Monday, November 29, 2010

Our week

The flu ransacked our house for the last couple weeks.  I was the latest victim but it has now been close to a week since I was sick so I think we're in the clear.  We are now onto a virus that causes a fever for about a day followed by a hacking cough and loss of voice. 

I did rid of my flu turn just in time for Thanksgiving.  Kerry and Mike graciously put together a feast for us.  Mike grilled/rotisserie the turkey which was new and good.  As usual, it was nice to hang out with the family.  Even more pleasant because none of the guests needed to lift a finger.  Thanks Murphy's!

The day after Thanksgiving we loaded up and headed to Iowa to celebrate Christmas with Rob's family.  His parents will be traveling to Australia over the holidays so we celebrated early.  As usual it was an eventful time with everyone making it back to partake in games, food, presents, football, and more food.  It definitely put me in the holiday mood!  This is going to be a busy upcoming month full of a lot of fun!

Our drives to Iowa and back are getting mentally longer.  Once upon a time all three of the kids would sleep at some point during our drive.  It was peaceful.  Those times have been replaced with Austin not ever sleeping, Ellie sleeping for about 45 minutes, or until one of her louder siblings wakes her up, and Riley maybe sleeping for about 30 minutes and whining for the last 45.

While Austin is NOT sleeping, he takes it upon himself to ask 140,000 questions or make random comments.  His latest fascination is a series on BBC called "Chased by Dinosaurs" (or "Sea Monsters"....he's equally enthralled with both).  In which a zoologist named Nigel Marven travels back in time to various Jurassic or Cretaceous time periods to reveal these fearsome beasts.  Honestly, it's actually kind of intriguing how it's all done.  You see Nigel standing amongst a beach of "sea scorpions" and it truly looks like they are there with him, but then you have remind yourself sea scorpions died out 100 billion years ago (my facts are probably wrong there...just ask Austin).  It's very Crocodile Dundee meets Jurassic Park.  Anyway, my point is that on the way to Iowa he bombarded us with facts about dinosaurs we couldn't begin to pronounce.

"Hey Mom!  Did you know that a Megaladon was even bigger than a great white?"

Me:  "Huh...nope.  Didn't know that"

Austin:  "Hey Mom!  Did you know that Megaladons ate whales but when the whales went to cold waters, the Megaladons couldn't so they died because they had nothing to eat?"

Me:  "Wow.  Fascinating.  I had no idea"  (said with as much enthusiasm as I could muster)

"Hey Dad...did you know that when Nigel was swimming with one sea monster it burped up the bones of the fish it had just eaten and Nigel said 'well, that's not good table manners'... ha ha ha ha ha"

Rob:  "Ha ha.  Yep, that Nigel is a riot!"

Austin:  " Dad.  He's a zoologist." 

And that's the type of conversation that took place most of the way there and back.  Only to be interrupted by Riley whining to get out of her seat.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Flu Palooza

Rob just returned from another 2 week trip to South America.  Chile this time.  He arrived just in the nick of time!  Well, actually, his assistance could have been used a day early, but I'll take what I can get.

The first week went smoothly.  Austin had one of his fevers for 4 days, but it was easily controlled with ibuprofen and ran it's usual course.  The second week Austin came running into the bathroom at 9am and threw up in the toilet/floor.  He had acquired a cough somewhere so I thought he had just been coughing too hard and sort of gagged himself.  He seemed fine.  Twenty minutes later he came running down the stairs and lost it half way.  Lucky for me, he hadn't had breakfast yet so cleanup was easy.  He continued to vomit for the next 20 hours every 30 minutes.  It was a long day to say the least.

Friday morning Rob came back late morning and we picked him up at the airport.  Austin still wasn't feeling 100% so we just went home and watched more movies.  Saturday at 3am or so Ellie came running in the room saying "Mommy!  Mommy! I'm sick!" and as I was trying to wake up and understand it all, Rob jumped up on his side of the bed and said "What's wrong?"  Now, normally that would be no big deal, but he hasn't been there for 2 weeks, and in my drowsy state I had completely forgotten he was home so you can imagine my shock that there was a man in my bed.  He was seconds away from being kicked in the face.  Luckily, I came to my senses. 

We turned our attention to Ellie who also vomited every 30 minutes for the next 20 hours.

Eventually she started to get some color back and cracked a small smile.

Riley had a 102 fever all yesterday but no puke (yet).  I wouldn't say we're out of the woods yet.  Austin had a late night episode last night but it was just once and he's been fine since.

Hopefully we're over the worst.  It was a nice "Welcome Back" for Rob I'm sure!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Trouble with a capitol T

I always thought that the terrible twos were a myth.  Austin never hit them.  I remember some Troublesome Threes with him, but never twos.  And Ellie, maybe I have amnesia on her, but she's always been fairly sweet.

Enter Riley.

She has taken, among other things, to skipping naps.  She will NOT stay in her bed, or even her room.  I have tried, what I feel, is everything!  I even borrowed a child proof door knob thingy to put on the inside of her room so she could not get out.  Her answer to that was to take it apart, open her door, and bring it downstairs to me like she was doing me some sort of favor..."Here mom....this thing was on my door and made it hard for me to open so I took it off for you!"

Well, the other day I thought I had won.  All was quiet on the home front and I was back to enjoying an hour or two to myself.  Or so I thought.  At 2pm I heard a "thud" come from upstairs.  As I approached the top step, this is what I found:

She decided to see what I had in my nightstand.  Now, my nightstand is kind of a catchall for random things I don't know what to do with, so I'm sure it was like a treasure chest to Riley.

She had found my old Indian Princess necklaces, a headband, swim goggles, my teddy bear "Bud", various cards from Rob, a pencil, a pen, and who knows what else.

The pen proved fun:
 She was equally creative on her hands with this tool.

When I saw her, she was trying to put my swimming goggles on Bud.  Below she is probably pondering how politically incorrect her mom was to join a group of Caucasian girls who paraded around like Native Americans with tribe names, arrow head and bear claw necklaces, and Chiefs that banged on a drum to call the meetings to order.
 Yes, this is the face of trouble:
My mom and sister claim to see me in many of her facial expressions but I'm positive her current mischievous attitude is all Rob.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hello Snow!

We woke up to a winter wonderland (like the rest of MN).  It sent me into a tizzy to try to find snow gear for everyone.  I know snow was in the forecast, but I was a doubting Thomas.  Or, I thought it would be an inch that melted immediately.  At least 3 inches of the heavy white stuff has now made me a believer.

So, for my children, with current shoe sizes of 12.5, 7, and 7.  I have snow boots that are sizes 11, 9, and 6.  Thankfully everyone's snow pants still fit from last year.  The only other gear we had to improvise on was mittens.  Everyone wore mittens too small and had to double up on them to make them a bit more water proof or warm.

But, by 9:45 or so we were outside in the best gear we could muster. 

When Riley flashed me this smile I was hopeful that her days of hating being outside in the snow were over.
 This was her first, and last smile.  The happiness was quickly replaced with pleas to "Hold me!".

Austin and Ellie both got down to business of tromping through all the fresh snow.
 Then Ellie got down to the business of eating all the snow.  She did this all last year and she picked up right where she left off.
We threw together a quick snowman, went down our little sledding hill, played "follow the tracks", and played on the swingset.

Once we were all thoroughly drenched, and once my back was near the breaking point from holding a heavy wet Riley for over an hour, we all headed in.

Now we're munching on chex mix, drinking hot cocoa, and watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer!

Our gear is in the dryer getting ready for round 2!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mess Free Painting

Ellie has had this "water wow" Backyardigans book for at least a year.  It's pretty cool.  The pages are all white and then when the child use this special water filled paintbrush to paint the pages the pages fill with color.  Not like the old "paint with water" books where it was actual paper and you'd use the water and then whole page would run together in a watery mess of brown.  She loves this book and recently found it again after about a 6 month hiatus.  The only problem is that there are only 5 pages and so it only takes her about 10 minutes to finish.  Nonetheless, it's popular.  We've since given up on the special paintbrush, but a regular paintbrush and a cup of water works just as well (maybe better).

The only problem is that we have just one of these books.  Therefore, Trouble....eeerrr, I mean Riley, does her best to take it away from Ellie and ruin her fun.  Well, yesterday I solved this problem. 

Not wanting to drag out any real paint, I gave Riley a sheet of construction paper and a paintbrush and some water.  I let her paint the paper.  Construction paper turns darker when wet so she saw the results of her efforts and the two of them painted harmoniously.  Without a mess!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mountain Climbing

Yesterday Riley decided she was going to have a "camp out" on our stairs.  Having a camp out isn't unusual, but the stairs was a new location.  When Austin stumbled (literally) upon her he decided to join in.  Then Ellie didn't want to be left out either.

The result was all of their bedding and stuffed animals and pillows piled high on the stairs.  This then led to a mountain climbing adventure.  For almost an hour (and probably longer had I not ruined their fun by sending Austin to school) they would build up their mountain:

Then they would scale up their mountain:

This took immense concentration on Ellie's part:

Then Austin would yell something akin to "Geronimoooooo!" and leap onto the pile of fluff.
 Then Ellie, and by the time it was Riley's turn there wasn't much left on the stairs so she would slide down on her butt and land in the pile at the bottom.

Now, I know as far as safety goes, this probably isn't high on the list, but boy they were having fun!  And, I completely remember playing on the stairs with my brother and sister, and having pillowcase races down the stairs.  We all turned okay...well, most of us.  The jury's still out on Dan ;)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween 2010

We were a little behind in the whole Halloween holiday this year.  Despite numerous reminders from my kids, I didn't get any of our Halloween decorations up until midway through the month. 

We solidified costume ideas about 2 weeks ago.  Ellie, who has wanted to be a princess since last Halloween threw me a curveball last minute.  She requested to be a unicorn.  And although we knew Austin wanted to be a Jedi, short of his cloak and a lightsaber we didn't have a costume planned. 

We never did get to the pumpkin patch, but luckily we had a pumpkin from Austin's field trip with school.  It was on the small side, but it worked.  I gutted it while the kids were sleeping Sunday and once everyone was awake enough post-nap we thought about what we wanted it to look like.  It was unanimous that it be spooky and Austin kind of took it from there. 

 He didn't want to touch one single part of it, but it was suppose to have angry eyes, a small nose, and a mouth like a ghost.


 Pretty spooky.

At 4:30pm Rob figured out a wardrobe for Austin and at 5pm we headed over to a friends house for some pre-trick or treating snacks. The kids were very excited about trick or treating this year! It was Riley's first year, and although I carried her most of the way to keep up with the older kids, she really enjoyed it.

Here's their costumes:

 Anakin Skywalker (always in character)

 Unicorn (thanks Kmart...wasn't sure how I was going to pull that off)


Midway through the neighborhood Rob and I switched duties. I thought Riley would stay in with me to hand out candy while the older two went to more houses with Dad, but I thought wrong! There was no way that she was getting left out of round 2!

So, while everyone was out scrounging for more treats I did a preliminary check of their first treats (which they unloaded so their buckets wouldn't get too heavy). I came across this:

 Now, I'm all for saving a buck and I was thinking this household probably just bought the clearance Valentine's candy to hand out at Halloween. But, Valentine's day was 8 months ago and I figured they had enough candy that I could toss this out and no one would know. So, I searched through the other two piles to find the other heart suckers. That's when I found this:

 So, I guess it wasn't so much "clearanced" valentine's candy, as much as it was just saved from actual valentine cards. Both went into the garbage. Then I did a taste test on a few snickers just to make sure they passed my safety test. I've been doing a little quality control here and there since last night. Everything seems to be checking out just fine but you can never be too sure.