Monday, April 27, 2009

Bad Hair Day

I'm in trouble. I think there is a reason God gave me children that don't grow hair until they are 2 years old.

That's Ellie in the morning. Not only is she not a morning person, but her hair, or what she has of it, is a tangled mess and she wants NO part of me fixing it. Frankly, I don't know what to do with it anyway. She sports a comb over that can rival Donald trump. And someday when she has long luscious locks, I still won't know what to do. Anything besides a pony tail will require great effort and practice on my part.
She didn't want me taking anymore pictures of her in this state.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

To infinity and beyond indeed

There are several things I like about living in Shakopee. More than I care to list. There is one thing I dislike about living in Shakopee. The wind. It is rare to have a non windy day around our house. I don't know why, but whatever the case, the wind takes over during most of our outdoor adventures. Wind and babies do not mix. Since we have had a baby around for the last three years, I have yet to enjoy all Shakopee has to offer. However, I was trying to be optimistic and embrace the situation this year. Or rather, the Easter Bunny was. That rabbit brought both Austin and Ellie a kite. Ellie received an Elmo kite and Austin received a Buzz Lightyear kite. Since Riley ends up gasping for a breath every time we go out, she did not receive a kite. She can embrace the wind next year.
With particularly gale force winds today, it was a good day to try them out. Sure enough, it was only a couple of minutes before we had Buzz flying through the sky. Sadly, it was only a couple of minutes after that that Buzz boldly landed where no Space Ranger had been before. The gravel pit side of the fence.

I had gotten the kite up in the air and then Austin was holding onto it and every 3 seconds I was reminding him to not let go. Well, in between those few seconds he let go. The kite flew off and so did I. Miraculously the wind died down just as I was about to grab the string, and just like a cartoon, it picked right back up as I lunged for it. The kite ended up just on the other side of the rickety fence the gravel pit installed (whoever installed that fence does not work on the theory that a job worth doing is worth doing well). This, as you can imagine, sent Austin into hysterics. This is, quite literally, the thing that his nightmares are made of. Knowing that the Easter bunny only spent a dollar on this kite, I suggested it was no big deal and we could get a new one. That was unacceptable and Austin whimpered and cried (real tears) for 45 minutes until I called Rob and Rob agreed to climb the fence to retrieve it when he got home.

So, it was Dad to the rescue. There is no way that fence would hold Rob or anyone else weighing more than 30 pounds so that's why he brought out the ladder. He not only saved the kite, but also a football our neighbor lost to the fence. He also scaled the rest of the mountain to solve the mystery of what is behind that hill. The answer is.....not much. Gravel.

We tried to fly the kite again so that Austin could get over his fear of losing it again but that part is a work in progress. I'm fairly certain I got it higher than Rob but I'm sure he will argue that point. Either way, Austin was no longer interested in flying it solo. Which is probably okay because I'm sure Rob is no longer interested in chasing it down.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Our backyard takes shape

We have big plans for our backyard this year. We want to plant trees, get a fence, make some raised bed gardens, and a nice patio area with a firepit. Well, things are starting to take shape already. Rob found a fantastic deal on Craigslist and last Saturday our 4 trees were delivered. It took one man about 4 hours to plant them for us. He was in no shape to be digging all these holes and planting trees this size on his own. I offered him water or pop a couple times because I was worried about his well being. He was probably ready to shoot me at one point because as he was placing the birch tree in the ground he asked me if I liked the position of how it was facing and tilting. I had him move it several times and he kept over correcting so then he'd have to move it back another inch or two...this went on for awhile. Good thing my water was cold and continued to flow. I was his first client of the day. At 1:30 he finally left to finish up the two other houses where he was suppose to be planting more trees. I'm glad I got him when he was fresh for the day because he barely made it to his truck after our house. Here's our trees:

Okay, you can barely see the birch in that picture, but trust me, it's nice.
Next up is the fence.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A scary sight

Last Thursday, as I was getting the kids down for naps, I did a double take when I looked out our back windows. Smoke was billowing from what appeared to be just behind the mountain in our backyard. (Side note: we have a gravel pit as our backyard neighbor and they have a huge berm up to block noise...I call it our mountain). I got the girls to bed and then Austin got to stay up a bit later because his room had the best view. It was an amazing and scary site. I felt horrible at the time becuase I thought it was the little farmhouse across the way that was on fire. It turns out it was much farther away than it seemed. Maybe another mile past the farmhouse. The pictures do not do it justice for how dark and horrible it was. After several helicopters hovered for over 2 hours, it was finally revealed that it was a grass fire. It took 6 fire departments 3 hours to get it under control. I'm not sure if that is a lot or not, perhaps my dad can comment on that. I do know that our phone has never rang that much during the day as people were calling from around the area to make sure that wasn't our house on fire. That's how close it looked to our house from the street level. The pictures below were taken from Austin's room.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Ellie has been giving Riley some extra attention lately. It's adorable to see the two little girls getting along. It's not like they ever fought (we're saving those posts for the teen years I'm sure), it's just that Ellie has pretty much ignored Riley since she was born. Ellie has a lot going on in her little world and Riley just wasn't part of it.

Now Ellie is very aware of Riley. Ellie "reminds" me to bring Riley with us when we leave the house, she tells me when Riley is crying (as if I couldn't hear her...that girl can cry!), she talks baby talk to Riley (coming from practically a baby herself, it's pretty cute), and when Riley smiles back at her, Ellie says " cute". Yesterday they took turns tickling each other.

Every once in awhile Ellie would lean in and request a hug.

I hope this friendship continues for many, many years!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A new gate

Rob made a gate for our deck last weekend. It's something I've wanted for awhile, but we just never got around to it for a variety of reasons. It only took him about 30 minutes to make from start to finish. It's just that "start" was about a month ago.

I love it already. We have a street by our house that people go way to fast on. Although Austin has never shown any interest in leaving our yard or playing in a street, I just don't feel comfortable leaving him out in the yard unsupervised. And with two little sisters that need a lot more attention (diaper changes indoors), the poor guy barely gets outside some days. With the gate, I can at least let them all play outside without be right by them every minute. So far we have used the deck every day since the gate installation as a place for them to play while I make lunch.
I know some of you are thinking a deck is a fairly boring place to play. But not our deck.
It has slides...


And every once in awhile, a fort...

Thanks Rob!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Gimme all your carrots!

Quite a few things come to mind when Easter rolls around. Cute little baby chicks, fluffy rabbits, trees budding, flowers blooming, and creepy Easter bunnies. Yes, that's right. Creepy Easter Bunnies. Yesterday we went to the gym as normal and when I went to pick up the kids, this is what I picked up.
Is that not creepy? He wore that mask all morning and I felt like I was the victim of a bank heist. At any minute I was expecting his accomplice Ellie to walk around the corner in a Nixon mask demanding more cookies and no naps.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

More Zoo!

I know you all might be getting tired of hearing of the zoo. We go there a lot. What can I say, it reminds us of home.

This year we bought a family membership so we'll be going even more often. Austin LOVES the zoo. He has been enough now that he is completely predictable when we go there. It makes it easier to keep an eye on him too because he goes through all the exhibits in the exact same order every time. We went last Monday because it was Member's Monday which means they do not allow any groups to visit. It was a great way to check things out during the week. My friend Michelle and her son, Clyde, came with us. I opted to carry Riley in the Baby Bjorn and then just bring the single stroller for Ellie. This worked out great. Ellie really enjoyed her visit this time; probably because she could actually see the animals instead of just Riley's car seat in front of her. She would great the animals she new the names of, and bid them adieu as we left for another exhibit. Aside from carrying around the 16 lbs of extra weight, I wouldn't have known Riley was even with us. She didn't make a peep, which I took as a good sign. Here's a few snapshots from the day.
One of Austin's favorite things to do is run through the little cave viewing areas they provide.

Checking out the sharks
And more fish...I wasn't thrilled with Austin laying on the ground, but he was content for a long time this way.
The MN Trail is sort of outdoors and can get chilly so we bundled up to walk through it.
I'm not sure how much of the MN Trail Riley was actually able to see.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Riley 7 Months

I had a hot shot photographer out to the house to capture Riley's 6 months pictures. I was a month late though. There were so many great shots (in my biased opinion) that I thought I'd just make a little slideshow of them. Didn't my sister do a great job?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

In the Pizza Party Zone

One of the projects the kids and I worked on this winter was decorating tray tables. I thought it was a fantastic idea and that it would occupy a cold morning for us. I thought wrong. Ellie had zero interest in participating, and even cried when I suggested she put some stickers on her table. Austin was excited, but was done with the craft within 10 minutes.

However, all was not wasted. These tray tables ended up being one of our best purchases ever (all $4 of it). Since going out to eat with 3 small kids is less than fun, we have taken to having pizza parties about once a weekend where we all get to eat in the family room and watch a movie while we eat. The kids think this is the greatest thing ever! And, I have to admit, there is something fun about eating in the family room in front of the TV. But there are no smiles for the camera because once the movie is on, they are in the zone.