Monday, December 29, 2008

C is for...

Cookies. Rob and I were trying to be prepared with activities to keep the kids busy while we were home with them. One of our ideas was to bake cookies for Santa. Austin was fairly excited about this idea and knew that Santa would LOVE them! He started out with his shirt on.

Then that was covered in flour (which he was eating...gross) and was shed to the floor. Rob also took over at that point so that I could hold Riley for a bit who wasn't interested in cookie making, or happiness in general.

Everytime we got the cookies cut out, Austin would try to grab them off the counter and throw them onto the cookie sheet while yelling "Alleeeeeey-Oop!" as he tossed them into the air. As you can imagine this resulted in several cookies that no longer resembled anything.

We tried to pull a chair up so Ellie could get in on the action but she was more interested in playing with her boots.

When that novelty wore off, she was our Quality Control. She would come and get a sample and then bring it back to her nest of blankets to enjoy. I think she had the right idea.

When all was said and done, we ended up with some fairly tasty treats and a fairly large mess.
C is also for Clean up!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Our Christmas

This is the first year in many (maybe ever) that we had no where to go on Christmas. My parents were in Indiana and Rob's parents were in Kansas. None of that would have changed the fact anyway. The fact being that Austin was EXTREMELY excited for Christmas this year. Of course, I was using the threat of Santa Claus watching him routinely for about a month so Christmas was always on the forefront of his mind. We got him and the girls into bed about 10 minutes early on Christmas Eve with the idea that the sooner he fell asleep, the sooner Santa would come. Notice I didn't say we got him to sleep 10 minutes early? He was wide awake for quite some time positive that he was hearing Santa's sleigh. Nonetheless, he woke up at 5:45am ready to go. We tried to hold him off upstairs until at least Ellie woke up but after 15 minutes Rob waved his white flag and he took him downstairs to watch a cartoon. I came down about 10 minutes later because Austin was being too loud for me to sleep. Ellie woke up around 7am and Rob went upstairs to give her some milk and time to wake up before Austin bombarded her with his enthusiasm. She is not a morning person. Meanwhile, downstairs with me, Austin asked variations of the following questions:

  • Did Santa come?
  • Did Santa bring me presents?
  • What's in my stocking?
  • Do you think it's Annie and Claribel (trains)?
  • Are those presents mine?

When I could no longer take it I told Rob to bring down Ellie. It just so happened that Riley woke up too so the whole family was together for gift opening. We didn't even try to have any rhyme or reason to it. Maybe someday the kids can take turns opening gifts but there wasn't a chance of that happening this year, or any year soon I imagine. Below is a slide show. Nothing spectacular but just some random shots from the day. Austin's highlight was that Santa did bring him Annie and Claribel as well as "Gorilla Mountain" and Ellie received a booster seat to use at the table. No more high chair! She is excited!

My highlight is that Austin told Ellie to be good "because Santa is already watching her for next year." That means I can still use my threat!

We hope everyone enjoyed a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Crooner

I don't know what kind of Christmas music you have playing around your house to get you in the festive mood, but we have been enjoying the sounds of live music. 'Round the clock. Austin has been entertaining us with his very best versions of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Silver and Gold, Holly Jolly Christmas, Jingle Bell Rock, and Jingle Bells. I won't subject you to all of the above, but I will post his version of Rudolph. He made antlers and had his nose painted red today so it seem the most appropriate choice. Enjoy!

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Santa

A few years ago my sister gave me the inside scoop on a place where you could bring your kids to get a picture taken with Santa...for free! Even better was that he was great with the kids and pleased the parents as well because no matter what your child was doing (throwing a complete tantrum), he just smiled away at the camera and we always walked away with a nice picture. Well, this year our favorite Santa has been replaced. The new Santa is not on my nice list right now.

Ok, so yes, he was good with Austin and perhaps that should count for something. He was a little cheesy in asking Austin if he was helping us dust (which we thought was fairly random) and continually giving him high fives for everything, but Austin was able to tell Santa what his plan of attack should be for our house and where to find the stockings and Santa didn't rush him. When it came time to take a picture we put Riley in one arm (she did well) we had Austin stand in the middle (he did well) and we put Ellie on his other leg. She did not do well. However, he didn't even give us a chance to get a picture. She squirmed a bit, cried a little and he put her down and said "It's just not worth it". Now we are stuck without a picture of the kids and Santa.
We have Austin and Riley:

Austin and Ellie's side (and one of the hundred high fives he asked for):

And this is the best I can come up with for a complete picture:

That's not creepy at all....Ellie more resembles the ghost of Christmas past, but I guess we'll work with what we have. In the meantime, if you were planning a trip to Nordstroms to visit the best Santa around, save yourself the trip. He went back to the North Pole.
(Update: Just to clarify, Ellie did not bring her potato to visit Santa, nor did she wear her pajamas. I just photoshopped her into the picture with Austin and Riley, which is why she looks pasty. Another update, I didn't have the heart to cook her potato last week, she still has it.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Spud Bud

Some kids get attached to blankets. Others to a special doll or stuffed animal. Ellie? Ellie has become attached to a potato.

Ellie loves to play in the pantry and was delighted when she found this treasure. Since then she has carried it around for the majority of each morning. As far as potatoes go, it's a decent size. She grunts when she picks it up like she is in some sort of strong man competition. When she goes down for a nap, I put it back in it's proper place and the fun begins again in the afternoon. Don't tell Ellie, but her buddy is on the menu later this week.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Another whirlwind weekend has come and gone. It seems as if December has so far been a blur. Friday night we headed to my sister's house for their annual neighborhood card party. We are not technically in their neighborhood but I play with her Bunco group so I feel like an honorary neighbor. As usual, it was a lot of fun. I had my very first sip of Eggnog (Grandma's eggnog) which was most likely my last sip of Eggnog. The amount of alcohol in that stuff is enough to last me the whole year.

Saturday I took Austin to swimming lessons and Rob took the girls to the gym. Immediately after swimming, we headed to a birthday party for one of his friends. Austin was extremely tired and therefore out of sorts at the party. His best friend, Mia, was at the party and took one of the presents away from the birthday girl. The birthday girl rightfully took her present back, which made Mia cry. Then Austin got upset because Mia was crying and tried to steal the present back for her. Chaos ensued. Suffice it to say naptime immediately followed the birthday party. But not for me.

I did something I haven't done since 9th grade. I went cross country skiing with a friend. I learned how to cross country ski around 4th grade with my grandma and aunt. However, my favorite part of cross country skiing was going down the hills so I didn't last long with the sport before switching to downhill skiing, but managed to go a couple times a year. Figuring my days of cross country were over, I just got rid of my unused, dust collecting skis last spring. Probably still a good idea. Ouch.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A couple of nuts

Although I don't hear it nearly as much anymore, I know it's still true. Austin is a dead ringer for his dad. Well, it's more than just looks that link these two. They are both officially Christmas Nuts!
Rob has always been a bit crazy for Christmas. If he had his way, we'd listen to Christmas music all year long (and sometimes it does come out around July in our house). Rudolph and Frosty DVDs are played well into June and the countdown for the festive holiday begins the day after Rob's birthday.

On the way to Playworks today I turned on the car and went to switch the radio station from "Christmas 24/7" to a normal station and was scolded by Austin. Somehow, in the 10 seconds of listening he realized it was Christmas music and I was not allowed to switch the station. Yesterday he got dressed from head to toe all by himself. I said "Wow, that's great! Would you like to call someone to tell them what a good job you did?" Now, I was thinking Rob. Surely he'll want to call his dad. Nope, Austin said "Yeah....Santa!" Yikes. I don't have Santa's direct line, so I had to improvise. I quickly dialed my sister's number and said "Hi, could I please speak to Santa?" I wasn't sure what I was going to get on the other end but she handed the phone to my dad and he said "ho ho ho!", I then handed the phone to Austin who proceeded to tell him all about getting dressed by himself and about the letter he wrote him and how he is ready for him to come down our chimney. He finished with "Bye Santa! I love you!"

Of course, now Austin thinks I can call Santa whenever I want. This is good and bad. It's nice when I'm at my witt's end with him and I can pull out the "call to Santa" threat, but it's not so great when he just wants to chit chat with Santa and I know that my dad isn't around to help me out.

When that happens I try to distract him with something else. His Christmas countdown chain is always a nice backup. Rob enjoys it too.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Black Friday

I mentioned below that I attended Black Friday festivities with my parents on Friday morning. Since my son cannot yet read, I will say that I had my eye on a McQueen bean bag chair from Walmart. I really did not anticipate this being a hot item. My mom did. As usual, Mother's are always right. On the way to Walmart at 4:45am we discussed our plan of attack. My mom wanted a Kitchen Aid mixer, I wanted the chair and a few less important items, and my dad wanted an Xbox. He was at a disadvantage though because he had to park the car. That, and the Xboxes were in the food aisle so once he got into the store and then finally found out where this item was, it was too late. Walmart had all the items under black cellophane wrapping that was suppose to be cut off by an associate at 5am (or torn off by savage customers, I'm sure you can guess what happened first). Meanwhile, all the customers were huddled around the bin that held their treasures. I stationed myself next to a box containing bean bag chairs. I scooted my way to the front and talked to the lady next to me. Unfortunately, she also wanted McQueen and I could only see one. She was there first and I wasn't about to battle her over it so I was going to give up and see if I could help the others on my team but then I spied another McQueen in the bottom of the barrel. 5am struck and it was everyone for themselves. Literally. It was insane. The manager got on the intercom a few times to remind people to behave. I got my McQueen and was happy. Approximately 2 seconds later my phone rang and it was my mom who not only got one of the twelve mixers available, but also got a McQueen. Amazing. I have so much to learn. I got quite a few jealous looks as I strolled out of there with two McQueens (I got one for Ellie in case she wants exactly what her brother wants).
After Walmart, we hit Target which wasn't nearly as crazy but we walked out of there with a handful of DVDs and a TV (my parents purchase, not mine), and then since Target is right next to Kohls.....why not? I picked up a large fleece throw at Kohl's to replace the fleece throw that Austin has now claimed as his own. However, after this morning I am wondering if I should have gotten two.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Whirlwind of Activity

You would think with all the activity going on lately I would have oodles of posts for this blog. However, there is a direct correlation between the amount of chaos in my life and the lack of energy I have to update this blog. Here are some highlights of the last 10 days or so:

1) There was a fire drill at Playworks. I arrived to pick up the kids just as they were evacuating the building. It was 29 degrees and none of the kids had jackets, hats or anything that resembled winter gear. Austin was anxious to see me. He told me where Ellie was and then cried because he knew they put Riley in a crib to wheel her out, but wasn't sure which one (there were 3). I was just happy that my little guy was so concerned for his sisters. I was not happy that after a grueling workout I had to carry Ellie and Austin 4 blocks round trip as we walked to the safety zone. I don't think I could feel my arms for a week. Austin informed me he does not like "pretend fires". I agree.

2) Thanksgiving was at Kelly and Dan's house. It was masterfully planned and delicious to boot. Instead of falling asleep on the 40 minute drive home, Ellie watched movies with Austin the whole time and then decided to stay awake until approximately 11pm at which point Rob gave up and put her in her crib to cry for another half hour or so. This all might have had something to do with the handfuls of chocolate chips she consumed while decorating a turkey cookie.

3) I went to Walmart at 5am with my mom and dad to snag some deals. INSANE. We enjoyed the rush though so my dad also took us to Target and Kohls. He waited in the car.

4) We went to Iowa this past weekend for the Runchey family Christmas. I was shocked at how much bigger all the nieces and nephews were. They're all growing like weeds...of course, when you don't see them more than twice a year, that is expected! Austin and his slightly younger cousin, Owen, used to be arch enemies and so I was a bit nervous when they arrived, but never fear, they are now bosom buddies. All the cousins played really well together and now I'm a bit nervous for next year when they will all be able to plot against us. The adults are quickly becoming outnumbered.

5) Austin stood up for his sister again today. One of the neighbor boys was bothering Ellie and Austin just walked up to him and smacked him on the head. Of course, this landed him in time out because he can't just go around hitting people, but I'll admit a tiny part of me was proud of him.

6) We put up the Christmas tree tonight. I'll try to post about this tomorrow and include some pictures which are far more entertaining than me and all these words.