Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pumpkin Carving

Bad news.  We are not good pumpkin pickers.  We originally picked out three pumpkins.  When we went to buy them, they informed us one was "soft" and wouldn't make it.  We left it there.  Yesterday as I was bringing in the mail, a piece fell out of my hands and landed in Austin's pumpkin.  Apparently, it too was soft because it was a whole pumpkin until that mail fell and an envelope should not be able to pierce a pumpkin.  Down to one.  It too had rotting spots, but so be it.  It only needed to last one night.

Austin took a turn cleaning it out.

Ellie took a turn cleaning it out.

And then they turned their attention back to the TV and yours truly finished it up.

And this is what happens when Rob is in charge of the camera.


Austin had already decided on a "ghost face" for the pumpkin.  Here is the finished product:

More to come...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Sneak Peek

This morning the kids all got to wear their Halloween costumes for parties at Preschool (Austin) and Playworks (the girls).  Austin is a grizzly bear, Ellie is a princess, and Riley is Eeyore.  Ellie was ecstatic to learn that a grizzly bear sort of looks like the Beast.  She immediately decided she was "Belle" and Austin was the "Beast" and she requested several dances from him.  He complied....sort of.

I also included a clip of Austin last night when he was practicing his grizzly bear run.  And yes, at the end, he says "Mom, I scratched my butt with my claws!"  Boys.

I left off the finishing touches of their costumes today so I'll be sure to get some full costume pictures up on Halloween.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Going Batty

You know what the hardest part of my average day is?  It's the hours between when the kids wake up from nap and when Rob gets home from work.  Since I've been staying home, those 2-3 hours seem to drag on forever.  I think, by that point in my day, I'm just ready for some backup.  I'm ready for a couple "Dads" to be thrown in there with the hundred "Moms" the kids whine say.

Have I mentioned that Rob has been gone all week?  He comes home today, but he's been traveling for work this week.  That makes me the sole parent for these children 24/7 and that makes the majority of each day feel a little bit like that 2-3 hour stretch before Rob gets home from work.

In other words, I'm going insane.  Or batty!

This was a craft project we started on Monday.  A project that should have been completed within 20 minutes tops, but that was instead just completed last night because things like fevers and vomit kept interupting us.  Pesky vomit.

Above, from left to right, we have Ellie, Riley, and Austin crafty efforts.  Amazing how Riley is the best painter...isn't it?  Okay, she really didn't partake in the craft.  Except for me tracing her hands.  She LOVED that part.  I have about 3 more pages full of Riley's hands because her giggle should be bottled up and sold everywhere.

We need to do more crafts around here.  They make the time go faster.  So does "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown".  That was on Tuesday night.  Oh, and "Monsters vs. Aliens Save Halloween"...that was on last night.  And wine.  That works well too.

I kid...I kid

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shark Mall

Austin is feeling much better.  Actually, I'd say around 5pm last night he was back in business.  However, at around 3pm I called his preschool teacher to say he'd be staying home since, at that time, he was still feeling pretty crummy.  Plus, I think they're suppose to be fever-free for 24 hours before they go back so, stay home he did.  Well, I guess we didn't technically stay home.  That's not my thing.  Yesterday just about broke me becuase I couldn't leave the house.  It was a beautiful day and we couldn't go out to play.

Today, we left the house.  We went to the Mall of America, or what Austin calls "the Shark Mall".  We differentiate malls by what is most memorable at each place.  The most exciting thing at Eden Prairie Center is the indoor playground so that is "the Play Mall".  The most terrifying thing at the Mall of America is the Underwater World shark mascot, hence "the Shark Mall".  When I say "terrifying", I'm not kidding.  That shark scares the crap out of Austin.  It brings him to tears.  And, because he feels that all large headed characters are in cahoots, he is also scared of the Bubba Gump Shrimp that walks around, the Dora Explorer that makes rare visits, and the Little Critter character we saw at the zoo.

This morning he must have been in the mood to confront his fears, because he choose the Shark Mall for our destination.  As scary as it is, that mall is also home to Toys R' Us and The Disney Store.

On the way to the mall though, Austin had an epiphany!  "Mom, maybe that standing up shark is really a person with a costume on?!  Maybe he is silly, not scary."  The skys opened, a sunbeam zeroed in on the car, and angels sang.  It was Austin's "ah-ha!" moment.

We didn't see the shark to test out his newfound comfort level.  We did pass the Shrimp and afterwards Austin was still next to me instead of 5 stores ahead, running for his life.  I think that is progress.

Can't you just see Ellie with pigtails someday?  Too bad that when you're 15 they aren't as cute as when you're 2.  I'm convinced that's the age she'll finally have enough hair to achieve this style.

On a side note, I'm fairly certain I could have left Ellie at the bar at the Rainforest Cafe and picked her up when she had pigtails and she would not have even noticed.  Mesmerizing!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


When Austin came home from school yesterday, he spiked a 102 temperature.  Two hours later, he was fine.  Around 6pm, it shot back up to 103.  I declared an early bedtime for everyone at 7:15pm.  Austin was the only one to not fight it.  At 10pm, while he was sleeping, his temperature went back down to 98.

I've been here before so, before I went to bed, I gathered my arsenal of "sick kid" gear.  Beach towels, bowl, medicine, new sheets.

At 4:15am, he woke up running towards me with a belly ache.  I had the bowl right there, he tried to throw up, but couldn't.  Then immediately fell asleep in my arms.  I layed him down in my bed so I could try to get some more sleep.  Ha!  Good one.  Everytime he made a noise I was sure he was going to vomit all over our new sheets and comforter. 

At 5:30 Ellie woke up.  Note to self, "early to bed, early to rise". 

Austin woke up around 6am and wanted to go downstairs for a snack.  He declared he was not sick no matter how many times I suggested he might be.

Here's how our morning has progressed since he came down.

(side note on this picture - why are there two sets of shadows for his legs?)

He has since flipped again.  I gently set the bowl on the floor by him, just in case.  I didn't say a word, and I swear the bowl didn't make a noise, and he mumbled "I'm not sick."  Denial.

Monday, October 26, 2009

And the winners are....

First, let me just say, this was fun!  Thanks to Caribou for donating the prizes.  Hopefully everyone, by now, has had a chance to check out the Amy's Blend merchandise.  It looks like the supply is running out on a few items (like that cute tumbler!), but you can always check out your local store to see what they have in stock.

I used to generate my random numbers.  Your number was assigned in the order that you left your comment.

Here are the numbers that were generated:

I'm assigning the prizes as I listed them.  Therefore, the firt prize of the mug and tea goes to #10 - Dan.  The second prize, of the coffee and the tote goes to #11 - Carrie.  And the final prize, the $10 giftcard, goes to #4 - Jane.  Each of you will receive your prizes shortly!  Congratulations!

I hope everyone had fun playing.  I also hope there are more giveaways in the future because I love giving things away!  Thanks again to Caribou Coffee for donating the prizes.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Things better left unsaid

We have a fairly standard tradition in our house.  On the weekends, at least one of the mornings, we get donuts for breakfast.  Rob piles Austin and Ellie into the van and drives to Donut World (I don't know the real name of the place, but that's what we call it) and they all saunter into the small store to pick out their usuals.  As they walk in the door, they are greeted as "the pajama crew" and pleasantries are exchanged.

We'll miss this place.

Today, when they arrived, their usual lady was helping them when another worker stepped up to use the cash register.  Austin looked up at the newcomer and said "You have a really big belly." 

Austin was just pointing out the facts as he saw them and left Rob scrambling for a response.  Rob considered saying "It's just because she has an apron on and it looks big." but instead went with "Sorry 'bout that".

I hope they all got a good chuckle.  I know I did when I was trying to explain to Austin that he doesn't always have to verbalize his thoughts.  I'm fairly certain that is a conversation that will be revisted in the near future.

**If you haven't already, be sure to enter for the give away below by Monday night.  You don't have to be local, I'll ship the prize to you if you win**

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Coffee for a Cure

By now you are all probably aware of my love for Caribou Coffee.  Specifically, I love their Turtle Mocha.  I love their shops with the cabin-like feel.  The cozy fireplaces, comfy chairs, free wi-fi.....ahhhhh.  And I now have another reason to love them.  They are supporting Breast Cancer Research through Susan G. Komen.

In 1995, they lost one of their roastmasters, Amy Erickson, to breast cancer.  She was in her early 30s. 

Early 30s.  Ugh.

She was passionate about her job and passionate about her coffee.  To honor her legacy every October (which is Breast Cancer awareness month) Caribou Coffee offers a blend of coffee called Amy's Blend.  They donate 10% of the sales Amy's Blend merchandise to Susan G. Komen for the Cure

They are also offering up an Amy's Blend tea this year.  It's a caffiene-free red tea "with just the right amount of spicy cardamom and warm cinnamon to create a velvety smooth, soothing, hot tea experience. Amy’s Blend tea is all natural and high in antioxidants. ".  I haven't tried the tea, but I think the tin is a keeper.  I can see it in a nice gift basekt with a cute mug and some ribbon.

And maybe coffee and tea aren't your thing.  That's okay, but you should still check out the other products they have to offer.  See them here

I'm digging the colors of this tumbler.  Super cute!  Maybe I wouldn't even need the coffee to wake me up in the morning if I just had this bright cheery cup to greet me.

Caribou has a goal of reaching $200,000 in donations this year.  Why not help them out.  Or, just go directly to Susan G. Komen, and make a donation.  Or, visit this site.  It's a link to the donation page for the 2010 Breast Cancer 3 Day walk in the Twin Cities.  Pick a random walker, donate, and make their day.  3 Days, 60 miles.  I participated in 2004 and I'm still recovering.  Emotionally and physically.

Oh, and before I forget, three more reasons I love Caribou and why you should too.  They have given me some gifts to give to you!  Remember that nice gift basket vision of the tea and the mug?

You provide the basket.  Also, this cute reuseable tote and a pound of Amy's Blend coffee!

And one lucky winner will receive a $10 giftcard to go and do their own shopping.  You know, like a cute tumbler cup for your favorite blogger!

To be entered in the give away, just leave a comment below telling me how you like your coffee.  Milk? Sugar? Straight up? Not too hot with 2 packets of sweet n' low and enough caramel vanilla cream to make it a light golden brown?  Or something like that.  Tell your friends!  The more the merrier!

Leave your comments before 9pm on Monday the 25th and I'll randomly choose the winners.

Drink (coffee) for the cure!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Riley Walking

I still haven't resolved my camcorder issues, but I did finally get some video from the camera which is both difficult to use and not very clear.  But, I figure before she starts doing back handsprings, I should get some video of her walking.  It's only been about a month now.  In the life of an ever changing baby, that's a long time.  Better late than never, right? She was a bit more interested in body slamming me than walking, so there's a little bit of that in there too.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

About three weeks ago Austin was suppose to have his first preschool field trip.  The class was all headed to Peter's Pumpkins.  A local pumpkin patch.  Only, on the day of the field trip it was pouring rain.  I figured it was cancelled but just to double check I called the preschool.  No one answered there and after several more attempts I opted to call Peter's Pumpkins instead. I was told the field trip was cancelled and would be rescheduled.  The next morning as Austin walked into preschool he said, in a crestfallen voice, "Oh man!  I can't believe our field trip was cancelled!" and I immediately noticed the teacher gave him a slightly odd look.  A look that didn't even register to Austin, but just enough of a grimace to cause me to lean in and whisper "It was cancelled, right?" and to my dismay, she shook her head no.  There were two preschools scheduled and Peter, or whoever answered the phone, didn't bother to ask which preschool I was calling about.  I was furious.  Yes, over a preschool field trip, I was furious.  How dare he, Peter, ruin my son's first field trip!  I was certain all the kids would be talking about it all day and Austin would be left out, and that he would be sad when I picked him up, and that he'd have to be given counseling to get over this traumatic experience.  Well, maybe not...but I was mad.  I vowed they would not get my future business.

But, well, Saturday was really nice and the next closest pumpkin patch was about 15 miles further down the road, and Austin never did care one bit about missing the field trip (or he still thinks no one went).  So, I buried my anger and the family went to the pumpkin patch.

This is the last we saw of Austin for awhile.  He took off running, obviously convinced that his perfect pumpkin was a 1/4 mile down the hill.

The girls and I searched high and low for the perfect pumpkins.

With a little help from Dad, Ellie was able to put her pumpkin in the wagon.  On a side note, Ellie does not call them pumpkins, but instead refers to them as "cute little Halloweens".

Riley and I continued the search for her pumpkin.  Look, she's so dedicated to searching she couldn't even be bothered to glance at the camera for a second lest she miss her pumpkin.

After sending out the search party for Austin, we finally convinced him that the 300 pumpkins he passed on his way, were all decent pumpkins and perhaps he could choose from those.  Here is Mr. Cheese and his sisters with their choices.

Two seconds after this photo was taken Austin hopped off the hay bale causing it to almost completely tip over with the girls still on top.  If it weren't for my cat-like reflexes, we would still be picking hay out of Ellie's "pretty". 
We decided that was a good time to wrap up the visit.  We paid for the pumpkins, plus two bags of popcorn, and piled in the car.  On the way to the car I kicked a giant hole in every pumpkin I saw.  Take that Peter!

(I'm kidding...they were just mental kicks)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ellie's first haircut!

I know what many of you are thinking....she barely has any hair.  And, that's true.  But, what she did have was kind of scraggly.  I was also hopeful that someone who knew what they were doing would be able to give it some sort of shape or style.  Or at least cut it so it would grow in nicer.

Ellie was not so eager to hop in the chair.  We went to Kids Hair and she wasn't too pleased that while her brother and sister played with all the "new" toys, she had to be confined to a chair and someone she didn't know was coming at her with a scissors.

Any notions I had about Ellie not being a really "girly" girl have been put aside.  The stylist let her hold a comb.  Ellie was insistant it was the pink comb.  The stylist let her choose a rubberband for her pony tail.  Ellie wanted the pink one.  When all was said and done, Ellie was given her choice of suckers...guess what color she wanted?  I might be in trouble here.

The whole cut took about 3 minutes and I was out $17.50.  I'm not sure any of my goals were met but it's not like the stylist had much to work with.  Instead, I walked out with a girl who now wants a "pretty" in her hair every day.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It wasn't so bad

When nap time came around last week, Austin and I wasted no time gearing up for some fun in the snow.

There's nothing like making the first tracks in the first snow.  After about 5 mintues of making footprints, he turned into a lion.

I was careful not to get too close because this lion was ferocious.

Well, maybe not.  Especially since 2 minutes later he was making snow angels. 

Then we used up the rest of the snow in the front yard to create our snowman.

After this, it was off to the side of the house for some sledding.  The first run down wasn't great because the snow was so sticky, but once we got the track made, Austin flew down the hill at a pretty good clip.  After about an hour, my gloves were soaked through.  I retreated inside and Austin went to the backyard to make a fresh set of footprints.

Maybe winter won't be so bad.  So long as it's 30 degrees every day with fresh snow.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Life is Short....Stay Awake for it!

Those are wise words from Caribou Coffee.  In general, I like the message they convey.  I don't believe in vegging out in front of a TV for hours on end in a zombie state.  I know they're referring to their super coffee and the caffiene perk it bestows (trust me, I know).  However, for the last few months my body has decided that between the hours of 3am and 6am is the perfect time to be wide awake.  This renders me a little bit useless each day following my early morning one woman party.


I've tried several things.  I've tried the whole tighten up your muscles and relax them from your toes to your head, but I'm far too impatient for that technique.  By the time I get to my knees, I'm done.  I've tried counting, and have had some success with this, but usually it goes a bit like this:

1, 2, 3, 4 "Oh!  I need to meet so and so at 4pm tomorrow!"....5, 6, 7 "Shoot....Austin is in charge of snacks on the 7th.  I wonder if he can bring granola bars again or if that's lame to bring the same snack twice. I should ask him what other kids bring", 8, 9, 10...

You get the point.

I've tried OTC drugs but I think they make me anxious.  Like taking one pill makes me an abuser.

I've tried tea, warm milk, reading with a soft light, not reading, music, no music. 

Caribou's right.  Life is short.  And I do want to stay awake for it....just not at 3am.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

C'mon Guys....Just a little bit?

Look at this boy.

He's cute, isn't he?  Big brown eyes, blonde hair, cute round cheeks.

He reminds me of someone....hmmmm....

Oh, that's right.  He reminds me of this little girl:

Big brown eyes, blonde hair, round little cheeks....

I know he looks like his dad at almost any given moment, but give me a little bit of genetic credit. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Riley's photoshoot

Today I'd like to be posting a video of Riley walking all over the house.  I took one last week and when I went to load it up on the computer I realized I do not have the right cable for the job.  I see a trip to Best Buy in my future.

In addition to the video of her last week, I took a million photos.  I had a few minutes before I needed to go get Austin from preschool and Ellie was busy playing so I took the opportunity to try to learn something new about my camera.  I failed in that area, but did get some fun shots of Riley nonethless.  Here's a few of my favorites in no particular order.

Even though you can't even see her eyes, this photo above was one of my favorites.

At this point she is probably getting sick of my camera 2 inches from her face.  No special lenses here....

Now she is just laughing at me.  She has realized her mom is a goofball.

Also one of my favorites.  I can just hear her laughing in this one.

Hopefully, I'll be able to post her walking soon, but Best Buy is on my list of least favorite stores to take the kids.  I can't pinpoint why that is and I don't really want to do the research on it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

How do you feel about it?

This picture is already outdated as I took it about 4 hours ago.  As most people with a blog in MN will tell you today, there is a lot of snow out there.

Austin was ecstatic when he saw it.  He was so excited to see the "snow crystals" (yes, he's a nerd already) that he didn't want to go to school.

Ellie's reaction was a bit more relateable.  "Look mommy!  Snow.....yuck!"

I have mixed feelings.  On a nice day like today, when the temp is a balmy 32 degrees and the kids and I will be outside, after we pick up Austin; I like snow.  I like it even more when I am skiing, but that doesn't happen all that often.  But since it's Monday, and since Mondays are yucky, I am going to focus on the negatives.  Here's the top 5 reasons I don't like snow:

  1. When we just had Austin, it took me 5 minutes to get out the door and on the road.  Add Ellie, add 5 minutes.  Add Riley, and it now takes 15 minutes just to get everyone's gear on.  That doesn't include us getting all buckled into carseats with all the bulky new gear.

  2. It's messy.  The extra gear is messy in the mud room, the snow is messy on my floors, the car is messy on the outside, the parking lots are messy to walk through.  Just plain messy.

  3. I have developed a dislike for driving in it.  I mean, given the choice, most everyone would choice to drive without the snow, but it actually makes me reconsider leaving the house on bad days.

  4. I can't just dart out to the mailbox barefoot anymore.  Well, I suppose I can....but it's not in my best interest.
  5. It's just a sign of colder weather to come.

Now, please excuse me as I take the kids to Target because two need new boots, two need hats, and all need mittens.  More gear....great.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Go Twins!

I'm what you'd call a fair weather fan.  I love to cheer for the home team, but I can't be bothered to watch all 162 games of baseball.  Nor do I have the choice, since we don't have cable.  Tonight we are headed to my parents house to use their cable TV so we can cheer on the Twins.  Ellie is dressed and ready to go.  The chances of her keeping this outfit clean until game time are slim to none so I opted to take a picture first thing this morning.  I know she doesn't look excited, but trust me, she is.  Actually, any time I put anything on her resembling a dress (skirt, billowy shirt, etc) she decides she is a princess.  And so I present, Princess Belle.  The Twins fan version.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ellie Belly

This little gal cracks me up on a daily basis.

She definitely has the most carefree attitude of any of the kids.  This very attitude drives me nuts at times.  For example:

M: Hurry up Ellie, we need to get going!
E:  Coming Mom!
*Ellie bends down to pick up a toy and starts playing with it*
M:  Come one Ellie, we need to get in the car!
E:  Okay mom, here I come
*Ellie zig zags through the family room with a goofy grin on her face that you can't help but love*
M:  Ellie!  Let's go!!!  Hustle!
E:  Okay mom.  Look at me, I'm hustling!
*Ellie actually comes now with exaggerated arm movements like she's moving really fast, but never in the most direct path*

The thing is, she always answers me in a sing-song voice that tells me she either doesn't care, or doesn't know I'm irritated.  It's hard to be mad at her for not listening because even when I'm pulling-my-hair-out mad (that's MAD) she usually has nothing but a smile and a "coming mom!" for me.

She definitely lives in her own little world.

A world where Mr. Potato Head glasses fit perfectly and are required for a ride on a firetruck.

A world where we don chef hats and make french fries and strawberries on the stove.

I want to live in her world.  A world of footie pajamas, no time constraints, oodles of self-confidence, and a hat for every occasion.