Friday, May 27, 2011

Visit from Caitlin

Jackson and I were so blessed this past week to have my dear friend, since 6th grade, come and visit us in San Diego. Caitlin was accepted into the UW's program to become a Family Nurse Practitioner and will begin this June, but has been an acitve RN in the San Francisco area for the past 4 years. Before starting classes in Seattle next month, she made the time to visit Jackson and I and Jackson and I were so blessed with her visit! Unfortunately, Jackson came down with Hand-Foot-and-Mouth-Disease this week (a virus with high fevers and blisters in the mouth, hands and feet) so Caitlin and I dosed him up with Motrin and Tylenol and wrapped him up in a blanket in the stroller and did all of the stuff we planned to do anyways. We got a sitter one night and saw Bridesmaids (HILARIOUS!!!) and had sushi. She was a huge help with Jackson and I think the most amazing part of the visit, the part I wasn't expecting, was her appreciation for all that I do. She was amazed at how much work it is to be a mom and take care of a house and it felt great to know that it's not all just in my head :) She was encouraging to me and loving to Jackson and he fell madly in love with his Auntie Cait-Cait, and why wouldn't he? It was a lovely week and ten times whatever I was expecting. We wish you the beset Caitlin! See you in Seattle soon. XOXOXO
Girls-Night Out with Sushi at Valentino's- YUMMMM.

At the Del Coronado.


Enjoying Mexican food in Old Town.

Jackson Turned 3, and Daddy Left on Deployment

In mid-April, Matt left for a six-month deployment on board the USS Howard (Facebook Page for the Howard). I was very sad as Jackson and I drove away from the pier and the tears poured down my cheeks as I attempted to hiccup back my sadness on the 805-South, but Jackson was more worried about me than his Daddy leaving. He just kept thinking "Daddy was on duty". The day after the ship left, Jackson and I flew to Seattle to visit with our families and friends. It was a nice distraction from Daddy leaving, and we were able to celebrate Jackson's 3rd birthday with his grandparents with a pirate-themed birthday party. Jackson is still dressing up as a pirate and running around the house shouting, "Argggg Matey!" When we came home from Seattle to San Diego, Jackson was shocked that Daddy was still gone- thus began the most difficult transition we've ever been through. No sugar-coating here folks, it has been tough. I truly believe that it wouldn't be this tough, if Jackson and his Daddy weren't so close and if Matt wasn't such an amazing father. Deployment seems to be going faster than it has in the past, mostly because I'm running after Jackson all the time, and driving him from soccer, to church, to Bible Study, to park play-dates, to Sea World, etc. I have included some pictures of the last month for you all to enjoy.

Daddy & Jackson the weekend before deployment (Daddy is a little teary:)

Matt and I at an impromptu going-away party some of his dear friends from his Men's Group organized. We were blessed with good friends and prayer over Matt that evening.
Matt got Jackson this large world map for his bedroom wall. We have special stickers we use to mark where Daddy goes.

Jackson and I went to the Chula Vista fire-station pancake breakfast and he got to climb into the fire-trucks and examine all the parts. He was in heaven!!
We are so proud of our Chief!
Jackson and I got to visit Bapa at his office downtown Seattle one day for lunch.
All of the friends and family who blessed us for Jackson's birthday celebration in Seattle.

Pirate cupcakes :)
Mom Sheri, Poppy Ron and Jackson

Easter Morning
Jackson and Noey

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mama Always Told Me There'd Be Days Like This...

I'm not sure at what point in our young lives we start making memories that are imprinted upon us, ones we can search for in the back of our minds and pull out for future references that is. I do know that one of my earliest memories was when I was 3 or 4 years old and I woke up in the middle of the night, being cradled in my mother's arms as she rocked me in our old rocking-chair. I do not remember her shortness with me earlier in the day, or her harsh words, or what I had done to irritate her in the first place, or even what consequence I endured later, but I vividly remember her tears and her asking me for forgiveness. I remember my mother teaching me humility and it was one of the most valuable lessons I ever learned to this date. During my school-aged days I could never hold a grudge for very long and my parents would sometimes become frustrated because I would let the same friends hurt me over and over again, but I always forgave. Perhaps it was my desire to "...turn the other cheek," Matthew 5:39, but I truly believe it was because my mother taught me the importance of forgiving and asking for forgiveness. You see, when you ask someone else for forgiveness, you are the one being set free.
We are currently learning the lessons of humility and forgiveness in the Rife household. My son can be the most irritating little creature God ever blessed me with, at times. He constantly nags, cries, whines, manipulates, pouts and throws tantrums that are overly-dramatic and more for show than anything else, and for all of these reasons and more I can become irritated with him. I sometimes speak harshly, or shamefully roll my eyes at his wild antics, but I learned early on to ask for forgiveness, and so I ask for his almost daily. It is extremely humbling to ask a two-year-old for forgiveness for your own childish ways, but it is oh so rewarding to hear a sweet voice from the backseat of the car say, "I fo fowwy mommy." on his own accord after throwing his fruit-snacks at you. At two years old he has already found freedom in forgiveness, and at thirty years old, I am still learning the power in it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

We're All Growing and Learning

Matt was underway (gone at sea) this week and I, for some reason, took that to be a perfect time to potty-train Jackson. Granted, all the parenting books say to avoid transitional times and that you should stay home for two-weeks straight to help your little one learn to listen to his body, but instead I took him to Sea World on Day 1 of our big attempt! Then on Day 3 I took him to the Zoo, in our brand new stroller! At one point I was carrying Jackson under one arm, pushing the stroller and running through a crowded monkey-observation-exhibit, all the while screaming, "Pee-pee emergency! Pee-pee emergency!" People without kids rolled their eyes as they had to dodge me, while others with young children smiled knowingly or chuckled at how ridiculous I looked. Either way, we stayed dry through both trips, and I do mean we as I later told my grandmother over email, "He may be learning, but I am being schooled through all of this!"
I had been interested in potty-training Jackson for over six-months, but the fact remained that he was not ready yet, and the Lord used this time to teach me patience. My least favorite fruit of the Spirit to learn, but always a lesson well-learned when it's over. It may seem silly that God would use something as insignificant as "poopoo and peepee" to help me learn how little control I truly have, but I thought it quite applicable and appropriate. After all, "stuff" happens and how are we going to react when it does? Are we going to scream and throw a tantrum and shake our fist in anger? Or are we going to take a deep breath and have another go? God doesn't give up on us when we miss our goal or forget to listen to the signs, just as we don't give up on our little children when they are learning something new. To God, I may as well be a two-year-old-potty-training-Ninja, because I have plenty of accidents and need just as much hand-holding through life.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Action Jackson Visits Santa"

We were lucky enough for Matt to have a day off of work last week (something that never happens!) and so we made it a family Christmas extravaganza and all went to Disneyland for the day! It was crazy busy, but so much fun! We visited Disneyland and California Adventure and both places were decked for Christmas. Small World was totally transformed, which was exciting for Jackson and I since we frequent Disneyland every 3-5 weeks.

This Christmas has been especially memorable for our family since we are putting a tree up in our own home for the first time in three years! Jackson is at that age where everything excites him about the holidays and he makes everything even more joyful. He has taught himself all the words to Jingle Bells (Tinkle Bells when he sings it...) and Rudolph as well as all the songs from Curious George's Merry Christmas special. He loves looking for "God's Baby Jesus" in all of the nativity scenes that are set up for the holiday. It's amazing how much fun two can be!
Last year we visited Santa and had a total meltdown from Jackson as he was asked to sit on a strangers lap with a beard and crazy red suit. This year he marched right up to the big guy and gave him a hug and then said, "I good! I obey! I need toys!" This guy is getting the feel for this whole Christmas thing for sure.
I hope your Holidays are going well!

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Little Athlete

Jackson had his first soccer practice with his new team, The Hot Shots. It's through the YMCA and is the first step to providing structured and guided play. Excuse the rough cinematography, but it ended up being a lot more "hands-on" than I was expecting. I'm not complaining, it was a blast! Hope this provides as much laughter for you as it did for me!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

October Update

October was a busy and crazy month for Team Rife! Matt has spent the better part of the month underway, serving our nation :). I turned 30 years old on October 6th! A milestone for sure. Since Matt was gone, Jackson and decided to "leave on a jetplane" and head up to Seattle for a couple of weeks. We had a lovely time visiting with some family and friends, and then my mom came back with us for two weeks in San Diego. My dad was able to fly down for Halloween weekend which was an extremely fun time! Jackson spent the better part of the month dressed up as Buzz Lightyear, which makes me feel like we got our money's worth out of the costume :) Jackson, Nama and I were able to make a trip to the San Diego Zoo, a trip to Sea World and a trip to Disnyland/California Adventure! I am providing the link for October and the first part of November on so that you all can see the pictures of our time together. It's true that a picture is worth a thousand words, and definitely tells more of a story than I could ever do justice to. I will be sure to try and keep this updated more so during November, as we have plans to see some of the Dime Family in Palm Springs over Thanksgiving, not to mention the reunion Jackson and I are anxiously awaiting for Matt's arrival home. He is greatly missed. This is the longest time Jackson has been away from his Daddy before and he is definitely showing signs of reacting.
We hope everyone is well!
Wish Love,
The Rife Family

Link for October Album (copy and paste into your browser if it doesn't automatically link)
Link for Disneyland Trip, November 1st:

Jackson & Boe (Robin and Optimus Prime)
Blowing Out My Candles
Buzz and his BaPa
Buzz and his Uncle Chad
Celebrated my 30th with some of my best friends since 6th grade. Jeni, Me, Caitlin & Amy

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Each Day Brings New Experiences

Today marked an eventful day. It will probably seem silly to most of you, and those of you without children will have a tough time figuring out why I mention this at all, but today was a big day for Jackson and I.
So... this morning, Jackson got on the big boy swing next to me on my own swing! He held on for twenty minutes while I continued make him "Go more high!" It was such a fun morning with just me and my boy. There weren't two happier people in all of Eastlake. I hope all of you had an equally lovely Thursday. XOXOXO

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Month of May Was Good to Us

May was busy and exciting at our home. Jackson turned two-years-old and so Nama Paula & BaPa Lar came down to San Diego to celebrate. As a bonus treat, Uncle Josh, Aunt Nette and Boe came too! We got to celebrate Jackson's birthday with a big party in the park and Mother's Day dinner at our house that same evening.
We all made the drive out to Disneyland one morning- so fun!

BaPa, Jackson & Boe at Small World

Jackson and Daddy on the Nemo Submarine Ride

Seeing Mickey Mouse never seems to get old.

Jackson didn't fell asleep on his Nama Paula during the Haunted House in Disneyland.

We also made a trip out to Legoland while everyone was here. Boe and Jackson had a blast playing together.
These two rode the Duplo Lego Train over and over!

They had a water part to play in- the boys were in heaven!

Jackson and BaPa on the Wild Safari Legoland Ride


BaPa took Boe and Jackson on the Lego Boat ride and later told us that it was the longest twenty minutes of his life. The boys are actually steering this boat and they kept turning around and getting stuck against the wall. I was laughing the whole time.

BaPa reading a bedtime story to Jackson.

Good morning Birthday Boy!

Boe helped Jackson learn how to open his birthday presents- thanks Boe!

Mommy & Daddy got Jackson an outfit to cook in his new kitchen from Nama & Bapa. Jackson kept running around saying, "Ratatouille!"

The kids all "decorated" pretend cupcakes by Melissa & Doug Toys.

We went to Noah's birthday party two weeks later and Jackson was very confused why he couldn't open these presents. We tried to explain to him that it's not always "Jackson's Birthday".
Happy Birthday Noah!

It was definitely another blessed month for The Rifes!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

San Diego = Finally Home

Mommy & Jackson
Father's Day Morning with Daddy

We have made San Diego home! It was only a matter of time, but thanks to our new church we have made friends who have become our family here. I joined a Mom's Group that Jackson and I go to on Wednesday mornings and we both joined a Married Couples Group that we go to on Sunday nights.

Last week my dear friend Kalee came from Seattle to visit
and she brought her sweet little Noelle with her. It was interesting watching Jackson learn to share his toys and time with a little one... he's still got some room to grow :) We went to the San Diego Wild Animal Park, Sea World and Old Town, not to mention to the days spent swimming in our community pool.

Jackson, Me, Kalee & Noelle

Beautiful Noey & Kalee
Jackson making faces at Noelle
Jackson and Noelle didn't even make it out of the parking lot after a long day at Sea World

Jackson is now jumping into the pool without anyone catching him! He loves to swim for hours with his little orange swimming floaties. We call him our little fish and he laughs and says, "Like Nemo!"

Besos = Kisses
This week a friend of mine from Chicago happened to be visiting San Diego and she made time in her schedule to visit with Jackson and I. We went to the San Diego Zoo and then to Old Town for authentic Mexican cuisine and margaritas :) Yummmm! Lindsey and Keith were the perfect tourists and made it a very fun week. We were lucky to have Mary's visit overlap theirs a little bit and we all got to enjoy one anothers company for one day.

Jackson and Lindsey at the Jaguar exhibit at the San Diego Zoo
Jackson, Nana Mary & Me in Old Town, San Diego

Lindsey & Keith in Old Town

Family Picture on Naval Station San Diego

We even went down to the base to see a few of the ships and Matt gave us the Chief's Tour.
Jackson got to see the Naval Station Fire Department and sit in their fire truck (his newest obsession is fire trucks!) It was a dream come true for this two year old.

We got a chance to head to the beach on Coronado Island this weekend with Nana Mary and our Espinoza Family. Matt got us onto the Naval Base and we were lucky to be able to use that beach. It was a little cloudy for what we're used to, but that doesn't mean we couldn't play in the sand all day!

Ella, Noah and Jackson
Gabe and Matt built a sandcastle... for the kids. Sure.

We tried the water a little, but Jackson was knocked down once and that was enough to drive him to the arms of his Nana Mary. She didn't seem to mind...

Getting warm in Nana Mary's arms
Saturday night we went to church and then out to dinner at a spot we hadn't tried before called "Smokin' Pete's BBQ". It was yummy!
Jackson and his Nana Mary
Out to dinner
Still got it.... :)
Jackson and I are making the trip up to Seattle next month. We can't wait to see many of you. You know how busy our time is when we're home, and we're sharing it between grandparents, Mukilteo and Kirkland and a week in Sun River, OR as well. I hope to post more in the next week.
Hugs to everyone!