Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Well, well, Christmas is almost here and I have fallen behind on blogging once again.

We sent out our annual Christmas cards sans update letter this year for want of extra time and energy. So here it is, our Christmas letter family update. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays to all our friends and family! Here is all the crazy stuff that's been going on in our busy lives...

Gavin (3) started preschool this fall at a small christian preschool and he loved it from the start. Unfortunately, we had to make the hard decision to pull him out after finding that it just wasn't a good fit for our little guy. He's back home full time with me and we are keeping busy playing at the library, spending time with friends, and learning the alphabet. He is an avid artist, his favorite medium being crayons and coloring pages:) If he's not coloring, he's building cars or trucks out of legos. Now if only John Deere would make legos, all would be perfect in his world:) He is active in our local Awana group and he's proud to be a "cubbie." This summer he mastered riding a two wheeler, sans training wheels, and I've been running after him ever since:)

Kyla (7) started 2nd grade in the fall and has thrived with her teacher and classmates. Reading and math seem to come rather easily to her and you can find her often helping her classmates sound out words or taking notes for Ms. Morton. Back in February, our sweet girl asked Jesus into heart and we all celebrated as she joined the family of Christ! Kyla has been in two sessions of Young Friends Singers and has started taking gymnastics at a local gym. Her confidence and her coordination has greatly improved and it's been fun to watch her enjoy testing her wings as she tries new things. Her week seems to revolve around Awana, where she is memorizing bible verses at a fast clip as a "Spark."

My title has grown to family chef, chauffeur, chicken rancher, gardener, teacher, homework enforcer, family coordinator, and housekeeper. Throw in a bit of baking, sewing and crafting, and painting and you've got a pretty good snapshot of my year. I updated our entry and bathroom during the summer. A lot of painting, some bead board and a couple of new pieces for the bathroom and a load of elbow grease and we have a beautiful view as you walk into the house. I volunteer in Kyla's classroom a couple of times a month and sing at church as part of the worship team. I keep pretty busy but love almost every second of it.

We have continued to be blessed with Chad having a wonderful job as a consultant for Soft Source Consulting. He is currently assigned to NWEA where he is the lead developer. I couldn't be prouder of all the hard work he does! He keeps busy working on our never ending project (our lovely home), building creations out of Legos with Gavin, creating Android games, and loving on his kiddos. He even built a chicken tractor for me and our bunch of little ladies. What a handy guy he is:)

As a family we've taken a trip to Indiana for a family wedding and ventured out into nature for our annual camping trip. Chad and I were blessed in February to be able to take a two week trip to Hawaii. Our mom's watched the kiddos while we frolicked in the waves:) Kyla and I took a trip to Northern Canada to visit my friend and her family in August. We rode on trains, planes and automobiles, what a trip!

One momentous step was made this year in March. We became debt free!! (Except the house) Almost three years ago we took our first Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class and finally accomplished step two our the master off all revolving debt. We are in the process of saving for a new car and our dream house in the country. Nothing like dreaming big:)

We hope that all our family and friends are blessed this holiday season with a warm home, plenty of food, and the courage to enjoy life to the fullest.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2:11-14

The Riddle Family - 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fall Fun

The kids and I ventured out to Farmer Johns last week in between rain showers and blustery wind. We took some pictures and then played in the hay maze. The sun stayed hidden, but fun was had by all.

We did the yearly measure with the great pumpkin:) I'll have to dig through my pictures and see the difference from last year.

The kids conquered the maze and laid claim to the mountain top.

And then we got serious and took some portraits.

No really, we did get serious:)

Happy Fall!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hello Again

Sorry for the lack of posting lately, life has been busy and posting has been low on my list of priorities.

We have been busy. Kyla had a fun field trip that I tagged along on and Gav has been loving school and creating things here at home. I've been working on flower beds and a bit of landscaping before we lost our indian summer. Sadly the rain has come and we have been forced back inside for the duration of the winter. We'll just see what we can get done in here now:)

The kids have been enthralled with Little House on the Prairie lately, we have the book and borrowed a book on CD version as well. We've had lots of "Ma" and "Pa" heard around the house. Just this weekend, in fact, Ma and Pa got the living room...dressed up as disney characters. Sadly I have to say that we only have female disney dress up clothes. You do know what that means right? Yep, Pa was in a dress. More specifically, a red sequined tutu skirt and a tummy barring blue silky top.

What? You don't think that Pa would wear that type of clothing as he plowed the 100 acres, while he staggered behind his pair of oxen? Well, you may be right on that. Chad found the tv show Little House on the Prairie on Netflix and we have now watched the first episode with the kids. There was not a single red sequin. I think our groom will need to rethink his attire the next time he desires to marry Ma:)

Which really may not come up again.

Or maybe it will:)

Monday, October 11, 2010

I'd like to introduce you...

I'd like to introduce you to Jackie. Jackie is my imaginative three yr old's friend. His imaginary friend. He works at as a fireman and lives at the firehouse that seems to be located near our home. He is also a policeman when the need arises. Today was his birthday. He's three you know:) Gav declared quite early this morning that it was Jackie's birthday and we needed to color him a birthday picture and of course make a cake. Now Jackie has been hanging out with us for over a month and a half and I'm not sure exactly how to deal with you call something that doesn't exist:) Kyla never had an imaginary friend, but I did watch my oldest niece enjoy this phase of childhood.

So today was our little friend's birthday, and it was important to Gav that we celebrate it. So we started the morning wrapping up some of his favorite toys in monster truck wrapping paper and then planning a birthday party. Seriously.

I had some bananas that I needed to use for bread and so I changed my plan just a bit and made a couple of smaller breads, one being round, the perfect shape for a special birthday cake. We dusted it with powdered sugar and stuck a candle in it and then waited impatiently for Kyla to come home to celebrate with us.

After a hearty round of "Happy Birthday" the kids ate the cake and we were off to do the rest of the crazy that is our life.

I imagine that Jackie won't be with us for long, but I want to celebrate Gavin's imagination and joy in every phase of life. So I'll make cake and we'll sing and I'll enjoy the smile that it brings to my boy's face.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

One More Project Done!

My list of to-do's for my entryway is getting shorter and shorter! Hurray! My latest project was started way back in August with a couple of spoons that I picked up from a local antique store. I can't remember where I saw the idea of making hooks out of spoons, but I knew that I wanted to do it:) My dad has his handy-dandy metal shop and Gav and I went and smashed, drilled and bent spoons to our hearts content. Thanks Dad:)

With smashed, drilled, and bent spoons in hand, I rummaged through Chad's wood supply and found two boards that would work for a shelf. I sawed, measured (not in that order), glued, and nailed. Add a can of white spray paint to the mix and some finish screws and I had made myself a decorative shelf. A little rustic but perfect for my spoon hooks. I hung decorative plates that I had found a couple years ago with hopes of having a pretty place to display them from my newly made spoon hooks. I added a bit of red ribbon and my new chicken art and I have a prettily decorated wall in my entryway.

Welcome into my home:)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Jumping for Joy

Our girl is jumping for joy. On Tuesday she attended her first gymnastics class and has since been cartwheeling her way around the house. She's been quietly begging for gymnastic classes for about a year and things finally worked out this month for it to happen.

We went out and purchased her leotard

plus some footless tights

Add to that an excited little girl

And you have yourself a little gymnast:)

We filed into Little Champs on Tuesday afternoon to find out that Kyla is the only one in her class. Kyla loves the undivided attention and Gav and I love watching her try new things.

We are off on a gymnastic adventure. I can't wait to see where this leads:)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Off On His Own Two Wheels

My son, my three year old son, has learned how to ride his two wheel bike with out training wheels today. What? I was ready for at least another year of me walking briskly behind him as he rattles his way down the road, his training wheels helping to support that huge noggin of his. But nope, that is not to be. Now I have to RUN in order to keep up!

My father-in-law found a balance bike at a garage sale recently and let us borrow it on Monday. Gav took a few tries on it that evening and wasn't too impressed with the lack of pedals or by the overwhelming strength of gravity. On Tuesday, he wanted to ride it home from preschool. I was sure I'd be carrying both the bike and the boy after a couple of minutes but that wasn't to be. He hopped right on and figured it out. Stopping was an issue, but after he hit that first stop sign, he figured out how to drag his feet:) He rode the balance bike a bit more today and then asked when we could take off his training wheels on his real bike.

So we did. We took those training wheels off as soon as Chad got home from work and set off for the park.

Little did we know that we weren't really needed:) We got him all set up, helmet on, explained how Daddy was going to run behind him and help him keep upright. Yeah, Chad can't run that fast:) Chad gave a push and that boy was off! No wobbles, no wiggles, just sweet, sweet riding! Here we were, all ready for running back and forth across the park, bending at weird and painful angles, bloody knees and tears and all we got was instant success. Where is the memory making parenting there?

Daddy helped start him off.

And when Daddy wasn't close enough, sister jumped in and helped out. And then chased behind him just waiting to be needed:)

He still needs to work on stopping. He He!

Way to go Little Man! Welcome to the world of two wheels!

Oh, lonely little training wheels. Don't worry, we'll find you a good home with a truly appreciative little kid who will need to use you for longer that half a year!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Hang Your Hat Here

I've always wanted a coat tree to hang my hat on. I don't generally wear hats, but if I did, I would surely need a place to hang them:) My entryway is coming along, just a couple more projects to complete and it's done. Room two of our whole house upgrade will soon be checked off the list. For my dream entryway, I need a coat/hat tree. I wasn't about to go and spend a large amount of our money on one, so I envisioned one in my head and scrounged until I found all the pieces that would become my dream coat tree. And Ta Da. Here she is!!

Oh the curves and the cute umbrella holders!

I found the wooden post and the mismatched hardware at my local Habitat Restore. Of course the hardware was the wrong color...but I could take care of that:)

I set up a handy dandy paint box and went to work with some black spray paint.

My hardware turned out stunning, as did my black feet:)

The base is made out of wood that Chad has been hoarding, I mean "saving" in the garage. The middle piece is actually an original piece taken from the house as we've done all our remodeling. A can of white spray paint and a finial from my dad's shop and we had all the necessary pieces. It was puzzle making time.

The total cost of this project came to roughly $20. It was a long process, but well worth it, minus the black feet.

And the end result? I'm in love...with my coat tree:) Please come on over and hang your hat, or your coat, or just come and visit:)