Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bouncing until Goodbye

The week after Jason got home was our last week to spend with the Hollender's and it was hard to see them go but we definitely had a blast the last week!

Patti and I spent the last year with one of our husbands being gone at almost all times...I think the boys were both home together for just a few weeks total.

One night that week Patti and I went out for a movie and coffee while the boys watched the kids and busted out the bouncy castle. We bought the bouncy castle for Riley's party and had planned to surprise her with it...however she found the box and the surprise was over!

We had dinner together several nights that week and that Saturday Braden came over to play all day so they could get their house all clean. Jason had gone to Lake Tahoe for the day to "try" snowboarding with his squadron so I had the kids all day and let them just play and bounce all day!
We made a fort on the couch and they had lots of fun crawling through it!
Then came time to play dress up...notice how Braden stayed as far away as possible and tried to read a book..sorry buddy!
First we had Belle...
then we had a rockin' Tinkerbell!
To wind the kids down before lunch they snuggled on the couch and watched some Thomas the Train!
Then their buddy Will came over to play!
Nicki and I got silly and tried on Riley's wigs...what a fun day!

We miss the Hollender's and Riley often asks about her best buddy Braden! I made the kids an alphabet photo book with pictures of all the fun they have had together and Riley likes to read it all the time! The advantage of military life is all the great friends you meet along the way but the con is having to say "bye" too soon and too often!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Heading to the Mountains...

It wasn't but a few days after Jason came home that we headed up to Lake Tahoe for our first trip this year! We were excited to put Riley on skis for the first time and she was stoked...she kept talking about "skiing in tahoe" with her "little skis" and "sticks"!

Jason usually does all the planning for our little trips and is a pro on Priceline but this time he wasn't as lucky as usual...due to Priceline throwing him some loops he managed to score a decent hotel at a great price...but we had to stay in Carson City, NV...on the OTHER side of Lake Tahoe! At first I was not too thrilled but we decided as long as we were together as a family that was all that mattered and it would be an adventure...and it was GREAT!

We left Friday afternoon, got all of our ski gear, and headed on our way. We like to eat at restaurants that Guy features on his show Diner, Drive-Ins, and Dives and we had one in Truckee called Burger Me that we wanted to try!

We made it just in time and Riley had already eaten dinner so she got a treat!

Jason and I have been on a pretty decent low carb kick but this was a night to splurge...and these burgers and sweet potato fries were totally worth it!

Luckily Lake Tahoe had not seen recent snow and there were no bad road conditions so the additional driving ended up not being bad at all...we got in late and called it a night and we were up bright and early the next morning to hit the slopes!
Who wouldn't love to drive to this every morning? The beauty of this place never gets old!
Riley was all decked out and ready for her first day of ski school!
My cutie pies!
Family Pic
Riley was totally excited about ski school...and they were excited about labeling every item she had on!

Once we dropped her off we hit the slopes for a bit before she headed out to ski...we were so excited to watch her!
The first day went pretty well...she sort of dropped out of school after a bit and we picked her up a little early...I think it was a lot for her to take in and we learned that she didn't do so well with us watching and interacting with her while she was at school! She is so used to simply playing in the snow and we all know that ski gear isn't the most comfortable so it was all a bit too much for her!

Here's some video from her first day!

All in all she still did well and she was zonked when we left!

Sunday morning we headed out early again for another day of ski school for Riley!
Day two proved to be much better...she got up on her skis and thanks to a sweet girl Amanda who worked with her very diligently Riley was up and skiing and had far fewer meltdowns than day one!

Here's some video of day 2...

After ski school we did some playing in the snow and had a snowball fight!
Then her Daddy took her on the magic carpet and the bunny slopes for a little bit of skiing again!
I think she was most excited about riding on the lift...sometimes she wanted to ride the lift but not ski down...we had to explain that in order to ride the lift she had to ski!!

I just love this pic of her and Jason riding on the lift sweet!
We had a great weekend...Riley had her first official taste of skiing...and we had some awesome family time!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Daddy Home = Spoiled Riley

We were very fortunate to have Jason home and off work for 2 whole weeks after this deployment!

There is always transition when he comes home...he is sleeping all sorts of weird hours trying to get back on our time, we are changing our routine to include our whole family, and life slowly but surely gets back to some level of normalcy.

Those few weeks having him off was great and is always a sweet time. He gets to spend lots of time with Riley and we go to lunch and just do family things.

This time was no different than others in that it involved some special treats from Daddy! One day he and Riley ran lots of errands and she managed to get some cool new treats!

First off was a new doll that she named "Dolly Doll"...can't you tell this girl LOVES her Daddy!

The second treat was a big surprise to me too because I had no idea they would come with another living thing...however after a trip to Petsmart to "look" at the animals Riley came home with her first fish. I think it is a princess fish...what do you think?

Jason had to brace me when he told me what Riley named the fish...she named it "Cactus" sweet yet it took me awhile to get used to hearing the name "Cactus" all the's definitely bittersweet but so glad that Cactus can forever be a part of our family.

Riley loves to feed her fish and if it weren't for Jason the fish wouldn't get fed. I have to say I was a little leery of the whole idea at first but once he showed me the pink aquarium and all the fun things to "decorate" it with I was in and we had so much fun putting it together!

Friday, January 14, 2011

He's Home...

Well we had another awesome homecoming's always a bit stressful in the morning trying to get ready and keep tabs on when the plane is landing but it's always exciting nonetheless!

Riley had her last Daddy kiss...
and she had another AWESOME picture for her Daddy!

Riley amazes me everyday but something I found truly incredible was her memory of her feelings the last time Jason came home from his deployment in July. She remembered drawing a picture for him, saying "I drew a picture for you Daddy", and then being shy. She wanted to draw him another picture but she said "I'm not going to be shy this time."

We headed up to base...

and waited in the DV lounge to hear that the plane had landed! She was so excited and asking everyone else if their Daddy was coming home!
She was also super excited to show off her picture. It actually got a little tear in it on the way to base and I assured her it would be ok so she kept telling everyone "my picture tore but my Daddy will still love it"
The plane is here!
Some super excited girls ready to be in Jason's arms!
Serious...calm...excited...ready to see her Daddy!
It always seems like an eternity from when the plane lands until they actually start she snuggled with me!
There he is...woohoo!
My favorite picture of all time...the excitement in her face as she runs to her Daddy is priceless!
Back in his arms!
Fun time chatting as a family!
All together again!
Hand in hand...time to head home!
Had to get a smooch pic of Mommy and Daddy...Riley thought it was funny!
We had to wait awhile for all of Jason's luggage to be offloaded but he had a special present for Riley so it was time to show her!
The guys in his sheet metal shop made Riley these awesome dog tags...Jason designed them and they have her name, date of birth, a special message from Mommy and Daddy, Tinkerbell, a KC-10 airplane, and a Gig'Em Aggies picture...they are perfect and a gift I know she will treasure her entire life.

She was so full of joy and love that day and gave me one of the biggest kisses!
So happy to be a family again...and hopefully have Jason home for a long time!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Another deployment comes to an end...

Well here we are...the night before yet another homecoming.

Another deployment down. Another amazing homecoming to look forward to.

Here's a few pics from Jason's deployment...

He actually went off base more this time than before!

He visited the Shangri La resort to eat at their buffet and enjoy the pool!

He did some shopping!
He celebrated Christmas...
and even got a visit from Santa!
He also went to Ferrari World and rode the world's fastest roller coaster!

He also worked out like a mad man as he has been doing the Insanity workout!

Obviously he also worked really hard and made some great friendships...but these two girls are so ready for him to be home!!!