Friday, July 30, 2010

Lazy Blogger

I've been finishing up the new website for my department at work and have thus been glued to my computer all day, all week.  The kids might be a tiny bit neglected.  The last thing I've wanted to do is log on and blog.  But, I'm happy to report it's done! 

For a mid-week break the kids and I hit up the county fair on Wednesday evening.  When I whipped out my camera to capture a moment I realized I left the memory card at home.  Luckily, Kerry was there and captured it all.  Plus, she's already blogged about it and instead of re-writing the exact same scene, I'll just direct your attention HERE.  Thanks Kerry.  Next I would like you to write about the Runchey Reunion last weekend.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Big Girl Bed

On Monday night Riley demonstrated some newfound escape artist skills.  When we put her in her crib to sleep, she proudly came bouncing out of her room.  Four times.  She not only climbed over her crib railings, she climbed over the highest part of her crib railing, proving that the one last notch to lower her bed was not going to stop her. 

Yesterday, after nap, I decided to change her crib into a bed.  I knew I would regret this move later that night, but I showed her, she was one proud little girl!

She was so excited that her brother and sister could easily join her on her new "big girl bed".

So excited, in fact, that she immediately invited them in for a sleep over. 

A sleep over with every piece of gear they could possibly need.  At which point Riley realized she didn't have a pillow and yelled "I want a pillow, Mom!"  But, given the amount of movement she puts in during any given night, I think we'll keep the pillows on the floor for the time being.  In the middle of the night, that location will probably serve her a better purpose.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


These two are inseperable.  They have been since...well, they met when they were 5 months old.  Obviously in the beginning, it wasn't their choice to hang out together, but since whenever it was their choice, they have been connected at the hip!  Not a day goes by that Austin doesn't mention Mia, his girlfriend, in some passing thought.  He tells anyone that will listen all about her.  This includes, but is not limited to, the dentist, mailman, and cashiers at random stores. 

They've already discussed their wedding too.  He has rejected other offers from fellow preschoolers because he is "already going to marry Mia".  The other day they were whiling away the hours on the swingset and I was on the deck listening in to their conversation (a favorite past time of mine) and it went like this:
A:  Mia, where should be live when we marry?
M:  I don't know.  I haven't thought about it.
A:  I know!  We can live in Lost Vegas!
M:  How are we gonna get there?
A:  I don't  know.
M:  My mom got me Flicker Kitty [her favorite stuffed animal] in Vegas!
A:  How will we get there?
M:  How 'bout an air-o-plane?
A:  Great idea, Mia.  Let's ask my mom for a popsicle!

I'm happy they have mapped out all the details.  Right down to dessert. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Star Wars Birthday Bash

The summer is flying by!  I'm really behind on blogging what's going on here, but the blog will have to take a back seat to the fun we're having.

A week after his official birthday Austin had his much anticipated "Friend Birthday Party".  It's probably the least I've ever planned for a birthday party.  Partly because Kerry had just had a Star Wars party for Jake so I knew I could use most of her ideas.  But still, there really wasn't much effort put into this party on my part.  I enlisted my mom to make 6 more jedi robes (Thanks Mom), Rob took over cake detail (Thanks Rob), and I think my only real solo task was making light sabers and goody bags.

Onto the party.  It was insane from the get go.  Austin invited 6 friends over, and from the second the first child arrived, it was chaos.  Screaming, running, more screaming, and just general pandemonium.  First everyone played "don't let the balloons touch the ground" while Rob guarded our glass cabinet.  Then a few of the boys settled down to play with some Star Wars guys.

While this was happening the girls on the other end attacked my husband.

I literally had to come to his rescue as they were not leaving him alone no matter where he went and if he tried to pull his arm away, they would grip on so tight they were pulling arm hairs off his arms.  It wasn't pretty.  I know he's a catch...but geesh!  Back off girls!

I've never been so excited to see a pizza man in my life.  After a very quick meal I glanced at the sky and saw some troublesome looking clouds coming our way and decided it was time to hit the backyard and complete the Jedi Training we had planned.

Our young Jedis had to run an obstacle course.  The course had target practice with Darth Vader:

Throwing Droid Poppers into the pit, hopping through hula hoops, running past the sprinkler of doom, up to the tower to rescue the Baby Hutt (which was Riley's Elmo), and then down the slide and through 3 tents and tunnels.  When the Jedi's accomplished the course, they were awarded with their Jedi Robes. As a side note, it was easily 95 degrees out at this point and I ran that obstacle course 7 times.  Hot.

Once all the kids were done with their training it was back to running around like maniacs.  Only, they were maniacs with Jedi Robes and Light Sabers.  I have no idea what I was thinking when I armed seven 5 year olds with foam light sabers.

When I thought I was going to pass out from heat exhaustion I suggested we all head inside for cake and presents.

And then it was back outside until parents showed up.  It was like angels singing when the first parent arrived.  The kids were all very good, but I have a very good understanding of why parents take the parties outside of their houses.

One more round of birthday parties in August for Riley and then we get a break.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Captain Rex Cake

I'm sure you'll all be shocked to know that Austin wanted a Star Wars themed birthday party.  After a short google search, I found a couple examples of cakes made by people that resembled Captain Rex's helmet.  I forwarded the ideas to Rob who gave me an enthusiastic "Yes!" to make the cake.

On the day before the party I tried to convince Rob that instead of making a 3D helmet, we should just make a 9x13 cake and cut it into the shape of a 2D helmet and go from there.  Rob is a "go big, or go home" kind of guy, so he said he would make the cake.  I agreed.  I would bake the actual pieces he needed and that night, he would create the masterpiece.

Here is what he started with:

Four 9 inch cakes and 1 cake I baked in a bowl.

First, he stacked them:

Next he frosted:

Then he carefully plotted out his design plan with a walnut pick.  Nothing but the best of tools for us.

Oh, and you want to know what he was using as his "model"?

That's the helmet off of Austin's Captain Rex action figure next to a small size paper clip.

With the finishing touches yet to be added to the helmet we debated on whether or not we needed to make that attena thing on the right side of Captain Rex's head.  In the end we decided Austin would notice and while Rob finished up his job, I set out to create an antenna.

At 10:45pm, here was the finished product:

It took up almost half our fridge.  I was too scared to get the milk out of the fridge, lest I somehow knock over the cake, so the kids were spoiled with juice all day!  When Austin woke up I was eager to show him what his dad was able to create.  Austin looked at the cake, dropped his jaw in awe and abruptly said "Hey, where's his antenna?" It was on the counter to be added later.  Do we know our son, or what!

It was a hit come party day! 

No details were left out!

And a back view:

It looks like I am off cake duty from now on!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Finally 5!

Amongst his friends, Austin is the youngest.  When his friends started turning 5 years old, the waiting began.  Well, finally, on the 8th, Austin turned five years old!

He finally crawled out of bed at 8:45 and snuggled in my lap (good thing five year olds still snuggle) and said "Good morning!  Hey, I think my voice sounds different....I must be five!"  I spent the next 15 minutes trying to convince him he could do unbelievable things now that he was five.  You know, vacuum the house, clean the toilets, sweep the floors...  Yeah, he didn't buy it either.

After breakfast we filled the pool and were outside swimming by 9:30 in the morning!  They took a small break for lunch but Austin was right back outside while the girls slept.  Austin had his friend Mia over to play in the pool some more. 

Rob came home early, Austin opened his presents and decided he wanted to go to the Lion's Tap for his birthday dinner.

We walked in and he immediately told the hostess "It's my birthday!  Will you put a candle on my grilled cheese?" and she said "We'll see...".  Not only did she put a candle on his grilled cheese, she got the attention of the whole back room by saying "Excuse me everyone!  It's Austin's 5th birthday, let's all sing to him!"  Austin sat there stunned by all of the sudden attention.  It was a bit more than he was looking for!

After dinner it was back home to play with his new Star Wars gear.  The girls went to bed and Austin and Rob stayed up to watch the Clone Wars and reinact the scenes.

A pretty good birthday for a pretty fantastic five year old.  He is one sweet, loveable little guy, and I am one lucky mom!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

First Accident Free Day!

We have been running around with our heads cut off around here!  Sorry for the lack of posts.  I have a no shortage of things to write about, but what feels like an extreme shortage on time.

However, I wanted to post that I'm extremely proud of my little gal tonight.  She went the whole day without a potty accident!  This includes making it through an exciting visit with cousins, a trip to two stores, and an hour long visit at the park.

I know that picture will be a nightmare when she's 16, but that pretty much sums up Riley in a nutshell these days.

Way to go Ry!  Let's go for two days in a row!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The 4th - Pontoon Style

We left West Bend at nap time on the 4th and due to the excitement of the weekend all of the kids fell asleep during the ride.  Which is great, because the festivities of the weekend were not over.  Shortly after we returned home, we packed up everyone back into the car and headed to my parents house.

We christened their new deck with a barbeque and as the sun began to set, the excitement began to set in.  There was no chance of the girls staying awake long enough for fireworks so Rob (who has been battling a cold for a week or so) took them home while the rest of us headed out on the pontoon!

It was a perfect night for a evening ride.  The skeeters weren't terrible due to the breeze, but they still made an appearance.  Austin and Jake acted crazy...or probably just like boys.  They appear calm in this photo:

But, I'm fairly certain that they both did sommersaults off the seat to get to those spots.

Austin was very excited that he was the only one (well, between him and his sisters) to get to go on the pontoon.  He claimed the fireworks (which were spectacular!) looked like a "dance party", but failed to show us any of his awesome moves.

I took some pictures of fireworks but I don't know what I'm doing so they didn't turn out.  You know what fireworks look like.  Some of the best we saw were actually hosted by a house on the lake.  We spent a great deal of time trying estimating how much money they spent on fireworks.  In the end we decided that it had to be a neighborhood contribution, it was that good.

When the majority of the entertainment concluded we headed back to the dock.  Or what we thought was the dock.  Turns out the lake is fairly dark at night and next year some flashlights or spot lights...or dock lights would be a good idea.  But, we eventually did find our destination.

What a great weekend!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Two Down, One to Go

Here's your clues:




Yep.  I've decided this is the week to start potty training Riley.  Austin was a little frustrating.  Ellie was a breeze.  I'm hoping Riley follows in Ellie's tracks.

She has gone #2 a handful of times in the toilet already, not today...but in the past few weeks.  Also in the past few weeks she says "Go poot Mommy!" and she runs to the toilet.  I know she is probably ready but I've been putting it off because there is always a good reason to not tackle this commitment.  First it was the fourth of July weekend and we'd be traveling to Iowa, then it was two birthday parties we were attending (I didn't want my kid peeing on the floor of someone else's house). 

This week I can think of at least 3 other reasons I should not be doing this, but I'm guessing that will be the case every week of the year.

We've got the treats for successes (cheers for trying) and the timer is set so I don't get lost in the days' activities and forget to take her every 15 minutes.  I've got a fresh bottle of Resolve for the carpets and a pile of training pants for the accidents.

Here goes!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The 4th - West Bend

We had a great weekend.  We drove down to Iowa on Friday afternoon to reunite with Austin.  At first glance he was 3 shades darker and his hair was 3 shades lighter.  Also, his eyebrows had all but disappeared (into white hairs).  What a difference 4 fun filled pool days will do to a kid!  Also, I declare his swimming lessons a success!  He has no fear of the water again. He leaps off the side without any reservations.  He swims underwater...sort of.  His first two strokes are usually pretty good, but then he starts convulsing, getting no where, until he runs out of breath.  At that point, he pops up with a smile on his face and starts all over.

Saturday afternoon was the West Bend celebration.  It started around 11 with a parade (the slowest moving parade in the history of parades) down main street.  It was a million degrees so the adults tried their best to hide in a sliver of shade provided by the post office while the kids scurried around picking up candy.  After lunch it was off to the park where they had about 6 different inflatable attractions, pony rides, games for kids, bingo, and food.

Ellie was immediately drawn to the pony rides.  Last year, when she expressed an interest, we signed her up and waited in line for 30 minutes and when it was finally her turn she cried and would not even go near the pony.  I didn't hold out much hope for this year being any different but we tried anyway.  To my surprise she did great this year.  She went around the ring 4 times and enjoyed every second.

Austin wanted to go into the inflatable train right away.

While he was in there, the girls went into a smaller, toddler friendly area. 

Then Austin wanted to go down this slide.  We estimated it was 15-20 ft in height.  Well, if Austin was going to do it, then so was Ellie.  They climbed to the top and Austin went down.  No problems.

Ellie's turn wasn't as smooth.  She started with plenty of confidence but midway down she got twisted up and ended in a face plant.

While we were collecting them at the "exit" the operator of the slide said "Is this one yours" and when I turned around Riley was halfway up the ladder. 

So, Rob threw over a couple of tickets and said "let her go!"

Our little dare devil climbed up no problem and came down in about the same fashion as Ellie...only with a smile on her face.  Austin went about 4 more times, Riley went twice more, and Ellie went once.  The slide monopolized most of their tickets, but they did try a few other inflatables.

The carnival went well into Riley and Ellie's nap time.  Ellie left early and went back with Grandma.  Riley did something she has never done in her almost 2 year history.

She fell asleep on Rob while he was talking to some friends.  Keeping up with her brother and sister is hard work.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Change in Roles

Whereas my days used to be consumed with this:

They are now consumed with this:

On Tuesday, I met Bob and Patti halfway to West Bend and we exchanged some goods.  Namely, Austin.  He has been staying with them in West Bend and taking swimming lessons since Tuesday afternoon.

The change around the house was subtle at first, but as Ellie has fallen into the role of "leader" the changes are much more noticeable.  On the first day Ellie and our neighbor Mia were outside playing and they picked up plastic golf clubs and started to run around pretending they were Clone Troopers.  It's just what they do outside and I guess they've never questioned it.  However, by the second day they were just playing chasing games, and by yesterday they were being downright girly! 

I know that everyone misses Austin, and I know that ultimately Mia remains devoted to her best friend, but the break in the routine has been nice.  It has forced my girls to be each other's sole playmates.  In doing so, I think they have realized they have a lot of fun together (and yes, I realize they are a little young to realize such things...but I can see it ever so slightly). 

We'll be reunited with Austin today we're all excited to see him, but I won't be surprised if Ellie and Mia surprise Austin with a few new games next time they are outside together.  Something more along the lines of this: