Saturday, July 26, 2014


My kids have spent almost every weekday for the last 5 weeks practicing from 9:30 am-12 pm for a play through our community education group.  They have been extremely good sports about it.  That fact doesn’t surprise me for Ellie, since I know she loves this kind of thing, but it did surprise me a bit for Austin.  Austin doesn’t typically like things that go on and on like that for weeks at a time.  I’m hoping he is having a good time at the practices, just like Ellie.  Riley….well, Riley is Riley.  She liked it for about a day, maybe two, and then she figured out that while she was gone every morning her friends in the neighborhood were playing without her and that didn’t sit well with her.  Still, to her credit, she didn’t complain (much).

Then comes Thursday.  They had just gotten back from practice and we were discussing how they just have one practice left and then their 3 performances.  Then the phone rang.  It was their director asking that the cast all stay until 3:30 the next day to practice.  They would get two hours off, then the kids were due back at 5:30 to get ready for the show.  This information was received with groans from all three kids.

I decided that a distraction was in order.  So, we piled in the car and headed to Minnesota’s Largest Candy store.  The kids and I tend to make a trip there once a summer and we hadn’t gone yet so it was time!

We picked out some weird flavored sodas to try, scoured every aisle, walked by the fresh baked pies twice just to inhale the yummy scent, everyone picked out two treats, and Austin danced in the aisles to the polka music.


My attempt at distraction worked well.  Who can be grumpy with a bagful of candy?

Bring on the weekend!  My kids are ready to perform (and on a sugar high)!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Flood

I know it’s been forever since I posted.  No giant reasons other than we’re busy enjoying summer.  Except for last Thursday.  Last Thursday I could have done without.

It started out fine.  I knew it was going to be a rainy day so I invited my sister over to work on a puzzle with me for a bit.  She showed up around 10:45am and said “There’s a car stuck on Thrush”.  I asked what she meant.  How could a car just get stuck in the middle of the street?  So, I looked at saw this:

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Wow!  I had no idea this was happening in front of my house!  So I quick texted my neighbor and let them know water was halfway up their driveway and they might want to come home.  Then a police officer walked by (the lady wouldn’t get out of her car so she eventually had to be rescued by the fire department) and said “They have water in the basement?” and I said “I don’t know, I was just telling them to come home.” and he said “No, They HAVE water in their basement.”.  Which made me walk around the corner to find out how he knew this:

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Oh.  Yep, I bet they do.  That was at 11:08am.  Which reminded me I should look at my backyard:

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Then I told Rob he really needed to come home.  Then my sister and I spent about 15 minutes running from the front of the house to the back willing the water to stop rising.

11:35….it wasn’t stopping.

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Kerry went to pick up Austin from his camp because I didn’t want my van to be the second victim on the road and then took all my kids to her house.  Then she came back just in time to help us start moving everything out of our basement because it had started finding it’s way into our house.


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We had a wonderful support team come to our rescue.  A few neighbors showed up to start moving stuff to our garage and two teenagers from down the street, that I’ve never met, jumped in (literally) to help us move stuff.  We were fortunate to get most things out before it got too deep.

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At 3:30pm it was still pouring into our neighborhood.

By 4:00 we were starting to see the level decrease in our front yard (but hold steady in the backyard), and increase in our basement.

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We think our basement ended up with just under a foot of water.  The water stretched over a foot up our lookout windows.

The backyard cleared our 6 foot fence and then some.  A lot of our lumber for our porch construction floated two houses away.  That night Rob called a restoration company and they showed up around 10:45pm and left around 1am.  It was a LONG day.  Clean up was a drag (and still is) but we still feel fortunate to have lost very little.  It was also wonderful to see a neighborhood pull together like ours did.

Let’s hope this NEVER happens again.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Our Weekend

We had a really great weekend.  It encompassed a little bit of everything. 

This year we decided to purchase season passes to Valleyfair.  I think it’s something most of the families around here have done for a long time but it has just never made sense for us.  In the past, due to  the height restrictions I couldn’t be the chaperone for more than one of my kids at a time and it’s not like I could just leave the other two standing there while I rode a ride with one child.  Furthermore, Rob doesn’t like rides so I wasn’t counting on him going with us much.  Fast forward to this year and Austin no longer needs a chaperone for most of the rides and the girls can go on almost all the kiddie rides without me.  Plus, we committed to going at least once with some summer visitors we are having and if we go just one more time, the season pass pays for itself.  Long story short, we are now season pass holders to Valleyfair and we’ve already gone twice!  Friday night we were just going to go to get our photos taken for our IDs but not stay for any rides.

Well, that turned into the photos taken, touring Dinosaurs Alive, playing in the ball playhouse, riding a couple rides and having some mini donuts.


And a quick visit with Snoopy.  Austin grudgingly posed for this picture with Snoopy on the premise that it would be the only one all summer I would make him participate in.  However, when Woodstock later came out to visit and the girls gleefully hugged him Austin said “Well, I suppose since he’s my favorite character I will hug him too.” and then shuffled over to him for a hug.  For the record, I’m fairly certain Austin has never mentioned Woodstock in his life or even knew his name. 

Saturday the kids eagerly awaited the arrival of Grandma and Grandpa Runchey!  When they got to our house we went to karate to grab Austin and then all headed to El Toro for a yummy lunch!  We watched a movie after lunch (some of us, namely me, took a quick cat nap) and then Rob and I headed out to a Hawaiian themed party at the CEOs house.  They had a pig roast, which I had never seen before.


It took the chef about an hour to carve the pig and prepare all the meat but it was delicious and worth the wait!  It was a perfect night for an outdoor party on Lake Minnetonka!

Sunday morning we had donuts and, after a tearful good-bye to the Grandparents, Rob and Riley headed back to Valleyfair for their “date night”.  Lucky for Rob, and Rob’s ride-hating stomach, Riley ran into one of our neighbors, Elly, and rode most of the rides with her.


Picture Rob and his legs in that car….it’s been done and it’s funny.

While they were seeking thrills at Valleyfair Austin, Ellie and I were relaxing on the deck at home.  I decided it was the perfect weather to sit out on the deck with a good book and I was soon joined by these guys.



Austin was really enjoying his book but Ellie only lasted about 30 minutes and then decided to play “waitress”.  She opened up a cafĂ© called “Ellie’s Buffet” and served us Nilla wafers with chocolate sauce, Goldfish crackers covered in Fruit Roll-ups, and water.  The service was amazing.

Once Riley and Rob rejoined the group we headed out to get the plants for our garden and the girls decided to plant more flowers in the front yard.


The weekend ended up being the perfect blend of productivity, fun, and relaxation.  I hope more of the same are in our future!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Last Preschool Fieldtrip!

Riley has her last day of preschool this upcoming Wednesday.  Last Friday I was able to join her school on their field trip to the YMCA camp Kici Yapi.  Camp Kici Yapi has always been one of my favorite field trips the school does.  Hard to believe that we are just about done with preschool and all the fun that comes along with it (and all the non-fun too….like shuttling her to and fro).

Once we got to the camp (which is about a 5 minute bus ride from her school…my kind of bus ride!) we split into groups and sang some camp songs.  Then the kids had a chance to make their own wind socks.


We went on a short hike through the woods to the row boats.  One of the other dads volunteered to row my group around the lake.  He had just finished with his group so he already  had the life jacket on.  Probably a good thing because I’m not sure my rowing skills are where they need to be to maintain control of a vessel with 6 preschoolers bouncing around.


We finished off our camp tour with a snack and a couple of trips down the “black hole”.  It’s a 100 foot long slide (which is green so they should either paint it or call it the green hole).


In years past we have never been able to go down the slide because it was too muddy.  Since we finally had our chance, I had to try it out too.  I shot out the bottom and landed flat on my back.  There were teachers and parents at the bottom ready to catch the kids as they came down but they weren’t expecting an adult so they jumped back when they saw me leaving me to fend for myself.  I’m still feeling that one a little bit but it was fun.

Riley still has one fun day left with the Splash Pad on Wednesday.  I think she has mixed emotions about being done with school.  It took her quite a while to warm up to the idea of going to school (like a year and a half) so I’m hoping the next few months before Kindergarten don’t set us too far back.  I think the idea of being in the same school with her brother and sister are going to work (slightly) in my favor come the fall.

We’ve enjoyed the years at Shepard’s Flock but I’m also excited to close this chapter!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

This girl….




She makes me laugh on a daily basis.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Our Weekend

After a long week of rain, it was nice to have a break in the clouds to get outside!  We had a busy weekend but it was a lot of fun.  Friday, after being cooped up inside all week, the kids spent most of the afternoon outside with friends.  Riley even busted out the kite she received for her birthday last August.  Better late than never!


On Saturday Austin went to karate in the morning and then Ellie had a friend over in the afternoon.  They ran around playing a lot and then they took a break from the action to do their nails:


I tried these new sticker nail things.  My review is:  “meh.”

They were only okay.  A fun, easy way to add some extra flare to the nails but they peeled off a bit too easily and Ellie didn’t like the feeling of them on her nails and peeled them off within an hour.

We also all headed to the nearby park several times this weekend.  And, near the park, is a pond.  All the kids loved exploring this area, especially Austin who requested to go back later in the weekend with Rob.  I’m guessing that is because he wanted to climb all over the culverts around the pond and I said “not today” but Rob probably said “go for it!”.


He’s really looking forward to exploring the nature area and creek again by Shelly and Kerry’s house in Kansas later this month!

Sunday was a fun day too.  We took the kids to a new indoor park in Eagan called “Good Times Park”.  It’s an interesting idea.  It’s just a big warehouse that has normal outdoor playground equipment (okay, probably a bit cooler than normal outdoor stuff), a huge jumping pillow, a big turf soccer/football area, and a gym for basketball, dodge ball, or hippity hops.  Then they also have a foam block construction area.  We enjoyed our time there a lot.



The kids especially liked the foam block things.  More than I thought they would.  But they made some fairly creative structures:


Ellie’s race car.  All three kids helped with this one.


I’m pretty sure I took the above picture from the wrong angle but the sunlight was in my way.  I think it was a “creeper” from minecraft with a sword.


This was a boat that we sailed to Mexico in.  Hard to see it with all of us on it.  See a theme with Austin in pictures.  Peace!  He does it in every single picture unless you tell him 5 times to stop.  Yes.  It gets annoying.

Anyway, it’s nice we’ve found a place to burn off some energy indoors.  I hope we don’t need to use it too often.  I much prefer sunny days.

Friday, April 25, 2014

A light at the end of the tunnel

As I sit here watching the pouring rain I think “at least it’s not snowing!”.  This winter seemed longer than others.  I’m sure it was no different but I wasn’t the only one in this family eager for the end.  Even the kids moaned over the last snow storm.  They weren’t moaning all the days the snow got them out of school, but they are eagerly anticipating some warmth.

Last weekend we hit 70 degrees.  What better way to celebrate than running through the sprinklers while the grass is still recovering from snow mold!


It seems to have become a tradition around here.  The first nice day above 65 and Rob turns on the outside water and the kids all get their suits on.  Actually, the first day above 60 and they were asking if we could set out our pool!


Sometimes we wonder what they neighbors think of us, but then we don’t really care.  And some of their kids join us so they must not think we’re too crazy.  Austin joined in on the fun too but he was running around with a squirt gun so we didn’t capture his bony white body running around.


I could get used to using sunscreen in April.