Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

xmas card 2011

Our 2011 (and first) Christmas letter:

Austin is currently in first grade and loving it. He continues to pursue his dream of becoming the world’s greatest toy collector. His collection of Clone Troopers is unparalleled. He also continues to love anything to do with nature. If you ever get a chance be sure to ask him why you shouldn’t underestimate the American badger despite its unusual waddle.

Ellie started pre-school this year and is enjoying it. Of the three kids she is the most sure of herself and it definitely comes out during school. She has no problem answering questions, singing the loudest or trying to make new friends. She is also our resident comedian, at least in her own mind. She seems to think if you add the word “banana” to anything it makes it hilarious.

Then there is little Riley who is the most stubborn of the group. She has no problem staring me down. In her eyes I can see what she is thinking, “I am so cute you aren’t going to do anything”. She is also attending imaginary baby school in her head. The kids there aren’t always the nicest, the other day one of them called her puke.

Tracy continues to work for Cargill part time and also picked up teaching swimming lessons at the YMCA. She also somehow keeps our three kids moving in the right direction despite their attempts to stray.

I am in my second year with the Mosaic internal audit group and really enjoy it. In my spare time I try to figure out how my wife stays sane.

Merry Christmas Bananas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Just waiting….

Austin and Ellie were officially done with school starting Thursday.  They’re busy making a list of things they want to do on our winter break.

Austin’s List

  1. Lion’s Tap
  2. McDonald’s
  3. Together fun
  4. Play animals
  5. Play princesses being captured (his attempt to appease his sister’s with a princess game)

Ellie’s List

  1. Crafts

Riley was sleeping while the others were composing their lists (a trend I hope she continues for winter break).

In the meantime, this is a common sight in our house:

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The corners of presents are starting to tear so they are trying very hard not to touch the presents which isn’t that fun….or easy.  Just a couple more days!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Shiny Nose

Yesterday when I came home from work I was welcomed by a newcomer to the family!

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I’m not sure where Ellie was, but Rudolph was at my house! 

She remained in character almost all day and this morning she asked me to paint her nose red again because “it was so adorable, right?”.

I’m not much of a makeup girl….hopefully Crayola’s washable markers are as washable as they claim.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Visit with the Big Guy

We were able to check one more item off the “Christmas To-D0” list this weekend! 
We still hadn’t visited with Santa yet.  We made an attempt last weekend after church but when we got to the line, it looked ridiculously long.  I decided I would just take the kids the following week during the weekday in hopes of it being a shorter wait.  That week I checked online for various prices.  Some of the malls used to let the parents take just one picture with their own camera and then the visit was free.  I couldn’t find a mall this year that was allowing that and the cheapest package I could find was $23…..Bah Humbug!
Then I tossed around the idea of bringing the kids for their “free” visit but not buying a picture but I knew that someday when I go to line up all the pictures on the mantel, like my mom does, that I would kick myself for that year in 2011 when I was too cheap to purchase a picture.
My parents solved my whole dilemma for me!  In their development, some houses are still being built and one of the builders was having an open house that would include free pictures with Santa, reindeer rides, face painting, coloring, and snacks!  Sounded perfect.  Only, I made my dad run down the street ahead of time to make sure that the Santa was legit.  I didn’t want some scraggly construction worker with an uber-fake beard who was there because he drew the short straw.  I know beggars can’t be choosers, but Austin has started to ask questions and I figure the more realistic the less I have to explain.  So, my dad called back and confirmed he was a good Santa and we were on our way!
The kids had a blast.  They were delighted that Santa also brought Mrs. Claus with him!  They talked with him for quite awhile and he had a lot to say to them too….when he was able to get a word in edgewise.
Santa Picture
The kids were eager to get home and color pictures for him, and write some letters!  Hopefully some of the lots are still being developed next year so we can plan another visit!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ellie’s Preschool Christmas Concert

Ellie has had a very busy week in preschool this week.  On Monday they celebrated her half birthday, since she won’t be in school for her real birthday.  I was also able volunteer in her classroom this day.  What a treat!  As the birthday girl she was in charge of bringing a special treat (brownie bites!), she got to line up first when they left the classroom, she got to pick the prayer before snack time, and she also got to choose which type of friends they would say good-bye to at the end of the day (it’s a little song they sing…she picked “baby Jesus friends”).  She had a LOT of fun being the birthday girl in school.  And she is quick to remind everyone that she is now 4…and a HALF!

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Today was her Preschool Christmas concert.  Riley has a habit of playing with the lens on my camera when I’m not watching so the pictures are getting worse and worse (fingerprints!), and lately, taking pictures indoors always turn out really dark (even though the flash is on).  The two things combined leave me with dark, mediocre pictures.

But, she filed in and saw me, Riley, and Grandma and Grandpa Smith right away and gave us lots of waves and her signature Ellie pose.

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They sang about 10 songs but I’m sure every kids’ favorite was “Ring the Bell” (or click the sticks).

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What kid doesn’t love pounding some sticks together loudly?  Ellie “whispered” to me in between songs “Mom!  Did you bring chocolate chip cookies?”.  Don’t worry.  I did.  One little boy in her class, George, asked “Is this the last song yet?” about 3 times towards the end of the show.  She has a young class of 4 year olds (meaning most are summer birthdays) and their attentions were waning towards the end!

She did a great job singing her heart out!  Here’s a couple video snippets:

Jingle Bells
A Christmas Secret

Monday, December 12, 2011

Better Late Than Never–Gobble Gobble!

It just dawned on me that with the chaos of the holidays, the Haefner’s moving, and me getting sick, I never touched on what a wonderful Thanksgiving we had!  I don’t have any pictures to reference but it was a great weekend!

Bob, Patti, and Jon joined us on Thursday morning and based on our kids’ excitement, they couldn’t have gotten here soon enough!  We had things underway as they arrived with intentions of eating at 1pm.  And by “we”, I really mean “Rob”.  He’s the head chef around here….I’m just a mere sous chef.  Rob had planned our menu and had a timetable drawn up as to what would be started when. 

Our meal was a fried turkey, crockpot stuffing (the best!), mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, corn, cranberries, bread, and pie.  I handled the sweet potatoes, corn, bread, and pie.  And the pie was purchased from Baker’s Square!  Rob had everything else taken care of.  And, he wasn’t too far off his goal of 1pm either!  It was absolutely delicious!

Patti and I did go to Michaels around 5pm on Thursday for a really quick shopping trip, and the guys headed out on Friday for a quick trip to Bill’s Toggery (for dress shirts for Bob’s birthday and Father’s Day), but other than that, we didn’t partake in any Black Friday craziness.  It was a really relaxing time.  Well, for me.  Patti was in high demand and perhaps it wasn’t quite as relaxing for her!

It was a quick trip and the crew left on Friday afternoon but we were very thankful they were able to join us for our feast!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gnomeo and Juliet

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I sit here tonight, having a pizza party with the kids (Global Dominos Pizza Day – 50% off any pizza and Rob’s gone), watching “Gnomeo and Juliet” for the 50th time (probably not much of an exaggeration) and I have to say, this movie is pretty good.  It’s the type of movie that is funny for kids, but that also has a lot of jokes that only adults would get.  I guess the whole movie in itself is a parody of something that only adults would understand.  I  know I haven’t touched on Shakespearean classics with the kids yet, maybe I’m lagging behind. 

But, my favorite part of watching this movie is watching my kids watch it.  It revolves around two groups of garden gnomes.  The Red Hats vs. the Blue Hats.  There’s an ongoing battle over who keeps a better garden and that sort of thing.  Anyway, so at one point, one of the blue guys says “Let’s go kick some grass!” and Austin dies laughing every time.  This made me a little nervous until he said “Ha ha….that’s funny because usually people say ‘Let’s kick some butt!’.” 

In another scene, one of the gnomes wants to order a new lawn mower online.  They show the back of the computer and instead of an “apple” where it would be, there is a banana.  Ellie giggled at the sight of the banana (for some reason Ellie thinks bananas are hilarious?!), and then Austin said “No Ellie!  That’s funny because usually computers are sponsored by Applebee’s.  That one must be sponsored by Bananabee’s!”

So, I guess a lot of the jokes are lost on my kids, but that’s okay with me.  Makes it all the more entertaining for me when I sit down to watch it the 51st time.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Time Has Come

 

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This is a sight we could do without.

This morning Austin stepped out of the house (before the big truck was here) and saw all the cars of the movers and said “Who are all these people?”  I said “These are the guys that are going to move Mia”.  He stopped dead in his tracks.  Then he looked at me with teary eyes and said “Is it already December?”  (Mia’s last day of school is officially December 2nd).  I explained it wasn’t, but that she would be staying in a hotel the rest of the week. 

I honestly don’t know what we’re going to do without Mia around here.  She was at our house for 8 hours straight on Saturday.  Which means all our kids were happily entertained for 8 hours straight!  We ended it with a PJ Pizza Party.

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The hardest part is seeing how sad Austin is and knowing that there is nothing I can do to make him feel better.

It’s going to be a sad couple of days around here followed by a big adjustment period. 

We had their going away party on Sunday night.

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We’re lucky in that we have more than one set of great neighbors, but it still won’t be the same without the Haefner’s!  We wish them the best of luck in Texas!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Date with Riley

Last week Riley and I had our first date.  She was beyond excited!  She has watched her brother and sister both go off on “dates” with me (and dad) but had yet to have her own turn.  The only thing on her agenda was the Mall of America for rides.  So, back I went again to MOA for more Nickelodeon Universe!

I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen her smile so much.  It was non-stop!  The whole way to the mall she chatted about the merry-go-round she was going to ride on and that is the first thing we did.

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She knew exactly which horse she wanted and giggled the whole time.  Next up we went on Blue Clue’s adventure (or something like that). 

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She still doesn’t quite understand this ride.  There is a button she can push to raise Blue up in the air but Riley didn’t quite understand that and since she was big enough to ride this one alone, I couldn’t help her.  She didn’t seem to mind though.

At this point I forced her to break for dinner.  I also realized that we were out of “points” for the rides.  I knew it was Toddler Tuesday, which means a huge discount on points passes but I thought the deal ended at 3pm….not true!  We were still able to get the 25 point pass for $12 so we were in business for the rest of the night.

I FINALLY got one of the kids to go on the ferris wheel with me.  She absolutely loved it too!

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She screamed “I can see the whole world from up here!”. 

After a couple more rides we went to the Disney store to pick out a new toy (2 little stuffed animals) and then I said she could get a treat (thinking candy) and she right away said she wanted an Icee.

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I absolutely love these date nights with the kids.  Riley sometimes has trouble getting a word in edge-wise with her brother and sister chatting so much and she was talking non-stop this whole night.  What a treat!

I’ve been to the mall with each kid to ride rides now so I’m hoping to steer these dates towards something else but I need some ideas!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fall Dance Recital 2011

 

The girls have had SO much fun being in dance class together this fall!  On Tuesdays, dance starts at 3:30.  At approximately 9am Riley begs me to put her dance outfit on.  She has to wait until after lunchtime before she’s allowed to wear it (or she’d be wearing her lunch to class).  But the second she finishes her lunch she runs upstairs to grab it!

This fall’s focus was ballet.  Ellie claims it is her favorite, though I’m not sure she really remembers the other styles.  She strikes me as more of a tap or jazz girl. 

 

After their dancing it was time for tumbling.  They went back to learning somersaults this fall because there were so many new students in the class. 

A lot of the girls were very hesitant on the somersaults but Riley flew through them.  And they were suppose to tip-toe across the beam slowly in the background.  The teacher had to keep telling Riley to slow down.  Maybe gymnastics or track is going to be more her style!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Like Father like Daughter

Rob has been logging some extra hours in his shop trying to catch up on his mudroom built-ins.  He’s been traveling a lot and I think he feels behind on his projects.  Luckily, today Riley has been in there with him offering her assistance!

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She has been “fixing” this bench for Rob while he’s working on the bench top.

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Her tools are way cuter than Robs.  He’ll be caught up in know time with her on his team!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Heard around the House…

 

Ellie has been getting a double dose of church this year.  She attends Sunday School but then her preschool is also affiliated with a church so they incorporate a bit of religion into their lessons too.  They pray at the start and end of each class as well as before snack time.  Cute little prayers that rhyme.  It’s not uncommon for her to sing a little ditty before we eat lunch:

“A..B..C..D..E..F..G.. Thank you God for feeding me”

That’s just one of them.  There are several.  She’s always been our little theologian. 

But yesterday the girls were playing, looking through the latest Christmas toy catalog and picking out things they wanted for their birthdays (never mind Christmas) and Riley came up to me and said “Mom, when I have my next birthday, can I have Jesus come?”  To which Ellie replied “Of course Riley!  Jesus is always in our hearts!  I don’t think he’ll bring a present though.”

 

A couple days later I explained to the kids that I was about to get on the phone.  I was trying a new approach of prepping them before hand to not bug me since it’s inevitable that as soon as I pick up the phone everyone has a dire need of something.  Each of them agreed to leave me alone.  When I picked up the phone, all three kids were playing quietly.  Three minutes into my conversation (with Chanhassen Dinner Theater) Ellie was doing somersaults in our family room, Riley came tearing around the corner butt naked and Austin marched through the house with Mia in tow.  It was mass chaos.  I asked Riley to put some pants on (which got a chuckle out of the lady on the other line) and got everyone else back outside.  Riley went running outside with just underwear on and I yelled at her to stop.  “Riley Beatrice!  You have to put your clothes on!” and she stopped and looked at me, furrowed her brow and in her best mean voice said “Mommy Beatrice!  I don’t want to!”

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween Festivities

 

We started off a little early this year by attending a Halloween party at a friends house on Saturday.  They have a party every year and we never go.  Truth be told, Rob and I are both not really Halloween people.  Or at least, not costume people.  Something got into us this year and we finally decided to suck it up and participate.  Well, I did.  Rob threw on a shirt that said “Canada” and claimed he was a Canadian.  Clever.  I dug out my old Flag uniform from high school and went as a JHS Flag circa 1996. 

Our kids were:

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  • A baby dinosaur (wearing an 18 month size costume)
  • A unicorn (again)
  • A Jedi (again..but he claims he is not the same Jedi)

The party was great.  The basement was full of activities for the kids and they even hired a magician.  The Amazing Fritz I believe.  He made balloon animals.

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I’m not sure what Ellie got.  Riley got a horse.

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They all kind of looked the same, but not to the kids, they could tell the difference.

By the time actual Halloween rolled around we were kind of behind on things.  We didn’t have pumpkins, let alone carved pumpkins.  So, while the kids were at school on Monday morning Riley and I gutted the pumpkins to get them ready for carving. 

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She LOVED this!  Our first kid who actually wanted to get into that pumpkin and feel all the sliminess it had to offer.  She almost started crying when I told her it was time to throw the guts away.  She was using them to “bake” something.

When Austin got off the bus he immediately wanted to go outside to play with Mia.  I told him we needed to carve pumpkins.  I set them all out, gave them each a marker and told them to draw what they wanted.  Riley wanted a mean face, Ellie wanted a happy face, and Austin wanted a Jedi or Captain Rex.  I told him neither was going to happen tonight and he settled for “a face that had fangs and a circle mouth”.  Then they all ran outside and left me to carve all the pumpkins.  Maybe next year we’ll just get one pumpkin….just so Riley has something to gut.

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Waiting for Trick or Treating time was torture for the kids but we finally set out.  I took them up and down one street with Mia’s mom, and then we came back and handed all 4 off to Rob to tackle the rest of the neighborhood.  We have a ton of kids in our neighborhood so the doorbell was fairly constant from 6-8pm.

And I’ve trained my kids well, they all came home and gave me their Snickers.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Desk Discoveries

I’m not sure what’s come over me, but I’ve spent the day organizing.  I mean, I like organization and all, but it’s not typically how I would choose to spend a weekend day.  May I’m subconsciously avoiding the Packers/Vikings game.

My main focus has been our desk in our loft area.  It becomes the upstairs dumping ground for everything.  Toys, clothes, papers, manuals, and various artifacts.  Since my Cargill work has ramped up a bit, I find I need a place to actually put all my papers and just adding them to the piles on the desk has proved less than efficient, so I cleaned it out. 

First I emptied all the drawers and went through everything…throwing more than half of it away.  Some of my favorite findings are these:

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It is a pair of Disney Park Hopper passes from 2004.  I believe each pass has 2 days left on it.  When we purchased them we were told they NEVER expire.  I guess it’s a sign we should be heading to Disney World!

I also found that our life is very electronic:

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I’m fairly certain we use most of these cords.  But, I’m also fairly certain there is a better place for them in our house besides this desk.

While I was setting up our new filing system, I came across these:

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A glimpse into my nerdy childhood.  I was, and always have been, enamored with office supplies.  When I was in 3rd grade I purchased my very own filing cabinet.  A powder blue one.  Apparently I craved organization then too.  Only, instead of the boring tab titles our filing system currently has, apparently I needed to organize my “Tricks” and “Stories” among other things.  Under “Money” I no doubt filed away the records of my siblings borrowing my money.  I made them sign I.O.U’s and charged interest after a 5 day grace period.  No joke.

Maybe I’ll find an old I.O.U with tons of interest owed.  It can help pay for the rest of the trip to Disney.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Window Marker = Thumbs Up!

It’s MEA week here so no one has school Wednesday-Friday.  I spent Monday and Tuesday stock piling little activities for the kids and I to do while they are back home with me all day. 

This morning I taught swimming lessons so they spent their morning at Kids Stuff (Riley was thrilled to have her siblings back in there with her!), but after lunch I busted out our new pack of Crayola Window Markers.  I snatched them up at Menard’s of all places.

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We got right down to business.  The pack comes with 20 or so markers, stencils, and window clings to color and use.  FYI, there are two different types of markers in our set and I’m not sure what the point of each is, but the markers with the grey label work far better than the markers with white labels.

Sticking my kids this close together and then giving them markers was a little bit of a crap shoot but I was pleasantly surprised.  I only had to remind Riley of the rules (“only on the glass!”) a couple times.

No surprise that Ellie enjoyed this activity the most.  She made full use of the stencils.  Check out her concentration!

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Austin enjoyed the stencil with animal tracks and added embellishments to his tracks like “claws”.  I’m already thinking about how this might make writing words a bit more fun for him.  Spelling tests on the window?….why not!

After an hour I had everyone stop for two reasons:  1) It was the “quit while we’re ahead” mentality as far as fighting goes and 2) my girls have skipped naps for almost a week straight and I’ll be damned if that is going to happen today!  Rob’s been traveling and I want an hour to myself!

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I can’t comment on their washability yet, but so far I give Crayola Window Markers a thumbs up!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Double Trouble

The moment you’ve all been waiting for…..the return of dance class.  Only this year, Riley joins Ellie in her quest to get her groove on.  Except, this session is ballet, so maybe “groove” isn’t the right word.

I made the mistake of telling the girls at 8am that they had dance class today.  Which means I spent the next seven and a half hours fielding the question “Is it time for dance yet?”.  Riley was SO excited to be part of the class and Ellie was SO excited to show her the ropes.

We took some pictures before we left for class - mostly because the girls insisted on putting on dance outfits long before we needed to put them on and I needed to kill some time.

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I asked Riley to show me her moves and she did this:

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I asked Ellie to show me her moves and she did this:

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Then she told me that it was an “arabesque”.  I can neither confirm nor deny that.  I don’t speak ballet.

I took one more picture before they went into the class. 

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Something tells me that if I had asked for another I would have been denied.  When they got to the class Ellie was one of the more “senior” members.  She proudly stood up and said “Everyone!  This is my little sister Riley.  She’s new here”.

And for the next 45 minutes I heard Ellie’s infectious laugh through the walls and can only imagine what she was doing in there.  At the end of the class they came marching out of the classroom with huge smiles on their faces.  I’m eagerly waiting for the recital in about a month!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Smith Girls Sleepover

Last night we had the Smith girls over for a sleepover.  The cousins play so great together but don’t get to see each other nearly enough so we had the first sleepover. 

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Honestly, I don’t have much to say about the night.  They were so busy playing dress up that I didn’t really see much of the kids.  While eating dinner they got to watch a movie called “Alpha and Omega” which is a cartoon about two wolves.  Austin suggested they play “Alpha and Omega” after dinner, but the girls were more interested in being princesses.  I think Austin and Katelyn created a hybrid game where the girls agreed to be wolves….but they were princess wolves.  I didn’t get the details down, but it seemed to make everyone happy for awhile.

Ellie was fairly adamant that everyone sleep in her room.  Riley was fairly adamant that she be invited to the party.

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After a story it was lights out.  I think I probably went in there 3 more times to remind them (mostly Riley) it was time to sleep.  No one had trouble staying asleep, so that was good.  They woke up at 7:15, not so good (considering they probably fell asleep closer to 10pm).  Nothing a couple afternoon naps can’t take care of!

A successful first sleepover for the group.  Smith’s, just let me know when you want my girls!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ellie’s First Fieldtrip!

Today I went with Ellie on her first fieldtrip.  She was very excited (and scared) to ride the “Blue Goose” which is her school’s bright blue school bus.  She was nervous the bus driver was going to be mean.  But, the bus driver is actually one of the preschool teachers so she had nothing to fear.

There is no restrictions on the number of parents allowed on field trips so each parent only had two kids to keep an eye on.  Ellie was paired up with Kloee, who is one of the girls she hangs out with on a regular basis during school.  She was very excited.

Her fieldtrip was to the Richardson’s Nature Center;  a place we know well.  First, Ellie’s group crushed up apples for some cider.  Each kid had a turn to put in an apple and watch it get crushed up.

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Then we went on a nature hike.  Our guide was great with the kids and kept them very involved.  She explained a few different plants to us, and then had everyone go on hunts for various things (something yellow, red, smooth, fuzzy, sticky, etc.).  Ellie didn’t like this part much.  She didn’t want to touch anything that even looked remotely “gross”.  She’s very girly like that.

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After the hike it was back to the center to press the crushed apples into cider and give it a taste test.  Thumbs up from the crowd.

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On the ride home Ellie and Kloee sang silly songs the whole time.

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It was fun to catch a glimpse of Ellie in her preschool setting.  She definitely doesn’t hold back on personality in a group setting.  More than one parent came up to me to tell me how funny she was and relay a story from a time they volunteered in her classroom.  Hopefully her teachers agree!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Our boy–to a T!

Austin is our resident dinosaur impersonator.  I would not be exaggerating to say that at least once a day he stomps around the house pretending to be some sort of dinosaur.  He is completely in character right down to the number of fingers he keeps extended.  It’s not uncommon for me to say “Oh no!  It’s a velociraptor, run for your lives!” and then Austin with momentarily break out of character to say “No Mom, duh, I have 2 fingers extended, velociraptors have 3 fingers!”  Okay, he doesn’t say the “duh” part, but that’s  the tone he has when he stops to explain himself to his ignorant mother.
Yesterday Kerry sent me a clip from the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes because she knew it was completely a story from our life.
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I love it.  Luckily, Austin stops short of biting me.  So far.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Weekend

This past weekend Rob took the kids to West Bend for the weekend.  I stayed home….by myself!  Honestly, if I hadn’t had a hair appointment (that the stylist made specially just for me because I forgot to make an appointment earlier) I would have gone with.  We had no food in our house and I knew that Patti would have an array of yummy things to eat.  That’s how lazy I am.  I’d give up a weekend to myself so I wouldn’t have to cook.

Anyway, so by 4pm on Friday I was on my own!  I headed to the restaurant my friend, Michelle, works at on Friday and hung out at the bar (she bartends) to chit chat while she worked.  Friday night I headed over to the neighbors for some wine and more chit chat.  Saturday I felt like I could have slept all day but my hair appointment was at 8am (that’s what you get when you need to be squeezed in).  After lunch I met my sister at a nearby winery for a tasting.  Afterwards we each bought a glass of wine and a cheese/cracker plate.  It was a beautiful day to be hanging out at the winery!  Saturday night I headed out to dinner and shopping with Michelle.  Sunday I finally decided it was time to be productive.  I cleaned all our floors, washed all the sheets, folded a mountain of other laundry, scrubbed the baseboards and cupboards, and ironed some pants.  Then I sat down and watched the Vikings finally win a game!  My weekend was pretty great!

I’m not sure how the weekend went in Iowa but I was just browsing pictures on the camera and it appears that a lot of fun was had.

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Not really sure what’s going on in the above picture, but I suspect it led to the next one:

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And no trip to West Bend is complete without a visit to the “angel caves”. 

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Riley and Ellie made nice with Jesus here.

There are no pictures of Austin from the weekend.  But he did bring home some “treasures” from Grandma and Grandpa’s house so I’m sure he had a good time too!

Lucky me got some leftovers from the weekend!  Win-win! (Thanks Rob!)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sever’s Corn Maze

When Ellie was just a baby, and Austin was 2, Rob and I attempted to take the kids to Sever’s Corn Maze for some fall fun.  When we got to the gates (via a very muddy trek) we realized for our family to get in would be near $40, we turned around and went home.

This year I found a Groupon to get our whole family in for $25 so we decided to try again.  We went last Sunday.  It was a perfect day for some outdoor fall fun!  I had done my research so I sort of knew what to expect but Rob was pleasantly surprised at all Sever’s had to offer.

We started off with the “Jumpy Pillows”.  Kind of like the bounce castles…only huge pillows.  It was a long wait to get their turn (from a kids perspective) but I think they thought it was worth it.

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Austin was all over the place but the girls mostly stayed in the middle and just concentrated on staying standing. 

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Well, Riley might have concentrated a bit harder on tackling Ellie.

After the Bounce Pillows we headed to the corn pit.  Appropriately named as it was a HUGE pit filled with seed corn.

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At first just the kids and I went in, but Rob eventually joined us once he saw how much fun we were having.

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We buried everyone a couple times.  Riley did some “corn angels”.  I think the kids would have stayed in there for a much longer time but eventually the dust was getting to me and we left for the next adventure.

Up next was the hay bale maze.  Only, none of the kids had any interest in treating it as a maze.  Mostly, like everyone else there, they just wanted to jump from one bale to the next.  Austin made it look really easy but the girls were quite challenged to make these leaps.  They were so proud of themselves after every leap.

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After jumping around for a bit, we headed to the exotic animals area to check out kangaroos, porcupines, emus, zebras, and lemurs…among other things.  Next to the exotic animals you could shoot cobs of corn at some targets.  Rob helped each of the kids give it a shot:

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Finally it was off to the main attraction, the corn maze.  Although it’s what draws people to Sever’s, it was the kids least favorite part of our trip.  I suppose walking through a bunch of corn really doesn’t sound very fun.  Rob and I had fun trying to follow our path on their maps.

After the corn maze it was back for more hay bale jumping and some snacks.  Austin declared the corn on the cob “the best he’s ever had in his whole life”.  I declare his standards are pretty low and he must have slept through our other meals this summer that included corn on the cob.

All in all we had a really great time.  I wouldn’t pay full price, but if you can find a deal, it’s worth it.  Except that I’m still finding corn kernels in my washing machine.