Friday, December 18, 2009


I love Christmas. I love everything about this time of year. I love the street not far from me that has filled their lawn and house with every kind of lawn ornament and light display known to man. I love the food, the music, the tv specials, the shopping, my 8' tall waving Santa, Devin's holiday work party that has the same food every single year (I don't think engineers believe in variety) etc. etc. etc. As much as I love this time of year, I also get a small feeling of sadness in the pit of my stomach: I miss the memories. Here are my favorites:

-Opening up one gift on Christmas eve after church. It was inevitably new pajamas.
-The first time Eric and I really got to experience snow in Hinesville, GA. We didn't own any snowpants, but we came inside and watched Gummy Bear Adventures and drank hot chocolate while our jeans were in the dryer.
-Receiving my Barbie dreamhouse with the elevator
-Bon bons and Candy cane cookies that my mom makes
-My Christmas band concerts in middle school. I felt like some serious hot stuff playing "Jingle Bells" on my clarinet in my white shirt, black jeans and cumberbund.
-Christmas Eve services at various military chapels that always ended w/ dripping candles and "Silent Night."
-Learning the alto part to Carol of the Bells in madrigals senior year and singing in Old Ellicott City (MD). Hearing that song still gives me goosebumps. I love it!
-Going sledding senior year of high school with Dan and Leigh Ayn. I'm sure if you know her like I know her, you can imagine the facial expressions and screaming noises she made going down that hill.
-Exchanging Christmas gifts with Amanda A WHOLE MONTH EARLY in college.
-Christmastime in the dorms at K-State. They always put on this fabulous Christmas dinner for us and finals week was such a fun week of celebrating.
-Junior year of college when Aunt Shel sent my gift to my house in KS. It was taped shut with "DON'T YOU DARE OPEN THIS EARLY! I KNOW HOW YOU ARE!" slathered all over in black permanant marker. You know I had that bad boy ripped open in about 30 seconds! ;)
-Driving to visit the Rileys my sr. year of high school (a few days after Christmas) to see Devin, who was home from college. I was SO excited to see him. Every now and then I look at him, and am amazed and thankful that I get to spend the rest of my life with this man who made my heart jump out of my chest.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Letter 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We hope this letter finds you doing well, but this letter really isn't about you is it?

Devin is still an engineer at Johnston Burkholder Associates.

Marie still stays home with the kids and works part-time at Baby Gap.

Now onto our little geniuses:

Addison, 3 (but she can tell you that herself in English AND Spanish) is growing like a weed. Devin and I are in awe at her intelligence. While most kids are just drawing scribbles at this age, Addison is able to color completely in the lines. Her attention to detail astounds us: she doesn't just draw a sun, but adds eyes and a smile as well. She spends her days composing music, practicing spatial analysis, and creating scientific hypotheses. She is in the gifted and talented program at both the gym kid's club and our church preschool. She is also becoming a talented gymnast. We are planning on hiring a personal coach to get her ready for the 2020 Olympic Games. We are proud to say that she is smarter than all of our friends' children and we let her know this on a daily basis. Because Addison is so intelligent, we hope to enroll her in 1st grade next fall, skipping preschool and kindergarten.

While Ainsley (10 months) isn't quite as smart as Addison, she is still a delightful little baby. She barely makes a peep, only to request her daily serving of kale with flaxseed (in sign language of course). Ainsley is also in the gifted and talented program in the church nursery, and we our keeping our fingers crossed that she'll make the honor roll at our gym's kids club. She is already able to say ma ma, da da, and guh guh, so we have placed her on the waiting list at the local montessori preschool. Because her diet is so balanced, Ainsley has never spit up or had a leaky diaper. Her b.m.'s are always round and perfectly formed. Like Addison, Ainsley is outperforming her peers in all areas. We are truly proud parents.

Our strict schedules with the girls doesn't allow for much time socially, especially now that we are trying to get a head start on college applications, but let us know if you are in the area. We'd love to squeeze in some time for you (maybe).

Happy Holidays!


Devin, Marie, Addison and Ainsley


Sunday, December 13, 2009


Ten years ago...

I was turning 18. I had already been through so much in my life at that point, and had already learned so many life lessons that I pretty much thought I had life figured out. HA!

I was already in love with Devin Riley, but also dating someone else too. Devin won. I think I made a very good decision.

I was pondering moving back to Kansas and going to K-State so I could be with Devin and Amanda, or staying in Maryland. A few months later I chose Kansas, and 9 years later, I am still happy with this decision.

I was trying to figure out what to do with my life, when deep down inside I knew all I wanted to be was a mom.

I worked at Baby Gap.

I wasn't the least bit active. Since then I have climbed 5 fourteeners, braved spin class and figured out how to run for longer than 3 minutes without wanting to die.

I considered myself a really good singer. Now the only people I sing to are my two little girls, and my repetoire includes songs like "Ba ba ba ba...thank you God for baby Jesus."

I was meeting Devin's family for the very first time. I sat on the couch and watched the Disney Channel with Daniel and Caitlyn. When I returned home from the trip I told my mom that I wanted to be part of that family.

I was more interested in hanging out with my friends than my parents. Now my parents are my friends.

I loved to make people laugh and have a great time. Still true.

I discovered The Cheesecake Factory.

I was late to just about everything and trying to figure out how to not be. I used to stop at Dunkin Donuts and get coffee for my 1st period teacher so she'd excuse me for being tardy. Maybe I'll have this figured out by birthday #38.

I had two piercings in each ear. Since then I've had an eyebrow ring and my first tattoo.

I felt God's whispers of love and grace, even though I had no room for him in my life. I'm so thankful for a God that forgives all things.

Those are my memories. What do you remember the most about me through the years?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Addison's Art

I'm sure lots of other kids drew boobs on their good samaritan pictures too and not just my daughter, right? Maybe? Hopefully? Please!

Please pray!!!!

My friend Angela from high school and Spring Canyon (she's actually the one who told me about Spring Canyon in the first place) just gave birth to a beautiful little girl, Ally. She was born October 12 with a cleft lip and palate. Here are some of the status updates I've seen on facebook:

"As you may or may not know, our daughter Ally was born with a cleft lip and palate. Tomorrow we head up to Great Falls for her first surgery. Tomorrow afternoon we have her pre-op appointment and the surgery first thing Tuesday. It is fairly major surgery and Ally will be under general anesthesia. We would appreciate more than we could ever say prayers for her safety and for the wisdom of her doctors."

She already had one surgery, but the stitches came out and the repair work disintegrated. She had another surgery at around 2 pm.

Please lift up Angela, Nathan, Ally and their two little guys. Pray for complete and TOTAL healing for little Ally.

Update from facebook:

Success!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God is so good!!! And God bless Dr. Santin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's all so clear now!

Today at mops this lady came and talked about the personalities. I will admit that my first thought was "Again? I already know all about that stuff." She presented it in a completely new and cool way. I learned a lot. I learned more about me and why I have so many issues, I learned about Devin and his issues, I learned about Addison and her issues, and I learned about Ainsley (maybe) and her future issues?! Just kidding. Have you ever heard the phrases Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy, and Phlegmatic? Google some of those words and try to figure out what yours is. I'm sanguine. Is this surprising? No. It's not surprising at all. I just wish I had known this stuff earlier on. Sanguines LOVE to have FUN! We are open books, will tell you anything, tell on ourselves, stretch the truth, will choose fun over responsibility, and desire approval from others above anything else. We're constantly running late, love to shop, and love to give, give, give. Sanguines struggle with organization more than any other type.

Why did I major in Elementary Education? Could somebody please TELL ME??!!!! Now it makes sense why during my student teaching I just wanted to get in there and teach those kids and why I would get horrible stomach aches just thinking about planning lessons. Why I would get migraines because I was so worried I'd fail. It explains why subbing was ten times easier for me. I could show up, have a great time with the kids, carry out someone else's plans and then go home.

It explains why, if I do something stupid, I put it up on facebook and then don't understand why everyone else doesn't do the same thing. It explains why (if I don't learn to control myself) I might be that 80 year old woman who is telling her great grandchildren or the lady on the bus all about her constipation. Hee hee hee.

It explains why I'm typing this blog instead of making a dent in the laundry. The speaker did say that we shouldn't use our type as an excuse for bad behavior....

Anyway now that I know so much more about who I am I feel so free to be me: someone who loves relationships and having a great time, being silly, bringing joy. God made me that way. I just need to work on some of that other stuff. Like laundry and housework (even if it is just not very fun).

I think Addison is melancholy. I'm already seeing some perfectionist tendencies and she's VERY sensitive. She's also really into drawing and art and music. Oh and God forbid you change her daily routine. I can't wait to see how this develops in her.

Devin is phlegmatic. He is Mr. even keeled. Doesn't get too excited about something, but doesn't get too upset about something either. Phlegmatics tend to be procrastinators and a bit on the lazy side unless they are super excited about something. I'm laughing as I type this because it is just so dead on. It explains why I'm jumping around the living room saying "Devviiiin let's do something FUN! Come on! Let's play a game!" and he just looks at me with tired eyes and wants to watch Monk or go to bed or read his book. Phlegmatics desire peace. They like to sit and watch.

As for Ainsley I think she's turning out to be more like me, a little entertainer. It's probably too soon to tell, but it sure is fun seeing her personality erupt lately. 9 months is a FUN age!

What are you? What are your strengths? Weaknesses?

Sunday, November 22, 2009


This was a great weekend! Yesterday I took Addison to gymnastics and she went right in without throwing any fits at all. Last week was an entirely different story...

Then I went over to Kohl's and scored some awesome deals on some things for Ainsley and a pair of jeans for Addison.

After that I decided to peel my lazy butt from the computer chair and go for a run. It had been a week and I was definitely not in a running mood, but I knew I'd feel great if I just went for it. I accidentally ran 3 miles total. So incredibly difficult. By the end I was literally yelling at myself. Thankfully no one was around to hear me. I thought I had only gone two until I came home and told Devin the trail I ran on. He said it was 3. Well that explains why it was so hard. As many of you know I am NOT an athletic person by any means. I never participated in any sports growing up and am not talented in this area. It feels so good to have started this seemingly impossible goal and see progress. It's also scary too. It is scary for me to do things I know I won't be instantly good at, or to try things when I could possibly fail. Yikes. That is why I know I need to keep trying to do this.


Today Devin and I worked in the nursery with the 1 year old cuties. As much as I love holding itty bitty babies, I am in love with this age group. They're so loveable and cuddly and hilarious too. Then Kelly brought Elise up to church and joined us. It was fun to have them there with us.

Later on in the afternoon I went to a shower for Merah. She's pregnant with their third baby--a boy! She announced that they are considering moving back to Cayman. I was trying very had to be supportive, but inside I was thinking "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Please don't take my Merah, my first ever mom friend in Kansas City." Ouch. That would be a tough loss. First Rach moved away and I'm hearing rumors of other friends leaving too. Nope. Not thinking about it right now! la la la la.... I think the reason my wedding was such an amazing time was because I had all of my friends and family in one spot, and we all had so much fun together.

Anyway this is going to be a great week. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Plus my new tradition is to go to CVS at midnight the night before to get the black friday deals. Will you be joining me via cell phone this year Leigh Ayn? My parents and Devin were discussing what we were going to eat that day and I was naming off the usuals:

Turkey (duh)...check.
Mashed Potatoes...check.
Corn Casserole... Mom: "Well I was thinking about not making that this year" which was received by looks of horror from Devin and me and a "WHAT?!" from my dad. "We have to have corn casserole!" he said. My mom argued that it was too similar to stuffing and mashed potatoes. That just wasn't a good enough reason. I replied "I could make it."
"Have you ever made it before?" asks my dad.
"No, but if Eric can make it I can make it (no offense Eric!)."
"Well make it for Devin first and if he says it's ok then you can make it." There are some things you play around with, but corn casserole stays on the menu and that's that.

Oh and I broke out the Christmas music early this year. It started with Josh Groban's Little Drummer Boy and took a steep curve downhill with Amy Grant's Christmas album from 1983 that I found at the library. Oh so many childhood memories from that one. Once I broke out Mariah Carey's Christmas cd there was no turning back. So far Addison's favorite song is Sleigh Ride. It reminds me of dancing around my dorm room with Amanda to the Billy Gilman and Charlotte Church version. Yeah this one:

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dave Ramsey knows how to get under your skin

and I think that's why he takes calls like this:

Yesterday two people called in to the show separately telling Dave that their elderly parents had nothing, but were receiving calls from collectors from a pile of credit card debt. One lady was in a medicare nursing home at the end of her life and was still plagued with credit card collectors. Dave asked if she had any assets and her daughter said "nothing. she has nothing." Another man called saying his 74 year old father-in-law was living with them, receiving $683 a month in social security and had $30,000 in credit card debt. This is so SAD! You've raised children, worked hard, and then at the end of it all have nothing to show for it. I guess that's not such a big deal because having stuff isn't what life is all about. The thing that breaks my heart is the debt. I know how it feels to be trapped under a bunch of debt. It feels hopeless, so to have all that debt on top of the assets that you DON'T have is just so, so sad.

Anyway that was a bit of a downer so here are a couple of cute things that Addison has been saying lately:

"Mom is that that Christmas man?" (after seeing a picture of Santa hanging up in CVS)

"Huck's going to drive Roxy to the mall?!" (after mis-hearing me say "Huck is driving Roxy up the wall")

"Hey that's the man that screams all the time!" (about Bruno on Dancing With the Stars)


Saturday, November 7, 2009

How about a little balance?

Are you sick and tired of hearing about food this and food that? I am. It's become a new obsession for a lot of people, and a way for us moms to try and outdo each other. Enough with the scare tactics. Let's all take a deep breath and enjoy a Snickers. But just one. Not five. I was browsing around on the internet, trying to help poor Heather figure out how to get Goldfish cracker stains out of her daughter's shirt (I was curious too) and I stumbled on yet another message board about healthy eating. I don't know who this person is, but I thought what she had to say was pretty interesting. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

"Now, let us travel deep in the land of my personal opinion: we all need to lighten up on the food issues. I was raised in a tofu, all-natural, nothing-out-of-a-box, whole-wheat, chip-and-soda free environment deepinthehearta Berkeley. I'd go to school and watch the other kids eating their ding-dongs, or their sandwiches made with Skippy (I, of course, had the all natural peanut butter from the Co-Op; you know, the kind that rips the bread when you spread it and leaves an oily stain on the lunch bag), while I ate my stale sandwich and all-natural fig bar. Oh, I could have cookies (made with honey), and candy (one piece, after hallowe'en), and my family was not morally opposed to dessert, but for a kid, it was a pretty miserable life.

I'm 41, and I've now discovered there were a lot of us 60's babies out there whose parents were doin' the all-natural thing in an attempt to promote healthy eating habits. I've also since discovered that it's we 60's babies that have the biggest food issues.

At 12, I used my allowance to buy Capn Crunch that I would store in my closet in my room (I was not alone in this behavior, I later discovered). At 16, I would go to those geeky evening parties, and spend the entire night at the snack table --alond with all the other kids who were deprived such treats -- devouring the jello blox, filling our pockets with pretzels and chips, and scooping that salty onion dip into our mouths. By the way, the kids who had the Ding Dongs in their lunch boxes? They were dancing and talking.

In college, I developed an eating disorder. There were a lot of reasons for that, I'm sure, but when I finally got help in a group setting, I discovered a lot of people, whose food choices had been strictly proscribed, were right there with me.

Now, I meet fellow ''granola-babies'' all the time and we laugh at what our parents tried to do and how badly it backfired. Sometimes it's not so funny.

I cringe when I go to the park and hear parents talking about the dietary constraints they have laid on their kids. I don't want my child to eat cheesy fries, either, and a can of chili poured into a bag of corn chips is not my idea of a protein-rich diet. Accordingly, I have no problem telling my kid NO if he wants marshmallow creme for dinner (I'm not afraid of a little crying); he'll eat what I serve. If his nanny was serving him orange soda instead of milk, I'd give her exactly one chance to stop feeding that crap to him. At the same time, I would try to temper my desire to expose my son to a healthy lifestyle with a little realism, and allow him to experiment. It wouldn't change my behavior at home, where his diet is fiber, vitamin and protein rich, but I not going to focus too much attention on it. -- Tsan"


This post is not passively aggressively directed at any of you, I promise. At my mops group a few weeks ago we had a speaker come in to teach us all about healthy eating for our children. Instead of giving us helpful hints or fun ways of getting your stubborn, redheaded child to eat vegetables she literally said things like "if you give your child Skippy peanut butter you might as well give them sugary lard." We all left feeling like the worst mothers in the world. Anyway, so when I stumbled upon that post on a message board it resonated with me. Hope that helps to clarify things a bit!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Helpful Hint

When you go to a late night showing of This Is It with your aunt, it might be a good idea to double check the theater (to make positively sure you're the only ones in the room) before attempting the Thriller dance, doing twirls and leaps in front of the screen on your way back from a bathroom break, and singing at the top of your lungs. Yes, it may appear to be empty, but there might be one old guy in the waaaaay back who comes walking down the steps after the movie's over (after you've made a complete fool out of yourself). If you don't get my helpful hint in time, at least you had a great time doing it.

heh heh.

You should have seen the "oh crap" look on our faces when he came walking down.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Stages of a Starbucks gift card

I got a $25 Starbucks gift card for gambling at The nice thing is I was gambling with points for watching videos and taking polls. Can't beat that.

Every time I receive a gift card to Starbucks the following stages always take place. The length of each stage varies depending on how much the card is worth.

I waited in anticipation for that card like you wouldn't believe. I checked the mail everyday, hoping that today would be the day Dave (my mailman) put my little piece of plastic happiness in our mailbox. Stage one began the day after it arrived. Stage one involves being so excited about the giftcard that you drive 4 miles out of your way to immediately go use it. It also involves sharing the coffee goodness with everyone, even your two year old daughter. Drinks for everyone! Yippee!

During stage two you get a little more greedy. No more drinks for the toddler. "Addison you can have water in a special cup with a lid and a straw! Won't that be fun?!" You might order a tall drink instead of a grande to make it go a little farther.

When stage three comes around you start to think "hmm..I better watch my calories. Three drinks in three days is kind of a lot" and order a non-fat, sugar free vanilla latte instead of a caramel macchiato. It's not nearly as good, but still better than drip coffee at home.

Stage four is a bit of a downer. It's when you look at your receipt and see that you only have $4__ left on the card. Time to make a choice: one espresso drink for one more trip or two regular coffees spread out into two trips? One really satisfying last hurrah or two delicious, yet semi-satisfying cups of coffee? It's a toss up.

Stage five is just downright depressing. It's when Starbucks sounds really good and you think about making a trip, and then realize that your gift card is all used up. Sometimes you dig around in your wallet or in your husband's change jar. Other times you sigh, turn on your own coffee maker, and long for your birthday, when another Starbucks gift card will make trips to Target, the park, church, work, and just about any other place that much more exciting.

Note: The stages are exactly the same with a Caribou Coffee gift card.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Yeah you...

This is for all of my latest and greatest "anonymous comment leavers." I'm all for a little healthy criticism every now and then, and don't mind one single bit if you disagree with my post and want to tell why, however, to post a rude comment anonymously and high tail it out of there is laaaaaaame. I may have some issues, but at least I put myself out there. Sometimes it bites me in the butt, but I am who I am. Take it or leave it. But if you don't want to take it, read someone else's blog instead of leaving your crappy incognito comments on mine.

I love Aunt Shel!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I do what I can...

Adventures at Baby Gap

One of our managers is a cutie patootie named TJ. TJ knows all the words to all the Miley Cyrus and Jonas Brothers and Taylor Swift songs that play in the store, wears vanilla scented lotion, and is one of those people that brightens your day just by being around him. I'm about 5 years older than TJ and even though he is one of my bosses, I tend to mother him a bit. Last night was no exception. When I got to work he was whining and jumping around and saying he was going to kill himself because he had a piece of popcorn kernel stuck in his teeth and it was driving him nuts. Hey, we've all been there. I suggested every thing I could think of to get that thing out, but nothing was working. I went and washed my hands and said "TJ let's go to the backroom. I'll help you out."

One flashlight, one plastic fork, and one mom who is grossed out by very little later, the kernel was gone.

Sometimes I think I should bring a camera to work.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


You all know Devin and I have been Dave Ramseying it for three years now, and we've been on a budget this whole time. On she listed her splurges and I thought it would be fun to list mine!

1. Coffee-mate creamer: We always, ALWAYS have it in the house. It's a sad day in my book when one of us uses the last drop and we have to use skim milk in our coffee. My favorite flavor is chocolate raspberry. YUM! Yes, I've put this on the debit card when we've run out of grocery money!

2. My hair. I lived here for a whole year and spent practically nothing with a "rising star" stylist at Dillard's salon and HATED my hair. Then one day I found Jessica, the girl who used to cut my hair at Crimpers in Manhattan. Hallelujah! She has been cutting it every 8 weeks ever since and there's no way I'm leaving her. She does a great job. I will curl up in a ball and die if she moves away.

3. DVR. We welcomed him in the family when we paid off our credit cards last year and I'm officially hooked. There have been a couple of times I've told Devin that it can go when things were looking a little tight, but secretly I was thinking "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! PLEASE! ANYTHING BUT THAT!" I would probably put internet in this category too.

4. Our little slush fund. It's $60 a month of happiness. It goes towards Starbucks, eating out, movies, etc. It's just a little bit to keep moving forward on this budget.

5. 24 hour fitness. Our gym memberships are dirt cheap ($45 per month for both of us including childcare), and it's so worth it!

What are your splurges?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Poor, poor Huck

Our poor kitten gets carried around daily, squeezed, squished, thrown, febreezed, its fur cut with toddler scissors, and now pushed around in Addison's babydoll stroller. Yet, he still likes to do this:

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A little tip

This kind of a no-brainer, but I thought I'd throw it out there. I have a pair of slouchy brown suede boots that are my FAVORITE boots to wear. They look really cute with tights and a skirt, jeans, cords, everything. I bought them two years ago at DSW for only around $30 or so. After being used as "snow boots" a couple winters ago (I'm an idiot) and out and around town last year they took a pretty harsh beating. A lot of the dye had worn off and they were generally in bad shape. I figured I'd just have to shell out the $$ for a new pair. Kelly paid me to watch Elise for a couple of days so I thought I'd use the money for new boots. The problem was there were so many other things I needed that money for and new boots were low on the financial totem pole. Plus I really, really liked them! Slouchy boots are really popular this season and they're so comfy! I hated the idea of throwing them out.

Then I remembered how obsessed I am with shoe repair places. I go there all the time! When my favorite strappy sandals from Italy broke I got them repaired. I even had the heels shortened on my cowboy boots because I was pregnant and they were too tall. I took my poor distressed boots to a place nearby and $10 later they were looking awesome! They don't look brand new, but pretty darn close. Anyway that's my tip for you guys. Kind of lame, but hopefully helpful. That's what I'm here for.

Do you like my new blog look? I was supposed to be googling stuff on Old Testament Prayer for our small group, but I spent two hours re-doing my blog. BAD! That scrapblog is one big black hole....

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Good Day

Saturday was kind of crappy because we had to spend the entire day vacuuming, cleaning, washing anything that might have flea particles on it, but today was a great day!

I went for my first non-treadmill run in many, many years. My iPod died as soon as I started, but the peace and quiet was good for me. I don't have any peace and quiet in my life because I like to talk so much! The run was harder than anything I've done in a long time, but it was beautiful outside. It felt so good to accomplish something that was so difficult. There are people that have a lot of inner drive, but I tend to get excited about something and then forget about it after a little while (especially if I can't do it perfectly right away). I'd love any tips from you runners out there.

Then we relaxed and relaxed and relaxed and I watched Shark Tank and Grey's Anatomy re-runs. Perfect!

Jeni came over and took some wonderful pics of our family. I haven't seen any of the pictures, but I am positive she did an amazing job. The girls were working that camera like nothing I'd ever seen. I will admit that we bribed Addison by telling her she could rent any movie she wanted from the redbox when we were done if she did a good job. I asked her if she liked Jeni and she later said "Yes, she was berry nice."

The night ended with a yummy roasted chicken and pumpkin pie dinner (with red AND white wine) at my parents' house. Mmmmmmmmm.

Oh and it's flea free and CLEAN around these parts! Just in case you were worried about stopping by!

Friday, October 9, 2009


I was playing around with blog layouts and I messed up my whole blog!! I don't feel like fixing it right now, but no, this ugliness won't be around forever!

Current crisis: FLEAS

GROSS! Roxy has never had a single flea. Huck was covered in them when he came to our house. I found like 9 fleas on him his first night here. The adoption lady told me that they had given him a treatment and everything should clear up in a few days. Today I found two more fleas on him. Well I found one and Addison found the other. I called my vet that very instant and went to pick up some medicine for him and Roxy ($90). Now I'm just so grossed out! By the time I got the medicine and a new filter for my vacuum to increase its flea sucking power, and we ate dinner it was already 9:15 and too late to do all the deep cleaning. So now I'm sitting here, feeling really itchy and flea-ish, wishing I had paid for a nice purebred, flea-free, Siamese cat from the breeder and not this little fleabag.

I'm sleeping on the couch tonight. I did get a chance to vacuum the heck out of that thing.


I read that Borax works great when sprinkled in your carpets and stuff. Have any of you earthy people ever heard of diatomaceous earth?

Tomorrow is cleaning day.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Lesson on Forgiveness

Saw this on this blog.

Toward the end of Sunday service, the Minister asked, "How many of you have forgiven your enemies?"

80% held up their hands.

The Minister then repeated his question.

All responded this time, except one small elderly lady.

"Mrs. Neely?; Are you not willing to forgive your enemies?"

"I don't have any." She replied, smiling sweetly.

"Mrs. Neely, that is very unusual. How old are you?"

"Ninety-eight." she replied.

"Oh, Mrs. Neely, would you please come down in front & tell us all how a person can live ninety-eight years & not have an enemy in the world?"

The little sweetheart of a lady tottered down the aisle, faced the congregation, and said:

"I've outlived them bitches."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Do you have one? I've got lots. I love spending time with people. My love language is Quality Time, which is why my house is always so danged messy and the laundry is never done. I'd rather go meet a friend, hang out with my mom, chat on the phone with far away friends/family, or take the girls to the park ANY DAY than do housework or errands. ANYWAY I have been in a Life group with our church for about 4 years now, and recently the women of the group started meeting once a month to do a bible study. My favorite part about this group of ladies is that we're all different ages: 60s, 50s, 40s, 30s, 20s. I'm the youngest of the group and thus have the most to learn, but I like to think that I help the older ladies understand their children better. I also like to think that what I lack in insight, I make up for in entertainment value! I just got back from one of our monthly meetings. We were there talking for four hours. It was truly wonderful. I received some jaw droppingly (is that a word? ) good advice, learned more about God, and felt loved. I guess my point is that you should go find a mentor. Whether it's your mom, mother in law, aunt, slightly older or much older friends, go find someone to help walk you through life. I have tons of them so if you don't have one, I'll lend you one of mine. Who is your mentor? Do you have lots like me or is there one person in particular that sticks out in your mind?

P.S. I am finding a good balance with my love for people/laundry pile situation (at least until I can afford to hire a housekeeper). We go out a couple times a week and stay home a couple times a week. That seems to work pretty well.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Family Update

If you need a good laugh read the other post I put up today. Here are some pics of the Riley fam:

Here is Devin from his first triathlon last month in Lee's Summit. He's a stud in yellow.

Here is Roxy with our adorable new cat Huck. After lots of hissing and cat growling, Roxy has finally accepted Huck as her new BFF. Huck is sort of weird in that he begs for people food. It doesn't matter if we're eating cereal or green beans, he's there begging and eating up the crumbs.

When Devin was working late last week I took too long at the grocery store and both Ainsley and Addison were starving. I let Addison feed Ainsley a bottle while I got dinner going.

It only lasted a few minutes until I had to resort to this (Ainsley in swing with bottle propped up with Boppy). Just send that mom of the year award to my home address!

This is Addison with one of her bff's 'Vannah (Savannah) and Savannah's brother Luke.

This is Ainsley's first time in the race car cart at Lowe's.

This is from our yummy anniversary dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.

Ainsley just started crawling and is now pulling up to get stuff. I suffered through her colicky stage because I knew there would be a time when she'd happily sit on a blanket and play with a toy. That beautiful stage only lasted a couple of weeks. She is crawling all over the house and getting into everything. This is the face she makes when we try to tell her no. It's really hard not to laugh!

Poor Roxy. Her social status in our household keeps getting lower and lower.

Here's big sis. She's so grown up now.

Another one bites the dust

I have been a fan of What Not To Wear with Stacy and Clinton since the show began and it was Stacy with some other long haired bearded guy. They always have some weirdo on there that can't part with an outdated clothing item, hideous hairstyle, or something that doesn't fit properly. I always watch these freaks and think "What the heck? It's a _____. It looks ugly. Let it go." Well I've discovered that it's easier to say that to other people and their ugly junk than it is to say that to myself and my ugly junk. Case in point: my beloved green Eddie Bauer sweater. I bought this beauty with my mom nearly 5 years ago. It was the only non-pleated, non- turtlenecked (I usually look like a midg...err.. little person in turtlenecks) item on the clearance rack and so she bought it to give to me for Christmas. I wore it all the time and must not have washed it correctly, because it keeps getting shorter. And shorter. And shorter. Yesterday I tried my beloved sweater on for Devin and he said it was too short to wear. I asked him if it might be ok with a white button down hanging out. Nope too short still. Darn. BTW If any of you are needing a male opinion on your outfit, hair, etc. and need someone to give it to you straight (no sugarcoating) give my husband a call. He says it like it is (he has learned for said opinion to be asked for FIRST after 10 years of being my significant other).

Anyway the sweater is going bye bye. Maybe someone with a shorter torso (if that's even possible) will get some use out of it at the Goodwill Store.

Just in case you haven't laughed today:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

For a friend

This is dedicated to Natasha who needs something pee your pants funny to laugh at. Nat, I hope this does the trick!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hot pink reminder

Addison loves to have her nails painted. She's so cute about showing them off to everyone and choosing sandals to highlight her newly painted feet. The only problem is that every single time I try to paint them something happens. Something spills, or she smears it on my pants, or on the carpet. The other day she begged me to paint them and frankly the dirt under her toenails was kind of grossing me out (no one wants to be the mom of the "dirty kid" at the 24 hour fitness kids club, not even me). I sat her in her little chair, set the polish out of the way a little and got started. Well miss squirmy pants got a little too excited and kicked over the pink nailpolish. I flipped out. FLIPPED OUT! As a mom you know when you've gone too far with yelling, and I totally did. It would be one thing if that only happened once in a blue moon and every other incident you are June Cleaver. I'm not. More often than not I'm Mr. Hyde if Mr. Hyde was a pale, out of shape, housewife still in his pajamas at 12:00 in the afternoon.

I watched Dr. Phil today (just the icing on the cake of my little analogy up there!) and it was about a dad who was too tough on his son. The little boy was 9, afraid of his father and was already growing to resent him. Addison knows how much I love her now, and is quick to bounce back NOW, but how long will that last? How many times will I blow up at her for spilling something or drawing on the couch or cutting the cat's hair (ok that one was kind of funny) or whatever it is that makes me blow a fuse before she starts to resent me? Or maybe it won't get to be that bad, but to the point where she'll know I'm not serious until I start screaming. That Dr. Phil show was a really good wake up call for me.

The beautiful thing about all of this is it's not too late AND I don't have to conquer this on my own. Let's face it: I suck at doing it on my own!

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Anyway, I never was able to get out that hot pink nail polish stain. I tried all types of things: nail polish remover, hydrogen peroxide, window cleaner (don't laugh...that's what said to try!!). I am sure I inhaled some delightfully toxic fumes, but there is still a faint pink mark there. I have to say that I'm even a little ok with that. Not just because our carpet doesn't mean that much to me (which it doesn't), but that it will serve as a little reminder of how I totally over-reacted and how I so desperately want to change.

Thanks for your support and love! Now I'm off to watch 18 Kids and Counting. Michelle Duggar never yells.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Sometimes I don't like Dave Ramsey. It's nothing against him; he's a wonderful person. It's the plan. I know, I the long run it'll be good. But right now, it's stealing all the fun and making me mad!

It's stealing time with my husband because he now chooses to work on all the holidays.
It's making me mad that I have to wear my same old clothes day in and day out.
It's making me mad that my pillows have stains on them and my lampshades don't match.
It's making me feel like a big 'ol mooch every time we do something with my parents because they have to pay because we don't have money for it.
It's making me mad because I'm TIRED OF EVERYTHING ALWAYS BEING ABOUT MONEY (or lack thereof).
It's making me mad because we're so close, yet so far away from the goal of being debt free.

We've been at this for three years in October. I get asked a lot if we ever get discouraged.


Ok that feels better now. Thanks for letting me vent.

And now for something that always, always cheers me up:

Friday, August 28, 2009

Gets me every time

I was scrolling through cake wrecks feeling a little disappointed that it wasn't as funny as usual until I found this post. Please read her comments.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

Tomorrow is my wonderful mom's birthday! There are so many wonderful things that I just love about her. Here are some of my faves:

-Quality time is her love language. It's mine too. Basically we spend a lot of time together. It's really, really nice.

-She isn't afraid to say what she feels, yet can say things in a very loving (but still non passive aggressive) way.

-She doesn't get her feelings hurt very easily, and is quick to forgive.

-She loves the Lord more than just about anyone I've ever met. Her relationship with God is constantly growing, shifting and changing (in a good way).

-"Renee-isms": spiritual anecdotes. My top faves in this category are "I saw a bird and I thought of God" and "Changing a poopy diaper is just like God forgiving our sin."

-Our shared love for Barry Manilow. We don't like a lot of the same music. She balked at all of my suggestions for her iPod (c'mon who wouldn't want to work out to Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch?), but we love to sing along to "Daybreak."

-My mom doesn't step on our toes when it comes to parenting the girls, but she does see to it that Addison's hair is nicely combed and her face is wiped off.

-She's the only person I know who watches c span. :)

-She cares deeply for her friends and treats them like family. We have shared many holiday meals with friends. Everyone is always welcome .

-She loves my dad, and not out of duty or obligation. She really, really loves him and deeply respects him.

-She treats Devin just like her own son. She actually treats him better than she treats me. "Oh Devin... are you washing the dishes again?" This is something I've openly complained about, but secretly like. She's always supported our relationship, from the very beginning.

-She was a fantastic parent (you were too Dad, but this post is about mom and I didn't think about doing this on your birthday. Sorry. There's always next year!) She let us make mistakes, even though I'm sure it was really, really hard not to swoop down and protect us from them. She prayed for us like crazy (and still does).

-She makes a big deal out of birthdays and holidays with fun decorations and little presents. Even though I don't get an Easter basket anymore (sigh) I will always have wonderful memories of holidays that we celebrated as a family.

-She's done more for me than I can count. When we were moving out of our apartment in Mission and I was a hot, frazzled mess, my mom drove two hours from Ft. Riley to help me re-paint. She has also canceled plans with friends to be with me when I'm having a hard time with the girls.

I love you very much Mom and hope you have a great day.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Crazy details

Remember how I bought that Palm Centro to help me stay organized with everything happening in my life? Not happening! I continue to try to keep all these dates and times in my head. Well there are so many details in there I think I am going to explode! I hate being busy. I am so not cut out for the life of a soccer mom. I think I'll quit while I'm ahead (ahead meaning I do not own a minivan or have a child that plays soccer).

We're back to me emailing Devin my work schedule and then asking him on a regular basis when I work again. We're also back to forgetting birthdays and anniversaries.

Time for a fresh start!

I'm such a mess. It's a good thing God loves me despite of my, um, issues!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Target is a black hole

I went in there for a Swiffer Wetjet and some watercolor paint for Addison. As I walked through I remembered that I needed to gather some stuff to make a meal for a friend. Threw it in. Then I thought I would make the same meal for us tonight. Threw that in too. Then I saw coffee creamer on sale. In the cart it went. Then the gum on clearance. Then Addison started doing the potty dance. I quickly grabbed some stuff from frozen and headed to the front. Better grab that Swiffer Wetjet. Uh oh....30% off clearance section. Let's just stop for a sec. What? Oxyclean for half off?! Joy! Now Addison is really dancing. Better hurry. Let her go in by herself while I stay outside with Ainsley. "Moooooom! I can't get out!" Leave Ainsley, run in, figure out how to talk Addison through opening the door. She's holding her skirt in her hands. Ok wash hands. Thank God the sink is low enough to reach. I tell Addison to sit on the floor and put her own skirt on. "Here Ainsley, chew on this pack of gum." Ok checkout! WAIT! THE PAINT! Uh oh better grab a pack of cd's to save pictures on. Roz has been asking for that for months now. "Hmmm pack of 50 for $9.99 or pack of 5 for $3.49. Ok, pack of 50, pack of 50...!" No paint in office supply section. We head to the back of the store where school supplies is. Ainsley is now screaming. Addison sees toys and starts to run away "ADDISON YOU GET OVER HERE OR I WILL LEAVE THIS STORE WITHOUT BUYING PAINT!" Everyone stares at me, but Addison begins walking backwards back towards me. Still no watercolors to be found. What's this? 10 bottles of washable paint. Check the price. $4.99. Fine. We'll get that.

Check out.

"Moo-ooom I'm hungry and thirsty! I'm hungry and thirsty!" Ainsley is still crying. Ok. Buy kid's meal: pb&j, yogurt, icee. Only $2. Nice. Ham sandwich on wheat for me. Flip over the back of the pb&j package. Holy crap! 310 calories! Addison drinks half her cherry icee and then cries because she wants blue instead. "Too bad! You picked red!" I try to nurse Ainsley in the booth with a small blanket. Every so often she yanks the blanket off and I flash whoever is in checkout. We finish eating.

I just cannot muster the energy to go to Aldi to buy the rest of the stuff for the meal.

Round 2!
Ainsley is holding Addison's leftover yogurt tube. Grab bagged salads...yes! They're on sale for $1.29. Phew! Go to back (again), get mozzerella cheese... Hmm...2% or regular? 2% or regular? 2%! Buy overpriced baby yogurt for Ainsley. What a ripoff, but maybe it'll help her gain some weight. Ainsley proceeds to spill yogurt all over herself. Get out wipes, she's screaming because I took her "toy" away. Wipe everything up. Better grab baby food for her too. Head back to baby section. They're out of the brown rice cereal I like to get.

We finally, finally checkout (again) and head home.

I never want to go shopping again.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The view from my window

Some people look outside their window and see this:

This is what we see:



On another, less disturbing note, Addison, Ainsley and I just returned from Arizona. We had a great time visiting relatives in Phoenix and our family cabin in Greer. Even with my parents' help, traveling with the kids for a week without Devin was no joke. I'm exhausted!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Where's a Duggar when you need her?

I hate packing. Hate it, hate it, hate it. The thing I hate most about packing are all of the decisions that you have to make. What should I wear? What's the weather going to be like? What are we going to be doing? How should I wear my hair? Should I bring stuff for curly hair or stuff for straight hair or both (I never said I was low maintenance)? When you have kids you have to make these decisions three times. Then there are my suitcases. I either have a giganto suitcase or a too small suitcase. I hate this. Help me please. I've been doing this for 3 hours. 3 hours! Who takes 3 hours to pack?! Me, apparently.


Oh, and p.s. it's easier to give birth to a baby and bring her home then it is to adopt a cat in Kansas. Just thought I'd tell you. Apparently they had a few concerns about us. Give me a break.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Control Freak

I never really thought of myself as a control freak until recently, when I started reading The Search for Significance. God has started showing me very clearly that I totally am one. Dangit! I wanted to portray myself as this laid back, easy going person. I mean, if I was perfectionist wouldn't my house be perfectly cleaned at all times? Wouldn't my flowers be perfectly weeded and pruned? Wouldn't the laundry be folded and put away instead of sitting in the baskets for three days? The truth is, like a lot of people I have this all or nothing attitude. If I can't clean my house exactly the way I want to, what's the point? If I don't have three hours to spend organizing the stuff on my desk, what's the point of tidying it up? If I can't spend the money on all the things I want to make my garden look nicer, then who cares? As for the laundry..well...that's just plain laziness!

The problem with being a perfectionist is that it doesn't just affect you. I am finding that it could eventually ruin my relationships if I don't change. It turns you into a total control freak, and to people that don't understand why you are the way you are, you come across as, well (I'm just going to say it) a total bitch. Let's take yesterday for example:

I was having a tough time with Ainsley. If she misses naps, she just gets miserable. The 20 minute catnaps just weren't cutting it for her and she was screaming. I was out with my mom and I still needed to buy some stuff for a goodbye party for Brandon and Rach (subject of another sad). My mom graciously offered to go to the store for me so I could get Ainsley back to her house and calmed down a little. With all the screaming in the background, I quickly told my mom what I needed and we parted ways. She came home with a few sacks of food and other things. Instead of being grateful about what she got, I immediately started criticizing this and that (shameful, I know) because it wasn't exactly what I would have bought. If the tables were turned and I had gone shopping for her and she had reacted that way, I probably would have walked out of the house, uttering a few cusswords about ungrateful people, but my mom is a much better person than I am. She calmly explained why she bought what she did. As the afternoon progressed, things didn't get much better. My cookies didn't turn out that great. Turns out I used baking powder instead of baking soda (oops) and started to panic that no one would want to eat them. When my mom said "Marie it's not like you're entering them in the state fair!" I realized it really didn't matter either way. It also didn't matter if people didn't like the exact flavors of pop she chose.

Later on, as is common with me, I realized the error of my way and called my mom to apologize. She forgave me. People did eat the cookies (except for the 10 or so burnt ones on the bottom, which I left at Andrea's house...hee hee!) and drank almost all the pop.

My control freakness does leech out into other areas as well. God forbid Devin put Ainsley to sleep in her swing because "the book" says that's bad to do! And our roof could possibly cave in if he gives her some formula instead of the frozen breastmilk (which in his defense, is a pain to thaw). Oh, and it also could signify Armageddon if Addison's outfits don't match.

The point is I want to change! No one likes to be around people like this. They are just flat out annoying and take the fun out of everything by worrying about stupid details that don't even matter! Thankfully I'm married to a guy who doesn't put up with my crap, and I'm saved by a God who will change me if I ask for help. Any other perfectionists out there want to go on this journey with me?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Everyone's favorite Spinach Dip

and I mean everyone. Here is the top secret recipe, complete with instructions:

1. Go to the grocery store, to the soup aisle

2. Buy this:

3. Flip the packet over

4. Make the recipe on the back.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Congratulations Don and Roz! This is my feeble attempt at reconciling the fact that I did not send a card....bad, bad, bad daughter-in-law. I'm sorry!

Moving on with the congratulatory stuff:

You two are such an amazing couple and have produced children that are simply wonderful. There's one boy in particular that I think is the best out of all of them, but your love for each other and Christ has clearly rubbed off on them. There are many things I admire about your marriage, but some of the most special things (to me) are:

Don, I love watching how much love you lavish on Roz. You make it clear to everyone around you that she is the love of your life by treating her so special. I love how you like to take her out to nice dinners (or cook for her sometimes), take her shopping for something special. It's not just that stuff. Anyone could take their wife out to dinner or buy her flowers. You show love in such a gentle, authentic way. It's very sweet.

Roz, I admire how much you genuinely respect Don and admire him. It shows more than you think. You always seem so proud to be his wife, and it certainly doesn't seem forced. You take good care of him by cooking meals for him, packing his lunch for him every single morning, accompanying him on trips, and most of all, supporting him through everything.

It's obvious you to would do anything for each other. Thank you for being such a great example for Devin and me. We love you so much!

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Priceless conversation between my mom, my brother and me. This is not verbatim.

Me: acting very excited about winning Ticket to Ride and beating my brother and especially Devin.

Eric: Marie, I thought you of all people could care less about winning a game. I don't remember you being this competitive.

Marie: It's Devin's fault. He rubbed off on me. I love to win things now!

Mom: It's probably because you're a mom now. Having kids can lower your self esteem.

Blank looks from all around

Eric: Only if you have us for kids!

*As a side note, I did see what she meant. There are times that I miss having a career, as well as the adult interaction that came along with it. Sometimes something as small as winning a game (other than Dora dominoes or Princess Memory) can make you feel like you still have something to contribute. You may disagree, but I feel that way sometimes.

Anyway I really enjoy spending time with my little bro. He is a great conversationalist, smart (too smart), and extremely caring. We have a very similar sense of humor, which can get a tad pretentious at times (especially when aimed at one of his ex girlfriends). He is also very patient with my blatant interference in his love life (COME ON SINGLE LADIES! WHO WOULDN'T WANT ME FOR A SISTER IN LAW?!) . I wish he lived in KS, but he's getting ready to head out to DC to start his fancy new job.

Here's one more recent pic from our trip to Colorado. Caitlyn (Devin's little sis) took this picture. Addison refused to smile until Caitlyn said "Addison if you smile one more time I'll take you to the playground." Thus, the perfect smile was born. What a little stinker...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cheap Dipes

I ordered some diapers off of today. It was an awesome deal! I got a 228 pack of size 2 pampers and a 42 pack of luvs for $40.97 w/ free shipping. At Sam's I would have paid $39.50 for a 264 pack of size 1-2 (Huggies), but I wasn't sure how much longer Ainsley would be in that size AND I like Pampers/Luvs better. Parents Choice and Target brand are still cheaper, but I decided the $5 extra was worth it for Pampers. I used a referral code to get $10 off. Because I just bought from them you could use this code: LITT7995. You can also send in manufacturer coupons ahead of time and they credit your account. Then, when you're ready to buy, they take them off automatically. Anyway, I'm not sure how often I'll use this site. I only tried it because of the $10 off and free shipping. Kind of nice to have diapers delivered to your house though!

I'm still semi-interested in trying cloth. We have a Bum Genius diaper that Ainsley looks so cute in, but I can't quite get Devin on board to shell out all that money upfront. Plus the laundry.... I am always behind on laundry as it that it is hard to imagine washing a load of diapers every single day on top of that. Ainsley goes through 10 a day. YIKES! But yes, I'm thinking about it...

Here are a couple of pics of these cute blocks that Keri made for the girls

Oh, and here's Ainsley NOT napping. Yes that's my shirt. She likes to sleep with it (normally).

Friday, July 31, 2009

Stranger Danger?

Apparently reading the Berenstein Bear book about Strangers is not really doing the trick with Addison. Today it was such a beautiful day outside (hello! 78 Kansas) that we had a picnic lunch at a nearby park. Addison immediately ran over to the nearest parent helping her kid on the slide and said "Hi! I'm Addison!" Then she did it again to two more adults. It takes her a little bit longer with other kids, but she usually says hi and plays with them. Today some elementary aged girls were playing and one said hi to Addison. Addison said "Just a minute! I need to get something!" She sprinted over to the blanket where I was sitting with Ainsley and started digging through my purse. Out came an empty sandwich bag! She ran over to the little girl and said "We can play catch the bag!!!" Unfortunately "catch the bag" did not sound as delightful to Addison's new friend, and Addison's excitement was met with a blank stare Oh well. "A" for effort right?

In napping news (which makes for an oh so thrilling post) I am willing to put my intense need to get out of the house on a daily basis on the back burner for awhile if it means Ainsley can get the rest she needs. Plus I am enjoying the extra time I have to read books and play games with Addison. I enjoyed Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child very much. Thanks for the suggestion Carmen, Em and Erica! I wish I had read it when Addison was little. Oh well. She survived.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Nap City

I finally received my copy of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child from the library. As I was perusing through it, I saw the action plan for babies 5-12 months old. Apparently they are supposed to wake up at 7:00, nap at 9:00, nap at 1:00, possibly nap at 5:00, and go to bed at 7. That's all fine and good, but when the heck am I supposed to go to the grocery store or take Addison to play with her friends? Why does it all have to be so complicated? I do like the book a lot though. This guy knows his sleep stuff.

Monday, July 27, 2009


When we were in the Springs Keri made this really good dinner. I copied the recipe down and made it tonight. Since it's so easy, cheap and GOOD I thought I would share it with you.

Chicken Succotash from Rachael Ray (we'll just pretend it comes from someone less annoying who doesn't shorten the words to everything, and who doesn't name her own brand of dog food a dumb name like Nutrish)

2 T butter
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced separately
salt and pepper
one 10 ox box frozen corn
1 cup frozen lima beans, thawed
1 cup heavy cream
21/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (Keri and I poach chicken breasts in broth and it turns out very tasty)
1 tomato, chopped

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the scallion whites, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring for two minutes. Add the corn, lima beans and cream and bring to a boil. Stir in the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, 4 to 5 min. Stir in the tomato and scallion greens just before serving.

I couldn't find lima beans at Hy-vee, so I just bought a bag of frozen veggies and thawed them in the microwave a little bit. They worked just fine.

We served them over biscuits. Keri made hers, but I bought the kind in a tube. Before I went to the store I thought I'd try to make them from scratch to save money. I got there and they were only $1.08. Heck yeah baby!!!

You know this dinner is good when Devin said "This is good!" while eating it (refer to this post:

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sharks are mean

Check out my friend Julia's blog.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why didn't I think of this?

Patrick Largen posted this on facebook and I thought it was too priceless not to post on my blog. I guess there's always my vow renewals. Then again, can you really see Devin doing this? I'm gonna go with a big fat no!

This post is dedicated to Jules, who literally got bit by a shark and needs a pick me up. No one likes to dance as much as she does.


Addison hosted a picnic for giraffe and her baby doll named Pablo, Tyrone, Riley or 2 (depending on the day). Here are some things I overheard during their picnic:

"Dear God, we love you. Thank you for our trip. Thank you for Uncle Eric's house and Aunt Caitlyn's house. Amen."

"Don't kick her! You're going in timeout!"

"You hit BJ and you hit kitty! You're going in timeout!"

"Do you need help eating your food?"

"Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!" (when she spilled the plate)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Devin Riley, PE

Here are some pictures from Devin's PE (professional engineer license) ceremony in Topeka

My parents came as well, and they took us to Granite City for dinner afterward! Yum!

Karaoke Time

This is how Addison decided to wake Ainsley up from her nap (to her credit, Ainsley was already awake). Thanks for the karaoke machine Grammy. Maybe we'll bring it back to your house! :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Funny Moments

Last night Devin was working late. I brushed Addison's teeth and then let her finish while I checked email/facebook until it was time to read her a story. I never heard anything from her, so about 10 minutes later, I went to check on her thinking she'd be downstairs playing or something. Nope. She is in her bed, fast asleep.

Today we were changing to get ready for the pool. As I'm putting my swimsuit on, Addison says "ewwww!" I look around to see what could possibly be disgusting her so. Oh, it's me. My naked body is deserving of an "ewwww." Guess that means it's time for me to hit the treadmill again. It's also time to have that talk about what is appropriate to say outloud.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Farewell. You've served me well.

This post is dedicated to my favorite jeans.

I bought these jeans at J-Crew 4 years ago. It was love at first try-on. They were the perfect jeans: tight at first, but not too tight. Low rise, but not too low. Plenty of room in the waist, but no sag-butt. Plus they stretched out just right after you wore them for a few hours. I wore them as long as I could until I couldn't make them work with my Addison pregnant body. Then, many, many, many months later I was able to squeeze back into them. It was a moment of joy to be able to wear those jeans again. They were badly torn on the bottom from being dragged under my shoe, but I kept on wearing them. Now they not only fit like a glove (well, sort of...) but they were soooo soft! I wore them as long as I could with Ainsley and then put them in my closet as my "target jeans." Well they fit now, which is great, but I came to the realization that just because something fits doesn't mean it looks good! Sure I can put them on, but the low rise look doesn't look quit as appealing as it once did. The extra room in the waist that I appreciated before now makes me look like a plumber. They keep falling underneath my post baby #2 belly. Plus I have a nice rythym going: walk two steps, hitch up pants, walk two more steps, hitch up pants. The last straw was when I was at Hy-vee in the checkout line and I mooned the cashier, two baggers, and everyone in line trying to fish Addison's chapstick from underneath the candy rack. Nope. This girl needs some nice mid-rise pants. No more low-rise jeans for me.

Yesterday Gap marked most of their jeans down to $19.99 and gave the employees half off that price (they're getting all new jeans in!). I came home from work with a new mid-rise pair of Long and Leans, telling Devin they were to replace the other ones. I tried on my tried and true J-Crew pair one more time, and felt myself getting a little sad. "Well maybe I should just keep them" I told Devin, "they don't look too bad" as I'm hitching them up for the 45,000th time. He laughed at me and reminded me that I unintentionally moon him everytime I wear those, when I'm on the carpet with the girls. Hmm. Enough said. This is how people end up on What Not To Wear with mullets, bad perms, tapered jeans, and red leather jackets. It all starts with a "well maybe it doesn't look so bad" and a husband that is too chicken to be honest. I'm glad I'm married to one who's not.

Let's just hope my new love-affair with mid-rise jeans doesn't turn into this:

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Devin wants to wait til we're out of debt. Marie wants a cat right now. We'll talk in December. I realized I was putting a lot of my sadness over Gus into looking at kittens and thinking about how fun a new one would be. After our discussion/fight last night, I was putting away some stuff and found Gus' brush and it made me really sad. I had pushed down a lot of those emotions because I didn't think it was acceptable to grieve over a pet for more than a day or two. I'm still pretty sad about losing him.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ohhhhh Devviiiiiin!

This is Darla. She is waiting at a foster home in Lenexa for me to adopt her. I'm ready now. Roxy needs a new companion. Devin doesn't want to adopt another cat yet. Sound familiar? He didn't want to get Roxy or Gus, but I was able to talk him into it. I am hoping by posting her cute little face all over the place he won't be able to resist. She is already our desktop background. :::sigh:::: who can resist a kitten? Apparently, my husband. :)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A weekend of happies and crappies

On Saturday Devin found out that he passed his SE 1 exam and will receive his license. Now his title his Devin Riley, PE and he'll get his own stamp and everything. I told him he could stamp me (I really did). I'm so incredibly proud of him. He poured hours upon hours upon hours into studying for this thing (for over a year) and it paid off. He told me that it had a 48% pass rate. Yikes! It was so great to see him get the mail and run inside yelling "MARIE! I PASSED!" I've never seen him this excited about anything. Fun stuff.

The crappy thing is I just returned home from having Gus put down. His health had just deteriorated to a point where it seemed wrong to keep him around. Even though I am so, so sad to think about life without my lovable cat around, I feel so much more at peace because he's not suffering anymore. Gus really was a great cat. He used to come running to the door when we'd come home and lay smack down at our feet so we'd rub his belly. He also used to make himself at home on the laps of all of our guests, leaving a giant wad of hair. He was happiest outside sitting underneath one of our trees (where we'll bury him tomorrow). I am a little worried for Roxy. Gus was her companion. Just last night when he was laying lethargically near my closet, Roxy came over and started diligently cleaning his ears.

The people at the vet's office were incredibly kind and sensitive to me, even though I was bawling like a baby. The doctor who actually administered his shot didn't ask me a bunch of questions or make me feel like a bad person. He just said "I'm sorry" and gently explained what they were going to do. Gus had a lot of fans out there, that's for sure. Even though I've openly favored Roxy through the years, most of our friends and family liked Gus because he truly had the personality of a golden retriever. He'll definitely be missed. I'm sure he'll be waiting for us in heaven (because everyone knows God is a cat person). We love you Gus (Gussy Pie). Our house won't be the same without you.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Don't be an idiot (Lesson # 2,352)

I would lose my head if it wasn't attached. I probably lose my keys or my cell phone at least twice a day. Anytime I go anywhere you'll hear me say "Deviiiiin have you seen my keys??" He always humors me by trying to help. I guess he's figured out after being with me for ten years that putting them in the same place just isn't going to happen. Want to know where his keys are? Oh that's easy. They're on the dresser in a little dish. It's so great when I lose mine and need to take his in a hurry. I love it! Wouldn't it be great if I could do that?

I'm doing so much better with my cell phone, but only if I have my flowery Vera Bradley bag. If I need to use a different bag (like today) I'm hopeless. I'm a mess. Thankfully my mom was reading Aunt Shel and me excerpts out of Please Understand Me about ESFPs and I feel slightly better knowing these silly habits have been ingrained in me since birth.

We went to the pool with Merah and her girls today and had a great time. We made a quick stop at Hy-vee before heading home. Because I was running late, I did not drink my daily morning cup of coffee and by 1 'o clock I had a KILLER headache. Nausea included. In fact, the nausea was so awful it reminded me of morning sickness and I was sympathetic to all my pregnant friends. I came into the house and dumped all my stuff on the floor, did not argue with Addison when she wanted a muffin and milk for lunch, fed Ainsley and stuck her in her crib. I looked around and couldn't find my phone. I ran outside into the sweltering heat to look for it. Most of the other contents of our house were out in the car, but not the phone. I dumped out the swimming pool bag and it wasn't in there either. By now my head hurt so bad that I was about to pass out, and Ainsley was not happy up in the crib. I brought her downstairs and stuck her in the swing and Addison and I passed out on the couch. I tried to sleep, but I kept stressing out about my phone. I really had no idea where it could be and I just KNEW I left it at the pool or Hy-vee. At around 3:45 I couldn't take it anymore. I woke up both girls, put them back in their carseats, and drove back to the pool, parked the car, walked them both inside. No phone. Got back in the car, drove back to Hy-vee, parked the car again, walked back inside (after praying) to customer service, certain that my phone would be there. No again.

By then I was close to tears. I have a Palm Centro (not a cheap phone) that I just got at Christmas. How was I supposed to explain to Devin that I lost it? How could I muster up the humility? How pissed was he going to be at me? Why the heck did I donate my old phone? Plus my head still hurt really bad.

I drive up to the house feeling defeated, and decide that maybe someone at either the pool or the store will find it later and that I'd try calling tomorrow. When I started picking up the house before Devin got home, there was my phone in all its shiny pink glory sitting on a shelf next to the back door. All of that FOR NOTHING!

I said lots of prayers that God would help me find my phone. I wonder if he was shaking his head and laughing at me for being such a ditz.

Hope that gave you a good laugh too.