott & Julie!