Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hurricane Riley Turns 4

Dear Riley,

It is hard to believe that you are turning 4 today.  It seems like I've barely had time to blink and these last 4 years have disappeared.  You have certainly taken our family on an amazing ride these last 4 years. 

Last year  I was very nervous about you turning 3 and graduating from the Guild School.  Time and time again you show me there is no need to worry about you.  You will find success every where you go!  This last year in preschool has been amazing.  From the first day you walked into your classroom you have belonged. It is amazing to watch you grow and learn.  Your teachers and therapists push you each day and each day you rise to the challenge.  You still try to smile and operate on "cute" but they know you well and don't let you slide by with your amazing smile.  I love to hear the reports coming home from school about how well you are counting or how many letters you know.  When I listen to you counting your animals or telling them how to spell Riley my heart swells with pride! 

We have celebrated your birthday several times over the last week and each time you are so excited when you realize we are singing just to you.  I love that you smile with your entire body!  Riley you have an amazing smile and laugh, and your dad, brother and I are so blessed that you share it with us each day!  You have an exceptional gift of knowing when others need a good hug or a huge smile.  I am the luckiest person to get one of those amazing hugs each day!

Riley William you are an amazing boy and I am very blessed to your mom.  I am sure this next year will be another amazing one.  I'm looking forward to watching you grow and learn.  Enjoy being 4 buddy you have a lot of playing to do!

Love you always!

We celebrated Riley's birthday with the family at Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Pie holds up candles just fine!

Hanging out with my cousin Kayla waiting for my pie

Chillin with Pa and Me maw

Riley loved the musical card Great Gramma Elsie sent!

Ooh whats in here?

Ta Da...  sweet new shirts from Gramma Debbie and Grampa Tom

More cupcakes with friends!

Riley has had lots and lots of snow for his birthday week... 

I don't like the snow either buddy but don't worry... its your party and you can cry if you want to!

You didn't think I could leave you with anything less than a good laugh did you??

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A little of this and a little of that...

 Riley's preschool class at All Saints walked across the street to the public library last week.  They had a grand adventure and were able to listen to a story while they were there. 

Riley loves to listen to stories.  I'm always surprised to see him sitting so nicely but its captured on film so I know it really happens.

Riley is making friends at preschool.  This is one of his favorite little friends.  He has always had an eye for the pretty girls!

Riley doesn't always like to sit and listen.  His afternoon teacher coined this his Jack Black look last year.  You know he is getting really comfortable in his surroundings when he pulls this look out for you.  Its better head on but this picture captures it pretty well.

OH Yes children with Down syndrome are always so happy!

Riley is really into his pretend play.  Lately making his Elmo and Grover sleep and covering them up is a favorite.  Today he thought he'd sleep too! 

Snoring is hard to capture in a picture. 

Well that is what Hurricane Riley has been up to lately.  We are starting to gear up for this 4th birthday.  Its hard to believe its coming up so soon.    I've been looking at write and scribble toy from Leap Frog for Riley.    It looks pretty cool and appears to be a nice way to practise tracing letters and numbers.  Let me know if you've used it or if you have other great gift ideas.   Birthday and Christmas have me stumped  for both boys this year. I am in need of inspiration and I'm hoping to find some during my annual day after Thanksgiving shopping adventure with Angie.  Guaranteed hysterical fits of laughter even if not much is purchased. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Time to raise the bar again!

This week both Rex and Riley's schools had parent teacher conferences.  Thankfully Riley had class even though the rest of the school had early release.  Rex's school had early release so he was able to hang out with Kristi the babysitter while Riley was at afternoon preschool.  He thought this was a great treat.  Thursday afternoon they had a hot date and after they dropped Riley off at school they headed down town to the Olive Garden to enjoy lunch and wonder around a bit.  Rex had a glorious day! 

Today I attended conferences with both Rex and Riley's teachers at All Saints.  We didn't have a conference at Riley's public school preschool since we just had his IEP meeting.  I started off with Rex's 2nd grade teacher Mrs Speiring.  Rex is doing really well at school.  His teacher was also a shy kiddo and so she really understands how important it is for us to encourage him to be brave and to make sure he continues to gain confidence.  She has spent these first few months of school getting to know the kids and she really pays attention. I love that his teacher understands how to push him so that he gains more and more confidence in himself and his ability to succeed at school.   She is especially impressed with Rex's maturity and patience.  I'm apparently a total sap but she made me all teary eyed as she was talking about his ability to be patient and considerate  all different types of kids.  I'm not exactly sure how Justin and I ended up with a child that is patient but I'll take it. 

Riley also received rave review from both of his preschool teachers.  They had a portfolio of his work to show me what he has been working on this fall.  I'm impressed!  I knew that he was making big progress lately with his numbers and letters but I didn't understand just how much.  They had two separate worksheets to evaluate where he was with number and letter recognition.  The numbers and letters were scattered over their individual  page in no order and Riley was asked to identify each number or letter. He was only able to identify the number 1, but he identified 8 letters plus 3 others that were a close mistake such a Y for V.  Apparently my expectations have been too low!  We talk about the letters in his name a lot but I didn't realize he was picking up so many other letters at school. Time for mom and dad to raise the bar again.  He has a little friend Howwi that he likes to play with and gives hugs to.  The kids love him and keep an eye out for him but don't baby him.  He loves school and guess what.....I love his school too! 

What a great day to get to spend time hearing about how wonderful your children are. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Checkin it off my list and for free too!

I love Christmas letters and I really love Christmas cards with pictures. I'm sure part of why I love receiving Christmas cards is because its the only time of the year I get real mail that isn't a bill or a statement from the insurance company.  Seriously there is something fabulous about getting a real honest to goodness envelope addressed to me with a note or a picture of some of my favorite people.

Now just because I love them doesn't mean I'm always organized enough to get them out but when I saw this promotion from Shutterfly I couldn't pass up an opportunity to earn 50 free cards.  I originally started using Shutterfly because they were the only photo card site that I could find that had a style for multiple pictures on one card.  When I ordered my pictures and my cards they turned out great and I've been hooked ever since.  So now when I'm good and print pictures I typically use Shutterfly. 

One year I knew I wouldn't get Christmas cards out so I opted for a Valentines Day card.  I thought it was a fun idea and loved how the card turned out.  Everyone loved to get pictures of the boys and it was a fun way to make up for not sending holiday cards. 
Be Mine Valentine's Day
Unique party invitations and greeting cards by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

You can find lots of options for Valentines Day cards  on Shutterfly's website.  This year I'm hoping to be organized enough to get my holiday cards out but I've been checking out all the different styles and I don't know how I'm going to choose.  So many options and apparently I've lost my ability to make decisions so this is going to take some times.  Do I pick the folded card option or the more typical photo card???  Decisions decisions.


Here is one style that I'm considering for this year's card.
Rejoice Lord King Religious Christmas 5x7 folded card
Shop Shutterfly for elegant custom Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

I love the look of the true folded card that still allows for my own family's photos to be added.  I'm even considering paying a little extra and having Shutterfly stamp and mail my cards.  How sweet does that sound to have it all done in a few clicks and not have to spend hours licking stamps and addressing envelopes.  That part is my least favorite part of sending cards. 

I have only ordered 1 photo book but I love it and wish I could afford to do lots more. They are so simple and make such great gifts. I was checking out the site again today and uploaded a ton of pictures. When you are done they give you a quick option of viewing what a photo book with the pictures you just uploaded would look like. What a great option for those of us that are less creative. I will need to move a few pictures around but it will save me tons of time in the long run. I'm hoping to get a few different books made for gifts. Look how many things I'm crossing off my list by using Shutterfly. LOVE IT!!!

You too can join in the fun and earn free cards while experiencing some great customer service.  Seriously I've never promoted a product before and the fact that I can honestly say I've been a customer and love the product is the only way I could post this even for free cards.  So click on over and check out the fun and don't forget to add me to your Christmas card list. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tricker Treat

We had a ton of fun on Halloween.  Rex had a party in the afternoon with on of his buddies from school.  Justin's Raiders beat the Seahawks as well so it was a good day for all.  We headed over to our friends house for tricker treating and the whole family had a fun night.  Rex was able to go out with his buddy Colin and Riley got to play with his new friends Kaitlyn and Eva or Eba as Riley calls her. 

The weather turned out great.  The rain left and the sun came out and turned it into a beautiful evening.  The boys treat bags were way too full and it better take a long time to polish off all of this candy.  I've never seen so many houses give out full candy bars.  Way better than the mall for sure!  I had fun dumping all of Rex's bag out on the table tonight.  Man he had no idea what I was doing but really is there anything better than dumping out all the loot and sorting thru to see who had the best stuff. 

Riley had a great time and his trick er treat was better by the end of night.  He said tank ew at every house!