Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sever’s Corn Maze

We headed back to Sever’s Corn Maze this year for another fun fall morning.  There was only one day this month that we were able to go.  And it seemed like everyone else had the same plan as it was the busiest I’ve ever seen that place!

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We started off with the bounce pillows so we wouldn’t have to wait in the lines later.  These are always a hit!

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Riley’s doing the belly flop, Ellie is in the light blue and Austin is in gray camouflage (hard to see him, right Winking smile).

We also hit up the corn pit.  We spent the most time here.  Everyone was buried and then somehow it turned into a game where our map of the corn maze turned into a treasure map that the kids stole from us.  We had to chase them down to get it back.  For the record, trying to run through a corn pit is fantastic exercise!

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We also went to the petting zoo.  They had a baby giraffe this year so that was fun.  I had to drag Riley out of this area.

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She walked around picking up stray corn kernels off the ground so she could feed them to the various animals.  The goats were her favorite.  The camel was a little aggressive (and hungry) and grabbed the corn right out of Riley’s hand as she was walking by.

We were surprised to find a new corn pit this year.  It was like a jungle gym surrounded with corn.  A couple rope swings, some monkey bars, and other  climbing equipment made this pit a lot of fun.

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Ellie was the first Runchey kid to master the rope swing.  The other two finally figured it out towards the end of our time here but Ellie was the master monkey.

We topped off our afternoon with a walk through the maze.

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We could have stayed here for a lot longer enjoying the things to do, but we wanted to get home to cheer on the Vikings.  We recognize that as a poor decision now.

We’ll be back next year.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Happy Trails

Riley had her last horse riding lesson a couple weeks ago.  She was pretty sad to say “good-bye” to her horse, Lucy.  It was more bitter sweet for me.  I’m glad she enjoyed the lessons so much, but I will not miss the 70 minute round trip drive or the unorganized fashion in which the lessons were conducted.

During her third lesson (which had to be rescheduled because the owner never showed up for the scheduled day!) I decided Riley was probably just too young.  Lucy was in charge and Riley was just along for the ride.  I gave her a pep talk on the way to the fourth, and final, lesson about taking charge of her horse and she did MUCH better.  She was weaving Lucy around barrels and walking over logs and “through the chute”.

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Granted this was all accomplished at a snail’s pace but even so, she was in control.

Riley loved everything about these lessons (except the electric fence around Lucy’s pasture which scared the pants off her!).  The place has about 40 horses, 8 cats, 2 goats, 2 pigs, and about 5 dogs.  Riley was in heaven.  The Groupon price was worth it, but the actual price of the lessons, although the cheapest I’ve found, is just not worth the chaos that accompanies this place.

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So, it was a sad farewell to Lucy.  Hopefully when Riley is a little older we’ll find another place where she can ride.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Our First Elected Official

I’m proud to announce that Ellie has been elected to student council!

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On Monday she came home and told me she wanted to run for student council and she jotted down some ideas for her platform.  She will take good notes, be a good listener, she is responsible and respectful, and will show everyone how awesome first graders are.  Her ending line was “I, Ellie, am kind.  Please vote for me”.  Can’t argue with that!

Thursday, after school, she worked on her poster and then practiced giving her speech to me (and Austin and Riley and anyone who would listen).  I have to say, she’s a natural at speaking in front of groups (she gets that from Rob; that is NOT my forte!).  She keeps good eye contact, speaks loudly, and covers any blunders with a zinger and a smile.

On Friday, Rob left her a note in the morning saying “good luck” and I put her on the bus with a pep talk about being a good sport and how we’re proud that she’s trying no matter what.  I was thinking about her all day and when she finally came home and her and Austin were whispering when they walked in the door I knew it was good news!  She said she won by one vote.  But then she told me her alternate also won by one vote and she listed about 10 kids that tried out so I’m not sure who all was left to vote!

Either way, way to go Ellie!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Riley’s Field Trip

Today I went with Riley’s class to the Richardson Nature Center.  It’s my third year in a row going their with preschool (Riley’s second) and also just a fun place I take the kids a couple times a year on my own.  Today I had the pleasure of two other cuties joining us:

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Emme and Katey are identical twins in her class and cute as can be.  Katey was dressed up in a velvet dress with tights and a sweater and Emme was wearing Adidas sports pants and a Brave’s jersey.  For identical twins they couldn’t be more different!  But they were both great kids to join me and Riley so they had that in common!

Our leader showed us two different kinds of snakes and then everyone got to pet a turtle and a toad.

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As a side note, Riley found a GIANT painted turtle on our road this summer and Rob picked it up to get it off to the side and when he did the thing hissed at us.  It was kind of creepy.  As a result, Riley, my critter loving child, is slightly scared of turtles.  She was very hesitant to pet this little guy.

We also went on a nature hike.  We saw some shelf mushrooms, giant puffball mushrooms (that the kids were pretty sure were actually dinosaur eggs), and lots of acorns and leaves.

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It was a pretty windy day and Riley has a bit of anxiety over storms lately so she stayed pretty close to me the whole time.

But, I didn’t mind!

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Riding the “Blue Goose” back to school was one of her highlights.  Turtles schmurtles.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Rainbow Loom

When we went to visit Mia (and her parents) in Georgia this summer she was sporting an armful and leg-full of colorful bracelets she made from rubber bands.  They were called Twisty Bandz and her mom said they were the big trend and the replacement rubber bands were impossible to find anywhere because they were so popular.

Fast forward 3 months and the craze has finally hit Shakopee.  Twisty Bandz is now called Rainbow Loom but that’s the only thing that has changed.  I went out to Michaels one afternoon after dropping off Riley to pick up a loom for my kids.  Yes, I had kid-free time and I chose to spend that time learning how to make these bracelets so I could teach the kids when they got home.

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That’s the loom, the hook, and my first bracelet.  I promptly gave the bracelet to Ellie when she got home from school and my efforts were worth it because she was REALLY excited.

But, Ellie’s not the only one interested in this contraption.  Riley was interested in making her own too.  The process is not terribly difficult but it does require a fair amount of fine motor skills.  But, Riley was determined and made her very own “fishtail” variety.

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Her favorite part is picking out the patterns she is going to use.

Austin even got involved.  He made the traditional bracelet (on his wrist) and then made another “fishtail” style for someone in his class who wanted one.

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And, the kids aren’t the only interested parties.  I actually think it’s pretty cool too.  I’ve been using YouTube to research the different styles of bracelets that are possible.  There are a ton of different varieties.  For the most part the kids stick to the basic 3-4.  But, Ellie requests the fancier ones from me so I get to play too!

It’s nice to see them put down the iPad and get crafty with me!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Half-way

Last week Austin moved on, in karate, to his Advanced Blue Belt.  The puts him about half-way to achieving a black belt.  It’s always fun to go to the graduations and see how far he (and other students) have progressed.  And it’s always impressive to watch the black belts working towards a higher degree. 

He had a serious karate game face on during his form:

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Karate continues to be a hit or miss activity with Austin (usually depending on whether or not he is playing with friends when I tell him it’s time to go).  It’s not near the struggle it used to be and we’re proud of him for sticking with it even when it’s difficult.  It might be the most important lesson he learns throughout the process.

Here’s when he received his new belt:

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As Grand Master Worley stood up from his chair and I moved my legs so he wouldn’t have to step over them he said “Yeah, be careful, I’m clumsy!”  (He is a candidate for his 10th degree black belt right now).  I told him I highly doubted that.  He’s probably in his mid to late fifties.  I wish he would give a demonstration during these graduations so the kids (okay, really for me) could see what a 10th degree black belt can do.

Austin now moves onto my favorite karate form (trust me, I’ve watched a LOT of karate forms over the last 1+ years).  I’m excited about that, and he’s excited I’m excited.  So, everyone’s excited!  Bring it on!