Friday, March 30, 2012

San Diego–Day 1

We just got back from our first official Family Vacation!  I guess my definition of “official” is that we flew on an airplane to get to our destination.  However, aside from that, it was sort of a non-traditional set up.  My friend, Carrie, lives in San Diego right now as she works on her post-doc with Scripps.  She has a 2 bedroom apartment in an awesome, convenient location and she was generous enough to fly home (to Minnesota) so that we, the Runchey’s, could go crash her place (and her car) and call it home for 5 days!  She’s the best!

I wasn’t sure how the kids were going to react to the actual plane ride and I had packed plenty of activities to keep them busy (I’d hoped) for the almost 4 hours we’d be flying.  Ellie claimed nerves a couple times and held my hand, but I’m fairly certain that was just Ellie stealing an opportunity to be cuddly.  It’s how she is.  She didn’t seem the least bit nervous.


Riley only asked Rob about 150 times (in the first 10 minutes) if we were there yet.  She left her beloved “Nala” stuffed monkey at home accidentally so before we even left Minneapolis we were spending money on a new stuffed animal for her.  A trend that continued throughout the whole trip.



Austin was excited to have a window seat and spent the first 10 minutes of the flight shouting out things he could see.  We brought all their video game things, iPods, coloring books, new crayons, hidden pictures, dot to dots, and stickers.  That was just barely enough to entertain these guys for 4 hours.

Upon arrival we drove to Carrie’s and got settled and changed.  The kids were dying to see the ocean.  I had been to visit Carrie once last year and remembered a special beach where we would see seals and sea lions.  It’s called the Children’s Pool because it used to be a special place for the smaller kids to have fun in the water.  Now it’s been taken over by seals and apparently there is some controversy as to whether or not they should reclaim it for the children or let the seals take over.


I don’t really have an opinion on the seals and where they live, but it sure was cool for the kids to see them all so close!


After checking out the seals the kids could simply wait no longer to get their feet in that ocean!  We headed down to one of the non-seal beaches and they wasted no time running toward the water.  Now, it was probably only 63 degrees or so, and the water was freezing but that did not stop my kids from playing in the water!


We played on this beach for about 45 minutes before I dragged everyone to the other cove near by where we could see the Sea Lions.  It’s a more popular beach for swimming, but being so cold, it wasn’t too crowded.  The sea lions are pretty close on this beach too, though I don’t think I got any pictures of them.  They swim pretty close to shore too….maybe only 30 feet away.


In the above picture, the kids were “meditating” as the waves crashed into them.  Don’t ask.  I don’t know.  It’s some quirky 1st grade thing Austin picked up.  He “meditates” everywhere.  About 30 minutes after this picture was taken Ellie’s toe and knee collided with that rock in the lower right of the picture and we evacuated for medical needs (a band aid). 

It was time to go back to the apartment for showers and dinner anyway.  The temperature had dropped a few degrees and our children were cold, hungry, and crying (Ellie) so it wasn’t the most pleasant stroll along the ocean we’ve ever experienced.  Rob carried both Ellie and Riley for the majority of the walk back.  I carried Riley for the last 1/4 of a mile and thought my arms were going to break so I’m not sure how he managed both.

We had hopes of the kids crashing from exhaustion but that didn’t happen.  We also had hopes of them sleeping in.  More on that later.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

3rd Child = Spoiled

Being a third (last) child, I’ve heard my parents utter this phrase often.  “Spoiled” sounds like such a rotten term to describe someone as sweet as me so I always disliked when they would tell people I was spoiled.  I think I always associated it with “spoiled brat”….which I didn’t think I was (hopefully).  As I grew up I realized that’s not what they meant.  Now that I am having more one on one time with Riley, I am getting a full grasp of what they were saying all those years!

Since Austin is in school all day, and Ellie is in preschool M-W-F for a couple hours, Riley and I have about an hour together most days.  I always go to the gym right after we drop off Ellie (it’s connected to her preschool) and afterwards I pick up Riley from the child care area and we have about an hour to burn before we need to go back for Ellie.  Since we’re already out and about, we usually use this time to run errands.  On said errands, I’m finding Riley usually steers us in a direction that benefits her.

It started innocently with an Icee from Sam’s club.  Then every once in awhile a smoothie from Caribou (okay, maybe this benefitted me too..but it was her idea, I swear!).  Pretty soon we’re going places that aren’t part of our errands at all:



We’re working on the word “secret”.  I always tell her not to tell her siblings about our outings because they would be sad they missed it.  She hasn’t quite grasped this yet and the conversations usually go something like this:

Ellie:  What did you guys do while I was in school?

Me:  Errands

Riley:  Nothing fun!  We did NOT get something fun to drink.  Nope.  No smoothies

Ellie’s no dummy and sees right through it.

Buying treats for one kid is way cheaper than buying treats for 3, which is why I’m easily swayed (and I’m sure why my parents were swayed as well), but she’s in for a rude awakening when summer vacation starts!  However, she’ll be back in business when Ellie and Austin are both in school next fall (and, from my spoiled experience, it gets even better once those older two are in college and you’re the last “baby” around!)!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Future Scientists

Last week I went to Jake’s science class and gave a presentation about being a microbiologist.  I admit I felt a little weird this time around (I did it for Maddie’s class back in the day too) because I have not been working in a lab for quite a few years now.  But, I guess what they don’t know won’t hurt them.

Back when I did it for Maddie’s class I had a full hour to give my talk, do a demonstration, give each of the kids a petri plate and swab and teach them how to swab areas of the classroom for bacteria, plus “play” with some equipment.  This year, I had 30 minutes.  The first group of kids were quite rushed to get their swabs done.  But, the second class had a bit more time because I talked 100 mph through my presentation so we could get to the fun stuff.

Before I left for the talk the girls wanted to know what was in my bag so I gave them a mini version of my presentation.  Which includes dressing up a kid….





They thought this was great!  Then they quickly got out of costume and begged to leave and go to Aunt Kerry’s house.  They think going to her house is just the greatest thing ever.  When I picked them up they had gone on a scavenger hunt, played with  Sadie, and baked cookies.  I can see the attraction!  Science Schmience.  Aunt Kerry’s is where it’s at!

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Wonderful Weekend

This past weekend Rob took the kids down to Iowa…I stayed home!

Austin even got to leave school early for the occasion!  He told me “I definitely do not want to miss ‘read aloud’ time but I would be okay if I missed Math.”.  His wish was granted.  He left immediately after “Read Aloud” and skipped his math test (which I’m sure he made up today).

By 1:45 I was practically kicking my family out of the door.  I was looking SO forward to this weekend and I had planned to eat lunch after they left around 1pm in peace.  Riley wouldn’t be there to try and eat all my food.  So, by 1:45 I was starving and they needed to leave!

My plans for the weekend involved nothing.  The other times that Rob has taken the kids to Iowa I have tried to use that time to get something accomplished at home.  I would go through the kids toys and donate things they wouldn’t miss, or another time I tiled the mudroom.  This weekend I kept my calendar completely free and planned things as I felt like it!  Friday night I went to visit my friend, Michelle, who works a bar/grill.  Saturday I randomly decided to go play Bingo at Mystic with a friend I normally only ever see once a year.  Then I went to dinner with my sister’s family to a new (to me) Mexican restaurant.  I followed that up with a trip back to Mystic to watch my Mom in action on the slot machines.  She makes winning look so easy.  Sunday I went to REI to take my time perusing their new spring items and then followed it up with a Caribou coffee and a good book.  My weekend was perfect and I didn’t do one ounce of cleaning or home improvement.

From the pictures Rob sent me I could tell the kids were having a great time too.

Giant bubble baths:




And a sleepover in “Tent City”:


Riley told me her tent broke but that she got to sleep with Daddy which I’m sure she thought was cooler than a tent anyway.  I’m pretty sure they would have stayed there forever!

Thanks to my wonderful husband for a much needed break!  I’m feeling rejuvenated….and ready for more Bingo.