Monday, August 31, 2009

State Fair!

I love the state fair. Always have, always will. For some reason I had the silly notion that I could skip it this year. I mean, it truly is the exact same thing year after year. I've memorized where certain booths are, I recognize the people selling a lot of the gimmicks. I thought I could probably do without the fair this year.

But then I came to my senses. Friday was our day to go. My parents watched the kids all day (and all night!) and Rob and I were at the fair by noon. Just in time for lunch. I know that there are all sorts of reasons why we should bring our kids with us. Attractions like "Bob's Snake Zoo" and "Dinosaur World" are right up Austin's alley. But this:

This is why we do not bring the kids with us. Someday we will take them, but they need to be able to:

a) walk for long distances without complaining
b) be completely capable of going to the bathroom on their own
c) feed themselves
d) listen completely

If it weren't for d) I'd say maybe at the age of 6 would be okay, but I think that last stipulation will put us well into the teenage years and by then they'll be too cool to hang out with their parents. So, I guess we're off the hook there.

I digress. The fair. This year, to shake things up a bit, we each decided to try something new. First up was Rob. He gave the "Reuben on a Stick" a shot.

The results were only, in Rob's words,"okay". Actually, he didn't even finish it so I'm going to go ahead and say it was not good.

While he was eating that, I plowed through some fried pickles with cream cheese in the middle. Not something new for me, but delicious nonetheless.

YUM! We'll definitely be trying to recreate these at home.

It was my turn to try something new. I didn't have any ideas of what that might be until we walked past the MN Winery stand. Bingo!

I know, kind of a wussy "new" thing, but it was new this year, and delicious so I like to think of myself as smart. (As a side note, the "Car Apple Run" wine from Spicer, MN was my favorite of the 3). We ran into the Murphy's at Famous Dave's and they were generous enough to let me try a "Pig Licker" of theirs. Chocolate covered bacon! I liked it. I don't think I could eat a whole cup full, but the one I tried went down just fine.

We were there for over 6 hours and we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day. I'm glad I came to my senses and made the annual trip.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Makin' a splash!

Wednesday the kids and I checked out a "splash park" in Burnsville. It was a gorgeous day for water activities and I wanted to try something other than our kiddie pool so I thought this would be a nice adventure. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it turned out to be a great place.

We set up camp underneath a tree and then the kids had a blast running through the different "ponds" and fountains. It's situated in the middle of a small business district and my guess is it was probably made as a nice little park for nearby employees of said businesses to enjoy a lunch or walk, but it has been overcome with kids.

We'll definitely go back since my anxiety levels of keeping tabs of 3 kids in a mix of 70 kids was pretty low. Even the deepest pool Riley could crawl through so I also didn't have to sit around and hold any of my non-swimmers constantly.

Love the little butt cheek.

Thumbs up from the Runchey clan!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Preschool Orientation

Tonight we took Austin to his preschool orientation night. He's attending a preschool run by a local church. Being that it is run by a church, part of the curriculum includes religion. We were pretty great about getting our kids to church when they were younger (and yes, I know that's not saying much since the oldest is only 4), but this last year we didn't get there quite as often as we planned. Thus, Austin's knowledge of Jesus and the rest of the gang is pretty minimal. Tonight we learned that this might hamper his enjoyment of preschool a little bit.

In the gym, where he was running around, they have a stained glass window of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus doesn't look happy. Austin stopped running around to ask who that was (pointing at Jesus). Slightly ashamed of ourselves that our child didn't know, we told him it was Jesus. Austin said "He looks sad." Since I know slightly more than Austin, I let Rob take it from there:

R: He is sad.
A: What's he doing?
R: He's talking to his dad
A: Why?......I don't like that.......he's scary.

Then we changed subjects and talked about something else. That didn't last though. That's when I took over the religion lesson. This is the only preschool in the area that had openings and I'll be darned if he is going to dread going there because of a sad picture of Jesus on the window.

A: I really don't like that (pointing to Jesus again)
T: Don't worry. He's fine. He's just thinking about something really hard.
A: What's he thinking about?
T: Lunch. He's wondering what he is going to have for lunch and he is thinking so hard, he looks sad.
A: Oh. What's he going to have?
R: Chicken nuggets. I hear he really likes chicken nuggets

Then he ran around some more.

A: You know...I think he's thinking about having french fries too.

I'm positive this is going to come back to haunt us later in the year when he boldly confronts the Pastor to explain that Jesus isn't really sad about what's to come, he's just really hungry and thinking about a nice plate of chicken nuggets and french fries.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wipe anyone?

Riley was left to her own devices for 30 seconds. I kid you not. I set her down, next to a closed box of wipes, I ran upstairs to grab a diaper for her, ran back down, and this is what I find.

That may not look like much of a mess, but that was a completely full box of wipes and she left about five in the package.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Who Says TV is Bad for Kids?

Let me set the scene. I was eating a wholesome breakfast of eggs, whole wheat toast, and a piping hot cup of coffee (or a candy memory is foggy). I was showered, dressed, and ready to tackle the day (a girl can dream, right?) and out of the blue Austin came up to me and said "Mom, I'm just going to starve! I really need a carrot!"

I just about spit out my candy bar eggs. Did I hear him right? Just in time to confirm what I thought I heard, Ellie came up behind him and said "Mom! Carrot!".

I'm not sure I've ever moved so fast in the morning. I had two carrots washed, peeled, and handed over in under 10 seconds. And they cheered. "Yea!!! Carrots!!!" I can guarantee you that exclamation has NEVER been uttered in our house before.

That's my photographic evidence. Never mind the fact that they are both glued to the TV. Never mind the fact that the only reason they wanted carrots was because they were watching Super Why and he was helping Peter Rabbit find a carrot for his mom. They are eating carrots.

Maybe in another hour they will actually finish them. I'm in no hurry.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Poor Austin

Earlier this week I had my camera in hand and thought that I would go outside and experiment with it. The goal was to see if I could figure out what some of the numerous functions could do for me and my limited photo taking skills. When I stepped out onto the deck, this is what I saw:

The poor little guy had no one to play with. Now that he skips naptime most days and the girls still thoroughly enjoy (and need) one, and his wonderful mom still needs (and enjoys) at least an hour without kids, Austin is responsible for entertaining himself for a bit in the afternoon. He usually does a great job. But this day just wasn't his day.

He just sat there for a while. Probably having a conversation with himself. He's always thinking, that little guy.

Oh, busted. He saw me up there taking his picture, and still he looks sad.

Something must really be troubling him...

Maybe it's the fact that he is bored out of his mind and all his mom can do is take pictures.

Okay, enough is enough. Something needed to be done. Shortly after that last shot we went to the sandbox and successfully built and demolished three sand castles, buried all his animals (no small feat), found all his animals (even harder), practiced pumping on the swings, worked on somersaults, discussed what a cartwheel is, opted instead to try headstands, and finished with a dip in the water table to clean off our feet before going inside to get the girls. Never did learn much about the camera.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Deliciously Sweet

We all have our favorites around this house. The items that we would do just about anything for. Anything snickers related ranks fairly high on my list. Austin will turn from devil to angel if you mention the opportunity for him to enjoy some "water pop" (Sprite). Candy, no specifics, sends Ellie into a fit of giggles. Riley is still trying to figure her favorites out. Rob enjoys whipped cream. I've always been more of a cool whip girl myself, but for Rob, it's whipped cream.

It's always been a bit of a problem in our relationship because if we are planning on splitting a dessert I would prefer it not have the mountain of white on it. We have gone so far, several times, as to ask the server to put whipped cream on just half the dessert. We get the occasional odd looks, but it works.

This past weekend, Rob led the girls to the dark side. It wasn't a fair fight because we didn't have any Cool Whip in the house with which to do battle. Austin was strong, and was not interested in his Dad's antics. The girls....they are weak.

And Riley just may have decided upon a favorite. I suppose that is fine though. The way she bounced up and down, hyper for the next mouthful, gleeful with laughter...that was a deliciously sweet sound.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Riley's Birthday Bash

I'm only about a week behind. No biggie.

Last Saturday was Riley's 1st birthday party! I showed you the cute invite my sister made and some might be wondering "why watermelon"? And, the answer is fairly random. I bought the ribbon for her banner in some colors I thought were cute together. Then I realized they matched a shirt that Riley has. Furthermore, it reminded me of watermelon. Watermelon is a fun summery item, and she is a summer baby. Hence, a watermelon first birthday party. I'm nothing, if not logically random.

In case you don't remember, last Saturday was one of those 90 degree days. The majority of Riley's party occurred indoors for that very reason. Unfortunate since Rob and I spent our free time that week making Baggo boards (Rob) and bean bags (me). We did entice a few people outdoors to brave the humidity and play a few games. Mostly Taylor, Dave, and Lynne (who were in town for a mini family vacation). Taylor is one to be reckoned with in a Baggo tournament.

But, back to the birthday girl!

She was anxious to try her cake!

The inside looked like a watermelon too!

And after the cake and ice cream (which she ate nicely so there is no messy cake picture) it was on to presents. There were plenty of cousins and siblings willing to help her open the presents. I'm not sure they even gave her a chance (ahem...Austin).
Riley told me later that day it was her best birthday yet.
And so the Runchey family wraps up birthday season. Austin says it is time to start planning his "Grizzly Bear Birthday Party". I'll get right on that.

Monday, August 10, 2009


This past weekend, Grandma and Grandpa Runchey were up to celebrate Riley's birthday with us (more on that later). Grandma always has her bag of tricks with her and this weekend was no exception. The surprise this time was a kickboard for Austin (Spiderman) and one for Ellie (Little Mermaid). We haven't been to a big enough pool yet to use them as intended but Ellie and Austin have still been playing with them. Using them as skateboards (they are really slippery on the carpet), etc. This morning during Riley's nap I was using the opportunity of one less kid to log into my work email and check on some items. That is when I heard, from the stairwell, "Okay Ellie, this is your side, and this is my side. Let's race! Ready...Set..." and in the nick of time, I rounded the corner and yelled "STOP!"

They were both laying on their kickboards, head first, ready to slide on their belly's down the staircase.

This afternoon we filled up the pool and I think it's probably best if we store the kickboards outside.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Riley!

Our baby is one year old today! Everyone always says "time flies". I think there are many days that I would argue that is not true (like the 20 minutes after Ellie got that golf ball size bump on her head...longest 20 minutes ever!), however, Riley's first year definitely flew by. We're looking forward to being able to enjoy the 2nd a year even more as she begins to walk, talk, and give her older siblings a run for their money!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Viewer Discretion Advised

Well, it's not that bad. But, it broke my heart to see it.

Yesterday Austin and Ellie were upstairs playing. They were actually playing nice and laughing instead of fighting. It was fantastic. The unusual sound (laughter instead of screaming) was a nice change. Then another unusual, but distinguishable sound came down the stairs. It was the loud thump of something hitting a door. I flew up the stairs to find Ellie crying. Sort of. Her face was contorted into the shape of a crying childs', but no sound was coming out. In other words, she was crying so hard, she wasn't able to cry. The only sound I heard was Austin saying "I already said I'm sorry." I swooped her up and continued to watch the bulge on her forehead grow. It was amazing how fast it grew. Then I ran downstairs wondering if I should take her to the doctor. In 10 more minutes she was slightly calm and the bump on her head seemed to be done growing.
In another 10 minutes she was dancing to the Backyardigans. This morning, the bump has decreased significantly and the whole experience seems to be a distant memory to Ellie.
I guess her two year pictures will be put off another month.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

No room on the lap

My parents stopped by unexpectedly last week for a quick visit. My kids LOVE surprise visits from anyone. Austin has even invited the FedEx guy into our house. I guess I'm that boring that he resorts to having perfect strangers over for stimulating conversation.
I digress. My parents stopped by and, in between their non stop chatter, Ellie and Austin climbed onto my Dad's lap to study the map of the zoo. My mom was with, so I'm guessing you have figured out where Riley was.

After I snapped the picture I thought it was a good thing that my mom was with so Riley wasn't left out. Where would she sit since my dad's lap seemed to have reached maximum occupancy. But then I figured it out.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Try it out on the neighbors first

Tonight is National Night Out. In our neighborhood, that means that we shut down the street with barricades, a police car visits, a firetruck visits, we bring food for the food shelves, the kids run around and play games to win prizes, and we bring a treat to share. It started at 6:30. At 4pm I remembered that last bit about bringing a treat. At 5pm the kids and I got home from Target with the ingredients to make said treat.
A normal mom in my position would buy a box of pre-made cookies and try to pass them off as her own on a paper plate. Instead, I was inspired by another blog I read, and I decided to make little pies on sticks. Lollipies...or Pie Pops. You pick. "Bakerella" (where I got the idea) used different sorts of fruits. They looked delicious. But, no matter how they looked, I'm not a big fan of cooked fruit so I went with something I thought could never go wrong. Snickers. A Snickers candy bar makes just about everything better.

The result?

They were cute. They were definitely easy. They were fun to eat. But, taste-wise. A bit dry. Perhaps I'll have to try again with fruit. I'll just serve the snickers on the side.

Monday, August 3, 2009


For the last 788 days, someone in this household has had to wash baby bottles at least once a day. Let me say that again...788 days! Wait, I'm exaggerating. There was that two month break between Ellie turning one and Riley being born.

It's really not that hard, tedious with all the small parts (6) that put together one bottle for colicky babies, but not hard. Truly, it's not even all that time consuming. I think Rob and I could join some sort of pit crew for bottle washing and be highly sought after. Six bottles = 5 minutes (when we're really showing off). It was just the fact that it had to be done. Every. Day.

And so, it is without further ado, that we say "Good bye old friends....we will NOT miss you".


This past weekend Rob and I invited all the surrounding neighbors to our house for a Fiesta. There were many reasons for the party.

1) We wanted and needed to get to know the people around us better. After all, someday, my kids might be invited over for a sleepover and I want to know the parents who will be in charge.

2) I've become a tiny bit obsessed with party planning lately. Probably due to the summer birthdays in the house.

3) Rob found a recipe for Carnitas and wanted to give it a shot.

And so, a Fiesta it is.

The results were great!
1) Turns out we live next door to some nice people who I won't be worried at all to leave my kids with someday. The kids had a blast running around like crazy and for the one millionth time I would like to say how much I love our new fence. At 11pm, when you can no longer see your children, you at least know they are in the confines of your yard.

2) I had a good time decorating and preparing for the party. If only I had unlimited funds. After some calculations (and great clearance sales), I believe the decorations for this party, which were subtle, but there, were right around $15. A lot of it can be used again this Saturday for Riley's birthday party. The food table would have looked awesome if it weren't for the 4 ugly crockpots (sorry Mom and Kerry...thanks for letting me use them). Why must all crock pots have weird designs on the outside?

3) Rob's Carnitas recipe is perfect! It was sought after by everyone. Darn close to Chipotle's carnitas in case you're a fan. We just need to figure out their rice, and then we will never need to dine there again.
My favorite part was the fried ice cream. I have had it every night since the party. The kids had a great time with the pinata I made. It definitely was not the prettiest pinata, but it served it's purpose. All the kids took a few swings and finally Chelsea was able to break the candy free. McKenzie, on the other hand, took a home run swing at it and nearly knocked my head off. Ellie, standing right in front of me, was about an inch short of being taken out.

One more party left and then I think our party season comes to a close in this house. Want a sneak peak? Kerry made this for us to send out: