Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A list

Things I did when I was a stay-at-home mom again for a few days:

1. Painted the girls nails.
2. Went to a fun Disney movie.
3. Ate at "Old MacDonald's" (what the girls call it).
4. Puzzles
5. Pretending
6. Made breakfast, lunch, and cooked dinner.
7. Cleaned the kitchen
8. Laundry
9. Cuddled on the couch with M & J
10. Read books
11. Played Hungry Hungry Hippo (but the old one is better - I wish I had saved mine)
12. Threw stuff away
13. Played kitchen with M & J
14. Baked
15. Really enjoyed time with my family

I'm getting ready to go back to work this afternoon, but before I do, I wanted to give a big shout out to my friend Greta who is welcoming Charlie into the Coalier family today. Congratulations Sam, Greta, Sadie, Ruby, and Poppi!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve Eve

Why am I still awake? I had an exhausting month at work and now that I have a 4-day break I should be resting and going to bed early because I don't have any work that I have taken home, I have all my shopping done, and I just get to play with the girls tomorrow so I don't really have anything to plan. Jeff is asleep and I have no idea how he'll have the energy to wake up and go duck hunting in about 4 hours. He must really love to duck hunt.

I am so excited for the girls this year. We bought them bikes and I can't wait to see their faces on Christmas morning. And even more than for the possibility of Santa bringing them presents, they are super excited that it's Jesus' birthday. We are going to make a cake for him (M's idea - so cute). I love her joy right now. I wish I could bottle it and save it forever.

Good night. :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Crazy cold

I'm sitting at my computer trying to find a paint color for our basement by reading my many favorite blogs. I think I'm going with Tobacco Road by Duron. And I am freezing. We used to live in Northern Illinois and I had built up a pretty good cold weather tolerance. We first visited and looked for a place to live when they had just had an ice storm, which was a pretty normal thing around there. I used to run in negative temperatures - once when the wind chill was -20 and the mph was pretty high. We were about 10 miles from the Wisconsin border - we used to run there and back during our training runs. Now after writing that, I am missing my old running days. I hope that someday I can run hard and fast again. I knew this post was going to be random. It's been a LONNNNNG week at work and I am ready for the weekend.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Peanut Butter Jelly Time

I don't know what this is from, but JJ's uncle Eli has it for a ringtone and out of nowhere the other day she started singing "Peanut Butter Jelly Time, Peanut Butter Jelly Time" over and over again. It's the cutest thing. I need to get it on video.

Yes, it's after midnight and I'm still up. Probably because I just finished reading proofs for work. This is our busiest time of the year and I think I am going to really enjoy the open bar at my company office party this Saturday.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Family Pictures

Two posts in one day - get crazy!

Riley family pictures 2009 are up on my sweet friend Erin's blog:

She is not only a dear friend to me, but an amazingly talented photographer.

We had a great time with her a couple weeks ago in downtown St. Louis. She knows the best spots for fun pictures.

For those that are close to us, you know that 2009 has been a rough one for the Riley's. So in addition to being fun and resulting in beautiful pictures, this photoshoot was therapeutic and healing. Thank you to everyone who has walked with us, laughed with us, and cried with us the past several months. I think these photos are a great example of God's faithfulness.

Here are some of my favorites - and Erin posted even more so go check them out!

I love these girls.

I gasped when I saw this one.

This one is a definite framer.

Now I have to decide which one to use for our Christmas card!

The Rest of the Story

No, not an homage to Paul Harvey, but a continuance of my last post. Around 11:30 I received a call from the girls' school that JJ had a fever of 102 degrees. So I scrambled to hand off my projects at work (seriously, the WORST day this could happen), and went to pick her up. I went into the nurses office and she had just fallen asleep. And since she was so exhausted, she peed herself during those short 5 minutes of slumber. I realized this after I scooped her up and cuddled with her and the wetness seeped through my jacket. She didn't fall asleep on the way home, but that's okay because we snuggled on the couch for a little bit and then she took a nap in her crib. Yes, she is 2 1/2 and still in a crib. I'm not going to tell her that's crazy if you won't. I'm hanging onto the crib for as long as I can. She is contained and she doesn't know that she can get out. Though she can crawl in from the outside.....

Later on we go pick up M and I am still planning on Subway for dinner. So I drag my poor, sweet JJ into Subway. While they are making our sandwiches, she vomits all over me. On my shoulder, down my back, on my purse, and onto the floor. And the girl behind the counter hands me one of those pointless paper towels - the brown paper sack ones that have zero absorbancy. People look at me, but no one offers to help. They must not have children. Or they have never seen a kid puke. Or they were scared that it might be swine flu. Then other people are coming in to order but no one has come to clean up the puke on the floor. I try to use the "paper towel" to wipe it off the floor, but seeing as I am holding a two year old and covered in puke - it's a little difficult. And all this time M is picking out the 10 different kinds of chips that she wants to eat. It would have been easier to just make mac & cheese.

We got home, had baths, and then I put the girls to bed. I of course fell asleep in M's room and woke up around 10:30, still needing to read proofs for work. So I went to bed at 2. And JJ woke up at 2:15. M woke up at 4. Much coffee was needed the next day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I was THAT mom.

I was going to blog about this last night, but I fell asleep on the couch watching TV, exhausted. I was worn out from a day that started with JJ having two pee accidents - on purpose, I think. Then after cleaning all of that up, M ran to me to tell that JJ was pooping on her "beautiful, fuzzy carpet". No lie. She was still in progress when I ran in there. Her teachers at preschool swear that she is accident free there all day and ready to be potty trained. So maybe she is just using her bodily fluids/solids as weapons against me. And did I mention that Jeff is out of town until Thursday? Joyful. So after the messes were cleaned up, JJ refused to put any clothes on. I know that other moms and dads out there are just saying "well, just force them on her!". Well, we here at the Riley house are trying our best at Love and Logic and that says to let her make her choices and suffer the consequences. Take away the power struggle. So, nakedness won and I put JJ in the car buck naked and that is how we paraded into school. Note: we had been advised to do this by her teachers, so I called them to let them know that it had finally happened. I was going to be THAT mom. I wish that JJ had been mortified, but she LOVED it. JJ is a naturalist, exhibitionist, probably a lot of other "ists" too. So when offered the option of a coat before we got out of the minivan, she refused. So in the pouring, freezing rain, I carried my naked 2 year old past the stares of all the other parents at preschool. Her wonderful teachers were expecting her and JJ proudly announced that she didn't have any clothes on, just in case no one had noticed. Miss Jenny and Miss Margie were proud of me too. I asked them when I called later that day if other parents had brought their kids to school like that and they told me that yes, with nothing but socks and shoes or maybe underwear, but never completely in the buff. Awesome. Glad I could be the first.

So hopefully today goes better. I showered and dried my hair last night so that no shenanigans would happen during that time. And tonight I'm totally buying two $5 footlongs from Subway for dinner. I will survive. This is the 2nd week out of November that Jeff's traveled and I know that it's making me stronger, but I really don't like it very much.

Shortly I'll be at work where I have several ASAP projects to go out to clients, but at least I won't be cleaning up any excrement. And I'll get to eat lunch by myself. A shout-out to all the stay-at-home moms who will not get that luxury today and they will clean up a number of messes today from toddlers and babies. I was in the trenches before for 3 1/2 years and I know that it's the hardest job EVER. But also the most rewarding. JJ's kisses this morning and M's sweet smiling face helped me get out of bed. Less than an hour before departure time. Let's hope for no accidents.

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Funny little things from our 4 1/2 year old.

Yesterday on the way home from church:

M: Pluto isn't a planet anymore, now it's just a star.

And later at home, breaking up a styrofoam cup and placing them all over the floor:

M: I'm making the solar system. Here is Earth. Here is Jupiter - and the little planets around it.

But at the store later that day:

M: Daddy, I was thinking about getting the paper.

Jeff: But you can't read yet.

M: (With Frustration) Awww Stink! (I wonder where she learned that phrase...)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hot and Sweaty

Get your minds out of the gutter - I'm talking about my first experience with Bikram Yoga. I am really glad that I went. It was a nice reminder of how out of shape I am. I'm hoping that it will be just the boost I need to get back into a regular exercise routine. That and the fact that I had my yearly check-up with my doctor today and the number on the scale is A LOT different than it was 10 months ago at my last check-up. Hope everyone had a great Monday!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Deep Thoughts from a 4 year-old

My conversation with Miss M on the way home yesterday:

Miss M: When I grow up and I'm a mommy like you, will we still live together?

Me: I think you'll probably have your own house where you live with your babies.

Miss M: But will we live close to each other?

Me: I hope so.

And when I was in the bathroom later and she "invited" herself in because our bathroom door does not lock:

Miss M: (Noticing that my "mommy parts" are more mature than her parts)
I don't want that to ever happen to me.

Me: Well, you have a lot more years until you start to change.

Miss M: No, I don't want it to ever happen.

I don't blame you kid - it's scary to me sometimes too. Especially after two kids.

Monday, August 17, 2009

We are fish killers.

We discovered that the awful smell in our kitchen was not our garbage disposal, but our dead fish, Twilight. We had this one the longest - a whole year. So I was kind of attached. I'm still not sure if we should give her another "she's on vacation" story and get a new one (like we did the first 3 times - I mean c'mon, a week after her birthday and then a few weeks after that the 2nd time!? We didn't want to scar her for life). She was so lively and excited to see us. Anytime there was movement near her tank her little tail would swish side to side - she was hopeful for any flake of food that might land on her water. Her love of fish flakes might be what led to her demise. There was some confusion to the feeding schedule last week (don't worry Mom, I'm not mad at you) and the big T just couldn't say no. Will there be a T5? We haven't figured that one out yet. RIP, T4.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hot Rolls

This weekend I went to visit friends in Branson. I needed some time away and I wanted to be in the place that brings me so many happy memories. To your surprise, none of them involve Shoji Tabuchi. And we have good friends that moved there in March and I haven't seen them since then!

I was able to hang out with Bill & Maria and their sweet little one, Nathan. And spending time with some of the girls in their summer program, Discipleship Focus, was really good for my heart. Discipleship Focus helps staff Silver Dollar City for the summer with Young Life leaders from cities all over the United States.

And my visit back to Kanakuk for the first time in 10 YEARS was truly blessed. I believe that God carved out time for me with people that he knew I needed to see and talk with. It was hard to leave, but I know I will be back soon.

Would you believe that I didn't even take any pictures? I had my camera the whole time but I was too immersed in just hanging out and enjoying my time there that I didn't think of that until I was back on Highway 65 heading north. So in lieu of photos from this weekend, I'm including a couple pictures from my years at K-Kountry that really make me smile.

Me & Daley Niederhofer

Barn 8 Ski Trip day on Taneycomo Lake

On the way out of town I stopped into Lambert's to get a half dozen rolls. They're awesome - even when they aren't thrown at you.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Belated 4th of July Post

I had a few pictures from the 4th that I wanted to share. We had a great day and squeezed in a parade and fireworks between the rainstorms all day. Gotta stick with traditions! So first we had the parade in Webster with the Ewings and then a picnic and fireworks at night with the Nevils. I'm already looking forward to next year.

Miss M painted an American flag at school and I turned it into a cute door hanging.

Two cute girls watching the parade.

Another cute girl modeling my 2-year old's headband.

More parade watching.

A 4th of July cutie.

The Clydesdales served as the Grand Marhsals.

Ending the day with a bang.

Monday, July 6, 2009


The other day Miss M was working on a project. She asked her daddy how to spell "babies". Without any help from us, she finished this sign and taped it on her door.

If you can't tell, that is a baby with a "No" symbol around it. Instead of making me sad that she doesn't want JJ in her room, this makes me proud of her being assertive and creative at the same time. And I know that JJ won't let a sign stop her so I'm not too worried. And the fact that they look for each other in the morning when they wake up and get all excited to see their sister.

Early Birthday Present

My Uncle Richard is so thoughtful. He brought me this beautiful table all the way from Colorado. I admired my Great-Grandma Irma's almost-identical table when we were in Denver last September and he remembered and found one at an estate sale. It is my new favorite piece of furniture. It is from the 1930's and made by a furniture company in Michigan. It has a leather top (the flash makes it look kind of funny, but it is absolutely gorgeous). Now I just need to find the perfect lamp and lots of frames to put family pictures in. Thank you, Richard, for thinking of me. Feel free to think of me any time you are at an estate sale with awesome finds. :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

The first of many trips to Fritz's

Today we ended our lovely 3-day weekend with a trip to Fritz's with the Ewings. So much fun. And lots of messy ice cream all over our cute little kids. We'll be making at least bi-monthly trips with the Ewings the rest of the 2009 Custard Season. Here are some pics to enjoy - Ellen, I'll send you more tomorrow!

The Story of Amy

Don't worry, I'm not going to tell my life story in a blog post.

The other day I found a book that was given to me by my good friend, Eva. I was a counselor at Kanakuk and Eva was a kamp nurse. The book is The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde. I don't really associate him with children's books, especially ones with a Christian theme, but this is one of my favorites. So when I opened it up after many, many years, what should fall out but a sweet story that my BFF Sarah wrote for me during a particularly rough period of my life while I was in college. I was again a counselor at kamp and Sarah sent me a big care package for my barn (that's what they're called at K-Kountry) filled with hair bows, bubbles, play-doh, crayons, and other fun stuff. Basically a little cheer-me-up package for me to share with my girls. It made me so happy to get it (mail is golden at kamp) and it was a nice reminder of how great it was when I read it again the other day. I'm going to post it so you can read it too. Sarah, can you believe I still have it?! Thanks again for being there for me and helping me deal with some tough stuff. You are so dear to me.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Chocolate Chip Expert

At Trader Joe's with Daddy today:

J: Are you going to help me shop?

M: Yes. I'll get the chocolate chips because I'm an expert when it comes to chocolate chips.

True, very true.

I don't have any recent chocolate chip cookie making pictures except for this one from when I was 8 months pregnant and trying to get in as much M & Mommy time as possible. Please ignore my messy kitchen - I was REALLY pregnant but not yet in the last-minute nesting phase where I cleaned a lot.


*But before I go, I need to give a big shout out and thank you to the crazy woman driving the red Corolla today on Adams in Kirkwood. I know you probably thought that you were being the safe one by driving 10 miles below the speed limit because it's a road with lots of curves. But you're dangerous because the line of 15 cars behind me will get rear-ended when someone expecting a 30 mph speed limit comes around the corner and finds all of us going 15 mph behind a CRAZY PERSON! And thanks for going even slower when you realized my frustration with your slowness. Purposely coming down to 10 mph while approaching the green light so that it turned yellow and I had to sit behind you and glare and shake my head in disapproval. I know you probably were thinking "people are in too much of a hurry these days - what's her deal?". Well, my deal was that my 2 year old fell and scraped her knee in the parking lot of the 4 year old's school and I wanted to get to her school to clean her up. But I wasn't even speeding. I just wanted to go 30 mph! And yes, I was also already late for work. Though even if I hadn't been, I would still have been driven completely batty by your inconsiderate behavior. Thanks for playing that game with me during what might be my most stressful time of day. You really made your point. That you're NUTS!

Thanks, dear readers. Now I can rest peacefully tonight. :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

May 21st

I'm already looking forward to this date - the new season of So You Think You Can Dance. I CANNOT dance, but I love this show. Anyone who watches Dancing with the Stars should know that Lacey and Chelsea were once on SYTYCD. I don't watch DWTS - it just doesn't interest me in the slightest. But SYTYCD is awesome. So I am counting down the days. :)

So, I told you that I wouldn't be posting every day and I haven't let you down. I need to keep notes though, because over the past few days I've thought about stuff I could blog about and I've already forgotten. But something totally cute I can blog about is the Cherry Dress. Miss M wore it two years ago and JJ found it in the closet the other day. I love that she wanted to wear her rain boots with it.

Miss M....

And JJ.....


With Miss M in the background...

And of course we took the picture before we had flowers in the flower pot and the new planters that J made where the pointy trees used to be. So I had to include a picture so you can see that Spring has arrived at our house.

J did such a great job on these! They replaced the swirly trees that were a pain to keep up.

Hope everyone's week is off to a good start!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I haven't laughed uncontrollably in a long time. Thankfully J provided an opportunity last night when he played a Tivo'd Divorce Court for me. While he was flipping from one news show to the next, something about this episode caught his eye and I'm so glad it did. I have never watched Divorce Court before and I probably won't ever again. But the case of Mr. and Mrs. McClain will stay on our DVR for a bit just in case I need a good laugh. I won't try to describe the whole thing, because it will ruin it if you ever see a rerun (or come over to our house in the near future). My stomach hurt from laughing. And just to see J laughing that hard too was good for my soul. An evening well spent.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Anniversary (sung by Tone, Tone, Tone)

It's our anniversary and we celebrated by going out to dinner on the Hill. Since we went to Italy for our honeymoon, every year we go out for Italian on the big day. This year it was Cunetto's on the Hill. So yummy. We had great food, great conversation, and great wine. There was a couple at the table next to us celebrating their 6th anniversary - with their baby also in attendance. This reminded us of our first anniversary after Miss M was born. She was about 5 weeks old and with no family in town, we didn't want to leave her with a sitter that soon so we took her with us. Lots of screaming ensued and as soon as our food arrived, we got it to go. I was miserable. J was frustrated. But we look back now and smile about it. I need to keep reminding myself of that on the days where I feel like I'll never look at the moment positively - ever. J pointed out that we have now been married with children just as long as we were married without children. 8 years total, Miss M is now 4, just in case you were too tired to do the math. Wow. I can't imagine going back to pre-kids. I love our little family. And I love my husband even more now that he's a Dad. And a great one at that. I am blessed. I would be more mushy and gush about my immense love for my man, but I'm still a little unsure of myself here in the world of blog and I don't know yet who might be reading this stuff. I hope I loosen up. I was hoping that by blogging I would hone my writing skills that have been pretty lax since I graduated with that BA in English. And J doesn't want me to expose all of our personal info on here so I'm trying to be careful. So I'll just tell all of my friends those secrets in person. Just kidding, J!

Monday, April 27, 2009


I told my friend Katie that I would start my blog this past weekend. It's Monday, but I guess it's what you can come to expect if you're going to follow along. I'm not sure if I'll be able to post every day - well, I know I won't be able to because I can't even keep up with Facebook. But I have to start somewhere so here it goes....

JJ turned 2 on Friday. I can't believe that it's already been that long. I thought I would never get through the first few months and it's been two years! She is such a joy to us. What a sense of humor. What a great laugh. What a personality. JJ - we went through some hard stuff in the beginning, but we are so bonded because of it. You are my little punkin' munkin'. Happy Birthday, big girl!

And I can't quite figure out how to add pictures and make my blog all cute, so it would be nice if all of my blog-savvy friends would give me a shout to help me out. Thanks again, Katie, for the push to join the insanity. I added a picture of you all from Saturday, but can't figure out how to post pictures on different places on the blog other than the top. This blog is definitely going to expose my computer inadequacies.