Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spring Break(s)

For the last year ever, my children had different spring breaks.  Riley’s preschool goes by the Prior Lake school district schedule, and Austin and Ellie use Shakopee’s school district. For this reason, we have always had different spring breaks.  Unfortunately, Riley spent the first half of her spring break just hanging out at home because on Monday Ellie was diagnosed with pneumonia and on Tuesday Austin came home from school with the stomach flu, which also kept him home on Wednesday.  So, come Thursday, I owed Riley one fun spring break!  Actually, before Austin came home sick on Tuesday we did sneak in some fun and took her friend, Ava, to the zoo for the afternoon:


It was a bit chilly so we didn’t head out to many outside exhibits.  On Thursday we met Rob at Smashburger for lunch.


And on Friday Austin and Ellie had a day off for the end of the quarter so Rob took the day off from work and we had one giant family day!  First up was the circus!


It was a bit longer than I was expecting.  But otherwise, it was about what I had in mind.  From an adult perspective, it was kind of “sad” but the kids can now say they have seen the circus.  Riley was probably the most excited about it all and she is still telling her friends about it.


I guess I was impressed that it seemed to be only about 30 (maybe less) people that do all the different activities/stunts. 

Once the circus was over we stopped for lunch and then headed over to the Childrens Museum.  I wasn’t sure if the kids would still enjoy this place since they are a bit older now and a lot of what the museum has to offer seems for the younger kids (younger than mine) but I was completely wrong.  The kids loved it!  It didn’t hurt that they had a dinosaur exhibit going on right now. 


If you can, zoom into the above picture and look at the shear terror in Ellie’s eyes!  She was losing her grip and was going to fall (all of 1.5 feet) and was freaking out.  Hee hee….does that make me a bad mom for laughing?  Anyway, back to the museum, the other thing I don’t like about this place is that it is always crazy crowded, but we lucked out that day.  Or maybe the rest of MN was spring breaking someplace warm.  We capped off the day with a pizza party and movie.

The following week Austin and Ellie had spring break but Riley did not.  She didn’t mind going to school on Monday because she got to show Austin and Ellie all around her classroom for a bit.  Too bad that novelty didn’t last all week.  On Tuesday I drove the kids to some shady comic book/game store so they could all flip through a book of Pokemon cards and pick out some to buy.  The place was musty and gross and a place I hope to not visit again. On Wednesday we got Riley to preschool again without much trouble because Austin and Ellie agreed to read books to her classroom.


Afterwards Austin and Ellie stuck around to do some art projects with her.  So, Riley only had to suffer through about 1.5 hours without them.

On Thursday we took the fun to an Indoor Trampoline park with our friends, the Priebe’s.  I had never been to one of these places but it was awesome!



We ended up playing a lot of dodge ball.  Unfortunately, Ellie ended up falling on her own foot and sat out for a good chunk of our time there but I still think she’d try again some day.  Everyone loved it.

We capped off spring break #2 with Riley skipping school on Friday (really my own poor time management and only a little bit because she was whining) and Austin going to a friends house for most of one day and having a friend to our house for most of Saturday.  The girls all played outside with the other girls in the neighborhood and everyone had a sleepover in the family room on Saturday night.  By Sunday, everyone was thoroughly exhausted!

I look forward to just one week of spring break next year!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I know it doesn’t feel quite spring-like yet, but we have had some nice days and the kids didn’t need any convincing to get out and play!  Unfortunately, Ellie has been sick for over a week (we just found out she has pneumonia) so she missed out on most of the warm weather fun, but she’ll be back in action in no time!

Riley was having a great time splashing around in all the puddles.  I absolutely love this picture of her:


It’s just so “Riley”.  The outfits she puts together on a daily basis are something else.  Sweatpants with a tutu.  Casual and fancy all at once.

And the same day I was able to capture a pretty accurate picture of Austin as well:


He’s always concentrating and thinking about something.  He created a whole scene/story with his animals and action figures.  It was quite something.

I hope we get some more warm weather again soon for us all to enjoy again!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Kindergarten Registration

I think I have created a monster.  This past school year has been pretty fun for Riley and I.  It’s so much easier to go places and do things when you only have one child with you.  Here’s what we’ve been up to the last month or so:


We have Alia over every Wednesday before preschool.  These two have really come to be great friends and spend a good portion of their day giggling.  Probably every other week I make them a fort to hang out in.  This probably wasn’t my best effort but you get the idea!


Riley has always been fond of playing with the fake food in our house.  We’ve had our fair share of tea parties that always include my teddy bear, Bud, and whatever stuffed animal she is attached to at the moment.


We’re lucky enough to have an ice rink within walking distance of our house.  This winter has been too cold most days for playing outside but Riley and I have found a couple times to sneak over there for an hour or so.


On those crazy cold days we’ve been diving into some of our “oldie but goodie” toys.  On this particular day we put together every puzzle we have in our house (there is only about 8).


And, we don’t always stay home.  We’ve frequented the library, Grandma and Grandpa have taken us out for a good number of lunches, and we do our own lunch dates too, and in the above picture we headed to another regular place…the mall.  Old Navy was handing out balloons and then we tried a new ice cream place (which was free because their credit card machine was broken – Bonus!)  I’m pretty sure she also picked out two new shirts.

My point is, we have a lot of fun.  The problem is that this is the look I get when I say it’s time to go to school:


It kind of breaks my heart.  Next year is definitely going to be weird without my little mini-me following me around.

This past week Rob and I took her to Kindergarten Registration.  She was excited to see some girls she knows but overall thought it was “boring”.  She perked up when we went to McDonald’s for dinner:


Getting spoiled and going out to eat is more her style!

Sunday, March 16, 2014


I know it’s been too long since I’ve updated this, but “Oliver” has kind of consumed all our extra time.  I’m sure most of you heard that Ellie tried out for a community theater production of “Oliver” in December and she was very excited to find out she was selected to be part of the Workhouse Gang.  There was only suppose to be about 25 or so of these workhouse kids in the show, but when over 60 kids tried out the directors decided to almost double the number and selected 42 to join the group.  Having never been in theater I wasn’t quite sure what we were getting involved with but we were willing to try it out.

The rehearsals started in early January and at first she only went once a week to learn her songs.  The Workhouse Gang is only in the first scene of the show, and then they go back on stage for the curtain call at the end.  So, only about 7 minutes of fame for Ellie.  By the end of January the practices were more frequent.  Usually one for singing, and one for choreography. By February, the practices were sometimes 3 times per week and by the end of February the practices were from 6pm to 10pm….on school nights.  The majority of the Workhouse Gang was about 10 years old.  Ellie and two other girls were the youngest members at 6 years old.  We were pretty  nervous her migraines would come out in full force but through the whole process she only got one. 


Her performances started last week.  They have 8 shows. Thursday through Saturday at 7pm and then a matinee on Sundays.  Today wraps up the final show!  Ellie has absolutely loved every second of this experience!  And, as a parent it has been fun to see her so engaged in an activity.  I’m not sure our kids have ever been involved in anything yet that they truly love going to so that was a nice change of pace for us!

I think Ellie preferred when Rob would take her to practice because she was more likely to get a snack from Burger King afterwards!




Here’s a shot of Ellie during the last dress rehearsal.  She would really get into this part of the song and sometimes forget to do the next move of the choreography:



After the kids did their one scene they had to hang out in the “green room” for about 2 hours until the curtain call.  They were expected to be quiet (though some kids were far better at this than others).  Ellie did a lot of reading and playing on her iPad.


Sometimes it was more fun to read perched up on a folded lunch table!

The Murphy’s, both sets of grandparents, and the rest of our family all went to see the show.  She even had some special visitors from school.  Her classmate, Cole, and his family as well as her teacher Ms. Masters came to see her.



It has been a great experience for Ellie.  She already has her eye on a summer production of the Little Mermaid.  But that show is an all youth cast so I’m pretty sure 10pm won’t be on that schedule!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


In May, of 2013, when I got my iPad mini for Mother’s Day, a friend told me I should try the game Candy Crush.  Wanting to try out my new device I gave it a shot.  I quickly became addicted.  Then I addicted everyone else I could!  Well, after 9 months I’m happy to announce I am going into retirement.


515 levels is all they have to offer me and I am happy to take a break.  I’m sure there will be other updates and I’ll play it again someday, but until then, I am done.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Indoor Fun!

Because it has been a crazy cold winter, I have gone to crazy measures to keep Riley entertained.  Recently, at a friends house, she borrowed some rollerblades and started learning to rollerblade in their kitchen.  Riley couldn’t stop talking about it so I figured “why not?”.  I like to rollerblade and I’d like to have at least one of my kids enjoy an activity I like (so far skiing, ice skating, and biking have been denied) so I went online and picked out a pair of skates and away we went!

We’re obviously still in the beginner stages. 


See, she’s in control but is trying to hide the fact she’s scared out of her mind.  It’s fun.

She convinced me to put on my own rollerblades and hold her hand to help her along.  This did actually get her moving a bit more so that’s probably what we’ll do for awhile.


Nothing like rollerblading in your pajamas in your kitchen on a Sunday morning.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Bathroom Crashers…Runchey Style

Okay, so maybe it didn’t happen in 24 hours like it does on HGTV, but it did go fast.

A couple months ago I shared a Pinterest pin with Rob about how some people have redone their bathroom oak vanities using several coats of gel stain.  Both of us are very tired of all the oak in our house.  It’s okay, but it’s everywhere!  He was intrigued and did some research of his own and ordered a can or two to try out.  Meanwhile, I got back on and Pinterest and looked up some more ideas and decided I wanted to tile from the vanity up to the ceiling.  It’s a very small powder room so I didn’t think it would be too time consuming or costly.

Fast forward to last week.  Rob finally just bit the bullet and started staining our vanity.


This is also our only “before” shot of the bathroom.  Grey walls, purple and white butterflies stamped as a border, contractor mirror.  It was fine, just needed some sprucing up.

I think he ended up putting 2 or 3 coats of gel stain on and followed it up with a couple coats of poly.  Either he made it look easy, or it was easy.  I can’t say.  I had no part of this.

On Friday I went to Lowes and found some mosaic tiles I liked for half the price of all the other styles I picked out.  I was sure it was a mistake so I decided to just go for it and buy everything we needed before they raised the price.  Saturday I called my dad to see if I could borrow his tile saw and we were on our way!


And lucky us, look who came along with his tile saw:


A tremendous help!

And, because we didn’t have enough going on, my dad and I also tackled taking apart our dishwasher.


Got that all fixed up good as new.

Tiling always takes a little longer than I think it’s going to take.  Especially when I do these little mosaic styles.  I really should pick something more straight forward.  It started to get a bit crowded up there towards the end and my neck was getting stiff but we did get it done in a few hours.


The whole wall:


And then one more trip to Lowe’s for a new faucet, towel bar, grout, and other accessories and we were done!  I told my dad my faucet installing skills were not quite up to par.  I got it done, but it probably took 30 minutes longer than it should have!  (And it probably shouldn’t have taken 30 minutes to start with).  The final product:


Rob and I are pretty happy with our results.  Makes us want to refresh the rest of the house.  We’re accepting donations.