Wednesday, July 25, 2012

T-ball 2012

Yesterday we ended another season of T-ball for Austin.  No tears were shed.  He remains not all that interested in sports.  I asked him several times if he was sure he wanted to do t-ball (a question based on last years experience of him crying each time he had to go) and he told me each time that he really did, but after the first couple games he was already groaning when it was time to go to practice and asked each week if it was the last time yet. 


But, I was proud of him because, for the most part, he had a good attitude while he was there.  He has already told me that he does not want to do it next year.  That’s good…because t-ball caps out at age 6!  He was one of the taller kids on the team and as a result often had to hit from a tee that always seemed a little low for him. 


Oh well, he had a good group of kids on his team and some nice coaches.  The Green Ninja Hornets can hang up their hats for the season with pride of a job well done.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Freezer Paper….Who Knew?

Maybe I’m the last person to know this trick, but I just found out that you can use freezer paper to help make design stencils for shirts!

I had to try it out for Austin’s Lego party!  He helped me pick out the design he wanted and it was super simple!

So, in case anyone doesn’t know how to do this, here ya go:

1.  Find a design, print it out, and trace it onto a piece of freezer (onto the paper side).


2.  Cut out the design and iron it onto your shirt.


3.  Use fabric paint and do at least 2 coats.  I used a hair dryer in between coats to speed up the drying time.


4.  When it’s all dry, peel off the freezer paper and VOILA!


For my first attempt, I’m happy.  Next time I need to make sure I have ironed around the edges enough.  I had a little bit of paint bleed through in places.  I’m already trying to decide what I will do next.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Austin’s 7th Birthday!

Austin had a most memorable 7th birthday last weekend!  We started the celebration early because his best friend, Mia, was going to be in town on his actual birthday and we wanted to make sure he didn’t get lost in the shuffle of his big day.  So, Friday morning before Rob left for work we had him open up his presents (before he received breakfast in my bed…I’m not sure about this new request they all have…at the very least I might start placing them on Rob’s side!)


He was pretty excited with what he received.

In the end though, he returned his “big” present for a different Lego set that he really wanted.

For dinner, we headed to Lion’s Tap.  He originally chose McDonald’s but Rob and I steered him in a different direction with the promise of McDonald’s another day.  He’s only seven…he still needs guidance.

He was extremely excited for his actual birthday to arrive because not only was Mia in town, but his friends were all coming over for his Lego Birthday Party that afternoon!  I had a pretty good time planning this party, mostly due to all the great ideas on pinterest.  I took my friend, Michelle, with me to the Lego store at the Mall of America and I’m pretty proud of what we accomplished!

The goodie bags:


There were 6 friends coming and they all received this goodie bag with their nametag/keychain written in the Lego font.  Inside was:


Lego treats and a little car they could put together at home.  Michelle and I designed the car at the Lego store and were able to fit all the parts for 8 cars into a small “Pick a Brick” cup for $8! Woohoo!  We also picked up a set of these for each kid:


They’re free at the store and if you have a Lego lover and haven’t subscribed to this magazine you should.  It’s free and Austin LOVES them!

We also included some cute Ninjago necklaces I bought off Etsy and some Lego stickers.  I was pretty proud of the bags and their contents!

Not so proud of the cupcakes:


Austin wanted red frosting but I couldn’t get it red so I experimented with other color additions and he ended up with mauve cupcakes.  With Lego treats on it.  Really really ugly.  But, he was a good sport about it.

For the party, we started with a free build contest.  We brought down all of Austin’s Legos (separated by colors into bins) and the kids were given a certain amount of time to build anything they wanted.


Then we lined them up on a table and assigned them random numbers.  Once everyone was done, the kids voted (by whispering into my ear so no one was sad if they didn’t get votes) on whose they thought was best and that person won a prize.


First place went to Austin (far left) but since I wouldn’t let him win, Rob and I voted and went with the tree.  It was different.

After the free build, we played a Lego toss game.  Kind of like skee ball.  Minus the balls and ramp.  But the targets were the same and the kids were allowed to toss 5 Legos each.  The winner was whoever had the highest cumulative points.

After the Lego toss we went back to the table.  I gave each kid a handful of small Lego pieces, a straw, and a plate.  They had to move the Lego pieces onto their plate by sucking them onto the end of the straw and blowing them off onto the plate.  I said it was timed, but really I just said “times up” when one of the kids was almost out of pieces because I didn’t want to count out pieces to make sure everyone had the same number.

After that we sent them outside to play for a bit.  I cleaned up the games inside and gave everyone a cupcake, chips, and drink.  We forgot to sing Happy Birthday to Austin so we stuck a candle in his half done cupcake.  Better late than never.


We followed this up with presents and more play time outside and inside.  The party was only 2 hours, but I wasn’t sure it was ever going to end.  For some reason birthday parties feel like some crazy time warp in this house and seem to last 8 hours.

I think Austin had a pretty good time, and that’s what counts.  He’s still my super sweet little boy, even if he’s now 7.  *sigh*

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Catch Up!

We have had a really busy couple of weeks around here and it doesn’t show signs of letting up for another couple of weeks.  I hate being so far behind on the blog and then posting things out of order so I’m just going to do a really quick catch up with some pictures.


  1. The guys (Rob, Jon, Dave, and Bob) headed to Boston this year to watch the Braves take on the Red Sox.  They took in quite a bit of history by walking the “Freedom Trail” as well as a JFK walking tour.  My favorite part of this picture is the kid in the background with 500 pieces of bubblegum in his mouth.
  2. We went out on the pontoon on the 4th of July with the Murphy’s and my parents and Aunt Gretchen to view fireworks.  As usual, there were quite a few displays to choose from.  And, as usual, the spiders hanging from the boat lift canopy scared the crap out of me.  Yuck.

  3. Ellie has been throwing up on a semi-regular basis.  Seems to be around the 11th of every month, but sometimes she throws in some random episodes to keep us on our toes.  No one else ever gets sick.  And it happens the same way every time.  Evening….then her eyes hurt….then she falls asleep…..then she wakes up and vomits and goes back to sleep.  It’s getting old for everyone involved.  The doctor appointment is next Wednesday and I’ve been keeping a diligent food log for her so hopefully we can skip a step and get closer to an answer.  In the meantime, the washing machine gets an extra workout.

  4. President Week was more popular amongst my kids than I thought it would be.  Too bad it was me regurgitating facts instead of their dad, who actually likes history.  Because, from me, they get weird facts like the presidents’ names for their pets (Sweet Lips!) and how old they were when they had all their teeth pulled.  Clearly retaining odd facts is genetic because after I finished my spiel on George Washington (which did include some normal history), the first thing Riley did was draw in his fake teeth. 

  5. Rob and I made some new patio furniture together.  I thought the table went together rather smoothly and was quite proud of what we accomplished.  When we went to put the stools together it was 110 degrees in our garage (I bet that isn’t exaggerated too much) and Rob tried to rip his thumb off with a drill bit (that is exaggerated) so he was done.  I made the other two stools on my own which I was proud of, but I do advise you to sit at your own risk.

  6. Mia came to visit!!!  Well, Mia, Chrissy, and Matt all came to visit, but I’m guessing you can figure out who was the most popular amongst my children!  Her arrival was very anti-climatic.  My kids were screaming “she’s here!!!” when she arrived and they ran outside to greet her, then she got out of the car, they all giggled and ran off to play.  We didn’t see them much for the next 3 days.  We had a lot of fun together and had the neighbors over for a get together their first night here.  Austin and Mia snuggled on the couch and watched a movie, but Mia had a little competition for Austin’s affection from Addie.  He played it cool.  Such a ladies man!

So, that sums up a lot of things.  Some important events happened in between there that will get their own blog post (Austin’s birthday!!), but at least now I feel a bit more caught up and you only had to read one post.  Win-win!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th of July–West Bend

We just got back from our West Bend 4th of July celebration/Runchey Reunion.  As usual, we had a blast!

Everyone arrived on Friday afternoon and the kids got right down to business (playing and tearing apart Grandma’s toy corner in the basement).  The adults did a little bit of everything…baggo, cooking, drinking, watching kids, etc. 

Friday evening we all headed to the Grotto per the kids’ request.  They just love climbing around that place.  The town was getting ready for their 4th of July festivities so the kids all hopped on a trolley that was out for the parade.  It made a cute picture, but we’ll have to super impose Isaac.  I think he stayed back to watch some baseball with Grandpa.


I think it gets more fun every year for the kids as they all start to get into ages where they are interacting more and more.  Not counting halves, and “almosts”, the age breakdown goes something like this:


I’d be really surprised if I got that totally right, but it’s pretty close.  That’s Isaac in the yellow.  Don’t let his slim build fool you….he’s all muscle!

The Grotto is celebrating it’s 100th year this year (along with Oreos and Fenway Park…in case you were curious), so there was a cut out of Father Dobberstein sitting out by the bathrooms to take pictures with.  Or, at least that is what we did (quite a few times).


First up was Austin and I.


Then Shelly gave him some “knuckles” for his rock solid effort on the Grotto (ha ha- get it….”rock solid”….I’ll be here all week!)

But, the guy died in the 1950s so his black and white cutout just wasn’t realistic enough for us.  So, I tried some photoshopping:


It’s like they were actually there.  Sort of.

Anyway, once the kids were all asleep on Friday a handful of us headed up town to the street dance.  Rob said it would only be for a 1/2 hour.  I knew better than that but we all had a good time…until the next morning.  Kids still wake up too early.

Saturday we had a full day with the parade, jumpy castle things, swimming, and bingo.  Austin and I cleaned up at the bingo table!  $6!  Watch out Target…..Austin’s winnings are burning a hole in his pocket!

The parade was way better than last years.  It was 1000 degrees out so I was happy to see it lasted only a 1/2 hour.


The kids stayed busy running into the street gathering candy and dodging tractors, but after awhile even the allure of candy isn’t enough to get your mind off the heat.


The last few floats saved the day by handing out freezy pops but we were still glad to head back to the air conditioned house!

We had another great year in the Bend!  Next up is fireworks from the pontoon on Spring Lake!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


We’ve been building again, and while we were at Menards, the kids spotted this chair:


large chair austin

large chair ellie

I guess, how could they not spot it!? I thought it was a joke.  But, you can be the proud owner of this chair for $60.  That’s an expensive joke.

Fun facts:

It’s over 5.5 feet tall, has 6 cup holders, and can hold up to 350 pounds.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Since we don’t have cable at our house, we get pretty excited when we find a good show to watch on Netflix.  The kids always have their favorite cartoons (as of last week it’s been Power Rangers…blech!), but Rob and I like it when we find a show we both like, and as a bonus, a show the kids can watch too.  It’s how we unwind after a long day.  Anyway, around March we stumbled upon American Pickers.

In case you’re not familiar with it, it’s about a couple of guys from Iowa that drive around digging through people’s backyard “junkyards” trying to find valuable items they can turn around and sell.  It’s interesting to see what they can make a profit off of and they are kind of quirky with their commentary so that’s fun too.  Anyway, Austin loved watching this show (we have since finished every episode on Netflix) and has told us several times that when he grows up he wants to be a “Picker”.

The day after school got out he suggested we watch an episode together and then we were talking about where he’s going to “pick” when he grows up and he said he wasn’t sure of any areas around here.  The conversation kept going and eventually I suggested he write to Mike Wolfe, one of the main guys on the show.  Personally, I just saw it as a good way to get him to work on his handwriting, which desperately needs some attention (but I can’t think of one reason a “picker” would need good handwriting).  But, Austin spent a LONG time thinking through his letter and writing it all out.  I thought I made a copy of it, but I can’t find it…it went something like this:

Dear Mr. Wolf,

My name is Austin.  I am 6 years old.  I want to be a picker.  What are some good places to pick?  I also like Star Wars.  How does a kids become a Picker?  I really like your show.

Your friend,

Austin Runchey

It might have had a few other key facts, but that was the gist of it.  I found Mike’s address online and off it went!

That was a month ago.  Just this past week Austin (in that random little head of his) said “Mom, when is Mike Wolfe going to write me back?”.  I felt bad because he really spent a lot of time on that letter and was very excited and proud of it, and I had no idea if Mike Wolfe even had time to write to fans.

Well, lo and behold, when we got back from Iowa tonight, there was a package at our door for Austin:


Can you tell he was excited?


“To Austin, Sweet Pickin’!”  Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz

He wants to hang it up in his room.  He’s thinking about the perfect place.  In the meantime, he’s thinking his new best friends probably want a picture of him so he’ll include one in his next letter.  Look for Austin’s appearance on the History Channel’s “American Pickers” (in 20 years).