Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Extravaganza

It's been a really long weekend.  Very enjoyable, but at the same time, it will be nice to get back into the swing of things around here.  But, here's the recap:

Christmas Eve

Rob and I decided that on Christmas Eve, while others enjoy turkey dinners, or fancy meals of any kind, our family will dine on pizza.  We didn't find this odd, in fact, we thought the opposite and that the pizza place would be busy with orders.  Turns out, they are not.  There was no wait and we are the only ones who have pizza party/movie nights on Christmas Eve.

Riley was very excited to be joining the big kids on the blankets.  We'll have to get her her very own tray table soon.

The pizza was delicious (as usual) and our movie was delightful so I highly recommend to the rest of the world that you ditch all that prep work and turkey dinner and order a pizza.

Christmas Morning

Ellie woke up at 5:45am.  Not because she was excited.  She didn't even know it was Christmas.  She just woke up and it was not a great way to start the day.  Austin wasn't too far behind, probably about 6:30.  Then we tortured the kids for about another 2 hours waiting for Riley to wake up.  Austin kept venturing to the stockings just to make sure they were doing okay and felt right.

I finally woke Riley up at 8:15 and brought her downstairs where I told Austin and Ellie they could open their stockings once Riley was "awake".  They immediately got in her face and smiled and cooed and if she gave them any reaction at all she was deemed "awake".

The stockings were ripped from their hooks (literally, Rob's was broken), and they found normal stocking stuffers like candy, small toys, and Star Wars underwear!

This is one of my favorite pictures of Riley from the day.  She, among a few other things, got candy in her stocking.  She has laffy taffy in one hand and jelly beans in the other and she is looking up at Rob like "are you're going to let me have these?"

From the stockings, it was off to the tree.  The presents were quickly seperated into piles.  Austin and Ellie had both memorized the presents by their wrapping and knew what belonged to whom.  We made a big effort to wait patiently for each to open a present.

So while Austin opened, Ellie had her next present ready to go.

While Ellie opened, Austin had his next present queued up.

Ellie summoned her inner Stevie Wonder while she waited.

Riley, still not ready to let go of her candy, played with some presents here and there.

After all the gifts were open, it was time to play.  Time to dress up like Cinderella.

Time to ride off into the sunset (or rise).

And time to put together Austin's million piece T-Rex Mountain.

Then we headed over the river and through the woods to Grandma's house.  In another post.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Ellie's been up since 5:45 and the other two are still sleeping.  I guess playing outside in the snow for over 5 hours wears a boy out!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve!

I've become to believe that along with a meteorology degree, you must also aquire a minor in drama.  Because of this, I rarely believe the local weatherperson when they say we are going to receive any substantial amount of snow.  Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when we woke up this morning to about 8 inches of snow!  Even more than they predicted last night!  I say "pleasantly" because a) we are not traveling this year for Christmas and b) I really do love playing in the snow. 

I waited for Rob to clear the driveway and sat by the window, like a little kid, waiting for him to wave me the kids outside.  I scurried around getting everyone geared up (and was very proud of myself for remembering bathroom trips for everyone), and finally Riley and I were the last ones out.  Riley wasn't sure what to think of the winter wonderland at first.  You can't see it, but she has socks on her hands, followed by Ellie's mittens.  We didn't prepare Riley well for winter.  Actually, her snow suit is on loan from a friend of mine.  I think it was intended for Ellie but it will be used for Riley this year. 

I didn't waste anytime jumping in the snow myself.  I debated on the best place to construct my fort (for the kids, of course).  Approximately 2 minutes after it's completion, Austin jumped on the top and caved it in.

 But, it still acted as a nice fort to surprise people as they walked by.  Like Mia.  Mia is the exact opposite of Austin when it comes to snow.  She doesn't like to touch it, doesn't like to step in it, and, in general, is just a little bit scared of it.  Rob, being the gentle giant that he is, threatened to throw a snowball at Mia and although she covered her fear with nervous laughter, you could tell she was not enjoying herself.

Ellie, being Ellie, was more interested in tasting the snow than playing in it.  We couldn't get her to keep her mitten on because it was easier to eat the snow with her bare hands.  She didn't last much longer than this photo was taken because her fingers were frozen.  But, this photo was taken about an hour into our adventure so she didn't do too bad.

Riley enjoyed her sleigh rides and following us all around, but after an hour or so, she was getting kind of bored, and probably cold.  She did like her high perch though.  A new view being taller than all the other kids.

Austin and I outlasted everyone and only came inside because our lunch was ready.  And, as I write this, he is begging me to go outside again!  Who am I to ruin this boys' Christmas Eve by declining?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hello sewing machine...long time no sew.

I purchased my first (and only) sewing machine shortly after Rob and I got married.  I bought it, for a steal, from my mom's friend, Sue Hecker.  Check out this picture.  That is just one picture of the millions of quilts she has made.  You can imagine the good juju that came with her machine.  I know it was capable of mighty things.  I made three baby quilts and one large queen size quilt (and that one might have taken me over 5 years to finish).  I've used it to sew waist tightening bands into Austin's pants before you could buy pants with them already installed.  I used it to sew a couple fleece baby blankets and one birthday boy t-shirt.  Sounds like a lot, but that was over the span of 9 years.  Mostly, this poor sewing machine has just occupied the floor of our basement.  As it turns out, you need skill in combination with good juju for great things to come from that machine.  I'm lacking in skill, and by now all the juju has certainly left.

Yesterday though, Yesterday I was inspired.  I was inspired by nothing but my own thriftiness.  You see, Austin loves to play outside in the snow.  LOVES it!  I bundle him up as much as possible but we don't have any scarfs for kids.  I thought I solved this dilemma by letting him use my skiing gaitor.  If you're not familiar with what this is, it's basically a fleece tube that you pull over your head.  It acts like a scarf without the cumbersome wrapping and tying.  This worked okay for Austin, but it was, afterall, made for an adult and not a child.  This made it a bit droopy, thus rendering it ineffective at keeping the cold off his neck.  No problem, I went to Target to buy one.  For $8 I walked away with what I needed.  Then I decided that was ridiculous and I called my mom to see if she had any leftover fleece scraps.  Being my mom, the answer was "Yes, what color?"

Forty minutes later, after my sewing machine and I became reaquainted, I had pounded out not one, but three of these bad boys!  I made Austin's and was ready to call it a day when I thought I might as well make one for Ellie too.  And, if I'm going to make one for Ellie, I might as well make one for Riley, right? 

This is the final product. 

This is also as close up as you are going to see them. 

I did some really fancy stitching that is the exact opposite of straight and it's almost impossible to replicate.  I'd hate to show off my technique and leave any other readers who sew feeling bad about themselves.

Now that the machine and I are friends again I was thinking about other projects I could create.  Then I remembered I have three kids and sewing projects aren't very practical these days.  Riley finds the sewing machine pedal fascinating.  When she figures out how to use the rest of the machine maybe she could give me a quick tutorial.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


This morning I was treated to a Christmas Concert.  The two little maestros on the ends played the piano while that little one in the middle sang his heart out.  "Holly Jolly Christmas" was their selection and it was a moment I don't want to forget anytime soon.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I can see clearly now....

You're suppose to sing that title.  I did as I was writing it.

This was a big weekend for me!  For the past 24 years I have worn glasses or contacts.  I am not positive on those dates, but I'm pretty sure it was around 1st or 2nd grade that I got my first pair of glasses.  My first pair of really huge, larger than my entire face, glasses.  They were pink on top and blue on the bottom and had a tiny picture of Smurfette on the outside corners.  Very chic!  Over the years the glasses got a tiny bit smaller in frame size and a tiny bit thicker in lense size.  Then contacts!  Yeah!  I never looked back.  I wore my contacts every day, without fail (except for an occasional pink eye) since 7th grade.  I even used to sleep in them....I know, not good.  Then I got disposable contacts and I would make my 6 month supply last a year....I know, not good.  But there was nothing I couldn't do with contacts.  Well, except for flip turns while lap swimming.  That would cause my contacts to roll back into my eye, rendering me blind and stopping my workout completely while I stood on the side of the pool fishing the contact out from underneath my eyelid.  No more flip turns.

My eyes were bad too.  I mean, really bad.  On more than one occasion one of my kids would cry out in the middle of the night and I'd run in their room to comfort them (not having put on my glasses) and after 5 minutes I'd realize that I was comforting a big lump of stuffed bunny under the blanket, and not my actual child.  I'm a great mother.

For those of you who wear contacts, my prescription was -7.75.  To some of you, that will mean nothing, but to the contact wearers, I'm guessing it's close to double what your prescription is.  I'm not great with photoshop, but this is the best I could come up wth.  Here are the shelves in our family room:

Here is how I would see them without glasses/contacts:

But, I am back to this:

Furthermore, I am now realizing that Riley is not represented on our "Family" shelves.  I'll have to remedy that.
On Friday afternoon I had Lasiks done on my eyes!  55 seconds in one eye, 52 seconds in the other.  I also would like to say that I hate when Doctors say "you're going to feel a little bit of pressure" and then they perform something akin to pulling your eyeball out of your head.  That, my friends, is not "pressure"...that is pain.  Call it what it is.  At least then I am prepared for it.

It was worth it though!  To wake up and immediately be able to see is an amazing thing!  My eyes are a bit bloodshot, but my left eye read the whole eye chart from top to bottom.  My right eye is lagging behind a bit and I could only sort of read the top line with this eye.  My Doctor said my right eye is exactly where he'd expect it to be for such an extreme correction, and my left eye is doing far better than he'd expect after only a day.  I can expect only greater vision to come!  My kids aren't going to know what to think when I actually rush in to rub their back instead of their stuffed animals.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I'm not feeling very chatty today.  No kids and lots to do!  So, the quick numbers were:

2, 3, 5, 12

That means the winners are.....

2 - Sue H
3 - Kerry
5 - Carol
12 - Jenny

Congratulations ladies!  I hope you enjoy those treats as much as I do.  Try not to eat them all at once!  Though, I don't judge you if you do.  They have that affect on people.

Off to shop without kids.  I figure I will save approximately 10 minutes at each store just by not having to buckle and unbuckle everyone from carseats.  Not to mention the time savings walking at my own long legged pace, not having to stop to make sure no one is grabbing things they shouldn't, and not having to look at the toys in each store.  I will miss the stroller though, I'm not sure I'm excited about carrying my purchases.

I'll get that chocolate to you lucky winners real soon!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter Wonderland!

Last weekend we had a big family fun day.  After the church program, the great brunch, and then naps, we headed downtown to the Macy's 8th Floor Auditorium.  This is something that I went to every year as a child (and adult).  Then Rob and I went every year before we had kids.  It was always fun when he would come home from working downtown with the scoop on what the 8th Floor theme was going to be that year.  This years' theme was "A Day in the Life of an Elf".  It turned out, it was one of my favorites.  I think this had less to do with the actual display, and more to do with how excited my kids were when we were visiting. 

Well, the display was pretty great too.

Full of colors and imagination...and little girls with their tongues hanging out.

I'm sure part of their excitement had to do with what was waiting at the end of the display....Santa.  After years of going to the free Santa at Nordstroms, where you can take your own picture, we opted to just pay for a visit with Macy's Santa.  It was nice, you get escorted into your own private room with Santa, there was no rush, the kids just sat with Santa and discussed how great they'd been that year, what they were hoping for, and what the reindeer eat.  My only complaint being that this Santa didn't talk above a whisper so I have no idea what he said, and in return Austin talked really quietly.  I don't think Ellie could hear him at all because she just looked at him blankly.  She wasn't scared, and given the chance, I'm sure she would have talked his ear off, but she just couldn't hear him.  Riley did great.  She sat in his lap, kept an eye on us to make sure we weren 't making a run for it, and looked at the camera for the picture.

The picture.  We had four to choose from.  Austin just got cheesier and cheesier.  At one point he looked like a 90 year old lady with his legs crossed at the knee, his hands folded "just so" around his knee, his head cocked to one side, and the goofiest grin you've ever seen.  Unfortunately, in that photo Riley was looking at Santa, Santa was trying to pull Riley's finger out of her mouth, and Ellie was trying to get off his lap to sit on the "drum" seat like Austin.  So, we went with the picture where they are all looking at the camera, though Ellie is still trying to escape to the drum seat.

After the whole ordeal, and right before dinner, we all sat down to eat $10 Santa cookies and Rice Krispie bars.  We didn't really think that one through.

We had great intentions of completing the trip with the Holidazzle parade.  We had all the kids' winter gear ready to bundle them up, and the kids were being great, but Rob and I were done.  We were tired and the idea of freezing our butt off to watch a parade, that our children didn't know about and wouldn't miss, was not a good one. 

And, now in an effort to make this the longest blog post in the history, I am going to share with you a parenting moment of which I'm not proud.

Yesterday, my dear son was not being good.  It started out small, and by evening, I was absolutely done with him.  He was whining, he couldn't answer a question without crying, he freaked out everytime someone touched any of his toys, while running errands he both pinched Ellie and called her a "stupid head", and the list goes on.  I'd had enough.  Ideally, my children would respect me and what I say, and I would not need to go where I went.  But, this was not an ideal day.  So, I brought in the big guns.  Dad?  No.  Santa.

I took out my cell phone (secretly) and dialed our home number.  I let the home phone ring enough times that everyone was aware it was ringing and then I answered the home phone and hung up my cell phone.  The one sided conversation went like this:

Hello?  Yes, this is Austin Runchey's mom.  Mmm-hmmm.  Oh, hi Santa!  Yes. saw that [grimace at Austin].  You saw Austin pinch his sister, and you heard him call her a "stupid head".  Yes....I see.  Well, I'm sure he knows how to be a good boy, he just.....  Oh, okay.  Well, I will let him know.  Thanks for calling Santa and I hope we can get this figured out before Christmas. Say "hi" to Mrs. Claus and Rudolph. Okay...bye!

And then I hung up and looked sadly at Austin.  I told him that was Santa and that he has seen everything he did today.  Having gotten no reaction from Austin so far, I took it a step further and said "He has put you on the naughty list.".


At that instant I realized that all the waterworks we get from Austin in a given week, no matter how real they seem, were fake.  Because at that instant, he cried.  He cried for real.  And hard!  I had to go sit with him to remind him to breath.  I held him and explained that Santa said he is going to watch him more than ever and that if he sees Austin being a much better boy, including listening to his mom and dad, being nice to his sisters, and sharing his toys, that he will place Austin back on the nice list.  This glimmer of hope calmed him down just enough to begin using oxygen again.  We talked about all the ways he could be a better boy and came up with a game plan.

The moral of the story is that I am not proud of making my son cry, but it has been the most effective attitude adjustment I have ever seen.  When I see him slipping back into "Whiny Austin" all I need to do is ask him who called the other day.  Problem solved.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Concert #2 and Princesses

Austin had his second Christmas concert this past Sunday.  I know, you wouldn't know it was a different concert because he is wearing the exact same outfit.  He'll be wearing that exact same outfit on Christmas as well.  We'll get our money's worth out of that shirt and vest!  Which is funny because I'm pretty sure I didn't purchase either of them (Thanks Mom!)

Anyway, this concert was double the fun because my niece was also in it.  Although she is four now, when Sunday School started she was three.  So, Austin and Katelyn aren't in the exact same class, but their classes were joined together for the concert.  They did a fine job!  The church requested we not take pictures or video "in order to teach respect to our young children".  I thought that was odd but I complied.  At one point Austin turned into a saber tooth tiger and was looking fairly ferocious, but he turned back into Austin before the singing started.

Kelly brought her camera and captured this super cute group of kids before church started.  I don't think that was against the rules.

Five kids, four and under, and they are all looking at the camera and the majority are smiling.  Not bad.

And although the kids did a spectacular job, perhaps the best part was after church.  We headed back to Dan and Kelly's were they were serving brunch.  Kelly made menus for us to tick off all the items we would like on our omlettes, our side dishes, etc.  Dan and Rob did the majority of the cooking and the kids ran around playing.  I am going to suggest this becomes a regular event.  At their house.

I also realized that Ellie would probably much rather live with the Smith's than us.  She was in her element there.  She made fast friends with Bailey, their dog, and Spencer, their cat, and best of all, she found two other girls who loves princesses as much as she does.

We're looking forward to next Sunday!

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Favorite Things - Part II

I have a peskily perfect neighbor.  She is always put together, even when she's being "grubby".  Her hair is always nicely done, even though she claims to hate it half the time.  Her house is always spotless AND completely decorated for the current season.  She manages to come up with endless crafts for her adorable daughter (Austin's girlfriend).  Her fashion sense is something I could only dream of, but reap the benefits of when her daughter outgrows her clothes (she gives me first pick for Ellie/Riley).  And, most importantly, when I call her at 1pm and mention that I have no chocolate in my house and that I might not make it through the day, she runs over with a slew of samples.

It was on just such an occasion last year when she ran over with these:

I honestly have never thought of myself as much of a peppermint fan.  Not much of a white chocolate fan for that matter.  But, I was delightfully surprised when I took my first bite.  Yum.  I was a fool and quickly devoured the 3 she brought me.  By 1:10, I was in need of more but was stuck at home with three sleeping kiddos.  The first thing I did when they woke up was run to Target with one sole mission.  More Peppermint Bark.  I was surprised to see all my available options:

But, be warned, they are seasonal and once your store is out, they most likely won't get any more in.  And that is a sad day.

Today is a happy day.  Ghirardelli has supplied me with 4 nice little (actually 2 of them are pretty big) samples for 4 lucky winners to devour.

Here's the contest details:
  • Leave a comment telling me your favorite holiday treat
  • If you have a blog and post about the giveaway, add another comment telling me so.  If you don't have a blog, but refer a friend and they stop by, leave another comment telling me so.
  • No entries after noon on Friday (my time).
  • I'll ship the prize anywhere in the U.S.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Are you Smarter than a Preschooler?

The kids and I hit up the library yesterday.  We try to go about once a week, but when it's bone chilling cold out, I'm a wimp and it's closer to once every three weeks.  Nonetheless, yesterday was our day.  The kids walk right in, fight over who gets to put our previously borrowed books into the slot and then they make their way to the kids section.  It's routine.  I like routine.

Austin has been bucking the system lately.  Instead of heading back to the child friendly (and parent friendly) section where books have a couple sentences per page, he now insists on going upstairs to the intimidating non-fiction section so he can check out a book on his lastest animal or dinosaur fascination.  Don't get me wrong, I encourage him learning all sorts of new information, but the books in the non-fiction section have chapters.  Chapters with lots and lots of words.  Furthermore, these are books he wants read to him before bedtime.  I don't allot enough time for chapter books prior to lights out.  It goes against my routine.

Time for a new routine.  Now Austin and I read these horribly long books while the girls are sleeping.  Our recent library trip ended with the checkout of this book:

Since yesterday, I've read it twice to Austin.  Which is twice more than I'd care to because I don't have any interest in dinosaurs.  Just to check his listening comprehension, and because while I'm busy reading he is busy running around the family room acting like a dinosaur, I thought I'd give him the quiz at the end of this horribly long book.  Here's some of the questions:

1)  Were the largest dinosaurs herbivores or carnivores?
2)  Name the smallest dinosaur found so far.
3)  What is the name given to people who study dinosaur fossils?
4)  What kinds of dinosaurs had hollow crests on their heads, which they may have blown through to make loud noises?
5)  There was a dinosaur with large, sharp and powerful teeth, what kind of dinosaur do you think it was?
Guess how many Austin got correct?  5.  Guess how many I got correct?  3.  I guess I better read it a couple more times and stop my whining.

And, for fun, here's one of his dinosaur impressions:

I showed him the picture and asked what kind of dinosaur he was being.  He replied "Well, I thought I was going to be a Tyrannosaurus, but it looks like I have too many fingers."  (fun fact, they only had 2 fingers).

I left the red-eye in for dramatic effect.  Kind of creepy, isn't he?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Reinforcements have arrived!

Rob was traveling for work this past week.  He left Sunday and arrived home, a little past due, last night around midnight.  So, maybe that's technically this morning.  But, I was happy he made it home at all considering all the airport delays I was hearing about this week.  Because of his late arrival, I haven't technically been able to reap any of the benefits two parents bring to a household...yet, but I'm counting down the hours until he gets home from work this evening.

I must confess, it wasn't my best parenting week.  There were moments when I was on the floor crying "uncle".  For example, Riley is really into wrestling.  You wouldn't think that a little one year old could do much harm, but she fights dirty.  At one point she "butt bombed" me while I was laying on my stomach on the family room floor.  This involves her straddling my bag and then jumping up and landing on her butt/my back full force knocking all of the wind out of me.  While I was trying to recover from the butt bomb of the century, she grabbed my hair and yanked it back.  Ouch.  As I was still gasping for breath with my head snapped back trying to reach her grubby little paws to loosen the grip, she used her other hand and shoved one little finger so far up my nose I was concerned she was going to poke my eye out from the inside.  All the while, her brother and sister cheered encouragement from the sidelines (for her).  They were like a couple of sharks who could smell the blood of a single parent.

This week, I had to wash everyone's sheets at least twice due to accidents at nighttime or naptime (well, except my own), and since we only have one set of sheets for each kids' bed the turn around time on that order had to be fast.  And there was an incident with some poop that I'm sure will be laughed at one day, but is not something I'm comfortable talking about and reliving quite yet.

To top it all off, school was cancelled yesterday and I somehow ended up with 7 kids and three moms (including my family) running around my house.  There were muffins baked, pretzels dipped, and lunches made. It was a little on the crazy side.

I went out to snowblow over naptime, and guess what?  My boots are broken.  The rubber lining around the bottom two inches of my foot completely cracked.  I repaired it with duct tape, but duct tape does not hold in extremely low temperatures.  In addition, I do not belong behind a snow blower.  I don't have the logistics figure out so that I don't blow snow all over the path I just cleared.

Last night for dinner, the kids had popcorn, M&Ms, sprite, mozerella sticks, and washed it all down with a Christmas Tree cakes.  I told you, not my best parenting week.  I was waving my white flag around 6pm.  But, darn it if Austin didn't sleep until 8am!  If giving him a Little Debbie Christmas Tree cake each night before bed fills him up so much that he sleeps an extra hour or two in the morning, I'm not above that!

And today.  Today I woke up with pink eye.  Or, something of the sort.  My eye is pink, maybe even downright red, but there is no itching or gook or anything.  Call it what you want, but I am going to use up some old drops laying around the house just in case.

Needless to say, the kids really missed their dad, but there is no one in this house who missed him as much as me.

Here end my confessions for the week.  Tonight I will be toasting to two parents in the house.  Then I'm going to lock myself in the bedroom and recover.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

His first public performance

Austin had his preschool Christmas program last Friday night.  He's been waiting for this night for a long time.  We got him all gussied up, dropped him off, and waited patiently for the show to start. 

The kids took the stage and Austin immediately scouted us out and waved to his fans.

The kids sang three songs.  At the conclusion of the second song, Ellie led the crowd in cheers/applause.

After the third song, the Pastor took the stage and delivered a Christmas message 3 times longer than the preschooler's portion of the concert.  I could have done without that.  I was impressed with the preschooler's patience though (perhaps I could take a lesson from them).  There was a little girl in front of Austin that kept turning around to stare at him.  He was getting quite aggravated with her and I was afraid he was going to blow, but he kept his cool.

After the concert, his fan club met him in the gym for refreshments.  Austin proudly introduced his cousins and grandparents to one of his teachers.

The concert is over, but Austin hasn't stopped singing.  Ellie and Austin are working on a pretty mean rendition of Jingle Bell Rock.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Countdown Begins

The girls made "countdown to Christmas" chains yesterday at Playworks and the ladies there were nice enough to send one home for Austin too.  They colored them last night, hung them on the wall, and cut off their first rings last night. 

On a side note, after all the hours Austin has logged in preschool so far, he still has little to no interest in coloring.

Ellie, on the other hand, might have colored all night.  But, after Riley sampled all the crayons, they were soggy and Ellie prefers a dry grip on her crayon.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


It is absolutely amazing what a child learns to do in their first year of life.  And though the momentum of a developing child slows down after that first year, there are still several milestones to be commended along the way.  Certainly being potty trained is at the top of the list.  Sleeping in would be on my list, but I have yet to experience that with any of our kids.  Another biggie would be the first time your child tells you "I love you".  Absolutely precious. 

There is yet another list of milestones you aren't as excited about.  Ellie has just accomplished one of these.  She is now able to open doors.

We have the "knob" kind of door handle so it requires a fairly good grip in conjuction with the strength and knowledge of rotation in order to open it.  This took Austin what felt like forever to master.  However, we were also very careful to not teach him.  There is little to no child safety in our house.  Well, let me explain that.  We keep chemicals out of reach (for the most part), there isn't anything fragile within reach, and some of the outlets might have covers on them, but most have been lost.  What I mean is, you will not find any latches or trick door stops anywhere in our house.  I guess I'm just old fashion in that when my kids try to get into something they shouldn't, I will teach them it's not okay.  It might take a few tries, but then they get it, and they don't try it anymore.  Problem solved and then no one gets the skin ripped off their hand when they try to open a cupboard that has a child safety latch (not so funny story, ask my Dad about it sometime).  Okay, I digress, back to the door knob.

Ellie can now open them.  Her brother was more than happy to explain the inner workings of the of the door knob, latch, shanks, and spindles and with this newfound knowledge, she has access to everything in the house.  Including the pantry.  Ellie believes this entitles her to snacks 24/7.

Just today I was upstairs with Riley getting ready for the day and I heard Ellie singing downstairs about goldfish.  After only 10 minutes of her tune did I realize she was singing about Goldfish crackers.  I thought that was odd so I came down to hear more of her lyrics and this is when she greeted me with a "Ta-Dah!"

She graciously had poured herself a bowl full of goldfish crackers.  But she's not selfish.

She also poured the equivalent of a bowl full for her sister.

She had a little trouble opening the bag, but she had no trouble emptying it.

She did have a little trouble with me pouring the majority of her snack back in the bag. 

I look forward to the milestone when they heed every word I say.  That happens.....right?

Nevermind.  There's something about this little girl that tells me that "heeding what I say" is a milestone I can file away with "sleeping in".

Friday, December 4, 2009

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Thanks for playing along. Here is the winner of the Smartwool socks:

Congratulations to Amy! Though, I highly recommend you all run out and purchase your own!

Happy December - Let's Decorate!

A bit of writer's block and a bit of a bug kept me away for awhile, but I'm back.  You may all now breathe a sigh of relief!

Now that it's December the Christmasphiles in this house can come out of the closet.  It's now safe for us to put up the tree, decorate the house, and sing our Christmas carols at full bore.  We watch movies like Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer at least once a week all year long. 

A couple nights ago was our tree lighting ceremony.  Well, "ceremony" might be too strong of a word.  But we did put up the tree.  And, unrelated to the tree, here is a shot of Riley's belly.  None of her pants fit her because I cannot get them buttoned.  She's going to give Santa a run for his money.

Okay, back to the tree.

Ta-da!  We still have yet to hang any ornaments on it, but Austin reminds us at least hourly of this task. 

Riley needed to feel the tree with her feet.

Ellie serenaded us with a few of her favorites.  I believe here she was playing Jingle Bell Rock.

Austin and Ellie played in the Christmas tree box for at least 20 minutes.  It's times like that I wonder why we even buy them toys.

And for a grand finale, I played the piano for a bit.  I don't play the piano much because my skills have all but disappeared and it's impossible to play without 1 (or 3) of the kids also wanting "in" on the action.  But, at Christmas time all 13 years of lessons come rushing back to me and I'm a musical prodigy.  Or, at the very least, I can pound out Joy to the World.  As I was sitting there, I came across Away in the Manger and Austin started singing along.  I lost him at the page turn (or way before then) but here's a snippet of our performance.