Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dad's "Helpers"

We're still trying to wrap up the whole fence/backyard landscaping project. The last step was to landscape around the trees. This didn't involve much more than edging and mulch, but we just didn't find the time, until Sunday, to get it done. Rob edged and then we all went to Lowe's to pick up the mulch. When we got home I cut open and spread 13 bags while Rob took a shower before dinner. After dinner (at my parents house) he dropped the kids and I off and ran back to Lowe's to pick up a few more bags. When he got home I put Riley to bed and figured he'd be done by the time she was asleep. About 30 minutes later I still hadn't seen him or the kids. I finally went outside to see what was taking so long.

I didn't realize that wagon rides were on the agenda.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Movie Night v2.0

Our family movie nights just took on a whole new dimension. Probably 5 ft. by 9 ft. to be exact.

Rob just received the projector he had his eye on for our future outdoor theater. This weekend he tested it out in our basement for the kids. I was sent to Joann Fabrics to purchase some blackout curtain for the construction of the screen. Apparently the sheet he was using doesn't meet his desired effect. I have a feeling this is going to be quite the project but it should be fun to snuggle into sleeping bags out on the lawn for an outdoor movie by the end of the summer.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cute anyway

In an effort to keep things running smoothly around here, I'm trying to get more organized. This involves effort in many areas, but my main focus lately has been clothes. I noticed, while cleaning out for the garage sale, that there are some brand new outfits in some of the closets that no longer will fit any of the kids. Either they were the wrong size for the season or they just got buried in the generous stash from friends and family. One item has been sitting in Riley's closet since she was born. Only, this one I am well aware of. It sits front in center on her shelf and I take it out every month at least to try it on her.

My sister took up knitting shortly before Riley was born and gave this to her to welcome her into the world that, in our area, was going to be turning chilly very shortly. This past week, it finally fit!

Riley was all smiles this time when we tried this on. I figure that is for one of three reasons:

1) It finally fits and I'm done forcing her to sit still so I she can try it on

2) It's so comfortable and cute she can't help but smile

3) "Mom is hilarious because it is currently 95 degrees out and I'm wearing a sweater and hat"

Maybe all of the above.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Must they all?

I feel like for three years I have been picking up a pile of books 3 times a day. As soon as Austin could scoot, he made his way to the book shelf and made it a habit of taking off every single book on there. Ellie followed suit and still makes a mess once in awhile (and now that I think about it, so does Austin). Riley has been scooting around for a month or so and hasn't shown the slightest interest in the book area. Until this week.

She wanted to get a closer look.

She was only slightly deterred when they started falling on her.

Reaching up there to feel it out and see if it is worth her effort to pull herself up again.

And on that note, I think I hear paper tearing and from where I'm sitting I can see two of the three; our new bookworm is not one of them. Gotta run!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hello Hollywood!

Riley's tired of all the unwanted attention when we're out and about. All these strangers getting in her personal space and poking at her. She's had enough and has decided to go incognito from now on.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dad's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!

I searched high and low to find the perfect way to show Rob how much his kiddos love him. When it comes to Dad's, he is the cream of the crop! We couldn't pick a better father for this family if we had the chance.

Most mornings Rob gets up with the early risers (usually the girls) and snuggles on the couch with them while they fully wake up. He makes his breakfast and shares the majority of it with whoever is begging for food at the moment. That makes it sound like we don't feed our kids. Don't get me wrong, I could make the exact same meal, but there is something special about Dad's oatmeal or smoothies and they would rather have his than their own. He probably walks out the door hungry most mornings after everyone has had their spoonfuls. However, there is no walking out the door until they have each had their hugs and kisses. "Huggers and Kissers" as they are affectionately referred to by Austin (and now Ellie). And after the last one, usually one more round is needed. The kids run to the window then and watch for his car to pull out so they can wave and give him a thumbs up.

Then they have to settle for me for 10 hours and I have to settle for conversations like this:
Austin: Mom, can I have my 150th cup of juice?
Me: No Austin, you've had enough.
Austin: Oh, it's okay, I will just ask my Dad. My Dad will say it's ok.

But every evening when they hear the garage door open, it is a mad dash to see who can open the garage door first to greet Rob. The whole way there they are all cheering and chanting for him. Echoes of "Daddy's Home!!!" can probably be heard down the block. Riley brings up the rear with her little belly scoot; yes, even she tries to get there to say hello. The AC in the house this summer is a nasty tease to the kids because every time it turns on they think it sounds a bit like the garage door which sends everyone reeling for the door only to be disappointed.

Once he is home, he barely has time to put his stuff down before he is bombarded with questions and requests ("Let's wrestle!" "Guess what's behind my back" "Look at me!"....etc). I've been trying for quite a few months, unsuccessfully, to video tape this so Rob can see how much his kids love him and look forward to him coming home each day. Unfortunately whenever I turn on the camcorder they freeze up.

I'm sure Rob knows how much he is adored around here, but I just thought I'd give the other readers an idea. In my kids eyes, it doesn't get much better than Dad!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Not without her hat

Perhaps you have noticed in past pictures that there are very few places we go without our hats. Austin doesn't think he can step outside without his Lightning McQueen hat. It's just part of his routine. He puts on his shoes and grabs his hat. Always trying to follow in her brother's footsteps, Ellie has adopted the Buzz Lightyear hat (originally gifted to Austin from his cousin Jake) as her own. She too rarely leaves the house without it on. I have tried numerous times to entice her with a more girly hat that might actually match some of her outfits, but she politely (yeah right) declines by throwing it on the floor and all but stomping on it.

Yesterday Ellie found a new hat in Daddy's closet. She quickly claimed this as her hat too and spent the whole morning and afternoon wearing it.

A little large, but that didn't stop her. We went everywhere with it that morning. She was wearing a cute little pink dress, and then this hat. Classy.

Riley is quickly picking up on how things work around here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Our Fence is done!

It's been a very busy time around our house. After Ellie's birthday Rob and I pretty much didn't see each other for a week. Every day when he got home from work, he went to work on the fence and I went to work on the garage sale. I asked Rob to have the fence done in time for the sale so the kids could play in the backyard with minimal supervising. Well, with the huge help of Mike, they were able to complete the project. My dad and brother also came to help a couple days. Thanks so much to all of them! I am LOVING our new fence. So are Austin and Ellie because they are now able to go play outside a lot more. Instead of bombarding the blog with pictures, I just put them in a slideshow and you can check them out if you want. I think the guys did an awesome job. It was worth the wait!

Rob is going to work on the landscaping this weekend a bit, and then we plan on putting some raspberries and a raised bed garden on the north side of our fence where we had to come 10 feet in to follow the easement restrictions. Hopefully someday soon, our kids will be reunited with their dad in the evenings! But, he's doing such great work that I'm sure I can come up with something else for him to tackle.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Big girl, Big responsibilities

Now that Ellie is 2, we need to cut out the sippy cup. At one, the kids in our house lose the bottle, at two, they lose the sippy cup. I'm usually more than ready to get rid of the bottle (and mostly bottle washing), but I don't mind the sippy cup. I find it extremely easy and handy. However, the next step is potty training and potty training and constant sipping don't work well together.

Don't let the smile fool you. She hates using a big girl glass. Unless it contains one of Dad's yummy smoothies, then there is nothing she'd like more.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Two cute!

I'm a little late here, but every thing has been go go go at our house lately. So, without further adieu, here is our little two year old!!!

Ellie had a fabulous birthday on Sunday. We celebrated with the family in the evening and had a pizza party and cupcakes. Ellie sort of enjoyed opening presents and thoroughly enjoyed her cupcake. Because she was the birthday girl, I even gave her a second cupcake when she asked. Every time she opened a present she wanted to play with it and was no longer interested in the rest of the opening. But, her cousins urged her on and she finally got through them.

I suspect that Riley was fed more cupcake (frosting) than I witnessed. She was absolutely insane after everyone left. In a goofy way. She'd roll around laughing, sit up, then giggle as she would fall back onto her back and roll around aimlessly again. She did this for about 30 minutes before crashing. Her sugar high had to end at some point.

I also put in even more effort decorating. Flowers was the theme. I liked the results, but it was more work than I thought it would be. As I was looking at the banner yesterday morning (unwilling to take it down for at least a week after all that work) I was thinking about how I don't think I'll be making another one of those anytime soon. That's when Austin, admiring the same banner, said "Mom, what kind of dinosaurs will you put on my sign?"

Saturday, June 6, 2009


It was in the running for Ellie's middle name, but yesterday affirmed we made the right decision.

This poor little girl has had more bumps and bruises this summer than Austin has in his whole 4 years. Okay, perhaps that's exaggerating a bit. However, yesterday at the gym I received a call from Playworks. They were quick to say "Everyone is okay"...."but Ellie is bleeding. She took a spill and has a cut knee, lip, and a bit of road rash." I ran over there and she was indeed fine, but mostly because they gave her a popsicle (to ice her lip).

This will look great in her 2 year pictures. It actually looks worse today than yesterday (when the picture was taken). Grace is not her middle name.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Mt. Toy

With the garage sale quickly approaching, I decided it was time to tackle the toys. Or, with the kids sleeping, at least the toys that I could get my hands on.

That is three large tupperware boxes full of toys (most of them smaller than my hand). As I mentioned, that doesn't count the rest of the stuff they have in their bedrooms. I quickly sorted into three piles: Keep, Sell, and Trash. I'm happy to report that the sell pile filled two tupperware boxes and "Keep" is only one. We'll see how the rest of the week goes by and if Austin even notices some of them missing.

On another note....we're good on the Lightning McQueen cars.

This doesn't include the 2-4 Austin has in bed with him right now.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Peace and Quiet

The girls are getting to him.

This morning Austin constructed a fence around the toy corner. He said "I just need some peace and quiet". He then brought his speed racetrack in there (the loudest toy in the house) and proceeded to play with it.

Riley found a small hole and broke the perimeter. This did not go over well. Austin then reinforced it with the big pillow. Riley was out of luck this time. Luckily she was easily distracted by something else and left him alone with his peace and quiet.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Birthday Season is here!

I have a friend who goes nuts over decorating for birthdays (or any parties for that matter). You can follow her craftiness here, and once you have picked out your favorites, you can buy them here. She puts so much effort into these parties...right down to the wardrobes! From the pictures, I don't know how the parties couldn't be fun, so she has inspired me. With everyone in the family (except me) having birthdays in the summer I have decided to make more of an effort when it comes to decorating. Keep in mind my efforts in the past have been minimal to non-existent so any effort at all is going to be a step in the right direction.

Now onto more important things: Happy Birthday Rob!
Rob always does such a nice job making my birthday special and I try to do the same for him. I contacted a former co-worker from McGladrey last month and asked him to set up a golf outing for Rob and a few others. That was his early birthday surprise on Saturday. Today he had to go to work, but he did get to sleep in as much as one can when he has to get ready for work. After he left, the kids and I got right to work. First, Austin and Ellie made him a card. Austin wanted to paint and Ellie wanted to use stickers. Then each saw the other having fun with their chosen media so they each wanted to do the opposite. We ended up with a unique 4 page conglomerate.
For lunch it was off to the mall to meet Rob. Ellie was the lucky winner of a seat next to Daddy and she did her best to smear ketchup on him throughout the meal. He caught her in the nick of time at each attempt, but I think she did manage to wipe her runny nose on his pant leg. Nice.

After naps we headed to Target where I allowed Austin to pick out a DVD for Rob. After seeing how nicely this worked out for Austin, Ellie voiced her opinion and also got to pick out a movie(for Rob of course) Their choices: Scooby-Do "Sofari, So Good!" and Wallace and Grommit "A Grand Day Out". I'm sure both were on the top of Rob's list.

It's the third Scooby-Do movie we now own. But, no problem because Rob's birthday present was a DVD Player Jukebox. I'm sure there is a more technical name for it, but the idea is that it holds 400 DVDs and we don't have to ever have to handle them again (read: No more scratched DVDs from the kids wanting to "help"). Only 397 more Scooby-Do movies to go until it's all filled up.

And, as far as my effort for decorating for birthdays goes....well, I had approximately one hour of nap time to spend on it. I whipped up a pan of rice krispie bars and made this to decorate them:

It's a start. I don't want to set the bar too high too soon.