Tag Archives: Riley

Sunglasses on a Cloudy Day


This is Riley running his first ever kids’ race after I completed a local 5K this spring. The announcer was hilarious, calling the play-by-play and giving each kid a nickname. “Here comes Sunglasses on a Cloudy Day! Oh! He stops to get his picture taken!” We all laughed because yes, that pretty much sums this kid up.

Riley has worn these exact same blue, shark sunglasses since he was 2 and a half and we bought them for him at a candy shop in the northwoods of Wisconsin while we were on vacation.

The day he got his "sunjagges."

The day he got his “sunjagges.”

Here’s the day he got them. He called them “sunjagges” for probably a year. Sometimes we still refer to them as that.

But you know I’m not writing this post as a happy ode to the shark sunglasses.

Two days ago, Riley lost them. Scratch that. I think someone at school took them. They are gone.

He has worn them every single day for the last three years and yes, I know this is so completely a First World Problem, but I’m still sad. I knew the day would come that they’d break or get lost or become too small to fit his face. But I’m still sad that that day is here.


Frolicking in the Wisconsin River in 2012

Frolicking in the Wisconsin River in 2012

Drumming on dad's drums w/sunglasses.

Drumming on dad’s drums w/sunglasses.


First boat ride of 2013.

First boat ride of 2013.

Even posing for professional pictures requires his sunglasses.

Even posing for professional pictures requires his sunglasses.

First day of K4 (with sunglasses)

First day of K4 (with sunglasses)

First day of K5 (with sunglasses)

First day of K5 (with sunglasses)

Ok, ok, you get the point. The kid is never without them. He’s known as the kid with the sunglasses by just about everyone. His teachers know he doesn’t like to go out for recess without them. So today I took him to school early so we could check Lost and Found. His teacher, Riley and I rifled through a giant bin of grody elementary school kid clothes to no avail. I really think they’re gone. Every day he left them in the hallway underneath his backpack and I’m sure some kid just swiped them and kept on walking.

Last night Riley asked me about God. He does this sometimes. He told me that sometimes he prays to God. No, we are not necessarily a church-going religious family, but he attended a Christian K3 school and learned a LOT about the big man upstairs there.

“What do you pray for, buddy?” I asked.

“Just stuff that I need,” he replied.

“Like toys?” I asked with a smile, totally knowing where this was headed.

“No, I asked God to find my sunglasses.”

Oh. *sniffle

Today I ordered him a new pair. We will celebrate the fact that a 2, 3, 4, and 5 year old managed to last THREE YEARS without losing or breaking something. And then we will replace them with the exact same pair and go on with our lives.

UPDATE: The sunglasses have been found! In a bizarre turn of events, the sunglasses were found in the backpack of a classmate the exact day that the replacement pair were delivered. Because of course they were. It looks like it was a case of mistaken backpack identity and all is right with the world.


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Riley’s 5th Birthday Party

So the last month or two has really gotten away from me and I realized I still haven’t written about Riley’s 5th birthday party. This is the first year we had a “kids” party AND a “family” party. Usually it’s only been the family party, but now that Riley’s in school, we knew he’d want to have his school friends celebrate with him. So that’s what we did.

Enter Skyzone.

The birthday boy was just a smidge excited.

The birthday boy was just a smidge excited.

Skyzone is an indoor trampoline park and man, this place is a dream for kid’s parties. The entire warehouse-sized building is filled with trampolines. Even the walls are trampolines. It was so fun watching the kids bounce and bounce and fall and bounce some more.

Seriously. Can I join?

Seriously. Can I join?


So since our little man is obsessed with the old school Nintendo that I got when I was in 5th grade (no, I’m not even kidding – it still works!), he said he wanted a Mario party. I was happy to oblige.


I made these 1up mushroom cupcakes, after finding them online. The white dots are actually white candy melts. It was so hard to find Mario “stuff”. Cups, plates, chochkies, not even Party City had them. I finally found them at Bartz’s a small local party store. And I then spent an arm and a leg on them. Oh well. Worth it.


Look at that face. See? Worth it.


The number 5 mustached shirt was an Etsy find, btw.


When the party was over, all the kids got to take one of these game over bags home. Inside was a Mario moustache, Mario fruit snacks and stickers.

After the awesome time at Skyzone, we then welcomed a house full of family over that afternoon for another party. What? We figured we’d get it all over in one day and collapse into a pile of exhaustion for the rest of the weekend. We succeeded.




We bought him a remote-controlled rattle snake. He was thrilled as you can see above. Have you ever seen someone so excited to unwrap a rattle snake?


Store-bought cake for the win!

IMG_7938Again, when your husband is a graphic designer, he can do things like this. Put your child’s head on Mario for a banner and invitations.



So there you have it. Every year I go pretty darn big for my kid’s birthdays and this year was no exception. Check out other parties we’ve thrown here and here. However, I depended much more on store bought things this year. Honestly, this party kind of crept up on me and I just didn’t have the time to go all Pinterest-y on this party. But it turned out great. Take that Pinterest!



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Yesterday was a day that I’ve waited a long time for. It was one of the quintessential days of parenthood. And I missed it. Actually, I was about 15 minutes late for it.

Riley rode his bike without his training wheels for the first time ever. While I was at work.

We took his training wheels off last fall, but in case you didn’t know, we’ve had the worst, snowiest, coldest winter ever in the history of the world. Or something like that. So Riley really hasn’t had much practice on his training wheel-free bike. It’s finally started warming up so this weekend he and I gave it a shot. Then he and his daddy gave it a shot. I could tell he definitely had better balance than he did last fall. He seemed closer to reaching this goal and Derek said he’d definitely have it down pat by summer.

I knew it would be sooner than that. I didn’t know it would be the next day.

When I came home from work at 5:00, the three amigos (and the dog) had been outside playing for most of the afternoon. While Charlotte squealed and ran into my arms as I pulled into the driveway, Derek told me to “watch this”  as he walked down the driveway holding Riley’s bike with a smile. I knew what was coming.

“…should I …..film this?” I asked. Keenly aware that I should. He nodded.

I positioned myself to the side of the driveway and I watched my little boy gleefully ride by himself up the driveway. And then crash into the garage. So he hasn’t learned to stop yet, but he can ride!

photo 1

Here he comes.photo 2

He’s doing it!photo 3

Look at that face! Then he crashed. And still smiled.

I distinctly remember learning to ride my bike when I was four. I never used training wheels. I owe that to having an older sister who I wanted to be just like. I literally hopped on her bike one day and started pedaling, according to my parents. See?

photo 4

Ah, the early 80’s – when no one wore bike helmets, you just rode in the street on your banana seat bike. And it looks like I’m wearing bell bottoms. Huh?

To say that I’m proud of Riley is an understatement. Again, this kid never ceases to amaze me.  Being a working mom is rough. Though I know he could’ve done this while I was in the house changing Charlotte’s diaper, or in the backyard picking up dog poop. I didn’t miss it because I work. Reminding myself of that makes it sting a little less.

Last night as Riley laid in bed, I told him how I proud I was of him and that he should drift off to sleep thinking about how he rode his bike with no training wheels for the first time. He came out into the living room ten minutes later and asked me to tuck him in again. While we walked back to his bedroom, he asked I would rub his back. So he laid in his bed and I sat on the edge, rubbing his tiny little back. “Ah, this is so relaxing,” he sighed. “What was your favorite part of today, bud?” I asked him while I rubbed, totally thinking he’d say riding his bike. “This, right now,” he said dreamily. Suddenly I didn’t feel so bad about missing what I thought was a milestone (and yes, it is), but usually, it’s the little things like a back rub in a nightlight-lit bedroom that really means something.

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