Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy Birthday to ME!

I absolutely love birthdays!  Yesterday was mine.

Rob brought me a muffin and cup of coffee for breakfast in bed before he left for work.  Apparently Mosaic had not caught on that it was my birthday and they should be closed to celebrate such an occasion.  Maybe next year.

So, with Rob gone and all the kids piled in bed with me I laid down the ground rules. 
  1. It was my birthday.  MY birthday.  MY day.
  2. There would be no fighting.
  3. Everyone would do what I asked the first time I asked.
  4. We were all going to have fun.
A mom can dream, right?  Austin actually responded quite well to my wishes.  Everytime the girls started to bicker he would chime in "It's Mom's birthday...no fighting!".  It only sort of worked but I appreciated his effort.  When my parents stopped by to drop off a gift Austin told them "It is hard work following her rules.  I get kind of bored with them, but I will NOT quit!"  What a trooper!

The kids also obliged me by going to Chipotle for lunch.  It's not their favorite restaurant by any means, but the chance to go eat somewhere other than our house was enough to keep them engaged.  Actually, Riley might be a bigger fan that I thought.  She devoured her lunch and then ate half of Austin's.  She's the only kid I know who will eat guacamole by the forkful.  No chips needed.

After lunch it was home to make brownies for me.  I'm not much of a cake fan and the kids have been getting pretty good at baking.  I helped crack the egg and measured some ingredients but the majority of it was all them.  The girls took naps and I let Austin play computer games for over an hour while I read my book.  Peaceful.

Rob got home and cooked my favorite dinner and I opened presents.  Or rather, I sat on a chair and watched Ellie open my presents! 

The kids gave me some lotions and potions for the shower and some slippers.  Rob's gift was a "Tracy Day" set up for January.  A day of shopping just for me while his parents watch our kids!  I can't wait!

It's like extending my birthday a whole 'nother month!  I was sad to see the day end but I sure enjoyed it.  My family is pretty great.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Let's go to the Movies!

Today, after having been in our house for about 4 days straight, I was going a little stir crazy.  But, at 12pm it was too close to nap time to really go anywhere, not to mention we hadn't eaten lunch yet.  Then, at 12:05 Rob asked me how brave I was feeling.  Not wanting to fall into any traps I asked him why before I answered.  He told me that the movie "Tangled" was playing at 12:25 in Shakopee. 

Ellie and Riley have never been to a movie.  I think Austin was late 3s when he first attended one and I have been wanting to take Ellie to this particular movie since it was released.  However, I had NOT intended to take Riley with on the adventure.  Four days in a house makes you a little crazy I guess.  Half of us were still in PJs so we quickly got everyone dressed, I packed some sippy cups, whatever snacks I could find, and Riley's blanket into a giant purse and away we went!

I didn't think it would be too busy.  I figured most parents probably had Thursday and Friday off from work and were back to the grindstone today.  I told myself it would be no big deal if Riley was...well, a 2 year old, because no one would really be there.  I was wrong.  It is probably the most people I've ever seen at the Shakopee theater (I'd wager 30% of Shakopee citizens don't even know we have a movie theater because it's off the beaten path).  But, from the moment the kids sat down they were perfect.  Rob came back with a popcorn/pop/candy tray for each of them and I don't think we heard a word from any of them for the next 2 hours.  Except laughter.  Oh, and Riley's demand for "More Sugar!" The candy included in the popcorn tray was pixie stix.  It would be an understatement to say Riley loved them.

Ellie was a movie natural!  She loved every minute of it.  While Riley and Austin wanted to get out of their seats and into our laps Ellie was content to sit in her chair the entire time and didn't utter a word.  She was too busy shoveling the popcorn into her mouth. 

I've been looking forward to this stage of our young family for quite awhile.  To be able to just pack into the car and do fun things without having to worry about missing naps or where to change a diaper.  I can't say the movies will be a routine for us, as 5 of us at the movies with treats isn't cheap, but it's nice to know that plenty of adventures await us without the time constraints of naps.

Of course, you better believe that if I am home those girls are taking their naps!  Four days in this house might have made me a little crazy, but not THAT crazy.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Preparations!

We've  been enjoying a wonderful Christmas Eve in our house!  The kids slept in (relatively) and after breakfast we all headed to the gym to do some swimming.  Austin went down the two story slide all by himself (several times).  Ellie and Riley also enjoyed their fair share of slide rides, but on the laps of Rob or myself.  Our kids definitely have no fear of the water which is fun for us all. 

We worked up an apetite swimming and treated ourselves to yumy lunches of Chipotle (for Rob and me) and McDonald's for the kids.  We even splurged for Happy Meals.... ho ho ho!

After lunch was naps and while Rob was running some last minute errands I took Christmas carol requests at the piano while the kids had a dance party behind me. 

When Rob got back with the eggs, we got down to the business of making cookies for Santa.  We've either waited until the last minute, or we wanted to make sure the jolly old elf received fresh cookies - however you want to look at it.

Austin added the mix, Riley added the butter, and Ellie added the egg.  They each got a turn to stir and then they were completely in charge of stuffing our new Christmas cookie pan.

That part took a little trial and error.  By the finall three cookies, I finally figured it out.  Less is more.


Cookies are done.

We've cleaned up the house so Santa and his Prep and Landing team (if you haven't already seen this little movie, put it on your to-do list...it's one of my new Christmas favorites!) don't trip over toys on their way in, and I think we might let each kid open one present tonight.  That one present will most likely be selected by me and it will most likely be a new pair of pajamas for each of them.

Bring it on Santa, the Runchey's are ready!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Like a Rose

There's an ongoing debate in our house every time the song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer comes on (which is often because we start Christmas music fairly early in the year around here).

When you get to the echo part of the song:  "Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer {Reindeer} had a very shiny nose. And if you ever saw it, you would really say it glows. {Like a _____}"

And this is where the debate begins.  Back in 1983, when I was sitting in Mrs. Stenberg's kindergarten class, the perfect little angel that I was, we were told to sing "Like a rose"!  Down in Iowa Rob was sitting in his kindergarten class, probably goofing off, and claims he was told to sing "Like a light bulb".

Okay, so probably the rest of the world was taught light bulb as well but I have to agree with Mrs. Stenberg on this one.  I like things to rhyme.  Not only does "light bulb" not rhyme, there is just one too many syllables to squeeze into one beat of music.

As I am the self-appointed music director of this household, guess what my kids have been taught to sing?

But, light bulb or roses, we can agree on one thing:

Riley makes a pretty cute Rudolph.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Waiting for Dad

Most days are the same around here.  There are certain routines the kids don't like to break from.  Some of them I'd get rid of in a heartbeat...like waking up at 6am (ahem Riley, I'm looking at you!).  Others I would be sad to see go...like morning hugs I get from all the kids.  Another routine I enjoy, from the sidelines, is the wrestling match the kids insist on having every night with Rob.

Rob barely walks in the door and the kids all greet him with "Let's wrestle!!!"  But the wrestling ring doesn't open until after dinner.  Tonight I took a little video of their typical brawl. 

*No dads were hurt in the filming of this video (at least not tonight)

After the wrestling match, while Rob was laying defeated on the floor, they all climbed onto his back and demanded a horsey ride.  Rob isn't one to disappoint.

When Rob is traveling I try to step into this role, but the truth is, I don't really enjoy being pummeled by my children and I don't have a big enough back to hold all three for a horsey ride.  There is absolutely no replacement for him.  We'll let him stick around a bit longer to take more of our abuse.

Monday, December 13, 2010

21.5 inches!

I'm going to join the ranks of the rest of the Minnesota bloggers to report on our snowy conditions the past week.  Shakopee came out on top with 21.5 inches.

Did you ever watch Little House on the Prairie?  Do you remember the episode "The Christmas They Never Forgot"?  It's the one where they all sit up all night reminiscing about Christmases past and throughout the night the snow continues to come down so hard and fast that by morning they are completely snowed in.  The open the door only to find out the snow has completely covered the door and is at the level of their second story window.  Luckily, Pa and Almonzo had the forethought to tie a rope from the house to the barn so all the presents were retrieved by simply strapping on a pair of snow shoes.

Ahhh....one of my favorites.


Anyway, that whole synopsis because that's all I could think about as I looked out our bedroom window.
 The plows didn't come through our streets until Sunday so there were plenty of cars getting stuck around the neighborhood.
 And unlike most of our neighbors, we chose not to snow blow anything until all was said and done.  So, the first time we opened our garage door, this is what was waiting for us.  And by "us", I mean Rob.

We didn't leave the house on Saturday.  Until dinner came around and we realized we really had nothing to eat.  Then I sent Rob out to Target to pick up some goodies....oh, and a Christmas dress for Ellie.  The kids were due to sing in church on Sunday morning.
Ellie, the modest girl that she is, couldn't stop commenting about how beautiful she looked in her dress so it made Rob's crazy drive to Target and back completely worth it.

On a side note, the only reason we made it to church is because my mom and dad came and picked us all up in the Explorer.  Then on the way home we all stopped at Perkins for a late breakfast.  All 15 of us (the Smith's and Murphy's were there too!).  It was kind of fun to play Little House on the Prairie for the day (minus the Target trip and the 4 wheel drive!).

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ellie's Dance Class

After running around and attending all her brother's classes and programs, I figured it was finally time for Ellie to have a class of her own.  We have been playing "dance class" at home for a few months.  I am the teacher and she is my student.  It's a great game with the minor flaw that I have never taken a dance classes in my life nor do I have any natural talent.  So, our "class" has been limited to spinning in circles, pretending to tap dance, and plies. 

When I saw our Commumity Center was hosting dance classes for ages 3-6 for the bargain price of $35 (six 45 minute lessons) I immediately signed her up.  She has absolutely LOVED going to a real dance class.  However, the windows of this dance class are covered in black paper so what she has been doing for those 45 minute sessions has been a complete mystery to me.  Until today.  Today they took the last 15 minutes of class time to show us what they learned.  See for yourself:



I guess it was a dance class with a Jazz emphasis as well as some tumbling.  I have a couple more video segments of her "cartwheels", jumps, and balance beam walking.  During the dance Ellie was pretty mesmerized by the video camera the lady in front of her had....but I'm not sure she would have done anything different if the camera were not there.  She's always kind of done her own thing.  It was a really cute recital of sorts.  On the way out the door I signed her up for the next session of Tap....no tap shoes required. (Isn't that the whole point of tap dancing?)

Here's Ellie with her teacher Ms. Deanna:

(Ellie pulled her pant leg all the way up...channeling LL Cool J)

Then Grandma took us to Caribou to celebrate her success.  Yum!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Donut World

Last night the kids all stayed at my parents house.  We were suppose to be attending a party in Woodbury for  Rob's internal audit group.  However, it took Rob almost two hours to get home from Plymouth at 3pm.  After dropping the kids off with my parents, getting ready, and then consulting some friends out on the roads, we estimated it would have taken us another two hours to get to Woodbury.  We decided to stick around in Shakopee.  We had a nice dinner out and came home to watch a movie.  Despite not getting to meet any of Rob's coworkers I hear so much about, we very much enjoyed a night to ourselves (Thanks Mom and Dad!).

This morning we picked up the kids at 8:30 and took the kids to get donuts.  Nothing out of the ordinary there.  But, this time we stayed at Donut Land to eat said donuts.  It was a dream come true for Austin.


Donut World has these tiny little stools set up around a short kid-sized counter and Austin has been dying to eat his donuts at that very counter since he first set eyes on it.  Today was his day!

Despite the scowl on Riley's face (which is her usual look these days as I can do nothing right by her) we all enjoyed our breakfast.

Once we got home everyone geared up and headed outside.  Ellie and Austin love to play in the snow.  Riley....not so much.  She pretty much wants to be held the whole time unless the snow is only an inch or two deep.  And although Ellie enjoys her time outside, her endurance for cold weather is a work in progress.  Therefore, the girls and I are inside right now and Austin is going on hour 2.

He is, no doubt, playing dinosaurs of some sort.  While I was out there he wanted to be buried like a fossil so that I could pretend to be a paleontologist discovering the very first Iguanadon.


I'm going to go get some hot chocolate ready for when my little dinsoaur wants to thaw out.