Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy Meal = Happy Mom

Rob just got from Argentina.  He was there for 2 weeks.  I didn't have a mental breakdown until Day 9.  Not bad.  And, my parents must have used their "Spidey-sense" because they came to my rescue that very night with a surprise invitation to dinner.  When I told them it was my hardest day yet they offered to take the kids a couple days later for a whole 24 hours!!!!  All of the sudden there was a light at the end of this travel tunnel and all was well with my world again.  Aren't they the best?

Anyway, the point of this post is to tell you to rush out to McDonald's and get your kids a happy meal.  If you know me at all, you know I'm frugral.  Typically, when I offer the kids McD's I order two 6 piece nuggets, two medium fries, and a plain cheeseburger.  This gets split up at home and we are all fed for under $9.  However, Rob told me via web chat (just before he dined on his 23rd steak) to just do whatever I had to do to make it through the last week. 

Well, what I had to do was take the kids to McDonald's for real happy meals.  I usually forgo the happy meals not only because they cost more, but also because I don't want more cheap toys laying around the house.  However, this month, the Happy Meal came in a Halloween bucket with some silly Mr. Potato Head stickers.  No toy.  My kids LOVED this.

The rule is that you have to finish your food before you get your toy (or bucket in this case) and we were having a late night so by the time we got home it was 8:30pm and the kids went to bed with a promise of Happy Meal toys first thing in the morning.

Yes, first thing.  Including hair.

This easily kept my kids busy for 45 minutes.  Far longer than they ever would have played with one of the usual toys.

It's exactly the kind of morning I needed to get me through the last day before Rob got back!  Thumbs up McDonald's.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Accessories Make the Outfit

Awhile ago I came across some very cute little crocheted hats at a store.  But, being that the store was "Oh Baby!" I knew they were going to be out of my price range (where the average sweater..for a $90).  As fate would have it, a couple days later I came across almost the exact same hats on a blog with a free pattern to make them!

I don't crochet.  I don't knit.  I don't need another hobby.

I brought the pattern to my mom and asked her pretty please to make some for my girls.  It took a little rearranging of the instructions to get the perfect result.  You'll have to consult my mom for that part as I have NO idea what she was telling me about stitches even though I nodded my head like I was part of the conversation.

But, the results were great!

I didn't even plan on these outfits when I picked the hat colors, nor did I know my mom had the hats finished that day when I dressed the girls, but these outfits are just a sample of the options that will go with these cute hats!

Thanks mom!!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sleepy Head Fred

One of the reasons I requested afternoon Kindergarten for Austin was selfish.  If he got into afternoon Kindergarten then he'd get on the bus at 12:50 and the girls would get in bed at 1pm.  I'd have at least 2 whole hours to myself every day.  Heaven!

Well, recently Ellie and Riley have both been boycotting naps.  Riley doesn't stay in bed and when she does finally fall asleep it's for 30 minutes (which leads me to wonder if she even sleeps) and then she's out again and downstairs. 

Ellie will go to sleep easily enough, and I'll wake her up 2 hours later, but then at 9pm she's still singing to herself at night.  At 10pm she finally falls asleep and at 6:15am she's wide awake again.  Which leads me to believe she doesn't need the nap anymore.  For the last couple days I've been letting her skip it (and Riley...but that is not my's Riley's).  She does well until about 5pm.  Then all hell breaks loose and my sweet little girl turns into Lucifer.  Well, maybe not that bad, but it's not pretty.

Yesterday she just plain passed out.

I was running around the house, Riley was being completely noisy, Austin was building legos and when I glanced at Ellie, who was playing in the family room I found her like this:

We could NOT wake her up.  Riley was pushing on her arm, yelling in her face, and being her best annoying little sister, but Ellie didn't even flinch.  I had to physically set her up into a sitting position before she even thought about cracking an eye open.

Makes me wonder if she's ready to skip nap or not?  I know I'm not ready to give up my two hours!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Flower Power

I'm lucky in that I live next door to a woman with great fashion sense and a 5 year old daughter.  Lucky because when her daughter outgrows her super cute clothes, I get first crack at buying what I like (or what Ellie likes - because she definitely tells me these days) before she puts them in a sale or brings them to Goodwill.  Lucky because I've never seen Mia with a stain on a shirt in her life.  I'm convinced she has never spilt anything!  Lucky because when the clothes do come to our house they are practically  new.

But, of course they aren't.  I mean, I've seen the Jedi training Austin puts Mia through.  And when Ellie gets through with them some of them come out a bit more thread-bare than they came into this house.  And then I get sad because the cutest pair of jeans has a small hole in the knee.

Then another friend of mine gave me some jeans from her 5 year old daughter that had some cute appliques on them.  I was told that this 5 year fell and tore the knee of the jeans the first day she wore them.  But, I thought she had bought the jeans with this applique because they were that cute....I was inspired.  Afterall, these clothes need to make it through one more girl.  Riley doesn't look good with holes in her pants.

So, I rifled through Ellie's jeans and picked my first victim:

 First, I reinforced the inside of the pants with some iron patches to stop the raveling that was already going on.  Here's the only true hole so far, but the other side was one wearing away from a hole too.
 Then we went to Michaels and picked up some cute iron on flowers.  Well, actually, I picked them out while the kids looked at toy animals with Rob.  If I had let Ellie in on the decision of what patches we were buying I would still be at Michaels.

And in less than 10 minutes:

This was far too easy and I think they are still super cute jeans.  Ellie gave them a thumbs up and hopefully they hold up so next year Riley can share in her enthusiasm.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Promise

Last week I promised Austin that he could watch the Vikings game with me on Sunday while the girls were sleeping.  I'm not sure what spawned the promise, but I'll bet it was in an effort to cheer him up about something else.  An opportunity to stay awake while his sisters have to sleep usually does the trick.  What I didn't realize was that instead of a Sunday afternoon game, it was a Monday night game.  It wasn't going to start until 7:30.  No worries.  I would just let him watch the first half, declare it done at halftime, and he'd still get a decent amount of sleep on a school night.

Yesterday we all sported our Vikings gear all day.  I had a game plan for the evening.  They'd play until dinner time, eat dinner, take baths, put on PJs and then they could have popcorn while they watched the game.  The girls would then go to sleep, Austin would pretend to go to sleep, and then I'd sneak him out of his room to watch more of the game with me.

Well, plans were  meant to be broken...but promises were not.

Someone in the group decided that the game should be watched in our big bed (with light sabers?).  Someone else in the group was awfully upset that we spent all day in our Vikings gear and then come game time would be wearing PJs instead of Vikings gear.  So, they wore both.  Everyone wore their Vikings shirts/dresses over their pajamas.  Ellie was dying of heat but would not change for anything.  I think she's superstitious!

At kick-off time we tuned in to find out that the game was delayed until 7:50.  Twenty minutes didn't seem like a big deal so we decided to run some plays with Austin's football.

Then Austin decided he needed a football helmet, so then Ellie decided she needed a helmet too. This was her selection.

And then a group helmet shot:
Yes, Riley is holding a book on her head.  She thought she was very clever.

The game then got pushed back to 8:15.  I made popcorn and stalled with a little bit more tossing of the football.

Finally, Ellie relented and changed out of her 110 degree outfit.  A complete 180 actually.  From rugged sports fan to pretty princess.
In the end, the girls got to stay up until 8:30pm.  Austin watched the game with me until about 9:15.  Ellie came back in at 9pm to watch a bit more.  At 9:15pm Austin was nearly asleep on my bed and Ellie was snuggled in close too.  I took them both to bed and went back to finish watching the game only to pass out myself.  All our pregame activity was too much for even myself.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Debts repaid

This summer I was beyond excited when I learned that Maddie was ready to start babysitting!  Not only is that awesome because my kids love her, but for so many other reasons too.  She bikes to my house (so I can come and go during naps without having to wake up kids to drive a babysitter home), I've know her since birth and COMPLETELY trust her, and if I'm going to be forking money over to some kid, I'd rather it be her than anyone else. 

Although, the "forking over of money" never really happened with Maddie.  I mean, there were a couple times I paid her after her services, but soon after she started babysitting for me we negotiated a new system.

You see, this summer Maddie fell in love with horseback riding.  She went twice with Grandpa and once with her family.  I mentioned that now that she was babysitting she would be able to go all the time since she was making money.  She said "Well, not really.  My parents won't let me spend all my money on horseback riding."  So, I made a deal with her.  I told her that instead of paying her for babysitting, she could earn her way to horseback riding and I would take her.  We negotiated on how many hours it would take and we had a deal.  She held up her end of the deal and earned her trip last month.  This past weekend I made good on my end of the deal and we went to River Valley Ranch. 

I haven't been on a horse in probably 15+ years.  When I did ride last, I was decent.  And by that, I only mean I was able to do a fast canter and not fall off.  Nothing more.  But, when I got there, and was reminded how big horses are, I was a little nervous.  I was mostly nervous that my horse was going to have a different agenda than my own.  Nonetheless, we were assigned our horses and soon on our way.

Maddie was assigned to Jack.  Right off the bat they told her Jack likes to be in the back so she would be the last one in our group.  Her horse seemed HUGE to me.  I was given Scout.  Maddie, being a seasoned veteran at the ranch, told me to watch out because Scout likes to eat grass.

They know their horses.  Five minutes into the ride and Maddie was already lagging behind.  Or rather, Jack was lagging behind.

Me and Scout....

Then we past this:

Remember that nervousness I had over my horse having a different agenda?  This didn't help.  I couldn't help but envision Scout taking off down the sandy cliff.  Luckily, he was too lazy for that kind of action.  But, then we had to go down a rather large hill.  It was actually a little on the steep side and with all the recent rain it was pitted with kinds of deep ruts.  I was not a fan of this type of action 8 minutes into the ride.  I was still trying to find a comfortable position in the saddle (which did not exist), and not ready to descend a steep hill.  I was so worried that my horse was going to twist his ankle in one of these ruts and fall over (do horses have ankles?). 

Once we got down there, the rest was very easy and enjoyable.  Maddie/Jack lagged behind and the guide kept telling her to give him a hard kick.  Not wanting to hurt him, Maddie's "hard kick" was the equivalent (to Jack) of a pesky fly landing on his rear.  But, she gave him three of these kicks subsequently and that got him moving.  Actually, that got him trotting.  Maddie was thrilled and from there on out she was just fine letting Jack fall behind a bit so she could trot him back up to the group.  I think she has a new favorite horse.

It was a beautiful day for a ride.  I think I might have gotten the better end of this deal.

Monday, October 4, 2010

What we do...

When Austin hops on the bus, I race inside to put the girls down for naps so that I can enjoy 2 full hours without kids.  But, once they wake up, all they want to do is go wait for his bus.  Sometimes this is an hour wait, sometimes shorter.  It all depends on when they wake up. 

Last week, during our wait for Austin, I amused myself by tickling Riley.  While I was doing this, Ellie amused herself by climbing on my back and playing with my iPod.  She's a multitasker.

Just a quick little video.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Arms Wide Open

Every day, when Austin's school bus comes around the corner it's a mad scurry for Riley and Ellie to get their hugs and kisses from him before he gets on the bus.  I barely get a wave but Ellie gets lifted off the ground by Austin in a giant bear hug.  Riley gets hugs and kisses as well.  Most afternoons I have to pull them apart so Austin is not holding up the bus schedule.  Then he gets to his seat and blows me a kiss.

The afternoon is not much different.  A stop away (about two blocks) Ellie spies the bus and runs to Austin's stop (or as close as I'll let her get) and stands on the end of the driveway with her arms wide open waiting for him to get off the bus and run into them.

He doesn't disappoint. 

Then Riley gets her hug. 

Then I get a request for a chocolate granola bar and juice.