Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Worth the wait

Last Saturday we went to Katelyn's 3rd birthday party. They had the works: dinner, cake, a pinata, and a jumpy castle! Everyone had a fabulous time...including Riley. The Smith's invited their neighbors to the party to partake in the festivities. I have met these folks maybe twice. They are very nice but I have failed both time to catch their names. Therefore, they are Mr. and Mrs. X here on out.

Shortly into our visit Mrs. X wanted to hold Riley. While she was doing so, Riley got hungry so I prepared a bottle and got ready to feed her. Mrs. X offered to feed her and I happily took her up on her offer. Meanwhile I went downstairs to watch the pinata action which, by the way, was quite amusing. Mrs. X came downstairs and I inquired about Riley. She informed me that Riley was fast asleep and that Mr. X was holding her and enjoying it quite a bit. They have been out of the baby stage for 7 years and were enjoying holding a little one again. When I went upstairs Riley was wide awake and smiling away at Mr. X! What? A complete stranger and she had apparently been flashing smiles at him for the last 15 minutes. I was excited to see so many smiles on her face but I was equally jealous. That's when it became my mission to get Riley to smile more for me. Here are the attempts from the last few days:

Nope, not what I'm looking for...

"Get that camera out of my face mom!"

Getting closer....

BINGO!!!! Granted it took me 3 days of hard work, but I think it's worth it.

Toddler Tuesday

We've been spending a lot of time in the house lately. Riley's attitude is a bit of a crap shoot so rather than taking the kids places, even outside, it's been easier for me to hang out inside where I can keep tabs on everyone and don't have to worry about them running off. But, this is what Austin was doing the other day:

He is skateboarding...with a book as his skateboard. Although I think that is creative, I decided it was time to get out of the house. I read that the Mall of America has a program called "Toddler Tuesday". Each week is a different theme with games, activities, meet and greets, etc. Sounded good to me. This Tuesday it was "Dora the Explorer Day". Knowing that my niece, Katelyn, LOVES Dora and further knowing that Austin enjoys the show when he gets a chance to see it, I thought we should all go. Kelly took a day off work and brought Katelyn and Ashley. I brought my kids (and my sister for back up just in case) and we all met at the mall.

Toddler Tuesday = Crazy!

Austin and Katelyn did play "Pin the boots on Boots" but in general it could be summarized as too many strollers in too small of a space. In addition to that, all the activities had lines and trying to navigate strollers through lines is next to impossible, not to mention, what toddler wants to stand still in a line? Austin had more fun looking at the animals outside the Rainforest Cafe.

So, although I give the mall and A for making the effort, I don't think it will be something we try again anytime soon. Back to skateboarding for us! That is, until Austin starts using the stairs as some sort of half pipe.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Smiley Riley

For the first time, last night, I am certain Riley smiled at me on purpose. For about a week now I could just see a smile waiting to burst out and reveal itself. A couple times she would smile but I couldn't be sure if she meant to do it, or if it was just one of those goofy newborn smiles attributed to gas. The kind where they smile and simultaneously roll their eyes into the back of their head in a sleepy state, you know what I'm talking about. But, last night I came home from a gathering and held her and she cooed "Hello mom, so nice to see you again." I responded with "Hello my pretty girl!" and then she smiled. I was able to talk a couple more smiles out of her before she reverted back to her usual crying, which sounded something like: "My stomach hurts mom!!!" I am hoping to be able to post a picture of her toothless grin soon.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


On Saturday night Rob and I stayed at the new Westin hotel in Edina (only 20 minutes from our house). This hotel boasts a collection of towels, sheets, beds, pillows, etc. called "Heavenly". Although the hotel was very nice, the heavenly part was that we had a whole day and night without kids. Rob's parents came up for the weekend and stayed with the kids all day Saturday and Saturday night (Thanks Patti and Bob!!!!). Rob and I had been looking forward to this getaway for about 3 weeks. Typically at 3am while hanging out with Riley.

I'm not sure if Friday night could have gone any worse. For some reason Riley would NOT go to sleep. It was perhaps her worst night yet. Then Ellie woke up at 1am and also would not go back to sleep. Rob took her downstairs and she danced the night away to Sesame Street. I stayed upstairs with Riley walking her around. We finally got Ellie to sleep and Riley drifted in and out of sleep. Austin didn't give us any problems, but his 6am wake up time came way too soon. It wasn't exactly a good confidence booster for Patti and Bob before we left.

But leave we did! At 9am we were out the door and free! First stop....Caribou Coffee! The rest of the agenda included shopping at the Mall of America, spa treatments, lunch, naps, more shopping, movies (on TV), and dinner. And most important of all, sleeping through the night without any interruptions!

Heavenly indeed!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Welcome Orion

Riley had a good night of sleeping. She ate around 7:30pm, topped off at 9:30pm with another ounce because she was really irritable and then went to bed at 10pm. She didn't wake up until 3:45am! Fantastic! But, with all that sleep, she was wide awake after I fed her. As I was laying on the couch willing her to fall back asleep I was staring out the window into the night sky. That's when I saw it. Orion. I know, I'm a self-proclaimed nerd, but Orion in a constellation that is only visible in the winter from our region. Winter, and apparently, upcoming months to winter. The fact that I can see Orion at night now means that days like yesterday are going to become a thing of the past way too soon.

The kids and I had a great time playing outside yesterday. While Riley was sleeping, Austin, Ellie, and I hung out outside to soak in some fresh air and warmth. At one point Austin had every toy we have in the garage out to play with. Ellie was content to walk around with the bucket of chalk. Stopping every so often to sit down, take all the chalk out, taste a few sticks, and put it all back in to walk someplace else. Though at one point she did more than just lick it. She actually took bites out of it. Nothing like a little calcium sulfate for a mid-day snack. (I said I was a nerd) Once chalk eating became old, we headed to the swingset. Knowing I had my camera in hand, Austin promptly ran from equipment to equipment yelling "Take a picture of me!!!" I obliged. Ellie is also getting good at climbing up to the tower, but she still makes me nervous. Especially when she is up there. She still isn't as stable on her feet as I'd like her to be when she has 5 feet to fall. So, I spent a great deal of time up in the tower too.

Last night, when I was done reflecting on the fun day we had outside I decided maybe Orion's appearance in the sky wasn't such a bad thing. The sooner he shows up, the sooner he leaves. I'm hoping by the time he is gone (if not sooner) that Riley won't be waking up in the middle of the night and my sightings of Orion will be on my own terms.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A day for Austin

Rob and I decided that Austin could use a little one on one time with us. With the addition of Riley to the family, as well as Ellie still needing quite a bit of attention we thought maybe Austin would enjoy a day with us all to himself. Where did we go? The zoo of course! My dad offered to watch the girls (Thanks Dad!) while we took off for the zoo. Austin is fairly protective of his little sisters and is constantly reminding us not to forget them. For example, if I am loading the kids into the van to go somewhere I usually load in Austin and Ellie first, and then go back inside for Riley in her carseat. Well, as I make my first trip out to the car, Austin will scream and cry "Grab Riley!!!" as if I am going to leave her. So, we thought that perhaps he wouldn't be okay with leaving his sisters behind. We were wrong. He sang his good-byes as he practically danced out the door. When we got to the zoo he grabbed Rob's hand and there was no looking back.

We got there right when it opened. The weather wasn't great, but there was plenty enough to do indoors while we tried to wait out the rain. We started off in Discovery Bay. We were the only people in the whole area (two other families joined us later on). This was pretty great because Austin didn't have any trouble getting a front row seat at the aquarium windows.

Our new favorite exhibit is the Grizzly Coast. It opened this summer and includes sea otters and 3 grizzly bears (and other animals). The grizzly bears were quite active this morning and all three played in the water right up next to the glass for quite awhile. Rob and I thought this was great, but Austin thought the caves were more fun to run through.

When the bears were done swimming one came to say hello to Austin near the glass. The bear had his back turned to him and Austin got really close to the glass to check him out and all of the sudden the bear turned around and was also really close to the glass. Austin jumped backwards VERY fast and said "Yikes! He almost escaped!"

We walked around the rest of the zoo, even all the way to the farm exhibit. I remember making this trek when I was pregnant with Ellie and thinking "never again" and now I remember why. I don't want to walk that far to see cows. More importantly, I don't want to walk that far to smell cows.

We stopped to see his other favorites, like the tigers. Rob pointed out the tiger to Austin, which is usually hard to see, and Austin yelled "Hi Tiger!" and then in a low growly tiger voice he said "Hello Austin, Nice to meet you....ROAR!". He has a future as a tiger whisperer.

When it seemed like Austin was being carried more than walking, and when he was more interested in the caramel corn than the animals, we decided it was okay to leave. The whole way home he studied his "Nap" (no matter how many times we told him it was a Map).

And we rounded off his day of fun with his favorite meal. A chicken nugget happy meal.

That is the face of one happy boy!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Share the Love!

What kind of love am I sharing? My love for a good deal. I just added a new element to this website. Now, underneath the archives, you will find my latest good deal I have been taking advantage of. I will give you as much info as possible so you can all take part in my wheelin' and dealin'! Enjoy!

Riley sleeps!

Last night I put Riley to bed at about 9:30pm. She didn't wake up until 3am!!!! Five and a half hours of sleep! And then once in bed again, she didn't wake up until 6:40am! I'm spending my morning reviewing the events of yesterday that might have contributed to such a great night for her. The rest of the day I will spend hoping it wasn't an isolated event.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Vacations on the go

There's just something about a kid falling asleep in a carseat that I think is very cute. In general, sleeping kids are pleasant. I am wondering if it is a bad sign that I was sort of looking forward to Ellie's doctor appointment today. I was going to be leaving the other two at my parents house and I knew Ellie would fall asleep in the car. The 20 minute drive was like a mini vacation. Plus, the Dr. appointment was suppose to be a quick check on her nose and I was pretty sure they were not going to zap it again.

The Dr. came in and thought it looked great. I agreed. Then she asked if it had been bleeding at all. I quickly said "Nope!" and then as I was leaning Ellie backwards because we were playing "upside down" I peeked at her nose again and saw a small scab almost on the inside. I pointed it out to the doctor. She checked it out and changed her mind. She decided she was going to give it one more treatment. Her reasoning was mostly because "it's the triangle of the nose". This might mean something to a plastic surgeon, or a doctor in general, but it meant nothing to me. What it meant to me was that Ellie was going to be screaming behind a closed door for a torturous 2 minutes and there was nothing I could do. Vacation over.
As the door closed behind me and the screams came out it was all of the sudden interrupted by the three ladies (doctor and nurses) laughing hysterically. What on Earth could be so funny about my little girl being scared to death? Well, when she came out they told me. Apparently as Dr. Nemacek was coming towards Ellie, Ellie defended herself and slapped Dr. Nemacek right across the face. I'm glad they found it funny and not offensive. No harm done...and if there was, well, she's a plastic surgeon so I'm sure she could take care of herself.

Ellie gets over her anxiety quite quickly once she's back in my arms but the mark on her nose lingers for about a week and looks pretty painful. They assure me it is not painful. It must not be; I had another 20 minute vacation as we drove back to get the other two.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fish out of water...but also in

Austin had his first swimming lesson yesterday. I've been gearing him up all week telling him about it and what he will do and most importantly, that he needs to listen to his teacher and do everything he/she asks. I didn't want to get there and have him be the kid who clings to their parents leg not willing to go anywhere near the pool. Or, the kid that will go with the teacher but not listen to anything, not get in the pool, etc. Well.....
Austin had NO problem leaving me and following the teacher. Pretty much ran away from me is more like it. That was pretty much the end of his listening.
Teacher: "okay, everyone in the pool!"
Teacher: "Let's open and close our hands" (not sure why)
(Austin was spinning around in circles and singing at this point)
Teacher: "Let's see everyone's muscles!"
And this marks the only time Austin participated with the group. More than willing to show off his muscles. The majority of the time was spent singing for him. I'm sure the teacher really appreciated that. Though, when the teacher addressed Austin directly, for example, "Austin, can you stick your face in the water?" Austin would do exactly as he was asked. He's just not much of a group person I guess.
When he got done he ran right to me and said "Say, 'Good job, buddy! You did a good job listening to the teacher!' Say that Mommy!" And when I relayed my assigned script to him he said "Yeah, I'm really smart! Let's come back tomorrow."
At least I know there won't be any arguments on Wednesday when we go back. Or so I think.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Golden Anniversary!

Today, on the 8th, Rob and I have been married for 8 years! Our Golden Anniversary (until 2050, when it will be 50 years and that's celebrated with gold too). I think Rob thought I made up the whole "golden" thing two years ago on my birthday when I was 29 on the 29th in an attempt to get something gold. But, it didn't work and I still maintain a golden celebration exists.

Though we're not celebrating our anniversary until the 20th, we did have our family photographer take our picture to commemorate the event. He then took a few other snapshots. Including Rob's leg and foot, Riley's pajamas, and the back of Ellie's head. And then 2 more of himself (as usual).

This is the best of the bunch. Happy Anniversary Rob! I love you (even with spit up on your shirt!)!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Back to the moon

There are some things that are better left in their natural habitat. Moon Sand just made my list. Ok, I've never really given this list much thought so currently Moon Sand is the only thing on my list but if I had time to devote to it I could come up with more I'm sure. But, as it stands, all my extra time yesterday was spent cleaning up after Austin and his Moon Sand.

I had a brilliant plan. I originally put Austin out on the deck with his tray full of moon sand. I figured I was killing a few birds with one stone this way.
  1. The Moon Sand would fall onto the deck vs. my kitchen floor. I don't care about the deck being clean.

  2. Austin would get outside and get some fresh air.

  3. Fresh air is suppose to help kids sleep, right?

  4. Austin would be outside and therefore, not asking me 100 questions a minute.

Well, Mother Nature, having nothing else to do, thought it would be a good day to have a sudden downpour. So, as I was feeding Riley and simultaneously reading books to Ellie and enjoying the peace and quiet of just one voice (my own), Austin started screaming outside "It's raining Mom!!!" But, I will give the boy some credit because he managed to carry his moon sand tray all the way to the screen door with out spilling it and all the while dodging raindrops because he was barely wet and it was pouring!

That leads us to why Moon Sand is on my list. I purchased it out of my own curiosity. It claims to never dry out and always being the scientist, I had to see for myself. True story...it doesn't dry out. Also true...it is still sand. Furthermore, sand is messy. I know, with conclusions like those, it's hard to believe I wasn't leading the industry in patents and publications.

Austin did enjoy himself though.

In the above picture I had already cleaned him off at least twice.

In case you can't tell, that is his head. Equally covered was his mouth. Was he eating it?

Since I don't have any trips planned to the moon, this tray will instead just go back into the cupboard until I have a guaranteed rain free day to send him back to the deck.