Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mysteriously Quiet

Today I left both Austin and Ellie downstairs while I ran upstairs to start a load of laundry. Starting the load would take about 2 minutes, but that is about 119 seconds longer than I feel comfortable leaving the two of them on their own these days.
Austin used to ignore Ellie but he has recently taken a keen interest in her. This is shown by getting right up in her face and talking in a high pitched voice with his teeth clenched together so tightly they grind on each other (which sends me into convulsions!). He also has a tendency to practice his latest patented wrestling moves on the "head slammer" or "body roll". You can use your imagination and probably get a fairly good idea of what these moves entail. Of course, he isn't trying to be mean, he is only playing. Likewise, she isn't trying to scratch his eyes out with her dagger-like fingernails (I swear I could cut her nails every other day and still not keep on top of them), she is also just playing.
Anyway, the laundry needed some attention and so I had Ellie in her corner and Austin in his and thought I could sneak away and be back before they noticed I was gone. But, on my way back down the stairs there was an eerie "calm before the storm" type of silence. Ellie was no longer in her corner, and Austin was not in his. In fact, I couldn't see either one of them. That is until I walked a little further into the room and my little angels were just reading books behind the chair. Austin was reading to Ellie but she was interested in her own book. It was quite cute.

Once they realized there was going to be photo evidence of them being nice to each other they both decided to really ham it up and pose with smiles and shake hands.

Austin actually said "Hi, my name is Buzzy, oh nice to meet you!" (Buzzy was the character of the hour...he is still never just Austin). I'm still not sure how Ellie ended up way over there since when I left her she was on the other side of the room and she doesn't crawl. But, her cruising skills are amazing and Austin has been known to help her stand (which sometimes involves a headlock). But, there were no screams or tears I'm going to assume it was just some fast rolling on Ellie's part. So, for now the laundry is done and there is harmony between these two. Both will be appreciated for the small amount of time each will last.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Trying to wear them down!

Last night was Kerry and Mike's night of freedom, err, I mean date night. We switch off with them every other month. So, Maddie and Jake came to hang out with us for the night. Since it was a great night weather-wise, we spent the majority of time outside. First at our swingset. Maddie showed me her greatest trick.

Jake and Austin ran around like a pack of wolves.

This picture looks Jake is pushing Austin down. But, seconds before it was taken, Austin can be quoted saying "Your turn to crash into me". They were playing "Cars" and having crashes.

Here's Ellie and Rob enjoying the circus:

We took a small break for a dinner of hot dogs and chips. Probably the only dinner the Murphy kids think we know how to make since the last 3 times they've been to our house that is what we've had. But, in all fairness, we were going to have spaghetti until I found out they had that the night before.

After dinner it was back outside. We all ended up at the blue park by our house (each of the 3 parks by us has a different main color, thankfully, so that is how they are named). This is my least favorite of the parks we can walk to. For Maddie and Jake, I would wager it is one of the most fun. Heck, even for Austin. But, for my anxiety level, it is the least fun. There seems to be a hundred different places where a kid could slip and fall 15 ft or more. Then there are these blue curvy ladder things that one is suppose to use to climb to the top of certain towers. Don't get me wrong, Austin has them mastered, but just watching him climb them makes my heart skip a beat with each rung. We all made it back home safely. Well, Maddie did show up with a minor wound from a rough encounter with some woodchips, but she took it like a champ.

Our plan worked. Austin woke up at 7am (an hour later) and Ellie woke up at 7:30 (45 min. later). Right away Austin asked where Maddie and Jake were. I said they were at home, most likely sleeping since that is what kids should do at 7am. He disagreed and said "No, they're not sleeping, they are at my house playing outside, let's go!"

I'm already planning our night of freedom in June.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Iowa - Part II

We elected to drive from Alton to West Bend (1.5 hours) in the morning when Ellie sometimes takes a morning nap. That way, if she slept that'd be fine and we could wake her up after a half hour or so, but most importantly both kids would take their normal afternoon naps from 1-4pm at Grandma and Grandpa Runchey's, which is essential for everyone's well-being. Our plan worked perfectly. And, we didn't have to wake Ellie because it turns out she is not a car traveler. She only slept about 30 minutes and woke up on her own. Rob sat in the back and fed her Craisins the rest of the time. This no sleeping thing might cause some trouble during future trips.

But, all was well once we got to West Bend! The weather was perfect. We walked up to the grocery store to visit with Grandma quick. I love being able to walk to almost anywhere you want to go there. There is something very satisfying about that. After nap time (which Rob and I participated in too) we walked to the park, pretty much across the street. This was a new destination for us. Austin LOVED it, as he does all parks. Ellie hung out in the swing a bit (as she does in all parks).

What else was new on our visit? Well, Ellie, who used to be fairly scared of Jon, had a new fascination with him. She still wasn't warm and inviting, but she couldn't take her eyes off him either.

Possibly due to the mohawk he is sporting these days.

Of course some things remained the same during our stay in West Bend. For example, Austin didn't waste anytime making himself at home in "his" chair with a couple of his favorite movies to watch. The park could wait a bit longer.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Iowa - Part I

We had a whirlwind trip through Iowa this weekend. Or, at least northwest Iowa. It started on Thursday as we drove to Alton to visit with Rob's grandma. Grandma Dehner. Despite knowing that putting a DVD on for Austin during the ride would keep him awake, we relented and he missed his nap. But, the alternative was him waking up Ellie with his "screaming dinosaur" who emerges when he is bored and also listening to "Are we going to Great Grandma Dehners?" asked one million times. However, even with the screaming dinosaur occupied, Ellie only slept for about 45 minutes. Not 3 hours, which is what she should have done. Despite the lack of sleep, the kids still did pretty good while we were there. Great Grandma had a stash of toys that Austin dove right into and a coffee table that Ellie lapped a few times (and dove into several times).

No one left hungry. For dinner on Thursday we had roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, dinner rolls, a variety of fruit, and two choices for cookies. On Friday morning we thought we were set and explained that we were pretty light breakfast eaters. Still full from the night before, we would all just eat some leftover fruit and a piece of toast. But, 30 minutes later, we sat down to eggs, bacon (a whole pound!), toast, fruit, milk, and juice. I'm sure much more was offered but we rolled out of the kitchen with "just" the above. And, we rolled out of Alton, IA with treats for the drive to West Bend and lunch (and lunch again the next day). I'm not complaining though. Everything was delicious and I learned that Austin likes bacon.
Part II coming soon!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fish out of water

Yesterday I deviated from the routine a bit and instead of bringing the kids to Playworks and going to the gym, I only brought Ellie to Playworks and Austin and I went swimming at the gym. He had a great time! First he had a great time telling everyone (EVERYONE) we saw along the way that he was going swimming. Then he had a great time in the pool but there wasn't a lot of actual swimming done. The pool is a zero depth pool. That means (in case you don't know) that it's like a beach in that the depth change is gradual. Perfect for all ages. Mia joined us and they had a fantastic time just running around. Towards the end they got a bit more adventurous and waded in up to their knees or so. Chrissy and I tried to take them to the deeper end of the shallow end (~4 feet) but Austin was scared to death of this end. He just clung on to me and begged to get to the side. We didn't spend much time down there. Interestingly though, he would walk along the gutters on the side and sit down at about 3 ft and slide into the pool by himself and then walk up to the zero depth part. He knew exactly how far down the side of the pool he could walk before he would get in and still be able to touch the bottom. My new goal is to bring him to the pool about twice a month to get him more used to the pool (especially such a large pool) and my ending goal is to have him jump off the side to me. It could be a long process. In the meantime, my little fish will probably enjoy himself more out of the water than in.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mom's day!

What a great idea! Whoever thought of this holiday was brilliant! Every year I saw my mom get spoiled on Mother's Day and every year I would say "When is Kids Day"? Her reply was always the same: "Everyday is Kid's Day". So true. Yesterday (yes, my spoiling started on Saturday!) I woke up to hostess cupcakes and a card from Rob telling me I had a spa appointment at 10am and some cash to pick up some Caribou coffee on the way. It was heavenly (both the coffee and spa treatment).

This morning I slept in a bit. Rob got up with Austin and went to get donuts for us. Ellie slept in a little for me. Then when the donuts arrived I carried on with my Mother's Day tradition of donuts in bed with the Sunday paper all to myself. After that we hung out around the house, went to lunch, went for a walk, and during naptime I found time to do a little scrapbooking. I'm now officially less than a year behind! Ellie should be making her first appearance in the scrapbooks any day now.

Tonight we went to my parents house where all the guys waited on all the mom's. Steak and shrimp topped off with some (3) s'mores. Delish! It was a great weekend. Happy Mother's day to all the mom's out there. Tomorrow we'll go back to our regularly scheduled program...Kid's Day.

Friday, May 9, 2008

No such thing as a free lunch? Try me!

For those that know me well, this won't be a big surprise, but for those who are still learning...I love a deal. Love it! It's a natural high for me to get a good deal on something I will use. It's fun to find a good deal on anything, but if it's not something I need or would use, then the fun stops there (unless I can call someone who I know can use it).

The last few days I have been floating around with a goofy grin on my face. Yesterday my parents took the kids for the whole day. My sister's kids too. Kerry and I did some scrapbooking and general crafting in the morning. Then we went to lunch at Dairy Queen where she had a buy one get one coupon for lunch ($5.31 saved). From there we headed to the mall. With various coupons I had, I saved another $47. And yes, these were for items we needed...not just purchased because they were a good bargain. Tonight I had my last great deal. I went to Target armed with my coupons and saved us another $23! Amazing. The best compliment was that the cashier herself noticed how much my total dropped. Plus, while I was shopping, I got a call from a marketing research company I signed up with. I just tried to do one of these surveys a couple weeks ago but when I got there they were overbooked and I was paid $50 for showing up and reading a magazine for 10 minutes. Later this month, I will go there again for one hour and 45 minutes and they are going to pay me $85 to taste various food products. Sounds like a free lunch to me!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


We had a successful spaghetti dinner tonight. The success was measured by the mess that Ellie was able to create. We had the forethought to take off her shirt so I wouldn't have to put our stain fighter to the test, but her pants were possibly more messy than her face was. She enjoyed every bite.

She's eating all "real" food now. I have a few jars of fruit left that I mix in with her breakfast oatmeal or carry in the diaper bag for emergency restaurant use, but other than that, she enjoys eating what we eat. Ellie also knows when someone else is eating and she isn't. A lot of times after I pick up the kids from Playworks (where they go when I go to the gym) I will give Austin a small snack to eat on the way to our next destination to tide him over. Well, these days Ellie gets very angry if she looks over and Austin is eating something and she isn't. Then, depending on Austin's mood towards his sister he will either antagonize her and say "Ellie, you will never have this!" or he will come to her rescue and say "Mom, Ellie is jealous, please feed her." (He has learned what jealousy is already).

Monday, May 5, 2008

The weekend events

Another busy weekend come and gone. Friday night we went to our neighbor's house for Mia's 3rd birthday dinner! The kids had fun making a craft and taking pictures and Rob and I had fun eating Chrissy's delicious food. Hard to believe that Mia is 3 and in two short months, Austin will be 3 as well! And, a month before that, Ellie will be 1!

Saturday I gave Rob the day off. He spent his day in his shop woodworking but also found time to sneak away for a movie. I went with my dad and the kids to the Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum. I had free passes from the library's Museum Adventure Pass (I love this program!!!). The museum has a scale model of St. Paul during the 30s, 40s, and 50s. We walked around once with Austin on Grandpa's shoulders so Austin could see it all. Austin was quick to point out everytime he saw a train....which was often. Then Austin, Ellie, and I headed to the Thomas the Tank play tables they had set up. Austin was content here for a long time. Ellie got a little bored. But, this left time for my dad to go through the museum again and actually read things. This system worked pretty well for us. Austin was able to play with some trains, Ellie could stand up next to the tables and watch the kids, my dad was able to read the facts about the railroads, and then later he relayed the "good" parts to me and I didn't have to do any of the reading! After the museum we ate lunch at my parents house and headed home just in time for naps. I took a cute picture of Austin on Grandpa's shoulders with my phone...but I don't know how to get that onto the blog. I'm too cheap to pay for web browsing on my phone. So, I sent a picture message to my sister in law who has an iPhone and she's going to see if she can email it to me from there. In the meantime...use your imagination!

So, the weekend is over, but we are welcoming the new week because it is gorgeous outside! The kids and I spent most of the morning outside. We had a snack picnic on the deck and then played on the swingset the rest of the time. Austin was Sheriff Uniqua and I was the Ping Pong Bandit. This is a Backyardigans episode. We spent our time stealing each others ping pong paddles and running away from the other person. Ellie tried to help Rob cut down his mowing time by pulling out all the grass (and trying to eat it) but then got bored with this and opted for a relaxing bottle in the shade.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Our little bruiser

Ellie has had her fill of falls lately. She insists on standing about 75% of the day. Whether it be at her activity table, or using our hands as support. If we are sitting next to her, and she is sitting down, she will grab our hands from wherever they are and pull them up so she can use them to pull herself up. She gets quite feisty and angry about it if you don't actively participate. She is learning to walk around her table and can usually get a few laps done before she gets tired and falls down. But, with learning, comes falls. Twice last week and once this week she has tripped on the carpet, fallen down, and bit her tongue in the process. Tongues have a lot of blood in them. Crying coupled with blood makes the falls harder on me than crying alone. Hard on my laundry too. She gets over it faster than I do though. Last night was a similar experience. I had Ellie on my lap while I was using the computer and she lunged forward to grab something on the desk and in the process she slammed her cheek into the corner of the desk. Rob said he could hear the thud from the bathroom where Austin was in the tub (30ft away?). She cried pretty hard and about a half hour later at bedtime she was sporting a pretty good bruise. So once again, she got over it and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I woke up a few times wondering if I should check on her at night. I ended up deciding that waking her up to check on her would probably cause more harm than good. And this morning she is no worse for the wear.

Still has a bit of a bruise but she's happy and giggling as usual. Already demanding to stand up next to something. The bags under my eyes from no sleep probably look worse!

Everyday is a Holiday!

This was a few nights ago, but Austin has lately wanted to wear his dragon costume on and off throughout the day. The other night we were finishing up dinner and he started talking about making Valentine's Day cards for his friends. Pretty random, but that's our boy. Then after dinner he wanted to put on his dragon costume. He sat on the couch, started singing Jingle Bells, and looked through a Party America catalog with Birthday party themes. He's a holiday multi-tasker.