Mar 28, 2008


Thanks for all of the sympathy and words of encouragement. I should have stressed that yes, Gabe is okay. He got a little cut on his forehead and another on his cheek -though it really is going to be the emotional scars on this one. We'll have to give the swing a try this week to see how bad the damage is. And it is so funny that everyone commented about no one helping me. I was so glad! I was so mortified that I didn't want to face anyone and was just hoping they would leave me alone while I collected myself and got all of the wood chips and leaves out of my hair and off my clothes.

Anyway, Grams and Gramps Riley sent some hats to the kids, the ones they are wearing in the pictures. It was really great because they are so, so into wearing hats here. Laine has to wear one to preschool everyday so she won't get skin cancer. This is all despite the fact that there are more trees here than I have ever seen in my life, so her school is almost completely shaded. Anyway, I know I should have sent a real thank-you letter rather than an email, but I knew it would never happen because I only know where 2 post offices are and one has no parking and the other is 2 towns over. Anyway, I really loved the letter she wrote and wanted to post it:

Dear Grams,

Thank you for Gabey's hat and my hat and mommy's hat and daddy's hat. Thanks you for pants and shoes and shirts and socks. Thanks for the hats today. I love my hat and I don't have a hat at school so I need 'em. I am going to wear piggy buns to school today. I will wear piggy tails under my hat. I have to go to school. I like pink. I love bananas and you. Grams I love to get bananas and eat bananas. Bananas. Bananas. Bananas. Bananas. Tree house.


She is so funny. She is always talking about spaceships and space suits and going to outer space. She talks about it constantly and her teachers and Ben and I get a real kick out of it. Ben bought her a track suit in New Zealand when he went there a few months ago and it is now her offical "Space Suit". She talks about her space ship like it is a real thing and is always asking where it is or where I moved it, since she needs it to go to outerspace. Sometimes she even counts me down to blast-off for things.

She is really growing fast and has finally discovered that Gabe is a pretty cool brother. She talks to him in this baby voice that he really loves, "Gabey, are you a munchkin?" or "Gabey, you're a good boy!". Two days ago, after the incident, she told Ben "Mommy is my best friend". That really made my day!

Mar 27, 2008

A New Low

Oh. My. Gosh. I don't even know where to start in relating the events that transpired yesterday. You know, I really pride myself in not feeling embarrassed about stupid things I do or say, or that happen to me. But this time is different...

So we have been really couped up in the house unpacking, and I realized we really needed a nice vacation from our problems. What better way to get out of the house when you are still a one car family, than to walk to park? Great idea. We walked over the best, most beautiful park in the area, which is really sad since I won't be able to show my face there, at least for a few years. Usually no one is there, so we didn't get all dressed up. I even let Laine dress herself so she was looking a little orphanish. Gabe was also not dressed to impress, I grabbed the first shorts and shirt I could find, which ended up being too small and a very boring color combo.

All of this didn"t stop us from having a great time at the park. Many other families showed up, including two with Dads which was strange. We chatted and visited while the kids played until we'd all been there for over an hour. That's when I decided it would be a good idea to swing with Gabe. Everything was going swimmingly, and we were both really enjoying it. But as we swung higher and higher I really started to space out. Just as we were on an uphill climb, I leaned back a little too far and all of the sudden I am flying end over end, doing a complete 180. Gabe smacks face down on the ground, but I am still hanging on, upside down, as I swing over him, mashing him into the ground, then swinging back over mashing him again, then a third mash before I too am finally flung from the swing. He has been screaming bloody murder since he flew off the swing, so as if a grown woman flying off a swing isn't enough to draw attention, Gabe sure drew the crowds.

In a matter of 3 seconds, all of my pride was destroyed and I don't think I will ever be the same. The ground at this particular park is those wood chips, so we were both covered in debris. Everyone is staring and I am just praying that I really did not just do that. I really don't know if I am fully describing how utterly ridiculous it is to not just fall off of a swing, but to completely flip off of it mid air and all but crack your baby's ribs in the process.

So now I am sitting there wondering what to do next. I can't just leave, because then they would all know I am a true coward. My legs actually killed and I think I might have pulled something. Yet, I just sat there in pain, pretending nothing had happened despite the fact that Gabe had gator tears and dirt all over his face. I shoved some food and drink at him and we sat there in silence with the hugest elephant in the park, while everyone looked at me with pity. They also tried to get closer to me to get a good look into my eyes to see if I had been drinking. I am actually surprised that no one pulled out a breathalyser, or called child protective services to come assess the situation. To make matters worse, one of the Dad's was Mr. Overly Protective and Cautious Guy. I, on the other hand, am obviously the fun, free sprited parent, who lives life on the edge. I could literally feel him thinking "well, look where all that fun and free spiritness gets you"...

After a half hour of living it down, I decided it would be an appropriate time to make our exit. So, with my grace and dignity, I limped out of the park and came home. On the way home I used the last notch on my cell phone to call Ben and relate the events, hoping some one would help me to laugh at the situation. When I got home I felt around in my pocket for my key, and yeah, it was of course gone. Not only did the swing rob me of my pride, my key must have fallen out of my pocket as I sailed through the air. I was so mad! I now had no cell phone, which normally wouldn't be that big of a problem, just borrow some one's phone, great idea! Well, it is if you know the phone number to call, which I don't. That's right, I don't know Ben's cell phone or work number because the prefixes are really weird here so I just put it on my cell and call speed dial.

So now I am really stranded until he comes home. I sat and thought about trying the back doors, but had to chuckle to myself that that very morning I had discovered that one of them that we never use, had been unlocked for probably the last 6 weeks or whenever we used it last. So I resolved to change my ways and made sure every last door was locked before I left. After about 5 minutes of laughing at the irony, I walked over and stared at the door, wanting, wishing to just go inside and just die. That's when I realized that the key was never in my pocket, I had forgotten to take it out of the lock before we left. It was staring me back in the face.

Mar 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

So Santa finally found us, just a few months late. "Santa" bought the kids gifts the week before we packed out and we unearthed that box late last week. We decided to make it special and do a big breakfast and the whole bit. Our neighbors possibly thought it was weird when we came over in our woollen mittens and scarves to sing carols and bring hot chocolate, but Christmas just wouldn't have been the same without the celebrations... okay not really, but we got into it as best we could!

Dad putting together the toys. This is the only toy that didn't scare Gabe, and it still did a little. He likes to watch the train go around the track only if perching on Mom or Dad's lap. Laine is Mrs. Conductor, of course. Gotta love a kid and their lollypop

Gabe's new "Cheese!" face. It is so cute! Be prepared to see a lot of it, he is a total ham the minute the camera comes out all of the sudden

Our cute little neighbor girls came over midway through to play. Our kids just love these 3 girls Dani and Monique {sister Hollie is missing}. They are the sweetest, most polite little girls and Gabe goes crazy with his happy feet when he sees them

Breakfast Crepes with Raspberries and Creme, must have been good!

As we have taken the time to reflect on the true meaning of the season, we have a quiet gratitude in our hearts. The warmth we have shared together this Christmas will remain with us always. We send to you and yours our most gracious yuletide greetings. March 2007 to March 2008 was a great year for our family, as we hope it has been for all of you. We send our best this season, and hope that the new year brings it's richest blessings to you all!

The Riley's

Mar 21, 2008

Six Magical Years...

Okay, I've been noticing a lot of great Anniversary posts since I became a blogger. I have pinpointed the key ingredient to some really great old photographs. Pics of your dating years, through the engagement, and right up to the wedding day are especially useful in highlighting your magical journey together.

In the hasty unpacking I have done this week, I uncovered a treasure-trove of really great pics from our early days. However, we don't have a scanner and thus, I don't think it is going to happen this year. I did manage to scrounge some up from as early as 2004 however, so here are some illustrations of our adventurous journey so far.

Jeju Island in the South of Korea. We were living in Seoul at the time, and Ben had to go for work. Laine and I tagged along and made a trip out of it. We stayed in a little Pension near the beach. It was the fall of 2004 and just starting to get a little chilly. Going the month before probably would have been preferable!

Our trip to Bali in January 2005. We loved it and hope to go back someday. I need to post our video from the Sacred Monkey Forest. You can buy bananas at the entry to the forest which we thought was a GREAT idea! However, the monkeys get a little aggressive, something they don't tell you when they sell you the bananas. The video features Ben screaming at and running away from monkeys and me getting in the middle of screeching monkey fight. Good times.

One of our trips home visiting Logan, the place where it all started...

Ben and I at the Sequoia National Park near my family's house in CA. General Sherman is the largest living thing on Earth, he is MASSIVE to say the least {he is a tree if you can't tell}!

This picture is classic. Here we are at the Wat Phra Kaeo Temple in Bangkok. It was sooo hot so we wanted to wear shorts to sight seeing. But to the Thai people, the temple grounds are a very sacred place and so men must wear pants and women must wear skirts or dresses. We had heard that you could rent them outside of the temple grounds, which was true, but we didn't expect Hammer pants or this beautiful frock which I had to wear over my shorts. Looking good! Combine that with my new "Dior" glasses and it makes for one classy shot -January 2006

When looking for some good pics, I came across way too many where we had forgotten to take off the soft filter. I love how ethereal we look in Guam - Fall 2005

Family pics in Taipei December 2005. This is the Martyrs Shrine and it is gorgeous. We always brought our visitors here to see the changing of the guard.

Ben and I at the Forbidden City in Beijing April 2006. We had a great time seeing all of the sites and visiting with our friends the Coombs. We LOVED China and can't wait to go back! Though I would like to claim that I am pregnant in several other pics over the years, it is actually true in this picture. Baby Gabe is baking away in the oven.

The Great Wall, the only picture we got without the soft filter in hyper drive.

Back home again last year, Gabriel Benjamin Riley joining the clan October 2006

Besides the fact that we are together in this pic it didn't mean much to me, but supposedly it means a lot to sports fans. Ben's graduation from Duke for his MBA May 2007.

It's been a great SIX years! Seven will be even better, especially because if I have to upload the photos by hand or by harnessing the power of my own mind, we will have dating, engagement, and wedding photos next year! I love you Ben, Happy Anniversary!

Mar 19, 2008

Happy Easter

There's plenty more where Easter '08 comes from, but I thought I better get started since it is a FOUR-day weekend here! Good Friday is a real big deal here I guess. Despite the fact that everything is open Christmas day, we are hearing the NOTHING, not even even grocery stores will be open tomorrow, and we are not supposed eat Beef I guess. We are still working our the details.

Also, I must be absolutely out of my gourd. I decided to call over some friends with young kids and invite them over to our house for an Easter Egg Hunt at my house. For some reason I completely forgot that I am in the middle of a move that has lasted 3 long months now, and there are still boxes everywhere. It is not supposed to be taking place until Saturday so maybe by then we may actually be able to get through the maze from the front door to the backyard with a little more ease.

Anyway, in order to avoid a huge blogging backlog, I better get posting. We started the festivities early by going to an Easter activity put on by our local home improvement warehouse, Bunnings. This is Australia's answer to Lowe's or Home Depot, which is exactly what I think of when I think of fun Easter activities I want to take my kids
It actually turned out to be really fun!

Okay, I will give you that they could have bumped up the budget for costumes. Especially for the Easter Bunny. I am not sure what the Queen of Heart was doing there, but we didn't ask questions.

This baby chick was born that morning! There was a whole barrel of them. They were so cute!

Cute little animal, still not sure what it was...

I got this pic taken for my Dad who is a firefighter. They are really excited to meet you Dad, and would love to give you a tour of the fire station.

Laine is holding our raffle prize in her hand. We won this big chocolate egg set which was one of the best prizes!

They even fed us dinner. I know it would have been hamburgers and hotdogs at home, but here they served us lamb sausage sandwiches with sauteed onions. They were really good, depsite the fact that they don't look very appetizing in the pic. Really the only wierd part was that we had been over petting the cute baby lamb five minutes before, and it was in our view as we ate...

He was so precious! He looks bigger in the pic, but he was really like the size of a cat. There are some baby bunnies in there too, along with older baby chicks. There were also baby puppies, rats {yeah, random} and baby ducklings. For some reason Laine was holding air.

Mar 16, 2008

One More Thing...

I know I mentioned something about the shirts my Dad gives us for Christmas but haven't yet posted pics of the shirts we got this past year. So I thought it was a Christmas tradition, but I guess it has now become a "anytime when we are all together" tradition, and my Dad felt it appropriate to give out some shirts at Kristine and Jordan's wedding dinner. Here we are pre-shirts, enjoying our evening. It was about to get a whole lot funnier.

Nick with his Borat shirt -Very Nice! Nicole with her Mr. Roger's Neighborhood "It's Good in the Hood" shirt

Jordan Getting his first shirt! Congratulations and welcome to the family! His has baby chicks that are thugs and says, "Give a shout out to my Peeps"

Katie in her "To Serve and Protect Shirt", Kristine and Hannah in matching Napoleon Dynamite Shirts

Ben's says "Thumb Wrestling Champion 1984" Mine is a pic of a monkey farting and his friend falls off the tree because of the stink. The caption reads: Silent but Deadly. Nice.

I should give some history of how the tradition has evolved over the years. It started with Christmas Eve Pajamas, nice and normal. But over the years, Dad started to get more and more involved in the selection of the jammies and learned yet another way to get a rise out of his girls. I think his favorite year was the year he gave Katie and me housecoats, which we called our "frocks". We have the footage to prove this was his favorite year, he is just laughing his head off as we are totally wondering why he thought we wanted to look like 60 year old women.

It then evolved into shirts from purchased a store frequented by a certain ethnic race we all know and love {especially their food}, but is not really frequented by us Crackers. Not until Kevin shows up anyway. Thanks for the laughs Dad, you're one in a Bajillion.

Mar 13, 2008

Our trip home

So as a side note, I sent Laine to school today with her first vegemite sandwich. Yeah, we'll see how that goes. We didn't have any lunch meat and there is a peanut butter ban because of allergies. I didn't have time for tuna, so she got vegemite. I'm not optimistic...

Anyway, so it seems like y'all gets such sick pleasure our of the hardships we {I} endure. So, just for you, here is that latest installment of what the poor wretches have been up to: Our Trip Home

So we get to the airport in SLC with our ten bags and 15 carseats and 75 strollers and carry ons. So far all seems to be going well as we transfer a few cans from this bag and some laundry soap to this bag so that every bag weighs 50 lbs. or under. We are really kind of amazed at how good the kids are being and how everything is running so smoothly. Ah, the calm before the storm.

We get to LAX and assume {we put the ass in assume this time} that our flight goes out of the International terminal. So we leave the secured area of terminal 7 and head to Terminal 4. Since we have so much time, we figure, why not walk the 3 miles down there? We are all starving by this time, but that's okay, we've still got plenty of time to sit down and eat once we get there.

We decide to eat before going through security. We get seated at our chosen restaurant and they bring us menus, waters, and plates & silverware. It's about this time that we notice our flight is not on the big board announcing departures. Ben decides to do some investigating and runs back saying we are in the wrong place, we have to leave NOW, and hoof it all the way back to Terminal 7. There is not a shuttle to be found, so Ben takes Gabe in the stroller and we find a stray Smartecarte and throw Laine and the carry ons on board and run. It turns out our flight to Sydney was just a few feet from the gate where we had landed from SLC, and we didn't need to waste the 2 hours of our time leaving security and walking 3 miles.

We made it to our gate with just enough time to grab a pizza to go and get on the plane. We were stopped though, at the gate, and were made to wait for 15 minutes for some reason we still aren't aware of. It was around this time that I realized the pizza was vertical in the bag, rather than the traditional and much preferred horizontal method of carrying pizzas. When we finally got on the plane, we were nearly the last people, we ate cold bread, and cheese, and chicken all separately. As a sidenote, we were hungry in SLC but decided the food selection would be better in CA so we could wait. Big mistake

So we get on the plane and get to our seats and realize that Gabe is poopy. This was fine as he was about to go to sleep so I was going to be changing him anyway. As I look into the carry on bag that is supposed to have the diapers, I realize that they are not there. I scour through everything we have and realize we don't have ONE diaper. This, again, should be no problem. All of the plane rides that we have taken previously have had diapers as standard issue. I ring the flight attendant and she puts my mind at ease that they will get some for me ASAP. She goes to the back of the plane a few feet away and says, "what... we don't... are you sure...there's not one....can you check again..." Crap. By the way, Chris, do you have a stack of about 8 diapers sitting on your kitchen counter?

So next I am escorted off the plane, which is supposed to be leaving negative 10 minutes ago, and run like mad to Hudson News in search of diapers. I scan the Health and Beauty. No diapers. I take a long glance at the maxi pads and decide it would be better than nothing. I can make one giant dipaer out of the 6 maxi pads. Yes, great. I am about to go for it and then my escort runs up and says I have to get back to the plane and he will figure something out. As I am walking back I am scanning everywhere for a mother with a baby. I am going to find one and offer her $20 for a diaper. There are no babies or mothers anywhere. There wasn't even one other baby on our flight.

I get back to the plane and begin eating that cold "what used to be pizza", though I have kind of lost my appetite by then. I am letting Ben know that I am about to go postal, scaring all of my neighbors. Then a man finally runs up with a bag for me, he says they located some diapers in lost and found. Normally this would be wierd and a bit scary for me, but under the circumstances I was praising the Lord!

Then, all of the sudden, the plane becomes a complete zoo! What seems like 25 people of a certain ethnic and religious sect, run onto the plane laughing and joking and talking, all trying to find their seats. I was at first relieved that I wasn't the only one holding up the plane. I lived to regret that relief. It turned out to be a family of 14 of the rudest and loudest kids and their parents. After holding up the plane for 45 minutes, they then realize that one of the 5 year olds has lost her passport. Now the plane can not take off, because they can't knowingly bring some one over who doesn't have a passport to clear immigration. The kids begin frantically looking EVERYWHERE for it. I even had to move my carry ons so they could look under the seat. They ended up FINALLY finding it, to which the plane erupted with applause that we could finally be on our way.

That was just the beginning. They pushed the call button all night long, talked really loudly, it escalated to the point of getting fights with the flight attendants that couldn't be resolved without getting the purser involved. They kept Gabe up all night long. He wouldn't sleep unless Ben held him, which he did while I laid across the 3 remaining seats. It was so sweet of Ben to let me off the hook! Thanks Ben! Laine kind of slept on the floor but it was a rough one. We are such poor wretches!

Mar 12, 2008

Adventures in Utah

So before I recount the trip from hell, aka our plane ride home, I just wanted to highlight some of what we did while we were home. Unfortunately we didn't get any pics of the late night games with the Rileys or the late night talks till 3 in the morning with the girls. We also didn't get any pics of me getting locked out of my In-Law's house in the middle of the night after running to the store, which was a funny story.
However, we did get some pics of the fam at the Bounce House. I can't decide if it was more fun for the kid or adults. The relays were sweet, Riley's take State! That is Nick and Nicole and their daughter Avery with Katie and Ben.

A little Father / Son b-ball time

An impromtu photo-shoot with Nicole and Kate

This was the day we took my sister-in-law, Allison, hostage and adopted her as our sister. We broke her in with hours of stories about people she doesn't know or care about from growing up in Orem. We chased it down with more stories of our crazy extended family -anyone up for some frozen chicken breasts and peas? Poor Allison was too nice to tell us that she 1. Didn't care 2. Couldn't decide if she wanted to slit her wrists or bang her head on the table until we stopped talking, and 3. That despite the fact that she was bored to tears, she actually really did need to get home! Sorry Ali!

As another side-note, we realized about mid-way through the evening that we were color coordinated. Merry Christmas everyone!

Thanks Katie and Shauna for the pics of Gabe in his tux! Mr. Cranky still looks handsome despite the tears and desheveled shirt. Ben and I have a long-running joke about how Gabe looks like a rich business -man who went to a party the night before and wakes up with a hangover. This is how he always looks 5 minutes after he is put into a suit or tux. The drool, the crumbs, the shirt constantly coming untucked. We make up all kinds of funny stories about his adventures and what kinds of things he must have been up to "the night before"

Mar 7, 2008

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Lewis!

Congratulations K and J, aren't they so cute?! We were home last week for my sister's wedding. She married Jordan Lewis and we are loving our new brother-in-law. Ben is very excited for more testosterone to join the family for sure.

The wedding was on Thursday and it was a beautiful ceremony. The reception was so much fun {for me, not so much for Ben and the kids} It was great to see so many friends that we hadn't seen in years. Since my parents moved from the house we grew up in, it has been difficult to see or catch up with anybody from back home. Needless to say it was the greatest to see all of our friends from growing up and be all together again! Some of our extended family came out as well, and it was great to see them too. I love weddings!

Our fam on the left and Jordan's on the right. This pic didn't quite capture the extreme height difference! It was so great to finally meet everyone that we had heard all about, we really had a fun time with Jordan's fam.

We decided to torture Jordan since it is usually the bride having to take lame pictures. I am not sure if Ben managed to talk the photographers into making Jordan take a "Toyota Jump" pic. They made Ben take one on our wedding day and he wanted to make sure that Jordan was not left out of the "fun". Jordan was such a good sport. That's why we love him! That was just of the tip of the iceberg on the antics you are going to have to put up with, I hope you realize that! Perhaps I should have warned you before the wedding...

The family of the bride, L-R: Nicole, Hannah, Avery, Katie, Nick, Hallie, Kristine, Jordan, Mom, Dad, me, Ben More to come on the other adventures we had together asap.

The best pic I could get, the kids were not cooperating. I didn't even get a pic of Gabe in his tux! He was so cute, and cranky.

Congrats to the happy couple! Have fun on your cruise and we were so glad we could come home to be with you guys on your special day. We love you guys, we wouldn't have missed it for anything!

Mar 4, 2008


It's here, it's here, it's finally here! After nearly 2 1/2 months without our stuff, a man named Tina delivered it to us! Thanks Tina! It is so weird to say that and think that it is a man I am talking about. Anyway, it actually came last Thursday, just in time for us to leave the very next day for the US. Yay! Thanks A-1 Pioneer! For making this move as difficult and painful as possible! Don't forget to not remember them next time you are in need of a speedy and reliable mover in the greater Salt Lake Area!
So our house looks like a bomb blew off, and I can't wait to get back to all those boxes and crap everywhere after 20 hours on a plane with two kids and jetlag! Another tasty treat for us was the fact that they packed up and sent dirty dishes. Do you know what dirty dishes look like after 2 1/2 months? They're black. Moving day was such a blur, but if one of them had told me that they needed to pack the dishes and could I please wash them, I'm pretty sure I would have obliged. It's like a journal entry of what we ate the night before and for breakfast {It was hard to tell, but it was German Pancakes and Almond Poppyseed bread in case you wondered}
Anyway, the above picture is how Laine entertained herself while we frantically packed and unpacked in the short 24 hour period before we came. I know this probably sounds so materialistic, but it was almost a tearful moment to see MY {okay our} stuff after that long! Over the last few months many people have said, "Isn't it amazing to see how little you really can live on when you are forced to do something like this?" No you fools, it's not amazing! Life with 4 perpetually dirty plates really sucks! Life with no pictures, no clothes, no chairs, no desk, no hobbies is really quite crappy. Life with your belongings is really a lot better if you ask me!
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